Monday, December 21, 2009

A Message to Our Arab Neighbors: From Danny Ayalon

Since the re-establishment of our state, Israeli leaders have sought peace with their Arab neighbors. Our Declaration of Independence, Israel’s founding document that expressed our hopes and dreams reads, “We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help.”

These words are as true today as when they were first written in 1948. Sadly, 61 years later, only two nations, Jordan and Egypt, have accepted these principles and made peace with the Jewish State.

Recently the Israeli government has made significant steps to restart negotiations with the Palestinians and reach out to the Arab world. In his Bar-Ilan speech in June, Prime Minister Netanyahu clearly stated his acceptance of a Palestinians state living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel. My government has removed hundreds of roadblocks to improve access and movement for Palestinians and has assisted the facilitation of economic developments in the West Bank, through close cooperation with international parties to expedite projects and remove bottlenecks.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a right-wing government has, in an unprecedented move, declared it would refrain from building new settlements in the West Bank. All of these moves taken together amply demonstrate Israel’s willingness for peace.

This Israeli government is also committed to extend a hand to all of our Arab neighbors, its leaders and its citizens, to join together to face some of the major challenges facing us all in the coming years.

For the first time in many years, we find ourselves on the same side in seeking to quell and defeat the forces of extremism and destruction in our region. While many see the threat from Iran directed solely at Israel, we in the region know differently. Together, we understand the menace that emanates from the extremist regime in Tehran.

A regime that seeks to export its extremist ideology across the region and beyond, while arming terrorist groups that seek to destabilize moderate Sunni regimes and aiming for hegemonic control of the Middle East and far beyond.
The Iranian regime has many tentacles spread out across the region sowing destruction and despair amongst the people.

The enemy of the people of Lebanon is not Israel, but Hizbullah. The enemy of the Palestinian people is not Israel, but Hamas. The enemy of the Egyptian people is not Israel, but militant Islamist opposition groups. All of these groups, and many others, receive their commands from Iran, who wish to control and suppress any aspirations the region has towards freedom and advancement.

Iran seeks to hold an entire region, including its own people, to ransom and keep it engaged in conflicts orchestrated and directed from Tehran. Whether it is in Morocco, Iraq or Yemen, Iran is constantly interfering with Arab sovereignty for their own nefarious gain. Israel and its Sunni neighbors alike are in the sights of Khameini, Ahmadinejad and their minions.

If Iran is able to attain nuclear weapons, the situation becomes inexplicably and inexorably worse. The Iranian regime has demonstrated that if feels unrestricted in its ability to dominate our region, a nuclear umbrella will only embolden its acolytes to act unrestrained to the detriment of us all. Only together can we face this threat and remove it.

Another issue that entails mutual political will to overcome is the threat of climate change to our region. Many reports and organizations are pinpointing the Middle East as an area that will suffer gravely as rain falls even more infrequently and temperatures rise.

Recently, the leading international scholars on climate change met in Copenhagen and released an important report on this issue. They claimed that climate change will exacerbate conflicts and increase strains and violence among competing groups. We are already witnessing water rights and growing desertification as underlying reasons for the intensification of conflicts in our region.

“Making the desert bloom” has been a core component of the Zionist ethos and successes throughout the decades. Israel has been able to turn desert into arable land and barren landscapes into forests. We constantly share our agricultural miracles with our friends in Africa and Asia and it is for this reason that many countries of the developing world have sought partnership with Israel in addressing their own agricultural challenges.

However, as Israel’s founding fathers wrote in 1948, Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East. Our partners in peace, Jordan and Egypt, and especially the Palestinian Authority, bear witness to our endeavors in this direction. Israel has actively cooperated with Egypt on the “Mubarak Project” for the establishment of an irrigation demonstration system in Nubariya and annually trains hundreds of Jordanians in Israel in fields such as sustainable eco-friendly agricultural methods.

For us to be able to face these and many other challenges, we need to break with the paradigms of the past. The Jewish people are here because of our historical, legal, moral and national rights.

Those naysayers who can not countenance a Jewish political presence in the region will doom all of us to many more decades of conflict and instability. It is time for courageous leaders to emanate from the Arab world as did Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1979 and Jordan’s King Hussein in 1994 and recognize that peaceful coexistence is far better for all of our people than enduring conflict and enmity.
We recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative is an important document, and is welcomed in Israel as a crack in the denial of an Arab recognition of Israel. However, like the Palestinian Authority’s dictates to Israel on the peace process, it remains frozen in 1993.

Since the historic handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn, Israel has taken major strides both politically and strategically towards the Palestinian position.

Both in 2000 at Camp David and in 2008 during the Annapolis process, Israeli prime ministers offered the Palestinians everything possible for peace and on both occasions the Palestinian leadership rejected these offers. The Palestinian Authority, like the Arab Peace Initiative, is still holding to its maximalist positions and has not moved an inch towards Israel since 1993. These positions are obviously untenable for peace and reflect a worldview that ignores Israel’s significant gestures and seeks to enforce a solution that will mean the end of the Jewish State. Recent Palestinian and Arab League declarations only enforce this view.

It is surely time to look to the future and break with former intransigence to create a better future for all the people of the region. Israel has gone very far and is prepared to do its part, but we must be met by a willing partner. Without this, the region is doomed to more conflict and will negate the unity of purpose in the Middle East that is necessary to face the mounting challenges from without and within.

From Danny Ayalon is the Israel Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
This was released to the Saudi newspaper media and is now appearing on many Israeli sites.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Defiance...Israel Style

Let me introduce my country to you. Israel. We've been hit by 12,000 rockets in 8 yrs. One artist has done something amazing. He's collected rockets and sculpted them into roses. Buy a rose, and part of the proceeds goes to building shelters.

Israel: From rocket to shelter:

Amazing! Simply amazing. If you can donate to this cause, and buy a rose...or join together with would be amazing. I think I'm going to start a fund and save up for one for myself. What an incredible statement. Each rose has a stamp indicating the date and location or the rocket attack from which it was sculpted.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

IDF to the People of Israel on Chanukah

Three of Israel's top generals delivered messages to the people of Israel on Chanukah. They were messages of concern, of serious and deliberate thought. Israel is at an important time in its history and amazingly enough, more than 61 years into our history, still in danger. During one of Israel's happiest holidays, it was, as Gabi Ashkenazi pointed out, a "somber" message indeed.

