Tuesday, 15 May 2007

DAILY LIFE AMONG PALESTINIAN ARABS

Ken Berwitz

It is unfair that people think all palestrinian Arabs do is kill Israelis and teach their children to follow in their footsteps.  There is more to life in Gaza and Judea/Samaria than just this.  And here, from the Associated Press, is proof.  The bold print is mine:-

Hamas kills 7 in Gaza border crossing clash

Concerns that Israelis could get caught up in worsening Palestinian fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hamas gunmen attacked rival Fatah forces at a key crossing along the Israeli border, killing seven people and drawing fire from nearby Israeli troops, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials. The incident threatened to drag Israel into the current round of Palestinian factional fighting.

The battle at the Karni border crossing was the deadliest so far in three days of fighting between Fatah and Hamas. At least 17 people have died so far, bringing life in Gaza to a standstill and pushing the fragile Palestinian unity government closer to collapse.

The Karni fighting erupted when Hamas gunmen approached a training base used by Fatah forces that guard the crossing.

The Hamas force attacked the base with rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, said Ahmed al-Kaisi, spokesman for the pro-Fatah Presidential Guard, which guards the crossing under an agreement with Israel.

Security officials said seven men were killed in a Hamas ambush as they headed toward Karni to help their comrades. After the ambush, several bodies were seen strewn in the grass near an overturned security vehicle, as gunmen in pickup trucks nearby held machine guns in the air.

The base had been set up in part by an American security team to train Palestinians on how to check cargo and baggage at crossings and the recruits there are largely unarmed, al-Kaisi said. We consider this a serious provocation and a crime committed in cold blood, al-Kaisi said.

Israeli forces join fray
At one point, Israeli troops opened fire at a group of gunmen who approached the border about half a mile from the battle, the army said. Palestinian officials said one man was killed, though his identity wasnt immediately known.

Witnesses also said three Israeli tanks approached Karni, and the Hamas force quickly withdrew. Israel also closed the crossing, known as Gazas lifeline because it is the passage for cargo going in and out of the area.

Israel has remained silent throughout the latest Palestinian infighting. But the border incident illustrated how fragile the situation is. Israel has been debating whether to take large-scale military action in Gaza in response to repeated rocket fire aimed at southern Israel, but this week officials postponed a decision on whether to act.

Despite a new cease-fire deal late Monday, Palestinians awoke to the sound of gunfire throughout Gaza. Gunmen exchanged heavy gunfire at a security compound in Gaza City and a nearby junction was empty even at rush hour except for a few cars hurriedly abandoned by passengers.

One Hamas man was killed in a shootout early Tuesday in Gaza City, security officials said. In many places the violence centered around roadblocks set up by the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian security and began when cars containing Hamas gunmen were stopped.

The fighting came as the Palestinians marked the anniversary of the Nakba, the word they use to describe Israels establishment 59 years ago.

Haniyeh pleas for unity
In a speech, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh made little mention of the infighting, urging the Palestinians to work together in order to protect our national unity government and make it succeed. Instead, he focused on the conflict with Israel.

Our determination cannot be broken, Haniyeh said. We have said that we are going to give the politics a chance, but we are not going to drop our weapons until the occupation evacuates our land and justice and security and peace prevail.

Hamas and Fatah formed their unity government in March with the aim of ending months of deadly infighting. While the agreement has reduced tensions, it has done little to halt a wave of kidnappings, carjackings, robberies and lawlessness gripping the Gaza Strip.

The political rivals began fighting again over the weekend after President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah deployed thousands of pro-Fatah forces to try to restore law and order in Gaza. Hamas, which has its own militia, was angry that it was not consulted.

Mondays resignation of a frustrated top security official added to the tensions. The appointment of Interior Minister Hani Kawasmeh, an independent, had been a keystone of the unity agreement. Kawasmeh accused Hamas and Fatah of undermining his efforts to halt the violence.

The fighting has closed universities, and many worried parents have kept their children away from school. Many residents say the latest violence is more ominous than the previous round, saying it signaled the failure of the power-sharing deal between Hamas and Fatah.

Now they are starting from where they left off, said Jamal Abu Shabaan, 21, who witnessed a gunbattle outside his furniture store Sunday. If they get to each others throats, they wont let go this time.

