Archive for January 7th, 2009

‘Kill Them:’ Mumbai Gunmen Commanded by Phone

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Does anyone have any lingering doubts about how horrible Islamic terrorist are? If you do, then you are truly blind to the truth.

NEW DELHI — “We have three foreigners, including women,” the gunman said into the phone.

The response was brutally simple: “Kill them.” Gunshots then rang out inside the Mumbai hotel, followed by cheering that could be heard over the phone.

The ruthless exchange comes from a transcript of phone calls Indian authorities say they intercepted during the November Mumbai attacks. They were part of a dossier of evidence New Delhi handed Pakistan this week that it says definitively proves that the siege was launched from across the border.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday that he did not believe the gunmen were acting alone, and Pakistani state agencies must have had a hand in the attacks.

The dossier made no mention of any Pakistani officials or agencies.

Pakistani authorities are reviewing the evidence but have dismissed Singh’s claims. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accused India of waging a “media and diplomatic offensive against Pakistan.”

“It is clearly unhelpful to any serious and objective investigations and amounts to unnecessarily whipping up tensions in South Asia,” Gilani said.

But Pakistani Information Minister Sherry Rehman did say Wednesday that the lone surviving gunman was a Pakistani citizen, after weeks of refusing to confirm Delhi’s claims. Islamabad had previously said it could not find Ajmal Kasab — the only one of 10 not killed as commandos ended the siege — in its databases.

The Mumbai transcripts, which were translated into English by Indian authorities and obtained by the newspaper The Hindu, show that the gunmen who carried out the attacks were in close contact with their handlers throughout the siege. India says the handlers directing the attacks that left 164 dead were senior leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group.

The handlers told a team of gunmen who had seized a Jewish center to shoot hostages if necessary.

“If you are still threatened, then don’t saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages. Immediately kill them,” he said.

Six Jewish foreigners, including a rabbi and his wife, were killed inside the Jewish center.

Later in the night, nearly 24 hours after the attacks began, the handlers urged the gunmen to “be strong in the name of Allah”

“Brother, you have to fight. This is a matter of prestige of Islam,” the handler said. “You may feel tired or sleepy, but the commandos of Islam have left everything behind, their mothers, their fathers.”

The gunmen were told several times not to kill any Muslim hostages.

The attackers used several different mobile phones, including those belonging to the hostages. Shortly after the siege began, Indian authorities say they began intercepting calls from inside the hotel. They were also able to pick up calls carried over the Internet, which the handlers used to route some calls, according to the dossier.

The siege lasted nearly three days, far longer than security experts said it should have, and, apparently, far longer than the terrorists expected as well. The handlers told the gunmen on Nov. 27 that “the operation has to be concluded tomorrow morning.” But it was 36 more hours before it finished.

Much of the dialogue has a teacher-student dynamic, and indeed, the surviving gunman has said he and the rest of the group were trained by Lashkar in Pakistan.

“We made a big mistake,” one of the gunman says into the phone in the early hours of the siege.

“What big mistake?”

“When we were getting into the boat … another boat came. Everyone jumped quickly. In this confusion, the satellite phone of Ismail got left behind.” The investigation shows the gunmen entered Mumbai, which sits on the Arabian sea, by a rubber dinghy.

The attacks against iconic Mumbai targets were covered nonstop by news channels around the world. The handlers used the TV reports to guide the gunmen, the dossier says, including warning when commandos roped down to the Jewish center from helicopters.

The dossier included photographs of dozens of items recovered in the attacks, including GPS units, mobile phones, guns, and explosives, as well as data gleaned from satellite phones, and details from the interrogation of the lone surviving gunman.

It also had pictures of more mundane items India calls incriminating because they were made in Pakistan, including pickles, detergent, a match box, tissue paper, a Mountain Dew bottle, shaving cream and a towel.

But the strongest — and most chilling — evidence that the gunmen were not acting alone came from the phone transcripts.

“Keep your phone switched on,” a handler said in the midst of the siege, “so that we can hear the gunfire.”

Original Link.

Protester Calls for Jews to ‘Go Back to the Oven’ at Anti-Israel Demonstration

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Like many other protests of Israel’s campaign in Gaza, this one ended badly — police had to cool an ugly fight between supporters of Israel and Gaza, breaking up the warring sides as their screaming and chanting threatened to turn into something worse.

But some protesters at this rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took their rhetoric a step further, calling for the extermination of Israel — and of Jews.

Separated by battle lines and a stream of rush-hour traffic outside a federal courthouse last week, at least 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators faced off against a smaller crowd of Israel supporters.

Most of the chants were run-of-the-mill; men and women waving Palestinian flags called Israel’s invasion of Gaza a “crime,” while the pro-Israel group carried signs calling the Hamas-run territory a “terror state.”

