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Random Security Checks
By Micah Halpern

Sunday July 31, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

There should not be the slightest discussion as to whether or not it is wise to check passengers on entering public transit in New York.
It is very wise.

Random checks are essential in keeping a step ahead of the terrorists.
Random checks are a deterrent.
Random checks do yield results.

Is part of the protection plan an inconvenience? Of course it is. But it is worth it.
In Israel people are checked before they enter shopping malls, offices and restaurants. A security person opens your bag, rummages through and checks it, not the other way around. No one asks questions, it is the norm.

To improve safety on a larger, effective scale, other cities must follow NY's lead. It is essential that we not just search every 20th person, but every person.
It is essential to understand how to properly identify potential terrorists.

New Yorkers, specifically, and Americans in general must recognize that they are all potential targets, high up terrorist lists.
Protection is crucial, the alternative is to lie still and play victim.

Finally- Islam in US Says NO!
By Micah Halpern

Saturday July 30, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The United States Muslim Religious Council declared a Fatwa, a religious edict, on Thursday.
This is what it said:

Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians' life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram - or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not "martyrs."

1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.
2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.
3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.

This Fatwa is an enormous step forward. Hopefully it will have an impact on Muslim religious institutions worldwide.

I will be monitoring the ripples.
Let's see if anything develops out of this religious edict.
Let's see if anyone pays heed.

Forbidding Liberal Islam?
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 29, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The most important Muslim legal council in Indonesia just ruled that liberal Islam is forbidden by Islamic law.

Again, liberal Islam is forbidden by Islamic law!

Indonesia is the most populated Muslim country in the world.
The Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) is the most important Muslim body in Indonesia.
This fatwa, this religious ruling, will reverberate throughout the Muslim world.

At a time when the non-Muslim world is begging for liberal responses to radical Islam the Council reprimands liberal Muslim leaders and preachers in Indonesia declaring that "all of their teachings are deviant ... no one should adhere to their beliefs."

What is behind this ruling? Conservatives are concerned about secularism, about sexuality, about TV and about intermarriage. They worry about assimilation.

The only response to religion, liberal and conservative, is education.

PA Program
By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 28, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The Palestinians are at it again. They have not yet learned the bylaws of negotiations let alone the art of negotiation.

Here is a classic example, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qeira spoke out yesterday and he said:
"We are telling the entire world, today Gaza and tomorrow Jerusalem. Today Gaza and tomorrow an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital." He continued reiterating that the Palestinians would not declare a state until Jerusalem was their capital. He said that Israel had used its entire arsenal against them and that there was no weapon the Palestinians could not weather to achieve the goal of a state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Does that sound like the voice of a peace partner?.
This Palestinian prime minister is reminding me more and more of the last Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, who called for millions of his brethren to march to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is a hot button for Israel.
The Israelis have kept Jerusalem as one of their final points of negotiation.
They might be open to compromise on part of Jerusalem, but not on all of it!

The Palestinians had better get with the program.

Cameras Not Enough
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 27, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Everyone is talking about the ubiquitous closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) in London.

Over 6000 cameras in the subways and on the busses.
Without the cameras there would be almost no headway into the terrorism investigations of 7-7 or 7-21.
Talk is of placing even more cameras throughout transit systems in the US.

Cameras have been a good tool, but only AFTER the fact.
Did the bombers care that they were being photographed? Not a whit!

Prevention should be the motto, not investigation after the fact.
Terror is not a typical crime that only needs investigating after the fact.
We need to stop the bombers before they do their work.

The best way to stop terror at the transit level is by "behavioral profiling."
Look around.
See how people respond to various questions.
Watch how they react in target environments.
Transit Security Personnel must be a presence that is seen and that is felt.
Trained security personnel must vigilantly, constantly, monitor the CCTV’s while the action is live.
Rewinding the videotape is just not good enough.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday July 26, 2005


The bodies were still lying scattered around Sharm el Sheik when al Jazeera television conducted an interview with an Egyptian analyst who explained how Israel was responsible for the horrific attacks that tore the city asunder and took the lives of almost ninety innocents.

Egyptian TV ran a number of pieces with their analyst, a retired general who went on record saying that it was in Israel's interest to create the terror that rocked Sharm. He said that Israel would gain from terror attacks in Egypt. He also said that the October 7 terrorism in Taba was perpetrated by a Palestinian who had connections with the Israeli security forces.

Well, Arabs are supposed to hate Jews. Isn't that what we've always been told?

So what about this: On July 7, when the four nearly simultaneous bombs exploded in London, rumors circulated that the Israelis had received advance warning of the bombing. Just like the rumor that circulated on 9-11. Israelis had advance warning, they knew what was about to happen, so the Jews stayed home. And that, according to the rumor mill, explains why so few Jews were murdered on that fateful September morning.

