Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Why Did We Drink a Toast to Mark Arafat's Death

"I wish to offer you my condolences on the death of Arafat…"
Arieh Golan in an interview with Ahmed Tibi on Kol Israel, Network B.
To hear the entire interview click here

A small coast guard boat of the Israeli police left port at dawn, on its way to a place outside Israeliterritorial waters. There, in the open sea, a small box, containing ashes and dust of bones, was opened. The contents of the box were scattered in every direction. At the end of its mission the boat returned to its home port.

This was in 1961. The ashes were those of Eichmann, arch-murderer of the Jews. This was during the Mapai era, before the reversal of values of Oslo.

If Eichmann had been caught today, it is reasonable to assume that an enthusiastic band of Israeli admirers would have accompanied his coffin on its way to the airport, and Arieh Golan would have contacted his supporters and expressed his condolences in a live broadcast. After all, what's the difference between Eichmann and Arafat, apart from the former's greater efficiency? In the sixty years that have elapsed since the end of the Second World War, Arafat was responsible for the murder of more Jewishcivilians than anyone else in the world.

A few minutes before he was put on the helicopter to Paris, Arafat managed to sign an order for the transfer of money to the various murder organizations. There is virtually no Israeli who doesn't have a relative or friend who was murdered on the orders of that arch-murderer, but the media give the impression that he was one of the founders of Zionism.

What is the meaning of this mental illness that has afflicted us in the last decade? How have we lost our most basic natural instinct, that of distinguishing between friends and enemies? How long will a zebra survive in the African Savanna if it forgets who is a leopard?

It all began with that evil handshake on the White House lawn between Rabin and the enemy of his people. In just one moment the distinction was destroyed between good and evil, between a murderer and a freedom fighter. We Jews are no longer the good guys in the story – we are just the last of the white colonists who are still holding on to the occupied country of the poor Palestinian natives. There on the lawn we agreed in fact to the enemy's claim.

Apparently, in an act of good will, Arafat condescended to permit us to remain in the territories we had stolen from his people before 1967. In the face of the entire world the Israeli leader gave up the greatest asset we possessed – justice. In the Oslo decade we entered an era of reversal of values, of moral vertigo. We signed that we agreed to being the bad guys in the story.

Most Israelis possess traditional Jewish values, even if they are not religious. They did not become confused by the madness that overtook Israeli leaders and a thin social layer that wishes to discard its Jewish identity. There'll always be some rabbis who will adopt the official line and purify the reptile, but they form an insignificant minority. From the time of the drowning of the Egyptians, the hanging of Haman, and up to the death of the German arch-enemy, sane Jews knew how to rejoice over the death of evil people.

In the post-modern period, that has abandoned the concepts of good and evil (and leaves the stage of history to evil only), in a madness of reversal of values, when it seems that an entire nation has lost its faith in its own righteousness, it was right and important to create a clear anchor of sanity. We are holding on to good, and combating evil, and rejoice when evil is defeated. We sorrow for the Jews who were killed because we didn't destroy that evil many years ago. We give thanks to the Creator who removed that murderer from the world. We shall drink a toast to the lives of all the Jews who will continue to live because of this.

The IRS Chain Gang

By Evan Coyne Maloney

Note: This article does not have to do with Israel. I apologize, but it's such
a wonderful piece by Evan (see for his website), that
I just had to post it. Please check out his website.
(actually, it does have relevance in Israel as the tax burden there is quite high
and Israelis would do well to read this article)

The IRS Chain Gang
By Evan Coyne Maloney
Posted: 23 November 2004

When someone asks about your job, you might say, "I work for..." and
then name some organization. But in reality, you're working for
yourself. It's your money you take home, and that money enables your
survival. In the past, people survived by hunting animals, cultivating
land, building shelters and fabricating garments. You can still do that
today, but you probably don't want to. You'd rather get a job so you can
pay someone else to hunt, farm, build and sew for you.

But you probably won't get anyone to do these things unless you give
them something they want. In a simple barter economy, if you need
firewood and you can only offer cotton in exchange, it might be hard to
find someone willing to make that trade. You'd need someone with
firewood who also wants cotton. That's why barter is inefficient and
money is useful.

Money lets you trade cotton for firewood indirectly. You sell the
cotton, get some money, and then use it to buy firewood. If the guy with
the firewood wanted steak and not cotton, then money is useful to him in
a way that your cotton isn't; he could use the money from you to buy
steak. Money enables many more trades because there are exponentially
more combinations of potential trading partners. While barter
effectively requires each person in the trade to act as both buyer and
seller, with money, you only need to be one or the other.

Money, Prosperity & Taxes
Because it allows more trading opportunities, money helps create greater
prosperity. Think about it: you wouldn't trade with someone unless you
felt you'd be better off afterwards. If you wouldn't benefit in some
way, why would you bother trading in the first place? Well, the person
on the other end of the deal feels the same way. He wouldn't trade
unless he also gains. So, by definition, when people willingly enter
into a fair trade--assuming they have proper information and are acting
rationally--everyone involved is better off. Therefore, the more fair
trades that a given society encourages, the more prosperous the society

That's also why economies with greater tax burdens can't grow as fast as
those with lower taxes. When governments take money from citizens, it
reduces the number of transactions those citizens can make, thereby
limiting the gains made through trade.

Taxes, unlike voluntary transactions where everyone benefits, are
mandatory. I don't know any people--no matter how noble or civic-minded
they may be--who can honestly say they feel better off when they look at
their pay stub and see how much of their work is being taken by the
government. Taxation is a necessary cost of maintaining an orderly
society that's capable of defending itself, so we tolerate it. But it's
also a cost that should be minimized, because taxation crowds out the
private transactions that lead to prosperity.

