ny times



Israeli Parliament Votes Its Displeasure With Sharon’s Plan for a Gaza Pullout


Published: October 12, 2004

Continue reading ‘ny times’


two deaths for one life

‘The girl screamed. I don’t remember anything else’

  • The Guardian,
  • Saturday July 19, 2008
  • Samir Qantar, feted as a hero of the resistance in his native Lebanon this week, was reviled as a child-murdering monster in Israel, which freed him in exchange for the bodies of two soldiers killed by Hizbullah in the raid that triggered the 2006 war. Over four years Chen Kotes-Bar, an Israeli journalist and daughter of an Auschwitz survivor, spoke to prisoner 562885 … the man behind a brutal terrorist act that is seared into her country’s consciousness. This is an account of their extraordinary conversations

    Our meetings, which began in February 2004, took place in the prison library – just the two of us, unaccompanied. Qantar spoke to me in Hebrew. He brought tea and biscuits, and he chain-smoked. Over the 29 years he spent in Israeli jails, I was the first and only Jewish Israeli woman he met and spoke to face to face.

    I told him about my father, who survived Auschwitz, and about my five-year-old son. Each time I wrap him in a towel after his bath, I told Qantar, I think of Danny Haran and his daughter Einat. About the terror attack in Nahariya.

    The girl’s death was a tragic incident, answered Qantar. He insisted that he had not killed her. What does it matter, I told him, you shot at them. If you had not landed on the beach at Nahariya in your rubber dinghy, Einat Haran would still be alive. He never expressed any remorse.

    Qantar was born in the village of Abiya, on Mount Lebanon. “My father worked in Saudi Arabia as a chef for Albir Avila, the international hotel chain. He was a well-known chef, in high demand. He used to come home once every two months, always laden with gifts like clothes and perfumes.

    “My mother is a homemaker with a very strong personality. When she decides something, that’s it – you can never change her mind. My family is Druze, secular and well off. We are three brothers and five sisters. We have a beautiful house that overlooks Beirut, with a view of the airport from the balcony. Occasionally my father took me to Beirut. When I saw the refugee camps, I asked my father what they were. He explained to me, ‘Son, those are Palestinians. The Israelis drove them out of their country, and they’re not allowed to return.”

    At the age of 13, Qantar persuaded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to allow him to enlist. “Each afternoon at 5, a car would collect me and take me to the training camp. That’s where I shot a gun for the first time – a Kalashnikov. It was fantastic.”

    Three years later, having spent 11 months in a Jordanian prison following a failed terror operation, Qantar was given leadership of a cell and assigned to attack Nahariya, an Israeli coastal town located about 10km south of Lebanon.

    During that notoriously brutal attack, Qantar, then 16, dragged 32-year-old Danny Haran and his four-year-old daughter, Einat, from their apartment to the nearby beach. He killed Haran by shooting him in the back and then drowning him, while Einat watched. According to forensic evidence and eyewitness court testimony, Qantar then killed the girl by smashing her skull against the rocks with the butt of his rifle. Her mother, Smadar, hid with two-year-old Yael, but accidentally smothered her to death while trying to silence the toddler’s cries. The Nahariya attack is considered the most brutal in Israel’s history. It is seared on the collective Israeli consciousness.

    “We set out on the rubber dinghy at 10pm on April 21 1979. The sea was stormy and it was cold. The journey to Nahariya took about four hours, because we travelled slowly to avoid making noise.”

    Upon landing on the beach in Nahariya, Qantar and his comrades followed instructions issued in Beirut – which included finding a police officer and killing him. They knocked on the door of a private house and called out in Arabic via the intercom, frightening the inhabitants into calling the police. They killed officer Eliyahu Shachar in a hail of bullets. Qantar boasts that he alone shot 30 bullets.

