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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 21, 2010.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Winter Solstice - dawn

Some people watching the sky this morning saw a significant event. A lunar eclipse visible from the UK from 6.30 am, ie just before dawn on the morning of the midwinter solstice. And dawn at mid winter is believed, from the alignment of many stone circles, to be of as much importance to our ancient ancestors as the more famous mid summer sunrise.

I went outside. It is a little milder this morning. And the reason for that (relative) mildness is the thick cloud covering my part of SE England. Dark grey sky became light grey sky. Others report to the Telegraph newspaper that it was a 'breathtaking sight'.

There is only one thing to do. Jethro Tull, archive footage from 1976, repeated on TOTP2, and Ring out Solstice Bells.

Posted on 12/21/2010 2:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
More than 100 Christian Canadians named and threatened on Al Qaeda-affiliated website

From The Star in Canada
VANCOUVER—More than 100 Canadian-Arab Christians are listed on an Al Qaeda-affiliated website, apparently targeted because of their alleged role in attempting to convert Muslims. Some of those named say concerned Canadian intelligence officials have contacted them.

The Shumukh-al-Islam website, often considered to be Al Qaeda’s mouth piece, listed pictures, addresses and cellphone numbers of Coptic Christians, predominantly Egyptian-Canadians, who have been vocal about their opposition to Islam.

In a forum on the website, one member named Son of a Sharp Sword, says “We are going to return back to Islam and all of the Mujahedeen (holy warriors) will cut off their heads.”

Three pages of the fundamentalist, Arabic-language website titled “Complete information on Coptics” sets to “identify and name all of the Coptics throughout the world who hope to defame Islam,” The website calls the Coptic Christians living abroad “dogs in diaspora,” a derogatory reference in Arabic.

One of the prominent figures listed on the website is Salim Nagieb, who helped establish a Coptic organization in Canada. Nagieb is described on the website as opposing Islamic Shariah and converting Muslims to Christianity. His picture, career background and cellphone number are listed on the website. But he said in an interview he won’t be frightened. “I only fear God,” said Nagieb when reached by phone. “These websites mean nothing any more.”

Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior intelligence officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said law enforcement officials are permanently monitoring radical websites like Shumukh Al Islam. “They are watching 24/7 what is added, who is speaking to who, blogs and other forums,” he said. Intelligence agencies around the world are able to extract information on who is visiting such sites. “In the world of intelligence there are various ways to conduct your business and stopping these (websites) is not always the right thing to do,” Juneau-Katsuya said.

Posted on 12/21/2010 5:14 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Immigration Patterns

The NYTImes has an interesting interactive map on immigration here. There is a time line on the top that is very revealing about the changing demography of America, plus you can go in county by county to see numbers of foreign born.

hat tip: Maggie's Farm

Posted on 12/21/2010 9:38 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Topsy curvy

Today an out-of-box jack-in-office at a company near me wrote of  "going down the learning curve". I thought learning curves just went up, so how would you go down one?

Exponentially, of course, until the learning curve falls off a cliff.

Posted on 12/21/2010 10:41 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
What Did Jesus Sing?

In the book of Matthew, we are given an account of the Last Supper. Many scholars now believe it was a Passover Seder where Jesus and his disciples most likely recounted, in story and song, the exodus of the Jewish people from their bondage in Egypt over a thousand years earlier. In verse 30 we are told that "when they had sung the hymn they went to the Mount of Olives." As the Old Testament Book of Psalms was the Jewish hymn book of the time, some scholars believe that perhaps Jesus and his disciples sang one of the praise psalms from Psalms 113-118. Given the theme of the Passover Seder it is no surprise that Psalm 114 includes the words, "When Israel came out of Egypt."

As Christmas Eve approaches, monks and nuns in their monasteries will chant Midnight Mass and many of the world's one billion Christians will sing some sort of Christmas music, secular or sacred. And so, we ask: What did Jesus sing? The answer is not simple. But perhaps of even greater importance is the question of whether what Jesus sang influenced the future liturgical music of the Catholic Church, which came to be known as Gregorian chant. For 2,000 years, we didn't know the answers. But during the last century, modern musicology and ethnomusicology have given us some inkling of what Jesus sang -- and what came of it.

It's important to remember that the peoples of the ancient eastern Mediterranean had many different kinds of folk music: songs for births, weddings, funerals and various celebrations throughout the life cycle. We do not have any of the melodies from this time for Judea as there was no written notation and mechanical recording was not invented until the late 1880s. But the music of those ancient times may have resembled, in both form and content, much of the folk music of the Jews, Samaritans, Armenians, Arabs and other inhabitants of the Holy Land during the Ottoman Empire and before -- music of which we have recordings that are over 100 years old. These may represent the last gasp of a musical oral tradition that began centuries before the rise of Islam.

