Justice for Jonathan Pollard – Prisoner of Zion

Today, November 21st 2014, Jonathan Pollard begins his thirtieth year in prison.

Jonathan Pollard

The day before yesterday, the US Department of Justice once again torpedoed his request for conditional release and made it clear they would continue to do so.

How can one explain the fact that although Pollard was NEVER convicted of treason, but merely of passing classified information to a friendly state, he received a life sentence, with a recommendation that he never be paroled – in contravention of the plea bargain without which it is by no means certain he would have been convicted?

How can one explain the fact that then incumbent Defense Secretary  Caspar Weinberger delivered a secret memorandum to the judge prior to sentencing – to which neither Pollard nor any of the lawyers who represented him then or later have ever been allowed access, apparently containing false charges which led to Pollard being sentenced as if he had been convicted of treason? In other words, Pollard was sentenced, not for the crime of which he was charged, but for other crimes, against which he had no opportunity to defend himself. If this is not denial of due process, I don’t know what is!

The excuse for the US administration’s opposition to any clemency for Pollard, who, today, will have been twenty nine years behind bars and who is suffering from severe health problems, is that his release would “constitute contempt for the severity of the offense and promote a lack of respect for the law.”

Severity of the offense“???
Just to remind you, the information Pollard passed to Israel was not information concerning American troop movements or American spies, not information which endangered American lives, but information on  WMD capabilities of Israel’s Arab neighbours – information vital to Israel’s security, which the US was supposed to share with Israel under the terms of a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two nations, but which certain elements within the US security and political establishment deliberately withheld from Israel,  in order to weaken the Jewish State and make her more malleable and vulnerable to US pressure to make dangerous concessions to the Arabs. For this, he received a life sentence with a recommendation that he never be paroled, as if he had actually committed treason by passing classified information to an enemy country in time of war. In comparison, Russian spies who most definitely caused harm to the US, received far more lenient sentences.  Anna Chapman, was deported without serving any jail time at all. Moreover, the usual sentence for passing classified information to a friendly country – the crime of which Pollard was convicted – is between six to eight years in prison, with actual jail time prior to release averaging between two and four years.

Jonathan Pollard has already served twenty nine years of his sentence – far more than any other person convicted of passing classified information to a friendly country. In his secret memorandum (small parts of which have now been made public), Caspar Weinberger contended that Pollard’s actions had damaged US relations with “friendly Arab countries”.

It is hard to see how. The only possible damage of that sort could come from the revelation that the US had been spying on “friendly” countries and Israel would hardly be likely to reveal this as such a revelation would, of necessity, reveal to those “friendly (though not to Israel) countries” the extent of the intelligence Israel had on them.

 “ a lack of respect for the law.”
Whereas illegally spying on millions of one’s own citizens, as the US government has done, promotes respect for the law, I suppose!

It is hard to escape the suspicion that it is Israel, as much as Pollard, that the US is seeking to punish. Now, admittedly, for Israel to spy on a friendly nation such as the US is – well, not very nice.
No, seriously. It is not nice to spy on one’s friends. It’s even worse to use a friend’s own citizens for that purpose.

I am sure Chancellor Angela Merkel would agree with me.

But it goes beyond that. How can one explain the treatment of Pollard in prison? What reason could there possibly be for the refusal of the prison authorities to allow him compassionate leave to visit his 97-year-old, terminally ill father one last time? His request to do so was denied, without any explanation. Nor was this piece of spite enough for them. Pollard wasn’t even allowed to attend his father’s funeral – just as he had been denied permission to attend his mother’s funeral, when she passed away ten years earlier.

Could such systematic vindictiveness possibly be – because Jonathan Pollard is a Jew?

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Jews Butchered As They Pray – Again

In mediaeval Europe, and right up into the twentieth century in places such as Russia, Jews died in their thousands because of lies and whispers. It was enough to spread a malicious rumour that Jews had desecrated the Host, or kidnapped and murdered a Christian child to use his blood to bake unleavened bread for Pessach, and hey presto, you could ignite a full-scale pogrom.

