Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PA Upset Over Chanuka Menoras

With the upcoming Chanuka "festival of lights" holiday approaching, the Shomron Regional Council has been erecting large Menorahs around the Shomron, as is commonplace around the world from the US White House to New Zealand.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority (which has vowed never recognize Israel as a Jewish State) is upset with the large menorahs being erected into the Shomron.

The "WAFA" Palestinian News Agency reports today about these new large menorahs on their Arabic Website:

Nablus, WAFA 29/11/2010 - Settlers construct a huge brass candlestick on the outskirts of the city of Nablus in the West Bank.

Witnesses said that the menorah set by a crane near the triangle Za'tara [Tapuach Junction] a few kilometers south of Nablus, and pointed out that this region is a center to a number of extremist Jewish settlements.

"The menorah is often used in Jewish religious rituals, and it seeks to impose settler ideology in the West Bank through these actions." (Wafa)

If you would like to help subsidize the costs of any of these offensive Menoras, please contact David at the Shomron Regional Council Liason office.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Tit for Tat, and then some.

IDF Radio reported today a decision from last week: "As a confidence building measure with the Palestinian Authority, the IDF Central Command is now allowing Israeli tour guides to bring tourists groups into Bethlehem. The IDF Command and civil administration with soon evaluate if to allow Israeli tourism into the PA-controlled city as well."

Following the above report, IDF radio continued: In response to the IDF's outstretched good-will gesture, a Bethlehem Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli civilians at the Gush Etzion junction. The terrorist was apprehended by IDF forces from the combat Kfir Brigade; they confiscated his knife and he was transferred over to Israel's Police. (source, IDF Spokesman)

Regardless, the Palestinian Authority was relieved that they too received a call from the US State Department, that they were also mentioned among the WikiLeaks CableGate files.
"They aren't making a big deal out of it, and they hope we won't either," a senior Palestinian official told Ma'an, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. "But when they're telling us 'Don't overreact,' that basically translates as 'There's something you're not going to like.'"

According to the message from the US, some of the leaked cables will confirm assumptions about America's support for Israel over the Palestinians in the peace process. They will also articulate Washington's stance against the inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks, the PA has been told.

But as far as the Palestinians are concerned, the expected disclosure will confirm more US policy than it exposes, the source said. "It's already known that the Americans are against reconciliation. It's known that they love [Fatah strongman] Muhammad Dahlan. And it's known that they, frankly, love Israel."

A spokesman for the PA denied knowledge of the conversation.

A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas did not return calls.

The US declined to confirm if either the PA or Israel had been briefed. State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson told Ma'an that it was not a "far-fetched" possibility, however. "US officials have been reaching out to our global counterparts over the past few days about the possibility of leaked information," she said. (Maan)
You can bet the PA would have been even more annoyed had they not been mentioned, since that would make them even more irrelevant.

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Amish Visit the Kotel

Amish tourists from the USA and Switzerland visited the Kotel yesterday and during their meeting with R' Shmuel Rabinowitz, (the "Kotel" Rabbi) they requested forgiveness from the Jewish people for their silence during the Holocaust

During their meeting they stressed they do no want anything in return from the Jewish people, and they are not trying to proselytize in any way. Rather, they wished to express their support for Israel and the Jewish people, which they didn't do in the past.

The presented a scroll to Rabbi Rabinowitz, containing their apology, and a guarantee that from now on the Amish would loudly proclaim their support for the Jewish people, specifically in face of the hatred and antisemitism from Iran. (source)

I was looking for a good photo from the Harrison Ford movie, "Witness", but alas, I couldn't find anything perfect for this post...

JoeSettler adds: I was at the Kotel when they were there. With their Kipas on, I wasn't sure who Amish and who was a Hassid.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Israel WikiWatch

A Joint Jameel/JoeSettler headline post being updated over the next 12-24 hours.

This post will be updated as new Israel related Wikileaks updates (and related events) appear.

Wikileaks has announced they will begin posting documents today consisting of communications from the US to its embassies regarding its allies. For the past week, the US has been trying to do damage control. The US claims that the release of this information will "place at risk on-going cooperation between countries".

Latest leaks and rumors on top.

11:59 PM One thing is clear. Arab states do not link dealing with Iran to the Arab-Israeli conflict. They all want Iran dealt with on its own.

Jordan is the only exception, but they are directly involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict and have other concerns they are trying to push forward.

11:36 PM Nothing overly exciting in the Wikileaks - yet.

Worst is that US seems out of touch with what the rest of the world wants and needs for safety and stability, and is afraid to act. Israel's positions were already known, so nothing new there. Livni's private statements contradict her public statements.

