The Day In Israel: Mon Sept 13th, 2010

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While many of you wake up to the sound of your alarm clock, rooster or children, residents of southern Israel have grown accustomed to waking up to the sound of the Color Red alert.

qassam

Residents of the western Negev woke up to yet another day of rocker fire Monday, as the Color Red alert sounded in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council in the early hours of the morning.

Two explosions soon followed, as two rockets landed in the council’s open areas. No injuries or damage were reported.

The rockets landed in a relatively remote area of the council, unaccustomed to rocket fire. Security forces are canvassing the area in search of the rockets, but have yet to locate them.

Monday morning’s rocket fire followed a similar rude awakening the area’s residents received on Sunday, as two rockets were fired from northern Gaza at Israel’s south.

Still, the Color Red system failed to operate Sunday. Luckily, those rockets landed in open areas as well, causing no harm.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

9:32PM: According to Lebanon’s Naharnet:



Tensions were high on Monday at the Mahmoudieh region in southern Lebanon after the Lebanese army went on alert when an Israeli bulldozer started digging a water duct into Lebanese territory from the Israeli side of the border.

A patrol from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) soon arrived on the scene and stopped the bulldozer’s activity.

Contacts are underway to determine the full details behind the incident.

I have seen no mention of this in the Israeli or international media.

8:55PM: Today’s must-read: Who Are the Palestinians?

Prime Minister Netanyahu  has called upon Palestinian leaders to recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination – “two states for two nations.” But are Palestinian Arabs a nation, or a people? What is “Palestinian national identity” based on? Although taken for granted today, Palestinianism has neither a long, nor distinguished history, which may explain why the peace process between Israel and the Arabs has failed and will continue to fail

Palestinianism, inherently meant only one thing: the rejection of a Jewish state in any form. A few elite Arab intellectuals did talk about Palestinianism, but it was not widely accepted. As Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi shows in his book on the subject, not until Zionists began settlements did local Arabs seek an alternative.

Focused on opposition to Zionists, rather than a positive self-definition, “Palestinian identity” then, as now, was negative. Palestinian leaders, like the mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, an ardent supporter of the Nazis, and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat – “fathers” of Palestinianism – rejected Zionism and promoted terrorism.

Anti-colonial and anti-Zionist uprisings against British rule were not directed towards another independent Palestinian state. Nor were Arab riots and pogroms, like those in 1929, 1936, for example, nationalistic. There were no calls for a Palestinian state; the battle cry was, “Kill the Jews.”

Arab leaders like Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission in 1937: “There is no such country as ‘Palestine’; ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented!”

During the 1930s, anti-British and anti-Jewish riots were enflamed by the newly created “Arab – not Palestinian – Higher Committee,” the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine.

In 1946, Arab historian Philip Hitti testified before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that “there is no such thing as Palestine in history.” In 1947, Arab leaders protesting the UN partition plan argued that Palestine was part of Syria and “politically, the Arabs of Palestine (were) not (an) independent separate … political entity.”

In 1947, the UN proposed a “Jewish” State and an “Arab” – not Palestinian – State. Efforts to organize a political leadership in 1948, in response to the establishment of Israel, soon collapsed.

The womb of Palestinianism was war, the Nakba (catastrophe) in the Arab narrative, the establishment of the State of Israel. Five well-armed Arab countries invaded the nascent state, joining local Arab gangs and militias in a genocidal war to exterminate the Jews. This was not seen as a war for Palestinian nationalism, however; it was a genocidal war against Jews and Zionism itself.

‘Palestinians’ used to be Jews

Arab gangs that attacked Jews in 1947/8 were called the “Arab – not Palestinian – Army of Liberation.” The reason is that prior to Israel’s establishment, the notion of a “Palestinian people” was irrelevant, since Arab affiliations are primarily familial and tribal – not national. And also because “Palestinian” meant something else back then.

Before 1948, those who were called (and called themselves) “Palestinians” were Jews, not Arabs, although both carried the same British passports. In fact, only after Jews in Palestine called themselves Israelis, in 1948, could Arabs adopt “Palestinian” as theirs exclusively. Indeed, the central organ of the pre-Israel Jewish community was called “The Palestine Post” – later changed to the Jerusalem Post.

The establishment of UNRWA in 1949 to provide for Arab refugees provided the institutional structure to build and preserve the idea of an “Arab Palestinian people” – and their “right of return.” Today, in 58 camps, with an annual budget of nearly a billion dollars, the residents are indoctrinated with hatred and Israel’s eventual destruction. Except in Jordan, which granted most citizenship, the residents of these UNRWA towns are severely restricted and denied basic human and civil rights.

Were it not for UNRWA, there would probably be no “Palestinian refugee” problem today. The problem is UNRWA’s controversial definition of “Arab refugee,” which includes anyone who claimed residence in Palestine since 1946, regardless of their origin; this date is important because it marks the high point of a massive influx of Arabs from the region into Palestine, primarily due to employment opportunities and a higher standard of living.

