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Friday, 29 June 2007

Could You Pass 8th Grade Science?

After checking out a website that rated my blog in a similar way to ratings advisories on movies I came across this little self test.
Its a test to see if you would pass a 8th grade science test.
I was fairly good at science at school so I hoped I would pass it.

Science Quiz

Yay! I happen to have got 100% which I'm sure is pretty good if I was in the eigth grade....
Some of the questions were quite curly and certainly made me think 8th graders must be somewhat more advanced at science than in my day when we used stone tablets as writing boards.
Anyway theres a few interesting quizzes check them out below

How Addicted To Blogging Are You?

Are you one of those people that tries to convince everyone around you to read your blog? Do you dream of RSS? I highly suggest you take this quiz, it could save your life.

Take the Blog Addiction Quiz Now
What's My Blog Rated? Find Out Your Film Rating

Rated G? PG-13? Dare I say ... R? Find out what your blog is rated with our handy tool - works for blogs, websites, myspace profiles, and most websites.

Find My Film Rating
The Cadaver Calculator - How Much is Your Body Worth?

So you died (it's okay, it happens). This survey will tell you approximately how much your body would sell for.

Start the Cadaver Calculator
The Blogger Spelling Test - Find Out What Words You May Be Misspelling

I found a list of the top ten most misspelled words in blogs and created a test that'll allow you to see whether you're guilty of making these common mistakes.

Take the Blogger Spelling Test
What Are Your Chances of Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse?

The apocalypse has begun, the dead are walking the earth, and you're knee-deep in zombies. What are your chances of survival?

Start the Zombie Quiz Now
How Many CSS Properties Can You Name in 7 Minutes?

If you thought the HTML elements quiz was a challenge, try our CSS properties quiz to test your knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets

Start the Quiz Now
Could You Pass 8th Grade Science?

Think you know a thing or two about science? Take our short quiz to determine if you'd pass an 8th grade science test.

Take the Science Quiz Now

How Addicted to Coffee Are You?

Do you enjoy the occasional mocha or do you dive head first into a pot of drip every single morning? Find out just how dependent you are on getting that daily fix.

Take the Coffee Quiz Now
The Geek Quiz

Ever lose your car keys and wish life had ctrl+f? Have you trained your parakeet to whistle songs from the Ocarina of Time? You could be a geek: take our 2 minute quiz to determine how much geek is coursing through your veins!

Take the Geek Quiz Now


What's My Blog Rated?

I came across this little exercise in futility at a friend's blog.
I guessed considering I talk a lot about Terrorism and the results of it, my blog might come in with a fairly high ranking. I'm always careful not to have too Adult content on my blog with out providing a clear warning first. But if you check out the criteria words the judgment was made on well its no surprise.

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • murder (8x)
  • suicide (6x)
  • death (4x)
  • dead (1x)
  • This Blog is Rated

    Oh dear Mr Bagel!

    I don't think I've ever sworn on this blog, or said the word s_x on this blog, I certainly don't display anything pornographic, if I'm to believe this R rating then a web site dealing with bereavement must be triple XXX rated. Oh well back to regular programing...


    NYC Rally for the release of the 3
    Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers
    - How to get there -

    The Rally on July 16th to help free the 3 Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers will be held in close proximity to the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

    The entrance to the rally will be at 47th Street; the site of the rally can be entered from Third Avenue or from First Avenue through Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza.

    Choose from the list below on how you'll be getting to the rally from within New York City:

    • 1. New York City Public Transportation
    • 2. Grand Central Station (Metro North)
    • 3. Penn Station (Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak)
    • 4. LaGuardia, Kennedy or Newark Airports
    • 5. Links to Public Transportation/Airport Web Sites

    To see the list of ways to get there click the read more tag.


    By Subway

    • 4, 5, 7, or S (Shuttle) train to Grand Central Station (42nd Street)

    • 6 train to either Grand Central Station (42nd Street) or to 51st Street station
    • E or F train to Lexington Avenue station (53rd Street). Walk 6 blocks south to 47th Street; then 1 block east to 3rd Avenue.
      Please note that if you are traveling on the Southbound 6 train, the 51st station is wheelchair accessible. Call 1-800-734-6772 to assure the availability of elevators and escalators in that location on that day.

    By Bus:

    • M15 or M27 bus to 47th Street & First Avenue
    • Eastbound M42 or M104 bus to 42nd Street & Third Avenue or First Avenue


    From Grand Central Station walk east to the entrance on 47th Street. The walk should be less than 10 minutes.

    FROM PENN STATION (Long Island Railroad, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit):

    Queensbound E train to Lexington Avenue station (53rd Street).


    • S (Shuttle) train or number 7 train to Grand Central Station. Follow directions from Grand Central Station.

    • Eastbound M42 or M104 bus to 42nd Street & Third Avenue or First Avenue


    For information on getting into Manhattan from New York-area airports, click on the links below (NOTE: links will open in a new window):

    • LaGuardia Airport
    • Kennedy Airport
    • Newark Airport

    To Manhattan from New York-area airports via public transportation:

    From LaGuardia Airport:

    • Take the M60 bus to Second Avenue and 125th Street, then transfer to the Southbound M15, which runs down Second Avenue to 47th Street, or,
    • Take the M60 bus to Lexington Avenue and 125th Street, then take the Southbound 4,5 (express) or 6 (local) train to Grand Central Station (42nd Street).

    From Kennedy Airport:

    • Take the Manhattan bound A train to 42nd Street, then transfer to the 7 train to Grand Central Station (42nd Street).

