Thursday, January 05, 2012

5-Jan-12: What the blood-soaked career of an "adviser on local government matters" reveals about the 'moderate' PA leader's thinking

Esh-Kodesh Gilmore, of blessed memory.
Esh-Kodesh Gilmore was 25, married for three years and the father of an angel-faced 18-month old daughter called Taliah (we have spent weekends together with the Gilmores).

Esh-Kodesh worked as a part-time guard at the Bituach Leumi (national insurance/social security) branch in East Jerusalem, an office that provides benefits to an almost entirely-Arab clientele. He was working there when a man walked up to him and shot right into his neck at point-blank range around noon on October 30, 2000.

The terrorist was operating under the name "Martyrs of the Al-Aqsa Intifada". In fact, as a subsequent trial established, the planning and execution of the cold-blooded murder was done by men of Force 17. It's a so-called special operations unit under the command of Yasser Arafat and skilled in acts of terrorism, especially murder. At various times, it was been called the Palestinian Presidential Guard. The BBC reported at the time of Esh Kodesh's murder that Arafat "regards them as some of his most trusted security personnel."  

So, evidently, does the man who stepped into Arafat's shoes. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas elevated a man called Mahmoud Awad Damra, known also by the nom-de-guerre Abu Awad, to become the head of Force 17 in May 2006. Not long afterwards, Damra was arrested by Israeli authorities. [We wrote about this at the time: "6-Sep-06: Reduction in Force 17".] He was tried and sentenced in 2006 to 15 years in prison for his role in terror attacks against Israelis including the murder of Esh-Kodesh Gilmore.

But this is the upside-down world of the Palestinian Arab clique and their perverted morality. While still behind bars, this Damra was promoted by the 'moderate' Abbas to the rank of major-general in 2009. On October 18, 2011, he walked out of his Israeli prison cell a free man, thanks to the infamous Gilad-Shalit-for-murderers deal. And this week, by presidential decree, Mahmoud Abbas appointed Mahmoud Awad Damra as his presidential adviser on local government.

If local government is where they deal with garbage and effluent, then Damra has been appointed to the right place. Still, in the name of justice, we're hoping the man will return to where he belongs, behind bars.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

3-Jan-12: The life-and-death threat from our neighbors: the military has now put some numbers on it

A May 2009 press photo of an Iranian Sejil-2 surface-to-surface
missile. That's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supervising
from the wall. 
It's a feature of modern government that ordinary citizens - and not only here in Israel - get to see the confidential things that politicians and civil servants know when it's budget time. The behind-closed-doors financial arguments have a tendency to generate information leaks that appear to make the case for one side's arguments or demolish the other's.

Yaakov Katz writing today for the Jerusalem Post reveals some sensitive info about the IDF's assessments about the missile threat to the Israeli home-front. It happens that the government is battling with the IDF over defence budget reductions that were decided upon in the wake of the street protests in Israeli cities just a few months ago.

The key statement in his news report is that the military believes hundreds of Israelis are likely to die if war breaks out this year. The estimate is that the enemies on our borders will fire 8,000 rockets and other missiles.

Published yesterday, this photo published in a worried Arab News
purports to show Iranian navy officials celebrating after
the launch of a new Ghader missile
(AP Photo/Fars News Agency) [Image Source
The estimate for five years out says that a war in 2017 - with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and/or Iran or whichever similar enemy emerges (the list of candidates holds no surprises) - would likely include the firing of 15,000 rockets and missiles into Israel with commensurately greater devastation and casualties. And the forces on the other side will have missiles with far greater accuracy than anything in their overstocked arsenals today. Army officials are warning that the threatened budget cuts will hamper the IDF's ability to procure new missile defense systems, including such made-in-Israel breakthroughs as acclaimed Iron Dome anti-rocket system for intercepting short-range rockets (see "30-Dec-11: Life-saving invention of the year"); the David's Sling (against medium-range rockets), and the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 (against long-range ballistic missiles). Israel's defence strategy strongly emphasizes anti-missile warfare, given the nature of the weapons already stocked by our enemies today. So those budgetary arguments actually resonate with ordinary citizens for solid, existential reasons.

To fortify the point about how real the dangers to Israelis are, the Iranians flexed their military muscle and made several announcements in the last few days about new, capacity-enlarging weapons systems now going into service. They say they successfully test-fired a long-range missile as well as a medium-range rocket that brought down an aerial target. These tests were part of massive naval exercises carried out by the Iranian navy in the Arabian Gulf (the Iranians don't call it that), near the Straits of Hormuz, "one of the world's most sensitive waterways". Iran, threatening to close the Straits by force if sanctions are imposed on its oil exports, already has missile systems capable of hitting Israel as well as US bases in other parts of the Middle East (see photo above).

Actually, the Iranians have additional threats up their sleeves. You can get a taste in a November 2010 article entitled "150,000 Iran missiles awaiting Israel"; it appears on PressTV, a global broadcasting empire owned by the Islamic Republic and monitored round-the-clock for compliance with Teheran's official Ayatollah-dictated line. So you know it's reliable.

