Middle East 5:13 AM 12/4/2013
Middle East 2:16 AM
Inside Israel 3:44 AM
Tamar & Tovia Dynamite
Officials in Jordan are displeased, to say the least.
Their voracious and land-hungry neighbor, known for its uninhibited use of military force, is busy occupying Arab territory. For decades, they have been unable to do little more than watch from the sidelines as dozens of square miles of their territory have been encroached upon. The occupier has been sending in a stream of settlers and building a growing number of facilities on the territory in question, all with the aim of strengthening their grip over this disputed piece of land.
Well, it turns out the “occupier” in this case is none other than… Syria. That’s right, according to a report in the Jordan Times, a Jordanian security delegation begins a one-week visit to Damascus today to discuss what is delicately described as “matters related to border issues between the two countries.”
It seems that even as the Assad regime has been busy clamoring for Israel to “return occupied Arab land”, they have quietly taken over 125 square kilometers of Jordanian territory along the two countries’ border, where they have built a series of farms and other structures.
And now, it seems, with Syria coming under mounting international pressure over its ongoing occupation of Lebanon(even the French are threatening to get peeved…), Jordan feels the timing is right to raise the issue of its own “occupied territories”.
But lest you feel too sympathetic for Jordan’s plight – the Jordan Times article also notes in passing that the Jordanians seem to be occupying a swathe (albeit far smaller) of Syrian territory as well.
So, in light of the above, I hope you’ll join me in declaring, for all the world to hear: Stop the occupation of Arab land, once and for all! Get Syria off of Jordanian territory, and Jordan off of Syria’s real estate, and help bring peace to the Middle East!
It’s Thursday, the week isn’t over yet, but there has sure been an upsurge of anti-Israel violence in Gaza over the past few days:
* On Sunday, Palestinian terrorists killed five Israeli soldiers and wounded six others when they detonated a booby-trapped underground tunnel near a military outpost in Gaza. Upon hearing of the outcome of the attack, Palestinians in Gaza city celebrated by holding a march.
* On Monday, Palestinian terrorists launched seven mortar shells at various Jewish communities in Gaza, placed a bomb near an army position on the border with Egypt, and fired anti-tank rockets at soldiers based near the Gaza community of Atzmona.
* On Tuesday, Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets at the Israeli town of Netiv Ha’Asarah in the southern part of the country, as well as at the Gaza Jewish community of Ganei Tal, where a foreign worker was killed and two others injured in the attack.
* On Wednesday, Palestinian terrorists again fired Kassam rockets and mortar shells at Jewish communities in Gaza and Palestinian gunmen wounded five Israelis in a shooting attack on the road from Kissufim to Gush Katif.
* Already this morning, Palestinian snipers opened fire on Israeli soldiers near the community of Nvei Dekalim, and mortar shells were fired at the Jewish community of Nisanit.
Under normal circumstances, a country that found its soldiers and civilians under a barrage of this sorts would respond forcefully and overwhelmingly, both to root out the terrorists as well as deter them from carrying out additional attacks. But Israel’s government, it seems, is far from normal, and its response to this onslaught of Palestinian violence has been remarkably feeble.
Basically, all that Israel has done is to bombard a Palestinian munitions factory in Gaza this past Monday which was used to manufacture weapons and explosives.
But this, of course, raises the obvious question: if the government knew about the existence of this factory beforehand, then why wasn’t it bombed previously? Why did they wait until after Sunday’s terrorist attack to go after it?
From the time Israel first learned of the factory’s existence, each day that passed was another day on which more tools of terror could be created for use against us. By failing to eliminate it immediately, the government was putting other considerations ahead of its most fundamental responsibility: protecting the people of Israel.
Worse yet, we have all become so accustomed to the Palestinian violence, and to the government’s lack of response, that we don’t even realize just how dangerous this situation is. For unless and until the terrorists are made to pay for their actions, they will have little reason to stop pursuing their lethal agenda.
It is time for all of us to raise up our voices loud and clear, and demand that the government take immediate military action to uproot the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza once and for all. Instead of talking about withdrawal, Israel should be fighting against the terrorists. That, after all, is the only way to bring about their defeat.
The interrogation sessions held in Iraq earlier today for two of Saddam Hussein’s former top aides cannot but arouse a mixture of conflicting emotions.
There was, of course, something heartening about the fact that a monster such as Ali Hassan Al-Majid (aka Chemical Ali), the man allegedly responsible for the 1988 chemical weapons attacks which killed thousands of innocent Kurds, will now at last be facing justice for his crimes. The sight of this once powerful general, now sitting humbled before a set of independent Iraqi judges, was as splendid as it was thrilling.
And yet, in pondering this turn of events, I couldn’t help but wonder: why aren’t similar trials being held here in Israel for the terrorist leaders of the Palestinian Authority?
