.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Israeli company develops nano-lubricant - no more oil changes?

Imagine buying a new car and driving it for 10 years without once taking it for an oil-and-lube job. The engine won't even have a dipstick to check the oil. That's what the future holds if Rehovot-based ApNano Materials succeeds in marketing NanoLub.

NanoLub is the world's first synthetic lubricant to be based on spherical inorganic nanoparticles. As with other lubricants, its job is to reduce wear and friction between moving objects (like engine parts), enabling longer operation and higher efficiency. NanoLub dramatically outperforms every known commercial solid lubricant marketed today.

As its creator, ApNano Materials has just been selected by the US investing journal Red Herring as one of the top 100 innovators that will drive global markets in 2005.




The search for a perfect lubricant - that is, one that never requires replacement - is an old one. In the last century, synthetic additives extended the effectiveness of age-old lubricants like oil. ApNano's product is the result of the pioneering research performed by Professor Reshef Tenne, ApNano CEO Genut and others in the Department of Materials and Interfaces at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The advantage of NanoLub over existing solid lubricants is expressed in its description, "spherical inorganic nanoparticles." NanoLub spheres can roll over one another - like miniature ball bearings - staying cooler and maintaining their function longer. Their nanometer scale enables them to find their way into tinier places and reduces their agglomeration, resulting in dramatically increased coverage, even on rough surfaces. Finally, as inorganic material, NanoLub performs beautifully even in extremely harsh environments.

NanoLub has even been shown to improve lubrication efficiency for roughly-finished parts and surfaces, so that manufacturers can spend less time and money machining their parts. On the environmental side, using NanoLub reduces energy consumption and can decrease air pollution. Finally, NanoLub can be used as an additive, as an impregnated material, as a component in polymer or metal composites, or simply by itself as a powder.

ApNano is testing NanoLub in numerous maintenance-free systems, including aerospace, medical and marine industries, ultra-clean manufacturing environments, and in heavy machinery such as power plant turbines.
But perhaps the most exciting prospect that arises from NanoLub is the possibility that automotive engines can be sealed completely, without need for an oil change - ever.

Considering that heat and wear are among the primary causes of engine and transmission failure today, NanoLub may even raise the future reliability of these components to that of today's semiconductor chips.

In some of the trials performed with NanoLub, testers were simply unable to create enough friction in the lubricant to produce measurable damage - even when trial durations were increased severely beyond specifications.



Some see NanoLub as an upstart in the well-established lubricants industry. According to one research firm, extreme pressure/anti-wear additives make up only about $1 billion in annual revenues globally, as compared to $37 billion for the broader lubricants market.
But if NanoLub succeeds, the market could grow significantly and force larger producers like Shell, ExxonMobile and ChevronTexaco to develop more competitive technologies.

Another element of NanoLub's market appeal is that it provides a 'greener' alternative to many existing lubricants. Environmental concerns are a growing concern for big producers. "With all the green market trends - the demands of environmentalists, the need to extend fuel mileage - there is a need to look for alternatives, and our process is green and environmentally friendly. We're bringing them a very painless way to make the change."

Regarding competition, Fleisher noted that last week ApNano executives met with five separate companies. "Almost without exception, these companies spoke of being approached with other solutions based on nanomaterials, but that NanoLub is the only product they have seen that meets their criteria."

CEO Genut has stated that NanoLub's cost will be competitive with existing high performance synthetic lubricants.

Terrorists for Abbas

A prominent West Bank gunman carried a smiling Mahmoud Abbas on his shoulders Thursday, endorsing the presidential candidate and prompting questions of whether Abbas is playing campaign politics or identifying with violent groups.

The highlight of Abbas' visit to the Jenin refugee camp next to the northern West Bank town of Jenin was his encounter with a group of gunmen led by Zakaria Zubeidi, the local leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent group with ties to Abbas' ruling Fatah party.

Zubeidi, who is idolized in the camp for his swagger and wanted by Israel for organizing attacks and sending suicide bombers into Israeli cities, took center stage in welcoming Abbas to the camp. Jenin was the scene of heavy fighting during an Israeli incursion in 2002 that followed one of the bombings.

Zubeidi and other gunmen hoisted aloft Abbas, who smiled and waved to about 3,000 Palestinians gathered around. Some in the crowd were armed.

Abbas won Zubeidi's ringing endorsement. After Abbas left the stage, Zubeidi, with gunmen firing in the air, warned that he would deal with anyone who tried to challenge the elected Palestinian leadership. Then Zubeidi escorted Abbas' car out of the camp.

What Really Happened in 1948 by Sarah El Shazly

What Really Happened in 1948
By Sarah El Shazly
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 28, 2004

Ever since I was a child, I've heard a range of accounts of what happened to the Palestinians and Palestine. Everyone knows the Jewish version and the Arab version. But there is a third side, that of those who lived there and still do -- the Israeli Arabs.

Some Jews want us out of Israel, and some Arabs believe that we are an extension of the Zionists. Yet we Israeli Arabs keep our culture and traditions. Mahshy, or stuffed grape leaves, remains our favorite meal. We love Arabic music; we sing old folk songs, including "Wein aa Ramallah" about a famous Palestinian city, and songs from all over the Arab world. We are unique among the Arabs, though. We have vested interests on both sides -- and are angry at both sides.



Israeli Arabs have lived alongside Jews for as long as this generation can remember. We became Israeli citizens in 1948. Before that, the region wasn't quite as divided. Families lived in an area that includes the West Bank, Gaza, and Amman, and in other Arab cities in areas where borders were created later. We were divided by boundaries set by the Europeans, and those within the boundaries of Israel became "Israeli Arabs". Now, these Arabs are the unwanted, unloved, illegitimate, and have become the biracial step-child of the Middle East conflict. We have to apologize for our very existence.



Misinformation surrounds the story of 1948. Palestinians who fled their homes are angry, bitter and distraught. No one can blame them. Yet they seem to have been taught who they are supposed to hate, who is the guilty party and who should be punished for their problems. People's memories are so short. It is easier to focus on one enemy – especially an enemy who does not belong to the same "tribe" -- than to analyze a complex situation such as the Palestinian refugee disaster.



It is not my intent to discuss who belongs in that tiny region called Israel, but I will risk being shunned by my own community to set the record straight. The question is: why did Arabs flee the area that became Israel? After all, the ones who remained in their homes still live there today and prosper.



The fact is that the Arab world warned the Palestinians against staying with the Jews. They also warned them that Arabs were going in to fight the Zionists and that the Palestinians should leave to avoid getting hurt.



Many Palestinians trusted these Arab leaders and left as instructed. Those who had lived with Jews for a long time were not as easily convinced of the danger, and these Arabs stayed home. Among them was my family, which saw cars traveling the area. The cars contained Jews. They reassured Arabs that they would not be harmed. Thus, we had a situation where Jews begged Arabs to stay and live with them, while Arabs from foreign countries told them to leave right away.



Palestinians have gotten the short end of the stick in Arab society. It suits Arab leaders to keep this group in a state of poverty and conflict, and to channel all resentment toward the Jews. You don't believe me? Ask yourself why Jordan or Egypt or Syria never gave the Palestinians a country? If I hear another non-Palestinian, especially an American Muslim, repeat the phrase "over 50 years of the Zionist occupation," I'm going to burst. Can no one actually read history? It’s not ancient history, just 1948-1967. Who had that land? Even if Arabs want Palestinians to have "all" the land, this is no excuse for denying them an independent state. And yet, we blame Israel!



As a child, I watched a Syrian play about the war of October 1973. A famous Syrian comedian played a young man who fought in the war and was taken prisoner. After his release, he was detained by his own government. At one point, the guards slapped him and he started crying.



“Why are you crying?” asked a fellow prisoner, deeply puzzled. “That was only a slap. I've seen the enemies do much more to you, and you just laughed it off.”



The comedian replied, “The enemy is an enemy, and I expect that of them. Yes, a slap is only a slap -- but from a brother, it's a slap in the heart.”



Let's take this a step further. The Arab world pretends to care, watching a young Palestinian get killed by Israel on TV, justifying Jew-hatred right before they go to their cozy beds. This is the Arab world that has taught Palestinians to fight, and yet it will not give them citizenship. Where is that love -- or, for that matter, where is the passion used to justify the Palestinian issue?



Let's go to the refugees. Arab governments first used scare tactics, and then took whatever they could get from the United States and Israel. Finally, they stuck Palestinians in camps with deplorable living conditions. Why didn't they leave them alone in their homes? Why promise them refuge and reward them with nothing more than prison camps? And, most of all, why didn't they provide Palestinians with homes in the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights when Arabs had control over them?



Please do not speak of money. Palestinian refugees receive aid from all over the world, and yet their living conditions don’t seem to improve. The "hosting" governments siphon off some money to line their pockets, and the Palestinian Authority -- or lack of it -- siphons off the rest … and the poor people get nothing.



As a Palestinian, I ask the world to please stop exploiting our issue. If you want a do a good deed, find your own. To the singers romanticizing Palestinian suffering, it is not romantic. There is nothing dreamy about it. Where’s the heroism in a small child throwing rocks at a tank? Either warn the child to stay away or just shut up! How dare you do this to our children? Does our suffering give you such good video footage and high ratings?



To the average Arab citizen, stop crying crocodile tears for us. We thank you for your kind feelings, but please, don’t offer us your pity. To the Arab and Islamic governments, fix your own problems. Do not use our misery to blind your subjects to domestic problems. Are you afraid that the people will wise up, and stop hating Israel, and turn on you? You, who have condoned so much hatred, may one day pay the price. You've created monsters, and you won't be able to handle them. Worry about creating jobs for your own poor people and educating the children, and leave us alone. In short, to all those invested in driving our children to die, please, stay away from us.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

800 Years Since Death of Maimonides

This coming Shabbath, the 20th of the Hebrew month of Teveth, will mark exactly 800 years since the death of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon - the Rambam (Maimonides).

