.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Today's PalArab press roundup

A 24-year old woman was murdered by her brother in an "honor killing" yesterday in Khan Younis.

To mark the start of Ramadan, Egypt allowed nearly 2000 Gazans to go to Egypt and some 900 Gazans to cross back. But none of these were sick people - they will be crossing today. Who knows how many of these 2000 are Hamas terrorists going out to get training in Iran, as happened last year?

While Fatah's leadership in Ramallah does not support the union strikes happening in Gaza against Hamas, Fatah's political leadership in Gaza does.

On the other hand, Hamas accuses Fatah in Ramallah of being behind these strikes, saying that they are meant to set the stage for Abbas to declare Gaza as "rebel territory" and therefore paving the way for him to cede Gaza and negotiate the West Bank alone as "Palestine". It is not too far fetched to imagine a Palestine and a Hamastan as full members of the UN, all the while trying to create a third (or fourth, depending on how you count) Palestinian Arab state via "right of return."

Firas Press, one of my best sources for news, changed their format, apparently without testing it. Now the site looks great but is horribly broken with old stories and bad links littering the site so as to make it unusable.

The 2008 PalArab self-death count is now at 156.

Fatah and Hamas still cooperate in terror

Islamic Jihad is not the only terror group to graduate a class of masked terrorists this weekend. So did Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigades. As Ma'an puts it:
The fighters are part of the Brigades controlled by Fatah, the party which also controls the caretaker government in the West Bank. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is also a member of the party.

The general commander of the Al-Aqsa Brigades and leaders of the Consultation Council (senior leadership of the party who discuss Fatah policy) attended the graduation along with members of other Palestinian factions.

Trainees practiced military shows and skills such as storming buildings and kidnapping soldiers, and demonstrated the launch of rocket-propelled grenades for the ceremony audience.

Al-Aqsa Brigades asserted that the graduation of a class of fighters sends a clear message to Israel that resistance is still a valid choice for freeing Palestinian lands and the Al-Aqsa mosque.
If Al-Aqsa has the freedom to have a public graduation ceremony in Gaza, that means that Hamas is allowing their supposed "sworn enemies" to train militarily. The fact that "other factions" attended the ceremony shows that it is probably not only allowed, but encouraged.

Before the Hamas takeover of Gaza, joint terror attacks between Hamas and Fatah were not unusual.

And while Hamas has shown no compunction about cracking down on groups that show too much independence, Fatah is still allowed to operate freely in some cases.

It seems that while the political wings of Hamas and Fatah are still at odds - Hamas arrests Fatah teachers and civil servants at will - their military wings have no problems with each other, and probably cooperate (along with Islamic Jihad.) This idea is reinforced by the fact that Fatah in Gaza still gets weapons, and all weapons smuggling in Gaza goes through Hamas.

Moreover, Abbas - who is not only a "member" of Fatah but its leader - neither instructs Al Aqsa to attack Hamas nor does he tell them to put down their weapons; rather he is quite happy letting them operate as a terror group together with Hamas and PIJ aimed at fighting Israel while keeping them far enough for plausible deniability so he can get Israel to give him more unilateral concessions.

Just like Arafat.

More pictures of the overcrowded Gaza Strip

Palestine Today, the mouthpiece of Islamic Jihad, has published more photographs of alive-ammo demonstrations of their skill and ability to march in the desert with ski masks. (This one was in front of an audience, showing that in Gaza, terror is a spectator sport!)

Notice what is missing in all of these pictures: buildings. The supposedly overcrowded Gaza Strip seems to have plenty of room for Islamic Jihad and Hamas (not to mention other groups) to spread out and practice kidnapping and killing Israelis, while we hear whining about the crowded conditions in the cities and "refugee camps" that Hamas has not yet found time to dismantle.

The priorities of the leaders of the Gaza Strip are clear.

10 weeks in a row

It has now been ten weeks in a row that more Palestinian Arabs have killed each other than have been killed by Israel.

And it has been four weeks since any Palestinian Arab was killed by Israeli forces.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday open thread


Fridays are always slow anyway....

And yes, it was me singing in the Rachel Corrie video. That's the punishment you get for not volunteering. At any rate, it gave me the opportunity to learn about various audio filters.

"Rachel Corrie" - the video

As promised...

Shalit's 22nd birthday, and freedom further than ever

Yesterday was Gilad Shalit's 22nd birthday. Unfortunately, his chances for freedom seem to be getting dimmer.

While Israel has been offering more and more in exchange for Shalit - relaxing its stand on releasing murderers in exchange for him - Hamas has kept demanding more. While Hamas originally demanded 450 prisoners for Shalit, today it is being reported that this demand has increased - to 1500.

There are a number of reasons for this. In recent months, Hamas has had its own, sometimes violent infighting, and no clear leadership. Some factions have been in favor of negotiating in semi-good faith while others have taken a harder line. And, as Khaled Abu Toameh reports in today's Jerusalem Post, it appears that the more radical are winning:
The results of a recent election held for one of Hamas's key decision-making bodies are likely to hinder efforts to free kidnapped IDF soldier St.-Sgt Gilad Schalit, sources in the Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The secret ballot was held about 10 days ago for the Shura (Consultative) Council, which is made up of Hamas's senior political and religious leadership and is tasked with discussing all important issues.

The sources told the Post the vote resulted in a major victory for representatives of the "young guard" in Hamas, most of whom are affiliated with the movement's armed wing, Izzadin Kassam.

The sources described the victory as a "coup," pointing out that the newly-elected members were far more radical than those who were ousted from the council.

"The Shura Council of Hamas is now dominated by warlords, thugs and militiamen," one source said. "The new members are not as educated as their predecessors.

Another source described the vote as a "turning point" in the history of the Islamist organization. "From now on, the armed wing of Hamas is expected to play a bigger role in the decision-making process, he said. "The political leadership of Hamas has definitely been weakened."

Given the fact that Schalit is being held by members of Izzadin Kassam, some of whom are now represented in the Shura Council, Hamas is unlikely to soften its position in the talks on a prisoner exchange agreement.

A Palestinian academic closely associated with Hamas told the Post he expected the new council members to endorse a tougher approach in the negotiations over the release of Schalit.
The "young guard" is more likely to see Israeli concessions in Shalit negotiations as proof of weakness and a reason to demand more.

In addition, the prisoner swap with Hezbollah where Israel gave up its most despicable prisoner plus others in exchange for corpses emboldened Hamas to up the ante for Shalit.

Moreover, the "calm" - rather than build "goodwill" towards a Shalit release as Israel intended - has strengthened Hamas even more, as its leaders are not worried about being targeted from the sky. This reduced pressure on them makes them less likely to want to negotiate, showing once again that "goodwill" gestures are supremely counterproductive.

