Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rocket Attacks on Israel From Gaza

From HonestReporting - Last update: November 17, 2012:

Since 2001, more than 12,800 rockets and mortars, an average of 3 attacks every single day, have landed in Israel.

Although Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, terrorists have since fired more than 8,000 rockets into Israel.
In 2011 alone, 630 rockets from Gaza hit Israeli towns. That’s an even higher number than in 2010, when 231 rockets hit Israel.

More than half a million Israelis have less than 60 seconds to find shelter after a rocket is launched from Gaza into Israel. Most rockets launched from Gaza into Israel are capable of reaching Israel’s biggest southern cities.
Hamas Rocket Threat Ranges Map
Hamas Rocket Threat Ranges Map
Hamas is the ruling entity of the Gaza Strip and recognized as a terrorist group by the US, UK, EU and Israel. (Read more about Hamas.) In recent years, Hamas has been increasing the size and capabilities of its rocket arsenal.
Hamas Rocket Infographic

The current attacks began on Saturday night (Nov.10) when Palestinian terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an army jeep traveling on the Israeli side of the border fence. Four IDF soldiers were injured. Since then, over 120 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilians.
The lives of 1 million Israeli civilians are being threatened and daily life in southern Israel has been totally disrupted.
The residents of communities near the Gaza border suffer constantly from rocket and mortar shell attacks. These attacks occur almost on a routine basis, as do escalations of other types of terrorist activities carried out by Hamas and the other terrorist organizations that operate under Hamas’ protection.
The pauses between the waves of rocket attacks are shortening. In the past month, Israel has been subjected to three separate periods of escalation. Since the beginning of the year, more than 800 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel, a record amount since the end of Operation Cast Lead (January 2009). This peak is similar to the attacks that occurred in 2007-8.

Go to HonestReporting's Operation Pillar of Defense: What You Need to Know for more details. 

Exposed: Pallywood Returns to Gaza

From HonestReporting, November 15, 2012, by :
What happens when the cameras turn up at the scene of an airstrike in Gaza and there simply aren’t enough Palestinian dead and injured to produce dramatic footage that can be used against Israel in the international media? We’ve seen it before. Palestinians who appear to be injured or even dead for the benefit of the TV cameras turn out to be nothing of the sort once they are no longer the focus.
This is all the more so in Gaza, where Palestinian stringers are often filming in the absence of international news crews.
The example below is taken from a BBC interview on the targeted killing of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari. During the interview (full version here), footage from Gaza is shown. At 2:11 mins in, a Palestinian in a beige jacket and black T-shirt, presumably injured in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike, is picked up and taken away. Yet at 2:44 mins, the same Palestinian has staged a remarkable recovery.
We’ve taken the relevant footage so that you can see for yourself.

Welcome to Pallywood!

Iraq envoy backtracks on Arab action against Israel

From JPost, 16 Nov 2012, by REUTERS: 

Envoy to the Arab League appears to withdraw remark that Arabs should use oil as weapon to halt Gaza operation.

Arab League headquarters in Cairo
Iraq's envoy to the Arab League said it would invite Arab states to use oil as a weapon to press for a halt to Israeli attacks on Gaza, but later appeared to withdraw the remark, saying Baghdad would make no particular proposal to a League meeting.
"The Iraqi representative to the Arab League Qais el-Azzawy denies that there is a proposal by Iraq to the Arab foreign ministers meeting tomorrow (Saturday) that will specifically look into the Israeli aggression on Gaza," Azzawy said in a statement emailed to Reuters by a media assistant.
Azzawy had earlier told reporters in Cairo, the Arab League headquarters: "Iraq will invite (Arab) ministers to use the weapon of oil, with the aim of asserting real pressure on the United States and whoever stands with Israel...The economic weapon is the strongest one to be put into effect now, to assure (we are) standing by the Palestinian people, in light of there being no military power that can stand in the face of Israel at the present time."
He spoke a day after Lebanese Hezbollah militant leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah urged Arab states to use all political means possible, including raising oil prices, to end Israeli attacks on Gaza, suggesting this could be as effective as military action against the Jewish state.
...Asked about Azzawi's initial remarks, a senior Gulf Arab oil official said regional exporters would be unlikely to approve. "None of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) producers will go along with this. It's a political move. It's not serious."
Simon Wardell, oil analyst, IHS Global Insight, said:
"At a time when the big story is the rise of shale oil and shale gas in the United States ...Arab countries will be keen to ensure they don't accelerate that any further and push the prices higher...since the Arab Spring this kind of thing (oil as weapon) may have more resonance locally ...[but] ultimately this is something I think they recognise as self-defeating."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hamas video games

From Daniel Pipes, 15 November 2012:
An Israeli soldier works on the IDF's Facebook page.
The old Arab-Israeli wars were military clashes, the recent ones are political clashes.

