Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Put Palestinian Tactics, Not Israeli Military Justice, On Trial

Jonathan S. Tobin 20.02.12

Yesterday, the New York Times devoted considerable space to
the story of one Islam Dar Ayyoub, a 15-year-old Palestinian from a village near Ramallah. According to the story, Ayyoub’s childhood was stolen from him when he was thrust into Israel’s military court system a year ago. Ayyoub is the Times’ candidate for the position of poster child for what it calls Israel’s “harsh, unforgiving methods” in dealing with Palestinian violence. But though the purpose of the story was to indict Israel, anyone reading between the lines of Ayyoub’s sob story could see the real villain of this tale is not Israel’s military but the Palestinian “activists” who have exploited their children. They are recruited into gangs explicitly tasked with starting violent confrontations with Israelis by the throwing of stones and other lethal weapons, hoping the soldiers will defend themselves and kill one of the kids.

Ayyoub is depicted as a victim because he gave up his confederates to the Israelis and in particular a local Palestinian adult named Bassem Tamim, who was the overseer of what in any other context would be called a violent youth gang. “Human rights” activists think the prosecution of this person should be scrapped because the kid who dropped the dime on him didn’t have a lawyer or his parents present when he talked. That might be what would happen on an episode of “Law and Order,” but the realities of the Middle East conflict are such that Israel’s tactics are justified.

Getting arrested and questioned by the Israeli military was probably no picnic for Ayyoub. Yet, as the Times reported, he was not tortured. His interrogation was videotaped and reveals nothing the Palestinians could claim was an atrocity. Like many another culprit, he got scared and talked. The result was not an injustice but the arrest of an adult Palestinian who exploited Ayyoub and other village kids in an effort to keep the war against Israel alive. Tamim and other Palestinian terror facilitators train kids to attack soldiers and hope some will be hurt. They are not promoting non-violence but instead are deliberately placing teenagers into harm’s way so as to provide more martyrs for their cause.

As France’s World War One leader, Georges Clemenceau, said, “military justice is to justice as military music is to music.” But the situation on the West Bank is complicated because Israel is still forced to have a security presence in the region in order to prevent attacks on its forces and civilians. Because it is impossible to apply Israel’s own civilian laws in the area, the military uses the laws that existed there before Israeli rule from the British and Jordanian eras. But unlike the courts run by the Palestinian Authority, all terror and violence suspects are given trials and have the chance to defend themselves. The system is, like all justice systems, imperfect, but despite the assumption that Israel’s actions are unfair, there was nothing in the story that doesn’t pass the smell test.

We are told in the conclusion to the piece that Ayyoub, who has been released unharmed and is free to go to school, is afraid of the soldiers. More likely, he is afraid of revenge from other Palestinians who treat people who inform on those involved in violence as “traitors.”

Until the Palestinian leadership is prepared to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state and make peace, Israel will be forced to keep order in the region and to do its best to fend off terrorism and the orchestrated riots that were at the core of the Ayyoub case. The real scandal is the willingness of Palestinians to sacrifice children like Islam Ayyoub on the altar of hate for Israel.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Humanitarian aid provided to Arabs in Judea and Samaria ignored by Media.

Palestinians in the West Bank turn to the
IDF for medical treatments.
A common phenomenon in Judea and Samaria is that many Palestinians turn to the IDF and to Israeli medical emergency services to receive medical attention. Local Arabs, whether ill or wounded, receive immediate life-saving medical treatment regardless of existing security tensions, and with no pre-requisites.

A recent case is that of a two year old infant who was treated by MDA (Magen David Adom) medics and the Cfir battalion medical staff after being critically wounded by his father, who accidently hit him with his car. His family brought him to the main gate at Neve Tsuf, where he received initial treatment. Two weeks later, two Palestinians who fell from a high altitude and were moderately wounded, suffering injuries in their limbs and spinal column, were again brought to the main gate at Neve Tsuf, where they received initial medical treatment by military medical officials and local volunteers. They were later evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah.

