Media-o-crity of the Week
“I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it–to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over.… The Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back.… Their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified.… Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week…they were justified to attack.”–Excerpts from an article, “The Awful, Necessary Truth About Palestinian Terror,” posted online byJerusalem Post op-ed writer, Larry Derfner, justifying Palestinian terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. Derfner has since been fired from his position at the Post.
(CAMERA, August 29.)
“Our dearest Gilad, With the burning sun beating on our heads, on the sidewalk adjacent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home, we are trying to digest the fact that 1,890 days have passed and you still are not with us.… We’re here. We haven’t given up, we haven’t surrendered, and we have not been broken.… Our beloved Gilad, we know that every day that passes is another nightmarish day, a day of impossible suffering, days and nights of suffocating endless loneliness. But you must believe that we do not forget you, we do not forget the fact that…more than a fifth of your young life has been spent in a dungeon, a Hamas pit.”–Noam and Aviva Shalit, in an open letter written to their son, captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who last Sunday celebrated his 25th birthday, his sixth in captivity.
(Ynet News, August 26.)
“Don’t order us to recognize a Jewish state. We won’t accept it.”–Palestinian Authority “president”Mahmoud Abbas, confirming that the PA will not satisfy the Quartet’s demand to recognize Israel’s legitimacy. In response, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman released a statement alleging that Abbas’ defiant message “reveals the true nature of the [PA’s bid to obtain a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN in] September: A Palestinian state to come in place of a Jewish state.” Lieberman called on “countries around the world [to make] clear to Abbas that the only way the Palestinians will be able to have a state is by stopping their attempt to destroy the only Jewish state in the world.”
(Ynet News, August 28.)
“Recognizing the Palestinian state is not the last goal. It is only one step forward towards liberating the whole of Palestine. The Zionist regime is a center of microbes, a cancer cell and if it exists in one iota of Palestine it will mobilize again and hurt everyone. It is not enough for [the Palestinians] to have a weak, powerless state in a very small piece of Palestine. They should unite to establish a state but the ultimate goal is the liberation of the whole of Palestine. I urge the Palestinians never to forget this ideal. It would be giving an opportunity to an enemy which is on the verge of collapse and disappearance.”–Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on international Qods Day–an annual show of support for the Palestinian cause–urging the Palestinians against “committing suicide” by settling for a two-state solution.
(Jerusalem Post, August 26.)
“[The accords are] not sacred–they are not the Koran or the New Testament.”–Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, declaring that the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt can be amended or annulled, as “there were violations and they were ignored.”
(Ynet News, August 26.)
“Had Hosni Mubarak still been in power, the official Egyptian stand would have reprimanded the Palestinians for the Eilat attacks. The Egyptian position is gradually shifting towards the better.”–Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, referencing the recent terror attacks in Israel, and commending the new Egyptian regime’s growing hostility towards the Jewish state.
(Jerusalem Post, August 26.)
“About 50,000 people were killed since the start of the uprising.”–Colonel Hisham Buhagiar, commander of the anti-Gaddafi troops who advanced on Tripoli out of the Western Mountains, publicly providing for the first time an estimate of Libyan casualties in the six-month-long military campaign [including NATO’s intervention to “protect civilians”–ed.] that toppled Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.
(Jerusalem Post, August 30.)
“We are seeking Israel’s support and influence around the world in order to bring to an end Gaddafi’s despotic rule.”–Ahmad Shabani, founder of Libya’s Democratic Party and spokesperson on behalf of the rebels, confirming that the Libyan rebels are seeking the Jewish State’s help because “Libya needs all the international support they [sic] can get.”
(Ynet News, August 26.)
“Residents of the border region rely on us to protect them. Terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are exploiting the security situation in Sinai to use it as a springboard to execute attacks on the border with Israel.”–Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, explaining that the reinforcement of IDF forces near the southern Gaza Strip and on the Israel-Egypt border is due to a concrete warning that the Islamic Jihad organization is intending to carry out a terrorist attack in the region.
(Independent Media Review and Analysis, August 28.)
“China supports the Palestinian people and their cause. We also support the Palestinians to get the United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967 with Jerusalem as capital.”–China’s special Middle East envoy, Wu Sike, to the official Xinhua News Agency, confirming that China will support the Palestinian effort to gain recognition of an independent state at the United Nations in September.
(JTA, August 28.)
“A premature, unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would not only undermine rather than resolve the peace process, but would constitute a standing affront to the integrity of the United Nations, international agreements and international law.”–Canadian Member of Parliament, Irwin Cotler, in an August 4 letter to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, expressing his support for the Harper government’s opposition to a unilaterally declared Palestinian state. Cotler also wrote that a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood could: “[undermine] all accepted international frameworks for peace; violate existing Israeli-Palestinian bilateral agreements; unravel the institutionalized legal and administrative framework that underpins existing Israeli-Palestinian relations; and effectively constitute recognition of Hamas [if, at the time of UN recognition]…Hamas is the ongoing authority in Gaza, in partnership with Fatah.”
