Friday, July 26, 2002

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Go read was Jim Burton has to say about the assassination of Salah Shehada and what it means to be fighting a war.
And I would like to add, that it is the HEIGHT OF HYPOCRISY for the White House to condemn Israel as heavy handed - Israel, that has taken pains to minimize civilian casualties and has paid for it in blood - when U.S. and coalition troops have been regularly using artillery and aerial bombing to target terrorists in Afghanistan and minimize their own casualties. If Israel were heavy handed, how would Bush describe the U.S. bombing of a wedding party???

Yoram Ettinger, Israel's former liaison to the U.S. Congress, has prepared a list of United States attacks in which civilian lives were not taken into consideration:
"The list actually goes beyond Afghanistan...For instance, in 1989, the US invaded Panama City in order to free [the ruling strongman] Noriega, using jets and helicopters. Six hundred civilians were killed in that raid, according to American estimates, and thousands were wounded. Then U.S-Chief of Staff, whose name was Colin Powell, said at the time that the appropriate amount of force was used 'and we have no need to apologize.' The Attorney General at the time, Dick Thornburg, said that the U.S. was operating according to the UN's clause 51 allowing self-defense…
"In 1993, in response to the killing and mutilation of 15 US soldiers, the USAF bombed Somalia, turning an entire area basically into a parking lot, killing over 1,000 citizens. Again the U.S. said that it was self-defense.
"In this current war against Al-Qaeda [in which sources say 400-800 civilians have been killed - ed. note], when Rumsfeld was asked about the American attack on Red Cross offices and on other civilian areas in Afghanistan, he said, and I agree with him, 'This is a war that has been forced upon us by terrorists… We are making great efforts not to hurt civilians, but if civilians are hurt, the entire responsibility for such is upon the terrorists who use them as cover…'"

This "heavy handed" rhetoric we are accustomed to hearing from the State Dept. but it is disappointing and shameful to hear it from the White House.

War is ugly, and accidents do happen, collateral damage does occur, and when terrorists purposely conceal themselves within groups of civilians, then the blood of the civilians is ON THEIR HANDS.

Podhoretz elaborates on this point in the NY Post:
There's no ambiguity regarding the responsibility for the horrible deaths incurred by the Israeli attack on one of the world's worst terrorists. The responsibility lies with the dead terrorist himself, Salah Shehada, and with the evildoing gang called Hamas that he helped to start and run.
Don't take it from me. Take it from international law - specifically, from the text of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
The Fourth Geneva Convention goes into great and elaborate detail about how to assign fault when military activities take place in civilian areas. Those who are actually fighting the war are not considered "protected persons."
Only civilians are granted the status of "protected persons" whose rights cannot be violated with impunity. The Fourth Geneva Convention convicts Hamas and Salah Shehada in one sentence. That sentence makes up the entirety of Part 3, Article 1, Section 28. It reads: "The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." This sentence appears in the Fourth Geneva Convention precisely to deal with situations like the ones the Israelis faced. Here's how. The Jewish state is at war with Hamas and Palestinian militant organizations wreaking terrorist havoc. Hamas is at war with Israel.
But instead of separating themselves from the general population in military camps and wearing uniforms, as required by international law, Hamas members and other Palestinian terrorists try to use civilians - the "protected persons" mentioned in 3:1:28 - as living camouflage.
To prevent such a thing from happening, international law explicitly gives Israel the right to conduct military operations against military targets under these circumstances. Again, let's check out that 3:1:28 sentence: "The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." There were plenty of "protected persons" around the home of the Hamas leader on Tuesday. He wanted it that way: Salah Shehada chose to live in an apartment house in Gaza City with his family and hundreds of others around him so that they would serve as human shields. And because Salah Shehada did that, he's responsible for what happens to them.
That's what the very next sentence of the Fourth Geneva Convention says: "The party to the conflict in whose hands protected persons may be is responsible for the treatment accorded to them by its agents." Let's translate: The "party to the conflict" here is Hamas, or more specifically, Salah Shehada. Because Salah Shehada chose to live in a civilian setting, the "protected persons" are deemed to be "in his hands."

As Pipes said last night on CNN: "the Palestinians have the moral opprobrium here in having the leaders of their military in civilian areas. There is no distinction, and they are making it I think on purpose a target for the Israelis so that when the Israelis do strike, it's likely that they will have civilian casualties. So, the Israelis have got to be more careful, but the Palestinians are not playing fair. You don't put your military men in houses with children....Salah Shehadeh, has a very important role. He is one of the founders of the military wing of Hamas. He was in Israeli jail for 14 years, from 1984 to 1998. He's a close associate of the leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yassin. He's been, as was indicated earlier, on the top of the Israelis' most wanted list for some months now. The Israelis did blow up his house actually in December of last year. He is their target and he is, as I said before, and I think it's fair to say, he's making sure that he's surrounded by his wife, his children and other civilians."

