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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Party Time

Yes, elections are coming.

Check out the Israel Electoral Compass . (Thanks, Jameel!)

I did. And discovered, to my horror, that there really isn't a party for me.

That's right......now, one can 'psyche out' this test and get whatever results one is aiming for, but if you take it honestly, the results, at least for me, are disappointing.

I'm a centrist.

There are no centrist parties.

I'm a 'hawk' on security but apparently a real marshmallow on things like civil rights, social safety nets, and legislation.

I'm a traditionalist on religious issues vis-a-vis the State with two outstanding exceptions that tend toward the left/liberal.

None of these parties are my cup of tea. Apparently none are a good fit. The top three parties whose platforms are in 'substantive agreement' with my sentiments, according to this 'election compass,'are all parties I loathe.

I have a few weeks to decide. I will try to be responsible, decide rationally, and not let the antics of Hamas, Hezbollah and their Iranian puppet-master stampede me to extremes. I will try to decide which party offers the best future to all of Israel, rather than which party caters to special interests, big money or its own corrupt list. I will try to find a leadership which isn't afraid of tough decisions, and isn't afraid of angering the White House.

I wonder if such a party exists?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn, There Is A Season....

That song popularized Ecclesiastes to an entire generation of anti-war youth in the United States.

I thought of it as I watched President Obama's inauguration.

However you voted, whatever you believed on Election Day, you could not fail to be moved by the dignity and history of the Inauguration itself.

The Inner Cynic in many of us tends to hoot at dignity and call it pretension, and tends likewise to denigrate the sentiments of comity, self-sacrifice and struggle.

Sorry, I'm still a fan of the Three Musketeers: "One for All, and All for One." Perhpas I'm not cynical enough, but I want to believe in a progressive future.

I have reason to believe:

My great-grandmother fled discrimination and deadly hatred in Europe to come to America, a country where race-based lynchings were still in vogue, and non-WASPS relegated to menial jobs, poverty and no education. My great-grandfather struggled to support his family while working in a sweatshop. Slavery had ended only a generation earlier.

My grandmother did not have the right to vote, but considered herself well off because her children could attend public school and rise as high as education and hard work would let them. Restrictive covenants still kept Jews and Blacks and other minorities apart from "white" neighborhoods, but for those who could "pass," the passport to American society was good English, hard work and assimilation.

My mother had the right to vote, but could not make a purchase without the co-signature of a man--either her husband or her father.

I grew up knowing that college education was a given. My parents never talked about "if" I went to college--instead they talked about which college I should attend, the importance of grades, and career choices. I still recall the game little girls played on the school bus: "When I grow up, I'm going to marry a doctor." "Well, when I grow up, I'm going to marry a lawyer." I came home one day and repeated this to my father, who, bless his heart, said, "Why would you need to marry a lawyer if you can be one yourself?"

That opened a door to possibilities I had never considered until that day. (Thanks, Dad.)

Unlike my mother, I was permitted my own career and my own credit rating. I didn't need any man's signature to purchase anything.

Nonetheless, I am old enough to remember the pre-Civil Rights United States. My father's work took us to the East and South, out of California.

I remember going to a children's movie one day with my mother, and complaining because I wanted to sit in the balcony up high. "You're not allowed to sit there," my mohter explained, shushing me. I thought it was unfair--all those other kids got to sit up there. It wasn't until I was older that I recognized that prohibition for what it was -- racial discrimination. It wasn't that I wasn't allowed in the balcony--it was the African American families who weren't allowed to sit in the main body of the theatre with the rest of us.

People didn't say "African-American" or "Black" -- they said "Negro" or if they were really old, "Darky."

I remember a childhood where the neighborhoods were all lily-white and the community pool was closed to black children.

I remember getting on the bus to 7th grade and being thrilled to find an empty seat near the front, which I shared with the girl sitting alone there. Most of the year passed before I recognized that the seat next to her was always empty because none of the other students (all white) would sit next to a Black student. (Okay, I'm slow, but credit my parents' upbringing.)

I remember being told I couldn't go to THAT bathroom but had to wait in line at the OTHER bathroom--because bathrooms were segregated by race.

In 4th grade, when family finances were tight, my parents did something unheard of in our family -- they hired a babysitter and took me to an adult movie. My mother and father thought it was well worthwhile to make sure I saw To Kill A Mockingbird.

I remember the Civil Rights Movement and my complete bafflement at why nicely dressed Black Americans couldn't sit at a lunch counter at Woolworth's.

I remember my grandparents forbidding me to play over at Karen's house. Karen's father was a doctor, she attended the same private college-prep school I attended, and she was (and still is) a concert pianist. I didn't understand until my mother explained that my grandparents (who were raising me for two years of high school while my parents were out of the country) were afraid that I would date Karen's brother or his friends.

Karen is African American.

I remember Martin Luther King being shot by a racist mad-man and wondering why all the good men were being killed.

I remember the reverse-racism of the Black Power Movement which wouldn't permit non-Black students to sit at "their" table at the Student Union. I remember the hostility of Black women to any non-Black woman dating a Black man.

I remember the fear when Detroit burned, when Watts burned. I remember the Rodney King riots and his plea that we should all just get along. Common sense pops up in the strangest places, sometimes.

I remember my disillusionment with society when I took a history course covering African American history:

The Ku Klux Klan reached the peak of its membership in 1925. Between 1882 to 1959, 4,733 people had died at the hands of a lynch mob. The vast majority were Black. The rest were Chinese, Hispanic, Italian and Jews.

In 1939 Roosevelt created the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department, which formally began to prosecute lynchings, although was unable to get a guilty verdict for almost a decade.

In 1946, a mob of white men shot and killed two young African-American couples near Moore's Ford Bridge in Walton County, Georgia 60 miles east of Atlanta. It was the last mass lynching in the United States and shocked the nation, as one of the victims was a young WWII veteran.

The last lynching in the United States was in 1998. James Byrd was a 49-year-old black father of three, who had accepted an early-morning ride home with the three white men. They arbitrarily attacked him and dragged him to his death behind their truck, dumped their victim's mutilated remains and then went to a barbecue.

I have worked with white cops who started as idealists and became racists because the only Black people they ever encountered were pimps and drug dealers who shot their partners. I have also worked with black cops who explained what it was like to grow up in crime-ridden poverty and wonder if today there would be food in the house and grow up seeing your friends die young from street violence and drugs.

