Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Gaza News And Latest Flotilla Backlash

Elder of Ziyon highlights that as Israel has increased the amount and variety of aid going in to Gaza, rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel have also increased.
In other news from Gaza, terrorists have, for the second time in two months, burnt down an UNRWA childrens' summer camp, both times handcuffing the camp's guards. Last time they also left behind a note threatening to kill John Ging, UNRWA's Gaza director, and other UN officials.
Ging's reaction was to praise Hamas for their response to the incident, and to seemingly blame Israel for extremism in Gaza, indicating that it is because of the blockade. Melanie Phillips points out that 
"It is Hamas that has to be isolated and defeated if a start is to be made in slowing down the rate of extremism". 
She observes that the view of the UN, Britain, US and EU is that 
"the way to stop more extremism being generated in Gaza is to provide more aid, encouragement and legitimacy to the extremists". 
What they're doing is "supporting the extremism which makes the lives of Gaza's Arabs such a misery" - and then placing the blame on Israel.
One thing Israel can, for once, be rightly blamed for, is Turkey's $400 million loss in the tourism industry due to the holiday cancellations of about 100,000 Israelis. (*thanks to Elder of Ziyon for the link). One Turkish tourism company which expected to bring 17,000 Israelis to Turkey this year, has so far only had 200 Israeli clients, having to pay $1.1 million to hotels for cancelled reservations, and incurring a total loss of almost $2.5 million due to all the cancellations.
Well, what did they expect when their Prime Minister openly supported a ship of extremists who attacked Israeli soldiers, and then accused Israel of war crimes when the soldiers defended themselves - completely ignoring the IDF's video evidence that refutes that.
In a new Just Journalism study, they highlight just how much Israel's footage was ignored by the UK media. They discovered that the Times, Telegraph, and Financial Times gave the footage the attention and detail it merited - and through that, countering the activists' claims that the IDF attacked first. Just Journalism conclude that the Guardian and Independent "severely under-reported" the footage, and when it was mentioned, it was dismissed as Israeli propaganda. But then the Guardian and Independent usually do leave out Israel's side of the story so this comes as no surprise.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Support Israel: If It Goes Down, We All Go Down

In a fantastically blunt op-ed in the Times today, Spain's former prime minister from 1996 - 2004, Jose Maria Aznar, urges people to "Support Israel: If it goes down, we all go down". On the flotilla incident, he observes:
"In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.
He points out that Israel's legitimacy should not be a question, that Israel is "a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology" and that "it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances... the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception."
Whilst Israel is so often viewed as a threat, Aznar acknowledges that the real threat is "the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny", and Israel is the world's first line of defence against this. The whole article is brilliant; and it gives me hope and faith that if Aznar can see and spell out the truth so clearly, perhaps a small number of open-minded people can see it too once they read the piece. Here is the best bit:
"To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction... To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears. This cannot be allowed to happen."
So he was motivated to start a Friends of Israel initiative. He explains:
"It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.
What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself."
When you look at all the Israel-bashers who are so certain in their own morality, so sure that they're right and Israel is wrong, so confident that they know the answer to peace, and so blind of their own racism and antisemitism - and then ask the simple question, through all of their beliefs: Do you believe in Israel's right to exist and defend itself - the answer, if they looked deep inside themselves, and were brutally honest, would be no. 
Many people are open about this: "get out of 'Palestine'"; "there is no Israel"; "Zionism must be defeated"; and those people are mostly branded extremists. But the truth is probably most Israel-bashers feel that way, and they might not be open about it beacuse they'd fear being called antisemites, even though that's what they are.
There is no answer to antisemitism. Jews always have and always will be victims of baseless hatred. The only question is how and why antisemites express their hate through Israel-bashing. The answer is in an article Chas Newkey-Burden linked to on his blog, by Leon de Winter in the Wall Street Journal.
De Winter shrewdly observes that there is a "deep need... to call the Jews murderers" even when they're so obviously acting in self-defence, as with the flotilla. 
"This is why the Palestinians, as 'victims' of the Jews, are more important than the numerous Muslim victims of Muslim extremists; this is why millions of other Muslims living under worse conditions than the Palestinians hardly get any mention in the media; this is why Gaza is compared to the Warsaw Ghetto or Auschwitz. By calling the Israelis Nazis, the original Nazis have been legitimized."
There is not much that can be done about antisemitism and antisemitism that is disguised as anti-Zionism - except to expose it. And the way to do that is by asking the question that Aznar has evoked:
Do you believe in Israel's right to exist and defend itself, or not?
As long as people do not, then indeed if Israel goes down we all go down. And as any religious person will know, this is prophecised in Ezekiel 38-39.
Umm... what was I saying about hope?!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Israeli Policeman "Mysteriously" Shot Dead

The Independent gets awarded a point for at least reporting the attack, even if the way they did it was a bit suspect:
"an Israeli policeman was shot dead and two others were injured while their vehicle was driving in the Hebron area. The attack was the first fatal shooting of Israeli security personnel in the West Bank for over a year. No group had admitted responsibility by last night and no one had been arrested."
And obviously, if a group didn't admit responsibility, you can't just say "Palestinian gunmen" could you, because that might make it look as though Palestinians are aggressive sometimes.

