December 31, 2008
Israel's airstrikes against confirmed Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip were overdue, discriminating and skillful. So far, this retaliatory campaign has been a superb example of how to employ postmodern airpower. Instead of bombing empty buildings in the dead of night in the hope of convincing bloodthirsty monsters to become peace-loving floral arrangers - the US Air Force version of "Shock and Awe" - the Israeli Defense Force aimed to kill terrorists. Israel's attack aircraft appear to have accomplished that part of the mission.
As I write, some 300 terrorist dead have been reported in Gaza, while the propaganda-savvy information office of Hamas has struggled to prove that 20 civilians died. Given the fact that Hamas adheres to the terrorist practice of locating command sites, arsenals and training facilities in heavily populated areas, the results suggest that the IDF - supported by first-rate intelligence work - may have executed the most accurate wave of airstrikes in history, with a 15-to-1 terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio.
The bad news is that it still won't be enough. While Israel has delivered a painful blow against Hamas, it's still not a paralyzing hit. The only way to neuter such a terror threat - even temporarily - is to go in on the ground and scour every room, basement and underground tunnel in a region. That would mean high Israeli casualties and, of course, condemnation of Israel's self-defense efforts by every self-righteous, corrupt and bigoted organization and government on earth, from Turtle Bay to Tehran.
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 victim hood, 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.
Unless Israel sends in ground forces for the long haul - and thousands of IDF reservists are being mobilized - there will be, at best, a temporary respite from terror attacks. Even a new occupation of Gaza would not fully solve the problem. A crucial point about interfaith and inter ethnic conflicts that we sheltered Americans refuse to understand is that, all too often, there's just no good solution - and not even a bad solution, short of acts of barbarism.
It's a rare conflict that results in an enduring peace. Unintended consequences abound. At times, you fight just to buy time, to gain breathing space - or merely to frustrate an enemy's designs for a limited period. That's the situation Israel faces: No hope of an ultimate victory, but a constant fight to survive. Enemies who believe their god ordains their actions can't be placated. For faith-fueled terrorists, such as the core members of Hamas, the struggle with Israel's a zero-sum game. Compromise is, at most, an expedient tool, never an acceptable end state. What will we see in the coming days? Much depends on Israel's resolve. The most probable scenario is that Hamas will continue launching terror rockets for a few weeks to salve its wounded vanity and maintain the image of "resistance," but will ultimately reduce its attacks against Israel - while it rebuilds its cadres and restocks its arsenal. Israel will have bought time, not peace.
What might Israel have done better? It's essential to take out the top terrorist leaders. But Israel's government remains reluctant to target the cowardly Hamas leaders hiding in Damascus - or even the top terrorists remaining in Gaza. For terrorist bosses, the rank-and-file are disposable and replaceable. You can't just kill the gunmen. You have to kill the names. We may sympathize with the average Palestinian family, exploited by generations of corrupt leaders and now caught in yet another round of violence. But let us never forget that Israel hasn't fired thousands of blind rockets into Palestinian cities, that Israeli suicide bombers don't attack Arab restaurants and bus stops, and that Israel seeks to avoid harming civilians - while Hamas seeks to kill as many civilians as possible. In a world where there are no good answers, Israel just answered as best it could. The world's response? "How dare Jews defend themselves." Humanity doesn't progress. It just changes clothes.
December 30, 2008
IAF planes attacked dozens of the tunnels, which Hamas had used to smuggle weapons and militants between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, the army said in a statement.
The army said that the IAF struck 30 additional targets over the course of Tuesday, including seven Grad and five Qassam rocket launchers, rocket launching cells, rocket launching sites, weapons manufacturing facilities, Hamas outposts and armed terror operatives.
The IAF kept up a relentless string of attacks on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, smashing a government complex, security installations and the home of a top militant commander.
According to a Military Intelligence assessment, the air offensive has destroyed a third of the Hamas rocket arsenal, Channel 10 television reported.
Meanwhile, thousands of Israel Defense Forces ground troops, backed by tanks and artillery, massed along the Gaza border and waited for a signal to attack.
More than 380 Palestinians have been killed since the air force began its operation on Saturday, most of them members of Hamas security forces but at least 64 of them civilians, according to UN figures.
Tuesday's death toll included two sisters, aged 4 and 11, who perished in an airstrike on a rocket squad in northern Gaza on Tuesday.
Palestinian witnesses said that Israeli missiles flattened five ministerial buildings and a structure belonging to the Islamic University in Gaza City.
One Israeli attack targeted a house in the Jabaliya refugee camp, killing seven people, but the Hamas activist was not there, Hamas security and relatives said. Another hit the Jabaliya home of Abdel-Karim Jaber, a Hamas political figure who is a senior administrator at Gaza's Islamic University.
He was not at home and it wasn't immediately clear if anyone was hurt in the strike.
In another air assault, an Islamic Jihad commander was killed as he was walking near his house, said Abu Hamza, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad's military wing.
Israel's airstrikes on more than 325 sites since midday Saturday reduced dozens of buildings to rubble, overwhelmed hospitals with wounded and filled Gaza's deserted streets with smoke and fire. The IDF said Israeli naval vessels had also bombarded targets from the sea.
On Monday, aircraft pulverized a house next to the home of Hamas Premier Ismail Haniyeh, a security compound and a five-story building at a university closely linked to the Islamic group - all symbols of Hamas strength in the coastal territory it has ruled since June 2007.
Feelings here in Israel are very mixed. On the one hand we of course pray for a successful IDF operation against the Arab enemy; on the other hand we have no trust in the real intentions of the Livni-Barak leftist government. People are furious that this government has done nothing for years against the kassams and the missiles, has done nothing to free Gilad Shalit, has agreed to give the Hamas months of quiet which enabled Hamas to arm itself with the most modern missiles that can reach Ashdod and Beersheva, and now that elections in Israel are around the corner and all polls show that Barak and Livni will be shamefully thrown into the opposition, all of a sudden Livni and Barak are waking up and are doing something. Something they should have done years ago. The fear in Israel is that this is just a brief and cynical show of strength by Barak and Livni to try to gain some political points, or even worse, to justify postponing the elections completely. Likud MK Steinitz even came out yesterday warning that a postponement of the elections will be a victory for terror.
Another fear we all have is that one of the secret purposes of this military operation is to bring down Hamas only in order to reinstall Fatah. Since the Oslo agreements, the Israeli governments have tried to convince us that Fatah members led by the holocaust denier and arch terrorist Abu Mazzen are really "partners" that we can talk to and make agreements with. Yet, we have not been fooled and we know that this is a big lie. Fatah, Hamas, Jihad, Hizbollah and El-Kayeeda are all one and the same: Arab terrorists who work towards one goal: the destruction of Israel as a first step to a global Islamo-fascist Jihad against the Western world.
We, parents of IDF soldiers, are sending our children to the army, knowing full well the price that we might pay, and this, on condition that our IDF soldiers will be sent to fight for the people of Israel and the Land of Israel. On the other hand we do not agree to have our children used as canon fodder for Abu Mazzen and the Fatah. At the contrary, we believe that all Fatah, Hamas and other terror leaders must be killed and their organizations destroyed once and for all.
So on the one hand, we all pray for the well being of our brothers and sisters in the south, for our IDF soldiers and for a successful military operation against the Arab enemy. On the other hand we must remember who is responsible for all this.
Let's remember that the Israeli Left laughed at us in 1993 when we warned that the criminal and shameful Oslo agreements would bring katyushas to Ashkelon and Ashdod. The Left even called us "hysterical warmongers."
Let's remember that when the IDF had full control over Gaza and Jews lived and flourished in Gush Katif, there were no katyushas on Israel at all. Only when the IDF abandoned Gaza in the year 2000, did the katyushas start falling; first on Gush Katif and Sderot and after the expulsion the Arab kassams reached Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Let's thus remember that it is Israel's abandoning first of Gaza and later Gush Katif that enabled the Arabs in Gaza to arm themselves like an army and launch missiles and kassams on Israel. Yes, let's remember that Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert. Tzippy Livni, Ehud Barak and all other pro-Oslo and "pro-disengagement" (expulsion from Gush Katif) politicians have created this mess, have created the monster of Hamastan in Gaza.
And thus let's make sure that we will have elections in Israel on February 10th. In those upcoming elections, let's make sure that we punish all those politicians who have enabled the Arabs to take over Gaza. Let's make sure Livni and Barak will be thrown far into the opposition and let's make sure that this time the Israeli people elect a proud Jewish Zionist government that is not scared to tell the world:
The Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel. No one has the right to give it away.
