Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dictators and Rebels Share Hatred of Israel and Jews

Syrian President Bashar Assad addressed his citizens today, accusing the United States and Israel of fomenting the revolution against him. In Libya, Muammar Qaddafi and his supporters spread the blame between a diverse group ranging from Al-Qaeda to Israel. Libyan rebels have said Qaddafi's parents were born in Israel and that he's actually Jewish.

It's always heartwarming to see that even in the heat of battle, the two sides still have some common ground. You want to kill each other? Okay, but always remember you want to kill the Zionists even more!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cast Lead 2

Will the recent violence on the Gaza border escalate even further than it has? Perhaps. Islamic Jihad has had the audacity to fire rockets not only on towns in the close vicinity of Gaza, but also on Ashkelon, Ashdod and Be'er-Sheva. When that happens, I tend to think it is time to teach the terrorists a lesson, so that these major cities will not become areas where rocket fire is routine.

The question is whether or not the "routinization" of Grad rockets falling on Be'er Sheva and Ashdod can be avoided in another way. It might be. We should try to have a cease fire, giving Hamas the responsibily of enforcing it in Gaza. If that doesn't work, and after three or four days rockets are still falling on the Israeli side of the border, bomb the shit out of them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Israel's Criminal Sentencing Standards

In the next few minutes, Moshe Katsav, the convicted rapist and former president of Israel, will receive a much easier sentence than he deserves. The maximum sentence he can get is sixteen years. There is no minimum, since the law requiring at least four years for rape was passed after Katsav committed his crimes. Israel's sentencing standards for violent crimes, especially rape, are ridiculously low. On average, rapists get 4-8 years in prison, and that's before one third is knocked off for good behavior.

Members of the Knesset would do Israel a great service if they worked on new minimum and maximum sentencing laws instead of dealing in racist or esoteric issues. A rapist should get at least fifteen years. If it were up to me, the maximum would be a life sentence, but I'd be happy with 25 years as well.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sarah Palin, Republican Candidates and Israel

Potential Republican presidential candidate and supplier-in-chief of late-night comedians' material Sarah Palin is arriving in Israel today for a short visit. Is she trying to gain more of the Jewish vote by coming here? I doubt it. I don't think she's very popular among Jews, even the Republican ones. This trip is probably more about being able to say that not only does she understand Eastern Europe because she can see Russia from her house, she can understand the Middle East because she spent two days in Israel.

Palin will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening for dinner. I bet she won't pressure him on construction in the settlements - a policy she'd continue as president. Of course, there's absolutely no chance in hell she'd actually ever become president.

It is more important to look into the Middle East policies of Republicans with better chances of winning the nomination. I don't think anybody has done that yet - and it is way too early for me to start doing candidate-by-candidate profiles. I can say this: It seems like there are roughly two categories of Republicans who both support Israel strongly (Ron Paul being the exception to the rule), but members of one group would, as president, continue supporting whatever Israel's right wing government does, and the others would seem to be more willing to pressure Israel after the election. I'd put Palin, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich in the first category and Mitt Romney in the second. There are a bunch of other Republicans whose Middle East policy is unknown to me, but I'm sure it will become clearer as time goes by.

I must say I prefer the latter, "friendly but nudging towards negotiations and peace" policy over the hawkish one.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Feature: Follow By E-Mail

All my followers (yes, both of you) can now get updates about my posts in their inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the box on the left. At the rate at which I write new stuff, I can guarantee I won't be clogging your e-mail!

Remember: Marwan Barghouti Is a Terrorist

Amos Oz just sent Palestinian prisoner and former Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti a copy of his novel "A Tale of Love and Darkness" in Arabic. The author personally dedicated the book to Barghouti, and called for his release. Oz is just one of many well-meaning peaceniks who, for some reason, have high hopes for this vile terrorist. Retiring Meretz leader Haim Oron is perhaps the most prominent Marwanite Chearleader.

