Monday, November 10, 2008

The Story The Tundra Tabloids Broke: The Diantha Harris Story.......

Here is the list of links to the articles posted on the Tundra Tabloids concerning the Diantha Harris story, which the TT broke on the 6th of October, 2008. This is for the historical record, something of which I'm proud of. To break a story that reached the pages of The Drudge Report, is something that does not happen everyday to a small blog. Read if interested, and enjoy.
The video which caught an Obama supporting teacher, Diantha Harris berating a student that supported Johan McCain, in a N.Carolina school. The three minute clip was taken from a Swedish documentary filmed in the Spring of 2008.

Here is the post that broke the news, be aware that the teacher is teaching in Fayetteville NC, not Asheville as I claimed initially. the links are from the oldest to the latest.








Links to the media that carried the story in chronological order.

The Citizen-Times:
ABC News 13:
NOTE: WRAL linked to the wrong You Tube video, not the correct one which the Tundra Tabloids' broke the story with. Unfortunately, the Drudge Report linked to this story and video.
NOTE: Fayette Observer, mentions the Tundra Tabloids as the blog that broke the story.
Glenn Beck:
Mike Ghallager: Provided direct link to TT, but from a non-static page.
Michelle Malkin posts on it here:
NOTE: Malkin was emailed by myself and from others and she refused to accredit the TT.
USA Today:
NOTE: Mentions and links to the Citizen-Times article that was the first to pick it up, (I called them) and it mentioned the Tundra Tabloids.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Tribute to Jörg Haider.......


A little more than a week has passed since Austrians woke up to the news of Jörg Haider’s death. And it is still very difficult to comprehend the loss of this man whose death has caused Carinthia to lapse into a collective ocean of tears. Thousands of red and white candles, even more flowers, line the streets. Thousands of Carinthians lined up in front of the governments building to pay their respects to Jörg Haider, their beloved governor (and beloved he was, despite MSM commentaries to the contrary), lying in state in a simple casket draped with red roses and a wreath bearing the words of his widow: “With love, Claudia”.

His funeral service took place yesterday, exactly one week after his death, in Klagenfurt, Carinthia’s capital. It was a somber affair, without any disruptions from “right-winged neonazis”, as was feared (and I might add, perhaps even hoped for, as it would have shown Haider’s evil nature). As a matter of fact, the service was attended by almost all members of the caretaker government, the Austrian president, governors from all other Austrian provinces (even Vienna’s mayor, who is provincial governor at the same time as Vienna is also a province, and who is infamous for his hateful words on election night).

What angered me was the attendance of Gaby Schaunig, a member of the Socialist party and former member of Haider’s government, who had staunchly opposed anything and everything Haider ever said and did. She left the government prior to the elections, saying that she could no longer tolerate working with Haider. She explained that she no longer wanted to be insulted on a daily basis. Why would someone like Schaunig attend the funeral of someone she so obviously hated? I would have respected her decision to refrain form attending more than her attendance.

She is a hypocrite.

At least the Greens had the guts to stay away from the funeral. Not one member of the Green party attended. While this was also a snub to the politician Jörg Haider, I respect their decision. Perhaps — no, surely — it is much better for Austria if the Greens never become part of a coalition government. Imagine if they were forced by protocol to attend a funeral of a man or woman they so obviously dislike?

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi could also be seen in the crowd. He embraced Haider’s widow, Claudia, for a long time. Neither Le Pen nor Filip Dewinter attended the funeral service. No reason was given.

To return to the service: more than a million Austrians watch the live TV coverage, watching as friends and foe describe their feelings about Jörg Haider. Traditional Carinthian music is sung by a student choir; some tearful faces can be seen. Haider’s mountaineering friend, Teddy Inthal, speaks first, “The sun has fallen from the sky, the sun that Haider tried to reach all his life! His death is an error!”

Following these personal words, former minister of justice, Dieter Böhmdorfer, takes the podium to describe the political being of Jörg Haider. Uwe Scheuch, a long-time friend of Haider, describes his son’s reaction to the governor’s death, “Our governor cannot die!” Scheuch adds, “Jörg, we will take good care of your Carinthia!”

The following rendition of the song “Ich glaube” (I believe) by a popular Austrian singer-songwriter, Udo Jürgens, causes tears to flow freely, even from hard-boiled politicians, who are seen with tissues. Claudia Haider and her daughters also cannot hold back their tears, like the countless mourners lining the streets, watching the service on videowalls.

After another three more political speeches, caretaker chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer takes the podium for some conciliatory remarks on behalf of the government (and perhaps the socialist party, which hated Haider with a passion since his takeover of the FPÖ in the late 1980s). Gusenbauer calls Haider “an extraordinary man”, who was able to detect inevitable changes that needed to be made. He adds that “the only consoling fact about death is Haider’s ability to reconcile in death that which was irreconcilable in life. As a result of your death, perhaps some of those people will have the courage to come to terms with the human being, the man Jörg Haider. Governor, dear colleague, rest in peace” These words are followed by the Austrian national anthem and, as a deliberate climax to mark the end of the funeral service, the Carinthian anthem.

The official funeral service ends with the celebration of a mass in the Klagenfurt cathedral. Mozart’s Requiem is performed during the mass, again moving attendants to tears. After communion, Claudia Haider personally thanks all well-wishers, who “have offered words of solace on the hard and rocky road of mourning.” She adds, “One must not despair when something is lost for everything is returned in an even more magnificent way.”Haider’s last destination is the cemetery, where he is cremated at 4 p.m.

This leaves us — Austrians, Carinthians, supporters, critics — without Jörg Haider. While the above words and the tearful description of the funeral service might not be understood by those not residing in Austria and thus unfamiliar with Austrian politics, Haider was truly an asset to the political landscape. For decades, Austrian politics was dominated by SPÖ and ÖVP, either in coalition governments or with a majority government by either party. Austria badly needed a change, and Haider was the one who initiated change.

It was only natural that the ruling parties were wary, especially the SPÖ, whose leader at the time, chancellor Franz Vranitzky, was in charge of the doctrine of ostracism towards Jörg Haider. Ultimately, it was this doctrine that opened the door to the forming of the controversial ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government after the 1999 elections, followed by the EU sanctions against Austria. Vranitzky passionately hated Haider, as did does Werner Faymann, today’s SPÖ leader and chancellor-in-waiting.To those waiting to hear critical words from me, an Austrian, regarding his controversial positions, I say this:You want to hear and read a condemnation.

What I can say is the following: He admitted his allusions to the Third Reich were wrong, having caused him one of the most painful moments in his life, namely his forced resignation from the position of provincial governor. I agree that these words were more than unwise. However, in my view they did not endanger Austria as a democracy. Following Haider’s words, there were no swastikas blowing in the wind, no Jews deported, no homosexuals beheaded. Haider was young at the time; he learned. He was punished (see above). This case should be closed.

Former chancellor Schüssel was a worthy opponent and pulverized FPÖ and Haider, causing Haider to mellow with time. As Serge Trifkovic notes, when Haider’s FPÖ entered the coalition government in 2000,


Haider’s ambiguous statements on the Third Reich […] ceased to be part of his politically operative vocabulary. On the other hand, his main message — that there are too many foreigners in Austria and that immigration threatens the country’s economy and traditional ethnic composition — is even more valid today than a decade ago. That message is now shared by two parties. One of them (FPÖ) Haider led to national prominence; the other (BZÖ) he created from scratch. They command 29 percent of the electorate between them, but were unlikely to cooperate because of the bitter personal animosity between Haider and the current FPÖ leader and former Haider protégé Heinz-Christian Strache. Ironically, the Austrian nationalist Right may be better poised to achieve unity that has eluded it for years now that its poster boy is no longer with us.

Although I was not in Austria when the government was formed in 2000, and I was unable to watch TV coverage of the demonstrations protesting this government, I still remember my outrage at the EU sanctions imposed on Austria.

Mr. Trifkovic sums up:
The move (the forming of the coalition government ÖVP-FPÖ) nevertheless caused an uproar in Brussels: the European Union decided to impose sanctions on Austria even before the government had announced its program. “There is a lot of excitement in the European chicken pen,” Haider quipped, “and the fox hasn’t even got in.”

This episode merits some attention because it reveals in a raw form the mix of authoritarianism and hypocrisy characteristic of Brussels. On January 31, 2000, the European Union informed Austria that it would face boycott if its new government included the FPÖ. On February 4 Chancellor Schuessel nevertheless went ahead and brought members of the Freedom Party into his coalition. He was acting in full accord with the rules of parliamentary democracy:

the new government had a clear majority of 104 out of 183 parliamentary deputies. EU governments duly severed all bilateral political contacts with the Austrian government. They also restricted the promotion of Austrians at EU headquarters and ignored Austrian ministers at EU meetings. The measures also included ban on school trips, cultural exchanges and military exercises. The U.S. joined the bandwagon and the State Department called Ambassador Kathryn Hall back to Washington for “consultations.”

Although the measures had no impact on the lives of ordinary Austrians, they triggered a backlash among the Austrian public. They also caused an outcry in some smaller EU nations — notably Denmark — fearful of the domination of more powerful members, such as France, which pushed for punitive measures. For months thereafter the EU’s Portuguese presidency maintained that the sanctions would remain, but after the EU foreign ministers’ Azores meeting in June 2000 it was obvious that the embargo could not be sustained.

The EU sanctions were illegal because the decision to apply them was taken outside the EU structures and without due process: the Austrian government was not allowed have its point of view heard before the other members states took action against it. The EU action was doubly contentious in view of the fact that Haider’s party was democratically elected and that it had not done or said anything contrary to Austria’s constitution or European law. Even those Austrians not sympathetic to Haider came to see Brussels’ heavy-handedness as an insult to their country.