    From Newark Airport:

    • After your arrival at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, take the Eastbound M42 or M104 bus across 42nd Street to Second Avenue.

    PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION/AIRPORT WEB SITES(NOTE: links will open in a new window):

    Long Island Rail Road (LIRR): www.lirr.org/lirr/index.html
    New Jersey Transit: www.njtransit.com
    Metro North: www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mnr/index.html
    New York City Transit: www.mta.nyc.ny.us/nyct/index.html or call 718-330-1234
    LaGuardia Airport:
    JFK Airport: www.panynj.gov/aviation/jfkframe.HTM
    Newark Airport: www.panynj.gov/aviation/ewrframe.HTM

    Directions From Outside New York City:

    Local Federations throughout North America may be sending delegations to the Rally. Please contact the Federation coordinator at your local Federation through JewishFinder

    If you would like to take public transportation there are a number of options for travel to New York City. Please visit these websites or contact the ticket agents for times and tickets

    This guide was provided to assist people going to the rally, please use your own investigations on how to get there. The guide was derived from a previous UJC guide.


    The Whole World Is Watching
    Have you say!

    By Thomas L. Friedman
    Thomas Friedman from the New York Times writes an Op-ed today about the revolution that is happening under our feet with information. He puts forward that Blogs and the access to information is both providing a level of transparency never seen before, but paradoxically also possibly condemning young people on the very choices they make early in their life. It's a good article.
    It's by suscription, but Mr Bagel Chatter has just posted the article to review.

    Read it here, The Whole World Is Watching and make sure you have your say![END]

    - Nonsensical text added to the end of the article to ensure that the rating system on some aggregators doesn't disadvantage posts which appear short but are otherwise. Such as Videos posted, or time consuming cartoons which have been done by Mr Bagel, altered photos by Mr Bagel which can take up to a day to do, or simply referrals to other articles. By having this text here it is hoped articles which are below a minimum word count will skip punitive ratings set up trying to encourage those who may be submitting partial feeds rather than the full feed. Ironically by doing this, those blogs which actually do submit their full posts incur penalties when they write smaller posts or important News punch lines or short referral posts. -


    Thursday, 28 June 2007

    U.S. Muslims face isolation, radical threat: study

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Muslim Americans must meld into U.S. society before suspicion and mistrust lingering since the attacks on New York and Washington isolates them and sparks radicalism in their ranks, a study said on Tuesday.

    "There is an urgent national need for Muslims and non-Muslims to work together to create full and equal opportunities for civic and political participation of Muslim Americans," the report said.

    For the first time since World War Two when the U.S. government rounded up and interred Japanese, many are questioning the loyalty "of a largely unfamiliar and largely immigrant American community," said the report written by a task force of 32 individuals from business, government and academia.

    Six years after the September 11 attacks focused attention on them, Muslim Americans remain "largely outside the U.S. mainstream," the report said, even though they are an often well-educated and diverse group with the potential to make important contributions to civic life.

    "The Muslim American community lacks strong institutions and recognizable public or political voices to gain regular access to government and media circles," the report's executive summary said.

    "Some existing Muslim American institutions have avoided foreign policy issues for fear of drawing unfavorable scrutiny," it added.

    While independent studies found little evidence of widespread extremist activity with links to al Qaeda or similar organizations, efforts to counter perceptions to the contrary have not been effective, it said.

    "Many Americans perceive Muslim Americans as not having fully and readily acknowledged the potential for radicalism within their community," added the report prepared after a year's study under the sponsorship by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Washington's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

    "The climate of suspicion and mistrust and the lack of engagement threaten to marginalize and alienate some elements among Muslim Americans to the point that the danger of radicalization becomes a real possibility," it concluded.

    Farooq Kathwari, co-chair of the task force, said in an interview that a radical response is always possible, "especially among the young. They are hot blooded and they don't want to be alienated."

    "Fortunately in America there is more chance to be integrated," he said, but "a pro-active engagement makes a lot of sense. We need to be extra careful that we don't create a situation that is a self-fulfilling prophecy..."

    The Kashmir-born, Brooklyn-raised Kathwari is the president and chief executive officer of furniture maker Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. Others on the task force included former labor secretary Lynn Martin.

    Kathwari said the historic pattern of assimilation for immigrants that sees later generations woven into the fabric of society was disrupted for Muslim Americans by September 11.

    "This process of integration has to be accelerated," he told Reuters, to counteract both the perception that Muslims are one monolithic force and to ease fears among Muslims, some of whom have become targets of violence.

    A recent Pew Research Center poll estimated there are 2.35 million Muslims living in the United States, a tiny fraction of the U.S. population of more than 300 million. Other estimates range as high as 7 million.

    That same survey, based on a sample of 1,050 Muslims and released in May, drew a contrasting picture of U.S. Muslims, saying they were largely assimilated, happy with their lives and more moderate than Muslims in other countries.

    But the Pew survey did find that 26 percent of younger Muslims believed suicide bombings are often, sometimes or rarely justified.

    Bagelblogger: I believe the number one reason why Muslims are viewed with suspicion in the US is the simple fact very few of them are willing to publicly denounce Terrorism or Suicide bombings.

    One can't help but come to the conclusion that if someone won't denounce such an action they are in effect giving it their approval.....

    So far few Muslims are willing to openly criticise any aspects of radical Islam, its not surprising that we have watched the progression of radical Islam when there is so little opposition nor public debate against it within the Muslim community.

