Monday, April 28, 2008

Will the Truth Set Us Free

It was a terrible incident, a tragedy. A mother and four of her children killed. Immediately, the Palestinians condemned Israel and said it was caused by the IDF's shelling. No word about the terrorists who were the intended target. Nothing of the rockets they fire at our cities.

The truth is too horrible to imagine - almost an entire family wiped out while they sat at the breakfast table...only the truth isn't what the Palestinians claim.

Will the truth set us free? No, probably not - because this family meant nothing to the Palestinian leadership beyond the propaganda - and the that they were killed - BY THE PALESTINIANS THEMSELVES.

The truth may not set THEM free, but it should be known just the same.

Army says terrorist bomb killed Gaza family: The death of five members of the Abu Meatak family in the Gaza Strip earlier Monday was caused after an explosive device carried by terrorists blew up, the IDF said.
Four Palestinian children and their mother were killed after the army targeted terrorists in the area. The IDF strike left a total of seven Palestinians dead.

Barak: Hamas responsible for civilian deaths in Gaza / Hanan Greenberg

Defense minister says that by operating from within civilian areas, Hamas effectively contributes to high number of civilian casualties in Gaza

The army's investigation into the incident concluded that two Palestinian terrorists were attacked and hit from the air, causing the bomb they were carrying to explode and destroying the Abu Meatak family home. The house was hit while the family was at the breakfast table.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Over and Over - We Send Aid...They Block It...We Get Blamed

The pattern remains - we send assistance and do all that we can to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza while desperately trying to balance the security needs of our people. And, what does Hamas do? The answer, most sadly, is everything they can to increase the suffering of their own people so that they can parade shortages (even imaginary or artificially created ones) before the international community. And, what does the world do...the answer, all too often and all too sadly, is turn and condemn Israel.

To set the record straight...again...

According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that Hamas deliberately takes measures in order to worsen the humanitarian situation in Gaza. In recent weeks, measures have included forcing strikes in petrol stations and bakeries, refusing fuel deliveries, attacking their own fuel silos and encouraging civilians to act as human shields against impending Israeli air attacks.

As a result of these actions, Hamas has provided a convincing story to the world media of a ‘fuel crisis in Gaza’ and an Israeli blockade on fuel deliveries. Neither of these claims are true; they appear to be part of an ongoing propaganda strategy by Hamas. At the present time, the fuel depots in Gaza are at full capacity; yet it is entirely conceivable that the press will report continuing fuel shortages in Gaza, as well as Israel’s refusal to provide fuel deliveries, over the coming days.

505,440 tons of humanitarian aid have been provided to the Gazans since last June. Nevertheless, Hamas forced bakeries in Gaza to strike during the past two weeks, disrupting the supply of bread to the Gazans causing a shortage in food.

The bakery example illustrates well Hamas’ twin strategies: 1, forcing the residents to portray a humanitarian aid crisis and 2, blaming Israel for not providing. Yet the Israeli government does not have control of what goes on in Gaza and, following agreements by both sides after June 2007, supplies aid to Hamas, not directly to the Gazans. Once the humanitarian aid is delivered, Hamas takes full control of the supply and distribute the aid as they wish - or not. Where are the 505,554 tons of humanitarian aid supplied? Why don’t they supply their citizens with the 1,000,000 litres of fuel provided by the Israeli Government yesterday?

After a direct request by the UNWRA, Col. Nir Press, Head of the Coordination & Liaison Administration to the Gaza Strip, agreed to assist with an extraordinary fuel transfer directly to the organisation yesterday, Thursday, 24 April 2008 stating that: “After receiving an update and a request from UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees) regarding the depletion of fuel required by the organization, we yesterday coordinated with UNRWA, the Palestinian fuel association and the Palestinian fuel administrator, the transfer of fuel required by UNRWA.”

Yesterday’s transfer arrangement to UNWRA consisted of 100,000 liters of diesel fuel and an additional 20,000 liters of gasoline and was to be drawn from the fuel supply located in the Palestinian fuel depot at Nahal Oz.

In accordance with the transfer arrangement, the first fuel tanker-truck arrived from the Gaza Strip yesterday afternoon to withdraw fuel for UNRWA. However, tens of thousands of Palestinians blocked one of the main intersections leading to the fuel depot, preventing the entrance of the tanker to the depot and thus preventing the supply of fuel.

Israel has supplied UNRWA with the fuel it requires for current operations during the last few months, and since yesterday has been attempting to assist the organisation with the Palestinians, and enable it to withdraw its fuel requirements, in a manner similar to that used with regard to diesel fuel supplied to the Gaza City power station. Yesterday approximately one million liters were supplied to the power station, the entire quantity of which reached its destination.

