Tuesday, September 30, 2014

PM Netanyahu's UN speech Bleak Netanyahu warns of militant Islam’s global ambition In a UN address largely bereft of hope, PM says Iran-led radicalism must be stopped, decries Abbas’s ‘genocide’ libel, but suggests moderate Arab states could help pave path to Israeli-Palestinian peace "...his critics at home and abroad, he knew, would immediately seize upon as defensive, stubborn and bleak. In Netanyahu’s worldview, however, he was merely being realistic, firm and clear-headed."

There were no gimmicks. Few excruciating one-liners. Just a single visual aid: a photograph of three children in Gaza at play right next to a rocket launcher.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a no-nonsense address to the United National General Assembly on Monday — presenting himself as the leader of a “proud and unbowed” nation, charged with the “awesome responsibility” of ensuring his much-threatened people’s future in a brutal, unstable region.
It was not a speech entirely bereft of hope. He reached out to “Cairo, Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere” and asserted that a rapprochement with Israel by such Arab players could in turn yield a peace agreement with the Palestinians, which, he also said, “will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise.”
But the outlook he presented was immensely grim, nonetheless. His bitter overview, he said toward the end of his remarks, “may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it is the truth. And the truth must always be spoken, especially here at the United Nations.”
As spoken by Netanyahu, the truth is that “militant Islam is on the march,” that its ambitions are global, and that all its many, sometimes competing factions are “branches of the same poisonous tree.” Thus it is ridiculous and self-defeating for countries to support the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State but criticize Israel for tackling Hamas. If not stopped in its tracks, he indicated, Islamic extremism would come for everyone.
The truth, as further set out by the prime minister, is that the most potent such example of globally ambitious militant Islam is what he took pains to call “the Islamic state of Iran,” which has been seeking to export its revolution for 35 years and must be denied the nuclear weapons to further its radical cause. Just as world powers would not let IS enrich uranium, run a heavy water plant or develop increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles, so Iran must not be allowed to do any of those things either, he insisted. “To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war,” he declared — a point he considered so fundamental that he repeated the sentence.
The truth, Netanyahu asserted too, is that Israel has faced “libelous charges” of deliberately killing civilians in its war against Hamas terrorism this summer, when in fact “no other country and no other army in history” has gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemy. The IDF, he declared, “upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world… Israel’s soldiers deserve not condemnation but admiration from decent people everywhere.”
It is Hamas, said Netanyahu, that committed war crimes. It is Hamas, not Israel, that the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should have singled out for castigation from the same UN podium last Friday, and it is Hamas that the UN should be investigating. Indeed, by focusing its bias on Israel, he charged, the UN’s Human Rights Council was “sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere” — to use civilians as human shields. The UN Human Rights Council “has thus become a terrorists’ rights council,” he lamented.
For Netanyahu, that UN bias was just one dire manifestation of another awful truth — the revival of the disease of anti-Semitism, as reflected in calls from some extremists in Europe for the gassing of Jews, and foul comparisons of Israel to the Nazis. Anti-Semitism, he warned, was now “spreading in polite society.”
Having fumed since Friday at Abbas’s accusation that Israel committed “genocide” in Gaza this summer, Netanyahu batted the charge away here in just a few angry sentences. The Jewish state was being demonized with “the apartheid libel” and allegations of genocide, he said in horror. “In what moral universe,” he asked, did warning the enemy’s civilian population to get out of the way, ensuring humanitarian aid, and setting up a field hospital to aid the enemy’s wounded, constitute genocide? “The same moral universe,” he answered, in which Abbas could level his accusations from the UN podium. The genocide charge, he also noted, had been made by the selfsame Palestinian leader who, as a student, produced a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust and who now insists upon “a Palestine without Jews — Judenrein.”
If Abbas’s speech left little prospect of future dealings with Netanyahu, the prime minister made clear in those few sentences that he will not be inclined to interact any further with Abbas.
The next truth as delivered by Netanyahu was that, like it or not, the Middle East has changed for the worse in recent years, that Islamic militant groups had filled the vacuum when Israel left Gaza and South Lebanon, and thus that Israel had “heightened concerns” about territorial concessions in the future. Israel simply could not tolerate IS within mortar range — the situation that would prevail if Islamic militants took control of the West Bank. And thus, under any peace agreement, he said, repeating a theme he had returned to several times during the summer, “I will always insist that Israel will be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”
There were some, he said — choosing to name no names, after months of friction with the US over West Bank security proposals — who “still don’t take Israel’s security concerns seriously. But I do,” said Netanyahu, “and I always will, because as the prime minister of Israel I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.” And, he pledged, “I will never waver in that responsibility.”
In those phrases, Netanyahu vouchsafed his deepest truth of all — highlighting the sheer weight of the burden he feels he carries, albeit one he considers himself uniquely well-equipped to shoulder.
This passage came at the end of a speech that his critics at home and abroad, he knew, would immediately seize upon as defensive, stubborn and bleak. In Netanyahu’s worldview, however, he was merely being realistic, firm and clear-headed.

Paula Abdul Is Keeping It Together

Yahrzeit Shiur for Women by Rebbetzin Carol Bess will be at the home of Mrs. Chani Ungar 303 N. McCadden Pl. Tuesday, September 30, 2014 8:00 p.m.

This shiur is given in memory of
  Shoshana Hayman Greenbaum a"h
  Rivkie Stewart Weichbrod a"h
  Hindy Cohen a"h
  Devorah a"h and Aliza Adelman Levenberg a"h
  Devorah Brown a"h
  Tova Manela, a"h
  Erika Klein a"h
  Avigayil Rechnitz a"h
  Anna Bitterman a"h
  Mrs. Tama Beck a"h

