Category Archives: Israel
Hats off to American Thinker for this delicious albeit dead accurate bit of satire. Read it and then share it please – email it to five people you know and ask them to do the same!
June 18, 2010
Israel breathes; world condemnation instantaneous
Israel breathed this morning. There was a quick intake of air, and then a gentle exhalation.
At a time when the most egregious lies about Israel are being devoured eagerly by most of the world, here is a voice of reason. Former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, writing in The Times this week, said:
If Israel goes down, we all go down
By José María Aznar
For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.
In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship.
In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.
In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN.
Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.
Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.
Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.
Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.
For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.
The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.
The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East.
Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.
Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down.
To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.
The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith.
To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.
This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.
It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.
What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.
Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.
José María Aznar was prime minister of Spain between 1996 and 2004.
Is it any wonder that so many people dislike Israel, when they are bombarded with false information about the Jewish state?
The story below, courtesy of Honest Reporting Canada, is a prime example of the strange…let’s call it carelessness which seems to permeate so much of the new coverage about Israel.
More often than not, the errors and lies are allowed to stand – below is a rare instance of one such ‘mistake’ being corrected:
CBC National Corrects Gaza Infant Mortality Rate Error
June 16, 2010
By: Mike Fegelman, Executive Director
Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,
Did CBC falsely imply that Israel was responsible for the death of Gaza babies?
Respected Mideast professor and director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center (GLORIA) asked this very question regarding a June 1 CBC National report which saw Chief Correspondent, Peter Mansbridge, erroneously refer to the Gaza Strip as having “an infant mortality rate among the highest in the world.”
Writing on his blog “Rubin Reports,” Professor Rubin expounded on this misstatement:
“Here’s an example of the insanity and profound anti-Israel bias currently gripping mass media.
On June 1, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) anchorman Peter Mansbridge stated that the Gaza Strip “has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates” The obvious implication: it is Israel’s fault because of its sanctions.
In fact, the Gaza Strip has a lower infant mortality rate than Turkey, which has been a modern republic with full independence for about 80 years, and Iran, which enjoys the “benefits” of the kind of Islamist government which Hamas and the current Turkish government applaud.
According to the CIA World Factbook, regarded as a definitive source, the Infant Mortality Rate in the Gaza Strip is 17.71 deaths per 1000 births, about the same as Mexico and below that of Brazil, Romania, and many other countries. In neighboring Egypt, the number is 26.2, in Turkey, 24.8, and Iran, 34.7.
The kind of coverage given to living standards in the Gaza Strip seems an example of what sometimes seems a principle of Western journalism: Third World suffering is only of interest if it can be blamed on the West. Third World suffering is the world’s lead news story only if it can be blamed on Israel.”
HonestReporting Canada (HRC) communicated our concerns to senior editors at the CBC requesting that a review be conducted and that an on-air correction be issued promptly to remedy this error.
In a written response that was sent to HRC by the CBC, a senior editor said that the mistake was more than just problematic: “In an effort to give viewers a clearer picture of the Gaza Strip, the introduction to the report that night from Washington included statistics about Gaza’s area, population, unemployment and infant mortality rates. However, in one instance, we inadvertently included inaccurate information. In fact – and as Mr. Rubin pointed out – according to the CIA World Factbook, a highly regarded source for such information, Gaza is about half way in a ranking of over 200 countries or regions, (109 out of 224) with an infant mortality rate of almost 18 per thousand live births, a little over four times Israel’s. We regret the error. The Friday night (June 11) editions of The National included an on-air note offering viewers correct information.”
Ms. Hiscox stated the following: “Earlier this month we reported the Gaza Strip has an infant mortality rate among the highest in the world, but according to the CIA World Factbook, Gaza ranks 109 out of 224 regions in the world, with an infant mortality rate of almost 18 deaths per thousand live births.”
While we appreciate and commend the fact that the CBC was quick to investigate this matter and to take the appropriate action in correcting this mistake, with that said, there was no indication given about how this error had occurred and how it had gotten past the trained eyes of the CBC’s most veteran editors. Many questions still remain unanswered such as: What was the source of this original erroneous information? It certainly wasn’t the CIA World Factbook, was it Amnesty International’s (AI) error, as this CBC report attributed various statistics as being derived from AI?
Was this just gross incompetence or intentional subterfuge? And finally, since when did the Palestinians achieve statehood? Why is it that this CBC report included a graphic which referred to the West Bank and Gaza as “Palestine” instead of the Palestinian territories?
We trust that this intervention will serve as a teachable moment for the CBC’s reporters and editors who are keenly aware that their Mideast reporting is being vigilantly watched and scrutinized.
Even given that we live in an insane world, the following story beggars belief. Apparently Yahoo! and Apple have decided that they get to decide the fate of Jerusalem.
Yep. Never mind that Jerusalem had a Jewish majority long before Islam even existed.
Never mind that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel both legally, and morally.
Never mind that when Jordan controlled Jerusalem, it turned holy Jewish sites into horse stables.
Never mind any of that. Apparently Yahoo! and Apple feel that they - not international law, not the Israeli government, and certainly not Jews – get to determine what is part of the Jewish capital of the Jewish nation, and what is not.
Read it and weep, folks:
YAHOO! AND APPLE DIVIDE JERUSALEM ON IPHONE
by Hana Levi Julian
Internet giant Yahoo! and the Apple computer firm have apparently decided to pre-empt those pesky Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations and divide the holy city of Jerusalem on their own.
Yahoo! — which runs the weather software application for the slick Apple iPhone — last month removed Israel’s capital city from its list of international locations from which to view weather conditions.
Instead, one must now choose between East Jerusalem or West Jerusalem in order to figure out what the weather is going to be in the city.
The latitude and longitude coordinates for both locations are exactly the same, as is the temperature and other weather details.
On the Yahoo! weather page, which is linked to The Weather Channel, one is offered two Middle East options when requesting weather information for Jerusalem – Jerusalem, Yerushalayim (IL), Jerusalem, and Palestinian Occupied Territories > West Bank, Jerusalem (PS).
Clearly Yahoo! and Apple executives have decided to recognize the Palestinian State long before direct negotiations have even been contemplated by the parties themselves, let alone conducted to determine actual borders.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, expressed his disappointment with the fact that “Jerusalem, which has been united for 43 years, has been divided by the computer giant and the popular search engine.”
Oren sent a letter of protest to both Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz and Apple CEO Steve Jobbs. He added that he and the rest of the Israel Embassy staff use the iPhone.
Readers may write to both to protest as well at the following emails: to Yahoo!’s Carol Bartz, care of: firstname.lastname@example.org and to Apple’s Steve Jobbs through filling out the customer feedback form by clicking here.
As I write this, the British media is falling over itself to condemn Israel anew. Yesterday a boat bearing terrorists attempted to reach Israeli shores; Israel managed to reach them first and opened fire. As would the defence forces of any sane, democratic nation on our planet.
