Sunday, October 21, 2018

Newsflash: Gaza situation normal; Israel now back to 'snafu'

(essay written before 0900 Sunday morning (Israel time), October 21, 2018)

Back in World War Two, ( called, WW2--1939-45), soldiers in combat lost their identity. They became, simply, just another 'GI Joe'. 'GI' wasn't a name. It meant, 'Government Issue'. That meant that a soldier in combat wasn't a human being, with a name and individual personality. He was an object--just another piece of 'government-issued property' the army used to kill its enemy.

That nameless, human-less condition hasn't changed for combat participants. If you listen to enough Israeli combat soldiers, especially during one of Israel's cyclic wars, you'll intuit the same self-identification issue. As in WW2, the only reality these young men have in combat focuses exclusively on their battlefield comrades. Everything else around them is confused, confusing--and dangerous.

Soldiers in war come ultimately to understand not only their nameless state. They also come to realize the deeper, perhaps 'psychic', reality of life as 'cannon fodder': the world around them devolves into chaos. As these humans try to understand their combat  environment, they seem all to come to the same conclusion. Their world is a complete mixed-up mess; or, as those WW2 soldiers used to say, everything was 'snafu'ed': "Situation Normal, All Messed Up".

Okay, so that one word, "Messed" wasn't in the acronym 'snafu'. The word they meant in 'snafu' was the proverbial 'F' word. Yes, that 'F' word. 

For combat soldiers everywhere, the deepest reality of life comes down to: 'Normal = F'd up'. Indeed, if you started reading Israel's mainstream media this morning at breakfast (0830 in Israel), you might  come to the same conclusion. Yes, you might conclude, the Gaza 'crisis' appears to be 'over'. Now, at last, everything in Israel is back to normal, which means, in essence, all messed up.

Is that too harsh a conclusion? Judge for yourself. Here are some top news stories from pre-0900 in Israel, Sunday morning, October 21, 2018  . Some of these stories were published before this morning, but still appeared at Sunday breakfast-time:

-Rioters tear down sections of Gaza border fence; rioters breach border fence at three locations; Israeli fighter jet fires at an incendiary balloon cell attempting to launch fire-balloons into Israel; Israeli soldiers wound more than 100 Arabs at Gaza fence riots, using live-fire (here).

-Israel reopens Gaza crossing station as relative calm prevails at the Gaza-Israel fence (here). See previous headline just above for definition of 'relative calm'. 

-Hamas rejects Egyptian demand to stop border riots (here).

-After international condemnations of Israel for issuing an order to demolish a small Bedouin community called Khan al-Ahmar, Israel announced today-late yesterday it will delay that demolition indefinitely (here).

-Oh, wait. Netanyahu has also announced that this encampment will be evacuated and demolished ("Netanyahu: Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated" arutzshevanewsbriefs, October 21, 2018). 

-An Israeli NGO that fights to stop illegal Arab construction in Judea-Samaria (such as Khan al-Ahmar, above) attacked Netanyahu for capitulating to international pressure to stop the Khan al-Ahmar evacuation/demolition (here).

-Opposition leader Tzipi Livni scorches Netanyahu for policies that, she says, help keep Hamas strong--and the border fence rioting strong (here).

-Yair Netanyahu, the PM's son, gets himself into trouble because he's called an apparently anti-Netanyahu female TV newscaster a 'fat cow' (here).

-A story in the timesofisrael asks if Hamas and Israel can truly maintain 'calm' at the border fence (here).

-Hamas appears to answer this question above by warning Israel that if Israel continues to act 'aggressively' (presumably towards border fence rioters), Hamas will make certain that Israelis won't be able leave their bomb shelters (here).

 These stories are what's typically normal in Israel's daily media. If you spend too much time reading such reports, you might easily conclude that Israel is all messed up. 

What's going on over there in Israel? Nothing is right. The government is always wrong. Nothing is good.