The Rambam (1135-1204) was a religious scholar, physician, philosopher and writer. Born in Cordoba, Spain, he soon fled to Morocco after the Almohads conquered the area. He later lived in Morocco, the Land of Israel, and Egypt, where he served as Sultan Saladin's doctor. Maimonides is considered one of the most influential leaders and scholars in the history of the Jewish people. He wrote prolifically including most notably, the Mishneh Torah, a comprehensive code of Jewish Law; a commentary on the Mishna; and Guide for the Perplexed, on Jewish philosophy. His incredible stature is best summed up in the popular saying, "From Moshe [the Biblical Moses] to Moshe [Rambam], there arose none like Moshe."

70 at the time of his death, the Rambam was said to have been buried in the city of Tiberias, on the banks of the Kineret (Sea of Galilee). Rabbi Yitzhak Shilat, a Rambam scholar told Arutz-7 that the grave marking the Rambam’s burial place is indeed accurate. He said that the Rambam insisted on being buried in the northern city due to his belief that the Sanhedrin would be re-established there.

London Arab paper praises Sri Lanka for refusing Israeli aid

The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi commented on Sri Lanka's refusal to receive an Israeli relief delegation to provide medical and financial assistance in the aftermath of the tsunami that killed thousands on the island in its editorial titled 'A lesson for the Arabs from Sri Lanka.' The independent Palestinian-owned daily said 'the paradox is that the Sri Lankan government insists on being more Arab than the Arabs and turns its back to normalizing with the Jewish state.' It said in the meantime, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was touring the Gulf, including Bahrain and Kuwait, to persuade them to establish diplomatic ties with Israel after signing agreements to establish joint industrial zones 'to open a big gap in the Egyptian economy with Israeli capital.' The daily, with pan-Arab nationalist trends, said that while Sri Lanka refused to deal with Israel, the 'future president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas declared yesterday that the Palestinian people should abandon armed resistance, that the Palestinians cannot defeat Israel militarily, and to return to the negotiations table because it was the only way to retrieve their rights and independent state.' The paper thanked the government and people of Sri Lanka, saying they 'reminded us there are countries that still possess the genes of dignity and humanity after most of our Arab governments forgot them, including most of those in our new Palestinian leadership.'

Bigotry's Harvest

By CAROLINE GLICK

This week, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, who commanded the IDF's Southern Command from 2000-2003, wrote a paper for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs entitled "Lessons of the Gaza Security Fence for the West Bank." In his paper Almog explains that the fence around Gaza has blocked 30 percent of the attempted terror attacks on Israel, while IDF offensive operations inside the Strip have accounted for the other 70 percent of Israel's successes.

Although his paper is intended to be instructive for Judea and Samaria, his point raises the obvious question for Gaza: If the government goes through with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to unilaterally withdraw, thereby ending the IDF's offensive operations in the area, how will such attacks be prevented? Furthermore, today the IDF has a defensive perimeter one kilometer long inside Gaza. According to Almog, this perimeter, along with monitoring equipment that can see six kilometers into Gaza, accounts for most of the success of the fence. Who will be manning the perimeter and maintaining the observation equipment if the IDF pulls out?

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ya'acov Amidror, the former head of the IDF War Colleges and Military Intelligence analysis division, warned last week that in the absence of an Israeli military presence in Gaza, the area will become a focal point for global jihad. Just this week, the Shin Bet announced the arrest of Jordanian national Muhammad Abu Juyad in Tulkarm this past August. Abu Juyad was recruited by Fatah and Hizbullah. He received terror training twice in Syria and also took part in the terror war against American forces in Iraq before turning up here with a plan to recruit Israeli Arabs to blow up trains, kidnap soldiers and attack Israeli facilities in Jordan. Abu Juyad is emblematic of the global and regional face of the war. Luckily our forces are deployed in Judea and Samaria. If he or one of the thousands of terrorists like him were to come to Gaza after Sharon's proposed withdrawal goes through, who would arrest him?

More than 5,000 rockets and mortar shells have now fallen on Israeli communities in Gaza since the Palestinian terror war began. In anticipation of the proposed expulsion of their 8,000 Jewish residents, the Palestinians have dramatically increased their attacks. They want to make it look like we are running away. And the IDF is doing little to dissuade them. IDF incursions into Khan Yunis have been as ineffective as IDF operations against Hizbullah in southern Lebanon were in the months that preceded the withdrawal in May 2000. Like Hizbullah in Lebanon, the terrorists in Gaza will be viewed by the entire global jihad network as having defeated Israel. The price we paid for our precipitous withdrawal from Lebanon was the Palestinian terror war. What should we expect after we have Hamas, Fatah and Hizbullah terror cells operating openly five kilometers from the power station in Ashkelon?

THOSE WHO oppose the withdrawal have sought to make these arguments. But no one will listen. Ariel Sharon, the great military leader of yesteryear, says that it will be okay. And so, as we did when the late prime minister and former IDF chief of General Staff Yitzhak Rabin scoffed in 1994 at the notion that the Palestinians would use the territory he transferred to their control to shoot mortar shells and rockets at Israeli communities, we now believe that our lives will be better and safer if we eject Jews from their homes and farms and villages as our military withdraws to the 1949 armistice lines.

The residents of Gaza themselves are at their wits' end. Over the past several weeks they have been absorbing volley after volley of rockets and mortar shells, antitank shells and rifle fire. Their homes and synagogues have been bombed. Their children's nurseries and community centers have been hit. Their hothouses have been shelled. In a meeting Thursday in Netzer Hazani, residents spoke of the prospect of taking measures into their own hands with village residents manning any gun post that the IDF abandons. Speaking to Ynet, Yaki Yisraeli, treasurer of the community in Gush Katif, said, "If there isn't a suitable response to the mortar fire, people will start defending themselves. The residents serve in all the IDF units and the fear is that they will take the law into their own hands. If the IDF evacuates positions, the residents will take them over."

Aside from the fact that the IDF is clearly failing in its mission to defend them, the residents of Gaza have another problem on their hands. How are they to deal with the fact that the government and the Knesset seem determined to expel them from their homes? How are they to imagine that the lands they have cultivated, the communities they have built and the homes where they have raised their families are set to be turned over to the same people who are bombing them around the clock?

The moral dimension of the proposed destruction of Israeli communities in Gaza and northern Samaria is one that has received scant attention over the past year since Sharon adopted the Labor Party's plan of retreat and expulsion as his own. Indeed, although it was one of the implicit assumptions of the 1993 Oslo process, the fact that a precondition for a final peace accord with the PLO was that all Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza would be ethnically cleansed has rarely been mentioned. As for Sharon's withdrawal plan for Gaza and northern Samaria, everyone from US National Security Council Middle East Adviser Elliott Abrams to Labor Party leader Shimon Peres to Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak to British Prime Minister Tony Blair have all noted that the plan, if enacted, will provide a precedent for the destruction of all or most of the remaining Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria with their population of some 250,000 Israelis.

THIS WEEK, the public debate shifted its attention for the first time in 11 years to the question of whether it is moral to ethnically cleanse the territories of their Jewish residents and force all Israelis to live within the cease-fire lines from 1949. With the publication of an open letter from Binyamin Regional Council head Pinhas Wallerstein calling for mass civil disobedience against the proposed ethnic cleansing of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, the question of the morality of the plan has exploded onto the public stage.

Wallerstein wrote, "The government of Israel has approved the first reading of the immoral law that paves the way for the crime of the displacement of Jews from their homes. The law does not provide those targeted for expulsion with even the minimal human right – to oppose their displacement from their homes. I call for the public to break the expulsion law and to be ready to pay the price of going to jail."

Wallerstein's call, which was adopted by the entire organized leadership of the Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, caused some dozen members of Knesset to sign a declaration stating that they will oppose the enactment of the law even at the price of losing their parliamentary immunity from prosecution and going to jail.

Gaza residents caused a public outcry when they taped orange Stars of David to their clothes this week. The hue and cry of the politicians on the Right and on the Left said that in using symbols from the Holocaust they were besmirching the memory of the victims of Europe's genocide of its Jews. It would seem that those who decried the residents' symbol have forgotten what a metaphor is. The point was not that Sharon is Adolf Hitler or that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz is Adolf Eichmann. The point of the protest was that Israel is the first Western state to call for the forced removal of Jews from their homes,simply because they are Jews, since the Holocaust and that there is something morally atrocious about the notion that for peace to come –- to Israel and to those bombing Israel –- it is necessary for entire regions to be rendered Judenrein. And again, as leaders in Israel and throughout the world have stated, the expulsion from Gaza and northern Samaria is simply a preview of coming attractions for what awaits those who live in Judea and the rest of Samaria.

The security implications of the planned withdrawal of the IDF from Gaza and northern Samaria are entirely separate from the moral dimensions of the policy for what it means for Israel to be a free and secure Jewish state. But they share a common root. This root is to be found in those who are shooting off the mortars and rifles and rockets. It is found in Abu Juyad; it is found in the murder of Ariela Fahima outside her home near Beit Shemesh this week; and it is found in the attempted murder of an Israeli motorist who accidentally drove into Ramallah Monday night and had to be saved by the IDF as a lynch mob gathered around him. This common root is Palestinian rejection of Israel.