The wars of 1948-49, 1967, and 1973 were life-and-death struggles for the Jewish state. But the wars of 2006, 2008-09, and now 2012 are media events in which Israeli victory on the military battlefield is foreordained and the struggle is to win public opinion.
Opeds have replaced bullets, social media have replaced tanks.
Will Israel prevail in arguing that its enemy initiated offensive action? Or will those enemies, Hamas or Hezbollah, convince observers that Israel is an illegitimate regime whose recourse to force is criminal?

The war must be fought primarily as a media event.

If Hamas knows it cannot defeat the Israel Defense Forces and will get a bloody nose for its efforts, it obviously has motives other than victory in mind. What might those be? Several come to mind:
  • Test the waters in the aftermath of Barack Obama's reelection.
  • Rouse public opinion against Israel and make it pay a price internationally.
  • Refute accusations by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that it has abandoned "resistance."
  • Remind the Palestinian Authority, as it seeks statehood at the United Nations, who controls Gaza.
  • Rile up Israeli Arabs.
  • Pre-empt Egyptian plans to destroy Gaza tunnels, as Cairo cannot be seen helping Israel in a time of crisis.

Read my lips: "Hamas is responsible"

From the Telegraph (UK), 15 Nov 2012, by Barney Henderson, and agencies:

...The [UK] Foreign Secretary [William Hague] said he was "gravely concerned" by the situation as the renewed conflict in Gaza entered a second day.

He condemned rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel, but urged Israel "to do their utmost to reduce tension".
“Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups. This creates an intolerable situation for Israeli civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of attack from Gaza," Mr Hague said in a statement....

The future of UN Human Rights Council is now darker even than before

From Huff Post World, by Jacob Mchangama and Aaron Rhodes*:
(Copenhagen and Hamburg) -- On Monday, 12 November 2012, 18 new members were elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which the UN says is the forum "all victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to... as a springboard for action." But the election process was emblematic of the betrayal of core human rights principles in the face of challenges from authoritarian states, and the disintegration of the idea of human rights itself in the main institution charged with defending it.
The newly elected members include Pakistan, Venezuela and others with serious human rights deficits. A majority of the Council -- 24 of 47 members -- is now composed of states that are unfree or only partially free according to rankings by the nongovernmental organization Freedom House. None of the members from Africa are free, while three of five Asian members are only partially free. A majority of the Council are states from the "Global South."
Members of the "Western" group in the Council -- the only ones facing a competitive election -- pandered for support from the General Assembly in the run-up to the election, which saw the United States, Germany and Ireland elected by secret ballot.

