Sunday, 1 November 2009

Yaakov Teitel

Here's a good yarn. A Jewish settler, Yaakov Teitel, has finally been arrested by Israeli police after committing a string of terror attacks against Palestinian Arabs and insufficiently Zionist Jews stretching back over 12 years. Of course, the self-confessed killer is described as 'mentally disturbed', because its the Muslims who are always the terrorists, right?

The Israeli police foreign media spokesman's overarching description of him was that he was "like a serial killer", before recognising his terrorist credentials, in contrast to the way that Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas are described as "terrorists" in Israeli discourse for the mere fact of trying to defend their land against invasion.

I suppose my favourite take on the huge raft of news, comment, analysis and hand-wringing on this topic comes from the ever sophisticated pro-settlement news source Arutz Sheva, which asserts that ‘Teitel Was Lone Man among 300,000 Law-Abiding Residents’. Mmmm, are you really law-abiding when you live in an illegal settlement, built on someone else's land?

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Questions for an Israeli investigation

Today's op-ed article by Aluf Benn in Haaretz outlines some of the myriad questions that need to be asked by an Israeli commission of inquiry into the Gaza war - not that the Israeli government will ever hold one. Some are questions which may have been forgotten as we witnessed the sickening sights, sounds and statistics of what was basically a turkey shoot committed against a downtrodden population with no means of escape.

“I want to know if the decisions (to embark on Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip and to expand it into a ground offensive) were affected by the Israeli election campaign then underway and the change in U.S. presidents,” he says.

Obviously they were. The fuse was lit on the day of the US election, the bombardment started between Christmas and the New Year when most of the Western world’s attention was elsewhere, and the slaughter ended just before Obama’s inauguration. Coincidence? I think not.

“I want to know if the leaders who launched the operation correctly judged the political damage it would cause Israel and what they did to minimize it,” Benn continues.

I'd say, frankly, the political damage caused to Israel is the only positive aspect of the whole blood-soaked enterprise, so let’s leave that one, shall we?

“I want to know if those who gave orders to the Israel Defense Forces assumed that hundreds of Palestinian civilians would be killed, and how they tried to prevent this.”

You know as well as I do, Aluf, that that was one of the major war aims for Israel. To kill Gazans. Not to wipe them out, which would no doubt have been militarily possible, but to “go a bit mad” to teach them a lesson they wouldn’t forget in a hurry. A death-count ratio of 100-to-one would be about right, and hey presto...

He goes on to say that internal military probes are no substitute for a comprehensive examination of the activities of the political leadership and senior command. Correct. Then more questions, including:

“Before embarking on Cast Lead, were diplomatic alternatives explored for achieving calm in the south? Was Hamas' proposal for renewing calm in exchange for opening crossings seriously considered in Israel?”


“Or did the government only want a military operation?”


“How did the rising popularity of the opposition parties, Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, as reflected in polls at the time, affect Barak and Livni's stances before and during the operation?”

A lot, one assumes.

Then we get a bit more about political infighting and grandstanding, and incitement to kill Palestinian civilians.

“Who decided to bomb the flour mill and sewage treatment center in Gaza, and why?”

Not to mention the mosques, the schools, the civilian homes, the government buildings, the hospitals, etc, that were playing no part in the “battle” – not that the Israeli troops ever risked an actual battle with Hamas in its strongholds like Jabaliya or Gaza City. All these locations should have been protected from the fighting, and it’s no good saying Hamas was using human shields. The only hard evidence of the use of human shields in this conflict was by Israel.

“Where did Olmert disappear to on January 13 when Barak and Livni could not find him in an effort to offer a cease-fire?”

Frankly my dear....

But Benn does have an interesting conclusion – based on the assumption that the political leadership are too worried about their own positions to weaken them with an independent investigation (the only thing that will get Goldstone and the UN off Israel’s back). He calls on the State Comptroller to initiate just an investigation into the political decisions behind the war. Good luck.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Lebanon "powder keg"

So let's recap - sorry I was a bit busy last week to blog much - there's been an explosion in a village just south of the Litani river in South Lebanon. On 12 October, a garage and block of flats in Tayr Filsay catch fire, one person is injured, clear explanations are hard to come by - it could be a Hezbollah weapons cache that accidentally detonated or maybe the guy who was injured found a piece of unspent Israeli ordnance left over from 2006 and unwisely took it home and poked around inside. Anyway, no one dead, no apparent permanent harm done. But to read the headlines coming out of Israel you'd think it was the beginning of World War III.