Monday, September 29, 2014

Full text of Prime Minister Netanyahu's UN speech

Benjamin Netanyahu

Thank you, Mr. President, Distinguished delegates, I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel. I've come here to speak about the dangers we face and about the opportunities we see. I've come here to expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and against the brave soldiers who defend it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The people of Israel pray for peace.
But our hopes and the world's hope for peace are in danger. Because everywhere we look, militant Islam is on the march.
It's not militants. It's not Islam. It's militant Islam. Typically, its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one. Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds – no creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights. And it's rapidly spreading in every part of the world. You know the famous American saying: "All politics is local"? For the militant Islamists, "All politics is global." Because their ultimate goal is to dominate the world.
Now, that threat might seem exaggerated to some, since it starts out small, like a cancer that attacks a particular part of the body. But left unchecked, the cancer grows, metastasizing over wider and wider areas. To protect the peace and security of the world, we must remove this cancer before it's too late. Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS. And yet weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.
ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.
Listen to ISIS’s self-declared caliph,Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. This is what he said two months ago: A day will soon come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master… The Muslims will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism… and destroy the idol of democracy. Now listen to Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas. He proclaims a similar vision of the future: We say this to the West… By Allah you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world.
As Hamas's charter makes clear, Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists. That’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered on 9/11. And that's why its leaders condemned the United States for killing Osama Bin Laden, whom they praised as a holy warrior.
So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.
And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common: • Boko Haram in Nigeria; • Ash-Shabab in Somalia; • Hezbollah in Lebanon; • An-Nusrah in Syria; • The Mahdi Army in Iraq; • And the Al-Qaeda branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.
Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shi'ites. Some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the 7th century. Others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the 9th century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their quest for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance – Where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated, and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die. For them, anyone can be an infidel, including fellow Muslims.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Militant Islam's ambition to dominate the world seems mad. But so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept to power eight decades ago.
The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree about who among them will be the master… of the master faith. That’s what they truly disagree about. Therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions.
There is one place where that could soon happen: The Islamic State of Iran. For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words: We will export our revolution to the entire world.
Until the cry "There is no God but Allah" will echo throughout the world over… And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, have done exactly that.
Listen to its current commander, General Muhammad Ali Ja'afari. And he clearly stated this goal. He said: Our Imam did not limit the Islamic Revolution to this country… Our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government… Iran's President Rouhani stood here last week, and shed crocodile tears over what he called "the globalization of terrorism." Maybe he should spare us those phony tears and have a word instead with the commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. He could ask them to call off Iran's global terror campaign, which has included attacks in two dozen countries on five continents since 2011 alone. To say that Iran doesn't practice terrorism is like saying Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees.
This bemoaning of the Iranian president of the spread of terrorism has got to be one of history’s greatest displays of doubletalk.
Now, Some still argue that Iran's global terror campaign, its subversion of countries throughout the Middle East and well beyond the Middle East, some argue that this is the work of the extremists. They say things are changing. They point to last year's elections in Iran. They claim that Iran’s smooth talking President and Foreign Minister, they’ve changed not only the tone of Iran's foreign policy but also its substance. They believe Rouhani and Zarif genuinely want to reconcile with the West, that they’ve abandoned the global mission of the Islamic Revolution.
Really? So let's look at what Foreign Minister Zarif wrote in his book just a few years ago: We have a fundamental problem with the West, and especially with America. This is because we are heirs to a global mission, which is tied to our raison d'etre… A global mission which is tied to our very reason of being.
And then Zarif asks a question, I think an interesting one. He says: How come Malaysia [he’s referring to an overwhelmingly Muslim country] – how come Malaysia doesn't have similar problems? And he answers: Because Malaysia is not trying to change the international order.
That's your moderate. So don’t be fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive. It’s designed for one purpose, and for one purpose only: To lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran's path to the bomb. The Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement that will remove the sanctions it still faces, and leave it with the capacity of thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium. This would effectively cement Iran's place as a threshold military nuclear power. In the future, at a time of its choosing, Iran, the world’s most dangerous state in the world's most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons.
Allowing that to happen would pose the gravest threat to us all. It’s one thing to confront militant Islamists on pick-up trucks, armed with Kalashnikov rifles. It’s another thing to confront militant Islamists armed with weapons of mass destruction. I remember that last year, everyone here was rightly concerned about the chemical weapons in Syria, including the possibility that they would fall into the hands of terrorists. That didn't happen. And President Obama deserves great credit for leading the diplomatic effort to dismantle virtually all of Syria's chemical weapons capability. Imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic State, ISIS, would be if it possessed chemical weapons. Now imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic state of Iran would be if it possessed nuclear weapons. Ladies and Gentlemen, Would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop intercontinental ballistic missiles? Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn't let the Islamic State of Iran do those things either.
Because here’s what will happen: Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charm and all the smiles will suddenly disappear. They’ll just vanish. It's then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world. There is only one responsible course of action to address this threat: Iran's nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled. Make no mistake – ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.
To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The fight against militant Islam is indivisible. When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it's set back in every place. That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just our fight. It’s your fight. Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.
For 50 days this past summer, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran. I want you to think about what your countries would do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities. Imagine millions of your citizens having seconds at most to scramble to bomb shelters, day after day. You wouldn't let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity. Nor would you let terrorists dig dozens of terror tunnels under your borders to infiltrate your towns in order to murder and kidnap your citizens. Israel justly defended itself against both rocket attacks and terror tunnels. Yet Israel also faced another challenge. We faced a propaganda war. Because, in an attempt to win the world’s sympathy, Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It used schools, not just schools - UN schools, private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel.
As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically but unintentionally killed. There are heartrending images that resulted, and these fueled libelous charges that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians.
We were not. We deeply regret every single civilian casualty. And the truth is this: Israel was doing everything to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on Palestinian television, always to enable Palestinian civilians to evacuate targeted areas.
No other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies. This concern for Palestinian life was all the more remarkable, given that Israeli civilians were being bombarded by rockets day after day, night after night. As their families were being rocketed by Hamas, Israel's citizen army – the brave soldiers of the IDF, our young boys and girls – they upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world. Israel's soldiers deserve not condemnation, but admiration. Admiration from decent people everywhere.