Why is Israel so messed up? The answer is obvious. Israel lives with an existential threat. Every day, someone hates, attacks or wants to 'kill' Israel. Every hour of every day, Israel faces some kind of combat--terrorism, diplomatic war, economic war, legal war.

Our media, flawed that it is, is no different than any combat participant. It gets all messed up because the very air it breathes has been made toxic. 

At best, everything is confused. Sometimes, it becomes chaotic.

Our 'normal' isn't normal. It's 'snafu'd'. 

That's what life is like before the Final Redemption. We live with a daily battle with those who wish to condemn us, threaten us and/or destroy us. 

Get used to it. If you're in exile, keep your bags packed. If you're in Israel, make sure you keep your lines of communication with the Creator open.

For both of you, make sure you know what's expected of you. If you ignore this part of your life, you may find it difficult to reserve a seat for your trip home.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Israel's Gaza problem: Netanyahu just got lucky

On October 15, 2018, a news headline appeared that seemed to sum up where the almost 7-month long Gaza border fence rioting was headed: "Hamas turns Israeli border into '24/7' war zone in new bid to kidnap Israeli soldiers" (here). The story under the headline didn't say much about Hamas planning to kidnap IDF soldiers. But the context of that story was clear:  'unless Hamas backs off, Israel will hit back very, very hard'.

That could mean war. Bets are, that's exactly what it means.

By late afternoon October 18th, Israelis saw what Netanyahui had meant with those words. News reports-with photos--appeared in the press that showed Israeli tanks and other heavy equipment being transferred South to the Gaza border area. This is how Israel heard about a war build-up in the days leading to the 2014 50-day war with Gaza. It's what Israel was looking at again.

This kind of heavy military traffic on Israel's few South-bound highways isn't an everyday occurrence--at least, not to this extent. Such a large scale movement of equipment is normally no empty show-off  operation--it's too expensive for that. Normally, it means something serious. 

Now, 0930 am (Israel time) October 19th, war with Gaza seems to have suddenly been dropped from top Israel headlines. Just like that, war stories have fallen from first-ranked headlines to positions below first-in -order. 

While news for Netanyahu just four days ago wasn't  particularly good PR for him as Israel's top leader, this morning's news had him almost completely off the 'war-with-Gaza' story. He's gotten lucky. Israel's media suddenly has other things to write about. 

Note that war stories in Israel's media haven't completely disappeared. They've just dropped from, say, top-five on the banner-head, to lower positions. 

There are three new stories. While you'll have to decide for yourself which of these three stories is most important for Israel, one fact seems clear: these new stories grab everyone's attention--and give Netanyahu a break from a growing criticism over his hesitancy to act against Gaza.

The three new stories are these: 

-on October 2, 2018, a Saudi 'journalist' was apparently murdered by Saudis (?) in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey (here)--and still no one knows who did it; 

-Israel's Supreme Court has just ruled that a pro-BDS non-Israeli must  be allowed to enter Israel to study at Hebrew University for a year, notwithstanding her anti-Israel affiliations (here)--and an existing Israeli law giving the State the explicit right to ban such people; 

-the head of the anti- Israel Jewish/Israeli NGO, B'Tselem, has condemned Israel before the UN Security Council (UNSC) in a way that some in Israel say sounded more like a Hamas collaborator talking than an objective observer (here).

Here are the details of these stories, as they impact on Israeli interests:

The Saudi story has some importance to Israel because Saudi Arabia is, arguably, the most important Arab country to even hint at 'talking' with Israel on a regular basis. Israel wants this openness to continue--and to grow, not collapse. If the Saudis have indeed enticed a Saudi citizen into one of its Consulates to murder him, the US may revise its diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. The US may impose sanctions.  In theory, sanctions could impact Israel's ability to continue 'interacting' with  Saudi Arabia.  

Regarding Israel's BDS/Supreme Court story: Typically, when Israel's Supreme Court rules on the legality of, or application of, an existing law in Israel, it has a history of ignoring both legal precedence and the legal standing of the legislative or executive branches of Israel's government. Instead, the Court has often ruled only according to the personal beliefs of the judges. This dismissal of precedence and 'legal standing' angers lots of Israelis because, for some, this kind of 'dismissing'  behavior is not how a judiciary is supposed to work in a democracy.