Nor were things any different in the Muslim world, as the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840 and the Mashhad Blood Libel and forced conversion to Islam of the city’s Jews a year earlier, prove.

For the past few weeks, Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular, have been powder kegs waiting for a spark. We have witnessed several terror attacks in which so-called “Palestinians” have used motor vehicles as a means to murder Israelis (see my previous post), others in which knives were the weapon of choice and one, last week, in which both methods were used. A “Palestinian” rammed a car into a group of people waiting at a bus-stop/hitch-hiking post and then jumped out of the car and began attacking people with a knife, fatally stabbing 26-year-old Dahlia Lemkus in the neck as she lay there injured and unable to run away.

Yesterday, two so-called “Palestinians”, armed with knives, axes and firearms, stormed a synagogue in the orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Har Nof in Jerusalem and began to systematically butcher the Jews praying there. They managed to kill four worshippers before the police arrived on the scene. A shootout then developed, during the course of which, the “Palestinian” terrorist murderers  were liquidated by the police – not before fatally wounding a police officer, who has since died.

Hamas was quick to praise the cowardly attack, claiming it was revenge for the “lynching” of an Arab bus-driver earlier in the week.

A few days ago, an Arab bus-driver from Jerusalem (who worked for the Egged bus company – so much for the claims of apartheid in Israel) was found hanged inside his bus. All the evidence pointed to suicide. Autopsy reports proved that this was, indeed, the case, but the dead man’s family (perhaps understandably, in view of the stigma attached to suicides) insisted that there was no way he would have killed himself.

Malicious false rumours began to circulate, fueled by the “Palestinian” media and even Abu Mazen, claiming that this was no suicide but a lynching by (Jewish) “settlers” – with claims of so-called “witnesses” to having seen anything between three and six “settlers” murdering the bus driver, Youssef Hassan Al-Ramouni. Interesting that none of them thought to try to help the victim, or go to the police, or – if they didn’t trust the Israeli police - at least to call for help. Interesting, too,  that their accounts vary so much, and that they can’t seem to agree on the number of “settlers” involved, isn’t it?

I trust the parallel with the pogroms is now clear.

To get back to the despicable massacre in the synagogue yesterday morning, it should come as no surprise that the way this was treated by the world media was almost as despicable as the attack itself. Organizations such as the BBC, CNN, CBC News and so on, fell over themselves to clear the actual murderers of blame and minimize the murder of Jews.

CBC News gave us: “Jerusalem police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack” (my italics - ed.)
According to CBC, not only is the existence or nature of the attack in doubt, but the most important point is the shooting of the murderers by the Israeli police.

CNN displayed their bias with a monumental gaffe (Freudian, no doubt) in which Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat is interviewed about the attack, atop a headline screaming: “DEADLY ATTACK ON JERUSALEM MOSQUE” (my emphasis – ed.)

This came hard on the wake of their original headline, when the news first broke (hat tip to Honest Reporting): “Four Israelis, Two Palestinians Dead in Jerusalem”, from which you might get the impression that there was some kind of moral equivalence between “Palestinian” murderers and their Jewish victims or even that the “Palestinians” and Israelis were all killed by the same people.

I am also indebted to Honest Reporting (a website I recommend highly to anyone interested in the Truth that lies beyond the blatantly dishonest journalism now common in the world media) for the BBC’s original headline: “Jerusalem synagogue attack kills four Israelis”. This headline, which has since been changed, omits all mention of the identity of the attackers. However, in the article that followed, the BBC referred to the massacre as “what police say was a “terrorist attack” at a Jerusalem synagogue” (my italics - ed.) In short, the BBC isn’t sure that when “Palestinians” storm a synagogue and butcher Jewish worshippers with meat cleavers, it is actually a “terrorist attack”. Maybe they thought it was another “accident” – like the “Palestinian” drivers who somehow manage to lose control of their vehicles when in the vicinity of large groups of Jews waiting at bus stops.