It is our hope that tomorrow the Palestinians will allow the tanker-trucks to reach the fuel depot, and supply the UN organisations serving the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. Col. Press called on the Palestinians to draw fuel from the Palestinian depot at Nahal Oz, and to use it for the various humanitarian and civilian requirements for which it is meant.

The supply accumulated at the Palestinian fuel depot amounts to one million litres. The Palestinians have not withdrawn any fuel during the past month, and are not supplying the fuel necessary for humanitarian and civilian requirements. In this manner, the Palestinians, led by the Hamas organisation, are manufacturing shortages, hardship and crisis. It should be noted that Israel is not involved or responsible for occurrences in the Gaza Strip, for vehicular traffic on the highways, or for access to the organisation’s depot.

Unfortunately, this all amounts to a renewed attempt by Hamas to create a crisis situation for the Gaza Strip’s civilian population. The Nahal Oz fuel terminal and the Kerem Shalom crossing are regularly attacked, Israel’s citizens in the south are under attack, and the supply of fuel for humanitarian purposes has been obstructed, and each time the Hamas attempts to direct the resulting blame toward Israel.

The escalation in terror against Israel continues as two Israeli guards, Shimon Mizrahi (53) and Eli Wasserman (51) who were in charge of checking Palestinians arriving from the West Bank, were killed in a shooting attack in the Nitzanei Oz industrial zone in the Sharon region this morning, 25 April 2008. The attack was executed by a fugitive wanted by Israel and the Palestinian Authority who arrived at the Israeli Arab village of Qalansuwa disguised as a woman. Later on, the terrorist changed into worker’s garments and advanced towards the factory, where he executed the attack “dedicated to Gaza’s residents.” The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Shimon Mizrahi was survived by his wife Sarah, his three children aged 18, 28, 30 and two grandchildren. Eli Wasserman was survived by his wife, Chaya, and his two children, 30-year-old Ahiad and 28-year-old Michal.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Notes in the Kotel

It is a tradition, long in the making, to place a note with a prayer or wish, between the stones of the Western Wall, the last remaining part of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Each day, thousands come. Each day, perhaps hundreds of notes are is finite while dreams and hopes are infinite.

How to solve this very real dilemna? Years ago, I saw a grounds-keeper cleaning the Western Wall late at night and he was removing some of the notes on the ground. I was saddened to think that it was his job to simply throw away the prayers of others, perhaps accidentally pushed out of their place as others came to insert their hopes.

No, he told me - each note is holy, each requires a blessing, he said.

What do you do with them, I asked.

Bury them in holy ground, he explained. God does the rest. I was almost afraid to believe him. Could it be true?

Today, before thousands are to arrive for the upcoming Passover holiday, this note was posted to Israel National News. Yes, this is Israel - and the prayers people bring to our holy land are honored. This is so Israel!

Notes Removed From Western Wall Cracks

( Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and his assistants cleaned out the cracks in the Kotel of the thousands of notes placed in them by worshippers Tuesday.

The twice-annual removal of the notes makes room for additional written supplications to be placed in the wall, which is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.

The notes removed are buried in a Jewish cemetery.

Passover is Coming

You can smell it in the air; feel it in the children's excitment (and freedom from school, as vacation started last week), and see it in the stores. Everywhere, mountains of garbage are neatly stacked, waiting for the over-worked garbage collectors. It's a national obsession...and, according to this news item from Israel National News, includes the animals at the zoo!

Orangutans Enjoying Matzo

( Orangutans at the Safari Zoo in Ramat Gan, adjacent to Tel Aviv, are enjoying matzo that is being fed them as the Passover holiday nears, said Safari curator Amalia Turkel. "The fact is, that they are getting a novel food, something new that they haven't tasted for a while, maybe not since last year. For them that's interesting in the short term," she said.

The park has changed the diet of all the animals in order to make sure no leavened bread is in its possession during the seven-day holiday, which begins Saturday

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hey, Hamas is Lying....

I know it's a shocking thing for a terrorist organization to do, really. I mean, we know that they regularly shoot rockets into civilian areas and send suicide bombers into our cities, but to actually lie too, who would have thought?

Ok, enough with the jokes - it is another thing we live with in Israel - the ability of the Palestinian leadership to simply - lie. And for much of the world, despite the evidence before them to simply - believe.

What astounds me is how many Jews, prominent American journalists among them, to swallow Hamas' endless lies. So, part of being in Israel, is understanding that as much as we attempt to tell the truth and publish the facts, Hamas will spin it right back into the world of half-truths and complete lies.