Today's Israel Supreme Court is, in other words, very close to what some in America claim is the American Democrat Party's desire to have the US Supreme Court become--activist and Leftist; that is, a Court that drops a commitment to precedence and 'rule of law' in order to rule according to something called, 'social justice'. 

Many Israelis don't want 'social justice'. They feel that 'social justice' and democracy don't go together. 

Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in this BDS case attracts much attention, for the Court has rejected the State's case against a charged BDS-supporter (here). Specifically, the Court has ruled that the State cannot deny the defendant's right to enter Israel, despite an existing law that gives the State the right to do exactly that.

Regarding the B'Tselem story, some in Israel say that an anti-Israel presentation by B'Tselem at the UNSC hurts Israel. That presentation, some argue, validates all the anti-Israel accusations that emanate from the UN against Israel. It defames Israel. 

All of these stories, appearing on the same day, are a bonus for Netanyahu. War-with-Gaza and 'let's-criticize-Netanyahu' have, at least during breakfast this morning, lost steam for Israel's media. For a few hours at least, Netanyahu is off the  proverbial media hot-seat. For the moment, the Gaza-Netanyahu story-line has gone relatively quiet.

How long will such luck hold for Netanyahu? Hey, today's Friday. This is the day of the week Gaza fence rioting usually explodes in a violent tantrum of hate, black, acrid smoke from burning tires, explosions at the fence and fire-kites launched into Israel. 

Yes, Hamas has said it will calm things down for a few days. But will it? Yes, Israel has said it will hold back attacking Gaza if the fence riots and 'launchings' (kites and rockets) stop. But will Israel really hold back those attacks if the rioting and 'launchings' don't stop?

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Newsflash: Israel's leaders have met to discuss what to do about Gaza!

(This report is dated 0945 Israel time, October 18, 2018)

On October 17, 2017, Israel's leadership met to discuss attacking Hamas (see yesterday's post, below). Our leaders met for more than 5 hours (here). After the meeting, none of Israel's leaders had anything to say. 

That silence meant only one of three things: first,Israel had decided to attack Hamas; or, alternatively, Israel had decided not to attack ; or, possibly, to make no decision, but to alert the IDF, in some way, to get ready to act. 

Today, the morning of October 18, 2018, Israel's political leaders appear to be still scratching their collective heads over what to do about violence against Israel coming out of Gaza. Israels' IDF (Israel Defence Force) still seems less than eager to take advice from its titular head, Israel Defence Minister, Avigdor Liberman. Liberman has wanted the IDF to attack Hamas immediately (here). But the IDF won't do it. Instead, it's sticking to what it's already declared: it's better prepared to fight than ever before (here).

For many in Israel, such talk doesn't 'cut it'. Many Israelis want more. They want the fence rioters, the fire-kite launchers and the missile launchers bombed--yesterday.

Meanwhile, as those same Israeli leaders were meeting to discuss options in Gaza, a report appeared in Israel that Egypt had successfully brokered a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel (here). However, this report also said that nothing had been corroborated by either Egypt or Israel (ibid). The news report said nothing about Hamas' opinion on this matter.

When this report came out October 17th, no one knew if it was true--or if, as some suspected, it was a fake report floated by Israel as a way to give Israel's leaders an excuse not to act. Certainly, at least one reader commented on this hesitancy to act against Hamas by calling Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the 'Appeaser-in-Chief'. 

That could be a too-harsh judgment. But it's the kind of epithet that's been hurled at Netanyahu in reader comments for weeks.

Now, as of October 18th, an early morning report hit the news wire: there's a Palestinian news outlet in London, England that says a group in Gaza called, the 'Supreme National Authority of the Marches of Return and the Lifting of the Blockade'--the name given to the 6+-month long rioting at the Gaza-Israel border fence--has decided to reduce confrontations for at least 'the coming days' ("Report: Gazans to reduce  confrontations at the Gaza fence", arutzsheva newsbriefs, 07:26am Israel time, October 18, 2018). 