In my law school class, 50% of the students were women. One student was Black.

The finest woman trial lawyer in my 'class' at the District Attorney's Office was African American--and she was passed over for promotion in favor of a blonde but syncophatic (and stupid, lazy) white woman.

I remember my own cynicism at the "consent decree" games played by my government employer. A consent decree requires that in order to put an end to a pattern of discrimination (in this County's case, racial discrimination), the department agreed to "affirmative action" hiring--so if there are two jobs available, one MUST go to a minority, oftentimes a Black female with a Hispanic surname, thus fitting three catergories into one person's hiring.

My cynicism blossomed as I saw my office (and others) hire people: a white man, a white woman, a black woman, a Hispanic man, an Asian woman. The two white hires were immediately fast-tracked into career-promoting positions and given high-profile cases and responsible jobs. The minority hires were left at the door, handling the run-of-the-mill misdemeanor cases and minor preliminary hearings--nothing that would get them a quick promotion up the ranks.

I remember being surprised that my step-daughter's generation (at least in the San Francisco area) thought nothing of "interracial dating" -- especially since the children all attended the same schools. No more 'separate but equal' schooling after desegregation, and yes, there are schools that are still heavily white or heavily black depending on the city, but suburban and city kids date other suburban and city kids without much attention to race.

The generation just younger than mine got fed up with questionnaires that asked for "Race" and gave limited choices -- black, white, Asian, Hispanic. They went to court and demanded a choice for mixed-race children, since so many of them felt they should not have to choose between one parent and the other, and they also demanded recognition in their own right.

This is the generation that led Obama to the White House.

Apart from his politics, the Right-Left divide, foreign policy, domestic policy and all those considerations, remember this: in one woman's lifetime, America has reinvented herself, once again becoming a symbol of the progress human beings are capable of making; despite a history of entrenched racism, poverty and officially sanctioned discrimination, today the greatest nation on Earth is led by a man of black and white roots, a man of Christian beliefs and Moslem heritage.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I would like to believe that that day has finally dawned.

Good luck, Mr. President.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Every once in a while, something happens that makes you wonder what you did to get it right as a parent?

My son gave me one of those "somethings" today. Part of his schooling at his special ed high school involves some degree of vocational training. Some of this is extremely basic and is designed less as vocational training than training on how-to-follow-directions-without-debating-them, how-not-to-negotiate-the-task, and showing up on time and cleaning up after one's self.

However, one of his friends is working across town doing something more interesting, so Josh and another friend asked if they could check it out. They went with their teacher and looked at this program, and my son is enthusiastically endorsing it as an alternative to the basic vocational training.

He is a volunteer. Two days a week. Working with the elderly poor of Jerusalem.

He ASKED to do this. C'mon, this is a teenager....hanging out with friends, talking on the cellphone, going to the Mall, playing computer games and similar self-absorbed activities are the hallmarks of adolescence these days. I'm sure the fact that his friend is there is an element, but he called me from the bus and told me that he liked the work and it made him feel as if he was doing something special. He didn't use the word mitzvah but he clearly "got" that helping elderly, poor people was a much better use of his time than what he was doing before.

I'm very, very proud of him. Proud that he hasn't taken the easy way out, proud that he hasn't turned his back on a segment of the population that is often ignored, proud that he is willing to travel across town to help people, proud that he saw a need and feels he can fill it, and in filling it return something to his community by caring for some of the more frail and helpless members of it.

I'm also worried sick that he's taking the bus, but I'm just going to have to put that in G-d's hands and pray....

There is a symmetry here that I like also....one of the career things his mother is proudest of is starting an Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Prosecution Unit that really kicked some criminal butt. Now my kid is looking out for them, albeit in a different way.

Way to go, Josh!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day One of the "Cease-Fire"

13 missiles and 4 mortars from Hamastan into civilian towns and farms.

Yeahhh, another "cease-fire" to "give peace a chance." Here we (fruitlessly) go again....

I'm too tired to post anything thoughtful, but thanks to Jameel and his crew, I found the link to this:

Just in case you were in ANY doubt as to my opinion of HAMAS.

Go to the link and you'll see more political comment about the (lack of) courage, morals and manliness of Hamasnikim who fire from schools, mosques, private homes and cemeteries -- when not hiding in their bunkers (under hospitals).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why Children Die In Gaza

Hit the link above. Watch the videos. He says it better than I can.

Poor baby.

The Islamists insist that when they lose to Israel, it is because they aren't imbued with enough religious righteousness.

The nationalists insist that when they lose to Israel, it is because the West sends better arms to Israel.

Looking at this picture, I have a different theory. HaShem very explicitly made it clear to Abraham and his descendents that child sacrifice was forbidden. Those who embark on a campaign of child sacrifice to advance their agendas are damned.

Our children are in bomb shelters. Their children, their 'sacrifices' are unprotected and told to die for their leaders who are hiding in their reinforced command center under Shifa Hospital. That is, those who haven't fled to Egypt already.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Satire Takes A Bite...

Apart from the MSM, however, people seem to 'get it.' One tongue-in-cheek writer for NRO proffered a "moderate proposal" to cure what Hamas (and the French and all Arab media outlets)mendaciously claim is a "disporportional response:"

1) Request that 50% of Israel's air-to-ground missiles be duds to ensure greater proportionality.

2) Allow Hamas another 1,000 free rocket launches to see if they can catch up with the body count.

3) Have Israeli soldiers congregate in border barracks so that Hamas's random rockets have a better chance of killing military personnel, to ensure it can claim at least a few military targets.

4) Redefine "holocaust" to refer to deaths of terrorists in numbers under 400 to give greater credence to Hamas's current claims.

5) In the interest of fairness, allow Hamas to establish both the date that war is supposed to begin and the date when it must end.

6) Send Israeli military advisers to Hamas to improve the accuracy of their missiles.

7) Take down the barriers to return to Hamas a fair chance of getting suicide bombers back inside Israel.

(Thank you, Victor.)

"Disproportional" is actually defined by International Law, and this ain't it.