We haven't found the Muqata listed yet in Wikileaks. We're disappointed.

Biggest story is regarding Gaza war, that Palestinian Authority (Fatah) and Egypt refused to take control of Gaza if Hamas was ousted by Israel during Operation Cast Lead.

10:55 PM Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is "elegant and charming" but never keeps his promises.

JS: Why even bother with that leak?

10:49 PM Tzippi Livni exposed as liar. In 2007 Livni said there is no way to reach a permanent settlement with Abu Mazen. Unlike what publicly tells Israel.

10:40 PM US spy activities against Israel and Palestinians: US attempts to acquire data and intelligence on Israeli communications infrastructure.

US tries to assess likelihood of PA officials turning weapons against Israel and US. Actual relationship between Hamas and Fatah. Internal PA support for terrorism.

Biometric info on everyone.

10:26 PM Israel asked Egypt and Fatah (Palestinian Authority) if they would take control of Gaza if Israel removed Hamas during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Both said no.

10:21PM Mossad assessment that Iran was playing US/world for time until weapons developed.

Israel believes Iran used Red Cresent to sneak spies into other countries in 2006.

10:16 PM Iran has missiles that can reach central Europe.

10:13 PM Wikileaks: Israel intelligence suspects Egypt preparing for future war with Israel.

10:07 PM Had to go out for a security issue in the Yishuv. Back now.

Wikileaks reveal that Israel and Arab states pressed the US numerous times to deal with Iran's nuclear program in years past. Ehud Barak said that US must deal with North Korea and Iranian nuclear programs. Lack of US response to North Korea would send message to Iran.
Mossad pushed for covert measures and regime change.
Israel said in 2005 that Iran would have nuclear weapons by 2010.

8:10 PM Israel's Channel 10 TV reports: The Wikileaks show that PM Netanyahu was worried the Iranian nuclear reactors would go on-line within months of 2009, yet the Obama administration scoffed at the idea.

7:52 PM
As the WikiLeaks server is under a massive denial of service attack, Der Speigel is rolling out copies of tomorrow's magazine, based on a pre-leak. The cover of tomorrow's magazine is here, with some of the world leaders who will be embarrassed by the leaked cables...

7:45 PM JERUSALEM: Several of the documents set to be published by WikiLeaks this weekend are believed to show the US has been helping Turkey's Kurdish separatist movement the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group in Turkey, the US, the European Union and Australia.

The claim is reported in the London Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat. (source)

7:21 PM ROME, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The expected release of classified U.S. documents by Wikileaks will be the "9/11 of world diplomacy", Italy's foreign minister said on Sunday, urging Italian prosecutors to investigate the whistle-blowing website.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, on a trip to Qatar, said he did not know the content of the files to be released but warned they would"blow up the relationship of trust between states", according to Italian news agencies.

"It will be the September 11th of world diplomacy," he said.

7:18 PM UK govt. issues D-notices (don't publish) to media on wikileaks.

7:17 PM El Pais, Le Monde, Speigel, Guardian & NYTimes will publish many US embassy cables tonight, even if WikiLeaks goes down.

7:00 PM Israeli Left claiming IDF general ordered killing of wanted terrorists instead of their capture, based on stolen internal IDF documents.

6:33 PM Wikileaks announces they are under massive Denial of Service attack.

6:29 PM Receiving reports that some people can visit and some can't. Probably overloaded.

6:20 PM Wikileaks site crashed, overloaded or has been taken down.

5:50 PM Ynet reports:

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed expected release of classified State Department documents on WikiLeaks, saying that the United States "didn't specifically indicate what will be exposed. I don't think Israel is the center of attention."

Netanyahu added that "is it customary for there to be an information gap between what is said publicly to what is said privately. When it comes to Israel, the gap isn't too big. As far as other countries are concerned, the gaps are very very big. We shall wait and see."

5:22 PM Britain Braces: "An 'embarrassing' assessment of David Cameron by the the U.S. administration is set to be made public on the WikiLeaks whistleblowers website.

The harsh analysis of the Prime Minister is among thousands of leaked State Department files set to be revealed imminently on the site.

And Gordon Brown's rocky relationship with President Barack Obama is almost certain to mentioned as is Britain's troop withdrawal from Iraq." (Daily Mail)

5:15 PM Germany's Der-Spiegel reports that the WikiLeaks contain information that the USA has an agent operating inside Germany's government, from the liberal FDP party. (source)

5:06 PM Israel on "high alert" -- "Another Israeli official added that the American Embassy in Tel Aviv had been calling Israelis named in the documents in order to warn them in advance. The list includes officials in the Foreign Ministry, as well as aides to prime ministers, this official said." (JPost)

4:49 PM Speculations abound that the WikiLeaks will reveal that Israeli officials have been providing classified information to the USA in exchange for money (rotter.net)

4:42 PM The JPost reports the USA's spin control:

The Obama administration on Sunday told whistle-blower WikiLeaks that its expected imminent release of classified State Department cables will put "countless" lives at risk, threaten global counter-terrorism operations and jeopardize US relations with its allies. [Jameel: by telling us what the State Department really thinks of Israel? We've been writing it on the muqata blog for years...]