Now here’s what Hamas did: Hamas embedded its missile batteries in residential areas and told Palestinians to ignore Israel’s warnings to leave. And just in case people didn’t get the message, they executed Palestinian civilians in Gaza who dared to protest.
No less reprehensible, Hamas deliberately placed its rockets where Palestinian children live and play. Let me show you a photograph. It was taken by a France 24 crew during the recent conflict. It shows two Hamas rocket launchers, which were used to attack us. You see three children playing next to them. Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas like this. Hundreds of them.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a war crime. And I say to President Abbas, these are the war crimes committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government which you head and you are responsible for. And these are the real war crimes you should have investigated, or spoken out against from this podium last week.
Ladies and Gentlemen, As Israeli children huddled in bomb shelters and Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system knocked Hamas rockets out of the sky, the profound moral difference between Israel and Hamas couldn’t have been clearer: Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles.
By investigating Israel rather than Hamas for war crimes, the UN Human Rights Council has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. In fact, what it’s doing is to turn the laws of war upside-down. Israel, which took unprecedented steps to minimize civilian casualties, Israel is condemned. Hamas, which both targeted and hid behind civilians – that a double war crime - Hamas is given a pass.
The Human Rights Council is thus sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: Use civilians as human shields. Use them again and again and again. You know why? Because sadly, it works.
By granting international legitimacy to the use of human shields, the UN’s Human Rights Council has thus become a Terrorist Rights Council, and it will have repercussions. It probably already has, about the use of civilians as human shields.
It’s not just our interest. It’s not just our values that are under attack. It’s your interests and your values.
Ladies and Gentlemen, We live in a world steeped in tyranny and terror, where gays are hanged from cranes in Tehran, political prisoners are executed in Gaza, young girls are abducted en masse in Nigeria and hundreds of thousands are butchered in Syria, Libya and Iraq. Yet nearly half, nearly half of the UN Human Rights Council's resolutions focusing on a single country have been directed against Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East – Israel. where issues are openly debated in a boisterous parliament, where human rights are protected by independent courts and where women, gays and minorities live in a genuinely free society.
The Human Rights… (that’s an oxymoron, the UN Human Rights Council, but I’ll use it just the same), the Council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of the world’s oldest prejudices. We hear mobs today in Europe call for the gassing of Jews. We hear some national leaders compare Israel to the Nazis. This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It's a function of diseased minds. And that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.
It is now spreading in polite society, where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel. For centuries the Jewish people have been demonized with blood libels and charges of deicide. Today, the Jewish state is demonized with the apartheid libel and charges of genocide. Genocide? In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy's civilian population to get out of harm's way? Or ensuring that they receive tons, tons of humanitarian aid each day, even as thousands of rockets are being fired at us? Or setting up a field hospital to aid for their wounded? Well, I suppose it's the same moral universe where a man who wrote a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust, and who insists on a Palestine free of Jews, Judenrein, can stand at this podium and shamelessly accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
In the past, outrageous lies against the Jews were the precursors to the wholesale slaughter of our people.
But no more.
Today we, the Jewish people, have the power to defend ourselves. We will defend ourselves against our enemies on the battlefield. We will expose their lies against us in the court of public opinion. Israel will continue to stand proud and unbowed.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Despite the enormous challenges facing Israel, I believe we have an historic opportunity.
After decades of seeing Israel as their enemy, leading states in the Arab world increasingly recognize that together we and they face many of the same dangers: principally this means a nuclear-armed Iran and militant Islamist movements gaining ground in the Sunni world.
Our challenge is to transform these common interests to create a productive partnership. One that would build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous Middle East.
Together we can strengthen regional security. We can advance projects in water, agriculture, in transportation, in health, in energy, in so many fields.
I believe the partnership between us can also help facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Many have long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace can help facilitate a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab World. But these days I think it may work the other way around: Namely that a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
And therefore, to achieve that peace, we must look not only to Jerusalem and Ramallah, but also to Cairo, to Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere. I believe peace can be realized with the active involvement of Arab countries, those that are willing to provide political, material and other indispensable support. I’m ready to make a historic compromise, not because Israel is occupying a foreign land. The people of Israel are not occupiers in the Land of Israel. History, archeology and common sense all make clear that we have had a singular attachment to this land for over 3,000 years.
I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people. But it must be a genuine peace, one that is anchored in mutual recognition and enduring security arrangements, rock solid security arrangements on the ground. Because you see, Israel's withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza created two militant Islamic enclaves on our borders from which tens of thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel.
These sobering experiences heighten Israel's security concerns regarding potential territorial concessions in the future. Those security concerns are even greater today. Just look around you.
The Middle East is in chaos. States are disintegrating. Militant Islamists are filling the void.
Israel cannot have territories from which it withdraws taken over by Islamic militants yet again, as happened in Gaza and Lebanon. That would place the likes of ISIS within mortar range – a few miles – of 80% of our population.
Think about that. The distance between the 1967 lines and the suburbs of Tel Aviv is like the distance between the UN building here and Times Square. Israel’s a tiny country. That’s why in any peace agreement, which will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise, I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself against any threat. Yet despite all that has happened, some still don't take Israel’s security concerns seriously. But I do, and I always will. Because, as Prime Minister of Israel, I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the future of the Jewish state.
And no matter what pressure is brought to bear, I will never waver in fulfilling that responsibility.
I believe that with a fresh approach from our neighbors, we can advance peace despite the difficulties we face.
In Israel, we have a record of making the impossible possible. We’ve made a desolate land flourish. And with very few natural resources, we have used the fertile minds of our people to turn Israel into a global center of technology and innovation.
Peace, of course, would enable Israel to realize its full potential and to bring a promising future not only for our people, not only for the Palestinian people, but for many, many others in our region.
But the old template for peace must be updated. It must take into account new realities and new roles and responsibilities for our Arab neighbors. Ladies and Gentlemen, There is a new Middle East. It presents new dangers, but also new opportunities. Israel is prepared to work with Arab partners and the international community to confront those dangers and to seize those opportunities. Together we must recognize the global threat of militant Islam, the primacy of dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapons capability and the indispensable role of Arab states in advancing peace with the Palestinians.
All this may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s the truth. And the truth must always be spoken, especially here, in the United Nations.
Isaiah, our great prophet of peace, taught us nearly 3,000 years ago in Jerusalem to speak truth to power. לְמַעַן צִיּוֹן לֹא אֶחֱשֶׁה וּלְמַעַן יְרוּשָׁלִַם לֹא אֶשְׁקוֹט עַד-יֵצֵא כַּנֹּגַהּ צִדְקָהּ וִישׁוּעָתָהּ כְּלַפִּיד יִבְעָר.
For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent.
For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still.
Until her justice shines bright, And her salvation glows like a flaming torch.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Let's light a torch of truth and justice to safeguard our common future.
Thank you.
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QRC Raises QR11 Million from ‘Support Gaza’ Charity Auction