Someone else may end up better off thanks to your tax dollars, but it's
a zero-sum game. Whatever gains are enjoyed by the recipient(s) of your
money is directly offset by your loss of that money. In a private
exchange, the parties execute a trade only when they both stand to
benefit; there are two winners in the deal. But when the government gets
involved, your money is simply shifted somewhere else. That's why
government spending--even though it may result in economic activity--can
never lead to prosperity the way that private transactions do. If both
parties benefit from a private exchange, there is an overall gain.
Multiply that by billions of transactions every day, and you begin to
see how an economy can grow. But with government spending, where each
winner is balanced by a loser, it's always a wash; there is no growth,
just a change in the location of taxpayer money.

Slaves to the IRS
You don't get to choose whether you pay taxes. If the government decides
you should pay taxes and you don't, I hope you have a good lawyer. Evade
your taxes, and you'll lose your freedom. So in a way, taxation is a
form of quasi-slavery that society imposes on itself. Every taxpayer is
a partial slave to every voter.

What if, instead of paying taxes in money, the government forced you to
work on a chain gang in order to pay taxes? If you have to work until
5PM every day, but everyone else gets to go home at noon, would that be

Although an income tax seems like a confiscation of your money, it is
really a confiscation of your time. After all, you earn your income by
sacrificing your time. If you work 40 hours each week, and you pay 50%
of your income in taxes, that means you work 20 hours a week for
yourself and 20 hours for the government. Sure, you don't notice, but
that's only because you spend your 20 government hours sitting at the
same desk, drinking the same coffee, and talking to the same co-workers
that you do during the 20 hours each week you spend working for

Back on the Chain Gang
Imagine it wasn't like that. Imagine, instead, that you worked your 20
government hours each week busting rocks on that chain gang. Some of the
other folks on the chain gang only have to bust rocks for 10 hours a
week, because their tax rate is 25%. You spend twice as much time on the
chain gang.

That's how the graduated income tax discriminates. (Proponents like
calling it a "progressive" tax, because that sounds like progress, and
how could progress be bad?) By setting different rates for different
people, the government forces some citizens to sacrifice more of their
lives on the IRS chain gang. If taxation is partial slavery, why should
some slaves be more partial than others?

People who favor a graduated tax say it's fair because it makes people
pay more as they earn more. True, but that would be the case under a
flat tax as well. Suppose there's one tax rate, at 20%. Someone making
$50,000 a year pays $10,000; another person making $250,000 pays
$50,000. According to my calculations, $50,000 is more than $10,000 by
about $40,000. Even under a flat tax, higher earners pay more. What
progressive tax advocates really want is for the high earners to pay
more than more, to penalize them for their success by making them spend
disproportionately more time on the IRS chain gang. That doesn't sound
fair to me.

It's been said that simple democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting
on what to have for dinner. That's why democracy must be coupled with
individual rights to maintain a just society. These rights protect the
individual against the tyranny of the majority. But when the majority
can vote to seize more of your life than mine, the system is not

To ensure a vibrant economy, taxes should be minimal. And to ensure a
just society, the graduated income tax should be abolished.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

He Conned the World

by Patrick D. O'Brien
Sunday, November 14, 2004

The passing of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat this week is bittersweet to
me. I'm glad he's gone, because he was a vile, murderous criminal. But
I'm also frustrated, if not surprised, at how so much of the world
hails this wicked man as a venerable, heroic leader.

He muscled his way into world politics and diplomatic recognition
through mass murder, destruction and terror. He lied, stole and destroyed.
Doesn't anyone care about that? Doesn't anyone think about learning the historical
facts of this man's life before lavishing praise on him?

Yasser Arafat was no hero. He was a reprehensible monster who lived
longer, and who died easier, than any of the innocent people who were
murdered in his ignoble name.

His real name, by the way, was Rahman Abdul Rauf Al-Qudwa Al-Husseini.
He was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1929, and raised in Gaza. His uncle was
Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who was the grand mufti of Jerusalem after the
start of the British mandate, and the de facto leader of Palestinian
Arabs -- and this is where Yasser Arafat's story really starts.

Al-Husseini hated Jews passionately. He was a cohort of Adolf Hitler
himself, traveling to Europe to recruit Muslims in the Balkans to
massacre Jews during World War II. He was the architect of a then nascent ideology of
anti-Semitic Palestinian Arab militancy. He instigated riots and pogroms against
Jews and instigated the Arabs to kill their Jewish neighbors. This included a massacre of
Jews praying at the Western Wall. He wanted all Jews out of the Holy Land. In short, he was the
prototypical Arab Palestinian terrorist, and he passed his pernicious legacy on to his nephew,
Yasser Arafat, who became the archetype.

That is Yasser Arafat's background. Not a whole lot of people outside
of Jews, history buffs and Arabs know or care about it, but we all know
about his record since he became a key player on the geopolitical
stage. And most seem quite content to impute to him a spurious image of
statesmanship and heroism in lieu of his long career of brutal violence and
inveterate dishonesty.

Why is that? Are the evil crimes this man has perpetrated so easily
forgotten? Or if they are not forgotten, why then, do they appear to have been

I can't help but think he's been forgiven when I read fawning praise from world
leaders like:

Jacques Chirac: After a final visit at the Paris hospital where
Arafat died, Chirac proclaimed, "I came to bow before President Yasser
Arafat and pay him a final homage. With him disappears a man of courage
and conviction who for 40 years incarnated the Palestinians' fight for
recognition of their national rights."