Neve Tsuf is one of several Jewish settlements that provide medical care to local Arabs. Israeli medical services provide medical care to Palestinians wounded in car accidents throughout Judea and Samaria, which involve, primarily, Palestinian vehicles.

An agreement was signed between Palestinian Red Crescent and the MDA, ensuring the use of MDA's advanced equipment by Red Crescent. By virtue of this agreement, Red Crescent ambulances pass through military checkpoints without inspection, and occasionally abuse this privilege and transport weapons.

Medical treatment by Israeli medical officials is provided even during periods of increased security tensions, such as Arab riots, stone throwing and various assaults on Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, including an attack on an ambulance from Neve Tsuf by stone throwers over a month ago.
And yet, the humanitarian aid provided to Arabs in Judea and Samaria has not been picked up or published by the media.

MK Aryeh Eldad of The National Union party, a former commanding officer of the military medical corps in the IDF, stated: "In any case when emergency medical care is required, it is to be provided regardless of gender, race, nationality or religion, whether he's a friend or foe. Thus, the IDF and MDA must offer medical care if it is needed immediately, eligibility for medical insurance not withstanding. Every doctor and medic in the army takes an oath to conduct themselves in this fashion. The world at large knows little about these occurrences; "the world" is more interested in incidents of harm brought to Arabs rather then cases of treating them. There is no doubt the world should know more about these activities".

Jerusalem district MDA spokesman, Danny Rotenberg, added that the MDA, as a national rescue organization, provides emergency care services throughout the entire State of Israel, including Judea and Samaria. He said that the population of Judea and Samaria includes an Arab segment, and when the MDA receives an emergency call, it is clear to them that they are morally obligated to provide medical care via the medical teams dispersed throughout Judea and Samaria.

When asked about the funding of medical treatment for Palestinians, Rotenberg points out that it's a sensitive issue. The MDA never stipulates the provision of medical care with the ability to pay for it. First, medical care is provided, and then the issue of reimbursement is examined on an individual basis. "We hope that through cooperation in emergency cases of this kind, we are acquiring ambassadors of good will on the basis of the love of human kindness regardless of religion, age or nationality".

I asked for a statement from the director of the security department in the Benyamin regional municipality, Avigdor Shatz: "This phenomenon exists in other settlements in Judea and Samaria, although not as frequently as in Neve Tsuf, which is situated on a main route, and therefore is more accessible to the Palestinian population". He further states that as a professional he offers support to anyone who requires it. "I think this is a part of a basic set of ethics which anyone who provides medical care should have. And this is how we conduct ourselves. The number of Palestinian casualties in car accidents we treat is immense, and does not consist only of those who seek care at the front gate".

When I posed the question about any expressions of gratitude from the Palestinian population and their representatives, he replied that there is a big gap between what actually happens and between what the politicians report on our side, as well as what is publicized outwardly.

"This aspect is of less interest to me, I don't think the Palestinian Authority has expressed any gratitude except in two cases which occurred in the Palestinian Authority's territory. In one case, a large purification facility collapsed while the concrete was being laid, and we came and rescued tens of casualties and treated them. In another case, a building in El-Bira collapsed; an entire floor fell in, we arrived with other medical teams such as the IDF's search and rescue unit, and provided medical care and evacuated the wounded. In the first case the engineer's company which designed the facility published a newspaper ad thanking us, and in the second case the governor of Ramallah thanked us personally".

As for any cooperation with Red Crescent, he stated that the MDA is more properly dispersed as opposed to Red Crescent which is usually only stationed in the large cities. The MDA has ambulances that provide regional services based out of the settlements. Therefore if there is an accident near Shiloh, for instance, the Red Crescent will come out of Ramallah or Shchem, as opposed to the MDA ambulances which come from a nearby settlement and provide quick and immediate care. Red Crescent will arrive toward the end of the event and get involved only with the final evacuation. MDA’s connection with Red Crescent is very official; the civil administration acts as the middleman.There are also many accounts of Arabs rescuing Israeli casualties, primarily after car accidents. We can actually find a measure of cooperation in these instances.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tu Bishvat expresses down-to-earth Zionism.

