Monday, August 31, 2015

An elite army of moral narcissists and the erasure of the Jewish Nakba

...What is especially painful is that Israel’s own elite army of moral narcissists, such as Professor Motzkin, collude with the purveyors of the ‘Palestinian Nakba‘ narrative, while wiping from memory a trauma that afflicted their own Jewish people. This can only pour fuel on the flames of hatred, while perpetuating a monopoly of Palestinian victimhood.

Lyn Julius..
Times of Israel..
31 August '15..

On Monday 7 September, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute will be launching a book about the Holocaust and the Palestinian ‘Nakba’ titled “The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity, and Jewish-Arab Partnership.”

Already, the Institute has been fending off a torrent of accusations that the book, which emerged from seven years of collaboration between Arabs and Jews, is making an offensive and dangerous comparison between the systematic murder of a whole people by the Nazis, and the flight of 700,000 Palestinian Arab refugees in wartime.

To juxtapose the words Holocaust and ‘Nakba’ trivialises the Holocaust. It also de-contextualises the flight of the Arab refugees from Israel: the ‘Nakba’ was a catastrophe which the Arab leadership brought upon their people, by failing to inflict a catastrophic defeat on the Jews of Palestine. They would have shed few tears for the defeated Jews, had the 1948 war which they launched had a different outcome.

As yet few critics of the Van Leer initiative have drawn attention, except in a cursory way, to the galling absence from this distorted reading of history of the ethnic cleansing of a greater number of Jewish refugees – the Jewish ‘Nakba’. Almost a million Jews were driven out of their homes in Arab countries about the same time as the Palestinian Arab refugees fled Israel. If the Arabs lost their war against the new state of Israel, they decisively won their war against their innocent non-combatant civilians of the Jewish faith. Before a single Arab refugee had left what was to become Israel, the Arab League pre-meditated its war against ‘the Jewish minority of Palestine’, and drew up a Nuremberg-style plan of persecution.

Prof. Gabriel Motzkin, director of the Van Leer Institute and a professor emeritus of Philosophy at the Hebrew University, has said: “the real issue about the ‘Nakba’ is that Israeli society is “unwilling to understand the trauma that constitutes the identity of this other people.” But Professor Motzkin spares nary a thought for the trauma suffered by the Jewish refugees. Torture, imprisonment, arrest, murder, execution on trumped-up spying charges, dispossession and expulsion of a million Jews — all count for nothing in Professor Motzkin’s selective reading of the facts.

Abbas, a Grand Palace and Newsweek’s Housing Crisis

...It is important for the world to be made aware of this extravagance and media who published the story deserve credit. However, the final sentence of the Newsweek article is very troubling

Yarden Frankl..
Honest Reporting..
27 August '15..

It has now been publicly unveiled that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will have a new residence and office, a grand palace that will take several years to build and will be located in Ramallah. Many media accounts, including Newsweek, make note of the fact that with the Palestinian economy in shambles and most Palestinians living in dire poverty, the timing and style of Abbas’ proposed opulent palace could not be worse. For example:

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which works with Palestinian refugees, is also facing what is has described as its “most severe financial crisis ever.” UNRWA is appealing for $100 million to begin the 2015-2016 academic yearif this amount is not raised, some 500,000 Palestinian children may not be able to attend school. According to the CIA World Factbook, the West Bank’s GDP per capita stands at $4,900, compared to $33,400 in Israel and $54,800 in the United States.

The article includes an artist rendering of what the new structure will look like:

It is important for the world to be made aware of this extravagance and media who published the story deserve credit. However, the final sentence of the Newsweek article is very troubling:

The Return of BDS (Bibi Derangement Syndrome)

...What of the anti-Israel "BDS" argument? Here, Netanyahu becomes the personification of Israel. Through the medium of Netanyahu, Israel resists concessions to the Palestinians and exposes America to military risk through its rejection of Iran's nuclear capability. Thus Netanyahu emerges as the warmonger's prophet, embracing the full spectrum from Senator Chuck Schumer to the Weekly Standard magazine. This campaign has shown many times how easily it absorbs anti-Semitic canards like the "dual loyalty" smear beloved of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its ally J Street, neither of which realize the hypocrisy of questioning the loyalty of Jewish Americans while lobbying on behalf of a regime whose slogan is "Death to America."

Ben Cohen..
30 August '15..

My favorite acronym, at least for this year, was coined by historian Ronald Radosh in his PJ Media column back in March. The initials are BDS – not "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions," but "Bibi Derangement Syndrome."

Radosh came up with that gem in an examination of the White House's deliberate distortion of comments that Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, made concerning the two-state solution during his most recent election campaign. By promoting the deceit that Netanyahu had reversed his long-held position in favor of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the White House made sure that its vendetta against the prime minister was leapt on once more by media outlets that have garnered an enormous amount of fun from reporting the troughs and peaks of the Obama-Netanyahu relationship.

This "BDS" has broken out again, this time in relation to the debate about the nuclear deal agreed with Iran in Vienna in July. With Congress readying itself for a vote of approval, partisans of the deal are advancing two curiously related positions. On the one hand, you have centrist Democrats and leading figures in the Jewish establishment arguing that the deal shields Israel from the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon – an argument aimed at those predisposed to believe that American Jews are better placed than Israel's elected government when it comes to assessing Israel's core security requirements. On the other hand, you have progressive activist groups like MoveOn promoting the line that Israel and its supporters in Congress and the media are dragging America into another Middle Eastern war – an argument that will warm the hearts of Israel's adversaries, who tar opponents of the deal as warmongers and Israeli agents.