Here's what they had to say:

IDF Chief of Staff Lieut-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi said “The situation can change. It can be in these days or in the days to come. We harbor no illusions and we are sober.”

"Whether it is a matter of months or years,” said Maj-Gen Yoav Galant, Head of Southern Command, “we see the ill-boding clouds in more than one place. We need to utilize the time that we now have in order to prepare – for war or for smaller threats.”

Military Intelligence Chief Maj-Gen Amos Yadlin said “Syria, Iran and Hizbullah have the ability to threaten Gush Dan [Tel Aviv area]. Our enemies do not rest for a moment. Even the lecture hall we are in is now under threat of steep-trajectory fire from three different fronts.Taking Damascus out of the circle of hostility and ending its support for terror will reduce the threat on Israel. In 2009 Iran accumulated enough uranium for building its first bomb at the enrichment facility at Natanz, but at a level of enrichment that is lower than that needed [for a nuclear bomb]."

Statement from PM Netanyahu's Bureau on UK's Arrest Warrant

Statement from PM Netanyahu's Bureau

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views with utmost gravity the attempt to issue an arrest warrant in Great Britain against Opposition Leader MK Tzipi Livni.

The Prime Minister said this morning (Tuesday), 15.12.09: "We will not agree to a situation in which Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni will be summoned to the defendant's bench. We will not agree that IDF commanders and soldiers, who – heroically and in a moral fashion – defended our citizens against a brutal and criminal enemy, will be condemned as war criminals. We reject this absurdity outright."

Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed National Security Adviser Prof. Uzi Arad to deliver a clear message on this issue to British Ambassador Tom Phillips. Accordingly, Dr. Arad spoke with Ambassador Phillips and made it clear to him that the Government of Israel expects the British Government to act against this immoral phenomenon which is trying to impair Israel's right to self-defense.

Friday, December 4, 2009

John Demjanyuk - May the Sins of your life haunt you forever

I know that going to many sites is just going to annoy me. Why? Why did I bother reading the CNN posting about the Demjanyuk trial? I can't answer that...but I will answer the many, many comments that spoke of a frail man, a poor, hunted man...and other comments that border on, and even cross all lines of decency into the realm of anti-Semitic.

So, here is my view:

I have no mixed feelings, no hesitation, no doubts. That this man escaped justice for a quarter of a century does not mean he is innocent. He is old and he is frail...well, his victims never got the chance to be either.

I want to see him stand trial...and if he can't stand...let him sit there.

I want to see the trial continue - even if the man drops dead in the middle.

I want to see the evidence spoken out loud; his crimes detailed.

I want him to be sentenced to spend the rest of his cursed life in prison - in bed, in a chair, I don't care.

No forgiveness? It's a question - and my answer is - as much as he showed his victims.

I want to thank those who offered intelligent comments above...and shame on those who used this forum to spout yet more anti-Semitic drivel (rmartin, for example).

If to save his own life, he had to help murder 27,000 people (and I believe, actually, the number is 29,000, not 27,000...than his life should have been forfeited. He had no right to life by choosing to kill others.

You do the do the time...whether it was last week or last century. May John Demjanyuk never have a sleep-filled night in this world or in the next. May he be haunted by his crimes and know that long after he is dust...the children of those who survived will curse his memory and dedicate their lives to preventing others from committing similar crimes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

With Pride and Determination

An Open Letter to Bibi Netanyahu from a Former Likud Member

By: Paula R. Stern

One of the first things I did in the early years after making aliyah more than 16 years ago, was join the Likud party. It was the party of Menachem Begin; it was the party of strength. It was a party not afraid to make peace and not afraid to wage war. It did both with pride and determination. From Menachem Begin, the torch was handed to Ariel Sharon.

He stood gazing at the Mediterranean from a hill a few minutes from my home and explained that it would be insane for Israel to pull out of Samaria (Shomron). “You don’t surrender the hills,” Sharon said that day.

I voted for Sharon, as I would have voted for Menachem Begin if I had managed to come to Israel at a younger age. With pride and determination. I gave him my vote because I believed he would uphold the vision of the Likud party – strength, honor, and an unwavering commitment to the land and people of Israel.

Sharon lied. Beyond the corruption that he and subsequent Israeli leaders have shown, Sharon committed the worst sin imaginable in political life. He betrayed his followers. He stole my vote and used it to evacuate Gush Katif. He did it with malice and cruelty, to a people who had supported him, trusted him.

I vowed to quit the Likud but friends convinced me that the worst of the party had pulled themselves out into Kadima and that the Likud that remained would return to its roots. I wanted desperately to believe. One last time, I listened to the voices who spoke of party strength and vision, a commitment to the land of Israel and the future.

I believed and voted for Bibi Netanyahu as the only viable candidate to save us from worse and almost immediately after my vote, I realized that I had been wrong. The dream of the Likud is gone. Lost. Betrayed. Gone.

A few months ago, I called my bank and canceled my membership in the Likud. “Not with my vote,” I told my friends. Whatever Bibi Netanyahu will do, it won’t be with my support.

Tonight, he betrayed the Likud members, as surely and as completely as Ariel Sharon betrayed the residents of Gush Katif and northern Shomron. With pride and determination, I tell you, Bibi, you do not have my support. You do not have my vote and you do not have my faith.

We have no peace partner. You know this, you have said it enough times. But you will do this – stop building in our land, in exchange for promises of American support from Barack Hussein Obama. What a fool you are and what a fool you have made of Likud.

But this time, it was not with my support. This time, Likud veers to the left and I continue on the path that Menachem Begin and others proposed years ago. There will be peace when the Palestinians accept who we are, what we are, and where we are.

All you do, as Sharon and Rabin did before you, means nothing if you can’t accept that simple fact…and more, if you lack the courage to explain it to the world. The closer you convince the world we are to this imagined peace you seek, the sooner bombs will start exploding in our streets. Hamas will push you back to sanctions and actions so that they can cry their tears and demand world condemnation.

And when the bombs explode…you’ll order a closure to try to prevent further attacks. And the world will condemn us again – as they did the last time, as they always do. This freeze means nothing other than your complete lack of courage.