Luckily, lovers of the Land of Israel will have whom to vote for in these elections. Yesterday, finally, the real national camp united and formed one party. Members of Hatikva, the National Camp and Eretz Yisrael Shelanu joined and recreated the Ichud Leumi, after the Bayit Hayehudi revealed itself to be a new version of the old wishy-washy Mafdal (NRP). The renewed national Camp (Ichud Leumi) has an excellent list. Number one is Yaakov Katz (Ketzele) from Bet El, then MK Uri Ariel, MK Arieh Eldad, Dr Michael Ben Ari from Karnei Shomron, Uri Bank from Gush Etzion, Alon Davidi from Sderot, Dr Ron Breiman from Tel Aviv and so on. To read more on this good news: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129089
Women in Green wishes this new party, that proudly waves the flag of Eretz Yisrael, lots of success.
About Gaza: the time has come to free Gaza from its Arab occupation, to destroy once and for all Hamas and all other terror organizations, to reinstall Israeli sovereignty over Gaza and rebuild the 25 beautiful Jewish communities of Gush Katif.
Rachel Saperstein and her friends must be able to go back. Back home.
In these times of war, may Hashem protect the People of Israel in all of the Land of Israel,
Women in Green
Members of the United Nations, Democracies, dictatorships, republics, and
the honorable secretary-general:
Within a few hours, media outlets in your countries shall present horrific
photos of blood, fire, and rubble from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians will
be screaming, in front of the cameras, about the massacre undertaken by the
State of Israel. Initially, you may show understanding for our operations in
the Strip, yet once the photos of wounded civilians reach you, you shall
press us, as is your custom, to stop defending ourselves.
The first signs of this phenomenon can already be seen. Calls to "end the
violence" from across the world are being heard loud and clear - yet they
are only being heard now, after years of violence, and after Israel finally
decided to respond. The European Union already rushed to declare that it
condemns Israel's "disproportional use of force." Several news networks have
brought together panels whose members are scrutinizing the law books at this
very moment in order to ascertain whether the Jewish State violated some
I do not intend to deal with the question of where were these condemners and
critics for the past seven years, when Hamas' murderers set the timers of
their rockets to coincidence with the end of the school day in Israel,
because of a declared aim to kill as many children as possible.
The question we should be discussing at this time is as follows: Why do the
countries of the world and global media outlets obsessively engage in strict
criticism that is only directed at Israel? After all, there is not even one
country out there that is required to adhere to the moral criteria which the
world demands of us - of us of all people, the ones who as opposed to the
rest of the world face threats of extermination.
Our Arab neighbors are well familiar with this double standard
vulnerability. On their part, they are not bound by any kind of moral code.
And so, they learned to exploit the international strictness towards Israel.
A long time ago, they already understood that they cannot face the State of
Israel on the battlefield. Indeed, when it comes to photographs and videos,
they boast uniforms and weapons, yet once the fighting gets underway, they
are quick to take off their uniforms and assimilate among women and children
used as human shields. They also make sure to place their arms depots in
hospital basements and to fire rockets at population centers out of
Their great hope is to elicit an Israeli response that would unintentionally
hurt a few children. Once that happens, they will wave their bodies before
the cameras and cry out to the world for help.
This was the case in Lebanon, and this may happen tomorrow in the Gaza
Easing Europe's conscience the states demanding that Israel adhere to
certain moral standards do not even dream of asking the same of her enemies.
After all, we are dealing with theocracies and dictatorships, where
homosexuals are publicly hanged, where women are regularly stoned for
undermining their "family's honor," and where children suspected of theft
have their arms severed.
What do these states have to do with the value of human life?
We should therefore ask representatives of global opinion: Be honest with
yourselves - Do the lives of humans being butchered daily in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Darfur arouse you into similar action?
Reality indicates this is not the case. My answer to the question regarding
the obsessive preoccupation with the actions of the Jews is purely
Many of you, the shapers of public opinion, and mostly the Europeans amongst
you, are interested in easing your conscience: If only can only show that
the Israelis-Jews are not so moral or innocent, perhaps they deserve
everything you did to them before they were able to establish their state?
After all, here they are, occupying and butchering the poor Palestinians;
they are certainly no better than us!
To that end, you are willing to help out the lowliest terrorists. Therefore,
you bought into their slanderous Mohammed al-Dura tale, and therefore you
will rush to buy into various blood libels in the coming days.
Those who launch missiles and mortar shells into kindergartens know that
they will always enjoy a protective umbrella from you.
They draw their self-confidence from the intolerable ease with which they
enlist your public opinion in their favor.
Therefore, you would do well to think twice before you move to stop the
punishment they lawfully deserve.
After all, you are the only lifesaver that can spare this radical terror
group the measure of justice hovering above it.
1. Eighty missiles have been fired by Hamas into Israel since this
morning. A missile hit a car in the center of Ashdod. Two young women were
critically injured, and three others wounded. A long range missile fell in
Ashkelon, killing one and injuring 9. Two of those injured are Arabs, a
Palestinian construction worker from Hebron, and a Bedouin from Rahat. They
were taken to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. "Rockets don't distinguish
between blood and blood," said the Hebron man's relative. The doctor caring
for them is Jewish. The hospital has moved it's patients underground and
evacuated all but the most seriously ill patients, fearing further attacks.
A Palestinian woman from Gaza, a cancer patient, cared for in Israel, is now
well enough to go home, but she can't because Gaza's gates are closed. Hamas
didn't have long range missiles until Israeli politicians (the same ones who
are now going to war) agreed to the disengagement and the ceasefire. How
many soldiers and citizens will now die for these critical misjudgments?
2. A soldier waiting in his tank on the border of Gaza, ready to roll
in: "We came from the North. We are happy to be here to defend our people
in the South."
3. Ashkelon's streets are empty tonight. Children in the affected
areas will not be returning to school.
4. A Bar Mitzvah party in Sderot was celebrating on the roof of a
building when a kassam flew right over their heads, crashing into the
building next door. The celebrants continued to rejoice. The boy read his
haftorah. Only afterwards, will he be going up North for a vacation. The
people of Sderot are filled with the different spirit. They are willing to
suffer the reprisals of the Hamas if only the IDF does it job and makes
their lives safer in the future. Unlike other towns under fire, their
streets are full.
5. The despicable demonstrations in London talking about a "holocaust"
in Gaza show once again it has become Londonstan. I pity the Brits.
6. Israeli television continues to do its best for our enemies,
interviewing a doctor from the hospital in Gaza about shortages and an
influx of patients. Let him complain to his government, who instead of
medical supplies, bought rockets to log at innocent civilians across the
border. The bombing of Dresden also killed many people. Did the Allies
broadcast pictures and interview Nazi doctors to demoralize their soldiers
and civilians from fighting? The people responsible for editing the news
should be fired.
Today's Golden Oldie is from 1975.
I pulled it out of the Dry Bones Archives because a reader left a comment on the blog yesterday to suggest it as pertinent. He did so because he remembered the "Could we be sane and the rest of the world be crazy?" line.
The 1975 cartoon was a response to a PLO terror attack in Tel Aviv a few days earlier. In a strange coincidence, that particular Palestinian atrocity was discussed in India Today (New Delhi) earlier this month:
Mumbai Terror Attacks Similar to Savoy Hotel Attack
"Eight terrorists land on a beach from a mother ship, walk into a busy hotel in the centre of town firing AK-47s, throwing grenades. Sounds familiar? If Israel is grieving the death of its eight citizens in the November 26 attacks in Mumbai, its terror experts cannot help regard it with a sense of déjà-vu. The attacks were a near repeat of the Savoy hotel attacks of March 1975 carried out by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)."
"On the night of March 4, 1975, two teams of eight Palestinian terrorists landed on Tel Aviv beach in rubber boats. Shooting and throwing grenades, they captured the Savoy Hotel near the centre of the city. The Palestinians threatened to kill their hostages if the authorities did not release 20 Palestinian prisoners within four hours."
* * *
So in the end the world convinced us. We pulled out of Gaza and invited them to set up a state on our border. So in the end it turns out that what they really wanted was a massive launching pad from which to vilify us, demonize us, and attack us relentlessly.
And now as our forces fight back against the terrorist enclave of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and as we hear the rising chorus of hatred directed against us, I once again ask, "Could we be sane and the rest of the world crazy?"
My answer is the same.
Every article, every breath that uses the euphemism "Palestinian" that is in place of the only correct term - Arabs ...is but propaganda. The world press has been brainwashed little by little as Jews and Israeli's let the use of the term go for years. This lie has been stated so often, so matter of factly ..that it is in danger of becoming revisionist history. This is with no historical facts to back it up!
The only concept here is that the Arabs (Philistines, Goliath) with 22 States fighting "David" could not win...so they had to find a way to turn the concept around. They have. It is possibly the greatest con in history. Israel is made out to be the bad guys against poor "Pallies".
The NY Times article shows the Gentile conceived concept that world opinion should have anything to do with a Country using self determination to defend itself. Israel either need to trust Hasem or just go away.
Obama would be well advised to steer clear if this Gaza incursion was Israeli's attempt to end the War. It is unlikely that this is more than just a preamble to next Oslo or final negotiaited destruction of Israel as we know it. Obama is well suited to finish Israel off.