(Suburban, August 24.)
“Qaddafi is gone; it is your turn, Bashar!… Bye-bye, Qaddafi. Bashar is next!… Bashar, we don’t love you, even if you turn night into day!”–Slogans chanted by Syrian protestors during last week’s country-wide demonstrations, demanding that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad suffer the same fate as Libya’s recently deposed leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
(NY Times, August 27.)
“It’s like an initiation requirement for al-Qaeda. They’re trying to demonstrate their weaponry and their sophistication. The tactic is purely international. They’re taking the same track as al-Qaeda–they start as a domestic organization, then they join al-Qaeda and they have to prove that they have an international profile.”–Martin Ewi, an international crime researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, an African think-tank based in Pretoria, describing the emerging Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram’s recent attack on a United Nations compound in Nigeria, which killed at least 18 people.
(Globe & Mail, August 27.)
“Cuba’s top court [has] rejected the appeal of an American Jew sentenced to 15 years in prison for distributing satellite communications equipment and laptops to Cuba’s Jewish community–an act Cuban prosecutors charged was part ‘of a subversive project to try to topple the revolution.…’ Alan P. Gross, 62, of Potomac, Maryland, has been held since his arrest at Havana’s airport in December 2009.… The American response to Gross’s arrest and conviction, meanwhile, has been long on talk, but short on actions.… Obama should make clear that the relaxation of travel restrictions will be reversed and any further concessions imperiled if he is not immediately and unconditionally freed.”–Excerpts from a Jerusalem Post editorial, entitled “Gross Injustice,” describing the unfair incarceration in Cuba of Jewish-American Alan Gross, a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Obama administration’s inadequate effort to free him.
(Jerusalem Post, August 9.)
“I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I read that Jason Alexander, (who played George Costanza on the hit T.V. show Seinfeld), was going to headline fundraising events for the Federation’s annual campaigns in Montreal and Toronto.… My problem with Jason Alexander isn’t with him, but with the size of the audience that went to see him. It’s always easy to get a sellout crowd for a man whose major accomplishment in life was appearing on a hit TV show that ran for nine years. While he was speaking, I couldn’t help wondering; would a similar crowd have come out for Natan Sharasky, who spent nine heroic years in a Soviet prison? Sadly, a hero like Sharansky just wouldn’t sell the same way. Today, celebrity matters most, and style is prized above substance.… The reality is that an actor from a “show about nothing” is far more popular than the real people who have done something.… For Jews, this superficiality is especially dangerous. Far too many Jews subscribe to the movie set version of Jewish identity. All you need is a few Jewish props, and you’re an authentic Jew: a plate of gefilte fish on the table, some cantorial music in the background, and a conversation sprinkled with a few Yiddish words.… Jewish identity used to be about something.… Sadly, we are no longer the People of the Book; we’re now the People of People magazine. And that’s my problem with Jason Alexander.”–Rabbi and CIJR Board Member, Chaim Steinmetz, describing the degeneration of Jewish values amongst North American Jewry.
(Chaim Steinmetz Blog, August 29.)
TEL AVIV: 8 HURT IN TERROR ATTACK OUTSIDE NIGHTCLUB–(Jerusalem) Eight people have been injured in a terrorist attack in south Tel Aviv. According to police, a 20-year-old Nablus resident hijacked a taxi and proceeded to ram into a police road block protecting a Tel Aviv nightclub, filled with more than 1,000 teenagers attending an end-of-summer party. “He then got out of the car, screamed Allah Akbar [God is Great], and went on a knife attack,” a police spokeswoman said. Border Police had set up a precautionary road block ahead of time at the entrance to the club on Abarbanel Street, in Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighbourhood; police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said that the Border Police preparations “were extraordinary and prevented a big disaster.”
(Jerusalem Post, August 29.)
AL QAEDA NO. 2 SLAIN–(Washington) Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another blow to a terrorist group that the United States alleges to be on the verge of defeat. According to a senior administration official, Al-Rahman was killed Aug. 22 in the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan. The official would not say how al-Rahman was killed, however, his death came on the same day that a CIA drone strike was reported in the region. Al-Rahman was regarded as an instrumental figure in al Qaeda, trusted by Osama bin Laden to oversee the organization’s daily operations. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last month said al Qaeda’s defeat was within reach if the United States could mount a string of successful attacks.
(NY Post, August 28.)
UN STATEHOOD BID THREATENS PALESTINIAN RIGHTS–(Jerusalem) The Palestinian team responsible for preparing the United Nations initiative in September has been given an independent legal opinion that warns of the associated risks. The seven-page opinion, submitted to the Palestinian side by Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of public international law at Oxford University, concludes that the attempt to transfer the Palestinians’ representation from the PLO to a state will terminate the PLO’s legal status as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian team, headed by Saeb Erekat, has been devising a strategy to replace the PLO at the UN, substituting it with the State of Palestine. Yet, almost no considerations have been made in terms of the dramatic legal implications which Goodwin-Gill’s legal brief alleges will occur should the PLO lose its status.