But as the protest continued and crowds grew, one woman in a hijab began to shout curses and slurs that shocked Jewish activists in the city, which has a sizable Jewish population.

“Go back to the oven,” she shouted, calling for the counter-protesters to die in the manner that the Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

“You need a big oven, that’s what you need,” she yelled.

Millions of Jews were gassed and burned in crematoria throughout Europe during Adolf Hitler’s rule of Germany. The protest organizers, asked to comment on the woman’s overt call for Jewish extermination, said she was “insensitive” but refused to condemn her statement.

“She does not represent the opinions of the vast majority of people who were there,” said Emmanuel Lopez, who helped plan the event, one of many sponsored nationwide on Dec. 30 by the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism ) Coalition.

Lopez, a state coordinator for ANSWER, admitted there is a problem with anti-Semitism within his organization’s ranks. But then he went on to call the supporters of Israel across the street “barbaric, racist” Zionist terrorists.

“Zionism in general is a barbaric, racist movement that really is the cause of the situation in the entire Middle East,” Lopez said.

The unidentified woman, who protest organizers said was a Muslim, wasn’t the only protester who raised hackles that day. Other demonstrators held signs that said “Nuke Israel,” and a number made comparisons to the Holocaust, accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

Original Link.

ACLU Sues District for Allowing “Released Time” Religious Instruction Classes on Campus

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

This is pretty simple, but the article is wordy about it before getting to the point. I’ll try to summarize.
In 1952, the Supreme Court made a ruling that permits “released time” religious instruction. This is when students are released from class for a short period of time to attend religious instruction class. The class is not part of the school and is not run by the school. Students who choose not to go are not compelled to go.
For the past 55 years, the Huntington County Community School Corporation of rural Indiana has permitted students in its eight elementary schools to attend religious study groups through a “released time” program. They attend the meetings in portable buildings near the school, but still on school property.
Now the ACLU, is suing an elementary school district for allowing its students to attend a non-taxpayer-funded religious education program that meets on campus.
Here is why the buildings the “released time” religious instruction is taught in are on the school campus; the Horace Mann school (the school named in the suit) is bounded by a river on one side and highways on the others, thus preventing the children from being able to safely leave school grounds.
In a nut shell the ACLU is saying “leave the school grounds completely (thus endangering the children) or discontinue the program”.
I wonder if the ACLU has been taking lessons from the Pali terrorist?

The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of an offended parent, is suing an elementary school district for allowing its students to attend a non-taxpayer-funded religious education program that meets on campus.

For the past 55 years, the Huntington County Community School Corporation of rural Indiana has permitted students in its eight elementary schools to attend religious study groups through a “released time” program.

The program, coordinated by an area church association, enables students with parental permission to be released from classes one hour during the school day to receive religious instruction that cannot be otherwise offered by the public school.

And while a 1952 U.S. Supreme Court ruling permits “released time” religious instruction, the ACLU is alleging that since Huntington County’s programs are housed in trailers on school property, they violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

In championing the First Amendment – which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” – the ACLU frequently cites the “wall of separation between church and state,” a phrase first coined by Thomas Jefferson to protect churches, but now often interpreted to encompass any interaction between faith and public schools.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a legal organization defending religious liberty, however, disagrees with the ACLU and its interpretation of Jefferson’s famous phrase.

“The only wall that separates religious groups from conducting programs on public school campuses is the ACLU’s wall, not Thomas Jefferson’s,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman in a statement announcing a friend-of-the-court brief filed by his organization. “The program is perfectly constitutional.”

Huntington County’s school district agrees with Cortman.

“The primary effect of the defendant’s release time program neither advances nor inhibits religion,” reads a school district response to the ACLU lawsuit. “The defendant’s release time program does not foster an excessive entanglement with religion.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a mother of an 8-year-old student enrolled at Horace Mann Elementary School, where the Associated Churches of Huntington County offer “By the Book Weekday Religious Instruction” classes for third- and fourth-graders.

Of the district’s 950 eligible children, the ADF reports, nearly 97 percent of the students attend the Associated Churches’ voluntary classes. At Horace Mann Elementary, all 61 fourth-graders and 51 of the 54 third-graders receive the instruction.

According to a brochure filed with the lawsuit, the classes meet once weekly in trailers separate from the school building but on campus, while children who don’t participate remain in their classrooms with school staff.

The lawsuit alleges that the trailers use school electricity, and thus school money, but the ADF brief claims this is mistaken and the program is completely free of taxpayer funding.

The suit also alleges that students who do not participate receive no school programming during the release time, but the school district denies the charge as also incorrect.

