The picture is of an avian specimen very common around here grabbed at random from Google and identical to a creature that prances around the courtyard among the water dragons all day and peers through the glass door of my office most mornings as I type.
Quaint and nosy you would think it had no fear but that is only because it is typical of its species and is just too stupid to get out of the way. In truth, they will startle at sudden movements as easily as any native bird. The species is notorious for intrusive cloying and other obsessive behaviour if you feed them and this is not recommended.
The other picture is of a common Australian Bush Turkey.
John Lyons appears to have such limited sources for a professional journalist. He will take as gospel (I suspect literally) anything he is told by one side, even Hamas, with perfect credulity while his idea of Israeli input is to pick among the flash, fury, flotsam and jetsam of a free and open society for material for his case. He regards official Israeli sources with contempt. He has a tin ear for tales that ring about as true as tinnitus. There is no evidence he has ever sort a contrary view on his favourite themes (settlements, settlers, Jerusalem, international law, etc ) . There is no evidence that he understands that he is just an instrument of war in that part of the world or he does not care. As a consequence he makes appalling errors of fact in a dangerous game.
Ergo no credibility.
From his latest piece in the Australian.
Did a gang of fifty masked men thirsting for revenge for the synagogue massacre burst out of Yitzhar to attack villagers with rocks while Israeli soldiers looked on with guns pointed in support of this blood crazed mob of Klan style fanatics in lynch frenzy, as Lyons claims?
He has seen the tapes, he says.
Well, not really. Not from the Yesh Din footage Lyons cites with such terror.
There is a stone fight between two gangs of youths (probably both sides masked but you only see one gang fully.) Soldiers are trying to suppress one side by pointing weapons. You can not see what is being done from the other side but there is stuff being tossed about. Perhaps three stones are thrown by the Israelis but they could have been feints and at least two were lobbed at the camera of the Israeli activists there to film (and incite?) the fun.
Not a good look but is this terror?
A longer video shows soldiers running off an Israeli kid about to toss a rock. Only one kid is lightly injured in the whole incident so the soldiers didn't do too bad job.
And there were closer to ten children in the gang than fifty. ( With Lyons, "settlers" with stones and bad intent are "masked men". Palestinians are "children"). Nor are they all masked. And the Israelis say the clash had nothing to do with the massacre but was sparked by a crop fire attack.
Did the mayor of Ashkelon fire Arab labourers in an act of discrimination and revenge, as Lyons says?
Hardly the wrath of Assad but not true anyway. Mayor Itamar Shimoni announced that he was stopping "until further notice" the work of Arab labourers building bomb shelters in nursery schools in the city close to the Gaza Strip. Guards would be posted at about 40 pre-schools near construction sites where Arabs work.
"Whoever thinks this is illegal can take me to the Supreme Court," he told a news crew. "I prefer, at this time, to be taken to the Supreme Court, and not, God-forbid, to be taken to a funeral of a kindergarten child."
Not revenge but a security measure from an elected public official under pressure from a community under pressure.
"Over the last week both sides have targeted a place of worship for the other -- last week Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque and this week the two Palestinians rampaged in the synagogue.
Is even that true?
Not that it matters at all but it is not. It was a suspected price tag attack but it is only an allegation. There's a fire in a vacant mosque so it has to be the Jews. End of story. No one hurt but obviously an inflammatory religious thing, like murdering rabbis at prayer, so there's the moral equivalence and the much vaunted "cycle of violence" rolled into one.
This is how this works. Your crackpot settlers torch a mosque in the night? They share the blame for the murder of the rabbis and so do you. This is how the Lyons mind works but it gets worse.
Lyons rises to a crescendo
“We won’t let our boy ride his bike outside. We’re worried that settlers who live five minutes away will try to kidnap him.”
