The cartoon you see above is from the Legal Grounds Campaign, which I co-chair with Jeff Daube. I ask please that you put this on your Facebook pages and on your websites, and send this out to everyone you can. We are eager to have this go viral!
The cartoon can also be seen on our Facebook page:
The issue is clear: Far too much attention is being paid by the EU to the issue of Israeli “settlements” when terrorism should have absolute precedence. I will be following with more on EU positions on Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria, with which Legal Grounds takes serious exception.
We need good news sooo badly. Let’s start with this video. As grim as the situation is, it provides a bit of hope:
The day after the terror attack in Brussels, “people gathered in Place de La Bourse and lit candles amid spontaneous singing and guitar…Locals and foreigners filled part of the square with candles and flags from dozens of countries.
Amid the display of national and international unity, a few people went out of their way to exclude Israel…
”In an incident Sunday around noon, locals intervened. A crowd confronted a man who, after praying in Arabic, shouted “Palestine” and anti-Israel slogans — calling Israel a “terrorist state.” The incident was caught on video.
”The white-haired man, wearing a head covering favored by North African Muslims, stepped on other flags and candles in an effort to reach an Israeli flag located near the center of the memorial site. Dozens of Belgians began booing him.
”Several shouted in Flemish and French: ‘Shameful!’ Others shouted in French: ‘Everyone!’ in a call for others to join the booing.
”When the man grabbed the Israeli flag, another man shoved him to the ground and wrestled it from his hands amid applause from onlookers. Two police officers made their way to the scene, and after a short exchange, escorted the shouting man away from the memorial. When the man again shouted in Arabic, one of the officers shoved him.”
See it happen here:
When Israel named Dani Dayan as ambassador to Brazil, the Brazilian government balked because of his “settlement” ties (he had been head of the Yesha Council). For many weeks, the Israeli government held tight on that appointment. But now there has been a reversal, and the outcome is most welcome: Dayan will become the Consul General in New York this summer.
Credit: Gil Yonhanan
At an anti-BDS conference on Monday, Dayan said, “Those who don’t want me in Brasilia, will get me in the capital of the world and to me that is a victory. I believe I can revolutionize Israeli public relations in the US, whose beating heart is in New York.” (Emphasis added)
More power to him!
Before his posting had been announced, Dayan referred to JStreet as “un-Jewish.” Now he concedes that this was not a “diplomatic” comment, but he did not, I notice, say his assessment was in error. JStreet is somewhat less than pleased with his appointment.
A senior 80-person delegation from China, including Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong (pictured below), has been visiting here in Israel. On Tuesday, the vice premier signed an agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu instituting a 10-year, multi-visit visa that will facilitate business and tourist travel. This is one of several agreements to be signed.
Explained Hagai Shagrir, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Northeast Asia department, “When a Chinese tourist or businessman looks [at] where to travel, he looks for two things: where it is easiest in terms of visas, and if there are direct flights with a Chinese airline,” El Al currently runs three direct flights each week to Beijing, and now China’s Hainan Airlines is about to do the same.
In 2015, there was over $9 billion in trade with China, and this amount is expected to grow.
Shagrir noted that, “The Chinese see Israel as a partner who can help in innovation.”
One of the agreements to be signed involves “establishment of Israeli innovation centers in China in the spheres of agriculture, public health, education and entrepreneurship. The value added for Israel as a result of these centers is that they will expose the Chinese working in these fields to Israeli technology and know-how that they otherwise might not have known about.”
Talks on free trade with China have now begun.
At the same time that commercial agreements with China were being signed, another agreement – this one in India – regarding defense, was signed between Israel and India:
”Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. signed a cooperation agreement with India’s Reliance Defense Systems Ltd. on Tuesday that will encompass future deals worth $10 billion, the companies announced in Goa, where the 2016 Defexpo exhibition is taking place.
”The agreement covers cooperation in the production, development and supply of air defense systems, air-to-air missiles and surveillance balloons, Rafael said.” (Emphasis added)
Also visiting here, as guests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a delegation of senior Indonesian journalists. Netanyahu is hoping that their week-long visit will pave the way for a new, enhanced relationship with Indonesia, the largest Muslim country. It is time for full diplomatic ties, he told them, as “the reasons that prevented that in the past are no longer relevant..”
