January 2009 Archives

Obama's position as the principal threat to Israel's existence has shot up sharply in just the past week, as Caroline Glick explains. Even more so than Glick thought, since, after her column was written, yet another anti-Israel advisor Samantha Power was added to the Obama White House. Supporters of Israel in the United States who supported Obama had best start hammering on his door. He's headed in a direction that could cause Israel's destruction.

Caroline Glick early on identified Obama's anti-Israel animus and said, before the election, he would be a danger to Israel. American Jews ignored her warning and voted overwhelmingly for this enemy of Israel, because, as she said, he supported unlimited abortion.

As we recently said, Israel will have to defend itself. The election of the Likud Party led by Benjamin Netanyahu is essential for Israel's survival against Iran, Hamas and its new enemies in the White House and the State Department.

This is a tragic development. From Harry Truman to George W. Bush, the United States has supported the struggling Jewish state in its eternal homeland against the enemies who want to annihilate it and its people. Israel wants peace and has offered appeasement after appeasement, only to convince the Muslim world that Israel was weak and could be destroyed in time -- demographically if not militarily.

Just two weeks ahead of this "existential election," LIkud and Netanyahu are leading. For Israel's sake, they need the tough, hard-headed Netanyahu who will not be subservient to Obama's romance with the Muslim world of his childhood. The Muslim world seeks to destroy Israel, It must not happen. If Israel must fight alone without America's help, so be it. The majority of Americans wlil wonder why it happend, but Obama had made it clear he would not be there in Israel's hour of need.

Column One: Honest Obama and Iran

Jan. 29, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

In his first week and a half in office, US President Barack Obama has proven that he is a man of his word. For instance, he was not bluffing when he said during his campaign that he would make reconstituting America's relations with the Islamic world one of his first priorities in office.

Obama's first phone call to a foreign leader was to PLO chieftain Mahmoud Abbas last Wednesday morning. And this past Tuesday, Obama gave his first television interview as president to the Al-Arabiya pan-Arabic television network.

In that interview Obama explained the rationale of his approach to the Muslim world.

"We are looking at the region as a whole and communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest," the new president said.

Obama distanced his administration from its predecessor by asserting that rather than dictate how Muslims should behave, his administration plans "to listen, set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years. And I think if we do that, then there's a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs."

In short, Obama argues that the root of the Islamic world's opposition to the US is its shattered confidence in America's intentions. By following a policy of contrition for Bush's "cowboy diplomacy," and acting with deference in its dealing with the Muslim world, in his view, a new era of US-Islamic relations will ensue.

Obama's honesty was a hot subject during the presidential campaign. Many analysts claimed that he was a closet moderate who only made far-left pronouncements about "spreading the wealth around," and about meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "without preconditions," to mollify his far-left partisan base.

Others argued that Obama was a man of his word. From his voting records in the Illinois Senate and the US Senate, and in light of his long associations with domestic and foreign policy radicals, these commentators predicted that if elected, Obama's policies would be far to the left of center.

Judging by his actions since entering office last week, it appears that the latter group of analysts was correct. Obama is not a panderer.

Between his $819 billion economic "stimulus" package, which involves a massive intrusion by federal government on the free market; his decision to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay; his dispatch of former senator George Mitchell to the Middle East to begin pushing for a Palestinian state two weeks before Israel's general elections; his announcement that he will begin withdrawing American forces from Iraq; his repeated signaling that the US will no longer treat the fight against Islamic terrorism as a war; and his attempts to engineer a diplomatic rapprochement with Iran, Obama has shown that his policy pronouncements on the campaign trail were serious. The policies he outlined are the policies with which he intends to govern.

ON A strategic level, the most significant campaign promise that Obama is wasting no time in keeping is his attempt to diplomatically engage with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Teheran is the central sponsor of the global jihad. Hizbullah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are all Iranian proxies. And, as is becoming increasingly undeniable, al-Qaida too enjoys a close relationship with the mullahs.

The 9/11 Commission's final report noted that several of the September 11 hijackers transited Iran en route to the US. And in recent weeks we learned that after spending the past six years in Iran, where he played a major role in directing the insurgency in Iraq, Osama bin Laden's eldest son Sa'ad has moved to Pakistan.

Beyond its sponsorship of terrorism, due to its nuclear weapons program Iran is the largest emerging threat to global security. Together with its genocidal rhetoric against Israel, its calls for the destruction of the US, and its incitement for the overthrow of the governments of Egypt and Jordan, among others, Iran is the single largest source of instability in the region. Moreover, as US Defense Secretary Robert Gates made clear in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Iran is working actively in South and Central America to destabilize the western hemisphere.

Obama caused an uproar when during a Democratic primary debate last spring he said that he would meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions. In subsequent months, he sought to soften his declaration. It is now apparent that his statement was not a slip of the tongue. It was a pledge.

The Iranians, for their part, have reacted to the new president with a mixture of relief and contempt. On November 6, two days after the US election, Ahmadinejad sent a congratulatory letter to Obama. Ahmadinejad's letter was considered a triumph for Obama's conciliatory posture by the American and European media. But actually, it was no such thing. Ahmadinejad's letter was nothing more than a set of demands, much like those he had set out in a letter to then-president George W. Bush in 2006.

In his missive to Obama, Ahmadinejad laid out Iranian preconditions for a diplomatic engagement with America. Among other things, Ahmadinejad demanded that the US send all its military forces back to America. As he put it, the US should "keep its interventions within its own country's borders."

Ahmadinejad further hinted that the US should end its support for Israel and withdraw its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. In his words, "In the sensitive Middle East region... the expectation is that the unjust [US] actions of the past 60 years [since Israel was established] will give way to a policy encouraging the full rights of all nations, especially the oppressed nations of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan."

The Western media made much of the fact that some conservative press organs in Iran condemned Ahmadinejad for sending the letter. They claimed that this meant that Ahmadinejad himself was tempering his animosity toward the US in the wake of Obama's election. But in fact, most of the conservative media in Iran viewed the letter as an attack on Obama, whom they attacked with racial slurs.

The Sobh-e Sadegh weekly, published by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote in an editorial on November 10 that negotiations with Obama would only be worthwhile if "coexistence with a nuclear Iran and acceptance of its regional role are part of the US negotiating position."

On November 11, the Borna News Agency, which is aligned with Ahmadinejad, called Obama "a house slave."

In general, Iran's government-controlled media outlets reported that Ahmadinejad's letter was an ultimatum and that if Obama did not submit to his demands, the US would be destroyed.

This week Ahmadinejad made Teheran's preconditions for negotiations even more explicit. In statements at a political rally on Tuesday, and in a television interview given by his adviser on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said that Iran has two conditions for engaging Washington. First, the US must abandon its alliance with Israel. In his words, to have relations with Iran, the US must first "stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals."

The second condition was communicated Wednesday by Ahmadinejad's adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr. Echoing Sobh-e Sadegh's editorial, Javanfekr said Iran refuses to stop its nuclear activities.

Notably, also on Wednesday, the US-based International Institute for Strategic Studies released a report concluding that Iran will have a sufficient quantity of highly enriched uranium to make an atomic bomb in a matter of months.

To summarize, Iran's conditions for meeting with the Obama administration are that the US abandon Israel (which as Ahmadinejad reiterated at his annual Holocaust denial conference on Tuesday, must be annihilated), and that Obama take no action whatsoever against Iran's nuclear program.

FOR ITS part, the Obama administration is signaling that Iran's conditions haven't swayed it from its path toward a diplomatic engagement of the mullahs. In her first statement as US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice said Tuesday, "We look forward to engaging in vigorous diplomacy that includes direct diplomacy with Iran."

And in his Al-Arabiya interview, Obama implied that the US may be willing to overlook Teheran's support for terrorism when he referred to Iran's "past" support for terrorist organizations. Obama placed a past tense modifier on Iranian sponsorship of terrorism even through just last week a US Navy ship intercepted an Iranian vessel smuggling arms to Hamas in Gaza in the Red Sea. Due to an absence of political authorization to seize the Iranian ship, the US Navy was compelled to permit it to sail on to Syria.

The most sympathetic interpretation of Obama's desire to move ahead with diplomatic engagement in spite of the mullocracy's preconditions is that he has simply failed to countenance the significance of Iran's demands. This means that Obama remains convinced that the US is indeed to blame for the supposed crisis of confidence that the Islamic world suffers from in its dealings with America. By this reasoning, it is for the US, not for Teheran, to show its sincerity, because the US, rather than Teheran, is to blame for the dismal state of relations prevailing between the two countries.

If in fact Obama truly intends to move ahead with his plan to engage the mullahs, then he will effectively legitimize - if not adopt - Teheran's preconditions that the US end its alliance with Israel, which Iran seeks to destroy, and accept a nuclear-armed Iran. And under these circumstances, Israel's next government - which all opinion polls conclude will be led by Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu - will have to adopt certain policies.

First, in keeping with his campaign rhetoric, Netanyahu will have to make preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons his most urgent priority upon entering office.

And second, to withstand US pressure to allow the Obama administration time to develop its ties with Teheran, (time that Iran will use to build its first nuclear bomb), Netanyahu will need to form as large and wide a governing coalition as possible. All issues that divide the Israeli electorate between Right and Left must be temporarily set aside.

In the age of Honest Obama, Israel is alone in recognizing the necessity of preventing Iran from acquiring the means to destroy the Jewish state. Consequently, Netanyahu's government will need to proceed with all deliberate speed to take whatever actions are necessary to prevent Israel's destruction.

Movement in Holywood? In a world in which the overwheming majority of terrorists in Muslims, Tinseltown grinds out films full of terrorists -- who aren't Muslims, indeed, almost everything but. Even when "24" on television clearly had Jack Bauer fighting Islamic terrorism to save Los Angeles the "terrified" producers inserted commentary during commercial breaks ever so often insisting that most Muslims were peaceful.

Debbie Schlussel, who blogs in Michigan about the Islamization of the Detroit/Dearborn area, a Hezbollah-admiring stronghold, also covers the movies. She notes some recent developments:

With "Taken" debuting at the box office today, we're inching closer to the melting of the post-9/11 "Thou Must Whitewash Islam" commandment.

Since 9/11, Hollywood is taken with the politically correct idea that they're not allowed to portray Muslims as terrorists, or when they do, it's to glorify the terrorists and justify their behavior-that America deserves it and made them do it. continue reading...

President Obama is already getting carried away with himself. The Obama era is "good." What came before was "bad." America was bad. Now he will make it be good.

The compulsive narcissism of Obama pops out at every turn. As Charles Krauthammer notes, it even drives him to lie about the past and belittle the country of which he is now president.

Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.


Obama Just Flatters Himself
Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post
Friday, January 30, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address reached out to Muslims with "to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," his formulation was needlessly defensive and apologetic.
Is it "new" to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world?

Obama doesn't just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to "restore" the "same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago."

Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years -- the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world -- America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved -- and resulted in -- the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. continue...

The Obama administration is starting out by making Israel the bull's-eye of its foreign policy target.

As Caroline Glick reports, Obama is rolling out the failed Clinton/Mitchell plan of 2000 that will "engender radicalism, instability and death" for Israel and its Jewish population." In this case, history as tragedy is not repeating itself as farce; it is farce repeating itself as farce.

Israel will have to save itself. Its continued existence depends on its own strength and resolve. A victory for Likud and Netanyahu in the election of February 10th is essential for Israel's future if international fantasies are to be overcome and Israel is to survive.

Column One: History's tragic farce

Jan. 23, 2009 Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

It is a fundamental truth that while history always repeats itself, it almost never repeats itself precisely. There is always a measure of newness to events that allows otherwise intelligent people to repeat the mistakes of their forebears without looking completely ridiculous.

Given this, it is hard to believe that with the advent of the Obama administration, we are seeing history repeat itself with nearly unheard of exactness. US President Barack Obama's appointment of former Sen. George Mitchell as his envoy for the so-called Palestinian-Israeli "peace process" will provide us with a spectacle of an unvarnished repeat of history.

In December 2000, outgoing president Bill Clinton appointed Mitchell to advise him on how to reignite the "peace process" after the Palestinians rejected statehood and launched their terror war against Israel in September 2000. Mitchell presented his findings to Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, in April 2001.