My Word: Trees and roots
By LIAT COLLINS02/04/2012 22:10
Tu Bishvat expresses down-to-earth Zionism.

It’s my kind of holiday. Short, sweet and environmentally friendly. It is also the most quintessentially Israeli festival. Tu Bishvat, the New Year for Trees.Of course Jews in the Diaspora mark it as well, but it is like sowing seeds in the wrong soil. To truly appreciate the holiday, you have to be here – see supermarkets boasting special sections of dried fruits; know a schoolchild excited about going on a tree-planting trip; and hear songs about trees and flowers on the radio. Perhaps above all, you need to pass fragrant almond blossoms and automatically associate them with the coming of the holiday.

For some reason almond trees have come to symbolize the festival in a nutshell.They might not be one of the biblical Seven Species, but the shkedia, as it is known around here, has a status almost rivaling that of blossoming cherry trees in Japan.

No Jewish kid gets past kindergarten in Israel without knowing the words to “Hashkedia porahat,” “The almond tree is blossoming.” And, while Christmas can come and go without very much attention, the Holiday for Trees (Hag ha’ilanot) is a big deal in the Jewish state – uniting religious and secular.

An increasing number of Israelis now hold a Tu Bishvat seder, in which fruit dishes are served and the four cups of wine (reminiscent of the Passover seder) are a combination of red and white.Viticulture is a developing field in Israel. Long gone are the days when the country produced only sweet Kiddush wine for religious purposes. Israeli wines are now winning awards and praise from top connoisseurs.

The environment is a global growth industry. Israeli R&D is famous worldwide for its contribution to water management, alternative energy and agriculture.Personal favorites are cherry tomatoes and watermelons of a size that anyone can pick up with ease at their supermarket (although what would an informal Israeli gathering be without sharing cold chunks of avatiah and a bowl of seeds to spit out without inhibition?).

It seems there is no end to what the fertile imaginations of scientists can come up with. An acquaintance of mine once shocked polite company with a discussion on the sex life of an Iris; she was researching the flower, hoping to develop a hardier strain. I have also met researchers working hard on stopping flies and mosquitoes reproducing.ISRAEL BEING Israel, there is a political angle to everything. Foresters used to quip that the Green Line derived its name partly from the trees planted along it. Ironically – given the symbolism of the olive branch – there have often been clashes between Palestinians and Jews during the olive-picking season.Sadly, too, many forest fires have been deliberately set as a form of lowgrade terrorism, literally trying to destroy signs of Jewish roots.Fortunately, however, environmental issues also create common ground: Few things can bring Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians together like the need to solve environmental problems which do not recognize man-made borders.

Every year, political parties choose to make a statement by where they hold their tree-planting ceremonies. Jewish texts and traditions stress the intimate connection between humanity and its relationship to nature. In particular, the planting and care taking of trees has always been encouraged, both for the benefit of present and future generations. [Editors note-To date the Jewish National Fund (JNF) have planted in excess of 240 million trees since 1901, thus Israel is the only country in the world starting the new century with more trees than that of the previous century.]

But no other parliament in the world marks the Jewish New Year for Trees.The Knesset actually celebrates its birthday on the festival (which this year falls on February 8).Nothing symbolizes the relationship between the early state and the Diaspora as much as the blue box of the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael–Jewish National Fund, known simply as hakufsa hak’hula.

Today, the organization specializes in thinking outside of the box. It’s now possible to donate via the Web and funds go to a range of environmental projects way beyond forestry and tree-planting.

Tu Bishvat expresses down-to-earth Zionism. It highlights the link of the Jewish religion and people to their homeland. Strangely, while environmentalism is close to becoming a new world religion, Zionism is out of fashion.Tu Bishvat is the perfect opportunity for pointing out to the younger generation that it’s fine to be proud of your roots, your homeland and the unique nature of Judaism.

