Friday, June 30, 2006
|At the Asheri funeral|
He was a spiritual young man who enjoyed being alone in the hills. He impressed all who knew him as a gentle soul, in touch with nature and in love with the land of Israel. His name is Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri, and like the prophet Elijah whose name he shares, he was borne heavenwards in a fiery whirlwind. The whirlwind that took this sweet young man was an act of murder in cold blood at the hands of Palestinian Arabs. No provocation; no reason beyond the simple fact of his being a Jew and the Arabs being filled with hatred and in a position to kill him. That's all it takes.
His parents spoke at the funeral - each of them a broken vessel, grieving and lost. The Asheris spoke in gentle tones, asking their son to intercede with the master of the universe, begging him to bring peace. They spoke about the future - a better future, a future of peace between Israel and its neighbours, between Israel and its Maker. In the picture above, his mother Miriam in a blue dress, ripped at the front to symbolize her loss, stands by the simple stretcher (no coffins in Israeli funerals) on which his lifeless body rests. Her dignity, and that of her husband, were simply inspiring.
Judy Lash Balint was there too:
There were no shouts for revenge; no machine guns fired into the air; no religious figures whipping up the crowd into a frenzy of hatred. Only the soft sounds of weeping from dozens of girls and women and the flipping of pages of Tehillim (Psalms) as speaker after speaker poured out their anguish at the loss of another young soul to the barbarity of Arab terror.In another place, 90 minutes drive from here, there was another funeral yesterday: different people, different atmosphere, different everything. Reuters provided us with some pictures - see the picture below. Yes, there was a mother, might have been a father, certainly plenty of bereaved friends and probably family. But this one was a lot noisier - guns firing into the air, participants screaming for anger and revenge. The dead person in this funeral was called Mohammed Abdel Al, "a member [in fact a leader] of the ultra hardline militant group Islamic Jihad [who] was with a group of other activists near Gaza's disbanded airport when an Israeli helicopter gunship opened fire at a cell of militants which tried to fire an anti-tank missile at troops based around the airport" according to The Independent.
[Is this the person with a similar name mentioned in yesterday's report (29-Jun-06: The Face of the Enemy)? We can only hope.]
In simpler terms: a terrorist murderer, a leader of the notorious Islamic Jihad which has more innocent blood on its hands than almost any other terror group.
When the mainstream media give you a photo, you may think you understand what's being depicted. Often, however, you don't. Superficially, these two pictures depict similar moments in people's lives, the grief of a mother, tears and sadness. But the differences between the two are profound and extreme. The differences are far more important than the similarities.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Mohammed Abdel Al, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a violent group with ties to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, holds up a poster he said shows the Israeli identity card of abducted Jewish settler Eliahu Pinchas Asheri during a news conference in Gaza City, Wednesday, June 28, 2006. The PRC on Wednesday threatened to kill Asheri if Israel doesn't stop its raid on the Gaza Strip.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
It's now evident (on Thursday morning) that Eliyahu Asheri, son of Miriam and Yitro (Yitro moved to Israel from Australia at about the same time we did) had been dead for several days by the time the man in the picture above made his cynical speech and contemptuously waved his photographs. We wonder whether this still qualifies him to be called 'militant' (as most media channels did yesterday) or whether 'terrorist', 'kidnapper', 'murderer' or 'savage' are ever pressed into service as descriptors. We'll know the next time his PRC terrorist group calls another press conference.
The moral agnosticism (some would call it blindness) of reporters and editors who persist in referring to lying, murdering thugs like the man in the picture as 'militants' is at the very heart of the rampant confusion and ignorance that surrounds this ongoing conflict.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Rockets stored by Palestinian militants in a warehouse in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, burn after an Israeli airstrike on the building Wednesday, June 28, 2006. Israeli aircraft launched air strikes on an empty militants' training camp and on an empty field in Rafah on Wednesday afternoon, Palestinian security officials said. No casualties were reported.(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
No victims, no real damage, just a burning mass of destroyed implements of terrorist death. Kol hakavod le-Zahal.