    Reuters: U.S. Muslims face isolation, radical threat: study
    [ an earlier version of this news article contained an error which was been corrected]
    Picture credit: Cox and Forkum


    Australia gives another $7m aid to Palestinians
    [As Millions of Africans starve to death]

    Sydney Morning Herald - June 27, 2007

    Australia is to provide $4 million in emergency aid to the Palestinian government, plus $3 million to help refugees in Gaza and Lebanon.

    Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, now visiting the Middle East, said Australia's contribution to the emergency Palestinian government would provide essential supplies to keep hospitals open and children in school.

    Mr Downer supported Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to form an emergency government with Salam Fayyad as prime minister following the violent Hamas takeover of Gaza.

    "The formation of the emergency government presents a valuable opportunity to revive the peace process and ensure that the actions of violent extremists do not derail the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people," he said in a statement.

    Mr Downer said he welcomed the comments of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said the emergency government would be regarded as a partner for peace.

    Australia would continue to engage with the emergency Palestinian government to promote peace and provide humanitarian assistance, he said.

    "Australia remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Territories, particularly Gaza, following the recent violence," he said.

    The humanitarian assistance includes $2 million in emergency food aid for an estimated 158,000 refugee families in Gaza and $1 million for food, health services, housing, water and sanitation services for 27,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

    The new contributions will lift Australia's assistance to Palestinian refugees since July 2006 to $23.2 million.

    Mr Bagel: Well $23.2 million in one year for Palestinian refugees [2007] and the latest figure I could find $72.6 million from Australia to Sub Saharan Africa in one year [2004] covering a population of 300 million people living on less than a $1 a day.

    Australian aid to Africa

    Australia is a very charitable country per head of population, in fact few countries would give more aid per head of population. Australia makes a significant effort around the pacific rim with countries facing humanitarian crisis, but never the less, you can't ignore that Australia is spending 23.2 million dollars in aid to the Palestinians, and $72.6 million in aid to the areas indicated in Africa.
    This area has over 300 million people earning less than $1 a day.

    Where's the parity? Where's the logic? Are Palestinians starving more than Africans?

    If we take for example the United Nations report 'Refugee Nutrition Information System' which is published every year it states quite clearly:

    Every year, thousands of individuals are displaced from their homes and homelands because of wars, political conflicts, and natural disasters. The Refugee Nutrition Information System (RNIS) was established in 1993 to collect data and report on the nutrition, health, and survival status of the most nutritionally vulnerable people in the world, including refugees, internally displaced populations, and those who are forced to migrate.

    These girls are among more than four million Palestinian refugees in Gaza Strip and the West Bank. A recent report from the Refugee Nutrition Information System found Palestinian refugees to be satisfactorily coping with the nutritional impacts of the latest Intifada.

    These refugees were displaced by years of warfare in their own countries. ..
    I'm not advocating that Palestinian Refugees shouldn't be helped or receive aid, but surely its wrong the way Countries prioritise the simple comfort of Palestinians over the survival of African Refugees? Don't the UN facts speak for themselves?

    Australia gives $7m aid to Palestinians
    Ausaid Map and Africa Figures: Africa Frame Work [PDF]
    Australian Government: Overseas Aid
    Australian Government: Africa and Middle East


    Tuesday, 26 June 2007

    Anne Frank's Cousin Donates Family's Files

    By Associated Press
    June 26, 2007

    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Anne Frank's cousin yesterday donated thousands of letters, photographs, and documents that archivists say will show details about the background of the teenage diarist who became a symbol of the Holocaust.

    Bernhard "Buddy" Elias, 82, had kept the materials for decades in his Swiss attic before permanently loaning them to the Anne Frank House — the museum incorporating the tiny apartment where the family hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands — to mark yesterday's 60th anniversary of the first publication of "The Diary of Anne Frank."

    The donation includes Otto Frank's 1945 letter informing his mother in Switzerland that his daughters Anne and Margo and his wife, Edith, died in Nazi concentration camps, the letter his mother wrote responding to diary excerpts that Otto sent her, and photographs from the late 1890s of the Frank family in their native Frankfurt, Germany.

    Interesting site: Anne Frank House

    New York Sun:
    Anne Frank's Cousin Donates Family's Files


    The World watches as ...

    I hate to say it but the West is actual complicit in the recent outbreak of violence in the Middle East.

    No its not the usual, blame Israel, the United States, Britain and the evil West rhetoric we've all grown accustomed to when ever a Middle Eastern based radical group shows its true nature.

    Its far more subtle than that.

    Its the implied consent we in the West give to radical Islamists every time they commit a horrific crime and we fail to call it for what it is.

    A 'Suicide Bomber' isn't a 'Suicide Bomber'. They are a Murder Bomber.
    The attention should not be placed on the bomber [they're dead, let him enter into the book of nothingness and recieve they're 72 raisins], the attention should be placed on the unfortunate victims of this murderous rampage.

    A Soldier who is attacked within his own countries border isn't captured, he is Kidnapped.

    Militants don't fie rockets at Cities with civilian populations, Terrorist do.

    Militants don't set roadside bombs, Terrorists do.

    Militants don't throw people off buildings Terrorists do.

    Militants don't blow up buses Terrorists do.

    Uncoerced Civilians don't hide bombs and rockets, Terrorist and their sympathizers do.

    Mufti's don't preach violence, Terrorist sympathizers do.

    A Legitimate State doesn't call for the genocide of another, a Terrorist State does.

    Sheiks don't have militias, Terrorists Organizations do.

    A Car that is destroyed containing rockets with three young men in it, is a car with three Terrorists in it.

    When the West stops appeasing its Middle Eastern readers, and slanting its news to be more palatable for its unacceptable radical views, then the mainstream populations in the Middle East will slowly become less radicalized and see things for what they are.

