Guardian story on Bab al-Shams falsely suggests Israeli PM violated court order

Yesterday, we reported on a Guardian correction, prompted by an earlier CiF Watch post, to a story written by Harriet Sherwood on Jan. 13 about the recent removal of Palestinian protesters from a tent city named Bab al-Shams – located in an area between the cities of Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1.

Less than 24 hours after our post, which challenged claims made in the story that Palestinians were arrested by Israeli police during the evacuation, Guardian editors removed the inaccurate information and noted the correction in the ‘Corrections and clarifications‘ section of their website.

However, there’s one additional substantive mistake in Sherwood’s story which requires correction.

Note the language used in the strapline:

strapline

So, is Sherwood suggesting that the eviction carried out, under the orders of the prime minister, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling and thus not in accord with the rule of law?

Here are the relevant passages from the report which mention the Supreme Court:

On Saturday evening, Netanyahu demanded the Israeli supreme court overturn an injunction preventing the removal of the protesters, and ordered the area to be declared a closed military zone.

The activists sought legal protection from the supreme court, which granted an injunction against eviction and gave the state of Israel up to six days to respond.

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who was among those detained, said the eviction was “proof that the Israeli government operates an apartheid system. Firstly it decided that supreme court decisions do not apply to Palestinians.

A reasonable person reading the strapline and subsequent text would likely conclude that Netanyahu, furious at a court’s decision explicitly forbidding the removal of Palestinian protesters from the tent city, decided to simply ignore the court order. 

However, such a conclusion would be erroneous.

As CAMERA reported, “the court injunction, issued Friday (Jan. 11) by Justice Neal Hendel, and available in Hebrew on the High Court’s Web site, merely forbade the removal of the tents that the Palestinian activists had set up”, and not the protesters themselves.

Further, per the Supreme Court ruling, even the tents could be legally removed “so long as the state replied to the court within six days that there was a security need”.

Here’s the text from the ruling:

“After studying the petition I hereby impose a temporary injunction according to clause 1 — preventing the evacuation or destruction of tents that were erected by the petitioners on a-Tur lands, east of Kfar al-Azeem, unless an urgent security need arises.

The respondents [the state] will respond to this temporary injunction within six days.”

The bottom line is that, contrary to the clear suggestion in Harriet Sherwood’s report that Palestinians were removed from the protest site illegally (a narrative also parroted by Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada), the court order pertained to the tents, not the people.  

Any way you parse it, the Guardian clearly needs to make another correction to the story.

Following CiF Watch post, Guardian corrects story on protest at Bab al-Shams

H/T CAMERA

On Jan. 13, we criticized a story by Harriet Sherwood (‘Israel evicts E1 Palestinian peace camp activists) about Palestinian protesters who set up a tent city named Bab al-Shams – in the area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1 – and who were removed by Israeli police.  

We noted that Sherwood’s report included the false information that “all” of the Palestinians were arrested when, in fact, nobody was arrested.

Here are the two relevant passages in Sherwood’s report:

According to activists, a large military force surrounded the encampment at around 3am. All protesters were arrested and six were injured, said Abir Kopty.”

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who was among those arrested, said the eviction was “proof that the Israeli government operates an apartheid system.

The strap line for the story also reported that protesters were “arrested”.

We noted that Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that there were no arrests made — a statement (which he later confirmed to CAMERA) accurately reported by several Arab media outlets. According to Rosenfeld, a few activists were detained briefly, and then released.

We asked our blog’s followers to contact the Guardian’s readers’ editor to request a correction and, sure enough, less than 24 hours after our post, the story was revised, and the language about “arrests” removed (including in the strap line).

Sherwood’s report now includes this footnote:

This article was amended on 14 January 2013. Activists were detained but not formally arrested. This has been corrected.

As always, many thanks to our loyal readers for working with us in our ongoing efforts to keep the Guardian accountable to basic standards of accuracy.

European conference organised by ‘Palestinian Return Centre’ launches new initiative.

Last weekend the tenth ‘Palestinians in Europe’ conference – this year sponsored by Tunisian interim president Monsef Marzouki – was held in Copenhagen. The event was co-organised by the Palestinian Forum in Denmark and the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) of London which is a permanent organiser of the annual event. 

The conference’s president was Majed al Zeer of the PRC and also of the Hamas-linked European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm in 2007 and takes part in organizing the various flotillas, including the fatal one of 2010. 