Nor was this Al-Beeb’s only sin. They interviewed Israel’s Economics Minister, Naftali Bennett after the massacre and when the latter produced a picture of one of the murdered Jews, the interviewer had the temerity to demand that he remove the photograph because “we don’t want to actually see that picture”.
Was the sight of a slaughtered Jew, lying in his own blood, too much for her tender sensibilities? Funny, the BBC doesn’t seem to have any problem with doctored pictures of dead “Palestinian” babies, usually showing a lot more horrific detail (often photo-shopped).
Well, I will show the picture:

Har Nof synagogue massacre

And this one:
Murdered Jew in Har Nof synagogueAnd this one too:

Har Nof victims

The victims of the Har Nof pogrom were Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky , Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Kalman Ze’ev Levine and Rabbi Moshe Twersky.

Between them, they left behind twenty-four orphans.

And the fifth victim – Israeli Druze police officer  Zidan Saif.  A traffic cop, Saif  was one of the first responders to arrive on the scene. He was critically wounded in the head during the shootout with the terrorists and died later, in hospital. He leaves behind a widow and a four-month old baby daughter.

Zidan Saif cop killed in Har Nof massacre

May God avenge their blood.

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Things That Made Me Sad, Things That Made Me Mad and Things That Made Me Glad

It’s going to be a mixed bag of goods this week.
Since my last post, a three-month-old Jewish baby, Haya Ziessel Braun, has been murdered in Jerusalem by a “Palestinian” terrorist, who deliberately rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people waiting at a Jerusalem Light Rail stop; four days later,  one of the many injured in the cowardly attack, a young woman from Ecuador, Karen Yemima Mosquera,  who had recently discovered her family’s Jewish roots and who had come to Jerusalem in order to learn more about the faith of her ancestors and to formally convert to Judaism, died of her injuries; the day before yesterday, another “Palestinian” terrorist attempted to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick, an activist for the restoration of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount.

Haya Ziessel’s parents had been trying for years to have a baby. They only got to hold her in their arms and enjoy her sweet smile for three-months before she was brutally snatched from them.
Karen Yemima had come to Israel, ahead of her mother and sister, to light the way for them so that they, too, could eventually come to Israel and reclaim their Jewish heritage. But, instead, what brought them to the land of their fathers was their daughter’s funeral.
The cowardly terrorist who murdered a three-month-old baby and an innocent young girl, was shot by police as he attempted to escape on foot from the scene of the carnage and later, succumbed to his wounds.

And how did the mass media present the story to the public?
The Guardian (no surprises here) referred to it as a “car crash”.
The BBC (again, no surprises – the Beeb’s anti-Israel bias is notorious)  chose to portray the attack as a simple traffic accident with “Nine hurt as car hits pedestrians at Jerusalem station” – which at least had the slight merit of headlining the injuries caused to the victims, unlike AP, whose initial headline (albeit corrected later) screamed: “Israeli Police Shoot Man in East Jerusalem” – a reference to the shooting of the terrorist as he attempted to make his getaway, which completely ignored the terrorist outrage itself.
Agence France Presse, in a headline taken up by other media outlets, went with “Jerusalem driver shot after ramming pedestrians“, making it seem as if the shooting was merely an over-reaction to a traffic accident.

The vicious anti-Israel bias of large segments of the world press has been covered by such important monitors as “Honest Reporting” and “Commentary” and I see no need to enlarge further.

The bias of some of our own, Israeli media outlets regarding the attempted murder of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick also aroused my ire.  I suppose it’s hardly surprising that our “friends” at the Guardian should refer to him as a “far-right rabbi“, but it makes my stomach turn when the (far-left) Ha’aretz describes Rabbi Glick in their headline as a “prominent US-born right-wing activist” as if to imply that he is some kind of foreign-born colonist, with no right to be in Israel, let alone the Temple Mount. However, given the general extreme left-wing, anti-Zionist tone of what was once a respected newspaper, I am not too surprised at this, either. But why is the same terminology adopted by supposedly middle-of-the-road media such as the Jerusalem Post and Ynet?