In Roman-occupied Judea, in addition to folk music, there was sacred music, including the chanting of the Psalms by the choirs and musicians of the Temple. But given Jesus's antipathy to the Temple, it is more likely that he knew how to recite, rather than perform, the scriptures -- a practice that developed in the more than 300 synagogues that existed in Jerusalem before the Romans destroyed the Temple. This oral tradition of synagogue cantillation has survived unbroken among the Jewish people for more than 2,000 years and still flourishes today. Over the centuries communities in Spain, Eastern Europe and as far away as Iraq, Persia, Yemen and Uzbekistan have developed their own unique styles of cantillation. One would think that after 2,000 years there would be no more "family resemblance" of a musical nature among these traditions. But there is.

At the start of the 20th century, communities from all over the Islamic and Western world began immigrating to the land of Israel, which had become a mandated protectorate of Great Britain after the First World War. A European-born Jewish musicologist by the name of Idelsohn made it his life's work to record and compare the full range of cantillation of these newly ingathered communities of Jews in their homeland. Apart from the great service of musical preservation that he carried out for the Jewish people, and for the national archives of the future state of Israel, he also conducted the first comparative studies. He found that despite the relative historical separation and isolation of Jewish Diaspora communities, much of their traditional repertoires had similar melodic motives, especially when chanting the Psalms.

In 1938, a young Jew by the name of Eric Werner was allowed to come to New York as a refugee from Hitler's Germany. He was by then already a well-known musician and composer and one of Europe's finest musicologists. During that acme of European anti-Semitism, he asked himself a most counter-intuitive question. Was Gregorian Chant based on the cantillation of the Jewish synagogue?

He spent more than a decade trying to answer that question. In 1959 he published his landmark study on the relations between Jewish cantillation and Gregorian chant. It was called The Sacred Bridge and in it he argued that Gregorian chant was indeed a direct descendant of Jewish synagogue music. He never discovered a definitive medieval or early Christian text that bluntly announced that Christian cantillation was based on Jewish cantillation, but that is not how new religions develop. They adopt and adapt, and the evidence for adoption is circumstantial and comparative.

The Sacred Bridge was published in 1959. In 1974 Werner published an updated second edition with more data. Ever since it has been at the centre of controversy. Some scholars support his thesis while others, such as the chant expert Peter Jeffery, argue that Werner stretched the evidence beyond reasonable expectations.

However, Werner and his supporters have made a number of arguments in support of his thesis. The first and most recent is that now that New Testament scholarship recognizes the Jewishness of Jesus and the strict adherence to Jewish law and ritual by the early church of James (Jesus's brother) and his followers, one can assume that a strict adherence to the basics of cantillation practices among the Jews in the first century AD would have been transferred to the early Christian Church.

The second is the unique nature of the Old and New Testaments, and Christian ritual which had no counterpart in Pagan Hellenism. As Werner put it, the intonation of Jewish liturgical music is determined by "the structure of the sentence and its logical ... relations. Neither its music nor its notation ... [is] autonomous." Musicologists point out that the opening and closing tones of Jewish cantillation and Gregorian chant follow simple basic rising and falling patterns. Syllabic (one word one note) patterns are used throughout the service, but are punctuated with ornamented melismas (what jazz musicians would call improvs) at the most solemn moments in the service. Women were not allowed to participate and instruments were banned (until the rise of Western polyphony in the early middle ages).

The notation of Jewish cantillation and the "neumes" or signs of early Gregorian chant before the adoption of staff notation are similar to the Jewish ones as they emerged as visual "graphs" from hand gestures that give those who live within the oral musical tradition an understanding of varied musical phrases, as opposed to individual notes. This system is still in use in Jewish synagogues around the world. Finally, Werner provides the readers charts of almost identical pieces of Gregorian chant with synagogue melodies.

Curiously, once Christianity had distanced itself from its Hebraic origins in the fourth and fifth centuries, there emerged written accounts of senior Christian authorities like St. Augustine warning of deviation from the old tradition of singing in the Church -- implying an adherence to the musical traditions that came from Jerusalem. Despite the regional evolution of different kinds of church music, some early church fathers declared later musical innovations to be heresy.

Since Werner published his work, it has faced many criticisms, largely based on improvements in our understanding of the comparative history of chant in the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Syrian, Armenian and other traditions. But that does not mean that Werner's thesis and comparisons are invalid. The earliest notated Gregorian chant comes from 930 AD, almost 1,000 years after Jesus may have sung Hymn 114. It is really an argument about oral tradition and how new religions musically hive off from their parent creed.

But if hearing is believing, the most persuasive evidence available to the listening public can be found on the CD The Sacred Bridge, directed by Joel Cohen of the Boston Camerata early music ensemble. Song number three of the CD is Psalm 114. It oscillates between Latin and Hebrew, Gregorian chant and synagogue cantillation. The melodies are identical and despite the alteration between Hebrew and Latin you would think you were listening to the same song. In fact, you probably are, for no doubt this is a distant echo of what Jesus sang.

First published in the National Post.

Posted on 12/21/2010 11:01 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: Sweet Man (Ethel Waters)

Listen here.

