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A Frog's-eye view

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Thursday, May 22, 2003
 
DEALING WITH AL-QA'IDA

Al-Jazeera's website regularly carries "spot polls" of its readers' opinions. Today's asks the question, "What is the most suitable way of dealing with the Al-Qa'ida Organisation?". So far, 22953 people have responded, of which 17.9% support a "security response", 67.9% support "the opening of a dialogue", and 14.2% responded "don't know".

One wonders what kind of a dialogue Ali J's readers are thinking of. "Listen, Osama, do you really believe all that stuff about jihad and killing the infidel and spreading the word of the Prophet (Salla allahu `alayhi wasalama) etc? Maybe you'd be willing to settle for just killing Jews and leave the rest of us in peace." Who knows, maybe he really can be appeased in this way? Ali J's readers obviously think so.


Tuesday, May 20, 2003
 
GOOD NEWS FOR ARAFAT...

...from the BBC. He may finally be considered a part of the human race. But what are we to make of France's sending a reconnaisance team (i.e. a military force) to East Congo without a UN resolution? I think the US should immediately censure them for ignoring correct procedures.



 
MORE "REPORTAGE" FROM THE GUARDIAN

The Guardian runs a wonderful spin on missing murderer British bomber, Omar Khan Sharif, whose body was washed up recently on the Tel Aviv beach. Apart from casting doubt on what Israeli minister Mofaz says, and citing local nutters' views that Sharif was murdered by the Israeli intelligence services, the article also includes some wonderfully objective reporting such as:

The two men headed for Gaza. The army and immigration service control the single border crossing into what many of its residents consider the world's largest detention camp. But, again, neither man raised suspicion. There are not many real tourists to Gaza these days but most foreigners who enter the strip claim to be just that, whether they are aid workers or peace activists. Sharif and Hanif are now known to have met Hamas militants.


How about "The army and immigration service control the single border crossing into what many people with a semblance of humanity regard as being the world's centre of barbarous fundamentalist incidement and sadism"?

They also went along to a meeting of the International Solidarity Movement, a peaceful protest group against the occupation. The two called themselves "alternative tourists" and gave no hint of their real mission, but the ISM has paid the price of the fleeting association and is now effectively a banned organisation.


"Peaceful protest group"; excuse me while I split my sides laughing. "The ISM has paid the price of the fleeting association"; no, they've paid the price of harbouring terrorists and criminals, and effectively participating in the Palestinians' terror war.

While the confirmation of Sharif's death was met with approval and relief among Israelis,


Well, you know those bloodthirsty Israelis,

in Derby there was shock and sadness. Councillor Abdul Rehman, who knew Sharif's father Mohammed, a successful entrepreneur, said: "I am really shocked. This is terrible news for his family and his two young children. It's sad news for the local community."


Yes, what a tragedy that he didn't manage to complete his mission. And such an upstanding member of the community!


But the London-based Islamist group, Al-Muhajiroun, yesterday continued to parade Sharif as a role model for would-be British suicide bombers. Last night Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, leader of Al-Muhajiroun, was travelling to Derby o host an Islamic seminar. The cleric, who said both men had come to him for Islamic instruction, claimed Sharif remained a role model for "martyrs".

"The fact that he took this step towards paradise makes him an example for many Muslims, to consider how somebody could think seriously about life and the meaning of life, and sacrifice his life for the sake of God."

Omar Abdullah, the Al-Muhajiroun spokesman in Derby, said many Muslims believed Sharif may have been killed by the Israeli security services. "People are unsure how he could have ended up drowned and many have speculated whether he may have been captured, tortured or even killed by the Israeli security services. To die through drowning is still an act of martyrdom, we believe," he said.


Ah yes, at least his children can sleep peacefully at night knowing their father's boffing his seventy virgins.


 
UPDATE

I have now read the entire article cited in my previous entry. It also includes the following statement:

"For his part, Musa considered the Israeli occupation to be responsible for the continuing violence, noting that it was illogical that it should continue its operations against the members of the Palestinian people and should expect that the Palestinian factions will stay still [or "stand"] without responding". The article speaks of the internal Palestinian needs to reach an agreement between the Palestinian factions for a one-year ceasefire.

The second section of the article reports Terye Larsen's claim to the UN that Israel is preventing the UN's relief work, following the Israeli decision to close the Erez checkpoint. Naturally, the article does not report that this decision came after Israel staff at the checkpoint were murdered by an Arab terrorist.