President Shimon Peres, no longer an active politician - so should probably keep his mouth shut - accused Hezbollah of turning Lebanon into "a powder keg". He knows all about how to do that of course. So we've got belicose statements from Israel's internationally respected Nobel Peace Laurate and much-loved grandfather of the nation (or disgusting old war monger, depending on your view) before the UN force in Lebanon has a chance to find out what happened. Um shmum, as Ben Gurion used to say. There are plenty of fear-mongering reports in the Israeli press too. Then the Israeli military broadcasts a dodgy looking tape, obtained illegally by a drone violating Lebanese airspace, purporting to show Hezbollah men taking weapons from the garage. In fact you can't see anything on the tape. After which Hezbollah produce their own tape showing, maybe - hard to tell, that it was just old bits of twisted metal being transported.

And then what happens? A few days later, two Israeli spy devices fitted with explosives are detonated by remote control on - or rather under - Lebanese soil. Apparently planted during Israel's devastating war on Lebanon in 2006, and blown up to stop them being discovered.

And barely a murmur this time from officials south of the border. That's what is called Chutzpah.

It has to be acknowledged that there are a couple of shame-faced reports in the Israeli press - but they are buried deep down in the web pages and are full of equivocations, in contrast to the top-level treatment and screaming headlines of the 12 October explosion.

If you look really carefully on Haaretz, as I'm writing, you can see their report on Israel's violations in Lebanon next to Amira Hass's latest writing on the massascre of the Shamouni family in Gaza in January. It's in a section called Defense (sic)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

More campus fun

It was Ehud Olmert, disgraced former Israeli Prime Minister, and now - thanks to the UN Human Rights Council - suspected war criminal, this time facing the wrath of an audiance at the University of Chicago.

He got a much rougher ride than Tony Blair at Buffalo - speaker after speaker getting up to denounce Olmert over the massacre of Gazans and Lebanese civilians before being taken out by security. Lots of people in the audience giving encouragement. The footage isn't as good as the Blair blather from last weekend, you can't really hear Olmert's reaction clearly. Never mind the point is clear. And there's one nice moment where a moderator asks for Olmert to be given a chance to speak, and the reply comes "He should get his chance to speak at the International Criminal Court". Quite so.

This kind of thing would have been impossible in past years. It was the people speaking on behalf of the Palestinian cause who would be shouted down by organised pro-Israeli activists.

And what's the King Abdullah II Leadership Lecture, and why are the Jordanians doing inviting Olmert, or whoever it was on behalf of the Jordanians?

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A question (and answer) that should bury Blair

It’s been a bad week for Tony Blair. Hats off to Nick Kabat, who asked him this question at a lecture at the University of Buffalo on 7 October. (Thanks to Mondoweiss for picking this up.)

“A UN investigation has found that Israel and Hamas committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the recent Gaza conflict. Yet the US and Israel insist the report was biased and proceeding with the committee’s recommendations would be harmful to the peace process. Why is international law not applied in this case when the evidence exists. And please explain as Quartet envoy why the application of international law would be harmful to the overall peace process and furthermore why the siege on Gaza is not similarly deemed harmful to the peace process.“

Blair, as you can see, was unable to give a straight answer.

Here’s his series of cynical arguments to duck the question, and sorry for SHOUTING in my comments, but really....

1 - International law should be applied, but not necessarily in cases where there are “deep and profound contentions" between the two sides. WHAT!?!



4 – Hamas must release Gilad Shalit – YES, AND ISRAEL MUST RELEASE 11,000 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS.

5 – Some people say we must change our policy in Gaza, but so must Hamas – WHICH IS WHAT GOLDSTONE SAYS. WHY NOT ENDORSE THE REPORT THEN?

