Point out that Israel is killing a lot of civilians and you are told that they had to do something in response to the Hamas rockets. Point out that practically, the response they chose has absolutely no strategic or tactical benefit, and a huge potential downside, and you are castigated for your lack of moral outrage about Hamas's attacks on civilians. Either Israel is doing this because it hopes to gain something, in which case the whole thing is hopelessly ass-backwards--they are strengthening Hamas and worsening their international political position--or it thinks that it's okay to kill boatloads of civilians purely for revenge against Hamas; revenge for attacks that have so far killed and injured almost no one. This rather undercuts the argument of moral superiority, because guess what? That's what Hamas thinks it's doing.
Hey Megan, how would you like to raise your kids with just a few rockets a week landing in your backyard that have "so far killed and injured almost no one?" What would you say if one of your kids ended up like Osher Twito? Would you feel safe walking around knowing that a rocket could come down anywhere around you anytime and you will have only 15 seconds (if that) to escape? Would you expect the US government to sit and do nothing about it?
And why do you assume that we're strengthening Hamas or worsening our international political position? We may be strengthening Hamas, but it's no different than Fatah anyway - it's just more honest about its desire to murder us. And as to our 'international political position,' could it possibly get any worse? Does it matter more than our government's obligation to protect its own citizens?
Hey Megan, why don't you watch the two videos in the Osher Twito link above and watch the video below and then go back in your cage and don't blog about Israel. Okay? I guarantee you we won't miss you.
A broad coalition of Israeli women's groups is organizing the first large demonstration against the IDF's counter-terror operation in Gaza, "Cast Lead." The demonstration, which organizers believe will be "huge," will take place in Haifa Friday and will call on Israel to accept the international initiatives for an immediate ceasefire.
The organizers number 18 groups, including the Coalition of Women for Peace (itself a coalition which includes groups like Machsom Watch and Women in Black), Ahoti, Ruach Nashit, Isha L'Isha, Bat Shalom, The Organization for Women's Economic Empowerment, Women's Parliament and other groups.
In a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the women's groups demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza. "The masculine way of killing and destruction must stop and give way to women's language and action for peace and dialogue between nations," they wrote.
Israel treats victims of its 'holocaust' in Gaza for free
The Arabs and much of the world media have accused Israel of perpetrating a 'holocaust' in Gaza. But tonight, Israel rushed a 7-year old 'Palestinian' boy who sustained head injuries in an IAF strike to Schneider Hospital in Petach Tikva. And the 'Palestinians' aren't going to pay for the boy's care.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which favors the transfer of Gaza civilians hurt in the bombings, said the Palestinian Authority is unwilling to pay for their medical care in Israel because Hamas is responsible. The PHR-Israel has urged the PA to facilitate such transfers immediately and argue later about who would finance the treatment to save their lives.
A total of three wounded civilian children have been transferred during the past two days via the Erez Crossing, with help from UNRWA, while 20 Gazans suffering from serious illnesses were allowed through on Wednesday for treatment in Israeli hospitals.
Not that it will change anyone's view of us.
By the way, the kid was transported through the Erez crossing point, which is ostensibly closed.
Times of London: All Hamas wants is a 'just resolution'
This article is beyond belief. The Times of London runs an op-ed piece by one William Sieghart, described as chairman of an 'independent conflict resolution agency,' who claims that Gaza is a secular society and that Hamas will recognize Israel's 'right to exist' once a 'just resolution' of the 'Palestinian question' is found. Pardon me, but Mr. Sieghart is a moron (Hat Tip: Memeorandum and Hot Air).
In the five years that I have been visiting Gaza and the West Bank, I have met hundreds of Hamas politicians and supporters. None of them has professed the goal of Islamising Palestinian society, Taleban-style. Hamas relies on secular voters too much to do that. People still listen to pop music, watch television and women still choose whether to wear the veil or not.
The political leadership of Hamas is probably the most highly qualified in the world. Boasting more than 500 PhDs in its ranks, the majority are middle-class professionals - doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers. Most of its leadership have been educated in our universities and harbour no ideological hatred towards the West. It is a grievance-based movement, dedicated to addressing the injustice done to its people. It has consistently offered a ten-year ceasefire to give breathing space to resolve a conflict that has continued for more than 60 years.
Josef Mengele was a medical doctor too. In fact, Hitler's Third Reich was full of doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers. That didn't stop the Holocaust.
Mr. Sieghart may have visited the West Bank and Gaza 100 times in the last five years, but he has obviously never opened a Koran or bothered to examine any of Hamas' propaganda. Here's an example of what Hamas tells their 'people.' This appeared on Hamas' al-Aqsa Television station on July 13, 2008. Maybe Mr. Sieghart was in London that day. Let's go to the videotape.
That doesn't sound like they're just seeking a 'solution' to the 'Palestinian question' unless it's Adolph Hitler's final solution. And by the way, the ten-year 'cease fire' isn't just a mutual 'cease fire.' It requires Israel to give up something real - land - in return for it. By the way, Mr. Sieghart, it's called a hudna in Arabic. Do you know what the Koran says about hudnas?
Political Islam finds a number of examples in the life of Prophet Muhammad that sanction the use of treaties as a tactical necessity. In explaining why he signed the Oslo Accord, Yasser Arafat cited a truce signed by Prophet Muhammad with the Meccan tribe Quraish at Hudaybiyah in 628 C.E. According to the PLO leader, Prophet Muhammad had signed the truce when he was not strong enough to win a war and it was to last for ten years. But when, within two years of the signing, the Muslims felt that they have gained enough strength to defeat the Quraish, they broke the truce, attacked the Quraish and captured Mecca.
A prominent Saudi sheikh, 'Abd Al-Muhsin Al-'Obikan, also referred to the same treaty while condemning Hezbollah's actions in Lebanon. He issued the edict against Hezbollah's actions not because he considered them wrong but because in his view Muslims, at the moment, are not strong enough to defeat Israel. He said that since the Muslims have no chance of winning this campaign against the Jews, a temporary solution is necessary - a truce similar to the temporary truce of Hudaybiyya.
According to the Saudi Sheikh, Islamic laws (Shari'a) also "place preconditions and constraints on the declaring of jihad, which must be considered in order to ensure the greatest gain for the nation and spare it loss - [that is,] in order to ensure the minimum possible damage and avoid greater damage.
One of the preconditions regarding jihad [states] that the [the jihad fighters] must have [sufficient] capability to inflict harm on the enemy and to repulse its evil, so as to ensure the lives, the property, and the honor of the Muslims and to safeguard them from aggression or harm, that is, [from] destruction of property, from violation of honor, and from bloodshed."