People really say these things. What's worse is that the media prints and broadcasts what I can only call anti-Semitism.

The Mayor of London stands tall and boldfaced and addresses the people of his city and by media extension, the world, and makes not-so-veiled anti-Semitic remarks. And when he finishes, he turns his back and walks away. Unchallenged.

Call me obsessive, call me prejudiced, I am totally intolerant of anti-Semitism. And to me, anti-Israel sentiment is, at its core, just a misplaced politically correct version of anti-Semitism.

If left unchecked, anti-Semitism has the power to galvanize otherwise mild mannered people into an extremely dangerous movement. And today, once again, anti-Semitism is in the air.

It comes as no surprise that the Muslim masses do not stand up and object when they are preached bizarre rhetoric and outright lies. But what about the citizens of London? What about the non-Muslim world?

Egyptian TV is state controlled TV. It is the same television that recently produced a new version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A production that debuted, coincidentally, while President Bush was making a visit, again coincidentally, to Sharm el Sheikh. In state owned totalitarian regimes everything that is broadcast on television, without exception, reflects the attitude of the ruling power. That following an attack on their country by their fellow Arabs the State sanctioned anti-Semitism makes perfect sense.

Egypt needed to blur the reality that the al Qaeda terror in Egypt came from within. It is a constant, and notorious, theme in many of these totalitarian regimes to blame Israel for whatever problems beset them. Blaming Israel deflects responsibility from the rulers and unites the people against a common enemy.

But why did al Jazeera do the same thing? Why did al Jazeera resort to anti-Israel cum anti-Semitic rhetoric?

Because al Jazeera believes in The Conspiracy Theory. Because for al Jazeera the theory that Jews control the world, which is also the main theme of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the perfect US versus THEM. And al Jazeera, for all the good it does, for all the news it filters through to the Western world, believes strongly in US against Them. It not only deflects responsibility but, more importantly, it is the foundation for their understanding of the story.

None of this would happen if Israel did not exist. That is the fundamental bottom line for all the evil that happens in or to the Arab world. All the terror in Iraq is because the United States went in to stabilize the region to protect Israel. Al Qaeda is fighting to protect the weak Palestinians against the mighty, evil Israel. The list goes on. It is the mantra of the Muslim Arab world.

Why? Why do Arab leaders have to feed this hatred to their people? Because they are scared. The real fear among Arab leaders is that freedom and democracy and peace will actually work, that the lives of their people really will improve, and what happens then.

There is a famous Heinrich Heine quote about those who burn books. It is those people who will soon burn people. The books are burning and it's called anti-Semitism.

Al Qaeda Morphing Marvel
By Micah Halpern

Monday July 25, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Al Qaeda. Why, despite the best efforts, technology, intelligence gathering, of the West, has al Qaeda continued to thrive? Why has the West been unable to cripple al Qaeda?

Al Qaeda of today is not the al Qaeda of 9-11. They have morphed into a very different organization.
True the West has rooted out most of the high leadership of 9-11, but they have been replaced and now there are more of them than before.

Today's al Qaeda is loosely connected, more mobile, more independent.
Today's al Qaeda has no one central command structure, but 10's of command structures gathering, planning and committing attacks.
Today's al Qaeda is local with links internationally.
Today's al Qaeda is linked in training and ideology but not in relationships.

That is what makes the big difference between now and 9-11.
That is why it is so hard to catch or cripple al Qaeda.
They were local in London. They were local in Egypt. They were local in Spain. They were local in Turkey.
They will continue to operate in this manner. It is efficient. It works.

Jihadi Terrorists are Snobs
By Micah Halpern

Sunday July 24, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The explosions in Egypt highlight some very important issues that must always be kept in mind when analyzing Jihadi terror.

Issue # 1: People that we consider to be friends of terrorists are not immune to terror.
Issue # 2: Governments that seem to have terror under control are deluding themselves and that includes Arab countries.
Issue # 3: We think that the West and the US and Israel are the main targets for terror, but there are many, many other targets out there, targets that are even easier to attack.

Egypt handled the October 7th terrorist bombings that rocked Taba very differently than they handled earlier terror attacks.
Egypt refrained from an all out assault, killing and shooting and massively arresting Al Qaeda cells in Sinai. Instead, they tried to soft shoe the attacks. Their payback? The terrorists returned and this time, hit them even harder.
Even Arab countries make mistakes and mishandle terror from within.

Terrorists will never be placated.
Terrorists are snobs, unless you are a full-fledged Jihadi member of their club, you are an outsider and all outsiders are fair game.