Not all governments were happy with these sanctions. My father was ambassador to Greece at the time and told me that he did not feel the sanctions in day-to-day business dealings with the Greek government. It seems to me that some EU member states may have been bullied into supporting something they did not agree with. This bullying comes as no surprise. It is standard operating procedure in Brussels.

The first political result of his death was the decision of the ÖVP to start coalition talks right away, ostensibly because of the financial crisis, but those wary of the MSM know better. The conservatives seemingly decided that Haider’s 27-year-old successor, Stefan Petzner, was not the right material to form a government with. The general mood among political commentators is that BZÖ will not survive, and will ultimately merge with FPÖ. FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache has already offered “sanctuary” to BZÖ MP’s.

Stefan Petzner, Haider’s best friend, spokesman and protégé, is already being denounced by the MSM and political opponents. I believe that he should be given a chance to prove himself even though newspaper commentators are already calling for Haider’s widow to take charge of the party. Petzner could and should be taken seriously, at least by us in the Counterjihad movement, because he clearly knows what is at stake regarding Islam. He was quoted as saying that one of his foremost goals is to stop the creeping Islamization of Austria.

As I have said before, Austrians are in for interesting political times.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

David Littman in Haaretz Article.......

David Littman was interviewed by the Haaretz concerning the release of the movie "Operation Mural", which tells of the clandestine rescue operation of the 530 Jewish children from Morocco, through the help of the Littman's and other courageous operatives.
The original published English text contained some errors, so Mr.Littman asked whether the Tundra Tabloids would kindly republish the corrected version for the historical record. You may view the trailer to the movie here. KGS

NOTE: D.Littman adds: Although the article is very substantive and descriptive, errors crept in, as I was unable to advise Yael Sheleg for his final Hebrew text– and time was pressing. He checked one of Gad Shahar’s affirmation which I was able to correct before publication, but that was all I was asked about.


After publication, I did not have the translation of the Hebrew until publication of the English edition when I was able to read it for the first time. I then realized that there were mistakes that were unfortunate, but I was advised by friends not to bother to try to correct them with a letter to the editor, as it would be difficult to publish in Hebrew and English. It would not be fair to Yair Sheleg, who had written a long and detailed article (longer than intended at the beginning), most of which was well written and accurate.

D-Littman: "I had put in red script the mistakes by the journalist or the passages which could have been left out, with a (…). In smaller, blue passages, I explain which statements are inaccurate. This is done also for concerned friends and colleagues, as well as for my archives and the ‘historical record’."

Codename: Operation Mural

By Yair Sheleg

Tags: Mossad, aliyah, Switzerland

At the start of 1961, David Littman's life seemed to be moving along nicely. He was 27 years old at the time, from a wealthy Jewish family, a graduate of prestigious

[I was 27; my 28 birthday was on 4 July 1961. – not important, but I’m correcting it.]

Anglican schools. About a year earlier he had married Giselle, the daughter of a Jewish family that had immigrated to Britain from Egypt (today Giselle Littman, under the pseudonym "Bat Yeor," is a well-known historian and writer focusing on Jews and Christians in Islamic countries). They already had their first child, Diana, and had moved to Switzerland. Littman's original plan was to continue the family's real estate business, but he was not pressed for time, as he had already inherited considerable wealth from his father. And so he spent his time reading journalist William Shirer's thick volume, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."

The book, he says, left him unsettled. "I asked myself two questions: What should a Jew who lived in neutral countries like Switzerland or Sweden have done in those times, and what could I do today for the sake of the Jewish people?" He decided to knock on the doors of all the Jewish organizations in Geneva to ask them to give him something to do. But none of the groups had anything to offer him. And then, just as he was about to give up, he approached an organization called OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux enfants - the Organization for the Rescue of Children), which dealt with rescuing Jewish children during and after the Holocaust. For the director of the organization, Prof. Jacques Bloch, Littman was heaven-sent.

Only two days earlier, the emissary of the Jewish Agency in Switzerland, Naftali Bar-Giora, had asked him for help in finding a volunteer for a secret mission to get Jewish children out of Morocco. Ever since 1956, when Morocco had won its independence from France, the authorities had prohibited Jews from leaving the country freely. Many Moroccan Jews suffered from harassment and the Mossad was organizing clandestine departures. But in January 1961, a disaster had occurred: The illegal immigrant ship Egoz, which had left Morocco in the dark of night, sank and all 44 passengers (about half of them children) perished.

A new route to Israel was needed, which was why the Mossad had come up with the following idea: One of the secret service's emissaries would pretend to be the representative of a Swiss humanitarian organization and would make the following proposal to the Moroccan government to take hundreds of children (not necessarily Jewish) for a vacation in Switzerland. The Jewish children gathered by the volunteer, who would be posted in Casablanca, would indeed go to Switzerland first - but after a brief stay they would continue on to Israel.

To carry out this mission, a person was needed whose appearance and biography would befit that of the representative of a Swiss humanitarian organization. The tall, wealthy and supremely self-confident Littman seemed to fit this description like a glove. Thus Operation Mural (a name chosen at random) was born, in the course of which 530 Jewish children from Morocco immigrated to Israel. Last night, Channel 1 aired a documentary film about the affair, directed by veteran documentary film-maker Yehuda Kaveh ("Operation Mural - Casablanca 1961").

Gad Shahar, a Mossad immigration emissary in Morocco during those years, relates that in order to maintain the mission's secrecy and also to prevent Littman from revealing unnecessary information by mistake (or under interrogation), "Throughout the entire length of the operation, he [Littman] himself did not know that he was working for the Mossad. He thought he was working for the Jewish Agency and that the masses of children and parents who were knocking at the door of his office in Casablanca had come to him in response to advertisements that had been published in the Moroccan press. In fact, hardly a single Jew had seen those notices. They were important only for the cover. The parents and children came to him as a result of our secret work, going from door to door and to reach the members of the community."

[The above is inexact. Gad is a close friend, but at 84, errors can be made by anyone. I obviously knew everything, as any ‘response to advertisement’ that I put in newspapers (there were 2 or 3) would pass through my office. Gad appears to have forgotten that money given by his misgeret group to parents to pass to me (for the cost of the holidays & transport) was returned by me to him or another at our evening meetings. How could I imagine that these parents had seen my newspaper advertisement, as I handed back the money they received (from the misgeret) to Gad, and did not keep it in our bank account to cover costs?

Yair Sheleg called me very early before publication and asked me if it was true that I didn’t know that the children would finish up in Israel. I was astonished and told him that this ‘suggestion’ was absurd. I hadn’t volunteered in Geneva ‘to bring Jewish children for Swiss holidays’. The film makes this point clearly and I had also emailed my January 2004 Ashdod speech which contains all such details. Unfortunately, I was not asked anything else about other affirmations, otherwise I would have advised him to leave out other quoted inaccuracies in his text.]

Beyond the difficulty of deceiving the Moroccan government, it was of course anything but simple to separate young children from their parents. In order to tempt the parents, the Mossad emissaries promised that those who agreed to send their children would be given priority on the list for immigration of adults. This was definitely a significant catalyst, but still the decisions were not easy. Yossi Shahar (no relation to Gad Shahar), one of the children who came to Israel as a result of Operation Mural, relates:

"Some of my friends had signed up for immigration to Israel, and I very much wanted to go, too, especially since some of my relatives had already immigrated and I was in charge of the correspondence with them. But I knew that my parents would not agree because I was their eldest child and I was only 11 years old. So I started to organize the initial arrangements for myself. At a certain stage it was no longer possible to conceal this from my parents and the immigration emissaries came for a talk with them. "This conversation was far from easy, but in the end my father agreed. I think that in the end he realized that if I did not leave, the family would never leave, because it was hard for him to give up his shop. The moment he consented, he did not even need my mother's agreement. In our patriarchal family, it was enough that he had decided."

His mother, Rachel Sabbagh, remembers a different story: "I very much wanted to immigrate to Israel, because most of the family from my side already lived there and I had remained pretty much alone. But my husband was opposed, because he was a merchant and made a good living, and he was afraid to leave everything behind. I knew that only the immigration of one of our children could possibly persuade my husband. Therefore I agreed that Yossi would immigrate. In fact, one of the girls was supposed to go with him [it had been decided to try to send at least two siblings from every family so the children would not be entirely alone in Israel], but the children needed permission from the principals of their schools and it just so happened that right then her principal was not in Morocco. After Yossi immigrated, my husband also began to talk about immigration and 10 months later we were already in Israel."

Another problem was linked to the question of what to do with the Muslim children who had signed up for the program. Littman relates that it was the parents' propensity for haggling that saved the operation. "To make the story credible, we charged the parents a symbolic sum of 10 francs per day for each day of the vacation. The price was very low but the [non-Jewish] parents nevertheless wanted to negotiate the sum. We haggled and haggled and each time I dropped the price a little, but by the time the negotiations were completed the project had already come to an end."

[No Muslim children came to my office to sign up (at SFr. 10 a day x 30 days + travel). Sheleg misunderstand what I told him. I was negotiating withing two days of my arrival on 16 March – I only met Gad @ 26 March – with directors of Muslim organizations in Rabat (“Martyrs of the Resistance”, etc.), as stated in the film. Otherwise, the ‘haggling’ point is correct – but it was with heads of those organizations, not any of the parents.]