Of course, the BBC and the Daily Mail, among others, are horrified at this event – what, Jews, defending themselves against terrorism? Whatever next?!
The Mail suggests that this latest terror threat doesn’t actually exist, while the BBC persists in referring to the Islamic militants on board the flotilla as ‘aid workers’.
The British media should be anti terrorism – and as a result should have the decency to at least put forward Israeli responses. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Brits themselves were being slaughtered by the same terrorists who this week are so cheerfully running rings about both Israel and the court of world opinion.
Here is Melanie Phillips – do note the edits at the end of her article, both of which are significant.
Peace convoy’? This was an Islamist terror ambush
As the international community rushes to condemn Israel for the violence on board one of the ships in the Gaza flotilla, which left a reported 10 people dead and dozens injured, it is now obvious that the real purpose of this ‘armada of hate’ was not merely the further delegitimisation of Israel but something far worse.
Gaza’s markets are full of produce, thousands of tons of supplies are travelling into Gaza every week through the Israeli-controlled border crossings, and there is no starvation or humanitarian crisis.
It was always obvious that the flotilla was not the humanitarian exercise it was said to be. Here is footage of the IDF offering to dock the Marmara — the main flotilla ship — at Ashdod and transfer its supplies and being told ‘Negative, negative, our destination is Gaza’.
And now we can see that the real purpose of this invasion — backed by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a radical Islamic organization outlawed by Israel in 2008 for allegedly serving as a major component in Hamas’s global fund-raising machine — was to incite a violent uprising in the Middle East and across the Islamic world. As I write, reports are coming in of Arab rioting in Jerusalem.
The notion – uncritically swallowed by the lazy, ignorant and bigoted BBC and other western media – that the flotilla organisers are ‘peace activists’ is simply ludicrous. This research by the Danish Institute for International Studies details the part played by the IHH in Islamist terror in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya.
According to the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere testifying at the Seattle trial of would-be al Qaeda Millenium bomber Ahmed Ressamin, the IHH had played ‘[a]n important role’ in the al Qaeda Millenium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles airport. It was also involved in weapons trafficking, and played in addition a key role in galvanizing anti-Western sentiment among Turkish Muslims in the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. ‘Peace activists’ these people most certainly are not.
And this flotilla was but the latest jihadi attack, deploying the Islamists’ signature strategy of violence and media manipulation.
Here from MEMRI (via Just Journalism) is a clip showing the hysteria against Israel being whipped up on board before the ships set sail, with the chanting of intifada songs about ‘Khaybar’ – the iconic slaughter of Jews by Muslims in the 7th century which is used as a rallying cry to kill the Jews today — and threats of ‘martyrdom’. This was not merely a propaganda stunt, but a terrorist attack.
This is what the Jerusalem Post reported earlier today about what happened last night:
According to the IDF, the international activists ‘prepared a lynch’ for the soldiers who boarded the ships at about 2 a.m. Monday morning after calling on them to stop, or follow them to the Ashdod Port several hours earlier.
… Upon boarding the ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists, according to an IDF report, succeeded in stealing two handguns from soldiers and opened fire, leading to an escalation in violence.
Also in the Jerusalem Post, David Horowitz wrote:
Benayahu said soldiers, who had been dispatched to block the flotilla because of fears that it was carrying weaponry and other highly dangerous cargo into the Hamas-controlled Strip, were attacked with knives and bars and sharpened metal implements.
Benayahu said two pistols that had been fired were subsequently found aboard the one ship, the Marmara, on which the violence erupted. And, most dramatically, he said that one IDF soldier had his weapon snatched away by one of the ‘peace activists’ on board, that this weapon was then turned against the IDF soldiers, who came under fire, and that they had no choice but to shoot back in self-defense.
… What seems urgent now is to make publicly available footage that shows exactly what did unfold. In early afternoon, video footage screened on Israel’s Channel 2 appeared to show one of those aboard the Marmara stabbing an IDF soldier. Any such footage should have been made available hours earlier. Critically, if footage showing a soldier’s weapon being snatched and turned on the IDF troops exists, it should be broadcast, and the sooner the better.
Some of this footage is now available on the web but much of it is hard to follow: as ever, the Israelis have been far too slow in making the most telling images and information available in comprehensible form (including in English rather than in Hebrew, for heaven’s sake!).
This clip appears to show masked and armed flotilla activists beating Israeli soldiers (although here is the BBC report accompanying that footage, in which the voiceover appears to be claiming, perversely, that the people in masks were Israeli soldiers. That said, the report on Radio Four’s World at One was fair and balanced).
This clip shows an Israeli soldier being stabbed. This IDF clip and this one show attacks on the commandoes including throwing one off the deck, attacking others with a metal pole and a firebomb and an attempted kidnap of another.
It is also becoming clearer as the day wears on that, far from storming the boats in order to attack those on board, the Israelis were hopelessly ill-prepared for the violence they encountered. Israel’s Channel 10 and IDF radio have reported that the Israeli naval commandos were equipped with paint ball rifles to ensure minimum casualties among the flotilla terrorists, with their hand guns to be used only as a last resort.
The terrorists tried connecting the steel cables from the overhead helicopters to the boat’s antenna, in order to cause the helicopters to crash. Only when the terrorists beat the soldiers with iron rods, stabbed them with knives and tried to lynch them did the soldiers respond. The Israeli commandoes were pushed down stairs, thrown overboard, and shot at.
Here is a report by an Israel army radio reporter on board:
‘The activists had many things ready for an attack on the soldiers,’ Lev-Rom said, ‘including, for instance, a box of 20-30 slingshots with metal balls; these can kill. There were also all sorts of knives and many similar things. These are what they call “cold” weapons, as opposed to live fire. It was quite clear that a lynch had been prepared.’
Lev-Rom said, however, that it appears the army, ‘even though it prepared for many different scenarios, was not ready for this one. The army seems not to have known what type of people were there and what type of weapons they had. It was hard for Israel to conceive that the ship, sponsored by the country of Turkey, would have such weapons. Israel was prepared to deal with anarchists, and instead had to deal with terrorists – that’s the feeling here.’
Here** is an even more vivid account showing how unprepared the Israeli soldiers were:
Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.
However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.
One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other ‘don’t shoot, don’t shoot,’ even though they sustained numerous blows.
The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances.
The planned rush towards the vessel’s bridge became impossible, even when a second chopper was brought in with another crew of soldiers. ‘Throw stun grenades,’ shouted Flotilla 13’s commander who monitored the operation. The Navy chief was not too far, on board a speedboat belonging to Flotilla 13, along with forces who attempted to climb into the back of the ship.
The forces hurled stun grenades, yet the rioters on the top deck, whose number swelled up to 30 by that time, kept on beating up about 30 commandoes who kept gliding their way one by one from the helicopter. At one point, the attackers nabbed one commando, wrested away his handgun, and threw him down from the top deck to the lower deck, 30 feet below. The soldier sustained a serious head wound and lost his consciousness.