Why Attack Egypt
By Micah Halpern

Saturday July 23, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Almost 90 dead in Egyptian Sinai terrorist bombings.
Definitely the work of an Egyptian al Qaeda group/cell.

Is there a connection to the London bombings?
All Islamic terror is loosely connected.
All Islamic terrorists have similar goals.
These terrorists share al Qaeda ideology.

But why target Egypt?
Egypt is seen as a friend of the West.
Egypt is forcing Palestinians into peace with Israel.
Egypt has cracked down on Islamisists.
Egypt is thought to be a non-religious Muslim government.
Egypt has sent diplomats to Iraq.

Egypt is seen as the leader of the Arab world and is perceived to be leaning in the direction of the West.
These terror attacks are threats against the prevailing Egyptian leadership.

Yes, The Terrorists Are Connected
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 22, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Of course yesterday's terror in London was connected to 7/7.

Not to think there was a connection demonstrates how certain leaders and commentators have little to no understanding of Jihadist objectives and of the al Qaeda organization.

The bombers of 7/21 may have not known the 7/7 bombers but, whether they knew them or not, the groups were loosely connected. Both groups had the same handler, of that I am convinced. The fact that the backpacks and explosives used by both groups were the same type absolutely confirms the connection. In fact, the 7/21 bombers probably felt inspired by their 7/7 comrades for the cause.

So why did yesterday's bombing effort not succeed?
Simply put, because the people chosen to carry out the mission knew nothing or very little about explosives. They probably damaged their own explosives after receiving them from the bomb maker.
As a rule, human bombs are not too high up the food chain in the terrorist command and planning hierarchy.
The fact that these terrorist bombers failed is actually more typical than atypical.

Thankfully, most terrorists are somewhat inept.
Suicide bombers only get one chance.

Orange & Blue
By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 21, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Colors have become shorthand for slogans in today's society.
Pink for breast cancer awareness, yellow for soldiers away at war.
In Israel today, the colors are orange and blue.
Orange for those fighting against the Gaza redeployment, blue for those in favor.

While orange activists were showing support by trying to get into Gaza, blue activists covered 200 intersections across the rest of Israel explaining why it was so important to get out of Gaza.
The debate rages on and those making the most noise are not the majority.

On Tuesday the Knesset again supported the redeployment. After the vote Prime Minister Sharon said: "the Knesset and also the public support the disengagement plan ... The disengagement will be executed according to the timetable established."

Kudos to the legal, peaceful, protests on both sides of the issue. The debate is heated but the Knesset is doing its job, actively discussing and conscientiously voting on the issue.
Israel is a country of law, even if you disagree with the decisions. Nothing is ever black and white.

PA Harbors Terrorists
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 20, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Yuval Diskin is the head of Israel's Shin Bet.
The Shin Bet is the Israeli equivalent of the FBI, only more efficient and better clued in about the internal tensions of their country.

Unlike the FBI, Shin Bet operatives are very proficient in Arabic and well informed on Islamic issues.

At the beginning of the week Diskin was invited to address a Cabinet meeting attended by government ministers.

He reported that the murderers responsible for coordinating the terrorist bombing attack in Netanya that took the lives of five innocent people are being protected in a government compound in Tul Karam.
Tul Karam is a city within the Palestinian Authority and known to be a terrorist stronghold.

Sometimes intel is wrong.
But it is highly unlikely that Diskin would have briefed the Cabinet if the intelligence he had were not confirmed through multiple sources.

Why is the PA protecting these murderers? It is a very big mistake.
Either turn them over to Israel or try them in a real Palestinian court.
Harboring terrorists is tantamount to sponsoring and sanctioning terror.

Most Islamic Terror is Linked
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday July 19, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Islamic terror - worldwide - is intertwined.
We know that for a fact.

Precisely because of the connections, even loose connections, terror is even more dangerous today than it was five years ago, pre 9-11.

This is a case in point:
According to the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv and reported by Reuters News Agency one of the London bombers visited Israel in 2003.
Mohammed Sidique Khan came to Israel and met two other Muslim Brits of Pakistani origin.
The two others were responsible for the April 3rd bombing of Mike's Place a restaurant on the beachfront in Tel Aviv.
The explosion killed 3 Israelis.
One bomb was detonated, the second terrorist's bomb was a dud.
The terrorist escaped only to turn up the following week, drowned in the sea.

It is essential to understand that almost all suicide bombings with Islamic ties are linked. The more we investigate the more connections we find.

By Micah Halpern

Monday July 18, 2005


It's Theatre of the Absurd.