In the past Hamas succeeded in kidnapping many Zionist soldiers. There are thousands of prisoners of our forces, they have to think how to free these prisoners. And I believe that it is inevitable to kidnap soldiers to exchange for them. In the past Hamas kidnapped 10 soldiers. There is nothing the resistance cannot do. And when there is a goal and a good plan, the goal can be achieved, especially about the prisoner issue, [which] is top priority. During the PA administration, Hamas succeeded in kidnapping and hiding bodies, but unfortunately, two bodies were handed over for nothing. When there is a kidnapping, and it is secured, each case in its own time, has its own negotiations."
PMW have helpfully provided streaming video of Interior Minister Siam speaking these words.
The thugs of Hamas have gotten a free ride from too many people for too long. And the many foreign politicians who extend the customary diplomatic respectfulness to them are being played for fools.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
It's sickening to an extent that's matched only by their crocodile tears (our apologies to all crocodiles) when Arab children are injured by Israeli fire directed at the gunmen who operate from residential areas and children's playgrounds.
The news media's fascination with the fairly-obviously-staged video of a Gaza girl shrieking at the sight of her dead family two weeks ago has caused a lot of people to stop and think again about what's real and what's fake. Fake is not a word to throw around easily when people are lying dead on the ground and little children are wailing inconsolably. But sometimes fake is the only word.
And in case that's hard to swallow, here's a picture taken today and put out on the news wire by Associated Press. The caption says
Palestinian militants set up an explosive device into a mount of sand in preparation for a possible Israeli army ground operation at the Jebaliy refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip Tuesday June 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Wesam Saleh, MaanImages)
Children all around. Beach sand loosely covering a lethal explosive device. Thugs performing for the cameras. All in the name of defeating a not-yet-present Israeli enemy. Just another day in a fifty-eight year-old "refugee camp". (Similar pictures here and here.)
What we want to know is who's going to prevent the highly-probable accidents from happening in this particular Gaza sandpit while Wesam Saleh and his performing terror stooges sit around waiting for the Zionist enemy to show up?
Update: Just to illustrate the point about how the cold-blooded manipulation-of-images game is played, the ever-hostile AFP photo agency has conveniently republished the heartrending snaps of the orphaned Gaza beach girl in the past hour. Go here to see.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Meanwhile, irrespective of whether Israel really is about to unrestrain itself, here's some of what the bad people have been doing this afternoon and this evening:
- A Palestinian terror group says it kidnapped an Israeli tonight, this time somewhere in the vicinity of Nablus. If true (and no one on the Israeli side is confirming it at this stage) it would be the second kidnapping of an Israeli by a Palestinian terror group in as many days. For what it's worth, the gang claiming victory this time, according to Yediot Aharonot, is the Popular Resistance Committee.
- The PRC says it plans to keep on kidnapping. And why not? Activities of that kind enhance the appeal of their 'resistance' struggle in certain quarters. They establish beyond doubt the fitness of their compatriots to have a state and to manage it, and affirm the depths of their 'desperation' as well as their membership in the ranks of the world's liberation movements. Of course, there is a different way of looking at this: there's neither morality nor politics in their hideous hatred - they're little more than thugs for whom anything that hurts the other side must, by definition, be good.
- At around 10 tonight, there are reports of a terrorist infiltration in the area of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, an Israeli community close to the northern end of the Gaza border.
- Qassam missiles have been fired repeatedly this evening from Gaza into several Israeli communities.
- There's a report of a civilian injured by one such Qassam missile landing in battered Sderot tonight. The same missile causes a power blackout in Sderot's southern suburbs.
- And a separate report that 4 people are injured in Sderot by shattered glass after another Qassam rocket lands in the area. Magen David Adom paramedics evacuate the injured to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon. Paramedics also treat two patients with heart conditions. 11 people suffer from shock and are treated at the scene (Ynet).
- There's a heightened state of terror alert in various parts of the country. The police have established an enlarged presence in and around Jerusalem; in the areas close to where undisputed Israel and the Judea and Samaria areas meet; and in crowded public areas; all of this according to Israel Radio tonight. Checkpoints are being set up on an unannounced basis in many locations.
