Saturday, June 30, 2007

Iran Approves Temporary Gay Marriage

A Cafe Cordover Satire

In a move that sent shockwaves throughout the Muslim world, Iran's Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa that legalized temporary gay marriage. "For the sake of our righteous soldiers who seek to become shahids [martyrs], it is incumbent upon the Islamic Republic to encourage temporary marriage betwixt these brave heroes. Only through such an act of personal bonding can we guarantee that our young ones will fight for one another as well as for the ummah [Islamic community]. Death to America! Death to the Zionist Dogs!"

"This is fantabulous!" shouted Jaffar al-Husayni, a member of the elite Revolutionary Guards, upon hearing the news. "I mean, I would never do it, but I'm so excited for my luscious young comrades! Fighting is so hard, and we--I mean they--need some relief once in awhile. Death to America! Wohooooo! And Death to those fat & ugly Zionist Dogs! I mean, seriously."

Temporary marriage between a man and a woman, known as Mut'a in Arabic, has long been accepted in Shia schools of Islam. A couple agrees to a contract that binds them in marriage for a preset amount of time, with no minimum or maximum marriage time required. Thus, in the Shia view, it allows the couple fulfill their sexual needs without transgressing the rules of the Quran. Most Sunnis, however, condemn the practice of Mut'a as little more than prostitution.

"Those gay Persian bastards!" declared Mohammed Mahdi Akef, head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. "First they whore out their women, and now this?!? What's next? Man-on-camel coitus? Death to the Persians! Death to America! Death to the Zionist dogs!"

Reaction was equally negative in Israel. "This is just a ploy to destroy the Jewish State," commented Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman is also head of the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party and Minister of Strategic Affairs, a portfolio that focuses on the Iranian threat. "It all makes sense. They use this temporary gay marriage to disguise the contraband that they shove up their rectum. One day, one of those terrorists will anally swallow a nuclear suppository, breach our borders, pass gas and KABOOM! Israel cannot stand for this dirty, dirty bomb."

The Iranian fatwa received mixed reactions in the U.S.

"They're going to hell anyway, so what's the difference? Believe in Jesus, and then we'll talk," stated Christian televangelist Pat Robertson.

"I applaud Grand Ayatollah Khamenei for demonstrating that Islam truly is a religion of tolerance," exclaimed Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation [GLAAD]. "My organization is working with Khamenei to promote acceptance of this decree. In fact, as we speak rainbow flags donated by GLAAD are being placed on lightposts throughout the city of Tehran."

Tony Snow, Press Secretary for U.S. President George W. Bush, announced "The President firmly believes that marriage--even if it is only temporary--is between a man and a woman. The U.S. is currently preparing a resolution for the U.N. Security Council to enshrine this principle in international law. If the resolution passes and the Iranians refuse to abide by it, or if the resolution fails, we are prepared to act unilaterally."

When further questioned as to what unilateral action the U.S. might take, Snow replied, "Two words: butt plugs." He would not elaborate.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Thoughts on the foiled London Plot

First off, thank God that the car bombing plot in London failed. And now some thoughts...

There has been some mention of the fact the the cars were filled not only with explosive materials, but also with nails. This is an important point that has not been thoroughly discussed.

Traditional bombs use shockwaves that violently shatter objects and bodies around the blast site. Though traditional bombs are certainly lethal, their effects are felt mainly within the bomb's blast radius, which tend to be quite a limited in area.

The terrorists who planned the car bombings in London, however, were intending not only to kill, but maim as many people as possible. When you introduce nails (or any metal scraps) into a traditional bomb, the effects are felt far outside of the blast radius.

Look at, for example, the M67 hand grenade. The M67 has been in service in the U.S. military since after the Vietnam War to cripple enemy forces it encounters on the battlefield. It is encased in a metal shell that fragments upon explosion. It's effectiveness is not just it's blast radius, which measures approximately 45 feet, but shrapnel that embeds itself into objects and people up to 700 feet away from the blast.

London, however, is no battlefield. The terrorists intended to set off their lethal weapon outside of a nightclub, where scores, if not hundreds, of civilians would be injured or killed. The effects of the nails within the car bomb would have been similar to injuries caused by suicide bombers in Israel. The following is an x-ray of a victim of one such attack where terrorists complimented their explosive vest with nails and other metal objects (as shown on WorldNetDaily):
Even if a victim does not die, he will potentially have the scars of such an attack either visibly or lodged within him forever. Hezbollah (the Lebanese-based Shi'a terrorist organization), during its 2006 war with Israel, packed thousands of ball-bearings within its rockets to cause similar effects.

So once again, thank God this plot failed. But the choice of weapon gives an insight into the depravity of its would-be perpetrators.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On Bolstering Abbas

In a historic meeting between the leaders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and Egypt, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has promised to transfer $35o million to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He also promised to release 250 Palestinian prisoners as a show of good faith. This announcement comes shortly after the United States and the European Union decided to lift the economic embargo against the Palestinian Authority, a result of Abbas sacking the Hamas government.

King Abdullah of Jordan and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak voiced their support for Abbas. The Quartet of Middle East Mediators (the U.S., U.N., E.U., and Russia) met today in Jerusalem, suggesting that they believe Israel can work with Abbas as a partner for peace. The Quartet has not quashed rumors that outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be its new envoy, further suggesting the group sees new momemtum for a peace process.

So is all of this faith that the international community (including Israel) has in Abbas misplaced? In previous posts (From the Horse's Mouth, They're Wrong) I have written how Abbas and his Fatah party are just as bad, if not worse, than Hamas because Abbas says all the right things but has no power or will to implement hard decisions. He gives hope to the Israelis, Palestinians, and international community yet always disappoints, leading to dispair and worse violence.

But shouldn't Israel and the international community at least try to work towards a peace settlement with Abbas, the "voice of moderation?" My mind and my gut says absolutely not, but the remnants of my bleeding heart liberalism past says perhaps. However, there must be strict monitering of any money, weapons, or prisoners released to Abbas & Fatah. Furthermore, Abbas & Fatah must meet certain benchmarks in order to show that they are truly partners. These include:

  • Disbanding and disarming all non-state militias, including Fatah-related militias such as the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Tanzim.
  • Creating and enforcing a zero tolerance policy for crime and corruption.
  • Ending all media incitement against Israel.
Once Abbas takes these steps, he will have proven that he is willing to make and implement difficult decisions. Only then can Israel and the international community take any further actions to bolster Abbas and work toward peace and a Palestinian state. If Abbas fails to take these steps, which he likely will, then Israel and all those who desire for peace must look for a different path.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Journalists- Accessories to War Crimes?

For quite some time, certain media outlets have formed an understanding with perpetrators of horrific acts of violence. For example, about a year after 9/11, al-Jazeera received a tape from Osama bin Laden which praised the murder of thousands of innocents, and yet the Qatar-based network did not disclose where it received the tape. Such disclosure could have lead to actionable intelligence, and to the possible capture of the head of al-Qaeida. Yet al-Jazeera hid under the cloak of "protecting its sources."

So could it be possible that a reporter for an American news outlet would similarly protect evil in order to "get the scoop?" The answer, apparently, is yes. Aparisim "Bobby" Ghosh, a reporter for TIME Magazine, writes in an article that insurgents have told him how they have developed new tactics for countering the U.S. surge. Ghosh explains that:

At least one Sunni group has adapted its "martyrdom operations" to eliminate the risk to its own fighters. The Al-Qaeda-linked Ayesha Brigade plants bombs in cars owned by Shi'ites and, when the unwitting owners drive them into a crowded area, detonate them by remote control.

Ghosh then goes on to say:

The videotape of one such operation,bearing the date stamp March 26, was showed to TIME by an insurgent who said he had participated in at least six such operations. (We were not allowed to make a copy since the video had not been edited and the faces of several of the Ayesha Brigade fighters were clearly visible.)
Ghosh also talks about two other insurgent commanders that he spoke with for the article. He has obviously earned their trust. And the only way he could have earned that trust is by not "squealing" on the insurgents. Does TIME, or any other news organization, find it morally acceptable to have the confidence of terrorists and war criminals?

Killing an innocent Iraqi for political purposes is clearly an act of terrorism, and using that innocent Iraqi in a war zone to kill others is clearly a war crime. When TIME protects the identities of the perpetrators of such acts, it has the dubious distinction of becoming an accessory to evil.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

If Hamas Wants a Voice...

