Thursday, May 24, 2018

Another Week in Israel's History

A guest post from Harris Zvi Green http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/another-week-in-israels-history/ 


The world is up in arms (over the 62 Gazans killed). Human Rights forums – the same forums currently taking a rain-check on the Syrian genocide – are beside themselves. Erdogan is threatening anything that moves. South Africa recalled her ambassador for consultations. The Europeans are demanding explanations. The media is castigating Israel for using “disproportionate means” to defend its territorial integrity and the armchair experts are insisting that Israel must certainly have some magic technology to protect her borders from those wishing to murder its citizens. Everybody who has something to say is saying it. Nobody wants to be left out. 
Neither do I.  So let’s consider the facts.
• In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew its armed forces and civilian presence from Gaza and returned to the pre-1967 internationally recognized border.
• The territory – supposedly a part of the proposed two state solution – is governed by Hamas, an acknowledged and accomplished terror organization with a track record to prove it.
• Since achieving its “independence”, Gaza has initiated three major military confrontations with Israel. Even during the relatively peaceful interludes between these confrontations, thousands of rockets fired from Gaza continued to rain down on civilian targets in Southern Israel.
• In order to limit the free flow of arms from Iran to Gaza, Israel and Egypt imposed a naval blockade on Gaza. This blockade was deemed legal by the UN appointed Palmer Commission. In the words of the Commission: “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”
• Gaza is apparently threatened with a humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, its rulers have accumulated an impressive arsenal of missiles and invested millions of dollars to create an infrastructure of terror tunnels to enable commando attacks on civilian neighborhoods inside Israel.
• Hamas continues to hold two Israeli citizens hostage and the bodies of two Israeli servicemen killed in action in 2014.
• Earlier in the week, Hamas militants destroyed the power supply lines from Israel to Gaza.
• This is only some of what we Israelis have had to live with for the past 13 years and no, there doesn’t appear to be any realistic prospect for positive change.
Now let’s consider what Israel has done to counter this horrific state of affairs.
• Israel developed the Iron Dome air defense system to intercept the barrage of missiles being fired at civilian targets in Israel.
• Israel is currently constructing an underground security obstacle on its sovereign territory to effectively thwart the threat of terror tunnels on its civilian population.
• In an attempt to provide basic services to the Gaza’s civilian population, Israel provides both power and water to Gaza.
• Thousands of trucks transport food and medical supplies on a daily basis to Gaza.
• The accumulated debt of the Palestinian Authority in respect of these services is enormous. You’ve got it. My tax dollars are financing those seeking to kill me.
Now let’s consider what Israel hasn’t done.
• Israel hasn’t developed an effective technology to prevent destruction of certain of her security infrastructures.
• Israel hasn’t developed an effective technology to prevent the hostile infiltration of its borders.
If Israel had such technologies, she would certainly have used them. Had Israel’s objective been to massacre as many Gazans as possible, 62 casualties out of a target of 40,000 should be considered a dismal failure.
I know this is difficult to comprehend because Israeli technology is at the source of everything that opens and closes. From military innovations to cyber security, from medical technologies to life-saving pharmaceuticals, from communications to driverless vehicles, from wastewater recycling to water desalinization. You name it. Israel’s done it.
When other countries are confronted with security issues like these, they traditionally solve them by, for want of a better phrase, knocking the shit out of those wanting to harm their citizens. They wouldn’t waste time and effort developing technologies to minimize the loss of enemy lives.
Imagine if Israel reacted like other countries do. Imagine if Israel reacted like the Russians did in Ukraine, or like they did in Ossetia and Abkhazia, or in Afghanistan or in Chechnya. Imagine if Israel reacted like the Turks did in Kurdish Syria or in Armenia. Or like the Belgians did in the Congo, or like the French did in Algeria. And so the list goes on and on and on and on.
So in light of the above, let’s consider what happened last week:
• 40,000 Gazans demonstrated violently on Israel’s border in an attempt to destroy the security obstacles designed to protect Israeli civilians. In true Hamas tradition, their leaders led from behind while their women and children provided cover for their soldiers who focused on achieving the military objectives of the demonstration.
• In the absence of an effective technology to protect Israel’s territorial integrity, Israel’s Defense Forces killed 62 people – 53 of them Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants. That’s surgical by any standard.
• Not a single Gazan who went about his daily routine by going to work or to school was killed.
And so dear members of the UN Human Rights Council, Emperor Erdogan, President Ramaphosa, Ms. Federica Mogherini, esteemed members of the Press and all the armchair experts of this world, I must tell you that I’m proud of my country and the concern it shows for human life.
I salute Israel’s leadership and her defense forces. They risk their lives on a daily basis to ensure my safety. I salute the military ethic of the officers and the soldiers of Israel’s Defense Forces. I salute the resolve of my country to continue developing technologies for the benefit of all mankind despite our precarious security situation and the hostility and hatred displayed by our neighbors.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Dream Comes True