The final section of the article is entitled "Israeli Escalation", and talks of the latest Israeli military operations, and the high alert following the attacks. Finally, the article cites the condemnations of Arafat and Bush, and mentions that Sharon postponed his visit to Washington but will meet again with Abu Mazen.

Overall, the article represents an Arab "spin" to yesterday's events. Terrorist attacks are described using the positive term fadaa'iin, the emphasis is placed on Palestinian suffering (nothing on the victims of the attacks), the Israeli policies are described as an obstacle to the Palestinians' attempts to avoiding civil war amongst themselves, Larsen's comments are cited in detail, and, at the end, a few desultory details are thrown in under the headline "Israeli escalation", even though the details make it clear that it is the Palestinians who have escalated the violence.

 
REUTERS AGAIN

Well, Reuters press agency (Israel) continues to be the main source for supplying blood and gore pics to satisfy the blood-lust of the Arab world. Have a look at this page from Al-Jazeera's Arabic site. If you don't like what you see, call up the photographic department of Reuters Israel on (++ 972 2) 537 0502 and tell them.

Incidentally, the opening paragraph of the article under that photograph reads:

"Palestinian Minister of External Affairs Nabil Sha'ath held Israel responsible for the decline in the security situation in the Palestinian lands. He said following his meeting with the General Secretary of the Arab League, Amr Musa, that Israel is responsible for the freedom-fighter [fada'iyya] operations that Palestinian factions carried out recently, and that it is responsible through its policy and its hindering of the peace process for the failure of the discussions between the Palestinian factions, the aims of which included the cessation of such attacks."


There you go, an honest and direct acceptance of Palestinian responsibility from one of the most senior and "moderate" Palestinian leaders, the man they dubbed the Palestinian Abba Eban (lehavdil). And I'm supposed to believe that we're going to make peace with these people.


Monday, May 19, 2003
 
DEPRESSING DAY

It's been another one of those days: one of those days when, as a simple citizen sitting at my table working, I feel totally powerless. I can imagine a sudden and massive strike, of perfectly accurate missiles flying through the windows of Gaza and knocking Rantisi between the eyes; of the F16 dropping its load on Arafat in his headquarters and finally putting an end to that monster; and, perhaps, of the hope, the whisper of hope, that one day the Palestinian street might rise up and cry, hold, enough.

But none of these things will happen. This war cannot be won in six days. It cannot be won fifty years. Because the fact is that the Palestinians still dream of waking up one morning and finding that the Jews that defile their land will finally have been driven into the sea. The Hamas and the Jihad and the Hizbullah and Al-Qa'ida and Abu Sayyaf and a thousand other organsiations with different names will not be satisfied until they have forced their religion upon the world with the edge of the sword. The Western appeasers who thought that they could be bought did not understand them. Because they believe in nothing themselves, they assumed that everyone can be appeased. Because the flame of religion does not burn within them they thought that flame dead. It will perhaps one day consume them.

Imagine this: the whole world awakes one morning to the cry of the Muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. The poor are lead by their spiritual leaders to the mosque where they give praise unto Allah and his last true prophet, Peace Be Upon Him. The rule of God's law is supreme, those rejecting that faith have been destroyed or subdued. Peace and harmony reigns under the all-mighty empire of God on earth. True justice has prevailed. Vengeace against the wicked has been wrought. Tranquility, harmony as the sun rises over the desert once again.

Enticing, no? A dream perhaps. Unless you happen to reject that prophecy, to disagree with the enslavement of non-believers, to want to dance your own dance and sing your own song and shave and wear purple clothes and educate your daughters and not cut the hands off thieves. Unless you want the freedom of thought and of ideas, the freedom to do as you wish, to eat what you want to eat when you want to eat it. Because if that's what you want, then I'm afraid this vision is not for you: you're one of the condemned, and you will have to die in the bloodbath. That's the tough reality, my friend: din muhammad `ala ssayf.


 
MURDERING BASTARDS STRIKE AGAIN

This time in Afula. Israel TV reporting at this hour (6pm) four dead.

If the Palestinians think this will weaken Israel's resolve and help them gain a place amongst the nations of the world they've got another thing coming. It only makes them more hated, and makes their chances of being regarded as a part of civilisation more remote.

