On the one-year anniversary of the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas has released a film describing the Israeli soldier’s abduction in 2006.
According to the film, which was released on Oct. 18 on the website of the Hamas military wing, Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, Shalit thought his captors were Israeli because they had put on uniforms resembling those of the Israel Defense Forces.
The operation on June 25, 2006, was carried out at 5 a.m. because “that’s when the Zionist soldiers tended to nap,” one of the interviewees in the film said.
The armed militants who captured Shalit crawled along a 300-yard stretch to reach his tank from the mouth of the tunnel that had been dug in advance. They then split up into three detachments. One was comprised of two men, Mohammed Frauna and Hammed Rantissi, who were discovered and killed on their way to a watchtower.
Another group placed a “very large” explosive charge under the barrel of Shalit’s Merkava tank. They moved back, detonated the charge and fired an anti-tank rocket at the vehicle.
“We saw a soldier climbing up from the hull so we shot him, then another climbed up so we shot him too,” a man named Abu-Hamza said in the film. “We heard someone shouting from inside the tank. We reported that we had a live soldier we went into the tank and we took him. He shouted that he was Jewish because he thought we were Jewish because of our uniform.”
Shalit was released from captivity on Oct. 18, 2011, in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.
What sets us apart from most people can be summed up so easily. Did you know that Sunday was the anniversary of the death of Shimon HaTzadik? He died about 2,300 years ago, give or take, and we know who he was, who his father was, what he did in his life, and where he is buried. And yesterday hundreds of Israelis likely visited his grave.
Have you ever gone to the grave of a man who died 2,000 years ago? I can’t even begin to count how many of these I have gone to, or long to go to but can’t because of where the grave is buried. I have been to the graves of Abraham, Yitzchak (Isaac), and Yakov (Jacob). Of Sarah, Rivka (Rebecca), and Leah. I have been to the graves of Rachel and of Shimon HaTzakik.
That we know when they died and go to their graves and honor their memory tells you so much about who we are and why we are so tied to this land. If you want to understand Israel, you must understand this unshakable connection we have to our past and to the great men and women who have guided us and led us to where we are today.
I drive to my accountant – a few times a month…past the Old City walls of Jerusalem that have stood for more than 500 years, replacing the ancient ones built long ago. And I drive past places mentioned in the Bible almost every day.
In America, I went to school near General Grant’s tomb…the running joke at the time was that his wife and horse were buried there. I don’t actually know if that was a joke or if General Grant is actually buried there. We lived near Washington’s headquarters… there memories go back less than 250 years…can you imagine a history that goes back 10 times as long?
Our land is filled with such history…rich and ancient…and yet, despite this long history, we remember the details. We still mourn the exact day the Holy Temples were destroyed; we can tell you when Rachel died…when Shimon died…and quietly, because really it is between God, us, and the memory of long ago, we go and pay our respects. In a very real sense, these are our forefathers. This is our history. This is our land.
And in tying ourselves to the land and the history, we ensure our connection to the future.
The attack, which Israel’s government is blaming on Iran, comes on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead. Israel, Argentina and many other governments blame Iranian agents for that incident; Tehran denies the allegations.
“All signs point to Iran,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “In just the past few months we’ve seen Iran try to target Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Cyprus and more. The murderous Iranian terror continues to target innocent people. This is a global Iranian terror onslaught and Israel will react forcefully to it.”
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak added, “This is clearly a terrorist attack initiated probably by Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or another group under the terror auspices of either Iran or other radical Islamic groups. We are in a continual fight against them. We are determined to identify who sent them, who perpetrated [the attack], and to settle the account.”
The Lebanese-based Hezbollah, which is armed by Iran, denied responsibility for the attack, according to the website Novinite.com.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said his government “strongly condemns this aggression and terrorism.”
“Such a horrible act committed on the territory of a sovereign country, a member of the EU, is a provocation at the efforts of the democratic society towards world peace,” Borisov said, according to the FOCUS News Agency. “I guarantee that we will investigate this incident so as to punish the perpetrators with the entire severeness of the law. I am convinced that the Bulgarian and the Israeli nations will get stronger and more united after this tragedy.”
The mayor of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, home to nearly 5,000 Jews, ordered stepped-up police patrols of areas linked to the Jewish community, according to reports.
The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to award Raoul Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress.
The vote was part of an effort to confer the honor upon Wallenberg in time for the 100th anniversary of his birth in August. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved awarding the medal in April. The measure now goes to President Obama for his signature.
“Raoul Wallenberg’s courageous actions were a shining example of selfless heroism at a time when others stood mute in the face of unimaginable horror,” said Kathy Manning, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, which had led advocacy for the medal. “That this legislation passed with such broad bipartisan support is a reflection of how deserving Raoul Wallenberg is of the Congressional Gold Medal.”
