Friday, January 9, 2009

Israel and Gaza: Required Reading for January 9

My comments from last night's Solidarity Rally:
A prayer – a prayer for all the children…

For Jews and for Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. For Isaac and for Ishmael.

A prayer for Jafar, the Palestinian infant from Gaza who was given life-saving heart surgery this past week at the Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Jafar joins the 1,000 or so Palestinian children, and 1,000 more children from developing countries, who have received vital surgery in Israel from the medical volunteers thanks to the Israeli charity known as Save a Child's Heart.

A prayer for the children of Gaza, held hostage, sometimes literally held, by Hamas terrorists in their heartless, callous strategy of employing human shields to cover up their inhuman, cowardly tracks.

A prayer for the children of Sderot and southern Israel – for Tamir Abukasis, whose body was shielded from the shrapnel of a Kassam missile by his older sister Ella, one day a few years ago. Tamir escaped with relatively minor wounds when the rocket fell and exploded alongside them, but Ella was fatally wounded.

A prayer. A prayer for my children, and your children and grandchildren, and Barack Obama’s children.
A prayer that this madness cease so that they might grow up in a world without fear, without the chance that our world will be ruled by those who target the weak and the innocent, by those who do not hesitate to put children directly into the line of fire, without a moment’s pause or a hint of conscience.

Thank God for the state of Israel, a state that values innocent life so much that they call you on your cell before defending themselves from terrorists seeking refuge in your building.

Thank God for the people of Israel, a people that opens its arms to all who seek peace, to all who truly wish to live in harmony with them.

Thank God for the armed forces of Israel, who again and again have been the first line of defense for the entire civilized world against those whose mortal enemy is hope and prime target is innocence itself.

Thank God for the partnership between America and Israel, which is so rock-solid and bi-partisan, and so based on common values that not even the most cynically distorted presentations in the media can break it.

And thank God for the Jewish people, whose loyalty to what is right and good never shakes, whose love of Israel is unbounded and who heed, every day, the lessons taught by our Torah- that above all we must love our neighbor, and that love must radiate outward to the entire world.

But most of all, we pray… for the children.
On the UN Truce Resolution: It all seems to come down to how to prevent Hamas from re-arming.

From Ha'aretz:
Israel rejects UN truce resolution, continues Gaza operation
See also: EU diplomats: Egypt's refusal to station foreign troops on Gaza border holding up truce
And ANALYSIS / What happens next in Gaza depends largely on Mubarak

From the Jerusalem Post:
The anti-Israel lobby
Olmert: Gaza op to continue, UNSC resolution not practical -Security Cabinet rejects permanent cease-fire resolution; Livni: Israel's actions are based solely on its security needs and right for self-defense.
David HorovitzThe foulest fight
Time running out for an escalationThe pause can't last long as the IDF is most vulnerable when it's static.

And for a little comic relief: Live from Gaza, it's ... Joe the Plumber?

From YNet:
Is world being distracted (Is this an Iranian ploy to cover it's nuclear program)?
Disaster in Gaza : Killing of civilians in Gaza a terrible disaster and should be acknowledged as such

From Israel 21c:
Finding the Other Voice in Gaza and Sderot- Can one man's voice start a revolution? In the Middle East, not one, but two men's voices have united in the hopes of creating peace in the region. Under the aliases of "Hope Man" and "Peace Man," the two men blog together about the human and emotional side of the ongoing conflict from their homes in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, and Sderot, Israel. Their voices have sparked a mini-revolution that leads to daily and weekly phone calls between Israelis and Palestinians, a unique lifeline of hope and support for the people in the rocket-hit communities of Sderot and Gaza.

From the Shalom Hartman Institute
War and ethics in the IDF ethical code: The ethical code integrates proportionality and restriction into IDF operational policy, our attempt at maintaining moral integrity in way we handle conflict militarily

The latest from Israel: Myths and Facts:

The UN Security Council has adopted Resolution 1860 calling for a cease-fire in Israel's war with Hamas. It is a remarkable document that acknowledges only one party in the conflict and it is not the one that started the war. While Israel is mentioned five times in the resolution, the word "Hamas" shockingly does not appear once. Well, it would be shocking to anyone unfamiliar with the UN's history.

The resolution talks about Israeli withdrawal, the humanitarian issues in
Gaza, and declared that Gaza will be part of a Palestinian state. Nowhere, however, does it condemn the more than 450 rockets that Hamas has fired just since the war began, let alone the roughly 6,000 it launched at Israeli civilians in the preceding three years.

What is more surprising is that the
Bush Administration abstained on the resolution even though it had earlier said it would not accept such a one-sided resolution, and a few years ago said it would not support resolutions that did not explicitly mention the name of the terrorist organizations responsible for violence against Israel.
As in the case of the
Hizballah War, the UN has stepped in to prevent Israel from exercising its legal right, and moral obligation to defend its citizens. If Israel prematurely accepts the resolution it is likely to end this war as it did the last, with its enemies able to claim victory and the Hamas leadership and arsenal sufficiently intact to resume its terror campaign in the future.

