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Protests in Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 30, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Protests in Israel will backfire. The participants are hoping to convince the public, that redeployment from Gaza is wrong.

Here's what they did yesterday: they spilled oil and nails along the highway at the entrance to Jerusalem.
Here's what happened: the tires of 20 cars were punctured, blowouts at high speeds on a very curvy road, cars slipping and swerving, traffic stopped.
And today: again, they are stopping traffic, creating traffic jams, disrupting normal life.

Is this any way to convince people of the importance of your cause?
It's a miracle that no one has been killed as a result of these protests.

Spilling oil and spikes along the highway is an act of terror.
Had it been perpetrated by Arabs, it would be considered sabotage and terror.

This form of protest will surely be counter-productive. People want debate. Civilized discussion. They do not want inconvenience.

My advise for effective protesting:
Raise the issues to the public, do not interfere with safety or convenience.
Do not insult the public or you protests will backfire.
Do not turn yourselves into hooligans and hoodlums.

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 29, 2005


Here's the thing about anti-semitism. Eventually, the secret gets out.

Anti-semitism is not an emotion you can hide. You can try, but the venom is so strong, so powerful, so visceral, that inevitably it pokes its way out and reveals the true inner hatred. People can't hide their anti-semitic proclivities. Neither can nations.

Look no farther than the so-called newly-emancipated Russia of today. Russian State Prosecutors officially called a leading Moscow Rabbi, Zinovy Kogan, to investigate an ancient Jewish religious text that, it was claimed, was "provoking racial hatred."

The text, in Russian translation, is the Kitzur Shulkhan Arukh ( the "Shortened Set Table"), the condensed version of the Code of Jewish Law. The original, complete edition of the Shulkhan Arukh was written by Yosef Caro in the 16th Century in the city of Safed, Israel. The Russian version printed in three editions over the past few years has a run of about 5000 copies.

On Tuesday the prosecution dropped the investigation. It was dropped not because it lacked merit, but because significant international political pressure was brought upon the prosecutor's office.

As this story unfolds, it becomes obvious that the Moscow district prosecutors did not pursue this case on their own initiative, nor were they following the whim of a lone office underling. It was too quiet too high up in the ranks. Silence, in Russia, is acquiescence. And although Russian President Putin did issue a statement of condemnation, simple silence on everyone else's part spoke louder and more forcefully.

The decision to investigate the revered Jewish text was a decision that clearly had quiet agreement. It had it now just as it did in January when a similar investigation was launched.

The Russian Foreign Ministry refused to answer Israel's request for an explanation as to what was happening in the case and why.

The Kremlin was silent on the matter.

There is no explanation for anti-semitism. Trying to explain it away only makes matters worse. For example: one Russian senior political analyst suggested that official Russian government silence implied that the Russians were waiting it out to in order to extort more political clout out of Israel when the Russians finally resolved the controversy. Huh? That same source was quoted in the Israeli press as saying that the Russian government prefers the situation to be even more public and heated, so that the government will be able to exploit it better.

If today's Russia were truly run by progressive government, leaders of the legal system would have denounced and disclaimed the prosecution and immediately declared it for what it was. They would have called it a terrible mistake unbefitting the New Russia. But to wait. To see how it plays out. To assume that by eliminating the investigation, by fixing things, you are doing Israel a favor, well, that's just the epitome of arrogance. And it is the definition of anti-semitism.

Russia should fix it because it was wrong. They should fix it because selecting to prosecute Jews through the pretext of ancient Jewish texts is a violation of the very essence of a democratic judicial system. And spreading untruths about Jews is what the old Russia under the Czars did not what the New Russia does. Ethical, moral, accountable, responsible government must understand this.

Anti-semitism. Exploitation. Silent acquiescence. It seems like the new Russia is a lot like the old Russia. It seems that just as anti-semitism was at the very core of the old Russia, it is at the very core of the new Russia. It seems that way because it is that way. The prosecutor's office only bought what we all knew was lurking, festering, inside out into the open.

Shame on you Mother Russia.

Silly Statments by the PA
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 28, 2005

I've Been thinking:

In politics as in diplomacy, the words that one chooses to use are carefully weighed and of utmost importance.

That is why I am flabbergasted and disturbed by the statement made recently by the very articulate Palestinian Minister for Civil Affairs.
Mahmoud Dahlan, in speaking of the upcoming Israeli pullout from Gaza said: the Palestinians "will not assume responsibility" for clearing rubble after the Settler homes are destroyed.