The legislation was introduced in September by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.).
Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Budapest during the German occupation in 1944, issued Swedish travel documents – known as “Wallenberg passports” – to at least 20,000 Jews, and also set up more than 30 safe houses for Jews. Other diplomats from neutral countries collaborated in the effort.
The details of Wallenberg’s fate have remained a mystery. He disappeared while being escorted out of Hungary to the Soviet Union. The Soviets claimed that he died of a heart attack in 1957, but other evidence indicated that he was killed in Lubyanka prison or that he may have lived years longer.
The Congressional Gold Medal has been conferred since the American Revolution to honor “the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.” It was first awarded to George Washington.
Awardees need not be Americans. Past honorees include Simon Wiesenthal, Natan and Avital Sharansky, the Dalai Lama, and Burmese democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Gaza is the largest Palestinian city, roughly 500,000 in the metro area, out of 850.000 altogether in the province of Gaza. In 2009 the total population of the Gaza Strip was estimated in 2009 at 1,600,000.”
We Google-translated the above from رحلة سياحية لغزة (Tourist Trip to Gaza), which is part of the Tourism section of a website belonging to a radio station named “Sun.” The section on Gaza encourages tourism to the city which has been associated in popular public opinion with images of starving refugees huddled in shacks under daily Zionist air raids.
Sun is a regular radio broadcast of the Arab minority in Israel since 2003. Its slogan is: “Free Radio, modern Radio.” It says it represents the generation that no longer accepts being second class citizens in Israel. It is open to liberals who dare to break all political or social taboos. It also works to challenge the institution of the state and at the same time to build bridges of understanding and co-existence between Jews and Arabs.
The “Visit Gaza” section is current, and offers stunning images of Gaza City, a beautiful and vivacious place that could easily compete with many Israeli beach towns, including my own gorgeous city of Netanya.
So, all we have left to do is to take you on a tour of Gaza, and for the fun of it, we’ll add to these fabulous images quotes from two sources about conditions in this lovely city by the sea, UNRWA and the PA. In the end there’s a video you don’t want to miss. Enjoy!
As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new report by the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, says broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. The report released today, finds that real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
The report concludes that 90% of Gaza water is unfit to drink. The reasons behind this deteriorating situation, the writer of the report believes, are the racist policies of occupation, the latest war on Gaza , the siege, and the division and its impact on society and education, which resulted in 45% of unemployed graduates. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)
The Refugees’ Affairs Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) published a report detailing the conditions of Palestinian refugees, living in the Gaza Strip. The report compares the conditions of refugees in 2012 and 2006. The report writer, Ala’a Abu-Diaa, states that refugees’ conditions are deteriorating, in relation to housing and lands’ price, which doubled in the last five years. The rate of exports decreased 80% compared to the pre-siege period. Gazans found refuge, the report continues, in tunnels linking Gaza with Egypt. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)
The UNRWA report finds that the private sector was particularly badly hit compared to the government sector. In the second half of 2010 businesses shed over 8,000 jobs, a decline in employment of nearly 8 per cent relative to the first half of the year. By contrast, the Hamas-dominated public sector grew by nearly 3 per cent during the same period. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
Human rights activists have criticized the international community for its silence on the flagging Gaza economy that has been shattered by the siege and the 22-day Israeli assault on the Gazans at the turn of 2009. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
“These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
“Over a million refugees in Gaza live in hard conditions in several camps across the strip and are dependent on assistance provided by the UNRWA,” the report said. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
The UN agency needs to build 100 schools and 10,000 housing units in addition to a number of health centers but these have been severely hampered by Israeli siege of the strip. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
Successive UN human rights chiefs have slammed Israel’s illegal settlement plans, its Gaza blockade and the building of an apartheid wall across Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank among other things. (UNRWA)
Refugees are still going through endless crisis, beginning with electricity and including fuel, which affect all walks of life in the besieged coastal enclave. The newly published report states that over 70% of refugees depend mainly on aid delivered by UNRWA.
With the fortieth anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany rapidly approaching, Yishai presents a series of clips from “One Day in September”, a documentary made about the massacre and the events that led up to and resulted from the murder of Israeli athletes. Following the riveting clips, Yishai presents an interview with Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Andre Spitzer, one of the athletes that were murdered by Arab terrorists in Munich. Do not miss this segment!
IDF soldiers pray at the Western Wall. Next Tuesday, June 5, will mark the 45th anniversary of the Six Day War in which Israel liberated the Wall from Arab occupation, along with Temple Mount in the midst of historic Jewish Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza..