קַח נָא אֶת בִּרְכָתִי אֲשֶׁר הֻבָאת לָךְ, כִּי חַנַּנִי אֱלֹהִים וְכִי יֶשׁ-לִי כֹל; וַיִּפְצַר בּוֹ, וַיִּקָּח. (בְּרֵאשִׁית ל”ג:י”א) Please take my gift (literally, blessing) that is brought to you, for G-d has graced me and has given me everything; and he begged him, and he took. (Genesis 33:11)
And an example in Modern-Hebrew usage:
מַנְהִיגִים רַבִּים מַפְצִירִים בְּרֹאשׁ הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה לֹא לְהַתְקִיף. Many leaders are begging the prime minister persistently not to attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:
“The response to the attack on Zionism and the State of Israel must reinforce and underscore the implementation of the settlement plan in all areas in which the Government decides regarding settlement.
“These are not my words. These are the words of the government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and this is the language of the Cabinet’s 1975 decision in the wake of the UN decision that equated Zionism with racism. Today we are building and we will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that are on the map of the strategic interests of the State of Israel.
“The Palestinian Authority’s one-sided step at the UN constitutes a gross violation of the agreements that have been signed with the State of Israel; accordingly, the Government of Israel rejects the UN General Assembly decision.”
Bodies in Afghan police and military uniforms littered the entrance of an airfield outside a major US base in Afghanistan Sunday, killed in an apparent suicide attack by the Taliban.
The attack occurred in the city of Jalalabad – two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a car, and another seven were killed in a gun fight with Afghan and coalition forces. Several coalition troops were wounded, according to reports, and US helicopters circled above the fight.
Suicide attackers detonated bombs and fired rockets outside a major U.S. base in Afghanistan on Sunday, killing five people in a brazen operation that highlighted the country’s security challenges ahead of the 2014 NATO combat troop pullout.
“There were multiple suicide bombers involved,” said Major Martyn Crighton, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), adding that several coalition troops were wounded.
Afghanistan’s defense ministry spokesman said there were rocket attacks at the Jalalabad base before the suicide bombings.
In a text message, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said : “This morning at 6 a.m. a number of our devotees attacked the major U.S. Base in Jalalabad city and so far have brought heavy casualties to the enemy.”
The US and NATO are set to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Afghan officials are concerned that the forces will not leave the country stable enough to prevent a civil war or Taliban overthrow.
Police foiled a possible terror attack in Ma’aleh Adumim on Thursday evening after noticing a suspicious vehicle trying to drive into the city of Ma’aleh Adumim, just outside of Jerusalem.
The police stopped the car which had no plates, and arrested the Arab driver (40), a resident of the Shomron, who said he had planned to commit a terror attack in Maaleh Adumim as part of an agreement to end a feud with another Arab from the town of Azariyah, which is near Ma’aleh Adumim.
No explosives or weapons were found in the vehicle.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said he would not object to the nomination of Susan Rice, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, as secretary of state.
Lieberman’s apparent endorsement of Rice on Tuesday is largely symbolic; he is retiring as senator and likely will not be serving by the time Hillary Rodham Clinton, the current secretary of state, steps down, a move anticipated early next year.
However, Lieberman’s statement this week after meeting with Rice that she was telling “the whole truth” about why she initially depicted the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya as a spontaneous eruption and not as a planned terrorist attack undercuts criticism of Rice as unreliable by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Lieberman has throughout much of his career joined with McCain and Graham as a foreign policy hawk; his dissent, now that he is free from such alliances, could be used by Democrats to depict GOP attacks on Rice as political and not substantive.
The Benghazi attack is believed to have been the work of Al Qaida-affiliated terrorists, intelligence Rice says was not made available to her in the days after the attack, when she was the Obama administration’s point person in explaining U.S. reaction.
Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed in the attack.
President Obama has not said he would nominate Rice to the post, but also has said he would not be deterred from doing so by McCain and Graham.