This time the Head MUST GO!


 
THE DAILY CORPSE

Al-Jazeera's lust for ratings seems to know no bounds. Today they have run another "corpse" photo, this time of Shadi An-Nabahin, the bicycle bomber who blew himself up in Gaza this morning. Not wishing to turn this site into a clone of Ali-J, I have refrained from reproducing the picture here. This time, the photograph was supplied by a company whom Al-Jazeera names "Al-Franasiyya", i.e. "The Frenchy".

I'm sure seeing this young man's picture on Al-Jazeera fills his parents with pride.


Sunday, May 18, 2003
 
REUTERS

This morning Reuters Israel saw fit to release the following photograph for publication to Al-Jazeera:




I called up Reuters' Head Office on Jerusalem (++ 972 2) 537 0502, and spoke to the photographic department, presenting myself as university researcher on media and war. I asked the lady who answered (an Israeli) whether it was Reuters' policy to publish pictures of dead victims of terror attacks. She would not commit herself to any statement, but told me that Reuters publish things as they happen, within certain bounds. I told her that after seeing these pictures, it's hard for me to imagine what the bounds could possibly be. Again she refused to comment, but admitted that she had responsibility for all pictures issuing from the Israeli office. I told her that I cannot imagine how she would feel if it were her parents pictured here, but that that was a matter for her conscience alone: I'm only interested to know whether Reuters have an official policy on such matters.

If you feel offended by such pictures, call up the photographic department of Reuters and tell them what you think. The main switchboard operates in English, and the lady in question (whose name I did not catch) speaks English very well.




 
BBC CONDONES TERROR

The BBC's website describes the scene of this morning's terrorist attack as follows:

The French Hill junction has been targeted by bombers before.

It is a busy intersection where many people board buses, including Jewish settlers moving in and out of the West Bank


What is the purpose of this reference to "settlers"? It can only be intended to allude to one thing: since this junction is used by "Jewish settlers moving in and out of the West Bank" it was somehow a legitimate target, and that somehow murdering a bunch of poor people on their way to work* is a legitimate act of war.

This is not the first time that the BBC have given such a "spin" to terror attacks. Some years ago, there was a case in which a bus driver picked up an Arab teenager who looked a bit suspicious. As he entered the bus, the driver, who suspected something was wrong, asked him where he was going. The teenager didn't know the answer, so the driver pushed him out of the bus, closed the door, and drove off, then ran back on foot to wrestle with the teenager, who had a suicide belt. Seeing the driver calling for help, two soldiers on the bus came out and helped him overpower the teenager.

All the Israeli papers reported the next day, "Bus Driver Prevents Suicide Bomb" and hailed the driver's presence of mind and bravery in preventing a serious distaster of the kind we witnessed today. Only the BBC reported "Soldiers Overpower Suicide Bomber".

What was the purpose of changing the "heros" of the story from a bus driver to solidiers? Well, bus drivers are civilians, so in a bus driver vs. terrorist struggle, it's clear who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. But when a bomber goes out to attack soldiers, well, somehow they expect to be a target; and if they manage to overpower the bomber, there's no heroics, they're just doing their job. All's fair in war, no? No good guys, no bad guys, just two armies fighting.

Incidentally, today's crime was perpetrated by Arafat's Al-Aqsa brigades. It's time to produce the Palestinian Pack of Cards and be rid of the Ace of Spades.


(*Most of the victims were immigrants over the age of 55, and were travelling out of one of Jerusalem's northern-most suburbs on the 5.45am bus. These details, coupled with my close knowledge of that neighbourhood's population, makes me suspect that the victims almost certainly represented the underprivileged classes. Terrorist attacks have disproportionately effected poorer people in Israel, who need to live on the peripheries and take public transport.)

 
TERROR ATTACK

On the number 6 bus in Jerusalem, travelling from Pisgat Ze'ev to the centre of the city. The attack was perpetrated by a Palestinian suicide killer under the North-Jerusalem bridge (Shuafat Junction). So far the news reports are talking of 15 injured, amongst them some 5 dead.

Froggy knows that area and that bus very very well. That same junction has been hit by Palestinian bombers and gunfire repeatedly, and a number 6 bus going in the other direction was blown up at the same spot not so long ago.

I'm waiting to hear the UN's condemnation - of Israel.