What unites these positions is Bibi Derangement Syndrome. Both of these arguments are founded not so much upon a dislike of Netanyahu as on a fearful detestation of him. Like a cross between a Bond villain and a diva, he is seen as self-serving, dishonest, unreliable, fanatical, and unable to grasp what is ultimately good for him and his nation. (One might easily forget that Netanyahu scored a decisive victory in a 2015 election that witnessed a 72 percent voter turnout.)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Israel and a clearly not so far below the radar enemy

...Kim Jong Un may be pudgy and puerile, but he is perilous too, and not only to his immediate neighbors. North Korea is unabashedly arming Israel's enemies, selling or transferring nuclear and missile technology to them and providing political and diplomatic support for their assaults against the Jewish state.

Michael Freund..
30 August '15..

Although Israel faces numerous threats at home and abroad, one of our most unsung enemies is the one that is perhaps furthest away: Kim Jong Un's dictatorial regime in North Korea.

Nearly 8,000 km separate Jerusalem from Pyongyang, but that hasn't stopped the North Korean government from going out of its way to side with Israel's foes, regularly providing them with military training and support and even selling them nuclear know-how and ballistic missile technology.

Indeed, North Korea is directly linked to just about every menace facing Israel, and it is time for the Jewish state to do something about this threat.

The latest example of Kim's dangerous Middle East meddling was on display this past Saturday in Iran, where the ayatollahs unveiled their new Fateh 313 surface-to-surface missile together with the Simorgh launching platform, which is said to bear a striking resemblance to North Korea's own technology.

The similarity isn't coincidental.

As the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted in a report on May 11, "ballistic missile technology cooperation" between Teheran and Pyongyang "is significant and meaningful."

The collaboration between the two rogue regimes also extends to the subterranean sphere, where North Korea has decades of experience in building tunnels and other military facilities beneath the surface aimed at neighboring South Korea.

As the Weekly Standard revealed last year, the North Koreans have not been shy about sharing their tunneling expertise. "Their top customer is the Islamic Republic of Iran," the magazine concluded, citing North Korea expert Bruce Bechtol, who said that Pyongyang has also helped to construct some of the Iranians' underground nuclear weapons installations.

Needless to say, both Hamas and Hezbollah have benefited from North Korea's tunnel tutelage as well.
This became apparent during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when Hezbollah utilized an extensive system of tunnels in the conflict with Israel, as well as during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last year, when Hamas sought to do the same.

One year ago, this prompted a US federal judge to hold North Korea and Iran liable for their support of Hezbollah during the war, which he said included assistance "in building a massive network of underground military installations, tunnels, bunkers, depots and storage facilities in southern Lebanon."

North Korea has also served as a mentor for Israel's enemies. As Bechtol points out in his book, Defiant Failed State: the North Korean Threat to International Security, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah spent several months in North Korea in the late 1980s receiving terrorist training.

And in recent years, a number of North Korean ships have been interdicted and were found to be carrying illicit weapons intended for Hamas and Hezbollah.

The nefarious activities of the Kim regime have also extended to Syria, which has been a prime beneficiary of North Korea's penchant for mischief abroad.

In June 2013, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that North Korean military officers were assisting the Assad regime with its attempt to quash various Syrian rebel groups. North Korean soldiers are said to have been providing Assad's troops with logistical support, creating operational plans for them and even supervising Syrian government artillery attacks against the opposition.

And Syria's government has, in the words of the CRS, "received ballistic missiles and related technology from North Korea."

For example, it is widely believed that the Syrian nuclear reactor that was reportedly destroyed by Israel in September 2007 was being built with North Korean assistance.

So in just about every hotspot in the Middle East, North Korea has joined forces with the bad guys, from Hamas in Gaza to Hezbollah in Lebanon to Assad in Damascus and the Ayatollahs in Teheran.

Pyongyang even came to Islamic State's defense last year, denouncing US-led air raids against the group as "state terrorism."

Kim Jong Un may be pudgy and puerile, but he is perilous too, and not only to his immediate neighbors.

North Korea is unabashedly arming Israel's enemies, selling or transferring nuclear and missile technology to them and providing political and diplomatic support for their assaults against the Jewish state.

Clearly, North Korean poses a threat to the Jewish state. By backing Hamas and Hezbollah, Pyongyang has Jewish blood on its hands. And by advancing the Iranian and Syrian nuclear programs, it has contributed to the destabilization of the entire Middle East.

It is therefore essential that Israel take a more forceful public stand against the Kim regime. Jerusalem should continue to bolster relations with South Korea, and put together a comprehensive strategy for countering Pyongyang's troublemaking in the Middle East.

South Korea and Israel share an intriguing number of similarities. Both are heirs to ancient civilizations that have carved out vibrant democracies in difficult neighborhoods while simultaneously building dynamic, modern economies despite a lack of natural resources.

And of course we share a common foe in the form of the North Korean regime, whose bellicosity and unpredictability stretch across the globe.

It is therefore in Israel's interest to further deepen its alliance with Seoul and to cease ignoring the danger from Pyongyang.

For however distant it might seem, Kim Jong Un's irascible regime is clearly out to hurt the Jewish state.


Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

Everything you need to know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today

...One successful raid by the Israelis. Four terrorists behind bars. And many important lessons for the rest of us. Is anyone paying attention?

Stephen M. Flatow..
The Algemeiner..
28 August '15.. You won’t read about it in the New York Times or the Washington Post. But this week’s arrest of four Palestinian terrorists who were plotting to attack a Jewish holy site tells you everything you need to know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.

The reason you won’t hear about it in the American news media is because the terrorists were caught before they struck. Apparently intentions don’t count. No casualties, no news coverage—and even when there are casualties, there isn’t always news coverage. Did your daily newspaper report about the 2-year-old Israeli child who was recently hit by Arab rocks?

The four arrested terrorists—who planned to attack Jews at Joseph’s Tomb—are residents of Tulkarm, Nablus (Shechem in Hebrew), and Qabatiya. Those three cities are all governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Yet it was the Israeli security forces, not the PA police, who captured them. That’s because the PA doesn’t arrest terrorists; it shelters them.