Will not assume responsibility?
If not they, the Palestinians, than whom?
There is nobody left.

Does the Palestinian leadership intend to move the Palestinian people into bulldozed rubble strewn streets and further subject them to a life of despair - only so that they can continue and continue and continue to blame Israel?
I sincerely hope not.

Change is Never Good in Syria
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 27, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Change in Syria is never good.
What on the surface appear to be three isolated incidents of change, except that they are all happening in one short time period, have raised my antenna.

Change # 1: Syria has adopted a softer tone over the past week or two concerning their border with Iraq. Syria says they are sealing the border.

Change # 2: Syria continues to operate in Lebanon and that includes assassinations.

Change # 3: Syria seems to have accepted a harsh reality, they will not be able to easily negotiate a settlement and regain control of the Golan Heights from Israel.

What is happening in Syria?
A coup? Maybe.
Liberalization? Doubtful.
A shakeup? Especially in the upper levels of advisors, confidants and leadership, especially in the military? Probably.

Let's keep watch.

We Don't Understand Iran
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 26, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

So elections in Iran are over. Results are in.
Did we learn anything from the Iranian electoral process?
We learned how poorly the West understands the Muslim world.

Why? Because in real terms, the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over Rafsanjani represents no change in Iran in terms of Western attitudes.
Why do I say that? Because change, real change as the West perceives it, is not on the Iranian horizon at this stage.
No one here is speaking about the election in terms of the Iranian voters.
We are only seeing analysis of the election vis a vis the US and the West and nuclear issues. No doubt these played a part in the election but for the Iranian people there were other very important items at play.

Although corrupt the elections tell us something significant about what is happening in Iran.

Little change is taking place vis a vis the West.

US Lifts Boycott on Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 25, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The United States is eating crow in the Middle East. Again.

Ever since the October 2003 terror attack in Gaza that took the lives of 3 US security guards assigned to the Tel Aviv Embassy, the US Diplomatic community has boycotted going into Gaza.

Two and a half years later and no one has been tried in the case.
The United States is upset, disappointed and, yet...
US diplomats are now going into Gaza.

I have been to Gaza.
Gaza is a flat plain.
Americans Diplomats travel in convoys that are very obvious, sparkling clean and usually 3 vehicles-long. They are sitting ducks for roadside bombs and for terrorist snipers. And yet...
US diplomats make no move change their habits.

If US teams must meet with people from Gaza, meet them on the border.
Sending US diplomats back into Gaza is a big mistake.

Shootout at the PA
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 24, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

There is lots to frighten us in the Palestinian Authority.
Strange things have been happening these last few days.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qeria was shot at in Balata.
At the same time, a roadside bomb exploded 300 yards from his motorcade.

A wanted Palestinian man, Saad Amin, was detained in Jenin.
He was released only to come back to the police station and shoot a policeman in the head, killing him and wounding another. He is still at large.
Saad Amin is a member of the al Aqsa Brigades.

The PA just sealed a deal to incorporate 700 terrorist gunmen into the police.

Think about it.
The people who kill, murder, create anarchy will now be the protectors.
Who will control how they use their now legal weapons?
Can we expect a code of ethics from these people?
Who gives the job of preserving the peace to the same people who are destroying the peace?!

Iran's Nukes & Russia
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 23, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Russia and Iran.

Russia is all set to deliver a first shipment of nuclear fission fuel to the new/old nuclear reactor situated in Busheur, Iran.
The plant was originally built by Germany almost thirty years ago.
According to Asadollah Saboury, an official Iranian nuclear spokesman, the plant is 84% complete and will receive the material in a few months.
Iran has another 20 similar nuclear plants under construction.

I know it is hard to pressure Iran to stop their nuclear production.
But what about Russia?

More pressure must be brought upon Russia to stop this irresponsible selfish behavior. Much more pressure.
Russia just signed a nuclear trade agreement with Iran. They assert that the contract will protect the world from any danger that may arise from nukes in the hands of Iran.

This is just plain wrong. We must put a stop to it.

Why the Summit Failed
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 22, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Of course the Summit between Sharon and Abbas failed.

The Israeli and the Palestinian are not even on the same planet when it comes to objectives.
And the United States is totally disconnected from Israeli/Palestinian reality or they would never push for a Summit that would so obviously fail.

