Some unwanted history lessons

Jewish World Review

Jewish World Review Sept. 15, 2005 / 11 Elul, 5765

By Jonathan Tobin

Practitioners of that "religion of peace" celebrate as they torch a former synagogue
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What would happen if mosques were burned — and other silly questions

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Several years ago before I came to Philadelphia, I accompanied the former governor of Connecticut on his first trip to Israel.

In my journalistic capacity, I tagged along as John Rowland, then considered an up-and-coming star of the Republican Party, was schlepped around Jerusalem on a whirlwind tour conducted by guides from Israel's foreign ministry.

But as we were winding our way around the Old City, I began to chafe a bit. The visit to the sites of several ruined synagogues in the Jewish Quarter did not elicit even a mention from the guide over the fact that they'd been blown up by the Jordanian Arab Legion after they took the place from its outnumbered Jewish defenders.

Nor did a view of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives prompt the guide to mention that the cemetery had been desecrated by the Jordanians during their occupation of part of the city before the unification of Jerusalem by Israel in June 1967.

Frustrated that an opportunity to educate an American leader about the history of the city was being missed, I doffed my journalist's cap and intervened in the conversation.

The result was an angry riposte from the guide, who told me to let him do his job and not add to the confusion on the part of the governor.

In the long run, the mixed messages Rowland got that day will have no effect on American-Israeli relations since rather than ascend to the high national office he once aspired to, he has taken his confusion to federal prison, where he's currently serving a term for fraud and malfeasance. As they say in Rome, sic transit gloria.

But the memory of that out-of-tune tour guide came back to me as I read the reactions of many Israelis to recent events in Gaza. The destruction of the synagogues left behind in the Jewish settlements in Gaza by Palestinian mobs on Monday was a grim reminder of other Arab mobs that destroyed Jewish sites in the past.

It brought to mind the bloody mob in Nablus that tore down the shrine of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus at the start of the intifada in October 2000.

Then, just as now, as the shocking events unfolded, there was a strong current of Jewish opinion that counseled us to not take it so seriously. The excuse for the sack of Joseph's Tomb was that the yeshiva there was an irritant to the Arab population of the city.

So, too, we are now told that the results of the Palestinian Mardi Gras in Gaza this week shouldn't upset us. It was Israel's fault for not destroying the synagogues themselves before leaving since the sites were symbols of the hated Jewish presence.

The priority, the editorialists at Ha'aretz, which styles itself the "New York Times of Israel," is to "douse the flames," and not to criticize the Palestinians for what Silvan Shalom, Israel's current foreign minister, rightly termed "barbarism."

Going one better than the real New York Times, which wrote of the burnings only in passing, The Philadelphia Inquirer's Israel correspondent Michael Matza omitted it entirely from his dispatch. Readers of that newspaper were only informed of the vandalism in a caption to a picture of a Palestinian mob making merry atop a demolished synagogue in Netzarim.

But as Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow at the Shalem Center, said in an e-mail to me about the subject, "We can't expect the rest of the world to feel greater rage than Ha'aretz feels."

It is true that the Torahs and other sacred objects in these shuls were gone before the buildings were torched. And you can argue if the communities they served were being demolished, what's the big deal about knocking down the synagogues, too?

After all, haven't scores of synagogues in American cities been torn down or, more commonly, sold to churches? We feel a twinge of regret, but no outrage about the fact that beloved shuls now serve people of other faiths. Why care about the fate of empty buildings that no longer have any Jews to pray in them?

The answer is that the motive for demographic shifts in American cities isn't about extinguishing Jewish history. But the Gaza burnings are yet another example of the Palestinian Arabs' quaint custom of attempting to erase any evidence of Jewish life in the country whenever they can.

This is not an argument that the Gaza withdrawal was wrong. But the fact that the triumphant Palestinians could not bring themselves to let even one former synagogue stand on this land is a frightening reminder that the two sides still don't view the conflict in the same way.

To the Palestinians, this is not a tragic misunderstanding between two peoples, but rather a zero-sum game in which there are only winners and losers.