Credit: Haim Zach/GPO
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely recently acknowledged that Israel already has unofficial ties with Jakarta, and that the two countries are in “continuous contact.”
“Despite the lack of diplomatic ties, in 2015 the two countries did some $150 million in trade…”
”Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday night to halt the return of the bodies of terrorists to the Palestinians until further notice.
“The reasoning behind the decision was to prevent opportunities for the Palestinians to have welcoming processions that provide platforms for incitement against Israel.”
It’s about time. Remember the hullabaloo about this a few weeks ago, with Security Minister Erdan refusing to return bodies held by Israel within the Green Line and Defense Minister Ya’alon, as head of the Civil Administration, permitting return in Judea and Samaria? A schizoid situation.
I have no idea why Netanyahu decided to intervene at this particular point in time. But please note carefully the fact that he CAN intervene. As long as Ya’alon was permitting return of bodies, it meant he was receiving a nod from the prime minister.
President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk:
Truman was prepared to take responsibility, and it is a principle that should not be forgotten.
Let’s hope Netanyahu does not reverse his decision.
Most of my readers will undoubtedly remember the whole Duma incident last July, with arson in that village that cost the lives of three members of the Dawabsheh family. At that point there was indication of a long-standing feud between the Dawabsheh clan and another clan in the village, but the possibility of the arson having been part of the feud was never seriously investigated. The clamor both internationally and within certain circles here in Israel was with regard to “Jewish terrorists.” People pointed to the Hebrew graffiti written on the wall of the Dawabsha home as evidence (never mind that there were graphologists who thought it looked like it was written by an Arab).
After an intensive Shin Bet investigation of hilltop youth, which yielded no evidence with regard to the Duma arson, a handful of young Jewish suspects were placed in administrative detention. Ultimately one, Amiram Ben-Uliel, who confessed under extreme duress, was charged with the crime and arrested.
Now there has been another instance of arson in the village of Duma (not the first since the Dawabsheh deaths, either, I would note). The home of another member of the Dawabsheh clan went up in flames. This man, Ibrahim, was reportedly the sole witness in the case against Ben-Uliel (although I have read that what he claims he saw differs from details of the charges against Ben-Uliel).
A Palestinian police member inspects the damage inside a burned-out house belonging to a key witness to an arson attack last year by Jewish extremists that killed a Palestinian family, in the West Bank village of Duma, after fire broke out in the home in the early hours of March 20, 2016. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
However, “the Israel Police and Shin Bet, in a joint statement Sunday night, said mounting evidence indicated it was not a nationalistic attack. ‘The findings thus far at the scene are not consistent with the characteristics of a deliberate arson attack by Jews,’ it said.”
And wait, there is more:
“A Palestinian who claimed to be the victim of a hate crime, reporting earlier this month that Jewish settlers had torched his West Bank home, was found to have fabricated the story, police said Tuesday.
“Military prosecutors have opened an investigation into the report filed by the man, who now faces charges of obstruction of justice, making false claims to authorities and violating public order, according to a statement from police.
“…the man, a resident of the Bethlehem-area town of al-Khader, told Israeli authorities that Jewish settlers had graffitied ‘Death to Arabs’ [in Hebrew] on a wall near his family’s home before setting fire to their property.”
The man’s claim that five Jewish youths were involved was backed-up by his father. Police took this quite seriously, but discovered “no forensic evidence at the scene to corroborate the man’s claims” and found “substantial” discrepancies between the man’s account and eyewitness testimonies.
How about that! And there was Hebrew written at this site too. What a surprise: it seems Arabs can do this.
What would it take for investigators and prosecutors in the Ben-Uliel case to decide to take a hard second look at what they are dealing with?
A variety of anti-terrorist techniques are having an effect on levels of terrorism in Jerusalem, according to a senior police official.
A lull in major attacks is attributed by Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld to “hyper-vigilance, preemptive tactics and extensive intelligence coordination.”
Explained Rosenfeld, “Of course, the strategy is having police units at the right place at the right time, so we have mapped out the different areas where terror attacks could or have taken place.
“Multiple units are carrying out security measures in those areas – constantly guarding and patrolling them by car, motorcycle and foot, with undercover officers on site at all times.”