You shame the Likud party; you shame Menachem Begin. Without doubt, Ariel Sharon and Yitzchak Rabin would take pride in what you’ve done tonight because in the end, what mattered to them, what matters to you, is what the world says, what the Americans think.

And so, you have betrayed your supporters and followed well in the paths of other recent Likud leaders. But what you haven’t done, is shame me because I disengaged from Likud, I left, I surrendered the party to you, but not the land.

As the old adage goes: Fool me once, shame on you – that was Ariel Sharon. Fool me twice, shame on me. You didn’t fool me, Bibi – I left Likud and in my leaving, I take my pride, my determination, and my love of the land of Israel.

There are words that become associated with people. Neville Chamberlain will forever be tied to the word “appeasement”. Ariel Sharon will be remembered for betraying his followers and you, Bibi, will be remembered for your stupidity.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Release of a Daughter's Killer to Free a Son

I received this from a friend. I cannot imagine their pain. How do you choose between the agony of one set of parents versus the agony of another set? Can Gilad's parents stand if it their son is not freed? Can Malki's parents stand it if her killer is?

What message do we send when we release 1,000 prisoners for one young man, no matter how precious he is to all of us? Will the release of Ahlam Tamimi and the others come to haunt us in the future with more violence and death?

Malki Roth was a beautiful, innocent teenager who went out for pizza with her friends on a lovely summer day in Jerusalem. We have no words we can offer to comfort her parents this day and likely none that we can use in the future when Tamimi and others like her return to their violent ways.

Tamimi was sentenced to 16 consecutive life terms for her participation in the murder of Malki and the others at the Sbarro Pizzeria that horrible day in August. She served but 5 years for her crimes. There is no justice in this, no comfort - only pain.

How to you free your daughter's murderer to save your son? How can you bear to break a vow to her that justice, at least, will be served?

How do you leave your son alive for years, held prisoner and abused and alone without breaking your heart and your vow to him? I have no answers, only deep pain for all the parents, for all of us. There is no victory  here, no win-win situation.

From Frimet and Arnold Roth...on the murderer of their daughter, Malki

Dear friends,

Earlier today, we sent a letter to the cabinet members of the government of Israel. The following is an English translation of what we wrote to them.

Like the rest of the Jewish nation, we yearn to see Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit back home with his long-suffering parents as soon as possible.

But it is with indescribable pain that we read about the impending mass release of the convicted murderers of Israeli civilians and soldiers. Those of us who still personally feel the agony of the terror attacks of the last few years have failed to motivate our leaders to free Gilad Shilat via alternative means.

Among the prisoners to be released will be the convicted mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi []

And among the victims whose sacrifices will be denigrated is our precious child, Malki []

Tamimi is unique in several ways. As such, she should be treated differently from other convicted murderers.

While she is a woman, and for this reason accorded relatively compassionate coverage by the media, Tamimi is a far more prolific murderer than most of the men she will accompany. She slaughtered seven men and women and eight babies and children in cold blood. Tamimi personally led the suicide-bomber, Al-Masri, right up to entrance of the target she herself selected, Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant, made a hasty getaway to save her own skin, and then, in effect, "fired her weapon". Few of the prisoners on Hamas' demand list were so intimately involved in the terror attacks for which they were convicted and sentenced. Those who were, usually died in the attack.

Tamimi was sentenced to 16 consecutive life sentences, and has been in prison for five years. Few of the murderers Israel has agreed to release have spent so brief a period behind bars.

She has enjoyed the notoriously comfortable conditions that Israel lavishes on female Palestinian prisoners, including: the freedom to dress in clothes of her choice - she swapped her secular garb for Muslim fundamentalist scarf and robe; the opportunity to grant interviews to writers and to a documentary film-maker, thereby gaining widespread international media coverage and air-time for her hateful values; the unfettered opportunity to practice her religion to the fullest extent; the option of higher education - she was a university student and part-time journalist at the time of the murders; the time to socialize and politicize with her fellow terrorist-prisoners. Few male Palestinian murderers enjoy conditions as generous as Tamimi's.

Tamimi has declared unequivocally that she has no regrets about what she did. In one of her media interviews, permitted by the Israel Prison Service, she is quoted saying: “I am not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence… Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land”.

Several years ago, Tamimi spoke with Barbara Victor, author of  “Army of Roses: Inside the World of Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers” (London; Constable & Robinson, 2004). In her book, Victor writes that Tamimi “didn’t regret the deaths of all these children” and said “They should have returned to Poland, Russia or the United States, to the countries their parents came from”.

Of the other convicted terrorists to be freed, none – as far as we know – has made such egregious and documented statements of un-repentance.

Abdullah Barghouti, another mass murderer who prepared the bomb that slaughtered the Sbarro victims and who is also slated to be released in the Gilad Shalit exchange, publicized his lack of regret as well. But he qualified this by saying: "I do not accept responsibility for their deaths. I feel pain, of course. They are little children. But the government of Israel is solely responsible."

When, during the filming of a documentary, Tamimi was informed that the number of children she had murdered was higher than she had herself presumed, she smiled with pleasure into the camera.

The Sbarro bombing remains one of the most horrific acts of terrorism that Israel has ever known. It decimated an entire family, the Schijveschuurders; the father, mother and three of their young children died instantly, leaving behind four orphans. It robbed a couple of their only child, pregnant with her first baby when Tamimi murdered her. It sent a young mother into a coma from which she has never emerged; her ravaged life is never included in the tally of Tamimi's victims.

The evil that Tamimi embodies is special, and deserves treatment distinct from that of the other terrorists.

We recognize, as many observers have pointed out, that Israel has probably bungled the handling of Shalit's return. The damage has been done and there is no turning back the clock. We are resigned to the fact that releasing terrorists for Gilad Shalit's return means that Hamas will commit fresh kidnappings.

We also fear that Israeli soldiers, sent by their commanders to risk their lives in the pursuit of suspected terrorists, will now wonder whether they should die just so that another name is added to the next prisoner-release list.

Removing Tamimi's name from the list will enable Israel to demonstrate some vestige of strength, conviction and morality. This is a message which needs to be heard by its citizens,  its enemies and the world. Please support our efforts to bring this about.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Program to Supply Israel's "Life Angels"

Understand that Israel's enemies are surrounding her with missiles and rockets?