There would be no reason for the IDF to be operating in Gaza if the Palestinians weren't conducting a war against Israel from Gaza. And there would be no question about the right of Jews to live in Gaza or northern Samaria or anywhere else they have lived for thousands of years if Palestinian nationalism weren't predicated on genocidal anti-Semitism.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Israeli Aid, Unreported

All major media outlets ignore Israel's massive humanitarian aid to South Asia - an indication of a national ethos of caring.

When disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Israelis can be counted on to help. So it's no surprise that within hours of the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the following humanitarian missions all departed from the tiny Jewish state:

● The Israeli organization Latet ('To Give') filled a jumbo jet with 18 tons of supplies.

● A medical team headed by four doctors from Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday night (Dec. 27), carrying medicine and baby food. The doctors specialize in rescue operations, trauma and pediatrics.

● An IDF rescue team is now on its way to Sri Lanka with 80 tons of aid material, including 10,000 blankets, tents, nylon sheeting and water containers, all contributed by the IDF.

● A ZAKA rescue-and-recovery team arrived in the disaster areas Monday night, armed with its specialized equipment for identifying bodies.

● A Health Ministry contingent left for Thailand on Monday night to aid in rescue efforts. The group includes doctors, nurses and four members of the IDF.

● Israel has also offered its assistance to India ― a search-and-rescue team from the Home Front Command, as well as consignments of food and medicine.

Yet, with the exception of UPI (as of this writing - Tues. 4pm EST), none of the major news outlets have dedicated an article to this remarkable Israeli humanitarian effort. This, despite the fact that the IDF sent all Israel-based journalists a press release Monday evening (Dec. 27), inviting them to the airport to cover the departure of one IDF group.

This is all the more surprising given the fact that the major news agencies have entire teams of reporters in Israel, who submit at least one 'Israel-article' each day.

So what did the Associated Press send out today to its 15,000 subscribing news agencies? A dreary story about the construction of a new IDF base near Jenin. AP sarcastically remarked in this 'news' story that the base's 'elaborate color scheme and landscaping shows that the army is not planning to pull its forces out of the area anytime soon.'

The lack of media interest in this Israeli humanitarian effort means that Israeli benevolence toward other peoples is not fairly conveyed to the western world. Perhaps if it were conveyed, observers would come to understand something else ― that Israel's response to Palestinian violence is also motivated by the highest ethical concern for all human life, and is not (as the media so often portray it) driven by an oppressive, mean-spirited national ethos.

al-Reuters strikes again

Taking his campaign to succeed Yasser Arafat to the foot of Israel's West Bank barrier, interim
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says there will be no peace until Israel tears it down.


OK, this sounds like he is saying that the wall is causing such pain that Palestinians cannot accept it as part of a peace plan. More than debatable, but it sounds reasonable as al-Reuters says it.

'No (Middle East) peace can transpire with (Jewish) settlements and the wall,' Abbas said on Wednesday,

Oh, sorry. He is THREATENING Israel with more terror unless Israel tears down the wall meant to stop terror! That's much different! But Reuters has to tone that impression down, adding...

with his back to the towering concrete divide that virtually encircles the town of Qalqilya near the West Bank's boundary with Israel.

Threat? What threat? Only Israel threatens anyone, as al-Reuters knows well.

Then al-Reuters gives us helpful background information:


Israel says the barrier, a mix of electronic fences and walls that encroaches on West Bank territory by differing amounts over the 200
km (120 kms) built so far, is meant to keep suicide bombers out of its cities....

The World Court has called the barrier illegal for being built on captured land.

Thousands of farmers have been separated from fields and the barrier has hampered trade between villages and market towns like
Qalqilya, where 40,000 people are ringed by concrete except for one small outlet.


OK, three pieces of background info here. One is a "claim" from Israel on *why* they built the wall.

Second is the *fact* that the World Kangaroo Court condemned it.

Third is the "fact?" that THOUSANDS of Palestinian farmers have fields on the other side of the wall! Can you imagine? THOUSANDS???? No scare quotes, no source - just a al-Reuters "fact."

And somehow al- Reuters cannot seem to mention the fact that suicide bombings have been reduced fantastically in areas the wall was built.

More incredible objectivity from al-Reuters.

US Christians fund bomb-detector for Israel buses




U.S. CHRISTIANS TO FUND EXPLOSIVES-DETECTION SYSTEM

FOR ISRAEL’S BUS AND TRAIN LINES

Bus and railway centers throughout Israel will be equipped with 86 metal-detector gates and six x-ray machines by February, Gideon Ezra, Israel’s minister of public security, announced yesterday.

His statement came at a ceremony that introduced the devices to the public and gave credit for their funding to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

The security devices are the second phase of Operation Safe Bus, an initiative begun with a $2 million contribution from The Fellowship (Keren L’Yedidut in Israel) in February 2004. The initial phase provided 1,000 hand-held metal detectors operated by security guards at bus stops and terminals.

The new security measures are Israel’s response to an increase in threats against the country’s public transportation systems. “Let us not delude ourselves,” Ezra said. Although the actual number of attacks has fallen because of intensified security, the construction of the security fence and the effectiveness of the hand-held security devices, “The number of warnings we receive rises every day.”

Rabbi Eckstein said he and his organization’s primarily Christian donors were “privileged to work alongside Israel’s public security officials, transportation officials and police to improve and ensure the security of the people of Israel.” He added that The Fellowship will examine the possibility of raising an additional $5 million for expansion of the transportation-security project. “As Israel’s terrorism experts identify advanced technological systems for the detection and neutralization of explosive devices, we will do everything we can to support their lifesaving efforts.”

Public buses are the primary means of transportation in Israel, with as many as 1.7 million riders each day, including children traveling to school. Nearly 200 Israelis have been killed and some 800 wounded in bus bombings since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 to promote understanding and cooperation between Jews and Christians and to build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns. Based in Chicago and Jerusalem, The Fellowship in recent years has contributed more than $100 million toward Jewish immigration, resettlement and social welfare projects in Israel, as well as funding food, housing and social service programs for Jews in the former Soviet Union and other areas of poverty and distress.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Qatar hosts forum on resisting Arab normalization with Israel

Qatar is hosting, for the first time, the Arab Gulf people's conference to resist normalization with Israel in its 4th edition, expected to begin Sunday.

Head of the conference-organising Arab Studies Center, Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Nuaimi said the two-day event will host 20 politicians and academicians from the Arabian Gulf states in addition to Egypt, Jordan and Palestine, KUNA reported.

They will review, he added, the future of the Arab boycott on Israel and consider six relevant work papers.

It should be noted that an Israeli consulate has been operating in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Putin accuses Viktor Yushchenko of using 'anti-Russian, Zionist' slogans

In what might have been either a Freudian slip or an innocent mistake but was no doubt a diplomatic gaffe, Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday assailed Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's campaign for using 'anti-Russian, Zionist' slogans.

His office later clarified via the Kremlin Web site that he had meant to say 'anti-Russian, anti-Semitic' slogans when answering a question at an end-of-the-year press conference in Moscow.

Yushchenko adversaries have accused some of his supporters of anti-Jewish sentiment. Putin has loudly supported rival candidate Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who favors strong ties with Russia.

Minister-without-Portfolio Natan Sharansky, responsible for Diaspora Affairs, accepted as true that Putin had made a slip of the tongue rather than expressed actual anti-Israel beliefs.

Sharansky told The Jerusalem Post he was 'surprised' when he first heard the reports of Putin's comment. The Russian leader, he said, has 'long been careful not to use this kind of rhetoric,' condemning the dangers of anti-Semitism and allowing Jewish life free rein under his regime.

He did note with interest, however, that when Putin sought to say something injurious about the pro-Western Yushchenko he used the word 'Zionist.'

'It's at the top of his unconscious that 'Zionist' is a negative word,' Sharansky said.

Sharansky's Push for Democracy

I admire Sharansky and his theories quite a bit, but this is a good counterpoint. I would add as well the concern, which is addressed somewhat below, of what happens when a democratic state chooses a theological dictatorship to rule it? - EoZ

From 1948 to 1950, an Egyptian teacher and freelance writer named Sayeed Qutb, an admirer of the United States and the West, went to America to study educational curricula. What he saw there horrified him, and after his return to Egypt, he became a leader of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. Qutb was appalled at what he considered sexual license in America, even in those relatively innocent days of the mid-20th century.

One does not have to be a psychological genius to conjecture that much of what Qutb felt during his sojourn was fear. The degree of sexual freedom and equality that he observed, the sight of women going around in Western attire, working on jobs, interacting with men, profoundly disconcerted him and threatened his belief system, his notion of the proper place of things.

All this is relevant to a message that Minister Natan Sharansky has been propounding in his new book The Case for Democracy (New York, Public Affairs, 2004, with Ron Dermer), in articles and interviews, in meetings with influential figures, including President George Bush, and so on. Sharansky's message centers on a distinction between "fear societies" - dictatorships - and "free societies" - democracies. Sharansky's insistence that all societies, given the choice, will choose "freedom" over "fear" is the basis of his optimistic encouragement of the Bush administration's ambition to spread democracy to the Arab world.

Not surprisingly, Sharansky's paradigm of a fear society is the Soviet Union, whose dictatorship he heroically defied until being allowed to leave his Siberian prison cell for Israel in 1986. Yet his paradigm, as an instance of the transition from fear to freedom, is obviously problematic. Sharansky himself acknowledges this in his book:

"In fact, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the setbacks on the road to democracy today - some of which are very troubling - leave many doubtful that democracy there will stand the test of time. ...But... compared to a Soviet Union in which millions worked for the KGB, millions were in prison, tens of millions lost their lives, and hundreds of millions lived in fear, present day Russia is a bastion of freedom. We must also remember that Russian democracy is in its infancy."