Let's keep in mind, also, the sheer hypocrisy of invoking international law by the people who are the most flagrant violators of it:

Did you harbor doubts about Hamas using civilians as human shields, check out the very detailed map the Hamasnikim left behind in their flight:

Aussie Dave who along with Jameel , has done excellent live-blogging (go there for updates) explains:

[The map]shows how Hamas uses an entire neighborhood, rigging it with explosive devices and putting the entire civilian population at great risk. The map shows the al-Tatraa neighborhood in Gaza City divided into three areas of operation (red, blue and green). The dots on the map indicate where Hamas operatives had planted a variety of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), with the colors indicating the type of IED. Additional marks show sniper positions next to mosques. Next to the entrance of the el-Tawid mosque near to Shauuda Plaza at the top left of the map there is a sniper posting with marking indicating the direction of fire marked on the map. At the bottom center of the map there is a gas station where Hamas planted an IED which, if activated, could cause a very large explosion throughout the neighborhood.

An overall study of the map demonstrates how Hamas deliberately uses civilians, using them as live targets and hiding behind them; they plant IEDs at the enterances of homes, they booby trap homes and they use places of worship, all with no regard to collateral damage or civilian lives.

Yet, safe in his armchair, in a bunker somewhere in Damascus, Mashaal, Leader of Hamas, pontificates that the fight will go on. A shame he's not in Gaza where he could experience first-hand the effect of his jihadi, genocidal policies.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

He Said WHAT??

This just in: "The Gaza war has killed the last chance for settlement and negotiations with Israel, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told Al-Jazeera on Saturday."

Great sound-byte. No doubt it will get great press all over the MSM while this goes unmentioned:

Article Thirteen of the Hamas Charter

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors

Gaza War or not, Mashaal and Hamas have never had any intention of making peace, as their Charter attests. But, hey, actions speak louder than words:

What is this woman doing in the picture? She is on the ground trying to protect her children from the incoming missile from Hamastan. They don't have time to make it to cover.

How many times has this happened?

THIS many times:

And I don't have a graph for 2008 yet.....

Yeah, a shame about those peace negotiations Hamas never intended to have....which is why we're in Hamastan in the first place!

Friday, January 09, 2009

SkyNews Beats BBC For Bias

SkyNews has been on all afternoon as I got ready for Shabbat. You would never know, if your were a European watching this channel, that Hamas was even involved in the war in Gaza.

There is almost no mention of Hamas in their broadcasts. There is lots of speculation about what plumes of smoke over Gaza may mean (some of them mean fuel depots--clue: black oil-based smoke--and some of them mean missile storage --clue: multiple secondary explosions.) Lots of unverified accusations against Israel by "Palestinian spokesmen" who are never identified. When face-time is absolutely necessary, some Palestine pimp is pushed in front of the cameras.

The most damning indictment of British "news coverage" isn't the hysterical accusations, the blatant bias but the sheer factual inaccuracy of things easily verified.

Today, SkyNews repeatedly stated that "Israel refused to accept the U.N. proposal for a cease-fire." This was stated overtly by journalists in the field and by anchors in the station. It ran as a ticker below all the other news stories of the day.

What SkyNews said only once, and never repeated again in the three hours afterwards, is that Hamas rejected the U.N. resolution. First.

Hamas also opened fire on Israel, launching missiles yesterday during the "humanitarian truce," missile crews no doubt quite secure in the knowledge that they could go to their stations and launch with impunity.

And again, today . Of course, today it's not such a surprise after yesterday's truce violation, and after watching Hamas fire missiles all morning at Israeli towns and cities.

Hamas categorically rejected Thursday's UNSC call for a cease-fire, telling the al-Arabiya satellite channel that the group "is not interested in it because it does not meet the demands of the movement."

This got virtually no coverage on Sky News, and any talk at all about the cease-fire violations were tagged solely to Israel. Nothing was said about the missile launches that have hit Israel all day; smoke rising from Gaza was attributed to Israeli air-strikes (according to the alway-anonymous "Palestinian spokesmen") but oddly enough, not one journalist seemed to own a watch. What blew up in Gaza this afternoon blew up after the 3-hour humanitarian window ended, but that didn't stop British "journalists" from asserting on their newscasts that Israel violated the "truce."

Needless to say, no mention whatsoever was made of the more than 30 medium and long-range rocket attacks launched by Hamas in response to the UN call for a cease-fire.

But "the Jews control the media" and "Israel manipulates the media." Yeah, right.

Just to sign off for Shabbat, I thought I would include a photo from Gaza, "the most densely populated place in the world."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Taghreed El Khodary in Gaza

Taghreed El Khodary is a journalist for the New York Times who is currently in Gaza, which has been her 'beat' for a while now. She has written a number of articles about Gaza during her tenure there, and some of the best eyewitness accounts from the Palestinian angle are now coming from her reportage. Tonight she was interviewed on France 24.

She described the suffering of the ordinary people of Gaza during this war, and how the children were traumatized, how they cried incessantly and could not sleep; how desperate people felt, the despair about living under enemy fire that enveloped them. Her heart-wrenching account of the loss of one girl's leg, as well as the casualties among other ordinary people, is well understood here.

Welcome to Sderot.

Sderot is a town which has lived under constant rocket and mortar attack for years. Sderot's children cry incessantly, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, have constant nightmares and cannot sleep. Parents are afraid to let their children play outside for fear that their child might not make it to a shelter when the Red Alert warning system of an incoming missile strike sounds.

In Sderot, you have 15 seconds to take cover.

Adults can run that fast. Children, distractable, loud, busily playing, have all too often not heard the warning sirens in time, or else heard them but in playing allowed themselves to stray too far from the nearest shelter.

I watched a video of one of those alerts the other night. In it, the sirens sounded and people ran for their lives -- all but one. The one exception was an elderly woman, nicely dressed for an errand that took her outside of her home, limping along with quiet dignity, leaning on her three-toed cane.

She couldn't run. Age and infirmity made it impossible. So she walked quietly, in dignity and no doubt in both faith and fear, hoping that this was not her day to die, blown into shredded meat by Hamas's attack.

Children and adults here know all about losing limbs to enemy fire. Ask Osher Twito, age 8, whose dream of being a soccer player came to an end on February 8, 2008. The missile alert sounded, and the family was running for cover when one of the enemy rockets landed about two meters from them. Another rocket landed close to a residential building. This was only one of a number of rockets fired at Sderot from Hamastan that day, three of which exploded in the center of Sderot, a residential town with no military value whatsoever.