The woman’s home is 2km from where 16-year-old Mohamed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped in June before having petrol poured on him and burnt alive. The day before men in a car tried to take a Palestinian boy off the streets but his parents fought them off. The man who led the Khdeir kidnapping told police: “They took three of ours (Jewish youths), let’s take one of theirs.”
A sports club for children in East Jerusalem now has guards in case of further kidnap attempts. Parents of Palestinian children at the French Lycee warn their children not to speak Arabic in public.
One Christian Palestinian executive, who works for the Catholic Church near the Old City, is now frightened to walk into the centre of Jerusalem “in case people realise I’m an Arab”.
I don't believe a word of this.
We are now getting close to the worst. A group of thugs carry out an unspeakable crime that shocks the nation. They are quickly hunted down and arrested. But this is the cycle of violence and cancels out the Hamas murders of the abducted teenagers applauded by Palestinians and celebrated by the leadership.
What is missing from this analysis is any concept of the rule of law or indeed common human decency and morality. This is important because it allows Lyons to get to the core. All the settlements including east Jerusalem are illegal anyway and so any "law" is muted or irrelevant to the Jews over the Green line or it seems who are not. The settlements are the root of all evil. Their illegality poisons the well. The appalling crime of one or two becomes the crime of all Jews. The murder of Israelis is a lesser crime which some how just does not count.
The whole bizarre and dirty house of cards collapses if the settlements are not illegal. This is why Lyons and those like him can never entertain the thought. For them, the law has nothing to do with it anyway. This is politics and ideology. The Jews are illegal. Everybody tells him so especially if they are Muslim.
Lyons has the usual swamp of words about the settlements and settlers . Outposts. Armed gangs roaming the countryside murdering olive trees. Stolen land. White brick closed communities under guard strangling Palestinian land, poisoning the wells and killing the two state solution.
Lyons boasts that he is there to see for himself and reprimands anyone with a view that does not acknowledge his finely lasered expertise. How would you know about the settlements, he has berated community leaders. You 're in Melbourne. I'm in Jerusalem.
He could be on the moon for all I care and sometimes I think he is. However there is another man observing from Jerusalem whose authority and credibility well and truly exceeds that of John Lyons .
This is what Isi Leibler recently said about this. Contrast it with Lyons' report.
The two-state solution is not currently feasible, but as an eventual goal it must not be abandoned. In the long term Israel would lose its identity as a democratic Jewish state if it absorbed millions more Arabs. It is therefore crucial that while enhancing political autonomy and living standards for Palestinians, Israel remains committed to achieving two states for two peoples.
The government must commit to restricting construction to the existing settlement blocs and Jewish East Jerusalem. (In practice, this has been the case: Only 507 units were started in the first half of the year, the lowest rate of construction for several years.) This would conform with the assurances that President George W. Bush gave to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, as an incentive to withdraw from Gaza, that in any future settlement America would support Israel’s sovereignty in areas that had undergone major demographic change.
We should display unity by supporting our prime minister’s policy of rejecting further territorial concessions until the Palestinian leaders separate from Hamas, engage in negotiations and display flexibility to enable us to achieve our security requirements. We will not be denied the right to construct homes in our capital or in the major settlement blocs, which will remain within Israel. We seek the support of the United States but we must retain our sovereignty.
What does Lyons really want? The hint is in the last sentences.
Amid the new violence, it seems there is only one chance to end this tragedy -- an urgent political solution for a Palestinian state that would end Israel's control over 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank.
The critics of such a solution argue that this would not guarantee peace -- and they may be right. [may?]
But what is guaranteed is that if current course is continued there will be much more bloodshed.
Lyons wants an unilateral withdrawal to the green line with no guarantees. He wants the total abrogation of the "land for peace" formula that has underpinned peace efforts since 1948. He wants the surrender of the land and Jerusalem with no peace. He wants surrender. He wants the suicide of the state.
Where else could this lead?
This is the "two state solution" that dares not speak its name. It is about time it did. It is about time Lyons and the rest spat it out.
cross posted Jews Downunder