Monday, July 31, 2006

Hizbullah, Hamas Take Advantage of the Media & "Human Rights" Groups

In an excellent op-ed piece published in The Jerusalem Post on 22 July Alan Dershowitz, as usual, hits the nail squarely on the head in describing how "The Predictable Condemners" of Israel in the media and among human rights groups are used to further the aims of Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist groups currently waging war on Israel with the aid of Iran and Syria. As I see more and more condemnations of Israel in the media it seems like an appropriate time, to me, to note Dr. Dershowitz' words:
The Hizbullah and Hamas provocations against Israel once again demonstrate how terrorists exploit human rights and the media in their attacks on democracies.

By hiding behind their own civilians the Islamic radicals issue a challenge to democracies: Either violate your own morality by coming after us and inevitably killing some innocent civilians, or maintain your morality and leave us with a free hand to target your innocent civilians.


There is one variable that could change this dynamic and present democracies with a viable option that could make terrorism less attractive as a tactic: The international community, the anti-Israel segment of the media and the so called "human rights" organizations could stop falling for this terrorist gambit and acknowledge that they are being used to promote the terrorist agenda.


IT SHOULD BE obvious by now that Hizbullah and Hamas actually want the Israeli military to kill as many Lebanese and Palestinian civilians as possible. That is why they store their rockets underneath the beds of civilians; why they launch their missiles from crowded civilian neighborhoods and hide among civilians. They are seeking to induce Israel to defend its civilians by going after them among their civilian "shields." They know that every civilian they induce Israel to kill hurts Israel in the media and the international and human rights communities.

They regard these human shields as shahids - martyrs - even if they did not volunteer for this lethal job. Under the law, criminals who use human shields are responsible for the deaths of the shields, even if the bullet that kills them came from the gun of a policeman.


The very idea that terrorists who use women and children as suicide bombers against other women and children shed crocodile tears over the deaths of civilians they deliberately put in harm's way gives new meaning to the word "hypocrisy." We all know that hypocrisy is a tactic of the terrorists, but it is shocking that others fall for it and become complicit with the terrorists.

[NOTE: This piece also appears on Blogs of Zion]

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Qassam Rocket Strikes Kindergarten Near Ashkelon

Yesterday a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza struck a kindergarten just south of Ashkelon injuring several children. Yael K., writing in her Step By Step: Making Aliyah blog comments:
We should be surprised? They only fire their qassams at civilian targets, never at the military installations. This was bound to happen sooner or later. After all, they've already managed to hit a college, two high schools, and a middle school over the past couple of months.

CNN had no comment. They were too busy reporting on Lebanese children who were injured or killed to have time to recognize that this is a two front war and that children on both sides of the borders are victims. They also gave barely a mention to Hizbullah rockets striking a hospital in Nahariya. To their credit PBS, on The News Hour With Jim Lehrer, not only covered the story but showed video of the damage and also showed how the hospital continued to operate in an underground bunker, treating the victims of the Hizbullah attacks.

CNN, like the BBC and the Guardian in the U.K., only mourns the casualties on one side of the war. Reporting on injured or dead Israelis doesn't fit into their agenda of vilification of Israel.

[Note: This piece also appears in Blogs of Zion.]

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Comments You Will Never Read

Since the new Lebanon war started I have received lots of comments. One particularly vile comment, promising to introduce me to the gas chambers, caused me to turn on comment moderation in addition to deleting the anti-Semitic vitriol.

I have also received four very long diatribes from a Palestinian man full of the usual Palestinian propaganda. His comments were longer than my last four posts put together. He accused me of getting all my news from that "fair and balanced" network. He also told me I had no clue what is going on in the region. Clearly he hadn't read most of my blog. I rarely look at Fox News, which I do agree is biased, and almost never link them. He clearly didn't realize that I have spent time in the region or that I am an Israeli-American woman. Please, there are plenty of Palestinian propaganda sites. Don't expect me, an ardent Zionist preparing to join most of my family in Israel, to publish such nonsense. There are plenty of "mainstream" media outlets that tout the Palestinian line. My job here is to debunk them, not to get into endless debates. The best I can do for you is to try an be factual and to link my posts to lots of really good sources.

Well-meaning liberals who want to tell me that it's horrible that Jews don't want to intermarry, and that ethnocentrism is evil need not apply to post pages of long diatribes either. Clearly I value my Jewish heritage and I am not about to abandon my basic beliefs for yours.