Nevertheless, the fact that all those who left were Jewish nearly scuttled the operation. When the list of children came to the desk of the police commander in Casablanca, who was supposed to sign it, he exploded: "You know you are partner to a Zionist plot," he said to Littman. "All the names here are Jewish." Littman responded with surprise and anger: "I attacked him - how dare he accuse me of serving Zionist interests. At the same time, I hastened to meet with one of the heads of the Moroccan secret service, with whom I had formed a social relationship earlier on and I complained to him about the police official who was making problems for the wonderful humanitarian initiative and even daring to accuse me of Zionism."

[The idea that I “attacked” the khalifa of the 1st district of Casablanca is strange. In fact, I took on an air of great surprise and was extremely polite – and that led to my success.]

Littman's playacting was successful. The senior official ordered his subordinate to approve the list and the operation took its course. Moroccan policemen even helped the children load their baggage onto the buses. But the risks were far from over. It was clear from the get-go that it would be impossible to take all the hundreds of children who had signed up in one go. Back in those days, the planes were too small and one large group was liable to arouse suspicion. The 530 [not 630] children who had signed up were supposed to reach [delete: fly to] France in five [not six] separate groups (all of them were set to leave during the summer vacation, before the first group was supposed to return to Morocco), and to continue on to Switzerland to spend a number of weeks there.

Only then would the children travel to Israel. But Gad Shahar relates that as the first group was settling into the guesthouse in Switzerland, the Mossad emissary in France decided that such a stay was a waste of money for the Israeli taxpayer and that it was better to put the children on a flight to Israel directly from the airport in Marseille.

[There were never “hundreds of children who had signed up in one go”. It was a very slow process begun in late May, and it depended on how many I could ‘process’ with the various Moroccan authorities. In the last days, I could process 50 passports in 2 days; at the start only a few. It was not the 1st group that was sent by Youth Aliyah to Israel, but I believe the 2rd group (10 July), straight from Lyons airport.

This decision had nothing to do with ‘a waste of money for the Israeli taxpayer’, but resulted from a lack of place in an available home in Switzerland, because OSE had not anticipated such remarkable results. But our security was put at stake by this irresponsible act, which thus brought “Operation Mural” to an end. The only children to pass by Marseille came by ship (those in the 26 June convoy of the S.S. Ionia, who went to Morgins by bus and stayed there a month; and the 4th convoy of 22 July which arrived on 25 July – a day after my departure with the 5th convoy on 24 July – when all were then flown straight to Israel.]

When the second [delete: first] group landed in Israel, rumors began to circulate and ultra-Orthodox circles kicked up a political and public storm about how religious children from Islamic countries were once again falling into the clutches of secular education. To the horror of those involved in the operation, this allegation was even broadcast on Israel Radio, even though some of the children, as well as Littman and his family, had not yet left Morocco, which could have endangered all of them.

Shahar says that to this day he does not understand how the censor allowed the report to be broadcast on the radio. Fortunately, the argument did not come to the attention of the Moroccan authorities. Nevertheless, the heightened sense of anxiety did cause the operation to come to an early end and one of the groups was canceled. In the end five groups, numbering a total of 530 children, left in the operation.

[No group was cancelled by me. I increased the 5th group to include all and some more.]

Yossi Shahar says that he never regretted leaving his family in the framework of the operation: "Of course I experienced moments of sorrow, especially because I did not witness the birth of my little brother in Morocco, but I never had any regret. I was sent to a wonderful Youth Aliyah boarding school, Shfeya, near Zichron Yaakov. I received an excellent education there and it changed my whole life for the better."

Journalist Shmuel Segev, who published a book in the 1980s about the larger immigration operation, which was known as Operation Yakhin, says there was no direct connection between it and Littman's activity: "The main connection is that Operation Mural was among the factors that persuaded King Hassan II that in any case his country was wide open to the Israelis and that it was better for him to reach an agreement with them that would serve his interests. At that time he was a new ruler, with quite a number of enemies, and he needed help. The Israelis provided him with money and, what was more important, we helped him organize his security services and we also provided him with important information about his enemies at home."

[This is not all what Shmuel Segev said, so he informed me. He actually replied: “Yes and No” – and then explained what he meant by that. All such details, and others, will be covered in his forthcoming book in Hebrew: The Moroccan Connection: Secret contacts between Israel and Morocco (Preface Efraim Halevy), Matar, January 2008), especially in the comprehensive chapter:: “Egoz” / “Mural” / “ Yakhin”.]

The one who was forgotten in all this was Littman, a hero of Operation Mural. Not only did he not request and has never received payment for his work - apart from the funding of his stay in Morocco - to this day he relates bitterly that, "After the operation, they offered me an invitation to Israel and a tour. I said to them: Don't waste your money. Just send me a thank-you letter. They didn't even do that. Three months after the operation had ended, the Jewish Agency held an exhibition in Geneva on the subject of immigration. They didn't even send me an invitation. That is why I told my wife that I didn't want to set foot in Israel. Only in 1964 did she manage to convince me to come anyway and Moshe Kol [then head of the Youth Immigration department at the Jewish Agency] insisted on honoring me."

[This is strange to be mentioned here. In fact, it was agreed that the JA would pay for my hotel, office, and ‘expenses’ incurred. I had never requested a salary for my work.]

But the public and official rectification of the injustice came only many years later. In 1986, on the 25th anniversary of the operation, a gathering was held in Tel Aviv [delete:Ashkelon] of all of the children who had immigrated in its context. The Littmans (who to this day live in Switzerland) were invited, they met with the now grown-up children and Littman was awarded an official certificate of recognition for his activity.

[This meeting with 120 (of 530) children took place on 15 May (via much publicity in the newspapers), two weeks after the 1 May 1986 Mimouna ‘Beyahad’ event in Sacher Park, Jerusalem, when then Prime Minister Shimon Peres honoured us both. The 2nd time was at Ashdod on 13 January 2004 when Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz gave me a certificate of recognition. The reference to Ashkelon concerns the “Jewish Eye” Film Festival when “Operation Mural” was screened on Opening Night, Wednesday, 14 November 2007.]

Friday, July 18, 2008

Interview with Daniel Pipes.......

Interview with
Daniel Pipes

22.06.2008, Helsinki. By Iivi Anna Masso.

Daniel Pipes is a distinguished US scholar of the Middle East and the director of the think tank Middle East Forum ( He has written and edited a dozen books about the Middle East and Islam, and is an active discussant on subjects such as Islamism as a political ideology, the American “War on terror” and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This interview is done in Helsinki, where Mr. Pipes visited briefly during Midsummer.

Q: European media often treats Israel as the rouge state of the region. It has been even suggested that the creation of the state was a mistake. Do you see Israel as a “rogue state”?

DP: It’s strange that one should have to argue that Israel’s not a rogue state, and that it is a state worthy of support, because it is by any standard a free state, a prosperous state, a state that has the rule of law. It is in short a Western state with the standard of living and the way of life similar to that one finds in Europe and very much different from that of its enemies – in the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iran and so forth. It is a turning around of the facts.

A Flash Eurobarometer poll in November 2003 established that Europeans saw Israel as the most dangerous state of the world. It’s an extraordinary view, one that reflects not on Israel but on the sorry state of European politics, a lack of knowledge about the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, about who one’s allies are and who one’s enemies are, about problems and solutions. It is a very distressing development.

Q: Do you see the relationship between Europe and Israel getting better of worse?

DP: I think there has been some improvement in recent years, in particular with the change of government in a number of countries towards a more favorable one, most dramatically in France. But the reputation of Israel has been very low for some years now and it’ll take considerable work to see that changed.

Q: Do you think Hamas should be respected as a legitimate political force, because the Palestinian people supported it in democratic elections?

DP: Hamas is an Islamist movement that has heavily relied on terrorism to achieve its goals, and its primary goal is the elimination of Israel, its replacement by an Islamist order. It is terrorist and Islamist, it is the enemy. It is strange to me that anyone in the West should wish to support Hamas or help Hamas when it’s clearly not just the enemy of Israel but the enemy of the West as a whole. I think it’d be a great mistake to legitimize it and to deal with it.

Q: You wrote the foreword to a forthcoming book by Jonathan Schanzer about the conflict between Hamas and Fatah. Can that conflict be seen as part of the development of a Palestinian democracy?

DP: Hamas and Fatah share the same goals, both wish to eliminate Israel. But they have different approaches, different philosophies, different personnel, different tactics. So, sometimes they work together and sometimes they fight, there’s no permanent fight or a permanent cooperation, its fluid, it changes over time. At the moment it has been very bad for a couple of years but it could well improve.

Q: Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict political (nationalist) or theological?

DP: Ultimately the Arab-Israeli conflict rests on a Muslim assumption that territory that has been ruled by Muslims must not be ruled by non-Muslims, that it is permanently Muslim territory. That a non-Muslim people should come, take it over, and rule it is deeply inimical.

That said, there have been four different stages of the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past century, four different stages of Arab approach. The first was pan-Syrian, to create a greater Syria; the second was pan-Arab, to create a greater Arab state, the third was Palestinian nationalist, and now the fourth is Islamist. There could be a fifth and a sixth. The key here is not the approach which changes every few decades, but rather the deep belief among Muslims that Israel is an illegitimate state because it is in a territory that for over a millenium was controlled by Muslims.

Q: Do you see an end to this conflict?

DP: I do see a possible end. I don’t see it going on forever, as no conflict goes on forever. I do see that it’s possibly going to end in 20-30 years, when the Palestinians are convinced that Israel is there and it’s permanent, and realize that there’s nothing they can do about that, accept it, and instead of trying to eliminate Israel will try to fix their own polity, economy, society and culture.


Q: You have written extensively about the distinction between Islam and “Islamism”, also called “militant Islam”, or “fundamentalism”. How do you explain the difference?