The Palestinian Return Centre is a Hamas-supporting organization which promotes the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and is banned in Israel due to its links with a terrorist organisation. Besides its General Director al Zeer, others of its staff are well-known for their anti-Israel activities. 

PRC spokesman and chair of trustees Zaher al Birawi recently acted as spokesman for the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’. He has also functioned as spokesman for George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys, is an official of the Palestinian Forum in Britain and trustee of a UK charity named ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’ which is a member of the Hamas-supporting Union of Good

The PRC’s operational director, Arafat Madi Shoukri, is also connected to the ECESG as well as director of the Brussels-based European parliament lobbying group called the Council for European Palestinian Relations. Ghassan Faour – a trustee of the PRC – is also linked to the UK charity ‘Interpal’ which is a member of the ‘Union of Good’. Another PRC trustee Majdi Akeel – a known Hamas activist and also connected to ‘Interpal’– was mentioned in the Holy Land Foundation trial in the US. The PRC’s senior researcher and editor, Daoud Abdallah, is also the director of MEMO and well-known as a signatory of the Istanbul Declaration

Speakers at the recent conference included former British MP and Minister Clare Short (also a patron of ICHAD UK and an activist with the ECESG, as well as a member of the advisory board of Res Publica) and leader of the Palestinian party ‘al Mubadara’ (aka Palestinian National Initiative) Mustafa Barghouti who was recently involved in the organization of both the Global March to Jerusalem‘ and the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ flytilla.

According to a ‘Union of Good’-linked website: 

“The Conference called on the Arab countries and the countries sponsoring Palestinian refugees to improve these refugees’ conditions reminding the Europeans of their historical responsibility for the Palestinian problem, and stressing on the steadfastness and great sacrifices of the Palestinians people to defend their land.

The conference’s organizers also launched an initiative in which many European Communities will take part entitled “the wall and settlements’ removal” and aiming at pressuring “Israel”.

Meanwhile, a number of participants in the conference agreed unanimously on the key issues that must be supported, most importantly opposing the Judaization of AlQuds, the Palestinian prisoners’ issue and the internal situation stating that these issues can be solved only after a Palestinian reconciliation.”

The conference launched a new PR initiative on the subject of Palestinian prisoners, claiming that:

“Thousands of Palestinian and Arab prisoners are deprived of their basic freedom and incarcerated in Israeli prisons, lacking the basic standards required in any jail. They have endured many unjust practises (sic) inflicted by the Israeli government which is violating its own commitment to International law and Charters of Human Rights. These violations are committed with total impunity and International accountability.”

Given some of the recent media coverage on the subject of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, we may well assume that the campaign is already in full swing. 


‘Airflotilla 2′ & “normal, average Europeans”

Earlier in the week the organisers of the ‘Airflotilla 2′ (‘Welcome to Palestine’) campaign held a press conference in Bethlehem. Among the speakers the organisers chose to address journalists was the mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh who urged Israel to allow the flytilla activists in.

“These people are coming to talk about peace, they are not coming to wage war against Israel,” he said. “They are coming to visit the Palestinian people who are under occupation and to talk to them and to help them because these people are isolated.”

 “We are asking our neighbors the Israeli government to make it easy for these people to enter the Palestinian National Authority, so that we can have this message of peace starting from this holy city of Bethlehem.”

He called on Europe and the United States to support the protest. People who speak out about Israel’s policies are called “anti-Semitic,” he said, but urged the US and Europe not to fear this label.

Whilst he can certainly talk the talk, Mayor Batarseh’s ‘message of peace’ should be seen in light of the fact that he recently took part in the ‘Christ at the Checkpoint conference held in his town, during which he told the audience that the Palestinians were being crucified by Israeli security measures, Bethlehem was a giant prison and that Jesus Christ, embodied by the Palestinian people, was imprisoned in the city by the security barrier.

Batarseh is known to be allied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a terrorist organization proscribed by Canada, the EU and the US. In January this year Batarseh attended a memorial service for PFLP founder George Habash held in Beit Sahour.  Terror attacks perpetrated by the PFLP include:

  • On July 22, 1968, the PFLP hijacked its first plane, an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv.
  • In September 1970, the PFLP hijacked three passenger planes and took them to airfields in Jordan, where the PLO was then based; after the planes were emptied, the hijackers blew them up. In response, King Hussein of Jordan decided that Palestinian radicals had gone too far and drove the PLO out of his kingdom.
  • In 1972, PFLP and Japanese Red Army gunmen murdered two dozen passengers at Israel’s international airport in Lod.
  • In 1976, breaking a PLO agreement to end terrorism outside Israeli-held territory, PFLP members joined with West German radical leftists from the Baader-Meinhof Gang to hijack an Air France flight bound for Tel Aviv and landed the plane in Entebbe, Uganda. In a now-famous raid, Israeli commandos freed the hostages. [Despite the overall success of the raid, three hostages were killed in the firefight and one was killed by Ugandan Army officers in a nearby hospital.]