The ADF brief claims the physical geography of the Horace Mann school – bounded by a river on one side and highways on the others – prevents the children from being able to safely leave school grounds. Forcing the “By the Book” classes off-campus, the brief argues, would effectively “bring the Association’s program at Horace Mann to a screeching, and permanent, halt.”

ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco sees no reason why the trailers should need to be moved from school grounds.

“Religious studies groups that use no taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be thrown off campus simply because of their beliefs,” said Tedesco in a statement. “This strictly voluntary 55-year-old program doesn’t become unconstitutional simply because one parent objects to its teachings.”

Original Link.

Congress’ Plan Would Let Attorney General ‘Ban Guns at Will’

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

A perfect storm is developing for Second Amendment opponents that could allow President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for attorney general – Eric Holder – to “ban guns at will” despite the 2008 affirmation from the U.S. Supreme Court that U.S. citizens have a right to bear arms.

The situation was described with alarm by Alan Korwin, author of Gun Laws of America, in a recent commentary.

He cited Holder’s known support for gun bans – the former Clinton administration official endorsed the District of Columbia’s complete ban on functional guns in residents’ homes before it was overturned by the Supreme Court.

And Korwin pointed to overwhelming Democratic majorities in Congress as well as Obama’s known support for gun restrictions and his presence in the Oval Office.

Thirdly, Korwin, one of many Second Amendment advocates raising concerns, cited a proposal already submitted to Congress at a time when its backers could not reasonably expect it to succeed.

The submission is H.R. 1022 by New York Democrat Carolyn McCarthy and 67 co-sponsors. It was introduced in February 2007 and the next month referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, where it has stayed.

But that could change in the 111th Congress, sworn in today. And Korwin said the plan would allow the U.S. Attorney General – possibly Holder – to add to the list of guns banned to the public any “semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General.”

“Note that … Holder … wrote a brief in the (District of Columbia) Heller case supporting the position that you have no right to have a working firearm in your own home,” Korwin said.

In making this determination, the bill says, “there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a firearm procured for use by the United States military or any federal law enforcement agency is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.”

“In plain English,” Korwin said, “This means that any firearm ever obtained by federal officers or the military is not suitable for the public. That presumption can be challenged only by suing the federal government over each firearm it decides to ban, in a court it runs with a judge it pays. This virtually dismisses the principles of the Second Amendment.

“The last part is particularly clever, stating that a firearm doesn’t have a sporting purpose just because it can be used for sporting purpose – is that devious or what? And of course, ‘sporting purpose’ is a rights infringement with no constitutional or historical support whatsoever, invented by domestic enemies of the right to keep and bear arms to further their cause of disarming the innocent,” he said.

Korwin told WND a new proposal to replace H.R. 1022 is not expected to be less draconian.

“Remember – these bans were proposed when the congressional anti-rights crowd had no chance of success. Now they are ready to run wild, or according to Sarah (Brady) herself, ‘I have never been so confident,'” Korwin wrote, referring to the champion of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, which requires background checks on purchasers of handguns.

Korwin said the Democrats listed in H.R. 1022 a framework for guns to be banned that includes originals, copies or duplicates of a wide-ranging list of shotguns, pistols and rifles.

One of the red flags for semiautomatic rifles would be “anything” that can serve as a grip, and as set up now, the Democrat members of the Judiciary Committee “are all sworn enemies to the Second Amendment and are unlikely to be swayed at all by any firearms related arguments,” he said.

The Republicans all “need to be pressed hard to do everything they can to block the appointment.”

Original Link.

As Before, Media Depicting Israel as the ‘Bully’

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

In his first public comments on the conflict since Israel launched a ground offensive over the weekend, President George Bush recently said the Jewish nation is justified in protecting itself against Hamas terrorists. He told reporters that the situation “was caused by Hamas.”

The mainstream media, however, continues to point out the civilian casualties inflicted upon the Palestinians in Gaza while ignoring stories about Israeli casualties at the hands of Hamas terrorists.

“You can see the bias in the way they present the deaths,” [Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center] offers. “For example, on the front page of the Washington Post you saw this story about a [Palestinian] man who lost five of his daughters in a missile attack — and that’s very heart rending.

“[But] on the other hand, when Israelis lose brothers and sisters and mothers and children in Hamas attacks, they’re not [considered to be] newsworthy. Why? Because apparently the numbers aren’t quite as impressive.”

Original Link.

Israel Accepts Egyptian-French Cease-Fire Plan, But Hamas Rejects It

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Par for the course…

(CBS/AP) French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday that Israel had accepted an Egyptian-French cease-fire plan for the Gaza Strip, but Hamas officials in Syria told CBS News that they could not agree to the plan because it does not guarantee open border crossings or an end to a crippling blockade.

