Sunday, October 23, 2011
After being held captive in Gaza for 1,945 days by Palestinian terrorists, IDF soldier Gilad Schalit finally crossed over into Egypt and into IDF custody and protection. The deal in which Israel made with Hamas, who govern the Gaza Strip, was the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, which included 27 women and scores of "high profile" terrorists who were involved in and responsible for serious terror attacks against Israelis, including the Dolphinarium attack in the summer of 2002, where 16 young people were killed and scores injured; the Park Hotel bombing, with 33 Israelis killed and 160 injured; and numerous other attacks, such as the Sabarro restaurant in Jerusalem (15 killed, 130 wounded) and Maxim restaurant in Haifa where 21 were killed, including 3 young children and 3 Arab restaurant employees.
The agreement called for 477 prisoners to be released immediately to locations in both the West Bank and Gaza, except for 40 high level terrorists who were deported to countries outside of Israel, including Turkey. Another 550 prisoners will be released later.
Upon arriving in Egypt around 9 a.m., and after being greeted by Egyptian military officials, Schalit was met by IDF military officials, who greeted him warmly and gave him an IDF uniform to wear for his entry into Israel. Schalit is still officially in the IDF and was given the rank of Sergeant during his long incarceration. He is expected to receive a number of benefits from both the IDF and the Israeli government, including back pay and possibly a full educational scholarship. Despite looking pale and thin, preliminary medical checkups indicate that Gilad is in reasonably good condition for being in such an ordeal for more than 5 and a quarter years. Reports say he was wearing a Hamas "military uniform" when brought over to Egypt. He was reported as "speaking fluent Arabic" by Egyptian TV broadcasters who filmed the event when Gilad first crossed over to Egypt from Gaza. Schalit's initial remarks as to his treatment by Hamas were: "Hamas treated me well". During an initial interview, Schalit seemed tired and a bit confused and told an Egyptian reporter that he had been kept in isolation. "I didn't see people for a long time, but I began to feel that things might be improving for me a month ago. I only got news about my impending release about a week ago, but I was afraid that things might go wrong" he said.
"Gilad has finally returned home" said the IDF spokesman upon Gilad arriving on Israeli soil.
The deal to release Schalit, involving so many arch terrorists with "blood on their hands" was vigorously protested by members of terror victims families who circulated petitions to the Israel Supreme Court to prevent the deal from being carried out. The Supreme Court later decided not to interfere with the deal that was also voted against by several right winged members of the Israeli cabinet, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warmly greeted the young soldier as he arrived at the Tel Nof air force base in southern Israel. He then was given a long awaited reunion with his parents before returning with them to a reunion with the residents of his hometown, Mitzpeh Hila, in the northern Galilee. The end to this saga may remind some of a song that was recorded a while back by the American ballad singer John Denver:
"The prodigal son he'd been away awhile
He was makin' his way back home now
After many a ragged mile
When he finally crossed the river
And his father saw him near
There was a joyful sound for all the world to hear"
Lyrics from song Gospel Changes by John Denver
Gilad Schalit will need to undergo a lot of physical and emotional healing after his long ordeal. He has become a symbol of hope and is "every Israeli mother's son". His return to Israel, and to freedom, gives all young Israelis the hope that they will not be forgotten by their government and by the people of Israel, should a similar ordeal happen to them.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Washington accuses Iran of seeking to develop atomic weapons, a charge Teheran denies. Although US officials insist they want a diplomatic resolution, they have not ruled out military action if deemed necessary.
'In case of an American attack against Iran, the interests of this country around the world and in the region will be endangered,' Mohammad Baqer Zolghadr, a deputy Interior Minister for security affairs, was quoted as saying.
'Today, all American bases in the region are within the reach of our medium-range weapons,' said Zolghadr, former deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
'Today, if the slightest disorder in the region's security and in the security of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is created, oil prices will reach $250 a barrel and this will lead to the death of European countries and America in terms of economy and security,' he added.
Worries about any supply disruption from the world's fourth biggest oil exporter, Iran, have been one of the factors helping to prop up oil prices. US crude is now around $65 a barrel.
'Maybe the start of an evil act (could) be in America's hand but its continuation and end won't be (in its hands),' he said.
Iran's highest authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in February the Islamic Republic would target US interests around the world if it was attacked.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
'Arab armies planned to destroy Israel'-6 DAY WAR/JPOST
Those who call the Six Day War a disaster or a Pyrrhic victory are grossly mistaken, because they overlook the fact that Israel wasn't destroyed, historian Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
In an interview on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of war on June 5, 1967, Oren said his research of documents in Arab countries had revealed clearly that the Arabs had planned to destroy Israel.