Apparently, Israel's leaders were off the hook. They didn't have to act. Their previous decisions--to target Hamas infrastructure as a simple punishment for pushing the rioting too far--appears to have worked, at least for the moment.  Hamas has been persuaded to back off--for now.

This may not be good news for Netanyahu. Israel's opposition is increasingly condemning him for inaction, for 'talking tough with empty threats'. It remains to be seen if this 'backing off' at the border fence means anything good for Israel. 

Will Netanyahu be the hero or the fool for holding back the IDF? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Is Hamas driving Israel to war?

For a week now, online news headlines having been suggesting Israel is, once again, about to go to war. As in 2008, 2012 and 2014, the combatants in this new war will be the same-as-before, Hamas vs Israel. The question this time is, will Hamas be able to convince others to join in against Israel? 

The most likely candidates to join Hamas against Israel are the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Iran. Will they join? Don't hold your breathe.  

But then, maybe the headlines are wrong. Maybe there won't be war.

After more than six months of border riots at the Gaza-Israel fence, and fire kites getting launched into Israel from Gaza, Hamas has ramped up its border-fence violence. On October 12, 2018, Arab rioters at the fence used explosives to blow a hole in that fence so Gazans could rush into Israel (here). IDF troops fired warning shots at about 20 such Arabs (ibid). Most turned around and rushed back behind the fence. But three kept rushing towards an IDF post. They were shot dead. 

As one headline suggested on October 15, 2018, Hamas has now turned the Israel-Gaza border into a 24/7 war zone (here).  Now, October 17th, it seems increasingly clear that Israel slides ever closer to war. But is this correct? 

Seems so. Between the hours of 3:30 AM-10AM (local time) on October 17th, rockets and/or reports of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel appeared as news alerts. One rocket destroyed a house in Be'er Sheva. 

At least two other rockets were reported to have landed in Israel. One landed near a ranch. Another landed 'in the sea'. 

Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. Two or three residents (reports differ) from the house destroyed in Be'er Sheva were taken to a local hospital suffering from shock. No one else was reported hurt.

Several more sirens went off in Israel's South. At least one siren was termed a 'false alarm'. By 10 AM local time, Israeli fighter jets had bombed several places in Gaza--each one empty (here). The guess is, those attacks on empty outposts,etc, were deliberate. Is Israel bombing what's empty in an attempt to keep the lid on?

In early July, 2014, Israel held its breathe while Hamas and affiliates in Gaza fired 100's of rockets into Israel before Israel finally responded. Israelis are now far less patient. They want action, now. 

They want to stop Hamas from attacking. They're fed up. They want Israel's leadership to fight back. 

Israelis also don't want Israel to bomb empty buildings. They want Israel to bomb the border-fence rioters.

In Israel, a building anger and a call for action pushes Israel's leadership forward. Already, the two most important people in Israel (regarding war)--the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister--have warned that, if Hamas doesn't cool off, there will be a 'harsh response'. 

Hamas' response to such Israel talk--and to the Israeli air attacks? It didn't call for war. Instead, it declared its operatives did not fire a rocket into the Be'er Sheva area (here). Its leading opponent/partner in Gaza, the Islamic Jihad organization, said the same thing (ibid). Both disavowed responsibility.

In addition, a "Senior Hamas official" was quoted as saying that both sides don't want war (here) despite the harsh rhetoric coming from both sides. Sounds like an attempt to keep the lid on, right ?

Maybe not. There's a problem with conciliatory talk from Hamas. Hamas is  not a monolithic organization. It's got two 'arms'. One is a political camp. The other is 'military'. 

Both of these 'arms' often appear to make opposite statements when it comes to aggression against Israel. Often, the political 'arm' talks about backing away from war. The military 'arm', on the other hand, often continues with its aggression against Israel. 

