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November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Pillar of Defense’

Boston Bombers Wanted to Attack July 4th, but Couldn’t Wait

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombers had planned to stage a major attack on a crowded area of the city during July 4th Independence Day celebrations, but they struck on Patriots’ Day because they had assembled their pressure cooker bombs sooner than expected.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, whose brother Tamerlan was killed in  the massive manhunt for the perpetrators of the Marathon bombings, told the FBI that had planned grisly “fireworks” by attacking a large celebration along the city’s Charles River.

Having finished constructing the bombs in Tamerlan’s apartment ahead of schedule, they drove around Boston until they decided to strike at the finish line of the Marathon, where three people were killed. Many of the more than 260 who were wounded lost logs and arms.

One law enforcement official told The Washington Post that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s version may not be true because the bombs were so complex that it is not certain they could have built the bombs as quickly as they claim without outside help.

Both law enforcement officials expressed some skepticism about Tsarnaev’s account, saying that the complexity of the bombs made it unlikely that the brothers could have completed them as fast as he claimed.

“Maybe we will never know. This is the story that he is telling us,” the official said.

The younger Tsarnaev said he and his brother struck out of anger at the United States for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also were influenced by radical Muslim clerics who incite their followers to kill and be glorified by Allah.

Regardless of whether the brothers acted alone, and regardless of the fine legal point distinguishing between “terrorists” and “murders,” there is a basic similarity between them and terrorist organizations, particularly  Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas.

All three of these terrorist groups are involved in Gaza, which Hamas controls but with increasing difficulty because of their rivals’ appetite for blood.

That is a common thread, or gene, that seems to connect terrorists and murderers.

Hamas has amassed thousands of tons of explosives and advanced weapons far beyond what most people imagine. Hezbollah in Lebanon has stockpiled so many missiles it has been described as having more  than any government in the world outside of the United States.

Like the Tsarnaev brothers, these terrorist groups live by a creed of  “attack or perish.”

There mission in life is to kill Jews, Westerners, Christians, homosexuals and even Muslims who are in anyway linked to one of the above.

That is why every senior Israeli military officer involved with Gaza and Lebanon has said that it is only a matter of time until the “next round” will come and with worse consequences than the previous.

That’s is why a “ceasefire” agreement is only a pause, and why the “Second Intifada” is not the last.

When Hamas first began attacking Israelis more than 20 years ago, it was with primitive Kassam rockets. With each round of violence, their missiles reached deeper into Israel.

Everyone knows they had longer-range missiles, but the government agreed with “ceasefires” to calm down the terrorists – until their need for rage could not be contained any more.

Before the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign four years ago, Hamas struck Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Before and during the Pillar of Defense campaign last November, they struck Tel Aviv and  the outskirts of Jerusalem.

They have even more devastating weapons, such as anti-aircraft missiles than can down a commercial airline,. That is why military and civilians airlines have changed their landing and take-off patterns to steer clear of Gaza.

And that is why Dzhokhar and Tamerlan did not wait for the Fourth of July.

Unless terrorists and murders disarmed, they usually are driven buy their objective to use the rigger finger, and nothing usually stops them except bullets.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev no longer is around to attack more Americans in Boston, Times Square or anywhere else. Tamerlan probably die in jail if not executed.

No one knows if America is seething with a few, or dozens or hundreds or thousands of terrorist-in-the-making.

But wherever they are, like Hamas, Hezbollah and  Al Qaeda, they will attack as soon as they can – unless someone gets them first.

UN: Hamas Violated International Law, Killed BBC Reporter’s Son

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The UN Human Rights Council released an advance version of its report on Operation “Pillar of Defense,” exonerating Israel and the IDF in many cases in which it had been previously alleged that the IDF committed war crimes.

When it relates to Gazan civilians killed by IDF fire during the operation, the UNHRC report concedes that there was a legitimate military target in the area in most of those incidents.

The report’s tone is more cautious than in past instances, in presenting its findings of alleged violations of international law by Israel:

“In some cases, more information would be required to make a more specific assessment. Based on the information available to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the IDF did not consistently uphold the basic principles of conduct of hostilities, namely, the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions. Further, the effectiveness, sufficiency and adequacy of precautions taken remains questionable in several cases.”

