Monday, January 01, 2007

1-Jan-07: The "Whole Earth Guide" to Blowing People Up in their Homes

You no longer need to wear a kaffiyeh to be a jihadist. Sometimes it's enough just to have access to a word-processor and an assignment from a major newspaper or electronic media publisher.

For years, major brands like BBC, NYTimes and Agence France Press have leavened their reportage from such terror-afflicted Israeli cities as Sderot and Ashkelon with the expression "home-made" in reference to Palestinian Arab weaponry, and especially their rockets.

A fine piece of writing in The Australian newspaper this weekend provides a valuable perspective on that sort of soft-headed, nonsensical journalism.

Here's an extract:
Qassam rockets are the brainchild of Adnan al-Ghoul - literally Adnan the evil demon who feeds on corpses - the chief Hamas bomb manufacturer until he was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2004. He devised the weapon after Yasser Arafat rejected the Camp David peace accords in 2000 and declared war on Israel, launching the second intifada.

Qassams are fuelled by a solid propellant made of potassium nitrate (fertiliser) and sugar, which is melted down to a combustible toffee in domestic kitchens. This fuel is packed into casings, made out of the steel poles used to mount traffic lights. The advantage of the Qassam is that it can be fired at Israel over the security wall, largely without endangering the lives of the terrorists. The disadvantage is that they are unguided but the terrorists have learned by trial and error that if they fire enough of them they will eventually murder Israelis.

Al-Ghoul's first rockets were constructed in Gaza and fired at Israel in 2001. They became increasingly deadly as their range and payload was extended. Al-Ghoul's earliest prototypes had a maximum range of 3km, weighed 5.5 kilos and had a 500-gram explosives payload. The Qassam 3 has a range of 10km, weighs 90kg and has a payload of 10kg. In July 2006, Hamas fired a Qassam that it claims has a range of 15km and hit a high school in central Ashkelon.

Qassam rockets are frequently referred to in the media as home-made, as if they were as wholesome as a tray of home-baked biscuits or simply a bit of fun for the kiddies on cracker night. Arafat before his death claimed Qassams hadn't killed anyone, saying: "They only make noise."

In fact, Qassams are deadly and Adir Bassad is only the latest to be left fighting for his life. Fatima Slutzker, 57, and Yaakov Yaakobov, 43, were killed by Qassams in November. The first fatalities were two Israeli toddlers, Dorit Benisian, 2, and Yuval Abebeh, 4, killed as they were playing outside their grandmother's house in Sderot near the border with Gaza in September 2004. Afik Zahavi, also 4, was killed as his mother was taking him to nursery school. Ella Abukasis, 17, was killed as she shielded her younger brother from a rocket. Dana Galkowicz, 22, was killed as she sat on the verandah of her boyfriend's house. Mordechai Yosepov, 49, was killed as he sat near the nursery his two grandchildren attended. In total, Qassams have killed eight people in Israel and five in Gaza - a Chinese worker, a Thai worker, two Palestinian workers and a Palestinian girl, killed by a rocket that fell short of theborder.
Please read the whole article. In fact, consider putting it aside to re-read the next time you come across such gems as the BBC's definitive backgrounder on the Gaza Strip, a classic analysis piece which manages to tell you everything you need to know without a single mention of the word Qassam (or Kassam). Why bother? They're really just for children.


Gharqad Tree said...

Having been away from the internet for a week or two, and having relied during that time solely on the mainstream British media for information, I'm saddened by your latest entries. Saddened but also illuminated. Here's what the Christmas and New Year period felt like without sites such as this to fill in the gaps:

a) It's Christmas, and the Palestinians are suffering. Newspapers, Church leaders, cartoonists, and 'charities' queue up to tell us that Bethlehem lives under a nightmare of Israeli oppression and restrictions, that the Virgin and the infant Christ suffer along with the poor Palestinians under the jackboot of the IDF, and even that Christians are leaving Bethlehem because of Israeli-imposed restrictions and frustrations. No mention of the role of Islamic fascism in cleansing these formerly diverse communities of Christians, and nobody making the more immediately obvious Christmas analogy - the one in which a Jewish mother and her Jewish child are at more risk of harm from Hamas or Fatah than from the Jewish state that would try to protect them.

b) 2006 has been awful for the Palestinians. They've suffered all year, (as proved by photo after photo of their anguished faces) and as far as I can discern from the MSM, suffered for no other reason than Israeli Brutality. Little or no mention of the reason for Israeli raids or strikes, or arrests. Perhaps Israel is simply brutal and callous by definition, and therefore no context need be given?

c) Palestinian factions have taken to shooting at each other, and sometimes children are hit in the crossfire. Given the absence of condemnation from HRW, or Amnesty, or the Red Cross, or the UN, I can only assume that children caught up in exclusively Palestinian crossfire are a subject less deserving of outrage than children essentially used as human shields by Hezbollah or Hamas while attempting to murder Jews, and that therefore Jewish bullets must hurt more. The BBC then informs me that 'despite' ongoing and large gunbattles, the ceasefire between the two factions has 'held', (an example perhaps of the BBC adopting the Palestinian definiton of the word "ceasefire", the one which means that while rockets will continue to be fired at Israelis, they will now be unofficial in some respect, and therefore not reported outside of Israel).

d) No mention of a single rocket attack on Israel. It seems as though peace reigns - except for the ongoing violence of the occupation.