Well, I, for one, am glad they got the bastard.

Profile of Shehadeh from CNN.

More information from IDF:
Salah Shehadeh was the leader and founder of Hamas’ military wing of Izzadine al-Qassem in Gaza; the group has carried out the largest number of homicide attacks, including some of the deadliest in the past two years. The Israel Defense Forces called the operation, which ended the command of Shehadeh on Monday, one of the most significant strikes against the Palestinian terror infrastructure since the start of the Palestinian terrorism twenty months ago.
Shehadeh was the operating commander of the most senior Hamas members who are currently wanted by the Israeli security services. Hamas leaders in the West Bank were also responsible to him, and Shehadeh was in contact with Hamas officials abroad under his command primarily in Syria.
Shehadeh recruited and commanded the top Hamas militants, drafted the group's attack policies, directly selected and dispatched bombers, introduced mortar missiles to Hamas’ terror campaign and determined which Jewish communities to target.
Shehadeh was the most wanted man by the IDF in the past last two years, and has been described as the most brutal and brilliant terrorist operating in the Gaza Strip.
Over the past two years, Israel had appealed dozens of times to the Palestinian Authority to limit Shehadeh’s activity, but no action was taken. Instead, the PA allowed Shehadeh to extend his operations within Hamas.
Israeli security sources described Shehadeh as deeply religious, a fervent supporter of homicide bombings and a possible successor to Hamas' spiritual leader Sheik Ahmad Yassin.
The IDF deeply regrets any harm that befell innocent people during this operation.

From ICT:
Israel has tried to kill or capture Shehadeh on at least three occasions in the past two years. When the Israeli government was considering a major operation in Gaza earlier this year, Shehadeh's capture or elimination was considered a major objective. Aware that he was high on Israel's wanted list, Shehadeh spent long periods underground. He rented a succession of apartments in Gaza City and never spent more than two or three nights in the same place.
According to a military source cited by the Hebrew daily Ha'aretz, the timing of the strike was determined by operational and intelligence constraints. The source said and that attempts to hit Shehadeh had been put off several times, including in recent days, for fear of harming civilians.
A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the fact that Shehadeh was in Gaza, rather than the West Bank, made his arrest almost impossible -- a factor that doubtless played a role in deciding on a military strike. However, the source said, his being in Gaza also made obtaining reliable intelligence on his whereabouts that much more difficult.
"It is possible that the information about [Shehadeh's] circumstances -- and this information is usually obtained from Palestinian informers -- was not totally correct. It is also possible that the information that the building still housed civilian families and not just Hamas people did not reach the military. This [information] may even have been deliberately held back by the informant. Otherwise it's hard to see the operation getting a green light."
Ha'aretz reported that Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer was in England Monday night, when his military secretary, Brigadier General Mike Herzog, informed him of the prospects of hitting Shehadeh, and noted that the chances of civilian casualties were slim. Ben-Eliezer approved the plan, and his agreement was passed on to Sharon, who received a more detailed report from the IDF on the planned operation, and gave final approval to go ahead with the strike.
The paper noted that the procedure for approving the implementation of the operation was unusually brief, so as to take advantage of the "operational opportunity."

Possible heir to Hamas spiritual leader
Known by the nom de geurre Abu Mustapha, Salah Shehadeh headed Israel's most wanted list. He was accused by the Israelis of orchestrating numerous attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians, including the killing of four soldiers in a raid on an Israeli army outpost in Gaza in January and the March killing of five teen-age students in the Jewish settlement of Atzmona, also in the Gaza Strip.
In the past two years, Hamas has carried out 52 attacks on Israeli targets, including 40 attacks on civilians and 12 attacks on soldiers. Twenty of these attacks were suicide bombings. A total of 220 Israeli noncombatants and 16 Israeli combatants have been killed in Hamas attacks, as well as six citizens of other nations. Hamas has been responsible for almost half of the total number Israeli noncombatant casualties in the present conflict. Shehadeh is belived to have had a hand in orchestrating the majority of these attacks.
Shehadeh, 40, served as a close personal aide to the movement's spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. In addition to his extensive involvement in terror activity, he had gradually developed a reputation as a religious authority and was seen as a possible successor to SheikhYassin. Military sources say that he challenged Yassin's leadership on several occasions, and was considered more radical than the movement's spiritual leader.
Shehadeh was one of the original founders of Hamas, along with Yassin and several other militant members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1988, both Shehadeh and Yassin were captured by Israeli forces and imprisoned. According to Israeli military sources, Shehadeh was transferred to Palestinian custody in 1999, under the terms of the Oslo Accords, but he was released after only a few months.
Since his release, Shehadeh has played a leading role in commanding the movement's military activities, orchestrating attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, and working to upgrade the group's capabilities. He was credited with attempting to provide Hamas with long-range weapons, including mortars and "Kassam" rockets. So far, the organization's mortar attacks on Israeli communities have not resulted in significant damage or casualties.
Shehadeh reportedly worked closely with two other men high on Israel's wanted list in the Gaza Strip -- Mohammed Deif and Adnan el Roul. In recent months the security establishment received information that Shehadeh was directing Hamas activities in Nablus.