Finally, anti-Zionists cannot redefine the meaning of Zionism. We who are part of the Zionist movement are the only ones who can tell you what Zionism means. Huge clue: it isn't about dispossession or oppression. It was, is, and always will be about Jews, who have been persecuted for centuries in the Muslim and Christian worlds alike, returning to the land we were dispossessed from and rejoining the Jewish community that had remained in what is now Israel throughout the centuries. Zionism is Jewish nationalism, period. Nothing more, nothing less.

Zionism is not at all incompatible with sharing the land with the Palestinian Arabs provided they are willing to live in peace with us as good neighbors. Most Israelis support a two state solution--the only possible just solution to the conflict. The rejection of Prime Minister Barak's offers at Camp David and Taba without so much as a counter proposal, the abandoning of the peace process in favor of the intifada, the election of Hamas, the unceasing rocket fire out of Gaza even after Israel withdrew, and the current war and support of Hizbullah makes it clear the Palestinians are the ones who have no interest in peace.

You want me to have sympathy for Palestinians suffering? Fine, stop the wars. Stop trying to kill me and mine and offer to return to negotiation. Otherwise I have little sympathy for self-inflicted injury.

Will I ever accept comments from those who disagree with me? Sure, always. Just not pages of diatribe, anti-Semitic hate, or long winded propaganda. This isn't a debate page. It's a Zionist blog.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Are Israelis Crazy?

FAIR WARNING: There is a rather graphic description of a truly disgusting event carried out by Palestinians. Part of this post is not recommended for those who do not have a strong stomach.

The Muqata has been giving almost a minute-by-minute account of what has been happening in the war. On last Thursday night there was this little tidbit:
All of the West Bank is alight tonight with fireworks from the Palestinian villages (along with scattered automatic gunfire), as our neighbors celebrate...the shelling of Haifa.

Palestinian celebrations reached new heights of barbarism on Monday as reported in The Jerusalem Post:
A body part belonging to the dead soldier was left at the scene [...] Earlier, hundreds of Palestinians had gathered at the scene of the explosion to view parts of the soldier's leg, and many of them reacted with celebratory chants, witnesses said.

Yael K., commenting on Palestinian and wider Arab celebrations at the deaths of Israel civilians both during this war and after prior acts of terrorism, asked if Israelis are crazy:
The majority of Israelis simply want to live in peace, to engage in trade with our neighbors or simply to live completely separately.

When news comes that civilians have been killed by an IDF attack against terrorists in Gaza, or now in Lebanon, people sigh, they shake their heads, their expressions are pained. They feel pain and sadness. There are calls for more care to be taken so that civilians are not harmed when attacks are made on the terrorists.

When our citizens are killed by suicide bombers there are celebrations on the streets of Gaza. [...] They celebrate the deaths of our children and yet we regret and feel sorrow over the deaths of theirs. You will see no celebrations of death, ours or theirs, here.


And yet, despite finding ourselves under constant attack by rockets, by suicide bombings that are successful and the many more that are stopped --such as the one in Jerusalem today-- despite the fact that the majority of even the liberals on their side wish to see us destroyed, despite all this many Israelis continue to work for peace, to build bridges, to call for moderation of response when no moderation is shown to us. The rest do not call for blood nor celebration when innocents are killed.

Given their responses versus ours, I must conclude that we are crazy. But I would rather be crazy than to allow myself to become blinded by hate, to give in to the grief, pain and fear that we suffer and become callous to the sufferings of 'the other.'

Yael later decided that Israelis aren't crazy after all but "neither are they". I must disagree. The Palestinian culture of death that celebrates suicide bombings and the murder of civilians is indeed insane in my eyes. I would also argue that the compassion that Israelis show and the lack of compassion among Israel's enemies is why Israel enjoys such strong support in the United States.

[NOTE: This is another piece I've crossposted to Blogs of Zion.]

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

War Brings Unity To Israel

Naomi Ragen has written a new column describing how war has united Israel's society which, until recently, has been fractious and divided. I received it by e-mail and it isn't on her website yet so I'm going to post some significant excerpts here. The original piece is called "Unity At Last" and hopefully it will show up online soon. While I often disagree with Ms. Ragen this piece is truly excellent and reveals a small silver lining to the tragedy currently forced on the Israeli, Lebanese, and Palestinian people by Hamas and Hizbullah and their patrons in Iran and Syria.
Many have asked me: How does it feel to be in Israel right now? My answer has to be this: fearful, amazing, heartbreaking and full of love and pride for our country and our people.