Rabbi Yehuda Glick advocates the right of both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount. He is not some kind of anti-Muslim fanatic who favours preventing Muslims from praying on the Temple Mount, as this video-clip of him praying together with Muslims should make abundantly clear:

 

In fact, Rabbi Glick’s vision for the Temple Mount, is of a Jewish place of worship side by side with the Muslim  one, because, as we read in Isaiah 56:7, “My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all nations.”

There have been some good things, this past week though. On Tuesday, I began a course at the Open University entitled: “A Journey in the Pathways of the Bible”. This is a course of study which is designed, over the next three and a half years, to cover the whole of the Hebrew Bible and which is taught by Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau. Right from the start, I found it fascinating and I am happy to think that I have this to look forward to every second Tuesday :-) .

On Wednesday, my choir – the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir – hosted the Adash Choir from the Czech Republic. This is a women’s choir comprised of students from Ostrava University and the name “Adash” is an acronym of Ivrit Derech Shira - Hebrew Through Song – so-called because the choir’s conductor and musical director, Dr. Tomáš Novotný, uses Hebrew songs to teach the Hebrew language. As far as I understand it, the students are all non-Jews, so it makes me doubly happy, when we hear of the rise in antisemitism throughout Europe, to know that there are still many people of goodwill out there, who love Israel. Anyway, as long as we can welcome such musical ambassadors here, with their wonderful voices, who needs antisemitic little turds such as Roger Waters?

And now to my final item. It’s a pity I couldn’t write this last week, when the weekly parsha (Torah portion) was Noach (Noah), but it makes me glad all the same. It rained heavily during the night and when I awoke at about six o’clock this morning, this was the sight that greeted my eyes.

20141031_061053

Besides the fact that we badly need rain here in Israel, there is something about a rainbow that always inspires hope.

Shabbat Shalom to you all.

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(Not Quite) The Hostess With The Mostest (Yet)

My regular readers have, no doubt, been asking themselves where I could have disappeared to. Yes, I know I shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, but it sounds less awkward than “have been asking themselves to where I could have disappeared”. I suppose I could have said “have been asking themselves whither I had disappeared” but that sounds rather pretentious.

Anyway, the fact is that on August 31st, I moved to my new apartment and since then, I have been working like a dog (do dogs work?) to lick it into shape (actually, I had my cleaning lady squeegee the floor – no licking involved), and have hardly had time to sit down at the computer and blog, although I kept up with the world on Facebook, via my mobile phone.

My furbabies have just reminded me that dogs actually do work, at a variety of jobs – such as sheep-herding, guard duty, guiding the blind etc. and that they themselves, as self-respecting felines, were of immense assistance to me when it came to unpacking the dozens of boxes and cartons which I brought with me from my (our?) old home. Who knows what treasures I might have thrown away, unexamined, had they not insisted on exploring each and every carton, jumping into them and running off with any interesting-looking piece of paper. I did, in fact, almost throw away an extremely important document from the bank, containing my new internet password, but this was not their fault and fortunately, I retrieved it before it was taken down to the dumpster and irrevocably lost.

The reason for this fever to get the new flat in order in just three weeks was that I had recklessly invited the whole family (twelve souls, including Yours Truly) for the festive meal on the Eve of Rosh Hashana. Those of you who remember my previous attempts at large scale catering will no doubt understand why, as I commenced my preparations, I asked myself more than once, “What was I thinking?!” – particularly when I tried to swap round the two disposable baking-trays to ensure that each got an equal amount of heat. It was then that I remembered – too late – why I dislike disposable aluminium foil baking-trays. They have a tendency to buckle, with the result that extremely hot gravy spattered all over the place, including on me!