Monday, July 22, 2002

Excerpts from four Moslem religious sermons broadcast July 19 on radio or television throughout the Arab world:

"O God, deal with the enemies of religion. O God, deal with Jews and their supporters and Christians and their supporters. Shake the land under their feet. Instill fear in their hearts, and freeze the blood in their veins."
-- Sheikh Akram Ahmad Abd-al-Razzaq al-Ruqayhi on official Yemen television

"Allah has afflicted us with sedition and an enemy who does not fear us, but sweeps our towns, kills our children, and imprisons our heroes. [This would not have happened] had we carried out God's orders, especially jihad, and had Muslims carried out their God's orders for jihad and not listened to this empty talk about peace. What peace is this when Al-Aqsa Mosque is being desecrated and curfew is being imposed on Muslim territories? The Muslim must carry out his God's order."
-- Sheikh Ahmad Abd-al-Raziq featured on official PA television

"O God, support our brother martyrs for your sake everywhere. O God, grant them victory in Palestine, Kashmir, and Chechnya. O God, deal with the aggressor Jews and all aggressive infidels."
-- Sheikh Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays, on Saudi Government television

"O God, help our people in Palestine and the Golan. O God, annihilate the Zionists and make them destroy themselves."
-- Sheikh Dr. Ziyad al-Din al-Ayyubi on official Syrian radio
Gil Shterzer discusses the coming Israel elections.

This is the future. Let's get the word out and make it happen sooner.
The Iranian government organized and carried out the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina eight years ago that killed 85 people and then paid Argentina's president at the time, Carlos Saúl Menem, $10 million to cover it up, a witness in the case has said in sealed testimony. Keep reading.

Sunday, July 21, 2002
Less than a month after US President George W. Bush pronounced the Palestinian leadership "compromised by terror," a semi-annual State Department report evaluating Palestinian compliance with Israeli-Palestinian accords finds there is "no conclusive evidence" that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat or other senior Palestinian officials planned or approved specific acts of violence against Israelis. JPost
I guess that makes sense given that State doesn't consider murder of Jews terror.
LGF links to this very interesting Iranian blog.
Another train bombing. Luckily no one was badly hurt:
A train driver was lightly injured Sunday when the locomotive of a passenger train went over an explosive device on the track between Rehovot and Yavne. The double-decker suburban train, traveling from Binyamina to Ashdod, was not derailed, and no passengers were injured.
The train driver, Rahamim Eini, said he did not see anything suspicious on the track, but he heard a loud explosion. He remembered that all the controls stopped working, and he lost consciousness for a few minutes. He said that only the locomotive was damaged, and the passenger coaches were unharmed.
Eini, who has been working as a train driver for 10 years, said the incident will not stop him continuing in his job.
The bomb, which weighed between five and six kilograms, was remotely controlled, according to Shefela police chief Asst.-Cmdr. Haim Cohen. He said the police are appointing a special team to investigate the incident, and are taking additional action to prevent similar occurrences.
On June 30 a five-kilogram bomb exploded on the track near Lod, causing light injuries to four passengers and shattering windows of a packed train.

(Thanks to Imshin for posting the link.)
The names of all three victims of the double suicide attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday are now known. In addition to Romanian worker Adrian Andres, 30, whose name was publicized soon after the attack, also killed in the attack were Boris Shamis, 25, who immigrated to Israel from Russia only seven months ago, and Xu Hengyong, 39, a worker from China.
Two year old Or-Chaim Shilon and his 8-month old sister Esther were discharged from the Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava today, following treatment for wounds they sustained in last week's terrorist slaughter outside Emanuel. Their father, maternal grandmother, and sister (Esther's twin) were killed in the combined bombing-and-shooting attack. The babies were reunited with their pregnant mother, who has been recuperating in a Tel Aviv hospital, for the first time since the attack.