You needn't ask what the reaction would have been had Jewish mobs torn down or burned a Muslim mosque this week in some part of Israel.

But why even pose such an unlikely hypothetical when the mere threat that Jews might utter prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is enough to send international Islam into a tizzy?

The fact that 1,300 years ago, triumphant Muslims chose to pave over the holiest site in Judaism and plant mosques there is considered an inviolate judgment of history. The Muslim Wakf, which Israel allows to autonomously govern the place, has spent the last several years trashing Jewish antiquities at the site without so much as a peep of protest from the government.

The mere mention of these facts is considered not only bad taste, but tantamount to an invitation to a world war.

How is it, we must ask ourselves, that Jewish sensibilities can be bruised with impunity while Muslim feelings must be not merely respected (as they should), but catered to, so as not to "provoke" more terrorism?

Indeed, the U.S. State Department now has a section devoted to soothing bruised Muslim sensibilities headed by President Bush's former communications guru Karen Hughes. Jews who feel bad about the Gaza shuls must content themselves with sternly-worded letters-to-the-editor of the Times or the Inquirer.

Who can we blame for this? Nobody but ourselves. Afflicted as we are with an indefatigable desire to rise above the conflict, we inevitably wind up conceding the argument before it even starts. And then we wonder why so many people don't understand our side of the story.

It shouldn't take a riot or arson, but until Jews start speaking up for ourselves, our history and our rights, there's no reason for anyone else to care about them.

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© 2005, Jonathan Tobin

Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
& Pongo the Spotted Wonder!


ambulance news

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Don Boehly Update

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... Steven Jensen, an emergency medical services specialist with the Riverside County Department of Public Health's Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Unit ...

FEMA sending Va. medical team to Miss.
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... It is sponsored by Norfolk Fire-Rescue, York County Fire and Life Safety, the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services and the Tidewater Emergency Medical ...

@helcbk: READY: New emergency center
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... Mary Medical Center. "I'd say we're probably one of the most prepared counties in the country,' Carol Meyer, director of emergency medical services for Los ...

What Events Lead To This Attack?
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... Amidst these are the men and women of the Emergency Medical Services, paramedics and emergency medical technicians -- first of which is Arcadian Ambulance of ...

21st century-ready
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Don Boehly Update

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When Don Boehly goes for a bike ride, he doesn't just go around the block.
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... Hugh Earnest told council members at the Tuesday night agenda session that Central Emergency Medical Service was not requesting a specific amount because of ...

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... Adopted a resolution authorizing extension of contract with Dr. Steven Nail as medical director for the city of Kerrville Emergency Medical Service . ...

Estate plan help offered to firemen
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... as wills, durable powers of attorney and health-care powers of attorney to active firefighters, law enforcement workers and emergency medical service personnel ...

cyclist news

Chinese Cyclist, Horse Rider Banned
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Chinese cyclist Zeng Liqing and horse rider Xu Xianyu were each banned from competition for two years for doping offenses, the government said Wednesday. ...

Cyclist robber kills man for cellphone
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61-year-old cyclist hit by minivan dies
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... The cyclist was riding along the edge of the white line on the right side of the road when he was hit by the van, struck the windshield and landed on Detrick ...

Road rage driver rammed cyclist
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... separated yourself. It was a frightening incident for the cyclist and something which clearly affected him for some time. "Cyclists ...

Healing time

Apocalypse N.O.
The ambulance guys lament bureaucratic red tape as the Quarter's famous Dr. Lutz stops by the bar to debunk a few myths about mosquitoes.

Left: Alice Williams, who's doing temp work with a street cleanup crew, says she's grateful for the package meal donated to workers by a Bourbon Street bar. She adds, laughing, "My husband was really surprised to see me on the news with a leaf blower on my back!"

Editor's note: Joshua Clark, who never left the French Quarter, is writing a daily column, "Apocalypse N.O.," about the strange life inside the ghost town that is now New Orleans.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Joshua Clark

print e-mail

Sept. 15, 2005  |  NEW ORLEANS -- Ty bought an ambulance this morning. For a buck.