The concept of current peace talks is no more than a stall, perhaps by both sides.
It should be terminated with the statement that Israel will not negotiate with terrorists.
There still needs to be a policy that severely punishes the enemy for kidnapping by executing prisoners starting with the most murderous. All Terrorists that kill should be executed.
2 Witness's are enough...
No more wussies, time to get ruthless to win the war!
The concern that a ground invasion will require taking Gaza back I applaud. Only if they intend to expel the Arabs though. To start and not finish makes Israel look foolish and weak.
Unfortunately the Olmerts and Barak are using the war and kids lives for political survival or gain.
I understand that world opinion will be more outspoken against Israel. So let them say in public what they say in private anyway. As Israel depletes the enemy and they continue to ask for Truce....perhaps it is time for some in your face to Hamas. Call them the cowards...they need a Truce to lick their wounds...Oh well the H#ll with them.
The more to the right Israelis move, the closer to wrapping up the conflict they inch.
Just one small Jew's opinion.
The worlds view of a diplomatic setback for Israel is really the opposite. As soon as Israel becomes more isolated they will have to look at themselves to decide their course of action.
Or perish anyway....
December 29, 2008
Our bit of security.
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 N'vei 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 are to be distributed to each cul-de-sac. When the sirens wail, we are to run outside, crawl into our very own sewer pipe and wait five minutes, or at least until 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 4:30 pm. 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 canceled.
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.”
by Tsafrir Ronen
The Invention of Palestine as a Psychological Weapon for Conquering Eretz Yisrael
Almost 2,000 years ago, the Roman Emperor Hadrian cursed the Jewish People and decreed that Judea should be henceforth called "Palestine" after the Philistines, an ancient enemy of Israel that had disappeared from the world's stage more than 600 years earlier. It was his final twist of the knife and legacy after wars, massacres, persecutions, and exiles that had largely extinguished the Jewish presence from Judea.
Today, the modern enemies of a resurrected Jewish Nation have dusted off Hadrian's curse and are attempting to pull off a monumental theft: the Arab world have reincarnated "Palestine" to steal Israel's heritage and the Land of the Jewish People.
Hadrian's Curse will expose the BIG lie of the "Palestinian cause" in a full-length 120-minute documentary. The film will document that there never was a "Palestinian" people, The world has become so accustomed to the "truth" of the "Palestinian" perversion of history and work backwards, exposing recent claims and acts whose absurdity and villainy shock uninformed observers.
When Arafat declared: "Our nation is the Arabic nation that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and beyond it", it turns out that Arafat's nation already stretches over an area larger than all of Europe.
His is the twisted story of one of the biggest, most remarkable fraud in history. It is such a successful fabrication that many otherwise informed people have been duped and mislead. This propaganda has become a powerful weapon used Israel's enemies, the Arabs, to try to conquer Eretz Yisrael without firing a shot, without an army, tanks or jets. The Jewish People eventually bested Hadrian. They returned to their land and reestablished sovereignty over it.
They rebuilt Jerusalem as their capital, and resettled desolate Judea. They did all this only to now confront the reincarnated curse of Hadrian in the guise of Arabs renaming themselves "Palestinians" and claiming all the ancient Land as their own.
As explained in the film, many Israelis and lovers of Zion have accepted this misnaming and misidentification. Hadrian's ancient curse now threatens Israel's very existence. Israel's success and endurance and the world's hope for peace in the 21st century, demands that the deceit and danger of a Palestinian state must be exposed and avoided. It is our fervent hope that Hadrian's Curse will expose the historical truth.
Part I –– The Secret All the Arabs Know
At the Annapolis Conference, George Bush spoke about his vision regarding the virtues of two nations for two peoples.
One of those peoples has a clear identity –– the Jewish People. Yet it would be interesting to know the identity of that second people: Already in 1977, one of the central spokesman of that "second people", a member of P.L.O. leadership, Zahir Muhsein, the leader of the al-Sa'iqa Organization, revealed the truth in an interview to the Dutch newspaper Trouw:
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism for tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa. While as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."
Are you in shock? If the Palestinian People does not exist, what does exist? Arabs who live in Eretz Yisrael and who have disguised themselves as "Palestinians" for fraudulent purposes. "Only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel," in Muhsein's words. A fraud so successful that even George Bush can be found seeking a state for that fraud!
Do you think Zahir Muhsein is alone? This transparent fraud about the so-called existence of Palestine is revealed to us by all the Arabs' leaders:
In 1974, the late Syrian President, Hafez al-Assad, declared: "It would be fitting for us to mention to the responsible Israeli authorities that we view Palestine not just as an inseparable part of the Arab nation, but as a part of Southern Syria." In 1987, he reiterated himself at a conference in Amman, "A country named 'Palestine' has never existed." Jordanian King Hussein responded, "The appearance of the national Palestinian persona serves as a response to Israel's claim that Palestine is Jewish."
Yet the prize goes to Arafat who in 1970, with candid simplicity, told the reporter Arianna Palazzi:
"The question of borders doesn't interest us... From the Arab standpoint, we mustn't talk about borders. Palestine is nothing but a drop in an enormous ocean. Our nation is the Arabic nation that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and beyond it..... The P.L.O. is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call "Jordan" is nothing more than Palestine."
Such revelations are an eye-opener for anyone who has not understood until today the masked-ball being run by the Arabs: The true meaning of Arafat's words, that "Palestine is Jordan," is that for the Arabic people, living under the "Pan-Arab" umbrella, in addition to over twenty Arabic countries, there is already a country called Jordan that was established by the British for the Arabs on 77% of the Land of Israel, promised to the Jewish People by the League of Nations in 1922. Anywhere else on earth, would an additional country be established for a people that already has twenty-one countries?
All the same, there is nothing like the testimony of the founder of the P.L.O. himself, Ahmed Shukari. Already in 1956 he proclaimed from the podium of the U.N., as the Arab League's ambassador there, that
"such a creature as Palestine does not exist at all. This land is nothing but the southern portion of Greater Syria..."
And if Ahmed Shukari says that Palestine does not exist at all, the logical inference is that "Palestinians" do not exist at all either. That same Shukari was born of a Turkish mother in Lebanon, was himself a Jordanian lawyer, served as the ambassador of Syria to the U.N., the ambassador of the Arab League to the U.N., and the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the U.N. In 1964, after this talented actor who changed loyalties like a chameleon was fired by the Saudis, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser hired him to found the "Palestine Liberation Organization", the P.L.O., an organization dedicated to the liberation of a country that in his own words did not exist at all.
All the prominent spokesman of that poor, homeless "people" say openly: The Arabs who live in Eretz Yisrael are precisely the same Arabs who live in Syria, Jordan or Lebanon. They are not a separate country, but a fragment of the enormous Arab nation divided amongst many Arab countries. In their identity they are Arabs and the invention of Palestine is just a transparent bluff: "a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel for our Arab unity". Can any testimony be better than that of the Arabs themselves, exposing the lies and deception involved in Palestine's creation?
Yet the most compelling argument for the idea that the "Palestinian People" is a fraudulent invention, and that the Arabs are all one people, was expounded by none other than Mr. Husseini, head of the Supreme Arab Committee, to the U.N. special committee that was deliberating on Eretz Yisrael in 1947:
"An additional consideration of great importance for the Arab world is racial uniformity. The Arabs lived in a broad expanse stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. They spoke one language, and shared a common history, tradition and aspirations. Their unity was the solid foundation for peace in one of the most central and sensitive regions in the world. For that reason, it does not make sense that the United Nations should facilitate the establishment of a foreign entity within that well-rooted unity."
Indeed, Mr. Husseini is correct. His declaration before the investigative committee of the United Nations exposes the simple fact that there is no "Palestinian" language and no unique "Palestinian" culture. The Palestinians are Arabs, and they cannot be set apart from the Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.
Remove from the argument the lies and untruths and you reveal that the conflict is taking place between the Arabic, Muslim empire of twenty-one states and the Jewish People, claiming their right to their one and only historic homeland, consisting of less than one fifth of one percent of the lands under Arab control.
This is the twisted story of the biggest, most unprecedented fraud in history. It involves such a successful bluff that many people have no doubt about its veracity. This propaganda has become a powerful weapon by which means Israel's enemies, the Arabs, are trying to conquer Eretz Yisrael without firing a shot, without an army, tanks or jets.
Part II –– The Arabs' Ultimate Goal
Following the Six Day War, the Arab countries, defeated by a small county determined to survive, understood that Israel would be impossible to beat militarily. They understood that the Israeli Samson would be possible to beat only by way of the cunning of the Philistine Delilah. And that's what happened.... No longer would there be cries firing up the masses to genocide, but rather, sophistication... A melody carefully aimed at the delicate western ear. The Arabs discovered that from a propaganda standpoint, it was easier to convince world public opinion of the rights of the poor, small, deprived "Palestinian People" to its own state, than to justify the demand of the enormous Arab empire for an addition of territory from a tiny country fighting for its life.