After a few more paragraphs in this vein, however, Sharansky reluctantly admits that this case remains open: "If the example of Russia leaves readers unconvinced, then Japan's transition to democracy should quell any doubts...."

In fact, Freedom House's new ranking of Russia as "not free" for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union strengthens doubts rather than quells them. Freedom House points to increased Kremlin control over television and other media, restrictions on local government, and elections that are neither free nor fair. Even granting that the situation remains much better than in the dark days of the Soviet Union, today's Russia is a weak reed on which to base Sharansky's optimism.

To be sure, democracy has made great strides over the past century and has spread to places and cultures once deemed impenetrable by it. Still, a glance at the world warrants a "half-empty, half-full" caution more than it does a strident optimism. Russia is no longer free and China, while making progress toward economic liberalism, remains a dictatorship and a severe human rights abuser. Democracy has made only scant inroads in Africa and has a fragile hold in an Indonesia threatened by Islamic radicalism. Mark Falcoff ("Latin American Crack-up?" Commentary, July-August 2004) has written about Latin America:

"[The] long season of democratic renewal has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Latin American citizens. In a recent region-wide survey, nearly 55 percent responded that they would support a return to dictatorship if doing so would solve their personal economic problems.... There has been a strong reaction against market-based democratic reforms.... Along with nostalgia for strongmen decked out in epaulettes and brandishing swords, the dream of a nationalist-corporatist state... has likewise begun to reappear.... [T]he wretched performance of the elected leadership in much of the region has tarnished the whole notion of democratic governance."

And a recent poll found that 50 percent of Iraq's Shi'ites - currently viewed as the pro-American camp in that country - say they favor theocracy rather than democracy as their country's eventual form of government. This clouds the optimists' picture even further.

Perhaps what distorts Sharansky's perspective is his focus on only a certain kind of fear - the fear of political persecution felt by people living in totalitarian societies. But there are other kinds of human fear. There is fear of the new, fear of threats to traditional values, fear of the undermining of centuries-old social structures - indeed, fear of freedom.

Even if Sayeed Qutb's metamorphosis into the leader of an anti-Western terror organization is an extreme case, it, too, is paradigmatic. The mid-20th century America to which Qutb reacted with such horror was quaintly conservative compared to today's American and Western world, with its decadent pop culture, sky-high divorce rates, and so on. To believe that this world can convert the Muslim Arab Middle East to freedom and pluralism takes, indeed, a strong dose of optimism.

As an Israeli, I am uneasy about the message that one of my cabinet ministers, the admirable, influential Sharansky, is spreading both on the popular level and at the highest altitudes of power. His sanguine outlook embraces the whole Middle East, including Iraq and the Palestinian Authority, even at a time when realities on the ground in both places seem to rebuff optimism. Last November 25, in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, Sharansky posited four conditions that the Palestinians must meet to prove that they are democratizing: dismantling the refugee camps; ending anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement; expanding economic opportunities; and fighting terror. If Sharansky was the one administering the test, I would trust him to do so responsibly. The trouble is that more general messages like the one Sharansky is purveying can encourage eager, impatient politicians into hasty, unwise moves that lead to further disaster.

Fears grow for Israelis missing in tsunami area

As the death toll in the Southeast Asian earthquake and tsunami catastrophe passed the 24,000 mark, fears grew Monday for the fate of hundreds of Israelis missing and unaccounted for.
Foreign Ministry figures updated Monday showed that a total of 540 Israelis in Southeast Asia who have not been in touch since the devasting earthquake and tsunamis struck. The list which includes all tourists and others who have failed to contact loved ones in Israel. Active searches are underway for some 20 whom diplomats in the area have listed as missing.

The missing list includes 160 Israelis on Andaman Island in the Bay of Bengal; 270 in southern Thailand; 60 in Sri Lanka and around 50 people in southern India. Another 330 Israelis in the region have since been accounted for.

...At least 10 Israelis were injured in Thailand by the earthquake and subsequent massive tidal waves, the Foreign Ministry said.

Israel on Sunday night sent an initial relief delegation to Sri Lanka, including four doctors from Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, in Jerusalem.

The doctors, who are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka later Monday, specialize in rescue operations, trauma and pediatrics. The team was sent to assess the scope of the disaster and decide whether to establish a field hospital.

"It is possible... we will advise Israel and the Foreign Ministry... to send something more massive," said Dr. Avi Rivkind, director of Hadassah's trauma unit. "We will try to use our... broad experience in dealing with terror attacks and rescuing masses to help in this disaster as well."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

"I Married a Terrorist"

A California woman reveals to ABC News that she unknowingly married a Muslim extremist who helped set up what authorities say was one of the first al Qaeda sleeper cells out of their Orange County apartment complex.

Saraah Olson says she watched as her then-husband, Hisham Diab, and his group transformed local teen Adam Gadahn into an America-hating fanatic who she says is the masked man who promised in an al Qaeda video message released in Pakistan late October that the "streets of America will run red with blood."

"I was just a stepping stone to a green card," Olson said. "I married a terrorist. I married somebody who did not like America, who didn't like Americans."

Gadahn, who met Olson's former husband at a local mosque, was "fresh meat," she said. "Someone they could control. Not only that, he's very unassuming-looking, he can do a lot of their tasks."

The voice, gestures and rhetoric of the video's "Azzam the American" were all familiar to Olson, especially the phrase "red with blood," which was one of the group's favorite sayings, she said.

And over the course of six years, Olson said, some of Osama bin Laden's top deputies would stay with her and her husband, including blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who would later go to prison for life for his role in organizing terrorist plots against the United States.

Olson said she repeatedly tried to notify the FBI of her husband's suspicious activities, but that she was never taken seriously. "I'm in hell," Olson remembers thinking after she recognized Abdel-Rahman in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. "I have entered the bowels of hell and I'm going to be here forever. And I've only been married seven months. I've got a terrorist in my house."

The FBI said in a statement that counterterrorism is their top priority. "Whenever we receive credible information pertaining to terrorist threats against the United States, the FBI acts immediately to thoroughly pursue all such leads," the statement read.

Federal authorities say the couple's neighbor Khalil Deek, considered a major al Qaeda figure, ran the Orange County sleeper cell operation.

Diab, who obtained a U.S. passport after marrying Olson, left the country suddenly in June 2001. He is now being sought by U.S. authorities and is believed by intelligence officials to be hiding in Pakistan with top al Qaeda leaders.

"I was the wife," Olson now says. "So it looked like a typical guy married to an American girl with the little blond-haired, blue-eyed boy in tow."
Blinded by Love

But when she first met Diab 13 years ago, while working at a local university issuing foreign student visas, she thought the then-32-year-old Diab had more honorable intentions.

"I really loved him," she said. "I was 22 years old and I was in love."

Diab introduced himself as an Egyptian national who had overstayed his visa and needed to switch visas, said Olson. She then explained that the school's program was not applicable to him, that he could not switch visas.

"He seemed fine with it," Olson said. "He left. No problems. Came back the next day, 'Will you go out with me?'"

In just a few months, they were married and settled in an apartment complex in Anaheim. Olson and her 4-year-old son from another relationship, Ryan, both converted to Islam.
'Follow the Rules'

The honeymoon was short-lived, however. First, she said Diab insisted she wear the hijab, a head scarf worn by certain devout Muslim women, and conform to other strict Islamic customs.

And the beatings came next, she said, provoked by what were deemed violations of her husband's strict rules, which including forbidding physical contact with any man. She says he hit her the first time just weeks after their wedding for accidentally bumping into the manager of their apartment building.

"You have to listen to me and I am God," she said Diab told her. "Follow the rules."

Olson's son Ryan, now a teenager, says he was beaten almost daily when he did poorly in the Arabic lessons he was forced to take.

"I mispronounced something and that set him off," the college freshman said. "And I remember he clasped both his hands together and just hauled off and hit me right square in the back. I remember the wind, you know, getting knocked out of me, crying out."

Ryan said Diab's cell tried to recruit him into their group and he would be brought to small meetings where the men would rail and plot against America.

"He wanted me to be just as extreme as he was you know, hate America, anything that his little group didn't like," he said. "I just can't really say I ever believed it. I just went along, just nodded my head."

And Saraah Olson admits she played a role in drawing up the papers for a fake charity, called Charity Without Borders, that the cell used to funnel money overseas. The organization would not be discovered or shut down until after the Sept. 11 attacks.

It was an act of desperation, Olson said. "I'm not proud of it. Not proud of it at all," she said. "I just knew that I lived in hell and I wanted out. And if helping him do whatever it was that he was doing meant that I wouldn't get hit, I was willing to do it at that point."
Falling Into Al Qaeda's Web?

Olson's story is confirmed in detail by the imam of the Islamic Society of Orange County, Haitham Bundakji. He said Diab and others in the cell were disruptive troublemakers who caused the most harm by recruiting innocent others, especially Gadahn.

"And I blame myself and my people for not embracing him [Gadahn] and not making more efforts to gain him," Bundakji said. "He fell in the wrong hands and he became as aggressive as they were."

Olson explained why she now feels it is the time to come forward.

"Because it's the right thing to do," she said. "These are dangerous people and a lot of people were hurt."

Friday, December 24, 2004

Israeli-Arabs Planned Suicide-Bombing "Honeymoon"

The Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem was to be the target of choice for an Israeli-Arab couple who planned to blow themselves up following their wedding. Israeli security forces thwarted their plans.

It was released for publication on Wednesday that the GSS recently arrested an Arab resident of eastern Jerusalem on suspicion of planning to carry out a suicide bombing together with his 16-year-old fiancי. The attack was scheduled for shortly after their wedding.