Mitchell asserted that Israel and the Palestinians were equally to blame for the Palestinian terror war against Israelis. He recommended that Israel end all Jewish construction outside the 1949 armistice lines, and stop fighting Palestinian terrorists.

As for the Palestinians, Mitchell said they had to make a "100 percent effort" to prevent the terror that they themselves were carrying out. This basic demand was nothing new. It formed the basis of the Clinton administration's nod-nod-wink-wink treatment of Palestinian terrorism since the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994.

By insisting that the PLO make a "100 percent effort," to quell the terror it was enabling, the Clinton administration gave the Palestinians built-in immunity from responsibility. Every time that his terrorists struck, Yasser Arafat claimed that their attacks had nothing to do with him. He was making a "100 percent effort" to stop the attacks, after all.

After getting Arafat off the hook, the Clinton administration proceeded to blame Israel. If Israel had just given up more land, or forced Jews from their homes, or given the PLO more money, Arafat could have saved the lives of his victims.

Mitchell's plan, although supported by then-secretary of state Colin Powell, was never adopted by Bush because at the time, terrorists were massacring Israelis every day. It would have been politically unwise for Bush to accept a plan that asserted moral equivalence between Israel and the PLO when rescue workers were scraping the body parts of Israeli children off the walls of bombed out pizzerias and bar mitzva parties.

But while his eponymous plan was rejected, its substance, which was based on the Clinton Plan, formed the basis of the Tenet Plan, the road map plan and the Annapolis Plan. And now, Mitchell is about to return to Israel, at the start of yet another presidential administration to offer us his plan again.

MITCHELL, OF COURSE, is not the only one repeating the past. His boss, Barack Obama, is about to repeat the failures his immediate predecessors. Like Clinton and Bush, Obama is making the establishment of a Palestinian state the centerpiece of his foreign policy agenda.

Obama made this clear his first hour on the job. On Wednesday at 8 a.m., Obama made his first phone call to a foreign leader. He called PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. During their conversation, Obama pledged his commitment to Palestinian statehood.

Fatah wasted no time responding to Obama's extraordinary gesture. On Wednesday afternoon Abbas convened the PLO's Executive Committee in Ramallah and the body announced that future negotiations with Israel will have to be based on new preconditions. As far as the PLO is concerned, with Obama firmly in its corner, it can force Israel to its knees.

And so, the PLO is now uninterested in the agreements it reached with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. For Israel to enjoy the privilege of negotiating with the PLO, it must first announce its willingness to expel all the 500,000 or so Israeli Jews who live in Judea, Samaria and the neighborhoods in east, south and north Jerusalem built since 1967, as well as in the Old City, and then hand the areas over, lock, stock and barrel, to the PLO.

This new PLO "plan" itself is nothing new. It is simply a restatement of the Arab "peace plan," which is just a renamed Saudi "peace plan," which was just a renamed Tom Friedman column in The New York Times. And the Friedman plan is one that no Israeli leader in his right mind can accept. So by making this their precondition for negotiations, the PLO is doing what it did in 2000. It is rejecting statehood in favor of continued war with Israel.

What is most remarkable about the new administration's embrace of its predecessors' failed policy is how uncontroversial this policy is in Washington. It is hard to come up with another example of a policy that has failed so often and so violently that has enjoyed the support of both American political parties. Indeed, it is hard to think of a successful policy that ever enjoyed such broad support.

Apparently, no one in positions of power in Washington has stopped to consider why it is that in spite of the fervent backing of presidents Clinton and Bush, there is still no Palestinian state.

SINCE ISRAEL recognized the PLO as the "sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" in 1993, the US and Israel have based their plans for peace on their assumption that the PLO is interested in making peace. And they have based their plans for making peace by establishing a Palestinian state on the assumption that the Palestinians are interested in statehood. Yet over the past 15 years it has become abundantly clear that neither of these assumptions is correct.

In spite of massive political, economic and military support by the US, Israel and Europe, the PLO has never made any significant moves to foster peaceful relations between Israel and the Palestinians. Not only did the PLO-led PA spend the six years between 1994 and 2000, in which it was supposedly making peace with Israel, indoctrinating Palestinian society to hate Jews and seek their destruction through jihadist-inspired terrorism. It also cultivated close relations with Iran and other rogue regimes and terror groups.

Many are quick to claim that these misbehaviors were simply a consequence of Arafat's personal radicalism. Under Abbas, it is argued, the PLO is much more moderate. But this assertion strains credulity. As The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh reported on Monday, Fatah forces today boast that their terror cells in Gaza took active part in Hamas's missile offensive against Israel. Fatah's Aksa Martyrs terror cells claim that during Operation Cast Lead, its terrorists shot 137 rockets and mortar shells at Israel.

Abbas's supporters in the US and Israel claim that these Fatah members acted as they did because they are living under Hamas rule. They would be far more moderate if they were under Fatah rule. But this, too, doesn't ring true.

From 2000 through June 2007, when Hamas ousted Fatah forces from Gaza, most of the weapons smuggling operations in Gaza were carried out by Fatah. Then, too, most of the rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel were fired by Fatah forces. Likewise, most of the suicide bombers deployed from Judea and Samaria were members of Fatah.

The likes of Madeleine Albright, Powell and Condoleezza Rice claimed that Fatah's collusion with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and its leading role in terror was a consequence of insufficient Israeli support for Arafat and later for Abbas. If Israel had kicked out the Jews of Gaza earlier, or if it had removed its roadblocks and expelled Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria, or if had prevented all Jewish construction beyond the 1949 armistice lines, then Arafat and later Abbas would have been more popular and able to rein in their own terror forces. (Incidentally, those same forces receive their salaries from the PA, which is funded by the US and Israel.)

THE PROBLEM with this line of thinking is that it ignores two essential facts. First, since 2000 Israel has curtailed Jewish building in Judea and Samaria. Second, Israel kicked every last Jew out of Gaza and handed the ruins of their villages and farms over to Fatah in September 2005.

It is worth noting that the conditions under which the PA received Gaza in 2005 were far better than the conditions under which Israel gained its sovereignty in 1948. The Palestinians were showered with billions of dollars in international aid. No one wanted to do anything but help them make a go of it.

In 1948-49, Israel had to secure its sovereignty by fending off five invading armies while under an international arms embargo. It then had to absorb a million refugees from Arab countries and Holocaust survivors from Europe, with no financial assistance from anyone other than US Jews. Israel developed into an open democracy. Gaza became one of the largest terror bases in the world.

Four months after Israel handed over Gaza - and northern Samaria - the Palestinians turned their backs on statehood altogether when they elected Hamas - an explicitly anti-nationalist, pan-Islamic movement that rejects Palestinians statehood - to lead them.

Hamas's electoral victory, its subsequent ouster of Fatah forces from Gaza and its recent war with Israel tells us another fundamental truth about the sources of the repeated failure of the US's bid for Palestinian statehood. Quite simply, there is no real Palestinian constituency for it.

Even if we were to ignore all of the PLO's involvement in terrorism and assume like Obama, Bush and Clinton that the PLO is willing to live at peace with Israel in exchange for Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, what Hamas's control of Gaza and its popularity throughout the Palestinian areas show is that there is no reason to expect that the PLO will remain in control of territory that Israel transfers to its control. So if Israel were to abide by the PLO's latest demand and accept the Friedman/Saudi/Arab/PLO "peace plan," there is no reason to believe that a Jew-free Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem wouldn't then be taken over by Hamas.

Given that there is no chance that Israeli territorial giveaways will lead to a peaceful Palestinian state, the question arises, is there any way to compel American politicians to give up their fantasies of fancy signing ceremonies in the White House Rose Garden that far from bringing peace, engender radicalism, instability and death?

As far as Mitchell is concerned the answer is no. In an address at Tel Aviv University last month, Mitchell said that the US and Israel must cling to the delusion that Palestinian statehood will bring about a new utopia, "for the alternative is unacceptable and should be unthinkable."

So much for "change" in US foreign policy.

THE WEST MUST SUPPORT GEERT WILDERS

Geert Wilders' persecution by Dutch authorities for telling the truth about Islam is starting to stir up support for him in Britain iand the U.S.

Two articles worth reading:

Melanie Phillips gives us the British view. Among other things, she quotes what Winston Churchill said in 1899 about Islam after extensive first hand exposure to Muslims in Africa:

No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

The American Thinker weighs in as well. It has a succinct take on the situation:

Islam has been eating away at the Netherlands for decades. Its sway is far out of proportion to its population. It demands special treatment and gets it. The government fears them, they know it, and exploit that fear at every turn. Influential Dutchmen who speak out against Muslim violence toward women, such as Theo Van Gogh or Pim Fortuyn are murdered in the street. Outspoken critics of Islam such as parliamentarian Ayan Hirsi Ali are hounded out of the country by a combination of intimidation and government cowardice.

And ordinary Americans are speaking out:

We are comfortable here in the United States. We are sheltered, isolated from the atrocities we see and hear about on T.V. and what we read about in newspapers or the Internet. It is easy to agree with something I know in my heart and mind is right and yet not act upon it, because I'm comfortable and it's the easier thing to do. I can't do it anymore. I won't do it anymore. Please watch the video. If you agree with what you've watched, please sign the petition in defense of Geert Wilders.

As we have reported earlier, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders has been a lonely voice in a multicultural, politically correct society trembling with fear of its hostile Muslim immigrant population. (Our earlier reports on Wilders, three in number, are worth reading as well.)

If you missed it, here is Wilders' short (16:48), meticulously accurate film Fitna that brought the court's condemnation down on him. It's strong stuff, but aids understanding.

This is a man of courage.


On the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision creating "a license to the kill the unborn," Professor Robert George of Princeton University delivered a stirring call to resolve and action on behalf of the unborn. President Barack Obama, the most anti-life public official ever in the history of the United States, is a looming threat to the lives of millions of human beings with his stated intent to massively fund and promote abortion in the United States and around the world.

At this low point for the pro-life movement, Professor George compared the anti-slavery movement in its early days when the cause seemed hopeless. Yet those who supported freedom for slaves, such as the great crusader Wilbur Wilberforce, were condemned as zealots and worse, but nonetheless they persevered and ultimately brought about the end of slavery. The compelling morality of their cause prevailed. So too can the battle be for the equal protection under the law of every human being from his conception to his natural end.

Professor George warns that whatever Obama might say in trying to win over to his side people of conscience he must be resisted:

Barack Obama is trying to win over religiously serious Catholics and Evangelicals, without altering in the slightest his support for abortion, including late-term and partial-birth abortions, the funding of abortion and embryo-destructive research with taxpayer dollars, the elimination of informed consent and parental notification laws, and the revocation of conscience and religious liberty protections for pro-life doctors and other healthcare workers and pharmacists. He will ultimately fail. We must see to it that he fails.

Read Professor George's rallying cry here.

Professor George said the battle will go on. He suggests for those who care about protecting the unborn to follow the battles by reading First Things (by subscription and online), The Public Discourse (online) and MoralAccountability.com (online).

Moral Accountability states its mission clearly -- to mobilize even those misguided Catholics and Evangelicals whose wishful thinking led them to support Obama's election to now join in "repelling the attacks that will be launched against life and marriage by this administration."

President Obama has started his stealth campaign to expand abortions in the United States and around the world. Late Friday, without media present, he issued an executive order requiring taxpayers to fund abortions internationally through U.S. agencies and the United Nations. Those "family planning centers" will now be promoting killing the unborn instead of raising healthy babies.

We have been disturbed by Obama's unhealthy fixation on reducing the number of live births by killing when clinics in the United States and around the world already provide full access to all family planning information. Pro-abortion advocates assert they are not advocating abortion as as an alternative way of family planning, but evidence suggests that is exactly what they are doing and what Obama intends. Organizations like Obama supporter Planned Parenthood makes much if not most of their money from the abortion business.

Obama is proceeding on his sweeping expansion of the abortion business in his usual
Alinsky incremental community organizer approach. Do a bit now and another bit later. Before you know it you've accomplished the whole package. And do it quietly. On a Friday afternoon after the reporters have gone and there's a fair chance even the Saturday newspapers won't pick the story up.

Next step in this stealth approach will probably be authorizing taxpayer funding of the industrial breeding and destruction of human beings for research, a totally unnecessary explosion of abortion, because medically it has been conclusively shown that stem cells not involving embryos offer the same if not better promise of medical success. Professor Robert George of Princeton has also noted the perversity of Obama's fixation on death:

It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.

