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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘war’

NPR’s Jihad

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

NPR is hard at work using our taxpayer dollars to advance the propaganda of jihadists. The Goebbels-style ad campaign of Hamas-CAIR is getting enormous support from an outrageously compromised NPR. You can put a happy child’s face on mass murder, but it’s still mass murder.

DC ad jihad

Our campaign (right) makes the point that minimizing jihad (by CAIR) is minimizing mass murder and cultural annihilation.

NPR’s Monique Parsons goes overboard in her fervor to please Hamas in America (CAIR). She hits the ground running in her first sentence about “an advertising battle going on over the Arabic term jihad.” It’s not that “Arabic” is wrong. But it’s misleading. Jihad is a religious mandate, and it’s an Islamic term, it is a religious term. Arabic is the language of Islam.

Parsons at NPR says our ads “present jihadists as violent.” Uh, no, they are violent. They are killing non-Muslims and more secular Muslims at mind numbing speed. Counter jihad blogs cover the mass slaughter, subjugation, oppression and misogyny every day from Nigeria to Thailand, Ethiopia to Bangladesh, Egypt to Zanzibar, Mali, Malaysia, Iran, et al.

Parsons goes on to make the segment about the duel meaning of jihad. Tell that to the hundreds of millions of victims of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilations and enslavements. The sick slave mentality of the media is vomit-inducing.

Parsons happily goes along with Hamas-CAIR’s ruse of using women and children as human shields, as a prop for jihad. The tragic irony here is that countless women and children are victims of the jihadists war on innocent civilians. The horror. Here again we see the poisonous fruit of the left’s primitive motives — they work only off emotion and not reason. Parson feels and thus acts, despite the body count.

Parsons never mentions CAIR’s un-indicted co-conspirator status in the largest Hamas funding trial in our nation’s history or that the US government named them a Muslim Brotherhood proxy in that same criminal court case. Many members of their leadership are serving jail time for terror related offenses, but in Parsons’s way of thinking (I should say feeling), this is clearly unrelated to a news story on jihad. Got that?

But this is another reason why our ads are so effective. These ads expose the grotesque bias of a media aligned with the jihad force. This may get reporters in with their leftist peers and compromised editors, but the millions of Americans and freedom lovers abroad think these tools are idiots. They know. The tens of thousands who showed up at our ground zero mosque protests know. The millions of Americans who opposed it and support anti-sharia laws know.

Listen to the NPR radio report here or read it here. It could have been written by Qaradawi himself.

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How Arab Governments Manage the Israel Issue

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“They got them poor boys makin’ frontal assaults with fixed bayonets on that damned ridge and they can’t see the damned Nips that are shootin’ at ‘em….There just ain’t no sense in that….”

“Yeah, some goddamn glory-happy officer wants another medal, I guess, and the guys get shot up for it. The officer gets the medal and goes back to the States, and he’s a big hero. Hero, my ass; getting troops slaughtered ain’t being no hero.”

–Front-line Marines talking on Peleliu, 1943, in E.B. Sledge, With the Old Breed, p. 103 A reader has asked an excellent question. Is it that Arab leaders (and Iranian leaders today) actually believe they’ll wipe Israel off the map? Do they want to do so? Or are they just using this issue cynically to mobilize support for themselves and distract their people’s attention from their domestic failings?

As a starting point, it should be emphasized that using the Israel issue is so attractive and useful because there is a lot of popular support for this attitude. Such a view is deeply rooted in the self-conception of Arabs and Muslims due to their ideology and goals. The “neo-conservative” concept–based on a view of Communist states in Europe–that the pro-democratic masses are being held back by authoritarian rulers who force them to mouth slogans they don’t believe–doesn’t apply so well with the Middle East.

Yet long-term indoctrination has also contributed to this view over the decades as well. Moreover, Muslim Kurds, Turks, and Iranians are far less obsessed with the issue, showing the relative importance of the Arab factor. Still, though, the same thing is now arguable with Islam, when wanting to destroy Israel becomes almost a requirement. On the contrary, however, the Israel card has ceased to protect dictators in Iraq after 2003 and in Syria today.

In other words, there is a long-term and popular basis for this passion but the temperature can be turned up or down by events and rulers.

So the answer, of course, depends on the leader, country, and time. Briefly, I’d say that virtually all Arab leaders have wanted to wipe out Israel but that some have decided that success was impossible and that trying to do so was too costly and risky.