Ahmed Jazawi, an Israeli-Arab resident of the mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of Abu-Tor, was recruited by Hamas handlers from Hevron – the same terror gang that carried out the double suicide-bombing in Be’er Sheva this past August, murdering 16 people.

Jazawi, 22, had already convinced his young fiancי, to carry out the attack together with him, and was in the midst of gathering intelligence with the goal of bombing the Sbarro pizzeria when he was arrested. Sbarro became famous in the summer of 2002 when, in a different downtown Jerusalem location, it suffered a suicide terrorist blast felling 15 Jews, including parents and three of their eight children.

The investigation revealed that Jazawi had friendly relations with Moutzab Hashlamoun, a Hamas handler from Hevron. They studied together at Abu-Dis University. Half a year ago, Jazawi told Hashlamoun he wanted to carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. The Hamas handler agreed and began to direct Jazawi on how to make his way to a target with his bomb, and how to maximize the number of murdered.

Jazawi enjoys the benefits of Israeli citizenship, including an Israeli ID card. Equipped with that card, he began surveying downtown Jerusalem’s streets for targets. He visited Jaffa Road and chose the newly relocated Sbarro pizzeria as his favored target. Hashlamoun then had Jazawi obtain chemicals and transfer them to Hamas bomb-makers in Hevron to construct bomb-belts.

Jazawi then decided that a double suicide bombing would be more effective, and approached his new fiancי, also from Abu Tor, on the matter – and she agreed. In the end, however, they decided to postpone the attack until after the wedding. Their plans were nipped in the bud on December 15, when Jazawi was arrested and handed over to the GSS for investigation.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Jerusalem Distributes Free Christmas Trees to Christians

The city of Jerusalem distributed free Christmas trees to Christians on Thursday as part of a longstanding tradition.

For decades, Israel has distributed the trees free of charge, particularly to the ex-patriot community of Christian leaders, journalists, diplomats and others.

One observer quipped that the Jewish State is probably the only country in the world that gives away free Christmas trees to Christians.

It is "symbolic of the way Jerusalem unites all three monotheistic religions," said Jerusalem municipality spokesman Gideon Schmerling in a statement.

The trees are donated by the Jewish National Fund, which is the country's forestry agency.

"Every year we distribute about 1,200 Christmas trees to religious leaders from different churches, diplomats, U.N. representatives, U.N. peacekeepers and the foreign press," said Paul Ginsberg, head of the forestry department of northern Israel.

"We also make trees available for sale for the Christian Arab population," Ginsberg told the Cybercast News Service. Between one thousand and fifteen hundred trees are sold each year.

"Because we're the only official forestry agency in Israel, we feel responsible to sections of the population to provide them with a service they require," he said.

According to Ginsberg, the most popular variety is the Arizona Cyprus, which looks the closest to a "normal Christmas tree," has a fairly dense number of branches and a greenish-gray color.

Most trees are four to six feet tall, although special-order trees are larger. They are harvested as part of the regular process of thinning out the forests.

"We do our best not only to plant trees for future need [but also to make sure they are] the right size," he added.

Foresting the land

Founded in 1901, the Jewish National Fund is a non-governmental organization that has been working to forest the land here for one hundred years - starting more than 40 years before the State of Israel was established.

"The land of Israel was in a fairly degraded state through a history of overgrazing and over-cutting," Ginsberg said.

During World War I, the Ottoman Turkish rulers of the land cut down many trees to use to build the Hajaz railway, which stretched from Egypt through the Holy Land and Lebanon into Turkey, he added.

Since its founding, the JNF has planted 220 million trees nationwide -- some 300,000-320,000 acres of planted forest, Ginsberg said -- and "all planted by hand."

The JNF plants a "very large variety" of trees, including pine, cypress, cedars and eucalyptus, as well as native trees such as oak, pistachio, red bud, carob, bay laurel, olive, almond, pomegranate and something known as Christ thorn, called as such because it is believed that it was used to plait the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head, said Ginsberg.

Iranian TV Drama Series about Israeli Government Stealing Palestinian Children's Eyes, Organs

Iran's Sahar 1 TV station is currently airing a weekly series titled 'For You, Palestine,' or 'Zahra's Blue Eyes.' The series premiered on December 13, and is set in Israel and the West Bank. It broadcasts every Monday, and was filmed in Persian but subsequently dubbed into Arabic.

The story follows an Israeli candidate for Prime Minister, Yitzhak Cohen, who is also the military commander of the West Bank. The opening sequence of the show contains graphic scenes of surgery, and images of a Palestinian girl in a hospital whose eyes have been removed, with bandages covering the sockets.

In Episode 1, Yitzhak Cohen lectures at a medical conference on the advances being made by Israeli medicine regarding organ transplants. Later in the episode, Israelis disguised as UN workers visit a Palestinian school, ostensibly to examine the children's eyes for diseases, but in reality to select which children's eyes to steal to be used for transplants.

In Episode 2, the audience learns that the Israeli president is being kept alive by organs stolen from Palestinian children, and an Israeli military commander is seen kidnapping UN employees and Palestinians.

Sahar TV also broadcast an interview with the director of the series, a former Iranian education ministry official, who discussed his motivations for making a series 'about children.'

Check out the link for transcripts from the show. Absolutely disgusting. - EoZ

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Palestinians exporting their main industrial product - suicide bomb belt expertise on the Web

Web video teaches terrorists to make bomb vest

Chilling video offers
step-by-step suicide vest instructions

Posted in a militant Islamic chat room three days ago, a stunningly detailed 26-minute video on how to make a sophisticated suicide bomb vest, along with a demonstration of its kill range, using a mannequin.

Titled 'The Explosive Belt for Martyrdom Operations,' the video obtained by NBC News demonstrates how to make an explosive vest that would be tough to detect, mostly from common off-the-shelf materials.

'The most disturbing thing about this video is that it exists,' says NBC analyst and retired military intelligence officer Lt. Col. Rick Francona.

He says the video would be extremely valuable to any terrorist.

'Every military commander in Iraq and Afghanistan should be aware of this,' says Francona. 'This video shows someone how to more effectively attack American troops.'

Experts believe the video was made by a Palestinian group.

'The video was accompanied by a note that explained it was there for the purposes of aiding the brothers, the fighting brothers, in cities in central Iraq,' says NBC terror analyst Evan Kohlmann.

Specifically, the note mentioned wanting to help fighters in Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul, though there's nothing to tie this to Tuesday's attack. The person who posted the note and video on the Internet called himself 'terrorist007.'

NBC News will not reveal most details, but the video demonstrates each step of bomb making:

* select a fabric and sew the vest;
* mix explosives;
* arrange shrapnel to kill victims in a large radius;
* attach a detonator.

In one demonstration, a would-be bomber is told where to stand in a bus for maximum carnage. 'Notice that the shrapnel has greatly penetrated all of the seats," says an Arabic voice on the video, translated by NBC News.

Another demo shows a vest that causes lethal wounds 30 yards away.

"I was startled by the amount of damage that such a small amount of explosives with the ball bearings could do," says Francona.

It's a chilling reminder of the sophistication and cold-blooded determination of terrorists.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Tomb of Joseph

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This is what the Tomb of Joseph looked like about a hundred years ago. Notice not a single Arab home around it (in what is now called Nablus, what has been known as Shechem for thousands of years.)

The verse in the picture means:
And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt,
buried they in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought
of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money;
and they became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
Joshua 24:32

Now the tomb has been desecrated by Arabs during the Oslo "peace" process. Here's what the inside looks like now:
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Does anyone doubt that they would do the same to the other Jewish holy sites if they had the chance?

A series of unfortunate events

Make No Mistake
By DAVID BROOKS

It was a series of unfortunate events.

How did we get to this sudden moment of cautious optimism in the Middle East? How did we get to this moment when Egypt is signing free trade agreements with Israel, when Hosni Mubarak is touring Arab nations and urging them to open relations with the Jewish state? How did we get to this moment of democratic opportunity in the Palestinian territories, with three major elections taking place in the next several months, and with the leading candidate in the presidential election declaring that violence is counterproductive?

How did we get to this moment of odd unity in Israel, with Labor joining Likud to push a withdrawal from Gaza and some northern territories? How did we get to this moment when Ariel Sharon has record approval ratings, when it is common to run across Israelis who once reviled Sharon as a bully but who now find themselves supporting him as an agent of peace?

It was a series of unfortunate events.

It was unfortunate that Ariel Sharon, whom tout le monde demonized as a warmonger, was elected prime minister of Israel. After all, as Henry Siegman of the Council on Foreign Relations reasoned in The New York Review of Books, 'The war Sharon is waging is not aimed at the defeat of Palestinian terrorism but at the defeat of the Palestinian people and their aspirations for national self-determination."

It was unfortunate that George W. Bush was elected and then re-elected as president of the United States. After all, here is a man who staffed his administration with what Juan Cole of the University of Michigan called "pro-Likud intellectuals" who went off "fighting elective wars on behalf of Tel Aviv." Under Bush, the diplomats agreed, the U.S. had inflamed the Arab world and had forfeited its role as an honest broker.

It was unfortunate that Bush gave that speech on June 24, 2002, dismissing Yasir Arafat as a man who would never make peace. After all, the Europeans protested, while Arafat might be flawed, he was the embodiment of the Palestinian cause.

It was a mistake to build the security fence, which the International Court of Justice called a violation of international law. Never mind that the fence cut terror attacks by 90 percent. It was the moral equivalent of apartheid, the U.N. orators declared.

It was a mistake to assassinate the leaders of Hamas, which took credit for the murders of hundreds of Israelis. France, among many other nations, condemned these attacks and foretold catastrophic consequences.