There were some still working late on Capitol Hill who were appalled by the tragedy Obama set in motion Friday afternoon:

Coming just one day after the 36th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision, this presidential directive forces taxpayers to subsidize abortions overseas _ something no American should be required by government to do," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.


Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., called it "morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans to promote abortion around the world."

"President Obama not long ago told the American people that he would support policies to reduce abortions, but today he is effectively guaranteeing more abortions by funding groups that promote abortion as a method of population control," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky echoed those sentiments calling Obama's action "counter to our nation's interests."

Catholics-in-name-only Democratic Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts both had words of praise for Obama's pro-abortion action, ignoring the words of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Pelosi and Kerry are supporting the unconscionable killing of human beings.

While claims that embryos and fetuses are members of the human family are often dismissed as based on faith alone or merely a matter of personal opinion, from a scientific standpoint this is entirely untrue. At the moment of conception, when egg meets sperm, either in the petri dish or the fallopian tube, the complete genetic blueprint of a new unique human individual comes together. This is scientific fact. It was at the moment of conception that each and every reader of this article began to journey through the developmental stages of life. Those destroyed in an abortion are genetically human except under the most bizarre circumstances. They are also certainly alive, consuming nutrients, excreting waste products of metabolism, growing, possessing the potential to reproduce, and responding to external stimuli such as local pH, availability of oxygen, and the presence of hormones in the fetal and maternal circulation. Abortion kills a human being in the earliest days, weeks or months of its development, period.

The Vatican said it best: "Of all the good things he could have done, Obama has chosen the worst." His action will lead to the "slaughter of the innocents" worldwide in the millions.

WHY HASN'T POLIO DISAPPEARED?

The big health news this week was that Bill Gates' foundation along with some others have pledged $630 million to eradicate polio. What, you ask, it's still around? Indeed, yes.

The polio virus remains endemic in only Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan, but imported cases from these four countries threaten other developing nations.

A few years ago health professionals thought there were at the point of complete eradication. Only about 1,600 cases were being reported worldwide and all from identifiable locales. Nigeria had the most and a major immunization campaign was undertaken to wipe polio out there.

The target population were all Muslim located in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. Local imams began telling their followers that the immunization program was a Western plot to infect them with incurable disease. Cooperation froze as parents refused to immunize their children. In other Muslim countries similar stories were spread. It is no coincidence that all of the countries where polio still is killing people are Muslim-majority except India which has over 100 million Muslims.

The ill-educated, paranoid Muslim imams can't comprehend that there are people in the world seeking to do good not just for members of their own tribe or nation but for the whole world, even Muslims who hate them and want to kill them.

So more than half a billion dollars more will now be spent seeking to convince those who don't want to be convinced that immunization is for their benefit. Let's hope Bill Gates and the others will realize the obstacle they must overcome is a culture which fervently believes that non-Muslims only want to do Muslims harm.

StrategyPage reported in 2006 on the successful campaign of Islamic radicals to block vaccinations for children in Nigeria. They are the chief obstacle to wiping out polio in the world.


COUNTER-TERRORISM: Killing Little Children for the Cause

November 12, 2006: A good example, of how self-destructive Islamic radicalism is, can be seen in the continuing campaign to stop polio vaccinations. Several years ago, Islamic conservatives in Nigeria began urging parents to refuse polio vaccinations for their children. Eventually, this thwarted the worldwide effort to wipe out polio, because dozens of new cases appeared in Nigeria. All this comes from paranoid rumors that the medicine was a Western attempt to sterilize Moslem children. The Nigerian government put pressure on conservative Islamic leaders to stop preaching against the vaccination program, with mixed results. Islamic radicals are preaching against other types of vaccinations as well, causing something of an "Islamic Plague" among the growing number of unvaccinated children.

This sort of illogical, self-destructive, paranoia is popular among Islamic radicals and terrorists....[S]ince Islam was founded on the use of violence to spread the faith, and enforce discipline among followers, there's no end to this custom of conjuring up imaginary threats, and then getting violent over the issue. But in this case, most of the victims are young children, who are paralyzed for life, or killed, because their parents, caught up in paranoid fervor, refuse the vaccinations. In some cases, the Islamic radicals use force to keep the vaccination teams from an area, thus preventing many parents, who want the vaccinations, from getting them.

To some extent, these irrational and destructive policies should provide some counterterrorist opportunities. But not always, because of the delusional nature of this Islamic paranoia, even the negative outcomes of, say, stopping vaccinations, can be blamed on evil infidels (non-Moslems.) It takes a lot of effort to overcome this mentality, but until that is done, Islamic terrorism will keep coming back, as it has done for centuries.

And this from Britain's London Sunday Times January 28, 2007:

'Katme's appeal reflects a global movement by some hardline Islamic leaders who are telling followers to refuse vaccines from the West.

In Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India, Muslims have refused to be immunised against polio after being told that the vaccines contain products that the West has deliberately added to make the recipients infertile.'

On August 1, 2007 it was reported, again by StrategyPage, that polio had reappeared in New Zealand:

Polio has reappeared in New Zealand, traced to northern Pakistan where Islamic clerics persuade parents to avoid vaccination as a "Western plot to poison Muslim children." Islamic imams have told the same tales in northern Nigeria, where polio cases are increasing. Conspiracy theories such as this one are common fare in the Muslim world.

Ignorance, illiteracy, hatred and suspicion are a lethal mix for those who suffer from these maladies.

HOW OBAMA CAN HELP HIS PEOPLE RESPONSIBLY

Where can President Obama do the most good? It can't be said often enough -- He can change the corrosive black culture that is spinning young African-Americans deeper and deeper into holes they cannot dig out of. We said as much not too long ago.

Now a black newspaper columnist pleads with President Obama to make this a top priority.

Let's hope that Obama's example leads young black Americans to stop obsessing about white racism, reject hip-hop and ghetto culture, and embrace intellectual achievement. May a million belts bloom, and baggy trousers stop sliding off black men's rumps. (Obama recommends: "Brothers should pull up their pants.") May a new era of responsibility envelop America's 'hoods.

In this respect, President Obama ironically could become a force for socially conservative change.

NUKES ARE GREEN AND GOOD FOR U.S. POWER

How about a little sanity and common sense when thinking "green"?

Shovel-Ready Nukes By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | January 26, 2009

Stimulus: So-called "shovel-ready" infrastructure jobs are said to be the key to economic recovery. But rather than just roads and bridges, between work and home, why not nuke plants to power our lives at both ends?

Amazingly, with all the talk of shoveling money into infrastructure projects, no mention has been made of our energy needs, the jobs that can be created by expanding our energy infrastructure and the jobs that can be created with the additional energy provided.

While the purveyors of global warming myths are losing support for the alarmist views, they, too, should join the two-thirds of Americans who believe nukes are a good answer to our future energy needs.

This writer argues that the pro-abortion forces may not be on the cusp of victory as they seem to think with the election of the most pro-abortion public official in the United States President Barack Obama.

The progress he cites is encouraging, but much vigilance and hard work lie ahead.

January 22, 2009, 4:00 a.m.


The Case for Pro-Life Optimism

Yes, Obama's election is a setback, but things aren't so bad as they seem.

By Michael J. New

The pro-life movement is despondent. During the recent election cycle, pro-lifers incurred a series of disappointing political defeats, culminating in the election of a president who steadfastly supports keeping abortion legal. Furthermore, some pundits suggest that the Republican party's pro-life stance hurt its candidates, and thus the party should take a more moderate position.

Worse, the new president has pledged to support the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would give the legislative and executive branches' seal of approval to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision and roll back many of the pro-life movement's hard-fought gains. Because of the recent electoral losses in the U.S. Senate, the pro-life movement is desperately scrambling to find 41 senators to mount a successful filibuster.

Is this the dystopian scenario we face today? Nope. What I have just described is the political landscape in 1993, the last time the pro-life movement found itself in the political wilderness. There were plenty of reasons for pessimism at the time, but the movement refused to give up and went on to make some very impressive gains during the 1990s--gains that remain today, and should give pro-lifers plenty of hope for the future.


Geert Wilders is an extraordinarily courageous political leader in the Dutch parilament. He has been relentlessly sounding the alarm about the dangers of Islam throughout Holland and the rest of Europe, in Israel and in the United States. He receives so many death threats from Muslims that he lives in several undisclosed locations, has 24-hour protection and appears in public in Holland mostly on the floor of parliament. He has been honored by many for his courage, including being named "Man of the Year" for 2008 by Front Page Magazine published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. We have noted his fine work on earlier occasions, such as here, here and here.

In December he was featured at the "Facing Jihad" conference in Jerusalem where he showed the compelling short film Fitna he produced, which uses quotes from the Koran sujperimposed on scenes of Muslim violence. (Fitna can be seen on the website of that conference as well as here.)

For telling the truth about Islam he has now been ordered to stand trial in the Netherlands for "inciting hatred" aganst Muslims by, among other things, making the film Fitna. In 1992 it was an obscure Pakistani-born Muslim who became a Dutchman who was similarly charged (and convicted) for warning the Dutch about the danger of Islam. Now it is a world-prominent member of parliament facing criminal charges for warning his countrymen about the existential threat to their society from the alien ideology of Islam.

Here's what's happened:

On Wednesday, freedom of speech in Europe took a new and devastating turn, as a Dutch appellate court ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders, parliamentarian and filmmaker, charging him with "inciting hatred and discrimination" against Muslims for his film exposing the threat of radical Islam.

What does it mean?

When members of a democratic country's legislature can be arrested and tried for expressing ideas that some find objectionable, that country's status as a free and fair democracy is in serious doubt.

Read the report and, not just weep for Wilders but for ourselves. We in the United States must come to understand the relentless war that is being waged to subdue the world to Islam. Islm cannot defeat us militarily, as President Obama correctly stated in his Inaugural address, but by a thousand cuts it can prevail.

We can do something:

Defenders of free speech to sign this letter of protest against the Dutch Government.


1992 is as good a year to start as any.

In that year a Pakistan--born Dutch citizen Mohammad Rasoel (sometimes "Rasul") was convicted of inciting hatred of Islam by writing his life story about growing up in Islam. It is a gripping tale, rather long, but immensely informative. An English translation is presented in full below.

Since then Islamic nations have been pressuring the United Nations to ban all criticism of Islam. In fact, a "Human Rights" UN committee has done that.

The campaign to sell Islam as a Religion of Peace is totally fraudulent. Islam is anything but. In fact, Islam is an ideology of power, of world conquest, employing whatever means work. Islam's skillful generals pursue earthlly power doing what Allah supposedly told them to do. At least, that's what Mohammad said in his Koran to mask what he was really after, power and wealth to satisfy his narcissistic craving.

Get a sense of how Muslims are brainwashed from birth and how there is no such standard as truth in Islam or right and wrong as understood in the West. There are no seekers of truth as the West knows it in Islam.

Mohammad is the perfect man, he is the standard, he is the example that all Muslims must emulate. Mohammad was a robber, an assassin, a butcher of Jews, a liar, a hater, a pedophile, a man of unbridled lust, a narcissist of the first order and a cruel and avarcious devourer of other men's wealth, women and possessions. Because of his extreme narcissism, he tolerated no criticism and had his critics killed. Truth? Deceit for him was a weapon of war in his war against the "other," those who did not acknowledge him as leader and the Prophet of Allah. This war against the other -- Jews, Christians and all other non-Muslims -- he made eternal in his Koran and his commands as written down by his "Companions" in the many books (Haditha) about his life. This man is the ideal model for all Muslims.

In the West, a popular question is "What would Jesus do?" For the West, the most dangerous question for the future of the world is that asked by too many of today's 1.3 billion Muslims: "What would Mohammad do?" He would lie, kill steal, do whatever is needed to gain power and wealth, destroying whatever and whoever got in his way. War, terror, intimidation, lies, whatever it takes.

No wonder the Islamic generals leading the war to conquer the world for Islam are ceaselessly working to stifle and silence all criticism of Islam. Dealdy riots after the publication of a few funny Mohammad cartoons? A prelude. Riots, murder and church burnings after Pope Benedict XVI suggested that violence to promote Islam was against the nature of God? A prelude. How much easier it will be to roll through Europe and the United States, preserving the wealth that is there for Islam, if they don't have to destroy it to accomplish their goal of conquest. In the U.S. libel itigation by Musiim groups are filed against critics, not with the aim of winning, but to bleed them with attorney costs so they will be effectively shut up.