Israel is only interested in security.
So they want Abbas to crack down on terror.
Palestinians are only interested in raising their image on the street and keeping their power.
So they want Israel to release more prisoners, lift road blocks and turn over control of more cities.
The United States is only interested in getting Israel out of Gaza.
So they think compromise will happen because it is what they want.

Advance planning is what makes a successful Summit.
Wishful thinking doesn't make it in this world.

If the US wants Gaza to happen they must put the parties together and broker a deal and enforce the agreement.

I suggest doing that now.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 21, 2005


Since the year 2000, 8 Palestinian women have perpetrated suicide attacks killing 39 Israelis. The Israeli army and Security Forces have uncovered 45 acts of terror initiated by women. In the past year over 59 women have attempted attacks against Israelis.

One of those attempts took place on Monday. Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas, a 21 year-old Palestinian woman from Jabalya, left her Gaza home with a permission pass to visit Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for a medical check-up. Attached to her clothing, her pants, was more than 22 pounds of explosives.

It was the perfect opportunity. A young woman. An entry permit into Israel for medical treatment. By her own admission and the admission of her handlers, it was assumed that Bas would only be cursorily surveyed at the Erez Crossing. It was assumed that Bas would easily reach her intended target and murder as many people - doctors, nurses, patients, visitors - as 22 pounds of explosives could handle. Luckily, they were wrong, they miscalculated. The intended female suicide bomber was detected. The explosive device was safely detonated by sappers. No one was injured.

Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas had a morning appointment in the Burn Unit of the hospital that had saved her life several months ago. In December of 2004 Bas was badly injured and burned by a gas balloon explosion in her home. Israeli hospitals do not practice a policy of discrimination. All patients are treated alike. Some patients send thank-you notes. This one decided to detonate a bomb.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, interview tapes of the 21 year-old woman as she was escorted aside at the border crossing and asked to remove her pants show that she repeatedly claimed that she had no weapons. When it was clear that the Israelis did not believe her and that she was captured, she tried to detonate then and there.

The al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades is the terrorist organization behind this attack. Al Aksa has admitted sending Bas on this mission and choosing Soroka Hospital in Beersheba as the intended, primary target. Al Aksa, the organization affiliated with the PLO, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the ruling faction within the Palestinian Authority.

As Westerners, it seems unfathomable. The Palestinian Authority is supposed to, has pledged to, fight terror not perpetrate terror. And yet, the facts are right there in front of us. As leader, the democratically chosen leader of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas should be in control. Abbas should be able to say to his followers, No More Terror. And they, even the al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, should listen. Especially they. The question before us is this: is Abbas sending out a double message, or is this pure and deliberate deceit.

Neither choice is acceptable. Terror is unacceptable. Especially when it is proudly perpetrated by those people who pledge to work for peace and peaceful solutions. Especially when the perpetrators fall under the direct responsibility of the ruling party. If al Aksa is responsible, Abbas is responsible.

We have not yet heard anything from the mother of Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas. The mother has not come out saying "how could my daughter do such a thing" and neither has she come out proudly applauding and dancing for joy because her daughter intended to blow herself up and take with her tens of innocent Israelis, doctors, nurses, Arabs and Jews. Last week Secretary of State Condi Rice made a statement to the effect that she is sure Palestinian mothers do not dream of having their children grow up to become suicide bombers. I disagree. I wonder if Bas' mother disagrees.

The entire phenomenon is mind boggling. There are Palestinians, women and men, who so want to murder Israelis that they are willing to kill whatever chance for a future their own people may have. I see no end in sight.

Today, a Palestinian woman tried to knife an Israeli soldier.

Goss Blunder
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 20, 2008


Porter Goss' statement that the CIA has "an excellent idea" of the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden was not a tease.
It was, however, a silly political blunder and an unfortunate example of how Goss does not understand his new role.

Goss made it sound so simple, that it only stands to reason that the American public responds by saying, "so go get him."
And the American public will be disappointed, and worse, disenfranchised when the al Qaeda leader is not immediately taken into custody.

Of course Intel has a very good idea of where Bin Laden is.
There are only several options.
But having "a good idea" is only part of a plan, the easy part.
Safely and effectively following through on the plan is the hard part.
Specifically narrowing down the whereabouts might be nearly impossible.
Real time Intel might be impossible.
Hitting (not capturing) him might be impossible.
A periodic sighting is not enough to plan an attack.