    The recent description of Gilad Shalit in the press yesterday is a case in point.

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hamas militants posted an audio message on Monday from an Israeli soldier captured a year ago at an army base near the Gaza Strip, the first sign of life from the young serviceman since he was seized.
    Source: Diaa Hadid Associated press Writer.

    GAZA - Following is the text of a statement by captive soldier Gilad Shalit, as heard in an audio tape released by his Palestinian captors in Gaza yesterday. Translation is by Reuters from the original Hebrew:
    Source: Reuters

    (AP) Hamas militants posted an audio message on Monday from an Israeli soldier captured a year ago at an army base near the Gaza Strip, the first sign of life from the young serviceman since he was seized.
    Source: CBS News

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - A Hamas Web site posted an audio message on Monday from an Israeli soldier captured a year ago by militants allied with the Islamic group - the first sign from him since he was seized at an army base near the Gaza Strip.
    Source: Guardian

    Separately, Hamas militants on Monday released a recorded message from Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli serviceman captured near the border with Gaza a year ago. It was the first sign of life from the young serviceman since his seizure.
    Source: AP Sarah El Deeb

    GAZA CITY, 26 June 2007 — The Hamas movement’s armed wing yesterday released an audio message said to be from captured Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who said his health was deteriorating and that he needed hospital treatment. “I’ve been in prison one year. My situation is deteriorating. I need an extended period in hospital,” said the voice in the audio clip posted on the website of Hamas’ armed wing exactly one year after Shalit was taken.

    “I am sorry that the Israeli government has not shown more interest. It should meet the demands of my kidnappers so I can be released,” said the voice in Hebrew on the tape.
    Source: Arab News
    ?!: So as long as you're quoting a Hebrew translation you can use the word Kidnapped?

    Hamas to release tape of captured Israeli soldier

    GAZA (Reuters) - Hamas's armed wing will release an audio tape on Monday of an Israeli soldier seized by militants in Gaza a year ago, a senior official in the Islamist movement said.

    Sergeant Gilad Shalit was captured on June 25, 2006 by gunmen who tunneled into Israel from Gaza. Except for a handwritten letter to his parents in September, there has been no sign of life from the soldier since he was spirited into the enclave.
    Source: Reuters Canada

    At least one news network stated it the way it is...

    Hamas airs tape of kidnapped Israeli soldier
    The armed wing of Hamas has released an audio message said to be from captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in which he says his health is deteriorating and he needs hospital treatment.
    It used the word 'captured' but at least it called the crime what it is. A Kidnapping.
    Source: ABC News

    The West should hang its head in shame.

    Not only have we capitulated in the worst possible way, we stand by whilst media corporations such as the Reuters, AP and the BBC allow, no read encourage the use of 'sanitized' prose.

    The West is allowing the greed of Multinational corporations to dictate Foreign Policy.

    We have lost our moral compass, a person who kills civilians, uses Suicide bombers, abides by no international rules of military engagement, is not a militant.

    They are a terrorist.

    That the Arab street sees this differently is an indictment on their cultural values. That we from the West are willing to sanitize news to the Middle East to accommodate this, is simply cultural prostitution of the worst kind.

    Its an aberration in decency that what one says to one group of people is 'rephrased for cultural sensitivities' to another.

    The West needs to stop pandering to the Middle East.
    Maybe then the baseness of some of these values might just become more apparent.


    Translation of Gilad Shalits audio message:
    On tape, Gilad 'urges' meeting demands

    Transcription of What Gilad said in English
    Click read more to see it
    By Reuters

    GAZA - Following is the text of a statement by captive soldier Gilad Shalit, as heard in an audio tape released by his Palestinian captors in Gaza yesterday. Translation is by Reuters from the original Hebrew:

    "I, the soldier Gilad, son of Noam Shalit, [am] held by the Khattab Shaheed Iz al-Din al-Qassam [the military wing of Hamas].

    "Mother and father, my sister and brother, friends in the Israel Defense Forces: I send you regards from jail and my longing for all of you.

    "An entire year has passed with me in jail, and the state of my health is still deteriorating and I need extensive hospitalization.

    "I am sorry for the lack of interest in my case and in the demands of Khattab al-Qassam on the part of the Israeli government and the army. It is clear that they must accede to these demands in order for me to be released from jail - especially as I was involved in a military operation, under orders, and was not a drug dealer.

    "Just as I have parents, a mother and a father, the thousands of Palestinian detainees also have mothers and fathers who must have their sons returned.

    "I have great faith that my government will take more of an interest in me and will accede to the demands of the mujahideen.

    "Corporal Gilad Shalit."
    Haaretz: On tape, Gilad urges meeting demands


    Gilad Shalit speaks from captivity (video)

    If the video fails to load click here:
    Gilad Shalit speaks from captivity

    Kipper tip: Rafi G


    Ebay - by Weird Al Yankovic
    Have a good chuckle

    If the Video doesn't load click here
    Ebay by Weird Al Yankovic

    I admit it I'm guilty, I Ebay to. This clip is a good chuckle on why we ebay.

    ThanksAlways FreshBagelblogger
    : Weird Al Yankovic * Weird Al * Ebay * Youtube * You Tube * Buying on Ebay * Ebay video * Jewish * Mr Bagel * BagelBlogger * Bagel Blogger * Jew


    Monday, 25 June 2007

    What if the Earth really is round?
    Looking beyond the accepted rubric

    Some would have us believe the world is flat.
    Bagelblogger: The following essay is considerable in breadth but manages to quite eloquently challenge the accept norms prevalent in the middle east. It is an important essay that should be read by all that ave an interest in Middle East Politics. I don't always agree with everything Goldstein writes, but I find little argument in this essay.