Unfortunately, it does not look good that Shalit will be released by negotiations. We can only hope that the Shin Bet is taking advantage of the "calm" to figure out where Shalit is and how the IDF can rescue him, because that looks more likely than a successful prisoner exchange.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another sick Saudi marriage case

Another innovation from the Muslim world: "trade-off marriages" where two fathers marry their daughters off to each other. At least some Saudi religious scholars are not thrilled:
TAIF – The controversial divorce case of two minor girls trapped in “an invalid trade-off marriage” to two septuagenarian men goes to court here on Saturday.

The mothers of the two girls, Shaikha 16, and Abeer 11, have filed for divorce on the grounds that the minors were forced into illegal wedlock and were victims of domestic violence.

The case has sparked widespread debate in Saudi society with religious scholars expressing their views as well.

Renowned Saudi scholar Sheikh Abudlmohsin Al-Obaikan has opined that the girls should be granted divorce and the two men severely punished for allegedly trading off the girls in an “exchange marriage” of their daughters without any dowry or wedding ceremony.

The Sheikh’s opinion is also based on evidence that in both cases the marriage did not have the full consent of the minors.

However, the marriage contractor has refuted the charge that the girls were illegally married off. “The contract is perfectly legitimate as it satisfies all the legal pillars of an Islamic marriage including the consent of the two brides and the payment of their dowries,” the marriage contractor said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The two guardians received SR50,000 and SR45,000,” as dowry, he said.

In Islam, a marriage is valid only if both the bride and her guardian fully accept it. Moreover, the dowry should be handed over the bride’s guardian in hard cash and must be seen by the marriage witnesses and guests.

Sheikh Obaikan’s conclusion that the two marriages were illegal is based on reports that the two girls were threatened into marriage by their fathers.

In Yanbu, while Shaikha was doing her pre-marital test, she called her divorced mother, who she had not seen for 10 years, to save her from what she said was a forced marriage.

Shaikha’s mother acted quickly and complained to the authorities, including the National Human Rights Society (NHRS).

After signing the marriage contract, the two couples went to Taif for the honeymoon. There, Shaikha tried to commit suicide to escape marriage to a 75-year-old man and was admitted to King Faisal Hospital in the city. She was subsequently taken to a social care house as the authorities started to investigate the case.
In parts of the Arab world, women seem to be treated about as well as cattle, and not as well as camels.

YouTube caves

YouTube sent me a notice that my "Freaks of Gaza" video infringed on Anis' copyright. And while YouTube gives a way to challenge these notices, it requires my giving up my anonymity, so it isn't worth it.

However, there are other streaming media sites out there, so you can still see the video here.

Are anti-semitic Muslim texts "hate speech"?

From the (Los Angeles) Jewish Journal:
USC Muslim Group Removes anti-Semitic Passage From Its Internet Site

Until earlier this month, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at USC included on its Web site the complete texts of the Quran, Islam's holy book, and the Hadith, which are the oral traditions associated with the life of the prophet Muhammad.

This database included a saying attributed to Muhammad that calls on Muslims to kills Jews:
"The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews," Book 41, No. 6985 stated.
The MSA is a university-sanctioned student group and its Web site is hosted on the USC server. When Rabbi Aron Hier, director of campus outreach at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Reut Cohen of the Horowitz Freedom Center discovered the passage, they sent a letter to Alan Casden, a USC trustee and co-chair of the Wiesenthal Center's board, urging him to have the university remove that portion of the Hadith.

Casden quickly contacted Provost C.L. Max Nikias, who ordered the passage removed, saying it was "truly despicable" and that it violated the university's Principles of Community.

"This is an important reminder that when free speech becomes a platform to encourage violence, then it has crossed the line," Hier said. "We commend USC for having the moral courage to stand up against those who hijack speech and religious freedoms and the good will of the campus community in order to spread a message of hate and extremist violence."
I have mixed feelings about this.

In general, I think it would be a bad idea for USC to host any religious material on its own website. The fact that some of the hadiths are anti-semitic is not the reason they should be removed; the reason is because by not removing them it appears that USC is promoting a religion.

If the MSA wants to provide a complete searchable list of Hadith on its own web server space, that is a worthy endeavor, and they should not feel constrained by the fact that some of the hadiths are objectionable. It is a valuable resource, to be sure, and I'd rather that the verses stay up there so that people can see for themselves some of the source materials of Islam.

For example, besides the infamous tree verse mentioned above, other mentions of the Jews in the Hadiths at USC include:
Volume 2, Book 23, Number 472:

Narrated 'Aisha:

Allah's Apostle in his fatal illness said, "Allah cursed the Jews and the Christians, for they built the places of worship at the graves of their prophets."

Or the many variants of the hadith quoted above which are still there (Bukhari):

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 176:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "You (i.e. Muslims) will fight wi the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, 'O 'Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.' "

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."

Volume 4, Book 56, Number 791:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, 'O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!' "

So let's try to be a bit consistent. If hadiths that call for the genocide of Jews are offensive, then they should be repudiated by Muslims altogether, not just temporarily removed from some public websites. If the Muslims stand by these hadiths, let them be visible for everyone to see, along with the ability for others to criticize them. But just removing them does not do anything to stop "hate speech" - the problem isn't hate speech; the problem is the belief system of a large percentage of the world's population.

Syria stealing Lebanon's water. Oh well.

In one of the more egregious cases of Syrian meddling in Lebanon, Al Mustaqbal reports (via MEMRI blog):

Lebanese security sources are saying that teams from Syria's Irrigation Ministry began digging two water wells in Lebanese territory west of Dir Al-'Asheir village in the border region.

According to the sources, the digging began over a week ago.

It was also reported that the Syrian teams have prepared large tanks in Syrian territory to store the water pumped from the wells, and that the water will be used in Damascus and its suburbs.

But for some reason, Syria's repeated incursions into Lebanon - taking land, stealing natural resources - is not called "occupation" by anyone.

Today's PalArab press roundup

Mahmoud Abbas has yet again rejected the idea that Palestinian Arabs who were born in Lebanon should ever become citizens of that country. The "moderate" "leader" once again confirms that in his mind it is far better for them to languish with few human rights and no state for decades more rather than be productive and happy. One wonders if Abbas thinks that Arabs of Palestinian descent should become citizens of Germany or Canada if they so choose?

Israel has intercepted a planned shipment of 1700 natural gas containers headed for Gaza. These containers would make ideal rockets.

The PLO condemned Al Jazeera for not covering Israel's release of 198 prisoners live. They pointed out that Al Jizz will cover press conferences from Hamas terrorists, so why not a Fatah photo-op?

A family fight in Jenin saw a man murdered by his brother-in-law.