Reports in recent days suggest that Republican opposition to the possible nomination of UN Ambassador Susan Rice as secretary of state seems to be softening. Critics such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are changing or at least modifying their tune regarding concern over Ms. Rice’s statements in the aftermath of the attack on U. S. diplomats in Benghazi.
Sen. McCain has said he looks forward to meeting with her to give her an opportunity to directly address his concerns, and Sen. Graham is now saying he’s not sure he would vote against or try to block her confirmation in the Senate should she be nominated.
We’ve stated in the past our concerns about Ambassador Rice’s comments on Benghazi and her vehement denunciation of Israeli settlements in a UN speech she gave while casting a U.S. veto of a resolution condemning the settlements.
Certainly her very public discomfort with a pro-Israel expression of U.S. policy signaled by President Obama makes us leery of her serving in any senior capacity relating to Israel, especially as secretary of state. Despite it being understood that a UN representative does the bidding of the president, her outburst confirmed to the world that she may not agree with the very policies she advocates.
And there are serious questions regarding Benghazi that we trust Senators McCain and Graham share and will pursue either now or in confirmation hearings.
As we asked last week, just how did Ms. Rice, when arguing on several news interview programs that the Benghazi attack resulted from spontaneous Muslim anger over a video critical of Muhammad, process the knowledge that it occurred on 9/11 and that the attackers carried rocket-propelled grenades?
Ambassador Rice has said she relied on talking points supplied by intelligence agencies, though she now acknowledges those agencies had information that the attack was pre-planned by Al Qaeda affiliates. Senators McCain and Graham should try to find out if she believes it appropriate for high public officials to be blindsided in this manner.
On a related note, did Ms. Rice take advantage of her access to classified information to confirm the intelligence agencies’ talking points, especially given the 9/11 factor and the curious fact that she, rather than Secretary of State Clinton, was chosen to make the case for spontaneous combustion?
Perhaps most important, did she have anything to say to President Obama? After all, he made a big deal in the second debate with Mitt Romney that he already labeled the attack an act of terror the very next day in the White House Rose Garden. If the president knew, why didn’t he tell her?
We also hope that Ms. Rice will be asked whether she has any information that would support or counter the belief that adequate protection was not supplied to the Benghazi consulate because to have done so would have undermined the Obama campaign’s claim that the U.S. had eliminated the operational capacity of local terror groups.
One week after the conclusion of operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, the security reality alongside the Gaza Strip border is being reshaped, the IDF has been instructed to show restraint, farmers on both sides are permitted to stretch their tilled lands all the way to the border fence, and should a Hamas or Islamic Jihad cell aim a rocket launcher at Israel, Israeli soldiers would not be allowed to shoot at it before going through channels, Maariv reports this morning.
The rules of engagement have been altered radically. In the recent past, IDF soldiers were instructed to shoot at once at any Gaza resident who approached the fence. Now there is no such thing as firing at will, even if the person approaching engages in sabotaging the security fence. The IDF must treat them now as suspects to be arrested, as is the protocol in Judea and Samaria, and shooting at those suspect is limited to the legs and not beyond.
The rules of engagement have also been changed regarding terrorist cells in the process of launching a rocket. In the past, the IAF would be alerted and a plane would be sent directly to attack the target. Now the attack may tale place only should the terrorist cell actually initiate the process of launching.
Last Wednesday, according to Maariv, two hours after the ceasefire had gone into effect, IDF commanders in the field identified a cell which was setting up a rocket launcher and requested the approval of GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo to shot at it, but Russo would not give his approval.
Sources in the IDF told Maariv they were surprised at the immediate and complete quiet that took place soon after the ceasefire.
General Russo, who is competing these days for the job of IDF deputy chief of staff, said yesterday: “It will take some reasonable period of time until we know whether we have achieved our objectives. For the time being, the change on the ground has been extreme. We reached a type of normalcy with the campaign, and we have complete quiet.”
For future reference, we should remind ourselves of the Hamas’s magical ability to put a lid on all the rest of the terrorist organizations when it served its objectives.