    Warren Goldstein, The Jerusalem Post

    Sometimes we make the most fundamental errors. When large numbers of people make mistakes - even monumental ones - it is almost impossible to challenge the resultant prevailing view. It was once the conventional wisdom that the earth is flat. In ancient times if anyone dared to claim that the earth was round, they would have been denigrated as being detached from reality. When, in the 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicus dared suggest that the sun was the center of the solar system and not the earth, he was regarded as a heretic.

    In today's world any attempt to explain the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms other than "Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land" and the "denial of Palestinian nationalist aspiration" is often regarded like a declaration that the earth is flat and the center of the universe. But what if this view is wrong? What if, in terms of understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict, we are living in pre-Copernican times? What if the Jewish State that is considered to be the root of all evil in the Middle East were instead the victim?

    SOUTH AFRICA'S apartheid history is often invoked against Israel both internationally - by former president Jimmy Carter among many others - and in South Africa by trade union leaders and politicians. But what if the real apartheid of the Middle East is the one directed against the Jews? And what if Israel is more akin to the African National Congress (ANC) - the famous South African liberation organization led by Nelson Mandela and now the governing party?

    In South Africa the conflict was caused by a white racist apartheid regime. The ANC was always ready to talk peace, but the regime refused to talk and so the conflict could not be resolved, and the ANC was forced into an armed struggle. Like the ANC, the Israeli government has always been ready to talk peace but has been forced since the birth of the Jewish State into an armed defensive struggle because the anti-Semitic Arab world has not been prepared to talk peace.

    The ANC had to wage an armed struggle for many years until finally white South Africans were ready to talk, and then the long-standing conflict was resolved relatively quickly. Unlike the ANC, Israel has not found genuine negotiating partners. And so its struggle continues, and peace remains a distant dream.

    WHAT IF Zionism is not colonialism but rather an ancient people's deep connection to their native, historical and covenantal land? What if the real colonialism is Arab expansionism, which contests a Jewish state on even 1/520th of the area of Arab lands?

    Nearly 4,000 years ago the forefathers of the Jewish People, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in the land of Israel, which God had promised to them and to their descendants forever. That promise was confirmed at Mount Sinai, and was delivered upon by God through Joshua, after the death of Moses, more than 3,300 years ago when the Jewish people entered the land after being liberated from Egyptian slavery and oppression. About 3,000 years ago King David established Jerusalem as the capital city of the Promised Land.

    The Jewish people lived in the Land of Israel for 850 years until their expulsion by invading Babylonians. They returned in large numbers 70 years afterwards and remained for many centuries until their eviction by the Roman Empire.

    Despite unremitting anti-Semitism and persecution some Jewish communities managed against great odds to remain in Israel during the long interval between the Roman dispersion and the events leading to the re-establishment of the Jewish State in 1948.

    WHAT IF the dispute has never been about Palestinian statehood but really about the destruction of the Jews and the only Jewish State on earth? In 1917, the Balfour Declaration, confirmed later by international law through the League of Nations, declared the British Mandate of Palestine to be a National homeland for the Jewish people, recognizing 4,000 years of Jewish connection to the land, and the injustice of the destruction of ancient Israel by the Romans and the forced removal of the Jewish people.

    In 1922 the British took 76% of the land designated for a Jewish state in Palestine and allocated it instead to the Arabs, creating east of the Jordan River a new country then called Transjordan, and later, to be known as Jordan, which to this day has a Palestinian majority.

    IN 1947 the United Nations voted to establish two states - one Arab and one Jewish - west of the Jordan river on the remaining 24% of the original portion of land allocated for a Jewish State by the international community.

    In spite of this reduction to their original portion the Jews accepted the offer, which was then rejected by the Arabs. This was the beginning of a long history of Arab rejectionism. And so, in 1948 the newly reborn State of Israel was invaded by Arab armies from Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the Arab Legion, all of which made it quite clear that they intended to destroy the tiny Jewish state at its rebirth and to massacre its citizens, many of whom were Holocaust survivors.
    Israel survived the war, and from 1948 to 1967, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were in Arab hands and there was no "occupation" of these territories then.

    If the cause for the Arab-Israeli conflict is the "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza then why did the conflict rage throughout these years unabated, with continued Arab refusal to recognize Israel and to make peace with its Jewish neighbor? Why was it that in mid-1967 just before the Six Days War, and before the West Bank and Gaza fell into Jewish hands that Arab leaders called for the destruction of Israel? What "occupation" was at issue? Why at that time did the Syrian leader order his soldiers to attack Jewish civilian targets to "pave the Arab roads with the skulls of Jews"?

    FOR THE 19 years that Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip, the Arab world had the opportunity of establishing another Palestinian state in those territories, and chose not to.

    Why not? If the conflict is about Palestinian statehood, then why was there no talk whatever of a Palestinian state for all those 19 years? After the Six Days War Israel immediately tried to enter into negotiations with the Arab world about the political future of the West Bank and Gaza. The response came from the Khartoum Conference of all the Arab States on September 1, 1967 in the form of the infamous 3 No's - "No Peace, No Negotiation, No Recognition."

    And so, when in 2000 at Camp David, Yasser Arafat rejected without making a counter-offer at all, Israel's proposal of 95% of the West Bank and Gaza as well as land compensation for the remaining 5%, his intransigence was wholly consistent with Arab rejectionism of any Jewish presence at all.

