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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘decision’

Speak Softly, Carry a Big Russian?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Two weeks ago I wrote this to my mother;

My assessment is that Benjamin Netanyahu is not big enough to do a proper job in Gaza. When I vote in the next elections here in January, I will vote for Avigdor Liberman, currently the Foreign Minister, the man the left wing Israeli press loves to demonize. Provided, of course, he has not been indicted for some crime or other. I know the Attorney General has been investigating him for about a dozen years, without getting anywhere, but they’re always right on ‘the verge’ of indicting him. Basically, he’s a gracious man, an émigré from the FSU, who speaks with a heavy Russian accent and doesn’t bother with the ‘speak softly – carry a big stick’ type of diplomacy we’re so used to in the west. Goes more for the Russian, ‘bellow at the survivors – after you’ve beaten the ringleaders to a bloody pulp with the howitzer,’ kind of thing.

Just goes to show what a useless assessor I am, doesn’t it? It’s clear I know nothing about him at all. All I’ve done is delude myself, once again. Listen to this quote:

“I am proud that we have a leadership that can make decisions even when they are contrary to its electoral interests,” Liberman told Channel 2 News about the decision to call a ceasefire in Gaza rather than choosing to launch a ground assault.

“It is obvious that a majority of the population was in favor of continuing the operation,” Liberman added, “but power is not only about hitting but also about holding back… This was not a strategic operation. We explicitly said that there are three goals: stopping the rocket fire, restoring deterrence and destroying Hamas’s stockpiles of long-range Fajr missiles. We achieved all those goals.” (as reported by Elad Benari for Arutz 7)

Liberman says we achieved all three goals, which makes him a liar carrying a very small gummy-bear, indeed.

a.) We didn’t stop Hamas rocket fire, Hamas stopped it.

b.) We did not restore deterrence. There never was any and there isn’t any now. Any quiet is the result of a Hamas tactical decision, not a situation imposed by the IDF.

c.) Finally, we have no clue as to the numbers or location of the long-range Fajr missiles in Hamas’s arsenal. They were still being fired as the ceasefire took effect.

What Liberman is saying is this: “I know things you don’t. The view looks very different looking out of the window in my office. I can’t explain it without revealing classified info and losing my job, so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that we, in the government, know what’s best for you.”

Nice. Very nice.

What happened is that by the time Mr. Liberman and his colleagues agreed on the inescapable necessity for a ground invasion, and pumped themselves up into a full blown testosterone party, they were undercut by Ehud Barak telling them that we had run out of Tamir anti-missile missiles with which to restock the Iron-Dome batteries. That, were we to invade Gaza, the exchange would turn very sanguinary for us in Israel, leaving Mr. Liberman with nothing to contribute.

In effect, we were a week late.

A week is a long time in politics, too, Mr. Liberman, as you will discover.

We who were watching the debacle unfold knew soon after the third day of hostilities that the war was lost. You missed the opportunity to invade when it presented itself; when it practically prostrated itself in front of you, begging to be taken.

Because you know things we don’t? Somehow I doubt it.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

(Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224)

The journalistic piece quoted above ends with the following: Referring to the potential impact the ceasefire may have on the elections, Liberman said: “The public knows exactly what I represent. In this case, the right decision was made, even if it is not popular and against my electoral interests.”

You can say that again, sir, with knobs on.

Post-Ceasefire, Outraged Citizens Take to Streets

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Outraged residents of the beleaguered cities of Sderot, Ashkelon, and Kiryat Malachi took to the streets, decrying the government’s decision to enter into a ceasefire with Hamas.

Many of whom had been holed up in bunkers for eight straight days of rocket lobbies and emergency alerts in their cities, the residents demanded protection from the government and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to conduct a ground war in Gaza.

On the Guardian’s Opinion Section: Hamas Propoganda

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

IDF strikes on Nov. 18 knocked out the Hamas television stations Al Aqsa and Al Quds in Gaza, but Hamas leaders were likely not too concerned, and knew they could always count on Plan B: Propagandizing at the Guardian.

In fact, later that same day, Nov. 18, a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, Musa Abumarzuq, was published – one out of several members of the Islamist terror group who has been published by the paper which aspires to be the ‘world’s leading liberal voice.’

Other than Abumarzuq, who published a previous essay at CiF in 2011, the list includes Hamas ‘Prime Minister’ Ismail Haniyeh, their head of international relations Osama Hamdan, and their ‘advisor‘, Azzam Tamimi.

Abumarzuq’s piece, ‘We in the Gaza Strip will not die in silence,’ is full of unserious, vitriolic claims befitting a group whose founding charter cites the antisemitic forgery ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ as “proof” that Jews indeed are trying to take over the world.