There are more than 3,500 police officers working together to make this happen, and a Tactical Intelligence Assessment Units keeps all units connected.
Areas being most diligently monitored are the Old City (especially the Damascus Gate, pictured below), the light rail, the Central Bus Station, and all malls and shopping areas.
“…police units are deeply involved in tracking social media sites where potential terrorists are making contact with one another and transferring information.”
Credit: Ronen Zvulun/ Reuters
I have covered above, in the main, good news, or news that has a potential for something good. But the bad news is mind-blowing. Worse than bad. Unendingly unendurable – except that we have to endure, and persist, and reach to make it better. No choice.
See, for example, the article “War and Madness,” by the very savvy Jonathan Spyer. A long but very informative piece that begins with this (emphasis added):
“The cold numbers are the first thing that hit you. Figures telling of a human catastrophe on a scale hard to compute. Suffering on a level to which any rational response seems inadequate – 470,000 people killed, according to the latest estimates; 11.5 percent of the population injured; 45 percent of a country of 22 million made homeless; 4 million refugees and 6.36 million internally displaced persons. Life expectancy is down from 70.5 years in 2010 to an estimated 55.4 years in 2015. Welcome to the Syrian civil war.
“For those of us who have covered the war closely, these are not just numbers in black and white. They have behind them searing images and memories impossible to erase.”
And ends with this (emphasis again added):
“We are left with the bare facts behind all this – facts with which the policymaking echelon in the West has only just begun to grapple. The prison-house states are broken to pieces. The forces released from their ruins are swirling and clashing across the region and heading beyond it. Syria has become one of the hinges upon which regional and global events turn. The reputations of great powers, global and regional, are being made and broken among its ruins. It is war, and madness. And it is far from over.”
While over at the UN we have this report from Anne Bayefsky (emphasis added):
”According to the United Nations, the most evil country in the world today is Israel.
“On March 24, 2016, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women’s rights anywhere on the planet – Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women.
“On the same day, the UN Human Rights Council concluded its month-long session in Geneva by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states.
“There were five Council resolutions on Israel. One each on the likes of hellish Syria, North Korea and Iran. Libya got an offer of “technical assistance.” And countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and China were among the 95% of states that were never mentioned.
“No slander is deemed too vile for the UN rights bodies that routinely listen to highly orchestrated Palestinian versions of the ancient blood libel against the Jews.”
Says Anne, “You can’t make it up.”.
For an impassioned and on-the-mark critique of the UN’s focus on Israel, see this video with Alan Dershowitz (emphasis added):
“Where are the liberals, the progressives? Where are the people who claim to be speaking in the name of decency? Why are they choosing the enemies of decency?”
“…Can the whole world be wrong? When it comes to Jews, yes!”
“There is a right and wrong in this world, and there is a morally correct thing to do.”
Share this call for broad support for Israel, please!
“Terrorists from the so-called Islamic State have advanced plans to murder Jewish children in Turkey, targeting kindergartens, schools and youth centres, Sky News can reveal.
“Information on what intelligence officials are describing as an ‘imminent’ attack was obtained from six operatives from the ‘Caliphate’ who were arrested in the southern [Turkish] city of Gaziantep over the last week..
“The most likely target of an attack is Istanbul’s synagogue in Beyoglu, which also has a community centre and a school attached to it…
“’In light of these circumstances, extraordinary security measures are being taken above and beyond the high alert level already in place by the Turkish police, as well as vigilance within the Jewish community,’ an intelligence source told Sky News.
“’This is a more than credible threat. This is an active plot,’ the source added.”
And so my friends… I have a great deal of emunah (faith), and I often have a smile on my face. I am grateful for all of the blessings of my life, and reach for what is good. But the truth? I walk around with tears buried in my heart, in mourning for the sorry sorry state of this world.
A traditional Hebrew song, so appropriate today: Sisu et Yerushalayim
Rejoice with Jerusalem, be glad about her, be glad all you that love her, all who love her.
On your walls, Oh city of David. I have stationed watchmen, all day and night.
Do not fear, my servant Jacob, for your enemies shall be scattered before you.
Look about you and behold; see all as they are all gathering and coming unto you.
And your people are all holy and forever shall inherit the land.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.