DP: Islam is a personal faith, and there are many different ways of understanding what it means to be a Muslim. One can be a Sufi, a mystic, one can be someone who lives by the law in a very strict way, one can be a nominal Muslim, who does not pay that much attention to his faith; all these and other ways are possible within the religion of Islam.

Islamism is a very specific approach, one that holds that Muslims would be powerful and rich were Muslims to follow the Islamic law in its complete detail. Islamists aspire to apply that law everywhere in the world, and see non-Muslims as inferior, and to be defeated. It’s an ideology that has its roots at the origins of Islam, but developed in its present state about 80 years ago. It is part of Islam, but not the whole of Islam.

Q: However, hard-line Muslims as well as some critics of Islam insist that you cannot be a real Muslim unless you follow the Islamic law – that would make the distinction between Islam and Islamism disappear?

DP: It is curious to note that Islamists and those who say that Islam itself is the problem both agree that I’m wrong, and that Islamism is Islam. The Islamists say that because they want to portray their version of Islam as the only one. And those who see Islam as the problem, conflate the religion and the ideology. I think it a mistake. Even if you believe that’s the case, and you’re a Westerner and a non-Muslim, I would argue that you’d have to adopt my point of view, because a Western government cannot fight Islam. Ours are not crusader states. Therefore, you have to fight the ideology of Islamism, not the religion of Islam. We know how to fight ideologies. We fought Fascism and Communism and now there’s Islamism. We can’t fight a religion. So if it’s reduced to a religion, then we lack the tools to protect ourselves.

Q: Would non-Islamist Islam mean a secularized, privatized Islam?

DP: Secularism means two different things. A secular person is one who is not religious. A secular society is one that divides religion from politics. Non-Islamist Islam needs not be secular in a personal sense; a person can be pious, but not Islamist. But it does mean secular in the latter sense, in that society divides politics from religion. For example, the Atatürk regime in Turkey is secular, you can be religious, but you cannot bring religion into the political sphere.

Q: What do you think about the term “Islamophobia” – it has been used a lot in Europe lately?

DP: “Islamophobia” is a fundamentally flawed notion, because the people who are worried about Islam are not phobic. “Phobic” implies they have an unjustified, wrongful dislike of something, whereas people who are worried about terrorism, about the imposition of the Islamic law, or the Sharia, are dealing with an actual set of problems. To call them names is both unfair and delegitimizing. Their concerns are real and legitimate, and need to be addressed.


Q: In a recent video interview you said about the future of Islam in Europe that there’s a 5% chance of harmony, and 47,5% chance for either Islam becoming dominant and Europeans reasserting control, and that the latter option might imply a civil strife? Would you explain what you mean?

DP: It’s striking to see that the default assumption of most Europeans is that somehow the European-Muslim relationship will work out. There may be problems today, but in the future it will be resolved. And yet I can’t see the sources of that optimism. If one looks at Muslims living in Europe one finds retreat rather than engagement. The children of the immigrants are more hostile toward existing European civilization than are the immigrants themselves. On the European side one finds increasing worry, concern, fear of the Muslim presence. So the hope that everyone will get along seems to be not based on reality. Therefore I give it a very low possibility of working out. Not zero, but minimal.

On the other hand, the alternatives between Muslim domination and European reassertion seem to me rather balanced. I can’t predict which of them is more likely to happen. Crises ahead that have not taken place, will help determine which way Europe goes.

Q: What kind of crises are to be expected, beyond those we have already seen?

DP: There have been small crises. The Rushdie affair. The Foulard affair. The pope affair. But these are not real crises. Little riots here and there. But nothing that has really led to major changes. So I think there’s a gap of five, ten, fifteen years to the future. I can’t predict but it could be something like the French riots of 2005, but far more violent – not burning cars but killing people. It could be the election of a government that could decide to send Muslim immigrants back to their home countries. I’m unable to predict the specific nature, I just think there are problems ahead that will show us which way Europe is likely to head.

Q: What could Europeans do to prevent a worse crisis?

DP: There are many steps that Europeans could take. For example, there is the step of integrating the Muslim immigrants. In general European countries are what I call large families. You are a member of a country because you come from the bloodline of that country, went to school there, and know its language, and share its religion. And now first time ever many European countries, indeed all European countries except France, are faced with the question: what does it mean to be Finnish, or Swedish, or Estonian. You did not have to explain that until now. Now you do. This is a crisis. I think it is a crisis that needs to be attended to. What does one do with people that look different, pray differently, eat differently? How does one create a nationality that includes them?

Also, Europeans need to have more children, if they’re going to sustain their civilisation. Your birthrates are very low now. Short of some significant increase, it’s hard to see how a century from now there will be a Europe that is still the Europe of today.

On the immigrant side, there needs to be a greater willingness to participate, and to accept the existence of the European civilisation, and not try to change it, but live within it.

Freedom of Speech

Q: You wrote a book about the “Rushdie Affair” in 1990, right after it happened. Now there have been several similar conflicts about “offending Islam” in the West. Has anything changed from Rushdie affair to today?

DP: The Rushdie affair came as a shock, because for the first time ever Muslims said what could and could not be written about, or stated, in the West. The other examples, of which there have been quite a few, have reiterated and confirmed that point. As time goes by, Muslims have become more determined to restrict free speech; they are going to the UN, for example, to have legal basis for prohibiting such speech. Westerners in general, Europeans in particular, are increasingly uneasy with such restrictions.

Q: With the pressure in the UN to ban “defamation of religion” worldwide, will the West just have to accept that in the increasingly intertwined and multicultural world the freedom of speech will not be what it used to be for at least the last decades?

DP: One can see a real reduction of the freedom of speech in many Western countries. One curious development took place in Saudi Arabia earlier this year when the Saudi Consultative Council was asked to confirm the idea that no criticism of religion could take place. But the Council rejected it, because the members noted it would recognize polytheistic religions, which they found “unacceptable”. So really what it’s meant to do is protect Islam, and I would be surprised if such legislation passed.

Q: So if the restriction of critique of religion would concern all equally, Muslims do actually not want it?

DP: Right.

Q: Regarding what we can and cannot say, you have written that the West itself, even the US have increasing problems naming the enemy in the “war on terror”?

DP: It is difficult for the modern Western person to speak bluntly about the problem of this sort. That results from a sense of confidence, and a feeling that it’s impolite and unnecessary to speak bluntly. It is enough to speak obliquely and carefully. However, I think it is necessary in a time of war to speak clearly about the identity of the enemy. If one traces, for example, President George W. Bush’s statements, one finds that they began very vaguely and then became more accurate and now they’ve become vague again. That’s rather typical of the West as a whole, in its uncertainty how to understand who the enemy is, and what the nature of this war is. That’s problematic. It’s now almost seven years since 9/11, it’s almost 30 years since the Iranian seizure of the American embassy in Teheran, and in all these years the US government still has not figured out who the enemy is, and what the problem is.

Q: How would you name the enemy?

DP: I would name the enemy as radical Islam or Islamism. It’s a movement, a body of ideas. Like Fascism and Communism.

Q: Has talking about this conflict become even harder during the last few years?

DP: There are so many conflicting currents. It’s hard for me to generalize, to say what the trend is, which way things are going. One could say that one finds a great deal of euphemism and indirect speech at this point and it’s not getting better.

Q: Before 9/11, even left-wing papers wrote about “Islamic Fascism”, now it seems unthinkable.

DP: One has seen an increase in a Left-Islamist alliance. It goes back to Michel Foucault’s visit to Teheran in 1978-79. He was very exited to see what was taking place. And initially his view met with considerable resistance on the left, but with time that resistance has eroded. I think the major event was in February 2003 when throughout Europe Islamists and leftists organized together against the forthcoming war in Iraq. This created the basis of the bond.

One finds they have the same opponents – they oppose the same ideas and institutions, countries and people. They are not in favor of the same thing, but they’re against the same things. So they’re not really deep allies, they don’t have a strategic co-operation, they have a tactical co-operation. One finds it over and over again throughout the West.

Interestingly one does not find it in the Muslim world. For example in Turkey, if you were against the Islamists in the elections a year ago, you voted for the Left. Over and over again one finds that the Left and the Isamists in Egypt, Pakistan, elsewhere are opposed to each other. But in the West, they work close together, and not just the West: in India too, one finds the same thing. And it is very troubling. It is an alliance that is comparable to the Hitler-Stalin alliance, that was a brown-red alliance and this is a green-red alliance, green in the sense of the color of Islam. It’s a great danger to the civilized world.

Q: This alliance is particularly confusing because the goals of the Islamist movement look rather like far right than left.

DP: If you look at it as a negative, then you understand it better than when you try to see what they have in common. They don’t have principles in common. Socialism, gender equality and elief in God are not in common. But if you look at what they are against – George W. Bush is a symbol of it, but more broadly Western civilization, specifically the US, the UK, Israel, Jews, practicing Christians, globalization – that is what they are against.

Q: So when academic, pro-gay-rights feminists declare Hamas and Hizbollah “progressive”, this is what it is about – a common enemy?

DP: Feminists who ignore what Islam says do so because that is tactically useful at the moment. Like in Iran in the 1970s, the Left and the Islamists worked together against the shah. Once they defeated the shah, they had completely opposite goals, and one defeated the other. So this is tactical, it’s just so long as the opponent is there. But if the opponent would be defeated, then their differences would come out, as each works for its own very different goals.

US politics

Q: What do you think about the term “neo-consevative”? Would you accept it describing yourself?