Those who understand the Islamist ethos know that for political Islam, disengagement, a cease-fire, or a pull back on the part of the "enemy" is a sign of its weakness. No one has more experience with this treacherous mindset than the Israelis.
Mr. Sieghart gets the recent 'quiet period' wrong too:
Six months ago the Israeli Government agreed to an Egyptian- brokered ceasefire with Hamas. In return for a ceasefire, Israel agreed to open the crossing points and allow a free flow of essential supplies in and out of Gaza. The rocket barrages ended but the crossings never fully opened, and the people of Gaza began to starve. This crippling embargo was no reward for peace.
No, the rocket barrages didn't end. They continued. The rockets were less frequent, but two or three rockets per day create enough uncertainty that life cannot carry on normally. Try it for a couple of weeks Mr. Sieghart. And by the way, 'crippling embargo?' If things in Gaza were so bad, please explain why this supermarket was so well-stocked in September.
By the way, Mr. Sieghart, in case you don't recognize the 'babe' in the picture, her name is Lauren Booth and she's your former Prime Minister's sister-in-law. Did she have something to do with the pernicious crap you published in the Times of London? Inquiring minds want to know.
IAF Video: Continuous targeting of Grad rocket launchers
Israel has been hit by a lot of Grad-type Katyusha rockets today, but the IAF has been getting its share of them. In this video, the continuous targeting of the rockets looks like something out of an amusement park shooting gallery.
This is an informative video from Sky News that talks about the capabilities of Kassams and Katyushas. While it is true that Israel uses more accurate missiles than these, it is also true that Israel does not target civilians as Hamas does. So Israel's more accurate missiles generally hit terrorists and not civilians.
Let's go to the videotape.
Israel Radio has just reported that in addition to the missiles' accuracy, Israel is continuing to call innocent civilians in Gaza and to urge them to leave buildings that are being targeted because they are being used to house terrorists or weapons.
Local police said the attack took place at approximately 3:20 p.m. at the Rosengirdscentret Center, one of the largest shopping centers in the city of Odense, located about 200 kilometers from Copenhagen.
According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levi, an undetermined number of Palestinian Authority gunmen approached the group of young Israelis at a "basta", or stand which sells Dead Sea products and other items from Israel and opened fire "with guns or rifles."
t was not clear how many terrorists, and how many Israelis were involved in the attack. Two Israelis were wounded, one in the leg and the other in the shoulder. "As far as we know, there is no danger to their lives," Levi said, "but we do not know their names or other details at this time."
He added that Foreign Ministry officials in Denmark are in close contact with local authorities there. Very few details of the attack were available, however, and Levi was unable to say whether the terrorists had been caught or had managed to escape. A Danish radio station said the terrorists escaped in a black Audi sedan, which police later found at a nearby college.
Levi made a point of stressing that the Israeli government believes there is a connection between this terrorist attack and the Arab world's opposition to the current military operation in Gaza.
"In the Foreign Ministry, a direct line is drawn between these assaults and the sharp anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish propaganda in the Arab national and international media since the beginning of the operation in Gaza," he said. "We don't have proof, but that is our estimation."
As I understand it, one of the cosmetics companies here sends young Israelis abroad to market its products for periods of 1-2 years after the army. That may be why those Israelis were there.
Israel Radio had some of the same details in its 7:00 newscast.
Israel's security cabinet has finally done the right thing and rejected a 48-hour 'cease fire' proposal made by the French government.
"We didn't initiate the Gaza operation in order to end it while Israeli towns are still under fire, as they were before the operation," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said deliberations that lasted the better part of the day. "Israel has shown restraint for years; she gave the truce a chance; we told ourselves 'let's try it,' but Hamas violated the truce."
The prime minister added, however, that Israel may reconsider the French proposal, but "only if the conditions are ripe. For now, we aren't at that point."
Earlier, Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said that "Giving Hamas a respite just to regroup, rearm is a mistake. The pressure on the Hamas military machine must continue."
The idea for a 48-hour suspension was first raised by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in a phone call with Barak on Monday. Barak initially rejected the offer, but in a second conversation on Tuesday told Kouchner that he would reconsider and raise it in talks with Olmert and Livni.
In the meantime, Hamas has continued to pound southern Israel with rocket fire all day. The ground offensive may only be a matter of time.
In May, Kouchner admitted that he had been in contact with Hamas for 'months' in violation of an international boycott against the terror group. So we know that the entire idea of a 'ceasefire' comes from a terror apologist. Fortunately, for once, the government did the right thing. UPDATE 5:05 PM
It ain't over 'til it's over.
Israel Radio just reported that the French government responded to the cabinet's rejection of the 'cease fire' by saying that President Nicolas Sarcozy would discuss it with foreign minister Tzipi Livni tomorrow and that Sarcozy and Kouchner would visit here next week. Just what we (didn't) need.
Once upon a time, Jews the world over supported whatever Israeli government was in power pretty much without question. This was particularly true of the United States, which was and is our number one (and often exclusive) supporter in the international community.
Over the years, the hard left eroded that support to the point where many Jews in the United States - including (according to surveys) most young Jews in the United States - no longer what goes on in Israel and no longer identify with the State of Israel. The left decided to respond to this phenomenon by creating organizations that were "pro-Israel and pro-peace." To that end, organizations like J-Street were founded.
The current IDF action is the first serious military action that Israel has undertaken since J-Street was founded. And that gives the new organization and some others like it a problem. You see, they're not "pro-Israel and pro-peace," but "pro-peace and pro-Israel." If having a State of Israel whose citizens can live, work, eat and sleep in safety means that we have to fight for it, these American and Israeli moonbats aren't interested in it. So regardless of the more than 3000 rockets that have been fired on Israel's Negev over the last seven years, these people will not agree that Israel has a right of self-defense. After all, self-defense is not peaceful, and is not in keeping with the Christian rule to which they aspire of turning the other cheek.
Do you think I'm exaggerating? Have a look at this (Hat Tip: Red Tulips).
And the might of the new progressive American Jewish infrastructure that emerged in 2008 — unapologetically pro-peace and pro-Israel — is undergoing its own test as well: How to effectively argue that an Israeli war is counterproductive to Israel’s long-term security while the bombs are falling.
“Absolutely,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street, a new liberal Jewish lobby group. “This is a real testing moment for those of us who honestly believe you can be supportive of Israel but questioning of steps its government takes.”