England. Friday. The day following the London bombings.

Camera crews, reporters, photographers from around the world have converged on England's capital to cover the atrocities that befell the people of London.

And what does the respected, the renowned, BBC do? They issue an editorial policy stating that the people who carried out these acts of terror should not be referred to as "terrorists" but rather, as "bombers."

Do we laugh or do we cry?

The BBC's rationale for this maneuver was that they do not want to place a "value judgment" on the murderous monsters because, after all, the terrorists who strapped bombs onto their own bodies blowing themselves and as many innocents as they could to smithereens, did not consider themselves to be terrorists at all.

Well, excuse the value judgment, but that type of thinking is not only absurd, not just ridiculous, but it is dangerous. Objectivity in a news agency is essential, but there are times when impartiality is misplaced. Actually, in the aftermath of acts of terror, I would go so far as to say that it is essential to have a point of view, otherwise, your intended but misplaced impartiality transforms you into an advocate for the terrorist side.

Let's take this conversation up a notch and I'll demonstrate just why it is so very problematic to be impartial here.
Across the board these monsters are called suicide bombers. But they do not consider their actions suicide.
So let's stop referring to them as suicide bombers and start using a more neutered term like mass murderers. But they do not consider themselves to be murderers.
So let's use a better, more descriptive term and refer to them as Islamic extremists. But they do not consider what they do extreme.

We have a dilemma. What do we call them?

The reality is that they actually are suicide bombers. And they are mass murderers. And they are Islamic extremists. And they are terrorists. And that is what they should be called by all people of conscience.

We must use the proper terms, the terms that describe their actions, not their convoluted thought process, when referring to terrorists. We must not acquiesce and accept the descriptive terms that terrorists and their organizations dictate in the same way that we do not acquiesce or accept their political and social terms and dictums. The people who own the terms own the discussion. The terms that are used ultimately determine who is right. And how can one argue and justify the actions of terrorist suicide bombers who murder innocent people?

Let's take it another notch higher.
Suicide is absolutely prohibited by Islam and yet, the terrorists commit suicide. Murder is absolutely prohibited by Islam and yet, the terrorists commit murder.
How do they explain it?
They say that the "bombers" are soldiers, fighters, involved in the ultimate war against the enemy. Martyrs.
They say that they are dying in battle, not murdering innocent people.
They say that they are protecting their values and killing those who attack their values.

It is essential that we understand the logic of the terrorist, but it is imperative that we not be swayed by the logic of the terrorist.

If they did not believe the way they do, the Islamic terrorist, the Muslim mass murderer could never go forth and complete missions. The suicide bomber needs to see his or her role as the absolute defender of Islam against an extremely dangerous adversary that whimsically murders Muslims.

No true Muslim could do what these terrorists do. It is against true Muslim belief. It is extremist Islam. And we must call them on it. And we must call them by the title they have earned: TERRORIST.

PA Act or Else
By Micah Halpern

Sunday July 17,2005

I've Been Thinking:

Beware Palestinian Authority.
Beware Gaza.
You have 24 hours to clean up your act and deal with the terror of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
On the eve of the Gaza pullout there cannot be anarchy. There must be quiet. The PA must exercise control. Or else.

That was the message Prime Minister Sharon delivered today.
Saeb Erekat responded for the PA by saying that an escalation would be disastrous, that an Israeli incursion would "bring down the gates of hell."
Hamas said that an Israeli response of this kind would force them to "reconsider" the ceasefire with Israel.

Something is wrong with this picture.

Today, almost total lawlessness exists in Gaza.
There are terror attacks inside Israel.
Kassam missiles are launched by Hamas almost at will.
Was that a reasonable, responsible response?

This is Israel's response: Israel will launch a multi dimensional attack on Gaza terror cells. Israel has identified people, places, factories and storage facilities. Either the PA deals with their terrorists in the next 24 hours or Israel will launch an impressive defensive strike.

The clock is ticking.

It's Just Not Funny
By Micah Halpern

Saturday July 16, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Sometimes, party jokes just aren't funny
Sometimes, journalists do things that are just plain stupid.

In a video produced by journalists for the going away party of a colleague from Reuters who had covered Israel and the Palestinian Authority one of the most notorious Palestinian terrorists alive today made a cameo appearance.

The Palestinian terrorist was sitting behind the desk at the Reuters office in Jenin.

The punch line was: this is what the region will be like ten years from now.

The video was intended as a spoof.

It wasn't funny. It was stupid. It was in very poor taste.
The terrorist sitting behind the desk was Zakariah Zubeidi.

Zubeidi is the head of Fatah's al Aksa Martyr's Brigade in Jenin.
Zubeidi and his group are responsible for over 300 terror attacks.