This category of “refugees” was different from all others in that it included not only those who applied in 1949, but all of their descendents, forever, with full rights and privileges; the total population is expected to reach seven or eight million next year, and keeps growing. This is one of the core issues preventing any resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA’s existence, therefore, perpetuates the conflict, prevents Israel’s acceptance, and breeds violence and terrorism.

Palestinianism was defined in 1964, in the PLO Covenant, when Jordan occupied “the West Bank,” a Jordanian reference from 1950 to distinguish the area from the East Bank of the Jordan River, and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. On behalf of the “Palestinian Arab people,” the Covenant declared their goal: a “holy war” (Jihad) to “liberate Palestine,” i.e. destroy Israel. There was no mention of Arabs living in “the West Bank” and Gaza Strip, since that would have threatened Arab rulers. Arab “refugees” were convenient proxies in the war against Israel; Palestinianism became a replacement nationalism for Zionism, a call to arms against Jews.

Solution is regional

This balancing act was no longer necessary after 1967, when Israel acquired areas that had been originally assigned to a Jewish State by the League of Nations and British Mandate – Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – and the Golan Heights, all rich in Jewish history and archeology. A year later, the PLO Covenant was amended to cover both “occupations” – in 1948 and 1967.

Dedicated to armed struggle, its goal has never changed; unable to defeat Israel militarily, however, the Arab strategy is to demonize and delegitimize, creating yet another Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan. In order to accomplish this, it concocted a narrative, an identity and ethos to compete with Zionism and Jewish history: Palestinianism.

Presented in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter (1988), the purpose of Palestinianism is to “liberate Palestine” and destroy Israel; neither reflect any redeeming social or cultural values.

“Palestinianism” lacks the basic requirements of legitimate national identity: a separate, unique linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or religious basis; it is nothing more than a political-military construct, currently led by Fatah and Hamas terrorist organizations. However, it became legitimized by the UN.

Despite mega-terrorist attacks and, backed by the Arab League, Muslim and “non-aligned” countries, the PLO was accepted by the United Nations in 1974. The following year, the UN passed its infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution, sanctioning Israel’s demonization, and setting the UN on a course of Israel’s destruction.

The myth of Palestinianism worked because the media accepted Arab and PLO claims and their cause. Nearly all media, for example, use the term “Palestinian,” or “Israeli-occupied West Bank,” reinforcing Palestinian claims, rather than the authentic designation which appears on earlier maps, Judea and Samaria, referring to its Jewish history. The term “West Bank” is a political, not geographic statement.

By the early 1990s, some Israeli politicians, Left-dominated media, academia, cultural elite and some jurists accepted “Palestinianism as a way of expressing their opposition to “settlements,” and hoping for some sort of mutual recognition with the PLO. Their efforts culminated in the Oslo Accords (1993), which gave official Israeli sanction to Palestinianism.

Anti-Israel academics around the world promote “Palestinian” archeology, society and culture as a brand name, and a political message. Advertising works; every time someone uses the term “Palestinian,” it acknowledges and reinforces this myth. Palestinianism, however, regardless of its lack of historical, cultural and societal roots, is now well-established as a political identity that demands sovereign rights and a territorial base. The question seems to be not if, but where.

The solution is regional. Arab Palestinians are entitled to civil and human rights in their host countries where they have lived for generations. A second Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan, which was carved out of Palestine in 1922 – whose population is two-thirds “Palestinian” – will not resolve any core issue at the heart of the conflict. The conflict is not territorial, but existential; recognition of a Jewish state is anathema. That explains why Palestinian Arab leaders refuse to accept it in any form.

The problem, for Palestinianism, is not “the occupation” in 1967, but Israel’s existence; seen as an exclusively Arab homeland, Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world, completely under Arab sovereignty. This is axiomatic; there are no exceptions and no compromises.

Promoted in media, mosques and schools, anti-Jewish incitement, denial of the Holocaust and Jewish history, and rejection of the right of Jewish national self-determination, by definition, Palestinianism is the greatest obstacle to peace.

I am sure some of you will not agree with this, but I challenge you to show where it is inaccurate.

6:15PM: Photo of the day:

Ben Gurion baggage carousel
Passengers wait for their luggage in the arrivals hall at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv September 13, 2010. Ground staff began an indefinite strike at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport on Monday, initially halting all outgoing flights, an airport spokeswoman said. REUTERS/Nir Elias

More here.

6:08PM: What an evil plan!

Israel has found a unique way to retaliate against Iraq for firing Scud missiles on it nearly 20 years ago; it has decided to sell Iraq Israel’s used cars.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said he has approved a new plan to export tens of thousands of used cars to Jordan and Iraq. The move aims to thin out the glut of second hand cars on the market and pave the way for boosting new car sales, which would put millions of shekels into the government’s pockets in taxes.