Originally a faction of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade had claimed responsibility for the terror attack, but Fatah's armed wing later denied any involvement. Then a group calling themselves the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla Martyrs" claimed responsibility, saying it was just the beginning of it's actions in response to the flotilla raid.

Apart from the Independent I have not seen that any British newspaper reported the murder - even the Times, who the day after had a double page on Gaza.

Possible reasons why it wasn't reported:

 - Yehoshua Sofer was Israeli
 - He was Jewish
 - He was 'just' an Israeli, Jewish policeman

It would seem that if a person is Jewish, Israeli and either Jewish or Israeli and in a uniform, their life is seen as worth less than others'. And their death by an act of terrorism? Not newsworthy. Not when you can go on about the Gazans being denied items that would then be stolen by Hamas to build weapons or bunkers.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bias, Testimony, Terrorism, and Coexistence Through Medicine

Just another regular week for Israel:

- Reuters cropped pictures of injured Israeli soldiers to remove weapons and blood from the images.

- There was no humanitarian aid on the Mavi Marmara, and what was on the other ships was in bad condition. Hamas have refused the aid anyway.

- The captain of the MM has spoken out on the IHH activists' preparations to attack the Israeli commandos.

- A Palestinian was shot dead today after he drove into a group of Israeli police officers, injuring four.

- A Palestinian boy injured by a poisonous snake bite was taken to Jenin hospital where they were unable to help him. His father took him to Israeli Emek hospital, fearing they would be ignored, where a team of Jewish and Arabic doctors saved his life.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Terrorists Or Peace Activists?

The IDF has released the names of passengers on board the Marvi Marmara with links to terrorism. With all the evidence available, through testimonies, pictures and video footage, this should come as no surprise.
In stark contrast to their attack on the IDF in the first flotilla, is the behaviour of the peace activists on board a 7th ship that the IDF took to Ashdod yesterday. 
Before that, Free Gaza co-founder Mary Hughes told the Jewish News:
"We were sorry to see the people felt motivated to defend themselves. We ourselves would not do that. We would probably just sit down and expose ourselves and let [the Israelis]  beat us to death."
In the event, this did of course, not happen. There was no need. This time the activists did not lynch the soldiers and so the soldiers did not need to defend themselves.
As one passenger put it,"They did not use force with us. There was no necessity to use force against us."
But nobody could put it better than Netanyahu himself: 
"Today we saw the difference between a sail of peace activists, with whom we don't agree but honor their right to express a different opinion, and a hate sail organized by terrorism-supporting violent extremists."

Friday, 4 June 2010

Eyewitness Accounts

Here are two eyewitness accounts, the first from an activist, quoted in the Times:
"'I went up on to the deck and saw boats and dinghies, bristling with guns and military, speeding towards the ship. There were helicopters above us, and gas and sound bombs were being used... There were then gunshots and the first passenger was fatally wounded. He was brought to the back of the deck but he’d been shot in the head.'

Ms Colborne said that the captain then announced that live ammunition was being used, and that the passengers should stop resisting."

But she fails to describe at exactly what point the activists were "resisting". As we've all seen from the footage, it was not "resistance" but a pre-planned attack.

Meanwhile, Israeli Sgt. 'S' was the 15th commando to land on the ship. Here's his account:

"'When I hit the deck, I was immediately attacked by people with bats, metal pipes and axes'...

Looking to his side, he saw three of his commanders lying wounded – one with a gunshot wound to the stomach and another with a gunshot wound to the knee. A third was lying unconscious; his skull was fractured by a devastating blow with a metal bar.

He pushed the wounded soldiers up against the wall of the upper deck and created a perimeter of soldiers around them to begin treating their wounds, he said. He then arranged his men to form a second perimeter, and pulled out his 9 mm. Glock pistol to stave off the charging attackers and to protect his wounded comrades. The attackers had already seized two pistols from the commandos, and fired repeatedly at them. Facing more than a dozen of the mercenaries, and convinced their lives were in danger, he and his colleagues opened fire, he said. S. singlehandedly killed six men. His colleagues killed another three."