6 – Again, the conflict will not be resolved by a debate over a report (sic) that is hotly disputed between the two sides – NO ONE IS SEEKING TO SOLVE THE CONFLICT BY “DEBATING” THIS REPORT. PEOPLE WANT THE CONFLICT TO BE SOLVED BY THE BALANCED APPLICATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, THAT’S ALL.


8 – Things are improving. After all, Mr Bliar is able ponce around the West Bank when before he couldn’t – SORRY, I THINK I’M GOING TO BE SICK...

9 – Now, for the big finish... he believes it’s possible to resolve the dispute by understanding the pain on both sides and making sure we get a just and fair solution with two states, living together in peace. OH YES, "I BELIEVE!" OTHERWISE HE'D HAVE TO RESIGN, WOULDN'T HE?

To conclude, Israel can avoid all accountability for its war crimes by “hotly disputing” any attempt to enforce it. The Palestinians, even the co-opted Palestinian Authority, can hotly dispute whatever they like, the illegality of settlements, or the Wall, or removing the rights of the 6-7m refugees, and no one will listen.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Obama, Nobel Laureate

Recovering my composure after hearing that the Nobel Peace Prize is going to someone who has not actually made any peace yet..

Apparently the committee believes it's valid to bung their dynamite funded cash to someone setting out on a long and arduous path to peace, rather than actually achieving it. So congratulations, Mr Obama, lets hope works out for you.

A couple of awkward thoughts though - he's being praised for his commitment to global nuclear disarmament. Not sure how global this commitment is judging by this report about his position regarding Israel's secret stash of nukes. While on the subject of the Middle East, as the committee must have been deliberating its headline-grabbing peace laureate candidate, his administration was performing a humiliating U-turn on the demand that Israel end illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank (and don't forget all the settlements are illegal, not just the new ones). Then came the mess over the Goldstone report, a crucial test for global accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and what did the US do? What it's always done, throw a diplomatic cloak of impunity over Israel, by pressurising the Palestinians to seek deferral of the report until next March (for which, read "for ever"). I'm no big fan of the PA, but the impact of this all-too-familiar routine calls to mind Ariel Sharon's description of Mahmoud Abbas a few years ago. And I know this blog is about Mid-East affairs, but I'm not sure that US plans for Afghanistan are that peaceful either.

So if this prize is meant to encourage more of same from Mr Obama...

Iraq Memorial Day - update

Good for Archbishop Rowan Williams for having the integrity not to let the Iraq event at St Paul's Cathedral be a complete whitewash for the architects of the war.

The headlines are talking about him attacking high cost of war, decrying human cost, etc. though he was a bit more nuanced. Here are the important quotes from his address.

Many people of my generation and younger grew up doubting whether we should ever see another straightforward international conflict, fought by a standing army with conventional weapons. We had begun to forget the realities of cost. And when such conflict appeared on the horizon, there were those among both policy makers and commentators who were able to talk about it without really measuring the price, the cost of justice..

The conflict in Iraq will, for a long time yet, exercise the historians, the moralists, the international experts. In a world as complicated as ours has become, it would be a very rash person who would feel able to say without hesitation, this was absolutely the right or the wrong thing to do, the right or the wrong place to be.

FROM TODAY'S GUARDIAN - NOT INCLUDED IN YESTERDAY'S POST, BUT POSSIBLY THE MOST STINGING OF WILLIAMS' WORDS: Williams criticised the "invisible enemies – letting ends justify means, letting others rather than oneself carry the cost, denying the difficulties or the failures so as to present a good public face" – that had menaced those involved in the conflict...

The moral credibility of any country engaged in war depends a lot less on the rhetoric of politicians and commentators than on the capacity of every serving soldier to discharge these responsibilities with integrity and intelligence. Reflecting on the years of the Iraq campaign, we cannot say that no mistakes were ever made (when has that ever been the case?). But we can be grateful for the courage and honesty shown in facing them.

Iraq Memorial Day

Back to what I was writing, before nearly falling off my chair just now!

There’s already been plenty of coverage about a religious service in London today to honour the UK troops who have fought and died, and suffered horrific physical and mental scars, in Iraq since the US-led invasion six years ago.