M.J. Rosenberg, director of policy analysis for the Israel Policy Forum, another progressive Jewish organization, was similarly blunt. “It’s put-up-or-shut-up time,” he said. “For a two-state solution, for the U.S. to be an honest broker — if all of us just sit back and say, ‘Israel had no choice [to bomb Gaza], then we’re just a bunch of phonies. But I don’t see that happening.”
Let's stop right there for a minute. These people never even entertain the notion that an Israeli war might help Israel's long-term security or that Israel really has no choice but to bomb Gaza. That just can't exist in their worldview. It can't be because they can't accept it. They can't face reality as it is so they bend and twist it into something it isn't.
Usually, when Israel finds itself at war, “our side gets cowed into silence,” Ben-Ami, a former domestic policy aide to President Bill Clinton, told the Washington Independent in April. So Gaza is the first test for whether that silence can be broken, and the expected pro-bombing statements made by U.S. politicians and media commentators demonstrates its uphill struggle.
Maybe because the US politicians (even including the likes of Nancy Pelosi!) got it right and the nouveau diplomats at J-Street got it wrong?
I'd be willing to dismiss J-Street and its ilk as a bunch of irrelevant raving moonbats, except that unfortunately there are a lot of Jews out there who have replaced Judaism with liberalism, and are willing to sign on to J-Street's creed.
On Sunday afternoon, J Street emailed supporters and asked them to endorse a statement: “I support immediate and strong U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to urgently reinstate a meaningful ceasefire that ends all military operations, stops the rockets aimed at Israel and lifts the blockade of Gaza. This is in the best interests of Israel, the Palestinian people and the United States.”
The appeal was accompanied by an anguished email written by online director Isaac Luria. “At this moment of extreme crisis, J Street wants to demonstrate that, among those who care about Israel and its security, there is a constituency for sanity and moderation,” Luria wrote. “There are many who recognize elements of truth on both sides of this gaping divide and who know that closing it requires strong American engagement and leadership.”
By 5 p.m. Monday, the organization said it had collected 11,870 signatures. Ben Ami said he would present the petition to the Obama transition team, with which the organization is in talks about appointments to Middle-East policy positions.
Oy vey! That's exactly what Jewish voters in Israel feared from an Obama administration: More Dennis Ross's and Aaron Millers and Dan Kurtzers in policy positions in an administration that's not quite so sympathetic to or knowledgable about Israel in the first place. And for those of you who think "the Clintons" are going to save us because Hillary is going to be Secretary of State, Hillary has had close ties to American Friends for Peace Now since before her husband became President! The kiss to Suha Arafat didn't come out of nowhere! But 11,870 people signed up to support them in about 24 hours. That's even more readers than I had on this blog yesterday!
But it gets even worse. Instead of coordinating with the government of Israel, as Jewish lobbying groups in the US have always done, these 'Jewish' groups want to coordinate with the 'Palestinians.'
Rosenberg anticipated forming a coalition with organizations like J Street and Americans for Peace Now, another progressive Jewish lobby group, as well as progressive Arab-American organizations like the American Task Force on Palestine — which has also called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza — to coordinate messaging and lobbying.
While coordinated efforts have not yet coalesced, some in the progressive Jewish community think that the “message is getting out there,” as Ori Nir, spokesman for Americans For Peace Now, put it. “It’s getting reported by Jewish and general media, getting it out to our base,” Nir said. “We sent out yesterday our statement and today an action alert calling on activists to send letters to President Bush urging what the press statement urged, and to President-elect Obama.”
In the statement, Americans For Peace Now’s president, Debra DeLee said, “While we hold – as we always have – that Israel has the right and the obligation to protect its citizens from attack and threats, we know that military power alone will not provide real, long term remedy for the threat that the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip poses to Israel. Israel needs stability on its border with Gaza. Such stability can only be achieved through a political process,” a sentiment echoed by organizations like J Street and the Israel Policy Forum.
Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow with the American Task Force on Palestine, urged progressive Jewish organizations to “be very clear with their Israeli friends that there isn’t going to be a military solution [to the conflict], just as we are with our Palestinian and Arab friends.”
They want to negotiate with Hamas over Israel's 'right to exist.' They actually believe that Hamas will keep to an agreement. Have they never read the Koran? Do they not know that no agreement is abided for more than ten years and that Muslims are permitted under Islamic law to abrogate agreements sooner if they find themselves in a position of strength?
The UN announced earlier this week that 51 'civilians' have been killed in the fighting in Gaza. Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook explain that Hamas seeks civilian casualties on its own side - as well as on ours.
The goal is to convince Palestinians, including women and children, not to fear death but even to face it at the front to protect Hamas fighters. Hamas's placement of its military installations and fighters among civilians reflects this ideology, and has led to these 51 deaths.
A Hamas representative in the PA legislative council this year expressed pride in the fact that women and children are used as human shields in fighting Israel. He described it as part of a "death industry" at which Palestinians excel, and explained that the Palestinians "desire death" with the same intensity that Israelis "desire life."
The following is the full text of the comments by Hamas representative Fathi Hamad: "For the Palestinian people death became 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."
Here's a video of Mr. Hamad earlier this year (which I believe I ran before). Let's go to the videotape.
On Tuesday night, I mentioned that in response to the rocket fire on Be'er Sheva, the IDF had destroyed another 40 smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi corridor. This video shows those tunnels being destroyed. Secondary explosions attest to the presence of weapons in the smuggling tunnels, and the houses in the vicinity reveal a willingness to use innocent Palestinians as human shields. I'm sure you're all shocked.
Let's go to the videotape.
By the way, there have been more rockets in Be'er Sheva this morning. A rocket came through the roof of a school. Fortunately, the school was empty because the IDF ordered all schools within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Gaza to cancel classes.
This is a 2005 JPost article by Sarah Honig that was sent to me by reader Zelig R. It's from two and a half months before the Gaza expulsion. Until the Sharon-Olmert government expelled all its Jews, Gaza was as much a part of the Jewish State as Yad Mordechai and Nitzanim (which are within the 'green line') and Kfar Etzion (which is in Judea, but which most Israelis would argue should remain part of Israel in a hallucinatory 'settlement' with the 'Palestinians' - you commonly hear that referred to as a 'settlement bloc' that will be kept in any future 'arrangement'). Here's an excerpt:
All four once-lost settlements were lovingly revived. Nobody nowadays would imagine ceding Yad Mordechai or Nitzanim. Their earlier liberation placed them within the Green Line. For now, the vast majority of Israelis consider it sacrilege to even suggest giving up Kfar Etzion. Its bloodletting and courage are still part of our fading national lore.