Although this seems obvious to Israel sympathizers who hold to the traditional story of the Arabs' responsibility for the outbreak of war, the intervening decades have seen the promulgation of a myth that Israel was not really in danger.
"The biggest myth going is that somehow there was not a real and immediate Arab threat, that somehow Israel could have negotiated itself outside the crisis of 1967, and that it wasn't facing an existential threat, or facing any threat at all," said Oren, who is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at Jerusalem's Shalem Center and author of Six Days of War: June 1967. He noted that this was the premise of Tom Segev's book, 1967: Israel, the War and the Year That Transformed the Middle East. "What's remarkable is that all the people alleging this - not one of them is working from Arabic sources. It's quite extraordinary when you think about it. It's almost as if Israel were living in a universe by itself. It's a deeply solipsistic approach to Middle East history."
What's behind the myth, Oren argued, is "a more pervasive, ongoing effort to show that Israel bears the bulk, if not the sole responsibility, for decades of conflict in the Arab world, and that the Arabs are the aggrieved party.
"It's an attempt to show that Israel basically planned the Six Day War in advance, knowing that it was going to expand territorially. My position is that it was just the opposite. Israel was taken aback by the crisis, unprepared for it and panicked, believing it faced a true existential threat, and did not plan to expand territory.
"It did everything it could to keep Jordan and Syria out of the war. My reading of the Arabic documents show that the Arabs had real plans to attack and destroy the State of Israel."
Oren said Israel's strategic relationship with the US began with the war.
"The United States, which previously regarded Israel as a friendly country but one that impaired its relations with the Arab world, suddenly realized that the Jewish state was in fact a regional superpower," he said. "The US subsequently forged an alliance with Israel that has remained ever since."
The first person to recognize that the war had dramatically changed the geopolitical balance in the Middle East, according to Oren, was US president Lyndon Johnson, who initiated a peace plan later embodied in UN Security Council Resolution 242.
"You can actually see 242 coming out of Johnson's head on June 5, 1967, including the notion that Israel would not have to return to the 1967 borders," Oren said. "Johnson is saying that particularly the West Bank border is not a defensible border; it's only eight miles across to the sea, and Israel should not have to go back to that border."
The war, Oren said, marked "the emergence for the first time of a US-Israel strategic relationship, as the Johnson administration wakes up on June 12, 1967, and says, 'Oh my God, we've got a regional superpower on our hands. We can't afford not to have it as an ally.'"
Oren acknowledged that the Six Day War also led to the establishment of "controversial settlements" in the West Bank and Gaza, to the ongoing conflict over Jerusalem and the relentless debate over Palestinian statehood.
"And yet it was also the 1967 war that inaugurated the peace process," he said. "UN Resolution 242, enacted in its wake, remains the cornerstone of all negotiations and created the conditions for Palestinian self-rule. The current Arab League peace plan calls for 'full Israeli withdrawal' to the June 4, 1967, lines, and the 'road map' plan endorsed by the United States and much of the international community provides for the emergence of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
"None of this would be possible if the West Bank and Gaza were still occupied by Jordan and Egypt, respectively, as they were in 1967, and if the Arab world were still consumed with how best to make war, rather than peace, with Israel."
The war also "vastly enhanced" Israel's relationship with Jewish communities abroad, Oren said.
"Before the war, some of the leading Jewish organizations in the US were reserved, if not distant, in their relationship with Israel," he said. "But as Arab armies massed on Israel's borders, Diaspora Jews confronted the possibility of witnessing a second Holocaust within a single generation, and later reveled in the joy of Israel's success.
"Many were inspired by the reunification of the State of Israel with the biblical Land of Israel, with Bethlehem, Hebron and above all, Jerusalem.
"Contributions poured into Israel, enabling it to strengthen its economy and its ability to absorb new immigrants, and American Jewish organizations lobbied for its defense."
In the war itself, Oren said, Israel had high casualty rates, losing more than 700 soldiers, and "what is widely unknown is that we lost about 20 percent of our planes.
"It was not in any way a picnic, not a walkover, particularly not on the Jordanian-Syrian front," he said. "The territorial outcomes of the war were dramatic in the extreme; Israel almost quadrupled its territorial size."