Also speaking at the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ press conference was project organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh who said of the campaign’s participants:

“These are not hooligans. The people who are coming are normal, average Europeans who want to learn and visit people under occupation,”

Hooliganism is defined as ‘rowdy, violent or destructive behaviour’ or alternatively; ‘willful, wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others’. Some might say that the attempts of Mazin Qumsiyeh and his Palestine Justice Network to eliminate the Israeli state amount to little less.

Certainly, Mazin Qumsiyeh and Mustafa Barghouti –  an endorser of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ – do not qualify as being best placed to define hooliganism in light of their equally suspect definition of the recent March 30th ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ events  (which they also co-organised) as ‘non-violent resistance’ and Barghouti’s active participation in the Qalandiya riots.

Neither, of course, is Qumsiyeh’s definition of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants as “normal, average Europeans” at all accurate. Average Europeans do not – unlike the members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or London BDS  (both of which are involved in ‘Welcome to Palestine’)  – align themselves with the oppressive human-rights abusing, terror financing and supporting  Iranian regime by promoting and participating in ‘Al Quds Day marches.

Normal Europeans do not march under the flags of terrorist organisations such as Hizbollah and Hamas who indiscriminately murder civilians. Average Europeans do not disrupt cultural events and call for boycotts of a democratic country as a means of bringing about its dismantling. And ordinary Europeans certainly do not try to deliberately get themselves deported from other countries by knowingly engineering provocations.

As for Qumsiyeh’s claim that the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants wanting to “learn” about the conflict – that of course is highly dubious. Seasoned activists such as these are precisely what they are because of the fact that they have no desire to have their well-entrenched opinions challenged by facts and knowledge.

But let’s say they did. A viewing of this video made by Mustafa Barghouti shows exactly what participants in the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ will be ‘learning’ on their trip – should they actually arrive.

CiF Watch Special Report: Latest Assault on Israel’s legitimacy, ‘Air Flotilla 2′, April 15th, 2012

A guest post by Hadar Sela (this report may also be viewed on scribd by clicking here)

Hot on the heels of the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ will come yet another event designed to continue the assault on Israel’s legitimacy – the April 15th ‘Air Flotilla 2′ (also known as ‘Welcome to Palestine’) or flytilla‘ as last year’s  (Hamas approved) similar event was dubbed.

Once again, the aim is to have large numbers of international “activists flying in to Ben Gurion airport on one day – in the words of the organisers – as part of the “challenge to Israel’s illegal siege of Palestine”.

“There is no way into Palestine other than through Israeli control points. Israel has turned Palestine into a giant prison, but prisoners have a right to receive visitors.

Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenceless Palestinian civilian population.”

The similarity of the methodology and rhetoric of this project to that of the Global March to Jerusalem is no coincidence; several of the organisers and endorsers are mutual to both campaigns.  In fact, Mazin Qumsiyeh recently put out calls for volunteers for both projects on his blog, claiming that over 1,500 Europeans have already purchased tickets for April 15th whilst the overall target number appears to be 2,500.

Endorsers of the Air Flotilla include occasional Guardian contributor and ‘Right to Enter activist Sam Bahour, Tony Benn (controversial president of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ which was involved in the GMJ) , Noam Chomsky (a GMJ endorser), Nazareth-based former Guardian journalist  Jonathan Cook, ‘Free Gaza’ and ISM activist Hedy Epstein and PA Ambassador Manuel Hassassian (whose mission promoted the Global March to Jerusalem).

Also on board are Ronnie Kasrils (a GMJ endorser), Nurit Peled, John Pilger, Jean Ziegler, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb ( a GMJ endorser), Susan Abulhawa (a GMJ endorser), Ali Abunimah (whose ‘electronic Intifada’ is promoting the Air Flotilla), Mustafa Barghouti (a GMJ organizer), Abdelfattah Abu Srour of the Al Rowwad Culltural Centre (which supported the 2011 flytilla and the GMJ) and Desmond Tutu (also a GMJ endorser).