    IF THE Arab-Israeli conflict is about a Palestinian state than there has always been an obvious solution of two states living in peace side by side. The conflict is more fundamental and therefore, all the more intractable, and is really about Arab rejection of the very presence and existence of a Jewish State, and probably any Jews at all, in the heart of the Middle East.

    And so the charter of Hamas calls for the murder of all Jews world-wide. And rockets from Gaza continue to target Israeli civilians even after Israel's evacuation. And threats of genocide and a second holocaust, together with denial of the first, emanate from Iran. And the Arab world is awash with the most rabid and pernicious anti-Semitism.

    WHAT IF the war directed against the State of Israel, is really the global war of fundamentalist tyranny against freedom and democracy? Then indeed all of those who believe, with the best of intentions, that they are defending a vulnerable victim, are actually being complicit in one of the worst injustices in the history of human civilization. They will have sided with the forces of death and destruction, of fear and prejudice.

    What if the world is siding against the only beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, thereby endangering us all, because the fate of Jews is often a sign portending the future? Hitler came after the Jews first, and then he attacked the world. Suicide bombings began in Jerusalem and then migrated to New York, Bali, Madrid, London and Nairobi.

    We need clarity to understand these tumultuous times. We also need an ultimate vision of peace and reconciliation between Arab and Jew. The conflict in the Middle East is between brothers, and that is the real tragedy. We are all the children of Abraham; Jews are the children of his son Isaac, and Arabs the children of his son Ishmael.

    The Talmud tells us that, although the sons of Abraham fought for many years, when Abraham was buried in Hebron, Isaac and Ishmael were reconciled at his grave. Let us all pray to God that we will merit to see the day when brother will once again be reconciled with brother in the Middle East.

    The writer is chief rabbi of South Africa.

    Rabbi Warren Goldstein is the chief Rabbi of South Africa and and an expert in both Human Rights law and South Africa constitutional Law. When he was inducted as Chief Rabbi just two year's ago the President of South Africa said that Goldstein had:
    "Embraced with enthusiasm our democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society. A society in which Jews can take pride as fellow South Africans and join hands with the masses of our people to give real meaning to our collective belief, expressed in our Constitution, that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in their diversity. Indeed, we are blessed to have a Chief Rabbi who is a formidable Torah scholar whose doctorate is in human rights and constitutional law, including that of our own Constitution."
    Rabbi Goldstein is not only someone who has studied Apartheid, but has been involved in removing the last vestiges of that wretched system from his country.

    Despite leftist desperately wanting to believe the 'Israel is Apartheid' pitch, and choosing to ignore the facts on the ground, even the casual observer can see where the real Apartheid is. It is in the intolerant Arab countries who prohibit non muslims from even visiting some cities, judicially show preference to Muslims, and discriminate against minorities.

    There are many Arabs living safely in Israel, how many Jews are living in Gaza safely?

    Rabbi Goldstein is very familiar with Apartheid and he thinks there is Apartheid in the middle east...but its not where everyone thinks it is:

    JPost: What if the Earth really is round?


    GAZA SNAKEPIT: Getting to the real Truth!

    West bank Palestinians agree:
    Don't let Gaza chaos in my backyard

    JERUSALEM - As violence between Hamas and Fatah engulfs the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the west bank are watching the chaos unfold with a combination of concern, disgust, and resignation.

    Alternately blaming Israel, the Palestinian leadership, Arab autocrats, and Western governments for the violence, Palestinians in the west bank at least seem to agree on one thing: They do not want the turmoil - or Gaza's Palestinians - to spill over into their backyard.

    "I want all the people in Gaza to stay in Gaza," Maher Abu-Gaidh, a Palestinian from Ramallah, told JTA. "If Israel allowed people in Gaza to come here to the west bank, this would bring more violence, less job opportunities, and I think more crimes to the west bank."

    This sentiment betrays the deep gulf that separates Gaza’s 1.4 million Palestinians from the west bank’s 2.5 million Palestinians. Gazans tend to be more impoverished, more violent, and more religiously fanatical than their west bank counterparts.

    Six decades after Palestine’s Arabs were split apart by the war that followed Israel’s founding in 1948, the divisions among geographically disparate Palestinians have grown deeper.

    Palestinians from the west bank interviewed by JTA said they viewed Gaza’s Palestinians as undesirable refugees, virtually indistinct from the violent, impoverished Palestinians in refugee camps elsewhere in the Middle East, such as those currently embroiled in internecine fighting in the camps of Lebanon.

    "There are too many Palestinian refugees all over the world," said Yaser Barakat, an antiques dealer from eastern Jerusalem. "If they come to the west bank, where are they going to stay? It’s better to leave them there."

    For all their distress with how things are turning out in Gaza, there is little expectation that a similar civil war between Fatah and Hamas will spread to the west bank.

    For one thing, Israel’s military presence in the west bank prevents the anarchy that has overtaken Gaza from taking root in the west bank. Ongoing military operations, myriad checkpoints, and collaboration with Palestinian informants and authorities help Israel keep any violence between Fatah and Hamas in the west bank from spiraling out of control.

    "In the west bank there won’t be a war because they know the Israelis can go in and out anytime," Barakat said.

    For another thing, Palestinians say, the violence in Gaza has more to do with economic desperation than ideology.

    "I don’t think it will happen in the west bank," said Nazeeh Al-Shalabi, a Palestinian from the west bank village of Mascha, not far from Kalkilya.

    "Gaza is one of the most overcrowded places on earth. It’s a small place, with 1.5 million people, closed in from all sides, with no money and no place to go. It’s a pressure cooker," Al-Shalabi said, and a breeding ground for violence.