An auction in Qatar raises money for Gaza. In this luxury auction Lamborghinis were sold.

As we have seen before, where billions of dollars were given to Gaza and were used by the Hamas to dig terror tunnels, buy rockers and weapons, the same will happen here. The money will be used to develop terror infrastructure and not help the Gazans,

Obama is wrong, Qatar is not a friend, it is a terror best, which abates and shelters terrorists.


QRC Raises QR11 Million from ‘Support Gaza’ Charity Auction

Friendly Atmosphere during the AuctionQatar Red Crescent’s (QRC) charity auction, Support Gaza, was held on Friday 26 September 2014 at the Amphitheatre of Katara Cultural Village, in the presence of the eminent Islamic scholar Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi, Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); senior QRC officials, including the Secretary-General, Saleh bin Ali Al Mohannadi; a select group of Qatari businessmen and community leaders; and several reporters from the country’s major media institutions.
The auction raised nearly QR11 million, which will be added to the enormous donations collected by QRC under the ‘Support Gaza’ campaign, launched in mid-July to raise funds for Gaza relief and reconstruction during and following the recent Israeli aggression, as military attacks targeted residential buildings, schools, mosques, hospitals, the enclave’s only power plant, and even ambulance vehicles and staff, leaving behind a tragic toll of casualties and losses and terribly affecting every single aspect of life in Gaza society.
Among the most enthusiastic bidders was Mohamed Abdulkarim Al Emadi, CEO of Al Emadi Enterprises, who purchased several items in an evident indication of strong support for Gaza brothers and QRC’s humanitarian mission, in light of the State of Qatar’s overall policy of helping distressed communities all over the world.
The event attracted public spectators of different nationalities, particularly families. It was presented by the famous media men Aqeel Al Janahi and Hamad Al Fayyad, who began the evening with welcoming the attendance and introducing the purpose of the auction: to help the vulnerable people of Gaza, revive their hopes, enable them to have a decent standard of living, secure their basic necessities of life, and replacing what they lost during the brutal Israeli raids. Al Fayyad said:
Our gathering today is not just to raise funds for Gaza reconstruction, but essentially to recharge our spirit, foster awareness, and defend the just cause of Gaza people for a better life and a prosperous society that we can build together…We are gathering today under the wings of QRC, which has always been a guide to benevolence, a helper of the vulnerable and the underprivileged everywhere, and an edifice of development in Qatari and other human societies around the globe.’
After a recitation of some part of the Glorious Quran, Dr Al Qaradawi delivered a keynote speech, in which he applauded QRC’s relentless efforts to serve Gaza brothers, who stood heroically in the face of the ferocious assailants. Dr Al Qaradawi said:
This auction is a race for happiness and blessing in this world and in the Hereafter, particularly during these spiritual days of Dhul-Hijjah, when the Divine rewards are redoubled. Let’s lend a kind and benevolent hand to thousands of homeless Palestinian families.’
The bidding was then opened over the invaluable items presented for free by the contributors: Alfardan Group, Jaidah Group, and Al Wajba Establishment. The items included:
  1. Cars: Sixteen luxurious cars were offered for sale, remarkably the matchless icon of the evening, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento – full carbon fiber (2013) — with only 20 copies worldwide, this car was manufactured to mark the centenary of Lamborghini — as well as two Ferrari 458 Spider (2014), Bentley Continental GT Convertible (2014), Mclaren MP4-12c (2012), two Jaguar F-Type 5.0V8 SC Convertible (2014), two Maserati Quattroporte V8 530 (2014), Jaguar XF2.0l4 Luxury (2014), Jaguar XJ 3.0V6 SC Luxury (2014), BMW 750Li Saloon LCI (2014), BMW X5 Experience Design (2014), Chevrolet Camaro Coupe (2013), and two Mini Cooper Countryman JCW 851 (2014).
  2. Motorcycles: Four sports motorbikes were auctioned, including Ducati Diavel Dark (2013), Ducati Diavel (2013), and two Ducati Superbike 899 Panigale ABS (2014).
  3. Kiswah of the Kaaba: The auction also offered six pieces of the outer and inner covering of the Kaaba, made of pure silk and embroidered with gold threads.
In the end, the auctioneers saluted the organisers and volunteers for making the event a success. They also thanked the contributors for their appreciated generosity, including Katara Cultural Village Foundation (the host); Qatar TV and Al-Rayyan Satellite Channel (the media sponsors); and Alfardan Group, Jaidah Group, Al Wajba Establishment, and Al Barakati Museum in Mecca (the contributors).
In the three-day run-up to the event, QRC launched a public photography competition to take a photo of any of the models offered for sale in the auction. The best three photos were selected after the auction and awarded cash prizes — QR2,000, QR1,500, and QR1,000 consecutively.
QRC holds as a top priority the advancement of Gaza local community, by improving the living standards there, providing their urgent needs through relief work at the times of aggression and bombing, and meeting their normal needs through developmental projects during peace times.
Despite the blockade, as a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement enjoying legal protection and access to disaster-afflicted and isolated regions, QRC implemented numerous sheltering, health care, education, water and sanitation, and infrastructure programs in Gaza, at a total cost of as high as QR58,918,792 in 2013-2014 alone.
QRC still receives donations from any person willing to help the victims of Gaza war via the hotline: 6666 6364, QRC premises in Old Slata or QRC agents at various malls, online at QRC’s website, or by sending an SMS with the word “قطر” to 92766 to donate QR100.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: Will reporters ask Abbas any hard questions? Here are some

Mahmoud Abbas is in New York this week. No doubt he will allow a couple of interviews.

