March 25, 2013 Leave a comment
This is a brilliant and so true video by the Jerusalem Institute for Justice – released coincidentally during President Obama’s visit to Israel!
News, comments, analysis from Christian Middle East Watch
November 16, 2012 Leave a comment
This morning an Al Jazeera television reporter speaking in Gaza City commented that there were no bomb shelters for Palestinian Arabs to use or air raid sirens to warn of an imminent aerial attack. That’s one reason why casualties are higher than they should be in the Gaza Strip. If the journalist had looked closer she would have noted that street lamp-posts are almost impossible to find! Hamas, which governs the Mediterranean coastal region, allows its terrorists to utilise them to make rockets to fire at innocent Southern Israel communities rather than provide light for its 1,500,000 residents.
Last year, Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, Director of Operation Life Shield, who works tirelessly to raise money to provide much needed bomb shelters in the southern missile-hit part of the Holy Land took his begging bowl to churches and synagogues in the United Kingdom. The Israeli government does not have enough money to provide the smaller type of bomb to place at strategic spots, so community minded people like Shmuel roll up their sleeves and get cracking to raise cash to provide them. Shmuel told how an American donated a shelter and was in Israel to see it in situ. The donor was standing at the bomb shelter door when a rocket fired from Gaza landed nearby and he was spared possible death from shrapnel because of his gift. The blast knocked him off his feet, though.
The rabbi also told of a completed youth centre being moth-balled by the Israeli authorities because it lacked a bomb shelter … until the Operation Life Shield stepped in. As it happens, Shmuel is back in the United Kingdom and his supporters will be anxious to hear what is happening on the ground in this beleaguered part of the Middle East. One thing he will be glad to report is that the Israeli government is stumping up more cash to provide air raid shelters in Southern Israel because of the on-going plight of innocent communities there. Read more of this post
November 15, 2012 1 Comment
There’s no way Israel will lose militarily in the current clashes with Hamas terrorists in Gaza but in the propaganda war, with the world’s media, governments and pro-Palestinian organisations steeped in unjustified prejudice against the Jewish state, it is a different matter.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and UK Ambassador Daniel Taub, having learned from previous public relations debacles, were quick off the mark to register plus points. Netanyahu today told a press conference that he had explained Israel’s position with American President Barack Obama, United Nations General-Secretary Bank ki-Moon, European Union Foreign Minister Dame Katherine Ashton, French President Francois Hollande, and Quartet Representative Tony Blair, and they had sympathised with his decision to counter the four-day non-stop missile barrage from Gaza.He said the destruction of Hamas’s missile stockpiles had sent a clear message that Israel will not tolerate indiscriminate rocket attacks on its civilian population.
Taub, commenting on Israel’s aerial strikes, told the BBC: “What we did succeed in doing is taking out the vast majority of Hamas’s arsenal and that has to be a step in the right direction.” He warned that Israel could send ground forces into Gaza “in order to ensure peace and quiet for the citizens of southern Israel? Doing nothing is simply not an option. We have to recognise that restraint is a means and not an end.” Taub’s latter comment was a veiled reference to US President Obama and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague who have urged both sides to show restraint.
With the Palestine Solidarity Campaign predicting an attendance of 900 at their “To counter Israel’s killing spree in Gaza” protest tonight (Thursday, November 15) outside the Israeli Embassy, London, Britain’s Zionist Federation (ZF) issued an emergency notice to encourage supporters to join a counter demonstration. A ZF media release stated: “Following a relentless barrage of rocket attacks into Southern Israel, Israel has launched Operation Pillar of Cloud to defend itself. From 2005 until Operation Cast Lead 5,000 rockets were fired into Israel. In this calendar year alone 800 rockets were fired into Israel. More than 125 rockets and mortars have fallen on Israel since Saturday afternoon. The duty of any government is to ensure the security of its inhabitants and this is why Israel will target those who seek their destruction.” Read more of this post
November 15, 2012 Leave a comment
As the present thunderstorm of rockets from Gaza began over the weekend, I kept an eye on the Western media outlets through Google. Sure enough, nothing! Nothing except a piece from Fox News that kind of implied Israel was firing back because of the elections in January. As we have come to expect, the Western media only woke up and stretched itself once Israel launched Operation “Pillar of Cloud” (biblical inference here?). However, at least Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague acknowledged that Hamas started it this time in a news conference today.
In the post World War Two years, the idea that a country needs a good reason before it attacks another country was codified in the UN Charter, which allowed for countries to go to war to defend themselves, or to engage in aggression as part of a UN force. Article 51, however, acknowledges the “… inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations…”. An armed attack on one’s country is therefore a “casus belli” (literally “cause of war” or “reason for war”), under which your country can immediately retaliate with military force. The UN will subsequently attempt to bring about peace by diplomatic means, but it does not deny your country the right to exercise military force before that in its defence.