Humor is important in a conflict. But so is good taste.
But maybe it wasn't such a spoof. Maybe, this is what Reuters looks like already.

Rocky Road in PA & Israel
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 15, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The situation in Israel, in Gaza, in the Palestinian Authority is getting jammed up.

There was a Palestinian Authority - Hamas shootout yesterday.
PA security surrounded a cell of Hamas in the act of shooting Kassam rockets straight into Israel.
The PA demanded that Hamas stop and turn over their weapons.
A huge firefight broke out.
Later in the day Hamas took to the streets and paraded through several Gaza cities to show their strength.

At the same time, in Israel, two former Chief Rabbis ruled that the military can not seal off Gaza from the rest of Israel.
They said that an Israeli may not separate another Israeli from any portion of Israel.
A day earlier Prime Minister Sharon warned rabbis not to incite violence.
The law in Israel is that any rabbi employed by the State must refrain from political public pronouncements.

Rough and rocky roads ahead, on both sides of the highway. Stay Alert.

Terrorists Don't Look Like Monsters
By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 14, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Now that the identities of the British suicide bombers are known, their families and friends are talking about them.

We now know that one of the bombers was a doting, dutiful son. One of them, married and the father of a 14 month old, was a mentor for special needs children and helped the kids integrate into British society.

Most people who had contact with the bombers are registering shock. "He was so nice." "I never would have believed."

Well, they should not be shocked and neither should we.
Rarely do terrorists look like monsters.
Rarely do they tip off their families that they are embarking on mass murder.

Terrorists do not see themselves as we see them in the aftermath of the attack.
Terrorists do not see their actions as monstrous or even as murderous.
Terrorists certainly do not see their deaths as suicide.
Terrorists see themselves as warriors and soldiers defending against the enemies of Allah.

Compare the Bombings
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 13, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Coordinated bombings in London, England. A blast in Netanya, Israel.
Dare we compare the two terrorist attacks?
Yes, we must.

Any time innocents are targeted for death by Muslim extremists we must search for both similar and dissimilar patterns. Compare and contrast. It makes us smarter, more competent to fight this uphill battle against terrorists.
The ultimate end goal of the terrorist remains the same - annihilation of the West, it remains to us, the West, their intended victims, to complicate their means, to put obstacles in the way of their modus operandi.

Both in London and in Netanya, the bombers were young males, they were suicide bombers.

In Netanya, the bomber digressed from his original plan. He felt threatened, felt the eyes of security personnel trained upon him and hit the switch while still a distance away from his intended target. He murdered innocents, but fewer than he would have had he been inside, not outside, a busy shopping area.

In London, the eyes of security cameras were open and watching, but the terrorists went about their business as planned. The bombers have all been captured on tape, and must have known that they would be, but none of the four aborted their missions because they were being observed.

In the pursuit against terrorists, technology is crucial, but it is not nearly as menacing as the human factor.
There is no way to convince the Islamic extremist bent on mass murder to mend his or her ways. But we can derail terrorists along the way. And we do that by keeping a significant presence, obvious and sharp.

PA Radio Glorifies London Bombs
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday July 12, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Religious leaders worldwide devoted much of their week-end sermons to the London bombing. Some spoke of tolerance. Some spoke of understanding. Others spoke of celebration.

If you were privy to listen to Sut al Kuds, Gaza radio, on Saturday, this is the sermon you would have heard:
The sounds of happiness were heard in London, and Osama Bin Laden came and redrew the map. He made sure that the voice of the surrendered will be heard in every place.

The hatred spewed forth during the sermon was all-inclusive.
The sermon called the Palestinian Authority some very ugly names.
It rejected Israel's redeployment because it did not include Jerusalem.

Who controls this radio station? The Palestinian Authority.
It claims to represent the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Barbaric, simply barbaric.
Worse, this radio station and this sermon are not unique in the worlds of Islamic Fundamentalism and Western hate mongers.

By Micah Halpern

Monday July 11, 2005


Bombs, terror, devastation, rhetoric.

World leaders feel compelled to speak out after devastating terror attacks, as they should. They offer words of consolation, of commiseration, of comfort, of confusion and of warning.

After the London bombings Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke out requesting, even ordering, his Ministers not to make any parallels between the terror in London and terror in Israel. The prime minister went so far as to suggest that the terror perpetrated in London was different from the terror Israelis are fighting.

At the same time, almost at the same moment, Palestinian Minister and familiar spokesperson to the West, Saeb Erekat, warned Israel not to use the London bombing as political fodder.

Tony Blair, on the other hand, said that the terror that ripped through his capital city is certainly connected to the situation in the Middle East.