Surprisingly, the same report offers no such doubts when presenting Hamas’s violations:

“Palestinian armed groups continuously violated international humanitarian law, by launching indiscriminate attacks on Israel and by attacking civilians, thereby disregarding the principle of distinction. The armed groups failed to take all feasible precautions in attacks, in particular by launching rockets from populated areas, which put the population at grave risk. Furthermore, several Palestinians were killed by rockets launched by the armed groups that fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip.”

The report states that Omar Mishrawi, son of BBC reporter Jihad Mishrawi, was killed by a Hamas rocket. The UNHRC report states:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel. In addition, OHCHR received reports related to an incident in which two civilians, including a child, were killed, and five persons, including three children, were injured, as a result of what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short and hit a house in Al-Quds Street, near Khilla Gas Station, Jabalya, on 16 November.”

The first incident is the Mishrawi case; the second one concerns Mahmoud Sadallah. The photo of Mishrawi in agony while carrying his dead son, flanked by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah, became famous during the operation and was instrumental in Hamas’s propaganda against Israel. The photo of Sadallah, a four-year-old boy, was used for a photo-op with Egyptian PM Hesham Kandil and Haniyeh.

The UN itself investigated this case and believes that the attack came from a Hamas rocket, not Israel, contrary to the way the BBC reported it, as well as the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Daily Mail and others. They assume that Israel must be guilty by default.

NGO Monitor, a watchdog group following anti-Israel bias among nonprofits involved in the Middle East conflict, in relating to PCHR and HRW, issued the following statement:

“…These NGO allegations were particularly damaging due to powerful, widely-circulated images of the grieving father of the child, who is a journalist. The NGO and corresponding media accounts worked together to demonize Israel for the death of an innocent child… Rather than applying consistent and professional standards to fact-finding, the claims of HRW and PCHR are often the products of instant speculation and the a-priori presumption of Israeli guilt. Later, when detailed evidence emerges that contradicts their allegations, these NGOs fail to publish apologies and retractions.”

Pillar of Defense: Separating Appearance from Reality

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

This article appeared in the print version as After Pillar of Defense: Separating Appearance From Reality (Part II)

Editor’s note: This is part two of an article published last week. Click here for part one.

Terrorism is always more than bad behavior. Terrorism is a distinct and codified crime under international law. When terrorists represent populations that enthusiastically support such attacks, and where these terrorists can also find an easy refuge among hospitable populations, responsibility for ensuing counterterrorist harm must lie with the criminals.

In law, truth can sometimes be counterintuitive. Understood in terms of an inevitably still ongoing cycle of Palestinian terrorism and Israeli self-defense, the Palestinian side must bear full legal responsibility for Arab civilian casualties in Gaza. After all, without their premeditated attacks on Israeli civilian populations, there would have been no Palestinian casualties.

International law, as I have repeated so many times in this space, is not a suicide pact. Unambiguously, it offers an authoritative body of rules and procedures that permits states to express their inherent right of self-defense. When terrorist organizations openly celebrate the “martyrdom” of Palestinian children, and when Palestinian leaders unashamedly seek religious redemption through the mass murder of Jewish children, the terrorists understandably have no legal right to demand sanctuary.

Under international law, these criminals are hostes humani generis, “common enemies of humankind.” Significantly, in law such murderers must be punished severely wherever they are found. Concerning their arrest and prosecution, jurisdiction is now, after Nuremberg, universal.

Palestinian terrorism, even during its very occasional slow periods, has become all too familiar. In addition to rockets, the killers – using bombs filled with nails, razor blades, and screws dipped in rat poison – seek to maim and burn Israeli civilians. Generally this objective is sought with cheers and abundant blessings from the leading Islamic clergy.

Why do they feel this way? In the precise words of a major Hamas leadership figure, “The Jews [not “the Israelis”] lack sanctity.”

There is also considerable irony here. Those arrogant Palestinian commanders who directly control the suicide-bombers’ mayhem always cower fearfully in their towns and cities, taking meticulous care to find personal safety amid densely packed Arab populations. In addition to assorted Israel Air Force (IAF) units, other special IDF counterterrorism and commando elements meticulously identify and target only terrorist leaders in order to minimize any collateral harm. Such harm can’t inevitably be avoided by the self-defending party, even by the IDF, which actually follows its obligatory purity of arms code more stringently than any other army on earth.

Deception can be legally acceptable in armed conflict, but the Hague Regulations disallow placement of military assets or personnel in heavily populated civilian areas. Further prohibition of perfidy is found at Protocol I of 1977, additional to theGeneva Conventions of 1949. It is widely recognized that these rules are also binding on the basis of customary international law.

