DATE:11/09/2002 11:37:00 PM
BODY: Let’s look on the positive for a change

Ze’ev Schiff brings us the bright side of this year Israel’s intelligence assessment:

1. Egypt and Jordan continue to view the peace agreements with Israel as a strategic asset.

2. There is no military coalition threatening Israel and the Arab states are aware of Israel's military superiority.

3. The unshaken friendship of the United States and its unequivocal commitment to Israel's security.

4. Israel is not alone in the struggle against terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and if the United States succeeds in its war against Iraq, these positive trends will be intensified.

5. Pragmatic states in the region understand that terrorism is a threat to their regimes and to the stability of the entire region.

6. A thrust toward change in the Arab world - as reflected in the Saudi peace initiative - which is inclined to recognize the State of Israel.

7. There is a growing trend in Europe to impose restrictions on organizations that support terrorism.

8. There is growing opposition in the Arab world, including among clerics, to suicide bombers.

9. The pragmatists in Iran, while not opposed to their country's development of nuclear weapons, are demanding an end to the export of the "Iranian revolution."

10. There is growing recognition among the Palestinians that the current confrontation is not a popular uprising but an armed struggle that they have lost and that they must assume responsibility for a change of direction.

DATE:11/09/2002 11:29:00 PM
BODY: Special mission

An IDF officer was caught during a fierce heroic action. (explicit photos not for the prudes, don’t say I didn’t warn you).

DATE:11/09/2002 01:52:00 PM
BODY: Kul kalb biji yomo

That Arabic phrase means: “Every dog has his day”. Iyad Sawalhe, head of the Islamic Jihad's militant wing in northern Samaria, and the highest ranking Jihad activist on Israel's wanted list had his day today. An unfortunate encounter with Golani brigade soldiers sent him to meet his 72 virgins.

Ha’aretz: “Sawalhe was responsible for a list of serious terror attacks, including the suicide bombings at the Karkur and Megido junctions, which left 31 Israelis dead and 89 wounded.

Next please.

DATE:11/09/2002 01:35:00 PM
BODY: Ron Arad annual walk

I woke up early this suterday (8 AM) and run the Hod Hasharon annual Ron Arad walk. Ron Arad is an Israeli Air Force navigator that is missing since 16 October 1986 when he bailed out of his plane on a mission in Lebanon and was captured by members of the Iranian backed Amal terrorist organization.

Hod Hasharon is Ron’s hometown and every year the city organizes a city walk in memory of Ron hoping he’ll come back one day.

I run the 8.5 km (5.3 miles) in an excellent pace of 4.75 minutes for one kilometer (7.6 minutes for one mile) – total of 38.6 minutes.

More on Ron: Free Ron Arad.

DATE:11/08/2002 06:26:00 PM
BODY: You're in the center buddy, like most of us

Since I took down the comments section and thus preventing other views to be made on my blog I’m presenting you with another Israeli point of view.

This guy Civax from Jerusalem is not really sure if his political views are left wing or right wing. He posted a brief of his political opinions in an Israeli forum (Tapuz) and asked for the public opinion.

Here is what he posted. I tend to agree with most of his points.

"I need some assistance in defining my political location. For the matter I'll summarize my stands and you'll tell me what you think I am:

Palestinian State: It's clear to me that there will be one eventually, I think they DO deserve a country but not while they haven't proved they can't prevent terror from their territory. Once they'll show a real readiness for peace - absolutely.

Settlements in the territories: I'm not crazy about them. The places needed to evacuated to prevent friction - to evacuate. (Note: I mean the small jews blocks inside a whole-palestinian town). The guys at the Jewish settlement in Hebron I hate personally since my regular army service in that area, though I don't think all the settlers are extremists or something.

Orthodox Jews: Let them choose 10,000 elite Yeshiva student to remain in the yeshiva, and send all the rest to the army or civil service immediately!

