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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘strike’

It’s My Opinion: Weathering The Storm

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

South Florida will soon be marking the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, the last Category 5 hurricane to strike the United States. The storm hit South Miami-Dade county on August 24, 1992. It left a path of devastation.

I remember that the National Hurricane Center was issuing warnings when my husband’s friend called and urged us to ride out the storm with him. He lived in a southwest Miami area called the Falls. His house seemed so safe. We were in a house in Miami Beach, only a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and in an evacuation area. A storm surge was feared.

Our family decided to evacuate elsewhere. Our friend’s roof was blown off of his house during the terrible storm. Our house remained intact.

Andrew plowed into Florida with 165 mph winds. It spawned many tornadoes in its wake. Later, my husband and I would be part of a convoy bringing supplies to a shul in one of the hardest hit areas. We rode on the highway, and as far as the eye could see there were houses without roofs or windows. There were no utility poles or trees. There was no telephone or electric service. It looked like a scene from a nuclear disaster.

People had painted desperate pleas to their insurance companies on the walls. “HELP US!” the pleas read. Many wrote out their policy numbers. Some had other messages. A popular post was, “You Loot – We Shoot.”

Many of the people who were in the Southwest/Homestead area had taken the traditional hurricane precautions. They had bottles of water, canned food and batteries for their radios, but the aftermath of the disaster went on for months and in some cases longer. Water and food soon ran out and batteries went dead.

We make plans. We make contingency plans. We are reminded of the Yiddish adage, “Man plans and G-d laughs.” Bubby was right!

There are issues and problems. There are matters and concerns that are totally out of our hands. We think we are able to determine our fate. In reality, the only thing we determine is how we will respond to what life dishes out.

Life is precarious. It is fragile. It is a constant test. There are many wakeup calls. Unfortunately, sometimes we need a hard hit to get and keep our attention.

Needs Work

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

An Arab inspects a terrorist’s motorcycle that was hit by an Israeli air strike in Dir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, Tuesday. The IAF targeted motorized rocket launching terrorist teams, killing them before they were able to fire even more rockets into civilian areas in Israel.

The Big Gorilla at the Presidential Conference

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

The Big Gorilla that is not hiding in any room here at the Presidential Conference is Iran. Most of the main speakers have come to tell Israel what it should, or should not, do about Iran. Dennis Ross seems to believe that it is acceptable to give Iran nuclear capabilities so long as we can ensure that it will only use the nuclear power for civilian uses. Sure, that’s going to work for how long, I want to ask him?

And when they do convert it to military power…how long will it take the world to do something. No, I don’t mean how long will it take for them to protest it, I mean how long will it take to get the world to do something! Do something.

Dennis Ross says that there is simply no way that a military strike against Iran will be successful…and again, I want to ask him how he knows…and even if he does know…do we have another option?

It is, quite simply, ridiculous. The Jordanian and Egyptian journalists offer suggestions – Israel should do the right thing, though how they define the right thing would certainly not be as we would. The Turkish diplomat (yes, I’ll go at some point and post their names) wants Israel to know that it isn’t too late and we certainly can repair the relationship with Turkey. All we have to do is apologize.

After all, he says, Turkish civilians were hurt and killed. Civilians? Hardly…Apologize? Um….no.

The most realistic and helpful comments on Iran came today from Gabi Ashkenazi. He says that the military option is and should be the last option and yet it must remain on the table because if other options are to succeed, the only way it can succeed is if the threat of military action remains.

In fact, Ashkenazi explains, the more the threat of military intervention is on the table, is considered real, the more likely all non-military responses can work. It’s such a logical and simple reality – one that so many of those who have come here for a few days to preach to us want to ignore.

The big gorilla at this conference is Iran – I doubt that those who came here to give advice are managing to notice that we here in Israel do actually understand what is happening with Iran, understand very well, as Dennis Ross felt he had to tell us, that we have to be concerned not only with the strike itself, but the day after the strike.

My advice to the many guests here at the conference – trust us. Really, trust us. We are very aware. We live here, here in the reality that is the Middle East.

Ninety Year Old Man Joins Hunger-Strike Against Ulpana Neighborhood Relocation

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has reportedly decided to remove five buildings from the Uplana neighborhood in Beit El. He intends to completely uproot the buildings and resituate them on nearby land owned by the military. As a form of compensation, he plans to build tens of new homes in Beit El, ten for each one removed.

Several people have decided to go on a hunger-strike to protest the decision and demand that Ministers vote for the “Regulation Law”, which will set a statute of limitation for claims against existing communities in Judea and Samaria that are allegedly constructed on privately owned land. According to the suggested law, should the claims be proven in court, the buildings would remain in place, and the claimant would receive monetary compensation or land of equal value. The strikers are rejecting Netanyahu’s seemingly generous offer.