It was unfortunate that President Bush never sent a special envoy to open talks, discuss modalities and fine-tune the road map. As Milton Viorst wrote in The Washington Quarterly, this left "slim prospects" for any progress toward peace.

It was unfortunate that Bush sided openly with Sharon during their April meetings in Washington, causing the European Union to condemn U.S. policy. It was unfortunate that Bush kept pushing his democracy agenda. After all, as some Israelis said, it is naïve to export democracy to Arab soil.

Yes, these were a series of unfortunate events. And yet here we are in this hopeful moment. It almost makes you think that all those bemoaners and condemners don't know what they are talking about. Nothing they have said over the past three years accounts for what is happening now.

It almost makes you think that Bush understands the situation better than the lot of them. His judgments now look correct. Bush deduced that Sharon could grasp the demographic reality and lead Israel toward a two-state solution; that Arafat would never make peace, but was a retardant to peace; that Israel has a right to fight terrorism; and that Sharon would never feel safe enough to take risks unless the U.S. supported him when he fought back.

Bush concluded that peace would never come as long as Palestine was an undemocratic tyranny, and that the Palestinians needed to see their intifada would never bring triumph.

We are a long way from peace. But as Robert Satloff observes in The Weekly Standard, Israel's coming disengagements "will constitute a huge leap - both in psychology and in strategy - rivaling the original Oslo accords in historic importance." And the U.S. is already raising millions to help build a decent Palestinian polity.

We owe this cautiously hopeful moment to a series of unfortunate events - and to a president who disregarded the received wisdom.

117 U.S. relatives of Israel terror victims sue Arab Bank

A group of 117 Americans whose relatives have been killed or injured in terror attacks in Israel sued the Jordan-based Arab Bank on Monday, charging that money transfers performed by the bank violate U.S. criminal and civil laws.
The plaintiffs are charging the bank with illegally funneling funds from Islamic charitable foundations and other bodies to recognized terrorist organizations, through its Madison Avenue branch in Manhattan. Recipients of the funds allegedly include Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and Islamic Jihad.

The lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

In Litle v. Arab Bank, the plaintiffs are seeking damages from the bank for providing insurance-type services to terrorist groups via accounts held directly in the name of Hamas and its many terrorist front groups.

The plaintiffs say the bank distributed death and dismemberment benefits to families of suicide bombers.

Arab Bank allegedly laundered funds, transferring money to the families of suicide bombers as incentives and rewards for their participation in murdering Americans and Israelis in Israel and in the territories. Money was converted into dollars and then re-routed to local branches of Arab Bank in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the lawsuit.

Each eligible Palestinian suicide bomber's family was allegedly encouraged to collect the terrorism payments through a local branch of Arab Bank in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

The plaintiffs include the families of Abigail Litle, a Baptist eighth grader active in Arab-Jewish co-existence projects; the family of Dr. David Applebaum, a trauma specialist from Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and his daughter Naava, who were killed when a suicide bomber attacked Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem on the eve of Naava's wedding; and the family of Jack Baxter, an American filmmaker who was working on a documentary on terrorism entitled "Blues on the Beach" when he himself became a victim of the April 2003 terrorist attack at Mike's Place, a beachside bar in Tel Aviv.

The Litle lawsuit is being spearheaded by a consortium of American law firms led by Richard D. Heideman of Heideman Lezell Nudelman & Kalik, PC, in Washington, DC; Mark Werbner of Sayles Werbner in Dallas, Texas; and Steven R. Perles of The Perles Law Firm in Washington DC, who served as counsel in the similar case of Flatow vs. Iran.

"We have made some detailed allegations and intend to prove that Arab Bank is being used to help finance terrorist groups and that its New York branch has illegally laundered money to the terrorists and their families," said Werbner.

Cairo's information-free zone

Last week's Israeli-Egyptian-American trade agreement was hailed both in Israel and abroad as another harbinger of improved Israeli-Egyptian relations.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom expressed hope that the agreement – which establishes "Qualifying Industrial Zones" (QIZs) from which Egyptian firms can export to the US duty-free as long as their products contain at least 11.7 percent Israeli content – would lead to "warmer relations between the peoples."

The New York Times welcomed it as "a giant step toward peace in our time." The theory is that the pact will boost Egyptian exports, create jobs, and thereby convince ordinary Egyptians that peace with Israel is a good thing.

Economically, this theory makes sense.

Israel's five-year-old QIZ agreement with Jordan has boosted Jordanian exports to America from $13 million to about $800 million and created some 40,000 jobs; there is no reason to believe that QIZs will not have a commensurate impact on Egypt's economy.

Yet no amount of economic growth will produce improved Egyptian attitudes toward Israel unless the ordinary Egyptian knows about Israel's role in it. And unfortunately, experience shows that nothing is more unlikely.

Even in Jordan, whose relationship with Israel has traditionally been much better than Egypt's, the connection between the QIZs, Israel and the country's export boom is not widely known.

But in Egypt, information about Israel's contribution to the economy appears to be a closely guarded secret.

Most Egyptians, for instance, were completely unaware that Israelis account for a major share of the Sinai tourist trade until the Israeli victims of October's terrorist attacks in Sinai accidentally brought this fact to light.

"We were completely surprised by the large number of Israeli tourists in Sinai," an Egyptian businessman told Haaretz after the attacks.

"Since the peace treaty, we did not grasp the scale of the Israeli contribution."

Indeed, Egypt appears to view secrecy as a virtual precondition for business with Israel – as the natural gas saga demonstrates.

For years, the two countries negotiated over a multiyear, $2.5-billion sale of Egyptian natural gas to Israel. Although British Gas had made a competing offer, Israel's government preferred Egypt, as it attributed great importance to boosting Egypt's economy.

The talks were extensively reported in Israel, but in Egypt they were apparently kept secret until a Cairo newspaper broke the story this June.

Egyptian legislators promptly demanded that the government clarify this "worrying" report of an impending deal with Israel, and the next day Egypt informed Israel that the deal was off.

(Talks have since resumed, but a deal has still not been signed.)

NOR IS it only on economic issues that official Egypt discourages any hint of positive information about Israel.

This past May, the Egyptian newspaper Nahdat Misr reported that Egypt's parliament had deprived a legislator of speaking privileges because he spent 10 days in Israel and then wanted to ask a question about something he had heard there (a proposal whereby Israel would give Egypt part of the Negev in exchange for Egypt giving the Palestinians part of Sinai).

That same month Egypt's highest administrative court banned the establishment of an Egyptian-Israeli friendship association – which might, God forbid, have disseminated information about Israel to Egyptians.

The court declared that relations with Israel were strictly the government's prerogative and no private organization had the right to get involved.

Ukraine’s Yushchenko to Have Plastic Surgery in Israel for Dioxin Poisoning

Ukraine’s presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko is to have plastic surgery in Israel following the Dec. 26 repeat elections, after doctors confirmed that the pockmarks and cysts that disfigured his face were the result of dioxin poisoning.

Yushchenko is scheduled to travel to one of the leading plastic surgeons in the world in late December, and has already been granted a visa, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Israel’s Maariv daily.

Yushchenko, who doctors say was poisoned with a dangerous form of dioxin in early September, must also be treated for liver problems and other ailments as a result of the poisoning.

One of Yushchenko’s aides has already visited the private clinic in Israel ahead of the opposition leader’s trip to prepare for treatment there.

Israel testing anti-Kassam radar and laser

A new radar system for a Katyusha-killing laser cannon has been brought to Israel to be tested against Kassam rockets and mortar shells fired by the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The joint US-Israeli mobile laser gun, called the Nautilus, is still being developed and tested in the United States, but the radar arrived in the country a few days ago and will be deployed shortly near Sderot to track incoming rockets, military sources said.

They hope the radar will boost early warning of incoming rockets by a few precious seconds and help pinpoint their launch sites so the IDF can retaliate against the Kassam or mortar crews.

'This is just the radar and that is just one component of the Nautilus system. The main component is the laser gun, which fires a beam that destroys Katyushas, rockets, Kassams and mortar shells in the air,' said Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, a former head of military research and development. He said the laser gun is still being tested and developed.

The Nautilus is also known as the Tactical High Energy Laser or THEL.

Ben-Israel said the Nautilus radar is a derivative of the Green Pine radar developed for the Arrow 2 antiballistic missile system. He said the Nautilus radar has a quarter of the range of the Green Pine, based on a 'few hundred' modular radar scanners instead of the 'few thousands' on the Green Pine.

The radar not only allows the projectile to be followed in the air, but to determine the exact location of its origin. This would allow for a quick retaliatory strike.

'The mortar shells and Kassam rockets only fly for a few seconds,' Ben-Israel told Army Radio. 'If you can detect it immediately after it is laun"

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I AM A SETTLER

by Ashley Perry

I am a settler. According to most of the world I and people like me are to blame for violence in the Middle East, terrorism around the world, hatred of the West, if some media reports are to be believed also for the violence in The Sudan and so much more. I'm sure given time the tornadoes hitting many coasts around the world could also be attributed to the settlers. If I were to be viciously murdered and hacked to death along with children and old people tomorrow, it wouldn't be the person weilding the knife that would be at fault, it would undoubtedly be mine!

I am an enemy of the world. I am more of a nefarious and violent entity than Al Qaeda, the murderers of the school children in Beslan, the Madrid bombers, The Junjaweed in Sudan, Al Zaqaawi in Iraq,etc. I can tell you how I know, I have no side to the story. When a terrorist perpetrates their act the media fall over themselves to try and understand why. Was it their upbringing? The fact that they may have been a social outcast, picked on at school, the oppression they felt by events half way around the world, whatever the reason is will we will find out and paint a very human picture to these people who commit inhuman acts. I am a settler, apparently I got up one day and felt like oppressing the poor Palestinians and stealing their land and that is the whole of my story.