DP: I’m ambivalent. Neoconservatives may number 40 or 50 in the world. It’s not exactly a big movement. And they are considered to have so much power. So I’d rather like the idea of being one of them. On the other hand, when you look at specific policies, such as the war in Iraq, or the effort rapidly to democratize the Middle East, I’ve real differences. So I don’t think that the term fits me.

Q: You have recently written about the possibility of US attacking Iran. In this conflict, Europe again sees the US as the main potential aggressor.

DP: Europeans have the luxury of not having to make hard decisions. Because they know that the US will be there and do it for them, and then they can criticize the US. I think that the US has made a mistake since World War II of taking on too much responsibility. I think we should have said vis-a-vis the Soviets and others: Look, if you don’t think we are doing this correct, then you do it. If you don’t like it, if you don’t want Pershing missiles in 1981-82, fine – you figure out your relationship with the Soviet. And now it’s the same thing: if you think Iran having missiles is fine, ok – we won’t protect you. That would create a much greater sense of realism. But unfortunately, as it is, we take initiative, and then others criticize us for that. It would be far more constructive for Europeans to have to make hard decisions themselves than simply criticize us. We Americans are making Europeans act as children who don’t have to make key decisions, they are made for them. I don’t think that is healthy for Europeans or ourselves.

Q: Would tightened European integration make Europe a more “grown up” unit?

DP: I believe European Union has its limits. I think it’s useful economic and political union, but I don’t think it should try to be more than a confederation. I don’t think it should become a single state. That would be a mistake, given the history of Europe. Turning EU into a military unit would also be a mistake. I think NATO is far better.

Q: In what sense is the upcoming US presidential election important for the world?

Barack Obama would turn US government policy into European policy. The US would be another European polity as opposed to what it has been at least for decades. So it’s a very fundamental set of choices – more fundamental than any time since 1972, when [the Democratic candidate] George McGovern also had a left-wing, European approach.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bat Ye'or Interview.......

Jul 9, 2008 20:35 Updated Jul 10, 2008 9:08
One on One:

A 'dhimmi' view of Europe


'I always thought I'd be writing novels," says Bat Ye'or, her wistfulness somehow adding an extra touch of class to her thick French accent. "Not such serious work."
Given the gravity of her subject matter, and what some might consider her alarmist way with words, this is hard to believe. But then, so is the historian's life story, which is the stuff that sagas are made of.

Hers began in Egypt during World War II. The daughter of a middle-class Jewish family named Orebi, Bat Ye'or (her trademark pseudonym, which in Hebrew means "daughter of the Nile") fled with her parents to England in 1957 - after suffering the brunt of the anti-Semitism she claims characterized the entire Arab world.

In 1959, she married a Briton - also a historian - whom she prefers not to name, to protect his and her privacy. The couple then moved to and settled in Switzerland in 1960, where they raised their children and continue to reside.

She is the author of eight books, including The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam (1985); The Decline of Eastern Christianity: From Jihad to Dhimmitude (1996); Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (2001); and - the one which captured international attention and catapulted her into the center of controversy - Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (2005). Saying that Europe is basically finished, due to its kissing up to the Arabs, will do that.

Here recently to promote the release of her best-selling "cautionary tale" in Hebrew (EuroArabia, Schocken Publishers; translation by Arie Hashavia), Bat Ye'or explains why she believes the West in general, and Europe in particular, is in state of denial at best, and dhimmitude at worst. To make matters more complicated, she asserts, though the citizens of European countries long to preserve their individual and collective cultures of freedom and democracy - which they have been exhibiting at the polls - the European Union, influenced by the UN-backed Islamic leadership, advocates appeasement and passivism.

In an hour-long interview on the terrace of her Mishkenot Sha'ananim digs overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, Bat Ye'or expounds on her bleak prognosis in an articulate tirade, raising her voice now and then for emphasis, pausing occasionally to laugh. What she has to say about the state of the world, however, is more likely to make one cry.

Why do you use a pseudonym?

For many reasons. First of all, when I left Egypt and started living in Europe, I found that I had changed - that I was no longer the person I had been before.

Secondly, I have always preferred to keep my personal and professional lives separate. I have always wanted my social standing to be distinct from my being the wife of my husband, the daughter of my parents and the mother of my children. It is a matter of independence.

Why did your family leave Egypt?

We left as part of the big exodus of Jews from Arab-Muslim countries. Jews suffered from severe anti-Semitism, especially in Egypt. There was a powerful Nazi community, established by [then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel] Nasser. There were many anti-Jewish laws. There was a general feeling of insecurity. There was open hatred expressed by the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in relation to the Palestine issue. As early as World War II - particularly after the November 1945 pogroms in Egypt - Jews began leaving the country. Many went to Israel. At that time there was a Zionist underground. Zionism was made a criminal offense for which you could be jailed or even tortured. So, many young people left. For the old people, of course, it was difficult, because many were members of the bourgeoisie, and it was forbidden for Jews to take any money or assets out of the country when they left. My parents' assets were confiscated, for example, which created economic problems for our family.

Are you saying that as World War II ended, and in Europe Nazism became taboo, it was gaining strength in the Arab world?

Yes, but even before and throughout the war, both Nazism and fascism were strong in the Arab world. Hitler and Mussolini were heroes. The whole Middle East was in turmoil because the Arab-Muslim populations were all favorable to Nazism and anti-Semitic policies.

How much of what was going on in the death camps in Europe were you and other Jews in Egypt aware of at the time?

We knew everything. I remember my parents listening very carefully to the radio. And it was also in the newspaper. But also, my mother's family was in France, and they were forced to wear the yellow star. So we knew.

When you heard about the peace treaty that Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin signed with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1979, how did you feel?

I wasn't following it that carefully, due to family problems. Nor was I familiar with Israeli politics at the time. But I trusted Begin to do the best thing for Israel. So, I did have hope. Still, what you have to understand is that the problem is much larger than Egypt. The whole Muslim world is becoming more and more radicalized - more rooted in Shari'a, and less open to anything outside the religion. This is due to the policies of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 57 Islamic member states and a permanent delegation to the UN. At its last summit in December 2005, it decided upon a 10-year plan, one of whose resolutions was to root the Islamic uma - the world Muslim community - in the Koran and the [oral tradition of the] Hadith, which, of course, means Wahabbism. They also resolved to make the Palestinian issue the central issue of international politics. This is why we see relentless pressure on Israel from different countries. Because the OIC is an extremely powerful body, demographically, politically and economically.

The OIC is an Islamic body. How has it managed to turn the Palestinian issue into a Western focus? And to what do you attribute the political and cultural success of its ideology in Europe and the United States?
First of all, a distinction has to be made here between Europe and America, which have chosen opposite paths in relation to the Middle East.
As for OIC influence on Europe: It is visible in immigration policy toward Muslims, and in the Muslims' refusal to integrate into European societies.

The OIC considers nationalist-European movements, European history, European culture, European religions and European languages as Islamophobic. Why? Because Europeans have begun to feel that they are losing their own identity, due to their efforts to welcome immigrants who don't want to integrate. As a result, they have adopted measures to stop illegal immigration, to control legal immigration and to curb terrorism. Europeans fear losing their historical and cultural assets - particularly those of democracy and human rights - to Shari'a law. They want one law for everybody - and it's not Shari'a, which involves things like honor killings. It is thus that in all international forums, the OIC attacks Europe and demands that it apply multiculturalism.

Now, Europeans do not want multiculturalism. But this is a problem, because European governments - and especially the European Union - do not want to fight the OIC, and so they collaborate with it. Therefore, what we have inside Europe is a clash of interests between the European citizens and their governments.

A similar claim is often made about Muslim-Arab citizens and their governments - that a majority of the former is moderate, while the latter is extremist. Do you agree with this assessment?

No, I don't agree with it at all. In fact, the opposite is the case. In the Arab world, it is the governments - as we see so well in Egypt - that are at the mercy of the radicalized, Islamized, anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israel masses who are in a dynamic of jihad. Certainly the majority of Muslims follow the ideology of conquest; it is in the Koran and the Hadith! And every time they go to the mosque, they hear it. I mean, the first shura, that is recited five times a day, is anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. So they cannot escape from it.

Unfortunately, the Muslims who are against this trend don't have the courage to make the effort to change it. And those who do have the courage are threatened with losing their jobs and having harm done to them and their families. So Islamism is the natural culture of the Arab-Muslim world. Even in Turkey an Islamist government has taken over. So, how can we deny the reality? And anyway, if the moderates were in the majority, they would be making protests and issuing manifestos against Osama bin Laden, instead of against America and Israel.

The environment is one of jihad on the one hand and of dhimmitude [the state of being a non-Muslim subject living in a country governed by Shari'a law] on the other. European countries are becoming dhimmi countries, and people don't realize it, because they don't know what jihad and dhimmitude are, so they don't recognize what condition they're in. When you have an illness, but are unfamiliar with its symptoms, you don't know that you are sick. You feel sick, but you don't know what you've got. You therefore can't make a diagnosis or embark upon a method of treatment to cure yourself. This is the current condition of Western civilization right now.

How, then, do you explain the electoral victories of France's Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany's Angela Merkel, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and London's replacement of mayor Ken Livingstone by Boris Johnson? Wouldn't you consider this phenomenon as indicative that Europeans are making a diagnosis of and seeking a cure to the illness you say they suffer from?

Oh yes, they are extremely important developments which prove what I am saying about European citizens having had enough of this attempt to merge - culturally, religiously and demographically - the Arab and European sides of the Mediterranean. But the pressure exerted by the OIC on European governments is very strong. In addition, there is the pressure of terrorism inside and out of Europe, and that of the oil. So the task of these new governments you refer to will not be easy, to say the least. I don't doubt their good intentions. But I don't know if they will succeed in bringing about the change their citizens want.