- The Israel Prison Service has its personnel on elevated alert in response to the general state of agitation. The Palestinian 'street' is in a state of excitement now that the kidnappers of Corporal Gilad Shalit have stated their terms - which include the release of all female Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails. Meanwhile family prison visits are suspended.
- Israeli vehicles are stoned and/or shot tonight at various locations in Judea and Samaria.
- Islamic Jihad says it's developed a new rocket with a longer-range for use against Israeli civilian targets, according to Israel's Channel 1 news tonight. They call it the "Quds 4" and claim a range of 20 kilometers, three times longer than conventional Qassams. Sderot is about an hour's drive from Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, so longer missile range, if true, really means something in this part of the world.
But we're not persuaded. We would really like someone smart and incisive to explain to us how resurgent, aggressive Palestinian terror actions make things better for anyone. It's always been clear to most Israelis that Israeli military restraint is a policy of choice, not necessity; at any moment, the restraint can be eased and some really serious damage can be done to the fabric of Palestinian Arab life, not to mention the physical health and well-being of individual high-profile Palestinian figures. The enormous ring of Israeli armour deployed tonight at all points around the Gaza border (see the picture above) gives palpable physicality to that aspect of the asymmetry between the two sides.
The irresistable conclusion - at least for us - is that the thugocracy of the Hamas-led PA actually wants more suffering for their people, and sees some kind of long-term benefit in this.
A more demented view of political leadership would be hard to conjure up. These are not uplifting times.
Anshel Pfeffer, writing in today's Jerusalem Post, provides some interesting insights into how the Israeli military views the seizing of one of its soldiers. The moral and ethical difference between Israel's approach and that of our neighbours could hardly be more pronounced:
It's talked about in hushed voices during the dead hours before dawn of a particularly lonely guard shift: "Nohal Hannibal" - the Hannibal Directive - the rumored standard procedure in the eventuality of an IDF soldier being captured.
In such a case, soldiers are told (although never officially) that their comrades will be given the order to rain fire on the abduction team, without consideration for the poor soldier's life. The underlying rationale is that the nation can bear the deaths of soldiers, but not the uncertain fate of a captured serviceman.
Exactly 30 years after the heroic rescue of Air France hostages from Entebbe by an airborne IDF force, Israel still suffers from a hostage complex. Ongoing warfare at varying levels, which has been Israel's norm for its entire modern history - including hostage-taking, soldiers missing-in-action and others held as prisoners-of-war - are all a tragic part of the normal scheme of things. Israel regularly captures hundreds of terrorists and other prisoners, and so, the IDF's superiority notwithstanding, it can't be illogical for things to also happen the other way around.
But when it does happen, the system is totally unprepared for the shock. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Sunday that he had given orders not to negotiate over Cpl. Gilad Shalit's life, while it's clear that, if offered a quick diplomatic way out of the tangle, Israel will take it. Or isn't that the reason that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is ringing up UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan?
Defense Minister Amir Peretz warned anyone who has any influence over Shalit's fate that "his blood will be on his and his leaders' heads," although Peretz is the last person who will sanction a series of summary revenge killings.
And it's not only the miscalculated bluster of politicians. The media is also treating the capture as the central event at Kerem Shalom, much worse than the deaths of Lt. Hanan Barak and St.-Sgt. Pavel Slotsker or the humiliation of the IDF by terrorists.
Once again it's the Entebbe syndrome. Israel still hasn't learned how to come to terms with a situation where a soldier, or even a citizen, is in enemy hands. The first instinct is to launch a hurriedly prepared operation, like the one that failed to rescue Golani Brigade soldier Nachshon Wachsman in October 1994 and resulted in the death of one of his would-be rescuers, Nir Poraz. When that proves to be impossible, due to a lack of intelligence or the fact that the prisoners have been spirited away to Beirut or some other inaccessible hole, the leadership suddenly loses its backbone and is prepared to pay almost any price. That's how Hizbullah got dozens of live members back in exchange for the bodies of three soldiers, and the return of Elhanan Tannenbaum, who in 2004 had allegedly been tricked into going to Beirut in the hope of carrying out a drug deal.