Those 9 activists were killed in combat - a fight that they had started. They were not innocent bystanders, nor were they "peace activists". They were murderous terrorists, who were killed as a last resort by soldiers whose lives were in danger. The IDF acted in self-defence.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

More Video Evidence Of "Peace Activists'" Attack

The IDF has released more video evidence of the "peace activists'" attack on the soldiers. 
This is the chilling moment when they realise they're facing live fire.
This one shows the soldiers being attacked before they've even boarded the ship.
Even Seth Freedman, who has previously shown himself to be quite the ignorant self-hater, says Israel is not to blame in this incident:
"there is not an army on earth that would not allow its soldiers to respond with force to neutralise a life-threatening attack on their fellow troops... all the kneejerk Israel-hating in the world won't absolve the activist aggressors from their share of guilt for the horrific events that unfolded today".
He generously states,
"When Israel's wrongs are brought to light, they deserve condemnation as much as those of the Palestinians, but that does not mean automatically that in any situation the default position ought to be Israel is guilty until proven innocent."
Meanwhile CiF Watch takes apart the Guardian's editorial and article on those "peace activist" "eyewitnesses".

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Flotilla: Media Reaction

The Guardian’s editorial today is predictably biased, comparing Israel to Somali pirates, commenting “no Nato warships will in fact be heading for Israel. Perhaps they should be”; and calling Israel a pariah state because of its military action. Israel is the only state in the world called pariah for defending itself. 

The Guardian seems to mock the idea that Israel was met with “pre-planned violence” (their quotations), and then contradicts that by blaming Israel wholly for supposedly placing “themselves in a situation where they lost control and provoked a riot, the Israeli navy [saying] they were forced to open fire to avoid being lynched”. 

Just Journalism observes further contradictory statements in the Guardian’s article: 

“On the one hand, The Guardian portrayed such violence as inevitable, saying, ‘What did the commandos expect pro-Palestinian activists to do once they boarded the ships – invite them aboard for a cup of tea with the captain on the bridge?’ However, immediately after this, the piece cast doubt on whether Israeli commandos had, in fact, faced any real threat, saying of a Greek man, purportedly shot by Israel, ‘Presumably he, too, was threatening the lives of Israeli naval commandos.’"

In answer to the Guardian’s question – what did the commandos expect the activists to do – well, I would suggest they followed the example of the passengers on the five other ships that Israel took control of, without the need for force. Surrender, and not try to foolishly start a war with the Israeli army. From literally miles away the activists knew exactly what would happen. They deliberately refused to go to Ashdod because they wanted a confrontation; they intended to inflict maximum damage on the soldiers with the weapons they had at their disposal – kill if they could – knowing that Israel would have no choice but to retaliate forcefully to prevent their own soldiers from being killed. All as part of their battle in seeking to delegitimize Israel and deny it’s right to defend itself.

The Guardian then gets even more ridiculous with this statement: 

“There was nothing on board those ships that constituted a threat to Israel's security, so Binyamin Netanyahu's argument that his troops were acting in self-defence has no validity. They should not have been there in the first place.”

Well, to quote Jonathan Hoffman from his speech made in support of Israel’s right to self-defence,  

“Israel had every right to board the Mavi Marmara ship. Israel cannot allow unknown goods and people to enter Gaza. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist regime that calls for the murder of Jews, the 'obliteration' of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist theocracy. In the past, Israel has intercepted weapons-laden boats headed for Gaza’s coast. No government allows unidentified people and goods to flout their border regulations and enter their countries freely. If these activists behaved similarly at passport and security control in the U.S. or any other nation’s shores, ignoring their official protocol and violently attacking security personnel, they would also have been stopped and arrested.”

The Guardian’s hatred for Israel is so strong that they believe Israel should just allow a ship potentially carrying weapons and terrorists into Gaza; and call for an end to the blockade, as Nick Clegg did knowing this would be dangerous to Israeli citizens, essentially dismissing all Israel’s security concerns as paranoia – and then express sympathy with the political isolation and pressure on “Hamas by insisting it recognise Israel before it is allowed to join a national unity government with Fatah.” How do they expect there to be peace whilst Hamas is bent on Israel's destruction?

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the presenter John Humphrys echoes the Guardian editorial to Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor, asking:

“how would you react if you were sailing on a ship with old people and children on it, in international waters, perfectly legally, and out of the sky in the middle of the night a grouped of armed men landed on your ship – what would you do, welcome them in for a cup of tea?”

If I were on a ship with old people and children on it, I’d make damn sure not to breach a military maritime blockade. I wouldn’t ignore their numerous warning to divert to Ashdod. And if I did ignore them, I wouldn’t lie in wait to start a fight with them, because hopefully I’d have the sense to know they’re not looking to start a fight with me. But that’s just me. I just happen to value life. 

Humphrys then rivals the Guardian for most ridiculous comment of the day when he says “an iron bar is not the same as a machine gun... it’s not a weapon... a knife is not a weapon”. He says the incident was Israel acting disproportionately to “the slightest threat”. Well, really, the threat wasn’t even slight, because iron bars and knives aren’t weapons and are totally harmless, don’t you know. Just like those Hamas “homemade” rockets that have been falling today and for the last 9 years.

More reaction from the blogs on my side-bar, and live blogging again from The Muqata.