In a highly unusual step reflecting the administration's grave concerns about the ramifications of the move, the State Department released a letter from its top lawyer to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his attorney telling them that publication of the documents would be illegal and demanding that they stop it.

The letter from State Department legal adviser Harold Koh was released as US diplomats around the world are scrambling to warn foreign governments about what might be in the secret documents that are believed to contain highly sensitive assessments about world leaders, their policies and America's attempts to lobby them. [Jameel: The USA wants Tzippi Livni as Prime Minister? What a shock.]

In the letter, Koh said the publication of some 250,000 secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, which is expected on Sunday, will "place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals," ''place at risk on-going military operations," and "place at risk on-going cooperation between countries."

"They were provided in violation of US law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action," he said. Koh said WikiLeaks should not publish the documents, return them to the US government and destroy any copies it may have in its possession or in computer databases.

4:24 PM Washington specifically warns Israel of "potentially embarrassing" leaks (Breitbart) Rotter.net reports that the US has pulled CIA spy operatives out of Israel so that Israel can't retaliate and imprison "Pollards" for spying on Israel for the USA.

4:15 PM Rumors that Wikileaks contain detailed personality profiles of Israeli leaders, details of meetings with Mossad chiefs, and intel from army intel unit "Aman."

2:37 PM Already theories abound surround the latest Wikileaks.

The US has spent the last weekend taking down file-sharing and bit-torrent sites and seizing domain names. A theory behind that is to slow down the proliferation of the Wikileaks documents. A little over the top for my taste.

Others say that local leftwing Israelis are going to be named as sources for much information.

And one particularly interesting theory is that it will reveal what the US knows about secret Israeli operations, and officially link them to Israel (Syria nuclear plant strike, Abu Dhabim Stuxnet, etc.)

Personally, we're expecting at least one remark about the Muqata being an obstacle to peace (and a voice of reason).

As the Wikileaks released we'll let you know of anything important we (or others) find.

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Israel Hits Iran where it hurts...with a Star of David

YNET translates from Iranian reports:

Iranian authorities once again 'hit' by past friendly relations with Israel: Images published Saturday by Iranian media outlets show a Star of David on the roof of the main national airline's building at the Tehran airport.

The satellite image was taken from the Google Earth service. According to the Iranian report, the Iran Air building was "built by Israeli engineers," who operated in the countries before the 1979 Islamic Revolution during the days of Shaa Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

"It's interesting that even 32 years after the victory of the revolution, this Zionist star symbol has yet to be removed from this building," a local news website wrote.

The calls to remove the Star of David, which the Iranian authorities view as a symbol associated with Israel, were accompanied by local media reports on the close relations with Israel in the past, which were completely severed after the revolution.

According to the reports, since 1960 El Al planes used to regularly take off from the Tehran airport to Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. In addition, Israel sold weapons to the Shaa's army in exchange for oil, and Israeli experts trained their Iranian colleagues in the fields of agriculture and trade. More on ynet

Personally, I'm still waiting for the IDF Armored Engineering Corps to engrave a Star of David into the Tehran runways, like we did in Gaza.

View Star of David Engagred into Gaza Runway in a larger map

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jordan’s Option

In an interview with Makor Rishon this weekend, Sheikh Ahmed Abu-Mashhur, head of the 140,000 strong HajAhalin tribe speaks out and discusses how he views a future peace, and what the Kingdom of Jordan is doing about it.

The Sheikh represents a sizable clan of 80,000 people in the Jerusalem area, with the other 60,000 in Jordan and other areas of Israel.

The Sheikh has some interesting things to say.

Those more familiar with the region are aware that the “Palestinians” are mostly a collection of different tribes and/or clans. Some are geographically concentrated in one area, others are more spread out.

Both Hamas and Fatah constantly find their attempts at absolute rule disrupted and limited by preexisting political/familial structures that don’t accept or want these criminals/terrorists ruling over them (such as in Rafah and Hebron to name two notable examples).

Jordan (with its 80% Palestinian majority) recognizes that a Palestinian Authority state is direct danger to the state of Jordan and the entire region. The Hashemite kingdom is very afraid of what will happen if the Palestinian Authority declares a state. The Sheikh says Jordan has lost all faith and trust in the PA and wants to create another alternative.