Furthermore, unlike President Bush - who recognizes that Israel has a legitimate right to exist as a normal nation in its homeland - the Europeans think that Israel's legitimacy should be granted by the Palestinians and the Arab states. In other words, Europe is putting Israel into a position of dhimmitude, whereby it will be recognized by Muslims if it abides by certain rules and duties.

This is in keeping with its own mentality. When the European community, in December 1973, published its document on European identity in the Copenhagen Declaration, they themselves were adopting a dhimmi mentality toward the Arab League countries. After World War II, Europeans decided that they didn't want any more wars. Then, when they suffered aggression, such as the oil boycott and Palestinian terrorism that emerged in Europe in the late 1960s, instead of fighting, they joined their aggressors. This was their concept of multilateralism - thinking that by joining those who attacked them, they would be protected. This is when a tremendous Muslim immigration into Europe began.

You keep referring to immigration. Isn't childbirth also a demographic factor, particularly since Muslims tend to have many children, while some European countries suffer from zero or minus population growth? Is it possible that by virtue of their numbers, Muslims in Europe are influencing policy - and that it is not just due to the power of the OIC?

Yes, but you have to understand that those who plan policy are Europeans. In other words, Muslim politics are conducted in Europe by Europeans themselves, based on the interests of Muslim lobbyists.

Isn't Eastern Europe different from Western Europe in this respect?
Yes, and Eastern Europe is more pro-American than Western Europe - which is what the Muslims want. It is easier to take over the West as a whole when it's divided.
How has this affected European academia?

European universities - like those in America - are totally controlled by the Arab-Islamic lobby, as are the schools. A teacher who attempts to teach according to the European view of history is thrown out. Indeed, the freedom of expression and thought that has been so crucial for European democracy has disappeared.

Many Israeli academics bemoan a similar situation in Israel. Do you see the mind frame you're describing infiltrating the Jewish state?

Yes, because the EU is spending a lot of money on Israeli NGOs in order to promote policies which will lead to the destruction of Israel. The EU considers Israel to be an accident of history that has to disappear. It thinks that if Israel disappears, relations between Europe and the Arab world will be much better. Now, the EU doesn't come out and actually say this, but all its policies, statements and actions are indicative of its aims. These aims could be developed in Israel and in America - especially when there is a new president.

Speaking of which, there is a concern among many Jews and Israelis that if Barack Obama becomes president, he will lean toward the kind of alliance with the Arab world that the EU promotes.

Yes, because he has a kind of "Third Worldism" - you know, the view that we all have to get together and appease the enemy. I'm no specialist on Obama. But I think that Bush has been a great politician, and that history will show he was right. Aside from everything else, he has woken up Europe to the calamity of global terrorism - and this is what brought about the coming to power of Merkel, Sarkozy and Berlusconi. And Europe can no longer be as anti-American.
That's ironic, isn't it, considering that most Americans now hate Bush?
That's because they don't understand what is really going on.

Given your bleak view of Europe, how is it that you didn't end up living in Israel or the US?

I love Europe. It is part of my family history and my culture. I can criticize it because I love it and want to help it. Look what Europe has given to the world: democracy and human rights, the love of peace. Look at its achievements in the field of literature, music, law, architecture. There is a tremendous richness. But we have to fight for all those values and accomplishments. Otherwise, we will be living as dhimmis in barbarity.

Finally, how do you envision Western civilization 10 years from now? The Mishna says, "You are not required to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist from it."

Well, I feel that though I may not have done enough, I have tried the best I could. As for the future, it is difficult to say, but we must have hope. We have to educate the European, American and Israeli youth to recover their culture and values, since it is they who will have to continue the efforts to preserve freedom and democracy - and they who will have to fight to defend them.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Palestinian Authority Libel: Prisoners are used for Nazi-like medical experiments

By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

Introduction: The Palestinian Authority is intensifying its longstanding blood libel campaign against Israel, falsely accusing Israel of conducting horrific Nazi-like medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners. These fabrications have been featured repeatedly in the Palestinian Authority's official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, which is under the direct authority of Mahmoud Abbas. In the past week alone there were three new examples of this libel:

"The method employed by the Israeli Occupation in which they [are] instigating slow death ... doctors in Israeli prison clinics use the prisoners as guinea pigs for clinical drug testing under the pretense of 'treatment.'" [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2008]

"Many of the male and female inmates received injections from needles they had not seen before, and which caused their hair and facial hair to fall out permanently ... others lost their sanity, or their mental condition is constantly deteriorating... and some are suffering from infertility." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2008]

"The doctors in these prison clinics are using the prisoners as guinea pigs for clinical testing of drugs and treatment-methods." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 3, 2008]

Giving voice to blood libels and slandering Israel are essential tools used by the Palestinian Authority to demonize Israel and to inflame hatred against Israel, especially on the highly sensitive subject of Palestinian prisoners. It is therefore not surprising that the Palestinian public places the release of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons as a national cause, and justifies all means -- including the abduction of Israeli soldiers - to free the prisoners from their supposed mistreatment.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida has attested that reports about such "experiments" performed on Palestinian prisoners serve to "mobilize each and every human-being as such... to actively participate in activities aimed at their release and their return to freedom, properly meant as a return to life... all of us! all of us! all of us! - to confront the enemy in the war it wages." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2007]

These new accusations build on earlier libels that Israel conducts the same kind of experiments on Palestinian prisoners as the Nazis did in the concentration camps:

"We have many examples of experiments conducted by the Nazis, but we shall bring one example that exhibits a great similarity [to the Israeli experiments]: They would insert poisons into the prisoners' food in order to study the effect of the poisons on people, with the purpose of performing autopsies on the bodies of those who died from the poison. He mentioned multiple cases of the mass poisoning of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in several Israeli prisons and detention centers. He did not rule out the possibility that the mass poisonings were done deliberately." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 1, 2007].

Furthermore, the libel adds that Israel is deliberately laboring "to increase the suffering of the prisoners and to murder them slowly, or to render them hollow, fragile and sickly bodies that will be a burden to their families and their nation after their release..." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept.1, 2007].

According to the libel, because Israel views the prisoners as guinea pigs, "the terrible crime, unimaginably horrific, that was committed by the executioner jailers of the occupation forces... demonstrated that the prisoner is treated like a lab -mouse." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2007].

In an attempt to increase the credibility of the libel about the treatment of prisoners, the Palestinian Authority daily last week repeated a media invention from a previous article. It said that Dalia Itzik, Speaker of the Knesset, said in 1997 that Israel conducts "thousands of medical clinical trials," and that "experiments with dangerous drugs are performed each year on Palestinian prisoners." The story also rehashed the fabrication that an Israeli named Amy Laftat, who was presented as Head of the Pharmaceutical Division in the Ministry of Health, reported that "there is a 15% annual increase in the number of permits granted by her office for conducting research on dangerous medications on Palestinians" [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2008].

Palestinian Media Watch checked with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and the Ministry of Health, and confirmed that these statements were never made, and in fact that there is no one named Amy Laftat working for the Pharmaceutical Division. (The Israeli responses are below). Following are more complete texts of the Prisoners Libel, as promoted by the Palestinian Authority's official Daily, al-Hayat al-Jadida:

1: "Prisoners lost their eyesight and the functionality of their nervous system"

"The Occupation forces continue to conduct medical experiments on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in their prisons, in defiance of every international treaty and code of ethics. This is not limited to their policy of medical neglect, but rather the violations even extend to exploitive use of the prisoners as testing subjects for pharmaceutical drugs. Dalia Itzik, then a member of the Israeli Knesset and head of the Science Committee in the Israeli parliament, revealed in July 1997 that thousands of medical clinical trials, experiments with dangerous drugs are performed each year on Palestinian prisoners. At that time, she added that her office held thousands of permits issued by the Israeli Health Ministry for large Israeli pharmaceutical companies permitting the performance of thousands of clinical trials on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Additionally, 'Amy Laftat,' Head of the Pharmaceutical Division in the Israeli Health Ministry, revealed before the Knesset in that same meeting that there is a 15% annual increase in the number of permits granted by her office for conducting research with dangerous drugs on Palestinians and Arabs in the Israeli prisons.

It should be mentioned that many of the male and female prisoners were given shots from needles they had not seen beforehand, and which caused their hair and facial hair to fall out permanently, and there were other prisoners who lost their eyesight and the functionality of their nervous system, and others who lost their sanity, or whose mental condition is constantly deteriorating, and still others who suffer from infertility and are unable to bear children, etc. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2008]

2. "Doctors in Israel use the prisoners as guinea pigs under the pretense of "treatment""Abu Al-Hajj [Director of the Abu-Jihad Center for Prisoner Affairs in Al-Quds University] referred back to the period of the British Mandate and its usual method of execution - using the hanging noose that is on display in the museum ... Fahd Abu Al-Hajj went on to mention the subsequent method employed by the Israeli Occupation, in which they finish off by instigating slow death, which the prisoners suffer at the hands of the prison authorities. He added that as a result of this method, 226 prisoners have died as shahids (martyrs) in the prisons... Abu Al-Hajj pointed to the fact that... clinic doctors in Israeli prisons are using the prisoners as guinea pigs under the pretense of "treatment."[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2008]

3. "The prisoner is treated like a lab mouse."