A clear way to put it is this: If they could have pressed a button and Israel would have disappeared, almost none of them would have hesitated. But if you have to spend huge amounts of money, fight full-scale wars, and face the possibility (and increasingly they knew the likelihood) of being defeated that was different.

And while the issue was the top priority of the Palestinian Arabs, the leaders of states also had other issues to consider.

Over time in the Arab nationalist era (1952-2012), more were convinced that it was just too hard and dangerous to fight Israel, at least directly. The problem is that the rise of Islamism starts over from the beginning. Oh sure, say the Islamists, the nationalists failed or didn’t even try because they were cowards, had the wrong ideology and were too eager to be friendly with the West.

But with the Islamist approach, in which Allah’s word is followed and everyone is willing to sacrifice himself, things will be different. There is also an element of cynicism even among these folk.

In addition, another way to look at this issue is that some leaders at times believed their own propaganda. And often the nationalist intelligentsia, clerics, and activists believe total victory was not only possible but inevitable.

Remember, too, that these people have their own view of Israel (Yasir Arafat discussed this point in detail) as a failed nation that could not continue to exist—especially if faced with constant terrorism—because it was weak, decadent, divided, and Jews could never constitute a nation. Never underestimate the factor of profoundly believed disinformation in the Middle East. Just because it isn’t true doesn’t mean millions of people don’t fervently believe it.

So far we have true belief in total victory and Israel’s extinction plus cynical manipulation of the Israel card. There is a third element, peer pressure. Every leader and politician with few exceptions has known that to be less stridently anti-Israel or to admit openly that victory wasn’t possible would be most dangerous to his career.

Ed Koch and New York’s Fighting Generation

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The last sentence on Ed Koch’s tombstone reads: “Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II.”

The preceding two lines engraved on the headstone of the former New York City mayor, who died on February 1 at the age of 88, declare that “He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people.” The stone also includes the first line of the Shema in Hebrew and English.

Unfortunately, the Koch obituaries in New York City’s three major daily newspapers devoted just one or two flimsy sentences to his pivotal wartime experiences (1943-46), and none even mentioned that he fought in the outstanding 104th (Timberwolf) Infantry Division for a month in the fall of 1944.

Additionally, at his funeral at Temple Emanu-El on February 4, none of the eulogists, who included former president Bill Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Israeli consul general in New York Ido Aharoni, discussed Mayor Koch’s World War II service. Only Koch’s law partner, James F. Gill, said in passing that Koch served “as a soldier in World War II.”

Ironically, an “appreciation” of Koch in the Forward by Jonathan Soffer, a history professor and author of Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City, erroneously stated that he “joined the 104th Infantry Division, and fought against the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in the spring of 1944.”

In reality, the only fighting in the “spring of 1944” in northwest Europe occurred during the season’s last two weeks beginning on D-Day, June 6, 1944, when the Americans, British and Canadians stormed ashore in Normandy.

But the Allies were then bottled up in northern Normandy until the last week of July 1944, when the American-led breakout (Operation Cobra) occurred, and the Second, Third, Fourth and Sixth Armored divisions swept down the Cotentin Peninsula and demolished the entire left flank of the Wehrmacht’s defenses. By early September, in conjunction with the Franco-American invasion of the French Rivera on August 15, 1944, the American-dominated Allied armies had liberated most of France.

Ed Koch’s 104th Infantry Division, commanded by the highly competent General Terry de la Mesa Allen, first entered combat in late October 1944, when it was assigned to the Canadian First Army. In Citizen Koch, a 1992 autobiography, Koch provides a brief and confusing account of his combat record, writing that his “frontline duty was curtailed after about three months by another accident.”

But since the 104th Infantry Division entered combat on October 23, 1944, and since Koch said his “combat duty” ended in November 1944, he could not have been on the frontlines for more than five weeks. It’s important to realize, however, that many 15,000-soldier American infantry divisions suffered severe casualty rates in their battles with the highly skilled Wehrmacht in northwest and central Europe between June 6, 1944 and May 8, 1945. The website of the 104th Infantry Division’s Veterans Association states that 34,000 men served in this division, which means it had 19,000 replacement soldiers.

The commanding officer of the Timberwolves, General de la Mesa Allen, was even more intense than General George Patton, his superior officer in North Africa and Sicily. In these campaigns between November 1942 and August 1943, Allen ably led the fabled First Infantry Division, and his assistant division commander was Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who would win the Medal of Honor for his uncommon bravery and competence with the Fourth Infantry Division on Utah Beach on D-Day.

