Sunday, 31 May 2009


Ken Berwitz

Here is another update on those kindly, pacifistic folks Israel is supposed to be making peace with.  It comes to us from the Associated Press:

6 dead in battle between Hamas, Palestinian police

By ALI DARAGHMEH, Associated Press Writer Ali Daraghmeh, Associated Press Writer

QALQILIYA, West Bank Top Hamas fugitives lobbed grenades and fired automatic weapons Sunday to push back Palestinian security forces storming their hideout, leaving six dead in the bloodiest clash since the Palestinian president launched a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank two years ago.

Two top Hamas militants on the run from Israel for years were among those killed, along with an unarmed Hamas supporter and three Palestinian policemen.

After the hours-long battle, hundreds of spent bullet casings, puddles of blood and tear gas canisters were visible at the hideout, a two-story building in the northern West Bank town of Qalqiliya. Parts of the walls were burned down.

The Islamic militant Hamas immediately hurled angry accusations at the Western-backed president, Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of betraying Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation and threatening revenge. Relations have been sour since Hamas seized Gaza by force two years ago, leaving Abbas only in control of the West Bank.

The arrest raid underscored Abbas' determination to rein in militants as part of his obligations under the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.

The shootout came just three days after Abbas met at the White House with President Barack Obama and renewed a pledge to honor these commitments. The U.S. has been training Abbas' elite forces to help him affirm his control of the West Bank and prepare for eventual statehood.

Despite Hamas' threats of reprisals, it was not immediately clear whether it would change its tactic of lying low in the West Bank while it weathers Abbas' crackdown. Since Hamas' Gaza takeover, Abbas' security forces have detained hundreds of Hamas supporters in the West Bank and closed the group's institutions and charities.

The Qalqiliya clash began late Saturday when Palestinian troops surrounded a hideout of Mohammed Samman, a leader of Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, and his assistant, Mohammed Yassin. Both had been on Israel's wanted list for six years, Palestinian security officials said.

Initially, about two dozen officers stormed the house, breaking down the door, said a policeman who had participated in the raid, but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. The Hamas men lobbed a grenade and opened automatic fire, killing three officers and wounding two critically, he said. Other officers fled, then brought in reinforcements.

The ensuing battle lasted until midmorning Sunday. Police say they found bombs, suicide belts and bullets in their search of the house.

Qalqiliya, which elected a Hamas mayor several years ago, was tense Monday. Women gathered near the scene heaped insults on policemen. Sporadic gunfire erupted in other areas of town, and police said the shots came from Hamas loyalists targeting officers, though there were no reports of injuries.

Security officials seized the bodies of the Hamas militants, fearing a public burial would turn into angry protests against the Palestinian Authority. Muslim tradition demands the dead should be buried quickly.

Hamas officials in the West Bank said that some 40 loyalists of the group had been arrested in Qalqiliya in the past week as part of the search for the top two fugitives.

In Gaza, Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the Hamas military wing, threatened "tough and harsh reprisal."

Ehab Ghussein, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza, said Abbas' security forces have betrayed those fighting Israeli occupation.

But Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said going after militants is key to one day setting up a Palestinian state. "To build our country and our state, we need to have one authority, one gun, one law," he said.

Hamas opposes Abbas' policy of trying to negotiate a peace deal with Israel. In recent months, Abbas and Hamas have tried to reach a unity deal, but talks have run aground over Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence, a precondition for joining a coalition with Abbas supporters.

Last year, 26 Palestinians were killed during Fatah and Hamas attempts to crack down on their rivals, said the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Can someone please send this report to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the administration?  I can't help hoping against hope that someday, somehow, they will actually recognize who they're demanding that Israel make peace with. 

Based on this, and so many other events like it, that concept might be a bit premature.

Maybe the first demand should be that Palestinian Arabs make peace with each other.  Then we can talk about Israel.


Ken Berwitz

George Tiller, probably the most famous, and prolific, late-term abortionist in the United States, was shot and killed at his church this morning.  And a suspect has been arrested, as you can see from the local TV station's update below (KWCH-TV):

Police: Tiller Died of Single Gunshot Wound

Latest Update:

Det. Tom Stolz w/ Wichita Police Dept. says Dr. Tiller died of a single gunshot wound.  A 51-year-old suspect is in custody in Johnson County.  Police say the suspect was arrested without incident after a traffic stop.