Nelson Mandela: "Yasser Arafat was one of the outstanding
freedom fighters of this generation, one who gave his entire life to the cause of
the Palestinian people."

Jimmy Carter: "He was the father of the modern Palestinian
nationalist movement. A powerful human symbol and forceful advocate,
Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland." And, "[He provided]
indispensable leadership to a revolutionary movement."

Kofi Annan: Arafat "symbolized... the national aspirations of
the Palestinian people." (And that's actually unintentionally truthful.) In signing
the Oslo accords "he took a giant step towards the realisation of this vision. It is
tragic that he did not live to see it fulfilled." Mr. Annan ordered the United Nation's flags to
fly at half-mast, as well. Seriously, he did.

Vladimir Putin: "...a great political leader of international
significance... who devoted his whole life to the rightful cause of the

You're all insane, the whole lot of you. And there are more that I'm
just not going to bother quoting. Five was enough. I do have to show some gratitude,
however, for my man, Israeli Justice Minister Tommy Lapid, who accurately described Arafat as
the "founding father of terrorism," and who said it was "good that the world is rid of
him.... The sun is shining in the Middle East." At least someone had the courage to tell the truth.

Yasser Arafat was an upstart thug who contrived a country called
"Palestine" from land owned by Egypt (Gaza) and Jordan (Judea/Samaria, or the West

This land was taken by Israel in its 1967 defensive war against five Arab states.
That's what sometimes happens when you lose an offensive war -- you have to give up land when
you sue for peace. Arafat tried to seize control from Jordan's King Hussein in 1971. He
failed and much of his terrorist organization, the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization), was
rushed by the Jordanian military and he was expelled. He has since (up until last week, at least)
dedicated his life to a committed program of Arab terror against the Jewish state. Thousands
have died in his twisted vision of Arab entitlement. I lay the blame not only on him, but also on
the European states and the UN, which time and again showed him and the PLO that terrorism produces
beneficial results, pays dividends and earns rewards.

Arafat oversaw the terror attack at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich,
Germany, which resulted in the death of Israel's entire Olympic team. He personally
ordered, by telephone, the execution of two US diplomats in Sudan in 1973. Israel has reams
of confiscated Palestinian Authority documents linking him to the terrorism of Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (now renamed
Martyr Yasser Arafat Brigades), Islamic Jihad and others.

This man had so much blood on his hands, it would be a wonder if he'd
ever seen his own fingernails over the past forty years.

So what did Yasser Arafat and the PLO receive as just punishment for
these horrible deeds of violence, savagery and terror? Well, you can
see the glowing terms of warm affection with which world leaders are
now eulogizing him, but he got more than that. So much more. He got
the PLO to become the first -- and only -- terror organization to gain UN
recognition. He secured for Palestinian Arab "refugees" the world's only
exclusive refugee welfare system: the United Nations Relief and Works
Agency (UNRWA), which derives the majority of its funding from the
United States. He got fabulously rich -- who knows how much money
he stole from the people he claims to represent and where that money
is now? (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Suha. And I see Mahmoud and
Ahmed hiding behind you.)

He won a Nobel Peace Prize. He became the progenitor of modern
Arab terror, who showed that if you lied well enough, if you killed
spectacularly enough, and if you did it long enough, the world
would take notice and reward you for it. He proved that a man
could single-handedly invent a people, with a nonexistent nation
and a history for them, and through a protracted campaign of highly
publicized violence against civilians, convince the whole world that
he was really just an angel with a dirty face. That's what Arafat and
the PLO were given as their recompense for (very) bad behavior.

He was a bad, bad man, and I'll shed no tear for such an evil
miscreant. He promoted the murder of Jews, and reveled in the
commission that murder, while pretending to condemn it. He
happily carved deep wounds in the hearts of thousands upon
thousands of Israelis, wounds that will never fully heal. He was
responsible for the deaths of plenty of Americans also. Where is the
effusive outpouring of emotion for these people and their families? Where was the
justice their spilled blood cried out for while this terrible man yet drew breath?

Shame on you, Jacques Chirac. Shame on you, Pope John Paul II. Shame on
you, Jimmy Carter. Shame on you, Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela. Shame
on you all! You are all complicit in the continuing legitimization of
the modern cost/benefit terror that Yasser Arafat pioneered and refined.

Yasser Arafat didn't conceive the idea of Arab Jew-hatred and terrorism
to achieve political ends -- that's been around since Muhammad was
possessed by heaven knows what to devise the hate manual known as the
Qur'an. He sure did perfect it, though. And anyone who thinks that
things will get any better now that he's gone is deluded, naive or
hopelessly ignorant. For one thing, his heir apparent, Mahmoud Abbas, is a Holocaust
denier and is on the record as supporting terror. And also of importance is the fact
that two generations of Palestinian Arabs have been raised under the hellish parental
guidance of the PLO and its version of Islam. These kids were brought up in a hateful
culture of death, which glorifies violence and fondly holds up death as life's
ultimate reward. In other words, all the pieces are in play for Arafat's cruel and bloody designs to continue unabated. It's all well and good
to utter some wistful words of remembrance for the smiling killer who led these people --
nowhere -- and then thoughtlessly assume that there's a chance at peace now that he's finally dead,
but those of us who are close to this whole mess know better.