Contrary to what I have heard from and read in blogs and the MSM, Israelis are not without empathy for the ordinary people of Gaza. Before the Intifada, before the suicide bombings, car bombings, shellings and shootings, Gazans worked in Gush Katif and Israel proper. Commuting from Gaza City to Ashdod to work was commonplace.

But that empathy is tempered by our collective knowledge that once again, the world has stood by and said nothing, done nothing, and not even bothered reporting much about Hamas's atrocities against Israel's civilians.

The political decision to take the war to Gaza, instead of allowing Hamas to murder us incrementally, is not a wildly popular decision, but rather one that is accepted with "Ma la'asot?"

What else was there to do?

**The pictures are the aftermath of Palestinian rocket attacks on Ashkelon and Sderot. The shoe belongs to a toddler who was critically wounded by the rocket shrapnel (and no, those don't look like combat boots to me, either); the crying child is not Palestinian--she is an Israeli child wounded in a Kassam attack.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

About These UN Schools in Gaza....

Checking out the web about the UN schools in Gaza, I found this illuminating item:

EXCLUSIVE-Gaza headmaster was Islamic Jihad "rocket-maker"

RAFAH, Gaza Strip, May 5 (Reuters) - By day, Awad al-Qiq was a respected science teacher and headmaster at a United Nations school in the Gaza Strip. By night, Palestinian militants say, he built rockets for Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli air strike that killed the 33-year-old last week (note this was last May, not during the current conflict) also laid bare his apparent double life and embarrassed a U.N. agency which has long had to rebuff Israeli accusations that it has aided and abetted guerrillas fighting the Jewish state.

In interviews with Reuters, students and colleagues, as well as U.N. officials, denied any knowledge of Qiq's work with explosives. And his family denied he had any militant links at all, despite a profusion of Islamic Jihad posters at his home.

But militant leaders allied to the enclave's ruling Hamas group hailed him as a martyr who led Islamic Jihad's "engineering unit" -- its bomb makers. They fired a salvo of improvised rockets into Israel in response to his death.

Qiq's body was wrapped in an Islamic Jihad flag at his funeral, pictorial posters in his honour still bedeck his family home this week, and a handwritten notice posted on the metal gate at the entrance to the school declared that Qiq, "the chief leader of the engineering unit", would now find "paradise".

At the bombed-out workshop 3 km (2 miles) from the school, damaged cars can be seen through now-locked gates. A 35-year-old man who gave his name as Abu Mohammed said he had found Qiq dying inside after helicopters fired a missile at the building.

"He was still alive, but he died shortly after," he said.

Qiq's body was wrapped in an Islamic Jihad flag at his funeral, pictorial posters in his honour still bedeck his family home this week, and a handwritten notice posted on the metal gate at the entrance to the school declared that Qiq, "the chief leader of the engineering unit", would now find "paradise".

That poster was removed soon after Reuters visited the Rafah Prep Boys School, run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. Staff there said on Monday that UNRWA officials had told them not to discuss Qiq's activities.


Yeah, I'll bet they told everyone not to talk about it. Wouldn't want to make UNWRA look like they aid and abet a terrorist organization, would we?


All these bleating humanitarians who've been so noticeably absent during the last year while Hamas was ratcheting up the rocket fire on a million Israelis (yes, Virginia, that's how far a Grad can reach) have all failed to condemn one of the single worst acts of these jihadi terrorists: booby-trapped dolls.

Apart from suicide-bomber squads, booby-trapped mosques, homes and schools, weapons caches in schools and hospitals, an underground warren of escape and/or ambush tunnels (all of which are not unexpected), they are planting dolls with explosives in them.

Where is the IRC? Where is B'Tzelem? Where is Doctors Without Borders? Where are all those organizations rushing to condemn Israel for responding to Hamas's rocket attacks?

Or are they all either too stupid or too brainwashed to figure out the obvious: WHO is more likely to pick up a doll lying in a house or yard? An IDF paratrooper? Or a six-year-old Palestinian girl?

Human Shields and World Silence


Israel shells near UN school, killing at least 30
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writers

The Israeli army said its soldiers came under fire from militants hiding in the school and responded. It accused Gaza's Hamas rulers of "cynically" using civilians as human shields. Residents confirmed the account, saying militants were seen staging attacks from the area.

The army said two Hamas militants — Imad Abu Askar and Hasan Abu Askar — were among the dead.

Two neighborhood residents confirmed the Israeli account, saying a group of militants fired mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets. Israel then opened fire.

The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared for their safety, said the Abu Askar brothers were known low-level Hamas militants.


Hama, elected by the Palestinians in the hopes of being "less corrupt" than Fatah, have this week proved themselves more morally corrupt than anyone expected. Proof that being "religious" and being moral are not necessarily the same things:

Israel's notifications to civilians in Gaza to leave populated locations before they are bombed are cynically used by Hamas for organizing human shields, a new study says.

The study by the Terror and Intelligence Information Center shows that when the IDF warns Arab civilians of an impending attack in their neighborhood, Hamas uses the information in order to organize the civilians into human shields in the hope of protecting the targets from the IDF's wrath.

Hamas's de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and other top terrorists, including Nizar Riyan, who was killed in the course of Operation Cast Lead, have publicly boasted of using the warnings as “intelligence” and then using civilians, including women and children, as human shields to protect the homes of terrorists.

The tactic is a “win-win” for Hamas: If the IDF cancels its planned attack on a terror target, the terrorists receive a respite. If the IDF attacks despite the human shields, it can then be portrayed as a killer of women and children. The tactic was inspired by the experience of Hizbullah is using such methods against Israel, the study determines.

Use of civilians as human shields and purposely firing at Israel from densely populated areas is a war crime, the researchers say. Yet terror units that specialize in launching rockets and mortars often carry out the launches next to or even from inside civilian residential buildings, schools and mosques.


...and nary a peep from "human rights organizations" or NGOs about this exploitation of the civilian population.

Israel has spent years, out of necessity, building bomb shelters, safe rooms and early warning systems. We've had years of practice at taking cover.

Hamas has devoted its resources to buying Grads, Kalishnikovs (the M16s they got for free from the US, via Fatah) bomb-making materials, and other material with which to make war.

