The IDF is honoring its heroes from last summer’s Lebanon War, and so some of the bravest are being featured in the media. The small sketches I offer here are evidence sure and clear of the caliber of the Israeli people. They are the best.
Dr. Yehuda David, 53, an orthopedic surgeon , was on vacation when the war broke out. A major in the reserves, he hurried back and contacted the IDF. He is now being honored for his consistent dedication and self-sacrifice. He spent the entire war inside of Lebanon, carrying his 60 kg. pack — filled with medical supplies — on his back wherever he went; he treated some 50 soldiers.
"I sign on for volunteer service," he said, "since if the soldiers are willing to give everything they can, I am also willing to give everything I can. After 2000 years in exile it is an honor to serve in the IDF."
On the Friday night before one of the war’s biggest battles, at Saluki, he assembled his battalion and suggested they light candles and recite the Shema before heading out to fight.
Erez Ramati, also a doctor, was with his battalion at Saluki as well. He and his medics were treating the wounded from his battalion when he was informed that soldiers from another company also needed help. To get to them he had to run through an open area, directly exposed to Hezbollah fire.
"There was no time for hesitating," he explained, since there were people who were wounded and they needed me. This was not about heroism or bravery but about doing what you need to do."
I mentioned the other day the conference taking place under the auspices of the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. That it’s turning out to be a bad scene is no surprise — we knew it would be. B’nai Brith, which sent people from its Foreign Affairs Office, to monitor the proceedings, paints a dismal picture. "This is a conference of Israel-haters," said its director, Adam Mouchtar.
What is perhaps most unsettling is that we’re talking about Europeans: the European Parliament is hosting; European speakers have labeled Israel "apartheid" and called for a boycott. NGO-Monitor, based here in Jerusalem, reports that their "research has shown, non- governmental organizations funded and supported by the EU…are at the forefront of the political campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel."
Mahmoud Abbas, PA president, is not attending the conference but sent someone to make a statement on his behalf. In expressing hopes for a peace agreement with Israel, he alluded to the "inalienable rights" of the Palestinian people, which is, after all, what the committee sponsoring this gathering is dedicated to. A brief comment is in order, for the record:
The Palestinian Arabs have NO inalienable right to a state. Don’t be taken in on this. It’s not a question of when they will exercise this right, with the right itself an acknowledged given. It simply doesn’t exist, any more than the "right of return" for the so-called refugees exists.
The Palestinians are a self-defined (or invented) group. I would like to say that they don’t even exist as a people, but I recognize that they’re created their own identity in recent decades; they’ve internalized it (and taught it to their children) and the world has bought it, so the argument becomes moot.
What I can say is that they have no long history as a distinct people, and no long history in the land. Prior to 1948, the Jews in Palestine were called Palestinians and the Arabs called themselves Arabs. It’s on the record for anyone who investigates this to see: They used to say they were part of the Arab nation or greater Syria. Many who today call themselves Palestinians came into Palestine as migrants with the influx of Jews in the years before the founding of Israel — they came from places like Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Syria, looking for work, as Jewish development created jobs. Neither in language nor in culture are they distinct from surrounding Arabs.
And while they have invented themselves and created the myth of the Palestinian people, it is a shallow thing, without deep national identity. This is why there are divisions between Palestinians groups: loyalty to clan or party comes before national loyalty. This is why they cannot get their act together — forming a nation is not really their priority.
The need to create a national identity was not intrinsic in a positive sense — it was born in the main as a negative reaction to Jewish presence in the land. Compare this with the Kurds who have distinct culture and a strong national identity, and who long for establishment of a Kurdistan. (There is no UN committee for the inalienable rights of the Kurds, however. )
Yesterday the IDF picked up in northern Gaza a 15 year old Palestinian Arab boy who had explosive devices that he was planning to use for a suicide attack. He is in custody.
This is just one more instance of the terrorists making use of minors for their purposes.
Not good news. Khaled Abu Toameh of the Post reports that Abbas has now appointed a special advisor on Jerusalem affairs, Adnan Husseini. This suggests that Abbas expects Olmert to negotiate the status of Jerusalem. I’ll have more to say about this shortly.
This isn’t good news either: General Dayton, US security coordinator for the PA areas, has a peachy keen idea. He wants to institute five new Palestinian battalions in Judea and Samaria, complete with training and equipment supplied by the US (using the $80 million that’s been allocated). This — of course! — is to strength Abbas.
Does this take your breath away , as it does mine?
He’s been there, and done that, you see. In Gaza. And it was a colossal failure. The US is now smarting over the sophisticated weaponry and intelligence equipment that has fallen into Hamas hands because Fatah was quick to cut and run. And they want to do it again? On a bigger scale yet.
What does one say about the intelligence, or the ability to grapple with reality, of someone who repeats what already failed so miserably, especially when the repeat performance, if it fails again, could be disastrous?
This plan is in its early stages, and is supposed to progress slowly. If equipment is to be transferred to the PA, Israel will have to approve it. It would be foolish, I guess, to hope that our government will see so clearly the danger of this fighting equipment falling into the wrong hands and being turned on us (as ALL weaponry supplied to PA forces has ultimately been turned on us to some degree), that permission will be denied. Maybe if the IDF and intelligence forces are adamant?
Meanwhile Olmert has said that what he hopes to achieve with Abbas is conclusion of a single page agreement on principles for future negotiation. The wording would be kept vague enough to avoid diplomatic pitfalls that would be brought about by anything too specific.
Said Olmert: "I believe that we want and can make decisions, but the Palestinians have a number of groups, they have no stable democracy, and there is uncertainty about the government and their institutions…"
Explaining further, he added, "We will not push [Abbas] toward any declarations that will be good at noon and cause us to lose everything by evening." This means no feet to the fire, no demands for taking our terrorism, nothing that the people would object to. Do
esn’t take the "process" very far. This is what Olmert calls a "political horizon."