But phoenix-like Kfar Darom - twice destroyed and twice arisen from its ashes - is about to be surrendered. It isn't because of battlefield disasters but because an uncoerced Israeli government decided to unilaterally sacrifice it. That's all that differentiates Kfar Darom from Kfar Etzion (also liberated from Arab occupation in 1967), or from Yad Mordechai and Nitzanim (fellow victims of genocidal Egyptian aggression).
What will the sacrifice of Kfar Darom prove? Only that trendy defeatist dogma considers Jewish losses irretrievable, while Arab losses are inherently reversible and mandate a return to square one.
Jews are portable. They can never legitimately regain territory forcibly wrested from them. If they do, they'll be branded unlawful occupiers. This is something for all the good folks in Yad Mordechai, Nitzanim and Kfar Etzion to lose sleep over.
Here's the video report shown by CNN from the S.S. Moonbat off Gaza on Tuesday. I would call it inconclusive and keep in mind that the Navy boat had actually 'rammed' the yacht, it would have sunk it.
Let's go to the videotape.
UPDATE 10:26 AM
I've done some more thinking about this one and it really is a propaganda video worthy of Al-Jazzeera or Press TV. It's astounding that it came from CNN. I see it as inconclusive because I view it critically and recognize that the only 'Israeli' I 'see' is the light of an oncoming boat. Yes, the yacht sustained damage, but there is no way to tell from the video whose fault that is. Nor do we really know whether the boat, as claimed, was in 'international waters.' As one of my readers pointed out yesterday in the comments, there's a difference between nautical miles and miles on land, and from the description the boat may actually not have been in 'international waters.'
But if you watch the video uncritically, you walk away with the impression that all these people wanted to do was bring food and medicine (which is a drop in the bucket compared to what Israel lets in there on a daily basis) to a 'besieged population' and the big bad Israelis stopped them from doing that.
If you don't look at things critically, you get taken in by propaganda. CNN is hoping you won't view this video critically. Just like Press TV and al-Jazzeera.
Video: Pro-Hamas demonstration nearly gets out of hand
Pro-Hamas demonstrations took place across the United States on Tuesday. This particular demonstration took place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a heavily Jewish town located next to an even more heavily Jewish town (Miami). As I watched this video, I was waiting for the 'Palestinians' to take out their rocks and slingshots - or worse.
For those of you who either believe that (a) the Israeli-Arab conflict is a conflict about land or (b) that no one in the United States (aside from a few nutcases in Dearbornistan outside of Detroit) would support genocide against the Jews, this video will provide a rude awakening. If you take the head scarves of these people, many of them, especially the younger people, look and sound American. The Islamists are among you just like they are in England and across Europe. Do the Arab terror groups have hidden cells in the United States? I would bet on it.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Orde).
Pamela has more pictures and video of this demonstration here.
Paula was a classmate of Mrs. Carl's at Barnard and she exchanges emails with Mrs. Carl (a lot) and with me (occasionally). She also has a son in the IDF. And with Israel on the verge of undertaking a major ground operation in Gaza, she sums up what every mother with a son in a combat unit must be feeling this evening (Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl).
What I want...is to go collect my little boy and bring him home. I want to lock him in a room and tell Israel that no, you can't have him. I've changed my mind. No, I'm sorry. He's not allowed to play with guns and big things that go boom. No, I'm his mother. I gave birth to him and no, you simply can't take him.
What I want...is to call him and make sure he is where I put him, where he told me he was yesterday. Not in the north, where Hezbollah is promising to burn the ground and open a second front and not in the south, where dozens of rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel, where a man was killed and dozens were wounded.
That's what I want...
And what I'll do, is sit here at my desk and keep editing this document for my client. I'll update the copyright statements and change the installation information to reflect the new platforms the product now supports. I'll answer the phone and I'll talk to my accountant.
And what I'll do, is tell my heart to settle. I'll tell my eyes to take a moment and look at the next beautiful wave of clouds rolling in over Jerusalem. I'll sign the papers I need to sign; type the words I need to type. I'll tell my younger daughter to clean her room and my younger son that he has to study for his test NOW. I'll tell my middle son he can borrow the car like we agreed, but he has to drive carefully. I won't talk to my daughter because she's old enough to see the cracks in my smile and know that outside, it's all a front.
Read the whole thing. And hope that maybe - one day - the Arabs will love their own children as much as we love ours. Because then there will be peace.
Jewish refugees from Gaza hide from Kassams in sewer pipes
You can't make this stuff up.
Rachel Saperstein and her husband Moshe lived in Gush Katif (Neve Dekalim) for more than thirty years until they were expelled by the Sharon-Olmert government in 2005. You may recall that Moshe was seriously wounded in a terror attack in February 2002. Moshe used to write diaries of his life and - as those of you who were with me in my pre-blogging email list days may recall - I would publish them on my Matzav email list. Moshe would refer to Rachel as "La Passionara."
Rachel and Moshe now live in caravans in Nitzan along with many other refugees from Gush Katif who - after more than three years - still don't have permanent homes. She posted this diary to a Yahoo group. It was forwarded to me by Gidon in Maaleh Adumim.
We have forty-five seconds from the time the missile leaves Gaza and reaches us. The tracking system lets each area know that a rocket is due to land in their vicinity. Then the siren wails. It may not land on your doorstep or penetrate your roof but it is somewhere around. I know all of this because we got notices from the Home Front Command, the Regional Council and our own Neve Dekalim Council. The first two were slipped under our door; the latter, via email.
Today we even were visited by the army, which has taken over the Community Center. Reserve soldiers, both English speakers, knocked on our door, introduced themselves and asked me how I was feeling and could they come in for a chat about security. My first reaction was to say "You pulled us out of our home instead of cleaning up the mess we lived under for five years." My second reaction was my general politeness when people come to my door. I invited them in.
I assured them that I don't feel very secure in this cardboard house. The two young men felt uncomfortable especially when they informed me that the Home Front Command was planning on bringing in large sewer pipes. Yes, you read that correctly, sewer pipes, made of thick concrete, for our protection. The pipes would be distributed to each cul-de-sac. When the sirens wail we would run outside, crawl into our very own sewer pipe and wait five minutes or at least til we hear the explosion. Then we crawl out and return to our cardboard homes. I stared open-mouthed in disbelief. From our homes in Gush Katif to cardboard caravillas in a refugee camp to a sewer pipe. We have certainly hit rock bottom. I laugh as I write this. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I was assured that the pipes would withstand an explosion close by but not a direct hit. Our bit of security.
