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.