OneJerusalem.com

a different side of Israel

Tag: Syria (page 5 of 7)

2006 OneJerusalem.com Year In Review

This is the OneJerusalem.com Year in Review – just a partial list, things that caught the eye..
Some Pics from the year and our associated posts. Happy New Year everyone!
To the families of the missing soldiers we hope to see them all back home soon.

January:
Hamas Wins ElectionsHamas Wins ElectionsMahmoud AhmadinejadMahmoud Ahmadinejad
Amir PeretzAmir PeretzArik Sharon in HospitalArik Sharon in Hospital
Arkady GaidamakArkady Gaidamak
Feburary:
Muslim Cartoon FiascoMuslim Cartoon FiascoBibiBibi’s Election Hype
Kadima Wins ElectionsKadima Wins Elections

March:
Miss IsraelMiss IsraelShelly & AmirShelly & Amir
Google IsraelGoogle Israel

April:
Kadima Wins ElectionsPrime Minister Ismail HaniyehIsrael Top Model Niral KarantinjiIsrael Top Model Niral Karantinji
Kadima Wins ElectionsParadise Now Wins

May:
Farewell To Yossi BanaiFarewell To Yossi BanaiMeir Ariel Passes AwayMeir Ariel Passes Away
Qassams Rain on SderotQassams Rain on Sderot

June:
Al Zarqawi is ToastAl Zarqawi is ToastMichael Moves to DubaiMichael Moves to Dubai

July:
NasrallahNasrallahKatzav Boinking EverybodyPresident Katzav Boinking Everybody
WarWar

August:
Bye Bye KofiBye Bye KofiLynching Dan HalutzLynching Dan Halutz
Mel Shits where he eatsMel Shits Where He Eats

September:
Pope Pisses Off MuslimsPope Pisses Off MuslimsIran Chasing the BombIran Chasing the Bomb
Our Missing SoldiersOur Missing Soldiers

October:
Idiots on the Streets Hit New LowIdiots on the Streets Hit New LowIsrael Trains Still A DisasterIsrael Trains Still A Disaster
Spawn of the Devil is in the MakingSpawn of the Devil is in the MakingAvigdor Joins the GovernmentAvigdor Joins the Government
Kim Has the Bomb!Kim Has the Bomb!

November:
Benny Gives Police An EnemaBenny Gives Police An EnemaGemayel Killed by SyriaGemayel Killed by Syria
Putin The DictatorPutin The DictatorBoratBorat

December:
Saddam SwingsSaddam SwingsJames Brown PassesJames Brown Passes
Tnuva SoldTnuva Sold

Eli Cohen’s Return – A Necessary Prerequisite To Syrian Dialog

Eli CohenI remember hearing the story of Eli Cohen growing up. Now that there are possibly some speculations and discussions with Syria and with rumors that the Syrians are initiating these steps, I think it’s important we take a minute to remember this man and ask that his body be returned. I think it’s a reasonable request.

Eli Cohen was born in Egypt (1924). As a young man he was an active member of the Zionist Youth Organization in Alexandria. He studied engineering initially but never completed his studies as a result of anti Jewish hostility rising after Israel’s declaration of Independence. In the beginning of the 1950’s he was part of a network of Jewish youngsters, helping Israeli intelligence. In a fiasco later on, in 1954, these youngsters were arrested and later released by Egyptian Intelligence.

In 1957 he moved to Israel, and although he had some discussions with Intelligence Services, nothing came of them. He worked for 3 years as an interpreter and book keeper. In 1960 he was recruited to Israeli Intelligence. He was later sent to Argentina where he established his identity as Kamel Amin Thabet, an ex-Syrian business man. In 1961 he entered Syria and began his activity. As time went by he moved up socially and politically and became a member of the Syrian governing elite.

Using his broad network of contacts, Eli Cohen was able to deliver a great deal of Intelligence that was invaluable in understanding the Syrian Army’s positioning and capabilities in the Golan Heights. He also had information about various strategic and political movements in government. At the peak of his activity he was a candidate for the position of Deputy Minister Of Defense in Syria.

Eli Cohen in Newspaper (from Ynet Encyclopedia)
In 1964 Eli was officially made an officer and was awarded the rank of Major. In January 1965 he was discovered and arrested by Syrian Intelligence. Despite both public and private efforts by Israeli government, he was prosecuted and executed 4 months later. His execution was public and made at the Al-Merjeh Circle in Damascus in front a crowd of 10,000 spectators.

His wife Nadia managed a long battle to get his body returned to Israel but Syrian authorities refused. Eli’s capture brought about a great deal of speculation about his operators and commanders in the Army. Among the voices, some accusations that he was deserted and that he was sent back to Syria even though he expressed concerns that he may be soon captured. His activity in Syria is still considered one of the greatest success stories for Israel’s Intelligence Services and Syrian Intelligence source of embarrassment. In 1991 he was awarded the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He left behind a wife and 3 children.

His wife Nadia is now calling for the return of his body to Israel (again) and is considering these recent developments a chance to get her husband buried in Israel. I think that it’s a reasonable request and a basic act of goodwill that should be made by the Syrians.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION HERE!