Who will lead the counterattack to preserve the values Western civilization and the United States hold dear? Who will recognize the reality of the enemy that is fighting us here at home as well as in lands around the world? Will it be President Obama?

Here is one Dutch ex-Muslim's story.

The Downfall of the Netherlands
Land of the Naive Fools


Mohammed Rasoel

Translation courtesy of Faust

Foreword by the translator

On December 16, 1992 the Pakistani cabaret artist Zoka F. was ordered to pay a sum of 2000 guilders. The Dutch judge ruled that it had been proven that his book, 'De ondergang van Nederland', published under the pseudonym 'Mohammed Rasoel' was a racist pamphlet written with the sole purpose of inciting hatred. This sentence was followed by a massive public display of political correctness with the book being taken from the shelves in most bookstores throughout the Netherlands, and quickly forgotten about.

Foreword

When the political and social circumstances started to turn against him, the Muslim born author fled his Islamic country, after which he traveled for several years before finding refuge in Europe. Because he lived two lives, of which the second one was in the Netherlands, he observed the Dutch and their charming behavior, misplaced optimism, and disorientated urge for responsibility from an angle where they themselves were blind.

The author shows that the Dutch, if they don't adjust their policy regarding Muslims and set a drastically different course, will be repressed by the culture of Islam. In a worst-case scenario, they will have to admit they literally gave their already small country away. The author sheds light on the subject from different sides and clarifies with many examples that a seemingly far-fetched speculation is actually already materializing in the foreseeable future.

BARNEY FRANK ABUSES POWER TO AID BOSTON BANK

The ham-handed Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts continues to take care of his friends and supporters before the interests of all the American people.

Frank, more than any other public official, is responsible for triggering the worldwide financial crisis. As the lead Democrat on financial services in the House of Representatives he pressured fellow Democrats at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy uncreditworthy mortgage loans from banks and other mortgage lenders, package them up and sell them around the world with the implicit guaranty of the United States government behind them. When the Bush Administration realized the extent of the risk building at the two government-sponsored organizations and sought reform legislation in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, Frank was in the frontlines blocking legislative action, assuring one and all that everything was just hunky dorry. The mushrooming of subprime mortgage loans blew up the housing bubble and when it exploded, the defaults in the subprime mortgage packages owned by foreign governments and investors sent panic roaring around the globe. Trillions of dollars have been lost, including hundreds of billions of dollars in savings by ordinary Americans.

Today's Wall Street Journal reports that as the first round of bailout money was being doled out to banks Barney Frank was pushing the Treasury to put millions into a small Boston minority bank known for its poor banking practices. Treasury officials privately complained, but did the bidding of the powerful Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Read "Political Interference Seen in Bank Bailout Decisions."

JUDGE OBAMA ON HIS PERFORMANCE

Juan Williams got it right in his Wall Street Journal article on President Obama. Yes, it's a signal and historic event in America for a black man to become president.

Now it is time to treat him just like a white man, praise him when he's right, criticize him when he's wrong.

Every American president must be held to the highest standard. No president of any color should be given a free pass for screw-ups, lies or failure to keep a promise.

The time for media fawning and cheerleading, always embarrassing, for the good of the country must stop.

[T]to allow criticism of Mr. Obama only behind closed doors does no honor to the dreams and prayers of generations past: that race be put aside, and all people be judged honestly, openly, and on the basis of their performance.


President Obama deserves no less.

Read it all.

THE PRESIDENT'S FIRST DUTY

Torch012009.gif

Hamas is a terrorist organization -- so declared by the United States -- currently funded by Iran and now in control of Gaza. Its charter makes it clear its ultimate goal is to destroy Israel and kill Jews. Ever since it wrested control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, it has been bombarding Israeli village, towns and cities with mortars, rockets and missiles. After too many months and more than 6,000 of such bombardments Israel struck back to force a halt to the assaults. But Hamas kept firing.

Around the world, including in the United States, pro-Hamas rallies have sprung up calling for death to Jews and the elimination of Israel. Neo-Nazis and leftists have joined with Palestinians in demonstrations that have often turned violent. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, New York and smaller towns such as Allentown, Pennsylvania held pro-Hamas rallies organized by local Islamic groups.

To grasp the extent of the infiltration of supporters of Islamic terrorism in Europe and the United States, check out this compilation of demonstrations held on and around Saturday, January 10th.

Is Hamas only a threat to Israel? Not at all. Hamas is a spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose goal is world domination for Islam. In the United States it operates under the name of the Muslim American Society wth the express purpose of undermining American civilzation from within to eventually replace the Constitution with Islamic law, Sharia. Hamas cells are in at least 40 cities in the United States and the Muslim American Society (MAS) is entrenched in more cities than that.

How successful have such organizations been in insinuating themselves into positions of influence? In the recent Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas in which the foundation and five of its top officials were found guilty of over 100 charges of funding Hamas, three prominent Islamic organizations linked to the Muslim American Society were named as unindicted co-conspirators -- the Islamic Society of North America ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR is treated by the national media as the representative voice for American Muslims. NAIT is the owner of the huge new mosque built in Boston which is run by MAS. A representative of ISNA will be leading prayers at the Obama inauguration.

While some true believer Muslims are doing what the Koran says and Mohammad commanded by waging active war and violent terrorism wherever they can against Jews, Hindus, Christians and other infidels, others are working less directly but no less purposefully to build Islamic influence and power in the cities, towns and villages of Europe and America. Demonstrations such have occurred in recent weeks are part of the effort to not only delegitimize Israel's right to exist and to denigrate Jews, but also to show through intimidation the rising power of Islam.

Information coming from sources inside the Obama transition camp indicate that President Obama plans to launch a major attack immediately after his inauguration.

The target isn't Iran. It's unborn children.

As a start, Obama has said he will immediatly cancel all of the presidential executive orders protecting life and allow the industrial breeding and destruction of human beings for embryonic stem cell use despite evidence that other stem cells not involving the industrial breeding of embryos are at least as good as if not better for medical use. Millions more humans -- science has proved incontrovertibly that life begins when egg and sperm are joined -- will die. Professor Robert George of Princeton sees an unhealthy perversity in Obama's position:

It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.

As tragic as that decision will be for the sanctity of life, Obama is also preparing a massive taxpayer "bailout" of about $1 billion to reward his fervent supporters at Planned Parenthood and NARAL. But it's not only taxpayer money he wants to send their way. He intends to eliminate all of the 500 or so restrictions placed on abortion over the past 30 years by federal and state legislatures and approved by the Supreme Court. Even partial-birth abortion, which 75% of Americans oppose, would be legalized. In 2007 Obama told Planned Parenthood he wanted his first act as president to be signing the euphemismistically named "Freedom of Choice Act," which will do all of these things and more. Even edducation programs about the benefits of abstinence would be wiped out. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe noted this:

Obama advocates abortion rights even more sweeping than those enacted under Roe v. Wade. "The first thing I'd do as president," he assured the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, "is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." The measure would not only codify Roe, it would eliminate even restrictions on abortion that the Supreme Court has allowed - the federal ban on government funding of abortion, for example, or the law prohibiting partial-birth abortion.

Planned Parenthood and NARAL are the two leading advocates in the United States of terminating the lives of the unborn. Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion mill in the country, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Though the media never mention it, abortion is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing an estimated 1.2 million human beings each year. 40 million since Roe v. Wade. And Obama's action to permit the industrial breeding and destruction of human beings, reminiscent of the eugenics practiced in the 1930s, will add how many millions more to the death toll?

A CONSERVATIVE CHALLENGE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA

The phrase "family values" has a hollow ring when talking about black families. The incredible rise in fatherless black children has been accompanied by more crime, poorer education accomplishment and lagging incomes.

Obama had no experience of his father, so he invented one in his book "Dreams from my Father." However, he and his wife Michelle have shown what a black family can be in America.

If Obama does nothing else as president but convince black America of the benefits and desirability of a home with both a father and a mother, he will be a success. He could do ever more by recognizing that every human life once conceived, minority or not, is precious.

Democrat president Lyndon Johnson saw the growing problem of fatherless black families and spoke out:

"When the family collapses, it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale, the community itself is crippled."

What was 24% in 1965 is now 70%. The result:

While half of all black children born to single mothers are poor, that is the case for only 12 percent of those born to married parents.

Obama can be a force for change for a better life for black children.

Through the power of his own example, Obama presents a chance to revive what Lyndon Johnson called "the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights."
An Enduring Crisis for the Black Family

By Kay Hymowitz
Saturday, December 6, 2008; A15

In the nearly half-century in which we have gone from George Wallace to Barack Obama, America has another, less hopeful story to tell about racial progress, one that may be even harder to reverse.

In 1965, a young assistant secretary of labor named Daniel Patrick Moynihan stumbled upon data that showed a rise in the number of black single mothers. As Moynihan wrote in a now-famous report for the Johnson administration, especially troubling was that the growth in illegitimacy, as it was universally called then, coincided with a decline in black male unemployment. Strangely, black men were joining the labor force more, but they were marrying -- and fathering -- less.

There were other puzzling facts. In 1950, at the height of the Jim Crow era and despite the shattering legacy of slavery, the great majority of black children -- an estimated 85 percent -- were born to their two married parents. Just 15 years later, there seemed to be no obvious reason that that would change. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, legal barriers to equality were falling. The black middle class had grown substantially, and the first five years of the 1960s had produced 7 million new jobs. Yet 24 percent of black mothers were then bypassing marriage. Moynihan wrote later that he, like everyone else in the policy business, had assumed that "economic conditions determine social conditions." Now it seemed, "what everyone knew was evidently not so."

President Lyndon Johnson was deeply shaken by Moynihan's findings. Neither man was driven by sentimentality or religious conviction, but both believed that fatherlessness undermined the "basic socializing unit." Intent on sounding a public alarm, Johnson declared during a commencement address at Howard University: "When the family collapses, it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale, the community itself is crippled."

Unfortunately, those warnings were as prescient as they were reviled. Civil rights leaders, worried about reviving racist myths about black promiscuity, objected to what they viewed as blaming the victim. Feminists were inclined to look on the "strong black women" raising their children without men as a symbol of female autonomy. By the fall of 1965, when a White House conference on the black family was scheduled, the Moynihan report and the subject had disappeared.

But the silent treatment was the wrong medicine. Since 1965, through economic recessions and booms, the black family has unraveled in ways that have little parallel in human cultures. By 1980, black fatherlessness had doubled; 56 percent of black births were to single mothers. In inner-city neighborhoods, the number was closer to 66 percent. By the 1990s, even as the overall fertility of American women, including African Americans, was falling, the majority of black women who did bear children were unmarried. Today, 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers. In some neighborhoods, two-parent families have vanished. In parts of Newark and Philadelphia, for example, it is common to find children who are not only growing up without their fathers but don't know anyone who is living with his or her biological father.

And what has this meant for racial progress? Fifty years after Jim Crow, black U.S. households have the lowest median income of any racial or ethnic group. Close to a third of black children are poor, and their chances of moving out of poverty are considerably lower than those of their white peers. The fractured black family is not the sole explanation for these gaps, but it is central. While half of all black children born to single mothers are poor, that is the case for only 12 percent of those born to married parents. At least three simulation studies "marrying off" single mothers to either the fathers of their children or to potential husbands of similar demographic characteristics concluded that child poverty would be dramatically lower had marriage rates remained what they were in 1970.

Black married couples make a median household income of $62,000, which is more than 80 percent of what white households earn and represents a gain of 13 percentage points since the 1960s. Yet overall, black household median income is only 62 percent that of white households, a mere six-point increase over the same period.

Merely walking down the aisle can't explain these differences. Rather, the institution of marriage appears to promote ideals of stability, order and fidelity that benefit children and adults alike. Those who pin their hopes for black progress on education tend to forget this. Numerous studies, when controlled for income and race, show that, on average, children growing up with single mothers are less likely to graduate from high school and go to college. And Moynihan's discovery of a negligible relationship between "economic conditions and social conditions" suggests that even increases in black male employment are not a certain cure.