I thought this post particularly timely, considering that just today, the IDF confirmed that all of Israel's major cities, including Jerusalem, are now within rocket range of Hezbollah's weaponry.

* * * * * *

Understand that terrorists are targeting population centers?

Understand that the next "war" will likely include mass civilian casualties and trauma?

Want to do something about it?

The Israel Emergency Aid Fund is providing prayer, financial support, medical equipment and supplies to first-responders in Israel's north and south in support of programs such as "Israel Life Angels," "Operation Lifeshield" and others who are doing G-d's work by building the necessary infrastructure.

Israel Life Angels, the Emergency First-Responder Volunteer Program and The Israel Emergency Aid Fund are looking for friends with a heart for Israel all over the world.

This website will give you an oversight of the goals and highly qualified personnel involved:

The Israel Emergency Aid Fund representative plans to be in the United States during early December to meet with Christian friends with a heart for Israel and begin the process of recruiting volunteers to come and assist Israel's civil society during times of crisis.

We would like to have Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremonies in as many communities as might be arranged during a short trip, and to spread the word and ask special communities to join us in doing the Lord's work:

We are looking for communities with a heart for Israel who are willing to create a full-fledged relationship with us:

Physical: Volunteers (firefighters, clowns, musicians, welders, general task)
Spiritual: Prayer for specific first-responders and their families
Educational: Updates from the field about Israel, the ME and the first-responder's lives
Commercial: Purchase of particular Made in Israel products in a one-off design
Financial: Offerings for first responder equipment and active duty fire-fighters

If possible, we would like your help, involvement and advise in the development of this important new program in your community.

With the abundant blessings of Jerusalem,

Adi Zahavi
Israel Life Angels
Israel Emergency Aid Fund

Monday, November 9, 2009

YNET Owes Shderot Residents an Apology

Beyond the insensivity is the incredible inaccuracy of YNET's recent article on a missile attack. Today (November 9), YNET reported that a bit after midnight, a kassem rocket was launched at Shderot, landing just outside the city. Moments before, a Code Red siren sounded.

YNET offered a bit of background, as follows:

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead in early 2009, a relative state of calm has been maintained around the Gaza Strip, despite occasional shooting incidents, attempts to place explosives and the firing of Qassam rockets.

"A relative state of calm", "despite occasional shooting incidents...and the firing of Qassam rockets"?

The rocket that hit Shderot last night was number 271 since the end of the fighting during the Gaza War, which ended on January 18, 2009, when Israel pulled its troops out of Gaza. Israel ended the war, by many accounts, because of the anticipated pressure the new Obama government would bring to bear immediately upon taking office.

This was rocket 296 days. That doesn't seem to be occasional... and those under the skies where these missiles fell certainly would not consider it a period of "relative calm."

It is bad enough when foreign media ignore the missiles - it is intolerable when our own media does the same. Shame on YNET - they owe the people of Israel's southern regions an apology.

They can start off by bringing their whole staff to Shderot and having them remain there for a few days...let's see then how insignificant these rockets will seem, how calm these times, now occasional these rockets!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gracious and Honest: Israel's Ambassador to the UN

Statement by Ambassador Gabriela Shalev to the United Nations General Assembly
Report of the Human Rights Council (Agenda Item 64)
4 November 2009

At the outset, Mr. President, I wish to convey the condolences of the government and people of Israel to the most recent victims of terrorism. Our thoughts are with the more than 150 innocent men, women and children slaughtered in Baghdad by suicide terrorists. Our sorrow is with the more than 100 victims of the brutal terrorist attacks in Peshawar and Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Our grief is with the families of the six United Nations employees - working in the name of peace - who were murdered by terrorists in Kabul.

We will not forget the victims of terrorism in New York, Washington, London, Madrid, Bali, Lockerbie, Riyadh, Amman, Mindanao, Istanbul, Nairobi, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Sinai, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Beslan, Islamabad, Algiers and so many others who have endured the evil of terrorism.

Terrorism deprives people of their most basic human right - the right to life.

States have not only the right, but indeed the duty, to pursue those who engage in the barbaric tactics of terrorism. States sponsoring terrorism - members of this organization - that actively engage in activities, such as smuggling of weapons, ammunition and terrorists by sea, air, and land, must be held accountable before the international community.

Yet today, Mr. President, rather than confronting terrorism, the General Assembly chose again to detach itself from reality. Today's debate is anything but genuine and candid. Rather than discuss how to better stop terrorist groups who deliberately target civilians, this body launches yet another campaign against the victims of terrorism, the people of Israel.

The report before you was conceived in hate and executed in sin. From its inception in a one-sided mandate, the Gaza fact-finding mission was a politicized body with predetermined conclusions.

It is the product of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a body whose obsession with Israel has led it to pass more resolutions against Israel than on all other U.N. Member States put together. This same Human Rights Council rejected any investigation regarding the constant firing of 12,000 rockets and mortars by Hamas, over eight years, on towns and villages in Israel.

The basic human rights of nearly one million Israeli citizens did not matter then. Are we now to believe that the Council's latest incarnation is honest, objective and fair?

Cynical political maneuvers, not principles, have brought the Human Rights Council to export this report to New York. But the flaws of the report before you are not merely procedural. It is irreparably tainted; it bends both fact and law.

Justice Goldstone himself publicly conceded that if his fact-finding mission had been a judicial inquiry, a member of his team would have been disqualified for outright bias against Israel.

Nevertheless, the report makes sweeping judicial determinations of criminal wrongdoing in the absence of crucial information. It makes explosive charges against Israel yet the evidence provided to support such accusations is at best uncorroborated, and at worst false. In certain cases, the report makes conclusions based upon the absence of evidence to the contrary. In others, the author's mere opinions serve as the evidence. Time and again, the report inverts Israel's unprecedented extensive efforts to save civilian lives as proof that any civilian casualties were therefore deliberate.

This is not honest fact finding. But this is not all.

Justice Goldstone himself admitted that the Mission had deliberately selected incidents so as to evade the complex dilemmas of confronting threats in civilian areas. The report ignores the reality of terror activity and the complexity of military challenges in fighting terrorists in urban warfare. It ignores overwhelming evidence that Hamas intentionally operated from densely populated areas and from within hospitals and mosques, and booby-trapped civilian structures.