You can read a lecture about Eli Cohen here.

Kaplinsky on Iran’s Threat, Hezbollah’s Plans and IDF Performance

Moshik - Iran Syria Hezbollah and the Report
Caricature by Moshik!
The second highest ranking soldier in the country is today warning us of the imminent and growing danger from Iran and Hezbollah. This afternoon General Moshe Kaplinsky provided a grim picture as he went over the future of the Middle East and beyond. He made clear his belief that Iran is stalling and that Hezbollah is getting ready for round Two. Some excerpts from his speech to local government reps today:

“A nuclear capable Iran is a survival threat on Israel that will also have other effects in the Middle East – like pressure on unstable governments in the region. The Iranian threat will extend far beyond Israel and include most of Europe as well.”

“Iran is successfully maneuvering around the political pressure that is supposed to prevent her from getting new arms. Recently Iran received Russian made defense missiles, and there are advanced stage negotiations with China for future weapon deals. There are speculations and discussions about the nuclear capabilities for Iran but it is our understanding that Iran will reach its nuclear capability in the near future.”

“Iran is turning Syria into its protégé and is deepening its involvement in the country. Same as its doing in the Palestinian Authority. The Iranians are helping with money, training, establishing new terrorist cells and arms in Gaza and the West Bank. The Iranians are not excluding any terror group, regardless of religion or ideology, and as the connection between Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas and Iran continues we must be more worried and alert to the widening threat.”

BushNot commenting directly on the Baker Report released yesterday, the General said that depending on how the US will make its exit from Iraq, providing and answer on the question of Iraqi leadership will effect Israel and the entire Middle East.

The Good news is that as result of the Lebanon war there is a moderate Islamic nations Axis that includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and some of the Gulf countries. Together we may be able to find a common ground to work against the radical countries and the “axis of evil”.

The army has been under severe scrutiny in recent weeks starting with the lack luster results of the Second Lebanon War and the public mud slinging between some disgruntled commanders in the army and reserve soldiers. Things got worse recently with the Annual Public report put forward by the “State Controller” (Mevaker Hamedina) that sighted severe deficiencies in the training, logistical management and overall operations control within the Army.

“We are in the middle of a through examination and learning process from the last war. We are not looking to assign guilt, we are looking to learn and improve so that we can address the challenges the future will bring. We are not waiting and we have already began applying the lessons learned to improve and address known deficiencies.”

The caricature shows the Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah leaders reading the report and asking if there is actually a need for an Atom bomb. Good question….

Lebanon not catching a break

Pierre Amine Gemayel Picture by Joe Sioufi

Once again Lebanon is thrown into turmoil with a little help from “its friends”. It’s like watching a baby trying to walk and a bunch of older kids coming up to it and kicking it down. Every time this country tries to make a change and build a future for itself something happens to send it tumbling back.

On Tuesday, Minister of Trade, Pierre Amine Gemayel (34) was shot and killed when his convoy was attacked in Beirut.

Unlike the last 5 assassinations where explosives were used, this one was more personal and gunmen using silencers at close range killed Gemayel and one of his body guards. A few days earlier, Gemayel received warnings that he was being targeted and urged his wife and 2 children to leave Lebanon. The information turned out to be accurate.

Gemayel’s father, former President Amine Gemayel, urged his followers from the Phalange Party, which he currently heads, to exercise restraint and refrain from vengeance. “Pierre was martyred for the sake of a cause, for the sake of freedom and for the sake of Lebanon,” his father said.

The Christian community has taken the brunt of Syrian “foreign policy” in hopes of getting invited back in by the same Christian population. The recent attack is part of the barbaric Syrian strategy that attempts to literally drown out the voices calling for an international tribunal on the killings of Prime Minister Hariri and others.

Through all this, Nasrallah and Hezbollah showed their true colors. Nasrallah, the ever loving resistance leader showed what a class act he was and how “in touch” he is with the Lebanese people this week. After the murder the Hezbollah leader he never even called to express his condolences to the family while every major country leader in the world did. I hope the Lebanese people keep this in mind…

AlJazeera, the Qatar based Pro Syrian news channel had its own way of dealing with the murder. It posed a poll question quoted on BeirutSpring:

“with a viciously worded poll question: What is more important for Lebanon, the Hariri tribunal or fixing the economic mess? Of course, in the world of Aljazeera, an economy can thrive in an environment where there’s a killer on the lose. As long as the killer is Arab, Aljazeera thinks its okay.”

Hat Tips: From Beirut to the Beltway, Beirut Spring and Across the Bay.