So the Jordanians are quietly taking active steps to explore changing the situation on the ground, in ways that are good for Jordan, good for Israel, and good for the Arab clans.

Abu-Mashhur says that Jordan is actively bypassing the Palestinian Authority as senior Jordanian government representatives and military officers are approaching the leaders of all the clans directly for talks.

They are exploring the idea of creating a Jordan-Israel confederation with Palestinians taking on Jordanian citizenship, while having political autonomy in Judea and Samaria through the clan structure, a more traditional solution.

Sound familiar?

Abu Mashhur continues the interview with some very definite opinions about Israel.

In his words, the biggest disaster the Israelis caused his people was not the “Occupation” but Israel bringing in the PLO from overseas and the Oslo accords.

He has a deep disrespect for the PA and its institutions.

Unlike the PA, he recognizes and accepts Israel as a Jewish state. He says that Allah commands that they live in peace with the Jewish people. Jews are the children of Yaakov, and they are the children of Yishmael. We’re all family, cousins.

He finishes his interview with this rather telling statement.

“I hope the future will be where we renew our direct ties with Jordan like we used to have, and we get rid of the Palestinian Authority.”

Not my words. The words of a Palestinian Arab leader representing 140,000 Palestinian constituents. And apparently also the desire of the King of Jordan.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 29, 1947: The Story of a Vote

From our friends at Toldot Yisrael who produce videos of firsthand testimonies from the men and women who helped found the State of Israel.

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 1947, and Abba Eban and the Jewish Agency delegation to the United Nations were concerned. A preliminary vote showed that the Zionists did not have enough support to pass the Partition Plan. Rodriguez Fabraget, Uruguay’s UN delegate, kindly obliged Abba Eban’s request for a filibuster that succeeded in postponing the vote until after Thanksgiving. They hoped the brief extension would be enough time to secure the requisite two-thirds majority that would approve the establishment of a Jewish State.

On November 29th, when the day of the vote came, Jews around the world listened anxiously. Within a few brief moments, 20 centuries of Jewish homelessness came to an end.

November 29, 1947: The Story of a Vote is the second installment in the "Eyewitness 1948" short film series produced by Toldot Yisrael and the History Channel. The first film in the series, Echoes of a Shofar, has been viewed close to 200,000 times since its launch in September.

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Who is Abu Mazen's Hero?

Nope, its not President Obama.

This wasn't years ago, when he wrote his doctoral thesis claiming the Holocaust never happened, but in an interview yesterday, Nov 23.

The Elder of Zion blogger bring us the interview, which the Palestinian News Servive "Maan" neglected to translate into English, (so that the US State Department can easily continue to donate hundreds of millions of US dollars to this man and his mission.)

"We must also recall the outstanding [early] leadership of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Palestine-Haj Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, who sponsored the struggle from the beginning, and sponsored the struggle and displacement for the cause and died away from his home."

The Mufti was a rabid Jew-hater who was the driving force behind not only the 1929 massacres in Jerusalem and Hebron but also the 1936-39 riots that resulted in the deaths of hundreds. He moved to Germany during World War II, hoping that Hitler would win and allow to him murder every Jewish man, woman and child in Palestine, and proposing plans to do exactly that.

More at EoZ.

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The Israeli Referendum Law - First Thoughts

Linked is the text of the Israel referendum law that was just passed (in Hebrew), I skimmed through its 43 pages to get a general idea of what it says.

The law is actually not just about ceding land, but about approving a treaty that involves ceding land.

My summation of the law is as follows:
Any treaty involving the ceding/transfer of land away from the sovereignty of the state of Israel, (JS: including for instance the Golan which was annexed) to a foreign party would require a Knesset vote, with 80 votes ‘for’ the transfer.

If there is a majority of only between 61-79 vote ‘for’ the treaty which includes ceding any land (JS: and this part isn’t clear to me because of their choice of words, but presumably this would even include Tel Aviv, or other land swaps), then the vote would go to a referendum, where the public would decide.

The law, as I understand it right now, has its pros and cons.

There is a law on the books (law #97, thanks Jameel for looking it up) forbidding the transfer of any land under Israeli sovereignty to any foreign power. Any attempt to do would be considered an act of treason and the penalty is death or life in prison.

מי שעשה, בכוונה ששטח כלשהו יצא מריבונותה של המדינה או ייכנס לריבונותה של מדינת חוץ, מעשה שיש בו כדי להביא לכך, דינו - מיתה או מאסר עולם
Of course, this law is completely ignored, so it didn’t really matter if it is on the books.