While dozens of Kassam rockets fell daily on Sderot and the neighboring kibbutzim for months and, miraculously, casualties haven't been serious, the missiles haven't warranted a major operation in the Gaza Strip. If Sunday's raid on the IDF outpost had failed, the IDF would probably not be poised to strike now. But because the Palestinians have captured a soldier, the situation has changed completely.
But should that warrant an operation that might drastically alter the balance between Israel and the Palestinians as well as among the Palestinians themselves and almost definitely exact a heavy price in Israeli and Palestinian lives?
Sunday, June 25, 2006
For decades, Israel has had to deal with an enemy which kidnaps and holds to ransom any Israeli unlucky enough to fall into their clutches. No one seriously holds the terror gangs to any international standard like the Geneva Convention - though why this should be is not so clear to us. At any rate, the identity of the parties responsible is well-enough known to warrant a specific form of response.
This afternoon, the IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz reports to a deeply worried nation that, as far the army is aware, the kidnapped soldier is alive. Halutz tells a press conference:
Hamas is involved in this matter from head to foot, literally. The soldier is alive, and therefore they bear responsibility for his fate.
The so-called Popular Resistance Committees, one of the three terror gangs vying for credit for this morning's act of war, tell a Gaza radio station that the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shilat, has stomach wounds but is in stable condition.
May Hashem protect him from these barbarians, and bring his rescuers quickly and safely to his side.
Without getting into an analysis of what self-serving "joint" declarations of this sort mean in reality, we can simply observe that there's a long history of mischief and media ignorance that surrounds the whole subject. A fairly typical indication can be gotten from what's happening this morning on Israel's border with Gaza.
Taking a temporary break from bombarding kindergartens, schools and shopping centers, gunmen of the Gaza "resistance" crossed into Israel early this morning, evidently via a tunnel. Haaretz says the Gazan terrorists split into three groups. One of them fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli tank, injuring three soldiers. A second fired a missile into an IDF pillbox in the Kerem Shalom area; and a third blew up an armored personnel carrier which was empty at the time. (We have posted an agency picture of the area above). Kerem Shalom, also the name of a kibbutz in the area, is Hebrew for "vineyard of peace". At least three of the gunmen are now dead following an exhange of fire with Israeli forces.
Nothing happens faster in the Middle East than the claiming of credit when Israeli targets are attacked, so Izz a Din al Qassam, which is one of the acknowledged (as distinct from unacknowledged) affiliates of Hamas, and the so-called People's Resistance Committees (PRC) which are also part of Hamas, and something relatively unknown called the Islamic Army, are all out there with press releases and candies.
The IDF says it has now warned "Palestinian security units to evacuate the Philadelphi Route along Gaza's southern border with Egypt in the Rafah area, saying Israeli military units were to enter" according to Haaretz. Yediot points out:
Since the IDF pullout from Gaza, soldiers foiled attempts of dozens of terror cells to carry out a terror attack on the border fence in the Strip. The cells attempted to place an explosive device or fire at forces patrolling the area. In most cases, the cells were spotted in time by IDF soldiers, sometimes with the assistance of the Israel Air Force. IDF sources noted that in spite of the fact that attacks were foiled and the difficulty terrorists have encountered when trying to carry out attacks. So far, more than 50 terrorists were killed on the border fence.
- No foreign media report will connect the Fatah/Hamas tale of confining "resistance" to occupied territory. If they did, they would need to acknowledge that all of Israel is occupied in the eyes of the terror groups, and that Kerem Shalom and the entire border between Israel and Gaza is neither occupied nor disputed.
