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.

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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25 Responses to Not So Random Thoughts for the Weekend

  1. David says:

    Your blog is an excellent antidote to the anti-Israel dishonesty of Richard Silverstein.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Reasoned and thoughtful post as usual, Shimona. BTW have you seen this article in today’s Mail? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2705042/RICHARD-LITTLEJOHN-What-Hamas-rocket-hit-BA-plane.html

  3. Mary says:

    I wish there was some way you could find the tunners and blow them up from your side.Unfortunately pictures seem to make more impact on people than words and so a photo of dead children seems to turn people against Israel,yet many children were killed in WW2 and it was not made so much of…we had to fight Hitler so it was just bad luck that towns were bombed.And the Siege of Leningrad killed may infants I imagine…
    I find I have to hold my feelings back and try to think ..even if it means waiting till I feel better.
    In the end both sides must talk as there is no military solution unless you wipe out everyone in Gaza.I feel nervous about the riots…wishing you a speedy end to the battles and missile sending

    • “we had to fight Hitler so it was just bad luck that towns were bombed”
      True. And the Allies firebombed Dresden, even though it was not a military target – simply out of revenge for the Luftwaffe’s bombing of British cities.

      As for the tunnels – unfortunately, there is no way they can be located and destroyed from the Israeli side of the border. I have seen videos released by the IDF, and you would not believe the ingenuity with which they are concealed. For example, there was a video where we see a tunnel-entrance discovered under the sink in a private house.

      “In the end both sides must talk as there is no military solution”
      It’s a pity Hamas doesn’t understand this.

      • Mary says:

        I so agree about Dresden,,,and other unnecessary bombings… war brings out the worst in many people… Churchill was good in many ways but power went to his head.
        Some people ask me why Israel is so harsh after Jews suffered in the Holocaust… and I say,suffering does not improve people…and the pictures in today’s papers of Gaza are heartrending and we feel Israel has gone too far now… but what alternatives are there?

      • “Some people ask me why Israel is so harsh after Jews suffered in the Holocaust… and I say,suffering does not improve people”.

        I do not agree that Israel has been unduly harsh. It is precisely because of what Jews suffered in the Holocaust, and the high morality of Israel’s army, that Israel has been taking such great pains to minimise deaths of non-combattants, often endangering the lives of our own troops in the process! The high death toll among the Palestinians is not Israel’s fault. I thought I had made that clear in my previous post, “Crunching the Numbers”. I suggest you read it again, very carefully.

        “we feel Israel has gone too far now” – Who is “we”?

  4. anneinpt says:

    Excellent round-up and succinct commentary on the situation Shimona. The story of the planned mass-attack on the kibbutzim is terrifying, blood-curdling. To think how close we were to absolute disaster is, well, unthinkable. I don’t know how any kibbutznik in the area will ever be able to sleep soundly in their bed again.

    As for the foreign media – it is hard not to feel utter despair. It is so bloody unfair. And it’s all so obvious to us. Why will the world not see our point of view?

    (/rhetorical question. We all know the answer).

    • Mary says:

      Seeing 1,000 dead Palestinians seems too much and will increase support for Hamas.The Jews had terrorists before Independence…Nelson Mandela was called a terrorist.. so it’s hard for us to .judge here

      • Ellen May says:

        “The Jews had terrorists before Independence”
        LEHI and ETZEL attacked British military personnel. They did not go after British civilians,
        they did not fire missiles at British towns, they did not murder British women and children.

      • Miri Cohen says:

        “it’s hard for us to .judge here”

        YOU don’t seem to have any difficulty in doing so. In fact, I detect a pattern here. You’re always making these tentative comments, criticising Israel and then backing off, about how hard it is to judge. But it seems to me that you HAVE judged.

      • David Kessler says:

        1000 dead seems like a massive number. But when one considers the scale of death and destruction that Hamas would have wrought on Israel if they had used their vast network of tunnels to carry out a huge-scale attack on Israel, the number of Palestinian dead no longer seems quite so disproportionate.

        With a few exceptions, the pre-Israel Zionist “terrorist” actions were directed at military targets. And once the British army left, Etzel and Lehi did not fire rockets at Britain or try to tunnel into Britain to kill people in Stevenage or Milton Keynes!

        As for Mandela – there is no evidence that he killed anyone, or even tried. He was never even charged with or convicted of terrorism by South Africa. The offence for which he spent 27 years in prison was “sabotage.”

  5. Muhammed El-Masri says:

    800 Palestinians dead – most of them innocent civilians including many children – and you Zionists try to justify by talking what Hamas MIGHT do?

    In Israel you have conscription for everyone, and then they stay in the reserves until they are old. So that means that every Israeli is soldier no civilian. And also you have the dome iron so even if Israeli civilians is not soldiers, they not much in danger so you killing innocent civilians without you needing to.

    • anneinpt says:

      Absolute nonsense. Most of the Palestinian dead are terrorists or their sympathisers. If Israel had really wanted to massacre the children don’t you think there would have been thousands of dead children? And if Israel was as murderous as you try to imply don’t you think there would have been 10,000 dead and not just 1,000?

      Read this link to see a true analysis of the casualty figures – based on Al Jazeera so that you shouldn’t think it’s Israeli hasbara.