Transfer – Eitam Style

Transfer Eitam StyleNational Union/ NRP Leader and Knesset parliamentarian Effie Eitam has created a storm among Israel’s Arab citizens by advocating that they be forced to leave the country. Eitam, while speaking on Monday on a talk show radio program by Israel’s armed forces radio station Galei Tzahal, particularly singled those who are members of the Knesset, including Hadash Communist Party head Mahmoud Borca, Raam-Taal Party leader Dr. Ahmed Tibi, and Balad Party chief Azmi Bashawa. Bashawa, in particular, received the brunt of Eitams lambasting, due to the Arab leader’s open support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah; as well as Bashawa’s trips to Syria, where he met openly with Syrian President Bashar Assad, and exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

Eitam is not the only Israeli political figure up in arms over Mr. Bashawas actions, which have reached the stage that his political immunity is being threatened by his overt activities, which in any other country would be considered as treason. Israel’s Arab population, numbering more than 750,000, was openly supportive of both Lebanon and the Hezbollah during the month long military conflict. They have also been highly supportive of the Palestinian national aspirations as well; although in private most of them would not want to live under Palestinian rule. Since Israel became independent in 1948, resulting in what many Arab citizens still regard as “Al Nakba” (the catastrophe), they have never been fully part of Israeli society; and have always been on the short end in regards to employment, housing and educational opportunities. Israeli Arab boys do not serve in the IDF, as opposed to many Druze and Bedouin youth, many of whom even serve in combat positions.

The vast majority of Israel’s Arab population is Sunni Muslims and in recent years, more and more have become involved with radical Islamic groups and idealism. Areas in which this trend has become particularly noticeable are in the ‘triangle’ region between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and in the Whadi Ara region of the lower Galilee; especially in the town of Um al-Faham. Open aired demonstrations in favor of Palestinian statehood, and for groups like Hamas have become commonplace in the town’s soccer stadium.

Meanwhile, while all of this has been going on, left- winged Meretz political party leader, Dr. Yossi Beilin, has asked the State Legal Advisor, Manny Mazoz, to file a legal indictment against Eitam for slander and incitement against the Arab population. Dr. Beilin was especially incited by Eitam’s remark that “a Jewish democratic state cannot live with such elements as these (in reference to Israeli Arabs in general, and the already mentioned political leaders in particular). Another remark made by Eitam, which upset Beilin was: “It’s impossible to co-exist with all these Arabs; and it’s even more impossible to give up on land because of them”.

Where all of this is going to end, is unclear at present. But what is obvious is that both the Palestinians and the Hezbollah are enjoying the controversy; which is adding even more dilemma to Israel’s already beleaguered political leaders.

(Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Cuban Missile Crises : Middle East Style

Fidel and KhrushchevJFK

Those of you who might happen to be Americans (or Russians) surely recall the Cuban Missile Crises, which occurred in October, 1962. This event which came within a hair’s breadth of causing WWIII, was the subject of a popular movie, 13 Days, starring Kevin Kostiner, among others. The crises, in which Soviet Russia, led by Nitika Khrushchev, made a deal with Cuba’s dictator Fidel Castro to install ballistic missiles containing nuclear warheads on the Island, situated less than two hundred miles off the U.S. Florida Coast.

Had it not been for the determination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy to stand up to the Soviets, and demand that the missiles be removed at once, we might not all be sitting in our homes today (of those who would have survived might have died off years ago from the combined effects of nuclear fallout and nuclear winter). I was a high school sophomore then, and I still vividly remember the drills we had to go through at school which would have been put into effect in the event of an actual nuclear attack. Living in Oklahoma City, a mere ten miles from one of the largest Strategic Air Command (SAC) maintenance bases, Tinker Field, those ‘drills’ would have been completely ineffective; as the entire Metro Oklahoma Area would have been turned into a nuclear wasteland – and us along with it.

Why does this event now come to mind? One might compare the Cuban crises with Israel’s most recent war in Lebanon.

During the 1963 crises, JFK ordered a complete air and naval blockade of Cuban ports, preventing Russian ships from bringing anything into Cuba, especially of a military nature. Kennedy stated clearly that any attack by Cuba upon America would be considered as an attack by the Soviet Union. Only when the Soviets agreed to remove their missiles, did the U.S. end the blockade.

In the recent Lebanese conflict, in which Israeli P.M. Ehud Olmert ordered a complete blockade of Lebanon, now in the process of being lifted, one very crucial aspect was left out. Olmert did not include Damascus in his directive against the Hezbollah (and against Lebanon as well). In fact, the Prime Minister was very careful not to threaten going to war against Syria, even though Bashar Assad was supplying missiles and other weapons to the Hezbollah! By not standing up to Syria, as Kennedy did to Russia, Israel lost a very important deterrent card; and both Syria and the Hezbollah came out on the plus side in this conflict.

Now, Hezbollah leader Narsrallah is saying that Israel’s military is “as weak as a spider’s web”. And Bashar Assad is saying that his army will not have any problems retaking the Golan Heights; if not the entire Galilee Panhandle as well. By agreeing to remove the air and naval blockade of Lebanon, despite Hezbollah literally terrorizing more than a million Israelis and destroying millions of dollars in property, as well as the two captured Israeli soldiers still being held in captivity, the Israeli government has lost a very important pressuring element; and now has to literally go back ‘to square one’ in its negotiations with the Hezbollah.

We in Israel desperately need a leader of the likes of John F. Kennedy. Unfortunately, we don’t have such a person at the helm.