A month after D-Day, General Roosevelt, son of the 26th president, died of a heart attack and is buried in the Omaha Beach Cemetery next to his brother Quentin Roosevelt, who was killed twenty-six years earlier flying for the U.S. Army Air Service in World War I. Another great New York City mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, also flew in General John J. Pershing’s Air Service in World War I. (My maternal grandfather, David Schneiderman, and his brother Reuben, born on the Lower East Side in 1892 and 1894, respectively, were among the 250,000 Jewish Americans who served honorably in World War I.)

The Koch obituaries in the major New York dailies also omitted the fact that on April 11, 1945, the Timberwolves and their brother division, the sterling Third Armored Division, liberated the notorious Nordhausen/Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp, where the Nazis built the V-1 and V -2 rockets that wreaked such human and physical devastation on London in 1944 and 1945.

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.

Palestinians’ Nazi-Style Youth Movement Prepares for Jihad

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Thousands of Palestinian schoolchildren have been receiving military training in the Gaza Strip to prepare them for jihad against Israel.

According to Mohamed Siam, a senior official with the Hamas-run ministry, some 9,000 high school children have already joined 36 camps throughout the Gaza Strip and are being taught how to use various types of weapons and handle explosives.

Hamas says that the purpose of the camps is to prepare Palestinian children, both militarily and psychologically, for the “liberation of Palestine, from the Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea,” in other words, all of Israel.

How can anyone talk about the two-state solution when thousands of Palestinian children are being trained to use weapons and explosives to replace Israel with an Islamic state? Does Mahmoud Abbas really believe that these schoolchildren will ever accept his strategy of peace with Israel? These are questions the West needs to ask itself before once again pressing for a two-state solution.

The training is being held under the supervision of the Hamas government’s Ministry of Education, and the training camps have been named Al-Futuwwa [meaning, spiritual chivalry].

According to Wikipedia, Al-Futuwwa was the name of the Hitler-Jugend [Hitler Youth] style of pan-Arab fascistic and nationalistic youth movement that existed in Iraq in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1938, the Al-Futuwwa youth organization sent a delegate to the Nuremberg Nazi party rally, and in turn hosted the Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach. In 1941, the fascistic pan-Arab Al-Muthanna Club and its Al-Futuwwa movement participated in theFarhud attack on Baghdad’s Jewish community.

Last week, during a graduation ceremony for thousands of school children, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared that his movement was planning to establish a military academy for training and educating seventh and ninth graders. The goal, he said, is to prepare Palestinian children for jihad against the “Zionist entity.”

Addressing the cadets, Haniyeh declared: “You are the future leaders. You will march your people toward freedom and dignity. The Al-Futuwwa will end in victory and the liberation of all Palestine, “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

Not surprisingly, parents in the Gaza Strip have not protested against this form of child abuse. Many parents, in fact, seem to like the idea that their children are being trained how to handle explosives and various types of weapons.

More disturbing is that only a few of the dozens of Western-funded human rights organizations that operate in the Gaza Strip have raised their voices against Hamas’s abuse of children. Even the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which was created to work for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection, has yet to condemn Hamas for recruiting school children to its military apparatus.

Many of Hamas’s children will undoubtedly be sent to the battlefront during the next round of fighting with Israel. Some will also be dispatched on suicide missions against the “Zionist enemy,” while others will be provided with assault rifles and rockets to be used against Israeli targets.

By poisoning the hearts and minds of schoolchildren, Hamas is raising an entire generation of Palestinians on glorification of suicide bombers, jihad and terrorism.

And this is happening at a time when some governments and leaders in the West are talking about the need to revive the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel — and at a time when the Palestinian Authority is making efforts to achieve unity with Hamas.

These are questions that Abbas needs to ask himself as he continues to seek unity with Hamas; and that the West might do well to ask itself, too.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

One Hundred Wars

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

The French are in Mali now, being shot at by Islamists armed with the very same weapons that France airdropped into Libya. Either those or the weapons that France sold to Gaddafi in the preceding period when European countries were competing to be his arms dealers. The joke is equally bleak, either way.

It used to be that decades would have to pass before a bad policy unraveled, but these days it only takes a few years to go from arming a tyrant to arming the rebels to shooting at the rebels.