Of course, the 1993 Oslo Accords require the PA to apprehend and imprison terrorists. Of course, the PA is obligated to disarm and outlaw terrorist groups. Of course, the accords state that the PA must extradite terrorists to Israel. But the PA does none of those things, and the international community is silent.

The entire “peace process” is based on the notion that if Israel surrenders land to the PA, the PA can be trusted to prevent terrorism from that area. The entire argument in favor of a Palestinian state is that such a state would be peaceful and that its rulers would combat terrorism. Twenty years of PA self-rule has proven otherwise.

The plan of the four arrested terrorists was to set off explosives at Joseph’s Tomb and machine-gun the Jewish worshippers there. Anybody who thinks that Palestinian terrorism is directed merely at “the occupation,” and not at Jews, think again. Joseph’s Tomb is not in some Jewish settlement in “occupied territory.” It is one small building in a huge Palestinian Arab city. It is an isolated Jewish religious site to which Jewish worshippers come to study and pray; no “settlers” reside there.

In other words, the purpose of an attack on Joseph’s Tomb is to murder Jews at prayer and destroy a Jewish holy site. Nobody can pretend that such an attack would be related to settlements or refugees or borders or any other political and diplomatic controversies. Thus, the choice of the target reveals volumes about the Palestinians’ true sentiment.

Were the terrorists outcasts, rogues, or isolated extremists? Hardly. One, Muhamad Damiri, is a Palestinian policeman. Another, Nisim Damiri, is a veteran member of the Tanzim. That’s the armed wing of Fatah, which is chaired by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Yes, the “moderate” Fatah, which the Obama administration refuses to label as a terrorist group.

Revisiting a Palestinian Arab village and its monsters

...The IDF service men we see clearly have the power, the skill, the strength and the weaponry to do something dramatic and long-lasting to stop the unpleasantness to which they are exposed in this stage-managed eruption of violence. They choose to avoid rising to the locals' provocation, handing the provocateurs a publicity gift, but ensuring the patient men of the IDF will be facing the same kind of challenge in the coming days in Nabi Saleh - as they have for years already.

Nabi Saleh this past Friday [Image Source: Daily Mail UK]
Imagery in the service of jihad, mayhem and chronic
child abuse
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
29 August '15..

There's a media fuss about images [here] of an Israeli serviceman tangling with "a little boy" in a Palestinian Arab village. The Daily Mail UK, one of the busiest online news sites, gave it very considerable attention on Friday here, correctly linking it to the particular form of image exploitation defined by Prof. Richard Landes as Pallywood

the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel [Daily Mail UK, today]

This short video clip of the same interaction provides a little more helpful context.

People not-so-much in the-know are unlikely to realize that the published photos are a small part of a larger, orchestrated event of the kind that happens in Nabi Saleh every week. Local press people know this because of the weekly invitations they get to come along and provide coverage. But most news consumers don't know that. They have no reason to understand - or to care about - the context and the larger picture.

Back in March 2013, we wrote ["A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"] about several of the people who appear prominently in today's photos: about their town; about its systematic abuse of its own children; about how a place hell-bent on acts of lethal violence directed against Jews and Israelis has succeeded in camouflaging itself thanks to the willingness of gullible reporters, photographers and editors who provide them with the exposure they crave like oxygen; about the girl - the one in the pink t-shirt in the photo above - who for years has been paraded in front of the cameras in a variety of spunky-on-demand poses (all based on the certainty that IDF personnel are careful and considerate when facing children) and who has fully earned the nickname given to her by insightful observers who understand the artificial nature of the provocations in which she is the central performer. They know her as Shirley Temper: it's a totally fitting stage name.

That article remains the most viewed post we ever wrote. But most news consumers unfortunately have no idea of the points we made and are making now.

(Read Full Post. Please Share)

Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Question: Whose Flag Will Be Raised at the UN? Fatah or Hamas?

...But there are two problems with the plan. One is that the only other such observer — the Vatican — opted out of the farce. The other is that it bears asking which of the two rival Palestinian governments will the UN be honoring: the corrupt Fatah regime that runs the West Bank or the Hamas terrorists that rule Gaza? Can anyone at the UN answer the question? Or better yet, will any of the nations that will surely force this through even care?

Jonathan S.Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
28 August '15..

Always looking for ways to symbolize their quest for sovereignty, the Palestinians are asking that they be allowed to raise their flag at the United Nations next month when the General Assembly convenes. The gesture is meaningless, but it requires bending the rules since that is a privilege restricted under the world body’s rules to member states. Since the Palestinian Authority is there as a “non-member observer state,” the PA’s allies are requesting that all such observers be granted the honor of having their banner fly in Turtle Bay. But there are two problems with the plan. One is that the only other such observer — the Vatican — opted out of the farce. The other is that it bears asking which of the two rival Palestinian governments will the UN be honoring: the corrupt Fatah regime that runs the West Bank or the Hamas terrorists that rule Gaza? Can anyone at the UN answer the question? Or better yet, will any of the nations that will surely force this through even care?

Given the recent decision of the Vatican to recognize Palestinian independence, it might have been natural for the church to chime in on the flag issue. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Vatican said that while it didn’t oppose the raising of the Palestinian flag, it did not wish to endorse the stunt or take part in it. The tiny Vatican City State has a flag with the pope’s coat of arms, but the Church sees no value in the symbolism of having it fly alongside that of other countries. But the Palestinians take comfort form such gestures and view any opportunity to pose as a sovereign state as one to be seized.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Between Duma and Douma “in a few words”

...“You make peace with your enemies, not your friends,” British and American officials repeatedly tell Israel, which is concerned that the Iranian regime, the main supplier of terrorist organizations on three fronts, has made no attempt to change the rhetoric about wiping the Jewish state off the map. The UN might have a few words to say about that. Maybe not.

Liat Collins..
My Word/JPost..
27 August '15..

I can sum up the miserable situation in the world “in a few words.”

That particular phrase, in fact.

That’s my conclusion after reading the official United Nations statement containing “The briefing to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East” given by Jeffrey Feltman, under secretary- general for political affairs.