Approximate knowledge is not sufficient.
Goss did us all a misjustice.

Condi: Teach Democracy
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 20, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Condi Rice. Again. Speaking at the American University in Cairo the secretary of state gave insight into the Bush Administration's Mideast policy.

"For 60 years, my country, The United States, pursued stability at the expense of Democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither. Now we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspiration of all people."

Admirable. But I sit in fear.
Propping up weak people, elected in a game or a cheap election, does not preserve democracy.
Democracy should be introduced through education, it is learned behavior.
Respect and responsibility must be taught, not merely talked about.
The transition towards democracy take years, not seconds.

Voting is fun, especially for a novice.
Along with ballot casting comes other important democratic objectives. Accountability, security, let us not lose sight of their importance.

Condi: They Dream To Die
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 19, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Condi Rice is exposing the Bush Administration's blind spots.

Listen to what she said yesterday in Ramallah:
"I imagine that it's not the dream of Palestinian mothers to see their children become suicide bombers."

To be polite, I'll call the statement projection, naivete, wishful thinking.
But the Secretary of State should know better.

Seeing your child become a suicide bomber may not be the dream of Condi Rice, but I see no evidence that Palestinian mothers share her sentiment.
The evidence I see proves that almost all Palestinian mothers actually do dream that their children achieve the status of "shahid," martyr, suicide bomber.

I have yet to hear a Palestinian mother speak out about how ridiculous it is to kill ones self and innocent Israelis.
I have never heard a Palestinian mother cry out about the unnecessary waste of life.
I have, many times over, seen Palestinian mothers proudly display photos of their children.

Condi, Palestinians and Israelis are relying on you and the Bush Administration to help resolve their problems.
But how can you resolve problems if you don't even see them?

Don't Ask Condi.

Al Qaeda's New Video
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 18, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The new video of Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama's # 2, is very telling.
Unfortunately, his message has been missed or dismissed by most of the West.
That's more than a shame. This video is a blueprint of future al Qaeda plans.

Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri spoke of 4 essential objectives:
# 1: To remove corrupt non-Muslim leaders in Arab lands.
Specifically, he identified Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
# 2: To remove Crusader Forces from Arab lands.
Those are Christians, primarily the United States. That means Iraq. He refers to countries run by the US Embassies there. That means Jordan.
# 3: Not to be seduced by the ideas of democracy or by government reform.
Change happens only through violent Jihad, peaceful protests achieve nothing.
# 4: To convince Hamas to change their current policy and break the ceasefire with Israel. Israel must be defeated.

Pay attention. Al Qaeda hates Muslims more than we think.
Al Qaeda hates the US more than Israel.
Al Qaeda believes that the only true response is violence.

Terrorists in Detroit
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 17, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Is the United States up to snuff when it comes to fighting terror?

Anti-terrorist operations have vastly improved since 9-11 in terms of seeking out, finding and arresting terrorists.
After that, when it comes to punishment, the United States falls far short and fails abysmally on the follow through.

Here's an example.
This week, in Detroit, a terrorist named Mahmoud Kourani was found guilty of raising money for Hezbullah. He pleaded guilty. How did Kourani even enter the United States? He paid $3000 to a Mexican Embassy official in Beirut for a visa to Mexico and then snuck in.
What punishment did Kourani, a man convicted of raising money for a known terrorist organization, receive? A sentence of 4.5 years.

No one needs to be reminded that Hezbullah is directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans in Beirut over the years.

Federal authorities have made other arrests in Detroit. Eleven Arab men caught in a cigarette smuggling operation taking truckloads of contraband from the South to Michigan. Their profits went to finance Hezbullah operations.

The men await trial and conviction. I await their sentencing.

EU Now Talking to Hamas
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 16, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

What were they thinking?
The European Union has just informed the Bush White House and the US State Department that the venerable EU is sanctioning discussions with Hamas.

There are a couple of caveats.
The discussions are to be limited and low level.
The EU discussants must be under the level of ambassador, they are the people usually involved in working meetings, not backdoor diplomacy.
The Hamas members they dialogue with can be from any Hamas level.

So much for turning up the pressure and isolating terrorists.
This is a major change for an organization that declared Hamas to be a terror group as recently as 2002.