The report makes no reference to the recruitment and exploitation of civilians by Hamas and its use of human shields. It undermines every democracy defending itself against terrorist attacks. It concedes that the rule of law will be replaced by the rule of terrorism.

But this is not all.

The report dismisses Israel's independent legal system, to which I am a proud member of. It disregards Israel's extensive criminal investigation process of allegations of misconduct by Israeli armed forces. In so doing, it effectively calls into question the internal investigation procedures of the armed forces of most democratic states.

Mr. President,

Israel is committed to acting in accordance with international law. The rules of armed conflict are part of the training of every Israeli soldier. Israel is committed to investigating every allegation of misconduct by its forces. These commitments are derived from our timeless values, and our longing for peace.

Mr. President,

Israel believes in a vision of peace. We believe in the vision established by the United Nations of two states for two peoples. But the Goldstone report and this debate do not promote peace. They damage any effort to revitalize negotiations in our region. They deny Israel's right of self-defense.

If Israel is asked to make concessions for peace we must be assured of the right to defend ourselves. We must know that terrorists will not have impunity as they turn our gestures of peace into weapons of war.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We Defeat Ourselves - JTA Blows the Call

Last week, after more than a decade in court with appeals and counter appeals, an Israeli court finally ruled that an old man who had proven that he owned some property, had the right to evict Arabs who had squatted on his property, denying him access and failing to pay rent.

Finally, the man was clear to reclaim what the courts carefully had determined was his. The man went with several others to hand out eviction notices. The Arabs seemed to have been expecting them and began pelting them with rocks. In an attempt to defend themselves after two had been hit by rocks (one in the head and one in the chest), one 63-year-old man pulled out a gun and shot in the air.

As is often the case when an Israeli fires into the air, several Arabs complained to the police that they had been injured. One man insisted he had been shot in the hand and showed the police a scratch. Had the man been hit, explained the Israeli who shot in the air, the man would have lost his hand because of the nature of the bullets he had in his gun.

No, there were no injuries among the Arabs and the police quickly released the Jews that had been taken into custody based on Arab charges and complaints.

What is amazing, however, is how Israeli media covered the news report. I have heard the story directly from someone who was there, one of seven, the wife of the man who fired into the air. She explained to me that it was only when the Arabs started advancing towards her and throwing rocks at her, that her husband raised his gun.

This is Israel - we must defend ourselves. This is, as the man later told the police, our country and if someone throws stones at you when you have broken no law (unlike the people illegally living in the old man's house), you have the right to self-defense.

Yes, this is Israel, but sadly, so is the other side. I have doubts whether anyone from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) spoke to any of the Jews involved in the incident - it certainly doesn't seem so from the ridiculous headlines they used:
"Jews arrested in brawl over home ownership."

A brawl? Doesn't that give the hint of guilt on both sides? Jews with the backing of the Israeli courts went to issue eviction notices to illegal residents and were attacked with stones. This is a brawl? One wonders whether it is perhaps time to buy JTA a dictionary.

The absurd title is only one inaccuracy. Of course, no one was injured among the Arabs; no one was shot in the hand or elsewhere. According to the witness I spoke to, the police watched the video she had taken and quickly agreed that the claims were false and that there was no way any Arabs were shot by this man's bullets.

Also, telling, however, is the file name (URL address) of the JTA article. While they decided to be a bit more diplomatic in the headlines, the assumption of guilt was there in the file name: ""

Friday, October 30, 2009

Where Nothing is Normal...

...we find gratitude in the things that are not normal. Last week, a katyusha rocket slammed into northern Israel, fired by an Al-Qaida affiliate (so claims their website). What is amusing is the President of Lebanon claiming initially that Israel fired the missile at itself, using an Israeli agent hiding in Lebanon.

Comical or deviously sick-minded? Who can tell. Perhaps a little of both.

Now comes word that the city of Tzfat (Safed in English) has added new technology to its offerings. No - not a new cellular networking system or some great device to save power - but the first bus station that has been reinforced against missile attack.

That means that the northern city now joins Sderot and other towns and villages in the area bordering Gaza to offer this protection. It may not be state of the art, but it may well save lives.

Of course, one could argue that in a normal country, rational neighbors don't shoot missile across borders without provocation - but Israel has never been a normal country and our neighbors are anything but rational and so, this is Israel

Tzfat joined Sderot and Gaza area communities Thursday when the Galilee city installed its first bus station reinforced against missile attacks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Truth At the United Nations...Is it Possible?

Following is the speech given by Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan. He proves that it is possible to speak the truth at the United Nations, even if such truths fall on deaf ears and hearts filled with hatred.

Colonel Richard Kemp, 16 October 2009
UN Human Rights Council: 12th Special Session

I am the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan. I served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. I spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.

The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.

The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.

Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes.

More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas’ way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians.

Mr. President, Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets.

And I say this again: the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

English Translation and Video of Gilad Shalit

English translation:

“Hello, this is Gilad, son of Noam and Aviva Shalit, brother of Hadas and Yoel, who lives in Mitzpe Hila. My ID number is 397029.

“As you can see I am holding today’s Falasteen newspaper published in Gaza.

“I read the newspaper in order to find information about myself, and in hopes of reading about information of my return home and my imminent release.

“I hope the current government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t waste this opportunity to reach an agreement and as a result, allow me to fulfill my dream and be released.

“I wish to send my well-wishes to my family and tell them that I love them and miss them greatly, and hope for the day I’ll see them again. Dad, Yoel, and Hadas, do you remember the day you arrived at my base in the Golan Heights, on December 31, 2005? We toured around the base and you took a picture of me on a Merkava tank and on one of the old tanks at the entrance to the base. Later we went to a restaurant in one of the Druze villages and on the way we took pictures on the side of the road, against the backdrop of the snowy Hermon Mountain.

“I want to tell you that I feel well in medical terms, and that the Mujahidin from the al-Qassam Brigades are treating me excellently. Thank you very much and goodbye.”

Boycotting Israel Just Got a Bit Harder

The longer those who want to boycott Israel spend doing so, the harder it gets. Soon, these countries and individuals will find themselves back in the Dark Ages, sick, hungry and possibly naked.