According to a statement from the ministry, about 50,000 cars could be sold to Jordan and Iraq annually, which constitutes about 10 percent of the used car market.

The decision was made after a study that showed such a move would make the average age of cars newer, safer and pollute less. What it didn’t mention was that it would also likely increase the price of used cars, which are now already about double similar cars elsewhere in the world due to heavy taxation.

The new plan still must get final approval from the Israeli Ministry of Finance since it would require giving tax breaks for selling a used car.

“We welcome the decision,” said Uri Digmi, the chairman of the Israeli Used Car Dealers Association. “This would bring about a situation where the average car was newer, greener, safer and more efficient and also reduce the number of old cars on the road.”

Each year, Israelis buy about 200,000 new cars. About 600,000 used cars change hands annually. The first eight months of this year saw about 140,000 new cars sold, which is reportedly a 27 percent increase over last year.

Israel charges an exorbitant 113 percent new car tax, which more than doubles the price of cars. This is the main reason used cars cost twice as much in Israel compared to the rest of the world.

The deal would require the state to give the seller of a used car a tax break, or even a voucher toward a tax reduction for the purchase of a new car, in order to make it competitive for dealers to sell used cars abroad.

“Israel right now is like an island, an isolated land where the cars come in and never leave. It’s not like Germany or Switzerland where you can resell them to neighboring countries,” Digmi told The Media Line.

The Transportation Ministry issued a report that found that the move would lower the average age of cars and boost new car sales, which would have a beneficial impact on road safety and engine emissions.

Digmi said the average age of cars in Israel was about five years and in an average lifetime it would be sold half a dozen times until it is eventually crushed in a junkyard. They are never taxed again so the state doesn’t gain anything.

“The state has to encourage the export of used cars abroad in order to improve the local market,” said Digmi. “The moment it comes here it remains until it dies. We have to change that. There’s plenty of market opportunities in our neighboring countries.”

According to Digmi, shiploads of used cars dock in the Israeli port of Haifa where they are unloaded and transported by lorry to Jordan and resold in Iraq.

“There’s plenty of room for the Israeli cars to enter this niche,” he says.

In Amman, Jordan, used car dealer Amer Salman was looking to unload his fleet of used cars. While he had no reservations in principle with the idea of selling Israeli cars on his lot, he was skeptical it would work.

“We have no problem doing business with Israel, but to be honest, we don’t need any more used cars in Jordan,” Salman told The Media Line.

“We have a huge surplus here,” said Salman, a salesman from the Amman dealership of Marwan Eneibsy.

One of the reasons for this was the kingdom’s decision to give huge incentives to Jordanians buying hybrid cars. Taxes were dropped from 80 percent to just 5 percent, which created a glut.

The main beneficiaries in Israel of this new plan would likely be the large car leasing companies in Israel who purchase about 60 to 80 percent of all new cars in Israel. They sell them after some three years into what is a limited market.

In 1991, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud surface-to-surface rockets at Israel in an attempt to draw the Jewish state into the war against Iraq by a coalition of Arab countries and their Western allies. Under enormous diplomatic pressure from the United States, Israel did not retaliate, thus preserving the allied coalition.

Bwaaaaaa!!

5:54PM: This story brought a tear to my eye.

4:40PM: Introducing a new Hamas video depicting a Hamas takeover of Israel, replete with and bad acting and scenes of palestinian wishful thinking.

More here.

3:48PM: Do you remember after the flotilla incident, the Jewish teen who marched alone, with an Israeli flag, in front of a pro-palestinian demonstration?

Here’s a reminder:

Well, the teen has just emigrated to Israel.

Last week, Pereg realized a lifelong dream and made aliyah.

“I bought a one-way ticket. My heart is here,” he said with a spark in his eye. “I intend to join the IDF and serve the country as much as I can.”

Ever since his daring appearance, Pereg has become a sort of mini-celebrity in Los Angeles and Israel, receiving hundreds of support letters and even some checks.

“I speak at all sorts of event?; especially fundraisers for Israel. I’ve become an unofficial ambassador,” he said.

“Many Knesset members have been calling me; today MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) called to invite me to her son’s bar mitzvah. Sometimes, it’s a little embarrassing,” Pereg said.

His moment of famewas completely spontaneous, Peres said, adding he felt teh need to face the pro-Arab protestors while holding up an Israeli flag.

“At first the police asked me to step away, but I ignored them. Only when the protesters shouted slurs at me, the officers said they would be unable to protect me, and so I walked away,” he said, adding that friends told him they feared for him.

“However, I felt a rush of adrenalin and wasn’t scared at all,” he said.

Pereg landed in Israel last week, accompanied by his mother. He was in fact born in the Jewish state 16 and-a-half years ago, but his parents immigrated to the United States when he was still an infant.