In media reports around the world I do not have a sex, I do not have a profession, I do not have likes or dislikes, I have no context. I am always referred to as a 'settler', sometimes I am afforded the prefix 'extremist' or 'right-wing'.

I can tell you that I am new at this 'settling' business. A few months ago I wasn't a settler and if I was killed it would be partially condemned by oh, let's see.....at least four or five governments. Today I wouldn't receive even that. I have moved only a few miles geographically yet a whole world in terms of legitamacy. I dared to move across the hallowed 'Green-line'. I am sure the whole world knows what the green-line is and how it got its name. I am sure they know that it was created by two generals on opposing sides in war sitting in a tent in the middle of nowhere attempting to muddle out a cease fire. I am sure too that the world knows that the only marker they had to delineate the lines of cease-fire was a thick green marker pen which when making the line on the map was sometimes miles thick.

That is it, a cease-fire line. Not the borders of a state not the ending of a peace plan but a line showing where two armies had finished their fighting and decided on a truce. When people talk of 1967 borders, they are being factually incorrect. One can only border a soveriegn state.

Which brings me to my next important fact which I am sure the world knows. There has never been a sovereign Palestine, ever in the history of man. Never a Palestinian King, President, ruler. Never a distinct Palestinian language and culture or money.

So where is it I have moved to I hear you ask. I can tell you that the last Internationally recognised agreement pertaining to this land was called 'The Balfour Declaration' which was adopted by The League of Nations in the early part of the twentieth century which called for a Jewish Home including where I now live....and nothing since. So at best surely where I live could be called 'disputed'. I recognise that there is a dispute, there are two people wanting to claim this land where I live. I do not occupy it any more than an arab who lives down the road from me does.

Speaking of Arabs, the world knows where I stand on them. Surely, I want them gone from here or dead perhaps and I pray continually for their destruction. Well I have some news for the world, I don't hate the Arabs or anyone particularly. I hate traffic, cold mornings and finding the colour of my clothes have run in the washing machine, but I don't hate people. I have never hurt anyone in my life, nor do I intend to. I am not a pacifist, nor am I violent, I'm just like most people on this planet ... a regular person. A regular person doesn't hate any particular people.

I have been told by many more veteran settlers that they remember before the Intifada when they used to go to the shops and Souks of the local Arab towns and cities. They used to invite Arabs to their homes and celebrations and were invited back. Yes, these were the evil settlers pouring tea to their Arab guests of their home and enquiring about the health of their relatives. These were the abhorrent Arab-hating settlers who would moan about the weather with the Arab shopkeepers as they did their weekly grocery shopping. What may surprise many is that most settlers long for these times again and dream of living side by side with Arabs or anyone in peace and harmony. Damn they are truly evil!

As a settler I am not allowed in many countries. I am sure you all knew the declaration of The Non-Aligned countries in the UN(a very large percentage of the world) that I am barred ffrom their countries. While the world fights for civil rights for murderers and terrorists, mine are just shunted aside. But hey, it doesn't matter. As a Jew I am not allowed in many countries in the world and am forbidden from owning land in many, many more.

So yes I am a settler! I make no apology for it. I never hurt anyone, I never stole anyone's land. In fact the land I am living on wasn't lived on before I got here, I repeat no Palestinians were displaced to make room for me. I wanted to write this piece not to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I haven't even given my reasons for living here. I just wanted to give myself and those around me context. I wanted to let you know that the BBC, CNN, etc don't know me or want to get to know me, they would rather shed a tear and try to 'understand' terrorism. I don't even seek anyone to understand me, I just want people to understand that there are two sides and to learn about both. To make a decision about something while only knowing one side is intellectually unsatisfying and not to at least listen to both sides is dishonest. So please send this on to as many people as possible, so more people can at least get the other side.


Ashley Perry came from London to make aliyah four years ago. He recently moved from Jerusalem to Efrat. Ashley lectures on Middle East politics and Jewish History and is involved with Hasbara in many different formats. Ashley was one of the founding group of Honestreporting.com. Contact him at ashperez@hotmail.com

Friday, December 17, 2004

A paratrooper writes to Haaretz how humane the IDF is, Haaretz writes back praising Palestinian terrorists

A very good letter from a paratrooper who is risking his life every day to save the lives of his people, and an amazingly disgusting and self-hating reply from Gideon Levy of Haaretz that praises Palestinians for killing Jews. - EoZ

A.L., a paratrooper who is serving in Nablus, wrote to me in the wake of my article "Suffer the little children" (Haaretz Magazine, December 3). The article described how Israel Defense Forces soldiers shot four children in the Nablus casbah, killing three of them and wounding the fourth, a 3-year-old. Here is the letter, almost in full:
"I read your article on Friday, in your regular commentary in Haaretz, and I felt I had to try to understand your complaint against the IDF. I am serving in the Paratroops Brigade, which is now holding the Nablus sector, manning the Hawara checkpoint, `back to back,' and doing other initiatives in the nights, which are carried out every day. I have been in this sector for a few months now and I feel tremendous satisfaction every day, when I get up in the morning and know how much I am contributing to the defense of the residents of Israel, who rely on the IDF soldiers who are fighting for them in the territories so that they can go to work safely and send their children to kindergarten safely. That is why the soldiers have tremendous motivation, more than ever before, and a very high [level of] seriousness for kids of 19.

"Like you, I hold left-wing views that support the evacuation of settlements, but in this period of terrorist attacks it is impossible to leave a sector like this, from which terrorist attacks on Israeli territory originate. I don't understand how you can write that IDF soldiers are killing Palestinian children deliberately. Do you really think soldiers enjoy killing innocent little children who wander the streets of the casbah? Do you think that a kid of 20 enlisted in the Paratroops to kill children? He enlisted to guard the state, period.

"The situation in this difficult area exacts a price which is not always just. The fact that you believe every word of theirs is a very serious problem of yours. If you accompanied IDF arrest missions and patrols, you would see first-hand how they are carried out in a way intended to hurt only terrorists, and defined firing sectors are assigned so there are no foul-ups in the field. Believe me, no soldier will ever in his life squeeze the trigger when he sees in his optic sight a 12-year-old boy, the same as he was just a few years ago.

"If you were there, in the field, and saw exactly what happened there, you would understand how much they are lying. If a 12-year-old boy throws an explosive charge, the only thing the IDF can do is attack him and neutralize him, for its deterrent capability in the field for the future. It's clear that foul-ups happen every day in the territories, but the IDF does everything - believe me, everything - to prevent mistakes like that. These children are not innocent. They understand very well how the IDF operates there.

"I will not descend to the level of responses by officers, who say: In war there are mistakes. But in complex operational activity within a civilian population, it is very difficult not to harm innocent civilians, who are wandering around next to terrorists. I am ready to promise you that if you interview hundreds of soldiers who are serving in the territories, they will tell you that they do not want to hurt innocent civilians and they will do everything to prevent that, except for soldiers who are serving in the territories to hurt innocent people deliberately, because of a sense of revenge. It is impossible to talk about things like that, because they do not represent the army.

"Every patrol that enters the casbah is not to make our presence felt, but to draw out terrorists and armed wanted individuals and liquidate them, or to create convenient access for initiatives that take place at night. The citizens see these patrols as another instrument of Israel for the occupation and they shoot at the soldiers or throw firebombs at them, and the IDF responds accordingly. Every child there knows very well that if he messes with the IDF by throwing explosives or firebombs, they will try to catch him. The fact that children are hurt in firefights with terrorists in the streets is a problem, but this still has to be done in order to liquidate the wanted individuals who are trying to carry out terrorist attacks every day from Nablus.

"I hope you will clarify for me your position on the subject, because I really want to understand how articles like this get written in Haaretz, which has existed for decades, and that you will prove to me how wrong I am."



Dear soldier,

It is impossible to do what you are doing in the territories without thinking the way you do. It is impossible to risk yourself every day without feeling "tremendous satisfaction," as you do. You and your buddies would not be capable of doing the job you have been charged with if you were not convinced that what you are doing is overwhelmingly essential and right.

It is precisely because at least some of you have principles that you would not be capable of perpetrating what you are perpetrating without the idea being instilled in you that what is permitted to you is forbidden to them. That they and we are not exactly the same thing. (Perhaps Levy should go and buy a suicide belt - since he is exactly the same as the terrorists. -EoZ) That in the name of security you are permitted to do almost anything you fancy, without red lines, including the red line that you do not shoot children, which has long since been crossed.

That is why a sophisticated system of education, information, communication, brainwashing, dehumanization and demonization exists, a system that is raising generations of excellent young people who do appalling deeds because they are simply unaware of what they are doing, even the best of them. What the system instills is that we are the lords of the land and the Palestinians are an inferior people who under no circumstances are entitled to what we are entitled to; that the occupation is just, obligatory in the situation, that terrorism sprang up in a vacuum, that the Palestinians were born to kill, that the terrorist attacks stem solely from their bloodthirsty character. And all this is wrapped in security considerations that are an excuse for everything, and believe me - everything.

The soldiers have killed 623 children and youths, and you want to tell me that not one soldier saw a child in his gunsight? The person who shot the girl in Rafah didn't see? The person who shot the two youths - Amar Banaat and Montasser Hadada - in the casbah, killing them both with one bullet, didn't see, either, didn't know? And the person who killed 9-year-old Khaled Osta, blasting a huge hole in his chest, he didn't notice, either? And the person who shelled residential buildings in Gaza, who did not see a child through his optic sight, but knew very well that children lived in those buildings, as they do in all the buildings, but nevertheless pressed the button and released the shell? And the pilot who pressed a button and dropped a bomb on a densely populated neighborhood - he too didn't know that children would be among the casualties?