Arab casualty rates are difficult to gauge, Oren said, but there were probably more than 15,000 dead and 10,000 captured, with about $2 billion of Soviet equipment destroyed on the field of battle.
As a quirky aside, Oren also noted that the Six Day War actually lasted seven days.
"Mount Hermon was actually taken on the seventh day of the Six Day War," he said.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Fred Thompson Justifies Israel Defending Itself/Fred Thompson Report
Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What do you think America would do if Canadian soldiers were firing dozens of missiles every day into Buffalo, N.Y.? What do you think our response would be if Mexican troops for two years had launched daily rocket attacks on San Diego -- and bragged about it?
I can tell you, our response would look nothing like Israel's restrained and pinpoint reactions to daily missile attacks from Gaza. We would use whatever means necessary to win the war. There would likely be numerous casualties on our enemy's side, but we would rightfully hold those who attacked us responsible.
More than 1,300 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza since Palestinians were given control two years ago. Israelis, however, have gone to incredible lengths to stop the war against them without harming Palestinian non-combatants. But make no mistake, Israel is at war. The elected Hamas government regularly repeats its official promise to destroy Israel entirely and replace it with an Islamic state. Hamas openly took credit for killing one woman and wounding dozens more last week alone.
The Palestinian strategy is to purposely target and kill Israeli civilians. Then, when Israel goes after those launching the attacks, Palestinians claim to be the victims. If Palestinian civilians aren't hurt in the Israeli attacks, they stage injuries and deaths. Too often, they garner sympathy and support from a gullible or anti-Semitic media in the international community.
Israelis, themselves, are often incapable of facing the damage they inflict in self-defense. Knowing this, Islamic extremists are using their own populations as human shields.
I'm beginning to wonder how much longer this vicious plot will work though. International sympathy for Palestinians has diminished as the same Islamofascist extremists have brought havoc to Madrid, Bali, Somalia, London and elsewhere. More importantly, Israelis themselves are suffering so badly, they may be on the verge of losing their sympathy for the people who have sworn to kill them.
Imagine what it would be like to live, knowing that a rocket could fall on you or your children at any minute. Half of those who live nearest to Gaza have fled their homes. Those remaining are traumatized by daily warning sirens and explosions.
The irony is that Israel has the military might to easily win the war that is being waged against them today. They haven't used that might, in the past, out of compassion for Palestinian civilians and because it could trigger a wider regional conflict.
That balance of power is about to change, though. If Iran develops nuclear weapons, the very existence of this tiny nation of Israel will be threatened. The Iranian regime has left little doubt that it intends to see Israel "wiped off the map." Hamas is using the same language, not coincidentally, and has announced it will begin launching missiles into Israel from the West Bank too.If the world doesn't act to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, it must be prepared for the consequences of Israel defending itself.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
- Arabs are Ishmaelites: this is not true for the overwhelming majority of them. There are not written records by which not even a single Arab is able prove a direct descent from Ishmael. The alleged genealogies have been invented in Islamic times after some Nabateans converted to Judaism or Christianity discovered the possible link that they had with Ishmael, a name that was completely lost in
Arabiaand was translated from Greek sources.
- Arabs are Semites: This is a relative truth -- the Arabic language is Semitic, because its sources are ancient Semitic tongues spoken by both Sabeans and Nabateans. Also Ghe'ez and Amharic, languages of the Ethiopians, are Semitic, nevertheless the Ethiopian people are Kushites, not Semites.
- Arabic was spoken in ancient times: false, it is the most recent of all Semitic languages, and evolved from Nabatean, Sabean, Lihyanite, Safaitic, Thamudic and other tongues. There was not a single document written in Arabic until Roman times.
- Arabs are primarily Hamitic, with a relevant Semitic contribution.
- Ancient Nabateans were mainly Kushitic. Although their forefather was Ishmael, he and his offspring married within the Kushite inhabitants of
Northern Arabia, and were regarded as Mušuri (Egyptians) by the Assyrians, who did not recognize Arabs as a Semitic people.
- Ancient Yemenites (Sabeans, Mineans and others) were of mixed Semitic/Hamitic stock.
- The pre-Islamic Arabs had a Kushitic culture; they were mainly ruled by queens like the Nubians, Ethiopians and other Hamitic nations, and had a female-centred society.
- Islam has reversed the original culture into a male-ruled society, yet not adopting a Semitic style but just imposing a system based on applying the opposite patterns to the previous social rules and customs.
Ancient Arabians had a great culture, that might have evolved into a modern civilization and a developed society like other peoples of the