However, Abumarzuq also advances a narrative of Israeli villainy which had already found fertile ground within the Guardian coven of “journalists” and commentators.  Echoing the “analysis” of  Harriet SherwoodSimon TisdallAhdaf Soueif, and Jonathan Freedland, on the “real reasons” for Israeli operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ the Hamas apparatchik writes the following:

“With the approach of the Israeli elections, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, wanted to trade with the blood of the Palestinians, especially after his alliance with the ultra-extremist Avigdor Lieberman failed to boost his popularity in the polls as he’d expected. This is not the first time the Israelis have launched a war for electoral gain. Shimon Peres did it to Lebanon in 1996 and the Olmert-Livni-Barak alliance did it to Gaza in 2008.”

Interestingly,  Abumarzuq’s rhetoric is restrained compared to Ahdaf Soueif (a frequent CiF contributor) who, in her piece, literally accused Israeli leaders of murdering Palestinian children for political gain.

Turning to the issue of supreme concern to the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, “human rights”, Abumarzuq complains thus:

“The human rights that Europe claims to defend all over the world are denied to the Palestinian people.”

Which freedoms are cruelly denied to Palestinians, per Abumarzuq?

“The right of people to resist occupation and confront aggression is guaranteed to all peoples; but if Palestinians seek to exercise this right it immediately becomes terrorism and for this they must be persecuted.”

Yes, of course. The Palestinians’ ‘universal’ right of “resistance”, murdering civilians with impunity, is stymied by their cruel Jewish oppressors.

Abumarzuq then adds the following:

“The Israeli military attacks on Gaza did not stop after the last Gaza war. Since 2009, 271 Palestinians have been killed, compared to three Israeli deaths.”

The numbers he cites about Israeli deaths are incorrect.

There have been 3 Israeli deaths since Nov. 14, when operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ began, but the Israeli death toll from Gaza terror attacks since 2009 is 13, not 3.

While you can contact the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, at readers@guardian.co.uk, to request that Abumarzuq’s lie be corrected, perhaps you should consider asking Mr. Elliott a more pertinent question:

How does he reconcile the ‘progressive’ politics he and the paper he works for evidently aspire to with their decision to continue providing a platform to violent religious extremists who represent ultra right-wing values on issues such as democracy, freedom of the press, the rights of women, gays, and religious minorities?

Though I don’t expect anything resembling an honest answer from Elliott, he and his colleagues need to be confronted with the mounting evidence of their supreme moral hypocrisy.

Visit CifWatch.com.

Landmark Case: Israel Court Has Jurisdiction Over Suits Against Palestinian Authority

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The Jerusalem District Court, in a landmark decision 10 years in the making, ruled on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority can be sued in Israeli court for damages suffered by an Israeli Arab tortured and kidnapped by their security forces on suspicion of spying for Israel.

The case will not only enable Arab victims of PA intimidation to find justice, but will allow terror victims to sue the PA for compensation.

According to a report by The Times of Israel, the case was brought in 2002 by a man who was suspected by the PA of being an informant for Israel.  In 1999, the man was kidnapped twice – once in Israeli-controlled Hebron and once in Jerusalem outside the school in which he taught.  PA security forces allegedly tortured Rajoub during questioning, even firing a gun next to his head in a mock execution.

He was severely disabled, and tried bringing a suit against the PA in Israeli court for NIS 10 million.  However, the PA said it could not be sued in Israeli court, and that the man should attempt to sue in PA court.

Judge Moshe Drori ruled that the man could sue the PA in Israeli court for injuries and suffering, and set in motion deliberation over the amount of compensation to be paid out.  The method of extracting the settled amount is undetermined.

Netanyahu OKs Fortified Daycare Centers Near Gaza

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

The Cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved an allocation of NIS 7.6 million in order to complete the financing of building protected daycare centers in communities with 0-7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Our advance preparations and the speed with which we are meeting citizens’ needs have proven themselves time and again. This decision is the continuation of previous Government decisions in the framework of which billions of shekels have been allocated to protecting residences and educational institutions and to strengthening the resilience of citizens in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.”

The Voice of a Child

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Children should be seen and not heard. It was a maxim that I heard many times throughout my childhood and which caused me a fair amount of frustration. When, I often wondered, would I cross that invisible line and move out of the periphery to which I was assigned, into the arena of adulthood and be given the chance to express an opinion that people would listen to? Life ran its course, I became an adult, was granted the right to express my opinion and found out that very few people listen to me. Interestingly, in contrast to the past, popular psychology today has touted the need to build a child’s self-confidence so successfully that children are both seen and heard quite clearly. Despite this, I wonder how many communities would make a decision based on the perception of a child. Judaism does.

Last Shabbos the clear, strong voice of the baal korei (reader) rang through the attentive synagogue as the weekly section of the Torah was read out loud. Suddenly it came to a standstill. There was a moment of utter silence and then the sudden swish of numerous prayer shawls, the thud of footsteps and the mutter of deep voices. Peeping through the lattice that separates the women’s section from the men’s, I watched the crowd of men thicken around the table on which the open Torah scroll lay.

Apparently, there was a problem with the Torah scroll. A kosher Torah scroll is treated with great respect. For example, it is not permitted to leave it unattended; a person is required to stand in its honor and may not turn his back to it. A non-kosher Torah scroll is not awarded the same level of respect. If even one letter of a Torah scroll is problematic, the entire scroll is invalidated until the problem is fixed. Most authorities maintain that a non-kosher scroll cannot be used to read the weekly portion. Since the reading must take place from a written text, reading from a non-kosher scroll is akin to reciting by heart making the reading invalid and the blessings recited over it said in vain and the Torah reading must be repeated.