"Me and Ashley were hanging out with the EMS crew on Dumaine Street last night, playing some music for them, and the 82nd Airborne guys came out and danced with us," he said. A native Mississippian who's lived in the Quarter for years, where he buys and sells art, Ty stepped into the back of his new ride.

"We had a boombox on the balcony and we were all out there jamming, having a good time, and we mentioned how we don't have a car because some of our friends got worried about the situation and we gave them our Volvo and they took off to Indiana. So they just handed me the keys to one of their ambulances. Said they were going to scrap it anyway. They got a fax from their head office today and just signed over the paperwork. We put down that I purchased it for one dollar, and they wouldn't take the dollar. It's even got California plates, good till 2007."

"Imagine how many people died in here," I said, looking into the back of the ambulance.

"Imagine how many were saved," he replied.

The Emergency Medical Services team that sold the ambulance is from Northern California. Their boss, Kelly Bumpus, also owns a house here on Dumaine Street, outside of which they've been camped for over a week now, treating displaced people for infections and giving immunization shots. For the past few days, I've been filching their electricity in exchange for T-shirts and wine.

"Many of the other EMS teams that volunteered spent three days going through formalities at the state line before they were allowed to enter any of the affected areas," Bumpus said Wednesday, sitting on his front porch. Two ambulances were parked on the street. "Before they entered, they had to take courses in sexual harassment and minority concerns. Think how many people could have been saved in those first three days. There was all sorts of bureaucratic steps and permissions we were supposed to obtain. I finally just said, 'Screw it, people need us.' And we drove 48 hours straight down here. They didn't want us. They continually tried to turn us away because we hadn't got those formal permissions."

One of his crew lit up a cigarette after munching down the last of his muffuleta sandwich, shook his head and added, "After this thing's over, you'll find out just how much assistance was turned away."

"I spend a 100 days here in the Quarter every year," Bumpus said. "I know the people and I knew there'd be some of them that would simply refuse to leave this neighborhood, and they'd need our help."

One such resident who refused to leave was Dr. Brobson Lutz, who in 1980 bought Tennessee Williams' home on Dumaine Street, a block away. Lutz is a general practioner and an expert in infectious diseases. He's a local celebrity, famous for his TV appearances, where he delivers friendly wisdom about health and medicine. He's been in New Orleans for every hurricane since Betsy in '65, and for the time being has become surgeon general of the Quarter. In addition to getting EMS crews any supplies they need, and drinking the supposedly contaminated water himself for three days now proving that it's OK, he roams the streets healing the sick and keeping the healthy healthy.

A couple days ago, he stood outside Johnny White's Sports Pub sipping a Corona before a small congregation of confused and curious stragglers. Inspecting the mosquito-bite-ridden legs of the bar's manager, Marci, he exclaimed, "The hurricane away blew away a lot of the birds and mosquitoes, which means there's a slim chance you can catch West Nile. And despite what the radio might tell you, mosquitoes don't bite corpses. I've heard the State Department say we're going to get attacked by cholera and salmonella. That's mostly just silly. You don't get gastrointestinal diseases after hurricanes, especially if you drink beer and bottled water." He took a nip from his Corona.

"Skin and soft-tissue infections will be the predominant infectious disease problem after this hurricane, just as you see here," he said, pointing at Marci's legs. "Most will be trivial if treated properly."

"What about the reports of great white sharks swimming up Williams Boulevard?" asked a patron.

"As I understand it," Dr. Lutz said with a sly grin, "the great whites are all trying to leave Williams Boulevard."

Local house painter Royce Boykens, a French Quarter resident, hands out wine from his ice chest to passersby on Bourbon Street.

Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
& Pongo the Spotted Wonder!

EMS News

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Healing time
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... By Joshua Clark. Sept. 15, 2005 | NEW ORLEANS -- Ty bought an ambulance this morning. For a buck. "Me and Ashley were hanging out with the EMS crew on Dumaine ...

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... NO report of any missing pilot's. Sheriff's deputies, State Police, firefighters and EMS units are all part of the search effort.