Posted on 12/21/2010 12:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Alan Baker: Those Armistice Lines That The Arabs Want To Pretend Were Borders

From The Jerusaem Center For Public Affairs, Dec. 2010



The Fallacy of the “1967 Borders” – No Such Borders Ever Existed


Alan Baker


  • The Palestinian leadership is fixated on attempting to press foreign governments and the UN to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state within the "1967 borders." Indeed, this campaign appeared to have some initial successes in December 2010 when both Argentina and Brazil decided to recognize a Palestinian state within what they described as the "1967 borders."

  • But such borders do not exist and have no basis in history, law, or fact. The only line that ever existed was the 1949 armistice demarcation line, based on the ceasefire lines of the Israeli and Arab armies pending agreement on permanent peace. The 1949 armistice agreements specifically stated that such lines have no political or legal significance and do not prejudice future negotiations on boundaries.

  • UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 acknowledged the need for negotiation of secure and recognized boundaries. Prominent jurists and UN delegates, including from Brazil and Jordan, acknowledged that the previous lines cannot be considered as international boundaries.

  • The series of agreements between the PLO and Israel (1993-1999) reaffirm the intention and commitment of the parties to negotiate permanent borders. During all phases of negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, there was never any determination as to a border based on the 1967 lines.

  • The PLO leadership solemnly undertook that all issues of permanent status would be resolved only through negotiations between the parties. The 2003 "Road Map" further reiterated the need for negotiations on final borders.

With ongoing and increasing intensity, the Palestinian leadership is fixated on advancing a concerted policy vis-à-vis the international community and public opinion, demanding recognition of what they claim to be the "1967 borders," and acceptance of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state within those borders. Indeed, this campaign appeared to have some initial successes in December 2010 when both Argentina and Brazil decided to recognize a Palestinian state within what they described as the "1967 borders."1

In actual fact, the Palestinian leadership, as well as members of the international community, are well aware that such borders do not exist, nor have they ever existed. They have never figured in any of the international, agreed-upon documentation concerning the Israel-Arab and Israel-Palestinian issues, and have no basis whatsoever, neither in law nor in fact.

There are no provisions in any of the agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians that require withdrawal to the "1967 borders." There were never any geographic imperatives that sanctify the 1967 lines. Clearly, there could be no legal or political logic to enshrining as an international boundary an inadvertent and coincidental set of ceasefire lines that existed for less than 19 years

While the above is fully evident to the Palestinian leaders who are actively and daily advancing this policy - principally the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the head of the Negotiations Department of the Authority, Sa'eb Erekat, both of whom were themselves actively involved in all the stages of negotiation - they nevertheless continue with their fixation to present the concept of the "1967 borders" as an accepted international term-of-art and as an Israeli commitment.

The following is a summary of the background to the 1967 lines as described in the international documentation:

UN Security Council Defines Initial Ceasefire Lines

The term "1967 lines" refers to the line from which Israel military forces moved into the territories at the start of hostilities on June 4, 1967 ("The Six-Day War").

These lines were not based on historical fact, natural geographic formations, demographic considerations, or international agreement. In fact, they had served as the agreed-upon armistice demarcation lines from the termination of the 1948 War of Independence, pursuant to the armistice agreements signed between Israel and its neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon in 1949. These lines remained valid until the outbreak of the 1967 hostilities.

The armistice demarcation line represented nothing more than the forward lines of deployment of the forces on the day a ceasefire was declared, as set out in Security Council Resolution 62 of November 16, 1948, which called for the delineation of permanent armistice demarcation lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective parties will not move. The line was demarcated on the map attached to the armistice agreement with a green marker pen and hence received the name "Green Line."

The Security Council in its resolution stressed the temporary nature of the armistice lines that were to be maintained "during the transition to permanent peace in Palestine," intimating that permanent peace would involve negotiating permanent bilateral borders that would be different from the armistice demarcation lines.2

1949 Armistice Agreements

In fact, the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement signed on April 13, 1949, as well as all the other armistice agreements, emphasized the transitional nature of the armistice as "an indispensable step toward the liquidation of armed conflict and the restoration of peace in Palestine." The language of the agreement went to great pains to stress that the armistice lines were of a provisional and non-political nature and were not intended to, and did not constitute international boundaries, and as such do not prejudice the rights, claims, and positions of the parties in the ultimate peace settlement:

"No provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations."3

"The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Lines is to delineate the lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move."4

"The provisions of this article shall not be interpreted as prejudicing, in any sense, an ultimate political settlement between the Parties to this Agreement."5

"The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in...this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto."6

Subsequent Views on the Transitional Nature of the Lines

Statements from Arab and other sources between 1949 and 1967 confirm the common understanding as to the transitional nature of the lines. During the debate in the Security Council before the outbreak of hostilities in 1967, the Jordanian ambassador stated:

"There is an Armistice Agreement. The Agreement did not fix boundaries; it fixed a demarcation line. The Agreement did not pass judgment on rights political, military or otherwise. Thus I know of no territory; I know of no boundary; I know of a situation frozen by an Armistice Agreement."7

