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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

Officer Who Smacked Provocateur Gets Community Service, Discharge

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Read also: ‘It All Started When an Israeli Officer Hit Back’

This Dreyfus trial is over, with the predictable Dreyfusy results. Israel has just destroyed one of its best and brightest over a cooked video. There will be no second chances.

A military court in Tel Aviv on Thursday accepted the plea deal between the military prosecution and Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, according to which Eisner will spend 2 months of community service at one of the ground forces, and then will retire at the earliest possible age of 43.

The court decision read: “We find that the arrangement is reasonable and we should adopt it.”

Back in April, 2012, large group of 250 European and Palestinian activists belonging to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were on a bicycle trip in the Jordan Valley, a region which has enjoyed relative peace in the relationship between local Arabs and the IDF, even as Judea and Samaria were ignited in violent clashes.

This very large group of dedicated agents provocateurs rode through one of the villages in the valley, and when they tried to get on highway 90, which runs the length of Judea and Samaria alongside the Jordan River, they encountered Israeli soldiers and border policemen who demanded their return to the village, because the activists had not coordinated their trip with security forces.

It should be noted that, for security reasons, Palestinian traffic on highway 90 is curbed and monitored by several checkpoints. This is part of Israel’s overall effort to prevent unceasing Palestinian attempts to attack Jewish targets both within and outside the “green line.”

It should also be noted that, as the ISM itself states this plainly, it is their mission to open up those road blocks, so that “the Palestinian popular resistance,” e.g. the Islamist Jihad and Al Fatah, be able to renew their attacks on Jewish targets.

According to the Deputy Commander of the Valley Brigade, Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, the event, in which IDF soldiers were trying to block the passage of 250 cyclists, lasted about two hours, only a few minutes of which are shown in the video.

Once told they could not proceed, Eisner said, “the activists tried to block the Jordan Valley road. We were the last vestige between them and the highway, and the protesters tried to pass us again and again, even though we insisted and explained to them that they are forbidden to break into a military zone.”

At some point during that two-hour event, an ISM agent attacked Eisner, and broke two of his fingers. Take a look at the way the Israeli officer is holding his weapon, and you’ll realize he is actually responding to a dangerous demonstrator, rather than attacking him unprovoked. He was provoked and then some.

“I’ve learned my lesson from the incident and will never again be dragged into provocation,” Eisner told Ma’ariv back in 2012, “but you must understand the whole situation, in which we were trying for two hours to stop lawbreakers. I simply did my job.”

And that good deed is certainly not going unpunished.

For his part, Lt. Col. Eisner, who was about to become head of a major IDF training facility when career veered off a cliff, said he was satisfied with the verdict, and as the judges left the room, he was heard to say: “this is now behind us.”

It means it could have gone even worse.

The community service is to start in February.

‘Inch’allah’ Pulled from Israeli Film Festival in Australia (See Vid)

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The Israeli Film Festival has cancelled scheduled screenings of award-winning French-Canadian film Inch’allah, following complaints it was “anti-Israeli” and should never have been part of the event, WA Today reports.

The decision to pull the film was made by Albert Dadon, chairman of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which presents the festival.

Dadon said the inclusion of Inch’allah was “an error” in the first place, because the film was a French-Canadian production, not an Israeli film.

But the Australian-Jewish web site J-Wire quotes a festival patron, David Schulberg, who says he wrote the organizers condemning the inclusion of Inch’allah, which he called “anti-Israeli,” saying that it “gravely misrepresents the situation that exists in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting the alleged suffering of Palestinians at the hand of the Israelis by distorting and distending the facts on the ground”.

Schulberg also noted that the director, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, whose film is the tale of an Arab doctor driven to become a suicide bomber, was one of 500 Montreal artists who had signed a petition in 2010 supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Sol Salbe, who attended a Melbourne screening of Inch’allah, said he felt the removal of the film was wrong, and made for the wrong reasons.