The south of Israel has become a war zone. We went to Ashkelon yesterday. The health clinic I visited was practically empty. The mall in which it is located was mostly closed. Even the pharmacy, open when we arrived, was closed when we left at 4:30pm. Except for a shop selling mobile phones all was dark and deserted. A large city lives under the shadow of massive rocket attacks. Children can no longer go to school. Social and cultural events are cancelled. Our local grocery and greengrocer are still well stocked. Mail is delivered. Electricity is still on. For how long?
This afternoon the sirens wailed. We heard three explosions in the distance. Friends are calling offering us a place of refuge. An emergency committee is being formed. I volunteer for it.
A reporter for a Danish newspaper called. Would I meet with him and give him my take on the war. I agree, and he is thrilled to be entering a war zone. Journalists are not allowed into Gaza, but those who lost interest in us after our expulsion are interested once again now that the war has reached us. I keep thinking of a motto from our days in Gush Katif: "Those who flee from Gaza will find Gaza coming to them."
Living in a war zone is taking its toll on our people. The nightmare is returning.
Please make your checks payable to Central Fund for Israel, earmarked for OPERATION DIGNITY. Send them to
Central Fund for Israel, 980 Sixth Avenue, New York 10018, USA or Central Fund for Israel, 13 Hagoel Street, Efrat 90435, Israel
Shekel checks should be sent to Operation Dignity, POB 445, Nitzan 79287, Israel
Rachel is right. Those who flee from Gaza will find Gaza coming to them. That describes the situation in southern Israel tonight perfectly.
NASA gives details on deaths of Columbia astronauts
Nearly six years after the shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry, NASA has released a 400-page report with graphic details on the astronauts' death.
The report says that the seat restraints, suits and helmets of the doomed crew of the space shuttle Columbia didn't work well, leading to 'lethal trauma' as the out-of-control ship broke apart, killing all seven astronauts.
Let's go to the videotape.
One of the astronauts on the Columbia was Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut.
Ramon was the last IAF pilot to bomb Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.
Video: Aerial footage of Attack on Hamas Government Complex December 30, 2008
The buildings were the centre in which Hamas concentrated its leadership as well as the administrative mechanisms that provided the funding and support for its terrorist activities: Qassam rockets fired at Israeli civilians, suicide bombs and sniper fire on farmers. This includes Ismail Haniyeh's office.
Israel Television's Channel 1 just reported that a grad rocket has hit Be'er Sheva.
No one hurt.
It hit in the center of town near a Kindergarten (but it's 9:00 at night here).
Their correspondent in Be'er Sheva says there are also reports that it hit a house, but he has not reached the impact point yet.
This happened at 9:00 PM Israel time.
Be'er Sheva is about 40-50 kilometers from Gaza.
There may be injuries. They don't know yet.
More to follow.
UPDATE 9:24 PM
Two grad rockets hit Be'er Sheva. One hit in an open area and one hit a Kindergarten, which was empty. There is damage to the building. A third rocket overshot(!) Be'er Sheva and landed in an open area.
UPDATE 9:38 PM
They're now reporting that the 'open area' rocket and the 'third rocket' are one and the same.
The IDF is attacking weapons tunnels in the Philadelphi Corridor again. 40 more tunnels have been destroyed by 20 planes.
Pamela at Atlas Shrugs reports that Hamas has hacked Israpundit's web site (see picture here).
If you go to the site you get this ''HAMAS OWNS YOU"and the html immediately hijacks your internet browser by raising an exception window which takes priority over the main web page. When you answer the prompt , it immediately raises another high priority window and another and another etc....
I wonder how many more of us may be in for such treatment. Ted, hope you get your site up again soon.
This was apparently too much for YouTube, which moments ago removed several videos from the IDF’s channel, including the most-watched video, which showed a group of Hamas goons being blown up in an air strike as they loaded Katyusha missiles onto a truck. The point of such footage, as if it needed to be said, is not to revel in violence — it is to show the legitimacy of Israeli self-defense.
The rank double-standard that YouTube has applied to Israel is disturbing. YouTube hosts all manner of similar footage — much of it far more gory than the grainy infrared images posted by the IDF — of U.S. air strikes. Why is YouTube capitulating to those who do not wish for Israel to be able to tell its side of the story?
Why am I not surprised?
In any event, LiveLeak is much more willing to post non-PC material, and I will try to do my part to get the word out.
I'm sure you'll all be just shocked to hear that Hamas is 'slanting' the news coming out of Gaza (Hat Tip: Palestinian Media Watch).
A Palestinian journalist has complained that the media and others are manipulating the images going out to the world:
"A mother of one of the martyrs stood by the door of the intensive care unit while crying... relatives and those around her were telling her what she should say to the television cameras: 'Say your son [before he died] prayed and went out.' Another tells her: 'Curse the Arab leaders'... The journalists [in the hospitals] are going overboard in their insensitivity and taking advantage of the [difficult] moments, with the explanation that they are showing this to the world. One cameraman told a mourning mother: 'Hit your face, cry, do some action.'"
Confirmed: High-ranking Iranian officer defected... to Turkey
At Pajamas Media, Meir Javedanfar has confirmed a story that I ran two weeks ago indicating that Iranian Colonel Mohammed Reza Arian has defected to Turkey.
This new development in the intelligence war between Iran and the West was initially reported by the Turkey’s Hürriyet newspaper on December 13. However, the first time it was brought to the attention of Iranians was on December 26. The first Iranian Web site to break the news was Tabnak, which is based in Tehran. In its report Tabnak quotes the article in Hürriyet. It must be noted that Tabnak is one of the most credible news agencies inside Iran.
According to Tabnak’s Turkish sources, Colonel Arian escaped because he was against the torturing of Iranian opposition figures inside Iran. To raise awareness, he subsequently started communicating with international human right agencies via email. This raised the suspicion of Iran’s intelligence agency, which installed hidden spy cameras in his office. Arian’s life was also threatened, and as a result of this he decided to escape to Turkey with his family.
His first port of call was the United Nations Refugee Agency in the city of Van, near the Iranian border. Colonel Arian arrived there on August 28 of this year.
This means that he escaped via land, via two possible routes. One possibility is that he crossed over to Turkey, via northern Iraq. This is a new route which is being used by smugglers with the help of local Kurds due to the fact that over the last two years extensive security efforts have been made by Iran to stop illegal crossings at the Iranian-Turkish border. Tehran is not only concerned about Iranians escaping to Turkey, but also fears that Western intelligence agencies may try to use that border to insert equipment and operatives. The other possibility is that he was smuggled out or managed to cross the Iranian-Turkish border.