    "If I lived in Gaza and had eight kids and no job and nowhere to go, it puts me under pressure," he said. "It’s possible that I’d easily get into a fight with my neighbor. This is what is happening in Gaza."

    In the west bank, he said, Fatah and Hamas have enough space to keep their distance from each other.

    Palestinians trace the chasm separating west bank Arabs from those of Gaza back to the 1948 war. After the war, the Gaza Strip fell under Egyptian control and Egypt resisted integrating the local population into Egyptian society. Mired in poverty, many of Gaza’s Palestinians turned to Islam and, later, radical Islam.

    By contrast, Jordan annexed the west bank. Strong ties developed between Arabs in the west bank and those in largely secular Jordan, and there were Palestinians on both banks of the Jordan River who were able to grow relatively prosperous.

    While Gaza’s Palestinians languished in refugee camps, boxed in by Egypt to the south and Israel to the north and east, Palestinians in the west bank built commercial, political, and social ties with their neighbors in Jordan and Israel.

    Today, Palestinians on the west bank do not want to see their gains spoiled by refugees from Gaza.

    As they watch the chaos unfold on their TV screens, Palestinians in the west bank find no shortage of parties to blame — including their fellow Arabs, whose support for the Palestinians they lament as paltry.

    "What did the Arab world do for us in the last 60 years?" asked Barakat, the antiques dealer. "Let’s face it; they put us in misery. The Arab world put us in this position — especially the Syrians, Jordanians, and Egyptians," by fighting wars with the Israelis rather than aiding the Palestinian cause.

    Bader Rashid, from eastern Jerusalem, blamed the Israelis both for encouraging Palestinian infighting and for supporting the corrupt Yasser Arafat, whose Fatah faction pocketed much of the Western aid money intended for the Palestinians.

    "The rich enrich themselves and the little people get screwed," Rashid said. "Now we are all suffering."

    Abu-Gaidh said he was hopeful that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ new emergency government — which Israel and the United States announced they would support as soon as it was sworn in this week — will succeed.

    "This moment is different from a year ago when Hamas won the election," Abu-Gaidh said. "Now, after a year of Hamas rule, people are very tired and need money and jobs and to pass freely through Israeli checkpoints, and I think this is going to be better with a new government led by Salam Fayyad," the new Palestinian Authority prime minister.

    Bagelblogger: It makes you think when a Palestinian from the West Bank doesn't even want his country man from Gaza to come to the West Bank. If Israel expressed this it would 'apartheid', racism,promoting 'genocide' if a West Bank Palestinian expresses it its just 'being sensible'.

    What is it with Arabs? Why does it appear they never think of their poorer brothers? Of helping the less fortunate? It used to be the rest of the Arabs ignored Palestinian Arabs, now it's also West Bank Arabs ignoring their poorer cousins, the Gaza Arabs.

    None of the Arab countries want the Palestinian Arabs, even those that shared borders and once had territory in 'Palestine', aren't interested. Yet Israel is supposed to want the very Arabs that no other Arabs want a bar of??

    The New Jersey Standard: Gaza Snakepit Uriel Heilmann


    Remember 1 year ago today?
    Two soldiers killed, one missing in Kerem Shalom terror attack

    Reprint of article from: 25 Jun 2006

    Please check out the Free Gilad Shalit Blog

    PM Olmert: The State of Israel views the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Chairman Abu Mazen and the Palestinian government as responsible for this event - with all this implies.

    Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

    This morning (Sunday, 25 June 2006) in the course of an infiltration and attack by terrorists in the area of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, an IDF officer and a soldier were killed, a soldier was abducted, and four others were wounded.

    The soldiers killed have been identified as Lt. Hanan Barak, 20, of Arad and Staff-Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, 20, of Dimona. Cpl. Gilad Shalit is missing in action.

    At 5:40 in the morning, terrorists from the Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees terror organizations infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel originating from the Rafah area, passing under the security fence to the area between the Kerem Shalom and Sufa crossings. The terrorists,operating under cover of mortar and anti-tank fire from within the Gaza Strip, attacked attacked an armored personnel carrier, an IDF tank and a watchtower. IDF forces returned fire, killing at least two terrorists.

    This attack was carried out and spearheaded by senior members of the Hamas and authorized by the party's leadership.

    The IDF holds the Palestinian Authority and the democratically elected Hamas government responsible for the attack and the fate of the missing soldier.

    * * *

    On June 26, IDF forces detonated the tunnel which was used during the terrorist infiltration into the Kerem Shalom area. IDF forces uncovered the opening of the tunnel inside a Palestinian house located about 350 meters from the fence. The length of the tunnel was about 650 meters.

    Israel MFA: Two soldiers killed, one missing in Kerem Shalom terror attack


    On Anniversary Of Capture, ADL Urges International Community To Press For Immediate Release Of Israeli Soldiers

    New York, NY, June 22, 2007 - On the one-year anniversary of the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on human rights groups, the United Nations and the international community to speak out and demand his freedom, as well as that of two Israeli soldiers held captive by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    On June 25, 2006, Gilad Shalit, 20, was kidnapped by Hamas in an attack on a military installation on Israeli soil. Shalit remains in captivity in the Gaza Strip. Israel Defense Forces reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, kidnapped in a raid on Israel's northern border and taken into Lebanese territory by Hezbollah on July 12, 2006, also remain in captivity, their whereabouts and conditions unknown.
    "The continued captivity of these young men after one year with no word as to their fate is unacceptable and a clear violation of international protocol," said Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, National Director. "The international community must demand their immediate and unconditional release."