And George Bush was quick to pronounce that all terror, especially Islamic terror, including nuclear terror, threatens the very essence of Western democracy and freedom.

Shame on you Arik Sharon.

Certainly there are differences between the London terror attacks, the first Islamic terrorist attacks in this city, and the attacks regularly suffered by Israelis at the hands of Palestinians. But certainly, the similarities outweigh the differences. Certainly, deadly attacks perpetrated by terrorists who hate Westerners purely for being Westerners are of the same cloth as those who terrorize Israelis simply for being Israeli and Western. Certainly, you should know that, you should know it in your bones Mr. Prime Minister, you should feel it in your heart.

Mr. Sharon, what about this similarity:
The London attack was directed against innocent citizens going about their daily lives, on their way to work, to school, beginning their day.
Attacks on Israel are aimed at innocent citizens going about their daily lives, at malls, eating pizza, in discos, riding buses.

Mr. Sharon, you minimize the horror of all attacks against innocents, diminish the honor due all who fight against these attacks, by creating divides when, in death and destruction, they are all equal.

There are Universals of Terror:
The goal of the terrorist is to terrify citizens and have them change routine, to bully governments and have them change policy.

The overall objective of the Islamic terrorist is to attack at the heart of Western life and thought in order to shake the resolve of the West.

To the terrorist mind there is no difference between Jew and Christian, there are believers and non-believers, that is all.

The purpose of terror is to garner support and power throughout the Muslim and Arab world in order to attack more Western capitals and more Western citizens and to strike more and more fear into the hearts of non-believers with impunity.

There is no such thing as "local considerations" when in comes to terror, terrorists choose their target so as to make the biggest bang, to resonate the loudest, to reverberate worldwide.

For Prime Minister Sharon to think that terror in downtown London is disconnected from terror in central Jerusalem is to make a mistake that I can only call political myopia. Yes the terrorists chose to strike the British capital, but it was not just London, it was all of England and all of Europe and the entire West that came under attack. And Israel too.

For the Israeli prime minister to be so naive as to place short term political gain with the Palestinians above the greater goal of fighting terror, to buy into Palestinian rhetoric, is truly frightening.

Are there differences? Surely there are. But not in the hearts and minds and belief of the terrorists. They wait to see which pieces of their terrorist puzzle fall into place where. And then the bombs detonate.

When planning an attack in Europe or the United States, the terrorists have a larger map to choose from than they do in the small country of Israel, but the plan remains the same. They plan for example, attacks in London, Istanbul, Madrid, Casablanca, New York and Bali. They wait for all the pieces to fit into place in one of their choice locations. And then BOOM.

Terrorists pick their targets. They plan their targets. But then, like much in life, they need luck to make it happen effectively. This time, the terrorists were very lucky. Too lucky.

Get The Hooligans Out
By Micah Halpern

Sunday July 10, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Settlement by settlement, community by community, it is happening.

The largest Hebrew daily in Israel, Yediot Ahronot, ran an exclusive saying that the residents of Ganei Tal, a hard core rejectionist settlement in Gaza, just voted to leave their homes when the redeployment takes place.
The community has 65 families. 46 voted to go peacefully.
The vote was not unanimous, but it was certainly a majority.

Ganei Tal is a community just like other Gaza settlement communities. They will not be alone when it comes to leaving. I, personally, have received confirmation from Gaza leaders that, when the time comes, the residents will not fight.

So where are all those stories and photos depicting upheaval coming from?
From young kids, most of whom are not even residents of Gaza. The Gaza Jews do not want to leave their homes. They are good citizens who disagree with the government. But they will not fight Israeli soldiers and police. They, their children are also soldiers.

Certainly, there will be instances where the army will have to forcibly pick up and carry out angry, screaming, frustrated and even crying residents of Gaza.
And there will stories and photos.
But there will be very little violence - from within.
Young hooligans from outside might become violent - and they must be removed before it all happens

Why Terrorists Bomb US
By Micah Halpern

Saturday July 9, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

In interviews surrounding the London bombing, one of the questions most often put before me was this: "What motivated the bombings?"
My answer: The terrorists really want to impact the world on two levels.

Level One: To remove Western influences from Muslim and Arab lands.
Level Two: To Islamify the world.
Two methods to achieve the same goal: Making the world totally Muslim.

The question itself bothers me.
Why? Because the underlying assumption is that we, non-Muslims, Westerners, did something wrong to bring this awful terror upon ourselves, that we need to right our wrong, and that because we cannot burden the cost - emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially - we must do whatever it takes to make it all just go away.