The Palestinian People is a fabrication invented with aforethought as a psychological weapon of Arab countries defeated in battle, a "Trojan Horse" for conquering Eretz Yisrael, as Feisel Husseini said after the Oslo Accords.
So was born the worldwide propaganda campaign that turned matters on their head. The Israeli "David" against the Arab "Goliath" was transformed, by way of sophisticated propaganda, into the Israeli "Goliath" oppressing the Palestinian "David". The object of this propaganda is to blot out and forget the name and identity of the ancient, Biblical Eretz Yisrael, and to transform it into the land of "the Palestinian People" fabricated by Arab propaganda.
By such means did their false propaganda gain such a strong foothold in the media and the bastions of liberalism that no one has paid any attention to the simple truths spoken openly by Zahir Muhsein, Assad, Shukari, King Hussein or Arafat.
By means of brainwashing, fabrications, lies, falsification, and taking advantage of the world's ignorance and the international media's superficiality, a process has been taking place in broad daylight, for several dozen years already, of counterfeiting and blotting out history. And just as Goebbels and Hitler, the arch propagandists of the 20th century said derisively, the bigger the lie, the more people will believe in it.
Fulfilling the demands of the Palestinian lie, will put an end to the identity of Eretz Yisrael. Following the loss of the Land's identity, will come the loss of our right to the land. For, if there are "Palestinians", that implies that there is also a land called Palestine, and if there is a Palestine... then there is no Eretz Yisrael.
The most terrible part is that large sectors of Israel, itself, have already fallen into the Arab propaganda trap. It is they who are opening the door to the Trojan horse that will destroy the identity of Eretz Yisrael. This is a war that is not being waged by means of weapons and armies, or over physical territory. It is being waged on the battlefields of awareness of the Land's identity. The Roman name "Philistia" was a fiction invented by the Roman emperor Hadrian after the Bar Kochba Revolt in 135 C.E., a fiction of Hadrian then, and a fiction of the Arabs today, to the same degree.
It is a fabrication that represents no people, not then and not today. It is a sophisticated fiction invented for one purpose and one purpose alone: to wipe out a land's identity. If the land is called Palestine, then the Jewish people are occupiers. If the land is called Eretz Yisrael, then the Arabs are occupiers.
This is the essence of the Arab propaganda war, which is intended to steal the identity of Eretz Yisrael and to transform it into Palestine, and by such means to turn the Jewish people into occupiers of Eretz Yisrael. That's the whole story.
Now it's already clear. The Palestinian identity is tactical, artificial and temporary. It is just a tool in the pan-Arab struggle against Israel. The amazing thing is that it's all out in the open. Section 12 of the Palestinian charter summarizes the idea of this temporary identity, by stating that:
"The Palestinian people believes in Arab unification. It believes that in order to fulfill its task towards achieving this goal, it must, at this stage of its national struggle, preserve all the components of its Palestinian personality, and it must increase awareness of its existence, and reject all plans liable to weaken it or make it disappear."
Is there another people in the world that writes in its charter of self-definition the expression "at this stage"? And what will be in the next stage? Obviously, after conquering Israel, the territory will be divided up between Arab countries, and those Arab countries themselves will throw Palestine into the wastebasket of history.
As Arafat said, the Palestinian people are a fiction. The same is true regarding the Jordanian people, and all the other Arabic speaking peoples in the Middle East. These are not peoples with separate identities, but part of the great Arab nation. Only that has a true identity. By their self-definition, they cannot be divided up into a number of peoples with individual identities. Rather, they constitute one nation consisting of many states, as Arafat himself said to Arianna Palazzi in an incautious moment.
For the sophisticated Saudis, with their Saudi Peace Plan, it is clear that its purpose is not to actualize the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, for no such people exists. They conceal the truth that the great Arab nation has already actualized its right to self-determination by establishing a large number of countries, one of which extends over about 78% of the area of mandatory Eretz Yisrael.
For the Arabs, exploding with laughter over the foolishness of the West, it is clear that if an additional Arab state arises in the western portion of Eretz Yisrael, that will not serve the right of self-determination, but the demand of imperial conquest of all Eretz Yisrael by the Arab nation. Is George Bush dragging Israel to its destruction?
The Palestinian fabrication is exposed precisely when we listen to authentic Arab voices. The prominent Arab historian, Dr. Philip Hitti, who expressed himself at the Anglo-American commission of inquiry in the State Department building in 1947, said as follows:
"Sir, Palestine never existed throughout history. Absolutely not!"
Moreover, Professor Juhan Hazam, in his testimony before that same commission, added:
"Before 1917, when Balfour made his declaration, there had never been a Palestinian question, and there was no Palestine as a political or geographic unit."
Also a local Arab leader, Abd al-Mahdi, testified before the Peele Commission in 1937 as follows:
"There is no such land. Palestine is a term invented by the Zionists. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our land was for hundreds of years a part of Syria."
Indeed, this is a picture of the real situation in 1918 and at the start of the British conquest of Eretz Yisrael...
Were there any trace of truth to the claim regarding the historicity of a Palestinian People, we should certainly have expected to find mention of it in the history books and encyclopedias, as well as in archaeological research.
Part III –– Will Israel finish Hadrian's Work?
Thus, the way to Palestinian Hell was paved with the good intentions of Christian Zionists like Lord Balfour, the British foreign secretary. In the Balfour declaration, and by the decree of the Mandate, they decided, based on historic rights, to grant Eretz Yisrael to the Jewish people. Yet they called it Hadrian's Roman name, Palestine, which had originally had the precise intention of blotting it off the map.
From that moment on, the way was prepared for the birth of the Palestinian fiction.
The name Palestine, by which the British accidentally called the land, bore the seeds of destruction of the Palestinian bluff, as if the entire Land was the stolen property of the Palestinian people, an ancient, rooted people, thousands of years old. This was such an incredible but successful fabrication that large portions of Israeli society fell into its snare. In the report presented in 1938 to the League of Nations, the British made it very clear:
"The name 'Palestine' is not a country but a geographic region.'"
No one could have imagined in 1917, at the time of the Balfour declaration during WWI, that anyone would use the name Palestine to create a monstrous, hostile, false identity, for propaganda purposes, and would engrave on their flag the destruction of Israel.
The reporter and writer Joan Peters, in her book From Time Immemorial, writes,
"The one and only identity never adopted [by the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael] before 1967 was that of 'Palestinian Arab'."
The Palestinian lie was not hatched by any land or any people, but by a map, a map drawn by two European colonial ministers, an Englishman, Herman Sykes, and a Frenchman, George Picot, and on the map was written... "Palestine". It was clear to the British that Palestine as a sovereign political unit had never existed. No nation had ever borne its name. No people had ever prayed for its welfare. It was a name that hadn't existed at all for 1300 years, ironically, precisely when Muslim empires were dominant. "Palestine" was a Roman political fabrication that had faded and disappeared together with the empire that had created it.
The Land regained independence only when the name Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel], the name in the hearts of the first Zionists, was restored to it. Had not this identity been preserved by the Jewish People, and had it not been preserved in the hearts of the Christian Bible-loving nations who made up the League of Nations, the national rebirth of the Jewish People might never have taken place.
This is the substance of the war being waged on millions of television screens throughout the world. It is being waged over the identity of Eretz Yisrael. It is being waged by means of all the media, and it seems as though the Arabs have the upper hand, while Israel leaves an impression of impotence, of not yet having even identified the battlefield on which its fate will be sealed.
While Israel prepares jets and tanks for a military struggle, Israel's enemies are preparing their weapons for the final battle, for sticking the last dagger into the back of a State of Israel that does not understand and is not even ready for this battle. Unless Israel prepares for this battle, comes to an understanding of its complexity and frees itself from the false terminologies and constant brainwashing, Israel will be defeated and its land will be irrevocably taken from it.
Will Israel, which valiantly vanquished all the Arab armies when they attacked it also know how to face this propaganda attack that is threatening to destroy it?
It would seem as though the battle is already decided. The Arab propaganda has already penetrated the nervous system and destroyed the immune system that defended the Jewish People for 2000 years, with even the Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister saying that "Israel's interest is to establish a Palestinian state"...
In other words, what they want is for the Bible to be rewritten and for King David's land of the Bible to become the land of Goliath the Philistine.
Could anything be more insane? Is there another nation on earth that behaves this way?
Is it possible that Israel will be beaten without a single shot being fired, simply handing over their land to a wretched fabrication, a coarse, primitive, charlatan canard, a deception that conceals the destruction that the Arabs are preparing for Israel? Could Israel's leaders be too blind to see the danger looming of the Land's Jewish identity being lost? Will precisely the vision of the prophets, fulfilled with the establishment of the State of Israel, bring with it the destruction of the identity of the Jewish People's land, and lead to its exchange for the false identity of Hadrian's Palestine? When lies are repeated many times, they become true. Such a lie is the fabrication regarding the existence of a historic Palestinian identity. That false identity, which began with Hadrian's curse and that was revived by Lord Balfour, has become a first rate propaganda tool. It became that the moment the Arabs understood the potential of destroying the identity of Eretz Yisrael, and with it the identity of the People of Israel, whose name bears the stamp of ownership of the Land.