Only after this injury did Flotilla 13 troops ask for permission to use live fire. The commander approved it: You can go ahead and fire. The soldiers pulled out their handguns and started shooting at the rioters’ legs, a move that ultimately neutralized them. Meanwhile, the rioters started to fire back at the commandoes.
It is becoming ever more clear that Islamist terror attacks like this are fiendishly staged theatrical events in which the western media – and beyond them, western governments — play an absolutely essential role in the drama.
If those media and governments refused to swallow the lies and instead called operations like this and the players behind it for what they actually are, such terrorist operations would not happen. The Islamist strategy of war against Israel is carefully calibrated to deploy the most effective weapon in its armoury in the cause of jihadi violence – the western media.
Right on cue, western governments accordingly deliver their own script in condemning the victims of terror for defending themselves. And so, courtesy of the west’s fifth columnists, yet another nail is driven into the west’s own coffin.
Let’s see whether this time the western elites show any signs of waking from their lethal trance.
Update: I am told that the Jewish Chronicle website was taken down earlier (now restored) by a massive denial of service, apparently to shut down its balanced coverage of the Ashdod flotilla incident. The JC’s teccies, and the server hosts, say this hasn’t been caused by just one or tw908o people — it’s clearly now co-ordinated and growing.
**Update 2: The journalist who wrote this account, Ron Ben-Yishai, cannot be accused of being an Israel government stooge: it was Ben-Yishai who in 1982 was first into the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila in Beirut and blew the whistle on the massacre there that had been perpetrated by the Phalangists while Ariel Sharon looked the other way.
Let’s be crystal clear on this: what happened was not a conflict between ‘innocent aid workers’ and Israeli soldiers. It was between armed, violent, gagging-to-fight Hamas supporters and the Israeli army.
Here, posted by the always vigilant Elder Of Ziyon, is footage of one of these ‘aid workers’ STABBING an Israeli:
Let’s say it like it is: Jewish blood doesn’t make good headlines.
Nobody gives a damn when young Israeli soldiers are attacked and all but killed by ‘aid workers’ and ‘peace activists’. The only story that sells is when Jews fight – or to be accurate, fight back.
Thus the world media is revelling in the latest clash between Israel and Hamas – and yes, it is between these two factions. Every single person present on that flotilla supported Hamas and its openly stated aim of destroying Israel.
For more detailed and accurate reporting than you’ll get anywhere else, here’s a briefing from the excellent Honest Reporting:
Connected to Terror: Who is Behind the Flotilla?
The organizations and passengers behind the Gaza flotilla have been variously described as “peace activists” and “humanitarian organizations”. This could not be further from the truth. The primary objective of this flotilla was not to deliver aid packages to Gaza but to spread anti-Israel propaganda in cooperation with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Playing a central role in the flotilla is the Turkish IHH organization, which besides its legitimate philanthropic activities is also, according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a supporter of radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements.
Amongst the other organizations involved in the flotilla is the International Solidarity Movement. The ISM has a shameful record of placing foreign nationals in danger through encouraging ‘direct action’, which resulted in the death of American citizen Rachel Corrie. In 2003, ISM’s extreme ideology was underscored when terrorists, originating from the UK, used ISM as a cover to attack Mike’s Place, while an ISM activist has been jailed in the US, charged with “giving about $20,000 to a group he knew supported Hamas.”
An Al-Jazeera report from May 28, translated below by PMW, shows activists on board before departing for Gaza, chanting Intifada songs aimed at Jews and praising martyrdom. Chants include “Intifada, intifada, intifada! Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews! The army of Mohammed will return!” relating to a seventh century massacre of Jews in Khaybar by early Muslims.
“Peace” Activists Used Deadly Violence
Despite claims that the activists on board were only prepared to resist the IDF peacefully, the reality was quite the opposite. Upon boarding the Marmara, owned and operated by the extremist IHH, Israeli naval personnel were attacked by activists who had prepared themselves with weapons including knives and clubs. This, despite the following statement from a Free Gaza spokesperson:
We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn’t get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance.
Is the clip below showing an IDF soldier being attacked with a crowbar “symbolic resistance”?
In addition, IDF forces apprehended two activists holding pistols. The activists took these pistols from IDF forces and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident by the empty pistol magazines. This goes some way to explaining the number of casualties as live fire was exchanged as IDF forces found themselves under severe threat as evidenced by the number of injured Israeli soldiers and the types of injuries.
One soldier suffered a serious head injury, two others were injured by gunshots and one more was stabbed. A total of seven soldiers were wounded – four soldiers were moderately wounded, of which two were initially in critical condition, as well as an additional three soldiers who were lightly wounded.
A First-Hand Account
Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai gives a first-hand account of the incident:
Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.
However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.
One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other “don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” even though they sustained numerous blows….
During the commotion, another commando was stabbed with a knife. In a later search aboard the Marmara, soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots used by the rioters ahead of the IDF takeover. It appeared the activists were well prepared for a fight.
Read the full account here.
See the IDF video footage taken from above the boarded vessel, showing Israeli soldiers under attack by clicking on the image below.
See more at the IDF’s YouTube channel.
Propaganda Not Humanitarianism
If there was any doubt that these organizations were unconcerned with universal human rights, this was confirmed by the rejection of a request from the family of Gilad Shalit for activists to pressure Hamas to allow international organizations to bring letters and food packages to the kidnapped soldier in exchange for the family’s support for the international expedition’s attempt to dock in Gaza.
In fact, Israel offered to transfer the supplies on the flotilla to Gaza from Ashdod port through official channels, an offer that was rejected in favor of confrontation on the part of the anti-Israel activists. As flotilla organizer Greta Berlin stated: “this mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege.”
The flotilla was clearly warned by the Israeli Navy in advance of the boarding and the offer repeated by the IDF.
A Legitimate and Legal Operation
IMRA asked Hebrew University international law expert Dr. Robbie Sabel about the legality of the IDF action in international waters.
Dr. Sabel explained that a state, in a time of conflict, can impose an embargo, and while it cannot carry out embargo activities in the territorial waters of a third party, it can carry out embargo activities in international waters.
Within this framework it is legal to detain a civilian vessel trying to break an embargo and if in the course of detaining the vessel, force is used against the forces carrying out the detention then that force has every right to act in self defense.
Dr. Sabel noted that there is a long history of embargo activities in international waters.
Indeed, according to the San Remo Manual that governs international humanitarian law, it is permissible under rule 67(a) to attack neutral vessels on the high seas when the vessels “are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture.”
Once again, we have Palestinian Arabs openly aiming to kill Israeli civilians.
Via the Toronto Sun:
Palestinians said Tuesday they had launched a large number of floating explosives into the Mediterranean Sea to avenge the death of a top Hamas commander, a day after two bomb-laden barrels washed up on Israel’s coastline.