Certainly, with no laptops, no cellular phones, and few medical devices (all having been partially or completely developed by Israel), they face a boring life and now, according to Microsoft, their lives just got even harder:

Microsoft's free antivirus developed in Israel

Development of Microsoft Security Essentials began in Herzliya Pituach.
Tzachi Hoffman30 Sep 09

Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) yesterday announced that it will allow free downloads of its new Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus program for registered private customers. The beta version of the program has been available for several months. Owners of legal versions of Microsoft Windows can download Microsoft Security Essentials without registering. The program also works on thin hardware such as Netboxes.

Development of Microsoft Security Essentials began in December 2008 at the Microsoft Israel R&D center in Herzliya Pituach. A team of dozens of programmers, overseen by Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie, handled the development.

Microsoft Israel product team leader Shai Kariv said, "We've added new options for private users with our antivirus. The product uses the latest antivirus technologies. It's easy to use, download, and maintain, and it's free. There's no need to register anywhere, and there's no advertising on it."

"Globes": How will the new antivirus affect the competition against the for-pay option?

Kariv: "That's hard to assess at this time, but that's not our goal. For-pay programs do good work protecting Windows, and we're targeting customers who don’t install antivirus programs. Our emphasis isn't to compete against other programs, but to offer free antivirus to most of the people who don’t have an up-to-date program, either because it's hard for them to pay for it or because they don’t want to pay."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 30, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Goldstone Report: Ignoring Evidence

There are so many instances of biased and unfair news coverage, but rarely have we been afforded such an opportunity to show it on a scale easily measured. Here you have it. A report that is almost 600 pages in length...devoting only a tiny, tiny fraction to Israel's victims of 10,000 rockets...the Goldstone report was and is, a farce, it's results determined long before they released them. Listen to the testimony of an Israeli doctor, severely wounded by Hamas, further humiliated by the Goldstone mission.

"In July you invited me to testify...I told you my story," she explains.

For me, every human being is equal," the Israeli doctor explained. She treats Israeli and Arab patients without discrimination. She was wounded in a missile attack on Askhelon in which  more than 100 people were wounded.

"On May 14, 2008, my life was changed forever. I was working in my clinic. Suddenly, the building was hit by a missile fired from Gaza. I was terribly wounded. Blood was month will be my 8th operation."

"Judge Goldstone, I told you all this in detail. I testified in good faith. You sent me this letter," she continued, holding a piece of paper in the air. "Your testimony is an essential part of the mission's fact-finding. But now, I see your report. I am shocked."

"Judge Goldstone. 500 page report. Why did you completely ignore my story? My name appears only in brackets in a technical context. I feel humiliated. Why are there only two pages about Israeli victims like me who suffered thousands of rockets for eight years?Why did you choose to focus all on the period of my country's response, but not on the attacks that caused it?"

See this doctor's testimony:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iranian Missiles and the Shield of God

There are those who claim Israel in invincible, the chosen people of God. I won't do that because it sounds too fanciful, too extremist, too foreign to modern thinking people who like to measure the world in scientific terms. Chaim Weizmann...or was it David Ben Gurion...I always get them confused, but really, it comes to the same thing so forgive me for not taking the time to Google of these great founders of Israel once said that to be a realist in Israel, you had to believe in miracles.

Israelis sat down to their last meal before the Yom Kippur meal knowing that Iran was launching a series of war games all meant to intimidate and yet, we had greater things to think about. Israel did as it always does on Yom Kippur - we withdrew into ourselves for our annual dose of introspection. Iran barked and growled and Israel ignored it.

It seems the US has finally come around to what Israel has been saying for a long time - that the Iranians have the goal of creating nuclear weapons. Only, says the US, it is now too late to stop them.

Again, these are words for a country that was too busy for words and so ultimately, if the shield of man (perhaps the US or the United Nations in some naive minds) will not stand between Israel and the Iranians, the Shield of David and God will. For me, for now, that is enough to bring me comfort.

This is, after all, Israel - a land and people that has stretched through history. Gone are the Ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. Gone are the Nazis, the crusaders, the cossacks. The clouds roll in over Jerusalem this morning, the sun shines, Jerusalem glistens. It is enough. G'mar hatima tova - may the people of Israel be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year and may our enemies know no rest, no success.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Netanyahu at the United Nations

Even if you heard it, even if you read it again. Rarely has an Israeli prime minister stood before the United Nations and made us so proud. I'm not always a Bibi fan...but this speech was a speech made for all the people of Israel. 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.

I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.

The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust.  It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events.

Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth. Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants.  Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.

Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments. Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews.   Is this a lie?
A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself.  Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered.  Is this too a lie?
This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp.  Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie?

And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?  One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration.  Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own.  My wife’s grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis.  Is that also a lie?

Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium.  To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you.  You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame?  Have you no decency?

A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state.

What a disgrace!  What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!  Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews.  You’re wrong.

History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.  In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others.  Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times.

Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization.

It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.

The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century.  The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.    Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope.   The pace of progress is growing exponentially.

It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.
What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come. We will crack the genetic code.  We will cure the incurable.  We will lengthen our lives.  We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.

I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.

But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after an horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind. That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction.

The most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?

Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world’s most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism?

Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime.  People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.

For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.  We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one
In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza.  It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis.  We didn’t get peace.  Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv.   Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare. You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.

Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded? Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country’s civilian population.  It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II. During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties.   Israel chose to respond differently.  Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.

That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances. Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas.

We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave. Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy’s civilian population from harm’s way.

Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel.  A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.

By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals.  What a perversion of truth.  What a perversion of justice.

Delegates of the United Nations,

Will you accept this farce?

Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.

If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity. And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace.  Here’s why.

When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop.  Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense. What legitimacy?  What self-defense?

The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country – of war crimes?  And for what?  For acting responsibly in self-defense.  What a travesty!

Israel justly defended itself against terror.  This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?

We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All of Israel wants peace.

Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat.  We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein.  And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace. In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state.  The Jews accepted that resolution.  The Arabs rejected it.
We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years:  Say yes to a Jewish state. Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people.   The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel.   This is the land of our forefathers.

Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation.  They shall learn war no more.” These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city, in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem.
We are not strangers to this land.  It is our homeland. As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity.

