Archive for January, 2009
I saw a link to this Israeli Election Position Analyzer on Muqata. As it turns out, it says that I favor haIchud haLeumi across the board, followed by Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud, Kadima, Shas and Habayit Hayehudi. It is pretty interesting, though I think that one obvious topic was never really addressed for the political parties (it was for Prime Ministerial candidates): do you trust the party, to what degree do you believe they have some degree of integrity. In my case, my answer probaby wouldn’t have changed my number one pick, but it almost certainly would have moved Kadima and Shas out of my recommended top five.
I was walking back from dropping Moshe (now 3.5 years old) at gan this morning. A young man in his twenties approached from the other direction (after dropping off his child at a different gan). Short beard, pe’ot, wearing his tzitzit out and his tefillin on his head. Huge smile. As he came close to me, he gave a bigger smile and said “boker tov, Hashem yevarech otcha” (good morning, God should bless you) and continued on his way. (Note: Although I have seen him around, I have never actually met this person – I think that he greets everyone this way).
Only in Israel (and did I mention that it was sunny and in the mid 60′s? In January!).
I just received this picture via email (I don’t know who came up with it).
I don’t think that it needs much explanation, but it does represent Hamas’s own admitted ideology pretty well:
A number of human rights groups released a press statement accusing Israel of using bullets against Hamas militants in Gaza. “We have received word from several reputable contacts who are currently under assault within Gaza that they have seen Israeli soldiers using bullets as a weapon against Hamas” said John Jones, a human rights activist who lives in Toronto, Canada. “They have claimed that the Israeli soldiers are firing these bullets from a variety of different firearms, including assault rifles, pistols and sawed off shotguns, and at times have done so with the intention of causing harm to other human beings”.
Human Rights Researchers in Israel witnessed hours of alleged gun fights between Israeli forces and Hamas freedom fighters in the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. However, they could not confirm the actual use of firearms and bullets by Israeli soldiers because they have been barred from entering the territory. An emergency room technician at Shifa hospital in Gaza told this reporter that he had treated several victims for wounds that looked like they were caused by bullets. However, due to Israeli closures on Gaza, he lacked the resources to say for certain what or who caused the injuries.
Military spokeswoman Maj. Ehud Levine refused to comment directly on whether Israel was using bullets, but said the army was “using its munitions in accordance with international law.” In response to this, human rights groups said that even if Israeli forces have been acting in accordance with international law, they are still worthy of condemnation. When asked about alleged use of bullets by Hamas, the human rights groups said: “well, what do you expect them to use?”.
Israel used a whole lot of bullets in its 34-day war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. The U.S. military in Iraq used the bullets during a November 2004 operation against insurgents in the city of Fallujah.
Note: The article above is written with satirical intentions (see this article for similar reports condemning Israel for using incendiary weapons in Gaza, something that even the ICRC admits is legal according to “international law”).
The 4th Geneva Convention (relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War) states in Part II, Article 14: “Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.“.
Seems straightforward enough. Civilian hospitals are off limits as military targets.
However, this is qualified in Article 19: “The protection to which civilian hospitals are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded.“.
So if the enemy was using a hospital as a military base, was using a hospital to store weapons and to provide refuge for fighters, then it loses its protection as a hospital and becomes a fair target (once warning has been given).
Now what is going on in Gaza today?
“סיפורי הבלהות של הליכוד מוכרים. הרי הבטיחו לנו גם קטיושות מעזה… כבר שנה רצועת עזה נתונה בעיקרה למרות הרשות הפלשתינאית; לא הייתה עוד אף קטיושה ולא תהיה קטיושה. וכו` וכו` וכו`. כל הדיבורים… הליכוד פוחד פחד מוות משלום. פחדני השלום. זהו הליכוד של היום.”
“The terrifying stories of the Likud are well known. They have promised us (that there would be) Katyusha missiles (fired at Israel) from Gaza…for a year already, Gaza has been give over to the Palestinian Authority; there hasn’t been a Katyusha, and there will not be a Katyusha, etc. etc. etc. All of these things…the Likud is scared to death of peace. They are the ones who are fearful of peace. This is the Likud of today”
These words were uttered by Yitzchak Rabin in response to statements by the Likud that the Oslo accords would lead to missiles being launched from Gaza. It is embarrassing how short-sighted, how wrong and how trusting of the Palestinians he was. I mention this now not to besmirch the memory of this politician, but to remind people of the haughtiness and blindness of the political movement in Israel who have allowed themselves to be conned by the PLO and the world media into believing that giving control over Gaza and Israeli territory will lead to an end to peace. Their biggest Saint believed it then, and they still (for some insane reason) still believe it today (just watch as Rabin’s political descendants who are still in power today will try to hand over Gaza to the PLO once the dust has settled).