Daniel GP wrote in a comment to a recent post:

Pres. Bush praises Abu Mazen [a.k.a. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] as a "voice that is a reasonable voice amongst the extremists". But what's the use of a voice in Gaza these days? We need to see results. A Fatah-led government unable or unwilling to stop Palestinian terrorism brings us no closer to peace than does a terrorist Hamas government.
Hamas must now take steps to ensure that it's voice is considered legitimate in the international community and to bring about a better situation for the Palestinians of Gaza. The immediate actions it must take is to enforce order in Gaza, release BBC reporter Alan Johnston, cease all rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and release Israeli Defense Force ("IDF") Cpl. Gilad Shalit.


Hamas has already taken a step in the imposition of order in the Gaza Strip by beginning to collect unauthorized weapons. Though after Abbas became the leader of the Palestinian Authority he had promised to maintain "one law, one authority, one gun," he consistently failed to implement that policy. He had not wanted to use force against Palestinians, nor did he want to provoke a civil war. His inaction led exactly to the scenario that he had feared, and thus Hamas is now in charge of Gaza. And Hamas has no qualms about using force to compel compliance with its decisions.

Gaza has been a cesspool of chaos and violence ever since former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally pull the Israeli Defense Forces out of the territory. The Palestinians want rule of law, and Hamas can and will enforce order. Once the chaos has ended, the Palestinians of Gaza can speak to the international community in one voice.

Alan Johnston

BBC reporter Alan Johnston was abducted from the Gaza Strip on March 12, 2007. Many foreign journalists had been kidnapped from Gaza in the past, though they were usually returned within a few days. At this point, Johnston has been in captivity for over 100 days, the most time of any of the kidnap victims.

Johnston's abduction has caused the largest international outcry amongst governments and journalists against the Palestinians. Sure, Israelis have been kidnapped, wounded, and brutally murdered, but the international community has taken issue with this incident.

Since conquering Gaza, Hamas has said that it is working to release Johnston. If it succeeds and Johnston is returned alive and unharmed, Hamas will be sending a signal to the world that it respects at least some principles of international behavior.

Stopping the Rockets

Since Israel pulled out of Gaza, Palestinian terrorist groups (including Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad) have increasingly used Qassam rockets to shell nearby Israeli towns. This has continued under the new Hamas regime. If Hamas wants to avert a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip, it will need Israel's cooperation to bring in food, water, and electricity. And to ensure this cooperation, Hamas must end all Qassam attacks.

Gilad Shalit

On June 25, 2006, several terrorist groups (including Hamas) broke through the border between Israel and Gaza, killed several Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Hamas has not allowed the International Red Cross to visit Shalit, nor has it given any sign of life. The group maintains, however, that Shalit is alive and well.

Almost all Jewish Israelis are required to serve in the IDF. Thus Israelis quite literally view IDF soldiers as their fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. They are appalled and distressed when any IDF soldier is kidnapped. The capture of Shalit is an especially emotional issue in their conflict with the Palestinians.

The unilateral release of Shalit will instantly change Israelis' view of Hamas. It will prompt an easing of tensions between the two sides, alleviate the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, and spur a new hope that peace can be achieved with the Islamist group.

If Hamas releases Shalit, as well as restores order, releases Alan Johnston, and halts rocket fire, Hamas will show that it is an organization that can be dealt with. It will be a voice that Israel and the international community will not only be willing, but excited, to listen to.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Gefilte Fish Violence

Here's a piece I wrote about a year ago, when violence was raging in the Muslim world over remarks made by the Pope which were viewed as insulting to Islam. Surprisingly, the recent British knighthood of Salman Rushdie has not seen the same reaction, though just you wait. Anyway, enjoy:

Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson Again Sparks Controversy
Comments on gefilte fish lead to another round of religious violence

By Adam B. Cordover

Pat Robertson has done it again. Robertson, the anchor of the internationally syndicated Christian program “The 700 Club,” created a firestorm with his latest tirade on a religious symbol.

“Have you ever tasted gefilte fish?” the preacher quipped. “I swear, it’s like the devil dumped the waste of Hades on your taste buds.”

According to the Orthodox Union, the leading organization in Kosher designation, gefilte fish generally is whitefish deboned, chopped, and formed into a fish loaf or ball. Esteemed as a symbol of fertility and fruitfulness, the gefilte fish has adorned the tables of Jewish households throughout the centuries.

As has been the routine in recent times, the comments stirred the Jewish community around the world into a violent frenzy. Jews in Jerusalem were seen spitting on Western tourists. In London, members of the faith gathered in front of Buckingham Palace and burned crosses. And in what might be the most gruesome protest of them all, Jews in New York gathered in Times Square and lynched a pig while chanting “Death to the Potbelly! Gefilte Forever!”