Through the power of his own example, Obama presents a chance to revive what Lyndon Johnson called "the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights." Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father," conveys the economic, emotional and existential toll of growing up fatherless, and he has spoken movingly of his determination to ensure for his own children a different life. Yet tackling this issue won't be easy. When Obama gave a Father's Day speech lamenting "fathers . . . missing from too many lives and too many homes," Jesse Jackson was so incensed that he said he wanted to castrate Obama. Still, painful as the subject is, the alternative is far worse: racial inequality as far as the eye can see.

Kay Hymowitz, a contributing editor of City Journal, is author of "Marriage and Caste in America."

We have detailed on several occasions that the present worldwide financial crisis can be traced to Democratic housing policies encouraging and then requiring banks to make mortgage loans to people who really couldn't afford them. Present in the early stages of the drive to force banks to make such loans was Barack Obama, then a schooled community organizer training ACORN operatives in Chicago how to intimidate banks and bankers into making loans they shouldn't. That was back in 1991. Obama-supporting ACORN was among the organizations that pressed the Clinton Administration to toughen up the penalties on banks that "weren't making enough" subprime loans. (ACORN worked for Obama in his first run for Illinois Senate in 1996.)

Understandably, banks didn't want to make loans that had a strong chance of going bad. They wanted to get rid of them. So ACORN spent tens of thousands of dollars lobbying Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up subprime loans and sell them around the world as U.S. government securities. Also pressing Fannie and Freddie was Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, and the top Democrat in the House of Representatives on financial matters. Subprime loans rocketed from 2% of total mortgage loans in 2002 to 30% in 2006. Internal reports at Fannie warned that Fannie was getting in too deep with these risky loans, but top brass ignored the warning as Congressional Democrats led by Frank and Democratic Senator Dodd of Connecticut urged them to buy up more.

The demand for housing mushroomed with all the mortgage loan availability. In 2003 President Bush called Congress to rein in Fannie and Freddie, but Democrats led by Frank said everything was fine and no new regulation was needed. Senate Repubicans pushed legisation in 2004, 2005 and 2006, but again Democrats led by Barney Frank said all was peachy keen and no new regulation was needed. All told, Frank and fellow Democrats blocked reform efforts in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. (In 2005 and 2006 Obama was in the U.S. Senate supporting Democratic efforts to block Fannie/Freddie reform. Obama in just two years became the number two recipient of Fannie/Freddie campaign contributions of all time. They must have known he was present at the creation of the subprime mortgage loan boom that resulted in many millions of bonuses for Fannie/Freddie top officials as business skyrocketed.)

The sorry tale is detailed in, among other places on this site, here. The housing bubble collapsed, subprime mortgage loan defaults exploded and rippled through Fannie and Freddie securities around the world. Financial panic ensued, all triggered by the subprime mortgage mirage dissolving.

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh reported that Barney Frank had appeared on MSNBC to discuss the financial crisis and how it all started. In many interviews, Frank had shamelessly blamed it all on Wall Street greed. Now Frank gave Joe Scarborough a different view. Limbaugh's transcript follows:

RUSH: Barney Frank. I want to go to yesterday's audio sound bite roster. Actually, we have stuff from today and yesterday. Yesterday he was on with Chris Cuomo on Good Morning America, and I'll tell you, Barney is getting more and more contentious with his buddies. I mean, the people in the Drive-By Media are Barney's buddies, and he's getting contentious with them, often for no reason (which means he's defensive). But first from MSNBC today, Joe Scarborough's morning show. Scarborough said, "How do we stop the next big bust on Wall Street? We had the '87 crash. We had the Asian crash. We had the dotcom crash and the telecom crash, and now we got the housing bubble crash." I'll tell you the next crash. I just said, folks. We are insane. It was just two months ago that we learned that massive debt that can't be repaid causes bubbles to burst big time. And now we've got trillion-plus dollar or trillion-dollar deficits, promised by Obama, for years. So that's the next one to bust, and Scarborough is asking Barney Frank, "How do we figure out what the hell we're doing on Wall Street?"

FRANK: It's not deregulation. That was not the problem. It was the failure to adopt new regulation for a new phenomenon, the securitization. The biggest part of this problem was subprime loans: money lent to people to make them homeowners who couldn't afford the loans, who should not have been considered to be, in many cases, capable financially of homeowning. Now... Eh... You've gotta recognize reality. We have begun to adopt legislation to prevent that. We can stop the last problem from recurring. Nobody can know what the next problem will be.

RUSH: This is... (laughing) He created the problem! This... Folks, this is more than chutzpah. He created the problem. This is a sound bite that gets you out of your chair. I don't believe I just heard this. He created it. His definition of "affordable housing" was to make sure that people who couldn't pay the loans back got the loans, the mortgages. He forced Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to do this. ACORN was involved, Obama's group. This was a Democrat Party operation through and through! Instead of answering questions from Joe Scarborough, Barney Frank ought to be answering them as a witness before some other congressional committee. So now we have begun to adopt legislation to prevent this? (laughing) All you can do is laugh. I know some of you people are put out with me because I'm laughing at this, but what are we going to do? You can't go through your life angry all the time like the liberals do, but this...

Trillions of dollars have been lost as a result. Most 401(k)s and other savings have been decimated. Retirements are being postponed. Housing values have shriveled. People have lost their homes. And who was responsible? Know-it-all do-good Democrats who ignored the realities of economics.

"THEY" ARE COMING TO GET YOU

In Montreal they are calling the Jews dogs, in London they are rioting and calling the police cowards, in Paris they're burning synagogues and in Fort Lauderdale they calling for bigger ovens to fit all the Jews in.

Mark Steyn observes:

The west's deluded multiculti progressives should understand: In the end, this isn't about Gaza, this isn't about Jews. It's about you.

For all of Mark's comment, click here.

Need I say who "they" are?

JEW-HATRED, 21ST CENTURY STYLE

That Mark Steyn is brilliant, we know.

Putting the pieces together as he does in his words about the pathology of Jew hatred is brilliant. Hatred corrupts the haters and nowhere is that shown more clearly than by the Palestinians and their Muslim brethren worldwide.

Through the centuries it is estimated that in its expansionary wars Islam has killed 270 million people, including 80 million Hindus. Jews have always been at the top of the list to be killed, following Mohammad's example.

With 1.2 billion Muslims now in the world it must be frustrating to true believer Muslims that they are somehow dominated by 14 million Jews whom they cannot exterminate.


The ‘Oldest Hatred’

It didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt.

By Mark Steyn
National Review Online
January 10, 2009

In Toronto, anti-Israel demonstrators yell “You are the brothers of pigs!”, and a protester complains to his interviewer that “Hitler didn’t do a good job.”

In Fort Lauderdale, Palestinian supporters sneer at Jews, “You need a big oven, that’s what you need!”

In Amsterdam, the crowd shouts, “Hamas, Hamas! Jews to the gas!”

In Paris, the state-owned TV network France-2 broadcasts film of dozens of dead Palestinians killed in an Israeli air raid on New Year’s Day. The channel subsequently admits that, in fact, the footage is not from January 1st 2009 but from 2005, and, while the corpses are certainly Palestinian, they were killed when a truck loaded with Hamas explosives detonated prematurely while leaving the Jabaliya refugee camp in another of those unfortunate work-related accidents to which Gaza is sadly prone. Conceding that the Palestinians supposedly killed by Israel were, alas, killed by Hamas, France-2 says the footage was broadcast “accidentally.”

In Toulouse, a synagogue is firebombed; in Bordeaux, two kosher butchers are attacked; at the Auber RER train station, a Jewish man is savagely assaulted by 20 youths taunting, “Palestine will kill the Jews;” in Villiers-le-Bel, a Jewish schoolgirl is brutally beaten by a gang jeering, “Jews must die.”

In Helsingborg, the congregation at a Swedish synagogue takes shelter as a window is broken and burning cloths thrown in; in Odense, principal Olav Nielsen announces that he will no longer admit Jewish children to the local school after a Dane of Lebanese extraction goes to the shopping mall and shoots two men working at the Dead Sea Products store; in Brussels, a Molotov cocktail is hurled at a Belgian synagogue; in Antwerp, lit rags are pushed through the mail flap of a Jewish home; and, across the Channel, “youths” attempt to burn the Brondesbury Park Synagogue.

In London, the police advise British Jews to review their security procedures because of potential revenge attacks. The Sun reports “fears” that “Islamic extremists” are drawing up a “hit list” of prominent Jews, including the Foreign Secretary, Amy Winehouse’s record producer, and the late Princess of Wales’s divorce lawyer. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Islamic non-extremists from the British Muslim Forum, the Islamic Foundation and other impeccably respectable “moderate” groups have warned the government that the Israelis’ “disproportionate force” in Gaza risks inflaming British Muslims, “reviving extremist groups,” and provoking “UK terrorist attacks” — not against Amy Winehouse’s record producer and other sinister members of the International Jewish Conspiracy but against targets of, ah, more general interest.

Forget, for the moment, Gaza. Forget that the Palestinian people are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth. For the past sixty years they have been entrusted to the care of the United Nations, the Arab League, the PLO, Hamas and the “global community” — and the results are pretty much what you’d expect. You would have to be very hardhearted not to weep at the sight of dead Palestinian children, but you would also have to accord a measure of blame to the Hamas officials who choose to use grade schools as launch pads for Israeli-bound rockets, and to the UN refugee agency that turns a blind eye to it. And, even if you don’t deplore Fatah and Hamas for marinating their infants in a sick death cult in which martyrdom in the course of Jew-killing is the greatest goal to which a citizen can aspire, any fair-minded visitor to the West Bank or Gaza in the decade and a half in which the “Palestinian Authority” has exercised sovereign powers roughly equivalent to those of the nascent Irish Free State in 1922 would have to concede that the Palestinian “nationalist movement” has a profound shortage of nationalists interested in running a nation, or indeed capable of doing so. There is fault on both sides, of course, and Israel has few good long-term options. But, if this was a conventional ethno-nationalist dispute, it would have been over long ago.

What is Obama doing with his grandiose rescue plan for the economy? He is frightening people all over again, stirring the panic that had begun to subside.

He wants the government to dispense now -- urgently -- a trillion dollars as the "last chance" "to save the American economy." He, Obama, can and will do it.

Such government programs didn't end the Great Depression; as studies show (for example, Amity Shlaes' The Forgotten Man), they actually lengthened it and caused the economy to continue in stagnation. But, politically, it was a master stroke for FDR and his Democratic Party. It kept them in power for years. (By the way, The Forgotten Man was he who ultimately had to pay the bills for all that spending.)

OBAMA'S PLAN IS TO TRANSFORM AMERICA INTO A SOCIALIST SOCIETY DEPENDENT ON THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

Community Organizer-in-Chief Obama is following the Marxist Saul Alinsky (Rules for Radicals) playbook to destroy capitalism and replace it with totalitarian socialism, with power in and dependence on the government, which spreads wealth to those it deems deserving taken from those who have earned it.

The fiscal crisis has handed Obama the Alinsky opportunity of a lifetime. Obama can condemn what brought it about (capitalist society) that isn't working for the middle class and assert that only immense government action can save the country. The re-panicked people need to be saved. To mask what he's doing, he talks about the great history of American innovation, initiative and entrepreneurship that one day will be restored. He says individuals will get "tax cuts," but nobody's tax is being cut, it's wealth redistribution. Why, he even rolled out new Doublespeak, referring to himself as a "pragmatic conservative." Do not be misled: His intention is to create a society of dependence on government largesse (of course equally distributed), not enlarging opportunity for all.

And at the top of this totalitarian society is Obama the Benevolent dispensing favors, which suits his narcissist personality (as evidenced repeatedly throughout the campaign, e.g., Greek temple settings, healing the planet, waters receding, words coming from above to tell one and all to vote for Obama, we (that is, I) are the one(s) we have been waiting for).

It is a dangerous time for the American way of life. With Democrats in power in Congress and the White House, replacing equal opportunity with equality of outcome as dictated by the government has never been closer. And the ever enlarging dependent class will deliver dependable votes to those (Democrats) who bestow the favors. We are already dangerously close to having half the adult population paying no income tax at all; how much will they care about taxing earners and producers?

