Archive for December, 2011

The Realist In Me: Hamas Supposedly Abandoning The Way of Terror

December 29, 2011

I have written much in the past about the so-called (and as I refered to it “farcical”) unity between the two major Palestinian factions – Fatah (in control of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the de-facto controller of the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], representative to all Palestinian people) and Hamas (in control of the Gaza Strip).

At last, it seems that six months after its’ announcement, no unity will be held. In stand, a reconciliation agreement has been achieved. And shock of all shocks, the extreme terror group of Hamas (or its’ runaway leader in Syria, looking for a new home, Khaled Mashal) has announced that in order to enter the PLO, an entity enjoying international legitimacy and a seat in the UN (not to mention embassies in many European countries, as well as the United States) it will no longer act in violent terror against Israel.

Before I go on and explain why this isn’t the big news it could and might have been, I just want to ponder out loud (in writing) about something in open parenthesis – It took six months to achieve this agreement between two factions that only three summers ago were brutally killing each other. Yet, Mahmoud Abbas denies entering any kind of negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, based on six hours of mostly photo-oped and filled-with-press meetings? Seriously?

The following post will consist of two main sections –

  1. Reasons for this sudden, supposed dramatic, announcement
  2. Why the realist (and not the skeptic) in me, refuses to beleive it

But before I dive into any of those, one things need to be cleared – Hamas supports an extreme Islamic ideology. To that extent, a Hudna (sometimes translated “truce” or “ceasefire”) in its’ eyes is a limited period of up to 10 years within a war, where the jihad fighters assess that the enemy has much more power or strength, and could win if the fighting continues. The period is used to strengthen one’s enemy and fighters. It is a unilateral decision, that does not follow any negotiations and is meant to serve for the benefit of the jihad alone. Should the enemy be detected as losing its’ power within the 10 years period, the hudna can be broken at once and war may resume, at the whims of the commandor.

Of course, I’ll address this more in the second section of this post…

(more…)

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December 27th: Three Years to Israel’s Offensive in Gaza

December 27, 2011

Today, December 27th 2011, marks three years to the beginning of Israel’s three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip, labeled Operation Cast Lead. You might have heard about it under some other one-sided inciting (and might add super-ignorant) name, but you’ve surely heard about it. It seems almost redundant to try and make a case for it now, three years later, but having its’ echoes still feed the de-legitimacy campaign against Israel, it seems more than necessary.

Let me make one thing clear right off the bat – the result is utterly horrifying. Death, so random and so cruel, and in such quantaties is never anyone’s desire, or anyone’s hope. At least not for the majority of the people on my side of the border, especially not the left-center government at the time that conducted it. Unfortunately, a large amount of people, Gazans, were turned unwillingly to vessels, human sheilds for fanatics, for the same people that’s been holding them hostage since the Summer of 2007 where a violent and bloody coup forced them to continue living in a constant state of war.

A little background is in order – 

In August of 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Removing almost 10,000 settlers, all settlements and all soldiers from the region, the strip was given to the Palestinians for full control. In the following year, 946 rockets were fired and landed in Israel from the evacuated strip. Adding 22 mortar shells, 2006 has seen almost 1,000 bombing attacks on Israeli civilian population.

The rocket count was getting worse by the month. In the first six months of 2008 alone, 1,075 rockets and 1,204 mortar shells were fired at Israel. In six months, 2,279 bombings.

Luckily, Israel’s southern areas are mostly filled with open spaces and agricultural territories, and the casualties were relatively low. That doesn’t go as far as saying there were no tragedies. One story, out of dozens and hundreds and many more, is of 8 years old Osher Twito whose house was hit by a Qassam rocket and his leg had to be amputated. 70 years old Shuli Katz was killed when a rocket hit his backyard on May 12th. And many more horrifying stories like this happened.

8 year old Osher Twito lost his leg when a rocket hit his home in Febraury 2008. Photographed By: Naor Rahav

8 year old Osher Twito lost his leg when a rocket hit his home in Febraury 2008. Photographed By: Naor Rahav

This is not a comic book or a Hollywood movie but a devastating reality – there are casulaties and tragedies on both sides. However, only one gets constantly criticized and delegitimized.

Click here if to learn what transpired the week leading to the offensive

Israel’s Attorney General Not To Press Charges Against Israelis Taking Part in Marmara Flotilla

December 26, 2011

Here’s another fine example as to why Israel is a democracy (Being under constant attack, this for some reason is a point that needs constant proof and validation, while other democracies around the world, whose actions can certainly be more than just questioned, do not face this kind of de-legitimacy to their democracy) –

Israel’s Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, decieded after about 18 months of deliberations and contemplations, to close the cases and not press charges against all Israeli citizens that took part in the infamous May 2009 Mavi Marmara flotilla, including one Israeli-Arab Knesset Member, Hanin Zoabi.