The struggle against Israel was the glue that bound the Arab world, otherwise sunken in endless internal quarrels. The Arabs' aim in fabricating Palestine was not to build a nation but to annihilate a nation. Yet to conceal that plan, they invented the plan of "phases". The first phase is the invention of a "Palestinian People". The second phase is the liquidation of Israel, weakened and wearied after Oslo.
By such means did the Arabs conceal their genocidal intent with a "new tool", in the words of Zahir Muhsein, for conquering Eretz Yisrael without firing a shot.
All of these lies and falsehoods, this whole "costume ball" is being marketed by the media, which is turning out to be an obsessive collaborator with the biggest lie on earth. Precisely this Hadrian understood. That's why he chose the name Palestine. Precisely this is understood as well by Hadrian's heirs –– the Arab propagandists who through their use of this false name sever the historic tie between the People and the Land of Israel. Without doing that, it would be impossible to use the word "conquest" –– could a people be considered the conqueror of its own land? The question Israel faces is this: Will the Jews forego the name and the identity of their Biblical land? Will the Christian world agree to concede on the identity of the cradle of western civilization, the holy land, Eretz Yisrael?
It's the twist of fate that for all this to happen, the Jews had to vanquish Hadrian completely, return to their land, establish sovereignty, resurrect the Hebrew language, establish a mighty army, industry, the best agriculture on earth, hi-tech, culture, song, dance, reestablish a nation, rebuild Jerusalem as their capital and settle every town and village that Hadrian destroyed. Could we have possibly come full circle? Will Hadrian's curse, which didn't succeed for 1800 year, precisely when Israel was in exile from their land, succeed just now, with Israel's return? Will it be precisely the Israeli government that will resurrect Hadrian's curse, previously lost in the depths of forgetfulness?
Today, 1800 years later, an Israeli Prime Minister is calling for fulfilling what Hadrian failed to do –– the erasure of Eretz Yisrael and the establishment of Palestine.
The Emperor Hadrian is smiling from the grave.
Tsafrir Ronen is a former member of the secular kibbutz, Ein Charod. He is a media personality, serves in the elite army unit, Sayeret Matkal, and was one of the founders of the Nahalal Forum on Behalf of the Entire Eretz Yisrael. He is currently preparing Hadrian's Curse, a full-length documentary film on the Arab/Palestine myth. Send comments to Zvi Katzover, mayor of Kiryat Arba, at Rivka@kiryat4.org.il.
This article was published in three sections one per week in The Jewish Press (www.jewishpress.com) from May 14, 2008 through May 28, 2008. This version is from the author's website and is archived for May 26, 2008 at
Thanks are due Ruth Doron and Israel Zwick for alerting us to this article.
On Tuesday, Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.
Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.
While Hamas joyously renewed its jihad against Jews and Christians, its overlords in Iran also basked in jihadist triumphalism. The source of Teheran's sense of ascendancy this week was Britain's Channel 4 network's decision to request that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad give a special Christmas Day address to the British people. Ahmadinejad's speech was supposed to be a response to Queen Elizabeth II's traditional Christmas Day address to her subjects. That is, Channel 4 presented his message as a reasonable counterpoint to the Christmas greetings of the head of the Church of England.
Channel 4 justified its move by proclaiming that it was providing a public service. As a spokesman told The Jerusalem Post, "We're offering [Ahmadinejad] the chance to speak for himself, which people in the West don't often get the chance to see."
While that sounds reasonable, the fact is that Westerners see Ahmadinejad speaking for himself all the time. They saw him at the UN two years in a row as he called for the countries of the world to submit to Islam; claimed that Iran's nuclear weapons program is divinely inspired; and castigated Jews as subhuman menaces to humanity.
They saw him gather leading anti-Semites from all over the world at his Holocaust denial conference.
They heard him speak in his own words when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
And of course, over the years Ahmadinejad has often communicated directly to the British people. For instance, in 2007 he received unlimited airtime on UK television as he paraded kidnapped British sailors and marines in front of television cameras; forced them to make videotaped "confessions" of their "crime" of entering Iranian territorial waters; and compelled them to grovel at his knee and thank him for "forgiving" them.
The British people listened to Ahmadinejad as he condemned Britain as a warmongering nation after its leaders had surrendered Basra to Iranian proxies. They heard him - speaking in his own voice - when he announced that in a gesture of Islamic mercy, he was freeing their humiliated sailors and marines in honor of Muhammad's birthday and Easter, and then called on all Britons to convert to Islam.
Yet as far as Channel 4 is concerned, Ahmadinejad is still an unknown quantity for most Britons. So they asked him to address the nation on Christmas. And not surprisingly, in his address, he attacked their way of life and co-opted their Jewish savior, Jesus, saying, "If Christ was on earth today, undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers."
He then reiterated his call for non-Muslims to convert to Islam saying, "The solution to today's problems can be found in a return to the call of the divine prophets."
THE FACT of the matter is that Channel 4 is right. There is a great deal of ignorance in the West about what the likes of Ahmadinejad and his colleagues in Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas stand for. But this isn't their fault. They tell us every day that they seek the destruction of the Jews and the domination of the West in the name of Islam. And every day they take actions that they believe advance their goals.
The reason that the West remains ignorant of the views and goals of the likes of Hamas and Iran is not that the latter have hidden their views and goals. It is because the leading political leaders and foreign policy practitioners in the West refuse to listen to them and deny the significance of their actions.
As far as the West's leaders are concerned, Iran and its allies are unimportant. They are not actors, but objects. As far as the West's leading foreign policy "experts" and decision-makers are concerned, the only true actors on the global stage are Western powers. They alone have the power to shape reality and the world. Oddly enough, this dominant political philosophy, which is based on denying the existence of non-Western actors on the world stage, is referred to as political "realism."
The "realist" view was given clear expression this week by one of the "realist" clique's most prominent members. In an op-ed published Tuesday in Canada's Globe and Mail titled, "We must talk Iran out of the bomb," Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that given the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the dangers of a US or Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations, the incoming Obama administration must hold direct negotiations with the mullahs to convince them to end their nuclear weapons program.
In making this argument, Haass ignores the fact that this has been the Bush administration's policy for the past five years. He also ignores the fact that President George W. Bush adopted this policy at the urging of Haass's "realist" colleagues and at the urging of Haass himself.
Moreover, Haass bizarrely contends that in negotiating with the mullahs, the Obama administration should offer Iran the same package of economic and political payoffs that the Bush administration and the EU have been offering, and Teheran has been rejecting, since 2003.
Even more disturbingly, Haass ignores the fact that Teheran made its greatest leaps forward in its uranium enrichment capabilities while it was engaged in these talks with the West.
So in making his recommendation to the Obama administration - which has already announced its intention to negotiate with the mullahs - Haass has chosen to ignore Iran's statements, its actions, and known facts about the West's inability to steer it from its course of war by showering it with pay-offs.
Haass and his colleagues in the US, Europe and on the Israeli Left are similarly unwilling to pay attention to Hamas. In an article in the current edition of Foreign Affairs, Haass and his colleague Martin Indyk from the Brookings Institute call on the Obama administration to either ignore Hamas, or, if it abides by a cease-fire with Israel, they suggest that the Obama administration should support a joint Hamas-Fatah government and "authorize low-level contact between US officials and Hamas." The fact that Hamas itself is wholly dedicated to Israel's destruction and Islamic global domination is irrelevant.
Similarly, Haass and Indyk assume that Damascus can be appeased into abandoning its support for Hizbullah and Hamas, and its strategic alliance with Iran. Syrian President Bashar Assad's views of how his interests are best served are unimportant. Both Assad's statements of eternal friendship with Iran and his active involvement in Iran's war effort against the US and its allies in Israel, Iraq and Lebanon are meaningless. The "realists" know what he really wants.
MUSLIMS AREN'T the only ones whose views and actions are dismissed as irrelevant by these foreign policy wise men. The "realists" ignore just about every non-Western actor. Take Iran's principal Asian ally, North Korea, for example.
This week North Korea's official news agency threatened to destroy South Korea in a "sea of fire," and "reduce everything treacherous and anti-reunification to debris and build an independent, reunified country on it," if any country dares to attack its nuclear installations.
North Korea made its threat two weeks after Kim Jung Il's regime disengaged from its fraudulent disarmament talks with the Bush administration. Those talks - the brainchild of foreign policy "realists" Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill - were based on the "realist" belief that the US can appease North Korea into giving up its nuclear arsenal. (That would be the same nuclear arsenal that the North Koreans built while engaged in fraudulent disarmament talks with the Clinton administration.)