Despite Hamas's profoundly racist and jihadist ideology, calling for war and the extermination of the Jewish and Christian populations here, not one agurot has been spent by this Moslem 'Brotherhood' in building public bomb shelters, safe rooms or warning systems for their people.

All offense, no defense. Why? The study above makes it plain: if civilians die, its a PR victory for Hamas; if civilian presence deters Israeli fighters, then its a tactical victory for Hamas.

The leaders of Gaza could care less about their people. That's why they're pilfering supplies from the civilian population, leaving them without sufficient food and medicine despite truckloads of aid that are pouring into the Strip.

And the very biased MSM blithely goes along castigating Israel for defending itself, and giving Hamas a free pass for its atrocities and human rights violations. It isn't Israel manipulating the media--the media has wedded itself so firmly to its own biased narrative that it cannot divorce spin from reality.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gaza To Be Annexed By Egypt?

This in from another internet site:

Diplomatic sources disclose that Washington, Cairo, Amman and Jerusalem are hammering out the lines of a ceasefire deal that will be contingent on the state of combat in the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem accepts the proposition that the ceasefire lines will follow the lines of combat reached in the Gaza Strip in the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Egyptian and Jordanian forces will then enter the Gaza Strip.

Prime minister Ehud Olmert told visiting European Union ministers on Monday, January 5th, that diplomacy is in progress to find an "international blanket for damping down the blaze in Gaza." He did not elaborate, but, according to sources in Washington, he was referring to Egypt as the prime mover in a ceasefire solution – not the United States. (This only seems fair since Hamas is really an offshoot of Egypt's Moslem Brotherhood, many of whom were exiled by Nasser to Gaza in order to avoid death sentences in Egypt. Talk about chickens coming home to roost...)

Alongside the overt diplomatic drive for a ceasefire, Washington is quietly moving ahead on a package in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt – which is managing the Hamas track – and German chancellor Angela Merkel. Israel will hold the lines established on the day the ceasefire went into effect for a two-three month trial period. Egyptian and Jordanian units will remain in the enclave until a pre-set date. An international mechanism will prevent Hamas from rearming. (I would really like a little more detail on this last point....)

Egyptian intelligence minister General Omar Suleiman outlined this deal for the Hamas delegation, headed by operations chief, Imad Al Alami, which arrived in Cairo Monday night, after finally agreeing to discuss a truce. It was clear to both sides that he was dictating honorable terms for a Hamas capitulation, as Israeli forces entered the third and most dangerous phase of their Gaza offensive, the entry into Gaza's densely built-up areas.

Tuesday saw heavy Israeli-Hamas street battles in Gaza City after a night of heavy Israeli aerial and naval bombardment. Israel forces engaged Hamas in Khan Younis in the south and hit the southern arms smuggling tunnels of the Philadelphi route and Rafah by air and land.

Hamas attacked the Israeli troops holding the Netzarim belt cutting Gaza City off from the south at Deir al Balakh.

This phase of Israel's Operation Cast Lead follows Phase 1, the heavy aerial bombardment of Hamas military and government infrastructure, and Phase 2, the ground, tank and artillery incursion on Jan. 1, which split the 360-sq km Gaza Strip into three segments.

The outcome of the toughest challenge of the ongoing Phase 3 for flushing out Hamas operatives mingling with urban populations and reducing their rocket-firing capabilities will determine the ceasefire lines for ending the conflict.


Meanwhile Hamas was still able to keep up its constant rocket and missile fire by Tuesday afternoon, January 6th (Some of which was launched from a local school.

Israel's Channel 10 tonight showed the mortar fire from that same school. While I would like to think that all these human rights organizations and concerned citizens of the world yapping away on (mostly British) television would be outraged by Hamas using civilians as human shields for their ammo dumps, artillery positions and rocket launchers, I am delusional.....of course they are only upset that Palestinians died, not that Israelis have been dying for years from this war of attrition. )

So Hamas terrorists fired mortar bombs from the area next to the school towards the Israeli forces, who naturally returned fire towards the source of the shooting. This is a war. This is a legitimate action under the rules of engagement in warfare. Shoot at me, I shoot back at you. Even though the Israeli return fire landed outside the school, a series of explosions followed, wounding and killing the people inside and around the building. Why did return fire produce such explosions? Because Hamas stored munitions and explosives in the school building! Just as they have previously stored rockets in mosques.

Intelligence indicates that among those killed were Immad Abu Iskar and Hassan Abu Iskar, two known Hamas mortar crewmen. Not everyone was a civilian. As a matter of fact, probably quite a few of them were armed Hamas fighters. Hiding among the women and children. Cowards.

Diplomatic sources are saying that the German chancellor's involvement in the US initiative has left French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his 48-hour humanitarian ceasefire proposal more or less standing. In any case, it was rejected by Israel except for his proposal to open a corridor for wounded Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip for treatment.

But trucks ARE lined up outside of Keren Shalom crossing to bring humanitarian supplies into Gaza. Unfortunately, despite this daily trucking of supplies, there are still serious shortages ocassioned by Hamas's bad habit of snatching the supplies and not sharing them with the local populace. Nonetheless, Israel is coordinating with Palestinians to open a humanitarian corridor from Gaza City to Kerem Shalom - located near the Egyptian border - to enable the trucks to travel from southern Gaza to the north. Yesterday, a bus picked up some 20 Palestinian workers from Gaza City and transported them to the Kerem Shalom crossing, where they operated the forklifts and unloaded the supplies transferred into Gaza. Fifty trucks were then allowed into the crossing and a humanitarian corridor was opened in coordination with commanders inside Gaza to enable the supplies to reach Gaza City, where it is to be distributed to different areas in the Strip.

In addition to the supplies, the Defense Ministry also began laying a pipeline from Kerem Shalom on Monday in order to deliver fuel into the Gaza Strip. Fuel is usually transferred via the Nahal Oz fuel depot, which could not be operated on Monday due to terrorism threats and shelling. Well, it's war -- but you would think Hamas would want fuel, even so...

I can't vouch for the reliability of this supposed diplomatic move to put Egyptian troops in Gaza. Wait and see. It would bring quiet -- Egypt loathes Hamas.