Control of security forces at center of dispute
At the center of the new Palestinian fighting is a dispute over who controls the security forces. A majority of the 80,000 security officers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are loyal to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader, while Hamas set up its own 6,000-strong militia last year.

In forming their coalition, Hamas and Fatah put off dealing with the explosive problem of security control.

Despite the renewed strains, Abbas was unlikely to dissolve the coalition soon because it would be difficult to hold new elections in the violent climate in the Palestinian territories. Hamas would certainly object to a new ballot after winning a four-year term in last years vote. -

God help all palestinian Arabs who do NOT want this kind of life, because there appears to be no way they can escape it.  If they stay, this is how they live.  If they want to emigrate to another Arab country, other than a tiny trickle to Jordan (the existing palestinian Arab state), not one Arab country allows them to enter and become citizens.

By contrast, well over a million palestinian Arabs live peacefully in Israel.  That's right, Israel.  They are citizens, they can vote - men and women both - they own property, run businesses, attend the universities and serve in government.  They enjoy a level of prosperity and freedom unknown in almost any Arab country on earth.

The bottom line?  You cannot reason with, you cannot negotiate with and you cannot peacefully coexist with people who live in an ongoing culture of violence and death.  People who hate as a way of life.  People who attack and kill each other when they are not attacking and killing you.

Peace process?  What peace process?


ARE DEMOCRATS SERIOUS ABOUT HOMELAND SECURITY?

Ken Berwitz

Sadly, this is an entirely legitimate question to ask.  Democrats in congress (not all of them, happy to say, but most) seem to be doing everything they can to keep us unsafe.  They oppose meaningful border security.  They oppose deportation of illegal aliens.  They tried to end the patriot act with its homeland security provisions -- harry reid in particular was ecstatic over the (unsuccessful) attempt. 

Now we have the head of homeland security trying to put fear into......the people who attempt to PROTECT our homeland.

That's right.  That's no typo.  Here is the story, courtesy of the Washington Times editorial page (did you think it would ever be featured in the NY Times?  Or the Today show?  You're kidding, right?):

-

Bennie Thompson vs. terrorism tipsters

Published May 15, 2007


We've all seen this phrase in block letters: "REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY," followed by a 1-800 number. But if a House Democrat manages to kill a tipster-immunity measure under consideration in Congress this month, people who report suspicious behavior could be sued in civil court if the accused are not charged with a crime. November's frightened U.S. Airways "John Doe" passengers in Minneapolis are already in the crosshairs.
    The lawmaker in question is Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He thinks that granting tipsters immunity amounts to racial and religious profiling. Yes, that's the Democrats' "homeland security" pointman in the House speaking.
    For two months, Mr. Thompson has deployed the profiling argument against this measure, tucked into the House transportation-security bill. The good news is that a bipartisan House majority already passed it 304-121 seven weeks ago. But sadly, Mr. Thompson is expected to strip it from the bill. He is expected to be the lead House negotiator in the coming weeks when the bill reaches conference committee, and if he is, he will have considerable sway over the final product.
    Mr. Thompson would stand alone among key homeland-security players, all of whom support immunity, if he blocks it. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate committee and ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, both support it. So does Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, the ranking member in the House homeland-security committee.
    How damaging it would be to leave tipsters on the hook; there could be few better ways to staunch the flow of information. Think of last week's Fort Dix tipster and ask yourself whether you would report suspicious behavior in a similar position.
    The cutting edge of this debate, the case of the anonymous U.S. Airways passengers in Minneapolis, is not encouraging. These passengers observed six imams refuse to sit in their assigned seats, request metal-bearing seatbelt extensions and speak loud condemnations of the United States. After frightened passengers reported this behavior, the imams were removed from the flight. Troublemakers are routinely removed for less. But the "John Does" were sued along with the airline and regulatory authorities.
    Listening to Mr. Thompson's March 27 floor remarks, it's clear that he thinks an absence of legal charges against the accused means that the tipsters can be penalized in court. This shifts the precarious balance between liberty and security much too far in one direction.
    Think about this Catch-22 for a moment. The government encourages ordinary citizens to pass on potential terrorism information, as it should. But those citizens can now be sued if no charges are filed. One can literally be sued for reporting provocative behavior on an airline. We're clearly a long way from September 11. What a disgrace 
-

The good news is that most of congress treats this as the sick, dangerous idiocy it is.  The bad news is that there are so many in congress - virtually all of them Democrats - who would agree to scare citizens into looking the other way if they see suspicious activity.