- If and when Israeli forces cross into Gaza to neutralize those who carried out this morning's attack, the photo coverage will be of Gaza mothers and children and of destroyed buildings. A balanced context (the months of endless missile barrages fired into Israeli civilian communities; Israeli civilian casualties and property damage on a daily basis; a co-ordinated military-style attack this morning on territory that no one considers disputed; a history of Egyptian forces, who are permanently present in the immediate vicinity of Kerem Shalom, turning a blind eye to terrorist tunnels and deployment) will be entirely absent.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
At about 9.30 tonight, a Qassam missile is fired from northern Gaza and lands in an open field in the western Negev, north of Sderot. There are no reports of injuries or damage. A second Qassam is reported to have been fired at about 11.30pm - no indication of damage or injuries at this stage.
Friday, June 23, 2006
- An unofficial list of Israeli victims of Arab terrorism from 1952 onwards. Terrorism only started because of Palestinian desperation over Israeli occupation? Check the facts and weep.
- The National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism has an extraordinary database of terrorist incidents all over the world. 20,000 of them, and counting.
- The Foreign Ministry of Israel maintains a database of Israeli victims of Arab terrorism since the start of the Second Arafat War, September 2000
- The Worldwide Terror Attacks database of the US National Counterterrorism Center
- Database of terror attacks committed worldwide by Jihadists (this list tracks only the past 6 months)
An indication of the cloud-cuckoo-land approach of some to these daily acts of lethal violence can be gotten from a report we saw yesterday on the JPost.com website. Under the heading 'Kassams aren't meant to kill', this is an interview with the mayor of one of the Gaza towns most involved in firing explosives into Israeli civilian areas. His response is a classic reality-reversal: the Gazans are the victims, and it's their children who suffer when "the resistance" fire those Qassams into Israeli schools and homes. Here's the full text:
Violence and poverty plague his city of some 30,000. Unemployment is at 70%, physical abuse within families is increasing, and political factions and extended families are fighting and killing each other. Making things worse, the town, which faces Sderot across the 1967 border, has been shelled continuously by Israel for the last few months in response to Palestinian rockets being fired from its neighborhoods at Sderot, causing fear, destruction and sometimes death.
Mohammad Kafarna is a sheikh, a Ph.D. professor of the Arabic language, and a member of Hamas's political wing. Since February 2005 he is also the mayor of Beit Hanun, a job that has become practically mission impossible.
Eli Moyal, the mayor of Sderot, has said Beit Hanun should be wiped out if necessary to stop the Kassam fire. "You think this will solve the problem?" Kafarna responded. "And is it just?"
While Israel blames the Palestinians for initiating and maintaining the cross-border fire, the 40-year-old mayor, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post in his municipality office Wednesday, echoed other Palestinians in blaming Israel. "The mayor of Sderot is upset about the rockets?" he asked rhetorically. "And we are not upset that he wants to destroy our town? Which is easier, stopping the shooting on Beit Hanun or demolishing the city? You think the weak is the one hurting the strong. We are the hand trying to stop the sword."
The consequences of the fire, said the mayor, were not only harmful to those directly and physically affected. "Our children are not children. They don't enjoy their childhood. They play with toy guns. The culture of violence exists in them." Increased domestic violence was also a direct consequence of the shelling, he said.
While Kafarna said he favored "quiet and stability," he also defended the Palestinians' right to attack Israel. "It is the right of the people who were hurt to fight for their rights," he said. "Doesn't the Israeli citizen kill others to get his rights and to preserve his security? So why does he deny this to others?"
Still, Kafarna said that if Israel would stop shooting on Beit Hanun, he might be able to convince the "resistance" to stop shooting at Sderot. "We hope that the mayor of Sderot will pressure his government to stop the shelling on Beit Hanun, to give me the opportunity to talk to the resistance to stop shooting on Sderot," he said, adding, "But how do you want me to talk to the resistance when there is bombing from Sderot on Beit Hanun? It's not patriotic."