Here's a clue as to who's word counts the most in Gaza: when it come to war, the Hamas military 'arm'  typically carries the day, not the Hamas political 'arm'. Reporting to Israel that both sides don't want war may be closer to fake news than hard reality. We don't know.

Hamas is like that. It wants Israel to hear war and quiet. Hamas understands Israelis. Hamas knows how easily Israelis take the bait of 'we don't want escalation'. 

While Israel waits, the Gaza border fence looks more and more like a war zone. 

Israeli citizens want the fire-kites to stop. They want the border-fence riots to stop. They don't want to see fire-Blimps over Israel (Hamas has announced it's starting to launch fire-Blimps; I'm not sure any have actually been launched). Israelis want quiet restored, not more fires.

Is Hamas trying to push Israel to war? Israeli leaders aren't certain. But--to paraphrase an online reader comment--if Hamas doesn't want war, why is it blowing up the  Gaza-Israel border fence? Why is it using fire-kites to burn Israel to the ground?

Stay tuned. This deadly game isn't over.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Abbas terror plan: how's that working out?

(Last update: October 15, 2018)

Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas has worked to promote terror attacks against Jews in Israel since the moment he became leader of the PLO in November, 2004 (after the death of Yasser Arafat). Since his leadership began, Palestinians under his rule have murdered and injured more than 3,300 Israelis (here). 

That's more than 230 serious assaults a year against Jews. Many of those assaults were deadly. It's an  average of  almost 20 assaults a month, every month, for 167 months.

Abbas rules with an iron fist. Whatever is reported about Israel in the PA receives his blessing--either explicitly beforehand or, implicitly, by his silence afterwards. His leadership focuses on terror. 

He incites for Palestinians to attack Jews. His incitement is unrelenting (herehere and here). It's constant. 

For example, in December, 2017, PA radio and TV started an incitement campaign by rebroadcasting 41 times in three days a 2014 Abbas call for violence against Israel (here). Those calls resulted in violence against Jews in Jerusalem. By the end of February, a poll of Palestinians showed that Palestinians were becoming more extreme in their support of anti-Israel terrorism (here).

It's been said that Yasser Arafat was the 'father of modern terrorism' (here). If that's correct, then Mahmoud Abbas has become the 'father of the modern incitement for terrorism'. 

Between December 2017-October 2018, Abbas has made headlines in the PA more than 14 times, using hostile or incendiary comments about Israel, Jews, Jerusalem, no peace and martyrdom against Jews (here). He's a one-man hate machine--and that vicious rebroadcast above in December, 2017 was just the tip of a long history of incitement Abbas has engaged in--and promoted--against Israel.

You can see how this hate-spewing specialty of his has affected Palestinian behavior over just the last three years. During the 1,025 days between app September 14, 2015 and July 8, 2018, there were app. 9.966 attacks against Jews in Israel (here). That's more than 60 attacks per week. In addition, if you include what Gaza's been doing to Israel in a similar time-period (January 1, 2016-July 8, 2018), the numbers get worse. 

All of these attacks occur in a context of incitement from PA leadership. The leader of this incitement in Abbas himself (here).

Take a second look at attacks against Jews in Israel. Count the number of rockets Gaza has fired into Israel during the September 2015-July 2018 period; add that into the the  number of actual terror attacks, attempted terror attacks and attacks thwarted by Israeli security forces. The result is an additional 2,400 attacks to add to the previous total of 9,966 attacks. 

Those numbers still aren't complete. They don't appear to include the more than 750 fire kites that have been burning Israel's South--or the hundreds of other fire kites that still come into Israel but, thankfully, do no damage.

Once you finish this terror arithmetic, you'll see that there have been more than 12,000 attacks (and attempts) against Israel in the last 35 months.This total may actually be low. Some (many?) attempted attacks simply don't get reported--the paperwork such attempts create means that, for some, it's easier not to report them at all--no police report means getting home early from work.