But we must have security.  The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.

That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized.   We don’t want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.
We want peace.

I believe such a peace can be achieved.  But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order.  The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind,” the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.
Churchill bemoaned what he called the “want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the “unteachibility of mankind” is for once proven wrong.

I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history — that we can prevent danger in time.
In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage.  Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.

A Picture that Says it All

If there is a picture of today that truly expresses justice, it is this one...of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ranting and raving to....

It is, at moment's like this...that I feel that the world is not such a bad place.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where is the justice for the innocent, the poor, the weak?

What kind of a country is's just terrible?
  • This war has gone on for decades
  • In the past 20 months, the occupying power has overlooked the killing of 12 journalists + dozens more kidnapped / forced to flee the country
  • Check points are on the increase, harming the normal lives of the citizens
  • 282,000 opponents are held in prisons, of dubious conditions.
  • Mass graves are rumoured to hold as many as 40,000 people killed in the last year.
 And with all of this, the International Monetary Foundation (IMF) has agreed to give a $2.6b loan to help the OCCUPYING power.

BTW, SRI LANKA heads a special committee looking into Israel’s abuse of human rights etc etc

Perhaps "Justice" Richard Goldstone can be appointed to a special commission investigating Israel's abuses in Sri Lanka? Oh wait, he'll only be able to investigate allegations, won't he. Well, best wishes for a continued comfortable nap for the judge.

For those of you who aren't aware, Judge Goldstone was caught napping during the presentation of videos showing rocket attacks on Sderot. Perhaps that's why his report is such an unbalanced one...he was tired and slept through the facts.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Goldstone report full of rotten rocks...

I wonder, at times, how blind people can be, how stupid, how determined to follow a predetermined path to the exclusion of fact and truth. Judge Goldstone was given a task...and he fulfilled that task without swerving from the road he and others knew he would follow. Now, he claims it is Israel who condemns him without reading what he has written.

The old adage "not worth the paper it is written on" is more true here than ever before. In the coming days, many will waste valuable hours reading this ridiculous report and answering.One such response was posted in the Palestinian Media Watch - an organization known to investigate and carefully document and uncover many cases of injustice. Others will appear in the coming days.

For me, I am left with one reality. Richard Goldstone proclaims himself a Jew and says that he was surprised to have been chosen to the head the committee charged with creating this report. I have little doubt that was largely why he was picked.

More importantly, every Jew stands before the heavenly courts in the coming days to be judged for his or her actions. The world and God are about to judge Goldstone and his cohorts in this pathetic, predetermined report. Others will read and explain why Goldstone's blind report filled his mandate but not truth, compromised not only his standing in this world, but likely in the world to come. I would not want to be in Goldstone's shoes when the heavenly court reads his report full or lies, mistruth and slander. 

Sept. 16, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch

Palestinian witnesses during the Gaza War:
Hamas used civilians as human shields

Hamas in 2008 expressed pride in its policy
of using women and children as human shields
to protect "Jihad fighters"

The following is a review
of PMW special reports released during the Gaza War
on Hamas's use of human shields
and Hamas's killing of Palestinian civilians

by Itamar Marcus, Barbara Crook and Nan Jacques Zilberdik 
"The [UN] Mission is unable to form an opinion on the exact nature or the intensity of their [Hamas's] combat activities in urban residential areas that would have placed the civilian population and civilian objects at risk of attack. While reports reviewed by the Mission credibly indicate that members of Palestinian armed groups were not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from civilians, the Mission found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack."
[Goldstone Commission Report on the Gaza War, Sept. 15, 2009]
The UN's Goldstone Commission Report claimed it could find "no evidence" that Hamas intentionally used civilians as human shields during the Gaza War. But PMW's special reports during the war documented this practice, and revealed testimony from children describing how they were being used by Hamas in combat support roles
Hamas had already announced publicly before the war that using "women, children and the elderly" as "human shields" was indeed Hamas policy -- and that Hamas was proud of it. Hamas Member of Parliament, Fathi Hamad, 
pronounced with enthusiasm on Hamas TV that Hamas had made "death an industry," and that its message to Israel ("the Zionist enemy") about its use of civilians as shields was, "We desire death as you desire life."
There was also Palestinian testimony about Hamas murdering Palestinian civilians during the war.
PMW is re-releasing some of the PMW Special News Reports published during the Gaza War, documenting Hamas's use of civilians as human shields, its murder of Palestinian civilians, and Mahmoud Abbas's blaming the war on Hamas.
To see all PMW Special News Reports that were released during the Gaza War, click here.

Following is the collection of PMW Special News Reports relating specifically to human shields, Hamas murdering Palestinians and Abbas blaming Hamas for the war:
Palestinian victims describe being used as shields by Hamas
Members of a Gaza family whose farm was turned into a "fortress" by Hamas fighters have reported that they were helpless to stop Hamas from using them as human shields. They described how for years Hamas has used their property and homes as shields for military installations from which to launch rockets into Israel, dig tunnels and store arms. According to the victims, those who tried to object were shot in the legs by Hamas.

The following is the description in the official Palestinian Authority daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
"The Abd Rabbo family kept quiet while Hamas fighters turned their farm in the Gaza strip into a fortress. Right now they are waiting for the aid promised by the [Hamas] movement after Israel bombed the farm and turned it into ruins...

The hill on which the Abd Rabbo family lives overlooks the Israeli town of Sderot which turned it into an ideal military position for the Palestinian fighters, from which they have launched hundreds of rockets into southern Israel during the last few years. Several of the Abd Rabbo family members described how the fighters dug tunnels under their houses, stored arms in the fields and launched rockets from the yard of their farm during the nights.