Israeli authorities launched an intensive search for new bombs, closing miles of beaches, deploying robotic bomb squads and ordering surfers out of the wintry waters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas and hinted at retaliation.
Abu Saed, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza faction with close ties to Hamas, said the attack was meant to avenge the killing last month of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a veteran Hamas operative who Israeli defence officials say was involved in smuggling rockets into Gaza.
“We confirm that there are still many of these charges in the ocean, and they haven’t exploded yet,” Abu Saed said, standing alongside five other gunmen in military fatigues.
In Jerusalem, Netanyahu accused Hamas, which rules Gaza, of being behind the operation, with support from Iran and Syria.
“We view with great severity the Hamas operation near the Gaza beach, and we will respond accordingly,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, a barrel bomb washed up on the beach of Ashkelon, about nine miles (15 kilometres) north of Gaza. A few hours later, another one was found at Ashdod, six miles (10 kilometres) farther north.
Each had about 22 pounds (10 kilograms ) of explosives, police said. They said bombs of that size could cripple small civilian vessels but not Israeli warships.
The second barrel blew up as a police robot was examining it, sending the tractor-like device tumbling through the air, according to witnesses. A police bomb squad defused the other one.
Maritime authorities warned sailors and fishermen to be alert to possible dangers in the waters. In Ashdod, a crane-like robot crawled along the beach, prodding suspicious objects.
The military linked the barrels to two explosions at sea on Friday, aimed at Israeli ships. Israeli analysts speculated that the beach barrels might have been meant for ships but floated ashore instead.
“The attack was an intended terrorist attack that failed,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Let’s note again, that when Israel finally responded to Hamas terrorism, by striking terrorist enclaves in Gaza, the Israeli military risked its own soldiers’ lives by actually alerting the Palestinians as to where they were about to strike. Israel phoned every single home in Gaza and asked civilians to stay away from any Hamas compounds that were about to be hit.
Palestinian Arab terrorists have no such conscience. They have always been more than happy to go after innocent Israeli civilians.
We may only do it once a year, but when Jews and Christians join forces to lobby government on behalf of Israel, we sure do it with passion.
I spent yesterday with the British Zionist Federation and Christian Friends Of Israel – two groups that work closely together to try and get Israel a fair hearing in Britain. For the past five years, these groups have spent a day every year meeting with various MPs and discussing the way the British media represents – or rather MISrepresents Israel.
Last year there were around three hundred of us. This year, even more people showed up and the atmosphere was one of genuine frustration with the BBC and also with various MPs who are openly hostile towards Israel.
One thing which struck me was that, for all the supposed ‘differences’ between Jews and Christians, we do share a good sense of humour. The two hosts, Eric Moonman(ZF) and Geoffrey Smith (CFI) are both wonderful and had us laughing at the start of the day with their irreverant and charming humour. Geoffrey Smith also reminded us of a vital point to convey to those who argue: why shouldn’t Iran have nuclear weapons, since Israel does?
Smith pointed out: Israel has had nuclear weapons for several decades. Not once did any of the nearby Arab nations demand their own nuclear devices – because they’ve always trusted Israel. But since Iran has started enriching uranium and it’s become clear that Ahmadinejad has nuclear ambitions, several of those same Arab countries have stated that now they too want nuclear weapons.
This is an excellent point and one which we need to remind people of.
A lot of other interesting information was conveyed at the various sessions yesterday – I’m going to post something on them tomorrow so for those who may be interested, watch this space…!
Oh, and before anyone starts leaving stupid comments about Britain’s ‘israel lobby’, they might care to note: one of the MPs yesterday told us that British Muslims and several Muslim groups are ‘constantly throwing receptions and dinners’ for British politicians….
I almost got lynched last week. My crime? I dared to defend Israel in public. I even — brace yourselves — declared myself a Zionist.
I might as well have confessed to torturing tiny animals, given the horrified response. Within minutes, a relaxed dinner party became a veritable contest to see who could most malign Israel.
Yep, it’s a tad traumatic being the lone zionist at any gathering these days. Israel-bashing has become a national sport in many countries. Since the Israeli strikes on Hamas enclaves in Gaza, the court of public opinion hasn’t just judged Israel ‘guilty’; rather she’s been hung, drawn and quartered.
The Arab nations may have failed, thus far, to destroy the physical Israel, but their revisionism of Middle East history is winning hearts, minds and newspaper columns across the globe. Slowly but surely, the world is coming round to the Arab lie that Jews are the ‘aliens’ in the Middle East.
Tell most people that the very term ‘Palestinian’ always included the Palestinian Jews who have inhabited the region for 3,500 years — continuously — and they’ll just smile pityingly, and claim you’ve been hoodwinked by ‘zionist propaganda’.
And oh, the bitter irony of this particular slur! Because by any objective standards, Israel’s PR is dire. It has been for a while, actually.
Back in 2002, the Jerusalem Centre For Public Affairs published a detailed report, in which it noted: The Israel State Comptroller’s report released on October 7, 2002, levelled unprecedented criticism on Israel’s public relations efforts. The State Comptroller revealed that:
’Since its establishment in 1948, Israel’s intelligence organs have not succeeded to respond to the broad-based propaganda and incitement by the Arab world.’
During Operation Cast Lead, I sat with my head in my hands, as a series of increasingly inarticulate figures ‘represented’ Israel. Do the powers-that-be scour the streets to find the least sympathetic, least sophisticated, least effective spokespeople?
It would almost appear so.
As the Jerusalem Centre report notes:
Leading U.S. media relations experts sent to Israel by private sponsors in May 2002 described Israel’s PR efforts in the United States as “disastrous.”
Israel’s Consul General in New York, Allon Pinkas, complained that Israel’s image in the U.S. suffered from a lack of clear and “disciplined” messages. International media consultant Lillian Wilder, a media advisor to former U.S. President Richard Nixon, noted in an interview that Israelis are often unprofessional and “wordy” on television.
Now at this point, some of you will roll your eyes and stop reading. After all, doesn’t the tiny Jewish nation have enough to cope with, given the spectre of a nuclear Iran, and the ghastly sight of an American President openly wooing Islam?
What, is Israel also meant to fret over what ill-informed folk in other lands believe?
Yes, Israel does need to argue her case more effectively on the world stage. Because when hatred of the Jewish state was confined to the Arab and Muslim worlds, that was one thing. Alarming? Sure. Surprising? Hardly, given what Islam says about ‘infidels’ and Jews in particular.
Now, though, the loathing for Israel that has festered in Arab and Muslim hearts for six decades is being exported by Islam as it goes marching unfettered through Europe.
It is no coincidence that in nations with large influxes of Muslims, hating Israel is now de rigueur.
Take Britain. During the Gaza Operation at the end of last year, Britain went berserk with rage towards the Jewish state. Thousands marched through the streets, brandishing banners that read ‘Death to Israel!’, while they chanted ‘We are all Hamas now!’