During Oslo, Yitzchak Rabin openly bought the votes of 2 politicians to pass Oslo in the Knesset just to get a 61 majority, and we’ve been paying for that perfidy every since.

Ariel Sharon ran ram shod over every democratic institution to destroy Gush Katif (firing cabinet ministers who opposed him, blackmailing Bibi with the threat to destroy the economy if Bibi didn’t vote ‘for’, ignoring the internal vote in the Likud, etc.), and he too wouldn’t have otherwise had a 61 majority.

So in retrospect, a law like this would have at least added another layer of protection from politicians like these, especially when, in terms of Gush Katif, there was a huge public majority against Sharon and against the Expulsion, and when the majority of citizens didn't want Oslo once people started dying in the streets and restaurants.

On the downside, it legalizes the very concept that any land in Israel is negotiable and can be given away; a fundamentally bad idea in of itself.

Furthermore, this law can also be overturned at any time with a vote of 61.

There are other pros and cons, but these are my first thought on the subject. Perhaps I’ll address more in the future.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Shul on the Hilltop

Not far from the Muqata headquarters in the hills of the Shomron, is the hilltop community of El-Matan. A narrow road snakes along the mountainside, bringing you to El Matan.

Since the new synagogue/shul was erected just before Sukkot this year, I have made it my practice to pray there every morning.
The shul is modest, yet has alot character, combined with breathtaking views.

Here's the view from the shul, facing West. On this day, it was hazy.

I came back the following day with my telephoto lens...and it was clearer outside. Tel-Aviv clearly comes into view

While my camera was using a 300mm zoom lens (with no tripod), Tel Aviv is clear to see.

I wonder if the soldier on patrol in El-Matan is gaurding El-Matan, or Tel Aviv's Azrilli towers.

Unfortuantely, Peace Now doesn't appreciate hilltop communities with synagogues. For years, the community of El-Matan (founded at the behest of Ariel Sharon, who called on Jews to build the hilltops) has tried to get the needed signature from the Defense Minister to "legalize" it.

While Arabs freely build (without permits) throughout Areas B & C in the Shomron, El-Matan is not entitled to have a shul, and Ehud Barak demanded it be sealed or destroyed. This past Friday, the shul was sealed by the residents.

"This Sysogoge has been sealed without justification, rather due to the political interests of the Defense Minister [Ehud Barak]"

Till we can resume our prayers in the shul, a large US army tent was erected next door. (seems to be Iraq surplus -- Thanks USA!)

Its depressing to pray in the tent, when our shul sits next door, sadly sealed up. Hopefully, we'll be able to resume our prayers there in the coming months...

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Initial Tribunal Report Implicates Hizbollah in Hariri’s Murder.

Posted for Jameel

Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s most influential moderate, was murdered in a Beirut bomb blast in 2005. The UN created a special tribunal to investigate the murder…and CBC reports that the investigation points to Hizbollah.

The United Nations has long suspected that “top-ranked Syrian security officials” approved the slaughter, with help from the Lebanese security forces. And now the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, led by Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, is preparing to issue its first indictments after a long, tortuous and problem-plagued probe.

The UN/Lebanon tribunal is expected to point a finger at Hezbollah, the powerful Shia militia group led by Hassan Nasrallah and bankrolled and armed by Damascus and Tehran.

As the CBC reported Sunday, Lebanese phone records suggest Hezbollah officials communicated with the owners of the cellphones allegedly used to coordinate the bombing. The CBC also reported that UN probers at one point viewed top Lebanese intelligence official Col. Wissam al-Hassan as a suspect.

Predictably, Nasrallah has reacted with pre-emptive fury. Even before the CBC broke its story, Nasrallah, who is considered a terrorist by Canada and other countries, had threatened to “cut off the hand” of anyone who tries to arrest his men. And Hezbollah is ready to take on the weaker Lebanese army to shield its militants.

Many think that Nasrallah and Syria will use this as an excuse to completely take over Lebanon…which would have interesting security implications for Israel and would further expand Iran’s control in the Middle East.

Stay tuned…


In other news, North Korea continued their unending violations of international law again and attacked South Korea, leaving dead and wounded.


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TSA. More Stupidity

The following appeared on the RS blog.

As the Chalk Leader for my flight home from Afghanistan, I witnessed the following:

When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, we flew out of Baghram Air Field. We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards.

Our first stop was Shannon, Ireland to refuel. After that, we had to stop at Indianapolis, Indiana to drop off about 100 folks from the Indiana National Guard. That’s where the stupid started.

First, everyone was forced to get off the plane–even though the plane wasn’t refueling again. All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine.

It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.