The "Palestinian" embassy in Yemen was closed last week, and there were rumors that it was in protest of Hamas offices having opened there. Today the explanation is that they closed because of sectarian fighting in Yemen, not for any political reasons.

Condi Rice is reported to be floating "new ideas" on borders, "refugees" and Jerusalem in her talks.

Jordan's Agricultural Engineers Association is publishing a blacklist of Jordanian firms that import things from Israel. Apparently, they didn't get the memo that there is a peace agreement between Jordan and Israel.

An Egyptian diplomat quotes Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal as complaining that the only country that supports Hamas is Iran.

The 2008 PalArab self-death count is now at 155.

"Hezbollah planning to kidnap Jews in Venezuela"

From the Los Angeles Times:
Western anti-terrorism officials are growing concerned Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim militia Washington has labeled a terrorist group, is basing operations in Venezuela.

Linked to deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina in the early 1990s, Hezbollah may be taking advantage of Venezuela's ties with Iran, the militia's longtime sponsor, to move "people and things" into the Americas, according to a Western terrorism expert.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has established warm diplomatic relations with Iran. The Bush administration, Israel and other governments worry Venezuela is emerging as a base for anti-U.S. extremist groups and spy services.

Several joint Venezuelan-Iranian business operations have been set up in Venezuela, and the two nations have formed a $2 billion program to pay for social projects in Latin America. Those ties worry U.S. officials because Iranian spies around the world have been known to work with Hezbollah, sometimes using Iranian embassies as covers, experts say.

The most concrete allegations of a Hezbollah presence in Venezuela involve money-raising. In June, the U.S. Treasury Department designated two Venezuelan citizens as Hezbollah supporters and froze their U.S. assets.

In March 2007, the ties between Venezuela and Iran led to the start of weekly Air Iran flights from Tehran to Caracas that stop in Damascus, Syria.

Agents of Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah have allegedly set up a special force to attempt to kidnap Jewish businesspeople in Latin America and spirit them to Lebanon, according to the Western anti-terrorism official.

Iranian and Hezbollah operatives traveling in and out of Venezuela have recruited Venezuelan informants working at the Caracas airport to gather intelligence on Jewish travelers as potential targets for abduction, according to a Western anti-terrorism official.

But don't call them anti-semitic for targeting Jewish targets. They are strictly anti-Zionist. They love Jews!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The PalArab rumor weapon

One of the most used weapons in the Palestinian Arab arsenal is the rumor.

Some Palestinian Arab leaders like to burnish their own images and self-importance by starting rumors - usually baseless - that they hope will result in actions that will benefit them.

Rumors work particularly well in the Arab world. While everyone is predisposed to believe rumors that conform to their own worldview, Arabs are more likely to perpetuate and amplify rumors. The Arab media, which admittedly has improved a lot in recent years, will still publish and propagate rumors without fact checking way too often.

Nothing incites Arabs, especially Arab Muslims, more than rumors that attack their honor.

The 1921 Arab riots against Jews started from a rumor that Jews had killed Arabs.

The 1929 Arab pogroms started from a pure rumor that Zionists had cursed Mohammed and had attacked Muslims in front of the Western Wall.

The 1987 intifada was sparked by rumors that four Arab victims of a car accident were in fact killed by Israelis.

The 1996 Temple Tunnel riots were likewise sparked by false rumors about Israel's digging under the foundations of Al Aqsa.

The Mohammed cartoon riots, a large part of the Palestinian Arab flight from their homes in 1948, and any number of other events have been fueled by rumors - sometimes purposefully planted, sometimes just wishful thinking (as in the Apollo 11 rumor that I had mentioned recently.)

By any measure, however, a large number of people have been killed because of the Arab propensity to believe rumors, and in many cases these rumors are started purposefully to create just such a violent atmosphere.

The most prevalent recent rumors, as had many of the past, focused on supposed Jewish desecration of the Al Aqsa mosque. Every couple of weeks, a press conference is held by some Palestinian Arab Muslim leader who warns the Arab world of Jewish plans to dig underneath the foundations, to expell thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Jerusalem, and, more recently, to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount.

These rumors have been growing more hysterical and more fanciful with every telling. It is hard to imagine that these are not coordinated efforts by some Palestinian Muslim leaders - possibly associated with the PA, but maybe not - to fan the flames of anger in the Arab world in an effort to start a new uprising, this time not only an intifada but an "extrafada" that would engulf the entire Muslim world.

It appears that these recent efforts have been largely ignored by most Muslims outside the territories. This has not dissuaded the rumormongers; it only makes them try to redouble their efforts to anger world Muslims by embellishing and adding to their lies, secure in the knowledge that no Arab or Muslim newspaper would dare contradict any story that shows Zionist Jews to be anything less than pure evil.

The Jerusalem rumors have hit a new level in the past few days. As Ma'an (Arabic) reports:
The Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs demanded a need to hold an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers to take necessary action to protect the city of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque; [and they also demanded] the formation of an international commission of inquiry on the "criminal" practices of the occupation in their excavations under the Al Aqsa mosque.

...
[There were reports] earlier in the media that Israeli extremists are preparing to rocket shelling of the Al Aqsa Mosque in the month of Ramadan. Palestinian sources said that Jewish settlers had already brought rocket launchers to the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.
And the Ma'an story is illustrated with a picture that appears to be a stereotypical Israeli settler in front of an array of rockets, taken from an Israeli newspaper but obviously way out of context (not to mention probably Photoshopped.)

It is no coincidence that this rumor arose on the anniversary of the 1969 arson attack of the Temple Mount by an Australian Christian, an event that itself was falsely rumored - and probably still widely believed - to have been done by Jews.

This rumor that Jews are planning a rocket attack on the Temple Mount, as many before it, is simply incitement to murder Jews.

Whether this rumor will gain traction is yet to be seen, but the fact that there has been a clear escalating pattern of rumors over the past few months - all centered on the Al Aqsa mosque - indicates that some group is consciously trying to start a new conflagration in Jerusalem.

And neither the PA nor the PalArab media is doing anything to stop it.

The Anis Arguments

This guy is too much.

Anis, the guy who wrote the "Free Gaza" song that I parodied and who threatened legal action against me, has a section of his website called "The Faked Interviews." These are a must-read for their sheer cluelessness.

What Anis does is he creates a dialogue between his "faked" self and a "faked" opponent, where Anis gets to write both sides of the argument and therefore manages to make his opponents look like fools. As anyone with a high-school education knows, this is called a "straw-man" argument and it proves nothing, except perhaps the ignorance of the debater about his opponents' positions.

His arguments against Zionists, for example, are pretty much dedicated to the idea that Zionists have no legitimate arguments and they therefore tirelessly evoke "anti-semitism" to shut up their opponents.