Quite right to remember the soldiers’ courage and sacrifice, but the trouble with such occasions is that is not just a matter of the Queen and dignitaries meeting those who made that sacrifice. There is an unmistakeable subtext that’s all about monopolising the discourse on Britian’s war-making since 2001, which has little public support or international legitimacy.

The plan could be summed up as: “Let’s concentrate on something most people can agree about, and divert attention from the fiasco that has been the war in Iraq – oh, and in Afghanistan too.” This leaves one with the feeling that British soldiers, having been asked to do so much to carry out the plans of a cynical and unpopular government in the field of battle and the badlands of occupation, are now being exploited for propaganda.

So, for balance, here are a few of the things we should bear in mind during the service at St Paul’s: the overwhelming opposition to the war among the British public; the humanitarian disaster that the war caused and continues to cause in Iraq; the lies Tony Blair told to justify the war; the fact that the behaviour of British troops, while better than US combat troops, its
prison guards, and foreign mercenaries, has been far from exemplary. Most significantly perhaps, Iraqis are still paying the price day by day.

Pray hard, Mr Blair, and look hard into your conscience.




Thursday, 8 October 2009

The World as seen from Israel

You've got to hand it to the Israeli press for its unashamed ethno-centricity. A couple of good examples have cropped up today - Ynet had a story headlined 'Israeli on 100 most influential gays list'. Haaretz have perhaps topped this with the fabulous Israeli author Amoz Oz loses out on Nobel literature prize.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Can it be true? More Goldstone

The Palestinian Authority dropped its insistence on a UN vote endorsing the Goldstone report after being blackmailed by Israeli representatives in the US, according to the Shehab news agency.

It says the Israelis have a video showing Mahmoud Abbas and Tzipi Livni urging Ehud Barak to pursue the military assault on Gaza.

It was shown to a Palestinian delegation in Washington on a laptop belonging to Colonel Ely Abraham of the IDF causing them to give way on Goldstone, Shehab says.

There is also allegedly an audio tape of a phonecall between Dov Weisglass and Tayyeb Abdul Rahim in which Abdul Rahim urges the Israelis to storm Jabaliya and Shati refugee camps in Gaza in order to route Hamas once and for all.

Weisglass is heard bemoaning the fate of thousands of civilians in the camps if the troops moved in, to which Abdul Rahim is reported to have replied: “They all voted for Hamas and they chose their destiny not us.”

Threatened with publication of such incriminating evidence of collaboration with Israel, Shehab says the PA representatives signed an undertaking not to lobby other countries to adopt the Goldstone report.

Another theory doing the rounds suggests Israel threatened to derail the Wataniya project to start up a second mobile phone network in the West Bank, if the PA persisted in using Goldstone to seek war crimes charges against Israel. Abbas’s son stands to make millions from the deal.

None of this is doing the PA or Abu Mazen's battered reputations any good.

It is not hard to imagine his Fatah faction seeing a silver lining in Israel's Operation Cast Lead, in much the same way that some Sunni Arab governments did as the Shia Muslim group Hezbollah - along with all of Lebanon - was being thumped by Israel in the summer of 2006. But egging the Israel defence minister on, somewhere he could be secretly filmed, as Palestinians were being slaughtered? It would require a naivety even beyond Abu Mazen.

As for the Abdul Rahim-Weisglass tale, at least it's a bit longer on the specifics, an actual situation on the ground, a direct quote. But why should that conversation ever have even taken place? The Israelis never had any intention of penetrating the Gaza camps. Cast Lead was always meant to be a "no casualty" war for them so they took places like Tel el-Hawa and Zeitoun. So what would someone even as unsavoury as Abdul Rahim be doing discussing this question with the equally unsavoury Weisglas. Israeli politicians have been hinting at PA collusion in the Gaza attacks, but this kind of stuff is way off the mark.

Anyway, watch this space, as this can only grind on and on.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Saudi 'danger'

Interesting article in The National on the row between Saudi reformers and conservatives over the opening of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology near Jeddah. A vocal critic of the mixed-sex classes and "un-Islamic" teaching (Sheikh Saad al-Shethri) has been unceremoniously dumped from the Council of Ulema, raising questions about the illiberal tendency of the supposedly liberal movement.