Prof. Mughraby wrote in the Beirut Daily Star:

"Israel is the only State in the world which has no legal boundaries except the natural one the Mediterranean provides. The rest are nothing more than armistice lines, can never be considered political or territorial boundaries."8

President Lyndon Johnson is on record stating:

"The nations of the region have had only fragile and violated truce lines for 20 years. What they now need are recognized boundaries and other arrangements that will give them security against terror, destruction and war."9 In this context, international jurists have also acknowledged the limited effect of the armistice lines:

Elihu Lauterpacht, in his booklet, Jerusalem and the Holy Places, states:

"Each of these agreements...contains a provision that the armistice lines therein laid down shall not prejudice the future political settlement. It would not therefore be accurate to contend that questions of title...depend on the Armistice Agreements. Questions of sovereignty are quite independent of the Armistice Agreements."10

Judge Steven Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice, stated in 1994:

"The armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them."11

Security Council Resolution 242, 1967

The transitory nature of the 1949 armistice demarcation lines was clearly acknowledged by the Security Council in Resolution 242 of 1967, after the "Six-Day War," which affirmed, in its first paragraph:

"...respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."12

There is no call in this resolution for a return to the armistice demarcation lines or to any other line or border. The Security Council specifically dismissed the Arab demand for a text that required Israel to completely return all the territory it occupied during the 1967 conflict. Israel was called upon to withdraw from "territories occupied in the recent conflict," not from "all the territories" or even from "the territories." At the same time, the Council called upon the parties to work together to promote agreement on a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles of the resolution. Clearly this settlement was intended to include the negotiation of secure and recognized boundaries that would replace the armistice demarcation lines, pursuant to the above references in the armistice agreements to the same "ultimate peaceful settlement."

During the Security Council debate on the acceptance of Resolution 242, the representative of Brazil, in accepting the resolution, declared:       

"Its acceptance does not imply that borderlines cannot be rectified as a result of an agreement freely concluded among the interested States. We keep constantly in mind that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East has necessarily to be based on secure permanent boundaries freely agreed upon and negotiated by the neighboring States."13

Israel-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, 1993

While this fact has been widely acknowledged in both legal and political literature throughout the years,14 the basic reciprocal undertaking by the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships to negotiate borders between their respective territories was given formal confirmation by Yasser Arafat, his deputy and later replacement Mahmoud Abbas, and Sa'eb Erekat during the groundbreaking "Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements" (signed inter alia by Abbas) of September 13, 1993, in which the PLO and the Government of Israel acknowledged that the negotiations on the permanent status of the relationship between them would cover:

"...remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest."

On the eve of the signature of the above declaration, Arafat made the solemn commitment in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin:

"The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations."15

Clearly, the present, ongoing fixation by Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, and his chief negotiator, Sa'eb Erekat, in attempting to bypass the agreed-upon negotiating process and achieve unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state within the "1967 borders" runs squarely against Arafat's solemn undertaking in the name of the Palestinian people in 1993. 

Israeli-Palestinian Agreements, 1993-1999

The above references to permanent status negotiations on borders and to achieving the aims of Security Council Resolution 242 were repeated in a series of mutually agreed documents entered into between the PLO and the Israel Government.16 Furthermore, with a view to strengthening this commitment, they undertook in the 1995 Interim Agreement not to act unilaterally to change the status of the territories pending outcome of those permanent status negotiations:

"...neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations."17

This undertaking was reiterated by the parties in Article 9 of the 1999 Sharm el Shiekh Memorandum:

"Recognizing the necessity to create a positive environment for the negotiations, neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in accordance with the Interim Agreement."

Throughout all the phases of the negotiations on these various agreements and memoranda between Israel and the Palestinians, and in the texts of these documents, there was never any reference to the 1967 lines as a potential border between the two neighbors, nor was there any reference to any commitment or obligation by Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines.

Road Map, 2003

Further indication of the non-existence of "1967 borders" and the rejection of any unilateral act by the Palestinians is evident from the terms of the Quartet-initiated "Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" of April 30, 2003.18 In this document the parties were expected, in the second and third phases of implementation of the "Road Map" and after election of a responsible Palestinian leadership, to engage in negotiation focusing on the option of creating an independent, viable Palestinian state, initially with "provisional borders." This was intended to serve as a way-station to the permanent settlement that was scheduled for the third stage, where final status borders would be recognized by an international conference convened for that purpose.

Clearly, if and when the parties return to a modus of bona fide negotiation and reach the issue of defining their mutual border, the 1967 line could indeed figure as a point of reference in the negotiations between them, assuming that it answers the criteria set out by the Security Council for a border that will avoid situations of threats of force and violence.

But this can only emanate from a reciprocal and good faith attempt by the parties to act together, and not unilaterally, in determining their own borders, based on their mutual interests as neighbors. Such issues cannot and must not be dictated from outside, whether by the UN or by individual states.