Gone are the petty, sectarian fights. There is no religious-secular divide. There is no right-left divide. Except for a bunch of loonies who demonstrated in Tel Aviv demanding Israel negotiate with Hamas and Hezbollah, the government and the people of all political stripes have banded together in almost total unity. This is a war we didn't want. This is a war we have to win, hands down, whatever it takes. Except for a die-hard leftist here and there, like Amnon Levi, who wrote a really pathetic plea for immediate negotiations, no serious voice has been raised. And Mr. Levi got close to 500 responses of outraged citizens calling him every name in the book.

In the meantime, all over the country, people are reaching out to each other. Every death, is a death in the family. Every soldier is our son. The television has a running text with people's names and phone numbers who are willing to host families from the war zone. Kibbutzim in the south have made room for the members of kibbutzim in the north, inviting parents and children to enjoy a little vacation, pool side. The immigrant absorption center in Safad, crowded with new Ethiopian immigrants who spent days squashed together in a bomb shelter that didn't even have room to move, have been picked up by Jewish Agency buses and taken to youth centers for a vacation. The television broadcasting authorities are making an effort to put on quality children's programming and good movies.

There is a sense of all of us being one family, all the bitter divisions of the past years disappearing like smoke as we band together to support each other and our soldiers in a life and death struggle to reclaim our sovereignty and security. And the government, which has so far and to our great pride and satisfaction, stood fast in its decision not to stop this war before victory, has unprecedented support from its citizens.

Our critics, used to immediate capitulation, are finding a new wind blowing. The International Federation of Journalists, which issued an appalling statement condemning Israel for bombing the Hezbollah television station, got the following response from Israel: Withdraw the statement, or Israel is quitting the organization for its overt support of terror. I guess all of us who have been wondering why press reports on terrorism are so screwed up now have official proof who journalists back in the war on terror.


I thanked God for the miracles that keep our hearts strong, our minds determined, and our nation, finally, amazingly, united at last. I feel privileged to be here.

My mother, who has no desire to live in a war zone, commented when the war started that she wished she could do something. Even just going to Israel at this time would be good. Of course, it would do no good for Israel so she goes on with her life. I understand how she feels and now, even though a war rages on, I am looking seriously at moving up my planned aliya from next year to later this year. There is no better place than Israel for a Jew to be and there is strength in numbers.

[NOTE: This piece also appears in Blogs of Zion.]

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Jihadists Gone Beserk

David Brooks wrote an excellent op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times titled As Israel Goes for Withdrawal, Its Enemies Go Berserk. Here is an excerpt:
Israel's main enemies in this crisis are not normal parties and governments that act on behalf of their people. They are jihadist organizations that happen to have gained control of territory for bases of operations. Hamas and Hezbollah knew their kidnappings and missile launches would set off retaliation that would hurt Gazans and Lebanese, but they attacked anyway for the sake of jihad. They answer to a higher authority and dream of genocide in his name.

What's happened over the past few years, in short, is that public opinion in Israel has moved to the center at the same time that decision-making power on the other side has moved to the extreme.

Now there is a debate over how Israel should respond to this situation. Some say Israel should temper its response so Arab moderates can corral the extremists, which would be great advice if the moderates had any record of ever doing that or any capacity to do so in the near future. Others say Israel simply must degrade the capabilities of its fanatical opponents.

But this is a secondary issue. The core issue is that just as Israel has been trying to pull back to more sensible borders, its enemies have gone completely berserk. Through some combination of fecklessness and passivity, the Arab world has ceded control of this vital flashpoint to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad. It has ceded its own destiny to people who do not believe in freedom, democracy, tolerance or any of the values civilized people hold dear.

And what's the world's response? Israel is overreacting.

President Bush, speaking candidly at the G8 Summit without realizing his microphone was on, said it best. I'll join NPR is warning that there is what some might consider strong language in what he said:
See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbullah to stop doing this shit and it's over.

The President gets it. Those who complain about Israeli actions against Hizbullah and Hamas do not. The only way Israel can protect it's population and end the threat of massive casualties and damage is to take away the terrorists' toys and reestablish deterrence. Weakness is the last thing Israel needs to show. As I've argued before, Israeli military action in this war has been, if anything, too restrained. The best thing the world community can do now is shut up and keep from interfering since they lack the courage or stomach needed to enforce the six year old U.N. resolution calling for Hizbullah to withdraw from southern Lebanon.