If you're looking for a good definition for "Arab Jew-hate", you've got it here. Our 'Palestinian' neighbors--egged on by Abbas's incitement--have proven how wondrously Palestinians can embrace Jew-hate: putting aside for the moment attacks against Jews in Israel before September, 2015, Arabs in Gaza and the PA have spent the last 3 years attacking Jews here in Israel at an average of more than 84 times a week.

Get the picture? Arab Jew-hate isn't just a theory. It's real.

What have all these attacks gotten for Abbas? Nothing. He's no closer to driving out Jews than he was earlier, before September 2015. One might even argue that,  today, Israel and its Jewish citizens are far more determined than ever before to keep fighting Abbas' hate, not be cowed by it.

Meanwhile, Palestinians living under Abbas' incite-for-terror leadership have reaped few benefits. They have more funerals, more hunger, less freedom and still no infrastructure for creating a viable state. 

The hallmark of Abbas' leadership is his unrelenting incitement for terror. He has time only for terror against Jews. Insanely, he ignores his own Palestinians' general health and welfare. Instead, he obsesses over developing rules and laws against Jews and Israel (here).

How's his terror campaign working out? It isn't. It unifies the Jewish people in Israel. It's a disaster for Palestinians.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I just lost today's essay

I don't know how this happened, but a few minutes ago, I published an essay, "Is this the future of Israel's media?".

Then, somehow, I took it down, as if to correct something. I walked away from my computer, then returned to look at the new essay as it looked online. It wasn't on the blog. It was gone.

I looked for it, found it in Drafts. How it got there, I don't know.  I republished it immediately--and noticed that the second half of the essay had disappeared. 

I may have to rewrite that second half--but don't know if I can. 

At any rate, I can't do it now because of my schedule.

I think I may have lost it forever.

It's happened to me before. It's frustrating.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The two state proposal you'll never see

I've written a proposal for a two state solution to end the Arab-Israel war. It's a good plan, I'm sure. 

I've written this proposal because so many in Israel (and elsewhere) have created so many 'two state solutions' I just had to add my own version. But you'll never see it. 

The reason is simple. There is no two state solution for the Arab-Israel war. That's the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the corner. It's the gorilla no well-meaning, peace-lover wants to look at.

This 100-year war isn't about two peoples wanting to live in peace in the same geographic location. It isn't about politics. It isn't about about self-determination. It's about G-d (here). It's about two opposing religious absolutes (here) wrestling over one earthly plot where only one G -d, one absolute, can reign.

Ask the Palestinian Authority (PA). Ask Hamas. They know exactly what this war is about.

This war focuses on what Islam calls a waqf. A waqf is an Islamic property. Once associated with Islam, it can never be sold or gifted (here). In essence, it belongs to allah.

That's what this war is about--land that the G-d of Israel gave to the Jewish people which Islam declares it will  usurp for itself. Specifically, this war is about the Islamic effort to replace the infidel Jew-Israel with a new Islamic Caliphate. Jerusalem is to be the capital (here) of that Caliphate. This effort against Israel is viewed by Muslims as a religious imperative, not a political necessity. 

Read the Hamas Charter. Listen to religious officials from both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza.

This war isn't geopolitical in nature. It's religious. It's a war over whose religion gets to rule the holy land.

Take another look at Abbas's speeches in Arabic. Look at translations of other official and religious speeches in Arabic from Gaza and the PA (via palwatch and memri). 

Those speeches tell the truth. For Muslims, this war is about their allah. It's about the Islamic claim that the Temple Mount, the Cave of the Patriarchs, Joseph's Tomb, Rachel's Tomb and Hevron--and all the land between the River and the Sea--belong to Muslims, not Jews. It's about demonstrating the Supremacy of Islam over Judaism and Christianity (here).

There are no Man-made 'solutions' for this kind of war because this war isn't about Man. Man's solutions simply do not address the spiritual issues embedded in this war. 

Two state solutions are a fool's work. That's why I won't show you my version. I'm not a fool.