Obama has made it clear (most openly so in a Chicago radio interview) he finds the U.S. Constitution flawed because it only addressed what government couldn't do to the people, not what the government should do for the people. The idea that people should be free to make their life choices is not good enough for Obama. He wants the government to fill their outthrust hands, making sure nobody gets too much. In Obama's view, the government should run the economy, not just regulate it. Does anyone really believe the government can create utopia? How far from Reagan's view can Obama's be -- Reagan who said some of the most dangerous words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

When will his economic advisors finally figure out what he's doing and speak up? Summers and Volcker are not socialist ideologues and surely are not part of the Obama conspiracy. But his Democratc (Chicago) political advisors, who want lasting power, and supporters (such as ACORN) are. And, most importantly, so is his newly appointed Domestic Policy Advisor Chicagoan Cass Sunstein, who already has served Obama by last March explaining away his campaign remarks about "redistributive change," the kind of slip Obama also made with Joe the Plumber.

As Alinsky says, first you have to make your target constituency unhappy and resentful about their current circumstances, then rally them with "hope" and "change" to demand a better deal. Obama paints a bleak picture, calls on Congress for urgent action on massive wealth distribution to the people to cure the disease infecting America. Just listen to him about what omnipotent government can do: The people who have lost their jobs are "counting on us" as are those who have lost their homes. He will save us.

When the debt the government incurs to pay these hundreds of billions (trillions?) comes due, you can be sure that those who have earned and saved and succeeded will be the ones paying for the handouts to those who have not.

For all those successful folks who supported Obama and never paid any attention to his Marxist background (if they even bothered to learn about it), a very rude shock is coming.

The twin desires of Congressional Democrats for never-ending political power and Obama's for a totalitarian socialist state over which he rules are coming together to threaten America's future as a land of opportunity.

The socialist ideologue Obama, lacking any real world experience, plans to put his textbook utopian dreams to work. But there is no utopia.

Who will stop them before severe damage is done?

FOOTNOTE: Coincidentally, the Wall Street Journal carried a wonderfully titled piece "From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years" detailing how Ayn Rand's fictional magnum opus about capitalism's defeat at socialist hands is currently playing out in our bailout and handout hysteria. Stephen Moore summarizes:

[T]he moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.

Our housing bubble was blown up to the point of explosion by Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and his Democratic do-good colleagues promoting mortgage loans to people who could not afford them. Now that the burst bubble has triggered a global crisis of credit confidence, Barney and friends, including the incoming president Obama, are front in center with more good ideas of how government can help.

As for Rand's novel, there were critics but, asMoore recount, the messsage was there:

Ultimately, "Atlas Shrugged" is a celebration of the entrepreneur, the risk taker and the cultivator of wealth through human intellect. Critics dismissed the novel as simple-minded, and even some of Rand's political admirers complained that she lacked compassion. Yet one pertinent warning resounds throughout the book: When profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear -- leaving everyone the poorer.

It is happening.

THAT DANGEROUS ISRAEL

Israel in perspective:

IsraelTheGiant.jpg

Ah, yes.

There are 7 million Israelis, 20% of whom are Arab-Israeli citizens, living in a half-desert area smaller than New Jersey, surrounded by some 350 million Arabs and 70 million or so Iranians, 65% of whom are Persians and the rest a mix of Arabs and others. Since before 1948, the birth of Israel, Arabs have been seeking to wipe out the Jews in what is now Israel. Of late, Iran has chipped in and is now playing a leading role financing and arming Hamas, which is dedicated to the annihlation of Israel and its Jews.

Regardless of the differences between the Arabs and Iran (and they are real, because the Arabs fear a nuclear Iran), they are united by the teaching of Mohammad and his Koran that Jews are to be destroyed (since contemporay Jews of Mohammad refused to recognize him as a Prophet, Mohammad had them killed). Other true believers(an unknown percentage) among the world's 1.2 billion Muslims share the same goal.

Israel is at the forefront of Islam's divine mission to conquer the world. Success there would move the battlefield to "lost" Muslim lands in India (already under attack), the Balkans, Philippines, Spain and Italy while the groundwork for conquest is laid elsewhere in the world, the rest of Europe and the U.S. holding top priority along with Brazil. (Europe has between 20 and 50 million non-assimilated Muslims living there already. Shockingly, Muslims claim 12 million in Brazil, which is more than twice the number in the U.S.)

It is imperative for the West that Israel's enemies are defeated.

TODAY'S ISLAMIC ATROCITIES REPORT

Jihad Watch notes the release of two transcripts:

A transcript of phone calls between terrorist headquarters in Pakistan and the terrorists doing the killing in Mumbai has been released by Indian intelligence. The terrorists on the ground were being directed every step of the way from Pakistan:

MumbaiRamirez120108.gif


Transcript: Mumbai gunmen were commanded by phone," from the Associated Press, January 7:

"We have three foreigners, including women," the gunman said into the phone. The response was brutally simple: "Kill them." Gunshots then rang out inside the Mumbai hotel, followed by cheering that could be heard over the phone.
The ruthless exchange comes from a transcript of phone calls Indian authorities say they intercepted during the November Mumbai attacks. They were part of a dossier of evidence New Delhi handed Pakistan this week that it says definitively proves that the siege was launched from across the border.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday that he did not believe the gunmen were acting alone, and Pakistani state agencies must have had a hand in the attacks.
The dossier made no mention of any Pakistani officials or agencies.
Indian leaders have made clear they do not want a military conflict with Pakistan, and Pakistan's intelligence chief said there will be no war over the Mumbai attacks. [...]
"We may be crazy in Pakistan, but not completely out of our minds," Pakistan's intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, told German news magazine Der Spiegel. "We know full well that terror is our enemy, not India."
The Mumbai transcripts, which were obtained by the newspaper The Hindu, show that the 10 gunmen who carried out the attacks were in close contact with their handlers throughout the siege. India says the handlers directing the attacks that left 164 dead were senior leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group.
"There are three ministers and one secretary of the cabinet in your hotel. We don't know in which room," the handler told a gunman inside the Taj Mahal hotel at 3:10 am on the first night of the attack.
"Oh! That is good news. It is the icing on the cake!" the gunman said.
Shoot Jews, save Muslims
The handlers told another team of gunmen who had seized a Jewish center to shoot hostages if necessary.
"If you are still threatened, then don't saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages. Immediately kill them," he said.
He then added, "If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel."
"So be it, God willing," the gunman replied.
Six Jewish foreigners, including a rabbi and his wife, were killed inside the Jewish center.

UPDATE: Power Line notes some additional transcripts of Mumbai terrorist communications published by The Hindu found by Gateway Pundit.

And a transcript from the pro-Hamas rally in Ft. Lauderdale caught this:

"Protester Calls for Jews to 'Go Back to the Oven' at Anti-Israel Demonstration," from FOX News, January 7:

Like many other protests of Israel's campaign in Gaza, this one ended badly — police had to cool an ugly fight between supporters of Israel and Gaza, breaking up the warring sides as their screaming and chanting threatened to turn into something worse.

But some protesters at this rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took their rhetoric a step further, calling for the extermination of Israel — and of Jews.

Separated by battle lines and a stream of rush-hour traffic outside a federal courthouse last week, at least 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators faced off against a smaller crowd of Israel supporters.

Most of the chants were run-of-the-mill; men and women waving Palestinian flags called Israel's invasion of Gaza a "crime," while the pro-Israel group carried signs calling the Hamas-run territory a "terror state."

But as the protest continued and crowds grew, one woman in a hijab began to shout curses and slurs that shocked Jewish activists in the city, which has a sizable Jewish population.

"Go back to the oven," she shouted, calling for the counter-protesters to die in the manner that the Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

"You need a big oven, that's what you need," she yelled...

And the woman in Fort Lauderdale wearing the hijab and crying out for ovens for Jews presumably is living in America and may be an American citizen. Where is she filled with this hatred of Jews? There are two mosques in Fort Lauderdale. One of them, Majid al-Iman, is where Jose Padilla studied Islam.

Israel continues its offensive to force a halt to Hamas bombardment of civilian targets in Israel from Gaza. It struck only after 6,000 rockets, missiles and mortars had been fired on Israel over the past three years. Hamas, to run up Palestinian civilan casualties for media photo-ops, often fires from residential civiian areas, where civilian casualties result when Israrel fire destroys the launchers.

A ceasefire is now being discussed. Israel has said it will consider it, but any ceasefire must halt all rocket fire and all rearmament of Hamas across and under the Gaza border with Egypt. Hundreds of tunnels have been dug to move munitions from Iran into Gaza. They usually exit in the homes of Palestian families in Gaza near the border. Israeli aircraft have destroyed many of the tunnels, but many remain. Egypt has turned the proverbial blind eye to the weapons smuggling.

Any ceasefire that relies on international monitors would be a fatal mistake for Israel. This is the mistake made at the cessation of warfare with Hezbollah in 2006. The international monitors have done nothing to block Hezbollah from rearming and reestablishing war capability right up to the border between Israel and Hamas.

Israel should trust its security solely to the Israrel Defense Forces. This means Israel will have to take over border control on the Egypt side of Gaza as well as the rest of the perimeter.

Hamas continues to fire rockets and missiles into Israel, today hitting buildings in Ashkelon, a city of 100,000. Hamas has yet to indicate it will consider a ceasefire.

Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and used the last ceasefire to rearm. Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, also in its founding charter, never changed under Arafat or since, is also dedicated to Israel's destruction, though at this time it considers outright warfare not the right tactic because of Israel's military might.

Hamas in a bloody fight took control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2006.

The U.S. continues to treat Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as a legitimate negotiating partner, as does the current Israeli government, which is absurd.

President Abbas' term as president actually runs out tomorrow, January 9th, but he has announced he will not hold elections until later. Some talk of an April election. Early betting is that in any election Hamas would again gain control of Parliament and its "candidate" would defeat Abbas. So don't expect early elections. And who would be the negotiating partner then?

Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who sent the blind shiekh who masterminded the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 to prison, has the right answer: Forget the two-state solution. With Palestinian society drenched daily with anti-Israel propaganda from television, radio, the press and in the schools, all of which glorify death as suicide killer, it will be a generation a least before such an outcome could be considered. And that's assuming the hate and death glorification stopped -- which there is no indication it will.

Israel must commit itself to defense. There is no negotiating partner willing to agree that Israel should continue to exist. The Arab states talk of their unrealistic peace plan, which is unacceptable since it would leave Israel defenseless, and, in any event, they have no control of Hamas which, although Sunni, is under the control of Shiite Iran.

Israeli elections are February 10th. Who will be elected? The present government that waited three years to launch an offensive to halt the rocket fire and wants to give away the Golan to Syria and virtually all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians for "peace," or a party that is dedicated to the defense of Israel with no illusions about the enemies that surround it.

CIRCUS IN TOWN, CLOWNS GET TOP BILLING

The Illnois circus about Obama's Senate successor may be drawing to a close. Obama continued the habit he showed throughout the campaign of taking a position, then reversing it without ever admitting he had changed his position. And the media dutifully declines to take note of it and ask why he had taken the position in the first place and then changed.

Senate Democrats said Burris, an African-American former attorney general of Illinois appointed by the Democratic governor of Illinois Blagojevich, who is immersed in accusations of political corruption but not formally charged by prosecutors, would not be seated in the Senate. They had no legal ground for their position. Obama immediately agreed with the Senate Democratic leadership that Burris should not be admitted as the junior senator from Illinois, even though Burris' record had no blemishes on it.

Burris then made a rain-soaked appearance at the Capitol surrounded by black supporters, drawing much national and international television. The lawlessness and political stupidity of the Democratic position were aired for all to see.

Suddenly, Democratic leaders found that just maybe Burris could join their ranks. And Obama also reversed himself. and agreed. The king can do no wrong, so the press merely nodded. After all, the alternative, a special election in Illinois in which, who knows, a Republican might win, was out of the question.

Even the press is protective of Obama in its headline, making it appear as if Obama took the lead on admitting Obama. Not a mention of Obama supporting the rejection of Burris in the first place before all the media attention arose until the sixth paragraph of the story.


Senate Democrats yield to Obama, retreat on Burris
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jan 8, 2:21 am ET

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats beat a hasty retreat Wednesday from their rejection of Roland Burris as President-elect Barack Obama's successor, yielding to pressure from Obama himself and from senators irked that the standoff was draining attention and putting them in a bad light. Burris said with a smile he expected to join them "very shortly."