Perfidy represents an especially serious violation of the Law of War, one identified as a “grave breach” at Article 147 of Geneva Convention IV. The critical legal effect of perfidy committed by Palestinian terrorist leaders in Gaza was to immunize Israel from any responsibility for unintended counterterrorist harms done to Arab civilians. Even if Hamas and Fatah and Islamic Jihad and their sister terror groups did not deliberately engage in perfidy, any Palestinian-created link between civilians and terrorist activities would have granted Israel full legal justification for appropriately defensive military action. Operation Pillar of Defense was an obvious case in point.

Again, international law is not a suicide pact. All combatants, including Palestinian insurgents, are bound by the Law of War. This requirement is found at Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and at the two protocols to these Conventions.

Protocol I applies humanitarian international law to all conflicts fought for “self-determination,” the stated objective of all Palestinian fighters. A product of the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts (1977), this protocol brings all irregular forces within the full scope of international law.

In this connection, the terms “fighter” and “irregular” are conspicuously generous in describing Palestinian terrorists, fanatical criminals who target only civilians and whose characteristic mode of “battle” is not military engagement, but religious sacrifice.

In the final analysis, virtually all Palestinian terrorism is rooted in a culture-wide search for immunity from personal death. It follows that there can be no greater cowardice than what is expressed by this form of terror.

After Pillar of Defense: Separating Appearance from Reality

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Now that the dust has settled in Gaza following Israel’s Pillar of Defense operation, it is easy yet again to feel sorry for the Palestinians. After all, as anyone already knows who clings desperately to The New York Times, the still-lingering images are so evidently palpable and painful. And the Arab suffering – the grievous suffering. Wasn’t it disturbingly “one-sided” and “disproportionate”?

Once again, however, the disjointed images must be examined in meaningful context. Once again, these images deceived. Examined in an appropriately historical and legal perspective, they would become recognizably stark misrepresentations.

Yes, of course the people of Gaza (together with those Israelis still forced to live under terrorist rocket attacks) are victims of regional violence. But their particular victimization was not caused by an outside enemy. Rather, Palestinian suffering remains the foreseeable result of a relentlessly cruel, insensitive, and flagrantly criminal Hamas leadership. This is true in legal as well as “merely” ethical terms.

Israeli resort to force in Gaza has never been gratuitous or contrived. Unlike their terrorist foes, Israelis genuinely regret every indispensable resort to arms. Unlike these bitterly recalcitrant enemies, Israelis receive no inherent joy from the killing of others.

Somehow, in the seemingly endless Palestinian holy war against Israel, every sham is conveniently glossed over with a shimmering patina. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and related terror groups operating from Gaza always take calculated steps to ensure that Israeli reprisals will kill or injure Palestinian noncombatants. By carefully placing elderly women and young children in those specific areas from which lethal rockets are intentionally launched into Israeli homes, hospitals, and schools, Palestinian leaders openly violate the most elementary expectations of the Law of War.

The systematic use of “human shields” – the same practice originally championed by Hizbullah in Lebanon – is more than an expression of immorality or cowardice. It also represents a very specific crime under international law. The correct jurisprudential name for this notably egregious crime is “perfidy.”

Now, after a plainly inconclusive end to Pillar of Defense, several major Palestinian terror groups will begin to prepare for eventual mega-terror attacks on Israel. Such unprecedented attacks, possibly in cooperation with certain allied jihadist factions, could include chemical and/or biological weapons of mass destruction. Over time, especially if Iran should agree to transfer certain portions of its growing inventory of nuclear materials to terror groups, Israel could even face Palestinian-directed nuclear terrorism.

It is a conceivable threat that I have been writing about for more than forty years.

It is important to remember that nuclear terror assaults against Israel could be launched from trucks and ships, not only by rockets and missiles.

Should Israel negotiate directly with Hamas to reduce these risks? To what end? Hamas, after all, is still in the dubious process of mending fences with the Palestinian Authority/Fatah, and neither of the two major Palestinian factions can speak authoritatively for other more or less murderous terror splinter groups.

With whom should Israel negotiate?

What government on earth could reasonably be expected to sit back passively and allow its unprotected population to face a preventable mass slaughter? Would we in the United States sit by quietly, as rockets rained down upon American cities from terrorist sanctuaries – safe havens situated somewhere on our northern or southern borders? Could we imaginably allow such carnage to continue with impunity? Would capitulation and surrender be the proper or excusable reaction of a sovereign state that is sworn to protect its noncombatant populations?

