Friday, December 27, 2013

Israel news: the sniper, the UN and Jonathan Pollard

Here are some recent news stories you might have missed. The headlines—and the comments—are from December 23-26, 2013:

 The war against Israel

- After Palestinian pressure --NBC denies plans to shoot TV series in [Israel’s] East Jerusalem (12/23/13, Haaretz)

- Statistics: Terror Attacks Increase As Talks Progress (12/23/13, Arutz Sheva)

- Bennett blames PA incitement for recent wave of terrorism (12/25/13, Jerusalem Post) 

- IDF soldiers fire at, hit Palestinian placing bomb on Gaza-Israel border (12/23/13, Jerusalem Post)

- As tensions mount in Gaza, UN's Ban warns against further retaliatory strikes from Israel (12/24/13, Jerusalem Post)

-Hundreds protest against Egypt's jailing of activists (12/23/13, Jerusalem Post)

- ‘IDF killed 2 terrorists, thwarted bombing on Gaza border’ (12/25/13, Times of Israel) 

- Liberman: Rearrest Palestinian who called for soldier kidnappings (12/25/13, Times of Israel) 

- Defense Minister Ya'alon blames PA for escalation (12/25/13, Ynet) 

-Defense minister: Israel is prepared for further escalation in violence (12/25/13, Haaretz)

-Russian Experts Confirm: Arafat Died of Natural Causes (12/26/13, Arutz Sheva)

-PA Arab Attempts to Run Over Policeman (12/26/13, Arutz Sheva)

-Shin Bet arrests Gazan suspected of planning [another] sniper attack on IDF (12/26/13, Haaretz)

-Report: Hamas Gathering Long-Range Rockets (12/26/13, Arutz Sheva)

-Iron Dome Units Deployed in Southern Israel (12/26/13, Arutz Sheva)
-Netanyahu's office blasts Abbas for not condemn terror attacks (12/25/13, Haaretz)
-PA Arabs Riot Near Tulkarm (12/25/13, Arutz Sheva)
- UN chief warns of a ‘new round of bloodshed’ (12/24/13, Times of Israel)
While the Palestinian Authority tried to score anti-Israel points over an Israeli retaliatory air strike against Gaza (“UN chief warns of a new round of bloodshed”), reports during this news cycle began to circulate that the incident which provoked the air strike was more complex than first reported. The initial report had said that an Arab sniper had killed a Israeli worker. The worker was part of a crew repairing storm-damage to the Gaza fence that separates Gaza from Israel. When the worker died, Israeli jets bombed a terror site, killing a man and a child (first reported to a boy, then a girl—or vice versa).
But it now turns out that the murdered Israeli was an Arab civilian employee of the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The Arabs killed an Arab—and offered no public apology to the deceased’s family.
We have also learned that that sniper wasn’t alone that day (“IDF killed 2 terrorists, thwarted bombing on Gaza border”). The sniper appears to have been part of a team of Arabs attempting to plant a bomb alongside the fence--to be exploded remotely when IDF personnel came close to it.
We don’t have all the details yet. But one thing is for certain: that fence is a flash-point. We are sure to hear more about it.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon felt motivated to speak about the incident. But he didn’t condemn the sniper attack. He didn’t condemn what was clearly aggression against a sovereign Israel. Instead, he warned Israel against further retaliation against Arab attacks (“As tensions mount in Gaza, UN's Ban warns against further retaliatory strikes from Israel”).
 That’s not moral leadership—not when Israel was attacked, and not when Israel has the legal right to defend itself.
Ban Ki-Moon’s statement sounded like a moral collapse. He warns the one attacked, and gives the attackers what amounts to a ‘pass’?
That’s not morality.
It looks like the UN Secretary-General might be afraid of Muslim UN Members. After all, Muslim countries represent almost twenty-eight per cent of UN Membership. More important, Muslim countries represent approximately eighty-five per cent of a quorum.
With those kinds of numbers, it’s easy to have the General Assembly pass what you want passed. Perhaps that’s why it has been so easy to condemn Israel—and so difficult to condemn Arab countries.
That’s called power. Apparently, it’s also enough power to motivate the UN Secretary-General to behave in a manner that is satisfactory to those behind that power.
These Muslim countries—and their overarching control-group, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC)--know how to use its power. As it demonstrates here, power has its privileges: when one of its own (who isn’t even a full UN Member) attacks Israel, the Secretary-General knows whom to scold—Israel.
We will see more such cowardice from the UN. We may even become witness to the collapse of UN as a moral voice (if it hasn’t already happened). We may become the first generation to see the UN repudiate the ideals of its own founding Charter.
When that happens, Muslim power will be ascendant. The West will be eclipsed.
The you-know-what will hit the fan.
This might be a good time for you to start reading your Tanach—and Midrashic commentary. You might think it’s too little early for talk of Redemption, but these UN shenanigans are not random events. They are part of a larger picture. They are the real-life details that put flesh onto the prophetic visions in your Tanach.
Don’t scoff. History unfolds according to the broad strokes of your Tanach.
Read the Book. Don’t wait for the movie.
The Muslim Middle East
-Turkish economy minister resigns over graft probe, denies wrongdoing (12/25/13, Jerusalem Post)

- Egypt army says car bomb used in Nile Delta blast [at least 11 killed, 100+ wounded] (12/24/13, Jerusalem Post)

- Activists say 2013 a dark year for Saudi rights (12/25/13, Times of Israel) 

The Leftist war against Israel

- Peri: Increase in West Bank violence doesn't equate 3rd intifada (12/23/13, Jerusalem Post)

Israel business

- Israeli Hi-tech Boomed in 2013 (12/25/13, Arutz Sheva)

Business Week magazine came to the Middle East this news cycle. It came to report on Israel. The magazine didn’t come with moral hypocrisy on its lips. It came with truth.

It gave its 2013 reading of Israel’s high-tech and biotech sectors: in almost every respect, business increased in these sectors. The increases took place in investments, salaries and a series of impressive ‘exits’.

Business Week described just one aspect of how Israel becomes a Light unto the nations. In Israel’s mobile and web sectors, Israeli companies saw a 52 per cent rise in demand during the first half of 2013—a trend that continued (for the most part) through November. Start-ups founded in 2013 raised over $380 million. Israel’s Internet start-ups attracted almost 97 million dollars in ‘angel’ money. 

Business Week says it doesn’t see any changes in these trends for 2014—and beyond.

Israel is hot.

It’s no coincidence that Israel business is hot just as demonization, delegitimization and terror-talk grow more intense each week. It’s not coincidence at all. Instead, it’s the G-d of Israel talking to you. He’s reminding you not to believe everything you read about Israel-the-evil.

Jonathan Pollard

-White House: No Current Plans to Release Pollard (12/23/13, Arutz Sheva)

- Report: Prime Minister to Demand Pollard's Release (12/23/13, Arutz Sheva)

- 106 Israeli MKs appeal to Obama to release Pollard (12/25/13, Times of Israel)

-Gilad Shalit calls for release of Jonathan Pollard (12/26/13, Times of Israel)  
-PM to Demand Release of Pollard for Progress with PA (12/23/13, Arutz Sheva)
- Israel redoubling bid for Pollard’s release, but US firm on refusal (12/23/13, Times of Israel)
- Leaving Pollard in jail is now officially absurd (12/24/13, Times of Israel)
-PM: Spying on Israel 'Unacceptable' (12/23/13, Arutz Sheva)
Jonathan Pollard is not going to go away. He’s still in prison—and after 29 years, that continuing imprisonment doesn’t sit well any more with Israelis (“PM: Spying on Israel Unacceptable”). For the second consecutive news cycle, calls go out for his release. This time, 106 Members of Israel’s 120-seat Knesset—including, it is said, two Arab MKs—have issued a call for release.

In addition, Israel’s most famous former prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, has issued his own statement about Pollard.  The statement was simple but, in its own way, elegant:  “After Israel has released terrorists with blood on their hands as a gesture to the Palestinians,” he wrote, “a return gesture is all that is being requested.”

Both of these requests have come just days after information about US spying on Israel hit Israel’s news sites. These reports make President Obama’s refusal to release Pollard look less morally acceptable each day: the US appears to have been just as much a spy as Pollard—if not worse (“Leaving Pollard in jail is now officially absurd”). Therefore, how can Obama claim its spying on Israel is a justifiable action and, in the same breath, claim that keeping Pollard locked up is proper?

We shall see where all of this leads. The spy reports keep Pollard in the news. Will he become part of a ‘peace’ deal to be brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry?

There’s speculation that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could emand a Pollard release in order to continue peace negotiations (“PM to Demand Release of Pollard for Progress with PA”). How will the US handle such a demand?

More important for Israel, what will Netanyahu do if the US balks at such a demand?

Don’t go away. The Big Show may begin sooner than you think.


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