The majority of Palestinian Arabs consistently support the "liberation"
of Israel through murder/suicide terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

That is the fact of the matter. They are thoroughly convinced that they
are entitled to all of Eretz Yisrael, and that they have the
right to take it by any means available to them (preferably by the
indiscriminate violence sanctioned by Islam). And with the way the world rewarded
Yasser Arafat, the PLO, and all other terror groups killing innocent Jews all these years
for their wicked cause, it's not hard to understand why.

Yasser Arafat fooled the world into thinking that he was a man. He made
everyone believe that he was a legitimate leader, a partner for peace
and a noble warrior for freedom. He was really just an evil monster who
made a lifelong career of killing Jews with impunity, out of racism,
lust for power and plain baseness. Some of us realize that and are not
afraid to say so. He was a bad man and history will bear that out.

I pity the earth that will be laden with his bones.

Copyright 2004 Patrick D. O'Brien cannot be copied, published, or
otherwise used (except for brief quotes) without express permission of

Friday, November 12, 2004

Arafat the Monster

Excellent article by Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Arafat's Bedroom Farce

Excellent article by Daniel Pipes!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Sources: Suha Arafat rejects $2 million settlement from Palestinian Authority

By Arnon Regular

Suha Arafat has rejected a $2 million financial settlement from Palestinian figures acting on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, according to French sources, who are becoming increasingly impatient with the wife of the deeply comatose Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

The settlement was aimed at persuading Suha Arafat to allow completion of the tests that would finally determine the chairman's death. Contacts between Suha Arafat and the Palestinian financiers began as soon as it became clear that Arafat would have to be flown to France for emergency medical treatment.

The French have been exasperated by Suha Arafat's refusal, permissible under French law, to allow others access to he husband's room in the Percy Military Hospital near Paris.

According to the sources, contacts between Suha Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were renewed on Monday night, with the arrival in Paris of Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, and Nabil Sha'ath. After exhaustive negotiations, Suha Arafat agreed to allow Qureia, accompanied by the head of the chairman's personal guard, to enter his room. The visit went ahead yesterday afternoon.

French officials who have been following Yasser Arafat's treatment were astonished to discover that Suha Arafat's constant companion and financial adviser was none other than Pierre Rizk, who headed the intelligence service of the Phalanga during the Lebanese civil war and was in close personal contact with the guerrilla group responsible for the massacre at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camp in 1982.

Rizk has been spotted in or near Percy Hospital in recent days. Since Rizk holds power of attorney for Suha Arafat, French and Palestinian officials have been in constant contact with him over Suha Arafat's financial demands, which she says are designed to ensure the financial future of her and her daughter. The outcome of these contacts is still not clear.

Rizk, a Maronite Lebanese, is well known to Israeli officials, and has spent long periods in Israel where he met with government officials and private business figures. Israelis who have met with him in person describe him as a colorful figure, and say that he is something of a womanizer.

Because of his position within the Phalangas, he has extensive contacts with several international intelligence agencies. Living in Paris since his exile from Lebanon, Rizk is an international businessman with operations in Europe and the United States.

In 1999, Rizk won a legal suit he filed in the U.S. courts against the PA. The suit, which created quite a stir in financial circles in the PA, was based on a promise made to Rizk by Yasser Arafat just before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, that he would be granted the license to develop the communications infrastructure in the West Bank.

Rizk obtained a note, signed by Arafat, in which he undertook to award the contract to International Technology Integrated (ITI), a company incorporated in the U.S. At the same time, it now appears that Arafat was handing out similar notes to many other people and companies, promising them jobs, tenders and contracts in his future government.

In practice, none of these promises were ever fulfilled. Unlike other disappointed parties, Rizk decided to sue Arafat for violating his word, and was awarded $18 million. As a result, American banks froze $80 million of the PA's money, threatening its stability. The crisis was eventually ended when the PA sent envoys Paris to negotiate a settlement.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Adieu, Yasser Arafat

By Uri Dromi

A decade ago, as chief spokesman for the Israeli government, I went with then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to Cairo for the signing of an agreement on the handing over of Gaza and Jericho to the Palestinians. Like my boss, I was fully committed to the peace process, but even during those heady early days of Oslo, I was quickly coming to suspect that the now-ailing Yasser Arafat was a leader who would never be capable of making peace with us.

The signing, in May 1994, was to have been no more than a formality, but the night before the ceremony, it suddenly appeared as if there might not be an agreement at all. While the Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs hugged each other most amicably upon meeting in the corridors of Cairo's Ittihadia Palace, the politicians' discussions inside the chambers were going astray.

Once in a while, a door would slam and a fuming Arafat would storm past us advisers. Each time, our host, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, followed after him, going out of his way to mend fences. Finally, just before dawn, all seemed to be settled. We parted ways to catch some sleep before the ceremony.

We reconvened a few hours later in front of a festive crowd assembled in Cairo's convention center. Then, with the whole world watching on television, Arafat did the unbelievable.

At first, the ceremony seemed to proceed as planned. Arafat solemnly signed the voluminous agreement, after which he returned to his place on the podium, alongside the other dignitaries.

In turn, Rabin picked up his pen and started signing. Suddenly he stopped, his face reddened and he muttered something inaudible. Yoel Zinger, the Israeli legal adviser, rushed to the stage. A commotion started; the crowd grew restless. Nobody new what was happening.

We soon found out. Yasser Arafat, at a historic moment that was meant to bring his people closer than they had ever been to fulfilling their dream of statehood, simply couldn't help himself.