Nevermind......Hamas announced today that they want never-ending war with Israel:

Despite mounting international pressure for an end to hostilities between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, Hamas declared on Wednesday that it would not accept any permanent cease-fire with Israel. According to the deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, the group would not talk about a permanent cease-fire so long as Israel continued its "occupation," and would instead continue the "resistance."

It only remains to be said that Hamas considers the "occupation" to be the entire State of Israel, hence there can never be a permanent cease-fire. And here you thought it was only about Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank....silly you....

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Difference of Opinion

I don't read only Israeli blogs. I read as much and from as varied a number of sources as I can. One of my favorite people is Mohamed, who is one of the more intellectually curious, charming, intelligent and decent writers in the Middle Eastern circuit of English-language blogs.

Despite my respect for him, and my recognition that he truly does want peace in the Middle East, I am saddened and chagrined to find that like many in the blogosphere, he and I seem to have such diametrically opposite views of what is happening in Gaza, and how it has come to this point, that I don't know that anything I can say can persuade him (or others) to see how many Israelis feel, just as he and many in the Arab world cannot understand how Israel can do what we are doing in Gaza right now.

Some chasms perhaps cannot be bridged except by time.

I was struck by something that he and others have repeatedly written: "Gaza is the most densely populated place on the globe." This has been offered recently as a defense for the Hamas practice of using civilians and civilian infrastructure as shields. Rockets launched from atop schools; rockets siloed in civilian yards; Kassams fired from people's orchards and courtyards; rockets stored by the ton in mosques and under hospitals.

Gaza is NOT the mostly densely populated place on the globe. Not even close:

27,209 people/sq km

24,000 people/sq km

Tel Aviv
7,445 people/sq km
(385,000 people, 51.8 sq km)

Hong Kong
6,352 people/sq km

6,252 people/sq km

5,100 people/sq km

Tel Aviv metro area including suburbs
5,050 people/sq km
(2.3 million people, 453 sq km)

4,900 people/sq km

4,750 people/sq km

4,300 people/sq km

Gaza Strip per CIA projection
4,270 people/sq km
(1,537,269 population July 2008, 360 sq km)

Gaza Strip per George Galloway, a British Palestine-pimp
4,167 people/sq km
(1.5 million people, 360 sq km)

Gaza Strip per Daoud Kuttab, a respected Palestinian academic currently at Princeton
3,822 people/sq km

The numbers for London, Tel Aviv metro area, Moscow, Tokyo/Yokohama and Warsaw are from the City Mayors site.

More distressing to me than this oft-repeated justification for Hamas's actions is other disinformation that seems to have taken on the aspects of Media Gospel.

(1) The people of Gaza are under seige and starving because Israel won't allow humanitarian aid in.

Hardly. According to France 2, hardly a front for the Israeli government, food warehouses are full and just recently the World Food Program informed Israel that it would cease shipment of food to Gaza because the warehouses there are at full capacity, with enough food to last two weeks.

And its not like Israel hasn't tried: during a one-day period alone – Dec. 31– Israel facilitated the transport of 29 truckloads of food, including 15 truckloads of flour, into Gaza. Even while Hamas was firing rockets and mortars into Israeli civilian townships during the fictitious "ceasefire," Israel facilitated the delivery of 2,500 tons (delivered on 93 trucks) of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medication through the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal. Since the beginning of the offensive into Gaza, about 6,500 tons of aid (179 truckloads) have been transferred into Gaza at the request of the international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. There have been shipments of humanitarian supplies into Gaza all along. What Israel will NOT ship in are things that can be made into rockets (pipes, chemicals, etc.) There have been interruptions of humanitarian aid--sometimes in response to Hamas rocket fire into Israel proper, and other times when Hamas has ambushed the delivery trucks at the crossings.

(2) Gaza has no medical and other aid supplies to help the injured.

Since Sunday over 330 trucks carrying food, medicine and medical supplies had been allowed into the Gaza Strip despite the daily rocket barrages against Israel. At last check, I think Israel is supplying more medical aid to Gaza than Egypt is--and Egypt has a border with Gaza also, which everyone seems to overlook. Israel has also facilitated the transfer of 10 ambulances and 2,000 blood units to Gaza, and has approved a Palestinian request to allow three Gazans wounded in the fighting into Israel for medical treatment. The Israeli liaison with the Gazan medical personnel stated that the Palestinians told him that there were 2,200 beds available for the wounded in Gaza.

"We asked if they wanted to send us more, and they said they were managing," Moshe Levi said. "In recent years, the hospital system has improved in Gaza, and today there are hospitals in every district in the Strip."

What condition those hospitals are in tonight is problematic, but since Hamas officials are using them as hiding places, the hospitals are probably still operational and safe from attack.

(3) Israel has closed Gaza's borders to force the Palestinians to surrender to Israeli demands.

Most Israelis could care less who runs Gaza as long as Gaza leaves us alone.

Unfortunately, Gaza has embarked on a career of warfare with us that stretches back to at least 1956. Most recently, the warfare heated up with the Al-Aqsa Intifada (known in Israel as the Oslo War, in honor of the fraud called the Oslo Accords).

We didn't close GAZA'S borders -- we closed OUR borders. We share a border with Hamastan--its not like we want the door open so they can pop over to kill us when the urge grabs them.

Why would we not want to open the ground crossings and sea lanes and give them unfettered access to Israel?

Because of this:

Nov 23, 2000 - Sgt. Samar Hussein, 19, of Hurfeish, was killed when Palestinian snipers opened fire at soldiers patrolling the border fence near the Erez Crossing.

Dec 28, 2000 - Capt. Gad Marasha, 30, of Kiryat Arba and Border Police Sgt.-Maj. Yonatan Vermullen, 29, of Ben-Shemen, were killed when called to dismantle a road-side bomb near the Sufa Crossing in the Gaza Strip. The bomb was dismantled, but another bomb exploded, killing both and wounding two other soldiers. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Nov 26, 2001 - A Palestinian suicide bomber killed himself and lightly wounded two Border Policemen at the Erez Crossing point in the Gaza Strip. The bomber joined Palestinian workers waiting to be cleared for entry into Israel. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Apr 12, 2002 - Border policeman St.-Sgt. David Smirnoff, 22, of Ashdod was killed when a Palestinian gunman opened fire near the Erez Crossing, in the Gaza Strip, killing one and injuring another four Israelis. The terrorist killed one and injured three Palestinian workers in the same shooting spree. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Apr 20, 2002 - Border Policeman St.-Sgt. Uriel Bar-Maimon, 21 of Ashkelon was killed in an exchange of fire near the Erez industrial park in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces pursued the Palestinian gunman and killed him. An explosive belt was found on his body, indicating an intent to commit a suicide bombing inside Israel. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.