In less time than it takes a pop star to go from fresh faced to train wrecked, Saif Gaddafi went from the toast of European academics to a mass murderer, Gaddafi’s opposition went from Al Qaeda terrorists to brave rebels, then the brave rebels, many of whom were actually Iraqis, Tunisians and Jordanians, shot up an American diplomatic mission, hooked up with some of Gaddafi’s Tuaregs to take over Northern Mali, shot them up and began carving out their own Islamist Emirate.

In barely two years, Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt, went from screaming that Egyptian children “must feed on hatred” to the toast of foreign diplomatic circles as the same geniuses behind the invasion of Libya try to make the best of handing over the most powerful country in the region into the hands of a terrorist organization.

In that same period, Syria’s Assad went from the pages of Vogue and meetings with John Kerry to being the most reviled man in the world. But two years from now, if he survives the worst that the Syrian rebels, most of whom are Al Qaeda or wish they were, you might well find him meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry while his family gets another four pages in Vogue Magazine.

In two years, the evil ruthless dictators who kill and torture their own people have been replaced by ruthless democratically elected dictators who kill and torture their own people. In Egypt and Tunisia things are worse now than they were under the “dictators” and unsurprisingly the one thing that they can all agree on is that it’s America’s fault.

The press can’t be expected to pay much attention to these events. The media will provide the obligatory coverage of Muslim Brotherhood torture chambers in Egypt and the labor riots in Tunisia.  But it would really like to spend its time lamenting Israel’s fall to the far right by covering the rise of a political party which holds the shocking and outrageous position that the twenty year old peace process has failed and should be wrapped up and put away.

It seemed like only a few weeks ago that the cognoscenti were enthusiastically predicting a new Middle East, sending reporters in droves to be kidnapped and molested at the celebrations of freedom and democracy. And now the new Middle East looks a lot like the old Middle East.

Columnists still pen the occasional column urging patience. Rome wasn’t burned down in a day, they say, all revolutions take time. Look how long it took Germany, Russia and Japan to stop killing millions of people and get down to the business of making engines, accidents and wristwatches. They stop by Doha, take in the stores packed full of the finest French and Italian luxury goods, the terrified Filipino maids and the surly Thai workers and proclaim that the Middle East is just like Europe.

Arab Spring fever got the U.K. and the U.S., both of whose leaders had replaced unpopular predecessors associated with unpopular Middle Eastern wars, and France, which had been the poster brat for not going into Iraq, so fired up that they decided to bomb Gaddafi in the name of democracy.

Since the U.N. wasn’t about to approve their regime change operation, the Libya liberators bombed the country’s air force and then its armored vehicles in the name of protecting civilians. France got so caught in the excitement of protecting civilians, that it began airdropping assault rifles, RPGs and anti-tank missiles, despite the arms embargo. When asked about it, their spokesman explained that the French government was just helping civilians protect themselves. And an anti-tank missile certainly packs a lot of protection.

From Sad-ish to Glad-ish

Monday, December 31st, 2012

I’ve been chugging along for the last few days trying to think what to write, not feeling there was much to say. The wonderful thing about the flat of the roller coaster is that time seems to stretch without a sense of urgency. It’s so boring on the flat of the roller coaster and I am grateful for boring. I am grateful that I can go to sleep at night and not worry that my phone may not be charged enough. Everything is okay; missiles aren’t flying and my sons are home safe. Boring is one of God’s greatest gifts!

Elie is studying engineering; Shmulik is looking into studying computers and Davidi needs a haircut! Aliza is cruising towards her 13th birthday, just as Davidi is in the final days before he turns 17.

My oldest daughter is studying and watching her baby gain words and actions every day. It is amazing how quickly babies learn – at least this one. I know they all must, but I just don’t remember seeing a baby understand so much, so fast, so early.

My children were the most amazing…how is it possible that a grandchild can be as amazing (perhaps even a bit more amazing in some ways?). He calls me “Savta” – grandma in Hebrew, and my heart melts. He gives me a kiss and I am unsure I can ever put him down. You can talk to him and he talks back. He was over today and when Aliza went upstairs for a minute, he walked over to the steps, looked up and called, “Iza! Down!” He walked around the room identifying things, calling out words. This is the beauty of the calm oasis of today.