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The Kidnapping Of Democracy

On Friday Thomas Friedman wrote a New York Times piece titled "The Kidnapping of Democracy" that explains some of the dynamic behind the current conflict between Israel and Hizbullah/Hamas. Here are a couple of excerpts:
What we are seeing in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon is an effort by Islamist parties to use elections to pursue their long-term aim of Islamizing the Arab-Muslim world. This is not a conflict about Palestinian or Lebanese prisoners in Israel. This is a power struggle within Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq over who will call the shots in their newly elected "democratic" governments and whether they will be real democracies.

The tiny militant wing of Hamas today is pulling all the strings of Palestinian politics, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Shiite Islamic party is doing the same in Lebanon, even though it is a small minority in the cabinet, and so, too, are the Iranian-backed Shiite parties and militias in Iraq. They are not only showing who is boss inside each new democracy, but they are also competing with one another for regional influence.

As a result, the post-9/11 democracy experiment in the Arab-Muslim world is being hijacked. Yes, basically free and fair elections were held in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Iraq. Yes, millions turned out to vote because the people of the Arab-Muslim world really do want to shape their own futures.

But the roots of democracy are so shallow in these places and the moderate majorities so weak and intimidated that we are getting the worst of all worlds. We are getting Islamist parties who are elected to power, but who insist on maintaining their own private militias and refuse to assume all the responsibilities of a sovereign government. They refuse to let their governments have control over all weapons. They refuse to be accountable to international law (the Lebanese-Israeli border was ratified by the U.N.), and they refuse to submit to the principle that one party in the cabinet cannot drag a whole country into war.


Why don't the silent majorities punish these elected Islamist parties for working against the real interests of their people? Because those who speak against Hamas or Hezbollah are either delegitimized as "American lackeys" or just murdered, like Rafiq Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.

The world needs to understand what is going on here: the little flowers of democracy that were planted in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories are being crushed by the boots of Syrian-backed Islamist militias who are desperate to keep real democracy from taking hold in this region and Iranian-backed Islamist militias desperate to keep modernism from taking hold.

It may be the skeptics are right: maybe democracy, while it is the most powerful form of legitimate government, simply can't be implemented everywhere. It certainly is never going to work in the Arab-Muslim world if the U.S. and Britain are alone in pushing it in Iraq, if Europe dithers on the fence, if the moderate Arabs cannot come together and make a fist, and if Islamist parties are allowed to sit in governments and be treated with respect while maintaining private armies.

The whole democracy experiment in the Arab-Muslim world is at stake here, and right now it's going up in smoke.

While I agree with Mr. Friedman's basic premise and his conclusions I'll quibble with one key point he makes: Hizbullah and Hamas are not tiny and both represent a significant part of the population in their respective areas.

Hamas was elected overwhelmingly by the Palestinian people and all polls show that they still enjoy widespread report. I also don't believe you can divide Hamas into a "tiny militant wing" and something else. One needs only read Hamas' charter to understand that it is an Islamist/jihadist organization dedicated to the destruction of not only Israel but of Jordan and other western-leaning Arab governments as well and their replacement with a pan-Arab Islamist state. There is no moderate, non-terrorist element to Hamas and there does not appear to be a moderate majority among the Palestinians.

Similarly Hizbullah is enjoys widespread support among Lebanon's Shiite Muslims and most polls show it's support level at 30% or so of the Lebanese people as a whole. That is a very significant minority, particularly in a multi-party parliamentary system.

In order for their to ever be peace in the region there has to be a sea change in Arab opinion. There has to be an acceptance, however grudging, of Israel's existence and it's permanent nature. Until that happens the region is doomed to a cycle or warfare. Arab leaders have to do what Israeli leaders like Yitzhak Rabin did: build a consensus for peace.

Can democracy take root in the Arab world? Someday, maybe. Right now I'd settle for stability and sane leadership, something that Jordan, Egypt, and several of the gulf states enjoy. The move towards democracy in the region will have to happen through a natural evolutionary process, not a process of imposition by foreign powers. In that Friedman is absolutely correct.