State and Religion: There SHOULD be a separation, but I still think religious holidays should be state holy days. I don't agree for imposing religion but there must be respect to tradition. Not to approve opening stores and business in Shabbat. Yes to approve civil weddings (though I find them personally to be empty and doesn't gives them respect). I'm against allowing to produce non-kosher meat in the country but I wouldn't fight about it too hard. In favor of a constitution.

Terrorists: Targeted assassinations are the best, Yes go hunting them fiercely, but it's better to miss a hit on a none-ticking-bomb terrorist then risk killing innocent civilians.

The US opinions: Israel's best friend. We should consider its opinions, absolutely.

Rest of the world opinions: If counting it's opinion serves Israel in the short/long run - to consider it. If not - Fuck it. Anyway, it's always better to fins a way between.

Leaders: Sharon - Handles well with the situation in Israel even though he doesn't have any peace policy. He's good at maintaining the country in a tolerable state when there's chaos but isn't capable to lead to and sign a peace agreement. Ben-Eliezer ("Fuad") - I don't know. I don't like him, I would rather have Sharon. Netanyahu (Bibi) - God! If he's elected that would be the most idiotic thing Israeli citizens had ever done. Not to learn the lesson from his previous term will be exactly like learning a lesson from Rabin's murder. A small person looking for fights. Mitzna - a political Rookie.
At the moment I don't see many options. It's clear to me that Netanyahu will be a disaster, Seems there is no one standing out and worth voting for in the Avoda (Labor party), Sarid (Opposition leader, heads a Left wing party called Meretz) seems too Anti-Religious. All in all, I guess i would vote for Sharon again, even though he's only good at putting off and managing fires but not in advancing for

Jerusalem: I'm against dividing it. I would even rather see a national zone in the east of the city then to have any Palestinian representation there, since Jerusalem is our CAPITAL! (and the city I live in). However, I'm aware we'll have to do some painful give-ups in a peace agreement (though I still would demand some really really serious give up from the Palestinian in exchange)

Civax translated some of the comments to his Hebrew post and you can read them at his blog. One comment I especially liked:

A pennyworth analysis:
Ok, here it is..
By all signs,
my friend,
you are
Shhhh... Lets go over there...
God protect us,
If I were you I would be careful from expressing
these kind of opinions in public.
really dangerous!

DATE:11/08/2002 06:03:00 PM
BODY: Averted suicide attack – not interesting

I don’t know if you noticed that a suicide attack was averted yesterday.

Ha’aretz: “ An IDF patrol stopped the taxi in which the three men were travelling for a routine inspection, ordering them to lift their shirts and raise their hands in the air, in order to prove that they were not carrying weapons or explosives.

One of the Palestinians started running toward the soldiers shouting "Allahu Akhbar!" (God is most great) and detonated his explosive belt.

Soldiers opened fire as he hit the ground, and the explosive belt went off, killing a second Palestinian nearby, the army said.

It’s no biggie, after all the attack failed, we’ve hundreds like this (we also had hundreds of attacks that were executed “successfully” – hey and we are loosing interest in those too.)

So if you didn’t hear about it, don’t be surprised. Even the loacal media pays little attention to that. The two big daily newspapers, Yediot Ahronot and Ma’ariv, both reported the incident on page number 6.

DATE:11/08/2002 06:02:00 PM
BODY: Money, money, money - Giorgio Armani *

This week I got my first donation from a satisfied reader. I’m not blogging for money but it was very nice to get the donation, after all I am an evil capitalist!

(* - A line from an Israeli song)

DATE:11/07/2002 12:10:00 AM
BODY: Out of the frying pan into the fire

Election will be held 3 month from now and I’m very sad to say that I don’t like all five possible Prime ministers. Sharon is maybe the only one that I’ll give him a little credit. He is wise and moves carefully not rushing or tempting to dangerous proposals. But yet, the last 2 years have one of the worst periods in Israel ever. The question is how much of it is it Sharon’s fault? My guess is that it’s fault, Arafat launched this attack when Barak was PM and would have done so to any other Israeli PM. There are no magic solutions so there is no surprise Sharon didn’t present one. As for the really bad economic situation, the burst of the IT bubble and the collapse of stock markets world wide are beyond Israel’s control, the bad security situation deteriorates things even more.