...Western candidates, in bids for support, in effect promised to avoid the subject of fundamental human rights if elected. 
In an effort to assuage anxieties about possible criticism for human rights violations, Germany promised a "non-confrontational" approach, and to be a "bridge-builder." German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, in a special campaign swing, assured members of the General Assembly that "developed countries do not have a monopoly on safeguarding human rights," a transparent ploy to ingratiate Germany with poor countries by suggesting that rich ones have no right to criticize others. 
In the event, every regional group elected unfree members to the Council except the Western Group, and as candidates in that group, aside from the U.S., sought to win by promises to appease, the future of the Council as a human rights forum is now darker even than before.
The German government's pledge to avoid confrontation on core human rights problems like torture and censorship was not enough to satisfy the director of the German Institute of Human Rights, Beate Rudolf, who found it "very vague." She expected the German government to focus on the rights of senior citizens as well as on the "extra-territorial application of fundamental rights" as regards military missions and transnational corporations, and the right to adequate housing, water and sanitation, which she called "fundamental rights."
Rudolf expects the Human Rights Council to act as an "early warning system" for the UN General Assembly, which makes sense given the tragic denial of human rights and freedoms afflicting citizens in an increasing number of states. But if Germany sticks to soft, consensual issues, as she and her Foreign Minister propose, Germany won't contribute to raising any alarms about individual human rights despite the policy of "concern" about "grave human rights violations" and victims posted on the Ministry website.
In fact, Germany's approach toward the Human Rights Council is consistent with those of other candidates. 
Sweden recently congratulated Sudan on its election to the UN Economic and Social Council, despite the fact that its president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity; neither the U.S. not the EU spoke out about the matter, and Sudan was overwhelmingly elected to ECOSOC with the support of at least 10 EU members, according to the monitoring group UN Watch. In its own appeal for election to the Human Rights Council, Ireland's representatives spoke of its "style" in international fora -- another unsubtle integrity dump.
Germany and Ireland secured the votes to join the Council, and it is painfully clear that Western states are allowing themselves to be held hostage to dictatorships promoting a watered-down human rights doctrine.
Non-free countries have been successful in focusing the work of the Council on issues such as foreign debt, cultural rights and climate change. While these issues are important, they have little do with human rights and do nothing to hold governments accountable for such crimes as extrajudicial killings, torture or the denial of the right to free speech or association. When liberal democracies legitimize the human rights cred of these deflective issues, the Human Rights Council will give victims even less of a voice than they have previously had.
To a limited extent, civil society groups can fill the gap, although those engaged in the UN human rights system also increasingly focus not on basic freedom rights but on "social justice" -- to the satisfaction of power-hungry governments (Amnesty International head Salil Shetty recently claimed that "The ultimate torture is poverty"). But dictatorships have taken virtual control of a committee in New York that awards consultative status to nongovernmental organizations, and are intent on keeping out critical groups.
The problem with the Human Rights Council is not simply one of power, corruption and political geography. It is a problem of shoddy discourse and weak legal reasoning as concerns human rights, which has led to the concept being infiltrated and swamped by dangerous equivocation fuelled by cynical dictatorships and a human rights movement that has lost its way by disowning the idea of freedom as central to human rights.  
If liberal democracies and civil society would speak clearly for human rights as freedom rather than pandering to freedom's enemies, they could begin to build an effective international human rights system.

*Jacob Mchangama is Director of Legal Affairs at the Danish think-tank CEPOS, and an external lecturer in international human rights law at the University of Copenhagen. Aaron Rhodes was Executive Director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (1993-2007) and helped found the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in 2008.
They are both co-founders of the Freedom Rights Project (

Israel changes the rules of the game

From Israel Hayom, 15 Nov 2012, by Yoav Limor:
A stunned Hamas was reminded once again of the balance of power • Although deterrence was restored, the goal now is to avoid a quagmire • Pillar of Defense will go down as a success if military gains are sustained and south enjoys upgraded calm.
The IDF continued its aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip Wednesday night in an effort to stop rocket fire on Israeli communities and target Hamas operatives.
Photo credit: Reuters

A Palestinian child in the Gaza Strip, during the first day of Operation Pillar of Defense. Israel has urged civilians to stay away from rocket-launching sites .
Photo credit: Retuers

The anti-rocket Iron Dome system engaging an incoming projectile from the Gaza Strip, Thursday.
Photo credit: Reuters

The IDF continued its aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip Wednesday night in an effort to stop rocket fire on Israeli communities and target Hamas operatives.
Photo credit: Reuters

Israel's actions on Wednesday went a long way toward restoring the deterrence lost during the most recent escalation. The assassination of Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing, and the equally important targeting of Hamas’ long-range rocket caches, stunned the Islamic organization. It was reminded once again of the adversary it is up against and what the real balance of power is.