A more sober and realistic view of things can be gotten from this statistic. The number of explosive missiles fired by Arab terrorists - like the Hamas colleagues of Dr Kafarna and others - into Israel from Gaza since the Israeli presence in Gaza ended last summer (the so-called "disengagement") now stands at more than 500.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
This morning, far from the headlines, two Arabs - possibly Palestinian Arabs, but no one knows at this stage - are spotted swimming off a southern Gaza beach. This is an area where Gaza meets Egyptian territory; swimming is strictly prohibited here for very clear security reasons. Sailors on an Israeli naval vessel observe that the Arabs are dragging sacks with them. The security forces have no need to be told of the long history of weapons of terrorism - the kind principally directed at Israeli civilians - entering Gaza this way. Warning shots are fired at the Arabs as they swim from the Egyptian side of Rafah towards Gaza and there are signs that at least one of them is hurt. The other evidently disposes of the sacks and escapes. This is followed by more directed fire. There is a separate report from Palestinian sources in Gaza Strip that one of the two Palestinians described as having been shot while trying to smuggle weapons from Egypt to the Strip is in good condition in a Rafah hospital.
Still no report about the sacks or about the other Palestinian. Parties interested in learning his identity are advised to check the PA's official list of 'Al-Aqsa martyrs' in coming days. That's where the government-sponsored Palestinian Authority website lists the names of its deceased heros, including our daughter's murderer. Scroll down to martyr/murderer number 601 to see how Palestinian society relates to its terrorist murderers when it thinks no one is looking.
Monday, June 19, 2006
"A Palestinian arms dealer in Ramallah, who wished to remain anonymous as he offered to sell NEWSWEEK an unsolicited MP5 submachine gun, says that the price of a U.S.-made M-16 on the black market has doubled, from $5,000 to $10,000, since Hamas took power. "Hamas is buying like crazy," the dealer says."
Let's try to clarify that for the benefit of those ostriches with their heads in the ground who continue to maintain that the thugs of Hamas are in the midst of some sort of truce and are busy getting on with trying to solve the daily needs of their people (we meet people who match this description all the time): Hamas is buying weapons - killing implements - like crazy.
Meanwhile, the Reuters agency picture at right of a Hamas "activist" in Nablus six days ago serves as a small reminder of what one of those crazy customers looks like after those $10,000 - from an organization that claims to have been bankrupted by Europe, the United States and the accursed Israelis - have changed hands. A pity we can't show you any agency snapshots of the mothers, sisters and daughters of said crazy activists... they are busy being interviewed by the reporters from the same newsagency, wailing about hunger and the absence of medicine for their babies. What (and we mean this seriously) is wrong with this picture?
A park near the center of the Israeli town of Sderot is the target of yet another Qassam missile strike last night. The park is located near the city's sports center which, had it been hit by the poorly-aimed rocket, might have been a scene of considerable injury and damage. As it is, the injuries from last night's attack are limited to one person being hospitalized for treatment for shock resulting from the explosion. The heroes of the Islamic Jihad terror gang claim responsibility for last nights' attack. The long-suffering residents of the town are preparing a general strike to attract some badly needed attention from the authorities in Jerusalem.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
The breathtaking series of near-disasters continues. A Palestinian Qassam rocket fired into the Israeli town of
Friday, June 16, 2006
Where It's Really Dangerous
Uri Orbach (published originally in 2001)
In America, everyone knows that it is terribly dangerous in Israel now, and it is not recommended to travel to Israel.
In Israel, everyone knows that it is dangerous only in the territories and in a little bit of Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem everyone knows there is shooting going on, but only in the neighborhood of Gilo.
In Gilo everyone knows that it is dangerous, but only on Ha'anafa Street.
On Ha'anafa street everyone knows that it is dangerous, but not all along the street, just in the houses that face Beit Jalla.
In the houses facing Beit Jalla, everyone knows it is dangerous, but mostly in a few apartments on specific floors that get shot at occasionally.
In the apartments that get shot at, they know it's dangerous, but not in all the rooms. Just in the kitchen. In the bedrooms and bathrooms, on the other hand, it's totally safe.
In the kitchen that gets shot into they know it's really dangerous. But not in the entire kitchen. Just near the fridge and the toaster.
Those near the fridge know that where it's really dangerous is in the freezer, which is directly in the rifle sights of the sharp-shooters from Beit Jalla.
You can take milk and cheese out of the fridge part without getting hit - usually. Word-of-honor.