And if a child throws a stone at an armored jeep, or even a firebomb, and even an explosive charge, does he therefore deserve to die? You write that he has to be attacked in order to maintain deterrence. That is frightening. To kill a child in order to deter? And if you killed or wounded children in order to deter, have you achieved deterrence?

Have you ever thought about why these children are fighting you? Or the adults? Have you ever considered the possibility that they may be fighting for a just cause? That maybe they want to be rid, at long last, of your oppressive presence in their lives? That they have no other way to struggle? Have you ever tried to put yourself in their place, even for a moment? What would you do if you had been born a Palestinian under this occupation? Do you have the courage to say what Ehud Barak did a few years back, "I would have joined a terrorist organization"? There can be no more direct, courageous and true answer than that.

You are fighting with tremendous force against children and adults who are struggling with their meager strength for a cause that is the most just of all. They are fighting the occupation. They have no other way to fight it other than the explosive charge and the firebomb. They are fighting the occupation the way our parents and our parents' parents fought a different occupation. Do you ever think about that?

History is filled with struggles and wars like this. Young people of your age were sent to die for a cause which is described to them as absolutely vital, life or death, and then one day it's over, the conflict is somehow resolved peacefully as though it never happened, and then everyone asks: Why? What was it all for? You, and certainly your children, will not understand what we did there. Just as the relatives of the soldiers who fell in Lebanon are today asking what we were doing there. What were we killed for? What are we being killed for?

What did you do with the best years of your life in the casbah of Nablus, a place that is not yours, (ever hear of Shechem? -EoZ) while risking your life and the lives of others? By what right did you oppress the population there? By what authority did you decide how they would live, when they would remain inside their homes and when they could go out, when they would work and when they would be idle, when they would be able to get to hospitals and when they would suffer in their homes? Who are we, anyway? What gives us the right? Just because we have force, a great deal of force, are we permitted to do everything?

You and your friends have no moral right to be there and certainly not to do what you are doing to the population there. You have no moral right to imprison the population, to enter their homes in the middle of the night, to go from home to home by breaking down walls, to detain people indiscriminately, to destroy, to shoot, to tyrannize and to inflict casualties.

One day you will understand in a different light what you are doing there, between Hawara and the casbah, and if you are truly a person of conscience, you will endure sleepless nights, on many nights and for many years. Then you will no longer be able to excuse everything in the name of preserving security, as you are trying to do now. True security for the residents of Tel Aviv will be achieved only when security is achieved for the residents of the casbah, too, and not a minute before. Security, self-respect and freedom - they are entitled to them just as we are. Then - so I believe - your "tremendous satisfaction" will give way to a deep feeling of guilt and a great shame will wash over you for what you wrought there, for what your eyes refused to see.

In your heart, I think, you know that the connection between your activity there in the casbah and our security in Tel Aviv is far looser than the way you describe it. You and your buddies prevent one terrorist attack and create the motivation for 100 new attacks, liquidate one wanted individual and produce three new ones to replace him. That is the way of a popular struggle that stems from despair. The boy whose home you turned into a shambles in the dead of night and the parents whom you humiliated before his eyes will never forget, just as you would not forget it if someone did that to you and your family. The friends of Amar, Montasser and Khaled - the children the soldiers shot and killed - will not forgive. They will grow up with hatred that we sowed. They were three children without a present and without a future. Two of them, Amar and Montasser, were orphaned of their fathers. Amar was an only son. They did not deserve to die. True, I did not see with my own eyes what brought about their killing, but I did see what remained after they were killed.

And what about you? What memories will you take from there? What will this army service do to your psyche, your personality? What will you tell your children? That their father safeguarded Tel Aviv from the Nablus casbah and liquidated people almost indiscriminately, as you admit in your letter ("Every patrol that enters the casbah is not to make our presence felt but to draw out terrorists and armed wanted individuals and liquidate them")? What has this taught you about the use of force, violence, liquidation of people? If it's permissible there, why not here, too?

A person who is given so much power at such a young age cannot help being scarred in his psyche. After you kept old people waiting, prevented the ill from reaching the hospital, stopped children and women about to give birth at checkpoints, the brutal memories will stay with you for all time. Even if you did not delay them and you were the most humane of soldiers, it's enough that they had to get your authorization to go through their cities, enter their houses, to engrave the scars in you. What kind of person will you be when you come home from all this?

Not for a minute did I think that IDF soldiers enjoy killing children. But children are being killed. Many children, hundreds of children. And the IDF is not doing enough to prevent this criminal killing. What the IDF is instilling in its soldiers is that there is no choice and that it's not terrible if a child is killed, too. The main thing is our security.

The blood of these children cries out to the heavens. Their blood is on our hands. Their blood is on the hands of those who sent you to the casbah and it is on the head of those who shot and it is on the head of those who walk the streets of Nablus armed and tyrannize the residents, and it is also on the head of those who were silent. You are there in my name, too, and therefore we all carry a heavy responsibility, too heavy to bear. Keep doing your thing and safeguard yourself and me; I will go on doing the same. by doing everything possible to demoralize our troops. -EoZ

Delight as Israel sends aid to Sudan

In what Israeli officials are calling a first, Israel is sending some $20,000 in aid to Sudan to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis there.

On Wednesday, Israel joined with several US Jewish groups in sending $100,000 to support the International Rescue Committee and aid children in Sudan and Chad orphaned by the civil war in Sudan's Darfur region.

Sudanese refugees and human rights groups say government-sponsored Arab militias known as the Janjaweed are killing tens of thousands of black Muslims in Darfur in a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Muhammad Yahya, a native of Darfur and founder of a group called Representatives of the Massaleit Community in Exile, said his countrymen are grateful for the assistance and astonished by its source.

'We have been taught for all our lives, from the primary school to the university, that you are the top enemy for Muslims and Arabs all over the world,' Yahya said of the Jews and Israelis behind the $100,000 effort. Now, he said, 'we realized that what we have been taught all our lives is a kind of a rumor. When we have been killed, you are protecting us; when we are displaced, you are trying to save us; when our people are murdered and raped, you are there trying to help us.'

Yahya said he is grateful for the American Jewish support and the aid from Israel, which Arye Mekel, Israel's consul-general in New York, called Israel's first humanitarian support to residents of an Arab country with which it has no diplomatic ties.

'You are the voice of the voiceless,' Yahya said. 'We need to support each other and stand by you and support you forever.'

'I tell my people in Sudan and in Darfur: Please forget about the rumors that the Israeli people are our enemy,' he said. 'They are not enemies anymore.'

Jewish groups collectively have sent more than $1 million in aid to humanitarian causes in Sudan since the violence in Darfur took a turn for the worse in early 2003, according to the American Jewish World Service, which supports humanitarian and economic projects in the developing world.

Earlier this year, the organization helped create the Jewish Coalition for Sudan Relief, a collection of some 15 groups. The groups involved in the new $100,000 aid package are the Union for Reform Judaism, the New Jersey MetroWest Federation and UJA-Federation of New York, in addition to the 15-member coalition, AJWS and Israel.

Mekel said Israel decided to send the aid along with American Jewish groups to stress that Israel and the Jews work together when it comes to Jewish values issues.

'The State of Israel is following the developments in Darfur carefully, and as a people who has gone through persecution, we could not sit idly on the sidelines through such a devastating humanitarian disaster,' he said. 'This is according to the Jewish values.'

Israeli Report from Arab Strategy Forum (David Kimche)

Have you ever offered a devout Jew or Muslim a ham sandwich? The person who sat opposite me had never, ever met with or spoken to an Israeli, and as he entered the room and shook my hand, his whole demeanor suggested that I was that sandwich.

We met in his sumptuous villa just off the main road leading from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. He was one of the most influential persons in the United Arab Emirates, a former minister, very close to the new ruler. My friend from Abu Dhabi, who had brought me there, had thought it was high time that the ex-minister be exposed to an Israeli.

The atmosphere soon changed as we entered into an animated discussion on the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and by the time I left, late at night, we had become good friends.

There had been no hatred, not even animosity, just a profound ignorance, a complete lack of understanding of the Israeli story, a refusal to believe that we really do want to live in peace with our Arab neighbors.

At the same time, Gulf Arabs are curious about Israel. They want to know our secret, how a small nation had succeeded in winning war after war against the Arab armies and become such a thriving and wealthy state despite the lack of oil reserves. Above all, they want to know how we managed to 'fool' the United States into giving us its full backing, despite the damage it has created for the US in the Muslim world.

'It won't last forever, you know,' I was told. 'Sooner or later the Americans will come to their senses and realize where their true interests lie.'

The American angle featured prominently in the Arab Strategy Forum, a conference that took place in Dubai last week attended by Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and a host of Arab leaders.

Peace in our region can only be achieved when the Americans stop supporting Israel unreservedly, was a theme developed particularly by Prince Turki al Faisal, the Saudi ambassador in London.

Yet the Israeli-Palestinian conflict did not take pride of place in this important conference. Indeed, in the opening speech by the conference chairman, UAE defense minister and Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, Israel was mentioned only in passing.

His main theme, and indeed that of the conference, was the need for the Arab world to change. 'I say to my fellow Arabs in power: 'If you do not change, you will be changed.''

Later, he spoke of the need 'for the people in the region to live in peace and harmony, irrespective of their religion, race, or sectarian inclination.'

The most malicious anti-Israeli statement at the conference was not made by an Arab but by an American professor of international law who described Israel as 'a genocidal apartheid regime.'