(Independent Media Review and Analysis, August 25.)
JORDAN URGES ABBAS TO RETHINK UN BID–(Jerusalem) According to Saudi Arabia’s al-Madinahnewspaper, Jordan has appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider the PA’s upcoming bid for UN recognition. The Saudi newspaper said Amman “advised” Abbas of its position via several diplomatic channels within the Arab world, adding that so far, the Palestinian president has chosen to shrug off Jordan’s recommendation. The PA’s unilateral move is perceived as detrimental to the peace process by many in the international community and particularly by Washington, which has already declared it will oppose the move.
(Ynet News, August 31.)
ISRAELI MILITARY TRAINING SETTLERS AHEAD OF U.N. VOTE–(Jerusalem) The IDF has started training security squads in Israeli settlements, and will arm them with tear gas and stun grenades, ahead of the Palestinian statehood vote at the United Nations. The training of “settlers” is part of the military’s preparations for Operation Summer Seed, to get ready for possible Palestinian mass protest and violence in the wake of September’s vote on Palestinian statehood at the General Assembly. The military is anticipating “marches toward main junctions, Israeli communities, and education centers; efforts at damaging symbols of [Israeli] government,” according to a document obtained by Haaretz.
(JTA, August 30.)
DETAILS MOUNT ON ATROCITIES IN TRIPOLI’S FALL–(Tripoli) Evidence is mounting in Libya’s capital about possible war crimes committed by Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s loyalists in the last moments before losing control of and fleeing Tripoli. Human Rights Watch researchers have documented 110 corpses in four locations in Tripoli, many of whom appear to have been killed execution style while either in detention or with their hands bound. Reporters in Tripoli have also documented the prevalence of rotting corpses left in grassy medians, abandoned municipal buildings or in the street gutters in several districts of the capital. One week after the rebels’ dramatic takeover of Tripoli, the whereabouts of Col. Gadhafi and his children remain unknown.
(Wall Street Journal, August 29.)
US SANCTIONS SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WALID MOALLEM–(Washington) The Obama administration has frozen the U.S. assets of Syria’s foreign minister and two other senior officials in response to Syria’s increasingly violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. Along with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, the Treasury Department action targets Bouthaina Shaaban, a top political adviser and spokeswoman for Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali. Treasury’s action was the seventh time since April that the US government has imposed sanctions on Syria. Previous rounds have targeted Assad and other top aides, Syria’s security forces, and Syrian state-owned banks and the energy sector.
(Reuters, August 30.)
U.S., ISRAEL MONITOR SUSPECTED SYRIAN WMD–(Washington) The U.S. and Israel are closely monitoring Syria’s suspected cache of weapons of mass destruction, fearing that terror groups could take advantage of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad to obtain blistering agents, nerve gas and long-range missiles. “We are very concerned about the status of Syria’s WMD, including chemical weapons,” Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, said in an interview. The concerns about Syria mirror those held about Libya, where U.S. intelligence agencies are trying to help rebels secure mustard gas, shoulder-fired missiles and light arms amassed by Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in recent decades. The Obama administration believes these weapons could fall into the hands of militant groups and terrorist organizations operating across North Africa and the Middle East.
(Wall Street Journal, August 27.)
LEBANON BACKS SYRIA IN REJECTING ARAB LEAGUE STATEMENT–(Jerusalem) Lebanon has backed Damascus in rejecting the Arab League’s call to end bloodshed in Syria. “Lebanon stands by brotherly Syria and its stance is clear in this regard,” Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour was quoted as telling Hezbollah-run radio station al-Nour. Mansour said the Arab League’s statement was not agreed upon by all Arab nations, and that “a consensus had been reached…not to issue a statement…but some…breached it and issued it.” Arab states told Syria last weekend to “resort to reason” and end months of bloodshed, which the United Nations says has resulted in the deaths of at least 2,200 people. Despite growing international condemnation, Assad’s rule shows no sign of imminent collapse.
(Jerusalem Post, August 31.)
EGYPT CONSIDERING MODIFICATION OF PEACE TREATY–(Jerusalem) A well-placed source in Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has confirmed that Egypt is currently studying the possibility of modifying the Camp David Agreement with regard to the number of military troops and equipment allowed into Sinai. At a ministerial meeting last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said his country is willing to consider an Egyptian request to bolster its troops in Sinai, although he said there was no reason for the treaty to be modified. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also weighed in, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the British newspaper The Economist that it was in Israel’s interest to allow increased military presence in Sinai, so as to control what he called a chaotic situation along the border.
(Independent Media Review and Analysis, August 29.)