Israel’s Real Reality Show

IsraelRecently surfaced photos and video tapes of both Ron Arad and the three soldiers captured in October 2000 (Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham, and Omar Suwad), indicate only one very painful reality. That unfortunate reality is how Israeli POW’s, or captured soldiers are treated by their enemies especially those such as the Hezbollah.

Not that this is anything new, as even ‘formal’ enemies such as Syria and even Egypt were not so kind to captured Israeli soldiers who were their ‘guests’.

The clips showing the captured Israelis in 2000 were especially sad, as it was obvious that at least two of them were not only alive but able to walk, as they were “escorted” to the waiting jeep that was to take them to what was probably a very frightening and painful death.

The graphic reality of this matter is that despite more formal treaties such as The Geneva Convention, the terms and conditions regarding captured Israeli POW’s do not apply here. Not that Israel’s enemies are alone in this respect. Abuses to prisoners all over the world have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, and even in Europe, particularly in the Balkans. These new reminders, including the interview of Ron Arad, alleged to have occurred about two years following his capture in 1986, have a sad and heartbreaking effect on the families of captured soldiers, which has continued for years.

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The Arrow and Iran

There has been a great deal of discussions on the possible scenario of a pre-emptive missile attack by Iran on the State of Israel. Recent televised events regarding Iran’s reactions to threats imposed by the U.N. Security Council due to the refusal of the Islamic Republic to end it’s nuclear fuel enrichment plans, are beginning to create more than just controversy and mild concern. They are now resulting in ‘alarm bells’ being run by even such people as Pensioner Party leader and government minister Rafi Eitan, who, as a former Mossad security professional, is calling for a massive shelter preparation in Israel in the event that the Iranians and the Americans become involved in a future military conflict. “If Iran and the U.S become involved in a military confrontation, then Israel will be the first to be struck” Eitan was quoted as saying.
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The Golan Heights: A Negotiable Issue?

Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter’s comments regarding the possible return by Israel of the Golan to Syria for a formal peace treaty, was given a ‘thumbs down’ response by his boss, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security organization, said that if Syria is ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israel on the same level as the current agreements Israel already has with both Egypt and Jordan, then Israel is willing to return the Golan Heights to Syria. Dicther’s statement was made despite the ‘Heights’ being considered by many Israelis as being not only a strategic asset to Israel, but an important economic one as well.

Gained from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War; and the scene of some of the bloodiest tank and armor battles during the 1973 Yon Kippur War, the Golan Heights have since become one of the more serene areas of all of the territory conquered by Israel. Though fewer Jewish settlers have chosen to live there, in contrast to either the West Bank or the recently abandoned Gaza Strip, the Heights are one of the most beautiful natural spots of the entire region. Due to it’s possessing one of the entire Middle East’s most critical assets, this piece of real estate, in the long run, may turn out to be one of the most valuable. And of you haven’t guessed by now what this most important and valuable asset is, just turn on the tap on you kitchen sink. That’s right; this asset is water.

The numerous streams and natural springs present on the Golan Heights, being fed by annual melting of winter snows on Mt. Hermon, are one of the primary sources of water to both the Jordan River and to the region’s largest fresh water lake, the Kinneret. Should a future peace deal be completed with Syria, and that country’s control of the Golan be extended to within 300 meters of the Kinneret’s eastern shore; it’s obvious what that country will do with most of the water that would normally flow into the Kinneret, and into Israel’s national water system. Even though a deal had to agreed upon with Jordan, regarding part of the water flowing through the Yarmuk River into the Jordan, as well as part of the Jordan’s flow itself, the Hashimate Kingdom has abided by its agreement and hasn’t taken more than the amount allocated to it. Syria, on the other hand, might not honor any such agreements, if past history (pre 1967) is any kind of indication. Despite Israel’s ambitious plans to build at least three additional de-salenization plants of the size presently in place in Ashkelon, they still would not be ample enough to provide needed annual water supplies for Israel growing needs.

P.M. Olmert replied to Dichter’s remarks that due to Syria’s current support to terrorists, including the Hezbollah, the Golan Heights are not a subject of negotiation. This the situation as it stands now; but one might wonder if this might change several years hence. After all, former Israeli Prime Minister Areil Sharon changed his position entirely when he decided to remove all Jewish settlers from Gaza. Though fewer Jews presently live on the Golan, removing them in some future disengagement will not solve the issue of whether or not Israel should retain it. The issue is very clear, besides the security one of course. And this should be obvious to everyone, each time they turn on the tap.

We are all Lebanese!

With the arrival of the first contingents of the agreed deployment of 15,000 Lebanese Army soldiers to patrol sections of southern Lebanon, it might be easy to believe that together with an eventual similar number of UN UNIFUL troops, some level of stability may at long last be in store for both the Lebanese and Israeli peoples. In reality, though, nothing may be further from the truth. The Lebanese soldiers, in their spiffy, immaculate uniforms, and riding in what appear to be newly painted military vehicles dating back to the Soviet military era of the early to mid 1960’s (from where much of this equipment originated from) will cause many military exports to wonder how these soldiers will have much effect against the Hezbollah, if Israeli combat units were having problems fighting them – on the ground, anyway.
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Q&A With A Beirut Resident – Part 2

The following is continued from part 1 of the series, in which a Lebanese Beirut resident expresses his candid and very frank views with one of our writers. The issues are both the Israeli-Lebanese conflict, and Israel’s historical role in the region; which he feels has contributed to events as they are today.