Stories From The Gaza War You May Have Missed 2 (January 8, 2009)

Hamas Mortar Crews Operating in Jebaliya Hours Before Incident at UNRWA School (Hamas' al-Aqsa TV 1/6/09)
Palestinian Terrorists Use UN Ambulance [LiveLeak]

Two Palestinian Girls Killed By Qassam Misfire

Five-year-old Hanin Abu Khoussa and her 12-year-old cousin, Sabah Abu Khoussa were killed in their home on December 27, 2008, by a missile fired by Hamas. These two young girls don't live in Israel; they lived in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza. They died when a missile intended to kill Israelis misfired and killed them instead.
Jerusalem Post (December 27, 2008)

Humanitarian Aid for Gazans
On 4 January CARE and partner organizations delivered 7,000 blankets to
Gaza residents along with plastic sheets and heaters.
-UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

On January 7, 2009, the IDF suspended its operation for three hours to allow Palestinians to acquire basic necessities, replenish stock and seek aid from the various international organizations operating within the Gaza Strip. Israel also allowed approximately 80 trucks carrying medicine, medical supplies and basic food commodities to pass into Gaza along with approximately half a million liters of heavy duty diesel and 60,000 liters of fuel.

The day before Israel allowed into Gaza 57 trucks loaded with flour, powdered milk, barley, animal feed, medical supplies and medication. Israel also transferred a shipment of hypochlorite to meet water needs and worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross to repair a power line leading in to Gaza City.
Also, Nahal Oz fuel depot operated and conveyed 215,000 liters of heavy duty diesel (required for the
Gaza power station), 93,000 liters of diesel for the use of various UN organizations and 50 tons of cooking gas for domestic uses.

In addition to allowing thousands of tons of humanitarian aid into Gaza, Israel has transferred 2,000 units of blood donated by Jordan; 5 ambulances donated by Turkey; and 5 ambulances transferred from the West Bank on behalf of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
-Embassy of Israel, Washington, DC, (January 6-7, 2009)

The Fundamentalism of Hamas

On "Meet the Press," David Gregory read an excerpt from a book by panelist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, who wrote about Nizar Rayyan, the Hamas leader who was killed by Israel during the current offensive. Goldberg, who had interviewed Rayyan, wrote:

"The question I wrestle with constantly is whether Hamas is truly, theologically implacable. That is to say, whether the organization can remain true to its understanding of Islamic law and God's word and yet enter into a long-term nonaggression treaty with Israel. I tend to think not, though I've noticed over the years a certain plasticity of belief among some Hamas ideologues. ... There was no flexibility with Rayyan. This is what he said when I asked him if he could envision a 50-year hudna (or cease-fire) with Israel: 'The only reason to have a hudna is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don't need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel.' There is no chance, he said, that true Islam would ever allow a Jewish state to survive in the Muslim Middle East. 'Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God.' ... What are our crimes? I asked Rayyan. 'You are murderers of the prophets and you have closed your ears to the Messenger of Allah,' he said. 'Jews tried to kill the Prophet, peace be unto him. All throughout history, you have stood in opposition to the word of God.' Can Israel achieve deterrence with someone like that?"

-"Meet the Press," January 4, 2009

With the Senate's resolution behind us, now all the attention turns to the House:


House to Vote TODAY on Resolution Affirming Israel's Right to Self-Defense

Urge House members to cosponsor, vote for and make floor statements in support of the resolution

A bipartisan coalition of House leaders, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), has introduced H. Res. 34, a resolution recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel.

The resolution calls on Hamas to end rocket and mortar attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements and verifiably dismantle its terrorist infrastructure. The resolution also encourages the Administration to work toward a durable and sustainable cease-fire that prevents Hamas from threatening Israel in the future.

As Israel faces intense international criticism for exercising its legitimate right to self-defense, it is critical for Congress to speak out and demonstrate its support for Israel. This resolution will send a strong signal to Israel and the rest of the world, that the U.S. government stands by Israel in her hour of need. This morning, the U.S. Senate passed the Reid/McConnell resolution by unanimous consent, expressing the Senate's strong support for Israel during the current conflict.

Click here to read the full text of the House resolution.

Please call your member of Congress TODAY and ask them to cosponsor, vote for and make floor statements in support of the Pelosi/Boehner resolution. House members can be reached through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121.
In June 2008, Israel tested whether Hamas would move toward peace by accepting Egypt’s proposal for a six-month lull in the fighting. During that period of time, Hamas, with the aid of Iran, significantly enhanced its arsenal and fired hundreds of rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians. Despite Hamas’ aggression, Israel continues to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and is acting to limit civilian casualties in Gaza.
Since Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas has indiscriminately fired more than 6,300 rockets and mortars - more than 1,000 in the past month - at Israeli population centers. This resumption of violence by Hamas forced Israel to take action to defend its citizens.

If our civilian population was being terrorized by daily, indiscriminate rocket fire, we would certainly act to defend ourselves and would expect no less of our government.

Israel remains committed to peace and has held intensive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority during the past year amid continuing attacks by Hamas.

The best chance for a successful peace process is for Israel and others in the region to ensure that Iran’s effort to incite conflict in the region through proxies such as Hamas and Hizballah is not allowed to further disrupt Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

In carrying out its defensive operations in Gaza, Israel is using an appropriate application of force and is taking dramatic action to minimize civilian casualties while degrading Hamas’ military capabilities.
Israel puts the lives of its own soldiers at risk by providing advance warning to Palestinian civilians that it intends to carry out operations in specific locations. In contrast, Hamas deliberately attacks Israeli civilians and intentionally uses its own people as human shields.

Israel is working closely with humanitarian organizations and is setting up a special situation task force to deal with aid requests. During the first 10 days of Israel’s operations, it has facilitated the delivery to Gaza of more than 450 trucks loaded with more than 10,000 tons of food and medicine

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