Dvir Raz, 31, a father of 3, has been on a hunger strike for five consecutive days, since Wednesday morning. He intends to continue his strike at least until this coming Wednesday, when the vote for the “Regulation Law” will take place. He lives in Amona, a community with similar legal issues. He explained that he is striking with a demand that the Prime Minister find a proper legislative solution to all the lands in legal dispute and which may encounter similar difficulties to those which have arisen at the Ulpana neighborhood.

“The Prime Minister is currently offering a specific solution to this current crisis. We demand that he offer an all encompassing solution to all lands which may be in dispute. We demand that the Prime Minister offer a comprehensive resolution in order to stop the flood of court claims against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The organizations submitting these court petitions are doing so not out of care for the alleged Palestinian owners who have never lived on these lands, but because they are bent on the destruction of as many Jewish settlements as possible. The Ministry of Defense has already announced that they will not enable the alleged owners of the Beit El land to live on it because it is within the limits of Beit El. What we have here is an absurd situation in which everyone loses. This is destruction for the sake of destruction”, Raz stated.

Four more strikers joined the protesters this morning, including a ninety year old man, Avraham Nocham, of Anatot. Nocham, an artist, explained that he has decided to join the strike out of empathy and identification with the strikers’ objectives. “I am very sensitive to these issues,” he told Tazpit News Agency. “Many times the development of these incidents is frightening. I have come to join the struggle and strike in hope of a positive outcome.”

Report: Israel Uncovers Terrorist Plot to Abduct Israelis, Hatched in Israeli Prisons

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) revealed on Tuesday that it recently uncovered and foiled a terrorist plot to kidnap Israeli citizens.

The group, identified as the “Holy Warriors Brigades,” was comprised of five Palestinians coordinating from Hebron and Gaza. The Shin Bet reasoned that the group sought to use the abducted Israelis as bargaining chips to obtain the release of Palestinian prisoners, including one of the plotters – Ibrahim Animat. Animat is serving a life sentence for raping and murdering an Israeli woman in 2010.

“The Holy Warriors Brigades” originated in Fatah’s military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, but splintered off in 2007. Since then, the group has been funded by Hamas. According to the Shin Bet, it is headed Assad Ibrahim abu Shariya, whose imprisoned brother, Omar, hatched the plan with fellow inmates that have since been released.

The Shin Bet stated that the group, which has been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent years, planned to abduct Israelis sometime in the coming weeks.

The revelation is particularly disturbing because Israel recently agreed to ease restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails so that they would end their hunger strike. An explicit term of the agreement required the prisoners to sign a pledge to forswear terrorist activity.

 

J.E. Dyer: Reflections on Ambassador Shapiro’s ‘We’re ready to attack’ comments in Israel

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Why in the world were these things said?

“It would have been better to solve it (the Iranian nuclear crisis) in a diplomatic way, by using pressure and without applying military force,” the ambassador clarified at the closed meeting, “But that does not mean that this [attack] option is not possible. Not only is it possible, it is ready. The necessary planning is in place to make sure it’s ready.”

Well, ok.  The question is not whether we are ready or should be ready for this option – um, of course we are; would we tell anyone if we weren’t? – the question is why our ambassador in Israel would say this.  (Read the full comments for the unnecessarily explicit flavor.)

First of all, an ambassador – or at least his top advisors – knows that bellicose comments of this kind do not accord with the conventions of diplomacy.  You don’t go around assuring other nations that you’ve been practicing to attack a third party.  Besides being operationally stupid, it’s potentially both destabilizing and destructive to your credibility.

Instead, you state what your national interests are, you clarify the outcome you’re looking for, and you assure the relevant audience that you will do what it takes to protect your interests and secure your outcomes.  The point is not whether the audience knows that you have actually tested a military OPLAN (who cares? We test them regularly), the point is for them to understand exactly what you want and the seriousness of your determination.

A warning (or, in this case, an assurance) that the US is ready to attack Iran was almost certainly given on orders from the White House, since it’s not something a diplomat would naturally be moved to say, or say without permission.  It’s a combination of operational TMI and inflammatory rhetoric: a sort of anti-diplomacy.

Second, this is a threat that can’t be convincingly conveyed in a fey, indirect manner.  If we mean this threat and we want it to affect Iran’s decisions, then say it to Iran.  (I would advise putting it in different terms.)  Putting the threat out there in the guise of an assurance to Israel just looks manipulative.

It also looks spurious and irresponsible, if we’re going to sit down with the Iranians in Baghdad later this month and “negotiate.”  What, exactly, are the Iranians supposed to assume about this threat?  What action of theirs could trigger it?  Does it clarify the US position, or obfuscate it?  With the threat of war, it is not actually a good idea to be overly clever and create doubt about triggers and your intentions. If you’re going to deploy the war card, certainty is the mindset you want your intended audience to have.