Here are some questions that a decent reporter would ask this great pseudo-peacemaker (expanded from an earlier post of mine):

  • What, specifically, have you done to prepare your people for peace with Israel?
    • Followup: Twenty years after Oslo, 60% of your people say the five year goal of the PA should be the destruction of Israel. Isn't this from your own state-run media and school curricula?
  • Why does the PA name institutions after terrorists who targeted innocent civilians? Isn't that inconsistent with the message you are giving to the West?
  • Why is there still daily incitement on PA TV against Israel?
  • Do you believe, as Arafat did, that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem? Do you realize that this position is at odds with what Muslims said openly before 1967?
  • Describe your position on "normalization" with Israelis today. Can Israeli pro-peace groups visit Ramallah?   Would you allow an Palestinian-Israeli sports camp?
  • Why did you threaten your citizens who dared to shop in a Jewish-owned supermarket that has low prices?
  • Recently you said that you believe that the Holocaust occurred. You wrote a book that claimed that it was exaggerated.Were you lying then, or are you lying now?
  • Do you really believe that Jews are raising dogs and wild boars and training them to attack Arab farms, as you have stated?
  • Do you really believe that Hamas would accept Israel's existence if you reconcile with them? Do you believe that Hamas still subscribes to its charter? Why or why not?
  • As leader of Fatah, why do the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group still exist? How do they get funded? Why didn't you denounce their shooting hundreds of rockets to Israeli civilians? Aren't you against that?
    • If they do not report to you, then why do you not distance yourself from them? And why did you say they were dismantled when they clearly weren't? Why did you allow them to hold an armed paraderecently in Ramallah?
  • Do you agree with the Fatah platform that terrorism is legal under international law?
  • Why does some 6% of the PA budget go towards terrorist prisoners and released terrorists?
  • Do you consider the Mufti of Jerusalem who collaborated with Hitler to be a hero?
  • If you are so interested in peace, why did you go out of your way to meet with child-murderer Samir Kuntar?
  • You have publicly praised terrorists released from Israeli prisons, even embracing murderers. How do you reconcile that with your claims to be against terror?
  • Why did you, last week, praise a terrorist who targeted Jewish children at a circus?
  • What percentage of the PA budget goes, directly or indirectly, to Hamas?
  • Can you explain your statement in 2013 that "it's better [Syrian Palestinians] die in Syria than give up their right of return"? How many Syrian Palestinians have died because of that position?
  • Do you support the rights of Lebanese Palestinians, if they choose, to become citizens of Lebanon? Why or why not?
  • Why are there still Palestinian "refugee" camps in the West Bank? Do you not consider their residents to be full citizens of Palestine? Are you keeping them away from having permanent homes in your country for a reason?
    • In 1950, Israel told UNRWA that it would be insulted to have an outside organization be the primary support for refugees, and it mainstreamed Arabs into becoming full citizens within a couple of years, negating their need for perpetual UN support. Do you disagree with that sentiment?
Please send/tweet these questions to any New York based reporter who seem

Shemittah Loan Amnesty: Pruzbul

The upcoming Jewish year, 5775 is a "Shemitah" (Sabbatical) year.

Part of the observance of Sh'mitah includes the forgiving of loans. At the end of the seventh year of the Sh'mitah cycle, all loans are nullified under Jewish law, including credit agreements and wage agreements that have been converted to loan agreements. More than 2,000 years ago, Hillel saw that people were avoiding giving loans as the Sh'mitah year neared. He addressed the problem by instituting the pruzbul system. The act of pruzbul transforms private debt and makes it redeemable.

The Laws of Pruzbul are found in Choshen Mishpat Section 67. Strictly speaking Halacha requires that the pruzbul be executed any time before the end of the Sh'mitah year but some authorities strongly recommend the practice of executing a pruzbul before the Sh'mitah year begins as well.

This year, today, the last day before Rosh Hashanah, Wednesday, September 24, 2014, is the last day to do the Pruzbul.

Chabad has a convenient Pruzbul online form.

Wishing all of my colleagues a happy New Year. 

Happy New Year

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Israel Matzav: Jeffrey Goldberg blasts Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth

Jeffrey Goldberg has blasted 'human rights watch' director Ken Roth forblaming Jews for anti-Semitism.
A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.
Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt  “in response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.
It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice.
Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations, or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify, or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of human-rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as legitimate.
A question: If a mosque in Europe or in the U.S. were to be attacked (God forbid) by Islamophobic arsonists, would Ken Roth describe such an attack as a manifestation of “anti-Muslim hatred that flared in response to the conduct of Muslim groups in the Middle East?”
I don’t know what motivated Ken Roth to blame the Jewish state for the violent acts of anti-Semites. I do hope that he reconsiders his position on the root cause of anti-Jewish prejudice.
Read the whole thing. Goldberg is spot-on.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres Goes Job Hunting

Coming Sunday: Alan M. Dershowitz on fighting terrorism under the rule of law

A Palestinian fighter from the armed wing of Hamas gestures inside an underground tunnel in Gaza Aug. 18.
In a five-part series starting Sunday, Alan M. Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, addresses the trade-offs between civil liberties and national security.
  • Employing military force against terrorists who use human shields: While the commitment to the rule of law constrains democracies in fighting terrorists who have no concern for international law, and we must fight terrorism with one hand behind our back, that does not mean that we cannot use the other hand forcefully, effectively, and legally.
  • Surveillance and the right to privacy: The government is entitled to keep secret the technical aspects of our surveillance programs that give us a competitive advantage over our adversaries, and whose disclosure might provide terrorists with information useful to circumvent our legitimate efforts to keep track of their nefarious plans.
  • Should terrorists who cannot be tried be detained?: Guantanamo contains several detainees who, if released, would almost certainly return to a life of terrorism. Imagine if the masked man who recently beheaded the two American journalists were captured, and a valued undercover source, who couldn't testify without blowing his cover, identified him as the killer. What should we do?
  • Should terrorists be targeted for assassination?: What should a democracy, constrained by the rule of law, do if a dangerous terrorist cannot be captured, or can only be captured with undue risk to our soldiers? The U.S., UK, and Israel have opted for targeted killing. The use of drones with GPS-guided missiles has made this easier and more accurate.
  • Is torture ever justified?: I am categorically opposed to torture, without exception. But I think every president would at least consider the option of torture of one terrorist, rather than permitting thousands of innocent Americans to be blown up.

    The author is an emeritus professor of law at Harvard University and the author of Terror Tunnels: The Case For Israel's Just War Against Hamas.

Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes

"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.

"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.

"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.

"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student

"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.

"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.

While the world's media has been blaming Israel for the death of Gazan civilians during Operation Protective Edge, this correspondent decided to speak with Gazans themselves to hear what they had to say.

They spoke of Hamas atrocities and war crimes implicating Hamas in the civilian deaths of its own people.

Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas's revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of "communicating with the Mossad". "Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists -- or actually any journalists at all," he said, continuing:

"Hamas does not want the truth about Gaza to come out. Hamas terrorizes and kills us just like Daesh [ISIS] terrorizes kills Iraqis. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us. The Gazans you see praising Hamas on TV are either Hamas members or too afraid to speak against Hamas. Few foreign [Western] journalists were probably able to report what Gazans think of Hamas."

When asked what Gazans did think of Hamas, he said:

"The same as Iraqis thought of Saddam before he was toppled. He still won by 90-something percent in the presidential elections. If Hamas falls today in Gaza, people here will do what Iraqis did to Saddam's statue after he fell. But even though Western journalists may not have been able to speak freely with Gazans, they still need a story to send to their editor by the end of the day. So it is just easier and safer for them to stick to the official line."

"What was that," I asked: "'Blame Israel'?"

"I don't know about that," he said. "More like, 'Never blame Hamas!'. Hamas was making a 'statement': Opposing Hamas Means Death. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us."

M., a journalist, confirmed his view. "I do not believe any of the people Hamas killed in the last weeks were Israeli spies," he said. "Hamas has killed many people for criticizing it, and claimed they were traitors working for Israel during the war."

That conversation took place four weeks before Hamas killed 21 alleged "Israeli Mossad agents."

D, a store owner, said:

"There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue."

To verify those reports, I spoke to a second Gazan academic, who holds a PhD. from a Western university, who stated:

"Hamas did kill protesters, no doubt about that. But we could not confirm how many were actually killed. If I have to guess, the number was more than reported. I am confident that not all of the 21 men Hamas killed on August 22 were collaborating with Israel. Hamas killed those men because it was weakened by Israel's attacks and felt endangered. So it went on a 'Salem Witch-Hunt.' They arrested everyone who opposed them and had to make a few examples to scare people from standing against Hamas. Hamas's tactic worked. Now Gazans are afraid to talk against Hamas even in front of their own family members. Gazans are probably afraid to criticize Hamas even in their sleep!"

As already reported by the award-winning journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, Hamas killed one of its leaders, Ayman Taha, and blamed Israel for it.

Asked about Abu Toameh's report, S., a Gazan political activist said:

"Taha was already in Hamas's jail before Israeli operations started. Hamas imprisoned him and tortured him because he was critical of its radical policies. He had warned Hamas not to cooperate with Qatar and Iran. Eye-witnesses said they saw Hamas militants bring him alive into the yard of Shifa hospital in Gaza and shoot him dead. They kept mutilating his body in front of viewers and little children and left it on the hospital's yard for a few hours before allowing the staff to take it to the morgue."

A., a Fatah member in Gaza, spoke over Skype -- fearful that Hamas was intercepting phone lines:

"Even before the Israeli operation began, Hamas rounded up 400 of our members and other political-opposition figures. I would not be surprised if Hamas kills them all and then claims they were killed in an Israeli bombing. Hamas already beheaded a man known for opposing its views on the 22nd day of the war, then reported on its Facebook page that he was caught sending intelligence information to Israel. If Hamas does not like you for any reason, all they have to do now is claim you are a Mossad agent and kill you."

S. a medical worker, said:

"The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack. The Israelis either call or send a text message. Sometimes they call several times to make sure everyone has been evacuated. Hamas's strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas's official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate. In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed."

Another Gazan journalist, D., said:

"Hamas fired rockets from next to homes. Hamas was running from one home to another. Hamas lied when it claimed it was shooting from non-populated areas. To make things even worse for us, Hamas would fire from the balconies of homes and try to drag the Israelis into door-to-door battles and street-to-street fights -- a death sentence for all the civilians here. They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did. They are cowards. If Hamas militants are not afraid of dying, why do they run after they fire rockets from our homes? Why don't they stay and die with us? Are they afraid to die and go to heaven? Isn't that what they claim they wish?"

Hamas boasted that Palestinian civilians were killed while Hamas's terrorists remained alive, hiding in their underground bunkers and tunnels. (Image source: Hamas video screenshot)
K, another graduate student at an Egyptian university who had gone to Gaza to see his family but was unable to leave after the war started, said on July 22:

"When people stopped listening to Hamas orders not to evacuate and began leaving their homes anyway, Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot without being asked any questions. That way Hamas made sure people had to stay in their homes even if they were about to get bombed. God will ask Hamas on judgment day for those killers' blood."

I asked him if Hamas used people as "human shields." He said: "Hamas held the entire Gazan population as a human shield. My answer to you is yes."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the press on September 6 that Hamas had killed 120 Fatah members who broke the curfew.

T., a former Hamas Ministry officer, said: "Hamas fires from civilian areas for a good reason: The Israelis call the civilians and give them ten minutes to evacuate. This gives Hamas time to fire another rocket and run away."

Why, I asked, did Hamas not allow people to evacuate?

"Some people say Hamas wants civilians killed in order to gain global sympathy, but I believe this is not the main reason. I think the reason is that if all the people were allowed to evacuate their homes, they all would have ended up in a certain area in Gaza. If that happened, it would have made the rest of Gaza empty of civilians, and the Israelis would have been able to hit Hamas without worrying about civilians in all those empty areas. Hamas wanted civilians all over the place to confuse the Israelis and make their operations more difficult."

S., a Gazan businessman, said:

"The cease-fire Hamas agreed to carried the same conditions the Egyptians and the Israelis offered during the second week of the war -- after only 160 Gazans had been killed. Why did Hamas have to wait until 2,200 were killed, and then accept the very same offer? Hamas has blackmailed the world with the killed Gazan civilians to make itself look like a freedom fighter against an evil Israel. Hamas showed Gazans that it could not care less for their blood and their children. And why should Hamas care? Its leaders are either in mansions in Qatar or villas in Jordan. Mashaal [Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas] is in Qatar, Mohammad Nazzal is in Jordan and Abu Marzouk is in Cairo: why should they want a ceasefire? Everyone here in Gaza is wondering why Hamas rejected so many ceasefires. Hamas knows it will not defeat Israel's army, so why did it continue fighting? The answer is simple: Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel by showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar."