The written version of the briefing was nearly 2,000-words long. More than 1,600 words were dedicated to the situation in Israel and Gaza, beginning with: “I address you at a time when the risk of escalation in Israel and Palestine is palpable. The past month has witnessed unconscionable crimes of hatred by extremist elements, reprehensible retaliatory violence, provocations at Jerusalem’s holy sites, and a worrying increase in rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel.

“The coming days will mark the one-year anniversary of the conclusion of last year’s devastating Gaza conflict – a conflict from which the Palestinians of Gaza have yet to recover....”

There’s an appeal “to work together to reduce tensions, reject violence and prevent extremists from escalating the situation and hijacking the political agenda.”

That Israelis also continue to suffer from trauma and fears following the 50-day mini war either didn’t occur to Feltman or didn’t seem to be worth mentioning.

Feltman reiterates, at length, “the Secretary-General’s strong condemnation of the horrific terrorist arson attack against a Palestinian family in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, during the early hours of 31 July, apparently committed by extremist Jewish settlers...

“The Secretary-General welcomes the strong condemnations of the attack by Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, as well as by political and religious leaders from across the spectrum.”

There is caution about the use of administrative detention of both Palestinians and Jews – a warning with which I identify.

This being the UN, along with the Israel obsession there is a call to continue to strive for peace. “But over 20 years of failed negotiations have bred mistrust and, worse, the slow and painful withering of hope.

In such a contentious environment, restoring confidence, before a return to realistic negotiations, is a must. What is needed now is a comprehensive approach on three levels – on the ground, in the region, and with the international community – to alter fundamentally the current negative dynamics and begin to shape a clear and positive pathway towards peace.”

The briefing contains a detailed list of security incidents in the West Bank, noting that Israel carried out “some 188 search-and-arrest operations....

Six Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli security forces, including a 17-year-old. Twelve members of the Israeli security forces were also wounded, with no fatalities reported.”

There’s no context and Israel is the only country whose anti-terrorism measures are reviewed regularly by the UN and which is expected to feel guilty that not enough soldiers and police officers have been killed.

The briefing also gives a blow-by-blow account of the demolition of structures and homes the Israeli authorities consider to be illegal.

Islamic Jihad member Muhammad Allan, who at the time of the briefing was still on hunger strike, received a mention due to the dilemmas surrounding the issue of force-feeding. (Allan’s family and supporters opposed it, further endangering his life, while the Israeli authorities on the whole did not want to risk turning Allan into a martyr like the IRA detainees who died on British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s watch).

Feltman’s briefing also addresses the change in Israeli law that lengthens sentences for those who throw stones at moving vehicles, noting: “The law is likely to affect children disproportionately.” Israelis, but not Feltman apparently, are familiar with the name of four-yearold Adele Biton, who died a few months ago following two years of suffering after the car her mother was driving crashed when rocks were thrown at it, far from the only Israeli fatality in similar low-tech terrorist attacks.

I’m skipping large sections of the speech but it notes that the secretary- general “condemns the 24 rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza,” was “relieved” that the UNRWA schools would open in time for the school year, and contains a plea that “a sustainable solution... be found to address UNRWA’s long-term funding needs.”

The briefing on Gaza also notes that in the incidents “that took place following the Duma arson attack, a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot dead and two others were injured by Israeli security forces.”

And then, finally, Feltman says: “Madam President, “A few words about the situation in Lebanon and Syria.”

I’M RELIEVED that the esteemed under secretary-general for political affairs noticed that something has been going on there. Two paragraphs’ worth of written speech, to be precise.

Excellent Question. Who’s Funding Pro-Palestinian Israeli ‘Human Rights’ Groups?

...But the Palestinians themselves claim the West Bank and Gaza constitute a single Palestinian entity, which means that in their own understanding, the Birzeit faculty who decided to award those grants to B’Tselem and BTS were on Hamas’s side in this war. Effectively, therefore, these two groups solicited and received money from an enemy during wartime in order to produce propaganda against their own country. It might be legal, but morally, it stinks. And it ought to put both B’Tselem and BTS permanently beyond the pale.

Evelyn Gordon..
Commentary Magazine..
27 August '15..

Granted, everyone is (justly) preoccupied with the Iran deal right now, and, granted, the original scoop was in Hebrew. But I still can’t believe this news has gotten so little attention: During last summer’s war with Hamas in Gaza, two Israeli “human rights” organizations – B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence – requested and received special grants from Palestinian middle men in order to finance reports accusing Israel of war crimes.

Under most circumstances, taking money from the enemy in wartime to produce propaganda against your own side would be considered treason. In this case, legally speaking, it definitely isn’t. But morally speaking, it’s not merely skirting close to the edge; it’s well over the line.

The news was first reported by Gidon Dokow on the Hebrew-language news site NRG. But you needn’t take Dokow’s word for it; he helpfully included a link to the funding organization’s English-language annual report.

The organization goes by the unwieldy name of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat. According to its annual report, it is “a project implemented by NIRAS NATURA AB – Sweden, and the Institute of Law, Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine, with generous support from the governments of Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland.”

In other words, the money itself is European. But the ones who decide what to do with it are Niras Natura – which describes itself as an international consultancy firm in the field of sustainable development – and the faculty of Birzeit. And since the Birzeit people are the ones actually on the ground, they presumably have considerable influence over how the money is spent.

The Secretariat’s main job appears to be funneling money to other organizations. According to the annual report, it had 24 “core grantees” and 19 “project grantees” last year. Nine of the former and two of the latter are Israeli; the rest are Palestinian.

When the war broke out in July 2014, the Secretariat put out a call to its core grantees soliciting emergency funding requests. “The emergency funding call focused on activities related to monitoring and documentation of IHL [international humanitarian law] and human rights violations in the Gaza Strip, arising from the then ongoing war,” the report said. Requests were received from 11 organizations, including three Israeli ones, and the Secretariat decided to fund nine of them, including two Israeli groups – B’Tselem and BTS.