Thus, in light of all the above, the question arises if and when the Palestinian leadership will come to admit the absurdity in attempting to invent "1967 borders" that obviously lack any historical, legal, or factual basis?

Similarly, one may ask when they will see the utter lack of pragmatism and realism in their attempt to dictate to the international community a unilateral Palestinian state in violation of their own commitments, undermining the internationally accepted Middle East peace process as well as internationally recognized and witnessed documents.

*     *     *

1. For the text of the Argentinean declaration, see The text of the Brazilian declaration may be found at

2. S/RES/62 (1948)S/1080, 16 November 1948.

3. Article II(2),

4. Article IV(2).

5. Article VI(8).

6. Article VI(9).

7. 1345th meeting of the Security Council, May 31, 1967.

8. Beirut Daily Star, May 28, 1967.

9. Department of State Bulletin 33, June 19, 1967.

10. Elihu Lauterpacht, Jerusalem and the Holy Places (London, 1968), p. 45.

11. Justice in International Law, Selected Writings of Judge Stephen M. Schwebel (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

12. UN Security Council Resolution 242, November 22, 1967,

13. S/PV.1382(OR), 22 November 1967. See also Alan Baker, "Recognition of a Palestinian State - Premature,

Legally Invalid, and Undermining any Bona Fide Negotiation Process," Jerusalem Issue Brief, December 9, 2010,,_Legally_Invalid,_and_Undermining_any_Bona_Fide_Negotiation_Process.

14. For example, see Prof. Ruth Lapidoth, "Security Council Resolution 242 at Twenty Five," Israel Law Review, vol. 26, 1992, pp. 295-318. Ministry for Foreign Affairs: The First Fifty Years (Jerusalem, Keter), vol. 4, pp. 840-853 (Hebrew).

15. Exchange of letters between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, July 9, 1993,

16. See, for example, the "Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," Washington, D.C., September 28, 1995, Preamble,; and see the "1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum on Implementation Timeline of Outstanding Commitments of Agreements Signed and the Resumption of Permanent Status Negotiations," 4 September 1999, Article 1.

17. Article XXXI (7).

18. See

Posted on 12/21/2010 12:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Push the envelope ...

... in the direction of New English Review. Stay ahead of the curve and profit from our highly unique and holistic skill set. Together we will shape a brighter future. Exponentially.

Work with NER to  grow our customer base and further our core values going forward. Some websites give 110 per cent, but at NER we go up to 111.

Put Something Back. Now.

Posted on 12/21/2010 2:03 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
If Rahul Gandhi Said That, Rahul Gandhi Is An Idiot

From The Los Angeles Times:

WikiLeaks revelations roil Indian politics

Congress Party is vilified by Hindu nationalists over leader Rahul Gandhi's comments about the threat of Hindu militants. Other cables detail reports of abuse of detainees in Kashmir.

December 19, 2010|By Mark Magnier

Reporting from New Delhi — Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables have sparked a political battle in India, putting the ruling party on the defensive with their disclosures on alleged human rights violations and religious extremism.

Most damaging to the Congress Party was a cable reporting that Rahul Gandhi, scion of India's first political family and pegged by many as the nation's next prime minister, told the U.S. ambassador last year that hard-line Hindu groups in India could be a bigger threat to the country than Pakistan-based Islamic militants.

Posted on 12/21/2010 3:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Wikileaks: Pakistan's Stratokleptocracy Speaks Its Mind


Classified U.S. diplomatic cables from Pakistan, released by WikiLeaks, reveal that despite billions of dollars in U.S. assistance to the civilian government, it is Pakistan's army that appears to be in charge.

The army is where the power lies in Pakistan, according to defense analyst Ayesha Siddiqa. She says anyone seen to be challenging the military or "the military's national narrative is then considered as anti-nationalist, as an enemy of the state, considered as operating on the other side."

Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the powerful chief of Pakistan's military
Enlarge Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the powerful chief of Pakistan's military, has rebuffed U.S. pleas to launch ground operations against militants based in the country's border areas near Afghanistan.

The diplomatic dispatches reveal the contempt Pakistan's military has for the country's civilian leadership.

According to classified cables, the head of the military, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, told U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson that as much as he dislikes President Asif Ali Zardari, and hinted last year he may have to oust him, he distrusts the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif even more.


"It means he doesn't trust the two most important politicians in Pakistan," says journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai.

And that means "he'll be unable to work with them. It does not augur well for Pakistani democracy, for the Pakistani state. [Kayani] will like to have his own way," Yusufzai says.

Inside Pakistan's Power Structure


Like many Pakistani observers, Yusufzai is angered to learn from WikiLeaks how Pakistani leaders confided their innermost thoughts to an American ambassador.[what should the American ambassador have done? Not taken notes? Denounced the military leaders there and then? Stoutly defended the corrupt civilian rulers?  How telling that Yusufzi is "angered" most of all by the American role -- and blaming the Americans is the Pakistani sport and pastime and obsession, no matter who those Pakistanis may be]

"She's holding a court, people coming in and out, telling her stories, and she's taking notes and she's passing it on," he says.