The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it reinspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to reinspect our Cargo–just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, reinspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.

This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols.

So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns–but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.
Profiling works.

Stupid TSA tactics like this, including the "opt-out" uber-pat-down-molest-grope, do not.

hat-tip: Lurker.

Here is a video of the TSA patting down a now shirtless boy:

And a TSA agent was recently arrested for rape of a 14 year old girl:

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

What do the Palestinians want?

What do the Palestinians want?

It's fair question. After all, if and when we negotiate with them (and not with the Obama administration) it would be good to know what it is they really want and see as their endgame.

The Israel Project ran a comprehensive poll that tried to understand exactly what they want.

Some of the answers were seemingly contradictory (at first), while most answers were quite clear and consistent. A statement left open and undefined ("peace") received a positive answer, but when the actual terms of what "peace" included was defined (see last graph on this post), it was then overwhelmingly rejected.

To begin with, most Palestinians want to live under Sharia law.

Surprising at first, most Palestinians want a 2 state solution.

But not so surprising when asked to explain that position.

Most Palestinians see a 2-state solution as a stepping stone to replacing Israel with one Palestinian state.

To achieve that 1 state of Palestine solution, most Palestinians approve the use of violence against Israel.

Most Palestinians do not accept the existence of a Jewish state and believe it must be actively destroyed.

And finally, most Palestinians do not expect there to be a Jewish state in 25 years.

In short, the Palestinian position seems to be that Israel should be destroyed and replaced with a single Palestinian state, and the means to do so should be through both negotiations and violence.

Now here is the kicker. When "peace" was defined with the maximalist (peace) terms Israel already offered, and terms that Israel would/could never offer more than, and in fact, presumably the minimum that Obama is trying to get Israel to agree to now (in his secret plan), "peace", now defined, was overwhelmingly rejected.

Ultimately, what this means is that "Palestinian" society is not looking for an end to the conflict or for peace, but rather sees negotiations as another means to destroy Israel.

When Palestinian leaders speak of peace and negotiations, they (and their leaders) apparently believe they are talking about weapons for destroying Israel. They actually believe that they will ultimately succeed in destroying Israel.

The Arab apparently selectively define and understand the premises and goals for Peace very differently than Israelis do.

Food for thought.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

The Democracy Poll

Our leftist guests have made the assertion that Israel is not a democracy.

As I understand their arguments, as a result they believe Israel does not morally deserve the automatic support of fellow democracies when Israel's right to exist is questioned or Israel's right to self-defense is attacked in the UN and other venues.

So here is your chance to vote and let us know what you think.

Is Israel a democracy?

SORRY. The poll didn't work. Please enter your vote in the comments section.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Please Help this Chosson!!

Posting for Jameel:

Dear Fellow Jew,

Even though the current economic situation is very tough for all of us, we turn to you for help for a Chosson who just recently got engaged. His whole life, nebach, has been one of great tragedy; his parents were divorced when he was still a young child, and when he was just fifteen years old, his mother was a passenger in a car that was involved in major accident and *unfortunately* died as a result of the injuries she sustained.

Due to his family situation he had no other choice other than, rachmona l'tzlan, to join the army, and now at the age of twenty-eight after many years of hardship and great difficulty, he has finally found his zivug.

We trust you won't turn him away in his time of greatest need. Please send donations marked 'Hachnosas Kalloh' to the address below. On behalf of him and his family we offer you our heartfelt thanks and thank you in sharing in this great mitzva.

Send donations to:

Buckingham Palace,
Buckingham Palace Rd,
London SW1A 1AA,United Kingdom

Tizke l'Mitzvos

hat-tip: David!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TOP SECRET Information for Israeli Consumers!

Muqata Exclusive: TOP SECRET Information for Israeli Consumers

Sick and tired of waiting for customer support to answer your call? (Yes, Israeli "Customer Support" used to be an oxymoron, but things have slightly improved).

The following table lists the top service companies in Israel...with the secret access codes of how to cut through the waiting time, and get DIRECTLY to customer support people who will answer your call immediately. These codes are used by customer service reps in the field, when they need to quickly get in touch with a real person.

Or in the words of my friend Treppenwitz, "Don't thank me, I'm a giver."

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Videos of the Day Roundup

The well done Eights Days of Chanuka -- NBN video.

Palestinian Authority TV slanders Israel (surprised? pathetic)

So glad I'm neither a West Coast OR East Coast Jew...

So glad I don't have hashkafic problems about science and Orthodoxy.

