More Gaza pullout controversies; Hebron settler says Sharon's the real terrorist; Bin Laden to Iraq?!

It's really only a few days until the pullout (and hell, I'm going to court on Wednesday, too) so the next few days will surely be interesting. Finance Minister Netanyahu ditched out of Sharon's cabinet, pandering to the nasty rightwing of the Likud, as he's a disturbing racist who wants to gain a great many West Bank settlements, as he's proven.

An Israeli website posted an article claiming that Israeli Arabs killed the Shfaram bus shooter, Eden Natan-Zada, after he had been handcuffed by the Israeli police, but now the Arab community wishes to conceal an impromptu mob killing. The evidence for this is apparently that Natan-Zada was handcuffed, as photos seem to indicate.

[Hadash MK Muhammad] Barakeh claimed that the soldier was hit to prevent him from killing more people and denied that he was murdered after being handcuffed. "We're speaking about self-defense. The man tried to exchange his ammunition cartridge and these were the seconds given to overpower him. People tried to neutralize him. That's it."

However, Shfaram's security officer, Jamal Aliam, told Army Radio that Zada had been attacked by dozens after he had been handcuffed and subdued by police. Photographs from the scene show the body of Natan-Zada with his hand manacled. Unless he was handcuffed after death, he could have posed no threat. The photographic evidence indicates that Barakeh was lying and demands further investigation.

Channel Two screened still photos of Natan-Zada on the bus with his hands manacled and bound by his shirt, still alive, and then several minutes later, dead, after "dozens" of local Arabs overwhelmed the few policemen on the bus assaulted the defenseless prisoners with blows and objects.

This would be the perspective from 'israelinsider,' which we could more accurately term 'israelinciter' based on the inflammatory ramblings of their far right opinion section. For example, the spokesman of the hardcore Hebron settlement has a regular slot, and he claims that Sharon is the real terrorist for trying to pull out:

Such an act [the bus shooting] definitely cannot be condoned. Shooting people is not a solution to the problems faced by Israeli society, whether they be the conflicts between Israelis and Israelis, or the conflict between Jews and Arabs, between Israel and the Arabs. In fact, despite the fact that thousands of Israelis are legally armed, (including most residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza), the number of Jews who have taken the law into their own hands is miniscule. And this, despite the thousands of Jews attacked, wounded, maimed and murdered by Arabs, year after year.


These events -- Natan-Zada, Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron [withdrawals], Cytrin, and other such atrocities -- are all symptoms of the sickness which has invaded our collective body, and is eating at us from the inside. Eden Natan-Zada was not a terrorist -- he was a victim of real terror -- terror initiated by Ariel Sharon and his cronies. They are responsible for the last week's attack -- they are the essence of the cancer destroying the State of Israel. They are the real terrorists.

Of course, as a leading settler he knows full well that the settler movement has been taking the law into its own hands, employing direct violence to steal chunks of land such as downtown Hebron at a regular pace. (a couple maps)

On a very opposing view, Haaretz editorializes harshly against the settlers whose radical ideologies gave rise to the bus shooter:

All these "rotten apples," whom their rabbis and leaders call "quality youth," were brought up on extreme national religious fundamentalism, which, with the support of the state, honed the Torah of Israel into an evil and vengeful sword. The attempt to describe the murderer as "newly religious," and therefore lacking understanding, reflects more than anything else the racist arrogance of the rabbis. All who are familiar with their sermons, their one- dimensional interpretation of halakha, cannot help but be infuriated by this ugly position.

For more than 30 years now, the incitement of the Yesha rabbis has been frothing from the weekly Torah portion commentaries distributed in synagogues, from public classes, yeshiva high schools and hesder yeshivas (whose students combine Torah study with army service) and in bar mitzvah and wedding sermons. They, who turned the zealous biblical murderer Phineas into a cultural hero, turned the removal and destruction of the people of conquered Canaan into a paragon and the construction of the Temple into the sanctification of the divine name in our time, cannot now wash their hands.

The hatred of Arabs and their identification with the biblical arch-enemy Amalek, the aspiration to expel them "voluntarily" from the land that is sacred to the Jews, or even to destroy them, is regularly coded in their sermons and writings. The preachers are not marginal or lunatic; they are the pillars of the settlement communities, conducting an ostensibly restrained dialogue with the police and the army that is full of the "love of Israel," as if they themselves had not led the incited masses to a violent clash. The murder in Shfaram made clear, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the final line has been crossed.

The government of Israel must now start applying the law to those who have mocked it for so many years. Kach and Kahane Hai, the settlement of Tapuah and other dangerous centers are not negotiating partners; they, their rabbis and the outer circles that nourish them must be dealt with with a strong hand.