Nicolas Sarkozy said the Palestinian Authority, which has not had any control in the Strip for more than a year, also agreed to the plan that was offered up by the French and Egyptian foreign ministers at the United Nations Tuesday night.

Sarkozy said he “strongly welcomed the acceptance by Israel and the Palestinian Authority of the French-Egyptian plan presented yesterday by (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak.”

However, Israel said it would support the proposal only if it halts “hostile fire” from Hamas in Gaza and includes measures to prevent the militant group from re-arming, said government spokesman Mark Regev.

Sarkozy’s spokesman, Franck Louvrier, was also more cautious, saying the French president’s statement was “a reaction to the fact that, according to contacts with different interlocutors, they would accept the plan introduced yesterday as a departure point for discussion, which would allow a renewal of dialogue.”

In Syria, a spokesman for Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told CBS News’ George Baghdadi soon after Sarkozy’s comments were made public that the militant group did not accept the terms of the Egyptian-French plan.

Spokesman Abu Omar said Hamas could only agree to a plan which guaranteed to end the economic blockade and to reopen the border crossings as soon as hostilities on both sides were halted; what he called a “complete package.”

The Egyptian plan calls for Hamas to stop firing rockets and Israel to stop its military campaign simultaneously – which Hamas is amenable to – but it then states both sides should sit down to discuss further measures to be taken, such as the border crossings and the blockade.

Israel has no direct contacts with Hamas, but Mashaal indicated earlier Wednesday for the first time an apparent willingness to “contribute in reaching a solution to stop the aggression in Gaza.” (Click here to read more on this from George Baghdadi in the World Watch blog.)

For any plan to be implemented, Israel would likely demand an absolute guarantee from Hamas that all rocket attacks on southern Israel from the tiny Palestinian territory would stop, and the group would not be permitted to re-arm itself.

Even if Hamas agrees to a cease-fire, they won’t honor it. The rocket attacks will begin again within days, if not hours of any cease-fire, just like they have in the past.

Original Link.

“Israel’s Quiet Nightmare: Words are Worth a Thousand Pictures” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Try to imagine sitting in a bomb shelter, shaking with terror, day after day, year after year. No, try to imagine having to run to get to that shelter; once the siren screams, you’ll have only one minute before the rocket will strike. Imagine that you’re elderly or disabled, imagine that you’re diabetic but have forgotten your insulin, imagine that your children are freaking out or that you can’t find them.

Imagine that you’re faced with a version of (the very fictional) Sophie’s Choice: Do you seek shelter yourself or do you keep looking for your children? Do you give up your job, keep your children at home and out of school? Do you scatter them among your relatives elsewhere in the country? How does a person resign herself to not being in control of ordinary life “for the duration?”

This has been the reality, year in, year out, for Israeli civilians who live in Sderot, and it is now the reality for those living in Ashkelon and Ber-Sheva. The media has not covered this: Not enough blood, too little death, the photo opportunities are not…sexy. Thus, the world did not open its heart to this nerve-wracking, soul-deadening suffering, only a handful of protests were ever held, international pressure never built, the UN presided over no urgent meetings.

And now, this utterly demoralizing reality, together with the grim fact that kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, is still missing–well, it all does not seem to “count” as much as does a photograph of one dead Palestinian child–one of Hamas’s smaller human shields. You can see her right there, on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times. Hamas is not blamed for putting her in harm’s way purely for propaganda purposes. Israel is blamed for daring to finally try to put a stop to the endless barrage of artillery aimed at its civilian citizens by exterminationists. Still, it is a terrible image.

Funny, there are no frontpage photos of the three month old Israeli infant who has just been “lightly wounded” by Hamas rocketry in Gadera.

How can we capture Israeli suffering in a single photograph –assuming the world wanted to see it? In this instance, a few words might be worth a thousand pictures. I have begun to write to Israelis I know. Yesterday, I asked one woman to help me “humanize” Israel’s plight. Here’s the first response, from Jennifer Roskies. Her words are ironic, bitter, thoughtful, eloquent, and manage to convey both the “larger” and the more personal picture (so to speak). She writes:

“Unfortunately, I don’t think that I have much to offer that would “humanize” what Israel is experiencing, because there is nothing that compares to the morbid orgasmic effect of dead children and babies’ corpses. In terms of what the 900,000 hostage-citizens of Israel’s south (”south” makes it seem remote; with the expanding radius of Hamas missiles, “the south” is a half-hour drive from my door), there is not much to say, either.

There is nothing that spectacular about a government doing pretty much what it is supposed to do–namely, prepare the groundwork for the rockets, equip shelters, build protective structures, put an entire branch of the army, the Home Front Command, in charge of a comprehensive infrastructure of resources and personnel that provides information, hot lines, supplies, essential services, and most of all, makes sure that all public spaces and vulnerable areas are evacuated when the alarms sound.