Newspaper editors ganged up on the recently appointed sheikh after he appeared on Saudi TV to air his objections. Saud Kateb, professor of media technology at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, opines: "Society is facing one of its most dangerous phases as moderates are diminishing and extremism is on the rise both on the Left and the Right. The liberals are becoming extremists just like the conservatives... eliminating the opposition, provoking political authority to oppress the rights of others to present their views."

Another way of looking it: don't criticise projects as close to "royal" hearts such as the Kaust, or you'll find yourself out on your ear. It was ever thus, no? It's just that the monarchy is shifting its alignment away from people like Sheikh Saad.

The article quotes the king speaking in 2007: “The establishment of this university has been a living idea in my mind for more than 25 years and I thank God for helping us to realise it.”

PA 'to investigate' Goldstone cave-in

So Mahmoud Abbas is setting up a commission of inquiry to find out why his own people dropped their demand to for a UN HRC resolution condemning Israel over its rejection of the Goldstone report.

Jerusalem Post says ructions in the Old City are the PA's attempt to distract attention from the embarrassment - unlikely, I'd say.

Commission team - Hana Amireh, Azmi Shuaibi and Rami Hamdallah (who they?) - will report to the pro-Abbas PLO Executive Committee within a fortnight. Apparently pressure for it came from Fatah, and discredited Fatah hard man Muhammad Dahlan has been sounding off on the matter.

Some Abbas loyalists are saying it was PM Salam Fayyad who took the decision. Fayyad loyalists saying he's being framed by Abbas.

Personally, I can't remember a bigger scandal at the PA since the discovery that about half its 1997 budget was squandered through corruption and mismanagement.

Omar Barghouti in an Electronic Intifada editorial goes as far as arguing for the dissolution of the PA, because of its subordination of Palestinian interests to those of Israel and the United States.

Meanwhile, more proof, if needed, how sensitive Israel is to accusations of war crimes (and the evidence is pretty clear for most fair minded people I'd have thought) - Cabinet minister Moshe Yaalon's office admitted he had cancelled a trip to the UK for fear of being held to account to the July 2002 massacre committed in Gaza to claim the scalp of Hamas commander Salah Shehada.

Jerusalem clashes interview

Islamic Movement spokesman Zain Nujidat gives as good as he gets on Israeli radio programme Yoman.

Q: Commander of the Tel Aviv District Police Cmdr. Ilan Franko said that the leaders and clerics are trying to agitate, not to calm. Do you agree?

“Just as he said that he invites everyone to visit Jerusalem, I also invite everyone to see how people are not permitted to enter and pray and then to leave in peace. This is our mosque, why not let us pray there normally without drama and without incitement?”

Q: Maybe because you are causing provocations? Maybe you throw stones and bottles at worshippers?

“That’s not true. That’s the police version. In the incident on Sunday last week, not a single stone was thrown. They tried to bring settlers in by force and then what happened, happened. It’s natural for people to pray at their own mosque. When they’re provoked and when their sensibilities are offended, it’s natural. But to say that the Muslim leadership caused a provocation, that is far off the mark.”

Q: We seem to be talking about different events. I read quotes by Sheikh Raed Salah who said something along the lines—if we have to give up el-Aksa, better we should be shahids. And Khatib also incited.

“The sheikh wanted to make it clear just how precious the el-Aksa Mosque is to every Muslim. We come here to pray according to our religion. According to our Koran, this is our mosque. This is our faith.”

Q: But you know that it’s not just yours.

“There is no compromise over this. There is nothing to talk about.”

Q: Your mosques are there, but so is the Temple Mount, and Jews are also permitted to go there and everyone should respect the other. But it seems that the Muslim worshippers, who were treated respectfully throughout Ramadan, are misbehaving.

“You present this the way you want. We’ve said a thousand times that we are willing to let in a group of neutral archaeologists, acceptable to both the Islamic nation and the Arab world, and if it can prove that there is a single [Jewish] glass or bottle of water in the el-Aksa Mosque, then we’ll talk.”

Q: But the Temple Mount is also holy to the Jews. Will you decide which archaeologists will enter?

“I want to tell you. If there were any signs of the temple, I promise you that neither Franko nor Aharonovich or any other decision-maker in the Israeli government, would let a single Muslim in.”