But the money was intended for “monitoring and documentation” of alleged violations by one side only – Israel. That’s crystal clear from the report’s summary of its emergency grantees’ “achievements”: Not one of the nine says a word about the massive Palestinian violations of international humanitarian law.

The section on Breaking the Silence is particularly blatant. The Secretariat would have considered its money well spent, the report declared, had BTS managed to scrounge up even a single anti-Israel testimony from Israeli soldiers:

An op-ed whose agenda, without essential context, leaves readers ill-informed

...Israel—similar to most other countries—has laws and procedures that stipulate points of entry. Unless individuals are approved in advance and special permission granted, entry to Israel for those classified as Palestinian Arabs is through the Allenby Bridge border crossing. That two men with unmentioned histories of anti-Israel advocacy attempted to subvert long-standing, well-publicized procedures and cross into Israel illegally instead of by the Allenby Bridge crossing—as thousands of others have done—seems to indicate a purposeful attempt to create an anti-Israel narrative.

Sean Durns..
CAMERA Snapshots..
27 August '15..

(The CAMERA Op-Ed below was posted on The Hill newspaper's Congress Blog on Aug. 27, 2015 in response to an omission-laden commentary by Arab-American Institute head James Zogby. Zogby alleged a pattern of discrimination by Israeli immigration authorities against Arab Americans. The Hill serves members of Congress, staff, policy analysts, lobbyists and others.)

James Zobgy’s recent commentary “US passports scoffed at by Israel; US stands by” (Aug. 24) misleads readers through omissions. Zogby, the founder and President of the Arab-American Institute, falsely asserts that “in the past year Israel has continued…their practice of discriminating against persons of Arab descent” and cites the stories of what he implies to be two disinterested parties to advance this allegation.

The author cites two specific individuals who he claims were detained, interrogated and denied entry into Israel at Ben Gurion International airport—and relies exclusively on their accounts to allege mistreatment. Zogby identifies the two men, George Khoury and Habib Joudeh as simply “American citizens of Palestinian descent.”

Yet, Joudeh, identified only as a “pharmacist” by Zogyby, has been the vice president of the Arab American Association of New York since 1994. The director of that association, Linda Sarsour, has falsely accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and has dismissed reports of attacks by terror group al-Qaeda as conspiracy theories.

George Khoury—identified only as a “professor” and “deacon at his church”—is an anti-Israel activist who has previously alleged that as a nation, the Jewish state commits crimes “daily.” By failing to disclose the background, biases and associations of the two men, but uncritically recounting their unsubstantiated allegations, the author misleads readers.

Zogby also claims that “because both men were of Palestinian descent, Israel would not honor their U.S. passports or recognize the men as American citizens. Both were told they had to acquire Palestinian IDs and then, as Palestinians enter the West Bank.” However, for identifying the men as Palestinian Arabs and not as American citizens, it’s not Israel that Zogby should be faulting. It’s the Palestinian Authority.

According to Article 5 of the Palestinian National Charter those who were born in what is today land governed by the Palestinian Authority—as both Joudeh and Khoury were—are Palestinian. Apparently Israeli officials were following a definition made by the Palestinian National Charter. Unless Zogby is advocating that American officials should nullify Palestinian laws, rules for entry for those defined as Palestinian are well-known and publicly available.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The New York Times’ Islamic Jihad Social Media Activist

...So unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad has no ‘political wing,’ ‘social wing’ or anything other than a ‘military wing.’ A member of Islamic Jihad has no reason to be a member other than to promote terrorism and the murder of Israelis. This then is Mohammad Allan’s entire reason for being and something that the New York Times fails to enunciate.

Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
27 August '15..

The New York Times has profiled Mohammad Allan, the Palestinian who recently made headlines with his two-month hunger strike. Throughout the article, Allan, a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, is the subject of quotes and anecdotes from admiring friends and family.

When confronted with rival Palestinian gunmen looking to take his home, Allan is “defiant.” And according to the New York Times:

During that standoff 10 years ago, Mr. Allan showed some of the fortitude he would demonstrate this summer when he nearly starved himself to death during a two-month hunger strike to protest his incarceration by the Israeli authorities without charges.

Later we hear that Allan was “energized by the fight against Israel during the second Palestinian intifada.”

Defiant. Energized. Fortitude.

These are all very positive adjectives to describe a member of Islamic Jihad. And while it is mentioned that Allan “was first jailed by Israel in 2006 for trying to recruit a suicide bomber to carry out an attack in Israel,” we are left with the impression that this is really a distraction from Allan’s true character as a man with radical thoughts, which he could never possibly take any further.

After all, as the article says:

Mr. Allan’s father said his son had on social media supported the Islamic State, as defenders of oppressed Sunni Muslims, but it never went beyond online missives. Mr. Allan claimed to support the brutal militant group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, only to be provocative, Mr. Hussein said.

Only “to be provocative?” In most Western countries, supporting Islamic State on social media is more than enough to warrant being detained by the security services. And, unlike the New York Times, which refers to the Islamic Jihad organization as a “militant group,” let’s remember what Islamic Jihad is:

Surprise! "Palestinians are literally dying of thirst" latest anti-Israel slander

...Don't they know, as they swim in their Olympic-sized pools, that their fellow Palestinians are literally dying of thirst only a few miles away????

Elder of Ziyon..
26 August '15..

This article was originally published in June in "Foreign Policy in Focus" but has recently been republished in other places, including The Ecologist:

Literally dying of thirst? Funny, I have not heard about a single Palestinian Arab dying of thirst! I must have missed all the articles.