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Farrakhan Craters On Katrina

Hat Tip to Captian Ed;

Louis Farrakhan brought his normal measured rationality to the issues surrounding the devastation tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina. He told his audience, gathered to raise relief funds for the victims of Katrina and the subsequent flooding in New Orleans, that evidence showed that the levee had been blown up to kill black people and keep whites alive (h/t: CQ reader Rick S):

He had harsh words for FEMA too. But that was just the warm up. Farrakhan also shared his thoughts on how the levee breached in the first place.

"I heard from a very reliable source who saw a 25 foot deep crater under the levee breach. It may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry," Farrakhan said.

Gilton Balanos lived in the very neighborhood Farrakhan was talking about.

"I think that's ludicrous," Balanos said. "When this happened we were caught by surprise. Individuals, the government and everybody were caught by surprise."

I know that expecting rational discourse from Farrakhan equates to anticipating coherence from Ted Kennedy, but this just beggars belief. In the middle of a category 4 hurricane, Farrakhan believes that the government snuck out to the levees, planted bombs, and blew up a levee with enough force to leave a 25-foot crater ... and that the water would somehow find all of the African-Americans?

The sad fact that Farrakhan has any following at all should embarrass anyone remotely connected to his supporters

Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
& Pongo the Spotted Wonder!

Magen David Adom News

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Communication problems hampered hurricane relief

From The Joplin Globe - Joplin,MO,USA
3 Joplin ambulance workers answered plea for help

Jeff Lehr
Globe Staff Writer9/14/05
Print this story

Three Joplin ambulance service employees returned early this week from
hurricane-ravaged Louisiana after a sometimes-frustrating week of
trying to assist rescue and relief operations there.

Marc Kaufman, Matt Watts and Jay McCracken, of the Metropolitan
Emergency Transport Service, said at a news conference on Tuesday that
their experiences around the Big Easy, as three of hundreds of
out-of-state ambulance crews that poured into the state to help about
a week ago, were plagued by communication difficulties.

Kaufman, METS chief executive officer, said much of their time was
spent waiting to receive tasks through the Louisiana Department of
Health's emergency operations center in Baton Rouge.

"It was frustrating to be cooped up in a place not really doing
anything," Kaufman said.

The Joplin crew arrived in the New Orleans area the night of Sept. 4
and was sent the next day to West Jefferson Parish, just a few miles
from downtown New Orleans. Their task was to help cover 911 calls in
the area.

It was six days after some levees collapsed. The devastation they met
there was total, said Watts, a paramedics supervisor.

"There was nothing untouched," he said. "Very few structures were left

He said tension was still running high among the people there. There
were fears of looting. They had no electricity, no water, no gas.

The paramedics in the New Orleans area were all living out of their
ambulance stations, Watts said. Their homes had been destroyed. They
were managing to answer the area's 911 calls without the assistance of
the Joplin crew, he said.

The METS crew instead was given a long-distance transport of an
elderly woman from West Jefferson Memorial Hospital, the only hospital
still open and functioning in the area. She'd been in the hospital for
some tests when the hurricane hit. She wasn't sick or injured. The
hospital's beds were needed for those still being rescued who were
sick or injured.

They drove her to family she had in Leesville, La., about 5 1/2 hours
away and then drove back. Sleep was at a premium for the Joplin
emergency medical service workers their first two days in the New
Orleans area.

On their second full day there, the state's emergency operations
center sent them to an oil refinery at Chalmette in St. Bernard
Parish, east of New Orleans. There were supposed to be refinery
workers stranded there. They were told they would have go to part of
the way by boat.

They ended up being able to drive all the way to the refinery. But no
workers were left there. They'd been rescued by an Arcadian ambulance
service assisting the oil company for which they worked. But the
state's emergency operations center had not been apprised of that,
Kaufman said.

That's the way much of their experience in Louisiana went throughout
the week, McCracken, an emergency medical technician, said. They'd get
tasks which too often proved to be five-day-old calls, he said.