Hi ….;
Well, it was a good initiative from you to start the discussion with your views about the conflict, especially Hezbollah.
Allow me to share my views as well. I will be as comprehensive and objective as possible.
Let me begin by expressing my sorrow and sending my condolences for all the innocents who died as in this conflict on your side. I hope this nightmare ends soon.

So, looks like your people and your government are very much angry at Hezbollah. You might be right, you might be wrong. I will not go into the argument of whether Hezbollah is a terrorist organization or not, or whether they should exist or not… since this wouldn’t form a fruitful discussion. Instead, I’ll tackle the issue from this question:

Why was Hezbollah created in the first place?

Hezbollah was founded in the early 80’s, backed by the Iranian revolution, and motivated as a direct response to the Israeli invasion of 1982. Ever since then, Hezbollah had the main target of resisting the Israeli aggression, and then went on and “tried” to implement the “Islamic State” target in the Lebanese Civil war, yet did not succeed in doing that. After the civil war, Hezbollah spread, and got strengthened, supported from so many sides, greatly motivated, and most importantly got very popular in Lebanon as a result of the continuing Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. All through the 90’s and until now, Hezbollah has been known to be a “resistance” group more than anything else. I am not denying their ambition to form an Islamic state (which is no longer their priority anyway) and neither denying their strong ties to Tehran both ideologically and militarily. Rather I am explaining what made them become sooo popular, strong and even legitimate with Lebanon and even around the Arab and Islamic mainstream: It was the long Israeli aggression on Lebanese lands. This is what gave Hezbollah its ultimate legitimacy in Lebanon and its number 1 reason to obtain weapons of all kinds, take control of the south and have an overwhelming unprecedented public support…until it became an actual part of the society itself. And all those are facts, not views.

So, in other words, if you hate Hezbollah that much…do realize that it is your country’s ILLEGAL and BRUTAL actions are the main reasons behind what Hezbollah is today. Those actions 1) created a motive for Hezbollah to start 2)made Hezbollah popular 3)gave it legitimacy 4) made it more and more powerful.

Regardless of what justifications you might give for Israel’s actions in Lebanon, by an undeniable fact they were 1) illegal 2)brutal. And those two adjectives are more than enough to generate so much hate for Israel and its people (unfortunately) and so much support for Hezbollah, Hamas and other similar groups. Hezbollah did not become popular all of a sudden, or out of the blue sky. Neither was it created for no reason in the first place. There were driving forces for that, and the Israeli actions in the region and Lebanon in specific were the biggest driving forces.

I’ll quote one southern citizen as I heard her scream out loud:
” Israel destroyed my house!! killed my children! I’m homeless and injured! What did I do?! MAY GOD PROTECT HEZBOLLAH! MAY GOD BE WITH THEM! HEZBOLLAH SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!”
(pay attention to the first parts of the quote, and you’ll find out why she praised Hezbollah in the end of it)

So to conclude, Hezbollah in Lebanon is a natural, public reaction of resistance and revenge towards the Israeli long-term-aggression on Lebanese land. Does that mean that if Israel did not occupy Lebanon, Hezbollah wouldn’t be there?? No. Not necessarily. Probably Hezbollah would’ve been founded anyway, but it would have definitely been in a different form and with no such public support as it has today, not at all. It would be nothing more than some Shiite political party just like other parties in the country.

So what’s the root of the conflict? Simply put:
Israel’s continuous violation of International Law. Here’s how:
Ever since the early 40’s, Israel, unfortunately, has consistently, and repeatedly violated UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, Humanitarian laws and a lot more. This has resulted in more and more hatred, rejection and desire for revenge among the public against Israel and whatever it represents. And this all started happening before Hezbollah, before Hamas, before Aqsa, before Al-Qaeda…before them all.

In case you don’t know, there are up to 68 UN resolutions were announced against Israel. 68! Big number isn’t it? Can you name me ONE other country that had such a big number of UN resolutions against it? I can’t think of any. This, without mentioning the many UN resolutions that were VETOED by the Uncle Sam. The most recent one was in this war.
Currently Israel violates many UN resolutions, and I will limit my focus on two main ones: resolutions 194 and 242.

194: The return of the Palestinians that were deported.

They were deported out of their own homes…you expect them to accept it as a fact and shut up? No. It’s their home. Their shelter. I mean if you kick an animal out of its shelter, it will react by attacking you. How do you expect humans to react?

Now you might tell me, “it’s impossible to implement 194. It’s unrealistic. There are far more Palestinian refugees around the region than the whole Israeli population.” I’ve heard those arguments lots of times. But no matter what, this doesn’t change the fact that Israel mainly made this problem, and Israel should be responsible for its consequences, no one else. You can’t make 4 million Palestinians return, at least DECLARE their right to return, acknowledge it, affirm it, confess that they have the right to share land with you, and that would be better than denying them their rights.