Though there was no agreement yet to swear Burris in, he posed for photos at the Capitol with Senate leaders, then joined them for a 45-minute meeting followed by supportive words that bordered on gushing. The events came one day after Burris had left the Capitol in the pouring rain in a scripted rejection.

Obama had spoken to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday on the need to find a quick solution to defuse the dispute, according to Democratic officials. Reid was told by Obama that if Burris had the legal standing to be seated — despite controversy surrounding his appointment by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich — it should be done "sooner rather than later," said an Obama transition aide, speaking on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.

The dispute had taken on racial overtones after comments by some Burris supporters. The former Illinois attorney general would be the Senate's only black member following Obama's departure.

"My whole interest in this experience is to be prepared" to lead Illinois, Burris, 71, said after meeting with Reid and assistant Democratic leader Dick Durbin, himself an Illinois senator. "Very shortly I will have the opportunity to do that."

Neither Reid nor Durbin disputed that, though they had declared with certainty a week ago that Democrats would not seat a senator appointed by a governor now accused of trying to sell the seat. Obama said then, "I agree with their decision."

On Wednesday, only words of good will, with photos, poured forth.

The new stimulus plan being proposed by the soon-to-be Obama administration is said to contain "tax cuts" for businesses and individuals. No details as yet have been issued on the business "tax cuts."

But as far as individuals are concerned, these are not tax cuts, but Obama spreading the wealth around as he inadvertently blurted out to Joe the Plumber he would do when elected.

Every person earning less than some number will get a payment whether he's a taxpayer or not and the amount of the payment will have no relation to how much the taxpayers getting payments pay in taxes.

While it is suggested that payees may "mentally" treat the payments as offsetting some of their payroll or Social Security taxes they pay, in fact those taxes will not change. Nor will the income tax. In the somewhat hysterical bailout environment we are passing through, it's borrow now to make payments and do the tax thing later. And when it's time to pay off the debt, the second part of the "spread the wealth" plan will come into play, with the so-called "rich" paying for 2009 welfare payments to the people Obama favors.

If these were truly to be tax cuts, the government need only declare an income tax holiday for some period or, better yet, permanently lower income tax rates proportionately, leaving people to make their own spending decisions about their own money, not money they get in a check from the government.

Sorry to say, even before the Obama folks are in office they are engaging in Doublespeak.

Many were killed by the Islamic terrorists in Mumbai, but the savagery of the murders at the Orthodox Jewish center had even experienced pathologists refusing to talk about the condition of the bodies of the young American rabbi and his six-month pregnant wife.

The one Islamic terrorist captured by Indian forces has now disclosed that the Jewish center the Nariman House, not the Taj or the other hotel or the shopping mall, was the prime target on November 26.

Ajmal reportedly told the police they wanted to sent a message to Jews across the world by attacking the ultra orthodox synagogue.

Approximately half the Jews in the world live in Israel and almost an equal number live in the United States. So the fixation of the Iranian leadership, Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda on killling Jews (based on the Koran and the actions of Mohammad) is shared by the Islamic terrorists of Pakistan. And millions of the Jews they seek to kill are Americans. No way. In Israel or America.


Nariman House, not Taj, was the prime target on 26/11

Somendra Sharma
January 5, 2009
DNAIndia

Think 26/11, and images of the carnage at the Taj come to mind. But the terrorists themselves were in no doubt that Nariman House was the prime focus. For this was the place which housed a Jewish centre, and the fanatics from Pakistan were clear that they wanted to send a message to the world from there.

The Mumbai crime branch, which is investigating the terror attacks, has found that the terrorists’ handlers in Pakistan were clear this operation should not fail under any circumstances. The rest of the operations — at the Taj, Oberoi and Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus — were intended to amplify the effect.

A senior police official, told DNA on condition of anonymity, that the interrogation of Mohammed Amir Iman Ajmal (aka Kasab) revealed as much. Just before entering the city, the terrorists’ team leader, Ismail Khan, briefed them once again about their targets. “But Khan briefed Imran Babar, alias Abu Akasha, and Nasir, alias Abu Umer, intensely on what to do at Nariman House,” the officer said.

When asked during interrogation why Nariman House was specifically targetted, Ajmal reportedly told the police they wanted to sent a message to Jews across the world by attacking the ultra orthodox synagogue.

According to the statement by Ajmal, Khan told Babar and Nasir that even if the others failed in their operation, they both could not afford to. “The Nariman House operation has to be a success,” the officer said, quoting from Ajmal’s statement.

“Khan also said that as far as Nariman House was concerned, there should not be even a minimal glitch in finding it and capturing it,” the officer quoted Ajmal as saying.

After the dinghy carrying the 10 terrorists reached Mumbai at the Macchimar colony opposite Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade, it was decided that no bombs would be planted in the taxi to be used to reach Nariman House.

“The idea,” according to the police officer, “was that if Babar and Nasir got delayed in locating and entering Nariman House, the bomb in the taxi may explode even before they entered their target.”

The officer further quoted Ajmal’s confession as indicating the Nariman House killers may have either lost their way or took their time entering the building to avoid failure.
The dinghy reached Cuffe Parade around 8.30pm, but Babar and Nasir entered
Nariman House at around 10pm. This means they took around one- and-a-half hour to locate and enter Nariman House,” the officer said. Anyone who knows Colaba would have got there in 15-20 minutes.

Another aspect which indicates that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) did not want the Nariman House operation to fail was Fahim Ansari’s revelation to the crime branch. Ansari, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the bomb blasts at a CRPF camp in Lucknow in January last year, told the police that Nariman House was also surveyed by him last year. Interestingly, Ansari did not reveal this detail when he was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police in February last year.

“Ansari told us that he did not divulge this information earlier because it would have jeopardised the most important operation of the LeT. He had also been warned by the LeT that Nariman House was their most secret operation and must not be compromised at any cost,” the officer said.

Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who sent the blind shiekh who masterminded the first World Trade Center bombing to jail, makes it clear what it will take for Palestinians ever to have their own state in a "two-state" Palestine.

What's more, McCarthy says it will take a least a generation for Palestinians to show they are worthy of their own state. All the talk about "peace" and a two-state solution presumably just over the horizon should just stop. It just makes the Palestinians believe their terrorism is working.

Palestinians are weaned on Jew-hatred through schools and media controlled by the competing factions and other jihadists. Their national heroes are those dedicated to killing Jews, most especially the “martyrs” (or shaheed) who self-implode in suicide attacks. It is to be expected, then, that when the public is polled in the actual Palestinian territories, rather than in Condi-world, a very different reality is reflected: About three in four Palestinians deny Israel’s right to exist, a figure that soars to over nine in ten when only the fighting-age demographic (between 18 and 25) is considered.

The hatred of Jews and Israel that fills the Palestinian airwaves is no different whether the broadcaster is Hamas or the Palestinian Authority controlled by Fatah.

Let’s be blunt: we are looking at a generation or more before the Palestinians might be prepared to assume the obligations of sovereignty. So we should stop talking about it. Doing so only indicates to the Palestinians that we are more interested in the simulacrum of a settlement than in cultivating a mature statehood that is stable, hopefully democratic, and respectful of its peers — such that it is capable of negotiating with them absent the notion of annihilating them. “Roadmaps” and “peace processes” which hold out the possibility (indeed, the likelihood) of near-term statehood tell the Palestinians that terrorism succeeds and that they can reap enormous benefits while continuing to work toward Israel’s demise.

In short, we can help Israel enormously in the here and now — while simultaneously setting the Palestinians on their only realistic path toward long-term prosperity — by making clear that statehood is absolutely off the table until the Palestinians convincingly abandon terrorism, acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, rescind or amend all covenants to the contrary, and demonstrably overhaul their institutions (especially their media and education systems) in a manner that conveys their commitment to this new state of affairs.

In the short run, the U.S. should support Israel in its effort to break Hamas' grip on Gaza and of the Palestinian people. Secretary of State Rice not too long ago claimed that 70% of Palestinians were ready to live in peace alongside Israel. McCarthy calls that statement "preposterous." Many polls show that, despite their suffering and poverty under Hamas, Gazans support their terrorist war on Israel.

If peace is ever to come, the Palestinians' will must be broken. They must know they are defeated and cannot destroy Israel, as both Hamas and Fatah are in their founding documents dedicated to do.

Read it all.

MAN OF THE YEAR

FrontPage Magazine has chosen as its Man of the Year a man of courage and accomplishment.

Geert Wilders is at the forefront of those warning of the danger to the West, Europe and the U.S. in particular, from Islam. Radical Islam is growing alarmingly in Europe and creating danger for native inhabitants. His courage to speak out in the face of constant death threats is an inspiration to us all.

Read FrontPage's award.

Melanie Phillips, the distinguished British author and journalist puts Israel's war with Hamas in the proper world war context:

The issue of Israel sits at the very apex of the fight to defend civilisation. Those who wish to destroy western civilisation need to destroy the Jews, whose moral precepts formed its foundation stones. The deranged hatred of the Jews lies at the core of the Islamists’ hatred of America, the ‘infidel’ west and modernity, and is the reason why they wish to destroy Israel. Unless people in the west understand that Israel’s fight is their own fight, they will be on the wrong side of the war to defend not just the west but civilisation in general.

WHAT WE ARE LEARNING FROM THE GAZA WAR

The author, columnist and historian of ancient wars Victor Davis Hanson, distinguished senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, finds what's going on is "creepy."

It is now clear that the so-called and much praised "international community," the hallowed U.N., the revered EU, all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy. Only the U.S. (for now) stands by a constitutional state in its war against a murderous terrorist clique, with annhilation its aim and religous fascism its creed.

VDH's full comment:

Creepy Times

There is something especially nauseating about the latest Middle East war — scenes of worldwide Islamic protests with photos of Jews as apes, protesters (in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida of all places!) screaming about nuking Israel and putting Jews in ovens, parades of children dressed up with suicide vests and fake rockets, near constant anti-Semitic vicious sloganeering, Gaza mosques stuffed with rockets to be used against civilians — all to be collated with creepy Hamas rhetoric about the annihilation of Israel. This is the world in which we now live.

Almost no other issue in recent memory has illustrated the moral bankruptcy of much of the international community. Hamas has no pretensions, like the PA, of being a governing authority; it used violence to rout the PA and then bragged that its charter pledging the destruction of Israel remained unchanged. Israel evacuated Gaza; Gazans in response looted their own infrastructure, alienated both the PA and Egypt,and then sent off more than 6,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, while eagerly becoming a terrorist puppet of theocratic Iran.

Nothing could be more clear: either the fact that a constitutional republic was trying to avoid civilian casualties while a terrorist organization was intent on killing Jewish civilians as it used its own citizens as shields to protect mostly young male terrorists; or the world's craven reaction to all this.

Again all very creepy — the stuff of Tolkien's Mordor. It is now clear that the so-called and much praised "international community," the hallowed U.N., the revered EU, all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy. Only the U.S. (for now) stands by a constitutional state in its war against a murderous terrorist clique, with annhilation its aim and religous fascism its creed.

Mark Steyn muses about the importance of culture as articulated by Samuel Huntington in his landmark essay The Clash of Civilizations.

Inevitably, the principal clash discussed in the one between the Muslm world and everyone else. Former Muslim Syrian-born Wafa Sultan on Islamic television network al Jazeera said the clash was not between civilzations but between civilzation and barbarism.

Mark notes that in Gaza Hamas has just reinstituted crucifixion as a form of punishment. The Palestinians have a single-minded focus on killing Jews as a career, with some attention paid to dispatching Christians, as they recently did by attacking a group traveling to Bethlemen for Christmas observance.

In Gaza, they don’t vote for Hamas because they want access to university education. Or, if they do, it’s to get Junior into the Saudi-funded Hamas-run Islamic University of Gaza, where majoring in rocket science involves making one and firing it at the Zionist Entity.

And is poverty, as some argue, the cause of this?

Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, a young Palestinian woman who received considerate and exemplary treatment at an Israeli hospital in Beersheva, returned to that same hospital packed with explosives in order to blow herself up and kill the doctors and nurses who restored her to health.