As is usual on these occasions, I – as the hostess – made the main course (chicken legs and thighs in honey and garlic sauce), the soup (a vegetable soup which garnered high praise, especially from one of my brothers-in-law) and the dessert (my Famous Fruit Salad), while my sisters and my stepmother rallied round and contributed many side dishes, such as baked potatoes, rice, spicy Moroccan-style fish balls (“Moroccan gefillte fish” ;-) ), salad and so on. In addition, Ilana, my stepmother, prepared beef for those who don’t care for chicken. As you can imagine, there was enough food left over to provide several meals! Again – as usual ;-)

Of course, this being my first sit-down dinner, naturally there was room for improvement. I hadn’t given sufficient thought to serving-dishes in which to put some of the food prepared by my family, or in which to serve some of the shop-bought salads which we had for hors d’oeuvres. And I think I would have done better if, like the Crawleys of Downton Abbey, I had a bevy of servants to heat up and serve the many dishes, thus enabling me to sit at ease at the table and take part in the dinner conversation. For that reason, I admit to not yet being the Perfect Hostess. However, I don’t think I did too badly, considering I have never before hosted a large-scale sit-down dinner – and to think I did all this within weeks of moving into my new home, and with a couple of dozen packing-cases still to be opened, which I shoved into the study, discreetly out of sight.

So – a New Year and a New Home.
Perfect :-)

I cannot, of course, end my first blog of the New Year without some mention of Yom Kippur, which begins this evening. Since 1973, Yom Kippur is inextricably linked with the near-disaster of the Yom Kippur War, but I don’t want to write about politics now, tempting as it may be in light of the fact that, this year, Yom Kippur coincides with the Muslim festival of Eid el-Adha. I could say an awful lot about that and would have, had it coincided with Rosh Hashana, when we read the biblical story of the Sacrifice of ISAAC (and NOT, as the Muslim attempt to re-write history would have it, of Ishmael). My faithful readers know that this blog, which was actually born in war, has always been a mixture of the political and the every-day. I have written almost exclusively about politics for the last couple of months and a break (however short) is now required.

So I will just leave you with the traditional blessing for the High Holy Days: May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

20140922_134340

 

G’mar chatima tova – גמר חתימה טובה

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Truth Is Out There

Now that things have quietened down somewhat, I have had time to search out all manner of interesting video clips and articles pertaining to the truth of Israel’s claim that Hamas not only made cynical use of civilians as human shields, in flagrant violation of international law, but even used UN premises as military bases. Here, for example, a Finnish reporter confirms the use of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, as a rocket-launching site: This particular reporter, Aishi Zidan (note the Arab surname), reacted to the publication of this video with an angry demand that her reportage not be used as “Israeli propaganda”.

In fact, the Shifa Hospital served as one of the main Hamas command centres, with a vast network of tunnels and bunkers beneath the hospital (but not for the use of civilians as air-raid shelters).

In this next clip, a journalist from the Indian TV channel NDTV not only films and comments on how Hamas terrorists set up a rocket launch site on an open plot of land right outside his hotel, in a densely populated area, but also mentions in passing the fact that the IDF did, in fact, issue a warning of its intention to target the area. Later on, he shows the rocket actually being fired.

 

Want some more? Here is France 24 reporter Gallagher Fenwick  with proof that Hamas terrorists fired their rockets from right next to UN facilities:

 

So why has it taken so long for the mass media to admit the truth? In the case of Ms. Zidan (see above), possibly her own personal bias is at play. In other cases, such as that of Gabriele Garbati (see below) and others, fear of Hamas retaliation no doubt played its part.

Remember the claims that Israel fired on a UN-run school? The mainstream western media were quick to condemn. But see here an analysis demonstrating how the event was stage-managed by Pallywood to make it appear an Israeli mortar strike near the school was actually a deliberate Israeli assault on the school.