    They continued to a nearby apartment building – planning, said Qantar, to abduct two or three people and take them back to Lebanon. “We walked up some stairs and I kicked open the door of an apartment,” he recounted. “I told Majed [one of his co-attackers] to take the right, while I took the left. Majed opened the bedroom door and someone inside shot him twice in the forehead. He managed to say, ‘They shot me,’ before he fell.

    “I doubled back, entered the bedroom and saw the man who shot Majed. He was an older guy, with a long nose. I pulled the trigger on my pistol that was equipped with a silencer, but nothing happened. I tried again, but still nothing. I tried using my Kalashnikov, but it was jammed. That guy was lucky.

    “I yelled downstairs, ‘Someone get up here.’ Ali came up the stairs. I told him, ‘Toss a grenade in there, I’ve gotta fix my weapon.’ The explosion made everything go black. The guy in the bedroom disappeared. I was pretty sure he was dead, but I fired a few more shots just to make sure. Then we went downstairs. The stairwell was dark, but there was light under the door of one of the apartments. We broke in. That was the Haran family’s apartment.

    “Dan Haran was standing there, looking at us. The little girl was with him. When we arrived, he was sitting on the bed, as if he were waiting for someone. But as soon as we entered the bedroom, he stood up. He started talking to me in English. I didn’t understand much; just a few words. He was trying to explain that I should not hurt him. I told my comrade in Arabic, ‘Don’t shoot.’

    “I tried to calm him with gestures. I said to him, ‘Come.’ He started speaking to me in a mixture of Hebrew and English. He held his daughter tightly. The girl did not make a sound. She was wearing pyjamas. I tried to tell him to leave her there, but he did not understand. I tried telling him ‘come.’ But he did not want to come with me. I understood he was trying to give the police time to arrive. He was afraid.

    “My comrade, Muhammad Ali, did not understand why we were waiting. I tried explaining to Haran again, using Arabic and hand gestures. He understood, but he was completely unwilling to come with me. I tried to separate him from the little girl. Then I heard shots outside. It was 2.45am. I said, ‘He is delaying us.’

    “I grabbed him in a hurry, with the girl in his arms. I said, ‘Yalla, imshi [‘Let’s go, move it’]. We left the building surrounding Haran, who was holding his daughter in his arms, and went to the beach. Haran kept halting and talking, trying to delay us. But we had to get to the boat. They were waiting for us in Lebanon.

    “As we approached the rubber dinghy, we heard a lot of voices. Then shots were fired in our direction. We approached the boat from the rocks, and Ali took Danny on board. That’s when they started to shoot at us really hard. I returned fire, but it wasn’t enough. Ali and Danny got off the boat. I ordered everyone to take a position on the rocks and return fire. Danny was behind us. His daughter was near him. Haran waved at the soldiers and called out to them in Hebrew.

    “They continued to fire heavily. I ducked down to put a fresh magazine into my rifle. Haran waved again, while they were still firing, and he was wounded.

    “The little girl screamed. That was the first time we heard her. That’s it. I don’t remember anything else.

    “The battle continued until around 5.30am. Ahmed was wounded in the forehead. Ali was killed. I took five bullets and lost a lot of blood. I was not focused.

    “What happened to the girl? During the interrogation they told me, ‘You must admit that you wounded the girl with your rifle.’ I told them, ‘Write whatever you want.’ I did not see anything and I did not hear anything. It was total chaos there. I was focused on the goal. I don’t mind admitting to things that I did. I don’t want to admit to things that I did not do.”

    Samir Qantar’s version of the events of April 22, which have been articulated here in his voice for the first time, is different from that of the security service personnel and Israeli civilians who were present.

    According to the Israeli security services’ reconstruction of the incident, officer Eliyahu Shachar was killed after he got out of his vehicle and fired two warning shots into the air. Qantar’s cell responded with a massive burst of shots. A teenager who was sitting in the car, together with two more police officers, was wounded in the leg and ran to hide behind some bushes.