Glad I'm not flying with my kids in the USA anytime in the near future

TSA Screener Accosting 3 Year Old Child at Security Checkpoint from RonPaul Fan on Vimeo.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Israel's "Best Friend" Provided Safe Haven to Nazis

As Israel is pressured by its best friend to relinquish sovereignty over its capital city of Jerusalem and the West Bank, sordid details are emerging of how the US provided safe haven for Nazis.
The 600-page report, written in 2006 and which the US Justice Department has tried to keep secret ever since, describes what it calls Washington's "collaboration with persecutors".

Agents from the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations (OSI) found that war criminals "were indeed knowingly granted entry" to the US, even though government officials were aware of their pasts, the report concluded.

"America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became – in some small measure – a safe haven for persecutors as well."
Read it all at the Daily Telegraph.

Remember, countries don't have friends they have "interests"...and the interest of any country, including democracies, can change based on new administrations.

Maybe Palestinian terrorists will be given "safe haven" in the US as well?

Just a thought.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Soul of America is on the Line

If there were any people that thought the massive loss of Congress would give the Obama a pause in whether the people of the US approved His actions and philosophies, they can remove all those mistaken assumptions right now.

Let’s forget for a minute that the Obama is asking for an additional freeze.

Let’s instead consider His open threats.

Obama is telling Israel, that if Israel doesn't continue the freeze for another 90 days and fully comply to His wishes, the Obama administration will give orders to do the following:

1. The US will not veto any unilateral acts by the “Palestinians” in the UN.

2. The US will not veto any UN resolution that denies Israel the right to self-defense.

3. The US will not veto any UN resolutions that denies Israel the right to exist.

4. The US will not oppose any of these above efforts or actions in the UN Security Council and other UN forums either.

Well congratulations America. The Obama has just lined up the United States with all the third world, repressive, dictatorial countries such as Syria, Libya, Iran, and others that routinely attack Israel and America as well.

Can you imagine that?

Where once the United States was a beacon of democracy, and known for standing up for what was right, in just two years the Obama will have dragged the country down to what is probably the lowest moral point in its history.

The Obama has given notice that he will allow all these third world countries unbridled permission and US support to attack the only true, functioning democracy in the Middle East.

The Obama has said that the defense of a fellow democracy is negotiable and on the chopping block.

Bibi, call Him out. Openly take this to Congress and the Senate.

This is Obama's personal war against the Jewish state of Israel.

The Jewish people have friends in Congress and the Senate, and when the Obama pulls a stunt like this, they won’t take it lying down - if they see we won't take it lying down either.

People of America - WAKE UP.

Write your Senators and Congressman. Call their offices. Take just a minute of your time and take an action.

The bottom line is that Israel shares America's democratic principles and values, and if you let the Obama get away with this without doing so much as making a phone call or writing an email, then you will be as guilty of destroying the moral standing of the United States and the security of Israel, as the Obama is.

This is your battle too, and all you need to do is make a phone call or send an email.

The soul of America is on the line.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stop mailing us stuff before January

Dear Friends and Family,

Starting January 2011, the Israeli Post Office will be taxing recipients of packages from overseas a minimum NIS 38 fee (over $10) on all packages we receive through the mail.

It doesn't matter how small or cheap the package is you send, the initial tax begins at NIS 38.

If the package you send is more expensive, that tax will be even higher.

Unfortunately, this is not a joke, but abuse of the Israeli citizen.

We ask that everyone sending us packages please ensure they arrive before 2011, as after that date we have no interest in having to pay this harassment tax.

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The Arabs get an upgrade

No longer does just Israel exclusively share that special relationship with the US.

“This figure underscores the strong determination of the American people and this administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times,” declared US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in announcing the aid, which was taken from the $200 million the Obama administration plans to allocate to the PA in 2011."

Under the Obama regime, the "Palestinians" have been upgraded to "friends" of the US. That kind of makes a mockery out of it when they say the same about Israel.

Palestinian Friends of the US expressing their friendship.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rant of the Day (There's Someone on the Wing!!)

There was a time when I used to post all sorts of stories like the upcoming one. I wonder how many readers remember my infamous Manila posts, my rant about a certain restaurant in London, the origin of the Muqata Wafflemaker or Elvis the Drug Dealer...

Regardless, I don't rant everyday but its time to let off some steam.

Last time I flew to India for business, I brought all my food with me. Not that there's so much Kosher food to eat in India to begin with, but I brought everything: cereal, boxed milk, tuna-fish, pitot, a bunch of manachama (manot chamot) [just add hot water for an instant meal], and bottled water.

I sparingly ate every meal knowing that there was no margin of error, and I didn't want to get stranded without any Kosher food.

After a few days, it was time to fly home to Israel, via London and I was thrilled that I'd have a "normal" kosher meal on the plane, even if it was "airline food".