In Pillar of Defense, Israel accomplished an impressively high rate of Iron Dome interceptions against incoming rockets from Gaza. Still, it would be a serious mistake to extrapolate from such relatively limited success to dealing with the much more complex strategic threat from Iran. Should Iran be permitted to become operationally nuclear, which now seems very likely, that Islamist regime could subsequently send ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads against Israel. Here Israel’s core ballistic missile defense (BMD) interception system, Arrow, would require a fully 100 percent rate of success. Of course, any such perfect reliability would be effectively impossible to achieve.

Though it is something that is both unrecognized and unacknowledged (what else is new?), Israel has always been willing to keep its essential counterterrorism operations in Gaza consistent with the established rules of humanitarian international law. Palestinian violence, however, has been persistently in violation of all civilized rules of engagement.

Journalists, The Right to Live and Other Human Rights

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Here’s the AP report of a widely publicized assault (the Jerusalem Post called it “a scathing attack”) on Israel’s moral standing made three days ago by the New York-based Human Rights Watch organization.

Group: Israel broke law by targeting media in Gaza
JERUSALEM (AP) — Human Rights Watch says Israeli army attacks on journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip during last month’s military operation violated the laws of war. Two Palestinian cameramen were killed and at least 10 media personnel were wounded in the offensive, which was launched after weeks of rocket attacks on Israel. The Israeli government says each of the targets was a legitimate military objective. A statement released Thursday by the New York-based rights group says it found no indications that these targets were valid military objectives. Sarah Leah Whitson, the Mideast director at HRW, says that “just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so.” The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the report. [Source]

As director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division and the person leveling these charges [full text here], Sarah Leah Whitson lays serious claim to the description about her on the HRW site: she’s a general expert on “Middle East and North Africa issues,” though – like the organization itself – she has not been free of controversy. (We will not dwell here on the serious allegations made against her; they are adequately detailed in her Wikipedia entry and in some trenchant, well-argued critiques published by NGO Monitor this week as well as in January 2012.)

For all the impressive human rights work it does, HRW has some exceedingly bitter critics. In a major and very critical op ed in the New York Times, Robert L. Bernstein, the man who created HRW, wrote this about the organization he brought into existence:

As the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state…  Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. [more]

Sarah Leah Whitson was HRW’s key Middle East person when Bernstein wrote those words.

Bernstein then proceeded in that 2009 essay to make some prophetic references to HRW allegations about Israel engaging in allegedly illegal forms of warfare:

Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism… [Yet] Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region… How does Human Rights Watch know that these laws have been violated? In Gaza and elsewhere where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes… Significantly, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an expert on warfare, has said that the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

He ended his 2009 words with a warning to HRW that unless it returned to “its founding mission and the spirit of humility that animated it,” HRW’s “credibility will be seriously undermined and its important role in the world significantly diminished.

Which brings us to December 2012 when news sources throughout the world seized on Ms Whitson’s well-formed words:

Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so.

And also to the apt rejoinder offered by Anne Herzberg, legal adviser to the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor:

Just because HRW claims something is a war crime does not make it so.

We don’t claim to have the depth of experience of Ms. Whitson or HRW. But we do say our experience in losing a greatly-loved daughter to a bestial act of Islamist terror in 2001 has made us more sensitive than many people to nuances. We tend to pay attention to little-reported aspects of news events that somehow don’t get that much coverage or attention by the likes of HRW.

For instance, here’s a photo of a particular Arab journalist with a little-known back-story:

Portrait 1: Female reporter presents the Palestinian Authority evening news

The image in Portrait 1 is a screenshot taken from a video recording of a PA Television evening news report originating in PA TV’s Ramallah studios that went to air some years ago. The young woman, a reporter/presenter, was relatively new to the job at the time the picture was taken. Even so, she evidently showed journalistic promise because management in the Fatah/PLO television authority at the time assigned her to the role of presenting the evening news.

Now some speculation: what if this woman had been (let’s just imagine) intercepted by IDF soldiers or by an Israeli Border Guard patrol while she was peaceably en route to the nearby city of Jerusalem? We’re betting that Sarah Leah Whitson  and her HRW Irregulars would have screamed bloody murder at the temerity of the Israelis. The young woman is, after all, clearly a working journalist with all the privileges and protections that come with the job.