    Also contradicting Qantar’s testimony is that of Smadar Haran, Danny Haran’s widow, who hid with Yael in a tiny crawlspace above the bedroom. She has no recollection of hearing Qantar trying to convince Danny to leave Einat behind. “It was a terrible and chaotic night, but I find it very difficult to believe that any such conversation took place,” said Smadar.

    Samir Qantar and Ahmed Alabras were wounded and captured at 5.30am. Mhanna Salim Al-Muayed was killed during the exchange of fire.

    During his trial Qantar denied responsibility for the murder of the Haran family, despite the evidence of the pathologist, which proved that Einat Haran was killed by the force of a blunt instrument – most likely a rifle butt. The pathologist’s report also showed that Einat’s brain tissue was found on Qantar’s rifle.

    In November 1978 Qantar’s trial began and lasted for three months. “I thought it was a circus,” said Qantar. “There were 52 witnesses. I testified for 90 minutes, in Arabic. The sentence was handed down on January 29 1980. I got five life sentences plus 48 years inside. At the trial I heard for the first time the names of Eliyahu Shachar, Einat, Danny Haran and Smadar Haran, who survived.”

    “Smadar took me on as her personal project. She could not understand that it wasn’t personal. I didn’t come with Lebanon with a note that said ‘Haran family.’ I came as part of a conflict in which I was convinced I had to participate. I did what I did for my people, for my country. If I sit in jail for a hundred years, I will never change my opinions. This is what I believe.

    “You are all banging your heads against the wall. You are playing a zero sum game, and both sides are losing. The solution is for the stronger side to compromise. You are the stronger side. You are the occupiers. If you don’t compromise, things will not work out. Those are my opinions.”

    In July 2006, Hizbullah fighters attacked an Israeli patrol and kidnapped two reservist soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to use as bargaining chips to secure Qantar’s release. In the ensuing month-long war, 1,100 Lebanese and more than 100 Israelis were killed. The remains of the two Israeli soldiers were this week handed over to Israel in a deal which saw Qantar’s pardon and return to Lebanon.

    “When the war began, I felt pride. Our people have finally begun to value human life, as you did once. I hoped the abducted soldiers were alive. I knew they were more valuable alive, and I wanted the price to be high. I heard the parents of the abducted soldiers speaking. Things like that lower the barriers. I knew that if they had released me in 2004, your soldiers would not have been abducted. There would not have been a war at all.

    “You are responsible. You behaved with stupidity and arrogance. After the 2004 prisoner swap I told one of the guards at Nafha, ‘There is going to be a war over me. Remember that.’ I knew that there would be a deal and I would be released, that it was just a matter of time.

    “What am I going to do now, after my release? I really don’t know. I feel as if I am going to another world. I need to sit and digest my new situation. If I had been imprisoned at an older age, it wouldn’t be so difficult. But I came to jail as a teenager.

    “This is the first time I will experience life on the outside as an adult. I need to learn how to drive, to go to the bank, to buy things. I have never held money in my hand.

    “The thing I need most now is privacy. In 2004, when I was supposed to be freed, I bought a house, 40 metres from the beach, in Beirut. The house is waiting. I want to be alone. I want to have my own key, so that I can come and go whenever I please, to drink coffee on the balcony, to smoke a cigarette, to go down and swim in the sea and go jet skiing.”

    · This article first appeared in Ma’ariv
    · Translated by Lisa Goldman

    16 injured in jersualem

    16 injured in Jerusalem after digger driver goes on rampage

    • Article history


    Israeli police gather evidence next to a digger whose driver was shot dead after crashing into a bus and cars in central Jerusalem. Photograph: EPA

    A Palestinian man rammed a mechanical digger into several cars and a bus in the centre of Jerusalem today in the second such attack this month, injuring 16 people before he was shot dead at the wheel.