Mushahid Hussain is secretary general of the political faction known as the Pakistan Muslim League. He says the Americans come off as hypocritical for listening to the army chief talk about overthrowing the president — and not protesting.

"So it seems the Americans are quite blase about their relationship with an elected government, or an elected head of state," he says.

Posted on 12/21/2010 3:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
My Blackberry's Not Working

(thanks to Brian of London):

Posted on 12/21/2010 4:03 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt)

Listen -- and follow the lyrics - here.

Posted on 12/21/2010 4:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Fork in the road

Talking of the One Ronnie, once there were two:

Posted on 12/21/2010 5:36 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
The Afghanistan Mess To Continue, And Even The "Doubters" Miss The Main Point


Afghanistan Remains Key Foreign Policy Issue for Obama

President Obama discusses the yearly report on progress in Afghanistan.  He was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, left, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Marine General James Cartwright
Photo: AP

President Obama discusses the yearly report on progress in Afghanistan. He was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, left, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Marine General James Cartwright

One of the central foreign policy questions facing the Obama administration is the conflict in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration's latest strategy review on Afghanistan indicates U.S. forces can begin a scheduled drawdown next July.  The aim is to hand over combat operations to the Afghan security forces by the end of 2014 - if the situation permits it.

In presenting the strategy review, President Barack Obama recently said to ensure Afghans take responsibility, the United States is continuing to focus on training.

"Targets for the growth of Afghan security forces are being met.  And because of the contributions of additional trainers from our coalition partners, I am confident we will continue to meet our goals," said Obama.

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, George Bush's Middle East envoy from 2001-2003, expresses his views during an interview in New York (File Photo)
Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, George Bush's Middle East envoy from 2001-2003, expresses his views during an interview in New York (File Photo)

But retired U.S. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni says the training situation in Afghanistan is mixed.

"The military training is probably going well from what I can see and understand, well enough - it is still a long way to go.  The police training is concerning," said Zinni.  "I think there has to be a lot more investment in that.  There needs to be a lot more follow-up.  There are problems, I think, in the ranks in terms of not only quality and performance to ensure the lack of corruption, but their ability to relate to the people - and that has probably not gone as well."

Zinni and others say a key problem in Afghanistan is rampant corruption, and it will not be easy to root out.

"It takes a long time because it is so endemic to almost every level of the leadership and governance," he said.  "You have to start not only at the top, but also work it all the way down to the bottom.  It is not going to happen overnight.  If it is so well ensconced in the entire system, it is going to take a lot of time, a committed leadership and most importantly - we have to constantly ensure that we have eyes on what goes on and we call out the corruption when we see it and, most importantly, make it public."

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who served in 1992 in the George H.W. Bush administration, agrees fighting corruption in Afghanistan is a very difficult proposition.

"There is no guarantee we can do it.  We have dealt with situations like this to some degree in the past in other countries," said Eagleburger. "But this is a Herculean task and I can not assure you that it will not be easily overcome, there is no question about that.  We have to hope that by staying until 2014 we will be able to have enough time to root it out - but I certainly can not guarantee it."

Eagleburger also questions whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai is able to fight corruption, whether he is capable of running the country, and whether he is a reliable partner for the United States.

Former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger (File Photo)
Former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger (File Photo)

"I have my doubts.  But at the moment he is all that is available, I gather, so we have to go with what we have got," said Eagleburger.  "I would have to hope that I am wrong and he is better than I think he is.  But at the moment I have to answer your question honestly and I do not think he is up to it."

Eagleburger was asked if the United States is investing too much money and lives in Afghanistan.

"I wish I could answer that with a straight answer," he said.  "If we were now for the first time making up our minds as to whether we should be involved in Afghanistan or not, I would be amongst those who would say we should not do it, that we should stay out.  But now that we have made a decision and are in, I guess my answer to you would be we have very little choice now but to stay until we can achieve the success we hope for."

For retired General Anthony Zinni, success would include having a reasonable Afghan government with security forces capable of fighting extremists like the Taliban.

"[Also] the ability to keep out organizations like al-Qaida from getting a sanctuary in there and a government system that is reasonably responsive to the needs of their people," he said.  "I think that is the best we should hope for.  I do not think we should have any delusions about creating Jeffersonian democracy, free-market economies and that sort of thing."

[But why does Eagleburger think because America is now in Afghanistan, it must stay until "success" -- what success? -- is achieved. Is it a question of saving face? If we need to prove that we are leaving Afghanistan for all the right, and none of the wrong reasons, i.e. in order to more effectively deal with Islam and Muslims, there are many signs that could be sent, including the seizure of the Southern Sudan in order to make sure the southern Sudanese can attain liberation from their Arab Muslim oppressors.