After Pyongyang agreed in February 2007 to eventually come clean on its plutonium installations (but not its uranium enrichment programs), and to account for its nuclear arsenal (but not for its proliferation activities), Rice convinced President Bush to remove North Korea from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terror and to end its subjection to the US's Trading with the Enemy Act this past October. And then, after securing those massive US concessions, on December 11 Pyongyang renounced its commitments, walked away from the table and now threatens to destroy South Korea if anyone takes any action against it.
North Korea's behavior is of no interest to the "realists," however. As far as they are concerned, the US has no option other than to continue the failed appeasement policy that has enabled North Korea to develop and proliferate nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. As the Council on Foreign Relations' Gary Samore said, "I think we're sort of condemned to that process, because we don't really have any alternative."
Samore and his colleagues believe there are no other options because all other options involve placing responsibility for contending with North Korea on non-Western powers like China, South Korea and Japan. More radically, they involve holding North Korea accountable for its actions and making it pay a price for its poor behavior.
As the "realists" claim that the US has no option other than their failed appeasement policies, back in the real world, this week military officials from the US's Pacific Command warned that North Korea may supply Iran with intercontinental ballistic missiles. These warnings are credible given that North Korea has been the primary supplier of ballistic missiles and missile technology to Iran and Syria and has played a major role in both countries' nuclear weapons programs.
Defending Channel 4's invitation to Ahmadinejad, Dorothy Byrne, the network's head of news and current affairs, said, "As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential. As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view."
When you think about it, broadcasting Ahmadinejad really would have been a public service if Byrne or any of the delusional "realists" calling the shots were remotely interested in listening to what he has to say. But they aren't. So far from a public service for Britain, it was a service for those who, unbeknownst to most Britons, are dedicated to destroying their country.
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
(IsraelNN.com) The Home Front ordered Be'er Sheva to prepare for Katyusha rockets and to open 250 public bomb shelters, bringing back memoires of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when families slept in shelters during Egyptian attacks.
Flyers are being distributed throughout the city, the country's seventh largest, advising residents that they will have one minute to run for cover in the event of a rocket attack. A wailing siren will sound for 90 seconds, and people are advised to remain in the shelters for at least five minutes before an all-clear signal.
Mayor Rubick Danielovitz called on citizens to continue their daily routine but to be on high alert. Yavneh, east of Ashdod, and Gedara, north of Kiryat Malachi, also are issuing warning notices to residents following three rocket attacks on the Ashdod area on Sunday.
Hamas has threatened it will surprise Israel with longer-range rockets and with more powerful explosives than used in the past. Yuval Diskin, head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), warned the Cabinet last week that Hamas could strike Ashdod and Be'er Sheva.
Be'er Sheva is known as the "Capital of the Negev Desert" and is home to nearly 200,000 people. However, its shopping centers attract tens of thousands others, mostly Bedouins, from outlying communities.
It also is the home to the sprawling Ben Gurion University and Soroka Medical Center, which often treats Arabs from Gaza. Except for the Yom Kippur War, when Egyptian tanks rolled over the Sinai border, Be'er Sheva was spared from terrorist attacks until the year 2004, the fourth year of the Oslo War, when 16 people were killed in twin suicide bombings on local buses. Hamas took responsibility for the attacks.
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
(IsraelNN.com) The IDF positioned hundreds of tanks along the Gaza separation barrier Monday as the Air Force resumed aerial attacks on terrorist targets throughout Gaza. Israeli gunboats fired several missiles towards the Gaza coast. Arab sources said that several people were killed or wounded, including several terrorists who were hiding in mosques.
The IDF also declared the area near Gaza Belt communities a closed military zone, leading to speculation that a ground invasion is near. Israel ordered journalists out of areas abutting the Gaza Strip border on Monday, citing the risk of terrorist rocket fire, but the move also keeps the media from reporting on troop movements.
The IDF issued emergency "Tzav 8" orders to 7,000 reservists to be prepared for an immediate call-up. The government and military have tried to refrain from a ground invasion into Gaza, which is booby-trapped with hundreds of Hizbullah-like underground bunkers that foiled the IDF in the Second Lebanon War two years ago.Shmuel Bar, director of studies at the Institute for Policy and Planning at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, told Bloomberg News, "It is clear to everyone that there is no way to end this without some sort of ground offensive."
Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Brigadier-General Dan Harel said, "We are hitting not only terrorists and launchers, but also the whole Hamas government and all its wings. We are just at the beginning of the battle, this will not be hasty. The worst is not behind us – it is still ahead of us."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated,"This operation will expand and deepen as much as needed. We went to war to deal a heavy blow to Hamas, to change the situation in the south."
He told a special Knesset meeting Monday, "We have nothing against the people of Gaza, but we are in a war to the death with Hamas. We are engaged in an all-out war against Hamas and its proxies."
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has asked Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik (Kadima) to cancel the meeting, saying it was ill-timed. He did not attend.
Israel is continuing counterterrorist operations as Hamas escalated rocket attacks on Israel on Monday. A Bedouin construction worker was killed and several others were wounded in a Grad Katyusha attack on Ashkelon.
More than 40 rockets exploded in Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and the Eshkol region Monday, sending more than two dozen people to the hospital for treatment for shock. Damage was extensive in Sderot, where one rocket hit in the center of town while another struck next to a house.
December 28, 2008
So why has operation Cast Lead begun?
Is this but a ploy by Olmert to retain power.
Or is this Barak trying to help his cause?
Nothing that Israel has done militarily has made sense for years now.
All of these actions...Lebanon, Gaza and whatever are stalls.
The only action that will make sense is to retake Gaza and expel the Arabs.
Expel the Arabs from Judea and Samria and then to annex all three of these ancient Jewish lands.
What possible alternative is there?
The Arabs of the Middle East from each Country that are divided like the US Midwest.
The Arabs are all the same family and the "refugees" they have perpetrated to use as a battering ram against Israel are just members of the same family.
There is no, has never beeen and will never be a Palestine. It does not even refer to any exisitng geographical locations etc...
The Arabs have sworn to drive Israel to the Sea etc, they only want Jews dead.
The children are brainwashed and have already been destroyed. Hashem must look and see the prophecy he has projected.
How many kids will we lose this time in Gaza and for waht? Will they take it...
Who can believe what the politicians say, even the Military heads are their pocket.
Moshe Feiglin for Prime Minister NOW! For a Jewish State, run by Jewish values and Jewish people.
At this point already, after a day of fighting, the IDF and Israeli government can boast a strategic achievement in respect to Israel’s deterrence: Our Air Force and intelligence arms showed once again highly developed and almost unprecedented abilities to identify a large number of targets and hit them from afar efficiently and accurately, while causing very few casualties among civilians not involved in terror.
The government proved that it is able and willing to take tough decisions during an election campaign, when international conditions are inconvenient. Officials in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran understand what this means, and it will likely affect their moves in the immediate future and in the long term. They will not rush into actions that would risk a direct confrontation with Israel.
Another achievement involved in Israel’s opening move is the home front’s preparedness and the steps undertaken in order to take care of it during the fighting. Here, we see significant improvement compared to what we saw during the Second Lebanon War.
On the other hand, within the Gaza theater, the initial achievement is mostly psychological. Hamas’ leadership in Gaza and its government arms have been stunned and have not yet recovered. However, the Hamas’ and other groups’ combat and terror abilities were only partly hurt for the time being.
This was expected. There are dozens and possibly hundreds of sites used for storing and launching rockets and mortar shells across the Strip, as well as hundreds of tunnels – not all of them can be hit from the air, certainly not within 24 hours. At the same time, we should note that the extent of rocket and mortar attacks in the first 24 hours was smaller than expected. Moreover, the accuracy of rocket hits in our territory was minimal, while no anti-aircraft fire targeted our planes.
It appears that the firing of rockets and mortar shells was undertaken hastily – mostly as a sign of provocation and display of power, rather than cool determination to cause damage on the Israeli side. However, Hamas’ military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has remained mostly unscathed; the group is apparently saving these forces for the IDF’s ground incursion.
The Air Force’s ability to hit Hamas’ combat infrastructure and best trained forces is hindered by the fear of mass civilian casualties. Hamas produces and stores weapons in residential buildings, while launching rockets and mortar shells out of densely crowded areas, including schools and mosques.
The UN recently permitted attacks on civilian installations or structures if it’s proven that they were used to stage terror activity – as long as the harm to terrorists is greater than the damage caused to the civilian population (and also, as long as all the steps have been taken in an effort to minimize civilian casualties.) However, it is clear that should a misfired bomb kill and injure dozens of civilians, including women and children, the UN would be the first to condemn Israel and accuse it of committing war crimes. This will also end the operation prematurely.