      Yes, 1,000 sounds like a lot, but if you consider the amount of bombing that the IDF have carried out, this shows how careful they have been. Just compare to how many civilians were killed by NATO and the US in their bombing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      As for conscription, what a load of tosh. First of all, women are exempt for the most part from reserve duty. Secondly, many women choose national civilian service rather than military service. Children are not in the army at all, unlike the Palestinians who recruit their own children to carry out suicide bombings, throw stones at soldiers and now, Hamas have proudly declared, to throw grenades.

      Secondly, once a person is out of uniform and released from the army they are a CIVILIAN. Can you spell? Can you read? A serving soldier, whether in the regulars or in the reserves wears a UNIFORM (can you read?) – unlike Hamas and Fatah terrorists who wear civilian clothes, hide amongst the civilian population and hide their weapons in civilian homes and institutions.

      As for Israeli civilians not being in danger because of Iron Dome – why didn’t Hamas build shelters and an Iron Dome system for their civilians/ They’ve obviously got some ability. They built those tunnels and all those rockets. Surely they could have managed some self-defence systems too.

      But no, all the money and foreign aid went into systems purely for the purpose of killing Israelis and destroying Israel.

      And of course you know very well that if Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israel and stop trying to infiltrate into Israel via the tunnels, they wouldn’t need defense systems because Israel wouldn’t attack back. We have no interest in fighting Gaza or conquering it. We gave it back to Gaza -and they created a hell-hole.

      • Muhammed El-Masri says:

        As soon as they elected a government you tried to put the squeeze on them. They hit back with rockets and you’ve been paying for it ever since.

      • Not true. Israel didn’t close the border passes until Hamas started attacking those very passes, through which essential supplies were being transported to Gaza. And Israel was quite right when we said that it was necessary to keep a tight rein on what was allowed in – as we can see by the use they made of the cement and concrete that was supposed to be used for building homes, schools, hospitals etc.

    • Akram Tahrier says:

      You are right br. Muhammed. The Zionists are trying to justify their genocide against the Palestinian people by citing what they claim MIGHT happen. (This isn’t the first time they have invented something to win sympathy if you know what I mean. But I have to be careful what I say or I will be banned from this blog.)

      In truth we don’t even know if this “plan” that they claim to have discovered really existed! Even the tunnels are a Zionist lie! How do we know that these tunnels were made by Palestinians? Or that they stretch into the Gaza Strip. more likely they are Israeli tunnels – used for hiding their nuclear waste or to conduct nuclear and chemical experiments close to the Palestinian population. Now they are destroying their own tunnels to get rid of the evidence!

      • Akram – try to use what passes for a brain with you. “How do we know these tunnels were made by Palestinians?” Who else could have made them? There is documented, filmed evidence of the entrances to these tunnels, underneath homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza! Are you claiming that in the 10 days or so that Israeli forces have been on the ground in Gaza, they could have dug them themselves, reinforced the walls with concrete etc.- all this without anyone around knowing what’s going on? Or is it your contention that they were dug from the Israeli side into Gaza, from underneath the kindergartens and dining-halls of the kibbutzim, without anyone there discovering what was going on? Don’t forget, Israel is a free country with a free press and if anything like that were to have happened, someone would have spilled the beans.
        Or are you going to pretend, like that dingbat Dickie Silverstein, that you have a “highly-placed source” in the Israeli government who leaked this to you?
        I suppose you also believe the Apollo Landings were a fake.

  6. Mary says:

    I used to be a friend of Israel but your blog has helped to kill my care and hope

    • What exactly have I said that has “killed your care and hope”?
      And Mary – when exactly were you a friend of Israel? When you were calling yourself Dr. Rosen? Or M. Rosen? Or maybe when you were using the name “Kate”? Or possibly when you called yourself Kate Braithwaite?
      Did you really think I wouldn’t see through you?

      • David says:

        She probably doesn’t know that you can see the IP address that she is sending the messages from😉

      • Tom says:

        I am slightly sheokcd… by the comments made. I think the war could have been managed better, greater parts of Hamas destroyed. But what people are saying, flatten Gaza, turn it into a parking lot, what about one and half million people living there? Should they all be killed?! Is this what you all are implying? I hope not!Israel is being condemned. I agree we would be condemned no matter what we do. But that does not mean that we should feel free to do contemptible actions. We should continue to act with a high moral standard. We should judge ourselves, be able to look ourselves in the mirror and not be ashamed. No other country has ever done so much to prevent civilian casualties, as Israel did in this war. Let the antisemites rave. We are better and we will survive.

    • David says:

      All the blog does is point out facts that have been overlooked. What’s wrong with that?

      • Joel says:

        Your aggravation comes tughorh loud and clear – and I echo the sentiment.Here in the UK, the media demonises Israel to such an extent that I have been literally online all night a few times, trying to represent Israel in various online forums. The world is guilty of rank hypocrisy. No nation would put up with years of terrorism the way Israel did.Please be assured that your anger is righteous anger – and that Jews around the globe share it!AM YISRAEL CHAI!

  7. Marcela says:

    I am neither Jewish nor Arabic. My prtciacal knowledge of your middle-east is limited to maps and various writings. The closest I’ve been to your area is Hong Kong (and that was when the Brits were there). But I’m damn upset your country didn’t finish the job of wiping Hamas out. You’ve let our American President and molly coddlers steer your country to what they wanted. Believe me, the real thing they want is to sell merchandise to you all. The buck rules in this country. The people and decency for all thinking have become second class and are treated as Arabs treat their women.Stand up, Israel. Let them hear you roar.

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