I asked S. if other Gazans shared his view. He said,

"Gazans are not stupid. We are now telling Hamas: Either you bring victory and liberate Palestine as you claim, or simply leave Gaza and maybe give it back to the Palestinian Authority or even Israel -- or even Egypt! We have had enough of Hamas's hallucinations and promises that never come true."

O., a researcher who lives in Gaza Strip's second largest city, Khan Younis, said:

"Most of us see Hamas as too radical and too stubborn, especially the way it was refusing ceasefires offered from Israel. They even refused a 24-hour ceasefire during the third week of the war. They denied us even 24 hours of quiet to bury the dead. Even some Hamas loyalists here are asking why Hamas refused several ceasefires and made us suffer. Hamas did this on purpose because Hamas is a slave to Qatar. Qatar wants the war to go on because it is a terrorist Islamist country, and Hamas wants more of us dead to appease its masters in Qatar. Let's be realistic, Hamas is in a bad shape now. Israel destroyed most tunnels; that is why Hamas had to join the ceasefire talks in Cairo. Were the Israelis' hits to Hamas not so painful, Hamas would not be negotiating in the first place. At the same time, Hamas is asking Israel for the impossible, like an open seaport and an airport. Israel would never allow that, and Hamas knows this, but Hamas might just be buying time by throwing out these demands. You have to keep in mind that Hamas is not concerned with our conditions as Gazans. After all it is our children who are dying, not the children of Hamas's leaders. Hamas is weak now, and I believe it lost most of its tunnels. Israel's Iron Dome destroyed so many of their rockets before they landed in Israel; that is why Hamas is being ruthless with Gazans. When Hamas locks people inside homes about to be bombed, when it kills people protesting against it and when it executes alleged traitors without even a trail, these are war crimes."

A report by the Washington Institute, released in July, also reports that most Gazans are not happy with Hamas's governance.

"It is true," said A., a teacher. "I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll. Hamas maintains its control here through a military dictatorship, just like North Korea. People will be killed if they protest. Even Gazans living abroad fear to criticize Hamas because Hamas will take revenge on their relatives who are here."

M., a Gazan television producer, stated:

"Of course I am against Israel and I want it out of Gaza and out of the West Bank, but I still believe Hamas is more of a threat to the Palestinian people. Hamas took over Gaza by killing us [Palestinians] and throwing our young men from high buildings. That is what Hamas is about: murder and power. Hamas is also delusional. Its leaders refused the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, they got hit hard by the Israelis, and then when the war stopped, they declared victory. Even the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, admitted it when he lost Ohoud war [A war in which pagan Arabs defeated Muhammad's army and in which Muhammad was almost killed]. Hamas lives in its own fantasy world. Hamas wanted the dead bodies to make Israel look ugly. The media has exerted a huge pressure on Israel for every dead Gazan. In that sense, Hamas's tactic has worked, and we have seen more Western tolerance of Hamas, especially in Europe. Of course Hamas doesn't care if we all die so long as it achieves its goals. We are not going to accept living under Hamas any longer. Even if there is calm, and the firing stops, we are going to still be under Hamas's mercy, where all basic living standards are considered luxuries. Hamas is just buying time by going to the ceasefire talks. Hamas does not want a ceasefire."

When asked why that was, he said, "Ask Qatar's Sheikh, not me. He is Hamas's god who gives them billions and tells them what to do. May God curse Qatar!"

A first-aid volunteer, E., said that Hamas militants had confiscated 150 truckloads of humanitarian supplies the day before. He said the supplies were donated by charities in the West Bank and that their delivery was facilitated by the IDF. He commented: "This theft angers all of us [Gazans]. The Israeli army allows supplies to come in, and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas."

Another aid worker, A., confirmed that Hamas steals the humanitarian supplies given to Gaza. "They [Hamas] take most of it, sell it to us, and just give us the stuff they do not want."

A Gazan mosque's imam said that the most precious aid item Hamas stole was water. "Gazans are thirsty and Hamas is stealing the water bottles provided to us for free and selling them at 20 Israeli shekels [approximately $5] for the big bottle and 10 Israeli shekels for the small one."

H., who did not want his profession to be mentioned, lost one of his legs in an Israeli raid. I asked him who he thought was responsible for his injury. He stated:

"Hamas was. My father received a text-message from the Israeli army warning him that our area was going to be bombed, and Hamas prevented us from leaving. They said there was a curfew. A curfew, can you believe that? I swear to God, we will take revenge on Hamas. I swear to God I will stand on my other foot and fight against Hamas. Even if Israel leaves them alone, we will not. What had my two-year-old nephew done to be killed under the rubble of our home so Khaled Mashaal [Hamas leader based in Qatar] could be happy? We want change at any cost. I am not claiming the Israelis are innocent, but I know Hamas has fired rockets from every residential spot in Gaza. If that was not hiding behind civilians, then it was stupidity and recklessness. Nobody who is normal, in his right mind, in Gaza supports Hamas. People have lost parents, children and friends, and have nothing more to lose. I believe if given the chance and the weapons, they will stand against Hamas."

K., a Gazan school teacher agreed:

"When Hamas starts caring for our children we will start caring for Hamas. Hamas has one policy, to attack Israel; so Israel attacks back, and gets us killed and Hamas then gets more money from Arabs and Erdogan [Turkey's president]. My son has autism; he cannot handle the sounds of rockets and bombs landing. Why would I support Hamas, which causes this suffering to him? Gazans have had enough of Hamas, any claims that we love Hamas is just propaganda. A recent poll indicates that most of us support Hamas; this is not true, except maybe in the West Bank where they have not yet lived under Hamas rule. I cannot accuse the polling center of fabricating the poll, but my safest explanation for the result is that Gazans polled are too afraid to give their true opinions of Hamas. Hamas watches everything here. Most Gazans now have to deal with the aftermath of the war. Almost 300,000 Gazans are now homeless and Hamas is not providing them with anything. So why would they or their extended families have any love for Hamas? Would there be any common sense to that? Most Gazans are angry at Hamas, and most of us would love to see them replaced by any other force."

Despite all Hamas has done to Gazans, they do not seem to hold much love -- or less hatred -- for Israel.