Biodiversity is an environmental buzzword, but in politically correct circles, peoples are expected to display a certain oneness.Try to imagine a world in which all countries looked the same with identical flora and fauna and people all dressed alike and doing exactly the same things. Where’s the color? Where’s the flavor? Where’s the fragrance? The New Year for Trees heralding spring and rejuvenation is the time to dare to be different – to be ourselves and openly display a love of the land.It is important to get our hands dirty and dig back into the past, while looking to the future.

The need for affordable housing obviously creates a conflict with environmental interests of preserving green areas – and even non-green areas, like sand dunes.

Just as I wouldn’t want to see housing projects springing up everywhere, care should be taken not to overly interfere with the natural rhythm of life.

We might be proud of having made the desert bloom, but future generations could look on the destruction of the Samar sand dunes in the South the way we now see the draining of the Hula swamps in the North – a mistake that can never be completely rectified.And while attempts at preserving the Dead Sea are admirable, grandiose canal projects linking the Red or Mediterranean could end up throwing out the proverbial baby with the fresh seawater. It is not yet clear what effect the imported water would have on the unique composition of the Dead Sea.

Even eco-tourism has its drawbacks.Building a hotel in the middle of the wilderness is counterproductive, however in tune with nature it looks.Tu Bishvat is a great time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern living, enjoy simple pleasures, and make a New Year resolution to turn over a new leaf. Keep in mind, the best things in life are tree.

The writer is editor of The International Jerusalem Post.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


by Isi LeiblerFebruary 1, 2012

We are told, day after day, that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is a genuine moderate committed to achieving a peace settlement with Israel. In addition to the international community, even some Israelis – admittedly a dwindling minority – also chant this mantra.

Abbas and his spokesman Saeb Erekat bolster this theme by uttering soothing statements in English, endorsing peace to the gullible international community. Yet they speak with forked tongues because in Arabic to their own people, they deny Israel’s right to exist and promote vicious hatred against Jews.
They also claim to have reneged violence. But the PA never conceded that terrorism was immoral. They simply concluded that having failed to achieve their objectives by violence, their goals could best be promoted by temporarily suspending terrorism in order to gain Western support. Abbas made it clear that he "had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965" and was only opposed to terrorist attacks "at this time" for tactical reasons and that "in the future things may change." Yet, even within this framework, Fatah has still succeeded in killing more Israelis than Hamas.

The true objectives of the PA are reflected in the poisonous hatred against Jews and Israel inculcated to their people through the broad range of institutions they control, permeating every level of society– from kindergarten and upwards.

This can be traced to the very inception of the Oslo Accords. Before that, the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis, whilst far from ideal, was certainly better than now, when polls indicate that 84% of Palestinians endorse the murder of Israelis.

In addition to denying Jewish sovereignty, the PA from the outset indulged in the most horrendous demonization, describing Jews as the descendants of apes and pigs, comparing them to Nazis whilst simultaneously praising Hitler, accusing them of stealing Palestinian body parts, using human blood during Passover, promoting AIDs, and many other loathsome blood libels.

This defamatory torrent impacts directly on Israel’s diminished standing in the international community.
In response to this, an important book compiled by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik titled "Deception: Betraying the Peace Process”, has just been released. It meticulously documents the poisonous behavior of the Palestinian Authority during 2010 and 2011 throughout the broad range of institutions they control. It will become an important source for pro-Israeli activists and provide irrefutable evidence in response to those denying the criminality pervading Palestinian society.

Itamar Marcus founded Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) in 1966 as a nonprofit organization to monitor the Palestinian media. Its documentation of Palestinian behavior, including systematically taping State Palestinian TV, became important sources for parliamentarians and serious journalists throughout the world. His briefing of U.S. legislators was a major factor contributing towards the prevailing pro-Israel orientation of Congress and the American people.