During check-in, I double checked to ensure that my kosher meal was in fact reserved, and I'd be receiving it on my flight. All was in order.

Luckily for me, this leg of the trip was in business class and I sat in the upper deck of the plane (you'll soon see why this factoid is important for the story)

About 30 minutes into the flight, the stewardess (air-hostess? what's the proper politically correct term?) came by and reassured me that my kosher meal would be ready shortly. My stomach growled in anticipation -- I guess there's something about flights that makes one hungrier than usual, and having spent the week rationing my food, I was famished.

Meal service began.

Meals were given out one at a time, as I hungrily looked on in anticipation...one more minute...and I'd have "normal" food for the first time in a week.

And then, the stewardess smiled and presented my meal to me.

A linen napkin covered tray with steaming hot food, smiled at me.

"Excuse me," I said, "I ordered a Kosher meal."

"This is a Kosher meal," stated the stewardess, as she smiled and pointed to a piece of paper written in Hebrew, Yiddish and English which was neatly lying on the tray.

Shaking my head in hungry disbelief I asked, "didn't you see that the entire tray was wrapped in plastic, with big red letters on it, "ONLY TO BE OPENED BY THE PASSENGER", and that the hot dish of the meal had the same warning on it?"

The stewardess smiled back, "This is India. They didn't want you to feel bad that your meal looked different than everyone else's, so food services opened up your meal, and we heated it up with everyone's food, so you wouldn't feel different than everyone else ."

It took a minute for all this to sink in.

"Do you know that I'm not able to eat this now?" I asked?

The stewardess sighed.

I asked her if she could look out the window of the airplane for a second, and if she could read what it said in big letters on the wing.

"DO NOT WALK OUTSIDE THIS AREA," she read from the wing.

"Exactly!", I said, "Maybe...just maybe someone in the India ground crew thought the wing would 'feel bad,' and walked all over the wing. After all, you can walk on other parts of the airplane, but not that specific part of the wing, and we wouldn't want the wing to feel differently, would we? Even though there's a clear warning on it, how do we know that no one walked all over it?"

The stewardess nodded her head seriously and said, "You're absolutely right. Would you like anything else to eat?"

She managed to find me some fruit and a coke.

Ten minutes later I was surprised when a member of the cockpit crew, perhaps the Captain or Co-pilot walked over to me.

He bent down to talk to me and in a very serious voice said, "We radioed back to Bangalore airport. Apparently, the person you saw walking on the plane's wing was a fuel technician, and he is specially trained where he is allowed to walk on the wing, and where not to walk."

I stared at him in disbelief.

"I didn't say I saw someone walking on the wing," I blurted out, "I was trying to make a point by the comparison of my meal to the wing, and how instructions should be listened to..."

The cockpit officer gave me a puzzled look, and said, "I thought you would be happy to know that the person you saw on the wing knew where he was allowed to walk."

"Thank you," I said, "I'm very relieved now," and he turned around going back into the cockpit.

No one seemed to "get it."

And why am I reminded of this now?

I'm going back to India soon, and needed to apply for a visa. The procedure required that I provide my current and expired Israeli passports, as well as my US passport to the Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Now, my US passport was very recently issued and is therefore a "USA Electronic Passport". You can tell from the weird symbol underneath the "United State of America"that this is a genuine electronic passport.

The exciting features of an electronic passport include some of the following (but isn't limited to)...

* Securely stored biographical information and digital image that are identical to the information that is visually displayed in the passport;

* Contactless chip/RFID technology that allows the information stored in an Electronic Passport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance; and

* Digital signature technology that is used to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip. This technology is commonly used in credit cards and other secure documents using integrated circuits or chips.

Sounds great, right?

Located on the inside back cover (where the electronics are located) is a message in clear, bold, block letters:


Imagine my surprise when I received my Israeli passport with the new visa to India in it and all my other passports...AND THEY WERE ALL STAPLED TOGETHER BY THEIR BACK COVERS.

The "do not perforate" rule doesn't apply to India...(after all, you wouldn't want your passport to "feel bad" that other passports can be perforated, and not new US electronic passports...so who cares what it says...who cares if it ruins the electronics?)

Will this affect the validity of my US passport, now that it has 7 pairs of staple marks in the back cover, probably ruining all the high tech invested in it?

Probably not yet, but I doubt the friendly people in TSA will care or even believe me when I say, "it's not my fault, the Indian embassy in Tel-Aviv did it," as they drag me off to one of those newfangled full body naked scanners.

PS: My travel agent informed me today that the airline I'm flying on from India to London leg of my trip, no longer offers Kosher meals when leaving India. I guess following directions proved to be impossible...

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