S., a graduate of an American university and a former Hamas sympathizer, warned:

"Don't get fooled. Gazans are not in love with Israel yet, but they do not want to fight Israel anymore. We do not want to embrace Israel; we just want to live normally without wars. We want to live and work in Israel like we used to. We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation, instead. I would welcome Netanyahu to rule Gaza so long as Hamas leaves, and I think most Gazans feel the same way. We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money, we miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here, but politically speaking, we just think of it as the better of two evils: Israel and Hamas."

M., who lost his 11 year old daughter in an Israeli bombing said: "I will not forgive either Hamas or Israel for losing my daughter. If you ask me if I hate Israelis, my answer would be no, but do I love them? Of course not. There is too much blood between us, but I can only hope someday we both will move on and heal our wounds."

When asked what he would do if he were in Israel's place, being attacked non-stop by Hamas, he responded: "I do not care if both Israel and Gaza burn in hell."

F., a Gazan physician, said:

"I wish Israel never existed, but as it does not seem to be going away, I would rather be working in Israel like I used to before the first Intifada, not fighting it. Hamas sympathizers, apologists and appeasers should be ashamed of themselves for supporting a terrorist organization that has butchered civilians, Israeli and Palestinian. Apparently a group of Israelis is working on bringing Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to trial in the International Criminal Court. But perhaps the world should consider putting all the Hamas leaders on trial for crimes against the Gazan people."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rabbi Kahane on the use of Violence

Yossi Klein Halevi: At Rosh Hashanah: Grief, fear, hope

As we enter Rosh Hashanah, I am, like many of us, a confusion of emotions. I am angry and fearful, grieving and grateful, proud and ashamed and, despite everything, hopeful.
I am angry at how, once again, much of the world has turned an Israeli war of self-defense into a war crime. I am angry at the UN for investigating Israel and not Hamas, at much of the media for falling into Hamas’ trap and blaming Israel for civilian deaths it tried to avoid, at Israel’s critics who seemed disappointed that there weren’t more dead Israelis, as if somehow that would have been more fair.
I am grieving for the fallen soldiers. In Israel a soldier killed in battle doesn’t become a martyr but everyone’s son – a husband, a father, a boyfriend. I grieve too for the three kidnapped boys, murdered as their kidnappers laughed and sang. I am grateful for the nobility of those boys’ mothers, who inspired the people of Israel with their courage and love.
I am grieving for the devastation we were forced, in the process of defending ourselves, to inflict on our neighbors. I am grieving for the dead and wounded children of Gaza, for each life cut short, for the suffering that endures.
I am fearful for the future of Israel in a region that is turning mad. Fearful for an Israel surrounded by Hamas and Hezbollah and Al Qeida on its borders and Islamic State moving toward the Jordanian border, and with a nuclear Iran becoming more of a reality with every passing day, even as the West negotiates and delays.
I am grieving for the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people. For all my anger against Palestinian leaders for poisoning their people with hatred, on Rosh Hashanah I ask God’s forgiveness for what we have done to contribute our share to maintaining the conflict and the suffering. In public, in a political context, my contrition requires Palestinian reciprocity. In prayer, before God, I am required only to face myself.
I am angry at the growing attempt to criminalize the Jewish state, turn the Jews again into the world’s symbol of evil. Angry at the way our history, our story, the essence of our identity, is being distorted by a campaign of lies and half truths. Angry that, the more we succeed in re-rooting ourselves in the land of Israel, producing one generation after another of native Israelis, the more our rootedness, our nativeness, is denied.
I am fearful for the future of Jews around the world. In this terrible summer, many Jews rediscovered the meaning of exile, of living in acute uncertainty, in dread. I fear for the future of the great Jewry of France, a creative and diverse community of Sephardim and Ashkenazim that is now questioning its long-term viability. I fear for the future of the Jewry of Turkey, a magnificent repository of intact Jewish life in a Muslim country, now under assault by a lunatic leader who demands that “his” Jews repudiate Israel, commit an act of public apostasy, as the price for remaining citizens in good standing. I fear for the future of Jews in Venezuela and South Africa, where public figures close to the government have called for violence against Jewish fellow citizens.
I am grateful that, in Israel, the Jews have finally learned to defend themselves, grateful that we have the means and the will to thwart the murderous intentions of our enemies. And I am proud of the heroism of our sons who went into Gaza’s tunnels and booby-trapped houses, who fought not to avenge but to protect.
This Rosh Hashanah I also feel shame. If we had asked ourselves, a few months ago, whether it was possible for Jews – any Jews – to kidnap a teenage boy and burn him alive, our answer almost certainly would have been: Not that. In the following days, young Jews marched in the streets of Jerusalem and chanted, “Death to the Arabs.” As if that death hadn’t sufficed.
I am entering Rosh Hashanah committed to doing all I can to defend Israel from those outside our borders who hate and vilify it – and also from those among us who express their twisted love for the Jewish people with hatred for others, who endanger the precious miracle of Israeli democracy.
I believe we will persevere. I believe this because Jewish history – events we ourselves have witnessed – insists that despair is always premature.
I resist the fatalism contained in the terrible words: The whole world hates us. Israel may well have more active enemies than any other country, but it also has more active friends – and by no means all of them Jews. The largest pro-Israel demonstration this summer happened not in New York or Toronto but in a city without Jews – Calcutta – where thousands of Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense. This summer in China, social media was reportedly overwhelmingly pro-Israel. One of the most powerful condemnations of the link between Jew-hatred and Israel-hatred was expressed at a rally in Berlin by Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Among the protesters were thousands of Kurds, Syrian Christians and Africans.
We will persevere because the Jewish fanatics of the far right and the far left — those who have a ready answer to all our dilemmas and who contribute, each in their own way, to Israel’s isolation – are a minority. Most Jews instinctively know that to be a Jew means to balance paradoxes – security and morality, realism and vision, particularism and universalism, self-defense and self-critique.
This year especially, I will pray that we have the wisdom to hold together as a people, despite the growing pressures on us to fragment and turn against each other. I will pray for the courage to defend the justness of our return home against the big lie that is aimed against us, even as we admit where we have erred.
Most Jews share the same hope – of a strong Israel at peace with its neighbors. We will continue to argue about the best way to achieve that – but as partners, aware that there are no easy answers, that none of us can speak for the totality of Jewish wisdom, that we need each other’s insights to be a whole people, that we cannot thrive without being a whole people.
Shana tova.