Air Force hits 70 Gaza Strip targets in an hour

From JPost, 15 Nov 2012:

Israel strkes 320 targets in the Strip since launching Operation Pillar of Defense with assassination of Hamas military chief; 16 Palestinians killed; Gazans fire over 270 rockets into South, killing 3.
The Israeli Air Force struck some 70 targets in the Gaza Strip in the past hour, the IDF Spokesman's Office said shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday. Among the targets, the IDF statement said, were underground medium-range rocket launching pads. The most recent blitz of air strikes brought the total number to well over 300.
Palestinians have fired over 275 rockets from Gaza into the South since the IDF launched its operation. Two rockets triggered an air raid siren in Tel Aviv, marking the first time that a real siren was sounded in Tel Aviv since the Gulf War in the early 1990s.
The goal of the IDF operation, the statement added, is to significantly damage the ability of Palestinian terror groups to fire rockets into Israeli territory. Operation Pillar of Defense began Wednesday afternoon with the assassination of Hamas's military chief Ahmed Jabari. The targets immediately expanded to rocket launching and storage sites, particularly longer-range rockets that can strike over 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip...
...Following a rocket strike targetting the Tel Aviv area Thursday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned, "This escalation will exact a price that the other side will have to pay."
Earlier on Thursday, Barak hinted that Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza-based terrorists could be a lengthy battle.
Also Thursday, the IDF requested authorization to call up 30,000 reserve troops, possibly preparing for a ground operation.

War of attrition in Gaza

From Ynet News, 15 Nov 2012, by Ron Ben-Yishai:,7340,L-4306195,00.html

Analysis: Terror organizations have learned their lesson from Cast Lead, Second Lebanon War Operation Pillar of Defense is in the mutual attrition stage. The surprise element has already been utilized to the fullest and the IDF is attempting to crush additional targets on Palestinian territory in an effort to reduce the Palestinians' high-trajectory fire abilities, to ensure that they won't be able to launch massive long-range Fajr missiles, and to significantly reduce the number of Grad rockets with a range of up to 42 kilometers (26 miles).
Another goal is targeting the rocket-launching cells, before or after the launch.
The Gaza Strip's terror organizations, mainly Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, have learned their lesson from Operation Cast Lead and from the lessons learned by Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War and have implemented them.
As a result, even now they are succeeding in firing dozens of Grad rockets (122-millimeter Katyusha rockets) although dozens of manned and unmanned IAF aerial vehicles, as well as sophisticated observations means from the ground and sea, are watching and following them in a bid to foil the launches.
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad's rocket-launching cells, which are likely operating according to a preplanned program, manage static launchers installed under or above the ground. The operators are not required to be near launcher when firing a rocket, which they can do from a remote place as well. In addition, they are concealed in a way that allows them to reload the launcher quickly and secretly and escape before the IDF can "come full circle" and hit them.
For the sake of comparison, the last round of fighting – in March – saw 22 Palestinian rocket operators killed in the middle of a launch, as a result of the activity of the Canopy of Fire thwarting system. In the current operation, only one cell has been hit so far.
In addition, as a result of the lessons learned from Operation Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War (which were conveyed to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad from Iran), Hamas set up a control and communication system which is harder to disrupt. Thereby, members of the major Palestinian organizations can act according to an operational plan which changes constantly in accordance with instructions issued by the command centers.
The IDF is studying the operation patterns and new means used by the large Palestinian organizations, and the Canopy of Fire system – which coordinates the targeting of rocket-launching cells – will likely be more successful in the coming days....
....The operation's success will be examined not according to the military achievements on the ground, but according to the strategic and political result. All signs suggest that Israel has set a relatively modest goal: A long-term truce, not just in terms of rocket and missile fire, but also in terms of the terrorist activity against the IDF along the Gaza border fence.
Another expectation from the operation's finale is that all guerilla and terror organizations in Gaza will commit to the truce and that Egypt will guarantee it. If Hamas turns down such an agreement, the IDF will likely consider launching a ground offensive in Gaza.
This operation will also test the response of the region's countries, led by Egypt. At the moment, it appears that the Muslim Brotherhood regime is attempting to kick the ball away into the international arena, thus keeping the Egyptian public opinion happy while avoiding a heated conflict with Israel. This issue was most probably affected by US President Barack Obama's telephone conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday evening.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gaza rocket hits building, kills three in Kiryat Malachi

From JPOST, 15 Nov 2012, by YAAKOV LAPPIN*:

Terrorists fire 132 rockets from Gaza into South in 24 hours... IAF strikes over 100 terror targets in Strip...

