Sunday, February 20, 2005

Wars and Rebellions and Other Hellish Matters 

More US troops to Afghanistan. And, apparently, Dana Rohrabacher's buddies are laying low for the time being. Associated Press:
U.S. Doubles Number of Troops Inside Afghan Army; Taliban Official Says Harsh Winter Curtailing Attacks

[Via Digby] A veteran U.S. foreign-policy expert told the Weekly, "If Dana’s right-wing fans knew the truth about his actual, working relationship with the Taliban and its representatives in the Middle East and in the United States, they wouldn’t be so happy." ~ Rohrabacher's Taliban pals

Spain and the EU. Spain votes on EU charter and General Francisco Franco's old ostentiferous left behind legionaires of Christ aren't too happy about it. Via the The Observer (UK) :
Franco followers and bishops urge a boycott of EU vote

In a last stand by traditionalists and erstwhile supporters of General Franco's dictatorship, Roman Catholics in Spain are being urged to boycott today's referendum on a European constitution as a way of censuring the socialist government for advocating gay marriage and wider access to abortion.


Last month, after the Cardinal of Madrid, Antonio Rouco Varela, led a delegation to the Vatican, Pope John Paul II expressed support for the bishops' position, saying he was 'concerned to see a mentality creeping into Spain that is inspired by secularism and which progressively leads to restrictions in religious freedom'.

The Pope listed his objections to socialist Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero's policies on sexuality, embryo research and increased abortion rights. He also criticised the socialist government for considering withdrawing compulsory religious education, as introduced by former conservative Prime Minister José Maria Aznar.

Sounds familiar doesn't it? I hope William Donohue is taking notes.

Meanwhile, in the land of Jacob and jeremiads:
Israel backs Gaza settlement plan | Sun Feb 20, 2005 (Reuters UK)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's government has approved the first evacuation of settlers from occupied land Palestinians want for a state, ratifying a divisive Gaza pullout plan seen as a possible springboard to peace talks.


Sharon's "unity" cabinet voted 17-5 to ratify his "disengagement" plan, effectively giving settlers five months' notice to get out. But further ministerial votes will be needed for each of the four phases of the evacuation process.

"The evacuation of settlements is a difficult step, a very difficult one," Sharon, once considered the godfather of the settler movement, said as he convened his cabinet. "But it is a crucial step for the future of the state of Israel."

Sharon has fought for over a year to get his withdrawal plan past far-rightists, including some within his own Likud party, who are loath to cede an inch of occupied land.

Polls show most Israelis welcome a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, but ultranationalists say it would be a "reward for Palestinian terrorism" and many settlers believe the land is theirs by biblical birthright.

The settlers, reasonable mild mannered god fearin' prairie folk that they are, have expressed a growing dissatisfaction over the resettlement proposals and have taken to registering their objections with the authorities that be:

February 14, 2005. Via the Cleveland Jewish News and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

(JTA) - Sharon: Cabinet members threatened
Ariel Sharon said extremists opposed to his Gaza withdrawal plan were threatening Cabinet members. "There are pressures and threats against ministers and members of the faction, both from within the Likud and by outside groups such as Kach and Yesha" settlers council, the Israeli prime minister told Likud Party faithful in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

(JTA) - Politicians under fire
Dozens of Israeli officials are under protection for fear they could be targeted by Jewish extremists. Security sources said Sunday that as many as 80 civil servants, including Cabinet members, are receiving Shin Bet protection following a spate of death threats attributed to Israelis opposed to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. "Wake up before it is too late," Dalia Rabin, the daughter of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, wrote in Yediot Achronot. "If we do not do enough now to stop the deterioration, we will again witnesses the horrible sight of a another prime minister's murder." According to the daily, Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit had received a letter threatening the lives of his wife and children.

February 15, 2005

(JTA) - Sharon aide speaks out
An aide to Ariel Sharon urged Israelis to stop anti-government incitement. "I feel as though I am in an earthquake," Marit Danon, who has served under several Israeli leaders, including the assassinated Yitzhak Rabin, told Yediot Achronot on Tuesday. "If, God forbid, another prime minister is murdered, I will not be able to continue living here. I cannot understand the public's indifference, the complete lack of action by the authorities responsible for dealing with these things." Danon spoke out as death threats mounted against members of the government by right-wing extremists opposed to Sharon's plan to withdraw soldiers and civilians from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank this summer. According to Israeli media, Sharon has requested protection for the grave of his wife Lily, fearing it could be vandalized.

Right Wing Refuseniks:
(JTA) As withdrawal date nears, prospect of army refusal

As the scheduled start of Israel's Gaza withdrawal approaches, settler leaders are raising the specter of mass refusal by religious soldiers to carry out orders and are warning of disastrous consequences for the Israeli army and society as a whole.


The refusal controversy has sparked a national debate, at the heart of which is the issue of state sovereignty versus rabbinical authority. The debate raises worrying questions: If there is widespread civil disobedience and refusal to carry out army orders, will Israeli society be dangerously divided? Could such a rift scuttle the withdrawal?

There have been cases of left-wingers advocating refusal to serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip or to carry out missions in populated areas, but those calls for disobedience never approached critical mass. On Sunday, however, settler leaders called a meeting with IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, to warn of an impending crisis.


National religious Jews, who make up most of the settler population, serve in the army, and take strong right-wing positions, face the most acute dilemma: On the one hand, they see settling the land of Israel as a necessary step toward the coming of the Messiah, and they accept rabbinical rulings; on the other, they're loyal to the state of Israel and its institutions.

All hell should break loose sometime early Monday morning. I predict Jesus Christ will be rolling into Trenton, New Jersey by late afternoon so have your Rapture-ready fanny packs ready to airlift outta here round 5:30 or sixish. Anyone refused passage will be left behind and subject to the mercy of Dana Rohrabacher, the Taliban, retro-fascist Catholics, and the right wing prairie folk from the land of Nod. And frivolous lawsuits from JD Love Guckert. Good luck, see ya all later at the Fluffy Cloud & Harp for cocktails.


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