But when I searched for them, I found some interesting photos of how scarce water is in the West Bank:

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Actually, funding can be easily found for artists who want to inflict damage on the state

...Having said that, I would like to point out that "equal" state funding for everyone leads to inequality. On the one hand, as Garbuz said -- artists who want to inflict damage on the state can easily find funding from "other countries" (I am not saying the B'Tselem film inflicts damage on the state, as I have yet to watch it). On the other hand, artists who want to create an apolitical film will not be able to make inroads on the world stage, even if their work does not praise the "occupation" or, God forbid, the State of Israel (as Roy Zafrani knows all too well).

Prof. Asher Maoz..
Israel Hayom..
27 August '15..

The B'Tselem human rights organization will host a special event at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on Thursday, titled "Gaza: An Inside Look." According to organizers, the event will include "footage documenting fierce fighting, as seen through the eyes Gazans." B'Tselem's Facebook page notes that the footage is based on "video journals that were created by young men and women after Operation Cast Lead [in 2008-2009] and curated by B'Tselem."

Right-wing activists have appealed to the Culture and Sports Ministry to have the event canceled or moved to a venue that is not publicly funded. Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev will obviously not be able to grant their request, but Cinematheque Director Alon Garbuz wasted no time criticizing her. "We will manage just fine even without the money," he said. "As I always say, 'If the state doesn't want to give us money, there are other countries that would.'"

Garbuz knows what he is talking about when he speaks of "other countries." The foreign funding he is referring to is very much on display at B'Tselem. To determine the scope of this funding, all you have to do is contact the organization's top officials.

Roy Zafrani is a veteran filmmaker. He directed the film "The Other Dreamers," which chronicles the lives of disabled children in Israel. It has won accolades from viewers, who said it was both touching and subtle. When Zafrani sought to have this film compete at the Human Rights Human Wrongs Film Festival in Oslo, organizers rejected his request.

"I'm sorry but we can't show this film. We support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel so unless the films are about the illegal occupation, or deals [sic] with the occupation or the blockade of Gaza, or otherwise about the discrimination of Palestinians, we can't show them," Ketil Magnussen, who is the founder of the festival’s parent organization, wrote him. "I'm sorry. Please let me know if you have documentary films that are dealing directly with the occupation, the you would want us to consider," Magnussen added.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Defiance, activism, jihad and NY Times journalism

...What she and her editors have created can only be called a hagiography, beatifying a quiet-spoken hero who... thirsts, hungers, to kill people.

Click for the background to this 2013 CAMERA campaign. 
The girl in the poster is our murdered daughter, Malki
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
26 August '15..

An article by Diaa Hadid in yesterday's New York Times, a classic exemplification of lethal journalism, reminds us of the extraordinary amorality the paper's editors have demonstrated when dealing with the ideology-driven murderers of Jews and Israelis.

It's a piece about a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist (rooted in a defiant past, she writes) who is at the center of an article we posted here on Friday ["21-Aug-15: Hungering, thirsting, just dying for fresh victims"] and another two days later ["23-Aug-15: Do they understand the price of freeing the hunger-striking terrorists?"].

Hadid repeatedly invokes his quiet, his defiance, his activism. But never his blood-lust or doctrinal hatred of Jews.

She devotes precisely zero words to an explanation of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and its goals ("destruction of Israel through violent means", according to the Council on Foreign Relations) and its status as a client of the Islamist regime in Iran. These are at the very heart of understanding how a man ends up being and doing what he is and does. But it goes unmentioned, unanalyzed.

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Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

Egyptian Ire and the Hamas "Cockroaches"

...The incident also proves that Hamas does not hesitate to take advantage of Cairo's humanitarian gestures to smuggle its men out of the Gaza Strip. Obviously, the four Hamas men were not on their way to receive medical treatment or pursue their studies in Egypt or any other country. That they are members of Ezaddin al-Qassam speaks for itself. Instead of dispatching its fighters to Iran and Turkey, Hamas should have allowed medical patients and university students to leave the Gaza Strip. But Hamas does not care about the well-being of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Rather, it cares about sending its men to Iran and Turkey to receive military and security training. This practice by Hamas is something that the Egyptian authorities have come to understand, which is why they are refusing to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The question now is whether the international community will understand Hamas's true intentions and plans -- namely to prepare for another war against Israel.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
26 August '15..

Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Sisi has once again proven that he and his country will not tolerate any threats from Hamas or other Palestinians.

The crisis that erupted between Sisi's regime and Hamas after the removal from power of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi two years ago, reached it peak in the past few days with the kidnapping of four Hamas operatives in Sinai.

The four men were snatched from a bus shortly after crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egyptian territory on August 19. Reports said that unidentified gunmen stopped the bus and kidnapped the four Hamas men, who are wanted by Egypt for their involvement in terrorism.

Although initial reports suggested that the kidnappers belonged to a salafi-jihadi group based in Sinai, some Hamas officials have accused Egyptian security forces of being behind the abduction. The Hamas officials even issued veiled threats against Sisi and the Egyptian authorities, and said that they held them fully responsible for the safety of the Hamas men.

A statement issued by Hamas warned the Egyptian authorities against harming the four men. "These men were the victims of deception and their only fault is that they are from the Gaza Strip," the statement said. "This incident shows that the criminals are not afraid to target our people."

Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk said that his movement holds the Egyptian authorities fully responsible for any harm caused to the abductees. He said that the kidnapping raises many questions and its circumstances remain unclear.

Hamas claims that salafi-jihadi groups in Sinai have informed its representatives that they did not kidnap the four men. According to Hamas officials, the abduction took place near the border with the Gaza Strip -- an area where the Egyptian army maintains a large presence.

Sources in the Gaza Strip, however, have confirmed that the four men belong to Hamas's armed wing, Ezaddin al-Qassam. The sources said that the men were apparently on their way to Iran for military training. The sources pointed out that the four had received permission from the Egyptian authorities to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing. The visas, however, are supposedly for civilians, not for Hamas operatives.

Hamas's threats against Egypt have, meanwhile, enraged the Egyptian authorities as well as some top journalists in Cairo.

Perhaps Half the News That’s Fit to Print?