From St. Bernard Parish, they were sent to the convention center in
New Orleans to assist in transporting sick and injured from a medical
triage center set up there. The Joplin emergency workers assisted
doctors and nurses in setting up a clinic Sept. 7 in Evansville, La.,
at a shelter for 27 displaced residents.

Their last two days in the area were spent at the fieldhouse on the
Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge that was being used
as a shelter. They wound up transporting just one person from the
shelter to a hospital.

ambulance news

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By ASJYLYN LODER. No more free rides, the Passaic County Freeholders said Tuesday evening, voting, 7-0, to charge $500 for a trip in a county ambulance. ...

Parsippany to charge for ambulance service
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... ordinance Tuesday night that will allow the township to bill insurance companies for emergency services provided by the Par-Troy Hills Municipal Ambulance Squad ...

3 Joplin ambulance workers answered plea for help
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Three Joplin ambulance service employees returned early this week from hurricane-ravaged Louisiana after a sometimes-frustrating week of trying to assist ...

Beach Park rejects tax for ambulance
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Worker badly hurt by forklift
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bicyclist news

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Bicyclist, 12, struck by truck
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EMT News

Student to utilize EMT training in Louisiana storm relief
Elon University - Elon,NC,USA
Boyer left campus Wednesday, Sept. 14 to work with Disaster Health Services, utilizing her certification as a firefighter and EMT to assist with medical care. ...

Police, EMTs take stand in Ervin murder case
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A police officer and two EMT's set the stage in the trial of Michael Ervin for the murder of his wife. Ervin, 36, is charged with ...

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... Collins - now the assistant executive director for the squad - even has made the business of being an EMT a family affair, having worked with his wife at the ...

Arrest made in police impersonation
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... Police found two sets of handcuffs with key, a firefighter's badge, an EMT badge and emergency reflective tape when they searched Clippinger's Jeep. ...

bicycle news

Man injured in bicycle accident
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Minivan hits, kills man riding bicycle
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... yield, he said. Walters was not injured. This is the second fatal bicycle accident in the county in a week. On Sept. 7, Ryan Esterley ...

Family's 'BIG' Bicycle Journey Raises Money for Brain Injury ...
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Ben, Christian, and Lee Anne Barry reached the mid-point of their cross-country bicycle trek at the Macknac Bridge, passing from St. ...

Bicycle ABC Quick Check
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To ensure overall safety, the Chicago Police Department recommends you perform this ABC QUICK CHECK procedure before you ride your bicycle. ...

Van and bicycle Collide
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... It is alleged that a bicycle operated by 48-year old Kathleen Nowitski of 123 Andrew Street was traveling westbound on Wellington Street East and proceeded ...

World silent after Muslim gang attacks ‘Palestinian’ Christian village

Jewish World Review

Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2005 / 9 Elul, 5765

By Daniel Pipes

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It ain't just the Jews, folks.

A sustained assault on Arab Christians has led to their fleeing the birthplace of Christianity. The likely result will be reduced to empty church buildings and a congregation-less hierarchy with no flock

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What some observers are calling a pogrom took place near Ramallah, West Bank, on the night of Sep. 3-4. That's when fifteen Muslim youths from one village, Dair Jarir, rampaged against Taybeh, a neighboring all-Christian village of 1,500 people.

The reason for the assault? A Muslim woman from Dair Jarir, Hiyam Ajaj, 23, fell in love with her Christian boss, Mehdi Khouriyye, owner of a tailor shop in Taybeh. The couple maintained a clandestine two-year affair and she became pregnant in about March 2005. When her family learned of her condition, it murdered her. That was on about Sep. 1; unsatisfied even with this " honor killing" — for Islamic law strictly forbids non-Muslim males to have sexual relations with Muslim females — the Ajaj men sought vengeance against Khouriyye and his family.

They took it two days later in an assault on Taybeh. The Ajajs and their friends broke into houses and stole furniture, jewelry, and electrical appliances. They threw Molotov cocktails at some buildings and poured kerosene on others, then torched them. The damage included at least 16 houses, some stores, a farm, and a gas station. The assailants vandalized cars, looted extensively, and destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary.