And yet we try - so here it is - again. The facts about the Hamas-created "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza:

A Hamas-made crisis in Gaza
11 Apr 2008
The Hamas terror organization is staging a situation of crisis and distress, and harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to divert pressure onto Israel.
(Communicated by the Coordination and Liaison Administration, Erez)
Colonel Nir Press, Head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration:

"The State of Israel has permitted the steady and continuous flow of fuel into the Gaza Strip in recent weeks."

2,200,000 liters of diesel fuel are transferred through the Nahal Oz fuel terminal to the Gaza Strip power plant weekly. This power plant is capable of supplying 30% of the total electricity requirements of the Gaza Strip. The remaining power needs are supplied by Israel and Egypt. In addition, unlimited quantities of cooking gas, 800,000 liters of diesel fuel for transportation and 75,000 liters of gasoline are transferred weekly.

The gasoline and diesel fuel transferred by Israel is designated primarily for use by ambulances, water pumps, the sewage system, for the operation of generators at various institutions such as hospitals, schools and clinics, for agricultural use, transportation, school buses, food trucks, garbage collection, public transportation, shipping boats, food plants, bakeries, and so on.

Col. Press stated that it has become apparent in recent weeks that the Palestinians are staging an energy crisis while instigating a strike and protest rallies. The closed filling stations, the long lines of people and vehicles waiting many hours to fill their tanks, are all part of a planned Hamas media campaign being conducted at the expense of the civilian population - a crisis caused by their failure to draw available
fuel supplies from the Nahal Oz Palestinian fuel depot.

Col. Press further stated that "In the last two weeks there were no restrictions on freely drawing fuel from the Palestinian depot at Nahal Oz and distributing it to
filling stations, but this did not take place. In contrast, cooking gas and diesel fuel for the power station have been supplied on a regular basis. As of today, the Palestinian stock of fuel amounts to 188,000 liters of gasoline and over 800,000 liters of diesel fuel."

The Hamas organization is intentionally harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip by not allowing the supply of fuel for humanitarian purposes, and preventing the distribution of fuel to civilian filling stations. In the weeks preceding this development, a substantial share of the fuel supplies - almost half - was diverted
for use by the Hamas terror organization and its operatives.

The murderous attack on 9 April 2008 at the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, in which two civilian workers at the terminal, Oleg Lipson and Lev Cherniak, were killed, constitutes additional testimony to the terror from the Gaza Strip directed at Israel, at the crossings which serve the Palestinians, and at Israeli civilians working for Palestinian welfare, while attempting to create a crisis and to harness Palestinian public opinion against Israel as part of this campaign.

The cynical use of the Palestinian population, as well as the stoppage of the supply of fuel for civilian and humanitarian use, could have been prevented by drawing the available fuel from the depot at the Palestinian terminal and directing it to humanitarian /civilian needs and to local filling stations, for the benefit of the residents of Gaza.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Danger Zones

The reality in Israel is that tens of thousands of Arabs freely travel, shop, study and visit Israeli cities every day.

The reality in Israel, as shown in the article below - and in the many similar articles like this one that appear somewhat regularly in Israeli newspapers and Internet sites, is that an Israeli going into an Arab town or village in most places in Israel - take their lives into their hands.

Why is that?

It's a question that should be asked and answered. Why does an Israeli merely going into an Arab village to shop, get his car fixed, or perhaps even by accident, endanger his lives? Why is that?

The answer isn't popular, but it is very much a part of Israel.

Israeli stoned, hurt after entering West Bank village
Published: 04.12.08, 21:38 / Israel News

An Israeli civilian sustained light wounds after Palestinians hurled stones at his vehicle in a West Bank village south of Ramallah. The man entered the village in order to get his car fixed. (Efrat Weiss)

Friday, April 4, 2008

We Laugh a Lot in Israel

Yes, it's true. We have two options when some of the more absurd things come to be published. We could laugh...or we could cry. We here in Israel choose to laugh...what else can you do...

Here's one from Israel National News that should bring a smile to all - we are, apparently, now guilty of rigging the Zimbabwe elections...go figure. This, of course, assumes we are bright enough to know the difference between the candidates platforms and involved enough to care...but why enter logic into the realms of absurdity.

Israeli Company Accused of Fixing Zimbabwe Elections

Opposition to Robert Mugabe, 27-year president of Zimbabwe, is accusing the entrenched leader of using software from Israeli start-up Cogniview to rig elections in the country.
Cogniview, based out of Or Yehuda and employing a staff of 10 people, vehemently denies the accusation. CEO Yoav Ezer responded to an article in newspaper 'Zimbabwe Online', which accuses the Israeli company of having ties to the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency.