If the EU thinks that talking to Hamas will better the Palestinian political situation, they've got it wrong. It will strengthen the terrorists against established PA politicians. By rewarding these terrorists, by acknowledging them, Abbas will be further weakened in the eyes of his public and Hamas will be bolstered.

The result will be increased local violence.
The European Union will be responsible.

Anti-Semitism Palestinian Style
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 15, 2005


How would you exterminate a nation? What about poison? Do you think that spreading carcinogens would do the job?

The Palestinians certainly seem to think so.

In an interview published this week in the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Shark al-Awsat, Yousef Abu Safieh, the Palestinian Minister of Environment, claimed that Israel is deliberately dispersing cancerous materials to kill Palestinians.

And what is the Israeli poison of choice? What cancerous material is Israel dispersing throughout, forcing upon, the Palestinian Authority? Sweet and Low! Yes, that diabolical sugar substitute, the darling of dieters since it came on the market, Sweet and Low. And how is Israel going about with this plan to poison the Palestinian population? By manufacturing soft drinks made with this sugar substitute expressly for distribution within the Palestinian Authority.

Is there a kernel of truth in what the Environmental Affairs Minister said? Pre 1977, when Sweet and Low was first coming onto the American market, there might have been. But not today, not June 2005. The fact is that in 1977 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Saccharine, the main ingredient in Sweet and Low. All subsequent studies have shown no danger in the moderate consumption of Saccharine.

Abu Safieh had more evidence to prove his thesis. He also said that the Egyptians confiscated two Israeli truckloads of toys that were highly radioactive. The trucks were en route, he said, to Palestinian children.

Israelis harming Palestinian children through poison is becoming a recurring theme. I was present in Ramallah when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton came to visit. I heard, loud and clear, as Suha Arafat, the wife of Yasser Arafat, claimed that the Israelis were killing Palestinian children by poisoning the water. Hillary chose not to comment, she made believe that she did not hear her headphone translation. I watched as Hillary hugged Suha.

Forget about logic.

Logic has no place in these discussions. If logic - like truth - was important, no one would fabricate these evil lies and no one at all would believe them. Unfortunately, there are many such tales and many, many believers.

The shame of it all is that Palestinian leadership prefers to frighten citizens about the evils and the dangers of Israel rather than extol the benefits their fledgling nation could gain living side by side with a developed, Western nation. And Palestinian leadership hammers away at the evils of Israel so creatively and so frequently, that the average Palestinian has no choice but to believe the rhetoric, the litany, the lies.

More than once rumors were spread that Israel had infected Palestinians with the AIDS virus. Yassir Arafat would regularly announce that Israel was releasing highly radioactive depleted uranium near Palestinian population centers. There are even stories about Israelis dropping poison candies out of planes to kill the children of the Palestinian Authority.

Anti-Semitism is not new. The accusations being leveled against Israel today may not be identical to the libel spread by European nations, but they certainly are similar. It doesn't stop. Egyptian National Television recently broadcast a new multi-segment rendition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Ironically, President Bush was in Egypt the first night the show aired.

Most of these hate inspired stories are based on Medieval stereotypes of classic Jew hatred. Throughout history the Jew has been portrayed as the "poisoner of the wells" causing the Black Plague or, as in the "blood libel," the murderer of young children in order to bake Passover matzah.

In the Arab world these stories have taken on a life and genre of their own. Classic Jew hatred with an Arab flare.

Palestinian leadership still insists on depicting Israelis as murders, deceivers and as evil incarnate. It is no wonder that for the younger generations of Palestinians the ideal Israeli was and continues to be a murdered Israeli.

Today it is Sweet and Low. I won't be surprised if I soon hear that Israel is being taken to task for exporting sweet beverages to the Palestinian Authority. Force the Palestinians into obesity and then kill them through diabetes.

Don't laugh. This really is not funny. It never ends.

No Confidence- No Problem
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 14, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Was Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon publicly humiliated by the three No Confidence votes that passed the Knesset today?
No, not really.
Is Sharon's position in jeopardy?
Again, not really.

Well, why not?
Because it really means nothing in practical terms.
Because 61 of the 120 members of Knesset must vote No Confidence in order to fell the government. These votes averaged about 36-35.

Was there any significance to the votes?
There was.
The extreme right and the extreme left and the Arab parties voted together. That's very significant. National Union, a party so far right that it has even suggested urging the Arabs to leave Israel by giving them economic incentives, joined forces with Arab parties who have, in turn, attempted to change the National Anthem as well as change the Jewish nature of the state.