Well, he has now honored me with a "faked interview" with Elder of Ziyon.

Cluelessness seemingly has no limits.

For example, he completely misses the point of the Rachel Corrie song I just wrote:
Faked Anis: Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube.
FEZ: It is my freedom. You are for freedom, aren't you?
Faked Anis: You are not free.
FEZ: Of course I am. I called Rachel Corrie an idiot and a tool of terrorists.
Faked Anis: She was killed by an Israeli tank when she defended the human rights.
FEZ: Her death was a victory.
Faked Anis: I saw that you wrote that on your blog.
FEZ: Her death has been the best thing since the SS Liberty!
Faked Anis: You wrote that, too.
FEZ: Yes! And I am proud of it.
Faked Anis: This is your level.
FEZ: I think you meant that as an insult.
Faked Anis: I said: this is your level.
FEZ: You won't get away with insulting me, you bastard.
Anis (sorry, "Faked Anis") reads the Corrie satire - written from the perspective of an Arab terrorist who partners with the ISM to mislead idealistic college students into conflating "resistance" with peace - as if these are words I believe!

Who can deny that Rachel Corrie's death was the best thing to happen from the pro-Palestinian perspective since the USS Liberty? The tragic death of a misguided student is not something Israelis or Zionists celebrate, but it was a propaganda bonanza for those who want to see Israel disappear. The words "Rachel Corrie" are used in arguments in much the same way that Anis accuses Jews of using "anti-Semitism" - as a club to end all arguments. (And she was not "killed by an Israeli tank", either.)

And those who read this blog would know that I would never insult my opponents as crudely as Anis imagines.

Let me be clear: No, I do not believe that the Free Gaza movement would be so stupid as to bring bullets and guns to the Gaza shore. That was exaggeration for the purposes of the parody - that's how humor works. But like all humor, it must have a grain of truth, and the ISM, with which Free Gaza is closely associated, has in the past actively aided terrorists.

From perusing Anis' blog - not an easy feat in itself as it is difficult to navigate without a map - I do not believe that Anis himself is a terrorist or even very sympathetic to terror. But a surprisingly large number of NGO members and his fellow"peace activists" are on the record as supporting "armed resistance", "by any means possible" - including suicide bombing. (Sources upon request.) To publicize that fact in a humorous way is in no way "hate speech." Anyone who thinks it does simply does not understand what hate speech is. (As far as "copyright infringement" goes, read the comments by erkwit on the YouTube video page.)

The attention is flattering, I must say. The only part I feel bad about is that I pride myself on being fairly precise in what I write and I am astonished that someone can read my blog and misunderstand what I am saying so badly. Perhaps I overestimate the intellect of a small portion of my audience.

Today's PalArab press roundup

There are rumors that the kidnapping of a 60-year old Israeli businessman in Nigeria might have been from Hezbollah in revenge for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh.

Speaking of Hezbollah, a popular Lebanese singer named Haifa Wehbe was reported to have said that she would like to join that terror group. She had previously voiced her support for Hezbollah during the Lebanon war, saying that Hezbollah's rockets were only aimed at military targets. Nasrallah responded to her overtures by saying that she needs to cover up more and act more modestly.

There are reports that Egypt plans to partially open the Rafah crossing at the beginning of Ramadan for some sick people.

Hamas arrested a trusted insider on suspicion of spying for Israel. This has happened a number of times and the paranoia is getting more acute.

A Hamas member was seen carrying a bomb at Al Azhar University. A couple of days ago another bomb exploded there, causing damage but no injuries.

Egyptian forces found another cache of explosives near Rafah, this one 100 kg. They claim to have closed 140 tunnels in recent weeks.

Fatah has come out against the strikes in Gaza held by teachers and civil servants unions. They are saying that it is not in the best interests of Fatah! See my earlier post on this topic.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of "moderate" Fatah, says it will refuse to ever hand over its weapons.

Rachel Corrie - the lyrics

Yesterday I asked the moonbat Anis, who was threatening to sue me for my song parody of his Free Gaza absurdity, a question:
I'm considering a parody of Simon and Garfunkel's "Richard Cory" as "Rachel Corrie," calling her an idiot and a tool of terrorists. Would that pass your muster or would you try to find a reason to take that one down as well? Just wondering what your definition of "free speech" includes, Anis!
His response was "This is your level." I think he meant it as an insult.

Anyway, the idea stayed in my head, so this morning I wrote the song:

I hired Rachel Corrie to help bring Israel down
She was young, she was stupid, didn't know her way around
She was the perfect patsy, do anything I asked
But even I didn't know how well she'd perform her last task

Yes I – recruit peacenik wannabes
And I brainwash them for terror
Teach them to hate Israelis
And I wish they all could be
Oh I wish they all could be
Yes I wish they all could be
Rachel Corries.

“Peace and terror are the same” is the lesson that I taught
I told her that the underdog was right no matter what
Killing Jews in Israel is demanded by my god
The ISM is just another arm of my jihad

Yes I – recruit peacenik wannabes
And I brainwash them for terror
Teach them to hate Israelis
And I wish they all could be
Oh I wish they all could be
Yes I wish they all could be
Rachel Corries.

She learned to hate America, the freedom made her gag
She was thinking she was peaceful as she burned her country's flag
The bulldozer came slowly but I'm glad she hadn't fled
As good as Corrie was in life, she's worth much more when she's dead

And now she's a propaganda factory
Her death has been the best thing since the SS Liberty
And I'm glad she didn't flee
Her death was a victory
And I wish I had ninety
Rachel Corries!

If anyone wants to sing and record this, I will be happy to make an appropriate accompanying video.

Trouble in Hamastan

Hamas crushed its armed opposition in Gaza but it may now face a tougher challenge.

Earlier this week, the teachers' union in Gaza decided to strike to protest Hamas' politicizing their jobs. Hamas responded by arresting and torturing union heads and replacing them with Hamas loyalists.

Now, the medical workers are starting an open-ended strike in Gaza and civil service workers are threatening to strike as well to protest similar heavy-handed Hamas tactics against them.

The medical workers will continue to work for free in non-Hamas hospitals.

This is a very interesting development that has flown under the MSM radar. It may be the most significant threat that Hamas has had to face, especially since the PA continues to effectively but indirectly bankroll Hamas using money from the rest of the world. Hamas simply does not have enough qualified people to staff all of these positions and the people of Gaza will blame Hamas for their loss of services.

Hamas may be forced into the sort of pragmatic decision making that many thought Hamas would have to deal with when it took power, that was stupidly cushioned by its supposed rival's bankrolling of Gaza's infrastructure.