242: The return of the occupied 1967 territories (Golan heights)

Israel even has settlements in the Golan Heights. How legal is that? I mean it’s not just a violation; it’s a manifestation of a totally new existence on an occupied territory. Of course, Israel has bunch of justifications for that, mainly strategic: Access to the Tiberias lake and the strategic locations of the Golan Heights are vital for Israel’s future security. So, it’s Israel’s security on Syria’s expense? To you it might sound right, but to me, and the international community, it is ILLEGAL. i.e., no excuses are ever valid.

Above all that, in each and every war, Israel makes sure to violate all sorts and kinds of humanitarian laws. Bombing civilian areas, using forbidden weapons, mistreating prisoners, occupying land…and the list goes on.

So it’s violation after violation…and not any kind of violation…MAJOR violations that are related to the people’s safety, land, dignity and existence. And Israel does all that, with pure, blunt, ever-existing, continuous American support. This explains the root cause of the widespread anti-Americanism in the Arab and Islamic world.

So with all those obvious violations to what matters the most to humans: their land, their home, their security, their future and well-being. How do you expect the people to react??
I’ll tell you how they reacted:
Hamas. Fatah. Hezbollah. Al-Qaeda. Al-Aqsa Birgades..and more.
Yes, those groups are fanatics, sometimes evil, have goals beyond justice and are politically oriented. But what kind of result would you expect after decades and decades of no justice? of humiliation and aggression? They did not materialize from nowhere.

Resolution 425: Wait! Israel implemented that. That’s true..but only after 22 years.
When Israel stays 22 years in Lebanon. On Lebanese land. Violating international law. How do you expect the people to react? Sit and watch? Never. Even if not 1 bullet was fired by Israel (like in the Golan Heights), the people have every single right to hold a weapon and fight every single Israeli soldier on their own land. 22 years is a long time. During that time, hatred was being accumulated, tension was rising, and fanaticism looked to be the most effective way of sorting out the problem…and you wonder why Hezbollah is so strong and popular and still legal in Lebanon? Well to the Lebanese, it wasn’t diplomacy that forced Israel to withdraw, and it wasn’t a truce. It was Hezbollah.

You may tell me “well, Israel needed to secure its borders from Palestinian militants and other terror organizations, so we had to remain in Lebanon for security reasons”. So you violate international law? And for 22 years?

You want to secure your borders, secure your borders WITHIN your borders, not on somebody else’s land. It’s common sense. So, this “security excuse” that Israel declared for its occupation of Lebanon actually backfired on its own security by making Hezbollah so popular and strong until it became the biggest threat on Israel’s borders so far.
And here I’m only dealing with the Israel-Lebanese side of the conflict. I won’t go much through the Palestinian-Israeli part of it, because it has the same story: violations, violations, occupations, occupations, humiliations, humiliations and the same result: Hamas, Al-Aqsa, terrorism and so on. It saddens me that Israel is the only country in the world that does not have fixed borders.

It is the only country in the world that has made so many wars with its neighbors ever since it was created, and still does so 55 years later. It also saddens me that Israel is the greatest violator of various sorts of International law. And then..it declares itself a “democracy” ?

Talking about Qana…which is the second massacre by the same aggressor in the same village in 10 years, I’ll just say this: It is such massacres that put an eternal end to peace. It is such massacres that plant deeply rooted feelings of hatred and revenge in the hearts of children as they grow. It is such massacres that make peace unachievable.
It’s more than just a “mistake” by the IAF. It has long, long, long lasting effects.
Well…. The air-strikes cease-fire (which didn’t take effect by the way) is about to end in a few hours. So I’d better head to bed. Though I’m not sure it will be safe.
Sorry for the too-long e-mail. But I had a lot to say, and I hope it wasn’t a waste of your time. What I mainly want to tell you is this: Don’t simply narrow it down to Hezbollah and Iran. The conflict is far beyond that. It is your government’s persistent illegal and inhumane policies that are making this big mess, and I showed you how, based on international law. Not Lebanese law and not Iranian law, rather a law that you and I and the civilized world should abide by. And this did not start in July 2006. It started long, long ago…and would last for as long as your government continues to plant seeds of violence among the people of this holy land.
I would be more than happy to receive your blunt and honest feedback and criticism.

Be good;
V.J

Letter to a concerned Lebanese

The following letter was written in reply to receiving a rather frank discourse as to who is responsible for both the Palestinian and Lebanese conflicts with the State of Israel. Although names have been omitted. I am sharing it with all of you:

Dear…………,

Your comments were a lot more direct than mine will ever be; but there are a lot of ‘shades of grey’ in the entire conflict of Israel and her neighbors. Well before Islamic extremism even came to the forefront, the simple reality was the Israel’s Arab neighbors, including Lebanon, simply have not wanted a Jewish State within their midst. This goes back even before the British Mandatory period ended. Better still, let’s go way back into history, when Jews were driven from the land called Palistinus Provinvicius by Imperial Rome, and made to wander in many lands, often subject cruel and tyrannous kings and emperors. Even in Muslim lands Jews were forced to be on a much lower social level than their Muslim neighbors.