And why does Zinni think the presence of Al-Qaeda matters, when terrorists can now train anywhere there are a sufficient number of Muslims? Not one of the major terrorist atacks since 9/11/2001 originated in, or was dependent on, anything in Afghanistan. And is the American military incapable, in any case, of monitoring what goes on in Afghanistan from a distance, and sending in missiles as the case warrants? There is no need for Americans or other Infidels to be on the ground, and no need to spend hundreds of billions trying to create a larger Afghan military, or Afghan unity, or Afghan prosperity-- none of that is to the advantage of the Western non-Muslim world]

While focusing on Afghanistan, Zinni said any resolution of the Afghan conflict must include Pakistan.

In his presentation of the new Afghan/Pakistan strategy, President Obama said the Pakistani government recognizes that terrorist networks in its border regions are a threat to all our countries, especially Pakistan.  He said progress has not come fast enough, "So we will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with"




[But why does Eagleburger think because America is now in Afghanistan, it must stay until "success" -- what success? -- is achieved. Is it a question of saving face? If we need to prove that we are leaving Afghanistan for all the right, and none of the wrong reasons, i.e. in order to more effectively deal with Islam and Muslims, there are many signs that could be sent, including the seizure of the Southern Sudan in order to make sure the southern Sudanese can attain liberation from their Arab Muslim oppressors.

And why does Zinni think the presence of Al-Qaeda matters, when terrorists can now train anywhere there are a sufficient number of Muslims? Not one of the major terrorist atacks since 9/11/2001 originated in, or was dependent on, anything in Afghanistan. And is the American military incapable, in any case, of monitoring what goes on in Afghanistan from a distance, and sending in missiles as the case warrants? There is no need for Americans or other Infidels to be on the ground, and no need to spend hundreds of billions trying to create a larger Afghan military, or Afghan unity, or Afghan prosperity-- none of that is to the advantage of the Western non-Muslim world/

So even the skeptics who are trotted out, Eagleburger and Zinni, are not real skeptics, because they have not yet come to grips with Islam, and with the other instruments of Jihad - the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic  conquest -- that are most dangerously employed not in the Middle East or Central Asia or North Africa (where Muslim lands ought to be allowed to sink into the morass of their own Islamic making, without Western aid or intervention designed to help them stave off the failures -- political, economic, social, intellectual and moral -- that are a result of Islam itself.

Posted on 12/21/2010 7:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
What Appeal To Evidence And Logic Will Make Brauchli Take His Responsibilities To Heart?

Here is another attempt to try, try to get the Washington Post's incredible coverage of Israel and its attempts to defend itself against a Jihad-without-end, slightly less appalling. Leo Rennert writes again to the ombudsman who, I am quite sure, has decided he will no longer look at the actual facts set out, because he, Ombudsman Brauchli, has decided that Leo Rennert is simply tiresome, and so are they all, all tiresome, those who have the stamina, and possess the justified fury, to keep trying, trying, trying, for simple fairness.

Here is Leo Rennert:

Dear Mr. Brauchli:
The Dec. 21 headline in the Washington Post is another reminder of the paper's unbalanced coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- "Aid groups decry Israel's Gaza constraints -- Building Goods Hard to Come By -- Critics say restrictions hurt relief work, not Hamas."
The article, by Jerusalem correspondent Janine Zacharia, goes to great lengths to document complaints by UN relief workers and private aid organizations that Israel is not allowing entry of a sufficient volume of construction materials to meet Gaza's infrastructure needs.  There are long waiting lists for new schools, for modernization of sewage treatment facilities, etc.
That's all very nice and well.  And, standing alone, such a report accurately reflects one side of the picture.  But only one side.  The other side unfortunately is sorely missing.
For example, there's not one word in Zacharia's article that at the very time she was filing her dispatch, southern Israel again was under a mortarge barrage fired by terrorists from Hamas-ruled Gaza.  Nor does Zacharia point out that hundreds of rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza against civilian communities in Israel since the start of the year.  And some of these attacks actually were aimed at border crossings used to supply Gaza with more goods and materials.
What is missing from the Post is a companion piece that also would give readers an up-close and personal picture of the security threats still experienced by hundreds of thousands of Israelis in Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and any number of kibutzim in the Negev.
The Post would have some credibility if, having outlined in minute detail remaining supply shortages in Gaza, it also provided the same intensive and extensive coverage of the terrorization of residents in southern Israel when alert sirens sound and they only have seconds to hurry to seek cover and protect their children from imminent harm.
Gaza is ruled by an Islamist terror organization that, in the name of Allah, is sworn to Israel's destruction.  It poses a daily clear and present danger to Israel.  It's all very well for UN and aid agencies to focus entirely on Gaza's needs -- without any worries about Israel's security needs.  The Post, however, should do equal justice to both concerns. 
Posted on 12/21/2010 7:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
That Might Have Been -- But It Wasn't