Mustafa Barghouti’s ‘Palestinian National Initiative was also an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem, as was The Siraj Centre (where Mazin Qumsiyeh is a member of the board) and the Palestine Justice Network which is currently involved in the organization of the Air Flotilla. The Palestine Justice Network solicits donations through the International Solidarity Campaign-linked ‘Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People’, of which Qumsiyeh is head.

In April 2011 the Palestine Justice Network launched its ‘One State Initiative’ and as can be seen from the endorsements, many of the names also appear on the list of those supporting or organising the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign, as well as on the list of signatories of the Stuttgart Declaration.

In short, as was the case with the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem, the Air Flotilla initiators are united by their rejection of the internationally-accepted route of negotiations aimed at leading to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their aim is an imposed ‘one-state solution’ which would result in the end of self-determination for the Jewish people.

A list of foreign organisations endorsing the Air Flotilla – predominantly from the United Kingdom – can be seen here. Among the individual endorsers is Maha Rahwanji of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign executive committee. The PSC was of course heavily involved in the organization of the Global March to Jerusalem. Something of Rahwanji‘s mindset can be understood from her Twitter timeline.

Unsurprisingly, the Iranian regime-linked ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’ based in the UK is also promoting the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ project, as is Iran’s ‘Press TV’ – according to which “[t]his year, the Welcome to Palestine movement aims to overwhelm Israeli officials by its sheer number of members”.

Purveyor of anti-Semitic cartoons Carlos Latuff presented a gift to the campaign:

The ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign has no qualms about using the false – and highly charged – canard of ‘apartheid’ on its official website in order to curry support.

“Plans are underway to challenge Israeli apartheid during 2012 by having a large number of international activists land in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.”

The campaign’s supporting Twitter account – described as an ‘awareness campaign’ – goes even further, propagating lies and descending into anti-Semitic Nazi analogies.

The end-game of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ Air Flotilla is, however, revealed in this Tweet:

One of the people operating the ‘Airflotilla2′ Twitter account and its online campaign in general is Gaza Strip-born Ayman Qwaider who is currently resident in Spain.

Before leaving Gaza to study abroad, Qwaider worked for the ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ – a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood project which is headed by UK-based Hamas operative  Mohammed Sawalha. Sawalha was instrumental in the organization of both the 2010 and 2011 flotillas and was also one of the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem.

Ayman Qwaider has written for the Palestine Telegraph which is operated by Sameh Habeebwho is also spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ and connected to the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre based in London which is proscribed by Israel.  Last year Qwaider was active in the flotilla campaign on behalf of the ‘Spanish Boat to Gaza’, including giving a talk at a Spanish university.

Part of the online support campaign for the ‘Airflotilla2′ initiative includes an e-mail campaign aimed at members of Parliament.

“Palestinians resist.  The British Government, however, joins with Israel to isolate the Palestinians while they are being dispossessed.  The UK Government, for example, refused to support the recent successful Palestinian bid to join UNESCO in the teeth of bitter US and Israeli opposition. The UK Government has also signalled it will oppose the Palestinian bid for full membership of the UN.

When our governments endorse illegal Israeli occupation, concerned citizens need to take action.”

The main difference between the Airflotilla2 and the Global March to Jerusalem is that the former is designed to appeal primarily – though not exclusively - to European audiences, as reflected in its campaigning and publicity which includes websites and advertising in various European  languages.

FRANCE : contact@bienvenuepalestine.com
UK : uk@bienvenuepalestine.com
SPAIN : pazahora1@gmail.com
ITALY : benvenutinpalestina2012@gmail.com
BELGIUM : bienvenuepalestine.wallonie.be@gmail.com / et pour Bruxelles (Brussels) : welcomepalestinebelgium@yahoo.com
GREECE : greece@welcometopalestine.info
USA: palestine2012us@gmail.com
PALESTINE : jneno@ejepal.org (school project) and info@palestinejn.org

In the Netherlands, Electronic Intifada’s Adri Nieuwhof appears to be utilising her connections within the ‘human rights’/international aid community in order to publicize the project.

Several of the ‘Airflotilla2′ organisers took part in last year’s failed flytilla including Myriam de Ly and David Dupire from Belgium and Mick Napier of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Events were held in Paris , Brussels and other European cities earlier this year to promote the campaign.