And in the freezer over the fridge part of the refrigerator on one part of Ha'anafa street at the edge of Giloh in Jerusalem in Israel? Oh boy, it's totally dangerous there. If you stand there and pull some frozen schnitzels out of the freezer, that's when you really take your life in your hands.
So for a few months, just until things calm down, we're not going to use the freezer.
Nu, so this you call dangerous?
Thankfully, Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood is having far quieter days now, compared with 2001. And we hope the same will soon be true of Sderot and the communities of the western Negev. But there's no basis for thinking that the dangers out there, all around us, are really going away anytime soon.
This morning, whether because of our note or (more likely) without connection to it, we see this headline: Six Qassams Hit Israel. The point is not a small one. Our country is under daily belligerent attack by armed forces with murder and mayhem on their minds. Failing to understand this - and from experience we can say that many of the reporters and photographers providing stories for the major media outlets do fail to understand this and so, therefore, do their readers - means that you can never understand the things that Israel does on the battlefield. Failing to understand this leads to viewpoints like those of many Israelis - not to mention foreigners - who say: "We're strong, we're powerful, we're safe. Let's not over-react to small irritations." That attitude - in simple terms: if it's not hurting us here in Herzliya or Ramat Hasharon, it's not worth reacting to - is undermining more aspects of Israeli life than we can describe here. It's a major concern, at least to us. It's an issue which goes to the very heart of how a society ought to react when parts of it are under life-threatening attack, and other parts feel safe. The traditional view in Jewish thinking is expressed as: Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh B'Zeh - All Jews are responsible for looking after one another. It's the sort of high-sounding aspiration that many people will feel goes without saying. But it doesn't go without saying, particularly in these challenging times. Israel is under attack - real, physical, daily attack - and we're all threatened by it even if the shopping center in our town remains undisturbed. We need to get used to the notion that Sderot under attack is precisely the same as Israel under attack. And to respond accordingly.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
It's largely pot luck when the Gazan thugs fire off their bombs; their hearts' desire is to cause civilian injuries and mayhem, the more the better - and frequently they succeed. But just about as frequently (like this morning, when several Qassams were detected being fired off from Gaza, but never reached Israeli territory), they manage to hit only their own Gazan territory and damage the property and bodies of their own fellow Gazans.
This does not cause any noticeable consternation to the foreign media, from which it follows that there is no reason why the thugs themselves ought to be concerned by it. After several generations of living in a country-sized garbage pile of their own making, the value of life to the citizens and the kleptocrats of Gaza is very, very low. It's unreasonable and unrealistic to expect painful compromises for peace from people who have so very little to protect and defend. And whose "leadership" is so utterly unconcerned with their welfare.
POSTSCRIPT: Just to illustrate the point we made about damaging their own people, it's reported that two additional Qassams are detected this evening by Israeli intelligence exploding before the Gazan thugs manage to actually fire them off. Under different circumstances, it might be possible to laugh at the Qeystone Qops antics of these jackasses, if only these Qassams were not so deadly.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Maj Gen. Meir Kalifi: In order to determine whether the claim that the IDF was responsible for the incident in the Gaza Shore on Friday was true or false we needed to determine the exact time and place of the incident. The investigation was based on intelligence analysis, Palestinian claims, media coverage of the incident and IDF filmed footage that documented all IDF activity during that day. We can say that the incident took place 150 meters from a place we call the "Casino". The time of the incident was between 16:57-17:10. We came to this conclusion by analyzing three films. The first shows nothing irregular or unusual that might indicate that a large explosion took place in a range of 50 meters from the place of the incident on the beach between 16:54-16:57. A second film, from around 18:30, depicts people's behavior after the explosion, proving that the incident must have occurred before then. The third film shows the arrival of the ambulances at 17:15 which brings us to the conclusion that the incident occurred not before 16:57 and not after 17:10. Taking this timeline in account we have checked all reports of IDF fire on that day. I can without doubt say that no means used by the IDF during this time period caused the incident. The closest IAF attack took place 2.5 kilometers north of the site and occurred after 17:15. Concerning naval fire, 17 shells were fired at areas 700 meters from the site of the incident. The naval shells fired in proximity to the location of the explosion landed between 11:00 AM and 12:00 noon. We have documentation of where all the shells landed. It proves that all shells were launched approximately four hours before the incident. We can also dismiss the cause being an IDF artillery shell, launched from the land. During those hours we fired six shells at a target called Reshef 31. In order to make sure we do not hit areas with citizens we fired range-adjustment fire approximately 580-600 meters north of the target. Using a special system we can precisely account for the places where five of the six shells landed. The first shell which was fired was not identified by the system, btt the possibility of the first shell fired from the battery causing the incident is close to zero, as it was launched at around 16:30. In addition a piece of shrapnel was found in the wound of one of the Palestinians who was injured and received medical treatment in Israel. The shrapnel was taken for examination in a laboratory. The examination showed that, without a doubt, the shrapnel was not a part of an IDF artillery shell. So, all possibilities that the cause of the explosion was an artillery shell fired on that Friday have been disproved.