In any case, if the US and the Western powers make the offer of a sweet deal for Iran, in the hope of getting some kind of agreement – a prospect endorsed by the analysis of long-time observer Gerald Seib in this video – that signal will be at odds with the over-explicit threat of attack.  It would be hard to be convincing about a coherent position in that case.

Regarding the point on military preparations, I know many readers try to stay abreast of where the aircraft carriers are, and that’s not necessarily a fool’s errand.  It’s important not to go all “Pat Buchanan” about it – there are two carriers in the Persian Gulf region at least twice a year because they are turning over their patrol duties; it’s not a sign of the Apocalypse – but it can be a useful indicator.  That said, I advise you not to try this at home if you aren’t familiar with US Navy operations.  The presence of two or more carriers in the Central Command “AOR” (area of responsibility) is almost always an indicator of strike group turnover – or simply a coincidence due to a rare circumstance like USS Abraham Lincoln’s (CVN-72) recent change of homeport from Everett, Washington to Norfolk, Virginia, which involved an extra transit through (and deployment in) the Middle East.

The US administration announced earlier this year that it would be keeping two carriers on station in the Gulf region for the time being.  That gives the president a ready option in case he wants to ramp up pressure on Iran.  I would not obsess over the carriers, however.  They will undoubtedly participate if there is a strike on Iran – they will be indispensable for keeping the Strait of Hormuz open, and their F/A-18 strike-fighters will no doubt be used for the precision targeting of hardened sites, among other tasks for the airwings – but they may well not be the centerpiece of the operation.

If President Obama were to scope a strike on Iran as I believe he would – narrowly, striking only a limited set of nuclear-related targets – the strike may well be conducted as a “prompt global strike,” according to the doctrine and capability of the same name, which has been in development since the last year of the Bush administration.  It could involve mostly cruise missiles and “global airpower”:  B-2 and B-52 bombers launching their missions at a distance from Iran, including launches from US territory; i.e., Whiteman and Barksdale.  (I doubt that it would involve long-range ballistic missiles, which are not accurate enough for most applications in this kind of strike.)  The strike would certainly be conventional, not nuclear.

All that said, if an agreement is reached with Iran in the next couple of months, it will be because the agreement is advantageous to Iran, delaying the EU sanctions which are to kick in this summer, and requiring nothing of Iran that the mullahs were not willing to concede.  Any agreement that does not entail full, unannounced inspection of all Iran’s suspect facilities and nuclear-related programs, as well as Iran’s adherence to the “Additional Protocol” of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is an agreement that will not stop the nuclear weapons program.  That kind of agreement, however, is what we are virtually guaranteed to get.

 

Originally published at http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/05/17/reflections-on-ambassador-shapiros-were-ready-to-attack-comments-in-israel/

Prisoners’ Hunger Strike Ended, Promising a Restrained ‘Nakba Day’ Tuesday

Monday, May 14th, 2012

When IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz this week examined the readiness of military units at the Central Command and near the Gaza Strip, in preparation for the possibility of violent protests to mark Nakba Day tomorrow, Tuesday, he was acutely aware of the possibility that the success of his forces’ best laid plans depended on the physical well being of some 1600 Arab terrorists.

Over the past week there has been concern that this year’s ‘Nakba’ events would be more intense than usual, because of Palestinians prisoners who are on a hunger strike in Israeli jails. The Chief of Staff reportedly told GOC Central Command Brigadier General Nitzan Alon: “We are hoping for the better and getting ready for the worst.”

On Monday night, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed to end their hunger strike after winning concessions from Israel to improve their conditions, both sides announced.

Some inmates had gone without food for as long as 77 days, with a few in a life-threatening state.

Earlier in the week, concern had been rising about the effect the death of one of the strikers might have on Tuesday’s protests.

Nakba Day (“day of the catastrophe” in Arabic) falls on May 15, the day of Israel’s declaration of independence. On this day Palestinians commemorate their displacement following Israel’s 1948-49 War of Liberation against invaders from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

Estimates within the IDF are that the demonstrations will concentrate in the areas of Bethany, Qalandiya, Ma’avar Rachel, the Erez Crossing and inside Arab towns, but there is little fear that the protests might spill over into violence against Israeli soldiers. Judging by the tepid response on the part of Palestinians to the “March to Jerusalem” last March, there isn’t much lust for large scope violence on the Arab side.

A senior Central Command officer told the Walla news service that “the prisoners’ strike will bring more civilians out into the streets, but the PA security apparatus won’t allow demonstrations and rallies to deteriorate into chaos.”

All of that could have changed dramatically if any of the hunger striking Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails were to die.

Indeed, Amin Shoman, head of a monitoring group of Palestinian political factions, said that if Israel did not confirm the Egyptian-brokered deal, prisoners were going to intensify their fast and break off further talks with prison authorities.