I mean, what’s the emotional thrill of seeing a kindergarten with a hole blown through its ceiling, or a crater in a soccer field after it’s been evacuated and is now empty, when you could look at panic stricken civilians running through, (or buried under), blown apart, dilapidated, unenforced structures without a shred of a notion of where to go. No place to run to–because the game plan was to leave them exposed and vulnerable, wedged deliberately between the rocket launchers and terror masterminds and the Israeli attacks.

Not only that: the seething hatred from Palestinian masses and fanatic fervor, (along with the self-righteousness in demonstrations around the world), bring such a high voltage rush that everything else is bland in comparison. That includes the unassuming nobility of young warriors who march into harm’s way to try to stop the rockets, knowing that nothing can quell the hatred.

I knew the time would come when my children and their contemporaries would be the soldiers behind the headlines, and that time has come. My daughter gets “shipped off” to the Sderot area tomorrow to join her fellow, rather, sister, soldiers assigned to shelters, underground community centers and elsewhere, keeping kids and grownups busy, alleviating anxiety and stifling her own. Her classmates and buddies are in infantry units God knows where inside Gaza and in naval gunboats off the coast. Nothing dramatic about those kids hanging out with my daughter in my living room who are nervous and scared, yet focused and determined. No photo-op.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Hamas Stealing Aid Supplies to Sell to Residents

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

What else would one expect from Islamic terrorist? They care nothing for the people they supposedly represent.

A government or a gang? As the Israeli operation in Gaza wears on it appears Hamas has relinquished any visage of a socio-political party, abandoning its claim to govern the residents of Gaza in favor of engaging in open war at their expense.

A number of reports from the Strip paint a picture of very difficult humanitarian conditions, not least because of Hamas itself. The suspicion is that the group’s operatives have seized control of any supplies passing through the crossings – including those sent by Israel and international organizations.

Reports say Hamas takes a cut out of all aid that arrives, including flour and medicine. Supplies intended to be distributed without gain among the population is seized by the group and sold to the residents, at a profit to the Hamas government.

One such incident was recorded Monday, when a convoy of trucks carrying supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing was opened fire upon and seized by Hamas gunmen. Similar incidents occurred with trucks carrying fuel.

In other cases, civilians are simply used as cannon fodder or human shields. Reports out of Gaza say residents who attempted to flee their homes in the northern area of the Strip were forced to go back at gunpoint, by Hamas men.

The organization is presumably interested in increasing civilian casualties in order to give rise to international pressure against Israel. Arab media reported that in an IDF strike on a UN school 30 civilians were killed, but there is no legitimate way to prove gunmen were among those killed as Hamas tends to bury these bodies quickly, thus eliminating evidence in Israel’s favor.

Other civilian complaints state that Hamas gunmen pull children along with them “by the ears” from place to place, fearing that if they don’t have a child with them they will be fair game to the IDF. Others hide in civilian homes and stairwells, UNRWA ambulances, and mosques.

In other reported cases Hamas gunmen hold civilians hostage in alleyways in order to provide themselves with a living barricade to ward off IDF forces. Reports somewhat more difficult to verify say the group’s men shot Fatah operatives in the feet to make sure the latter would not attempt a coup.

These reports lead to the assumption that Hamas is attempting to exacerbate the atmosphere of a humanitarian crisis in the Strip, as this may promote an international ceasefire initiative. In any case the reports clearly show that the residents of Gaza have fallen prey to Hamas as well as the IDF.

Reports of alarming shortages are also forthcoming, as residents appear to lack water, flour, electricity, and any sign of a capable government. Chaos reigns as no one appears to know when electricity will be available, how to obtain water or food, or whom to address in order to evacuate the injured.

The “emergency numbers” given to residents have ceased to function, and citizens in need of assistance have only international organizations, the Red Crescent, and the hospitals themselves to turn to.

The Hamas leaders, aside from two addresses, have not been heard from. Their speeches were broadcast a number of times, but in any case many in the Strip can no longer access televisions, radios, or internet without electricity.

Despite this, no authoritative anti-Hamas sentiments have been heard from the Gazans. However Palestinian sources claim that grievances against the group are voiced in secret. The animosity towards Israel has not disappeared, say the sources, but it is now accompanied by bitterness towards the organization many are dubbing Iranian in its extremism.

Original Link.

Israel Allows Three Hour Ceasefire for Humanitarian Aid Deliveries

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Even in the midst of battle, the Israelis continue to take the moral high ground. This time by allowing three hour ceasefires, every day, to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palis. It will, of course, be impossible for the Pali terrorist to even observe this truce. Let’s watch and see how long it takes for my prediction to come true.

Clashes resumed in Gaza Wednesday after Israel’s military paused its Gaza offensive for three hours to allow food and fuel to reach besieged Palestinians.