You already know that I don’t like Netanyahu. Labor: Ben Eliezer is in no way qualified to be a Prime Minister. Mitzna is too leftie for my taste and I don’t like his general attitude. Ramon is missing something to be a PM and I’m afraid is also too leftie.

A lot of people hoped that till November 2003, the original date for the elections, “savior” will appear. And now we are facing Elections in 90 days with very poor options. I sat with 3 friends in the University’s cafeteria today and talked a bit about the elections. All four (some left wing oriented, some right wing oriented) of us were in the same notion that none of the candidates is a good one.

DATE:11/06/2002 11:38:00 PM
BODY: Touchy aren't we?

Ha’aretz: The French ambassador to Israel, Jacques Huntzinger, angrily walked out of a meeting Wednesday with the families of soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Omar Suwad and Benny Avraham, and the family of the kidnapped businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum.

The meeting began at 5 P.M. in the French embassy in Tel Aviv. The families hoped to obtain further details about the fate of the soldiers through unofficial diplomatic channels.

"The meeting was stormy and problematic from the start," said Haim Avraham, father of the kidnapped soldier Benny Avraham. "Even before we had sat down, I said to the ambassador in a roundabout manner that France has new friends in Lebanon that perhaps could be used for our sake. I meant Hezbollah, of course, as the French president had sat with [Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan] Nassrallah and talked about humanitarian action."

Avraham said that, in response, "the ambassador slammed the table hard, almost breaking it, and said that the meeting could not continue. I told him that it was his house and that he was free to do what he wanted, and he left. I announced that I would not leave the house until he had come back to speak to us, and that if he didn't come back I would start a hunger strike." After 45 minutes the ambassador did indeed return and talk to the Avraham family, "although we didn't get any fundamental information about the soldiers."

The French embassy in Tel Aviv reported that " the families had been received in the embassy, and a very important subject had been broached, but the tone of the talk was not acceptable to us."

Those phony French! Their ambassador was very touchy when Avraham mentioned the fact that president Chirac graced Nassrallah with his presence at the Francophonie summit in Beirut recently. Did they think no one noticed that Chirac gave a speech in front of a terror organization leader? Deal with the consequences please.

DATE:11/06/2002 11:08:00 PM
BODY: The Gaza Strip settlements

Two Israelis were murdered today by a Palestinian terrorist in Rafiah Yam, a settlement in the Gaza strip. One of the two dead was Amos Sa'ada, 51. Sa’ada had previously said in an interview a few month back that if he’ll be given a financial compensation he is willing to move out of the settlement he lived in.

It is not clear how many settlers will agree to be vacated when and if. Some settlers have no choice of staying where they are, no one wants to buy their homes and the government won’t compensate them.

It’s not a good idea to dismantle the Gaza Strip settlements now with no agreement with the Palestinians, but in the future it is clear to almost every Israeli that they will be dismantled.

I agree that Israel has legitimate claims to Judea and Samaria (West Bank) but the hell are we looking for in Gaza Strip. The strip is a tiny area (about 215 square miles) with a few thousand Jews and one million Palestinians, most of them living in poor conditions. Those settlements are like a thorn in the Palestinians flesh.

There is nothing special over there, no Jewish religious sites and even not a history of Jewish/Israelite communities. Even When Israel was an ancient regional power in the days of king David The area of today’s Gaza Strip was under Philistine (tribes from Greek origin) rule.