It turned out that he had only feigned signing all the pages of the agreement — he had actually skipped some. Rabin furiously threatened to leave, and Mubarak, the insulted host, confronted Arafat and, as later rumors had it, gave him a piece of his mind in solid Arabic.

Arafat refused to yield. Standing there in his uniform, his hands defiantly crossed over his chest, he claimed that certain things concerning Jericho had not actually been agreed upon. Only after a long, unscheduled break did he finally succumb and sign the agreement.

Now a bit of breast beating is in order. Though I am now one of the many Israelis who has become disillusioned by the outbreak of the second intifada, back then I was fully committed to the Oslo Accords and, as Rabin's spokesman, I played a role in painting a more positive picture of the peace process. And so it was that I rationalized Arafat's behavior that day as being a message to his people that he had tried everything for them before he signed the compromise.

Alas, it wasn't all.

A few days after the ceremony in Cairo, Arafat gave a speech in Johannesburg at a local mosque. Believing he was among friends only, he talked about the agreement he had just signed: "This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Muhammad and Qureish.... You remember that the Caliph Omar had refused this agreement and considered it a despicable truce.... But the same way Muhammad had accepted it, we are now accepting this peace effort."

For those not versed in Islamic history, the agreement, also known as the al-Khudaibiya agreement, was a 10-year peace treaty between Mohammad and the tribe of Qureish. After two years, when Mohammad had improved his military position, he tore up the agreement and slaughtered the Qureishites.

So much for Arafat's idea of honoring agreements he signed with Israel.

That Arafat is no Nelson Mandela is now understood by all but the most naive. To his credit, he has carried his people from obscurity to the center of international attention. But he has proved himself unable to rise to the historical occasion, unable to make the switch from revolutionary leader to nation builder. He just hasn't been able to turn to his people, especially those living in the refugee camps, and admit that this is it — that this is the best deal they'll ever get, that they need to forget forever the hope of returning to their homes in Jaffa and Haifa.

By not being able to do so, Arafat has become in the eyes of most Israelis the embodiment of our worst fear: the threat of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees fighting until the very end for their old homes — in other words, for the end of the Jewish state. That is why most Israelis have believed that as long as Arafat is the Palestinian leader, we have no partner for peace.

Now that Arafat seems to be on the way out — if not from life, then at least from any meaningful leadership of the Palestinian people — the big question is whether he has been the sole obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, or whether he simply has been representing a phenomenon common to all Palestinian leaders.

Is there, I wonder, anyone among all those Palestinian figures, smartly dressed in business suits, who also means business? Can we at last sit down with people who, instead of double-talking, will for once keep their word?

Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

Uri Dromi, director of international outreach at the Israel Democracy Institute, was chief spokesman for the Israeli government under Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Key Dates in the life of Yasir Arafat

known to many as the "father of modern terrorism"

(prepared by

-- Aug 4, 1929: Arafat born in Cairo. Muhammad Abdel Rahman Abdel Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini is fifth child of prosperous merchant, Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini.

-- 1933 : Arafat's mother dies. He and his infant brother are sent to live with uncle in Jerusalem.

-- 1948: Arafat runs arms to Palestine.

-- Late 1950s: Arafat co-founds Fatah, the "Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine."
-- Jan. 1, 1965: Fatah's first attempted attack in Israel fails. They had attempted to bomb the National Water Carrier.

-- July 5, 1965: A Fatah cell planted explosives at Mitzpe Massua, near Beit Guvrin; and on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem near Kafr Battir.

-- 1965-1967: Numerous Fatah bomb attacks target Israeli villages, water pipes, railroads. Homes are destroyed and Israelis are killed.

-- July 1968: Fatah joins and becomes the dominant member of the PLO, an umbrella organization of Palestinian terrorist groups.

-- Feb. 4, 1969: Arafat appointed Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO

-- Feb. 21, 1970: SwissAir flight 330, bound for Tel Aviv, bombed by PLO-group PFLP in mid-flight, killing 47.

--Sept. 6, 1970: TWA, Pan-Am, and BOAC airplanes hijacked by PLO terrorists.

-- September 1970: In operation known as "Black September," Jordanian forces battle PLO, driving them out of Jordan, after the group's violent activity threatened to destabilize the kingdom. The terrorists flee to Lebanon.

-- Sept. 5, 1972: 11 Israeli athletes killed at the Munich Olympics by PLO-affiliated terrorists.

-- March 1, 1973 : Palestinian terrorists take over Saudi embassy in Khartoum. The next day, two Americans (including the United States' ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel) and a Belgian were shot and killed. James J. Welsh, an analyst for the National Security Agency from 1969 through 1974, charged Arafat with direct complicity in these murders.

-- April 11, 1974: 18 residents of Kiryat Shmona in Israel killed in their apartment building by Palestinian terrorist who infiltrated from Lebanon.

-- May 15, 1974: School in Ma'alot attacked by Palestinian terrorists who infiltrated from Lebanon. 26 Israelis, including many children, were killed.

-- June 9, 1974 : Palestinian National Council adopts "Phased Plan," which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on any territory evacuated by Israel, to be used as a base of operations for destroying the whole of Israel. The PLO reaffirmed its rejection of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for a "just and lasting peace" and the "right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

--Nov. 13, 1974: Arafat, wearing a gun, addresses U.N. General Assembly

-- 1982: Having created a terrorist mini-state in Lebanon destabilizing that nation, PLO expelled after Israel responds to incessant PLO missile attacks against northern Israeli communities. Arafat relocates to Tunis.

-- Oct. 7, 1985 : Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Wheelchair-bound elderly man, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and thrown overboard. Intelligence reports note that instructions originated from Arafat's headquarters in Tunis.