Heading: "Drugs and Lab-Mice" ..."The reports came gushing in... of the terrible crime, unimaginably horrific, that was committed by the executioner jailers of the occupation forces; the occupation forces used several of the freedom prisoners as lab accessories for conducting medical trials. This crime committed by the occupiers demonstrates... that the prisoner is treated like a lab mouse - who will either be killed by an inappropriate drug, or will be hurt by an electrical shock. Otherwise the experiment should inflict a permanent disability or deformity upon him... this is something that mobilizes each and every human-being as such... to actively participate in activities aimed at their release and their return to freedom, properly meant as a return to life... all of us! all of us! all of us! - to confront the enemy in the war it wages against those of us who are alive and those who are dead"...[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2007]

4. "Prisoners as guinea pigs for drug and treatment clinical testing."

Headline: "Reports given by two lawyers after visiting [prisons] indicate an increase in the policy of provoking the prisoners".The director of the Center for the Defense of Freedoms and Civil Rights, "Hurriyat", Hilmi Al-Araj said that the reports given by the two lawyers from the center, Ibtisam Al-Anati and Raed Al-Zabi, clearly point to a documented increase in the Israeli Prison Authority's policy of provoking the male and female prisoners and of treating them inhumanely; this includes, most notably, a policy requiring the prisoners [to wear] an orange garment, and the use doctors in these prison clinics make of the prisoners as guinea pigs for drug and treatment clinical testing." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 3, 2008]

5. "Most suffer infertility problems, others have lost their eyesight."

Headline: "Most suffer infertility problems, others have lost their eyesight and their sanity after the occupation has injected them with unidentified substances and drugs - Israel continues to use prisoners as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical drug-testing.""Abd Al-Nasser Piroanah, researcher and head of the Statistical Department in the [Palestinian] Ministry of Prisoner and Released Prisoner Affairs, said in his report that the Occupation Authorities conduct clinical testing on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in prisons, in defiance of every international treaty and code of ethics.

The general tragic state of the prisons escapes no one, and the medical situation all the more so... In order to increase the suffering of the prisoners and to murder them slowly, or to render them hollow, fragile and sickly bodies that will be a burden to their families and their nation after their release...

Further, he stated: This is not limited to their policy of medical neglect, but rather the violations even extend to exploitive use of the prisoners as testing subjects for pharmaceutical drugs.

Knesset Member Dalia Itzik and former Head of the Science Committee revealed in July 1997 that thousands of medical clinical trials, experiments with dangerous drugs are performed each year on Palestinian prisoners. At that time, she added that her office held thousands of permits issued by the Israeli Health Ministry for large Israeli pharmaceutical companies permitting the performance of thousands of clinical trials on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons. Additionally, 'Amy Laftat,' Head of the Pharmaceutical Division in the Israeli Health Ministry, revealed ... that there is a 15% annual increase in the number of permits granted by her office for conducting research with dangerous drugs on Palestinians and Arabs in the Israeli prisons.

The researcher concluded that this crime is only becoming more widespread... under the auspices of the Israeli Health Ministry ... These crimes reflect clearly on the degree of racism which abounds in the Israeli system as a whole... He brought many examples of male and female prisoners who were given injections from needles they had not seen before, and which caused their hair and facial hair to fall out permanently, and there were other prisoners who lost their eyesight and the functionality of their nerve system, and others who lost their sanity, or whose mental condition is constantly deteriorating, and still others who suffer from infertility and so forth...

Piroanah mentioned that the first to use prisoners for medical experiments were the Nazis, who did it in the detention centers of the German army during WWII...
He added: We have many examples of experiments conducted by the Nazis, but we shall bring one example that exhibits a great similarity [to the Israeli experiments]: They would insert poisons into the prisoners' food in order to study the effect of the poisons on people and with the purpose of performing autopsies on the bodies of those who died from the poison. He mentioned multiple cases of the mass poisoning of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in several Israeli prisons and detention centers. He did not rule out the possibility that the mass poisonings were done deliberately.

He said the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs has been conducting activities in the past months... aimed at pressuring international opinion to act urgently and to adhere to its moral and human responsibility to save the prisoners... and to investigate the serious medical circumstances found in Israeli prisons, and to bring the war criminals to international courts." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 1, 2007]

6. "Clinics are nothing but open grounds for experimenting with dangerous drugs.""Dr Awda emphasized that health conditions in Israeli prisons are bad and dangerous... She emphasized that the clinics are nothing but open grounds for experimenting with dangerous drugs on the sick prisoners. She proved this with a statement given by the Head of the Knesset Science Committee Dalia Itzik on July 10, 1997, in which she claimed that every year 1000 clinical trials of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs are conducted using Palestinian prisoners as subjects." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 17, 2008]

Israeli Officials Respond Office of Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik: "Knesset Speaker Itzik never made the statements attributed to her. Knesset Speaker Itzik is certain that incidents of this kind do not occur in Israel; this is not how Israel conducts itself." Ministry of Health's Response: "Clinical testing on prisoners in prison was never approved, never performed, and is most certainly not taking place at present. Furthermore, there is no person named Amy Laftat working for the Pharmaceutical Division.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Kuoleman Ideologia

Myönnettäköön, että en tule koskaan tottumaan siihen näkyyn, kun ihmiset hurraavat ja juhlivat toisten viattomien ihmisten julmaa ja veristä kuolemaa, olivatpa olosuhteet sitten mitkä tahansa. Tähän näkyyn meitä on kuitenkin totutettu katsauksissa Lähi-itään liittyvään konfliktiin. Niin Israelissa tapahtuneisiin terrori-iskuihin kuin Yhdysvalloissa tapahtuneeseen vuoden 2001 terrori-iskujen sarjaan liittyvät unohtumattomat kuvat juhlivista ihmisistä kaduilla ampumassa ilmaan ja jakamassa lapsille karamelleja tapausten kunniaksi.

Kun länsimaiset äidit ja isät toivovat lapsilleen pitkää ikää, ovat islamilaisen fundamentalismin aivopesun kohteiksi joutuneet äidit ottaneet meille käsittämättömän elämän asenteen; heille on kunniaksi se, jos mahdollisimman moni heidän lapsistaan kuolisi marttyyrina ja tappaisi siinä ohessa mahdollisimman monta vääräuskoista. Näin on tapahtunut lukuisia kertoja Israelissa, Irakissa ja sittemmin myös meidän omalla maaperällämme Euroopassa Lontoon ja Madridin terrori-iskujen myötä. Yhä käsittämättömämmäksi tilanteen tekee se, että suurin osa näistä itsemurha-iskijöistä oli lähtöisin varakkaasta tai vähintään keskiluokkaisesta perheestä. Useat heistä ovat olleet korkeasti koulutettuja. Perustelut siihen, että terrorismi juontaa juurensa köyhyydestä, alkaa yhä enemmissä määrin olemaan hataralla pohjalla.

Viimeisin lisäys tähän surulliseen kuoleman ideologian jatkumoon on torstai-iltana Jerusalemin Kiryat Moshessa tapahtunut terrori-isku, jossa on tähän mennessä kuollut 8 siviiliä. Jälleen kerran Gazassa ja Libanonissa Hizbollahin joukoissa juhlittiin. Miksi tämä terroristi astui varmaan kuolemaan, vieden mukanaan syyttömiä sivullisia? Syy ei voi olla Israelin Gazan miehityksessä, sillä Israel ei ole enää vuoden 2005 jälkeen miehittänyt Gazaa. Sen sijaan Hamas on ottanut Gazassa lähes täyden hallinnan, ja on käyttänyt tämän valta-asemansa laajentaakseen terrorismia israelilaisiin siviilikohteisiin.

Syy ei myöskään voi olla kurja elämäntilanne, sillä kyse oli henkilöstä joka oli itä-Jerusalemilainen Israelin arabi, nauttien kaikkia Israelin kansalaisuuden tuomia etuoikeuksia. Syynä ei myöskään voi olla ns. "laittomat siirokunnat", sillä ne eivät olleet Arafatin aikanakaan este rauhalle. Oslon sopimuksessa siirtokuntien kohtalosta oli itse asiassa päästy yhteisymmärrykseen.

Ja mitä sitten, vaikka nämä edellä mainitut olisivatkin "häirinneet" mainittua terroristia? Voiko mikään oikeuttaa viattomien tappamiseen? Voiko väkivallalla saavuttaa rauhaa? Ja voiko syyttömien kuolema koskaan, missään olosuhteissa, olla juhlan aihe?

Olen itse asunut sekä itä- , että Länsi-Jerusalemissa. Itä-Jerusalem on juutalais - ja arabiasutuksiin jakautunut alue niin sanotun Vihreän Linjan seudulla, jossa muslimien rukouskutsut soivat perjantaisin ja kaupat menevät kiinni sapatiksi. Jokaisena viikonloppuna arabialueilta kuului ilotulitusta ja ampumista jonkin onnellisen hääparin kunniaksi samalla kun juutalaiset olivat hiljentyneet omilla asuinalueillaan perhekeskeiseen sapatin viettoon.

Toisaalta Länsi-Jerusalem jäi mieleeni länsimaisena asuinalueena jolla oli tosin omaleimainen uskonnollisen juutalaisuuden sävy. Sapatteina koko Länsi-Jerusalem lähes pysähtyi. Ortodoksiset juutalaiset aloittivat sapattia varten valmistautumisen jo torstai-iltana menemällä Yeshivoihin lukemaan Tooraa. Asuin vain muutaman kilometrin päässä Kiryat Moshesta, jossa viimeisin terrori-isku tapahtui. Voin kuvitella, että siellä oli edellä mainitsemani kaltainen torstai-ilta käynnissä terroristin aloittaessa hurjan tulituksensa.