...How have Rudoren and her colleagues treated the news that reveals her previous depiction of Netanyahu was a fraud? Let’s put it this way: When it comes to certain stories, only half the news is fit to print at The New York Times. That is, the half that smears a political leader whom the Times dislikes. The other half — the news that exonerates a victim of the Times‘s wrath — is nowhere to be found.

Benyamin Korn..
The Algemeiner..
25 August '15..

When Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents accused him of excessive personal spending earlier this year, it was headline news in The New York Times. Guess how much space the Times allotted to the recent news that the Israeli prime minister’s spending has reached a five-year low.

When Netanyahu was under fire for supposedly lavish spending by the staff of the prime minister’s official residence, the NYT‘s Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, could barely contain her delight at the opportunity to tarnish Netanyahu’s image.

The fact that the “story” broke at the height of Israel’s election campaign probably filled Rudoren with hope that she might be able to contribute to the downfall of a prime minister whose policies she obviously despises, despite her claim to be an objective journalist.

Rudoren’s extensive February 17 dispatch on the subject was nearly 1,000 words long, ranging over 16 paragraphs. She detailed such outrages as the suspicion that the Netanyahus had spent too much money on ice cream. Rudoren even sarcastically noted the favorite ice cream flavors of the prime minister and his wife.

To maintain the pretense of journalistic balance, Rudoren gave Netanyahu’s Likud Party a chance to have a say — with a grand total of two and a half sentences to respond to the litany of accusations.

Rudoren then proceeded to present anti-Netanyahu quotes from a professor, a newspaper columnist, the leaders of three different left-wing political parties and a political consultant (whose views merited two entire paragraphs).

For some reason, the editors at the Times saw nothing unbalanced about Rudoren’s selection of people to quote. When it comes to Netanyahu, five against and one in favor apparently strikes the Times as a perfectly reasonable ratio. It is, after all, the news organization that hired Jodi Rudoren in the first place.

Like to Guess Why Gaza Isn't Being Rebuilt?

...The problems of Gaza will only be solved when it is run by leaders that value the lives and the property of their people as much as the Israelis do. With Iran looking to invest some of the vast wealth that will come to it under the nuclear deal in aiding Hamas, there is little doubt there will be more bunkers and tunnels built in Gaza but few homes. Instead of blaming Israel for what is happening in lands they’ve already given up in the hope of peace, it’s time for the international community to focus on the real problem. When they are no longer under the thumb of a group that is obsessed with an ideology of hate that prompts them to fight for Israel’s destruction, the Palestinians will rebuild Gaza and there will be no more danger of another war.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
25 August '15..

It’s been a year since the last summer’s war in Gaza ended and those who lost their homes during the fighting are still waiting for them to be rebuilt? To listen to Palestinian propagandists, this is the fault of Israel. That’s the conceit of an op-ed published Monday in the New York Times by author Mohammed Omer. According to Omer, Gaza is a “Gulag on the Mediterranean” still suffering under Israel “occupation” even though the Jewish state withdrew every last soldier, settler and settlement ten years ago. All the strip’s problems can, he writes, be attributed to an Israeli siege that imprisons and stifles the Palestinians living there. But, oddly enough, a slightly more realistic evaluation of their problems was to be found in a news article published by the Times the day before. The reason why not a single one of the 18,000 homes destroyed or damaged in the war has not been made habitable isn’t because the Israelis are preventing it from happening.

Even Hamas government officials concede that the Israelis haven’t stopped the shipment of cement and other building materials designated for civilian reconstruction from entering Gaza. Some of the problem lies in a cumbersome process needed to approve such shipments. The failure of international donors, especially from the Arab world, to make good on their pledges to help Gaza is also huge. But the main problem is that although homes aren’t being rebuilt, there is a lot of construction going on in Gaza. Unfortunately, the work is concentrated on the building of terror tunnels and other military infrastructure that will enable Hamas to launch another war on Israel if it suits their political needs or the whims of their Iranian allies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Welcome to UN-istan: occupation above and beyond morals and ethics

...During the Jordanian occupation, and following that Israel’s return of Jews to their lands, and after the PA was granted full administrative responsibilities under the Oslo Accords, it turns out that little industry has been created in “Palestine”; the UN-funded and UN-run education programme is a case study in mass indoctrination in hatred, racism and violence; the economy is kept alive by the UN thanks to the fact that the UN employs 25,000 locals to maintain the permanent refugee status of the local population; the UN provides the funding and training for the PA’s almost two dozen different internal and external security agencies; the UN runs many of the medical services and, if the PA’s own claims and that of the UN are to be believed, then even issues as basic as food, water supply and nutrition would be non-existent without the UN.

Ilya Meyer..
Times of Israel..
21 August '15..

It turns out “Palestine” is occupied after all. By the UN.

Half the world, consisting of authoritarian Islamist theocracies, non-democratic dictatorships and brutal military regimes, would have you believe that something called “Palestine” is occupied. It is apparently occupied by the Jewish state of Israel. According to these people, “Palestine” is occupied – and this includes the ethnically cleansed, judenrein, Gaza Strip where not a single Jew, dead or alive, remains.

The other half of the world – consisting of people who believe in the quaint notions of democracy, free speech, religious freedom, gender equality and human rights – believes that “Palestine”, that is to say the two Jewish provinces of Judea and Samaria, are at best disputed territories.

Disputed not least because the only rationale behind Arab demands for this territory is that Arab Jordan successfully managed to ethnically cleanse all Jews from this territory between 1948 and 1967, when Israel retook the territory and once again made it possible for Jews to return to their homes.

The Arab position – and that of their leftist, communist and anarchist collaborators in the West – is that because the Jordanian expulsion of Jews and the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria was successful for 19 years, the territory now rightfully belongs to the Arabs. This apparently passes for logic in some quarters.

But hold on a minute. What about the occupation?

Which occupation, you ask?