Monday, January 02, 2012

2-Jan-12: 2:02 minutes of utter clarity on why Hamas is a terrorist group (and what this means about the people who persist in denying it)

[Image Source]
The video clip below comes from Palestinian Media Watch which specializes in the translation and publicizing of Arabic language materials into English. The clip captures an important speech made by the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh (reported here) on 14th December 2011 in front of 100,000 supporters in Gaza City's al-Katiba park. This was a rally celebrating Hamas' 24th birthday and its proud claims to have killed 1,365 Israelis and to have fired 11,093 civilian-seeking rockets into Israel in that period.

We're replaying the speech here because Haniyeh says things that - for reasons you may understand better than we do - keep getting forgotten, denied, concealed or distorted.

Two days after the Gaza City speech, his fellow supreme Palestinian Arab leader, Mahmoud Abbas, head of Fatah and of the PA, said things that directly contradict Haniyeh. Nevertheless they received widespread media coverage. Abbas said Hamas has agreed that "there will be no military resistance" and "the permanent solution is on the '67 borders". But the speech by Haniyeh makes plain that this is not what Hamas says. Abbas surely knows this. So do the journalists and editors who publicized his words.

The key statement in the speech that follows is that the Hamas efforts to win back Gaza, the "West Bank" (as he terms it) and Jerusalem are an "interim objective". Nothing - certainly not the pending unification deal with Fatah - will change Hamas' real, actual, long-term "strategic" goal: eliminating all of Israel. He and his followers will not relinquish one inch of what he terms the land of Palestine. He says it about as clearly as a person can.

Here is the transcript of the speech by Ismail Haniyeh, Gazan leader of Hamas. And right after it, the video.
"We say today, explicitly, so it cannot be explained otherwise, that the armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel] from the blessed land of Palestine. The Hamas movement will lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah. We say with transparency and in a clear manner, that Palestinian reconciliation - and all sides must know this - cannot come at the expense of [our] principles, at the expense of the resistance. These principles are absolute and cannot be disputed: Palestine - all of Palestine - is from the sea to the river. We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine. The involvement of Hamas at any stage with the interim objective of liberation of [only] Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem, does not replace its strategic view concerning Palestine and the land of Palestine." 
[Al-Aqsa (Hamas), Dec. 14, 2011]

Give the man credit: he desperately wants to be believed. We owe him and hatred-driven terrorist racists like him that simple courtesy.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

1-Jan-12: Terror attack statistics climbed sharply in December - no wonder this man is smiling so broadly

Haniya on left, Erdogan on right. The Hamas man's Cheshire cat grin
is understandable given the sharp rise in terrorist attacks on
Israeli civilians living just the other side of his fence, and the warm
welcome he has gotten in Turkey and - earlier in the
trip - in Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain and Tunisia. It's a new Middle
East, ladies and gentlemen.
Israel's internal security service, known as the Shin Bet outside Israel and Shabak within, says today the country experienced 81 security incidents during December, an increase of 84% over November's 44.

Twenty-five of them were executed here in Jerusalem, more than a three-fold increase over the previous month. And 30 attacks emanated from the Gaza Strip (involving 30 rockets plus 11 mortar shells), compared with November's 11 (ten rockets, one mortar shell).

Meanwhile, the man who - perhaps more than anyone else - personifies the terrorist face of the regime that rules Gaza spent much of the day today (Sunday) in the residence of Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ismail Haniyeh, the Gazan head of Hamas (as distinct from Khaled Mashaal who runs the rest of Hamas from Damascus but may be moving himself from there to Amman this week in view of recent discomfiting events in Syria) was invited to a closed-doors meeting with Erdogan in Istanbul. Haniyeh is in the midst of a tour of the Muslim world, his first travels outside Gaza since Hamas thugs seized control there in a bloody struggle with the forces of the other major Palestinian Arab faction, Fatah, in 2007.

The Turks are famously gracious hosts; the head of the other Palestinian Arab terror group Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas - who presides over the so-far-non-Hamas-controlled parts of the Palestinian Authority lands - was Erdogan's guest a few weeks ago.

1-Jan-12: Incoming mortar attack on residential areas of southern Israel; they include phosphorus

AFP reports that two more mortar shells were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip this morning (Sunday). They landed in the Eshkol region, causing neither damage nor injuries which was not, of course, the intention of the terrorists who did the firing. The Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees militant group claimed responsibility. Following police forensic tests it became clear this afternoon, according to Ynet, that both shells contained phosphorus, not for the first time. The phosphorus in mortar shells, when exposed to air, burns through anything with which it comes in contact. The phosphorus ignites on contact with oxygen and continues to burn as long as the ignition substance inside remains in contact with oxygen. Phosphorus shells are mostly used to hit exposed infantry, create smoke screens, and obstruct visibility for forces on the ground. Phosphorus causes extensive burns and damage to internal organs. Such shells are illegal under international law when fired at civilians.