And please recall that Britain itself suffered a terrorist attack in 2005. So why did not one Israeli spokesman make the vital yet basic point that terrorist attacks in Israel are the same as terrorist attacks in America and Britain?
And that, unlike both these countries, Israel suffers terrorism on a regular basis?
Let me make it clear: I supported Operation Cast Lead. I defended Israel passionately — at work, online, in restaurants, at parties, to friends and colleagues and strangers alike.
Like many fellow diaspora Jews, and our Gentile friends who love Israel, I wrote letter after letter to the British press, trying to counter the unfair bias against Israel.
It was like trying to stem a tidal wave with your thumb.
In the UK, physical attacks on Jews increased. Some Israelis in Britain found themselves being refused service in pubs, clubs and other venues. One Israeli family was actually forced into hiding, so intense was the hostility directed at them.
In north London, one Orthodox Jewish man was dragged out of his car, in broad daylight, and beaten. Shops that were — wrongly — linked with Israel had their windows smashed. Supermarkets stocking kosher or Israeli products were threatened with boycotts.
Tescos, one of the largest UK supermarkets, was swift to create a special ‘helpline’ for customers wishing to avoid Israeli goods. (Suffice it to say that I, along with many others, am now boycotting Tescos.)
In schools, colleges and University campuses across the country, Jewish and Israeli students found themselves marginalised and verbally abused. At Cambridge and also the LSE (London School Of Economics) students staged mock ‘occupations’ to express their ’sympathy’ with Gaza.
The fact that Gaza had been under Palestinian control for several years by this time was ignored.
Nor was this anti Israel sentiment confined to the ‘ordinary’ person in the street. The Arab propaganda has a vice-like grip on the British media, with the BBC, the Guardian, and The Independent cheerfully leading the charge.
These media outlets ignored the fact that Israel had endured years of Palestinian terrorism, and instead chose to portray Israel as the sole aggressor in the conflict. False accusations against Israel appeared daily, with no corrections — let alone apologies! — when the true facts later emerged.
The Guardian, especially, delighted in publishing grotesque cartoons which painted Israel as a brutal Goliath, hell-bent on destroying the weaker, Palestinian David.
The effect of this British media bias against Israel?
During Israel’s anti-Hamas strikes, Jews and Muslims met — separately — with their respective MPs. My local MP explained that in the House Of Commons, Israel was being demonised on a daily basis.
Several government members were demanding that Britain instigate an arms embargo on Israel. This same MP told us that every single member of Parliament was ‘being bombarded’ by their Muslim constituents, who were insisting that they condemn Israel and then sever all ties with it.
And fuelled by the BBC, and the Guardian, many non Muslims added their voices — and of course their potential votes — to this anti-Israel agenda. We should note that the BBC took to bashing Israel with a vengeance. This surprised no one.
Indeed, the accusations of bias against the BBC go back several years. Keen to disprove them, the corporation even organised its own review, the Balen Report, in 2004.
And the findings?
We don’t know.
The BBC has refused to make them public. It has, in fact, spent a whopping £200,000 [$328,560] to keep the report private. A London solicitor is pursuing the BBC through the courts in a bid to bring the Balen Report into the public domain.
As the Sunday Telegraph noted:
The BBC is mounting a landmark High Court action to prevent the release of The Balen Report under the Freedom of Information Act, despite the fact that BBC reporters often use the Act to pursue their journalism. The action will increase suspicions that the report includes evidence of anti-Israeli bias in news programming.
Now, in light of all this, consider an item that appeared a while back at the superb Honest Reporting:
Israel’s Finance Ministry shot down an idea for a ‘Jewish Al-Jazeera’. Isaac Herzog has been quoted as saying: ‘We considered establishing a Jewish Al Jazeera, especially one that would broadcast in Arabic and Farsi. But it was torpedoed by the Finance Ministry’.
Hamas has a huge advantage precisely because of Al Jazeera, since the station is also watched by the English speaking world. Compare this to Israel, which has to filter reports through foreign journalists. A ‘Jewish Al Jazeera’ which offered reports in English, would be a massive help.
And think about how simple the Palestinian propaganda is. It concentrates on one clear, albeit deceitful and historically inaccurate message:
We were here first. The Jews kicked us out. We’re the victims.
The 2002 Jerusalem Institute report noted an interesting example where Palestinian propaganda excelled while Israeli PR failed miserably:
Losing the “Al Aqsa” Brand War
Naming the current war the “Al Aqsa intifada” proved to be a stroke of Palestinian PR genius, as much of the Western news media adopted this Palestinian brand name that casts the conflict internationally in the image Arafat sought.
For its part, Israel’s failure to “rebrand” the conflict on its own terms to reflect the conflict’s true nature — a pre-planned war of terror against Israeli citizens — placed the Jewish state on the defensive in the international court of public opinion from the first day of the conflict.
Yet, a full seven years on, it seems that Israel has not learned anything about how to improve its PR and indeed, empower those of us in the diaspora who are passionately putting its case.
Israel is still miscalculating. Badly.
Witness what happened recently when Israeli tourism posters appeared around London. Anti-Israel groups quickly began lodging official complaints. Result?
The posters were all removed. It’s clear that pictures of golden beaches and bronzed bodies won’t cut it.
Instead, Israel needs to remind the world that she is the sole democracy in the region.
And where are the images of Palestinians being treated in Israeli hospitals?
Where are the maps illustrating how tiny Israel is compared to the 99.9999% of the Middle East that the Arabs control?
Where are the public roll-calls of all the Israelis who have lost their limbs, loved ones and lives to Palestinian terrorism?
And yes, I realise that antisemitism lies at the heart of much unfair bias against Israel. No doubt about it. But that’s even more reason why Israel needs to organise some decent PR.
This begs the question: why doesn’t Israel just take a leaf out of the Palestinian book?
After all, the world is bombarded with images of wounded Gazan children, even when those children are suffering purely because of Hamas aggression.
Why are there never any images of Israeli children as they lay injured on the ground following a Hamas attack?
It’s time to play by some of the same rules as the Palestinians, unpalatable though this may be. Either that, or Israel continues to be unfairly and insanely singled out as the villain of the piece.
Finally, I’d like to suggest that there is one bit of rebranding that we can and must all do, right now. And that is to reclaim the word ‘Zionist’.
We have to stop allowing the Arabs and Muslims to hijack this word and turn it into an insult. So next time you hear someone using ‘Zionist’ as a pejorative term, make this clear:
A Zionist is simply anyone who supports Israel’s right to exist.
After all, we don’t hear people bashing Muslims for supporting the existence of their twenty-two Islamic nations, do we…?
This piece is cross posted at EMET NEWS – it’s a superb site, I urge you to check it out; just click here!
It’s astonishing how many people, never having set foot in Israel, are happy to bash Israeli ’settlers’ without having even a basic grasp of the facts.