Therefore, the Air Force has adopted extreme caution, with the assistance of the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence. For that reason, since last night the army has been sending written and phone messages, asking Gaza residents to immediately evacuate apartments and buildings that are used for storing weapons, entrances to tunnels, and rocket launching sites. Yet if this does not help, there will be no other choice but to embark on a ground operation.
It is of course refreshing to see the Jewish state finally taking action to defend itself after Palestinian terrorists in Gaza had made life unbearable for tens of thousands of Israelis in the south of the country.
Since the start of the year, Palestinians in Gaza have fired more than 2,900 rockets and mortar shells at Israel. That is an average of eight rockets per day, every day, since January 1. This is simply intolerable, and no country in the world would put up with such a situation.
So the obvious question that comes to mind is: what took so long for Israel to act? Why wasn't more done to stop the rocket fire 3 or 6 or 9 months ago?
And the equally obvious answer is: elections are looming in just over 5 weeks, and if the polls are accurate, Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Labor party is going to get walloped. Barak's approval ratings are remarkably low, and he is immensely unpopular with the public. And there is no better way to boost those poll numbers than by flexing some muscle and appearing firm in the fight against terror.
One can only hope that Israel will not bend to international pressure and cut short the operation before it achieves its goals. And those should be nothing less than the toppling of the Hamas government and the reassertion of complete Israeli military control over Gaza. That, after all, is the only way to prevent a renewal of the threat to the south.
But don't hold your breath - because as much as the current campaign is militarily-motivated, it is being guided by politicians. And as we know all too well, they have a tendency to put their own interests before those of the country they were elected to defend.
Weak-kneed media won't call evil what it is.
In a column published on December 14, Clark Hoyt, The New York Times’ current Public Editor, or reader representative, addressed the paper’s choice of terminology for people who target civilians with the intent of killing them.
What brought Mr. Hoyt to address the issue was the Times’ assiduous avoidance of the word “terrorist” for the perpetrators of what has come to be known as the Mumbai Massacre - the late November Islamist attacks on hotels, a hospital, a railway station, a restaurant and a Jewish center in India’s largest city, which left 173 dead and more than 300 injured. The attackers were called “militants,” “gunmen,” “attackers” and “assailants” in the paper of record’s reports, but never “terrorists.” Some readers were offended; thus, the public editor’s investigation and report.
He explained that “in the newsroom and at overseas bureaus, especially Jerusalem, there has been a lot of soul-searching about the terminology of terrorism.” The upshot of the introspection, he continued, “to the dismay of supporters of Israel - and sometimes of the other side, denouncing Israeli military actions” is that “the Times is sparing in its use of ‘terrorist’ when reporting on that complex struggle.” (One wonders if examples of the military actions denounced by the “other side” include the recent killing of three Palestinians by Israeli forces; the three were planting explosives in northern Gaza along a border fence and, when accosted, threw hand grenades at the Israeli soldiers, who then returned fire - and the three, none too soon, to their Maker.)
Later in his essay, Mr. Hoyt takes up the issue of Hamas, the Sunni group whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and which has launched scores of suicide attacks against Israeli civilians (targeting, among other things, buses, hotels, supermarkets and restaurants), and has fired hundreds of missiles at Israeli cities and town; the group that exults in the murder and maiming of innocent men, women and children, that trains its young to feel the same way, that denies the Holocaust and expresses confidence that, as one of its leaders put it in a Hamas newspaper, “the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.” Mr. Hoyt explains that the Times chooses to not label Hamas a terrorist organization “though it sponsors acts of terror against Israel.”
The reason? Because it “was elected to govern Gaza” and provide social services and operate hospitals and clinics.” He quotes deputy news editor Phil Corbett, who said, “You get to the question: Somebody works in a Hamas clinic - is that person a terrorist? We don’t want to go there.”
Mr. Hoyt concurs: “I think that is right.”
Well, Mr. Corbett and Mr. Hoyt may prefer not to go there, but as journalists they really should realize their responsibility to make the trip. The “there,” of course, is a different, and straightforward, question: Is that all an organization that routinely attacks innocents has to do to achieve respectability - garner the support of a population and open health clinics?
Gaza terrorists continued firing rockets at the western Negev Sunday afternoon, although the pace of the attacks had slowed by 4:00 p.m.
Three people, including a 12-year-old boy, suffered shrapnel wounds and several others suffered traumatic shock Sunday afternoon when the missiles bombarded the coastal city of Ashkelon at mid-day.
The terrorists are using 122-mm Grad-type Katyusha missiles, of the type that can reach a range of up to 40 kilometers. Several cars were also damaged after one of the missiles struck the southern end of the port city. The second missile landed in an unidentified location. Less than an hour later, two rockets exploded in the Eshkol region. No one was injured and no damage was reported.
At least 16 missiles had exploded in southern Israel by 4:00 p.m. A Kassam rocket struck a kibbutz in the Eshkol region just before 4:00 p.m. No one was injured but there were reports of damage in the community.
A barrage of six short and medium-range missiles were fired at Israel shortly before 9:30 a.m. Two of the rockets exploded in between the coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Gaza. One of the missiles landed in the courtyard of a private home, shattering all the windows as it exploded. The occupants of the residence, however, were unhurt.
Ashdod is a key strategic target for Gaza terrorists. Home to some 207,000 residents, it is also the nation's second-largest port, accounting for 60 percent of Israel's imported goods and an important regional industrial center. The city is located within just 75 kilometers (45 miles) of both Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva.
The Color Red incoming air raid alert system also sounded in nearby Gan Yavneh for the first time as well, where residents have been instructed by Home Front Command to find shelter within 45 seconds of hearing the siren.
Residents in the city of Be'er Sheva, known as the "Capital of the South," as well as the community of Yavne, have also been warned by Home Front Command to listen for the Color Red incoming missile alert siren, or the sounds of explosions, and be prepared to race for shelters if necessary. Neither has ever been hit by a Gaza missile before.
A barrage of approximately six missiles landed around the coastal city of Ashkelon around 11:00 a.m. One woman was treated for traumatic shock, but there were no reports of damage. Two other Kassam rockets landed in the Eshkol region. No one was injured, but several buildings were damaged.
School Vacation Extended Until Further Notice
The Defense Ministry notified town authorities in the 20-kilometer Gaza Belt range that Chanukah school vacation will be extended till further notice, due to the security situation.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak made the decision on Sunday after consulting together with Education Minister Yuli Tamir, he said prior to the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.
"We decided that the children's Chanukah break would continue and they won't return to school," said Barak. "The IDF will deepen and widen its operation as necessary. We embrace the residents of the Gaza vicinity for their stamina as we declare a special situation in the region.
As night fell, and we lit our Chanukah candles, we were filled with new hope
as our government finally undertook its basic responsibility towards its citizens, and launched the long-delayed IDF strike against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
We were overjoyed that our planes had caught the Hamas murderers completely
off guard and managed a magnificent coordinated attack on major Hamas
military and police outposts that took minutes, and did major damage. This
included a strike on the swearing-in ceremony at the end of a Hamas military
training program, sending all the "graduates" to an early martyrdom before
they could use their training to kill more Israeli children. It left us
proud and joyful.
Our news program showed us the home of a couple in Southern Israel that had
been completely destroyed by an unprovoked rocket attack this afternoon.
The woman of the house, Aviva, was interviewed. She was asked if she agreed
with the IDF strikes on Gaza that would provoke rocket attacks. With
complete calm she said if this was the price the citizens of Israel had to
pay for bringing peace and security back to Southern Israel, it was a price
she was willing to pay. Later she and her husband, who miraculously escaped
injury, lit Chanukah candles in their rubble filled living room. When they
said the blessing: "He who did miracles in days of old and in our own time"
it gave us all a sense of renewed faith.
The map showing which parts of Israel are now endangered, and which
residents will have to spend the next few weeks in security rooms, is a
startling fulfillment of the predictions of all those who begged that the
disengagement not take place. No longer is it just the citizens of Sderot.
With the homes of the brave residents of Gush Katif destroyed, and the
Philadelphi corridor no longer patrolled by the IDF, unlimited sophisticated
equipment has been pouring into Hamas hands for years. Now the rockets are
falling in Netivot and Ashkelon, and threatening Kiryat Gat.
Just for some masochistic fun, I turned from the Israeli news to BBC. Of
course, they were interviewing some Hamas spokeman talking about "Israeli
atrocities, massacres, slaughter, etc. etc." But even Fox News had some
blonde bimbo repeating similar things from her "Palestinian source."
It's not Israel's bad PR. It's the desire of the media to listen to the
terrorists and sympathize with them. They are the ones who decide who to
interview. Just shut off your televisions. Don't read the newspapers.
Hopefully, Israel is going to finish them off this time. Even the leftists,
like Amos Oz, who usually lives in the land of Oz when it comes to fighting
against terror, seems to understand this, and has come out in favor of
self-defense. Wow. Amazing. A Leftist who believes Israel shouldn't commit
suicide. That didn't stop three hundred Leftists from marching in Tel Aviv
to protest. I suggest we send them all to Sderot to live for the next few
weeks. I also worry about our other fifth column, Israeli Arabs. There
were Molotov cocktails thrown at police patrols in East Jerusalem, and Arabs
marching in Nazareth and other places. We should send them all to Gaza to
be with their "brethren."