As usual, the Palestinian Arab people (for all their failings) show far more common sense than their leaders who care more about staying in power than about helping their own people.

Ahmadinejad: "Zionists develop diseases to sell drugs"

From Iran's ever-amusing Press TV:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has blasted some 'Zionist drug cartels' that develop new diseases to sell their pharmaceutical products.

“Some multinational companies and Zionist cartels produce new kinds of diseases to export their drugs to other countries,” Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Iranian pharmacists arragned to mark the Pharmacy Day.

“Contrary to the commercial approach that is prevalent in the world drug markets, our approach towards the production and export of drugs is humane,” Fars news agency quoted the president as saying.

“We should try to produce drugs that are needed worldwide to help the humans,” he noted.

Earlier this year, Iran successfully mass produced Angipars, the world's first herbal medication for the effective treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.
So you see, the Jews - oh, sorry, Zionists - are creating diabolical new diseases just so these capitalist pig Jews - oh, damn, I meant capitalist pig Zionists - can profit from the drugs that only evil Jewish minds - evil ZIONIST minds - can develop antidotes to.

(I cannot find a single non-Iranian reference to Angipars on the Internet. Must be really popular amongst those humans that Ahmadinejad says he cares about.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Now, this is ironic

YNet reports that Jeff Halper, the moonbat from Israel who sailed on the Free Gaza boat, travelled through the Erez crossing to Israel where he got detained by Israeli police. They are considering charging him with breaking the law.

What is the law they want to charge him with? Incitement? Sedition? Treason?

No, nothing like that. The law that he broke was that Israel has made it illegal for Jewish citizens to enter Gaza.

So here we have a law that is clearly bigoted, as it discriminates against Jews only. Yet it is a law that Jeff Halper would normally support, because otherwise thousands of Gush Katif expellees would be trying to return to their homes.

If Halper is charged and contests the charges, he will be on the side of the settlers who he passionately fights every day, fighting against a law that portions of "Palestine" be Judenrein - his normal, bigoted position.

By the way, here is a screenshot from a video of Halper with two other members of the FGM in an amateurish press conference, imitating the monkeys in the famous "see no evil" picture. He's the monkey on the right, in a video ironically called "3 Wise Men."

Listening to their words for half a minute would convince anyone that wisdom is not an attribute that anyone would ascribe to these people.

"Peace activists" threaten me (updated)

The wonderful, peace-loving, guitar strumming and terror-supporting "activists" of the "Free Gaza" movement have taken exception to my satirical take on their "Free Gaza" song contest.

I just got an email from "Anis" himself, the lead singer and lyricist for the moonbattery-filled original song:
AnisinMainz has sent you a message on YouTube:
Beyond the line
This video violates the YouTube Community Guidelines and infringes my copyright. It is not a satire, but defamatory hate speech. I flagged it and will pursue legal consequences shortly. Anis
Firstly, there is no copyright mentioned anywhere on the web pages that host the original, piece of junk song.

Secondly, even if there was, Anis happily endorses YouTube videos where other moonbats are trying to sing the same song, and they are not complaining about "copyright infringement" there.

Thirdly, even though they are claiming that my parody is "hate speech" I conveniently show proof for my statements in my version of the video itself. Calling terror supporters by what they are is not exactly hate speech.

But the funniest part is that the aptly-named Anis titles his screed "beyond the line." My parody was so tame compared to what it could have been - the ISM and its associated groups' record for terror is quite well documented.

Threatening to sue anyone whose opinion differs slightly from the politically-correct pro-Palestinian terrorism line by moonbats is so typical.

The political Left - where "free speech" only applies to the like-minded.

UPDATE:
More in the comments section of YoiTube between Anis and myself:

You are infringing my copyright

Look up "parody" and "fair use" with your copious amounts of free time.

This is not a parody, you stole my video and my song and this is not legal. Moreover, you attached comments that clearly violate the YouTube Community Guidelines (read them) and this video will be removed. The defamatory and insulting character of your "work" prevails over satirical elements. This is a clear case. Sorry you spent so much time with it.

elderofziyon
Oh, don't worry, I didn't spend that much time on it. Your concern is touching!

I'm considering a parody of Simon and Garfunkel's "Richard Cory" as "Rachel Corrie," calling her an idiot and a tool of terrorists. Would that pass your muster or would you try to find a reason to take that one down as well? Just wondering what your definition of "free speech" includes, Anis!

Time for a new open thread

Illustrated with this interesting old Kool-Aid ad from pre-Ayatollah Iran:

Today's PalArab news

More stuff you won't see reported in the Western media:

Islamic Jihad terrorists are training to kidnap Israeli soldiers, saying that they are convinced that this is the best way for more terrorists to be freed from Israeli prisons. They "are taking advantage of the current ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to carry out serious military training."

Israel responded to the story yesterday that Jordan was upset over excavations near Mughrabi Gate, saying that every move they are making is in coordination with Jordan and UNESCO.

Fatah is accusing Hamas of seeking to destroy education in Gaza as Hamas continues its crackdown on teachers and to replace pro-Fatah teachers with pro-Hamas teachers.

Islamic astronomers are worried that the crescent moon due this weekend to mark the start of Ramadan might be mistakenly recognized early because Venus is too bright and near the moon. Evidently, in past years people mistook Venus for the moon.

The "Chief Justice of Palestine"'s Sharia courts announced that the divorce rate for Palestinian Arabs is 8.37% (meaning that 8.37% of marriages end in divorce.) He claims that this is the lowest divorce rate in the world. Not surprisingly, he is lying: India's divorce rate is a fraction of that, for example.

An Egyptian cleric has come up with a solution for Muslim bigamists who move to Western countries where bigamy is illegal: divorce one of the wives in secular court and keep her around as a "mistress."

UPDATE: Supposed clan clash in Gaza, one woman dead. The 2008 PalArab self-death count is now at 154.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Freaks of Gaza

The "Free Gaza" movement has a song contest. Yes, moonbats with guitars are gathering to put together unbelievably bad crap they pretend to be music in support of the rights of terrorists to kill Jews with impunity.

The video announcing the contest, along with a pathetically bad "Free Gaza" theme song, can be seen here.

Since I cannot resist a contest, you can see my version of their song here. Most of the video and all of the audio is taken from the original but the lyrics and annotations make it a bit more...accurate. (If embedded video doesn't work, click here.)

PA leaders think Hamas will take over the West Bank

I have mentioned before the fact that Hamas is much stronger and Fatah much weaker in the West Bank than the world realizes.

Well, many PA leaders agree.

Firas Press is reporting that a large number of PA leaders are sending their kids to school - in Jordan. They anticipate that sometime during this school year there will be widespread fatal Hamas/Fatah violence of the type that shook Gaza last year and they want to keep their kids safe.