The trouble with the aricle by Alan Baker that I just posted here is that it sticks to such things as the 1948--49 lines, and the meaning of Resolution 242, and does not go back far enough to what really counts, or counts the most: the Mandate for Palestine, and the express intent of that particular mandate (there were several). Those educated statesmen, at the mental and moral level of Clemenceau, who created that Mandate, understood the Middle East, knew what the situation of the Jews was like in many parts of the world, including the Muslim East, and also understood that if any peoples, other than the Arabs, were to have provision made for their own states, those states would necessarily include others, including Arabs. That was the crazy-quilt pattern of settlement in the Middle East and North Africa. The fact that Kurds are to be found in Iran, Iraq and Syria, so that a future Kurdistan would include Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs, Yazidis, Mandeans, is not an excuse not to create such a Kurdistan (which, by the way, was intended to be part of the postwar settlement, but in the early 1920s was for political reasons forgotten). If the Berbers were ever to have a state of their own, carved out in the Kabyle of Algeria, there would no doubt be Arabs in that state. If, as we all hope, an independent state can be created in the southern Sudan, there may well be Arabs living there, who thought their rule over the black Africans would never end, and were the spearhead of what was to be demographic conquest that has already worked so well, over so many decades, in pushing ever more to the south the dividing line between Arabs and black Africans.

It should be clear that Israel's legal, moral, and historic claim to what the Jordanians renamed "the West Bank" -- that is, parts of Judea and Samaria -- was not extinguished, not even impinged on, by the fact that the Arab Legion of Jordan managed to seize that unallocated part of Mandatory Palestine in 1948-49, and hold onto it until it was won, by force of arms by Israel. When Israel came into possession of that territory, it came into possession of what it had legal claim and title to, a claim that could now be enforced. That Israel did not do so, when it ought most obviously to have done so -- back in the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War, was a pity, because by now Jewish villages and cities would be all over, and the local Arabs so discomfited and in a state of permanent funk that they would, some of them, have made their exit to places where Arabs ruled, rather than live permanently in a state where they had no future as rulers.

And there is  something else. Had Israel done this, at a time when many people in Western Europe had not been subjected to forty years and more of steady propaganda that drummed into their heads the idea, carefully created after the Six-Day War, of a "Palestinian people," had they made clear on what their claim rested at a time when many people still in power in the Western world knew some history, had read some books, and were not yet frightened or bamboozled by Arab claims and Arab pressures, had the Israelis, furthermore, discussed openly Islamic doctrine concerning Jihad, and explained then, and repeated often, what any scholar of Islam knows, that there is no point for Israel, or any other Infidel nation-state, to rely on "peace" treaties entered into with  Muslim states or Muslim peoples because those treaties will inevitably be, at best, "truce" treaties, to be broken, whenever possible, by the Muslim side. Forty years ago the entire Western world ought to have started to learn about the texts and tenets of Islam. Forty years ago, and more, it ought to have heard about the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah.

Had Israel done this, had it taken the measures it should have taken -- and will still have to take, if it is to survive in conditions other than those of permanent, and fantastic vulnerabilty and danger -- then many in Western Europe might have bethought themselves, might have learned about Islam while there was still time to prevent the large-scale entry of Muslims. True, Ludwig Ehrhard had in the mid-60s begun to import Turks -- it was only in Germany that Muslims were brought in, though it is now claimed that they were brought in everywhere -- as "guest workers" who had to come without their families, and were expected to make money  and then return to Turkey. And some Pakistanis had arrived -- very few -- before then, into England, and some maghrebins -- very few -- into France. But there was time to think about what Islam was all about. And Israel, had it done what it should have done for itself, might have helped push members of the political and media elites at that time to look into Islam, and those who are carriers or vectors of Islam, with attention sufficient to alarm, and with alarm sufficient to call a halt, to Muslim immigration. .

That might have been. But it wasn't.

Posted on 12/21/2010 12:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Sex appeal

Please give generously.

Alternatively, NER welcomes filthy lucre. Show your hand and widows might ...

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Posted on 12/21/2010 1:48 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Netherlands TV Poll: Geert Wilders Best Politician Of 2010

Not reported in The Times, The Post, The Guardian, The -- You Name It.

From Dutch News:

Wilders wins tv show's politician of the year award

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam PVV, has been named best politician of 2010 by the viewers of television show Eenvandaag.

Wilders took 17.5% of the vote. Second was Mark Rutte, leader of the VVD Liberals and the new prime minister with 16%. Socialist party leader Emile Roemer was third with 11% support.

Posted on 12/21/2010 10:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
From An Article On Rising Student Debt

From An MSNBC Article On Rising Student Debt in The United States:

"We've encouraged them to go to college," said Rick. "At least try a semester, a full year."

The Kuipers' nest is already half-empty. Chris is a college freshman, studying engineering at Calvin College, a private school in Grand Rapids, Mich. Kaylee is a junior, also at Calvin, where she recently switched her major to international development after a trip to Africa left her with a keen interest in travel.

"We went around and we visited a bunch of different tribes and villages and just learned about what they were doing for development," she said. "We got to do some fun things, like a safari.  And we just, like, studied the land."

Posted on 12/21/2010 10:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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