Well, for starters, there was the illegal Jordanian occupation of the disputed territory following the pogroms and mass expulsions of Jews – ethnic cleansing – between 1948 and 1967. That illegal occupation was not recognised by the United Nations (the oh-so-adored and untouchable UN). In fact, the only country that recognised Jordan’s illegal occupation was Islamic Pakistan – itself illegally occupying large swathes of Indian Kashmir. And that occupation continues to this day, although strangely the UN has no presence there and nothing to say on the issue. Of course, no Jews are involved in Kashmir so that may explain the UN’s silence.

BTW, about that UNRWA posting of anti-Semitic cartoons inciting murder of Jews? a time when UNRWA claims to be in crisis, it is shameful that an UNRWA facility featured on a UN video asking for help for victims in Syria would be the same one engaged in incitement to racism, terrorism and murder. All of this follows the April report of your board of inquiry which found that UNRWA effectively turned a blind eye to Hamas rockets and other terrorist weapons being stored in its facilities. The UN cannot demand more and more funding for UNRWA from the U.S. and others while this agency aids, abets and incites to terrorism, murder and anti-Semitism.

Hillel Neuer..
UN Watch..
23 August '15...

His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
The Secretary-General
The United Nations
New York, NY 10017

23 August 2015

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

UN Watch is gravely concerned that the UN’s special relief agency for Palestinians, which received some $400 million from the U.S. last year in exchange for its signed promise to refrain from supporting terrorism and to uphold neutrality, is nevertheless disseminating crude, anti-Semitic caricatures on the Internet that incite to the murder of Jews. We respectfully demand that you take action immediately to remove the images, apply accountability to the highest levels of UNRWA, and apologize.

We call your attention to two of the ten first items appearing on the UNRWA Facebook page of the Rameh school, based in the Jaramaneh camp outside Damascus, which are cartoons celebrating Palestinian car attacks against Israeli Jewish civilians.

One of the cartoons posted by UNRWA resorts to classic anti-Semitic imagery, depicting a hook-nosed ultra-Orthodox Jew dressed in black, with a Star of David marked on his black hat:

Another of UNRWA’s images shows cars attacking people, with the caption that translates to “Cars intifada Daes,” using the Ara­bic term “Daes” (Run-over), a play on the Ara­bic word for “Daesh” (ISIS):

In these postings, UNRWA joins the terror-inciting social media campaign that praise the Palestinian car attacks such as the one in Jerusalem on 22 October 2014, which killed 3-month-old baby Chaya Zissel Braun, and 22-year-old Karen Jemima Mosquera of Ecuador, and wounded eight others.

This vile cam­paign prais­es car attacks as a form of “resis­tance,” and incites oth­ers to per­pe­trate sim­i­lar attacks and, as documented by the Anti-Defamation League, fea­tures vio­lent expres­sions of anti-Semitism.

New York Times Flunks Gaza History Course

...Hamas was fully in charge when last year’s Gaza War erupted. Why then not ask Hamas if it could have prevented the war by halting rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza? Would the New York Times, one wonders, run a piece about World War II without mentioning Pearl Harbor? Or without mentioning the German attack on Poland?

Leo Rennert..
Amrican Thinker..
24 August '15..

If you pick up the Aug. 23 edition of the New York Times, you will find on the front page of the foreign-news section a huge color photograph of a devastated Gaza neighborhood atop a lengthy article by correspondents Jodi Rudoren and Majd al Waheidi about last year’s Gaza war and its aftermath.

Start with the caption under the devastation photo, which reads: “Shejalya, a neighborhood of Gaza City, was devastated by Israeli attacks during the conflict last year between Israel and Palestinian militants, and the destroyed home are still uninhabitable.”

Now look at the top headline: “Gaza Is Still in Ruins One Year After War” -- with a subhead that reads “Political Infighting and Lack of Funds Stymie a Reconstruction Mechanism.”

The article runs for 29 paragraphs and spills over to another page with a couple more headlines: “One Year After a 50-Day War, The Gaza Strip is Still in Ruins” and “International donors, fearing new violence, haven’t met pledges.”

The article focuses on the human toll -- with Israel as a chief culprit. A homeowner is trying to rebuild his house -- “one of hundreds flattened by Israeli attacks.”

There’s also a big-picture view across the Gaza Strip where “not a single one of the nearly 18,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged in Gaza is habitable.”

As to why this is so, Rudoren and Waheidi report that rebuilding has been slowed “by Palestinian political infighting, Israel’s involvement in approving projects and participants, and a lack of funds.”

There may be some controversy about how much each of these factors is responsible for Gaza’s continued misery. But with the huge play given to the Rudoren-Waheidi report, there nevertheless still remains a huge causality gap.

What, pray tell, caused last year’s Gaza War? On that point, total silence.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Two Tales of One Gaza

...The situation in Gaza is indeed complex and there are many sources for the problems there. But the media have an obligation to try and show all facets of life lest readers believe that the images they are seeing represent the entire area.

Yarden Frankl..
Honest Reporting..
24 August '15..

One year after the end of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, both the New York Times and the Washington Post published articles describing the current situation in Gaza. While neither account is factually incorrect, it is revealing to see what each paper chose to highlight.

For the New York Times, the main theme of the article is that Palestinians are living in the ruins of houses that were destroyed during the conflict. There is little work, little money, and very little reconstruction. As the headline clearly states:

There is no doubt that with the scale of destruction, the corruption of Hamas, and the continuing need to prevent Hamas from rearming and rebuilding tunnels, there are serious impediments to reconstruction.

But are ALL the people of Gaza still “sitting among the ruins?”

Here is the headline from the Washington Post:

The article describes how Gaza’s small middle class is enjoying what many would call a life of luxury. Sushi bars, day spas, luxury cars, and seaside villas are fixtures of this small segment of the Gaza population. And while the scenes of privileged Palestinians working out in a high-tech gym or dining in a rooftop restaurant should not be interpreted as widespread, the fact that they exist is something worth noting.