Thanks to Aharon at Blogs of Zion for the link and for quoting the Friedman article.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

News From Family In The North of Israel

I heard from a cousin in Israel after Shabbat. As of then nobody in our family was hurt. My cousin's wife has family in the north. Two of her brothers live on the Lebanese border. A Katyusha landed not far from their moshav. She has two nieces in Mizpe Hila and a third brother in Haifa. One cousin lives with her family in Haifa as well. Since receiving this news nine people were killed in Haifa as Katyusha rockets slammed into the city again. Hizbullah also hit Acre, Kiryat Haim, Naharayim, Kibbutz Sa'ar, Kfar Maimon and Nahariya. An additional 25 people were injured as Hizbullah continues to target Israeli civilian population centers.

My cousin added:
We hope Zahal will be given the time to do enough work before the so called liberal democratic justice seeking world will interfere. I hope that eventually some sense will come to them and they will know who we are facing and figure when their time will come to face another act of terror on their liberal righteous countries.
I couldn't agree more.

To be honest I am filled with rage, not only at Hizbullah but at the international press and those in the international community who enable these attacks through their support of the terrorists and their demonization of Israel. I hope Prime Minister Olmert does something no Israeli Prime Minister has done since Yitzhak Shamir: resist and ignore international pressure even when there are consequences, both in terms of financial hardship and damaged international relations. Israel shouldn't restrain itself at all in insuring that neither Hizbullah nor Hamas can fire rockets into Israeli cities and towns in the future. The first obligation of any government is to protect its citizens. If France or Russia or anyone else fails to understand that applies to Israel as much as anyone else, well... too bad.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

On Israeli Restraint

I read editorial writers in the San Francisco Chronicle and politicians in the European Union decrying Israel's lack of restraint and "disproportionate" use of force in response to the kidnapping of soldiers and the rain of rockets landing on Israeli cities. I wonder what kind of drugs these people are taking. Tell me, if rockets rained down on Chicago, America's third largest city, as they do on Haifa, Israel's third largest city, with over one hundred injured as there are in Israel right now, what would Americans want the government to do? Act with restraint? Be proportional? Nope, they'd want the attacks to stop and want the government to do whatever it took militarily to make them stop.

You know what's really sick? Israel is showing restraint -- too much restraint, in fact, and it works against their own interests. Yael K., a leftist American-born Israeli living in Tel Aviv, wrote this piece in her blog which, in part, describes in detail the Israeli restraint that the Chronicle and CNN and the BBC aren't reporting.. and it's consequences.
I'm thinking of the leaflets and flyers our forces have been dropping into the populated areas that we plan to attack --since this fiasco began -- warning civilians to please leave the area because an attack will be coming. We do this to try to avoid killing innocent civilians. We do this despite the fact that it alerts many of the terrorists we would like to target so that they also can leave beforehand. We do this despite the fact that it endangers our own troops by giving the militants a clear signal of where we will be striking and where they can thus strike our forces. I cannot think of any other country that has ever ever taken such steps to warn an opposing civilian population. Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the five million smaller terrorist groups certainly don't return the favour. No, they actively target our civilians.

I am thinking of what Hamas, led by Meshal, and Hezbollah, led by Nasrallah, and both backed by Syria and Iran have done, what suffering they have caused and are causing to Israelis, yes, but to Palestinians and Lebanese too --in theory to their own people--and I am really beyond words. They do not have the interest of their people in mind. They have power and power of a very personal nature in mind. They should be very glad that we are acting with restraint. They should be very glad that we take more precautions on behalf of "their" people than they would ever deign to.

Gerald A. Honigman, writing for the right-wing Arutz Sheva, puts it this way:
Following the European Union's current demand for "proportion" only perpetuates this conflict. And Israel has been doing just that for far too long.

Again, the recent actions of the enemy are blatant acts of war. And they are committed by those whose openly-stated goal is the utter destruction of their neighbor. No compromise that permits the long-term survival of a Jewish Israel, regardless of size, is acceptable to the Arabs Israel is now confronting.

What would the Brits do with such a neighbor? The French? America? Russia? Who would consent to self-destruction? Would any of these folks agree to a mere wrist-slapping of those aiming to destroy both themselves and their countries, as well?

We all know the answer and all know that the calls for proportionality, while quoting the Geneva Convention, are rooted in hypocrisy and decades of championing the Palestinians as innocent victims and Israel as an aggressive oppressor nation. Facts no longer matter. The political agenda is all that counts.