Leaders on the left see Barghouti's popularity as an asset, and would like Israel to release him so he'll be able to win elections against Hamas. What they don't think about is the fact that he's no less of a terrorist than Hamas, and is just a secular version of the Jihadists. He needs to rot in prison, both for the crimes he has already committed, and also to prevent the crimes he'd commit if released. Keeping him under lock and key also increases the slim chances of a peace deal ever being reached.

Learn from history - Barghouti's personal history, that is. In the early days of the Second Intifida, he turned against peace negotiations in a heartbeat and lead a group within Fatah determined to execute acts of terror againt Israeli civilians. The man who once believed in talks, now believed in shedding the blood of innocents. Now that he's in prison, he's back to the more peaceful tone, but I have no doubt in my mind that he wouldn't think twice about returning to violence.

My fellow leftists, you need to support leaders like Sari Nusseibeh, not Marwan Barghouti.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ask Netanyahu Questions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will appear on YouTube's World View program on March 23. Internet users from Israel and around the world can send in their questions via video, text or Twitter by March 21. If I understand correctly, internet users are also the ones who choose what will be asked by voting for questions they like.

Ask away.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vicious Attack in Itamar

Terrorists broke into a house in the West Bank settlement of Itamar last night, killing five people: two parents and three of their children, aged 11, 3 and a baby. Three other children managed to escape.

I hope the terrorists who carried out this attack will be found and killed. They do not deserve to ever be released in a future prisoner swap. Killing children in the name of resistance is the most vile form of so-called "freedom fighting". Kids, and civilians in general, should be off limits, even if they are settlers. Only negotiations will remove the settlements from the West Bank, not violence.

Now I'm worried about Jewish terrorism. Some of the more radical elements in the settler movement may want to exact revenge on innocent Palestinian civilians. The IDF should do everything in its power to make sure that doesn't happen.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Netanyahu's Regression

Haaretz reported yesterday that Benjamin Netanyahu is going to change course on the peace process. He'll deliver a big speech, perhaps before the United States Congress, in which he will declare that he now wishes to reach another interim agreement with the Palestinians. This is probably the big move, the grand initiative, which he promised German Chancellor Angela Merkel he'd make.

Until recently, Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had one basic thing in common. They both expressed a desire to reach a final peace deal and opposed more interim steps. They were far from agreeing on what would be in that final deal, and one or both of them may not have been very serious about reaching it, but at least at the declaratory level, they agreed on a basic goal.

Now, under the guise of a grand gesture that will bring peace closer, Netanyahu is actually regressing. He's doing something I thought was impossible at this low point: he has widened the gulf between Israel and the Palestinians even more. He has adopted Avigdor Lieberman's idea of a Palestinian State with temporary borders, encompassing 60% of the West Bank, which the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected. They understandably fear that the temporary will become permanent.

Netanyahu needs to come up with a real grand gesture. He needs to think of something new that has some chance of winning Palestinian and international support. He can't regurgitate old ideas that the Palestinians have consistently opposed.

Autism Doc on Israeli TV

"This Is My Child", a documentary about five families with autistic children, aired last night on Channel 2. Aviv Horowitz, whose son has autism, made the film after the drama series "Yellow Peppers" got good ratings, and decided to take advantage of the momentum to spread awareness of the subject. He seems to have been successful. The ratings were excellent - 21.6%, which is quite high for the 11 PM time slot. The movie itself was also very good.

The children in the film range from classic low-functioning autism, to high-functioning PDD-NOS. The kid who seems to be functioning best was even seen singing with Aviv Geffen, one of Israel's best known singers, and he explained that most kids have a book in their heads that tells them how to make friends and interact socially, and kids like himself also have that book, but it's closed. I found that to be an apt description.

The mother with the lowest functioning child expressed anger at the PDD's, as if they won something. I can understand her. I guess I'd be envious of those kids if my own nephew was like her son.

Good doc. I hear more articles on the subject are upcoming in the media. I'm glad. The more awareness to the subject, the better services will be available for autistics. Maybe.