Theres another rightwing israelinsider bit about how Britain will erode because of the Muslim fifth column, and of course currents of antisemitism cause the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be portrayed Totally Wrong in the UK. Sharon intends to lock up Jewish extremists without trial in 'administrative detentions.'

On the flip side, Electronic Intifada's Hasan Abu Nimah suggests that the whole truce is just a tool for the Israelis to legitimize further annexation/colonization plans.

Israel never wanted to be a party to any discussion leading to a truce that would tie its hands. It considered the matter a purely internal Palestinian affair, because the media had already saturated the airwaves with the notion that any violence was solely the responsibility of the Palestinians. A truce, therefore, was only required from them. The Israelis also wanted the truce to delegitimize any Palestinian opposition, not only to the deepening occupation, but also to any Israeli plans for further expansion and colonisation. The truce, which Israel never recognized and never promised to observe -- a promise which it strictly kept -- was needed to give it the time to complete its plans of annexation, the creation of new facts on the ground, and the consolidation of its war gains. In simple terms, the truce gave Israel freedom of action at no cost, and certainly at no risk.

[.....]The truce was bound to collapse sooner or later, although all efforts will now be made to save it, first because it was meant to hide the problem rather than resolve it, and second because it was superimposed on top of a minefield of atrocities, aggression and injustice. None of those powers who struggled for the truce did one meaningful thing to make it into what it should be, the prerequisite for political discussions to end the Israeli occupation in its entirety, not just the bits Israel has grown tired of.

The Presbyterian Church intends to pressure some major US corporations into ceasing their work profiting from supporting the Israeli military and the myriad processes of the occupation. (Haaretz on it)

The companies include ITT Industries and United Technologies, which supply communication equipment and helicopters to the Israeli military; Caterpillar, whose equipment is used in Palestinian home demolition and the building of settlements; and Motorola, which provides military wireless communications and invests in Israeli cellphone firms, which are alleged to be sidestepping license requirements and undermining Palestinian businesses.

Back to the weirder segment of Israeli news sources, the mysterious people at Debkafile believe that al Qaeda will sweep into the Sinai and Gaza after the withdrawal, setting the stage for a Grand Confrontation:

In the article in the opposite column, DEBKA-Net-Weekly and DEBKAfile’s terrorism experts offer new information on how al Qaeda is getting organized for action in the Middle East. The world Islamist organization is now active not only in Sinai south of Israel, but also in Jordan across from the Jewish state’s heartland, in the north in the Levant and among the Palestinians who live cheek to jowl with Israelis.

Israeli officials are so busy second-guessing Hamas and trying to decide whether the radical Muslim group will shoot or hold its fire during the pull-backs that no one thinks of asking what will happen after it is over, when Al Qaeda’s bombers move over from Iraq – and from Sinai - to join forces with the Hamas and likeminded Palestinian terror groups sworn to destroy Israel - the Jihad Islami, and the radical Palestinian fronts.

[.....]Now, in July 2005, DEBKAfile’s counter-terror analysts believe that, as soon as the last Israeli leaves the Gaza Strip towards the end of the year, and the northern West Bank in early 2006, al Qaeda’s networks will move in.

Also interesting from DEBKA: "How Much Will Sharon Fork out for a Favorable Security Council Resolution?" and "Al Qaeda's Appearance in Gaza is a Dangerous New Terrorist Manifestation." I am inclined to see this as a lot of hot air. You have to take DEBKA with a grain of salt, to be sure, such as this exciting report that "Osama bin Laden Looks Like Heading for Iraq."

Ok, a couple more things from israelinsider: Aaron Lerner describes how disengagement is so very bad. Some settler rabbi from Cleveland articulates a (metaphorical) conspiracy theory about how the Yesha Council is a puppet of the Israeli government. Crazy, as well as this odd remark from some Golan Heights mom regarding the bus shooter:

Could it also be that the highly politicized General Security Services was, once again, up to their shenanigans, and their plans either succeeded or backfired (one never really knows)?

A Gaza settler teacher/spokeswoman calls for more to join her for the Gush Katif showdown:

To my fellow Jews? Move, move towards Gush Katif. Do not let Gush Katif fall. Do not throw in the towel. If your leaders let Gush Katif fall, Yehuda and Shomron [West Bank settlements] will fall. All of Israel will fall. We need you by the thousands. Get here.

And of course "Orange Orit" says this is really another Pogrom:

I wonder what kind of peace can transpire from such cruelty and insensitivity. The expulsion is almost worse than your standard Jewish pogrom because in this case the expulsion is being carried out by people who are purported to love you, to take care of you, to protect you. Only a cynical, hateful, merciless world -- Jewish and non -- can watch and sanction such a subtle, sly yet deadening horror.

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