Tony Snow, press secretary for U.S. President George W. Bush, distanced the president from Robertson’s comments. “The president has repeatedly stated that he believes Judaism is a religion of good food. He has eaten gefilte fish on many occasions with his Jewish friends, and each time he has been satisfied. Though Mr. Robertson is entitled to his own opinion, his statements in no way reflect the dietary tastes of the president.”

Elsewhere, Robertson’s comments have received praise. “Gefilte fish is a vile example of the primitive Jewish nature,” opined Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. “Reverend Robertson simply stated the obvious. The Jews have a grotesque sense of taste, and their refusal to accept this statement of fact shows how barbaric these people can be. In order to show Venezuelan solidarity with the gefilte-hating population of America, we will send subsidized bags of pork rinds to the inner cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Maybe this will help rid your country of the scourge of that dastardly Jewish fish.”

Reaction from American Jewish leaders has been mixed. Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, condemned both Robertson’s comments and the Jewish violent response. “Robertson is a hate-monger and should not have defamed the great gefilte fish, a food with a proud tradition on our holiday dinner tables. But I also reject the lynching of that poor pig. I call on my co-religionists to protest in peace and allow the swine among us to graze with a sense of security.”

Other Jewish leaders have not had such a balanced response. “When you defame the gefilte fish, you defame the very core of the Jewish soul,” proclaimed Shelley Rubin, head of the militant Jewish Defense League. “It is time for Jews worldwide to take up arms in the name of the Prophet Moses and the superior cuisine he represents. Death to the Potbelly! Gefilte Forever!”

Pat Robertson could not be reached for further explanation. His comments come on the heals of successive waves of Jewish violence in reaction to various leaders’ disparagement of Jewish foods, including French President Jacques Chirac’s 2003 criticism of kugal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s jokes about bagels and lox in the fall of 2005, and Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s fatwa against matzah balls in February of this year.

The author is a law student at American University’s (AU) Washington College of Law and is also pursuing a masters in international affairs at AU’s School of International Service. He personally hates gefilte fish.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You've Never Seen an M-16 Quite Like this

By the way, make sure to get the July issue of Maxim Magazine. According to a New York Times Article, Maxim is having a cover shoot of the brave and beautiful women of the Israeli Army. Thanks to Marcy for the tip.

(Updated 6/21/07) Click here for a preview.

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From the Horse's Mouth: They're Terrorists

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has finally come to the obvious conclusion: Hamas is a terrorist organization. Specifically, he said that members of this Palestinian Islamist party are "murderous terrorists." This should not be a radical statement, considering that (according to the Council on Foreign Relations) the group has killed over 500 people since 1993 using tactics including short-range rockets, small arms fire, and suicide bombings. Many, if not most, of the victims were innocent civilians. But it took the humiliation of Abbas' Fatah party in Gaza for him to finally see the light.

But, as I wrote in a previous posting, Abbas' party is no better. In fact, it may even be worse. With governments all over the world committed to Abbas' "moderate ideology," they continue to overlook the fact that Fatah does not have the discipline to commit its members, let alone non-Fatah Palestinians, to any peace settlement. Simply put, any agreement signed by Abbas wouldn't be worth the paper it's written on. And it is exactly this faux-agreement the global powers are pushing for.

It's no coincidence that Fatah was completely overpowered in the Gaza Strip. Even though Fatah had more gunmen, firepower, and Western-backing, Hamas had cohesion. They had the organization and common goals to forge ahead. This is why Hamas will eventually be the ruling power in all of the Palestinian territories.

Yes, Hamas is a terrorist group. And yes, Hamas (at least some parts) is committed to Israel's destruction. But they will see in their governance of Gaza that they have to deal with Israel, or else their "constituents" will die. They will have no food, water, or electricity, unless at least some coordination is made with the Jewish State. This may lead the way to future understandings, and possibly to a future peace deal, which they would have the power to enforce.