A prime instance of “casus belli” was the 1967 “Six Day War”, in which Israel carried out a pre-emptive strike against some of her neighbours and won the subsequent war against all reasonable odds. What was the casus belli – or rather what were they? Firstly, Egypt ordered the UN peace-keeping force on the border with Israel to leave, against all written obligations she had signed after the 1948 war with Israel. Secondly, Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian forces moved up towards their respective borders with Israel and Jordan and Syria initiated border incidents. Thirdly Egypt closed the Tiran Straits, which prevented Israel using her southern port of Eilat. Any one of these actions was by itself a reason for war and, in the presence of all three, Israel was completely justified in carrying out her successful pre-emptive military actions as a defence against imminent armed attack from three surrounding nations.
So if the Six Day War was accepted internationally as a defensive action by a member state of the UN threatened with armed attack, each one of the 120 or so rockets fired from Gaza over the weekend was individually a casus belli. Israel was within her rights to have launched against Hamas whatever attack she felt was needed to stop just the first of the rockets coming over. Operation Pillar of Cloud was only launched after 120-150 “casi bellorum” (plural!) had taken place – restraint if ever we saw it! Read more of this post
September 25, 2012 Leave a comment
Over the weekend, as Egypt’s President Morsi prepared to fly to New York for the new UN session, the New York Times published a 90 minute interview with the democratically elected Islamist premier. Mohamed Morsi took the opportunity to lecture America on her Middle East policy and to set out his own parameters for how relations can be improved.
The interview was picked up by the Telegraph, which majored on US-Middle East relations and Egypt’s slow response to attacks on the US’ Cairo embassy. Morsi, however, also raised issues which bode ill for continued peace with embattled Israel.
Firstly, although Egypt has not had diplomatic relations with Iran for several decades, Morsi said that it was important to have a “strong relationship” with the Shia state. While, so far, the new Egyptian administration has indicated it will maintain the peace treaty with Israel, renewed ties to Iran could change that. A strong link between the two countries could leave Israel sandwiched between Iranian missiles and a long and difficult to defend border with Egypt (not to mention the Muslim Brotherhood’s aggressive offspring, Hamas). Read more of this post
July 20, 2012 1 Comment
Israel’s detractors cling on to the easily disproved accusation that Israel exercises policies of apartheid against her Arab population. Right next door to Israel, however, something worse than apartheid is taking place. A religious apartheid persecution of Christians by Arab towards Arab has been unfolding in Gaza that should be causing outcries from all the human rights NGOs (but of course it doesn’t, because it’s not Israel that’s doing it)!
Since Hamas forcibly took over in Gaza in 2007, they have progressively introduced more and more stringent Islamic laws and regulations as the leadership has “Sharia-ised” their domain. This is bad enough for the already-Muslim population of the zone, but nothing to what is being suffered by the minority Christian community. Historically, Christians or Jews living under Muslim rule have been classed as “dhimmis” – protected ones. The protection, of course, is at the cost of total submission to their Muslim masters. Historically, this has included stepping off the street before approaching Muslims, prohibitions on riding horses, paying the “Jizya” tax – in fact any measure that Muslim rulers might choose to apply to ensure Jews or Christians knew their place, firmly at the bottom of the societal food chain!
What is coming to light in Gaza, however, goes beyond dhimmitude and beyond the suffering of Christians in most parts of the Middle East. News is leaking out of the brutal erosion of an already shrinking Christian minority through forced conversions to Islam. An article in Israel’s Ha’Aretz newspaper on 17th July reports the traumatic effect this is having on a community that, at around 1,500, is now less than half the size it was a few years ago. In a region where family, community and religion are inextricably intertwined, this is splitting families and traumatising hundreds of terrorised Christians. Read more of this post
March 23, 2012 Leave a comment
I don’t know if Mahmoud Abbas loses any sleep these days, but maybe he will after reading this post! I hear that he has complained that Iran has paid off Hamas to hold back on implementing the recently-formed reconciliation deal between the two groups. Talking of money, Gulf Arab states supporting the Palestinian Authority financially are well behind on their promised payments and don’t seem to be responding to even Western and UN appeals to stump up what’s needed to fill the PA’s “funding gap” (good phrase meaning “overdraft” – must try that on my bank manager). Perhaps this is why representatives from the PA are now forced to negotiate with Israel for a release of taxes instead of prisoners!
This week UNESCO presented a report on the PA’s progress to the EU Palestinian donors’ conference. The report says that, “The Palestinian state-building achievement is at increased risk” and gives finances and a lack of “a credible political horizon” as the main reasons. Shortened, equals “lack of money and lack of progress on peace with Israel”. Read more of this post
March 11, 2012 Leave a comment
Friday’s attack by the Israeli Air Force (IAF), which killed some top baddies in Gaza, has sparked a stronger than usual response in rockets fired back (92 in two days). This has included longer range Grads as well as the shorter range rockets. Fortunately Israel’s “Iron Dome” anti-missile defence system has proved itself by preventing 25 of them from landing in heavily populated areas, but there was one serious injury and a number of moderate and light injuries from the attacks.
Earlier last week, PA president Mahmoud Abbas composed a missive to the members of the “Quartet”, which was christened “the mother of all letters”! It is understood that it reiterated Palestinian demands that Israel must meet before talks could possibly begin again. Israel wasn’t actually on the list of recipients for the letter; apparently it is to be sent to them after the West has had a good read. Read more of this post