Israel will suspend its assault in the Gaza Strip from 1 to 4 p.m. local time (6 a.m. to 9 a.m. EST) each day to allow aid to flow through a humanitarian corridor it is setting up in the Hamas-ruled territory, a military source said on Wednesday.

Hamas later said it will not launch any missiles at Israeli targets as the Jewish state puts on hold its military operation, the group’s deputy leader said on Wednesday.

“There will be no missile launching in these three hours,” Moussa Abu Marzouk told Al Arabiya television.

Israel said on Wednesday that talks are still underway with Egypt over a cease-fire proposal for the Gaza Strip despite French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s announcement that Israel and the Palestinian Authority accepted a U.S.-backed cease-fire plan for Gaza, Reuters reported.

A Hamas official in the Gaza Strip also told Reuters that the cease-fire proposal was “still under discussion.”

Israel Spokesman Mark Regev said Israel could accept the proposal if it halts “hostile fire” from Gaza and includes measures to prevent Hamas from rearming.

As Israel’s leadership met in the morning in Tel Aviv, sounds of heavy gunfire and thick plumes of smoke engulfed the Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City. Israel said it struck 40 Hamas targets during the hours of darkness. Gaza health officials said new strikes Wednesday morning killed eight people.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called for an immediate end to fighting in the Gaza Strip during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.

Ban criticized both Israel for its bombardment of Gaza and Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and urged members to act “swiftly and decisively to put this crisis to an end.”

In the wake of the criticism over civilian casualties, Israel agreed to set up a “humanitarian corridor” to ship vital supplies into the Gaza Strip. Under the plan, put forward by the Israeli Defense Ministry, Israel would suspend attacks to allow people to get supplies.

A cease-fire initiative to halt the increasingly bloody Israeli offensive in Hamas-rule Gaza won support from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on rival sides to follow up on the proposal.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said the initiative seeks an immediate cease-fire by Israel and Palestinian factions for a specific period to allow secure corridors for delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza and give Egypt time to continue efforts to reach a permanent cease-fire.

Egypt is inviting the warring Israeli and Palestinian sides for urgent meetings to resolve issues underlying the fighting, including securing Gaza’s borders, reopening all crossings and lifting the Israeli “siege,” Mubarak said.

The U.N. Security Council held a high-level emergency meeting late Tuesday as international pressure mounted for an end to the 11-day Israeli offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 670 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, and injured at least 2,500, according to U.N. and Palestinian officials.

Israel says it launched the air and ground attack to end Hamas rocketing that has traumatized southern Israel. Hamas, a militant Islamic group which the U.S. and Israel consider a terrorist organization, wrested control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in June 2007.

From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

From 2001 through May 2008, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks against Israeli targets. [This during a time when a “cease-fire” was in effect. -ed.]

At Tuesday’s four hour council meeting, virtually every Arab speaker denounced the Security Council’s failure to adopt a legally binding resolution to stop the Israeli offensive and demand a durable cease-fire.

Of course there are never demands that the Pali terrorist live up to their agreements.

Original Link.

Proposition Eight Protestors Vandalize Church

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

These particular vandals apparently didn’t do their homework. The particular church they vandalized happened to be one that opposed California Proposition Eight.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Vandals spray-painted swastikas on a Catholic church in San Francisco’s Castro District Saturday night.

It appears the vandals are upset about the Catholic church’s support of Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in California.

But, the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on Diamond Street is gay-friendly. Many parishioners voted against Prop 8 and they are upset their church was targeted.

“We’re very disturbed by the hierarchy’s support of the Yes on Eight Campaign. We’ve been in conversation with the bishop, which is the way I think we need to handle it. I think Catholic teaching shows us we’re all a community and we all need to talk to one another about it even if we have disagreements,” said Rob Hopckey.

San Francisco Police are investigating the vandalism.

Original Link.

Gail Gartrell, Great-Aunt to Sarah and Amina Said, Interviewed on Anniversary of “Honor Killing”

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

I received an update from Gail Gartrell, the Great-Aunt to Sarah and Amina Said, who were “honor” killed by their father, Yasser Said.
She was interview by Stephanie Lucero of Dallas CBS affiliate KTVT on New Years Eve, the first anniversary of the girl’s killing.
See the background information concerning this horrible crime here:

Said Sisters

  • Honor Killing in Dallas
  • “The Story is Bigger Than an Honor Murder in Dallas or What Happens in Dallas Stays in Dallas; Who Knew?” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler
  • “Human Sacrifice in Dallas: No One Saved These Girls” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler
  • “Raging Muslim Taxi Drivers in North American Cities” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler
  • “Murderous Mothers. The Hidden Female Face of Honor Killing” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler
  • “Still Dead in Dallas. An Update on the Double Honor Murders” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler
  • FBI Calls Dallas Murder Case an ‘Honor Killing,’ Upsetting Muslim Group
  • Gail Gartrell, Great-Aunt to Sarah and Amina Said, Speaks About The “Honor Killing” Part 1.
  • Gail Gartrell, Great-Aunt to Sarah and Amina Said, Speaks About The “Honor Killing” Part 2.
  • Gail Gartrell, Great-Aunt to Sarah and Amina Said, Speaks About The “Honor Killing” Part 3.
  • Gail Gartrell, Great-Aunt to Sarah and Amina Said, Speaks About The “Honor Killing” Part 4.
  • America’s Most Wanted to Air Segment on Said Sisters “Honor Killing”.
  • America’s Most Wanted Airs Said Sisters “Honor Killing”, Caves to Political Correctness.
  • Aunt Of Slain Sisters Talks About First Anniversary

    NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 News) ― January 1st marks the one year anniversary of the murder of two teenage sisters from Lewisville. Today their father, Yaser Abdel Said, remains on the run.

    CBS 11 News spoke exclusively with the girl’s great aunt, who says she will never stop looking for the truth.

    Eighteen-year-old Amina Said and her 17-year-old sister, Sarah, were students at Lewisville High School. Amina was just a few months from graduating.

    “Sarah and Amina had a goal,” explained their great aunt, Gail Gatrell. “Their goal was to be the best they could at everything they did.”

    But on the night of January 1, 2008, an Irving emergency dispatcher received a cry for help. In the 911 call you can hear a woman scream and a voice saying, “I’m dying.”

    Amina and Sarah were found dead, outside an Irving hotel, in their father’s taxicab. The girl’s great aunt has maintained all along that her nieces were the victims of an honor killing. Contrary to their father’s cultural rules both girls were dating.

    “The word ‘premeditated’ doesn’t even grasp how far some of these people will go to accomplish the cleansing of their family name,” said Gatrell.

    Yaser Abdel Said is wanted for capital murder.

    “Personally I would say I doubt he’s overseas, because he likes America,” said Irving police Officer David Tull. “He likes the life over here. He’s comfortable. He’s traveled the United States and I believe he’s probably in the United States just hiding in plain sight.”

    Gatrell says speaking out has cost her and showed CBS 11 News a stack of profanity-laden e-mails, with death threats. “I will not be fearful of a bunch of people who think terror is the way to handle things,” she said.

    Sarah and Amina’s great aunt believes that whoever killed the girls didn’t act alone. At least 11 shots were fired inside the taxicab they were found in.

    Gatrell believes whoever killed the girls had to have walked away from the scene with blood on their clothes.

    Original Link.

    Related Articles from CBS KTVT:

  • Murder Of Irving Sisters Labeled As Honor Killings (10/15/2008)
  • Police Release 911 Call Of Killed Lewisville Teens (1/16/2008)
  • Police Records: Slain Teens’ Father Upset By Date (1/9/2008)
  • Family Of Slain Sisters Wants Father To Come Forth (1/5/2008)
  • Cabbie Who Found Slain Sisters Talks To CBS 11 (1/4/2008)
  • Friends: Murdered Teens Were Afraid Of Their Dad (1/3/2008)
  • Teen Girls Found Dead In Irving; Dad Accused (1/2/2008)
  • Repost: “Qassams Fired on Central California” by Dr. Linda Halderman

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

    I wanted to repost this. It puts the plight of the Israeli people in a new light.

    SELMA, CA — For the eleventh consecutive day, residents of rural Selma, California have sustained vicious and unprovoked rocket attacks.

    Selma’s working-class population of 22,800 includes a large number of immigrants. The small, friendly town’s economy in central California’s San Joaquin Valley is based on agriculture and built on generations of farming families. Despite the financial hardships, they stay to cultivate and harvest fields of grapes that earn Selma the title, “Raisin Capital of the World.” Eleven schools and 35 churches support both the young and elderly residents of the town, as do the local hospital and rural health clinics.

    It is hard to imagine, but this little town has been the target of over 1,200 Qassam rockets since August 2005. In the past month alone, nearly 300 rockets assaulted the rural community, each one accompanied by the “Red Dawn” air raid warning system Selma initiated in 2001 when the first rockets hit. The “Red Dawn” announcement blares out of an elaborate intercom system installed in nearly every building and throughout residential neighborhoods. The warning allows residents between 15 and 60 seconds to find shelter before an incoming rocket blast. Every home, commercial building and school in Selma is built with a “safe room” or bomb shelter. In a town with 50 percent of its population over age 65 — and 3,000 children — less than 60 seconds is not always enough time to hide.