Pereg said he always felt the passion of Zionsim burning inside him, and thought of himself as an Israeli temporarily visiting abroad.

The young teen’s dream is to join the IDF Intelligence Corps: “I am half Persian, and speak the language. My intention is not necessarily to fight, but use my skills to contribute as much as I can.”

After he completes his military service, Pereg’s ambition is to become a Knesset member, although he hasn’t decided yet which party to join. He also said he would like to live in Judea and Samaria, “where people do on a daily basis what I did for 20 minutes.”

2:50PM: Regarding the three palestinians reportedly killed yesterday when an “IDF unit spotted suspicious figures attempting to fire anti-tank missiles, at which point the soldiers returned fire,” the palestinians have claimed they were innocent civilians.

The thing is, their ages are being reported differently, suggesting palestinian sources cannot get their “facts” straight.

CNN:

Three people, including a teenager, were killed Sunday and two others were injured when an Israeli tank shell landed east of the Beit Hanoun neighborhood in northern Gaza, according to Palestinian medical and security officials.

The number of dead was initially two, but a 13-year-old boy died from injuries sustained in the incident, the officials said. The other fatalities were a 61-year-old man, the teenager’s grandfather, and another youth, 21.

BBC:

Medical staff and witnesses said Israel fired shots across the border near the town of Beit Hanoun in Gaza.

One report said the two of those killed were a 91-year-old man and his 33-year-old grandson.

AP:

Palestinian mourners pray next to the bodies of Ibrahim Abdullah Abu Said, 70, and Hussam Abu Said, 16, during their funeral in Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010

I smell a rat.

1:34PM: Via MEMRI comes excerpts from a speech delivered by Hamas PLC Speaker Ahmad Bahr, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on September 5, 2010.

It is said that ‘Omar [Ibn Al-Khattab] wished to become a martyr. It is said that one day, ‘Omar addressed the people: “In the Garden of Eden, there is a palace – hear me well, brothers – with 500 gates. At every gate, there are 5,000 black-eyed virgins.” Brothers, 500 multiplied by 5,000 is 2.5 million.

And I thought 72 was a lot.

Ibn Hajar explicated a hadith, saying: When a man is having sex with his wife, he should be praying for a son who would wage Jihad for the sake of Allah.

How romantic. Can you imagine the Hamas pick-up line?

“Wanna help me create a son who will wage Jihad for the sake of Allah?”

With so many female Muslim virgins, I am surprised there aren’t more male ones.

1:20PM: Here is a story I missed when I was offline during Rosh Hashanah.

A CNN investigative report aired Thursday slammed the treatment of Palestinian children by IDF soldiers.

The report included uncorroborated charges of sexual abuse against Palestinian youngsters while in IDF custody.

The CNN report featured an unidentified Palestinian boy claiming that IDF forces attempted to insert an object into his rectum after he was arrested. The unidentified youngster said a dozen officers were standing around and laughing while he was being interrogated, stopping only when their commander stepped into the room.

The IDF could not offer a response to the charge because the youngster’s name was not provided. The army did say that a complaint should be filed if such cases ever happened.

“Any claim regarding improper conduct by soldiers or police officers will be thoroughly examined by the relevant officials,” the army said. “We cannot address general claims on the subject in the absence of a specific complaint.”

According to human rights group Defense of Children International, cited in the CNN report, five Palestinian children said they were sexually abused by the Israeli army. No evidence or further information was provided.

According to the report, which did not seem to include any hard evidence of IDF wrongdoing, Palestinian youngsters detained over such offences as stone-throwing are being held in contravention of the law. It cited charges that some boys underwent torture at the hand of Israeli forces.

Needless to say, antisemitic websites and other scum and villainy have latched on to this story.

This is CNN.

12:25PM: PA negotiator Saeb Erekat has threatened that peace talks will fail if Israel resumes building in “West Bank settlements.”

Apparently, continued rocket fire and refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state are not showstoppers, while a Jew adding on an extra room to their house is.

9:15AM: It is just uncanny how many times the foreign press photographers choose to portray Gazans as “caged in”, no matter where in Gaza they are.

Here’s today’s example.

cage Gaza

9:08AM: Luckily, when Aussie Dave is out of action, you guys step up and send him some good news tips.

For instance, Shy Guy noticed these headlines yesterday:

JPost: IDF foils attempted terror attack at Gaza border fence

INN: IDF Kills Two in Firefight with Gaza Terror Infiltrators

AP: Hamas: Israeli strike in Gaza kills 3 Palestinians

What media bias?

9:04AM: Sorry for the relative lack of posting yesterday, but it was a combination of having too much work and too much of no working internet at home.

Those bloggers who manage to churn out 5 plus posts a day, while maintaining a day job and family life, please email me. I want to know your secret.

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