Are we actually listening to the Hamas and Iranian spokemen spout their genocidal intentions towards Israel, Britain and America, Steyn asks. Channel 4 in Britain carried a "Chirstmas message" from Iran's president Ahmadinehad because it maintained people don't get a chance to hear from him.

So when Channel 4 says that we don’t get the chance to see these fellows speak for themselves, it would be more accurate to say that they speak for themselves incessantly but the louder they speak the more we put our hands over our ears and go “Nya nya, can’t hear you.” We do this in part because, if you’re as invested as most western elites are in the idea that all anyone wants is to go to university, get a steady job and settle down in a nice house in the suburbs, a statement such as “England’s demise is on our agenda” becomes almost literally untranslatable. When President Ahmadinejad threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map, we deplore him as a genocidal fantasist. But maybe he’s a genocidal realist — look at the threads linking North Korea to Iran and to Iran’s clients in Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza — and we’re the fantasists.

So which way are things trending?

The civilizational clashes of Professor Huntington’s book are not inevitable. Culture is not immutable. But changing culture is tough and thankless and something the west no longer has the stomach for. Unfortunately, the Saudis do, and so do the Iranians. And not just in Gaza but elsewhere the trend is away from “moderation” and toward something fiercer and ever more implacable.


Clashing Civilizations

By Mark Steyn

So how was your holiday season? Over in Gaza, whether or not they’re putting the Christ back in Christmas, they’re certainly putting the crucifixion back in Easter. According to the London-based Arabic newspaper al Hayat, on December 23rd Hamas legislators voted to introduce Sharia — Islamic law — to the Palestinian Territories, including crucifixion. So next time you’re visiting what my childhood books still quaintly called “the Holy Land,” the re-enactments might be especially lifelike.

continue ...

So many in the West refuse to grasp the reality of Islamic hatred and violence, especially when Israel is involved. Europeans protest Israel's "disproportionate response" to thousands of rocket, missiles and mortar rounds fired from Gaza by Hamas and its allies into Israeli villages, towns and cities killing, maiming and terrorizing civiian men, women and children. President-Elect Obama, though, got it right.

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night," he said while visiting the border town of Sderot last summer, "I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that.

"And I would expect Israelis to do the right thing."

Hamas is a terrorist organization, declared as such for years by the U.S. Government. But Hamas has its supporters right here in the United States. Funds have been and are being raised for Hamas in the United States. The Islamic Holy Land Foundation and its principal officers were recently convicted of funneling "charitable" monies from its headquarters in Texas to Hamas.

Several expert observers of the influence Islam exerts on its subjects, particularly those "educated" in Muslim lands or Muslim enclaves such as exist throughout Western Europe, are now arguing that Muslim immigration into the United States should be halted before "it's too late." It is an alien culture. For Europe, with its 20-60 million (nobody knows exactly) Muslims, it may already be too late, though some there are belatedly speaking out against additional Muslim immigration. Those in England who warned of the dangers of mass Muslim immigration decades ago were pilloried.

Former Muslim Wafa Sultan, a psychiatrist who left Syria for California, disagrees with the characterization coined by Professor Sam Huntington of the war being waged by Islam as a clash of civilizations. It is the clash of civilization and barbarism, she says. .

To get a sense of some of the Muslims who are in our midst and the hatred that seethes from them, watch this 9-minute video of Palestinian and other Muslims (HT: Power Line) rallying to the Hamas' support -- in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It could have been Boston, New York or San Francisco or any of the 40 cities that Hamas is reported to have chapters in.

Yesterday we asked if Israel would stop its war against Hamas short of victory. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe asked a similar question, Has Israel learned its lesson?

Jacoby was hopeful Israel had learned its lesson, while we were pessimistic, expressing the opinion that Israel was in fact signalling it was going to repeat its mistakes in the Hezbollah war of 2006 that led to Hezbollah -- rightly -- claiming victory.

In Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces performed brilliantly, but were held back by the inept political leaders of the government who agreed to a disastrous ceasefire.

The same scenario is being reenacted in Gaza, where the IDF has delivered punishing blows to Hamas and is poised on the border ready to launch a ground assault to defeat the enemy once and for all. But already Israel's leaders are buckling.

Now the Middle East's leading political analyst Caroline Glick weighs in with her view, which is that Israel is setting up to hand a victory to Hamas, making Israel even more unsafe that it was before the IDF campaign began. Israel is in fact going to stop short of victory.

The Olmert/Livni/Barak government is at best delivering a rap across the knuckles to Hamas and in return Hamas is getting the full support of the European Union in their demands for full control of their land and sea borders without making any meaningful concessions at all. Hamas will not be asked to stop smuggling arms, to renounce and halt terrorism and to recognize the right of Israel to exist. At most, Hamas will agree to a truce period, which it will use to dig more tunnels from Egypt to rearm itself with more weapons from Iran and more tunnels into Israel for suicide killers to sneak through. As has happened with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Hamas' war machine will be rebuilt stronger than ever.

Unfortunately, the peace-at-any-price media in Israel is praising the half-way measures of the government as if something important is being achieved. As usual, peace is in sight, but somehow it never materializes.

Glick's assessment of what's needed:

In truth, given Hamas's commitment to Israel's destruction at all costs and its indifference to the lives of its Palestinian subjects, there is only one way for Israel to secure its territory from Hamas attack. It must destroy Hamas's ability to wage war. The only way Israel can achieve its aim is by conquering Gaza, overthrowing Hamas's regime and destroying its military forces.

But that will not happen.

Since the Olmert-Livni-Barak government has already stated that it will not launch such an attack, it is obvious that Hamas will end this war with its ability to attack Israel more or less intact.

All of this leads us to a very nasty conclusion. The Olmert-Livni-Barak government now leading Israel in its war against Hamas is no different from the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government that led Israel in the 2006 war against Hizbullah. Our leaders have learned nothing from their prior failure. Indeed they are reenacting it in Gaza today.

Therefore, Glick pleads, demands, prays that the government not send IDF ground troops into Gaza to fight a war that the government has already determined to lose.

It is painfully clear that the only hope for Israel's future, indeed, its very survival, hinges on the February 10th election when a realistic, hard-headed government led by Benjamin Netanyahu can be voted in.

IRAN SCHOOLS ITS TODDLERS

By the way, Hamas, the terrorist organization in control of Gaza, although a Sunni spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood, is now almost 100% financed by Shiite Iran. So Iran evidences its support for Hamas and its war against the "enemy" Israel in every way and every place possible.

Click on the link below or paste it in your browser to see one such effort. You may have to register; it's free.

http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1964.htm?auth=78dc2bca3072d58f8f2868122a01c621

Israel's present government doesn't have the stomach to stay the course. Even though the Israel Defense Forces are doing an outstanding job against Hamas and its facilities, the Olmert/Livni/Barak lame duck government is already looking for a way to end the battle short of victory. Now they are calling for international monitors, which are worse than a joke.

Israel agreed to end the Hezbollah war before victory and accepted international monitors in South Lebanon. The monitors do nothing and Hezbollah has rebuilt its munitions capabilty to a multiple of what they were before it started the 2006 war.

So the Olmert/Livni/Barak government wants the same thing to happen in Gaza? Madness. Israel is in a position to defeat Hamas and the IDF is welll on the way to doing that. It should do whatever it takes to achieve victory over Hamas. Hamas has made it clear it will never cease its war against Israel, so it must be destroyed.

The AP reporter in Gaza is Muslim and his bias favoring the Palestinians appears in every story. One example from today's report:

The military said aircraft also bombed smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, part of an ongoing attempt to cut off Hamas' last lifeline to the world outside the embattled Palestinian territory.

No, the smuggling tunnels are for smuggling weapons. The Rafeh crossing between Gaza and Egypt is open and is manned by Egypt. Traffic is two-way with supplies and wounded going to Egyptian hospitals.

Watch for the name Ibrahim Barzak: he slants the news. Today's news from Barzak:


Israel kills top Hamas figure, escalating campaign
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writers
January 1, 2009, 11:30 a.m., Eastern Time

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel assassinated a Hamas strongman Thursday in its first assault on the top leadership of Gaza's rulers, escalating a crushing aerial offensive even as it declared it was ready to launch a ground invasion. The airstrike targeted the four-story apartment building that was home to 52-year-old Nizar Rayan, ranked among Hamas' top five decision-makers in Gaza. It also killed 12 other people including two of Rayan's four wives and four of his 12 children, Palestinian health officials said. The Muslim faith allows men to have up to four wives.

While intensifying its 6-day-old military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, Israel also appeared to be sounding out a possible diplomatic exit by demanding international monitors as a key term of any future truce.

Israel launched the offensive Saturday to crush militants who have been terrorizing southern Israel with rocket fire from Gaza.

The campaign began after more than a week of intense Palestinian rocket fire that followed the expiration of a six-month truce. Israeli warplanes have carried out some 500 sorties against Hamas targets, and helicopters have flown hundreds more combat missions, a senior Israeli military officer said Wednesday.

More than 400 Gazans have been killed and some 1,700 have been wounded, Gaza health officials said. The U.N. says the death toll includes more than 60 civilians, 34 of them children.

Three Israeli civilians and one soldier have also died in rocket attacks that have reached deeper into Israel than ever before, bringing one-eighth of the population within rocket range.

Israel has made clear that no one in Hamas is immune from attack and Thursday's strike drove that point home. It flattened Rayan's apartment building, sending a thick plume of smoke into the air and heavily damaged several neighboring buildings.

Hamas leaders went into hiding before Israel launched its operation, but Rayan was known for openly defying Israel.

A professor of Islamic law, Rayan was closely tied to Hamas' military wing and was respected in Gaza for donning combat fatigues and personally participating in clashes against Israeli forces. He sent one of his sons on an October 2001 suicide mission that killed two Israeli settlers in Gaza.

Throughout the day, huge blasts had rocked cities and towns across Gaza as Israeli warplanes went after Gaza's parliament building, militant field operatives, police and cars. The military said aircraft also bombed smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, part of an ongoing attempt to cut off Hamas' last lifeline to the world outside the embattled Palestinian territory.

So far, the campaign to crush rocket fire on southern Israel has been conducted largely from the air. But military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said preparations for a ground operation were complete.

"The infantry, the artillery and other forces are ready. They're around the Gaza Strip, waiting for any calls to go inside," Leibovich said.

Hamas threatened to take revenge against Israeli soldiers who were massed along the border with Gaza, waiting for a signal to invade.

"We are waiting for you to enter Gaza to kill you or make you into Schalits," it said, referring to Sgt. Gilad Schalit who was seized by Hamas-affiliated militants 2- 1/2 years ago and remains in captivity.

Israeli Cabinet ministers have been unswayed by international calls to end the violence, which is to include a whirlwind trip around the region next week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Instead, they authorized the military to push ahead with its campaign against militants, who fired more than 30 rockets into Israel by late Thursday afternoon, according to the military. No injuries were reported, but an eight-story house in Ashdod, 23 miles from Gaza, was hit by a rocket that pierced through two floors.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a meeting of mayors of southern communities Thursday that Israel would not shy from using its vaunted military power.

"We have no interest in a long war. We do not desire a broad campaign. We want quiet," Olmert said. "We don't want to display our might, but we will employ it if necessary."

Ordinary Israelis are not eager to see the operation expand beyond the air-based campaign, a poll Thursday showed.

Earlier this week, Olmert rebuffed a French proposal for a two-day suspension of hostilities. But at the same time, he seemed to be looking for a diplomatic way out, telling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other world leaders that Israel wouldn't agree to a truce unless international monitors took responsibility for enforcing it, government officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were confidential.

International intervention helped Israel to accept a truce that ended its 2006 war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, when the U.N. agreed to station peacekeepers to enforce the terms. This time, Israel isn't seeking a peacekeeping force, but a monitoring body that would judge compliance on both sides.

The idea was floated before the offensive but did not gain traction because of the complications created by the existence of rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza, defense officials said.

Gaza has been under Hamas rule since the militant group overran it in June 2007; the West Bank has remained under the control of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been negotiating peace with Israel for more than a year but has no influence over Hamas. Bringing in monitors would require cooperation between the fierce rivals.

An Abbas confidant said the Palestinian president supports international involvement.

"We are asking for a cease-fire and an international presence to monitor Israel's commitment to it," Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
----
Amy Teibel reported from Jerusalem.

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2008 is the previous archive.

February 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.