Moreover, they are scrambling to get jobs for the PA diplomatic corps abroad so they don't get caught in the crossfire when Hamas starts hunting Fatah leaders in the West Bank. They are taking Hamas' recent threats to conquer the West Bank very seriously.

Perhaps the rest of the world should, as well.

Saudis whining over poor Olympic showing

It seems that one cannot just buy Olympic medals by throwing millions at sports federations. It would also help if someone in the Saudi delegation had a calendar:
A state of anger dominated Saudis over the poor results of their representatives in Beijing Games.

Some claim that officials of the five federations should give reasons for the poor show of their representatives, especially with the financial support for these federations.

“Why did they go,” Ibrahim Al-Ghamdi, a teacher, asked the Saudi Gazette. “Hasn’t the government spent millions and millions of riyals on these players to keep Saudi Arabia in the front line of international sport? We need to be transparent and see where the problem lies,” he added.

Ghamdi suggested that if we continue to perform like this “We’d better refrain from participating”.

Sultan Al-Dawoodi and Sultan Al-Hibshi who participated in shot put failed to put up a good performance.

Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that pay great attention to equestrian, since it is the sport of ancestors. Arabs have been known for their love if this sport.

In Beijing, Saudi riders too disappointed their supporters. Prince Abdullah Bin Mot’ib Bin Abdullah, Fasial Al-Sha’alan, Ramzi Al-Dahami, Kamal Ba-Hamdan and Adnan Al-Baitouni are globally known for their achievements. Saudi fans expected that this team could win a silver medal or at least a bronze.

None of the Saudi representatives in Beijing would get much attention than Ali Al-Dohaili, a weightlifter who claimed that he was misinformed about the day of his participation. According to him, the team’s administrator had informed him that the event would be on Tuesday.

I was surprised to know that it was on Monday,” he told the Arabic daily Al-Riyadiah.

Saudi sport columnists and writers insisted that such incident ought to be investigated officially to see who was responsible for depriving the young man from representing the country.

The only Saudi swimmer in the competition, Badr Al-Muhanna, also failed to at least prove himself as a professional swimmer.

Badr Al-Mutair, the sole Saudi representative in shooting was no luckier than his friends.
I especially like the sentiment that if Saudi Arabia is not going to win medals, why send any representatives at all?

By the way, Saudi Arabia excludes women from their Olympics team, which didn't stop the Washington Post from pretending that their allowing a woman to attend the Olympics as a member of the staff for the first time this year was a huge breakthrough. (The WaPo did follow up with an editorial calling to ban Saudi Arabia from the Olympics in 2012 if it continues to ban women athletes, based on an earlier op-ed by an Egyptian woman.)

August "cease-fire" calendar

Q=Qassam
M=Mortar

August 2008
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa





1
2







3
4
5
6
7
8
9
3M


1Q


1Q
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

1Q


1M
1Q
1Q?
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
1Q

1Q


2Q

24
25
26
27
28
29
30

2Q





31













8/16 - YNet reports three rockets over the weekend, I could only find specific mention of two so I don't know when the third was fired.

Previous "cease fire" calendar here.

The PLO's "goodwill gesture" to Rice

Israel over the weekend allowed two boats filled with terror supporters to reach Gaza, partly because of the desire to make Condi Rice's visit to the area this week more congenial.

Moreover, Israel released nearly 200 prisoners, including two known murderers, also to placate the US Secretary of State.

And how does the PLO, the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" and organization whose name is often automatically prefixed in the Western press as "moderate," welcome Condoleeza?

From Mathaba.net, quoting Iran's IRNA:
Head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization`s `PLO` Political Department Farouk Kaddoumi on Sunday denounced the US colonial approach in the Middle East.

He told a joint press conference with [Iranian] Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki that the US policy is aimed at supporting Tel Aviv regime in the region.

As to the Palestinian resistance movement to the Tel Aviv regime, he said the PLO and Hizbollah share identical views regarding their approach towards Israel.

Kaddoumi underlined the importance of national unity, saying, "anyone against the resistance movement should go to hell".

Praising resistance of Hizbollah to the Zionist aggressions, the PLO official said the victory achieved by Hizbollah was in fact an Arab-Islamic victory.

Expressing support for Iran's national program to produce nuclear energy, he said that Tehran must achieve its legitimate rights enshrined by Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It should be remembered that the PA is still officially run by the PLO, and even though Kaddoumi has been in a long-standing power struggle with Abbas and has been in exile he is still apparently the secretary-general of the PLO's political department. It is the PLO, not the PA, that has observer status and participates in debates at the UN.

PalArab press roundup

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, while welcoming Israel's "goodwill gesture" of releasing 198 PalArab prisoners, emphasized that there can be no peace agreement unless Israel releases every single terrorist and murderer. Because they are the heroes of Palestinian Arab society, among the "moderates" like himself.

There is a report that Abbas wants to meet with another of those heroes, Samir Kuntar, when he visits Lebanon later this week.

Even so, Abbas' PA continues to arrest Hamas members in the West Bank. Apparently, Hamas members in Israeli jails is unacceptable but in PA jails it is OK.

Abbas' government is set to give $100 to some 63,000 unemployed Gaza workers and fishermen on the eve of Ramadan, thus alleviating any pressure on Hamas to take care of Gazans and freeing up Hamas funds for more important things like rockets and guns.

Egypt is said to be ready to open the Rafah crossing tomorrow to allow hundreds of Gazans and Egyptians stuck on the wrong side of the border to return to their respective areas.

Israel allowed some 1800 gas pipes to enter Gaza. Hopefully they are plastic.

Jordan is planning to enter the fray as Arabs criticize Israeli excavations around the collapsed Moroccan Gate as undermining the Temple Mount and they continue to accuse Israel of covering up any Muslim artifacts they find while faking Jewish archaeological finds. (Of course, Israeli archaeologists have found and do publicize Islamic finds, and Arabs are the ones who have been proven to destroy any vestiges of Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount.)

A writer published in two papers his disgust at Al Jazeera for allowing Israelis to be interviewed on that channel. He claims that Israel gets millions of dollars worth of free propaganda by Al Jazeera's interviews, that Israeli TV never allows any Palestinian Arabs to appear on its channels, and that allowing Israelis on Arab TV is "inadvertant normalization" with the Zionist enemy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Islamic Jihad training pictures!

Palestine Today is the voice of Islamic Jihad and as such it often has exclusive photos of Islamic Jihad training sessions.

Here are some of the latest:

I haven't quite figured out why hanging upside down from a rope is such a necessary skill for the brave mujahadeen of PIJ, but perhaps it is the Gaza equivalent of the Blue Angels.