We should probably also ask General Russo if he heard the one about the guy who jumps off the Empire State Building and at the 20th floor he says: So far everything is fine.
The article that follows was published on a blog called Harry’s Place. But at least for now it is unavailable as a result of a denial-of-service attack probably launched by anti-Israel hackers. I am presenting it here in full. I encourage other bloggers interested in the truth to copy it and do the same. Note: the associated photo and video are linked to the site under attack and so are not available. I’ve replaced them with similar illustrations.
On the 14th of November, the son of BBC video editor Jihad Masharawi died. Here is his account of what happened:
Interviewer: “Our condolences, Jihad. Tell me what happened with you.”
JM: “Shrapnel hit our house.”
JM: “Yes. My sister-in-law was killed along with my son and my brother and my other son were wounded [the brother has since died -- ed.].
Interviewer: “In which area?”
JM: “In al Zeitoun.”
Zeitoun is a district of Gaza which hosted Iranian Fajr 5 missile sites, ready for launching into Israel. Here is a photograph of one such site:
It is, as you can see, situated within a civilian area.
As you can see by looking at aerial photographs of the Gaza Strip, the area contains a large amount of open and agricultural land. It would be entirely possible for Hamas and its allies to store their missiles in and fire them from somewhere other than residential and civilian areas: near mosques, hospitals, playgrounds, football fields, and private homes. However, they choose instead to situate them in locations where they know that, if they are hit by even the most precise of surgical airstrikes, the secondary explosions will quite possibly cause destruction and death in their area.
I’ve posted below a short video which shows what happens when Israel hits an ammunition cache. These are precisely the consequences that Hamas intends. It is often said that this tactic amounts to sheltering behind skirts and prams as it seeks to kill Israeli civilians. I think that’s precisely what it is.
Who killed Jihad Masharawi’s son?
There are a number of possibilities.
First of all, Israel deliberately launched a missile at a civilian house, intending to kill him and his family. That, as the Elder of Ziyon observes, is unlikely:
The idea that Israel, which managed to kill less than one civilian for every 30 airstrikes in Gaza, targeted the house of a low-level BBC employee during the initial wave of attacks – while he wasn’t home – is simply not believable. Unless you are convinced, ab initio, of Israel’s monstrous nature, there are other explanations that fit the incident far better.
However, that still allows for the possibility that an Israeli missile went astray, or that the attack on the house was intentional, but resulted from mistaken information. That certainly could have happened.
Nevertheless, there are two other possibilities which should be considered. The first is that Hamas or its allies launched a missile at Israel, but that it fell short and hit Jihad Masharawi’s house. That, quite possibly, is the cause of death of Mahmoud Sadallah, whose body was displayed to the world’s media, to be kissed by the Egyptian Prime Minister. Although it was widely claimed in the press that this child died in an Israeli strike, none appears to have taken place at the time of his death. By contrast, estimates of the percentage of the Hamas rockets which fall short and fall within Gaza range from between 15% and 40%. Damage to homes in Gaza by missiles is particularly perilous, because a large number of homes have propane gas heaters, and domestic generators. A missile or shrapnel hit can cause a secondary explosion. In any event, the Elder of Ziyon notes, the Daily Mirror has now removed the news item which most prominently covered the story, but has not announced its reason for doing so, or considered the matter further.
The final possibility is that the shrapnel which hit Jihad Masharawi’s house resulted from an explosion or a secondary explosion on one of the weapons caches and launching sites near his home.
Which theory is correct? We can’t know for sure: at least not yet. Perhaps there will be an investigation in which facts will become apparent. Israel knows where it launched attacks. It may have intelligence which shows the sites of misfired Hamas etc. rockets. Their proximity to Jihad Masharawi’s house could be ascertained.
Who is morally responsible for the deaths of civilians, where despite not being targeted, they die when Hamas shoots wonky rockets which fall short, or when Israeli missiles ignite weapons caches that are intended to be fired at Israeli cities? I can guarantee you that there are many who take the view that even in these circumstances, Israel and Israel alone should be held accountable.