Kiryat Malachi building hit by rocket
Photo: Ben Hartman
Gaza terrorists continued to fire rockets into southern Israel on Thursday morning killing three people and injuring two others in Kiryat Malachi. In total, some 132 rockets have been fired from Gaza into the South in the 24 hours after the IDF launched a campaign Wednesday to root out the terror infrastructure in the coastal territory, beginning with the targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari, the chief of Hamas's military wing.
MDA paramedics treated five wounded people at the site of the Kiryat Malachi attack, in which a rocket hit a four-story building. Three people were pronounced dead on the scene and two others were suffering moderate injuries, including a baby.
A house in Ashdod and a school in Ofakim near Beersheba also sustained damage from rockets on Thursday morning. Rockets also landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area, Gan Yavne and Ashkelon.
The IDF Spokesman's Office stated Thursday morning that the Iron Dome rocket defense system successfully intercepted 13 rockets since midnight. The system had intercepted a further 30 rockets on Wednesday night.
Courtesy of IDF Spokesman
A separate IDF spokesman confirmed that all Palestinian terror factions took part in rocket fire overnight Wednesday, with Hamas trying to take the lead.
He added that the IDF "believes the rocket fire will intensify."
The IAF hit hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday, the spokesman said, including several terrorist cells preparing to fire rockets at Israel, along with some 100 long- and medium-range rocket launchers located across the Strip.
Tank fire also was directed at terror targets, he added.
Palestinian sources said that 13 people were killed in Gaza as a result of the IAF strikes, with more than a hundred suffering injuries.
The spokesman concluded by describing the Hamas-ruled Strip as "a forward Iranian base," and urged the populace to remain steadfast, as "home front resilience is vital for the continuing operation."

Schools within 40 km. of the Gaza Strip were declared closed Thursday, and residents were urged to follow directives from the IDF Home Front Command. Magen David Adom paramedics treated 13 Israelis for injuries suffered overnight prior to the fatal strike in Kiryat Malachi, the organization said. Of the injured, four suffered light wounds while nine more suffered shock symptoms.
Gaza-border communities were in lockdown, with residents ordered to remain in their homes if they live within 7 km. of Gaza.
Explosions have been reported as far away as Dimona, some 75 km. from the Gaza Strip.
At an emergency meeting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the security cabinet authorized Defense Minister Ehud Barak to mobilize reservists if needed.
The cabinet also agreed that the IDF should continue to act against terrorist infrastructure and activity in Gaza. It instructed the Foreign Ministry to begin a diplomatic public relations campaign to explain that Israel was acting in self-defense against military targets, as the continued rocket barrage had become intolerable.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on the telephone on Wednesday night with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. He was also scheduled to speak with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The prime minister thanked Obama and Biden for taking the position that Israel had a right to defend itself.
The military operation immediately increased tensions with Egypt, which condemned Israel’s actions and recalled its ambassador.
*Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report

Grad rockets hit Beersheba; Iron Dome intercepts rockets

From YNet News, 15 Nov 2012, by Ilana Curiel:

Gaza terrorists' response to Jabari hit includes Grad fire on Beersheba, Ashdod and Ofakim; air defense system intercepts several rockets
At around 8 pm Wednesday, some four hours after Israeli aircraft killed top Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, terrorists in Gaza fired Grad rockets toward Beersheba and Ofakim. Two rockets landed in Beersheba and caused damage to a vehicle and stores, but no injuries were reported. At least 20 rockets were fired toward the city.
The Iron Dome air defense system successfully intercepted 17 rockets, two of which were fired toward Ashdod. Another rocket fired toward Ashdod landed in an open area near a home, which was slightly damaged.
A total of 55 rockets were fired toward Israel's southern district since the early evening hours. Forty-seven rockets landed in the Negev and eight others hit the Lachish region. Fifteen people suffered from anxiety in Ashdod and Beersheba.
Hamas' initial response included the launching of two rockets toward the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Resdents were instructed to remain in secure spaces. At around 8:30 pm two more rocket landings were identified in the Eshkol Regional Council. At least 10 rockets were fired toward Eshkol.

צילום: נועם פייר


שליחה לחבר

הקלידו את הקוד המוצג

הסרטון נשלח לחברך


הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

קוד להטמעה:

Iron Dome intercepts rocket (Video: Noam Fayer)

At around 9:15 pm three additional rockets landed in open areas in the Eshkol Council. No injuries were reported.
Jabari's killing marked the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense against terrorists in Gaza following days of incessant rocket and mortar fire on Israel. During the first few hours of the operation, which is being orchestrated by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz from army headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Air Force launched more than 20 strikes in Gaza, during which at least six Palestinians were killed, including Jabari.

מכונית שספגה פגיעה בבאר שבע, הערב (צילום: הרצל יוסף)

Jabari's car after hit (Photo: Herzl Yosef)

The strikes also destroyed dozens of long-range projectiles, including Fajr-5 missiles, which are stored in Hamas and Islamic Jihad warehouses.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the press conference at the Kirya compound in Tel Aviv that the IDF destroyed most of Hamas' Fajr missiles in the first hour of the operation.
The IDF Home Front Command has ordered all academic institutions located within 40 kilometers of Gaza to remain closed on Thursday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama silent on Hamas terror attacks

From Arutz Sheva, 13 Nov 2012, by Rachel Hirshfeld:

"A weak or non-existent presidential response transmits a message that these attacks are insufficient to warrant presidential concern."

President Barack Obama
Barack Obama - Reuters

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon President Barack Obama to condemn the wave of rocket attacks launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza in recent days.
Over the past four days, over 120 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel from Gaza, eight people have been injured and 43 have been treated for shock. Over one million Israelis—around around one-eighth of the population—have been endangered and forced to repeatedly seek safety in bomb shelters. Up to this point, more than 600 missiles have been fired into Israel from Gaza during 2012.
While the United Nations, the European Union and France on Monday condemned the rocket fire, they also urged both parties not to take any steps that would escalate the situation.
"Both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a group of foreign ambassadors at a meeting in Ashkelon that Israel will take “whatever action is necessary to put a stop to this. This is not merely our right, it's also our duty".
“We do not intend to allow - in any shape or form - the continued harming of the day to day life of our citizens,” added Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. “As far as we are concerned, Hamas is responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip. Even when other organizations are carrying out [certain attacks], Hamas are not free from responsibility".

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein called on the United States to take action, saying "We are concerned that this heavy barrage of rocket fire on Israel launched by terrorist groups, which are targeting Israeli civilians with a view to inflicting maximum casualties, has been proceeding for four days without response from President Obama.”

"President Obama spoke in 2008 during his visit to Sderot and, more recently, during the second presidential debate, of his concern for Israeli civilians being subjected to rocket fire having to scramble without warning into bomb shelters and how he would take firm measures to protect his daughters if they were living in a home subject to this form of terrorist attack,” asserted Klein. “That is why it is disappointing, puzzling and concerning that we have not heard President Obama speak out on these attacks and affirm, as he did in 2008, that Israel has a right and duty to defend itself from such assaults. We urge him to do so now.”
Prior to the U.S. presidential election, Republicans had been lambasting Obama’s treatment of Israel and his failure to visit the Jewish state during his entire term in office.
In what many criticized as an election ploy, Obama appealed to the Jewish constituency by highlighting his visit to the country in 2008 as a presidential candidate, saying he had visited the “border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas.”
“I saw families there who showed me there where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms,” Obama said. “And I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids. Which is why as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.
ZOA President Klein stated that at this critical time a “weak or non-existent presidential response transmits a message that these attacks are insufficient to warrant presidential concern and will be tolerated.”
“I cannot believe that that is a message President Obama would wish to convey to the terrorists groups in Gaza," Klein added.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Truth About Yisrael Beytenu