Omer will never forget the day his dream came true. Despite his physical disabilities, Omer joined the Nes Tziona Sektzia soccer team for the field practice that guaranteed the team’s moving up to the National League.
13-year-old Omer has cognitive developmental disabilities and lives at ALEH Moriah in Gedera along with other residents with various disabilities. As part of his regular schedule, Omer participates in therapeutic rehabilitation and attends ALEH’s on-premises special education school.
This year, ALEH’s incredibly dedicated National Service volunteers initiated a new program at ALEH Moriah in Gedera: Making Dreams Come True, in which they realize a dream for each resident, according to his/her area of interest. Omer loves to play soccer and can even kick a ball like a professional, so it was only natural that Omer’s dream was to play with professionals.
ALEH Moriah’s resourceful National Service girls didn’t hesitate. They contacted social activist Sivan Avishag Levy who in turn got in touch with Avi Ludrick, owner of the engineering firm A. Ludrick. In the past, Avi administered the Maccabi Shearim soccer team and he still has plenty of contacts with movers and shakers in the sports’ world, which made it easy for him to contact the Sektzia administration. CEO Ronen Zeigerman and owner Eli Cohen immediately raised the gauntlet, agreeing to make Omer’s dream come true.
On April 22, the entire Nes Tziona team waited for Omer, presenting him with a team shirt when he arrived and a soccer ball signed by the each of the players. Team members then invited Omer to the field, warmly including him in their practice as a team regular. After practice, fellow team members presented Omer with a chocolate soccer ball, cake and candy. Omer enjoyed a unique day of fun, running on the open field, loving the huge expanse and the numerous balls rolling around in every direction.

According to Avi Ludrick, having Omer join the team was a great privilege. “The wonderful privilege of making a dream come true came our way. When you do things based on giving and love, wonderful things happen. As far as I’m concerned, this was a special mission, over and above making a dream come true for a boy who would never be able to achieve this in his day-to-day life. I think that we have to publicize this and show the entire country how much the organization (ALEH) gives to residents with disabilities, enabling them to experience life and live like everyone else.”
Naama Sudkovitz, director of ALEH Moriah in Gedera added, “We were extremely excited to see how Avi and Sivan and the entire Nes Tziona team got together for the benefit of our special resident. The special light of people with disabilities, and the understanding that they are an integral part of society will bring significant social change to the State of Israel, in the way people relate to people with disabilities and accept the other within society.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Passenger Wing Opens At Ben-Gurion Airport As Air Travel Booms


Max Schindler  February 16, 2018

The new passenger wing includes telescopic glass pathways, eight plane exit gates, four bus exit gates, along with shops, restaurants, a VIP lounge and maintenance and cargo services.

Ben-Gurion Airport opened the fourth passenger wing in its main terminal on Thursday, a sign that Israeli air travel continues to expand amid a growing economy and calmer security.

The new extension in Terminal 3, Wing E, will accommodate up to 1,800 more passengers per hour, allowing for dozens of additional incoming and outgoing flights daily. That should reduce the load on the other congested wings and improve service provided for passengers.
Wing E was designed by Israeli star architect Moshe Safdie and assisted by architect Irit Kochavi.

“As part of a fruitful cooperation with the Israel Airports Authority, the fourth wing that my office was responsible for designing will enable the expansion of the capacity of those departing and entering Israel, thus further opening the field of tourism in Israel,” Safdie said. “I hope that work on a fifth wing will begin shortly.”

The new passenger wing includes telescopic glass pathways, eight plane exit gates, four bus exit gates, along with shops, restaurants, a VIP lounge and maintenance and cargo services. Some of the gates include double bridges, allowing for passengers to board and disembark from both the front and back of wide-bodied aircraft.

Ben-Gurion handles more than 90% of passengers entering and exiting the Jewish state, and travel through the congested airport continues to rise.

Almost 20.8 million passengers transited through Ben-Gurion in 2017, according to data from the Israel Aviation Authority, a sharp uptick from 17.9 million in 2016. The airport’s 2018 estimate is 23 million.