Apr 15, 2003 - Zachar Rahamin Hanukayev, 39, of Sderot and Ahmed Salah Kara, 20, of Shuafat in northern Jerusalem were killed and four Israelis were wounded when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at the Karni industrial zone crossing in the Gaza Strip. The gunman was killed by security personnel. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

June 8, 2003 - Four IDF soldiers were killed and four reserve soldiers were wounded when Palestinian terrorists wearing IDF uniforms opened fire on an IDF outpost near the Erez checkpoint and industrial zone in the Gaza Strip. Three terrorists were killed by IDF soldiers. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad issued a joint statement claiming responsibility for the attack.

Jan 14, 2004 - Four Israelis - three soldiers and one civilian - were killed and 10 wounded when a female suicide bomber detonated a bomb at the Erez Crossing in the Gaza Strip, at the Palestinian workers' crossing terminal in the Erez industrial zone, where magnetic entering cards are issued. Hamas and the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed joint responsibility for the attack. The terminal was severely damaged, and needed to be rebuilt. As a result, Palestinians were not able to enter the industrial zone for several days.

Feb 26, 2004 - Sgt.-Maj.(res.) Amir Zimmerman, 25, of Kfar Monash was killed and two other soldiers wounded when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire near the Erez Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The terrorists were killed by IDF forces. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

March 2004, four terrorists traveling in three vehicles (two of which were rigged with explosives) attempted to kill Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers at the Erez Crossing.

Mar 6, 2004 - Two Palestinian policemen were killed when four terrorists traveling in three vehicles rigged with explosives, including jeeps camouflaged as IDF vehicles attempted to kill Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers at the Erez Crossing. Two of the vehicles exploded on the Palestinian side of the crossing, and four terrorists were killed. There were no IDF casualties. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the military wing of Fatah all claimed responsibility.

Mar 14, 2004 - Ten people were killed and 16 wounded in a double suicide bombing at Ashdod Port. The terrorists infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip via the Karni Crossing while hidden in a double cell wall installed in a cargo container departing the Gaza Strip to Israel. Hamas and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack.

Apr 17, 2004 - Border Policeman Sgt. Kfir Ohayon, 20, of Eilat was killed, three others wounded when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the Erez Crossing. Hamas and Fatah claimed joint responsibility for the attack.

In two different incidents, in April 2004 and May 2004, explosive belts used in suicide bombings were found hidden in a consignment of clothes departing the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, and uncovered during the security checks. The belts did not contain metal parts in order to avoid the security checks.

In July 2004, a Palestinian worker who tried to smuggle six hand grenades hidden in a jug with pickles was stopped in the Tufah Crossing, used by Palestinian workers on their way to work in Gush Katif.

In August 2004, a Palestinian terrorist wearing explosive underwear was arrested at the Erez Crossing.

Sept 2004 - A female terrorist sent by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades infrastructure in the Gaza Strip to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel was arrested after entering Israel for medical treatment in an Israeli hospital.

Dec 7, 2004 - St.-Sgt. Nadav Kudinsky, 20, of Kiryat Gat of the Oketz canine unit was killed by a bomb, along with his dog, when a booby-trapped chicken coup exploded northwest of the Karni Corssing in the Gaza Strip. Four soldiers were wounded in the exchange of fire while evacuating him. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Dec 12, 2004 - Five IDF soldiers were killed and five wounded in an attack on an IDF post located near the Rafah terminal post, followed by the infiltration of the post by two terrorists who opened fire and activated another explosive device. Hamas and the Fatah Hawks claimed responsibility for the attack.

Dec 20, 2004 - A Hamas member who entered Israel through the Erez Crossing using medical documents was arrested; he planned carry out a suicide bombing.

Jan 5, 2005 - A Palestinian gunman infiltrated Erez via the Palestinian tunnel that leads to the Israeli terminal, activated an explosive device that created a hole in the tunnel's wall and entered the courtyard connecting the Israeli and Palestinian posts. The gunman was killed in exchanges of fire that took place at the scene.The Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

Jan 13, 2005 - Six Israeli civilians were murdered and five Israeli civilians were wounded in a combined terrorist attack carried out in the compound of the Karni Crossing. Three terrorists infiltrated into the compound via a hole which was created in a wall after the terrorists activated an explosive device which was placed next to a door at the Palestinian side of the crossing. The civilians were killed as result of the explosion, and after the terrorists hurled grenades and opened fire at the civilians working at Karni. Hamas and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed joint responsiblity for the attack.

In January 2005, a terrorist attack was thwarted in the community of Ganei Tal in Gush Katif, after a Palestinian gunman infiltrated the greenhouses of the community via the area of the Tufah Crossing used by Palestinian workers on their way to work in Gush Katif.

Jun 20, 2005 - 21-year-old Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss was arrested at the Erez Crossing, after attempting to smuggle an explosives belt through the crossing with the intent of carrying out a suicide bombing attack.

These attacks occured over and over at border posts between Israel and Gaza. It is akin to Mexico deciding it wants to own Texas, and repeatedly attacking the border crossings between the US and Mexico.

In August 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, turning over the entire territory to the Palestinians in response to the international community's insistence, and the Palestinian insistence, that it was this "occupation" of Gaza which thwarted peace.

BUT, after Gaza was freed of Israel's presence:

June 25, 2006: Gilad Shalit was captured in a cross border raid on the crossing Kerem Shalom from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists and has been held hostage by Hamas since, without contact with the International Red Cross, in violation of the Geneva Convention which the Palestinians are always invoking on their own behalf.

Sept 28, 2006 - A member of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) who had received an entry permit into Israel on humanitarian grounds was arrested at the Erez Crossing. He received the permit due to medical problems and planned to use it to establish terrorist cells in the West Bank.

May 30, 2007 - Two female suicide bombers at the Erez Crossing who received authentic entry permits into Israel using false medical information were arrested. They planned to carry out a double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and in Netanya.