    In letters to the directors of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Human Rights First, ADL called on those groups to speak out and demand the release of the soldiers one year after their capture.

    The League thanked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his previously speaking out on the issue and for meeting with families of the kidnapped soldiers. On the anniversary of Shalit's capture, Mr. Lewy and Mr. Foxman urged the Mr. Ban to "reinvigorate efforts" to demand the soldiers' release.

    U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the terms of an Israeli-Hezbollah ceasefire in August 2006, calls for the "unconditional release" of the soldiers. The captors of Goldwasser and Regev have refused to provide any information to international relief agencies regarding their whereabouts or condition. Hezbollah and Hamas have also denied requests by the International Red Cross for access to the captives.

    If you haven't checked out the Free Gilad Shalit Blog please do especially today

    ADL : On Anniversary Of Capture, ADL Urges International Community To Press For Immediate Release Of Israeli Soldiers.

    The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.


    Israel Votes to Release Taxes to Abbas

    The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved the release of frozen tax funds to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a step to bolster the moderate leader in his standoff against the Islamic militant group Hamas.

    The vote came a day ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's meeting in Egypt Monday with Abbas, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

    The summit is designed as a high-profile display of support for the Palestinian president against his Hamas rivals, who seized control of the Gaza Strip in a brutal rout of Abbas' Fatah movement earlier this month.

    The infighting has left the Palestinians with two governments _ Abbas' new government in the West Bank, and the Hamas rulers in Gaza.

    The main proposal at Sunday's Cabinet meeting was a gradual release of some $550 million tax money that Israel has withheld from the Palestinians since Hamas swept Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006.

    Olmert asked that the funds be released "to support in a phased process the new Palestinian government, which is not a Hamas government."

    Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said Sunday's vote was a "decision in principle" to release the funds, and that the "exact amount" would be discussed at Monday's summit and then again by the Israeli government.

    Meeting participants said the proposal passed with an overwhelming majority; just two hardline ministers voted against it.

    The money _ mostly customs duties that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians _ has been withheld in an unsuccessful bid to pressure Hamas to recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence. Without the money, the Palestinian government has been unable to pay the salaries of its workers.

    The Cabinet also discussed the removal of some of the hundreds of roadblocks Israel has erected throughout the West Bank, meeting participants said. The travel restrictions have been put in place on security grounds, though the Palestinians say they are excessive and punitive.

    Similar gestures have been weighed in the past, and then, as now, Israel will demand in return that Abbas confront militants _ something he had been reluctant to do before Hamas rolled over Fatah security forces and wrested power in Gaza.

    Since then, Abbas has acted with unprecedented force: He expelled Hamas from its coalition government with his Fatahmovement, set up an emergency Cabinet, and embarked on a widening crackdown on the Islamic group that has included arrests of hundreds of gunmen in the West Bank and a plan to dry up its funding.

    Olmert told the Cabinet that while Israel wants to boost Abbas, he also would lay out Israel's expectations at Monday's summit in Egypt.

    "We shall present there our expectations from the opposite side, our demands on the issues of security and the war against terror, but definitely also our readiness to cooperate with the new government," he said.

    He also cautioned his Cabinet not to expect major advances at the gathering.

    "I don't want anyone to think we're on the brink of a dramatic breakthrough," Olmert said, according to a participant who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed.

    Not all Israeli Cabinet ministers are convinced Abbas will wrestle Hamas to the mat.

    Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the hardline Yisrael Beiteinu party, said he would vote against any aid to Abbas. The new Fatah-led government has "no intention ... of arresting a single terror operative," he told Army Radio.

    Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called on Abbas' new prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to spendthe money on both the West Bank and Gaza.

    "This is the money of the Palestinian people and everyone has the right to this money," he said.

    Olmert said Israel will continue to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

    He has expressed optimism Hamas' ouster from the Palestinian government removed the main stumbling block to renewed peace talks with the Palestinians. The prospect for re-energizing long-stalled peace talks is expected to be a major item at the Egypt summit.

    During a meeting in Jordan, King Abdullah II told Abbas "the summit must be seized as an opportunity to formulate a clear timeline for a return to negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinians, according to the royal palace.

    An Israeli pullout from the West Bank _ a prerequisite for Palestinian statehood _ is unlikely, however, unless Abbas can ensure the evacuated territory won't be taken over by militants and used to launch attacks on Israel. Abbas' failure to do that in Gaza could make Israelis less inclined to risk a West Bank withdrawal.

    The Hamas takeover of Gaza also complicates the case of Gilad Shalit, a soldier who has been held captive by Hamas-linked militants in the coastal territory for a year.

    On Sunday, several hundred protesters gathered outside Israel's Parliament to mark the one-year anniversary of Shalit's capture.

    Noam Shalit, the soldier's father, criticized the government for failing to win his son's release.

    "If an entire country, its leaders...the sophisticated systems it has, satellites, drones, can't bring back a soldier from captivity after an entire year, and can't even get firm information about his condition and health, then we should all be worried," Shalit said at the rally.

    Bagelblogger: Seems that with this decision Abbas's future will not be the only political future on the line. I find it surprising that Israel is so willing to support Abbas now, its not that I don't understand Israel's desire to isolate Hamas, it's just is Fatah really an alternative?

    That there is no other choice or option between Hamas and Fatah is a sad reflection of the Palestinian states future directions.

    Will we simply be helping Hamas in directly, once Fatah collapses again?

    WKRN Nashville
    : Israel Votes to release Taxes to Abbas
    AP Amy Tebel Jerusalem