Stolz says formal charges are expected Monday.  Suspect faces one count of murder, two counts of aggravated assault. 

Police say Tiller's body was removed from the church at 12:30 Sunday afternoon.  The FBI is involved in the investigation.

Nationwide alert issued for car and suspect description.

Update: Wichita residents are planning to mourn the death of Dr. George Tiller, as well as remember his triumphs, at Old Town Square tonight at 8pm. Although some in attendance may bring signs, the vigil is intended to be a peaceful gathering to show support for Tiller's family and friends.

Eyewitness News has confirmed that abortion provider Dr. George Tiller has been shot and killed at his Wichita church.

The shooting happened around ten o'clock Sunday morning at the Reformation Lutheran Church.

Location of Church

Police have a suspect description. The suspect is described as a white male in his 50's or 60's with grey hair that is balding in the middle. He is about 6'1" and about 220 pounds and was wearing a white shirt and dark pants.

The suspect was last seen in a light blue Ford Taurus, possibly an early 1990's model. It has a K-State vanity plate and a Kansas license plate number 225 BAB.

Tiller was the victim of violence before. On June 9, 1986 someone detonated a homemade bomb on the roof of his Wichita clinic. No one was hurt

During the Summer of Mercy in 1991, protesters blocked the entrance to his facility before a federal judge ruled the protesters be arrested.

Two years later, Dr. Tiller was shot outside his clinic the evening of August 19, 1993. His wounds were not life threatening. Abortion opponent Shelly Shannon was convicted of that shooting and sentenced to prison.

In the absence of actually knowing, my first impulse is to assume the killer is an anti-abortionist, probably a devoutly religious one.  But I don't know that to be a fact. 

Let's all wait and find out for sure.


Ken Berwitz

From Patterico, writing for

Smear: L.A. Times Lies About Cornyns Comments on Sotomayor

posted at 6:20 pm on May 31, 2009 by Patterico

Today the Los Angeles Times lies to its readers about Sen. John Cornyns statements on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Heres what the L.A. Times says:

Only days earlier, Cornyn said in a radio interview that it was terrible for conservatives to be attacking Sotomayor as a racist. But today, the senator did not reiterate those sentiments and pledged that he and other Republican lawmakers would probe deeply into Sotomayors past comments and rulings to see if her heritage colors her ability to make fair decisions.

The hell he did. Yes, he said Republicans would closely examine her record. But he never said that Republicans would seek to learn whether her heritage would affect her ability to be a fair judge. In essence, the paper is saying, Republicans are concerned that Sotomayor might be a poor judge because she is a Latina. That is an outrageous distortion of Cornyns comments.

Rather than focusing on Sotomayors ethnicity, Cornyn focused on Sotomayors statements and rulings. Cornyn said Republicans were concerned by Sotomayors ruling in the New Haven firefighters case, and her comments about how she would be a better judge because of her Latina heritage. The focus was on her actions and words, not on her heritage.

The transcript of Cornyns appearance is here. On a separate page, I have included every single comment that Cornyn made in this mornings appearance, so you can see with your own eyes how this newspaper is lying about Cornyns comments.

Indeed, Sotomayor herself is the one who has claimed that her ethnicity and heritage might be relevant to her judging:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasnt lived that life, said Judge Sotomayor . . . . Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.

Today, Cornyn actually said the exact opposite, telling George Stephanopoulos that it shouldnt make any difference what your ethnicity is.

For the L.A. Times to claim that Cornyn pledged to examine whether her heritage would make her a bad judge is an outright fabrication by the newspaper, and they should be deeply ashamed.

The L.A. Times owes Cornyn an apology. Do you think hell get one?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question.

Why do they lie so openly, so brazenly?  Is it because they assume they'll get away with it?

And why do they assume they'll get away with it?  Is it because they always seem to?

Who is going to hold the Los Angeles Times to account?  The NY Times?  The network news?  Those keepers of the faith at MSNBC?

And Patterico thought that he asked a rhetorical question?  He's got nothing on mine.

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