This new development is likely to lead to a new shake-up in Iran’s intelligence apparatus. These defections show that senior officials are not being monitored in an effective manner. More importantly, they show that the level of dissatisfaction inside military circles is reaching new highs, which means that as well as defections, more people inside Iran may be encouraged to cooperate with Western intelligence agencies.
And what is even more interesting is that Turkey is not the only neighbor which seems to be playing a double game. Iranians are concerned about what they see as rise of CIA activity in the republic of Azerbaijan, and in Dubai where hundreds of thousands of Iranians live and work. This is in addition to an increase in anti-Iran intelligence activities by neutral countries such as Holland, which according to Dutch media has become successful in recruiting agents inside Iran. This truly is a dangerous phenomenon. Iranians who are against the government may still have ideological problems working for the U.S., Israel, or Arab countries, due to historical animosities. However, a country such as Holland with whom Iran has had no differences could resolve that problem by recruiting the agent, and then sharing intelligence with other countries. Or worst, American or Israeli agents may recruit Iranian agents by fooling them into believing that they are working for another more “neutral” country.
Weakening resolve? UPDATE: 'Defense establishment' now recommends 48-hour 'truce'; SECOND UPDATE: IDF spokesperson's unit says HaAretz report false
The Washington Post reports on Tuesday that Israel has rejected a 'truce' with Hamas and 'presses on' with the Gaza operation (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Diplomatic efforts to calm the situation are expected to accelerate this week, with European foreign ministers scheduled to meet in Paris today and Arab diplomats set to gather in Cairo on Wednesday.
In advance of the Paris session, the European Commission called for "an immediate halt to military hostilities" in order to spare Gaza's civilian population, while demanding that Hamas also stop firing its rockets into Israel. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday had also called for a ceasefire.
Though the pace of bombing appeared to slow on Tuesday, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit told Israel Radio that at this point "there is no room for a ceasefire," according to news reports from the region. "The Israeli army must not stop the operation before breaking the will of the Palestinians, of Hamas, to continue to fire at Israel."
But not everyone is as gung ho about this operation as Sheetrit claims to be. Cracks are appearing in the facade. While Defense Minister Ehud Barak has made several statements about this being a "war to the bitter end," Israel Radio reported this afternoon that Deputy Foreign Minister Majalli Whbee (Kadima) (pictured) told the BBC's Arabic service today that Israel would be open to discussing a 'truce' if one was offered.
Whether this crack in the government's resolve widens remains to be seen. But in the meantime, all of Israel's political parties except the Arab parties and Meretz (i.e. all but the far left) are in favor of continuing the operation. Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu has even signed on to help with the government's public relations efforts.
UPDATE 5:37 PM
As if on cue, Haaretz is now reporting that Israel's 'defense establishment' is now recommending a 48-hour 'truce.'
The defense establishment on Tuesday said it would recommend that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert seek out a diplomatic initiative to abate the war against Hamas and embark on a 48-hour truce, before it becomes necessary to begin a significant ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Senior defense officials believe that such a diplomatic process need not be a unilateral Israeli procedure, but should rather be based on an initiative originally proposed by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
The goal of the temporary calm would be to see if Hamas can abide by the truce and cease firing rockets at Israel.
The initiative is seen as a possibility to cease the operation before sending a massive Israel Defense Forces ground corp into the Gaza Strip.
The government will announce its decision regarding the temporary truce over the coming hours.
That'll do wonders to restore Israel's deterrence power.
Heartbreak: 4-year old son of Mumbai victims dies of genetic disease
4-year old Dov Holzberg, the son of Mumbai terror victims Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holzberg HY"D (may God avenge their blood), died overnight Monday night. Dov had a genetic disease (previous reports have mentioned Tay-Sachs) . Dov had been institutionalized here in Israel and was not in Mumbai at the time of the attack. An older brother had previously died of the disease.
The funeral of Dov Holtzberg, whose two-year-old brother Moshe survived the attack on the Chabad house, was be held at 10 am in Jerusalem.
The couple's eldest son died of the same disease two years ago at the tender age of three.
"It is hard to imagine what this family has been through recently," said Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, Rivka Holzberg's father.
Rivka's sister, Haikeh, told Ynet that "there is no one to sit Shiva (seven days of mourning) for Dov."
Jews only sit shiva for a parent, child (God forbid), sibling or spouse. Dov's brother, Moshe, is too young to sit shiva.
Hashem natan v'Hashem lakach y'hi Shem Hashem m'vorach (God has given and God has taken away, may God's name be blessed - a line from the Jewish funeral service).
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the boat ignored an Israeli radio order to turn back early Tuesday. He said the boat tried to outmaneuver the navy ship and crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels. The navy then escorted the boat to the territorial waters of Cyprus.
Protest boat organizer Derek Graham said the Israeli ship "rammed" the protest boat.
According to the 'Free Gaza' website of the boat's organizers (which I will not grace with a link), the boat is now headed to 'safety' in Lebanon. Here's their account of Tuesday morning's events.
On Tuesday, December 30, at 5 a.m., several Israeli gunboats intercepted the Dignity as she was heading on a mission of mercy to Gaza. One gunboat rammed into the boat on the port bow side, heavily damaging her. The reports from the passengers and journalists on board is that she is taking on water and appears to have engine problems. When attacked, the Dignity was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza.
The gunboats also fired their machine guns into the water in an attempt to stop the mercy ship from getting to Gaza.
As the boat limps toward Lebanon, passengers have been in contact with the Lebanese government who have said the captain has permission to dock and are willing lend assistance if needed. Cyprus sea rescue has also been in touch, and has offered assistance as well. The Dignity clearly flies the flag of Gibraltar, is piloted by an English captain and has a passenger manifest that includes Representative Cynthia McKinney from the U.S. The attack was filmed by the journalists, and the crew and passengers will report on Israel's crime at sea once they arrive in Lebanon.
On board the boat are doctors traveling to this impoverished slice of the Mediterranean to provide badly-needed relief at the hospitals there. The crew and passengers were also hoping to take wounded out for treatment, since the hospitals are not coping. In addition, the Dignity was carrying 3 tons of medical supplies at the request of the doctors in Gaza.
What kind of morons try sending a yacht into a war zone? I can't wait to see the video.... And yes, I will post it as soon as I get it.