But then, Israel bashing is the sport du jour, especially in Britain. Thus we find the British media cheerfully employing a blatant double standard in its coverage of Arabs and Jews in Israel.
Here is a superb piece by Sultan Knish which exposes this hypocrisy. Please read it, link to it, share it, cite it, stumble it… It should be compulsory reading.
Israel’s Arab Settlements
While the media and politicians wail over Israeli settlements and revisionist historians pen narratives in which Israel’s entire history comes down to a plot to seize Arab land (following in the footsteps of how their American counterparts have reinterpreted US history)… very little is said of Israel’s Arab settlements.
But Arab settlements in Israel far outweigh Jewish ones and have far less legitimate roots. Consider East Jerusalem, which Obama and the EU are insisting should be reserved for Arab residency alone.
East Jerusalem does indeed have a solid Arab majority because in 1948 the armies of seven Arab nations invaded Israel and occupied half of Jerusalem, dividing it as their Soviet allies divided Berlin, and ethnically cleansed its Jewish population.
Jewish places of worship in East Jerusalem were bombed or turned into mosques and toilets, even the dead were not allowed to rest in peace as their tombstones were used to pave roads. Jewish homes were seized by Arabs and East Jerusalem became wholly Arab.
This is the situation that Obama and the EU are fighting to perpetuate by banning any Jewish housing in the eastern half of the now united Jerusalem. This is what every government that refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is legitimizing by rewarding the ethnic cleansing practiced by the Jordanian Legion and the Holy War Army (Jaysh al-Jihad al-Muqaddas) of the nephew of Nazi collaborating Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad al-Husayni.
And then there are the so-called Israeli ’settlements’ of Gaza, Judea and Samaria– which indeed were built on territory that Israel captured from Egypt and Jordan in 1967, after Egypt and Jordan had captured the territory in 1948, destroying Jewish villages on the territory in the process.
Some Jewish villages like Kfar Darom suffered the fate of being destroyed twice over, once by the Arab occupation armies in 1948, to be reestablished and again destroyed by Fatah’s terrorist militias after Israel agreed to ethnically cleanse its own population from Gaza to appease Arab terrorism.
That is the truth behind the so-called Israeli Settlements issue, but it is not by any means the whole truth.
Because the UN, the EU and the State Department have only applied the term “settlements” to Jewish towns and villages, never Arab ones, regardless of their legality. This double standard that is defined purely by ethnicity and religion, and by no other factor whatsoever, represents the real international Apartheid that targets Jews for ethnic cleansing to the benefit of Arab Muslims.
That means that the Arab Muslim seizure of land for the creation of settlements has been mostly unregulated and is widespread. Not only that it’s often aided and abetted by foreign activists who regularly come to “help” Arab villagers harvest olives.
In reality this is often a charade in which those same villagers have marked the territory by planting on the land of Jewish villages nearby, resulting in calculated clashes that are broken up by soldiers and police, and filmed by the same activists resulting in international condemnations.
To avoid those condemnations, Israel eventually seizes the land from the Jewish farmers and turns it over to the Arab villagers. This only sets the stage for the next stage of the clashes, recreating in a microcosm the entire “peace process”, in which terrorism results in concessions, which results in more terrorism and more concessions, creating the cycle of appeasement and terrorism that has bedeviled Israel and most of the First World when dealing with Islam.
Those same left wing activists, most notably groups such as Peace Now and Rabbis for Human Rights, go on to destroy and damage the land of Jewish farmers. When the farmers attempt to defend their land, the activists videotape the resulting encounter and the farmers are arrested.
At which point the land can be easily seized while its owners are tied up by the legal system. Attempting to reestablish ownership then becomes next to impossible in a political system constantly afraid of international condemnation and in a legal system controlled by the Anti-Israel left all the way up to the Supreme Court, which actually refused to seat a Justice for being too conservative.
And in the process Arab settlements continue to expand on land that they casually appropriate, whether from public domain lands under the authority of the Israel Land Administration or from that of farmers and villages who own the land.
Arab villages and towns routinely expand into public lands, fouling water sources and seizing property they do not own, and then defying the government to do anything about it. And while the government occasionally issues a demolition order, then braces itself for the rioting and the international condemnations, these orders constitute only a fraction of the illegal Arab construction.
While Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states fund Arab land purchases, similar Jewish ventures, such as Irving Moskowitz’s developments in Jerusalem meet with aggressive opposition from the EU and the State Department. Once again the double standard is all too clear and it promotes the growth of Arab towns and houses, at the expense of Jewish ones.
The media, whether the international media, or the Israeli media, which is just as left wing as its American and European counterparts, naturally report the Arab side of the story. The culture of demonization they have created toward Jewish farmers and residents helps justify the terrorist attacks aimed at them.
Every time the media reports on the victims of a Muslim terrorist attack as “settlers“, the labeling of Jewish residents as subhuman continues.
Israel’s left wing parties have sold much of the secular public on the idea that the “settlers” are the problem. This conveniently allows them to ignore the fact that on Arabs maps and in the Islamic lexicon, all Israeli Jews are settlers, regardless of which side of the demarcation line they happen to be living on.
Since non-Muslims cannot live in a Muslim land except by agreeing to become Dhimmis and paying Jizya, under Islamic law no Jews, aside from a handful of collaborators who recognize the area as an Islamic ruled state like the Neturei Karta have any right to live anywhere in Israel.
When Zionist activists opposed to the Oslo Peace Process shouted that Hevron is Jerusalem in the early 90’s, they were laughed at. Today Jerusalem is indeed Hevron, the new slogan should be that Tel Aviv is Hevron, because any dividing lines of legitimacy exist only as a diplomatic fiction.
The idea that Muslims are any more reconciled to 1948 than they are to 1967, and that returning to 1948 will somehow win their friendship is the worst form of political and diplomatic delusion. But it is the dominant policy of the EU and successive American and Israeli governments.
As a result Israel is shrinking and Arab settlement is expanding. The settlement freeze enacted under pressure from Obama has frozen the ability of Jewish residents to build and expand homes, even those already mortgaged and under construction. But Barak has gone even further by barring Jewish residents from planting trees.
Jewish residents pay 28 shekels for a cubic meter of water. Arab residents pay less than 50 agorot (cents). The result is that Jewish residents are being charged up to 50 times more for water. And water is the lifeblood of farming in a generally arid part of the world.
Since Oslo, elements within the Israeli political system, aided and abetted by foreign funding from the likes of Soros, have been on a crusade to wipe out Jewish towns and villages in order to destroy the conservative and Zionist parts of the country.
The resulting quiet civil war in which hundreds of thousands of Jewish villagers have been pitted against the machinery of government bureaucracy, the judicial system and various left wing activist groups, has only further increased Arab settlements, at the expense of Jewish ones.
Every institution that was once intended to promote Jewish residency, has instead been transformed into a hostile force that aids and abets Arab settlement, and works against Jewish settlement.