Film critic and broadcaster Peter Krausz labelled the decision to withdraw the film from the program “appalling,” claiming it “makes us a laughing stock around the world.”

Here’s the plot summary of Inch’allah, from Rotten Tomatoes:

Chloe (Evelyne Brochu) is a young Canadian obstetrician working in a makeshift clinic in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, where she treats pregnant women under the supervision of Michael (Carlo Brandt), a French doctor.

Facing daily checkpoints and the separation barrier, Chloe is confronted with the conflict and the people it affects: Rand (Sabrina Ouazani), a patient for whom Chloe develops a deep affection; Faysal (Yousef Sweid), Rand’s older brother, a fervent resister; Safi (Hammoudeh Alkarmi), their younger brother, a child shattered by war who dreams of flying across borders; and Ava (Sivan Levy), a young soldier who lives next door to Chloe in her apartment in Israel.

Her encounter with the war draws Chloe into an adventure that’s both deeply personal and as large as the land. She loses her bearings, is uprooted, and goes into freefall. There are trips that shake us and transform us. There are trips that shatter all of our certainties. For Chloe, INCH’ALLAH is such a trip.(c) eOne

Please share your impressions with us.


Gabriela Shalev: Israel’s First Female UN Ambassador

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Speaking at the Stand With Us International Women’s Conference in Jerusalem, Shalev described serving as a woman in the male dominated United Nations. She said that whenever she was called into the UN Security Council to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she was surrounded by men in black suits with grim looks on their faces. It was an uncomfortable feeling for her, yet these experiences inspired her to become even more Zionist and feminist.

During her post between 2008 and 2010 there were only 25 female ambassadors in the UN and only one female ambassador in the UN Security Council.  Despite the challenges, Shalev shared that the advantage of being a woman was that she was able to reach out, quickly bond, and form lasting friendships with the other female ambassadors.  She also said despite public speeches showing the contrary,  Arab ambassadors were more friendly, including ones from countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties.

“Arab men respected women ambassadors more than male ones,” she emphasized.  Shalev stated that while Arab ambassadors continued to be anti-Israel publically, in order to comply with directives given by their respective governments, privately they displayed to her their admiration of Israel and even urged Shalev to report back to the Israeli government that they should finish Operation Cast Lead and defeat Hamas.  She also said that following the flotilla incident with Turkey,  she met with UN officials who respected Israel’s position but who were forced to side with the Arab block to ensure their political future.

Although proud of her service to the State of Israel during those two years she expressed that she would have preferred to have had more time to focus on women’s rights and Israeli humanitarian aid to Africa (a project that began under the leadership of Golda Meir), but because the fact that two-thirds of UN members are anti-Israel and that she served during both the Goldstone Report and Israel’s incident with the Turkish flotilla, she did not have much time to focus on issues other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Shalev expressed the importance of Israel’s participation in the UN, promoting agenda items that Israel has in common with the UN, and concluded that while “the UN is not a perfect place, neither is the world that we live in and the UN merely represents our world. We must bring the voice of Israel to the world!

Visit United with Israel.

Cantor: Peace Progress Requires Palestinian ‘Cultural Mind-Shift’

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Majority Leader, said while leading a trip of 28 congressmen to Israel that he doesn’t envision progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until there is a Palestinian “cultural mind-shift.”

“Until that point comes, I don’t think that there will be much progress,” Cantor said at a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In the midst of renewed Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations, the Facebook page of the Presidential Guard of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas recently featured a photo illustration with the PA flag superimposed on the Western Wall, Palestinian Media Watch reported. Additionally, Palestinian Authority TV (PA TV) recently offered $100 prizes in man-on-the-street interviews with Palestinians who identified Israeli territory as part of “Palestine.”

Regarding Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement on Monday that the U.S. views all Israeli communities located beyond the pre-1967 lines as “illegitimate,” Cantor said the “discussion of territory, lines, towns and settlements is predicated upon the Palestinians first agreeing” to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Cantor also criticized celebrations held by the PA for the first 26 terrorists released this week in the first phase of Israel’s prisoner release for Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations.