These attempts at mass murder of Israelis were not in response to the "blockade" of Gaza -- because there wasn't one! The embargo of Gaza began with the Hamas-Fatah civil war which broke out in June, 2007 wherein Hamas seized power militarily by killing its Fatah opposition.

It also meant that the more moderate Fatah Party, which was a party to prior peace efforts with Israel, and which recognized Israel's right to exist, was suddenly supplanted by a jihadi oligarchy whose main platform was Jewish genocide and the replacement of Israel (and other Arab states, by the way) with a single, unified Islamic State which would wage jihad against the rest of the world.

It also meant that Hamas was now in charge of the border crossings, instead of Fatah.

We closed those crossings, not wanting to facilitate more committed mass murderer's entry into Israel.

Apr 9, 2008 - Oleg Lipson, 37, and Lev Cherniak, 53, both of Beersheba, were killed when Palestinian terrorists, after firing a salvo of mortars at the Nahal Oz area, penetrated the fuel terminal and opened fire on the civilian employees who were there to supply Gaza's Palestinians with fuel.

Apr 16, 2008 - Three IDF soldiers - two from the Givati Brigade and one tracker (Sgt. Menhash al-Banyat, Sgt. Matan Ovdati, Sgt. David Papian) - were killed in a confrontation with armed Palestinian gunmen approaching the Gaza security fence south of the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. Three other soldiers were wounded.

Apr 17, 2008 - An IDF force thwarted an attempt by three Palestinian gunmen to infiltrate Israel near the Kerem Shalom border. The Nahal Oz fuel terminal was forced to close again after Palestinian snipers fired at the terminal, which is the supply point to which Israel brings fuel for the Palestinians.

Apr 19, 2008 - Suicide bombing attack: Three explosive-laden vehicles, two disguised as military jeeps and an armored vehicle, approached under heavy morning fog the Kerem Shalom central crossing for supplies through which approximately 200 humanitarian aid trucks enter per week. Terrorists triggered the explosives in the two jeeps, wounding 13 IDF soldiers. Four terrorists were killed in the incident; their attempts to detonate the third vehicle foiled. The bombing attack was combined with a barrage of 15 mortar shells fired at the area.

Apr 28, 2008 - Two mortar bombs land on the Kerem Shalom Crossing, forcing its closure. The Palestinians promptly complain that Israel "has closed the borders and we are under a blockade."

May 4, 2008 - A mortar bomb lands on the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, which is closed following the attack. The Palestinians promptly complain that Israel has deprived them of fuel.

May 5, 2008 - Two mortar bombs land on the Karni Crossing and one on the Erez Crossing. The crossings are closed, and the Palestinians promptly complain that Israel has blockaded their borders.

May 6, 2008 - A mortar bomb lands on the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, which is then closed because it is under fire. The Palestinians complain about not getting their fuel.

May 22, 2008 - A Palestinian bomber blew up an explosives-laden truck on the Palestinian side of the Erez Crossing on the Israel-Gaza Strip border early Thursday morning. The driver was the only casualty in the attempted attack. As the truck approached the border, other terrorists fired mortar shells at the crossing. The explosion ripped a hole in a pedestrian passageway leading out of the Erez terminal and into Gaza, which was empty because of the early hour (6:45 am). Had it been later in the day, it would have butchered Palestinian civilians from Gaza. Shortly after the explosion, an IAF helicopter fired a missile at a nearby jeep which was accompanying the exploding truck, killing one of the terrorists who apparently planned to use the jeep to kidnap soldiers or to penetrate across the border after the explosion. The Erez Crossing was closed until the damage was repaired.

June 4, 2008 - Palestinians fired mortars at the Nahal Oz fuel depot, forcing the early cessation of pumping of fuel and gas to Gaza. A Palestinian worker critically wounded was transfered to Israel for treatment. Of course, Hamas complained that Israel was blockading its fuel supplies.

Israel controls its OWN borders. Israel protects its own people. The fact that Hamas & Co. have ceaselessly launched attacks against Israel, tried to penetrate our borders, tried repeatedly to kill our people, and according to the Hamas Charter, are intent on wiping out Israel and the Jews who live here, means we do NOT want to open our borders to them.

There is a price for attempted genocide. That price is international isolation, embargo and now war.

(4) Israel is engaged in a "massacre" of the Palestinian people.

On December 31st, the United Nations, hardly friendly to Israel, stated that 64 of the 374 Gaza fatalities -- or 17 percent -- are civilians. Hamas itself, on January 4th, admitted that the majority of the people killed in Gaza are fighters from its own ranks.

People intent on "massacre" don't drop leaflets ahead of time (in Arabic) warning people to get out of their building because Hamas has stockpiled rockets in the basement, so move because we're going to blow it to smithereens.

People intent on "massacre" don't SMS the residents of a house to warn them of incoming bombs.

There is something surreal about getting SMS from the Enemy:

Can you imagine? There you are, talking with your spouse about when this is ever going to end, and the phone rings -- and some Israeli guy, in Arabic, instant-messages: "You've got 5 minutes to get out because we're coming to bomb your building -- Yallah!"....of course, Hamas has also been SMS'ing Israelis as well, with such cheery messages as "Your doom awaits you" and "Run because we will destroy you!"

Note also that in June of 2005, the International Red Cross extimated that 550 people were wounded and 118 killed in the Hamas-Fatah civil war. Other numbers provided online indicate that 120 combatants and 41 non-combatants.

I didn't hear Hamas or the Arab League or the Palestinians or the UN screaming about a "massacre" when it was Hamas-Arabs killing Fatah-Arabs.

It's late. I'm tired. Like many, I've been glued to the internet and the television for days and running on little sleep. Like many, I have friends in harm's way, and friends who have family in harm's way.

Mohamed and I don't watch the same television; we don't speak the same language or hear the same news; we don't share similar historical vantage points because of our differences in age and background. I'm sure he is as baffled, frustrated and perhaps even angry at my inability to comprehend his point of view as I am taken aback at his seeming inability to grasp Israeli fears.

I cannot reduce this conflict to "Palestinians good-Israelis evil" which seems to be the mantra of many. I live here, and to us Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and all those who call for wiping Am Yisrael off the face of the earth ARE an existential threat. We once believed that no civilized people would exterminate another. We were proved wrong by the Germans.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

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