And yet - and yet you say there have been constant rocket attacks on a sovereign state by its neighbours, constant attempts to kill citizens of that state. To me that's big news. If the BBC have not reported this, what else have they not reported? Perhaps rockets are continually raining down on towns around the south coast of England, fired from French positions! After all, that would be just as serious wouldn't it? That would be newsworthy, surely? What possible reason could there be for failing to report a whole year of rocket attacks on a modern, liberal democratic state?

What a situation! - we hear nothing at all about these attempted murders, these daily rocket attacks, but periodically we are reassured that the attacks we've heard nothing about are carried out using harmless home-made missiles. Rockets? - harmless? - WHAT rockets?!

Thanks for filling in the gaps - I'm sad to be back.

Avenger said...

Thanks so much for your website; I got interested in Islamic beliefs after the mohammed cartoon debacle and that led me to sites like Jihad Watch and Faithfreedom.

When the war with hezbollah (I don't think murderous psychopaths deserve a capital letter at the start of their organisation's name because it probably gives them a sense of legitamacy and importance that they don't deserve to feel) broke out, I was on the net daily and have become so angry about the way I'm lied to daily by the MSN.

I have to pay the BBC a licence fee by law in order to even own a TV, the least I can expect is for them to try to tell me the truth on their well-funded and glamorous BBC world service. I'd love to sue them for half the fraction of the licence fee that goes towards the news service, as people only ever get half the story.

Anyway, I'm waffling as usual. I'm so sorry about your daughter's murder; I have two stepdaughters and they might not be mine by birth but I'd die for either of them and if that had happened to either of them then I don't honestly know if I could have been strong enough to find a way to go on.

I volunteer on a site for suicidal teenagers as well and as angry as I might get at physical or sexual abuse of young girls, at least their abusers have moments of sanity or at least pretend for a while to be normal. Jihadi suicide bombers though?

They're so full of hate that that they make the dads of the girls I talk to every day look like amateurs in hating and abusing people.

I'll say a prayer for your daughter; I'm a deist and so don't believe I need to say prayers all the time as if it'll ever alter the way God will judge people just because of my personal opinion, she'll be with God anyway and he'll take care of her.

But people should remember her name and who she was, and I just feel like saying a prayer for her even if doing it makes no logical sense to me! Wish I'd known your daughter, my stepdaughter goes on MSN all the time and I bet they would have ended up as good friends

Steve said...

Let's call a spade a spade, and admit there is probably no lasting peace in Israel (if not the entire middle east) until one side completely, or near completely, annihilates the other. Israel would have done so long ago if it were not for the world selling them out for oil. It's sad, but it's true. I am not saying it's right, just true.

Gharqad Tree said...


Israel sold down the river for oil? There I agree with you, but would add that it's not merely oil, but fear. Europe is afraid of islam's violent streak.

Annihilation? No, I can't go along with that. Defeat - yes. Annihilate - no.

Israel demonstrated to the arab nations that wars by arab nation states against Israel would not succeed. It did that by defeating them.

Now the battle lines have shifted, and the threat to Israel comes from mainly islamic groups (financed and armed - yes - by a couple of nations, but the dynamic has nevertheless shifted. I am quite willing to concede however that once a state such as Iran obtains a nuclear capability, that dynamic might shift again). Israel doesn't need to annihilate anyone, and that word must have a particularly repulsive resonance in an Israeli or Jewish ear in any case. Israel needs to be 'allowed' to inflict a crushing defeat on Hizbollah and on Hamas - (by which I mean that if the UN doesn't go into crisis mode when fascist islamist groups attack Israel, then it should adopt an equally laissez-faire attitude when Israel hits back), until Israel has utterly destroyed the entity that has attacked it.

At the very least it needs to set back the capabilities of the enemy group by several years; at best it needs to defeat it so comprehensively that even someone like Abbas might see the wisdom of becoming the kind of moderate leader the western press seem determined to pretend he already is.

I think Israel and those who support it should leave the language of annihilation to the likes of Hamas and Ahmadinejad. Given that it's one of the things we despise about them, the last thing Israel should do is join them there.

Steve said...

I don't think it's Israel who has to take action. I think it's the world. And I don't particularly advocate that kind of action (in fact I'm basically a pacifist,) but I do think it's coming. There is conflict on almost every Muslim border. Our world is becoming too populated to tolerate that for much longer.