Thursday, May 17, 2018

Those peaceful Gaza fence demonstrations

Since the end of March, 2018, there has been violent rioting along a fence that separates Gaza from sovereign Israel. The riots occurred, on schedule, each Friday between March 30, 2018-May 11, 2018, inclusive. 

Hamas, which organized the rioting, termed these weekly 'gatherings' a 'March of Return'. Hamas claimed that, by the time the riots ended, Gazans would be walking through the Israeli border fence and 'marching' to Jerusalem.

No 'March of Return' occurred. Only border fence riots occurred.

The riots attracted weekly crowds ranging from 7,000-40,000+ Gazans. These participants were conveniently gathered, organized and bused to the chosen riot sites. The bus rides were free. According to Israeli sources, those who brought their families to the riots were paid for coming. 

The rioting didn't stop with the seventh Friday, May 11th. It kept going, Saturday the 12th through Tuesday, May 15th. 

May 15, 2018 was the rioting high-point. It's a special day, May 15th. It's 'Nakba Day'.

Nakba Day is the 'day of catastrophe'. The first 'day of catastrophe' occurred in Israel's 1948 War of Independence. As you may remember, that war began when Arabs initiated a war of annihilation against the newly reconstituted Jewish Israel. 

The Arabs lost that war, badly. Ever since, they celebrate that catastrophe every year. Each year, they blame that catastrophe on the Jews.

Arabs who call themselves 'Palestinians' might be the only people in history who have created a day each year to rage against a lost war. These Arabs do not rage against the Arab leaders who betrayed them by leading them into this catastrophic war. They rage instead against the victims they failed to kill.

On Nakba Day 2018, 'Palestinians' were raging. The numbers of rioters at the Gaza fence swelled to 40,000+. The number of Arabs dying at the fence skyrocketed. 

During the full seven weeks of rioting before May 15th, a total of some 58-60 Arabs died during the riots (Hamas' numbers). On Nakba Day alone, another 60 died.

 According to Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza with an iron, totalitarian-religious fist, these 'demonstrations' would be 'peaceful and non-violent' (Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas calls for peaceful 'March of Return'", timesofisrael, March 29, 2018--here). Mainstream media (msm) around the world picked up on this description. 

Over the course of the  next seven weeks, despite decidedly unpeaceful rioting, msm didn't alter a letter of this description in its news reporting: the rioters were peaceful, these reports suggested, just as Hamas had said. 

The narrative was simple. The protest was peaceful. The Israeli soldiers on the Israel side of the fence, however, were not peaceful. They, that narrative said, were killers.

The world's mainstream media, along with diplomats and national leaders, saw no reason to question such an image. 

Using the Hamas-inspired story-line, human rights organizations denounced the violence at the riots. The violence they denounced wasn't the violence of the rioters. It was "the killings by Israeli forces of dozens of Palestinians and injuries of thousands exercising their right to peaceful demonstration" [emphasis mine] (here).

The killing of Palestinians began with the first riot, on March 30, 2018. That day, 16 Palestinians (of app 30,000 demonstrators) were killed by Israeli soldiers guarding the Israel-side of the fence. These soldiers were indeed vigilant because a Hamas leader had come to the riot that day and declared that those 'besieging' Gaza (the Jews of Israel) needed to be careful because the people of Gaza might be ready to 'eat their (the Jews') livers' (here).

Israelis did not view this metaphor as peaceful. The world, however, did.

The world reacted with 'concern'. The EU expressed 'concern' that Israel was using "lethal force for crowd control" ("EU expresses concern over Israeli use of live fire for crowd control", timesofisrael", April 4, 2018--here). The United Nations admonished Israel that "demonstrations must be allowed to proceed peacefully [emphasis mine]" ("UN expresses concern as Israel, Gaza gird for fresh Friday violence", timesofisrael, April 5, 2018). --here). Others, including the UK, Germany and France followed suit.

But were these 'demonstrations' really peaceful?