Nothing could be further from the truth.
We did nothing.
We cannot make it right.
It will cost us lives and emotion and money until we rip terror out at its very roots. Until Muslims join us in the fight against terror.

50 years of US foreign policy and the foreign policy of our allies is not to blame for the situation. That is what the terrorists claim.

No Specific Credible Intelligence?
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 8, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Authorities are using expressions such as "no specific credible intelligence," and "no specific credible information" in the aftermath of yesterday's London bombing.

Well, semantically, those expressions are specific and accurate.
But they are misleading, very misleading. And that is important to realize.

The fact that there has been a serious threat to London, even to the London subway, train and bus systems was credible information known to authorities.
There has been knowledge that Al Qaeda wanted to hit London transportation systems for over a year.
What was missing was a specific date.

And until you have a date, it is correct, even while misleading, for the words "no specific credible intelligence," and "no specific credible information"to be used.
Call it, if you will, intel- safe speak.

Bombing in London
By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 7, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

No doubt. Today's coordinated London bombings are the work of Al Qaeda.
The attacks are textbook, straight out of the al Qaeda handbook.

A group has claimed responsibility on an Islamic web site.
The groups is called "The Secret Organization - Al Qaeda in Europe."
They are not alone.

There are numerous Al Qaeda groups spread through Europe. They plan, they wait, they attack at the proper moment, when all the pieces of their puzzle come together.
The very same groups exist in the United States, but are having a much more difficult time assembling the pieces of their plans.
We must assume they are here, take nothing for granted.

This is what you need for a successful attack: funds, organizers, explosive components, a location, a plan of operation, research, a dry run, trusted people who can pull it off (bombers, planners, mules), Plan B for an on location foul-up.

We are witnessing the future of terror - many, small, coordinated attacks.
We are powerless against it.
We only hope that we prevent the peices of the puzzle from falling into place.
We rarely know when we are successful.

Up A Notch in Iraq
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 6, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Terrorists in Iraq are changing tactics.
The new targets are Muslim and Arab diplomats.

The reasons behind this change in tactics are clear.
The terrorists want to send a message to the Muslim and Arab world.
The message is that any aid to Iraq is really helping the United States, The Crusaders. The message is that Muslim countries as well as the Iraqi army are aiding the enemy and the enemy of Islam.

But the terrorists are wrong.
The Muslim and Arab countries are helping the Iraqi people

It takes daring to kill or kidnap a diplomat. It takes planning.
Detonating a bomb in a sitting car or sending a suicide bomber into a crowd is simpler and safer for the terrorist organizers.

So what's the real message, the message for us, the US, the West?
The message is that terrorists in Iraq are feeling the pressure. They know they are fighting an uphill battle and they need to up the stakes in order to convince the masses to help them oust the United States.

That is really why the terrorists have changed their targeting plan.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday July 5, 2005


Now it's official. The Palestinian Authority has neither the desire nor the will to control the situation in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal from the area and they cannot and will not assume control as Hamas attempts to garner newfound strength as a result of the withdrawal.

What makes it official? Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross, the former ambassador and the special envoy, have proclaimed it to be so.

"I don't see that the Palestinian Authority has the capability or the intention to take control" said Indyk while in Jerusalem this week.

Hamas "see themselves now as an equal partner" with Fatah and Authority is the way Ross put it.

It just so happens that I agree with them. Their analysis and my analysis concur. So why do I find these statements, coming from these men, to be at the same time tragic and surreal?

Because these are the guys responsible for shaping United States policy in the Middle East for the past decade.

Because these are the guys who helped create this mess.

Because for all those years, Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk were duped.

Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk played leading roles in shaping the very situation Israel and the Palestinians find themselves in today. All their great analysis, their insight, their mediations, their secret meetings turn out to be irrelevant given today's facts on the ground. They, along with the myriad other United States diplomats and envoys sent to make things better, to move them along, were distracted from the truth because they were goal driven. Reality played a very small role in determining policy, it was pretense that mattered.

Who duped them? Who played the game better than they did? Yasser Arafat, certainly. Arafat was a master manipulator, a master at double speak, a master at promising and never fulfilling. Yasser Arafat was a confidence man. And neither Ross nor Indyk understood his con. And neither one of them understood his true motive, deciphered his modus operandi, or challenged his raison d'etre.

Why? Because they wanted to, needed to, believe that their goal was near.

And that's why I find it somewhat unusual, bizarre, amusing, to see these men today, the words "expert" and "commentator" under their names. They espouse their oftentimes ridiculous commentary on "the situation in the Middle East" without truly admitting that they themselves were so heavy handed in dictating the play book that has resulted in so much turbulence and tragedy for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Today, they talk as if they had nothing to do with what happened.