Remember how Gaza is always described as "one of the most densely populated areas on Earth"? Maybe it is because large swaths of Gaza are off limits to civilians as terrorists need lots of space to test their rockets.

This is perhaps one of the better camouflage outfits I've seen. You can hardly see his ski mask and automatic weapon peeking out from all that foliage.


Always a favorite, the Flaming Jump is all the more impressive when you realize that it is over 100 degrees F in Gaza and these guys are flying through a ring of fire - while wearing ski masks. If nothing else, their stench would be a great asset in any hand to hand combat.

Latest PalArab news

Hard to understand this article, but apparently one of the original Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Gaza was arrested by Hamas internal security for incest with his son and, I think, with Muslim Boy Scouts in a mosque in Gaza. Looks like the pervert also videotaped either his own escapades or the boy/girl scouts who met in the mosque.

Hamas continues to abduct and torture prominent Fatah leaders in Gaza including the governor of Khan Younis.

The Gaza Federation of Teachers claims that over 80% of its members in Gaza plan to strike at the beginning of the school year. Hamas is doing everything it can to intimidate them into going to work, including breaking into their homes, beating them and in one case stealing a union leader's car.

Time magazine shills for terror-supporters

Time magazine's coverage of the "Free Gaza" PR stunt betrays its biases:
The Palestinians in Gaza don't get many visitors. That's because the Israelis have imposed an air, land and sea blockade since 2007 when Islamic militants seized control of the coastal strip on the Mediterranean, making it impossible for friends to just drop by. So when two vessels loaded with 46 peace activists arrived on Saturday, thousands of Palestinians lined the harbor in a party mood. Fishing scows honked their foghorns and swarms of kids swam out to the arriving boats just as the sun was turning the water to molten reds and gold.
Time takes pains to talk about Gaza's "friends" dropping by. How many of the "friends" that want to go in and out of Gaza are terrorists? One only needs to go back to February and December and October to find out.

Notice also how Time waxes poetic about the scene surrounding these purported "peace activists" who support Hamas terror against innocent Jews.
It was a remarkable odyssey for the two battered ships of the "Free Gaza" movement, a U.S.-based pro-Palestinian group, which set out from Cyprus on Friday morning with few hopes of reaching Gaza. The activists, who hail from 14 countries, said that before they even set sail, they faced anonymous death threats, the mysterious drowning of one potential sponsor, and constant badgering by Israeli spies badly disguised as guitar-strumming hippies. "They kept popping up, everywhere," said Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, an organizer. "They were really annoying."
Fact check, anyone? Time just lets slide the implication that Israel is assassinating pro-peace patrons.
Once at sea, the activists — who include an 81-year old nun, a Greek leftist parliamentarian and the sister-in law of ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair — braved a squall and a bizarre communications blackout, which they say was caused by lsraeli electronic jamming, and which thwarted a rendezvous in heaving seas between peace activists and a ship of journalists.

The biggest danger they faced was possible arrest by the Israelis. Earlier, Israel had declared Gaza's waters to be a "designated maritime zone" and warned the peace activists to steer clear or face arrest. At one point, says Palestinian-American law professor Huwaida Arraf who joined the activists, the radar picked up three vessels which were shadowing them from just over the horizon. The "Free Gaza" crew presumes the ships were Israeli.

But Israel chose to play nice, letting the peaceniks into Gaza on a once-only pass instead of acting the part of a high seas ogre. "They wanted a provocation at sea, but they won't get it," explained Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Aviv Shiron. Now, Israel has to contend with a barrage of international media coverage of the two peace vessels sailing into Gaza harbor — and the publicity boon this will give to the Hamas militants who have ruled Gaza since June 2007 when they split with Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who governs from the Palestinian inland enclave in the West Bank. Hamas' leader in Gaza, Ismael Haniyeh, personally welcomed the activists. Israel and Hamas are sworn enemies (the Islamic militants say they want to destroy the Jewish state) but nonetheless they agreed to a cease-fire in June that has largely held firm.
Without irony, Time calls them "peace activists" (and even Yiddishizes them as "peaceniks") even as it mentions that Hamas' terror leader "personally welcomed" the terror supporters. And as the picture shows, these "peace activists" have no compunction whatsoever about hugging a master terrorist who works tirelessly on ways to kill as many Jewish civilians as possible.

For Time to repeatedly refer to these wretched moonbats who consistently oppose any and everything that Israel does to defend its women and children from being blown up by Palestinian Arab terrorists as "peace activists" is the height of absurdity, and it shows how low the media has sunk in recent years in its inability to tell right from wrong.

Let's hope that Israel allows these "friends" of Gazans to stay and visit for a long, long time.

Peaceful PalArab weekend

Hamas stormed Al Azhar University in Gaza and the ensuing riots saw many injuries, including professors and a vice president of the university.

A teachers' union in Gaza decided to go on strike to protest these sorts of attacks against teachers by Hamas. Hamas responded by abducting a Rafah school principal, one of the leaders of the union.

Palestinian Arab welfare recipients in the West Bank again closed the UNRWA offices there in protest of not getting enough free stuff from the world. It is unclear how closing the offices will help them. As always whenever Palestinian Arabs act violently against UNRWA, the UNRWA is completely silent about it, with no mentions of these problems in its press releases.

Hamas called on Arab states to stop giving money to the PA.

The PalArab media is reporting on an article in Debka that claims that an 11-point joint Saudi-Egyptian plan for Palestinian Arab unity includes the introduction of Egyptian forces in Gaza. The plan, according to Debka, includes:
1. The rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah must end their vendetta.

2. They will both release prisoners.

3. Fatah fugitives from the Gaza Strip will be allowed to return home.

4. The tit-for-tat bans on Fatah and Hamas institutions in the Gaza Strip and West Bank must be lifted.

5. Hamas must hand Gaza’s ruling institutions back seized two years ago to the Palestinian Authority.

6. Hamas must suspend the operations of its militia and police forces.

7. Inter-Arab monitors, headed by Egyptian officers, will supervise the Gaza police force.

8. Another panel headed by Egyptian officers will compile a reform program for the Palestinian security bodies in Gaza, effectively removing them from Hamas’ hands.

9. In the interim, until the reform program is implemented, an inter-Arab force of 3,000, commanded by Egyptian security officers, will be in charge of security matters.

10. A provisional Palestinian government will be installed in Ramallah in place of the Salam Fayad administration. It will consist of nonpartisan technocrats acceptable to Fatah and Hamas alike.

11. The PLO’s governing institutions will be overhauled to make room for Hamas representation for the first time.

Egypt bans cross-religious organ donation

From Egypt's Daily News, August 18:
Head of the Doctors’ Syndicate Hamdy El Sayed refuted claims made by human rights activists that the proposed organ transplant law discriminates between Muslims and Christians.