Taking the above into account, every Torah scroll that is written is scrutinized for accuracy. Today, computers help out. A megiah (checker) scans the scroll into a computer running a program that checks the letters and their sequence. The computer then points out possible problems: sometimes a letter hasn’t been written correctly. Some Hebrew letters are very similar: yud, vav and nun sofit are all shaped similarly to a number one, but vary in length. Other letters are written by combining one or more two letters: for example, an aleph, which looks something like an X, is actually made up of three letters: a slanted vav, and two yuds, one above the vav and one below. Sometimes a letter is actually missing and the computer picks this up too. The scroll is then checked by the megiah himself. It seems very unlikely that any problem with the letters could creep in after all that, but, sometimes the computer and the megiah do miss problems and sometimes the problems develop later. The ink used to write a Torah scroll is usually a mixture of tannic acid, which is derived from gallnuts formed on the leaves of oak trees by wasps, copper sulphate to give it a strong black color, and gum arabic to make the glue slightly elastic so that the ink doesn’t crack when the scroll is rolled. Sometimes the letters can become smudged or cracked—after all, the scroll is being used regularly.

In this case, my son informed me, one of the congregants, a Torah scholar of standing, had spotted a letter vav that he claimed was too long—so long that it could be mistaken for a nun. That being the case, the reading was suspended while the men debated whether the letter really did pose a problem or not. In a synagogue in which number of Torah scholars rivals the number of stars in the sky on a moonless night, there was no lack of differing opinions. I watched fascinated as varying opinions of men who spent their days and night toiling in the sea of Torah were whispered urgently. Finally, the decision was made: since the mistake was debatable, a child would be asked to identify the questionable letter.

Barak and Barack

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

An interview with Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak — thinly disguised as “the decision-maker” created a sensation in early August, when he suggested that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities was imminent:

As the Iranians continue to fortify their nuclear sites and disperse them and accumulate uranium, the moment is approaching when Israel will not be able to do anything … For the Americans, the Iranians are not yet approaching the immunity zone − because the Americans have much larger bombers and bombs, and the ability to repeat the operation a whole number of times. But for us, Iran could soon enter the immunity zone. And when that happens, it means putting a matter that is vital to our survival in the hands of the United States. Israel cannot allow this to happen. It cannot place the responsibility for its security and future in the hands of even its best and most loyal friend.

Barak explained that Israel could not depend on an American commitment to destroy the program in the future, even if it were made today:

Ostensibly the Americans could easily bridge this gap,” he believes. “They could say clearly that if by next spring the Iranians still have a nuclear program, they will destroy it. But the Americans are not making this simple statement because countries don’t make these kinds of statements to each other. In statesmanship there are no future contracts. The American president cannot commit now to a decision that he will or will not make six months from now.

So the expectation of such a binding American assurance now is not serious. There is no such thing. Not to mention that President Obama doesn’t even know if he’ll still be sitting in the Oval Office come spring. And if Mitt Romney is elected, history shows that presidents do not undertake dramatic operations in their first year in office unless forced to. [my emphasis]

Suddenly last week, Barak began to sing a different tune. In an interview with the UK Daily Telegraph’s David Blair, he backed off:

His gnawing concern is that Tehran will fortify its nuclear plants, particularly the enrichment facility dug into a mountainside at Fordow, to the point where they become invulnerable to the striking power of Israel’s air force. If Iran reaches this “zone of immunity”, Israel would lose its ability to deal independently with a crucial threat, forcing the country to trust the rest of the world and break the principle of self-reliance that underlies its very foundation.

Earlier this year, however, Iran delayed the arrival of that moment. Tehran has amassed 189kg of uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity, a vital step towards weapons-grade material. In August, the country’s experts took 38 per cent of this stockpile and converted it into fuel rods for a civilian research reactor, thus putting off the moment when they would be able to make uranium of sufficient purity for a nuclear bomb.

Mr Barak said this decision “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to 10 months”.

We can relax for a while, right?

I don’t think so. The problem is that the conversion of some relatively highly-enriched uranium into fuel rods does not stop Iran’s progress toward the “immunity zone,” even if it may delay the arrival of the day that a bomb can be assembled. The regime can still “fortify and disperse” its facilities so as to reduce the effectiveness of an Israeli attack. And they are doing so, continuing work on the deeply-buried Fordow plant.

Barak’s logic in August was that what was driving Israel’s decision wasn’t Iran’s progress towards a bomb per se, but rather its progress towards the “immunity zone.” And this progress hasn’t stopped. The argument is no less sound today than it was then.

We also need to keep in mind that fuel rods can be reprocessed, and that there are certainly things that we don’t know about the Iranian program (what Rumsfeld called “unknown unknowns”).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/barak-and-barack/2012/11/04/

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