When Ben-Gurion sees more than 25 million passengers transit through the site, that will result in the airport being classified as among the world’s largest airports, Globes reported. That is projected to occur in 2019, barring a major security incident.

The rapid uptick in passengers takes place despite the negligible number of transit passengers. Flagship airliner El Al has not adopted a transit-friendly business model for security reasons, putting it at a competitive disadvantage to airliners like Turkish Airlines, which has turned its Istanbul hub into a major transit hub.

More than 100 airliners now service the airport, a handful of which have launched operations in the past year. The increase in competition comes after Israel signed the Open Skies agreement a decade ago, permitting many more European airliners to fly to Tel Aviv.

The airport is in the middle of a multi-year expansion plan, with recent renovations to Terminal 1, which services domestic locales, along with hosting low-cost airliners like Wizz Air, Easyjet and Ryanair.

The relatively strong local currency – with a dollar trading for NIS 3.53 at Thursday evening – has made shekel-priced flights cheaper for Israelis, along with low oil prices and more intense competition.

In 2017 a record-breaking 3.6 million tourists visited Israel, but it took three years since the Gaza war – Operation Protective Edge – for the tourism numbers to bounce back to their regular growth rate.



‘Peaceful Protest’ Instructed: ‘Bring Dagger or Handgun’ to Murder Israelis

I don't want  to flog a dead horse but before i turn to other subjects for this blog, one last short review I read recently is worth bringing to attention.
Palestinian rioters on the Gaza border received detailed instructions on how to commit acts of terrorism under the cover of the “March of the Return.”
From  United with Israel Staff and PMW  https://tinyurl.com/ycuz63bj  
Two Palestinian Facebook pages and a forum directing rioters in Gaza gave explicit instructions to murder and kidnap Israelis on Monday, May 14, the day the US embassy opened in Jerusalem, as well as suggestions on how to accomplish this goal.
It is not clear if Hamas itself was the group sending these messages. What is critical is that Gazans were encouraged to bring weapons to the demonstrations and use these weapons to either murder or capture Israelis.
The detailed instructions recommended bringing weapons to the supposedly peaceful demonstrations on the Gaza border fence, murdering “soldiers and settlers,” and kidnapping Israeli citizens for use as bargaining chips to impose conditions on Israel
Addressing the “rebelling young people,” the sites ask rioters to bring weapons and leave them concealed, “except if you identify one of the [Israeli] soldiers or settlers. Do not kill Israeli civilians, instead hand them over to the resistance [Hamas] immediately, because this is the point that Israel fears, as it knows that the capturer can set any condition he wants.”
The instructions also described how masses of Palestinians would “collectively” breach the security fence aided by bulldozers, “while being aided by loudspeakers and calls of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest in Arabic) by the masses.”
Gazans were also instructed not to tend to “the wounded or the Martyrs” and not to offer aid, but to concentrate on “the battlefield.”
“The portrayal of the events in Gaza by some news agencies as peacefuldemonstrations is clearly false,” concluded Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which reported on the instructions.

Friday, May 18, 2018

I was at the Gaza border, we did all we could to avoid killing



May 17, 2018, 

I’m writing this for my good friends, my moral humane friends, and for all those who are concerned and angry over the Palestinians killed and injured on the border with Gaza.

In the biblical Exodus from Egypt, when the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea just before overtaking the Israelites, our sages say that God prevented the angels from singing and rejoicing, scolding them with the words “my creations are drowning in the sea and you are singing?!”

I write these words with great caution, and from a sense of mission. I can understand and identify with all of those good and moral Zionists who fear that the many Palestinian victims may be our fault, the result of mistakes made by our side. I’m writing because I am one of the few who was there, in uniform, in the reserves, but I was there. Yes, right there on the fence where the demonstrations are happening. It was last Friday, but I saw it with my own eyes; I was on our side of the fence but I could see and hear and understand everything. I want to testify from my firsthand knowledge, not a theoretical point of view. Because I was there.

I want to testify that what I saw and heard was a tremendous, supreme effort from our side to prevent, in every possible way, Palestinian deaths and injuries.

Of course, the primary mission was to prevent hundreds of thousands of Gazans from infiltrating into our territory. That kind of invasion would be perilous, mortally dangerous, to the nearby communities; would permit terrorists disguised as civilians to enter our kibbutz and moshav communities, and would leave us with no choice but to target every single infiltrator. That’s why our soldiers were directed to prevent infiltration, in a variety of ways, using live ammunition only as a last resort.