    A Qassam (kah-SAHM) is a crude but lethal weapon designed to inflict maximum civilian casualties. Too crude to be aimed with any sort of precision, it has absolutely no military applications. It is useful only to murder civilians and terrorize survivors.

    The Qassam’s power lies in the explosive payload stuffed in the rocket’s metal shell, which is then packed with more than 7,000 metal ball bearings. Each ball bearing, less than ¼ inch in diameter, has a blast force capable of tearing through human flesh with deadly effect. One ball bearing, in other words, can create a hole in the human liver sufficient to guarantee that the victim will bleed to death before reaching Selma Community Hospital just a mile away. A single ball bearing that penetrates the human skull might leave a devastating neurological injury…provided the victim survives long enough to demonstrate the damage.

    Who would fire such a horrifying weapon — indeed, over three thousand since 2001 — at the peaceful residents of this central California town? Look no further than the terrorists elected to govern the citizens of nearby Fowler just four miles north of Selma on Highway 99.

    Today is Jake Jacoby’s funeral. The entire city of Selma mourns the loss of the 43-year-old father of four whose life was taken earlier this week when Selma’s Blocklite manufacturing plant (where he worked as a concrete mason) sustained a direct Qassam hit. Blocklite built the concrete reinforcements that protect Selma’s kindergartens from incoming Qassams.

    Jake’s co-workers survived to witness the destruction of the rocket’s impact. Immediately after the blast, despite their own injuries, they attempted to slow the bleeding from Jake’s head and torso. Doctors at the nearest trauma center (20 miles away in Fresno) also tried to save his life, but the ball bearings had done too much damage. He died within hours.

    Jake’s 12-year-old son, Brandon, speaks to a reporter after his father’s memorial service, explaining why his family has chosen to remain in Selma despite the constant barrage of rockets:

    “I love Selma very much, and I won’t leave it because I love California. If I leave Selma, if all of Selma were evacuated, then the state would fall apart. The [terrorists in Fowler] will see that they are succeeding in Selma, and then they’ll shoot Qassams at San Francisco and Los Angeles too, and do the same in the whole state until nothing is left.”

    * * *

    The horrifying event described above actually happened. But it didn’t happen in Selma, California.

    Change the names, travel 8,000 miles east, and visit the working-class town of Sderot, Israel. But be prepared to heed the Shahar Adom (“Red Dawn”) Qassam rocket warning system activated before every one of more than 1,200 attacks the community of 23,000 residents has endured since August 2005. Since 2001, the total number of rocket attacks sustained by Sderot is 3,000.

    Sderot is a blue-collar town consisting largely of immigrants who escaped persecution in the former Soviet Union or starvation and sectarian violence in Ethiopia. The economy is based on agriculture — no easy feat in the arid soil and scorching climate of western Israel’s Negev desert. But neighbors help neighbors, and there is a strong sense of community often found among those who choose the small town life. There are eleven elementary schools, but playgrounds have remained empty since a Qassam took the life of 4-year-old Afik Zehavi as he played.

    Original Link.
    Original Post.

    Hamas to Kill Jewish Children ‘Anywhere’

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

    The terrorist mantra…

    Hamas has threatened to kill Jewish children anywhere as Israel continues its counteroffensive in the Gaza strip.

    “They have legitimized the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine,” Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said in a televised broadcast recorded at a secret location.

    “They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people,” he said in the report, according to the London Times.

    Islam expert Robert Spencer, director, reacted to Zahar’s threat.

    “Behold the brazen hypocrisy: Hamas launches attacks from civilian areas and uses children as human shields, and then uses the deaths of Palestinian children to justify murdering Jewish children anywhere in the world,” he said

    “And the world yawns and issues another condemnation of Israel,” said Spencer.

    The Times report said Zahar’s comments came as fighting intensified on the northern outskirts of Gaza City.

    The top Hamas leader warned Israel Islamists would kill Jewish children in revenge, the paper reported.

    Zahar, described by the Times as a hard-line political leader, read a statement, “Victory is coming, God willing.”

    So far, neither side has shown the slightest intention of making the first move toward a cease-fire.

    Israel says it needs to break Hamas’ ability to continue a military attack.

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, according to reports, said, “We cannot accept a compromise that will allow Hamas to fire against Israeli towns in two months’ time.”

    For its response, Hamas continued launching rockets into southern Israel.

    Original Link.

    A Prayer for Israel

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

    A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.

    I cry aloud to the LORD;
    I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.

    I pour out my complaint before him;
    before him I tell my trouble.

    When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who know my way.
    In the path where I walk
    men have hidden a snare for me.

    Look to my right and see;
    no one is concerned for me.
    I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

    I cry to you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”

    Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
    rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.

    Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
    Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me.

    Psalm 142 (New International Version)