Here's a CNN clip. The voice is the voice of a reporter on the boat, but the video footage is from loading the boat and not from this morning's incident. Let's go to the videotape.
UPDATE 11:23 AM
The moonbats on the boat have accused Israel of 'piracy on the high seas.' But their understanding of international law is incorrect.
The movement's spokeswoman Greta Berlin told Israel National News that the incident occurred approximately 50-60 miles off the Gaza coast, in international waters. Any vessel can be legally required to identify itself in order to prevent it from entering prohibited territory although its passengers cannot be arrested in international waters, explained Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.
They're also claiming that the Navy gunboat rammed the yacht, but Palmor shows that contention is ridiculous as well:
The Free Gaza boat, dubbed the Dignity, collided with a Navy boat, but Berlin said the activists on board have pictures to prove it was rammed, an allegation that Palmor said is ridiculous. "If we wanted to hit it intentionally, everyone would have drowned," he told Israel National News.
Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy was quoted by a CNN correspondent on board the 60-foot vessel as saying that the collision occurred when a Navy boat tried to turn around. Free Gaza claimed that at least half a dozen Navy boats surrounded the Dignity.
The activists reported they did not have enough fuel to return to Cyprus and that the Navy did not allow the boat to proceed to Egypt but is allowing the vessel to sail to Lebanon after originally ordering it to turn back to Cyprus.
While Israel allowed earlier 'mercy missions' to land, the government has apparently now had enough of this nonsense.
Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said "the time has come to put a stop to these anarchists" who he said are not bringing any significant amount of humanitarian supplies. He pointed out that Israel has opened Gaza crossings for hundreds of tons of aid despite the ongoing rocket and mortar attacks on Israel.
More than 120 trucks entered Gaza Sunday and Monday, and 100 more are expected to reach the area Tuesday.
Oil prices went up? It's Israel's fault of course!
Crude oil prices rose by 12% on Monday and of course, Israel is to blame. Note the headline of this story: "Oil up 12% after Israel raids Gaza." Now read the story.
Crude oil rose as much as 12 per cent after Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip raised concerns that supply from the Middle East may be disrupted.
Prices also advanced as China, the world's second-biggest energy consumer, said it will supplement its emergency oil stockpiles while prices are low, while Libya and the UAE announced compliance with Opec output cuts agreed on this month.
"The instability in the Middle East may well push oil prices higher," said Rob Laughlin, a senior broker with MF Global Ltd. in London. "China's plans to stockpile crude may take up some slack from the demand destruction from the economic slowdown."
Crude oil for February delivery rose $1.57, or 4.2 per cent, to $39.28 a barrel as of 9:32am on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, it touched $42.20 a barrel in the biggest gain in two weeks.
Iran holds the world's second- largest oil reserves and sits on the narrow sea channel through which oil from the Arabian Gulf is shipped.
"Any Iranian escalation or more visible Iranian involvement would push the price higher," said David Pursell, managing director of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. in Houston. "Unless there's more to it, ultimately what matters is we've got to get the global economy back to normal before you can count on sustainably higher oil prices."
Futures prices fell 11 per cent last week, reaching a four-year low of $32.40 on December 19.
Note that 12% wasn't the closing price and that much of the jump is based upon the December 19 price - eight days before Israel invaded Gaza. And note also that China and Iran are at least as much the cause of the price rise as Israel's action in Gaza - which is hundreds of miles from world oil supplies.
So why does the headline read "Oil up 12% after Israel raids Gaza"?
I'm pleased to announce that I am a finalist for "Best Midsized Blog" in the 2008 Weblog Awards. I'd like to thank all of you who nominated me. The badge will go up as soon as I can find it (they're not available until Wednesday). Voting begins on January 5. Mrs. Carl smiled and said "that's nice." (For those who don't remember, last year she was shocked!).
This video was shot on Monday in the Gaza Strip and shows Hamas removing their war dead. I would not suggest watching it if you have eaten recently. It is very graphic.
I'm posting it because I want you to notice that all of the dead and wounded are adult males in uniform. Not 'civilians' as Hamas would have you believe.
I don't speak any Arabic so the only words I can make out in this video are "Allahu Akhbar" (God is great). There are obviously other words being spoken. Anyone who speaks Arabic is invited to post them in the comments.
Video: CNN reporter ducks for cover during rocket attack
CNN reporter Paula Hancocks was in the middle of this report when a rocket flew in overhead.
Let's go to the videotape.
Not quite as impressive as the woman reporter in Georgia last summer, who actually finished her report while bleeding from a bullet wound, but still an impressive instance of 'keeping your cool.' I love the sigh of relief at the end.
This is the best video of the day and I've been looking for it since I heard about the operation.
Tonight, the IDF found a group of Hamas terrorists loading grad missiles onto a flatbed truck. When the terrorists finished loading the truck, they were shocked and awed to find themselves launched along with the missiles.
For the first 45 seconds of this tape, you'll wonder why you're watching it. But after that, it's explosive.
What have been Israel's "crimes?" Not "stealing Palestinian land," but making that land productive, while exposing the incompetence and sloth of Arab culture.
Israel's crime isn't striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel's crime hasn't been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.
Israel's crime has been making democracy work where tyranny prevailed for 5,000 years. Israel's crime has been survival against overwhelming odds, while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.
But Israel's greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history's grimmest disaster.
Was it a crime to hand Gaza back to Palestinian authorities, to give peace a chance? Look what Israel received in return for trading land for peace.
Let us never forget the fundamental truth that, while Israel longs to live in peace with its neighbors, those neighbors openly profess the desire to eliminate Israel and exterminate its people.
Indeed, Arab and regional jealousy toward Israel is so all-consuming, so necessary to excuse the Arab art of failure, that even these judicious airstrikes will hardly make a dent in the terrorist threat.
'Hamas' military capabilities have hardly been dented'
For those of you who believe that the war is going to end by the end of this week (and I'm going to guess that most of you who believe that live outside of Israel), here's a splash of cold water (Hat Tip: Hot Air).
Though the rocket count was down from previous days (and well short of the 200 that Israeli officials believe Hamas is able to fire), Israeli military sources tell TIME that they believe Hamas' military capabilities have hardly been dented. And while Israeli strikes killed a senior Hamas police official on the first morning of the assault and an Islamic Jihad military commander in Khan Younis on the third day, those same Israeli military officials believe that most of Hamas' military commanders have survived the first 60 hours or so and are in hiding.