“If there is a celebration of violence, reverence pointed toward terrorists, that is not something that can fit squarely with the notion of a lasting peace,” Cantor said.

Nothing ‘Reasonable’ about Mideast Divide

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to swallow a painful and embarrassing concession to please the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry had his moment of triumph.

In announcing the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks, Kerry has seemingly justified the way he has concentrated his efforts on an issue that was not in crisis mode and with little chance of resolution while treating other more urgent problems such as Egypt, Syria, and the Iranian nuclear threat as lower priorities.

But now that he has had his victory, the focus turns to the talks where few, if any, observers think there is a ghost of a chance of that the negotiations can succeed despite Kerry’s call for “reasonable compromises.”

The reason for that is that despite the traditional American belief that the two sides can split the difference on their disagreements, as Kerry seems to want, the problem is much deeper than drawing a new line on a map.

Ironically, proof of this comes from a new poll that some are touting as evidence that both Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution. The poll was a joint project of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. It shows, among other often-contradictory results, that a majority of Israelis (62 percent) supports a two-state solution while 33 percent oppose it. Among Palestinians, 53 percent support and 46 percent oppose the two-state solution.

But the question to ask about this poll and the conflict is what the two sides mean by a two-state solution. The answer comes in a subsequent query:

We asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition as part of a permanent status agreement and after all issues in the conflict are resolved and a Palestinian State is established. Our current poll shows that 57% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 37% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 42% support and 56% oppose this step.

In other words, Israelis see a two-state solution as a way to permanently end the conflict and achieve peace. But since a majority of Palestinians cannot envision mutual recognition even after all issues are resolved and they get a state, they obviously see it as merely a pause before the conflict would begin anew on terms decidedly less advantageous to Israel.

There are many reasons why the peace negotiations are likely to fail. The Palestinians are deeply split, with Gaza being ruled by the Islamists of Hamas who still won’t even contemplate talks with Israel, let alone peace. Kerry has praised Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, but he is weak and hasn’t the ability to make a peace deal stick even in the unlikely event he signs one.

Though Netanyahu went out on a political limb to enable the talks to begin by releasing scores of Palestinian terrorists, Abbas has shown in the past that he will say no, even when offered virtually everything he has asked for. Netanyahu will rightly drive a harder bargain and refuse to contemplate a deal that involves a complete retreat to the 1967 lines or a Palestinian state that isn’t demilitarized. But it’s hard to imagine Abbas ever recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.

The real problem, however, isn’t about where negotiators would draw those lines. As the poll indicates, even after Israel withdraws from almost all of the West Bank (reports indicate Netanyahu is ready to give up 86 percent of it), a substantial majority of Palestinians still can’t fathom the possibility of mutual recognition and normal relations.

How can that be?

The reason is very simple and is not something Kerry or his lead negotiator Martin Indyk (a veteran of numerous diplomatic failures who hasn’t seemed to learn a thing from any of them) can fix. Palestinian nationalism was born in the 20th century as a reaction to Zionism, not by focusing on fostering a separate identity and culture from that of other Arab populations. That doesn’t mean Palestinians aren’t now a separate people with their own identity, but it does explain why they see that identity as indistinguishable from the effort to make Israel disappear.

Expect Bad Things in Southern Lebanon

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

While the diplomatic and political battle to get the European Union face up to who Hezbollah is and what it does goes on, there’s a different battle shaping up, and not for the first time, in which Hezbollah is one of the parties. It’s less diplomatic and less political. But it’s certainly a battle.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL [background here], was created in 1978 to restore peace and security in the area of the Israel/Lebanon border, and to help Lebanon’s government re-assert its authority on the Lebanese side of that border. Various combinations of national troops serving under the U.N. flag have served there since March 1978. They do this under a mandate renewed annually by the U.N. Security Council; the mandate expires on 31 August 2013.