In case you might have forgotten what a peaceful demonstration looks like, here are some images of  'peaceful' demonstrations (see more here):

Greeks flood Thessaloniki seafront to protest FYROM bid to be called 'Macedonia'. About 500.000 people protested in front of the statue of Alexander the Great. Thessaloniki, Greece. January 21 2018

Occupy Central protest movement in Hong Kong royalty-free stock photo

Thousands Junior doctors protest in London royalty-free stock photo

Now, take a look at those 'peaceful' Gaza fence demonstrations (the first picture--Israeli soldiers watching fires at the  Gaza fence--is from Getty images; the second is from EPA;  third photo is from reuters. The last picture--showing Palestinian flags with a Swastika flag--is from the IDF:
          Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2018

A Palestinian protester throws stones at Israeli troops during clashes after protests near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Palestinians throw rocks during protests in Gaza (credit: Mohammed Salem/ Reuters)
Palestinian flags flank a swastika in the midst of smoke during protests in Gaza

Can you tell which of the above protests are peaceful and which is marked by violence? Is it really that difficult to discern the difference? (Continue  below)

To understand how Hamas defines the 'peaceful' nature of these riots, here is a 'March of Return' compilation of speeches collected by MEMRI, a website that monitors Arabic sources (here). This compilation appeared on the website, powerlineblog. The speech excerpts you see here mostly took place during the seven weeks of rioting. They all refer, either explicitly or implicitly, to the fence riots, and to Hamas intentions. Taken together, these speeches explain how 'peaceful' the Hamas rioting was.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Historic day for Israel: US embassy comes to Jerusalem

On the Jewish calendar, the month of Iyyar has become a month of history for Israel. It's the month when the eternal heart and soul of the Jewish homeland--Jerusalem--has returned to its proper place as the 'crown jewel' of Israel.  

On the 28th day of Iyyar in the secular year, 1967,  Jerusalem returned to Jewish hands. In that year's existential war of survive-or-die, Israel's army liberated Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation. For the first time in millenia, Jerusalem became a unified Jewish city. 

But as much as Jews in Israel have wanted Jerusalem to be their capital city, the world has had a different idea: Jerusalem cannot be the capital of Israel. 

Traditionally, every nation chooses where foreign  embassies are to be located. Virtually all nations choose their own capital cities. 

Except Israel. The world has rejected Israel's connection to Jerusalem. It has rejected Israel's right to choose its capital city or to choose where foreign embassies are to go. 

That's all changed. Today, on the 29th day of Iyyar in the secular year 2018, the world's most powerful nation rejects that unwarranted prejudice. Today, on the 29th day of the Jewish month of Iyyar, the United States of America officially moves its foreign embassy to Jerusalem. It declares--by word and deed--that the United States embassy will be in Israel's capital city--Jerusalem.

It is a day that will be remembered in Jewish history. 

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital--and moving embassies there--is no immoral or hostile act. It is a recognition of historic truth. It is a recognition of reality. It is a recognition that brings the world's moral compass back to 'true north'.

Mazal Tov, Israel. Mazal Tov, Jerusalem.

For more on Jerusalem, the US embassy and history, please check out Miriam Ellman here

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Jerusalem Day 2018

(Last update: May 14, 2018)

Today is Sunday May 13, 2018. On the Jewish calendar, May 13, 2018 is the 28th day of the Jewish month called, Iyyar. It is a day we in Israel call, Yom Yerushalem--Jerusalem Day.

Because of differences between the Jewish and the  Gregorian calendar (which the Christian world follows), the 28th day of Iyyar, 1967, occurred on June 7th of that year. 
June 7,1967 (Iyyar 28) was the day during Israel's Six Day War when Israeli paratroopers entered the 'Old City' of Jerusalem and captured it from Jordan.

Jordan had seized the Old City during Israel's War of Independence in 1948. At that time (1948), beginning almost immediately after capturing the Old City, Jordan made some changes. It destroyed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City (here). It committed ethnic cleansing by driving out all Jews from the Jewish Quarter of that Old City (ibid). It set about destroying 58 synagogues, some hundreds of years old (ibid). It turned Jewish religious sites into chicken coops and animal stalls (ibid). 

Then, Jordanians ransacked the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, which lay just outside the walls of the 'Old City'. Jews had been burying their dead on the Mount of Olives for  close to 2,500 years (ibid). But Jordan didn't care to respect this cemetery. It was, after all, a Jewish cemetery. So Jordanians took thousands of Jewish tombstones from the cemetery and used them for paving highways and for latrines (ibid). 