Sometimes I feel that something is coming – and it’s scary. I don’t know what it is, if it is. I saw a report that 400 people were killed in Syria today – bodies are being found and there are reports of chemical weapons being used. Iran remains an open sore; a danger on the edge. The Egyptians aren’t particularly stable; God knows what is happening in Lebanon and Jordan issued a warning to Jews last week not to visit dressed in apparel that easily identifies them as Jews…for their own safety of course. Personally, I’d cut to the chase on that one and tell Jews not to visit, but never mind.

Driving home today with Elie on a beautiful sunny day, I felt this pressure, this concern as we drove up the mountain to Maale Adumim. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things. For one thing, I’m busy at work – two courses running, a new writer starting, and to top it off, we’re coordinating an amazing national conference for February 7 (www.megacomm.org).

The Executive Director of an organization wrote to me explaining their interest in attending the conference. The conversation turned a bit personal and wanting to show that I have an interest in the work they do, I mentioned that I was “A Soldier’s Mother.” I provided a link to the blog – hoping she would come here and read a bit and see that we share common interests.

And in the response – sadness turned to a smile. “Oh my goodness,” she wrote, “YOU are asoldiersmother?…I read your blog and have shared your pieces often.”

I guess it’s my ego, but I find that so cool. I like when people say, “oh, I’ve heard of you” or “I read your blog.” But, I just loved that “YOU” are a soldier’s mother? I’m not sure, but I think I wrote back, “I am, I am.” If I didn’t write it back, I certainly thought it.

I am, you see – for 31 days this year, an active soldier’s mother; and for 365 days a year for the next 25 years or so, the mother soldiers that can be called – any time, without warning. I’ve experienced the “Tzav Shmona” – an immediate mobilization and I can tell you that I pray to God I never experience it again. I can still feel the air leaving my body when I heard Lauren tell me that they were on the way back to Maale Adumim for Elie to get his army gear, that he’d been called in.

Will the UN Peacekeeping Force on the Israel-Syrian Border be Removed?

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Earlier we posted about first-hand testimony from Syria confirming the scale and purpose of that rogue state’s chemical weapons arsenal.

Turns out that already Monday, with scant attention from the news media, the UN was told much the same thing. From a Times of Israel report:

The United Nations peacekeeping force deployed on the Israeli-Syrian border has begun taking precautions against the possible use of chemical weapons, and may collapse in the face of a Syrian regime offensive, France’s ambassador to the UN said on Monday.

Gérard Araud told London-based daily Al-Hayat that clashes between Syrian government and opposition forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights have sparked fears in Western countries concerning the safety of their nationals serving at the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

Some of these countries, Araud said, may withdraw their men from the force, known as UNDOF, as a result. “Such a situation may bring about the collapse of UNDOF and the security arrangements between Israel and Syria which it represents,” Araud told Al-Hayat. [more]

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force was created by a UN Security Council decision on May 31, 1974 after the agreed disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights. UNDOF’s role is currently carried out by a deployment of 1,034 troops sent by Austria, Croatia, India, Japan and Philippines; plus 84 local (Syrian) civilians and 41 international civilian staff. (We had cause to write about them some months ago, when mortar fire crashed into Israel from the Syrian side of the border – see “25-Sep-12: Incoming fire on the northern border“.)

The 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement Between Israel And Syria, brokered by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, created a security zone between the two countries and established UNDOF. Its contribution to preserving the often-tense peace between Syria and Israel is in their  inspections (“not less often that once every fifteen days“) of the buffer zone along the Israel-Syria border. But that value depends on UNDOF actually having men and equipment in place to do the job. The Security Council was told Monday by its head of peacekeeping services, Herve Ladsous, that

gas masks and additional armored vehicles were sent to UNDOF as a safety precaution against a possible chemical attack by the Assad regime.

But as the French are suggesting, it’s at least questionable whether measures like that will keep the UN forces there. Japan already announced a week ago [report] that because of the “deteriorating security situation in Syria“, the 47 Japanese soldiers serving in UNDOF are going to go home now instead of in March 2013 when their tour of duty is supposed to end.

Way back in 1956, soldiers of the UN Emergency Force were stationed in Sinai near Israel’s borders with Egypt and Egyptian-occupied Gaza. Their removal from the scene came very quickly, and in the end was a simple matter of the Egyptians demanding on May 16, 1967 that they go. Wikipedia notes that U Thant, the Secretary General of the UN,

“acted to effect the Egyptian order without consulting either the Security Council or the General Assembly. Most of the forces were evacuated by the end of May”

and full-scale war in the region broke out a week later.

Not that we’re making any comparisons.

Visit This Ongoing War.

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