They are not alone. Others, of course, do the same. Sometimes I laugh out loud when I hear Former CIA and Former FBI people talking about the Middle East and terror. I'm still waiting to hear someone with enough conviction to say, "well, we were dead wrong on that one, we just misread that situation."

About a month ago in Washington DC, Aaron Miller, the third member of the peace team triumvirate, presented his ideas on the failed Middle East campaign. Miller had the creative gumption to actually say that the failure was because the United States was Israel's advocate and protector. Had the US been an impartial mediator maybe things would have turned out differently.

That's a maybe. But this is for sure: Of course there will be anarchy when Israel leaves Gaza. Unless a strong Palestinian police force takes immediate control over Gaza and over all Palestinian areas, there will be lawlessness.

Of course there will be anarchy, because there is already anarchy. Abbas has refused to use his power to force the hooligans the gangs and the terrorists to obey the rules of civil propriety. Abbas operates out of the fear of creating a civil war, but that fear will backfire and his own actions will lead to the civil war that will oust him.

Abbas strives to lead as Arafat ruled. Allow for disarray. Allow multiple groups to vie and fight for control amongst one another. But Abbas does not have Arafat's style, he doesn't have his stamina, no one could oust Arafat.

There are two groups to blame for the crisis that will arise when Israel departs from Gaza. Israel is not one of them. They are faulty US policy and strategy and weak myopic Palestinian leadership. That's all. It's official.

New Egypt-Israel Agreements
By Micah Halpern

Monday July 4, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Israel and Egypt are winding up a huge diplomatic negotiation.
The issue they are negotiating is this: Who will be responsible for the Egyptian border violations after Israel exists Gaza.

Sounds hilarious.
If Palestinian terrorists smuggle weapons across the Egyptian border into Israel, who do you think should be responsible?
The Egyptians. The terrorists. The Palestinians. Wouldn't you think?!

Here is the other dilemma:
The subject of this negotiation itself violates the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
The peace treaty clearly states that NO Egyptian military may be on the border. ONLY police.
So having 750 military deployed on the border would be a serious mistake.
How do you get around this?
By calling it a "military protocol."
And by having this protocol signed an Egyptian and an Israeli military general not by politicians or diplomats.

Sounds ridiculous?
Welcome to my world: The Politics of Peace and Terror in the Middle East.

PA Bloody Resumes
By Micah Halpern

Sunday July 3, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

When most young adults look for work, they send out resumes.

On Saturday, in Gaza, 40 young men took their guns, stormed PA headquarters, occupied it for 4 hours and demanded security and police jobs.
The gunmen were members of Fatah.

True, last month Abbas agreed to employ people in the security forces in exchange for the promise to trade in their arms.
True, since then nothing has happened. No weapons have been collected and nobody has been offered employed.

There is growing anarchy and lawlessness in the Palestinian Authority.
And anarchy and lawlessness lead only to increased anarchy and lawlessness.

It all signals danger.
It is not a good sign.
Resumes should not be written in blood.

Arab Promises via Blair
By Micah Halpern

Saturday July 2, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Today, British PM Tony Blair spent 90 minutes in a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, the defacto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Blair was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia trying to garner Saudi support for the G-8 initiative to aid the Palestinians after Israel withdraws from Gaza.

Sounds funny, right? But there is an essential point here.

Why is a Western leader spending valuable time convincing Arab leaders to support the Palestinians?
Because if left to their own desires and devices, the Arab countries would offer little to almost no financial support to the Palestinian cause other than their traditional lip service and anti-Israel statements.

The US and Great Britain know exactly what will happen and are trying to organize Arab donor states in order to better support a productive Palestinian state.
I bet they will get the promises.
I doubt they will get the money.

Hostage Taker or Not
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 1, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

What a terribly stupid error.
Not to know whether or not the new President of Iran was a hostage taker, not to know who he was even before he won, while he was still a candidate.
It is like not knowing that Kurt Waldheim was responsible for the deportation of the Greek Jews from Salonika.

Not to have vetted Ahmadinejad and have the Intel out there and ready is a scandal.
It tells us, once again, how little time the US spends analyzing what is really happening in Iran.

This could never have happened in a European country or in any other Arab country. We know exactly who is who and which Saudi prince supported al Qaeda causes.
The US government has never really made it a priority to try to predict and understand the happenings in Iran. It is all bad.
The US government never invested in Intelligence gathering and analysis around Iran.
To this day there are still less than one hundred Persian speakers/analysts in the FBI. Getting more is not a priority, neither is their work given much value.

Benign neglect. That is what put the US is in this embarrassing situation.

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