Richard Nixon opened relations with China. Menachem Begin signed an accord with Egypt. Hamas could be the key to peace with the Palestinians.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Mickey Mouse, This Is Not

I'm currently working on a project to survey my classmates' views on the Arab-Israeli conflict. As it turns out (and not unexpectedly at my school), the majority of my class sympathizes with the Palestinians (more on this in a future posting). As part of the project, my partner and I have to submit a Power Point presentation to the professor. One student suggested that I use the following cartoon to represent my classmates' views on Israel:Upon seeing this I had a visceral, nauseous reaction. Though it may very well represent how students in my international affairs program view Israel and its relationship with the United States, I couldn't in good faith publish it without noting both my disgust at the picture and the mental & historical images it represents. I understand (though don't condone) that many people view Israel only as oppressors of Palestinians, but this cartoon is reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Especially to Jews, it strikes at the center of the soul, portraying Israelis as vicious killers darkly lurking to attack its next victim. The U.S. is seemingly on top of the weapon yet unable to stop its crushing effects due to Jewish control of the vehicle.

What do you think?

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

They're Wrong-A Different View of Hamas' Conquest of the Gaza Strip

For an overview of recent events in the Gaza strip, click here.

Most analysis (i.e. this one from the Jerusalem Post) on Hamas' recent conquest of the Gaza Strip has focussed on the fact that, since Palestinian Authority ("PA") President Mahmoud Abbas sacked the Hamas government, international aid will once again flow to the PA. This will strengthen the moderate tendencies of Abbas and his Fatah party, the thinking goes, and eventually lead to a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank. There will be glaring differences between the situations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians in Gaza, under the harsh rule of Hamas and its thugs and starved of international aid and sympathy, will overthrow the "Islamic Resistance Movement" and reunite with their West Bank brethren, coming under the umbrella of the peace settlement.

This analysis has several faulty assumptions. Number one is that Fatah is a moderate party. Yes, the party may be secular rather than fundamental Islamist, but via its militias Fatah has committed heinous crimes and terrorist acts against Israel. One of those militias is the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, between 2002-2005 they have been responsible for terrorist attacks resulting in the death of at least 77 Israelis and countless wounded. Their tactics include shooting sprees, sniper attacks, and suicide bombings. The Brigade has often utilized teenagers and women to perpetrate these attacks. More recently (a week ago), the Brigade broke through the barrier between Gaza and Israel in a TV truck in an attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

The second faulty assumption is that Abbas has any control over what happens on the ground in the West Bank. Ever since Abbas came to power in 2005, all of the Palestinian territories have descended into complete chaos and all of the promises & attempts to bring the PA under "one gun" have failed. There is nothing to suggest that this situation will change any time soon, or that members of his own party will abide by any agreement Abbas makes with Israel.

The third misconception is that Palestinians will rebel against Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. Hamas will be able to impose something that has been desperately lacking: order. The group has already taken a step that both Abbas and Yasser Arafat were afraid to; they have started confiscating illegal guns. Unfortunately for Israel, Hamas' concept of "illegal" guns are any guns not used to attack the Jewish State. Nonetheless, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will welcome a new sense of safety and those that do not will lack the weapons to take a stand. In addition, Hamas will continue to get funds for social services from Iran, and the European Union--which has been divided on the economic blockade against Hamas from the beginning--will likely resume aid to the Gaza Strip in the near future.

The difference between the situations in the West Bank & Gaza Strip will indeed be glaring, but not in the way that most analysts currently contend. The West Bank will continue to be chaotic with roaming gangs of gunmen, while the Gaza Strip will be relatively quiet and peaceful. Consequently, Hamas will gain popularity in the West Bank and lead a similar coup in that territory.

The question is whether Israel will be able to take advantage of this scenario. But that is for another posting...

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Primer on the Arab/Israeli Conflict- Timeline

-1915-16- Sykes Picot Agreement
-1917- Balfour Declaration
-1921- Arab riots
-1929- Arab riots
-1936-1939- Arab Revolt
-1947- Arab riots
-1948- Israel's War of Independence (Israel vs Palestinians militias and armies from modern day Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebenon, Saudi Arabia, & Yemen).
-1956- Suez Campaign
-1964- Palestinian Liberation Organization ("PLO") formed
-1967- Six Day War (Israel defeats Egypt, Jordan, & Syria, conquering territory from each of the Arab states and reclaiming East Jerusalem and the Western Wall).