    The incident, which was strikingly similar to a bulldozer attack in the city three weeks ago, happened just metres from the King David Hotel where the US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was due to spend last night at the beginning of a closely watched visit to Israel and the West Bank.

    One of the injured suffered a serious leg wound that needed surgery. The others had less serious injuries.

    The driver, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who had been working on a nearby construction site, was shot first by an armed Israeli civilian and then moments later by an Israeli border policeman. There were at least a dozen bullet holes in the door of the digger.

    The Palestinian was named as Ghassan Abu Teir and was a relative of a prominent Hamas politician, Mohammad Abu Teir, who is elected to the Palestinian parliament. However, it was not clear if he was acting alone or as part of an organised attack.

    Avi Levi was driving the bus that was rammed by the digger. “I was driving on the main road when it hit me in the rear, on the right hand side,” he said. “After I passed him he turned round, made a U-turn and rammed the windows twice with the shovel. The third time he aimed for my head, he came up to my window and I swerved to the right, otherwise I would have gone to meet my maker,” he told the Associated Press.

    Another witness, Moshe Shimshi, was riding a motorcycle and stopped when he saw the digger colliding with the traffic. “He didn’t yell anything, he just kept ramming into cars,” he said. The digger then headed for a queue of cars waiting at traffic lights “and rammed into them with all his might,” he said.

    Shimshi said he saw a civilian man firing a pistol into the driver’s cabin as he continued to ram into the cars. “After a few shots, I saw the driver shake and fall, and then he didn’t move any more,” he said.

    Reports in Israel said the civilian who shot the driver was a Jewish settler named Yaacov Asael, 53, who lives in the occupied West Bank near Hebron and served as a company commander in the Israeli military reserves.

    Israeli officials said the attack was an act of terrorism. “This was another attempt to murder innocent people in a senseless act of terrorism,” said Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert. “All people who believe in peace and reconciliation must unequivocally condemn this attack. Unfortunately it is clear that we as a society will have to remain vigilant against terrorism.”

    Three weeks ago another Palestinian construction worker, also from East Jerusalem, killed three people and injured 44 others when he seized control of a larger bulldozer and drove it into oncoming traffic along another major street in Jerusalem.

    There have now been three attacks in the city this year by Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and already there have been calls from some in the Israeli government to take tough action, including demolishing the houses of the attackers.

    Yesterday, Avi Dichter, the public security minister, raised the issue again when he said that the family house of the latest attacker should be destroyed. A few hours before the attack, Yuval Diskin, the head of the Israeli security agency, the Shin Bet, told a parliamentary committee there was a “power vacuum” in East Jerusalem and called for the demolition of the homes of people involved in terrorist attacks.

    There are around 200,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem – all holders of Israeli identity cards or, more rarely, Israeli passports. Many work in construction projects: hundreds of Palestinians are employed on a new light railway project.

    The attack came as the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, held a rare meeting in the office of the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, just a few minutes’ drive from the scene. Abbas said he “condemned and rejected” the attack.

    fox news 1

    Post is taken from Foxattacks.com “I Destroy Hannity’s Best Argument for Endless Iraq War”

    Phil Donahue was a guest on Hannity and Colmes last Wed. (4/8/0 8) to promote the documentary Body of War, about a paralyzed soldier’s journey as he comes to grips with his disability and the truth about the Iraq war. Donahue, who co-directed and executive produced the film, did a great job of exposing the violent, short-sighted idiocy of Hannity/neocon “ideology”, which you can see or can read about here, but I’d like to address something else.

    Hannity decided to strain his active brain cells and present his best, most airtight, “fundamental” argument for why America needs to stay in Iraq forever — that Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas, Al Qaeda, etc. (scared yet?) are the modern-day equivalents of fascism, imperial Japan, communism, Nazis, etc., which were all “evil” and took huge amounts of American blood, money, and sacrifice for our nation to defeat.