Portrait 2: A female journalist conducts a live interview
for a Hamas television program (2012)
Portrait 3: Same female journalist fronts a weekly TV show
on the Al-Quds satellite channel (2012)

The woman in Portraits 2 and 3 above is a regular on the Al-Quds television channel owned and operated by Hamas. Its shows are beamed throughout the world to wherever there are Arabic-speaking audiences interested in the distinctive programming they offer. It has a truly global footprint and a large influence among a very specific international audience.

The woman is the central figure in a weekly television program devoted to surveying issues of interest to one of the deprived underclasses in Palestinian society. On it, she interviews guests, demonstrates cooking recipes, and summarizes and interprets recent events. The fact that an entire program aired during peak evening hours (and on Friday nights, no less) is given over to a woman suggests the prominent role she has in the tele-journalism field.

Now some more speculation: imagine for a moment that this household-name TV personality decided to carry out some research in, say, East Jerusalem. And say that the Israeli authorities, for reasons best known to them, detained her on the way for questioning; that they refused to let her go because of some dusty old and forgotten breaches of the law allegedly committed a decade or so earlier. How long do we think it would take for the righteous indignation of Human Rights Watch to boil over and traverse the oceans? Or for their furious demands to be laid at the feet of the government of Israel insisting that the inherent rights of journalists and reporters – and international legal norms – be respected, forthwith?

So now we’re back in the real world. The name of the woman in all the photos above is Ahlam Tamimi.

Tamimi read the PA TV evening news on Thursday evening, August 9, 2001. That is when Portrait 1 was taken. She started the program with the lead news item of the day: a horrific news report about a human bomb who had exploded inside a central Jerusalem restaurant that afternoon, killing many people, most of them children, all of them Jews. Portrait 1 shows her reading the actual report on camera.

The slight smile of pleasure that can just be made out on her lips is probably no accident. She herselfpersonally, planned the bombing. She ensured with the other planners that the explosive material was adequate to the task. She accompanied the bomb (who was a newly-pious young man with a fully-loaded guitar case on his back) through the IDF military checkpoints and into Jerusalem by bus and taxi. She then walked with him through the streets of Israel’s bustling capital city until they reached the Sbarro restaurant where, fifteen minutes after she left him there (giving her time to safely escape to freedom), he exploded the deadly materials packed into that guitar case. He killed our teenage daughter Malki and fourteen other innocents. A sixteenth victim remains unconscious to this day.

Tamimi’s journalistic career resumed a year ago. Then, as part of a deal transacted between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza, she was released from prison far earlier than should have been the case (she had been sentenced to sixteen life terms with a strong recommendation by the judges that no reduction should ever be considered) and flew to the land of her birth, Jordan, and to complete and unfettered freedom. There she was hired by Hamas to become the presenter of a new weekly program called Breezes of the Free, focusing on the convicted terrorists, many of them murderers of Jewish children, still in Israeli prisons and their goals, hopes and plans.

Especially their plans.

Tamimi, now living free as a bird, newly-married and with a global platform for spreading her hateful, murderous views, is famously proud of the killings for which she was convicted in an Israeli court. She has no regrets; quite the opposite, and has said so as clearly as a person ever can. [Please read one of our numerous posts about this evil person: “17-Nov-11: A monster walks the streets and she has many accomplices“].

For these and other reasons, we wonder – when we read the words of HRW, and especially of Sarah Leah Whitson – whether such critics comprehend the nature of terrorism. Do they see how the people who fire the rockets at homes, schools and buses will use everything at their disposal – every possible thing, no limits – to carry out their satanic plans?

The notion that journalists ought to be treated in some privileged way by reason of the work they do – leaving them exempt from suspicion unless there is a compelling reason to think otherwise – is an interesting one. But we’re left to wonder whether at HRW they know or care how this works in a war carried out by terrorists and in accordance with the principles of Islamism.

Victims like our daughter suffered the permanent, irreparable violation by the terrorists of the most fundamental of their human rights - the right to live. Had the perpetrators (and that includes Tamimi) been stopped in time, or if they (and this includes Tamimi) were prevented from inciting others daily to do the same awful thing again in the future, lives would surely be saved.

If HRW’s recent condemnation fails to take that reality into account, then – in the words of their distinguished founder, Robert L. Bernstein –  they have lost their critical perspective and the role they claim is simply illegitimate and should be ignored.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Anti-Jewish, Anti-Christian Amanpour to Host Prime Time Bible Special

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

The CNN/ABC television journalist Christiane Amanpour has been the focus of numerous exposes for her repeated gratuitously nasty and false reporting on Israel and about religious Jews and Christians.