I have a question for you:  Remember the clerk in that Circuit City store who tipped authorities about the CD he was asked to duplicate, the one with the six  al qaeda wannabes (three of them illegal aliens) screaming praises for jihad as they fired their weapons to train for an assault on Fort Dix?    Would he have reported this if he thought HE could be charged with a crime for doing so? 

How many funerals would we be lamenting on TV if he hadn't spoken up?  How many somber, poignant segments would we be seeing on the Today show, complete with a listout of every mistake the Bush administration made in not being 100% prepared for the attack? 

That's right, the Bush administration.  Who did you think media would blame if the Fort Dix massacre took place?  Benny Thompson?

Are these people crazy? 

Please, please remember this as we get closer to election.  We are not talking about the usual political parrying and thrusting, we are talking about the security of the nation.  YOUR security and the security of everyone you care about.  Think long and hard about your choice.


POLITICAL POLLS AND MEDIA BIAS

Ken Berwitz

I've talked about this before, but since it keeps occurring I want to make sure you don't forget that it happens. 

Every time a poll comes out showing President Bush with low approval ratings, you can bet your house, car and first born that it will be prominently reported by media.  But do you think you would get the same prominent reporting of similarly low approval ratings for the Democratic congress? 

If that were to happen it would mean that people are generally dissatisfied with how things are going, not with President Bush in particular.  It  could not be a referendum, for example, on the difference between the President and the Democratic congress on Iraq, could it?  Because if it were, Democrats would have to be seen far more approvingly than the President, wouldn't they?

With this in mind, I have just looked at www.pollingreport.com, a very useful site for monitoring the polling data from many different research sources.  Here's what I found:

-Their most recent source of approval ratings for both President Bush and the Democratic congress is the AP/Ipsos poll.  It shows President Bush at 35% approval.  And it shows the Democratic congress at 35% approval as well.  Dead even.

-On the theory that data from one poll could be a fluke, I averaged out the last ten polls reported at this site for President Bush and the Democratic congress - a full month's worth of polling by everyone under the sun. The result?  President Bush averages to 34.2% and the Democratic congress averages to 36.7%.  That is a difference of 2 1/2%, which, statistically, is no difference at all.

OK, remember that question I asked you before?  Remember that I asked whether you think media would be as quick to report polling data if it showed the Democratic congress at exactly the same low level as President Bush? 

Well, your answer is going to be very easy to decide.  Now that you KNOW congress is in exactly the same boat as the president and has been at least for the past month....how many times have you seen anything about it in the newspapers?  On the network news shows?  In any media you are led to believe is mainstream and neutral in nature?

Your answer to this question should tell you an awful lot about media bias in this country.  Accent on the word "awful".

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UPDATE:   I've just been advised that Gallup has a new poll out today.  In it, President Bush's approval ratings are at 33%.  And the Democratic congress?  Only 29%.  I suggest that you watch the network news tonight and see if they report that voters put President Bush slightly ahead of the Democratic congress.  But I wouldn't be very hopeful about it.  Doing so would require a neutral presentation of facts.


CBS RADIO AND SINCERITY

Ken Berwitz

First CBS radio fired Don Imus for his joking, offhanded comment that the Black members of Rutgers' women's basketball team were "nappy-headed ho's".  What a sincere act of principle....or was it that advertisers were dropping out and they cut their losses?

Then CBS radio fired  JV and Elvis for their insulting, stereotyped call to a Chinese restaurant.  Was this another sincere act of principle...or was it that advertisers were bailing on this pair also?

Now we have opie and anthony, who handed their microphone to a "man" who provided as offensive a racist stereotype as you will ever hear. They goaded him into using unspeakably profane language in expressing his desire to rape Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and, as an afterthought, Queen Elizabeth.  This segment left Imus, JV and Elvis in the dust for sheer sickness and filth. 

 XM satellite, which has no boundaries and does not have to answer to the FCC, has suspended this talentless pair of imbeciles for a month.  CBS radio, however, runs an edited version of opie and anthony, so their listeners didn't hear the depravity.  No advertisers were lost.  The result?  CBS is keeping them on the air as if they never said it.  Not even one minute's suspension, let alone a firing.

Now you know CBS' level of sincerity.


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