"It was like a war," one Taybeh resident told The Jerusalem Post. Hours passed before the Palestinian Authority security and fire services arrived. The fifteen assailants spent only a few hours in police detention, then were released. As for Khouriyye, the Palestinian police arrested him, kept him jail, and (his family says) have repeatedly beat him.

As the news service Adnkronos International notes, for Palestinian Christians "the fact that the Muslim aggressors have been released while the Christian tailor-shop owner is still being held, at best symbolizes the PA's indifference to the plight of Palestinian Christians, at worst shows it is taking sides against them."

A cousin, Suleiman Khouriyye, pointed to his burned house. "They did this because we're Christians. They did this because we are the weaker ones." The Khouriyyes and others recall the assailants shouting Allahu Akbar and anti-Christian slogans: "Burn the infidels, burn the Crusaders." To which, an unrepentant cousin of Hiyam Ajaj replied, "We burned their houses because they dishonored our family, not because they are Christians."

This assault fits a larger pattern. According to the Catholic Custodian of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Christians in the Bethlehem region alone have suffered 93 cases of injustice in 2000-04. In the worst of these, in 2002, Muslims murdered the two Amre sisters, 17 and 19 years old, whom they called prostitutes. A post-mortem, however, showed the teenagers to have been virgins — and to have been tortured on their genitals.

"Almost every day — I repeat, almost every day — our communities are harassed by the Islamic extremists in these regions," Pizzaballa says. "And if it's not the members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, there are clashes with … the Palestinian Authority." In addition to the Islamists, a "Muslim land mafia" is said to operate. With PA complicity. it threatens Christian land and house owners, often succeeding to compel them to abandon their properties.

The campaign of persecution has succeeded. Even as the Christian population of Israel grows, that of the Palestinian Authority shrinks precipitously. Bethlehem and Nazareth, historic Christian towns for nearly two millennia, are now primarily Muslim. In 1922, Christians outnumbered Muslims in Jerusalem; today, Christians amount to a mere 2 percent of that city's population.

"Is Christian life liable to be reduced to empty church buildings and a congregation-less hierarchy with no flock in the birthplace of Christianity?" So asks Daphne Tsimhoni in the Middle East Quarterly. It is hard to see what will prevent that ghost-like future from coming into existence.

One factor that could help prevent this dismal outcome would be for mainline Protestant churches to speak out against Palestinian Muslims for tormenting and expelling Palestinian Christians. To date, unfortunately, the Episcopalian, Evangelical Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, as well as the United Church of Christ, have ignored the problem.

Instead, they pursue the self-indulgent path of venting moral outrage against the Israeli bystander and even withdrawing their investment funds from it. As they obsess with Israel but stay silent about Christianity dying in its birthplace one wonders what it will take to awaken them.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

"Miniatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics"  

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JWR contributor Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum.

© 2005, Daniel Pipes

Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
& Pongo the Spotted Wonder!

Observe 9-11 as America's Tisha B'Av?

Jewish World Review

Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2005 / 8 Elul, 5765

By Jonathan Gurwitz

Tribute in Light shines on Manhattan skyline as memorial to the fallen Twin Towers
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The human ability to do evil often appears to be unbounded. Our capacity for sorrow, on the other hand, is limited. If we can bind up all the terrible things in life on one single day, the remainder of the year in some sense becomes bearable

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Jewish people set aside one particular day to commemorate the many calamities that have befallen them throughout history. Tisha B'Av is literally the ninth day of the month of Av on the Hebrew calendar. Normally it falls in August.

According to tradition, it is the date of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the Babylonian exile. It is also the date of the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans and the beginning of the Diaspora. And it is the date of the decree expelling the Jews from Spain in 1492.

It is a day Orthodox Jews mark by fasting and mourning. Tisha B'Av is a chasm on the calendar.

Americans must look at Sept. 11 on the calendar in much the same way Orthodox Jews see the ninth of Av. It is a hole in the year, a cataclysmic date on which the course of history changed.

For many Russians, Sept. 1 is such a date. It is the date, last year, when Chechen terrorists seized Beslan's Middle School No. 1, leading to a three-day siege and the massacre of 331 people, most of them children.