There is really nothing for us to look there other than pure provocation. I’m not saying that those settlements were built with such an intention but today that’s what they are. So now we are stuck in shitty situation with those settlements that we cannot evacuate until some sort of an agreement with the Palestinians will be signed. (I’m so glad that the comments are disabled, I can imagine the angry replies I saved my self).

DATE:11/05/2002 11:39:00 AM
BODY: Elections time

Well as I predicted Sharon declared that an early elections will be held at the beginning of February. To sustain a narrow government Sharon had to give in to exaggerated demands by Netanyahu and Liberman, he refused and I respect him for that. This government already has it’s wacko – Effie Eitam and another one wouldn’t be good.

Bibi in his sneaky manipulative way escaped from the trap Sharon set him and tried to put Sharon in a difficult situation. Any way Sharon’s move today is the right one. Hopefully things will become clearer after the elections and a stable government will be established. I only hope that the elected PM will serve the all 4 years he is supposed to. Since Yitzhak Shamir, that ended his term in 1992, no Israeli prime minister did a full 4 years term. This is kind of worrying. Since 1992 till the last elections the electing system was one of two ballots, one for the Knesset and one for the PM – it was obviously a bad system that shrunken the big parties and enabled the growth of tiny extortionists parties that caused political disarray. This time the elections will be held in the old way of one ballot for the Knesset. The leader of the biggest party will assemble the new government. This means that if you want to make sure your favorite candidate you need to vote to his party, you can no longer split your vote for a PM and a small sectoral party.

DATE:11/04/2002 11:35:00 PM
BODY: Two dead in today’s suicide bombing

Today’s suicide bombing attack was in “Arim” (cities) shopping mall in Kfar Saba, which is located next to my hometown of Hod Hasharon. The mall is about 4-5 km (about 3 miles) from my home. I was told that the blast was so big that the sound of it reached my home, I was in Tel Aviv at that time.

Arim shopping mall is a very nice place I used to go there quite a lot before they opened a mall in Hod Hasharon and occasionally I still go there and I’ll continue to go there.

I can’t recall when was the last time that a suicide bombing took place in a shopping mall which have actually became very safe places. The usual shopping mall is a sealed building with security guards in every entrance so it’s very difficult to get in with a bomb. But Arim mall is different, it’s an open air shopping wall, you can get in from 4 sides through no specific guarded entrance. It was oblivious that this place is an easy target, especially because Kfar Saba is only a few miles away from Qalqilya. But still people went there and they’ll continue to go because there is no other option really but to live our lives.

DATE:11/03/2002 11:52:00 AM
BODY: Wrong way of thinking

Joseph Alexander Norland, trying to show why my peace plan is no good (over at Dawson's), triggered this post.

I believe the way Joseph thinks about putting an end to the conflict is wrong and he is not alone, a lot of people share the same view on this point. It seems to me that Joseph is trying to first “make the Palestinians pay” for their actions (a very natural and instinctive response) and subjected to that to try and find something that will benefit Israel. I, on the other hand, am looking for a solution that it’s only purpose is that it will benefit Israel, period. If the Palestinians will benefit from the new situation or not I really don’t care.

Joseph is saying that they the Palestinians don’t deserve a state, and he is probably right, but what he needs to understand is that it’s not in Israel’s interest to occupy (or rule if you want to call it that way) 3 million hostile Palestinians. Once you realize that transfer is not possible the only way is separation and giving them a sovereign state (under constricting conditions).

If the Palestinians will enjoy the settlement, well, good for them. To continue and punish the Palestinians (a punishment which they deserve) is continuing to hurt Israel.

Joseph is looking for justice, just like the Palestinians do (their view of justice), I’m not. I’m looking for the best feasible solution that will benefit Israel. That’s it, very simple. You may not like it because it’s obvious that neither side, Israeli or Palestinian, will not be happy if the other side is kept unhappy. You seek to punish the Palestinians you’ll end up punishing Israel, don’t let hatred and revenge blind you, again, it’s very simple actually. Think about it.