In May of 2009, a flotilla of six ships and boats made it’s way from several ports in Europe towards Gaza, in an open declared attempt to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip (imposed on January 3rd 2009 in order to intercept all ships trying to reach Gaza, after Hamas’ rockets arsenal [that he continued to fire towards Israel] grew, and several Iranian ships were intercepted with weapons on them hiding behind a slim amount of pseudo-humanatarian aid). When the flotilla ships were unwilling to have their ships checked in either an Israeli or an Egyptain port and have the humanatarian supplies aboard sent through the land-crossings, Israeli commandos were sent to impose the blockade as the ships were nearing Gaza’s territorial water, and found a violent resistance by a relatively small (but dangerous) group of passengers. In an armed battle that ensues, nine of these violent passangers were killed and about 10 Israeli soldiers were severely wounded. The ships and the passengers were directed to an Israeli port where they were arrested, but 24 hours later the Attorney General decieded to deport foreign passengers rather than keep them locked in Israeli prisoners for the duration of such investigation. As a result, all charges were dropped against all foreign passengers.

The Israeli passengers however were still in question. It should be noted that they were never suspected of attacking the soldiers, but their involvement in an attempt to breach the blockade imposed by Israel, as well as take part in this kind of activity organized by the IHH, at the time already outlawed and declared a terror-associated organization for over a year, was under investigation.

Where some countries in our world (and let’s be honest – some of the more powerful countries) might simply arrest, shoot or who-knows-what-else, it took Israel’s Attorney General and Justice Ministery 18 months to decide if there are real merits and basis to press charges. Last Thursday, the Justice Ministery released a statement saying that “After examining the overall evidence in the case and the legal issues pertaining to the matter, the attorney general has decided to close the case as result of significant evidentiary and legal difficulties.”

None of this, of course, comes to serve as any excuse or justification for this provacative political (none-humanitarian) flotilla, that like all others should have ended peacefully. The charges un-pressed have nothing to do with that, but with other matters as stated above, including the difficulty today to prove there was criminal intent when so many other activists were released (for completely other reasons, but the courts tie one with the other), and due to fact that the supposed illegal association was done soley abroad and proves a difficulty to impose Israeli’s law system on such actions.

To be honest, I think most of the public in Israel has forgetting that is even a question – 18 months is a long time.

European UN Ambassadors Help… Kill the Peace Process

December 23, 2011

Two months ago, I’ve written a lengthy post detailing what I believe is the obstacle for peace in the Middle East (meaning, between the Israelis and the Palestinians). In case you haven’t gotten through it, let be give you the abbreviated bottom line –

The main obstacle for peace is the special treatment the Palestinians receive from the international community. I’m not talking about the whole seperate UN refugee agency that makes a mockery of real refugees around the world and lives to perpetuates this conflict, rather than helping put an end to it. I’m talking about accepting their ridiculous demands. I’m talking about not condemning them when needed. I’m talking about one-sidedness that seems to only present itself in such an ugly form when it comes to this conflict.

Before the Palestinians attempted to yet again circumvent negotiations, I’ve written a post detailing what they have done in the previous year in order to not bring forth a peace settlement, to not end this conflict. And I’ve said in that post, more times than I’d like to bare or count, the Palestinians get away with it. No one seems willing to condemn them for anything. To the contrary, when they were putting up demands and making it difficult to even discuss the possibility of a peace agreement, countries such as Ireland, Norway and even the United States awarded them with upgrades of status to their envoys.

This week, four ambassadors proved this point exactly. The Ambassadors to the UN of the four European countries currently holding a seat in the security council – France, Britain, Germany and Portugal – issued a one-sided condemnation to Israel. For what? Issuing a bidding for house settlements in East Jerusalem (a cabinet response to the Palestinian’s unilateral move in UNESCO that started coming to frution this week) and for its’ inability to stop and persecute the perpetrators of Price Tag operations (which stems from Israel being a democracy, Irnoy of all ironies – but more on that in a later post).

Click here if you’re interested in reading about the other side of this conflict

Palestinian President Abbas Travels to Turkey to Honor Terrorists

December 23, 2011

Earlier this week, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas (the so-called moderate and partner for peace), travelled all the way to Turkey to meet with the terrorists banished there as part of the Gilad Shalit Swap Deal. One of the terrorists he met with was Amna Muna (Mona Juad Awana) – a terrorist who enticed a 16 year old Israeli teenager under false pretence and lured him to his execution – he was shot 15 times at close range. Muna is refered to by Israel’s Prime Minister’s office as Terrorist Temptress and her actions of deliberately seducing and planning the death of Ofir Rahum should have earned her more than nine years in jail.

But it doesn’t seem like Abbas shares this notion. In fact, not only has he travelled to Turkey especially just to meet terrorists, but in stand of being horrified by their actions, instead of condemning it, calling it for the repugnant immoral despicable act that it is, he made efforts to honor the terrorists. To treat them with respect. Almost admiration. Promising, as he always does, to free all the heinous killers captured and trialed by Israel.

Freed terrorists Amna Muna and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in their meeting this week in Turkey

This of course is not news. Abbas is building the West Bank (seeing as he has no control over the Gaza Strip in over four years now) as a future terror-honoring (and somewhat worshipping) state. Streets and squares are named to honor the most heinous of killers. Freeing killers is one of his favorites subjects when talking about the Palestinian cause (of course, should Israel ever think of releasing Jewish people who attacked Palestinians he would be outraged!) and both himself and his government refused to condemn the Fogel Family Massacare last March (where two Palestinian knived five members of the same family, including a 4 months old baby), and simply called it “unhelpful to the Palestinian cause today”.

Abbas, the so-called partner for peace, is also investing alot of money in building the freed terrorists homes in the West Bank. The same Abbas who threatens he has no money and if the United States and Israel would withhold grants, donations and transfers of taxes, his faction would fall completely apart.

Amna Muna landing in Turkey after being released in the Gilad Shalit swap deal.
Amna Muna landing in Turkey after being released in the Gilad Shalit swap deal.

Muna herself was originally supposed to be banished to the Gaza Strip, instead of returning to her home in the West Bank. But at the last minute, after crossing the border to Egypt, she begged the Red Cross to not let her be sent to the Gaza Strip and refused to get on the bus. A tortuer of Hamas female prisoners in Israeli prisons, and a secular woman about to enter an extreme Islamic regime, she asked to be banished abroad rather than the Gaza Strip – which is another testimony to the fact that there lives two completely seperate Palestinian entities in the region (one in the strip and one in the west bank). Muna was finally deported to Turkey, where she lives now. As she arrived, she told the press that (in parapharsing:) “Inshallah, we’ll return to the ways of resistance and help the land of Palestine”.

What about her act was helpful to anyone, especially a Palestinian state, and what about her act shows resistance is beyond me? But twisted logic is probably reserved to the truely twisted.

Gilad Shalit Prisoner Swap Deal: Last 550 Palestinian Prisoners Released

December 18, 2011

It has been exactly two months since October 18th 2011, when Gilad Shalit ended 1,940 days in captivity. On that day, 477 terrorists where released from Israeli prisons. Today, the second and final part of that swap deal comes to an end with the release of another 550 Palestinian prisoners, bringing the total numbers of prisoners released to a whooping 1,027.

Though the first batch consisted of the most heinous, horrible, despicable kind of terrorists (the kind that pride and joy in killing innocent children, the kind that didn’t even wait 48 hours since their release to encourage children to choose the path of violence and terror), the majority of the second batch consists of Palestinians that were about to be released in the following years to begin with (Unlike Shalit who was captured, Palestinian prisoners withstand trial, sentencing and a definite verdict in Israel). They were mostly incarcerated for criminal activity such as car theft and the likes of it.

An undeniable number of of those released in the second batch are of course terrorists as well. Some only performed “minor” terror acts, Some were caught in the last minute, some were planning to put explosives or send suicide bombers and so on. For instance, among them you can find Talal Nasan who in 2001 confessed to placing explosives and performing a “shooting terror attack”, Darvish Dadar that took part in the 2002 Jerusalem’s King George Street Bombing that killed three people and many more.

The families of some of the prisoners that are to be released tonight, are waiting for them near the checkpoint in Ramallah, at the current time throwing stones at Israeli soldiers (supposedly protesting the release taking place late at night and not in broad daylight).

In the next few hours, the exchange will be completed – 1,027 prisoners have been released in exchange for one Israeli soldier.

And this is also a good opportunity to checkin and see what happened to both Gilad Shalit himself and the region since his release two months ago.
Since he’s release, Shalit has spent most of his time with his family. He underwent surgey in his hand for injuries he sustained during his abduction and was maltreated for. In a short appearance last week, during footage from a meeting with the mayor of Rome (who awarded Shalit with an honorary citizen status years ago), Gilad Shalit could have been seen better – getting more exposure to sun, looking less pale and less skinny. By all [psychical] indications, he’s returning to normal.

Gilad Shalit, a few days after his release. Photographed By Aviaho Shapira

Gilad Shalit, a few days after his release. Photographed By Aviaho Shapira

And as for the region? Same old, Same old. Since Shalit’s release, 88 rockets have been fired at Israel’s population (and caused injures, including one death). Hamas has just last week celebrated the many deaths he is responsible for and called for a joined all-out war of the Arab and Muslim world against Israel. Both Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank have offered grants and announced special buildings and houses by the governments to the released prisoners. The unity between Hamas and Fatah is more farcical than ever (joined release of Palestinian prisoners by these factions are only done in words, never in actions for the time being) and the Palestinian continue in their refusal to sit down or consider negotiations, a peace deal or anything with Israel, until one-sided demands for the negotiations will be met. Like I said – Same old, Same old.

Hamas Boasts Terror and Bloodshed on its’ 24th Anniversary

December 14, 2011

Today Hamas, a terror organization devoted to the destruction of Israel as a state and the death of its’ Jewish people, organized a power demonstration in Gaza City celebrating 24 years to its’ establishment. The “joyous” occasion also celebrated the many terror activities and countles blood it is responsible for shedding (on the Israeli side – they don’t assume responsibility for deaths of their side).

It also used the occasion to call all Muslim countries going through an Arab Spring (or an Islamic Winter – depends on your point of view) to join their ideology and align themselves together.

Here is what the celebrating openly boasted and was proud of (the numbers were published by Hamas military wing – I cannot testify to their veracity, only to the fact that this is what they were celebrating:)

11,093 rockets and mortar shells the organization has fired upon Israeli civilians.

1,365 Israelis killed by the organization.

1,117 “jihad” activities (=terror acts) against Israeli civilians – 87 of which are suicide bomber attacks!

6,411 Israelis wounded by the organization.

24 Abductions.

Hamas' celebration of terror and death on its' 24 anniversary. Picture By Reuters.
Hamas’ celebration of terror and death on its’ 24 anniversary. Picture By Reuters.

In case you managed to miss hearing about this deadly organization, then here’s an (exteremly) quick answer to who is Hamas?

Formed in late 1987, Hamas is a Palestinian faction of the extreme kind. His agenda persists of forming the land of Palestine overall of both Israel and Palestinian territories, annihlating the Jewish people and even alludes to restoring the Islamic empire that once stood from Arabia and over parts of Europe, including Spain.

For the past ten years, Hamas has been firing rockets onto Israeli civilian populations. In the past few years, the ranges of these rockets have been widened and today more than 1.5 million Israeli citizens are living under the threat of various rockets. In the past twenty years, Hamas has been responsible for many terror attacks on Israel, uncluding numerous suicide bomber attacks. The most memorable one of them took place at Park Hotel on Passover Eve where families gathered for a holiday meal together – 30 people died, dozens were injured in a single terror attack.

Hamas encourages terror attacks against Western targets and have condemned the United States and its’ president Obama personally for their killing of who they refered to as a “saint”: Osama Bin-Laden.

In 2007, after a year long blood-filled war against another Palestinian faction, Fatah, Hamas siezed control of the Gaza Strip in a violent coup. Fatah members who were not able to escape to the Israeli and Egyptian borders (where they recieved sanctuary) were punished for their membership to Fatah by having their limbs amputated. Since then, Hamas have been holding over 1.5 million people in Gaza hostage. It enforced an extreme Islamic law upon them, another Arab dictatorship in the Middle East. Hamas’ refusal to abandon the ways of terror and talk peace with Israel has led to the land blockade Israel implemented in 2007 and a naval blockade it implemented in 2009. Today, the land blockade is barely in effect, however Hamas works hard to stop goods that Israel is sending to the Strip and deliver them through underground tunnels under the Egyptian border in order to portray Israel as the villian and itself as the merciful angel rescuing the people of Gaza, the same people it holds hostage.

Until recently, Hamas was backed by the Ayatollah regime in Iran, but their unwillingness to support the slaughter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria for the past eight months, has stopped such connection and years of arms shipments from Iran and has made Hamas turn to other sources. Today, Hamas holds over 40,000 rockets covering half the region of Israeli civilian population and boasts about his intention to use them against civilians. As of December 14th, a total of 29 rockets have been fired so far in December 2011 from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip onto Israeli populations, some of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System and prevented casualties.

Summary of rocket fired into Israel, November 2011

December 1, 2011

Another month, another summary (because there’s a summary to be made, because rockets continue to be fired upon Israeli civlians each month!

Overall, 11 rockets have been fired at Israel in the past month, not including rockets whose launch was thwarted. For the first time on this blog (and overall since 2009), I have to qualify and say these only refer to rockets which were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Earlier this week, 2 rockets were fired from the South of Lebanon by an Islamic terror group associated with Al-Qaeda.

Summary of rocket fired in Israel from the Gaza Strip, November 2011

On November 6th, an immigrant working in agricultural fields were injured by a rocket.

On November 13th, Israel’s retaliation in the strip caused injures to a French Consul and his family, proving yet again that Hamas’ bases and armories are kept within civilian populations.

On November 15th, one of three rockets fired at Israel at evening hit near a preschool. Thankfully, it was a relatively late hour and the preschool was empty.

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