Q: Why is this all taking place now? Is this related to Abu Mazen, to the elections? Or the Goldstone report and Abu Mazen’s decision about it? Why now?

“Just to make it clear—what is happening on the el-Aksa Mosque began last week, before the report. At the instigation of the police. There was simply a leaflet by extremist Jewish groups—perhaps Israel Radio didn’t get a copy—that was distributed saying that they would meet every day at 7:30 there, because it is ours. And as I said, this my mosque, my religion, my Koran.”

Q: So you made a big deal of some leaflet that made no impression on anyone here, and that’s why all these provocations started?

“Why should it make an impression on you? For you it’s convenient. It makes you happy.”

Q: I’ll ignore that. Why did you take an insignificant matter make provocations out of it that could lead to a conflagration?

“Go into the web sites of these extremist groups, who come to desecrate the el-Aksa Mosque. There is no other way to describe it. They want to meet every day at a certain time, with the help of the police, who are the real desecrators. If not for them, the settlers wouldn’t get close to the el-Aksa Mosque.”

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Goldstone fallout for PA

Apparently, Palestinians are angry about Mahmoud Abbas abandoning efforts to get Israel hawled up before the International Criminal Court on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. AP reports he has come back to the region to a storm of protest.

Planning Minister Ali Jarbawi said: "We want to know exactly what happened." When has that EVER happened in Palestinian politics!

One day in Jerusalem

Again, Israeli troops and Palestinian mosque goers are clashing around Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. There is always a frisson of "what if?" about these incidents. In 2000, I remember thinking as Sharon's little walkabout was triggering bloody confrontations throughout Israel/Palestine, that this was it, there was nothing now to stop violence consuming the fruits of the so-called peace process. And so it was, until the Palestinians decided they had lost enough from pitting themselves against Israel's powerful and ruthless military machine.

Back at the beginning of the Second Intifada, however, there seemed a clear, if unstated, aim on behalf of the Israelis to stoke up the violence and goad the Palestinians into more desperate action. The obscene suicide bombings which followed (coupled with the obscene behaviour of some Israeli troops) then allowed Israel to enact its land-grab known as the "security fence" and we are where we are now.

I don't think Israel needs another uprising at the moment, maybe if two states are getting closer and the result is not to Netanyahu's liking, we may need to worry a bit more about another orgy of violence emanating from the al-Aqsa compound. In the meantime, let's hope no one gets shot today in Jerusalem.

... and, ewww!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

"Competing narratives"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the UNGA


Friday, 2 October 2009

Goldstone postponed

We have to start with the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, aka the Goldstone Report. I've been looking through it this afternoon. It is a remarkable document - rigorous, fearless, all-embracing. The investigators home in on attack after attack carried out by Israeli forces in Gaza, and the "factual findings" and "legal findings" section at the end of each incident are damning, to say the least. The authors do not mince their words - concluding repeatedly that "the Israeli armed forces opened fire on civilians who were not taking part in the hostilities and who posed no threat to them."

Goldstone is such a hot potato we learn today that the Human Rights Council which commissioned has been unable to agree on a resolution in regard to it and has deferred further discussions until March 2010.

Israel, which astonishingly opined that if the report was "bad for peace", must be very happy. The truth is that it never expected such a devastating forensic job on its military behaviour, especially after preventing journalists from covering the war. Its diplomatic best friends, the Americans, for their part are reaping the first fruits of the Obama administration's decision to participate in the UNHMC. But is this a success for those wanting to kick Goldstone into the long grass? Delegates insist not - including those who want to see the report's wish for accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity made reality.

At least the victims have been given an opportunity - officially, internationally - to have their story heard, and believed, by a respected team of jurists. I recommend a thorough read.


I am starting an anonymous blog about current affairs in the Middle East. Circumstances dictate it, and I do it anonymously with some regret. On the plus side, it means I will be able to speak my mind plainly without bringing anyone into disrepute. I shall not be courting controversy, but I shall not shy away from controversial subjects, of which there are many. I encourage feedback, counterargument, all contributions, but not the kind of character assassination which often colours web discussions in this area.

so here goes...