[NOTE: One more that's crossposted in Blogs of Zion]

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Iran Is Deliberately Provoking A Regional War

Today the Bush administration, both the White House and the State Department, blamed Iran and Syria for the latest attacks on Israel, which they termed "unprovoked". Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Danny Ayalon, stated that Iran and Syria are "playing with fire" by escalating the current conflict in the Middle East. I believe both the Bush administration and the Ambassador are correct. However, I also believe that Iran knows precisely what it's doing and a conflagration is exactly what they have in mind. They are deliberately provoking a regional war and perhaps even a world war.

In a piece published today the Middle East Media Research Institute, citing articles in Lebanese, Syrian, and Iranian media, put the Teheran regime squarely behind the latest violence:
In statements published over the last few weeks, senior Iranian officials advocated an escalation of the violent activity against Israel and against "Zionists" around the world.

Additionally, in mid-June 2006, Syria and Iran signed a military cooperation agreement. The Syrian defense minister stated on that occasion that the two countries "are establishing a joint front against Israel... [since] Iran regards Syria's security as its own."


It is possible that the escalation on Israel's borders, set off by elements supported by Iran - Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria - is meant to take the pressure off Iran by triggering a major military clash in the Middle East, which will divert international attention from Iran's nuclear program.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking on Iranian television on Tuesday, stated:
Today, it has been proven that the Zionists are not opposed only to Islam and the Muslims. They are opposed to humanity as a whole. They want to dominate the entire world. They would even sacrifice the Western regimes for their own sake. I have said in Tehran, and I say it again here - I say to the leaders of some Western countries: Stop supporting these corrupt people. Behold, the rage of the Muslim peoples is accumulating. The rage of the Muslim peoples may soon reach the point of explosion. If that day comes, they must know that the waves of this explosion will not be restricted to the boundaries of our region. They will definitely reach the corrupt forces that support this fake regime.
I think it's fair to say that Hamas and Hizbullah are expressing what Mr. Ahmadinejad called "the rage of the Muslim peoples" in their latest unprovoked attacks on Israel.

Speaking in Joffa on Wednesday Mr. Ahmadinejad added:
In the near future we will witness the rapid collapse of the Zionist regime. The nations of the region will record the names of states that support the Zionist regime alongside the Zionist's crimes
I think it's safe to say that the actions of the past few days are Mr. Ahmadinejad's attempt to begin to make good on that threat.

Today Mr. Ahmadinejad upped the rhetoric further according to a Reuters report, stating in a phone call with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:
If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response.
Can he deliver on a united Islamic response? No, of course not, but he may be able to drag more Arab and Muslim nations into the war. That, I believe, is part of the Iranian plan.

Just yesterday the Iranian daily newspaper Jomhouri-ye Eslami published comments from 23 May by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah:
We can hit Israel's entire northern region with thousands of rockets... All of Israel is now within the range of our missiles. Its seaports, [military] bases, industrial plants and everything else are all within our range... I repeat and say that our stockpile of weapons is significant, both in quantity and in quality... Another advantage that I wish to mention is the geography of Lebanon and Palestine. Most of Israel's vital areas are concentrated in the northern [half] of occupied Palestine, while the south is uninhabited and desolate. More than two million Jews live in the north of occupied Palestine, which contains the recreation centers and [tourist] resorts, the industrial plants, the agricultural [areas] and the important military airports and bases. This is an advantage for us... Our presence in South Lebanon, in proximity to the north of occupied Palestine, is our greatest advantage...
I believe the Iranians actually believe that if they can get enough of the Islamic world behind them that they now have the means to destroy Israel even without nuclear weapons. Israel's withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza along with Prime Minister Olmert's realignment plan have been misconstrued as Isreali weakness and a lack of willingness to fight. When people's homes and very lives are threatened they do unite and fight with great determination, and this is where Iran has miscalculated.

Further, I believe the Islamists see the United States as weak. They see resolve in Iraq failing as public opinion turned against the war and remember U.S. withdrawals from Somalia and Beirut. I expect Iran will try to drag the U.S. into the war by meddling in Iran and/or Afghanistan, possibly with Syrian help. That would give them the justification they need to complete their nuclear program. Indeed, they may be close enough to completing the program to believe they can use nuclear weapons to finish the war if necessary.

These are incredibly dangerous times. President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime see jihad as an obligation, one commanded by Allah. Israel has no choice but to defend itself. I think it is in everyone's interest if they do so with a bit less restraint and a bit more haste. Fewer lives will be lost that way.

[NOTE: This piece also appears on Blogs of Zion, where I write under my Hebrew name.]

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