Indeed, while Israelis support the military offensive by an overwhelming majority of 81%, according to a poll by Israel's Channel 10 television station, only 6% believe it will end Hamas' rocket attacks. Palestinians, meantime, have been buoyed by an outpouring of support and sympathy across the Arab world.
Anyone who thinks there's any chance of ending this without a ground action is fooling themselves. Think Saddam Hussein: 'Shock and awe' was real impressive but it took more than three years to find Saddam - and then he was hiding underground. Just like Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al-Zahar.
By the way, a rocket killed a woman waiting at a bus stop in Ashdod tonight, and rockets reached Yavne and Ofakim. I spoke to someone tonight whose sister studies in a seminary in Ofakim. She is supposed to go back to school from the Chanuka vacation tomorrow morning. She's not going. Look at the map at the top again. They're starting to hit places that are commuting distance to Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is the biggest backyard in this country. If they hit Tel Aviv, it's a whole new ballgame. And it's far from over.
Another blogger has reported that the IDF is 'entering the Gaza district.' A second blogger (that I have seen) has picked up on the report. The report implies that a ground action in Gaza is imminent. Many media have reported that the IDF is massing troops around Gaza. Many people (including me) believe that ultimately, Hamas will not be disempowered without a ground invasion. But a ground attack in Gaza is not happening right now.
According to the IDF spokesperson's office, currently the IDF is using air and naval forces only. All options remain open for the future. At the moment no ground forces are operating in Gaza.
This video of Jordanian Islamist MP Muhammad Abd Al-Qader inciting a crowd to jihad was shown on al-Jazzeera (the Arabic language one - of course) on Monday night. Recall that Jordan is a 'moderate Arab state.' For this we needed a 'peace treaty'?
Sky News: Will Israel undertake a ground operation?
This video is lays out the facts and places the question presented squarely in our sights: Is Israel willing to go into Gaza on the ground and take the casualties? Unfortunately, that is what will have to happen for Hamas to be defeated.
Let's go to the videotape. This is the best report I have seen to date from a foreign news service.
Israel has a sorry history in Gaza that derives from its unwillingness to take decisive action regarding the strip. Michael Oren recounts that history.
Back in 1949, at the end of Israel's War of Independence, Israeli forces surrounded Gaza in an attempt to conquer it and annex it to the nascent Jewish State. Frustrated in that gambit, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion secretly sought to purchase Gaza from the Egyptians in the early 1950s, and then, during the 1956 Suez Crisis, Israel briefly occupied the Strip. Israeli soldiers in 1967 received unequivocal orders not to enter Gaza, but they did so anyway, and remained there for the next 20 years until Prime Minster Menachem Begin tried to convince Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to take control of Gaza--fruitlessly. Israel proceeded to build settlements in the Strip, but not enough to stake a firm territorial claim. It installed a PLO administration there, but later disavowed it as corrupt and terror-ridden. It initially coddled and finally combated Hamas. Finally, in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, former champion of the Gaza settlements, uprooted all 21 of them and their 8,100 inhabitants. Once renowned for his brutal suppression of Gaza terrorists, Sharon also ignored the 1,000 Qassam rockets that flew on the heels of Israel's withdrawal. Hamas was consequently empowered and eventually took over the Strip, creating the Hobbesian conditions that Israel faces today.
Okay, there are a couple of inaccuracies there. There were settlementsJewish cities and towns in Gaza before Camp David. And the 'peace process' with Egypt started with Sadat's visit to Jerusalem in 1977 and ended with Israel's evacuation of Sinai in 1982. Were the 1967 orders unequivocal? I don't know. Oren really is the expert on the 1967 war.
But if you look at the map above, you see that based on geography, Gaza belongs to Israel. And historically was a center of Jewish life. What's really needed here is a decisive policy with respect to Gaza. It's long overdue.
Just a reminder to all of you that Chanuka runs from Sunday night December 21 through Monday evening December 29, and your loyal scribe awaits with eager eyes to see how many of you will honor me with Chanuka gelt (Chanuka money, which is traditionally given out on the holiday).
If you'd like to leave me some Chanuka gelt, please click here.
This post will stay on top from Chanuka's start to end in Israel.
At Hot Air, Captain Ed posts a video from MSNBC that points out that Israel's strategy in Gaza is to hit Hamas' infrastructure while minimizing collateral damage to civilians. That's a fair description of our strategy. Where I differ with Ed is his implication that Israel's best case scenario in Gaza is to reinstall the rule of 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen's Fatah movement.
With Egypt already blaming Hamas for the war and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah an available option, Gazans may not stick with Hamas for much longer — or so the Israelis must hope.
While it is true that Hamas took over the Gaza Strip violently in June 2007, that doesn't mean that Gazans would prefer Fatah's rule. Fatah was hated in Gaza long before Hamas took over there. You may recall that Fatah's 'strongman' in Gaza - Mohamed Dahlan - escaped to Egypt a few days before the coup. Gazans aren't going to wake up tomorrow morning and agree to Fatah - which they disdain as both secular and corrupt - returning to power. Gaza's population is very different from that of Judea and Samaria. It's much more Islamist. And Fatah cannot even handle Judea and Samaria without the IDF's assistance (all the stories we keep hearing about how many Fatah 'police' have been deployed notwithstanding - we already know how abysmally those 'police' have been 'trained'). How will Fatah control Gaza with the additional weaknesses of "poor lines of communication [and] no strategic position"?
There are alternatives to Hamas rule in Gaza other than Fatah. Michael Oren suggests the Egyptian army (Hat Tip: Memeorandum), which might appeal to some Israelis, but is likely to be rejected by an Egyptian government that already fears being seen (with some justification) as colluding with Israel. Besides, Israel has reason not to trust Egypt either. The Egyptians helped Hamas smuggle weapons in the past.
Others have suggested an 'international force,' but we know that has not worked well in Lebanon, and that any foreign troops would likely become a nuisance (or worse) if Israel were to have to re-enter Gaza. One of the big questions in Lebanon right now is how Israel will handle UNIFIL if Hezbullah attacks and Israel has to go back into southern Lebanon (probably by encouraging UNIFIL to run away). Remember the European monitors in the Philadelphi corridor? They fled when Hamas took over.
Israel's only real choice seems to be what it did in Judea and Samaria in 2002: Reoccupy the Gaza Strip. While the government keeps swearing to us that it won't do that, and while many Israelis are loathe to even consider it, it's the only way Israel can ensure quiet in the south. It's worked since 2002 in the major cities of Judea and Samaria. With the Hamas leadership and its infrastructure demolished, there's no reason it cannot work in Gaza too.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-three years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 31 years and seven grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com