Koraania on tulkittu monin tavoin, mutta valitettavasti siinä on jakeita jotka kehottavat suoranaiseen väkivaltaan kristittyjä ja juutalaisia kohtaan, tulkitsisipa niitä miten tahansa. Nämä jakeet ovat valjastettu nykypäivän Jihadismiksi, jossa taistellaan ensinnäkin juutalaisvaltion olemassaoloa vastaan, ja sen jälkeen myös koko ei-islamilaista maailmaa kohtaan. Määränpäänä ei ole vähempi, kuin koko maailman saavuttaminen islamin alaisuuteen. Ensin Israel, sitten muu Eurooppa jne. Merkittävää on myös se, että islam kieltää muslimeja tekemästä pysyvää rauhaa vääräuskoisten kanssa. Tämän pitäisi selittää paljon.

Valitettavasti olemme aikakaudessa, jolloin ääri-islam nostaa päätään ei pelkästään Lähi-idässä, vaan maailmanlaajuisesti. Tulituskohteena ei ole pelkästään Israel ja juutalaiset, vaan koko länsimainen elämäntyyli. Palestiinalaisen Hamas - järjestön televisio pyrkii sumeilematta aivopesemään seuraavaa sukupolvea tätä taistelua varten. Ensin tuli Mikki Hiiren irvikuva Farfour - hiiri, joka kehotti palestiinalaislapsia vihaamaan juutalaisia. Kansainvälinen paheksunta johti Farfour - hiiren hyllyttämiseen, joka toteutettiin siten, että lapsille uskoteltiin juutalaisten tappaneen Farfourin. Uusin versio tälle sairaalle propagandalle on kuitenkin jo ilmestynyt Assud- kaniinin muodossa, joka kehottaa lapsia tappamaan tanskalaiset, vastineena pilakuva- kohulle.

Toisaalta Hizbollah ja useat muutkin Israelin tuhoamiseen itsensä pyhittäneet järjestöt ovat organisoineet omat kampanjansa lapsien aivopesuun. He eivät kasvata lapsiaan rauhaan ja elämään, vaan sotaan ja kuolemaan. Kuolemalla on ääri-islamissa hyvä kaiku, koska ainoastaan marttyyrit ansaitsevat varmuudella paikan paratiisissa. Vain marttyyrikuoleman kautta voi ihminen olla varma pelastuksestaan.

Sen lisäksi hänen perheensä saa osakseen suuren maallisen kunnian yhteisönsä keskellä, ja mainittavan arvoisen rahallisen palkkion. Marttyyrien nimet nostetaan kunniaan ja heidän urotekoaan kerrotaan lapsille ja lastenlapsille. Nämä ihmispolot huijataan tappamaan itsensä ja muut uskonnollisin perustein, jotta järjestöjen poliititset intressit toteutuisivat. Silti esimerkiksi EU on kieltäytynyt nimeämästä monia näitä järjestöjä terroristi-järjestöjen listalle. Mikä häpeä.

Koska tulee aika, jolloin EU ja koko läntinen maailma tuomitsevat tämän järkyttävän lasten ja yleisten ihmisoikeuksien polkemisen? Milloin tulee se päivä, kun meidän päättäjämme tuomitsevat suoralta kädeltä tämän "kuoleman ideologian" ja sen sijaan kehottavat näitä ääri-islamilaisia järjestöjä valmistamaan lapsiansa elämää ja suvaitsevaisuutta varten? Pelkään, että mikäli emme pian tätä tuomiota lausu, joudumme itse sen uhreiksi. Kyse ei ole vain juutalaisten ja arabien välisestä käsirysystä. Kyse on demokratiasta, uskonnonvapaudesta ja .. viime kädessä... elämästä itsestään.

Tällä hetkellä varsinkin Hamasin hallinnoiman Gazan alueella on kasvamassa kokonainen pienten terroristien armeija, jotka eivät ole koskaan saaneet kuulla lausetta "sinun elämäsi on kallisarvoinen ja korvaamaton." He elävät kuolemaa varten. Meidän tulisi tuomita terrorismi jo näiden viattomien, aivopestyjen lasten tähden.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wall knocked down at the Rafah crossing: “The price for a ton of TNT has gone down.”

Der Spiegel, no. 6, 2008

Middle East


Anxiety about rocket attacks in Israel
Hamas jubilation in Cairo; Knocking down Gaza border wall proven major success for Islamists

by Amira El Ahl and Christoph Schult

It’s been raining since early morning and the wet desert sand has transformed the main street of the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing into a muddy morass along which Chinese motorcycles, herds of goats, and pickup trucks carrying gas cans make their slippery way toward Gaza. Standing on the edge of the road, Hamad Kischta lights a cigarette and talks about prices.

“Everything’s gotten very cheap now,” says the Palestinian. Up until a week ago, the members of his clan were active smugglers, but now, with a huge hole punched in the wall between Gaza and Egypt, the value of the tunnels under the dunes has plummeted. “Kalashnikovs are going for only $300,” laments Kischta, “and the price of TNT has dropped from $15,000 to $5,000 per ton.”

One week after the opening of the border, Gaza’s Islamic Hamas government went on a weapons shopping spree and established a massive armory. As a result, instead of homemade Kassam rockets that are a threat to Israeli border towns, the country may now face rocket attacks with foreign made weapons that can reach large Israeli cities such as Ashkelon. “More Russian-grade rockets arrived in Gaza yesterday,” notes Kischta.

And yet this new threat along one of the world’s most conflict-ridden borders has garnered little attention. What has been etched into TV viewers’ minds instead are images of tens of thousands of Palestinians surging through the hole in the border wall to purchase staples such as milk and flour. For the Hamas government, this represents a PR coup that may change the course of policy and events for the region’s key stakeholders.

Israel, whose government locked down the Gaza border after having incurred an endless series of rocket attacks, is now being blamed for the humanitarian plight of the Palestinians, notwithstanding the uncertainty as to how severe the Gazan population’s suffering has been under the sanctions. The autonomous Palestinian government’s moderate Fatah party has felt compelled to lift its self-imposed severance of relations with Hamas, as has Egypt, which had been boycotting the Hamas government since it strong-armed its way into power last summer.

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reluctantly received the leader of Hamas last Wednesday in Cairo, with a view to brokering a compromise with the moderate Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Mubarak, who is normally anything but reticent in his dealings with radical Islamists, was forced to stand by helplessly in the face of the exodus of Palestinians from Gaza, since Mubarak’s compatriots would have taken a dim view of any use of violence against the individuals charging across the border.

And with good reason, since Egyptians now avail themselves of every opportunity to affirm their solidarity with their Palestinian brethren – one example being soccer star Mohammed Abu Tureika exhorting the crowd at a recent match against Sudan to show “solidarity with Gaza.” The Mubarak regime has even been forced to swallow manifestations of solidarity for Hamas from unexpected quarters such as the international book fair in Cairo.

The gaping hole in the Rafah wall has clearly demonstrated to the Israeli government that it can no longer afford to simply ignore Hamas. The policy of collective punishment for supporting fundamentalists has failed, notwithstanding last Wednesday’s Israeli Supreme Court ruling upholding restrictions on supplies of fuel and power to Gaza.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is leery of embarking on a large-scale military incursion into Gaza, particularly in view of a parliamentary committee’s final report released last week and attesting to serious errors in the handling of the 2006 Lebanon war. And in any case, Olmert is currently focused on trying to save his coalition and ensuring he isn’t forced out of office by the combined efforts of opponents in his own Kadima party and defense minister Ehud Barak from the Labor party. Hence, Olmert has little time to devote to Gaza.

According to Ahmed Yousef, chief advisor to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, knocking down the Rafah wall is probably the greatest success Hamas has scored since winning the parliamentary elections two years ago. Speaking from his Gaza City office, Yousef said he has received phone calls from around the world congratulating him on the action – including from self-appointed emissaries of European governments. “Hamas is once again a player to be reckoned with,” exulted Yousef.

However, the breach in the border also poses a risk for Hamas in the long run. There are increasing signs that al-Qaida cells are being established in Gaza, a form of competition that Hamas fears.

Hamas rejects any return to the 2005 treaty according to which the Israelis can seal off the crossing to the Egyptian city of Rafah at will. But international observers feel that such a move may be in the cards. All that has prevented this from happening thus far are the EU soldiers themselves. “The EU border police could withdraw,” says Yousef. Hamas has no intention of completely surrendering border control. One possible solution might be for President Abbas’s police to monitor the crossing, which must in any case remain open so that goods can be brought in. In Yousef’s view, Egypt should supply Gaza with diesel fuel and electricity, to nullify the effects of the Israeli sanctions.

According to Israeli diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity, the Israeli government would even be willing to give up control of the ten-kilometer stretch between Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai known as the Philadelphi Route, in the interest of completely ridding itself of any responsibility for Gaza. Long-term closure of all crossings into Israel would also reduce the risk of terrorist attacks and would bring to fruition the “disengagement” strategy proposed two and a half years ago by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the withdrawal of Jewish settlers from Gaza.

But Hamas wants to prevent this from happening at all costs. The Islamist leaders are hatching a plan that would continue to place the blame for Gaza’s plight squarely on Israel’s shoulders. Ahmed Yousef would like to pull off another Rafah-style exploit, but this time against the Palestinians’ archenemy, Israel. He is planning a mass march to the Erez border crossing in northern Gaza. “We’re going to send half a million people there, mainly women and children. Then we’ll see how the Israelis react,” he says. A devilish scheme, since the Israelis would not react as passively to the storming of their border as the Egyptians did. But Yousef is not impressed by such objections. “If the Israelis want our blood, I’m willing to sacrifice my children.”

Yousef has already asked international observers to participate in the “march on Erez.” Some have already agreed to come, and Yousef is happy about this. “This,” he says, “is the beginning of the third Intifada.”