--Dec. 12, 1988: Arafat claims to accept Israel's right to exist.

-- Sept. 1993: Handshake with Israeli Prime Minister Rabin, inaugurating the Oslo Accords. Arafat pledged to stop incitement and terror, and to foster co-existence with Israel, but failed to comply.

Throughout the years of negotiations, aside from passing, token efforts, Arafat does nothing to stop Hamas, PFLP, and Islamic Jihad from carrying out thousands of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. With Arafat's encouragement and financial support, groups directly under Arafat's command, such as the Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, also carry out terror attacks.

-- Oct. 21, 1996: Speaking at a rally near Bethlehem, Arafat said "We know only one word - jihad. Jihad, jihad, jihad. Whoever does not like it can drink from the Dead Sea or from the Sea of Gaza." (Yediot Ahronot, October 23, 1996)

-- April 16, 1998: In a statement published in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, Arafat is quoted: "O my dear ones on the occupied lands, relatives and friends throughout Palestine and the diaspora, my colleagues in struggle and in arms, my colleagues in struggle and in jihad...Intensify the revolution and the blessed intifada...We must burn the ground under the feet of the invaders."

-- July 2000: Arafat rejects peace settlement offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, which would have led to a Palestinian state.

-- Sept 2000: New "intifada" is launched. Arafat continues to incite, support and fund terrorism.

Below are some of the attacks since Sept 2000 perpetrated by groups under Arafat's command:

-- May 29, 2001: Gilad Zar, 41, of Itamar, was shot dead in a terrorist ambush by Fatah Tanzim.

-- May 29, 2001: Sara Blaustein, 53, and Esther Alvan, 20, of Efrat, were killed in a drive-by shooting south of Jerusalem. The Fatah Tanzim claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- June 18, 2001: Doron Zisserman, 38, shot and killed in his car by Fatah sniper fire.

-- Aug 26, 2001: Dov Rosman, 58, killed in a shooting attack by Fatah terrorist.

-- Sept 6, 2001: Erez Merhavi, 23, killed in a Fatah Tanzim ambush shooting near Hadera while driving to a wedding.

-- Sept 20, 2001: Sarit Amrani, 26, killed by Fatah terrorist snipers as she was traveling in a car with her husband and 3 children.

-- Oct 4, 2001: 3 killed, 13 wounded, when a Fatah terrorist, dressed as an Israeli paratrooper, opened fire on Israeli civilians waiting at the central bus station in Afula.

-- Nov 27, 2001 - 2 killed 50 injured when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles on a crowd of people near the central bus station in Afula. Fatah and the Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility.

-- Nov 29, 2001: 3 killed and 9 wounded in a suicide bombing on an Egged 823 bus en route from Nazereth to Tel Aviv near the city of Hadera. The Islamic Jihad and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- Dec 12, 2001 - 11 killed and 30 wounded when three terrorists attacked a bus and several passenger cars with a roadside bomb, anti-tank grenades, and light arms fire near the entrance to Emmanuel in Samaria . Both Fatah and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- Jan. 3, 2002: Israelis intercept the Karine-A, a ship loaded with 50 tons of mortars, rocket launchers, anti-tank mines and other weapons intended for the Palestinian war against the Israelis. The captain admits he was under the command of the Palestinian Authority.

--Jan 15, 2002: Avi Boaz, 71, an American citizen, was kidnapped at a PA security checkpoint in Beit Jala. His bullet-riddled body was found in a car near Bethlehem. The Fatah's Al-Aksa Brigade claimed responsibility for the murder.

--Jan 15, 2002: Yoela Chen, 45, was shot dead by an Al Aqsa Brigade terrorist

-- Jan 17, 2002: 6 killed, 35 wounded when a Fatah terrorist burst into a bat mitzva reception in a banquet hall in Hadera opening fire with an M-16 assault rifle.

-- Jan 22, 2002: 2 killed, 40 injured when a Fatah terrorist opened fire with an M-16 assault rifle near a bus stop in downtown Jerusalem.

-- Jan. 27, 2002: One person was killed and more than 150 were wounded by a female Fatah suicide bomber in the center of Jerusalem.

-- Feb 6, 2002 - A mother and her 11 year old daughter were murdered in their home by a Palestinian terrorist disguised in an IDF uniform. Both Fatah and Hamas claimed responsibility.

-- Feb 18, 2002 : - Ahuva Amergi, 30, was killed and a 60-year old man was injured when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on her car. Maj. Mor Elraz, 25, and St.-Sgt. Amir Mansouri, 21, who came to their assistance, were killed while trying to intercept the terrorist. The terrorist was killed when the explosives he was carrying were detonated. The Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- Feb 22, 2002: Valery Ahmir, 59, was killed by terrorists in a Fatah drive-by shooting north of Jerusalem as he returned home from work.

-- Feb 25, 2002: Avraham Fish, 65, and Aharon Gorov, 46, were killed in a Fatah terrorist shooting attack south of Bethlehem. Fish's daughter, 9 months pregnant, was seriously injured but delivered a baby girl.

-- Feb 25, 2002: Police officer 1st Sgt. Galit Arbiv, 21, died after being fatally shot, when a Fatah terrorist opened fire at a bus stop in the Neve Ya'akov residential neighbhorhood in northern Jerusalem. Eight others were injured.

-- Feb 27, 2002: Gad Rejwan, 34, of Jerusalem, was shot and killed by one of his Palestinian employees in a factory north of Jerusalem. Two Fatah groups issued a joint statement taking responsibility for the murder.