Case in point, the Jewish National Fund which normally refuses to plant trees outside the Green Line around areas of Jewish residency, is donating 3,000 trees for Rawabi, a new Palestinian Authority Fatah city set in a strategic location.
While inspectors march around every Jewish town looking for signs that anyone has lifted up a hammer to bang in a nail on a door, Arab construction is continuing non-stop, including on places like Rawabi, an Arab settlement meant to house 40,000.
And while Tony Blair repeatedly warned Israel against building Jewish ’settlements’, he himself visited the headquarters of the Bayti Real Estate Investment Company that is constructing Rawabi. Bayti is co-owned by the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, which is itself owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, which is an arm of the Government of Qatar.
Qatar is an oil rich gulf dictatorship that is one of the biggest funders of Hamas and Al Queda. It is likely that Hamas and Al Queda would have serious trouble continuing their operations without money from Qatar. It is an Islamist Sharia paradise much like the rest of its gulf neighbors and it funds Jihad around the world.
Rawabi is another expression of the international Islamic Jihad, which in this case takes the form of demographic warfare through Arab settlement. Gulf State construction companies such as the Bin Laden group are tools for promoting Islamic expansionism.
And JNF’s gestire of appeasement is another example of how Israel’s institutions continue to collaborate with Arab settlement, even as they restrict Jewish settlement.
The global double standard treats Israel’s Jewish residents as foreign invaders who must be expelled, despite the fact that the Jewish presence in the land is a matter of record in virtually every major world religion, while treating the Arabs, many of whom came to the area from Egypt after the British conquest and Jewish immigration created jobs, as indigenous natives who have every right to be there.
This form of political ethnic cleansing has become the de facto narrative, rooted in double talk about settlements and terrorism. But to treat Jewish towns and villages as illegitimate and working to destroy them, while encouraging the construction of Arab towns and villages means that talk of “settlements” and “settlement freezes” is nothing more than an international apartheid and the Islamist agenda dressed up in seemingly reasonable talk.
Until Israel’s Arab settlements are on the table, as much as Israel’s are, the only thing that Israel can do is reject this international mandate for ethnic cleansing.
One year on from Israel’s response to years of Hamas terrorism, and here are some vital statistics you’re not going to find in, say, the Guardian. Or on the BBC website. Or anywhere in the Western media, in fact.
Courtesy of The Israel Project:
• 1 million:
- Israeli civilians under threat from Hamas rocket fire.
• 15 Seconds:
- Israelis have to get to a bomb shelter once a warning siren has sounded
• 2 million:
- Leaflets the Israel Air Force dropped on Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, warning civilians to stay clear of Hamas fighters.
-Phone calls made by the Israeli army to civilians in Gaza warning of an impending strike near their residences.
• 8: Years:
- Israel has endured rocket, missile and mortar fire from Gaza.
- Israeli left in Gaza – Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas from Israel on June 25, 2006.
-Rockets and mortar fired from Gaza in 2008.
- Rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
- Rockets and mortars fired from Gaza 2001-2008.
- People in Israel injured from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since 2001.
- Rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Jan. 18 – Nov. 31, 2009.
Iran-Backed Hamas Terrorism
- Attacks on Gaza goods crossings by Palestinian terrorist groups in 2008.
- of mosques in Gaza which Hamas reportedly controls, some of which are used for weapons storage, command and communications headquarters.
• 37 mi (60km):
- Range of Hamas rockets in Gaza acquired after Operation Cast Lead.
• 2.5 mi (4 km):
- Range of Hamas’s anti-tank missiles, smuggled into Gaza since the end of Operation Cast Lead.
- Number of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt (estimate)
• 59 ft (18 m)/6.8 mi (11 km):
- Length and depth of metal fence Egypt is building on Sinai-Gaza border to prevent tunnel smuggling operations.
• 22 mi (35 km):
- Distance between Gaza and Yavneh – the northernmost Israeli city hit by Gaza rockets on Dec. 28, 2008.
- Hamas operatives trained by Iran.
• $20 million – $30 million:
- Funding Iran provides annually to Hamas. Iran gave Hamas another $50 million following Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections.
Israel’s Humanitarian Aid to Gaza
Yes – even as Gazans were sending suicide bombers and missiles into Israeli civilian areas, Israel continued sending aid into Gaza!
- increase in humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza in 2009, compared to 2008.
- Tons of humanitarian aid delivered to the Gaza Strip, Jan. 19 – Dec. 13, 2009.
• 24.5 million gallons (92.7 million liters):
- Heavy-duty diesel fuel delivered to the Gaza Strip, Jan. 19 – Oct. 31, 2009.
- Gaza residents who entered Israel for medical and humanitarian reasons, Jan.19 – Nov. 7, 2009.
• 57,295 tons:
- Monthly average of humanitarian aid entering Gaza since Operation Cast Lead, Jan. 19 – Dec. 5, 2009.
Monthly average (in tons) of humanitarian aid entering Gaza from February – June 2008, a period of intense rocket fire.
• 34,253 tons:
- Monthly average of humanitarian aid entering Gaza during period of calm, July – December 2008.
- Permits Israel issued to Gaza residents to enter Israel or travel overseas in 2009.
- Flowers from Gaza scheduled for export to Europe on Dec. 10, 2009.
- Flowers from Gaza scheduled for export beginning Dec. 13, 2009.
As many Arabs and Muslims try to obscure the link between Jerusalem and the Jews, the EU seems only too happy to support their revision of history.
And crucially, nobody ever seems to refer to Jordan’s illegal occupation of the city.
So just to remind people, and via David Hornik at Front Page Magazine:
Jerusalem was unified under Israeli sovereignty in 1967, after nineteen years in which Jordan illegally occupied the city and finally used it to attack Israel despite being implored by Israel to keep out of the fighting.
Under Israeli rule, Muslims and all other groups (except Jews—on the Temple Mount itself) have enjoyed full freedom of worship—a stark contrast to the nineteen years of Jordanian rule when Jews and Christians were denied access to Jerusalem’s holy places and Jewish synagogues and gravestones were destroyed and desecrated.
Muslims already have full control over Mecca, Medina, and countless sacred locales and shrines throughout the vast Muslim world, and their demand for Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem and the redivision of Israel’s capital can reasonably be regarded as excessive – especially when, as noted, Israel gives Muslims full access to their Jerusalem shrines and full rights in the city.
Indeed, Jerusalem is full of minarets, and any visitor to its Old City or its Arab neighborhoods can attest to the vibrancy of Muslim religious life there. The EU should be more concerned with Islamization on the continent than with taking harsh stances against Israel as it struggles to survive and to find the right mix of accommodation and steadfastness in an Arab/Muslim environment hostile its very existence.
But for the EU, after decades of forsaking its Judeo-Christian roots for pro-Arabism, that may be too much to expect. Even if European populations are starting to grasp the consequences of this civilizational self-abnegation, Europe’s Brussels-based bureaucracy remains willfully ignorant of the stakes.