Politics certainly made for strange bedfellows in the Knesset today.

Disarm or Commit Internicide
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 13, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

How can the Palestinian Authority justify their stance on not disarming terrorists?

Nasser al Qidwa the PA foreign minister put it this way: "Under international law, the Palestinian people have the right to resist this occupation and defend themselves."
Well, that certainly explains it.

What about following guidelines set out in the now infamous "Road Map"?
The Road Map says that the PA must not only disarm terrorists, but also "undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest" terrorists.

This is a clear recipe for "internicide" i.e. internal suicide.
Unless the PA disarms the many renegade gangs of thugs roaming their streets and advancing the cause of terror, they will never be able to insure that Palestinian citizens live in safety - not safety from Israel, but from within.

Prime Minister Abbas has already earned a reputation as a weakling.
Not disarming terrorists reinforces his wimpy image on the all-important street.

Syria is Fighting Terror
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 12, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Syria is cracking down on terrorism.

On Saturday SANA, the official Syrian News Agency, described how Syrian security teams killed and arrested 3 terrorists in their hideout in suburban Damascus.

Is it possible that the leaders in Damascus have seen the light?
Of course not!

The Syrians targeted a group of Islamic terrorists who were bent on ATTACKING SYRIA.
The group was aligned with Bin Laden.

Some of the confiscated materials spoke of Jihad, beginning with the "despotic regimes" - that means Syria.

Other material spoke about the Christian Maronite regime, that means Lebanon, and next is Jordan, Saudi Arabia.

Syria, like most countries in the world, operates under a double standard.

Terror is accepted, even desirable and beneficial elsewhere, but never ever at home.

Release Terrorists - Then We Talk
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 11, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Four Islamic Jihad terrorists have been released from a Palestinian prison in Jericho.

The terrorists were in prison since February in connection with a suicide bombing that month in Tel Aviv's Stage Cafe.
Five people were murdered in the attack.

This is not a replay of Arafat's Revolving Door Policy.
That would be so simple.


Islamic Jihad is attaching conditions before cooperating with Palestinian leadership. Islamic Jihad says maintain that if Abbas is interested in a ceasefire or a meeting, he must free Jihad terrorists. A review board of the PA Interior Ministry evaluated these cases and ruled that the terrorists be let go.

A revolving door policy can be stopped.

Once you succumb to blackmail, there is no turning back.

Gaza Support Slipping
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 10, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Support within Israel for the Gaza redeployment is slipping.

A few months ago, polls had 65% of Israelis in favor of redeployment.
This week the numbers hover at about 50% - anywhere from 48%-54%.
Dissenters are at between 33%-38%.

Is this a trend?

Until now, the argument for or against Gaza redeployment within Israel has been restricted to the grass roots level. The public, political debate is only now surfacing. Former military and security chiefs, not only politicians, are starting to let their voices be heard. For many people, this is the first period when their eyes are being opened to both sides of the issue. The prime minister has yet to argue his case before the people.

What's next?
Things will heat up.
Anti-redeployment activities will increase.
Will protest organizers overplay their hand? Will blocking traffic call attention to the cause and help --- or will it irritate, aggravate and turn people away?

Keep reading those polls.

FBI Hype- Not a Terror Cell
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 9, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The FBI arrested 4 Muslim terrorists, Al Qaeda suspects, in the little town of Lodi, CA

Do not be surprised.
Muslim terrorists circa 2005 are likely to be found in small towns.
There they can live there with ease.
The 9-11 terrorists spent time in small towns.
Terrorists ARE certainly "out there."
Most of them do not have an organized plan.

Do not be confused.
The men the FBI arrested are not al Qaeda OPERATIVES.
They are al Qaeda AFFILIATES.
They supported the terrorist cause but were not part of any plot.
The father lied about his son that's why he was arrested
2 preachers/Imams were arrested on visa violations.
The 22 year old son was trained in Pakistan at an al Qaeda camp, that comes close to being a terrorist, but it's not the same.

The FBI is looking for good press.
The FBI is looking to pat themselves on the back.
I am sorry to say ---- This is FBI hype.

Abbas and Compliance
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 8, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

What is the biggest problem in inner-Palestinian politics?
Why is it a problem?
Because Palestinian leadership has little power to wield or incentives to offer in order to enforce compliance in their campaign against the use of illegal weapons.