Ezer said the story is not true, claiming "In fact, it could have only been more fictional if we were accused of using alien technology."

Ezer asserted that he thinks the opposition party was angered when they received voter lists in a PDF format supplied by Cogniview, rather than in Excel or some other format easier to handle, and therefore concocted a story to villainize the software

He says Cogniview will fully cooperate with international investigations into the accusations, saying his company has "nothing to hide."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Food In, Rockets Out?

Would any other country in the world ship IN 100 trucks of food and supplies to a neighbor who unleased daily rocket attacks? Can't think of one...only Israel...

On any average day, the Ministry of Defense via COGAT, Unit of Coordination of
Government Activities in the Territories, allow in over 100 trucks of foods and
vital supplies.

Today, they released this stat:

Total since 16
June 2007: 19,799 trucks (465,028 tons)

Do you think the Egyptians sent so much to their Arab brothers? Do you think that much gets in to Zimbabwe in a month, or Darfur, or……………

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Answering their Lies with the TRUTH

Part of being Israel is understanding that many who are indeed against us will lie to get their way. They feed off the ignorance and apathy of others who don't care enough to learn the truth. Here's a perfect example:


The World Health Organization accused Israel of causing the deaths of Palestinians by denying them access to Israeli hospitals. Of course, the WHO didn't condemn the Hamas-led government for spending millions on rockets instead of building their own hospitals. It didn't condemn Palestinian schools for teaching Palestinian children that they should be doctors and nurses instead of martyrs and murderers. No...the WHO reserved their criticism for Israel who supposedly blocked Palestinians from gaining access to its hospitals.

Today, the IDF answered - as we expected - the political agenda of the World Heath Organization is revealed:
IDF officials said Tuesday evening that a report from the World Health Organization accusing Israel of failing to assist dying patients in Gaza was “completely wrong.” In fact, they said, 90 percent of Gaza patients who request treatment in Israel have their requests approved. The 10 percent who are denied for security reasons are allowed to seek treatment in Egypt or Jordan, they said.

Colonel Nir Press of the IDF Liason Administration discussed the five case studies presented by WHO as “proof” that Israeli policies caused the death of Gaza Arabs. In fact, all five patients had been approved for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals, he said. Two of the patients received treatment in Israeli hospitals, while three never used their permits. The patients had died of their illnesses, not because of Israel, he concluded.

They Really Don't Like Us Out There

According to a BBC survey, Israel is second only to Iran in being globally disliked. It would be humorous if it weren't so absurd. Or perhaps, it is both humorous and absurd. Have we done anything to deserve this? No...actually not.

It is like the hysterical (and wrong) claims of Suha Arafat, loyal wife of Yasir Arafat who couldn't even wait until he was dead to try to claim his embezzled fortune. She talked about Israel handing out poisonous candies to Palestinian children, poisoning the air they breathe, etc. And those who listened, nodded with a blank sort of stare in their eyes...WHAT was the woman talking about?

But nonsense soon becomes fact, when it comes to Israel. Look at the whole uproar about a collapsed gate leading up to the Temple Mount. The gate is OUTSIDE the Temple Mount walls and yet the Arabs put forth the concept that we were undermining the Temple Mount itself (the ramp simply attaches to the wall - on the outside (and the wall is several meters THICK). No matter. Facts mean nothing when hatred and ignorance prevail.

What can Israel do about it? Perhaps the answer is in something like this blog - THIS is Israel - all the good things we do around the world, technological developments, medical breakthroughs. We stand as the ONLY true democracy in Israel. We treat THOUSANDS of Palestinians in our hospitals - how many Germans are treated in French hospitals; how many Canadians in US hospitals? The answer is far fewer than what we deal with because both Canada and Germany invest millions (perhaps even billions) in their internal medical and care giving infrastructure. How much do the Palestinians spend on their health care? More specifically...why is so much spent on making war instead of seeking health?

Does the world see this? No - we are condemned for not treating MORE Palestinians - even though this has, on more than one occasion, been used as a method for attempting to launch a terrorist attack. Does the world hear about the rockets on Sderot?

No - the world has its mind set...and that is sad indeed. So, we are just above Iran on the "we don't like you" scale. We could spend all our efforts trying to change this and probably still fail - and so, with regret (and yes, a bit of a smirk), we accept this. Our accepting it - doesn't mean we like it - but we do not try to fool ourselves into thinking we can change it. The reason is as old as time and almost as deep as our roots in this land.

And so - in answer to the fact that the world doesn't like us - we can only say - THIS is Israel!