Americans will now also look at Aug. 29, the date Katrina roared ashore, as yet another hole in the year. As it did one year ago and four years ago, history — tragic history — is unfolding as summer draws to an end.

Last month, the New York City Fire Department added to our understanding of part of that history when it released 12,000 pages of transcripts of radio calls and oral statements from firefighters and paramedics describing the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Somebody yelled something was falling," reads the statement of firefighter Maureen McArdle-Schulman. Actually, it's more of a confession.

"We didn't know if it was desks coming out. It turned out it was people coming out, and they started coming out one after the other. We didn't know what it was at first, but then the first body hit and then we knew what it was. I was getting sick. I felt like I was intruding on a sacrament. They were choosing to die and I was watching them and shouldn't have been. So me and another guy turned away and looked at a wall and we could still hear them hit."

On Sept. 1, HBO premiered a devastating documentary about the Beslan massacre. "Children of Beslan" is a heartbreaking recollection of the siege by its youngest victims.

How can children make sense of events that adults can barely comprehend? Starved and thirsty, threatened constantly and cruelly with death, they recall drinking urine in desperation, seeing bodies explode and hoping that Harry Potter would save them with his invisibility cloak.

Of all the agonizing stories of the past two weeks, one painful story reported by the Associated Press from the Superdome humanized the suffering as much as any other. A young boy bound for Houston wailed as a police officer took away his dog. No pets were allowed on the bus. "Snowball," he cried over and over, until he vomited.

In time, perhaps, such dates — Sept. 11, Sept. 1, Aug. 29 — so closely grouped on the calendar will merge in popular culture into some transcendent day of mourning.

For now, the grief is too great, the pain from each too distinct. And perhaps that is one underlying motive of Tisha B'Av.

The human ability to do evil often appears to be unbounded. Our capacity for sorrow, on the other hand, is limited. If we can bind up all the terrible things in life on one single day, the remainder of the year in some sense becomes bearable.

There is another possible motive. We owe the dead our reverence — the men and women who perished in burning buildings, the children shot in a gymnasium, the people drowned in the storm. But our grief must not be allowed to consume the rest of our days and immobilize us from the duty to the living.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.Comment by clicking here.

Jonathan Gurwitz Archives

© 2005, Jonathan Gurwitz

Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
& Pongo the Spotted Wonder!

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Efforts renewed to find a new global aid symbol

Thursday 15.09.2005, CET 09:56
September 12, 2005 10:33 AM
The red crystal could become the third global humanitarian emblem
The red crystal could become the third global humanitarian emblem (swissinfo)
Switzerland is hosting an international meeting in Geneva to try to agree on a new emblem for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
It is hoped that the meeting will pave the way for a diplomatic conference, which would allow the Israeli first aid service to be globally recognised.
Founded in 1930, Magen David Adom (Red Star of David) is still not a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, an umbrella body for national first-aid societies, their federation and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The Israeli society is holding fast to its emblem – a red Star of David. It refuses to operate under either of the two emblems currently in existence and recognised by the movement: the cross and the crescent.
Arab resistance
Different attempts to overcome this impasse have always failed, essentially because of resistance from Arab countries.

The most recent attempt was in 2000. As the home state of the Geneva Conventions (which set the rules for emblems), Switzerland was on the verge of convening a diplomatic conference of the signatory countries.

One solution put forward by the ICRC seemed to rally all the parties concerned. The guardian organisation of the Geneva Conventions proposed a white square, bordered by red and standing on one corner(the red crystal). Under certain conditions, that emblem could have been integrated with another symbol, such as the Star of David.

But since the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada, positions hardened again and Switzerland's diplomatic efforts were undone.
A neutral symbol
The solution envisaged by the ICRC is still waiting in the wings. This is the project that will be discussed by the representatives of the 191 signatory states to the Geneva Convention when they meet on Monday and Tuesday in Geneva at Switzerland's invitation.