White House sources have this morning confirmed that Barack Obama is receiving psychiatric care. The problems apparently started a week ago, after the President’s closest aides observed his behaviour becoming increasingly erratic.
But it was after Obama became delusional that alarm grew among his staff. Specifically, one aide has confirmed: ‘It’s all rather embarrassing, actually. The President clearly believed himself to be in charge of, well, planning permission – in Jerusalem.’
It was then that White House staff had to face the fact that Obama was seriously ill.
‘At first I thought he was just stressed,’ states one source who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, ‘But then he got on to the phone to the Israeli Ambassador to America and began issuing bizarre instructions’.
Specifically, confirms the aide, Obama ordered the Israeli government to halt work on an apartment building near Sheikh Jarrah.
‘It was embarrassing, to say the least’, confides another aide, ‘There we are with people being killed on the streets of Iran, and there’s Obama marching around the Oval office, screaming down the phone to Tel Aviv about this new block of flats and demanding that it not go ahead!
And the aide continues: ‘It was apparent to everyone there that Obama was delusional. We had no choice but to organise the appropriate help for him.’
Rumours suggest that Obama has been assessed by a consultant psychiatrist, at the White House, and that a medication regime is being set up. Although details of the diagnosis remain under wraps, it’s rumoured that Obama is experiencing some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Specifically, his staff are hoping that the treatment will help to reduce the American President’s apparent fixation on Israel.
‘His behaviour is troubling, no doubt about it, ‘ stated a member of the secret service, ‘Sometimes, in the early hours of the morning, our boys will come across the President wandering around, muttering and mumbling about ‘that bloody Bibi’. We sure hope he gets better soon.’
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has conveyed his ‘heartfelt wishes for Obama’s speedy recovery’ during a phone call with the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
He is reported to have said: ‘I am truly sorry to hear of Obama’s difficulties. We will of course disregard his irrational demands over what Israelis can and can’t do in the Israeli capital, Jerusalem. As far as I am concerned, it never happened and I won’t mention it ever again. Our thoughts are with Obama and his family at this time.’
We will update this news story as soon as we get more details – watch this space!
Jeff Jacoby, writing in the Boston Globe, offers some historical context:
Late last week, the Obama Administration demanded that the Israeli government pull the plug on a planned housing development near the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The project, a 20-unit apartment complex, is indisputably legal. The property to be developed – a defunct hotel – was purchased in 1985 and the developer has obtained all the necessary municipal permits.
Why, then, does the administration want the development killed? Because Sheikh Jarrah is in a largely Arab section of Jerusalem and the developers of the planned apartments are Jews. Think about that for a moment. Six months after Barack Obama became the first Black man to move into the previously all-White residential facility at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, he is fighting to prevent integration in Jerusalem.
It is impossible to imagine the opposite scenario. The administration would never demand that Israel prevent Arabs from moving into a Jewish neighborhood. And the Obama Justice Department would unleash seven kinds of hell on anyone who tried to impose racial, ethnic or religious redlining in an American city. In the 21st century, segregation is unthinkable – except, it seems, when it comes to housing Jews in Jerusalem.
It is not easy for Israel’s government to refuse any demand from the United States, which is the Jewish State’s foremost ally. To their credit, Israeli leaders spoke truth to power, and said “no”.
“Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. “This has been the policy of all Israeli governments. There is no ban on Arabs buying apartments in the west of the city, and there is no ban on Jews building or buying in the city’s east. This is the policy of an open city.”
There was a time not so long ago when Jerusalem was anything but an open city. During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion invaded eastern Jerusalem, occupied the Old City, and expelled all its Jews – many from families that had lived in the city for centuries.
“As they left,” the acclaimed historian Sir Martin Gilbert later wrote in his 1998 book, Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century, “they could see columns of smoke rising from the quarter behind them. The Hadassah welfare station had been set on fire and… the looting and burning of Jewish property was in full swing.”
For the next 19 years, eastern Jerusalem was barred to Jews, brutally divided from the western part of the city with barbed wire and military fortifications. Dozens of Jewish holy places, including synagogues hundreds of years old, were desecrated or destroyed. Gravestones from the ancient Mount of Olives cemetery were uprooted by the Jordanian army and used to pave latrines. Jerusalem’s most sacred Jewish shrine, the Western Wall, became a slum.
It wasn’t until 1967, after Jordan was routed in the Six-Day War, that Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli sovereignty and religious freedom restored to all. Israelis have vowed ever since that Jerusalem would never again be divided.
And not only Israelis. US policy, laid out in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, recognizes Jerusalem as “a united city administered by Israel” and formally declares that “Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.”
US presidents, Republican and Democratic alike, have agreed. In former President Bill Clinton’s words, “Jerusalem should be an open and undivided city, with assured freedom of access and worship for all.”
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said much the same thing. To a 2008 candidate questionnaire that asked about “the likely final status Jerusalem,” Obama replied: “The United States cannot dictate the terms of a final status agreement…. Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital, and no one should want or expect it to be re-divided.”
In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Council, he repeated the point: “Let me be clear… Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
Palestinian irredentists claim that eastern Jerusalem is historically Arab territory and should be the capital of a future Palestinian state. In reality, Jews have always lived in eastern Jerusalem – it is the location of the Old City and its famous Jewish Quarter, after all, not to mention Hebrew University, which was founded in 1918.
The apartment complex that Obama opposes is going up in what was once Shimon Hatzadik, a Jewish neighborhood established in 1891. Only from 1948 to 1967 – during the Jordanian occupation – was the eastern part of Israel’s capital “Arab territory”. Palestinians have no more claim to sovereignty there than Russia does in formerly occupied eastern Berlin.
The great obstacle to Middle East peace is not that Jews insist on living among Arabs. It is that Arabs insist that Jews not live among them. If Obama doesn’t yet grasp that, then he has a lot to learn.
This article first appeared in the Boston Globe on July 22, 2009.
Fatah leaders have declared that the group will never agree to recognise Israel’s right to exist – and that it will continue to wage war against the Jewish homeland.
“Fatah does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, nor have we ever asked others to do so,” said senior Fatah member Rafik Natsheh, a close associate of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
In an interview with the pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Natsheh scorned reports that Fatah had called on Hamas to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist: “It’s all media nonsense. We don’t ask other factions to recognize Israel; we ourselves do not recognize Israel.”
Fatah runs the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority does recognise Israel; if it didn’t it would be ‘unable to serve the Palestinian people,” Natsheh explained. However, Fatah does not have such constraints.
Fatah will never stop attacking Israel. Natsheh stated: “Let those who are deluding themselves hear: this will never happen.”
A second senior Fatah member, Azzam el-Ahmed, agreed that Fatah would not drop its call to wage war on Israel.
Natsheh and Ahmed gave interviews in advance of the Fatah general assembly in early August, in which the organization will meet to discuss its goals and to hold elections. The meeting will be the first in approximately 20 years.