How about the Israeli assertion that, in many cases, casualties falsely attributed to Israeli air and mortar strikes, were, in fact, caused by misfired Hamas rockets? For example, the alleged Israeli attacks on Al-Shifa Hospital and on the Al-Shati refugee camp.
Be my guest. Italian journalist Gabriele Garbati – once he was safely out of Gaza and beyond the reach of Hamastweeted the truth.

And, while we’re on the subject, suppose Israel had targeted UN-run schools? By using those schools for storing rockets on at least three occasions, Hamas turned UN premises - and schools, at that – into legitimate military targets. Note that on the third occasion, UNRWA did not publicise the “discovery” on their official website. Shame? Maybe. But I very much doubt that UNRWA – 99% of whose employees are locally-recruited “Palestinian” Arabs  - was really as surprised as they claimed to be. If, as their official website assures us, the organisation has “strong, established procedures to maintain the neutrality of all its premises, including a strict no-weapons policy and routine inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian purposes, how could they have missed the fact that rockets were being stored in at least three (and who knows how many more) of their schools? And how does the handing over of the rockets to “the authorities” (ie. Hamas) conform to UNRWA’s “neutrality” policy?

Let’s take this a stage further. How could a clinic under UNRWA’s auspices be constructed, with over 80 kilograms of explosives built into its very walls, without the knowledge, if not the actual connivance of UNRWA personnel?

In short, the UN – which has consistently demonstrated its hostility towards Israel – is in no position to take the moral high ground in any discussion of Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Come to think of it, neither is Israel’s supposed best friend, the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The First Forty Years

Forty years ago today,  on July 29th 1974, my family and I made aliyah and came home to Israel.

On the 32nd anniversary of our homecoming, on July 29th 2006, I started this blog. Then, as now, my country was at war. In fact, looking back over eight years of blogging, I see how little things have changed.

When we made our aliyah, forty years ago, it was in the wake of the Yom Kippur War – a war in which, as in previous wars, Israel stood on the brink of annihilation. Since then, I have lived through the 1st Lebanon War, the 2nd Lebanon War, the 1st and 2nd Gulf Wars (remember the Scud missiles, anyone, and the sealed rooms which were supposed to protect us from the effects of chemical and biological warheads which Saddam Hussein had threatened to rain down on us?).
I have lived here through Operation Litani, which came in the wake of the Coastal Road Massacre, the First and Second Intifadas, the “Palestinian” suicide bombing campaign in Israel which reached its peak in the years 2000-2002, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defence and now, Operation Protective Edge. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve missed a few on this list.

War, terror, attrition, boycotts.

Forty years.

They are still trying to break us. Ten more  soldiers – young boys in their teens and twenties, gave their lives last night in defence of our children, our homes, our lives. Each morning, the radio announces more deaths and the next item is always the announcements of the times and places of the funerals to be held today.

I want to cry out, in the words of Ari Ben-Canaan, hero of the Leon Uris best-seller “Exodus” -

“Why must we fight for the right to live, over and over, each time the sun rises? …..God! God! Why don’t they let us alone! Why don’t they let us live!

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Not So Random Thoughts for the Weekend

Let’s start with a few rhetorical questions, shall we?

A fragment from an intercepted rocket lands in Yahud, some 9 kilometres from Ben Gurion Airport. The FAA immediately issues a ban on American aeroplanes flying to Tel Aviv, and the European air traffic authorities follow suit. At the same time as the flight ban is in effect, US Secretary of State John Kerry flies to Tel Aviv on a US Air Force jet. (Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg went one better and, banned from travelling to Israel in his own private jet, bought a ticket and flew here with El Al).
Does that sound logical to you?

Earlier in the week,Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over the Ukrainian – Russian border. Did the FAA or the European Aviation authorities halt air travel to Russia or to the Ukraine, even for so much as a day?
Don’t bother to answer – that was another rhetorical question.

Syria, Israel’s northern neighbour, is a war zone and has been for months now. Has anyone even suggested stopping civilian air traffic to Damascus?
Yeah, you’ve got it. Another rhetorical question.