If positions soften sufficiently, Switzerland could convene a diplomatic conference. This would allow an additional protocol to be adopted in the Geneva Conventions. This formula is necessary to endorse the creation of a new humanitarian emblem.

Furthermore, this breakthrough could also allow the American Red Cross to renew its contributions to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Since 2000, the American association has not paid its dues in protest at the exclusion of the Israeli association.
Lives at stake
These quarrels about an emblem may seem silly. Particularly as the collaboration between Magen David Adom and other humanitarian organisations poses hardly any problems on the ground.

But any confusion about image undermines the protection of rescue workers and injured people in wartime. This is why the ICRC has always sought to avoid the multiplication of logos. This would cloud recognition of a universally known and widely respected symbol.

The choice between and cross and a crescent – the two emblems currently in use – causes problems for some countries with both a Muslim and Christian population.

"The adoption of a new emblem – neutral in form – is an opportunity for those countries, as well as for those who are interested in a symbol without a religious connotation," Antonella Notari, ICRC spokeswoman said.

The Red Cross humanitarian organisation does not intend to change its famous logo of a red cross on a white background. According to Antonella Notari, it continues to fulfil its protective role in most of the 80 countries where the organisation is active, with the exception of Iraq and Afghanistan.

swissinfo, Frédéric Burnand in Geneva
Key Facts
The red cross and red crescent emblems are universally recognised symbols of assistance for the victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters.
An international meeting is taking place in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday to put forward the adoption of a third humanitarian emblem, the red crystal.
The Federation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies comprises 181 national societies.
With the ICRC, it forms the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The Movement does not officially recognise the Israeli first-aid society Magen David Adom.
Related Sites

Magen David Adom News

Efforts renewed to find a new global aid symbol
Swissinfo - Switzerland
Founded in 1930, Magen David Adom (Red Star of David) is still not a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, an umbrella body for ...

Medical Supplies Pour In For Hurricane Victims But More Needed, Volunteer Says

The area code "860" should be added to the phone numbers in this article. ~Eli
Published on 9/12/2005

Voluntown, CT — Local fire departments and medical providers have responded generously to a call to provide direct help to the town of Picayune, Miss., a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

On Sunday the local paramedic who is volunteering in Picayune called home with an update on the types of medical supplies a ministry down there needs. Clint Tupper, a paramedic with the Mohegan Tribal Nation, told local emergency management officials that those specific medical supply needs include gauze pads, roller gauze, triangle bandages and basic first-aid equipment.

Charles Jaskiewicz, a part-time paramedic in Voluntown, said the department is asking fire and ambulance departments to donate extra medical gear. Jaskiewicz said that the general public can help by donating Depend Undergarments and Ensure, the supplement shakes.

Jaskiewicz said anyone interested in donating supplies can call the Voluntown Firehouse and make arrangements to have the items picked up. The firehouse phone number is 376-0475.

Jaskiewicz said he is asking local doctor's offices to contact him if they can donate samples of antibiotics. Jaskiewicz said he can make arrangements to have the antibiotics picked up. Jaskiewicz' cell phone number is 608-9594.

The Voluntown Fire Department donated the proceeds of its annual chicken barbeque, held Saturday, toward buying medical supplies. Voluntown Fire Chief Jody Grenier said the department would be buying intravenous supplies today. Grenier said the barbeque raised several thousand dollars for the effort, about double what the department normally raises.

A local truck driver is donating his time and tractor-trailer truck to drive the supplies down, leaving either Tuesday or Wednesday. Len Birdsell, the driver, is a member of the Living Word Fellowship in Voluntown, according to Pastor Les Young.

The Voluntown church is raising money to pay for the fuel, which Young estimated would cost about $1,400. The supplies will go to the Resurrection Life Worship Center in Picayune, whose outreach includes a free clinic and food pantry, Young said.

Jaskiewicz credited local departments with donating a large amount of equipment so far. He said the Waterford ambulance department has been "huge, absolutely massive" in filling a van with backboards, scoop stretchers, gloves, disinfectant, bandages and splints.

Additional fire and ambulance departments who would like to donate should call 889-8803.


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