Sure, Marwan Barghouti, one of the heads of Fatah, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for his lethal acts against the Jewish state. But there are so many others, such as the heads of the various Palestinian “security” services, nearly all of whom are believed to have been involved in acts of terror against Israel in recent years. But no one talks of detaining or interrogating these thugs – instead, the government is hoping to “coordinate” with them the proposed withdrawal from Gaza – in effect rewarding them for their years of violence and bloodshed.
Why have the Iraqi people merited to see their tormentors put on trial, but we haven’t? When will Israelis at last see justice done?
The answer, of course, is quite simple: when our leaders finally overcome their boundless capacity for self-delusion, and start to treat our foes with the severity they so richly deserve.
May that day come soon.
The mind struggles to grasp the extent of the disaster.
With each passing hour, it seems, the number of victims of the earthquake and tsunami in the Far East grows to numbers that are increasingly unfathomable and downright frightening.
As of this writing, the latest count is 122,000 dead, with fears that even this enormous number will continue to soar.
Think back to the last time you went to a baseball or football game, and imagine the stands filled to capacity with 50,000 to 60,000 human beings. Now take that image and double it, and you still don’t reach the total number of people lost in this disaster.
It is of course only natural that our attention is drawn to the fate of the dead, to the pain and sense of loss felt by their families and loved ones. Just yesterday, an 11-month old Belgian Jewish child who died in the flooding in Thailand was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. What can one say in the face of such horror?
But we must also not lose sight of something equally important: not to forget the fate of the living - of those people who survived the catastrophe but were injured in the process, and who now must battle their way back to health and a sense of normalcy.
I was reminded of this by a terribly sad story that I heard the other day. I hesitate to even tell it, but here goes: a young married Israeli woman was critically injured in a Palestinian suicide attack, leaving her in a vegetative state. As a result, her life has been ruined forever, effectively destroyed just when she was about to embark on building a family, a career and a future.
The impact, however, was not limited to her – it has, inevitably, taken over the lives of her loved ones as well. Her two parents have been forced to drop everything else and now devote themselves day and night to caring for their daughter, while the victim’s husband grapples with the impossibly painful and wrenching decision that none of us should ever have to face: to stay out of a sense of loyalty and commitment, or to move on with his life in the hopes of marrying again and having children?
Then there are the victim’s siblings, her in-laws and cousins, her friends, her neighbors…
I guess what I am trying to say is that when we ponder such events – be they a natural disaster such as a tsunami or the work of human hands such as a terrorist attack – we should always try to look beyond the statistics and remember the forgotten victims, those who continue to live with the aftermath every day of their lives, be they the family of the dead and wounded, or those who were badly injured. They, too, are in need of our help, and our prayers.
For a brief moment this week, Israelis were given a pointed reminder of the type of foe we are up against.
This past Sunday, the Judea Military Court sentenced Azziz Mustafa Salha to life in prison for his involvement in the infamous lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah four years ago. Salha is the person whose image was broadcast around the world after he raised his hands stained with the blood of the two victims before a cheering crowd of thousands of Palestinians.
The lynching took place on October 12, 2000, when Reservist Sgt.-Maj. Yosef Avrahami and Corporal Vadim Novesche made a wrong turn and drove into the Palestinian-controlled city. Instead of being assisted by Good Samaritans, they were instead assaulted by an angry Arab mob, which included uniformed members of the Palestinian police.
After being taken back to a Palestinian police station, Avrahami and Novesche were set upon by their captors with inhuman cruelty. Military officials at the time told Arutz-7 that the two were "deliberately tortured and abused... The bodies were mutilated and torn to pieces. There was great difficulty in recognizing them..."
Salha’s charge sheet adds another set of gruesome details to our knowledge of what happened that day. According to the prosecutor, Salha saw Novesche lying on the ground at the police station with a knife sticking out of his back. He grabbed Novesche in a stranglehold, took the knife and then stabbed him to death before running over to the window to raise his bloody hands in “triumph”.
The body of one of the Israelis was then thrown from the window, before being tied to the back of a car and dragged through the streets.
At the time, the lynching shocked all of Israel, and underlined exactly why our “partners in peace” were neither partners nor very much interested in peace.
But now, just four years later, it is as if the lynching in Ramallah never happened. Our government seems to have learned nothing from those horrific events, as it plunges forward intent on giving Gaza to the Palestinians, thereby enabling them to create a terrorist rogue state from which to carry out further attacks.
On that terrible day, the Palestinians demonstrated to the entire world precisely why they can not and must not be entrusted with the tools of statehood. They showed no respect for the living and no remorse for the dead, preferring to celebrate their mindless destruction of two innocent human beings.
It is hard for me to imagine what further evidence, what further proof would be needed for the world to finally see our foes for what they truly are and to stop hectoring us to grant them a state.
Then again, if our own Prime Minister is so willfully blind to the consequences of his proposed withdrawal from Gaza, and if he too has chosen to forget the events that occurred in Ramallah just 48 months ago, then can we really expect more from the nations of the world in this regard?
I for one have neither forgotten nor forgiven those bloody events in Ramallah – and I hope that you won’t either.