The book and the PMW website ( chronicle obscene examples of incitement, especially in the wake of the release of the terrorists in the Schalit exchange. Chairman Abbas, who publicly embraced these mass murderers, summed up the PA approach when he stated "every prisoner is for us a saint and we must exult him”. He subsequently appointed Mahmoud Damra, a notorious terrorist, as his advisor.

The state-controlled Palestinian media sanctified the murders committed by the released terrorists. Thus Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who orchestrated the suicide bombing at the Jerusalem Sbarro restaurant which killed 22 civilians including seven children, was quoted proudly proclaiming she would do it again; Abbas al-Sayed who perpetrated the Passover suicide attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya which killed 30 Israelis was described by Abbas as a "hero" and "symbol of the Palestinian Authority".

Only recently, whilst commemorating the 47th anniversary of Fatah, the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, the PAs highest religious authority appointed by Abbas, proclaimed that the killing of Jews was a major Islamic goal required before the Islamic Resurrection. The moderator introducing him, reiterated that "our war against the descendants of apes and pigs is a war of religion and faith".

And just last week PMW reported how the PA State TV conveyed “greetings” to Hakim Awad, the barbaric and unrepentant murderer of the Vogel family which included a 4 month infant and children aged 3 and 11 years. His mother was honored on the program and conveyed “greetings to dear Hakim, the apple of my eye, who carried out the operation in Itamar, sentenced to 5 life sentences”. His aunt also related to “Hakim Awad, the hero, the legend”. How can people claiming to be promoting human rights conceivably associate themselves with a regime which adulates such monsters on its controlled TV outlets?

The book itself chillingly provides documentation demonstrating how an entire generation is brainwashed into absorbing a culture of death and slaughter. The Palestinian children's programs promoting hatred and evil are incorporated into textbooks, music videos and summer camps all blatantly indoctrinating the sanctity of Shahada (martyrdom) and murder of Jews.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, purportedly the most moderate of all Palestinian leaders, is cited for his speech praising four terrorists and sponsoring of a Palestinian children’s summer camp in which the participants were divided into groups labeled with the names of terrorists including a notorious bus hijacker.
Marcus and Zilberdik point out how, in the course of one day, a Palestinian child can walk on a street named after the mass murderer Abu Jihad, to a school named after the founder of Hamas, where he will read hate-filled textbooks, work in a computer room named after a suicide bomber, spend the afternoon at a soccer tournament with the teams named after suicide bombers, go in the evening to the Abu Iyad community center, the orchestrator of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and finally return home to view anti-Semitic cartoons on TV before going to bed.

After reading this book, a number of questions come to mind.
The U.S. Congress was considering terminating the funding of the PA general budget unless it terminated incitement, glorification of suicide bombers as heroic role models, payment of over $5 million a month for “salaries” to 5500 terrorists in Israeli prisons, and pensions to the families of terrorists. Why did Prime Minister Netanyahu ask them to desist?

Why does Prime Minister Netanyahu so frequently pay lip service to Abbas as a peace partner and, other than very recently, fail to systematically highlight the criminality of the Palestinian leaders? If our Prime Minister agreed not to publicly highlight these evils in order to placate President Obama, we are likely to pay a bitter price. If the civilized world is made aware of the culture of death and hatred which permeate Palestinian society, we would be in a far stronger position in the ongoing war of ideas.

And finally, how can President Obama and Western countries justify their repeated vitriolic condemnations of Israeli construction in Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem and yet have so little to say about a society which indoctrinates its children with such a barbaric worldview? How can Secretary of State Hillary Clinton validate her silence over these issues after having so passionately condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel when she was a Senator?

After reviewing these horrific texts which document such a savage state-imposed Jihadi culture, it is surely delusional to view the current Palestinian leadership as peace partners. Such a calculated policy of deception reflected by the disparity between reality and duplicitous statements designed for foreign consumption is not merely an expression of malice. It is a manifestation of a determined policy to poison the people against any possible accommodation with Israel. It provides a devastating response to the question raised in the introduction to the book. Was a genuine peace process ever intended?