Following the intense fighting in 1976 between Israel and the Hezbollah forces (here we call that the Second Lebanese War), the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1701 to end that phase of the still-continuing conflict. (We wrote a lot during the period of that war; you might want to review “31-Jul-06: Additional Reasons Never to Turn Your Back on these Thugs” as an illustration of how things looked then).

Resolution 1701 enlarged the number of forces under UNIFIL command to 15,000. They were to be deployed south of Lebanon’s Litani River, close to and on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel, and to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces address the task euphemistically called to “implement the Lebanese government’s sovereignty.” UNIFIL was mandated to “take all the necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces, and as it deems with its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind.” [source]

This never really worked out as the world – OK, Israel – thought it would. That much was almost immediately clear when Kofi Annan, then secretary-general of the U.N., declared in August 2006 that UNIFIL would refrain from intercepting arms shipments from Syria unless requested to do so by Lebanon. Meanwhile Lebanon became de facto a captive of Hezbollah and Syria’s influence on Lebanese affairs became more open and blatant. Hezbollah flaunted the U.N.’s decisions (see this list) as well as the presence of UN forces, and quietly but very steadily and determinedly built up a vast resource of offensive weapons that it pointed at Israel from deeply embedded emplacements in the villages of South Lebanon.

We’re now nearly seven years later. Seven weeks ago, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. sent a letter to the Ban Ki Moon and to the president of the Security Council demanding that Resolution 1701 be enforced. But the influence of the U.N. and its UNIFIL forces on events, particularly on preserving the peace and implementing the Lebanese government’s sovereignty, is pretty largely treated as a joke in these parts.

But not a very funny joke, as the following report from Ron Ben-Yishai, Yediot Aharonot’s respected observer of such matters, shows. It was posted on the Ynet site late Sunday night.

Hizbullah Moves into South Lebanon Villages
Ynet February 10, 2013
In January, looking into south Lebanon, I noticed that hundreds of new buildings had been built in Bint Jbeil, Maroun al-Ras, Aita al-Shaab and Barmish. Even without binoculars it was evident that the Shiite communities have expanded significantly compared with the few Christian-Maronite villages in the area, which remained the same size. Hizbullah has moved from its bases in “nature preserves” to the villages from which it can launch rocket or other attacks against Israel.
Hizbullah purchased land on the outskirts of the villages, built homes and offered them to poor Shiite families at bargain prices, on condition that a rocket launcher would be placed in one of the rooms or in the basement, along with a number of rockets, which will be fired at predetermined targets in Israel when the order is given.
In addition, Hizbullah has set up camouflaged defense positions in villages which contain advanced Russian-made anti-tank missiles it had received from Syria. Hizbullah has also planted large explosive devices along the access roads. In this manner some 180 Shiite villages between the Zahrani River and the border with Israel have been converted into fighting zones for the next conflict with Israel… Despite the fact that there are those in Israel who claim that the deterrence achieved against Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War has been eroded, it is fairly clear that at this point Nasrallah’s organization does not want to get involved in a major conflict with the Jewish state. Lebanon’s national elections are scheduled for June, and Hezbollah does not want its political legitimacy and dominance to be challenged because it dragged the country into a devastating war with Israel. There is enough tension and violent clashes between Shiites and the Lebanese Sunnis, who are assisting the Syrian rebels trying to topple Assad. However, it is also possible that Hezbollah will decide to attack us with full force if it gets the impression that Israel is planning to attack it first. As strange as it sounds to Israelis ears, Hezbollah sees us as an unpredictable and treacherous country that is capable of launching a preemptive surprise attack. (more)

The next conflict with Israel. It’s an expression you hear a lot. We don’t know many (any) Israelis who want to see that happen, but when you watch the speeches of Nasrallah, the goose-stepping, Heil Hitler-style saluting of his troops, the IDF intelligence estimates of how many tens of thousands of rockets they have in their control in a thousand different locations in those south Lebanese villages – all pointing in our direction – it doesn’t leave much room for optimism.

Visit This Ongoing War.

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