It was only at the turn of the last century when the idea of a “Juden Stadt”, or Jewish Homeland, moved from a mere dream to possible reality thanks to people like Theodore Herzl. What has transpired since Israel became a state in 1948, you must be aware of, including the combined Arab armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and others who attacked the fledgling Jewish state form literally all sides vowing to ‘push the Jews into the sea”. That’s why the Arab refugee problem began, and continues to this day. No set borders were established, only ‘armistice lines’. The U.N Partition Plan of 1947 proposed the divide Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab; and the Arab part was actually larger and included most of the Galilee! That was turned down by the Arabs by waging way against Israel. The 1967 ‘occupation’ resulted from Egyptian President Nasser choking off Israel’s outlet to the Red sea and threatening to attack Israel (Israel just decided to beat him to the draw). Many people, including myself, admit that a lot of problems were created by letting all the settlements be built in both the West Bank and in Gaza, especially with the peace treaty with Egypt including a phrase involving dealing with the Palestinian problem “in all its aspects”.

Various Israeli governments, especially the ones run by the right wing Likud Party, catered to the wishes of groups who considered the West Bank as part of the Land of Israel (Gaza never was, despite some trying to convince us otherwise). Palestinians, by the way, consider the ENTIRE piece of real estate as theirs. Their children have always been taught this, as well as hatred for the ‘Zionist enemy’ and how glorious it is to be a Shaheed and commit Holy Martyrdom for Allah. Jewish kids have never been taught this and (hopefully) never will.

Regarding Lebanon, Israel only ‘occupied’ the ten km ‘security” belt in southern Lebanon to prevent the Palestinians (who used to shoot the Katyushas into Israel as well as send terrorists over to attack Israeli towns and settlements) from being too close to Israel’s border. The Palestinians were later replaced with the Hezbollah. As I wrote before, Israel doesn’t have any territorial interests in Lebanon, except small border areas like the Shabaa farms, and those only for security reasons (not for homesteading). Following Israel’s pullout from Lebanon in May 2000.a recognized border was agreed upon through the U.N., Unfortunately, Hezbollah didn’t accept this, and kept intimidating Israel towns and settlements along the border, as well as creating incidents such as the kidnapping of 3 soldiers, whose remains were only returned 3 years later, along with a so-called ‘Businessman” named Elkanah Tannenbaum ( his business interests weren’t too ‘kosher’ to say the least).

Hezbollah is not only involved in southern Lebanon, but in other places as well (Just like Hamas and Islamic Jihad are). And Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah definitely does want to create an Islamic Republic with your country, Israel, Jordan, and Syria as its territory; with other countries to be added later, including Egypt, who have plenty of Islamic extremists; quite willing to lend a helping hand. If you want to ask the good Sheik if all of this is true, go visit him in his reported suite at the Damascus Hilton, loaned to him by Syrian President Bashar al Assad; and where he probably has tea regularly with Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal, and consults daily with Mahmud Ahmadinejad over in Teheran.

I feel a lot of sadness for the people of Lebanon, including ones like the example of the Lebanese woman who lost her entire family from the bombing. I also feel sadness for Israelis who have lost THEIR entire families to terror attacks (it’s happened numerous times as well).

At this moment, we all must do what we can do to stop the bloodshed by both sides. My question is how, as Kofi Anan and the UN don’t seem to have the ability to do anything, except draft resolutions.

Take care,

……………………..

Commando Raid in BaalBek VIDEO

This was presented 2 days ago by the army after a successful commando raid in BaalBek Valley very close to the Syrian border and approx. 100 KM from the Lebanese border with Israel. The raid was a combined effort of over 200 soldiers, both Air Force and Special Forces units. This is one of about 15 such operations conducted in recent days with ranges of up to 130 KM from the Israeli border. During the operation 5 prisoners were taken, digital media and documents. Hezbollah says prisoners were were innocent civilians. There is no sound but its interesting..

A Hill Too Far

Many people are becoming concerned that a proposed massive ground invasion by Israeli forces into Lebanon may not wind up accomplishing planned goals. In fact, the very opposite may occur. In what could be the third large scale land operation in Lebanon since the 1978 Litani Operation, Israeli ground forces may wind up becoming bogged down in an area it might best be better not to, in light of current day realities. Planned for the purposes of finding and destroying Hezbollah tunnels, bunkers, and arms caches, the foray may very well end with Israeli forces taking heavy casualties as they confront a wily enemy fighting on its home turf.