Back in August, 2007, Amanpour hosted a three part CNN series on “God’s Warriors.”  Each segment of the series focused on the “extremists” of a different one of each of the three major monotheistic religions: Jewish, Christian and Muslim.  Amanpour equated the Jewish and Christian fundamentalists with the fundamentalist Jihadi Muslims.  In the segment on “God’s Jewish Warriors,” Amanpour focused on the Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and those in the United States who financially support them.

Andrea Levin, the widely respected executive director of the Committee for Accuracy in Media for Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) described Amanpour’s reporting in that series as, “the most poisonously biased and factually shoddy feature to air on mainstream television in recent memory.”

Levin writes:

Throughout, Amanpour hammers the claim that Jewish settlements violate international law and she seeks to paint this position as a universally accepted view with a lopsided parade of like-minded commentators.

Yet apart from any judgement about the political advisability of building or not building settlements, many legal scholars argue these communities are, in fact, legal and do not violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention as the detractors claim …  But not one scholar of this viewpoint is given voice in a two-hour feature largely devoted to decrying settlements and their residents.

Now ABC has chosen Amanpour to host a two part series called “Back to the Beginning.” In this series, ABC describes Amanpour as traveling to the land of the biblical stories from Genesis to Jesus.

Using the Old Testament as a guidebook, “Back to the Beginning” peels back the layers of history and faith that has inspired billions. Amanpour, the veteran war correspondent, wanted to investigate the roots of those stories that have created so much conflict, and at the same time so much of the healing she has seen across her career. It is an extraordinary journey through the deserts and cities of the ancient world, to the historical and pilgrimage sites associated with the epic tale that is the backbone of Judaism, Christianity and Islam today.

But perhaps Amanpour’s anti-Israel bias has abated.  It’s been more than five years since her last foray into an exclusively religious focus on the Middle East.  Not bloody likely, as her reporting from the Middle East about the recent Hamas-Israel conflict confirms.

Rather than the result of Hamas’s escalating rocket attacks on Israel – more than 130 in the 72 hours before Israel finally responded – Amanpour described the eight day military exchanges as caused by Israel ratcheting up the conflict.

Amanpour presented Israel’s Pillar of Defense as an offensive move, and the “first target was Ahmed El Jabari, a military chief of Hamas, the Islamic political party that governs the Gaza Strip which Israel and the West call a terrorist organization.”

Israel and the West recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization, while Amanpour’s description of Jabari made him sound like a noble Indian chieftain, rather than the mastermind of dozens of Israelis’ deaths, including small children, and of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit whose release in exchange for more than 1000 Arab Palestinian prisoners catapulted Jibari to Hamas leadership.

In this upcoming series, Amanpour is going to be looking at the “historical and pilgrimage sites associated with the epic tale that is the backbone of Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” according to ABC’s press release.  The series is likely to be promoted as fact-based, but Amanpour’s history gives little comfort to those who fear it will be wildly dismissive of Jewish and Christian claims, and naively accepting of Muslim claims.

The ABC series “Back to the Beginnings” will air on Friday evenings, Dec 21 and Dec 28.

IDF Initiating Call-Up of Reserves, Preparing for Possible Ground War

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Though IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai says the call-up is limited and primarily focused on Home Front Command units, Israel’s military has begun calling up army reservists across the country, in preparation for a possible ground incursion into Gaza as part of Operation “Amud Anan” – Pillar of Defense.

According to Mordechai, a ceasefire is not in consideration at this time.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday night that he would authorize a broadening of air and sea attacks on terror infrastructure in Gaza, and that the military operation would continue until the goals have been realized.

Also on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the nation in a statement, condemning Hamas operatives for targeting Israeli citizens while using their own citizenry as human shields.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who early told the residents of the south that they are the “source of our strength in this battle that we are waging today”, praised the Shin Bet for providing information necessary for eliminating Ahmad Jabari and devastating Hamas’s Fajr long-range rocket arsenal.

He noted that the goals of the operation are “strengthening deterrence, injuring the rocket arsenal, wounding and hurting Hamas and minimizing injury to the civilians on the homefront of the State of Israel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/idf-initiating-call-up-of-reserves-preparing-for-possible-ground-war/2012/11/15/

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