“The prisoners will stop taking vitamins and water and stop negotiations with the Israel Prisons Service if they get a negative answer,” he told AFP.

Ten prisoners were placed under medical supervision last week.

According to a Palestinian negotiator, Israel agreed to allow Palestinian prisoners to receive family visits. The visits from Gaza were halted in 2006 after Gaza-based terrorists had captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The negotiator said that Israel also agreed to curb its policy of placing prisoners in solitary confinement, to permit prisoner phone calls and to let prisoners engage in academic studies.

But it does not look as if Israel’s security apparatus is prepared to do away with administrative detentions, which the hunger striking prisoners were protesting..

While 308 Palestinian prisoners are being held in detention as security risks because of their active affiliation with terrorist groups, the vast majority of Palestinian security prisoners, 3,097 out of 4,424, are in Israeli jails after having been convicted on a range of violent crimes—from rock throwing to multiple murders—as active members of terror organizations in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian Hunger Strikers Not Innocent

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

The UN’s Ban Ki-Moon cares about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails:

9 May 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the importance of averting any further deterioration in the condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, and urged everyone concerned to reach a solution to their plight without delay.

“The Secretary-General continues to follow with concern the ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, in particular those held in what is known as administrative detention,” according to information provided by his spokesperson.

“He stresses the importance of averting any further deterioration in their condition,” the spokesperson added. “He reiterates that those detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees, or released without delay.”

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike two weeks ago, on 17 April – Palestinian Prisoners Day – to protest against unjust arrest procedures, arbitrary detention and bad prison conditions, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR).

Here are some things that Moon doesn’t mention:

According to Ofir Gendleman, PM Netanyahu’s Arab media spokesperson, only six of the more than 1500 prisoners who are striking are being held in administrative detention. All of the rest are convicted terrorists (there are a total of about 4,500 Palestinians imprisoned for terror-related activity, and of these around 300 are currently in administrative detention, according to ‘rights groups’).

Arnold and Frimet Roth, whose 15-year old daughter Malki was murdered in 2001 by a bomb built by one of the striking terrorists (Abdullah Barghouti, who has said that he “feels bad that [he] killed only 66 Jews”), provide some more information:

The two who began hunger-striking in March are men called Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahlah who are administrative detainees, held so far for nine months and 22 months respectively. Their petition came before the High Court of Justice on Monday and was heard and rejected. The court pointed to the ongoing ties of the petitioners to terrorist funding and terrorism and that they are a clear and immediate security risk to Israeli citizens. It added (which is also significant) that the Israel Prison Service is meeting or exceeding the standards required by international law regarding prisoner treatment already.

Diab and Halahlah are in fact leaders in Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The angry voices are demanding that we think of them as unjustly shunted off to prison for the equivalent of failing to pay for a television license. The media and the ranks of ‘activist’ NGOs are currently filled with such voices.

Of the other strikers, almost all were charged, tried and convicted for the most serious offenses you can think of. Hundreds are in prison for murder. Quite a number of them are unrepentant multiple murderers.

You will recall that over 1000 prisoners, including some multiple murderers, were released in the ‘exchange’ (I call it a ‘jailbreak’) for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of the ones that are left were not part of the deal because they were considered more dangerous or because their crimes were more vicious.

Among the leaders of the strike are these (according to Israeli government sources):

-Abbas a-Sayyid – Senior Hamas activist. He was sentenced to 35 life sentences for his role in the attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover eve in 2002 [30 dead, 140 injured].

-Muhanned Sharrim – Senior Hamas activist. He was sentenced to 29 life sentences for his involvement in the attack at the Park Hotel.

-Jamal al-Hur – Hamas activist who was sentenced to five life sentences for his involvement in terrorist attacks and murders. He was responsible for planning the attack at Café Apropo in Tel Aviv (1997) [3 dead, 48 injured].

-Wajdi Joda – Senior activist in the ‘Democratic Front’. He was involved in the suicide attack in Geha interchange (2003) [4 dead, 16 injured].

Just your average ‘political prisoners’, for whom the hearts of numerous ‘human rights’ activists are bleeding.

Finally, I want to discuss the ‘administrative detention’ provision under which 6 of the 1500 strikers are being held, since it is being compared to the Soviet Gulag and worse by the prisoners’ supporters. Administrative detention is used when an individual is deemed to be an immediate threat and where a public charge sheet would have to reveal information about sources or otherwise compromise security. NGO Monitor explains,

Most NGO statements omit the fact that administrative detention is a common procedure used by democratic and rights-respecting states around the world in security-related cases, including the US and the UK. Israel’s detention law meets and often exceeds the due process standards required by criminal procedure and human rights law [Esp. including the 4th Geneva Convention -- ed.]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/palestinian-hunger-strikers-not-innocent/2012/05/13/

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