That's why Mahmoud Abbas has just called Khaled Meshal, the political head of Hamas headquartered in Syria. The call came in advance of Abbas' scheduled trip to Gaza.

Abbas plans to demand that Meshal clamp down on Hamas in Gaza, to have them stop firing the Kassam rockets that are hitting Sderot and Gaza settlements.

How should Abbas insure that his demand is enforced?
Through his police force.
The police must disarm the Hamas operatives and then use monetary incentives to keep them from picking up arms again.

It's not the best solution to the problem, but for now, it's the only solution.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 7, 2005


I am getting weary and wary of this United States obsession with "Nice Guy Diplomacy."

There is no doubt that sometimes it is important to be "nice," to be giving and accommodating, to be helpful, offer assistance and sometimes, to even eat crow. Sometimes, that's what it takes to make things work in the international arena. The problem with Nice Guy Diplomacy, US Style, is that the United States knows no limits.

In previous administrations there was very little that the United States would not accede to in order to achieve the desired diplomatic goals. That explains why Yasser Arafat was the most hosted foreign dignitary in the Clinton White House.

I would have hoped that in the aftermath of 9-11 the United States would have learned that there are areas that are diplomatically sacrosanct. There are times when being nice is not only inappropriate it is wrong. President Bush felt that way instinctively when it came to dealing with the villainous Saddam Hussein. His instincts have been blurred, however, when it comes to dealing with another terror group --- Hamas.

The United States is reaching out to Hamas.

Hamas is one of the easy terror groups to label. Hamas does not hide its objectives. Hamas has stated its desire to murder Israelis. Does Hamas do anything else? Yes. They minister to the sick and the needy. They provide social services, free food and free health care.

And now, in part because of those social services, Hamas is a strong political force in the Palestinian Authority. What else is propelling Hamas into mainstream Palestinian politics? US "Nice Guy Diplomacy."

The United States is urging Hamas into politics. The United States is not insisting, even conditioning, that before they turn into politicians that Hamas disarms. I would call that more than playing nice guy, I would call it playing patsy.

There is plenty of European pressure on the US to ease up on anti-terror guidelines. One would expect that from Europe. Europe thinks differently, Europe believes that negotiations are more important than platforms. I had hoped that the United States would stand up to the pressures of France and England on this issue. But no! Obviously, I expect too much.

Not only is the United States administration actually dealing with these terrorists before they disarm, they are doing exactly what Europe has always done. The United States, like European nations, is splitting hairs.

They are rationalizing and justifying their new policy.

Puzzle this one out. In an official statement, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said about would-be Hamas politicos that they "may be members of organizations, but are not terrorists, versus terrorists, people who have blood on their hands."

Wow, a distinction with a huge difference. Only one big problem. According to United States law, being a member of a terrorist organization is a violation of US law. Rationalize that one please.

The US must demand that Hamas reject terror before entering politics.
The US must demand that Hamas lay down their weapons before entering politics.
The US must demand that Hamas accept a waiting period during which the organization proves its new resolve before entering politics.

If the Bush administration continues to go along with Europe in supporting a political entity called Hamas in the hope of stabilizing the Palestinian Authority they will be making a tragic mistake. It will be a mistake similar to the mistake the Clinton administration made by placating and empowering Arafat.

The best way to aid the Palestinian people is to help them get rid of the terror and the violence. Without disarming Hamas the official Palestinian establishment will sanction an army, independent of the State, outside the parameters and the laws and the best interests of the State.

No doubt. Hamas is a force to contend with. But the US will lose a significant measure of respect and valued influence in the Middle East if it does not stand firm on this issue of terror.

If the United States does not insist on disarming Hamas, Hamas will achieve even greater goals.
If the United States does not insist on disarming Hamas, Hamas will become mainstreamed and they will keep their weapons.
If the United States does not insist on disarming Hamas, the United States will have facilitated a terrorist organization, not destroyed it.
If the United States does not insist on disarming Hamas, the United States will never again be able to take the high road on the issue of terror.

That is not the legacy the United States wants to leave in its battle against terror.

Israelis Ask Abbas for Asylum
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 6, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Is it that they have totally lost touch with reality?
Or are they desperate enough to do anything to gain media attention?

How else do you explain what would in other societies be called a suicide pact?
A group from 3 of the 4 settlements in the northern West Bank slated to be evacuated simultaneously with the Gaza withdrawal have signed on to an initiative and sent it to Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas.