    This was Hannity’s best argument for why the US should stay in Iraq forever, continuing to spend over $12 billion a month; cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis; maim and destroy the minds, lives, and families of American soldiers; and lose the respect, love, and authority of the world.

    I can debunk it in one sentence.

    If staying in Iraq so the US can “win” is so important, call for a draft immediately and demand massive amounts of national sacrifice from every American citizen.

    That’s where Hannity’s “best” argument completely crumbles.

    If you really feel that this list of largely unaffiliated paramilitaries, countries, criminal gangs, etc. somehow match the same level of danger as Nazi Germany, then you should demand a draft, much like the one declared to fight Nazi Germany. American soldiers are being stop-lossed, having their tours extended, and pulling multiple tours so much that they are literally being driven insane, so it’s clear that the US doesn’t have enough soldiers in the fight. I know where you could find some — THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. Demand a draft. Now. Where else will you get the soldiers to fight an endless war?

    Other than American soldiers and their friends and families, American citizens have not been asked to sacrifice anything for the Iraq war. Yes, I know many of us did our patriotic duty to shop after 9/11, but there have really been no further requests after that. This is not to say that every Americans and most of the world hasn’t been forced to pay a horrible price for the Iraq war in one way or another, but those were not true sacrifices since sacrificing involves choosing to give something up, not having it stolen away from you or priced out of your budget. It’s obvious the US can’t afford the Iraq war under our current system, so we need to figure out a system that will. The magic of the “free” market isn’t doing it.

    Raise taxes on the rich, who can afford to pay more without it harming their standard of living. Use the money to re-open shuttered factories, hire back the laid-off workers, and get them to make and repair America’s military vehicles and hardware, which are being damaged and destroyed at an alarming rate under the harsh conditions of the Iraq war. This surely couldn’t be more expensive than the exorbitant amounts we’re paying to private contractors and private businesses to do the work of war for us. Plus, it would stimulate the US economy by replacing jobs that have disappeared under the Bush administration.

    Call for cars to get more miles per gallon so we can stop giving more and more of our paychecks to the countries you claim are our enemies. Impose a tax on gas that would go towards the development of sustainable energy, a tax on those who buy big gas guzzlers, and provide a larger tax rebate for people who buy high-mileage cars. If you can’t ask Americans to do that, you must not be taking the threat that seriously. Ask people to sacrifice things they are willing to sacrifice, like enormous SUVs and wasteful energy habits, instead of things they can’t live without, like food, healthcare, and gas so they can get to work and pick up their kids. What wealthy tycoon, oil company, or other giant corporation would be so unpatriotic as to refuse to sacrifice more of their record profits to a system that they profit from so much more than the average citizen?

    And demand a draft to force every able-bodied American to join the fight. If the danger to the nation is so great, it will take the entire nation to fight it, not just volunteer soldiers who make up a tiny percentage of the national population.

    But war supporters like Hannity will never ask for a draft or more sacrifice for a war that needs more soldiers and more sacrifice. That’s how you can tell he’s either a liar or an idiot.

    He’s not willing to ask for the two things that he claims are key to “victory” in Iraq: soldiers and sacrifice. So what if it’s political suicide? Shouldn’t you be standing up for what’s right? That’s how you know Hannity’s either a coward, a liar, or an idiot.

    Also, if the Iraq war is so important, maybe Hannity would like to explain why his network, FOX, covers the Iraq war less than MSNBC or CNN. Hardly seems like the way you’d cover the greatest threat America has faced in a generation.

    Hannity’s “fundamental” argument is a puff of hot air that can’t withstand the most gentle of breezes. If that’s the best justification he and other war supporters can come up with, it’s further reason why the Iraq war must end now.

    And Hannity is “absolutely” sure America is safer because of the Iraq war. To which one should ask: Safe from what? Iraq’s WMDs? An Iraq/Al Qaeda alliance?

    If Hannity was any more ignorant or more of a liar, there’d have to be two of him — no single person could be that clueless and dishonest.