-1973- Yom Kippur War (Egypt & Syria along with allies launch surprise attack on Jewish Day of Atonement. Israel eventually fended back the attack and a ceasefire was negotiated when the Israelis had pushed their army close to the capitals of the Arab states.)
-1979- Peace signed between Israel & Egypt.
-1981- Israel destroys Iraqi nuclear reactor.
-1982- Lebanon War (Israel attacks southern Lebanon in response to PLO cross-border raids from the area. Israel eventually occupies the area as a security buffer.).
-1987-90- First Palestinian Intifada (uprising).
-1991- Persian Gulf War (Palestinians support Saddam Hussein, lose support from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other Arab players).
-1993- Oslo Accords signed between Israel & Palestinians.
-1995- Yitzhak Rabin assassinated by Jewish extremist (Shimon Peres takes his place).
-1996- Benyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu from center-right Likud elected P.M. of Israel.
-1999- Ehud Barak from center-left Labor elected P.M. of Israel.
-2000- Camp David Summit (Yasser Arafat rejects Clinton final status proposals).
-2000- Beginning of Second Palestinian Intifada (starts wide-spread use of suicide bombs).
-2001- Ariel Sharon of Likud elected P.M. of Israel.
-2004- Arafat dies (replaced by Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a. Abu Mazen, as Chairman of the Palestinian Authority).
-2005- Disengagement (Israel pulls settlers and its military out of the Gaza strip).
-2005- Ariel Sharon forms centrist Kadima party.
-2005- Ariel Sharon becomes incapacitated due to a stroke (replaced by Ehud Olmert).
-2006- Ismail Haniyah of Islamist terrorist group Hamas elected Prime Minister of Palestinian Authority.
-2006- Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit kidnapped by Hamas, Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser & Eldad Regev kidnapped by Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah.
-2006- Second Lebanon War (Israel fights Hezbollah. Hezbollah wins media war, actual fighting comes to a draw when U.N. called a ceasefire.).
-2007- Hamas & secular Fatah (Abu Mazen's party) form unity government after factional fighting.
-2007- Hamas conquers Gaza, humiliating Fatah. Abu Mazen fires Ismail Haniyah and appoints independent Salam Fayad (an internationally respected technocrat, former World Bank official) as P.M. of the Palestinian Authority.

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Primer on the Arab/Israeli Conflict

Modern day Israel became the focus of national aspirations for both Jews and Arabs. Jews had maintained a presence in the area for several millennia, including after the fall of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.1 At least some of the Arab Palestinians are believed to be descendants of the ancient Canaanite and Philistines, the earlier of which entered the land around 3000 B.C.E.2

As pogroms--or anti-Jewish riots--hit the communities of Eastern Europe in the late 1800's, Jews began immigrating to the area, then under Ottoman rule.3 Shortly thereafter, following a show trial convicting a Jew of espionage (which later would be overturned) in Paris and subsequent anti-Semitic outbursts, Theodore Herzl, known as the founder of modern Zionism, wrote a book called The Jewish State.4 His book advocated a home in Palestine where the Jews could be autonomous in their own state.

More Jews began immigrating to the land in hope of turning Herzl’s dream into a reality. As World War I broke out, the Allied Powers wanted both Jewish and Arab support in order to defeat the Ottoman Empire and its allies. The British in the Balfour Declaration promised the Jews a homeland in Palestine5 and the British and French in the Sykes-Picot Agreement concluded that there would be an Arab state6.

The Allied Power victory in the war brought about the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, and in 1924 the British gained oversight of Palestine in what was known as the British Mandate.7 As Arab countries were gaining independence all around them, and the Jewish population growing, the Arabs of Palestine began to demand their own state with a distinct Arab Palestinian identity.8

Update 4/28/09
I am now an attorney at Richard J. Mockler, P.A. Visit us on the web at


1 Adam Garfinkle, Politics and Society in Modern Israel 25 (2d ed., M.E. Sharpe, Inc. 2000).

2 Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 69 (Ind. Univ. Press 1994).

3 Garfinkle at 35.

4 Id. at 38-39.

5 Arthur James Balfour, The Balfour Declaration (Nov. 2, 1917) reprinted in The Israel-Arab Reader 16 (Walter Laqueur & Barry Rubin eds., 5th rev. & upd. ed., Penguin Group 1995).

6 Sir Mark Sykes & Charles Georges-Picot, The Sykes-Picot Agreement (May 15-16, 1916) reprinted in The Israel-Arab Reader 11.

7 Garfinkle at 46.

8 Baruch Kimmerling & Joel S. Migdal, Palestinians: The Making of a People 53 (The Free Press 1994).

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