-- March 2, 2002: A suicide bombing by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem killed 11 people and injured more than 50.

-- Mar 5, 2002: 3 were killed and over 30 people were wounded in Tel-Aviv when a Fatah terrorist opened fire on two adjacent restaurants shortly after 2:00 AM.

-- Mar 5, 2002: Devorah Friedman, 45, of Efrat, was killed and her husband injured in a Fatah shooting attack on the Bethlehem bypass "tunnel road", south of Jerusalem.

-- Mar 9, 2002: Avia Malka, 9 months, and Israel Yihye, 27, were killed and about 50 people were injured when two Fatah terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at cars and pedestrians in the coastal city of Netanya on Saturday evening, close to the city's boardwalk and hotels.

--March 21, 2002: An Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bomber exploded himself in a crowd of shoppers in Jerusalem, killing 3 and injuring 86.

-- March 29, 2002: Two killed and 28 injured when a female Fatah suicide bomber blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket.

-- March 30, 2002: One killed and 30 injured in an Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

-- April 12, 2002: Six killed and 104 wounded when a female Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bomber blew herself up at a bus stop on Jaffa road at the entrance to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda open-air market.

-- May 27, 2002: Ruth Peled, 56, of Herzliya and her infant granddaughter, aged 14 months, were killed and 37 people were injured when a Fatah suicide bomber detonated himself near an ice cream parlor outside a shopping mall in Petah Tikva.

-- May 28, 2002 - Albert Maloul, 50, of Jerusalem, was killed when shots were fired by Fatah terrorists at the car in which he was traveling south on the Ramallah bypass road.

-- May 28, 2002 - Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorists killed Netanel Riachi, 17, Gilad Stiglitz, 14, and Avraham Siton, 17, three yeshiva high school students playing basketball.

-- June 19, 2002: Seven people were killed and 37 injured when a Fatah suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus stop and hitchhiking post in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem.

-- June 20, 2002: Rachel Shabo, 40, and three of her sons - Neria, 16, Zvika, 12, and Avishai, 5 - as well as a neighbor, Yosef Twito, 31, who came to their aid, were murdered when a terrorist entered their home in Itamar, south of Nablus, and opened fire. Two other children were injured, as well as two soldiers. The PFLP and the Fatah Al Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- July 25, 2002: Rabbi Elimelech Shapira, 43, was killed in a Fatah shooting attack near the West Bank community of Alei Zahav.

-- July 26, 2002: St.-Sgt. Elazar Lebovitch, 21, of Hebron; Rabbi Yosef Dikstein, 45, of Psagot, his wife Hannah, 42, and their 9-year-old son Shuv'el Zion were killed in a Fatah Al Aqsa Brigade shooting attack south of Hebron. Two other of their children were injured.

-- July 30, 2002: Shlomo Odesser, 60, and his brother Mordechai, 52, both of Tapuach in Samaria, were shot and killed when their truck came under Fatah fire in the West Bank village of Jama'in.

-- Aug 4, 2002: 2 killed and 17 wounded when a Fatah terrorist opened fire with a pistol near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City.

-- Aug 5, 2002: Avi Wolanski (29) and his wife Avital (27), of Eli, were killed and one of their children, aged 3, was injured when terrorists opened fire on their car as they were traveling on the Ramallah-Nablus road in Samaria. The Martyrs of the Palestinian Popular Army, a splinter group associated with Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- Aug 10, 2002: Yafit Herenstein, 31, of Moshav Mechora in the Jordan Valley, was killed and her husband, Arno, seriously wounded when a Fatah terrorist infiltrated the moshav and opened fire outside their home.

-- Sept 18, 2002: Yosef Ajami, 36, was killed when Fatah terrorists opened fire on his car near Mevo Dotan, north of Jenin in the West Bank.

-- Oct 29, 2002: Three people, including 2 fourteen year olds, were shot to death by a Fatah terrorist.

-- Nov 10, 2002: Revital Ohayon, 34, and her two sons, Matan, 5, and Noam, 4, as well as Yitzhak Dori, 44 - all of Kibbutz Metzer - and Tirza Damari, 42, were killed when a Fatah terrorist infiltrated the kibbutz, located east of Hadera near the Green Line, and opened fire.

-- Nov 28, 2002: 5 killed and 40 wounded when two Fatah terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at the Likud polling station in Beit She'an, near the central bus station, where party members were casting their votes in the Likud primary.

-- Apr 24, 2003 - 1 was killed and 13 were wounded in a suicide bombing outside the train station in Kfar Sava. Groups related to the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the PFLP clamied joint responsibility for the attack.

-- May 5, 2003 - Gideon Lichterman, 27, was killed and two other passengers, his six-year-old daughter Moriah and a reserve soldier, were seriously wounded when Fatah terrorists fired shots at their vehicle in Samaria.

-- May 19, 2003: 3 were killed and 70 were wounded in a suicide bombing at the entrance to the Amakim Mall in Afula. The Islamic Jihad and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades both claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- Aug 29, 2003: Shalom Har-Melekh, 25, was killed in a Fatah shooting attack while driving northeast of Ramallah. His wife, Limor, who was seven months pregnant, sustained moderate injuries, and gave birth to a baby girl by Caesarean section.