The Chief of Staff: We need to remember the context of this incident. In the past few weeks Israeli civilians who live in the western Negev, especially in the city of Sderot, have been under a constant shower of Qassam rockets. We are working to reduce this. Concerning the incident on Gaza beach: on Saturday evening I expressed our regret for the members of the Palestinian family who were killed, and I emphasized that expressing regret does not mean taking responsibility. Today I state clearly we still regret the incident, but we are not responsible for it.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
While we report, day after day, on missiles landing in children's bedrooms, in school-grounds, in class-rooms, reporters and their editors deliberately ignore these events. It's as if Israelis have lost the right to be viewed as victims.
We have had enough personal exposure to the mainstream media (reporters, photographers, editors, stringers, producers) to know that decisions about this are being made all the time by people who, in many cases, have a personal or political agenda - something quite illegitimate in terms of every journalistic norm.
So we will keep publishing our alternative reports and hope that enough people, suspecting that the picture they're getting via the brand-name channels, is not the whole story.
We began producing This Ongoing War on the website of the Malki Foundation. But we have quickly outgrown that facility, so from today onwards, we're publishing here on Blogspot. Please tell your friends.
It's Raining Missiles: Sunday morning, 10am, and the missiles keep crashing down on Israel with barely a word of reportage from the mainstream media. A man is critically injured when shrapnel from a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip lands near the Sapir Academic College of the Negev, Sderot. More than 30 such missiles have landed this weekend, 9 this morning so far. The injured man is a maintenance worker at the school. He is in surgery now - the hospital says his life is in danger. Hamas takes open responsibility for the rocket attacks, declaring it will continue "until residents of Sderot evacuated the town in fear". UPDATE: Missiles fired into Israel this morning: 14.
|Terrorists in Gaza showing off their Qassams |
in a Feb '06 file picture
Media attention in this region is focused on the deaths of Palestinian children on a Gaza beach yesterday. No one actually knows yet whether this was due to Israeli fire or Palestinian. And if it was Israeli, no sane observer thinks the killings were desired by Israel or deliberate.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Palestinian child being exposed to the best that his parents' society can provide for him, at a rally in Gaza today described by Reuters as part of an internal struggle for power.
Friday, June 09, 2006
|"Not too major" terrorist, probably 7 years old, holds a "not too |
major" weapon during whatAFP calls "a demonstration in support of
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank city of
Ramallah" on 6th June. Click for larger version.
"Israel is having a hard time figuring out the exact position that Hamas political leaders in Gaza have adopted regarding terror attacks. It appears that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wants to refrain from terror at this stage, but he and his associates are allowing members of the military wing some room to maneuver, as long as the attacks are not too major and there is no official claim of responsibility."An opportune moment to reflect that when decisions about the well-being of an entire population are taken - as they are in Israel - by politicians with 24 hour a day armed personal guards; by politicians who enjoy Knesset transport privileges that shelter them from sending their children on buses - they can indulge in such linguistic gymnastics.
The Qassam crashed through the ceiling of the Sderot apartment