Also tonight, memorial services were held for the Chabad rabbi and his wife
killed in Mumbai. With the recent release of photographs of how Mumbai
terrorists sexually mutilated their victims in the hotels, we cannot cry for
dead terrorists. Evidence is mounting that the residents of Chabad house
were tortured more than other hostages. In light of this, I say with no
hesitation that the world would be a better place if every Muslim terrorist
-- Hamas,PLO, Al Qaeda, Taliban (who are now threatening to kill any
Pakistani girl who goes to school), and Janjaweed (who have slaughtered and
raped their way through Darfur) were sent to their Allah and their 72
virigins immediately. As for civilian casualties, the Hamas only target
civilians. And their "civilians" elected them, after all. If their
civilians get hurt because their elected government decided to end the cease
fire and put rocket launchers inside their neighborhoods, whose fault is
that? In the war that Hamas declared, it remains us or them. I prefer
them. I have one wish: that every reporter, every pundit, every media
outlet broadcasting Israel's just and long-delayed war against terrorists in
Gaza as a brutal, unjustified "slaughter of innocents" find themselves
personally involved with terrorists at some point in their lives. I will
keep you posted.
December 26, 2008
The week began with Palestinian rockets slamming into the Negev an average of nearly once an hour, around the clock.
"There's a moral problem here," says Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, former commander of the IDF's Gaza Division.
"The basic obligation of a nation is to see to the security of its citizens. The factual situation is that the state of Israel is not doing so, where the residents of the south are concerned."
Zakai told Army Radio this week that Israel's real options are down to three. The first is the option that many have taken routinely to call unavoidable: a broad military offensive.
The IDF station began its central morning newscast with an unnamed security source saying that Israel's three top leaders had decided to end the policy of military restraint, and that "the Hamas organization will be surprised by the might of Israel's response."
The scope of rocket attacks, their increasing range, and the fact that there are potential launch sites from Beit Lehiya in northern Gaza to Rafah in the south - coupled with an intensive Hamas effort to arm, booby trap, and fortify entire regions, especially areas where civilian populations and military units are congruent - all but mandates that if Israeli troops launch an offensive, the result will be a war in which then IDF invades and progressively reconquers the entire length of the Strip, at a horrible cost in civilian and military casualties to both sides.
That old familiar cringe has hit the air, the unmistakable feel of the slope turning slippery.
Is it already too late to stop the First Gaza War?
It already has a name, courtesy of cabinet minister and ex-Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter. It already has goals, which are as well defined as they are unrealizable. It has already had its tactics publicly spelled out and thus undermined before the fact. Still, there are signs that the coming war, which has come to routinely be termed unavoidable, can be halted before it starts.
The most startling of these signs may be realism.
The Israeli military is certainly capable of a Gaza conquest, and at any given time, Zakai, once Israel's top soldier in the Strip, said on the army-run station. "But the question that we must ask ourselves is this: 'Okay, we've conquered Gaza - what now?' We're ruling over a million and a half Palestinians. Israel's economic situation is known to everyone. Will Israel's tax revenues now be used for rehabilitating the sewage and education of a million and a half Palestinians? What, exactly, will this give us?
"In recent years, we've made every effort to separate ourselves from the Palestinians. Are we now going to take a step that will bring us back a million and a half Palestinians to rule over? This lacks all sense. "
Zakai believes Israel should take a different approach, essentially combining two other options with a fundamental reappraisal of how Israelis should regard Hamas.
At heart, he says, "The state of Israel must understand that Hamas rule in Gaza is a fact, and it is with that government that we must reach a situation of calm."
Israel must also understand that Hamas is a pragmatic organization, Zakai continues. "The moment that the organization understands that Qassam fire is contrary to its interests, it will stop the fire.
"We need to work in an integrated manner. The situation is a complex one. There is no kuntz [trick], no patent [gimmick] that you can just turn on, in order to end Qassam fire.
"An integrated approach, on the one hand, includes demonstration of military might, a demonstration of the heavy price Hamas would have to pay if the firing continues, and on the other hand, also using a carrot, to cause Hamas to understand that refraining from firing exactly serves their interests.
In Zakai's view, Israel's central error during the tahadiyeh, the six-month period of relative truce that formally ended on Friday, was failing to take advantage of the calm to improve, rather than markedly worsen, the economic plight of the Palestinians of the Strip.
He believes that Hamas would have - and still would - accept a bargain in which Hamas, the only power who holds sway over the multiplicity racketeers and gunmen of Gaza's many armed groups, would halt the fire in exchange for easing of the many ways in which Israeli policies have kept a choke hold on the economy of the Strip.
"We could have eased the siege over the Gaza Strip, in such a way that the Palestinians, Hamas, would understand that holding their fire served their interests. But when you create a tahadiyeh, and the economic pressure on the Strip continues, it's obvious that Hamas will try to reach an improved tahadiyeh, and that their way to achieve this, is resumed Qassam fire.
"The carrot is improvement of the economic situation in the Gaza Strip. You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they're in, and to expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing. That's something that's simply unrealistic."
In the end, Israel must realize that "we can't impose regimes on the Palestinians. We can't cause the Palestinians [to decide] who will rule over them. Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. This is a fact. I do not believe that the state of Israel should cause another ruler to come to power in Gaza borne on the bayonets of the IDF. "
"It's just like after the disengagement. We left Gaza and we thought that with that troubles were over. Did we really think that a million and a half people living in that kind of poverty were going to mount the rooftops and begin singing the Beitar hymn? That is illogical."
December 25, 2008
How can we explain the amazing fact that the great IDF is avoiding a clash in Gaza like fire? That it prays every morning for the “lull” to continue and that Palestinian organizations do not mean what they say?
Regrettably, the IDF has not changed, and just like what happened in the Second Lebanon War, it simply does not wish to fight. When there was no other choice, it sent the Air Force to do the job vis-à-vis the fortified Hizbullah, even though the General Staff had a detailed plan for a ground incursion. Today, when there is no choice, they send the Air Force to strike in Gaza, in what is a standard, dull response lacking any inspiration or thinking.
Back in Lebanon, as is the case now, we did not see an army that safeguards civilians, but rather, we saw civilians safeguarding the army whose soldiers are put away in their bases as if they were made of chocolate. And when, heaven forbid, a new recruit base is damaged by Qassams, they evacuate it, while leaving the civilians in the area.
How did our army lose the “killer instinct” that its commanders used to possess once upon a time? Why is the performance we see so mediocre and uninspiring? Why is our General Staff lethargic? How could it be that an army that enjoys an annual budget of NIS 50 billion (roughly $13 billion) in 2007 fails to function? Why do we invest 17% of our national budget in inaction and lack of deterrence? Isn’t it a waste of money?
Recipe for restraint
In order to understand these grim results, we must examine the reasons for them, and correct the problem quickly:
* Over-legalization curbed the army’s personal initiative. Why should anyone risk the prospect of facing humiliating commissions of inquiry, head-rolling, and a termination of one’s career? After all, any confrontation would lead to an inquiry anyway. No senior commander is willing to take such risk. The person who today controls the army is not the chief of staff, but rather, the attorney general.
* A restraint in the form of “human rights” organizations whose objective is not necessarily in Israel’s favor has been limiting the army in the past two decades. They fundraise abroad and make a living by harassing the army. Everyone knows those groups. With the High Court of Justice’s enforcement, it turns out that their effect in dwarfing the military was deterring, and even lethal.
* Israel’s public opinion views everything today through the prism of casualty figures – this is the only indication of military success or failure. The army does not wish to embark on war or a clash because it knows that a war exacts casualties. The army does not fear the enemy, but rather, it fears the mothers, the screaming talkbackers, the verdict of the street, and the journalists who view the dismissal of a general as a professional achievement.
* The mental privatization process undergone by Israeli society in the past decade, and not for the better. We see excess of individualism, whereby only the individual is of interest to us, rather than the State or the army.
The chief of staff is aware of all of the above. He knows that sinking into Gaza’s refugee camps would again turn society against him and against the IDF. The army knows that it does not enjoy true backing on the home front, in today’s Israel where “I” rules and where social solidarity had been cast away. They fail to understand that today it’s Sderot, but tomorrow it will be Tel Aviv.
A voracious media, zero tolerance for casualties, suicidal individualism, good people who leave the army because of its declining prestige, and the lawyers who lie in wait – these are the factors that prevent the IDF from operating. This has not about Hizbullah or Hamas. Today, the IDF does not look ahead in fear; rather, it looks back, to the home front, with much greater fear. Its gravest fear is to simply be left all alone.
The IDF is no longer the “people’s army.” It is an army that fears the people.