For six years now, since Israel’s pull out from southern Lebanon in May, 2000, Hezbollah militia forces wasted no time in filling the resulting vacuum in the former ten kilometer ‘security zone’ bordering with Israel. This not only included moving both Hezbollah fighters and their families into these areas, but the construction of a defensive infrastructure there as well, including planting thousands of land mines, explosive anti-tank charges, defensive bunkers, etc. Hezbollah militia fighters have also become more ‘street wise’ on how to confront, and damage, a better equipped enemy as well. They have been trained by both Iranian and Syrian military experts who have provided the Hezbollah with more sophisticated weaponry, including several varieties of anti-tank missiles. Israeli forces will not be facing lightly armed and semi-trained fighters, but ones who not only have a lay of the land, but who have been preparing for an event like this for years.

During some of the IAF bombing forays of the Hezbollah controlled sections of southern Beirut, a young Hezbollah fighter, speaking excellent English, defiantly said: “it’s very easy for them (the Israelis) to bomb our houses from the air. I challenge them to attack us on the ground, face to face. Then they’ll see what kind of fighters we really are!” Being the kind of people they are, not unlike their brethren in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, these challenges should not be taken lightly.

Israel’s previous experience in southern Lebanon, especially during the two years prior to the pull out in 2000, resulted in a heavy loss of IDF personnel from roadside planted explosive devises, and numerous ‘hit and run’ guerrilla attacks by the Hezbollah. These attacks, not unlike the ones plaguing American led coalition forces in Iraq, represents a different kind of warfare, not requiring the use of heavy armored tanks and similar vehicles. Besides, the hilly Lebanese terrain is less suited to cumbersome tanks and other vehicles, in contrast to the more flat terrain in Gaza and the Sinai.

A number of articles, some of them by experienced military strategists, are already suggesting that the IDF phase down it’s operation as quickly as possible (providing there is a cessation of katyusha rocket attacks, of course). In other words: to quit while we’re ahead, whether Nasrallah and other top Hezbollah leaders are ‘neutralized’ or not. As was evident in other wars, including the Yom Kippur War, there reaches a stage when advancement can be even more damaging, and problematic, than a retreat.

Is Israel’s New War Necessary?

Daniel Pipes, a world renowned commentator and author, wrote an article to both the New York Sun and Jerusalem entitled: Israel’s Unnecessary War. The gist of the article dealt with Israel’s past dealings with both the Palestinians and Hezbollah, including pulling out Lebanon in May, 2000, as well as last summer’s disengagement from Gaza. He also pointed out that many think that this new conflict is mainly for the purpose of obtaining the release of two kidnapped soldiers from the Hezbollah, as well as a third from the Palestinians. While the two incidents that resulted in these kidnappings and deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers may have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, they are not the main reason for the intense fighting that is now occurring on no less than three fronts, including the West Bank.

Lebanon war 2006Israel has had to deal with entities who want nothing more than to destroy the Jewish State – to “wipe it off the face of the map” as Iranian president Ahmadinejad so graphically expressed it. Even deceased Yassir Arafat, who often proclaimed himself to be Israel’s ‘partner for peace’ gave covert orders and permission for suicide bombers to blow themselves up on Israeli busses, at shopping malls, and at discotheques. On Israel’s northern borders, the Hezbollah were causing problems years before former P.M. Ehud Barak consented to pull Israel’s troops out of the so-called ‘security zone” which had been set up to keep these forces for firing their Ketusha and other types of missiles into Israeli towns and cities. We all now see that what is going on, from Hezbollah’s viewpoint anyway, has in the works for years. Even Nashrallah himself admitted that his organization had been building up their armament for years, getting for such a day. When they well able fill in the vacuum that had been created, following Israel’s pullout, Israeli border towns and settlements suddenly found themselves facing the smiling and bearded faces of Hezbollah fighters, now occupying positions that both the IDF and the SLA (Southern Lebanese Army) had been occupying – even using equipment that Israel, due to lack of time, had not been able to bring back.

An unnecessary war? War in itself is never pleasant, and is always filled with horrors and human suffering. Many wars are necessary, however, in order to defeat forces of darkness who want to shut off the lift of freedom and enlightenment that would set back civilization to a darker era. The recent article comparing Israel’s present plight with that of England in the early days of WWII is a sterling example. Just look what is presently going on in Israel’s north, with more than a million people living in shelters, and with more internal death, injuries, and property damage than any war fought by the Jewish State since the War of Independence in 1948-49. And this destruction is far from being over, with fears that it could reach Israel’s center; and even Jerusalem as well.

A lot of talk about Israel government policies, including the pull out for Gaza, organized by Ariel Sharon, and a possible future one form the West Bank, have been criticized by many, with the belief that is has weakened Israel’s position with it’s enemies. These matters are open to interpretation and discussion and the final outcome will only be known years from now. The question before all of us living here in this new reality is whether we will ever be able to live ‘side by side’ with these people (i.e., the Palestinians) at all. Lebanon is another matter, and though the Lebanese have virtually no kind feelings toward Israel at present, they may change their minds one day when they have their country back – out of the hands of those who want to change it into something that the majority of those Lebanese, who went out into the streets of Beirut to celebrate the withdraw of Syrian forces, would not like to happen. Few if any of them would like to see their country turned into another Islamic republic, like Iran.

And this war, as painful for them as it is, will hopefully help them realize the dawn of a new day.

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