-- Jan 29, 2004: 11 people were killed and over 50 wounded in a suicide bombing of an Egged bus no. 19 at the corner of Gaza and Arlozorov streets in Jerusalem. Both the Fatah-related Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- Mar 14, 2004: 10 were killed and 16 wounded in a double suicide bombing at Ashdod Port. Hamas and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- May 2, 2004: Tali Hatuel, 34, and her daughters - Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 - of Katif in the Gaza Strip were killed when two Palestinian terrorists fired on an Israeli car at the entrance to the Gaza Strip settlement bloc of Gush Katif. Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility for the attack.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Sanity Check: Letter to the editor of the NY Times

Dear Sir/madam:

Steve Erlanger, in his article about the Carmel Market bombing on November 1st stated that the 16 year-old suicide bomber's mother condemned the attack. The boy's mother did not did not condemn the attack; she condemned only the fact that her 16 year-old son was recruited to do the job. In fact, the boy's mother comments demonstrate her full support of such attacks, killing and maiming Israeli innocents, provided the attacks are carried out by responsible adults. As Mr. Erlanger quoted the mother she said only: "It's immoral to send someone so young. They should have sent an adult who understands the meaning of his deeds." This simple moral distinction is crucial to understanding how and why this child ended up wasting his life and destroying so many others.

Elihu D. Stone
Sharon, MA

Monday, November 01, 2004

Osama Bin Laden Tape Threatens U.S. States Not to Vote for Bush

By: Yigal Carmon*

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera(1) on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state")(2) to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security." The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."(3)

Another interesting aspect of the speech is the fact that while bin Laden made his specific threat to each U.S. state, he also offered an election deal to the American voters, attempting to influence the election by these means rather than influencing it through terrorist attacks.(4) This peace offer is a theme that follows up on his April speech directed to Europe, in which he offered a truce.(5) The Islamist website Al-Islah explains: "Some people ask 'what's new in this tape?' [The answer is that] this tape is the second of its kind, after the previous tape of the Sheikh [Osama bin Laden], in which he offered a truce to the Europeans a few months ago, and it is a completion of this move, and it brings together the complementary elements of politics and religion, political savvy and force, the sword and justice. The Sheikh reminds the West in this tape of the great Islamic civilization and pure Islamic religion, and of Islamic justice..."(6)

Another conspicuous aspect of the tape is the absence of common Islamist themes that are relevant to the month of Ramadan, which for fundamentalists like bin Laden is the month of Jihad and martyrdom. Noticeably absent from the Al-Jazeera tape was his usual appearance with a weapon, and more importantly the absence of references to Jihad, martyrdom, the Koran, the Hadith (Islamic tradition), Crusaders, Jews, and the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad on the duty to wage Jihad against the infidels. For the followers of the Al-Qa'ida ideology, this speech sends a regressive and defeatist message of surrender, as seen in the move from solely using Jihad warfare to a mixed strategy of threats combined with truce offers and election deals.

The following are the relevant excerpts from the speech; for the full excerpts visit the MEMRI TV Project at

"Oh the American people, I address these words to you regarding the optimal manner of avoiding another Manhattan, and regarding the war, its causes, and its consequences. But before this, I say to you: Security is one of the important pillars of human life, and free men do not take their security lightly, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom. Let him explain why we did not attack Sweden, for example. Clearly, those who hate freedom have no pride, unlike the 19 [suicide hijackers of 9/11], may Allah have mercy on them. We have been fighting you because we are free men who do not remain silent in the face of injustice. We want to restore our [Islamic] nation's freedom. Just as you violate our security, we violate yours.

"But I am amazed at you. Although we have entered the fourth year after the events of 9/11, Bush is still practicing distortion and deception against you and he is still concealing the true cause from you. Consequently, the motives for its reoccurrence still exist...

"We had no difficulty dealing with Bush and his administration, because it resembles the regimes in our [Arab] countries, half of which are ruled by the military, and the other half are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents with whom we have had a lot of experience. Among both types, there are many who are known for their conceit, arrogance, greed, and for taking money dishonestly.

"This resemblance began with the visit of Bush Sr. to the region. While some of our people were dazzled by the U.S. and hoped that these visits would influence our countries, it was he who was influenced by these monarchic and military regimes. He envied them for remaining in their positions for decades, while embezzling the nation's public funds with no supervision whatsoever. He bequeathed tyranny and the suppression of liberties to his son and they called it the Patriot Act, under the pretext of the war on terrorism.

"Bush Sr. liked the idea of appointing [his] sons as state governors. Similarly, he did not neglect to import into Florida the expertise in falsifying [elections] from the leaders of this region in order to benefit from it in difficult moments.

"We agreed with the general commander Muhammad Atta, may Allah have mercy on him, that all operations should be carried out within 20 minutes, before Bush and his administration would become aware. We never imagined that the Commander in Chief of the American armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face this great horror alone when they needed him most. It seemed to him that a girl's story about her goat and its butting was more important than dealing with planes and their 'butting' into skyscrapers. This allowed us three times the amount of time needed for the operations, Allah be praised.

"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or Al-Qa'ida. Your security is in your own hands, and any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

* Yigal Carmon is the President of MEMRI.

Endnotes:(1) Al-Jazeera (Qatar), October 27, 2004.(2) "Wilaya" refers specifically to a U.S. state; it would never refer to an independent country. The term for such a country is "Dawla."(3) (4) To illustrate this principle, he uses Sweden as a model of a country that was never attacked by Al-Qa'ida.(5) See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 695, April 15, 2004, "Osama Bin Laden Speech Offers Peace Treaty with Europe, Says Al-Qa'ida 'Will Persist in Fighting' the U.S." To view the full tape aired on Al-Jazeera or read the transcript, visit .