The Abd Rabbo family members emphasize that they are not [Hamas] activists and that they are still loyal to the Fatah movement, but that they were unable to prevent the armed squads from entering their neighborhood at night. One family member, Hadi (age 22) said: 'You can't say anything to the resistance [Hamas], or they will accuse you of collaborating [with Israel] and shoot you in the legs.'" 
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 27, 2009]
Hamas explains using civilians as human shields:
We desire death as you desire life (February 2008)
The following is the full text of the comments by Hamas representative Fathi Hamad months before the war, articulating the Hamas ideology to use civilians as human shields for Hamas fighters:
"For the Palestinian people death has become an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death as you desire life.'"
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) Feb. 29, 2008]
Iranian daily: Hamas hiding forces in nurseries and hospitals
An Iranian reformist daily newspaper has criticized Hamas "for risking lives of civilians, amongst them children, by hiding its forces in nurseries and hospitals." This is reported in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam:
Headline: "Iran closes a reformist newspaper, for publishing a report criticizing Hamas"
"The Iranian news agency 'Irna' reported yesterday that the Iranian Culture Ministry has closed the reformist daily newspaper Karjo Zaran because it published a report that included criticism of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).
On Dec. 30 the paper published a statement of a reformist student organization, that has criticized Hamas for risking lives of civilians, amongst them children, by hiding its forces in nurseries and hospitals. The statement was published while the Iranian government expresses a unified stands against Israel, and Tehran is overwhelmed by demonstrations against Israel." 
 [Al-Ayyam, Jan. 1, 2009]
Hamas using children in combat support roles
A child in Gaza describes how he and other children are being used in combat support roles for Hamas fighters. According to the Palestinian child, children are being used as scouts to follow Israeli movements, and as couriers to supply ammunition and deliver information to the Hamas fighters.
The following is the description of the children's combat support roles, quoted in an Israeli Arab weekly:
 "[The newspaper] Kul Al-Arab called many Gaza Strip residents, to comprehend the situation of the people who are suffering for two weeks from the wild Israeli aggression...
Khaled, from A-Rimal [in Gaza], said: 'We the children, in small groups and in civilian clothes, are fulfilling missions of support for the [Hamas] Resistance  fighters, by transmitting messages about the movements of the enemy forces, or by bringing them ammunition and food. We ourselves are not aware of the movements of the Resistance fighters. We see them in one place, they suddenly disappear, and then reappear somewhere else. They are like ghosts, it is very hard to find them or hurt them.'"
[Kul-Al-Arab (Israeli Arab weekly), January 9, 2009]
Hamas gangs kill Fatah members in Gaza
 The popular Palestinian singer, Jamal Najar, condemned Hamas as "gangs of anarchic security forces," describing how Hamas murdered his cousin right in front of his children, simply for stepping outside.
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet."I express my condolences to my cousins, some of them were killed yesterday by the gangs of the anarchic [Hamas] security forces in the Gaza Strip... The father was killed right in front of his children, because he didn't stay at home, after they placed him under house arrest, he and everyone who belongs to Fatah."
[PATV (Fatah), January 6, 2009]
Hamas kills "dozens of Fatah members" in Gaza

Hamas has murdered "dozens of Fatah members" in the Gaza Strip for merely violating the Hamas-imposed house arrest. According to the Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida the atrocities, which also included shooting people in the legs, has created a backlash in the West Bank and caused "anger, which influenced the level of popular activities carried out in solidarity with the Gaza residents in the towns Ramallah and El-Bira."

The following are excerpts from the article in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and the transcript of the words of Jamal Najar:
Headline: "Reports of persecutions and liquidation of Fatah members by Hamas members evoke anxiety and condemnation in the West Bank."

"Reports mentioning liquidations of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip by members of Hamas evoked popular condemnation which was added yesterday to the erupting anger, which influenced the level of popular activities carried out in solidarity with the Gaza residents in the towns Ramallah and El-Bira. The reports from Gaza pointed out the death of dozens of Fatah members caused by Hamas members. A prominent leader stated that isolated random incidents of murder have occurred, but ruled out that this is a case of organized persecution.

Wafa A-Najar, a Gaza resident who lives in the town El-Bira, said that her father was killed the day before yesterday and nine of her family members were injured by shooting by Hamas, among them were three small children and two young people in critical condition...

According to the family's story, a squad belonging to Hamas came to her family's house in [the] Sheikh Radwan [neighborhood] in Gaza and shot at the legs of young Badran A-Najar, claiming that he was violating the house arrest which was imposed on him, at the time when he was sitting with his cousins in front of the house...

A prominent leader in the Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip, Ibrahim Abu A-Naja, ruled out that this is a case of persecution by some organization, which aims at Fatah, however he pointed out that 'a number of isolated incidents' [of murder] had occurred, as has been reported by the Israeli media...

Abu A-Naja called for Hamas to halt any step which provides Israel the opportunity to attack us...
Groups within the Fatah movement in the West Bank estimated that more than 100 of its people in the Gaza Strip had been exposed to persecution, shooting, and liquidation."
   [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), Jan. 9, 2009]
Mahmoud Abbas: Hamas responsible for violence
In a news conference from Cairo, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas placed the blame for the violence in the Gaza Strip squarely on the shoulders of Hamas. He described how he repeatedly made contact with Hamas and implored them not to break the ceasefire. He lamented that the violence in the Gaza Strip could have been avoided had Hamas not broken the ceasefire.

The following is Mahmoud Abbas's statement at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Gheit:
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet."I say in all honesty, we made contact with leaders in Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We spoke with them in all honesty and directly, and after that we spoke with them indirectly, through more than one Arab and non-Arab side... We spoke with them by telephone and we said: 'We beg of you, we hope that you won't break [the ceasefire.] As the [Egyptian foreign] Minister said: "Don't break the ceasefire, the ceasefire must continue and not stop." In order to avoid [violence] that has happened. If only we had avoided it."   
[PA TV Dec. 28, 2008]
Theft of ambulances by Hamas
The Goldstone report claimed it could find no evidence that Hamas stole ambulances during the Gaza War:
"The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes." 
[Goldstone Commission Report on the Gaza War, Sept. 15, 2009]
However, PMW reported in May that Hamas stole 46 ambulances donated for use in the war and used them as "military vehicles":
"The [Palestinian] Health Ministry stated yesterday that Hamas militias had raided 46 ambulances, donated by Arab states during the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip, of the medical equipment that they contained... and used them as military vehicles to arrest civilians, after painting [the ambulances] black. The Ministry's director of public relations and information, Dr. Omar Nasr... said that the medical equipment removed from the ambulances was expensive. He demanded that the Hamas militias declare, courageously and openly, what had become of the thousands of tons of medical equipment which had been brought into the Gaza Strip as assistance for the Palestinian people."  
 [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 20, 2009