From The Daily Beast, Nov 9, 2012, by Hamad Amar:
As a member of the Arabic-speaking minority in Israel and having known and worked alongside Avigdor Lieberman for many years, I can attest to the fact that the vast majority of what I read about him bears little relation to reality. One of the greatest charges against Lieberman is that he and our party are anti-Arab....
...Yisrael Beytenu stands firmly against Arab politicians who spend much of their term in office on lavish trips to meet with regional despots and repressive regimes, rather than representing the people who democratically elect them and pay their wages. Over the last couple of years, various Arab Members of Knesset travelled to meet with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Describing the visit to Gadaffi’s Libya as “wonderful,” these Israeli Arab MK’s were feted by the autocrat who discussed with his guests ways to end the existence of the State of Israel in its current form.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Sa'id Nafa of the Balad party led a demonstration of support for Bashar Assad, claiming the Syrian leader was the “victim of aggression” while the rest of the world stands aghast at his systematic butchery.
This is not even to mention former Israeli prime ministerial candidate, Azmi Bishara, also of Balad, who fled Israel after police opened an investigation into accusations of allegedly aiding the enemy during wartime. The charge sheet included the passing of information on targets to Hizbullah in 2006 as the terrorist group rained down missiles on the north of Israel, targeting Jews and Arab alike.
Hanin Zoabi, another Arab Member of Knesset, who was on the Marvi Marmara while the brutal terrorist organization the IHH attacked Israeli soldiers, said after the recent terror attack in Bulgaria against Israeli tourists, killing five, that Israelis are not victims and are to blame for their own murder.
While Arab Members of Knesset are recklessly supporting and encouraging some of the most brutal regimes and terrorist organizations in the world, their local constituency is ignored. 
During the same time, Members of Knesset for Yisrael Beytenu have quietly set about assisting this community without making headlines. Our MK’s are behind the overhaul, repair and modernization of the sewage and water systems and the electricity grids in predominantly Arab areas in the north of the country.
Minister of Water and Energy Resources Uzi Landau and myself fought doggedly for a massive hundreds of millions of shekels extra budget allocation from the government to improve these systems.
Far from pushing “undemocratic” legislation, Yisrael Beytenu has attempted to push legislation that will equalize Israeli society. Only a couple of months ago, I was proud to be a co-signatory on a bill that called for an equalization of the national burden, whereby every Israeli, regardless of color, religion or background, would serve their society.
Currently there is an absurd and untenable situation where all Israelis receive the same benefits, but do not all undertake similar obligations. This law, which was supported by many in the Arabic-speaking community, would have led to their further incorporation into Israeli society and would have dealt with many of the integration problems affecting the community.
While in practice the passage of this law would have meant that Israeli Arabs could have served and assisted in local Arab hospitals, kindergartens or old age homes, one Arab MK called this type of service “a declaration of war.”
However, I am proud to say, these Arab MK’s are fighting a quixotic battle as more and more Arab Israelis are voluntarily entering national service and encountering Israelis from all backgrounds, thus breaking free of the propagandist bonds their so-called representatives have created for them.
Furthermore, Lieberman’s blueprint for a resolution to our conflict with the Palestinians does not “exile” or “transfer” as some have spuriously called it. The plan calls for a drawing (not redrawing, as no border was ever set at the insistence of the Jordanians in 1947) of the border with our neighbors to really create “two states for two peoples,” something President Obama has called for on many occasions.
As Foreign Minister Lieberman wrote in the Jerusalem Post in 2010:
The current demands from some in the international community are to create a homogeneous pure Palestinian state and a binational state in Israel. This becomes the one-and-a-half to half state solution. For lasting peace and security we need to create true political division between Arabs and Jews, with each enjoying self-determination.
Therefore, for a lasting and fair solution, there needs to be an exchange of populated territories to create two largely homogeneous states, one Jewish Israeli and the other Arab Palestinian. Of course, this is not to preclude that minorities will remain in either state where they will receive full civil rights.
Clearly, this means no one will be forced to leave their home and the solution will be found whereby geography meets demography to ensure long-term enduring peace between our peoples. Arab Israelis who fall outside of this border, which will be decided by consensus and maybe even by referendum, will still be entitled to work and travel freely wherever they choose; the only difference will be the parliament they vote to elect.
There are those who claim that it is illegal to remove citizenship from individuals. However, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/153, written in 2001, explicitly states: “When part of the territory of a state is transferred by that state to another state, the successor state shall attribute its nationality to the persons concerned who have their habitual residence in the transferred territory and the predecessor state shall withdraw its nationality from such persons.”
These are the facts to rebut just a few of the fallacies I read on a daily basis about our party. I am proud to serve in what I believe is the most diverse party on the Israeli political spectrum. In the last elections, we had Jews and non-Jews, religious and secular, immigrants and sabras, Ashkenazim and Sephardim on our list, including a third of our members who are women, the highest ratio of women in any party.
There is no excuse for these inaccuracies. The party has a spokesperson for the English-speaking and international media, and while the daily distortions continue, his phone is suspiciously silent. Surely responsible journalism requires attribution from the source of the accusation. Or maybe political sabotage is the point and facts and truth be damned.