As BBC Watch has pointed out, as far as the BBC and it’s correspondent Jon Donnison are concerned, there is only one possibility: that for some reason Israel fired a missile into Jihad Masharawi’s house. This is how he puts it:
Despite the evidence pointing towards an Israeli air-strike, some have suggested it might have been a misfired Hamas rocket. But at that time, so soon after the launch of Israel’s operation, Israel’s military says mortars had been launched from Gaza, but very few rockets. Mortar fire would not cause the fireball that appears to have engulfed Jihad’s house. Others say that the damage was not consistent with powerful Israeli attacks, but the BBC visited other bomb sites this week with very similar fire damage, where Israel acknowledged carrying out what it called “surgical strikes”. Like at Jihad’s house, there was very little structural damage, but the victims were brought out with massive and fatal burns.
As BBC Watch points out, there is no basis for Donnison’s conviction that an Israeli airstrike hit Jihad Masharawi’s house. Donnison provides observations based upon what he believes to be similar patterns of fire damage. However, the pictures show merely a hole in a building and a fire, which may have been caused by an Israeli airstrike or by any of the other possibilities canvassed above, including one of the ‘very few’ rocket strikes which Donnison discounts. There’s no discussion, either, of the evidence of Jihad Masharawi that ’shrapnel’ – not a rocket – hit his house. That is at odds with Donnison’s belief that the attack looked like the aftermath of an Israel “surgical strike” with a missile. In any event, I don’t know whether an exploding Israeli missile would have left identifiable fragments, but certainly none have been produced.
With limited data, Donnison can’t be sure: but it is very clear what he thinks.
As well as expressing near-certainty that an Israeli strike killed Omar Masharawi, Our Own Correspondent also contained a graphic description of the state of his body and the natural and terrible agony of his father. I think that, having been told the horrific story of how Israel launched a missile into a BBC employee’s house, killing his son, and having heard about the impact of that missile on a tiny child’s face, most people would be unprepared to discuss the possibility that the death had resulted from some other chain of events.
If Israel deliberately launched a missile into a civilian’s house, it should be condemned. If Israel did so, believing that the house was in fact occupied by a military target, then the BBC ought to investigate how it came to make such a terrible mistake. If Omar Masharawi died as a result of a misfired Palestinian rocket or mortar, then that should also be investigated and condemned. Were he to have died following an Israeli strike of a Fajr5 rocket site in Zeitoun, then that should at least be reported. The BBC should ask Hamas why it put a Fajr5 launching site in the middle of a civilian area. It could ask Israel the same question: and its answer would be that it knew that these rockets were being prepared for launch at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
I expect that some effort will now be put into trying to find out precisely what happened. If Israel’s culpability is ascertained, that too will be reported and Israel is likely to express regret, which will be regarded as insincere by most partisans of the Palestinian cause. If further evidence of Hamas culpability emerges then, from past experience, that is likely not to be reported at all. Hamas will express no sorrow, because it does not in fact regret the deaths of Palestinian civilians, and because it knows that it will never be pressed on its siting of missiles and caches within civilian neighbourhoods. In arguments on the internet, and at public meetings, we will be told that Israel should not have responded to missile attacks at all, which are in fact incapable of doing any harm, and in any case deserve them because of the supposed ‘occupied’ nature of Gaza.
[F]or a wide swathe of left-liberal and ‘anti-imperialist’ opinion there is now no way Israel can conduct itself from which it will earn moral credit. It is irredeemably tainted in its origin. Conversely, and in the same quarter, there is nothing that Hamas or other representatives of the Palestinian people can do, no wrong or outrage they can commit, which will not be morally ‘cleaned up’ by the perception that these representatives are supposedly the pure vehicle of a struggle against injustice.
One of the reasons for this opinion is that much of the media prominently report the deaths of children when they can be attributed to Israel but, as the Daily Mirror’s quiet de-publishing of its story illustrates, have very little to say when the facts shift and the story becomes less certain.