I9 years later, in May, 1967, Arab nations surrounding Israel decided to war once again against the Jewish Israel. The anti-Israel rhetoric Israelis heard on their radios that month was horrifying: the Jews were to be driven into the sea. The Jews were to be exterminated. There would be no survivors (see below). 

For almost an entire month, Arab Rage filled the air in every Jewish home that had a radio. Every Jew heard that rage. Every Jew heard the hate. 

Worse, every Jew also heard that no nation would stand to help Israel. Arab hate echoed everywhere, unchallenged.

What were Israel's Jews to think? They were, quite literally, surrounded. The Arabs around them made it perfectly clear: Jewish blood would soak the earth until every Jew was gone.  

Here is a short video. Its title is Drumbeats of war (Survival of a Nation). It was first published on youtube May 3, 2017.  It explains how terrified the Jews of Israel were as war approached. It explains how terrifying the Arab rage was. It puts the staggering miracles that occurred at that time into perspective.

Today in Israel we celebrate how miraculous was that 1967 victory. We celebrate the Divine Hand that guided our soldiers as they moved house-to-house, corner-to-corner in the Old City. 

Today, we dance in the streets. We parade through the Old City draped in Israeli flags.

Thousands upon thousands gather at the Western Wall. They sing the Hallel (an extended prayer-song of praise to HaShem). They dance yet again. 

On this day of celebration, we remember the mind-boggling miracles that saved us. 

We rejoice over how Jerusalem's Temple Mount was returned to Jewish hands once again. We rejoice that we buried so few Jews. We rejoice with hearts filled with thanks to HaShem--because only He stood with us.

This is how we in Israel treat Jerusalem Day. We dance. We sing. We thank HaShem for saving us. 

Jews in exile, however, too often don't treat Jerusalem Day this same way. Too many Jews in exile ignore Jerusalem Day. They ignore the miracles HaShem did for us during that War. 

They do not rejoice. They refuse to sing Hallel--a public song of thanks and praise. They act as if HaShem had done nothing for His people on this day.

Perhaps this short film you've seen above will prove to be instructive. Perhaps it will reveal to some of our Jews still in exile that such a rejection of so many miracles may be less than appropriate. Perhaps this short film might also suggest that the Jews of exile could be quite wrong to dismiss the Heavenly miracles so many in Israel saw during that Six Day War. 

We should remember that the call to annihilate Israel has not passed. The call to exterminate Jews has not passed. 

The need for HaShem's protection has not passed. The need to show gratitude to HaShem when He does protect us has not passed. 

What message do we want to send to HaShem our Protector on Jerusalem Day--that we rejoice when He saves us, or that we really don't much care when He saves us?

Think about that.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Gaza fence riots: what's the truth

Today is May 11, 2018. It's Friday.

If this is Israel--yes, it is--then Friday is riot day. It's the day of the week (since Friday, March 30, 2018) when thousands of Gazans get bused to the the border fence that separates Gaza from Israel. There, paid assistants from Hamas coordinate riot activities. These activities include burning tires, sending up kites with firebombs trailing behind to be carried by the wind into Israel, throwing stones at IDF soldiers with long slingshots, hurling  molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers and trying to rush the fence to cut it, hack at it with large  butcher knives and, if lucky, to burst through and rush towards a nearby Israeli kibbutz.

 Hamas leaders claim the riots are 'peaceful'. But then, they add that the riots do tend to spin out of control, so who knows where that could lead? (here).

Below is a brief video from honestreporting. Honest Reporting is a website that reports on anti-Israel bias and inaccuracies in new coverage of the Arab-Israel conflict.This video is called, "IDF's defense at the Gaza border: what's the truth". The speaker in the video is Daniel Pomeranz, website Senior Editor. The video is dated May 10, 2018:

How many Arabs will Hamas bus to the Gaza fence this weekend? How many will burst through the fence? 

The weekend has just begun--and remember, because Tuesday, May 15th is 'Nakba Day', a 'Day of Rage' for anti-Israel Arabs, this particular weekend will last at least five days.

How many Arabs will riot at the fence? Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The difference between Israel and the Palestinian Authority

Today, those who live in a Westernized nation live an extraordinary life. America is responsible for that life. 

However much you may dislike America, it is still the one place that has taught us all how a market economy, combined with political freedoms, can create more wealth for more individuals than any other political-economic system. 

Israel has learned this lesson. It has learned that capitalism and freedom are the foundations for becoming extraordinary. 
Today, Israel is extraordinary. It has built a successful nation-state on private enterprise, political freedoms, innovation and the power of 'sweat equity'.   
The Arab neighbors of Israel who call themselves 'Palestinians' have also had opportunities to become extraordinary. Remember, Israel and its Arab neighbors are historical twins. Both  began their political, social and economic lives in 1948, when the United Nations created the original 'two state' solution.   

But Israel and its Arab-'Palestinian' neighbors have taken very different paths to their respective futures. Since 1948, Israel has chosen to develop freedom and a culture of innovation.The Arab neighbors of Israel have chosen totalitarianism, political coercion against its own people and a culture of Jew-hate. 

You can see where each path has led. Israel has freedom, opportunity and wealth. The Palestinian Authority has hate and poverty.  

Israel has created a society of wealth and freedom--even for Arabs, who have more freedoms in Israel (and wealth-from-work) than in any Arab country. By contrast, Israel's Arab-'Palestinian' neighbors have created for themselves a society of oppression.

Israel is one of the wealthiest 35 countries in the world. It ranks as the 11th happiest country in the world--ahead of America.

The Palestinian Authority teeters on failure. It offers no future to its citizens. It blames Israel for all its ills. It won't use the foreign financial aid it gets in order to build its economic engine. It uses almost 50% of that aid to provide a lifetime monthly income, not to support business enterprise or science innovations, but to support those who murder Jews in a massive scheme dubbed, 'pay-to-slay'. 

Palestinian leaders then takes another chunk of its foreign aid to line their own pockets. As a result, Palestinian see little of that foreign aid. Their leaders do little to build a future for their own citizens. But these despotic leaders do live like potentates. 

Israel knows how to succeed. It focuses on enterprise, innovation and hard work. 

The Palestinian Authority, however, doesn't focus how to succeed. It focuses on victimhood. It focuses on hate. 

That's not a recipe for success. It's a blueprint for murder, 'Days of Rage' and tyranny.

That's the difference between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It's a difference that highlights how one people succeeds and why another fails.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Gaza fence riots: is Hamas' fate on the line?

For the sixth  consecutive Friday, Arabs in Gaza rioted on May 4, 2018 at the fence that separates Gaza from Israel. 
Each Friday, international news agencies religiously quote Hamas officials regarding how many rioters have been killed or injured during that day's rioting. 

These news agencies accept the Hamas numbers without question. 

In Western states, such numbers would not be questioned. In the West, a public Health Ministry injury report would normally be accepted as a factual and true accounting. That would typically be the case because Western states are generally known to maintain a commitment to truthful reporting--and if such reports are not truthful, the government is raked over coals for false reportage (as we have seen in the EU regarding how migrant-related crimes are under-reported (here)).

The problem is, Gaza is not a Western state. It's a non-state. It's run by a terror organization, Hamas. 

Hamas doesn't follow Western standards. It's standards aren't derived from the West. They're derived from violent Islam. 

Hamas leadership--and, by extension, all of its public officials--do not maintain a commitment to anything close to 'truth'. They commit to the notion of Islamic Supremacy--and to the propaganda, lies and violence needed to impose and then maintain that Supremacy.  

The leaders of Hamas maintain only two governance commitments: to keep its 'citizens' enslaved to the Hamas Islamic order; and, perhaps more important, to organize everything they do around the singular goal of destroying the Jewish Israel. 

It's because of this latter commitment that Hamas has organized these weekly riots at the fence with Israel. 

Nevertheless,Hamas has two problem. First , it's tried many ways to destroy Israel. All have failed. 

Second--and worse--international anger at Israel because of the 'plight of the Palestinian' has dropped from front page headlines. Iran, North Korea and Trump have co-opted the 'Palestinian issue'. 

Hamas wants the 'oppression of the Palestinian' back on page one. Therefore, it aims to re-energize world anger against the 'evil Jew'  by picturing 'innocent' Palestinians at the Gaza fence 'peacefully demonstrating' for their rights (here)--and being shot doing that.

Hamas knows how to incite world anger against Israel. This is, after all, Hamas' genius. It can sell 'poor Palestinan/evil Israel' better than the West can sell soapsuds. 

Hamas now uses its genius to create a new innovation. It has created a series of riots at its fence with Israel.

The goal for these fence riots is to 'show' the world how Israel 'wantonly massacres' Arabs, including women and children (here). Hamas' goal is to publish every Friday for perhaps eight-ten weeks casualty numbers that are so high that the world will demonize Israel for brutality. 

To achieve this goal, Hamas will make sure there'll be plenty of pictures to take at the fence. Children will be shown hurt--because Hamas will bring them to the riot and pushed to the front. Casualty numbers will be high--because Hamas will control what numbers it reports. 

To a certain extent, Hamas has had some success. Its gotten some headlines about the riot. 

But so far, Hamas seems to fail. It looks like it's become desperate (here). 

Internationally, its anti-Jew, anti-Israel message has not evoked truly widespread outrage. This failure is due mostly because, so far, both the US and the EU--arguably the two major players in negotiating 'peace' in the Arab-Israel conflict--aren't buying the 'Israel is killing masses of innocent Palestinians' story (here). From the very first riot (March 30, 2018), the UN has failed officially to demonize and attack Israel--and the consequent rage caused by the rioting hasn't been expressed by the UN against Israel, but by Palestinians against the UN (here). 

Of course, Hamas isn't done yet. It's promised that riots will continue at least until May 15, the Arab Nakba day. This Nakba Day is important. It represents a 'Day of Catastrophe '. It commemorates the moment in 1948 when the war Arabs initiated to annihilate Israel failed.

It's the Day Arabs surrounding Israel gather to cry out for revenge.

Nakba Day is often a 'Day of Rage' against Israel. Will Hamas use Nakba Day 2018 to bring to the Gaza-Israel fence the 'Mother of all Days of Rage' against Israel? 

It's possible. It could be that, between May 13-20, 2018, Hamas will seek to push thousands of Gazans through the fence so as to overwhelm IDF defenses. It's possible Hamas wants to use  this year's Nakba Day--or the week of Nakba Day--to provoke the IDF to open fire at hundreds, if not thousands of Gazans.

Hamas would love that. It would create a scene of carnage. The pictures would be wonderful for Hamas. 

Will these riots really bring Hamas its greatest propaganda victory against the Jewish state? Or, will these riots bring Hamas its greatest propaganda failure?

Stay tuned. But as you wait, consider this: what happens next week could determine Hamas' fate.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Is the 2018 Gaza fence protest 'peaceful'?

For the last five weeks, the terror organization Hamas has declared Friday afternoon after prayers to  be a day of protest. Each Friday, Hamas buses thousands of Gazans, including women and children, to a mass protest at the Gaza-Israel fence. 

These protests began Friday, March 30, 2018. They are scheduled to climax on Tuesday, May 15, 2018--the Palestinian 'Nakba' Day, the day of 'Catastrophe' that marks the  moment Arabs launched and lost their 1948 war to overrun the newly-born Israel and toss all the Jews into the sea.

Pro-Hamas Westerners have called these protests 'peaceful demonstrations' and a 'peaceful assembly' (here). But that's not the full truth. It isn't even a half-truth.

Even as the New York Times has called these protests 'peaceful', it has also found itself forced to acknowledge the protests also have a more 'deadly' aspect (here).

Let's take a closer, more personal look at these protests. Are these demonstrations really peaceful--or do they represent something more sinister?

Here's a video. It was made by Peter Rehov. It's aptly called Behind the smoke screen. It was published on youtube May 2, 2018.

(Update: I posted this video when I wrote this essay, on May 4, 2018. Two days later it appeared on my blog as, 'this video is unavailable'. If you see this 'unavailable' message again, please use the comment section below to alert me. Thanks)

Think about what you've read about these protests. Compare that to the video you've just seen. 

Are these protests really peaceful demonstrations for human dignity and freedom from oppression? Or, are they something else?

You decide.