The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence. In addition, over the past few weeks there have been serious efforts to save the lives of children and civilians who have been pushed to the front lines by the Hamas, who are trying to hide behind them in order to infiltrate and attack Israel.

When there is no alternative, and live ammunition must be used to stop those who storm the fence, the soldiers make heroic and sometimes dangerous efforts not to kill and to only injure those on the other side. The IDF stations senior commanders at every confrontation point to ensure that every shot is approved and backed up by a responsible figure with proper authority. Every staging area has an especially large number of troops in order to make sure that soldiers are not put into life-threatening situations where they will have no choice but to fire indiscriminately.

A situation where thousands of people rush you is frightening, even terrifying. It is extremely difficult to show restraint, and it requires calm, mature professionalism. Sixty-two dead is an enormous number. But I can testify from my first-hand experience, that every bullet and every hit is carefully reported, documented and investigated, in Excel spreadsheets. Literally. I was there and I saw it with my own eyes.

This isn’t the time or place to discuss the situation in general and the desperate plight of the residents of Gaza. I’m not interested in starting a political discussion here, although I do have a clear position. What I’m trying to do is present, for everyone who really wants to listen, the extent of the IDF’s enormous effort to protect Israel’s borders while minimizing injuries and loss of life on the other side.

And despite all this – the situation on the border with Gaza is deteriorating. I hope that we won’t be called up again soon for reserve duty to protect our country. But if we are, we will go with the knowledge that we are serving a morally just cause. We do not rejoice when we must go to war, but we also don’t go like sheep to the slaughter. 

Not anymore.

Gaza Riots: Really About the Embassy?

 Bassam Tawil  •  May 18, 2018 
  • Throughout history, the excuses to attack Israel keep changing.
  • For 8 years under the Obama administration, the Palestinians had portrayed themselves, and been treated as, the deserving underdog -- the "good guys." Now, a foreign government is actually holding the Palestinians accountable and calling them out for activities they had taken for granted, such as incitement to riot and murder, or funding terrorists and their families. The Palestinians do not like it one bit.
  • The Palestinians hate the Trump administration not because of the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, but because it speaks truth to them and exposes their perfidy and malice. They hate the Trump administration because they see it as an obstacle on their way to eliminating Israel.
  • What happened at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip was an act of aggression by Hamas on Israeli sovereignty. It was an act of war. Even the terrorists did not say that they were protesting the embassy relocation. The terrorists and the rest of the Palestinian demonstrators were chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America." They were chanting that their goal is to replace Israel with an Islamic state.
The idea that Hamas is concerned about the US embassy move is a sick joke. All one needs to do is to listen carefully to what Hamas is saying, namely that its struggle is to "liberate all of Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River." Hamas is saying that the protests it has been orchestrating are aimed at enabling millions of Palestinians to flood Israel and turn it into an Islamic state.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Smoke & Mirrors: Six Weeks Of Violence On The Gaza Border


Hamas are explicitly planning to achieve maximum violence at the Gaza border today and tomorrow, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel, the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem and the start of Ramadan — a perfect storm.

-        Hamas’s use of actual smoke and mirrors to conceal its aggressive maneuvering on the Gaza border is the perfect metaphor for a strategy that has no viable military purpose but seeks to deceive the international community into criminalising a democratic state defending its citizens.

-        In reality these demonstrations are far from peaceful but are carefully planned and orchestrated tactical operations by a terrorist organisation intending to break through the border of a sovereign state and commit mass murder in the communities beyond, using their own civilians as cover.

-        A new report by the High Level Military Group’s Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and international terrorism lead at the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee, is the most in-depth assessment of the evolution of Hamas' strategic concept in its war on Israel and the current violence.  As part of the High Level Group’s ongoing project to assess the impact of Western armies facing enemies deploying terrorist tactics, including deliberate war crimes such as hiding military personnel and infrastructure among a civilian population, Colonel Kemp has spent time on the Gaza border during the current spate of violence, observing Palestinian activity and IDF response.  ]

    The report is based on his observations as well as a review of material produced by both sides and by the international community, and discussions with Israeli government ministers and IDF commanders and lawyers. Colonel Kemp’s views are though entirely his own, drawn from extensive personal experience of commanding military forces dealing with similar situations in other combat areas, including use of terrorist tactics in riot situations and military response using a range of measures including lethal force.