They want to stay in their homes.
They are asking for political asylum under the Palestinians.
They are saying: "If the State of Israel does not want us then we do not want it either." We will live under "Palestinian jurisdiction and not under Israeli rule."
They are saying: "We are not afraid, and we expect it will be good and secure for us" under Palestinian rule. After all, "There are Jews all over the world."

I have recently visited these places.
These communities are regularly attacked by their Palestinian neighbors.

I fear the ramifications. I hope this is merely a misconceived media ploy.
No one can realistically entertain this action as an alternative lifestyle move.

Palestinian Gunmen Take Over Offices -- Again
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 5, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

It happened again.
Armed Palestinians raided a local government headquarters.
This time it was in Nablus.

About 15 men, all wanted by Israel, demanded jobs and protection. They also wanted to retain their own weapons. The gunmen scattered as police arrived.

No arrests. Not even any attempts at arrest despite the fact that an employee of the office was hit. The gunmen claim it was an accident, they were only shooting into the air.

In an interview given by Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas to al Arabiyah News on Saturday, the PM said that he does not plan on disarming these militias. He said he wants to incorporate them into the mainstream security system.

In a democracy, only 3 groups of people are allowed to carry weapons:
the police, the army, those licensed by the State.
In the Wild West it is a different story.

Must Pressure Syria -- EU Rewards Them
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 4, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

What is wrong with the EU?
The European Union is pushing ahead and rewarding Syria when what Syria really needs right now is to have more pressure brought upon them.

The United States is asking the EU to suspend the Association Agreement with Syria which allows for expanded trade in exchange for progress on issues of democracy and human rights.
The EU thinks that because Syria redeployed from Lebanon and evacuated troops, it is enough of a gesture to start normalizing relations.

Wrong. Silly. Foolish. Ignorant.

Syria is not totally out of Lebanon.
Syria has not sealed their border with Iraq.
Syria houses and sponsors numerous anti-Israel and anti-American terror groups.

The EU just does not get it. Keep the pressure on Syria. Do not let up!

Watch Syria
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 3, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

I spend a lot of time watching Syria. So, while I find much of what happens in Syria disturbing, I don't find it surprising.

Like test launching 3 SCUD missiles.
The 2 of the SCUD missiles that Syria is tested have a range of 700 kilometers.
These SCUD missiles have the capability of being armed with chemical and/or biological warheads.
The SCUD missiles could easily hit Israeli cities and that worries both Israel and the United States.

Like today's visit by Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to Damascus.
Qureia is in Damascus updating Assad of Syria on the Bush/Abbas discussions of last week.

There is much to watch here.
Syria is stepping up its recalcitrance against the US and Israel by testing the SCUD's.
Syria is stepping up its role in inner-Palestinian politics. They intend to run interference with Palestinian terrorists groups headquartered in Damascus.

Surprises are not what you want.
Keep your eye on Syria.

Another Assassination in Beirut
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 2, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Another popular public personality was assassinated in Beirut today.

Samir Kassir was a columnist for the newspaper An Nahar.
He was staunchly anti-Syrian.

It was a cookie cutter assassination.
A bomb was linked to the ignition of his Alfa Romeo. It detonated as he started the car outside his home in the Christian neighborhood Ashrafiyeh.

There have been 5 similar bombings in Christian areas of Beirut since March.
3 people have been killed, 50 wounded.

You need not be a Law & Order aficionado to put the pieces together.
Kassir was undoubtedly assassinated by the Syrians or by a Syrian backed and trained group.

The Syrians have the most to gain by his death.
The Syrians had the most to lose had he continued writing his columns.

Iraq Finally Says Thanks
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 1, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

It came as a surprise.
Jalal Talibani, the newly elected president of Iraq, just asked the UN Security Council to keep American forces and their allies in Iraq beyond the end of the year deadline.

Talibani asked that the presence of American troops be linked to Iraq's need, not contingent on any specified date.

More important than the actual request was Talibani's public admission that US forces are essential to getting his newly-configured country up and functioning.
This is exactly what everyone has been asking for.
Iraqi locals showing appreciation for US efforts assisting them in their struggle toward democracy and freedom.

I honestly never thought we would see this day.
About that, I am glad to say, I was wrong.
But I was also right.
Few people will know about Talibani's request.
There has been almost no coverage of this humongous and newsworthy act.

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