The final speaker in the video – Jaques Neno of the EJE (Les Enfants, le Jeu et l’Education) is also one of the project’s organisers, along with George N Rishmawi – co-founder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM), head of the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), coordinator of the Siraj Centre and a former board member of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between Peoples. As stated above, Airflotilla2 and GMJ organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh is connected to both the latter organisations.

Neno tells potential participants that they should expect three possible scenarios. The first is that they will get arrested.  In that case, according, to him “you have won because when Israel puts you in prison it shows how it becomes more and more fascist”.

The second scenario involves the activists being prevented from boarding their flights at the point of departure, as happened in many cases in 2011, but which Neno appears to consider unlikely this year. The third scenario is that they will reach their destination.

Obviously, provocation and bad public relations for Israel are yet again the real name of the game and several factors suggest that this latest publicity stunt aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy should not be taken lightly.

One of these factors is the date which, although originally planned to coincide with the anniversary of the death of ISM activist Vittorio Arrigoni, is also the day after the end of the Pessach holiday when Ben Gurion airport will be particularly busy with a large volume of travelers. For example, the UK airline Jet2 has added an additional flight to its usual schedule on that day which is probably aimed at returning Pessach visitors to Manchester, but is likely to be used by ‘Airflotilla2′ activists from Scotland and the north of England.

Another factor is the unverified claim by ‘Welcome to Palestine’ organisers (Palestine Justice Network) that following the 2011 flytilla during which the majority of activists were not permitted to board their flights, “[a]s a result of legal challenges, many European airlines not only fully refunded the tickets, but also agreed not to repeat the incident.”  In the event that airlines will refuse to transport the activists, demonstrations are already being planned.

The International Solidarity Movement in France is already very indignant regarding a statement put out recently by the French Foreign Ministry advising its citizens not to take part in the ‘Airflotilla2′.

The British government has similarly advised against participation in the project, but such recommendations are unlikely to make much of an impression on these activists, as can be seen by the reaction of the French organisers.

“We have no illusions about our leaders and the fact they eat in the hand of the Israeli occupation. We know how they behaved in July, and more generally how they refuse to apply international law and the principle of reciprocity, then they leave to enter France all Israelis who wish, including criminals war. They do not even defend French diplomats when they are humiliated, beaten or injured by the police or the IDF.”

“The method of intimidation will not work. Participants in the mission “Welcome to Palestine” have the right, justice and morality on their side. And they are aware of the seriousness of the situation for the Palestinians, every day more persecuted and dispossessed. They are not ashamed to go visit them. And to do head high, without lying, without going into the game of the occupant, which would wipe out Palestine and the Palestinians.

Gentlemen of the Quai d’Orsay, gentlemen of the government, history will record that you do not have much dignity.”

On the publicity front, the involvement of Ali Abunimah in this campaign means that we are likely to see a far more intense level of activity, particularly on social networks, than was the case with the Global March to Jerusalem which Abunimah and others shunned.

UPDATE, April 11th:

The full ‘Welcome to Palestine’ programme of events can be seen here. The stated aims of the project – building a school and a museum and refurbishing a kindergarten – appear to be confined to one day of activity, with the rest of the week’s visit dedicated to trips to various destinations and a seminar on the subject of “How to End the Occupation?”.

The organisation hoping to build a museum on the history of Palestinian refugees is the Al Rowwad Centre which was also involved in the organisation of the 2011 flytilla, is party to the BDS movement and was an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem. Pictured below is one of its vehicles, bearing a logo which clearly rejects a negotiated two-state solution.

Global March to Jerusalem violence update: & +972’s Lisa Goldman gets owned by IDF on Twitter

Though GMJ organizers’ ambitious anti-Zionist plan for a million man march on Israel’s borders (part of an effort by Arabs and far-left “activists” to “steal Jerusalem from the hands of the illegal Zionist occupation) has, thus far, seemed to have failed miserably, here’s a brief update on GMJ related violence today:
  • Approximately 150 violent rioters in Bethlehem hurled rocks and firebombs at Israeli security personnel (see video below).
  • Approximately 200 rioters in Qalandia hurled rocks and firebombs at IDF forces. 
  • Though the media (including the Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood) have been uncritically repeating Palestinian claims that politician Mustafa Barghouti was hit in the head by a tear gas canister, requiring medical treatment, the IDF contradicted these claims stating definitively that Barghouti was hurt in a brawl that broke out among the Palestinians over who would lead the protest march. 
  • The IDF responded to Palestinian violence with non-lethal riot dispersal means.

