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