The draft law that would regulate organ donations and transplants limits the practice to family members and bans it between people of different religions or different nationalities. This would restrict trade in human organs, the syndicate had said in previous statements.

Without any regulation, Egypt has struggled with the problem of organ trafficking for years. Poverty and desperation have led many to be manipulated into selling their organs with little knowledge of the consequences.

“It’s a racist law that calls for discrimination and it discriminates between the Coptic Christians and the Muslim donors and made it less likely for sick patients to get their organ transplants,” Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Human Rights Union, told Daily News Egypt.

Gabriel added that they filed a suit against the Doctor’s syndicate.

On his part El Sayed denied any sectarianism in the law saying that “if some Copts are angered by the law then why is it that Muslims aren’t.”

El Sayed added that under the draft law, it’s not possible for a Copt to donate organs to a Muslim and vice versa simply because donations have been restricted to family members up to the fourth degree.

“For starters, it is degrading for both religions if lets say, a poor Christian has to sell his kidney to a rich Muslim, or a poor Muslim has to sell his kidney to a rich Christian. It is not right for either religions and that is why we made this law so we can stop organ trafficking.”

And if the minority Copts now can no longer use 90% of the organs on the market, well, it is to protect them from being "degraded."

It is amazing that a head of a doctor's union can think that these arguments "refute" the fact that he is supporting a purely bigoted law.

Arab hate for the West - not just for Islamists

It is seductive to believe that the Arab hatred for America (and Israel) is a purely religious phenomenon; that while the Islamic fanatics hate the United States there are a large number of modern, moderate, practical Arabs who wear Western clothing and who understand concepts like economics and the media who are more flexible and pragmatic in their thinking.

It is not true.

For a tiny example of the hatred that "progressive" Arabs have for the West, check out this MEMRI TV clip of an Egyptian actor being interviewed on a Lebanese talk show:
First Woman: What if you fell in love with an American woman?

Khaled Saleh: Impossible. Impossible. That would never happen. [Applause.]

Second Woman: What about a French woman? Is that any better?

Saleh: No.

First Woman: What about a Lebanese woman?

Saleh: She must be Arab, of course.

First Woman: Why is it impossible for you to fall in love with an American?

Saleh: Let me tell you something. I traveled there once and lived among this people. The great problem that happened in America – September 11 – was not a good thing, but the panic I saw in the eyes of the Americans that day... I hoped it would make these people a little more focused – just a little – so that they would feel that there is such a thing as fear in the world, things like terror, oppression, and so on. I am against anything that is American nowadays, because I feel they are phony. When I talk to an Arab, I feel I am talking to someone who knows what is going on in the world. With an American, I feel I'm talking to a Nazi, who sees nothing but himself.

First Woman: But you are making a generalization with regard to them.

Saleh: By God, they generalize themselves. All of them.

The irony is that here is a talk show with hostesses wearing low-cut dresses, with modern graphics and production values - consciously imitating Western TV as much as possible. It is a sluttier Arab version of "The View." There is nothing remotely Islamic about this show. Yet the hatred shown there is palpable, as the audience wildly cheers a popular actor saying how he considers all Westerners to be beneath contempt and how he sees a silver lining in 9/11.

Saudi women against colored abayas

From Arab News:
It is eight o’clock in the evening at Sahara Mall in Riyadh and Um Abdul Aziz is distributing booklets to shoppers titled “To where are you going?” She is completely covered except for one small hole in her veil over her right eye.

“Fear God,” she whispers to women whom she attempts to give her pamphlets. “May He guide you!”

Some show interest, others just ignore her as they walk past. The booklet was written by Muhammed Alarify, an Islamic scholar, who decries the “odd phenomenon” of women wearing the hair covering of their abayas down on their shoulders, and finds it strange that women choose not to wear long black gloves that cover their hands and arms and stockings to ensure their ankles are not exposed inadvertently from the hemline of their robes.

Um Abdul Aziz, who is an Arabic language arts instructor at a girls’ secondary school in Riyadh, agrees and considers her shopping mall proselytizing important. She laments the way Saudi women dress these days.

“I seek God’s satisfaction,” she said. “Have a look around! Colored and tight abayas... today’s veil needs to be covered by another veil.”

Majeedah Al-Rashid, a mother of four girls, supports women preachers in public places and she even started to do it herself, targeting girls wearing abayas in ways she considers improper.

“The way some women look troubles me because my 16-year-old daughter is now insisting on not covering her face because this is what she sees everywhere,” she said.

She also said that some women’s appearance annoyed other women, who, as she put it, “can’t close their husband’s eyes in public.

In recent years, abayas that reveal the shape of the body has become popular among Saudi women, especially the young. They are made of thin material with colored designs. This has raised the ire of many Islamic scholars, who say that they are not the kind of abayas prescribed in the Shariah as they understand it. They believe that the Shariah dictates that an abaya should be black, wide and cover the entire body from head to toe.

Thahab Alotaibi, a translation student at King Saud University, disagrees with the way some preachers approach girls. The 21-year-old recounted an incident when a woman threw a hand-written leaflet into her trolley in a supermarket that said her face would be burned in hell because she did not cover it.

She added: “I do wear black abayas and cover my hair so I am not violating Islamic teachings. But whether my abaya has blue or white stripe is a very personal choice.”

I'm sorry for mentioning the unthinkable of Saudi women wearing abayas with a blue stripe; it is a family blog, after all....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Egypt: Where courts sentence and sheikhs punish

Even "moderate" Egypt doesn't distinguish between secular and Islamic jurisprudence. From MEMRI Blog:
Attorney Nabih Al-Wahsh has filed a lawsuit against Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi demanding that he be removed from his position, banned, and fined 20 million Egyptian pounds for refusing to implement a sentence of 80 lashes handed down by an Egyptian court to film director Inas Al-Daghidi.

Al-Daghidi, director of "Diary of a Teenager," was accused of slandering Egyptian girls, harming their good name, and spreading licentiousness via his film.

Source: Al-Masryoon, Egypt, August 21, 2008

The main point of the story is, of course, that Egypt uses lashes to suppress freedom of expression.

But notice the sequence of events: An Egyptian court (secular?) sentenced a film director to lashes (Islamic) for "slandering Egyptian girls and harming their good name" (Islamic.)

The sentence was to be carried out by a cleric (Islamic) but he refused. Therefore the lawyer sues in a (secular) court to punish the sheikh, using secular methods (fine and demotion) for not carrying out a religious punishment imposed by the secular court.

No one that I'm aware of refers to modern Egypt as a theocracy. Although its constitution explicitly says that "Islam is the Religion of the State. Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)."