Elsewhere there was this exchange between +972’s Lisa Goldman and the IDF on Twitter.

I just couldn’t help but weigh in.

Here’s a photo of just one of the “protesters” in Bethlehem today – aka, Palestinian child abuse.

Sharia law, Rape, and Jerusalem’s Light Rail Project

A guest post by AKUS

According to strict sharia law, when a woman is raped, she must pay with her life for the crime of inciting the rapist or rapist to attack her, due to her immodesty. Clearly, if the woman did not exist, or did not venture out alone in public, the men would not have been tempted to rape her. In fact, the thinking behind this rather unusual, to Western eyes, view of rape is that they were forced by their very manly nature to rape the woman.

In other words, it is the victim who is to blame, and who should not have ventured out without the protection of a male, since men cannot overcome their desire to rape a woman walking alone.

What has this to do with light rail?

Well, in Harriet Sherwood’s recent excursion   into the murky waters of the endless recitations of Israel’s sins – this time, God help us, establishing an ecologically – and community-friendly light rail system – she hastened to interview a solid sample of three or four  Israelis opposed to the project for ideological and aesthetic reasons (plus Mustafa Barghouti, the hypocrite who studies at Tel Aviv University while denying Israel’s right to exist).

From the Israeli perspective she mentioned skeptical residents who do not believe it will ever move (how many Israelis do you know who are not skeptics after 60 years of war?). There was Gerard Heumann, an architect, town planner and a vocal critic of the project and just about anything that ever happens in Jerusalem. He spends his days fulminating in Ha’aretz about anything and everything that might replace a picturesque Arab hovel or overcrowded street with a modern building or a pedestrian walk way. He specially hates a light rail system that might alleviate traffic congestion and wants more buses on the already overcrowded streets.  He is astonished that there were cost overruns and in his provincial way seems to assume this only happens to urban construction projects in Israel. Possibly he is a little bitter that no-one seems to take him seriously except Ha’aretz and the Guardian.

Of course, “critics from a Palestinian perspective” are concerned as well, writes Sherwood. After all, the light rail will go through their neighborhoods, and they might be tempted to use it.

This is simply an extrapolation of the logic behind sharia law regarding rape – if the rail system did not go through their neighborhoods, the temptation would not exist to cooperate with those devilish Jews by using the system they have provided to whisk them speedily, safely, and in comfort to the Temple Mount to pray at Al Aksa, rather than battling the crowded streets.

Sherwood hunts out a Daniel Seieman, a left-wing lawyer in Jerusalem unreconciled to Jerusalem’s unification after 40 years who apparently believes that Jews should stay in one place and Arabs in another, and never the twain should meet thanks to the convenience of a modern light rail system. No doubt he would be appalled if he realized the racist connotations of his views. Barghouti, of course, claims the whole project is illegal “under international law” , a field in which, like every other critic of Israel, he believes he is an authority despite all findings to the contrary by actual experts in international law.

Then there are the ultra-Orthodox, appalled that both men and women might be forced to share a carriage. Of course, there are many who would argue that this is the best aspect of the whole system. It might actually yank these welfare reprobates, unable to control their lusty feelings, into the 21st century as they surrender to its convenience, rather than promoting separation of the sexes.

But of all the objections to the system, the most bizarre one was the claim that Sherwood noted at the top of her column. The new system would be vulnerable to terrorist attacks and therefore should not have been built.

You see, this is how things work in the Middle East. Building a light rail system in Jerusalem is such a magnet for the Arab terrorists’ propensity to commit acts of terror against Israel that it should not have been built in the first place. Terrorists simply cannot help themselves – they see a tempting, vulnerable light rail system, rather like a woman walking alone, and their manly impulses simply take over – then, boom!

Yes – a possible attack on the Jerusalem Light Rail system is another example of the sharia logic regarding rape. It cannot be helped. It is the nature of things. Blowing it up is the nature of things, and the only way to prevent it is not to build the system in the first place.

In fact, I would claim, critics of the Light Rail System are thinking too small. They should follow their opinions to their logical conclusion. It would have been better not to create Israel at all. Perhaps it’s not too late to simply erase Israel from the map to save it from further victimization for the sin of existing. Think how many terrorist bomb attacks could have been avoided if the temptation had not been there, and how many can be avoided in the future by simply removing the Jewish State from the map of the world. The sharia doctrine of rape prevention would suggest that this is really the best and perhaps only solution to the whole Middle East problem.

I hope Daniel Seieman has taken out his EU passport …