• Israel,  Quotes

    Politics in the style of Runyon

    From the Belmont Club, channeling Damon Runyon

    The Gaza withdrawal may turn out to be far more dangerous to the Palestinian Authority than to Israel because it unleashed powerful forces which Abbas has been unable to control. It now threaten to drag him like a man whose foot has been caught in the traces of runaway horses. The sad trainwreck unfolds. Hamas blows up its own parade through stupidity. Unable to lose face, Hamas rockets Israel from Gaza. Sharon, loathe to concede the Gaza withdrawal may have endangered Israel, will kill a score of terrorist leaders and hit the Palestinians in the pocketbook to show he’s tough. That will get the ‘militants’ all jumping up and down, while the PA teeters like a house of cards in a Category 4 hurricane and the peace movement hums an inspirational hymn indistinguishable from the shrieking of the wind.

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  • Israel

    Low expectations

    From the article Palestinians Celebrate Freedom in Gaza

    Palestinians torched empty synagogues in the Morag, Kfar Darom and Netzarim settlements, as well as a Jewish seminary in Neve Dekalim. Later, a Palestinian bulldozer knocked down the walls of the Netzarim synagogue.

    In Netzarim, two young Palestinians waving flags stomped on the smoldering debris outside the synagogue, and others took turns hitting the building with a large hammer.

    “They (Israelis) destroyed our homes and our mosques. Today it is our turn to destroy theirs,” said a man in Neve Dekalim who gave his name only as Abu Ahmed.

    Israel removed some 8,500 Gaza settlers from their homes in 21 settlements last month, and razed homes and most buildings in the communities. However, the Israeli Cabinet decided Sunday to leave 19 synagogue buildings intact, drawing complaints from the Palestinians and criticism from the United States.

    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Israeli decision “puts the Palestinian Authority into a situation where it may be criticized for whatever it does.”

    So this behavior was expected and excused before the fact.

    As Tom Palmer remarked about Chechnya, what do you do when it’s too late to do the right thing?

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  • Game Theory,  Israel

    Thoughts on Gaza

    For the past few generations Israel has occupied the Gaza strip (and other areas) and the Palestinians have been doing their intifada and generally becoming resentful. Now the Israelis are pulling out and leaving them their own area. The generally cited reason is that this shorten the Israeli security perimeter and makes it easier to defend.

    After decades of occupation the main Palestinian “natural” skill would seem to be rock throwing and suicide bombing. What if the Israeli end game is to give the Palestinians what they want, and then let the various groups compete for dominance in bloody fashion? This keeps them divided and busy for years and the Israelis could offer weapons and intelligence and weapons to keep the fight going (like they supposedly did during the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s). All this would leave Israel relatively secure with the Palestinians taking themslves out of the picture.

    Just a thought.

  • Islam,  Israel,  Weirdness

    Repeating News

    This is now the third appearance of the Muslim vs. teh Unclean meme, this time taking the form “Calif. Nat’l Guard Sorry About Pig-Blood Flier“. Oddly enough I’ve seen it about the same time every year.

    The gist of the story is that mixing suicide bombers blood with an “unclean” animal would discourage the suicide bomber from killing people. For example, a bus in Israel could have a bucket of pig’s blood on board. Were the bus to explode the unclean blood would forever taint the suicide bomber’s final remains, and therefore, no paradise and 72 virgins for him.

    Naturally, Snopes has an article on this. Short summary, it’s a very improbable solution.

    The desire for simplistic solutions to complex problems has spawned several widely-circulated messages of late which seek to transform a fight against terrorism to the easily-manageable level of a horror film or a comic strip. Today’s popular notion is the concept that a pig is to a Muslim as a crucifix is to a vampire — simply arm yourself with a porker, and you can use it to render even the most fanatical terrorist helpless, sending him cowering in fear lest he come into contact with anything porcine.

    Such notions reduce an extremely widespread and diverse religion — and the people who follow it — to a monolithic entity with a single set of beliefs and rules to which everyone adheres. Islam has a variety of sects and sub-sects just as Christianity has a multiplicity of denominations; assuming that all “Muslims” believe and behave identically is like assuming that all Catholics and Baptists believe and behave identically because both of the latter groups are “Christians.” In one sense, messages such as the ones quoted above could be considered as silly as Muslims’ proclaiming that a good way to throw the USA into disarray would be to “bomb” America with juicy steaks on Fridays, because “Americans are Christians,” and “everyone knows Christians who eat meat on Fridays go to Hell.” Never mind that not all Americans are Christians, that not all Christians are Catholics, that not all Catholics believe in exactly the same things, that not all Catholics are equally religious or faithful, and that even the “rules” of Catholicism have changed over time.

    I would quibble over the user of the term “simplistic” when what is actually meant is “simple”. Of course people would want simple solutions over complicated ones.

    Then again, as I prowl the Snopes site, I see this legend, marked true: “An article from The Jewish Journal describes Israeli doctors’ providing blood to Palestinians who were injured at Jenin but refused to be given “Jewish blood.”

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  • Israel,  Judaism

    It’s Hebrew day here in Steveland

    For some reason I’ve been reading up on Judaism and Israel today. That led me to WikiPedia and then to the “Battle of Jenin“. The eye catching thing part (apart from the estimated death toll dropping from 3,000 to 56) was this:

    Many Western news agencies reported these claims uncritically and without confirmation. However, on April 30, Kadoura Mousa Kadoura, the director of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement for the northern West Bank, dropped the death toll to 56 people, including armed combatants. Further investigation by the United Nations and international reporters found that only 52 Palestinians where killed in the operation, 22 of whom were civilians. [8] (

    On May 2, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) filmed adult Palestinians carrying out a mock funeral procession. The funeral was fake and the “body” was able to get up and walk. On May 8th, 2002, The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment ( issued a press release [9] ( stating that it was only Palestinian children playing “funeral”. Israeli groups reject this claim outright.

    Children playing funeral?

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  • Israel

    The worst job ever

    The worst job of all time is dead body smell tester. In Israel the IDF is training their search and rescue people to do their jobs in the presence of dead body scent.

    Could you imagine the product testing for this? The article says that they

    Rescue and medical professionals, who are familiar with the stench from personal experience, tested several chemical and organic substances before finding the exact “smell of death

    That must have been awful couple of days. “How about this one? Too alive This one? Too dead. This one, that’s perfect, its smells just like death!”

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