                                                                   ********

Yesterday, at least fifteen people were killed when either a rocket or a shell hit an UNRWA school in Gaza. Even the UNRWA spokesman admitted that Hamas forces were firing at Israeli forces from a site adjacent to the school.  It is possible that the missile which struck the school was a stray Israeli shell, intended for the Hamas forces which were firing on IDF forces. It is also possible that it was an anti-tank missile fired by Hamas. Yet the international media, without waiting for the results of the investigation, immediately condemned Israel for the “massacre”.

Twice during the past week, UNRWA officials have been “surprised” to find rockets stashed in UN-run schools. In at least the first case, they turned the missiles over to “the authorities” (ie. Hamas) – who were no doubt delighted to have their contraband property returned to them.  As for the “surprise” – bearing in mind that the majority of UNRWA personnel in the Gaza Strip and “West Bank” are locally recruited “Palestinians” - does the discovery of Hamas weaponry in UNRWA schools surprise anybody?

                                                                  ********

While we’re on the subject of the UN, the UN Human Rights Council decided on Wednesday to launch an investigation into purported “violations of human rights” by Israel while condemning what it called  “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations since 13 June.”
Lewis Carroll would no doubt recognise this world of “Sentence first – verdict afterwards”, but I was naively under the impression that one investigates first and then, if the investigation warrants it, condemns.
Also notable is the fact that the condemnation is defined in such a way as to ignore events immediately preceding the start of Operation Protective Edge, and in particular, the fact that Hamas rockets had been raining down on Israeli civilians for weeks before and had reached the rate of over 70 in a single day, before Israel decided to put a stop to it.

About the consistent, blatant anti-Israel bias of the UNHRC – as well as of the UN in general – I have written many times in the past, and will therefore say no more on the subject today.

                                                                   ********

Since I have already mentioned, in passing, Lewis Carroll, I am reminded of that famous rabbit-hole down which Alice fell. Rabbit-holes have a habit of branching out into networks of tunnels, although not usually as extensive as the vast, underground labyrinth built by Hamas, and fortified with concrete and cement which they claimed they did not have (due, so they said, to the Israeli  blockade). It has been claimed that these were supply tunnels, used to smuggle in goods from Egypt.  Some of them no doubt did serve this purpose – “goods” covering such varied items as cars, luxury items for wealthy Gazans, and also weapons, including rockets to be fired on Israeli civilians. The world has long known about these tunnels. In fact, I remember a few months back that the National Geographic magazine published an article about them. The whisp of straw  that broke the camel’s back, however, was the infiltration of an armed Hamas terror gang into Israel, near Kibbutz Sufa on the Israel-Gaza border, in the pre-dawn hours of July 17th, about which I have already written. Pro-Hamas apologists have tried to claim that the terrorists were actually waiting to surprise and ambush an Israeli patrol, but the discovery of dozens of cross-border tunnels leading from Gaza right into Israeli kibbutzim belies the claim, as does testimony from Hamas prisoners. Many of the tunnels ran directly under the dining-rooms and kindergartens of kibbutzim such as Nir Am, Sufa and Erez, as well as the outskirts of towns such as Sderot and Netivot.

It has been reported that Hamas planned to carry out a concerted attack on multiple civilian targets this coming Rosh Hashana – basically, to conduct a full-scale invasion of all the kibbutzim and towns in the area. I don’t know how reliable this report is, but judging by the extent of the tunnels, reaching, as they do, almost every Israeli settlement on the Gaza border, such an attack would certainly have been possible. In fact, had Hamas not refused the ceasefire offered them before Israel began the ground offensive, we would not have discovered the extent of the tunnels and their true targets before it was too late.

So, in a way, it was the obduracy of Hamas which saved us.

We have a saying in  Hebrew which means: “The work of the righteous is carried out by others.”

Shabbat Shalom and a peaceful weekend to you all.

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