Tag Archives: IDF

Israel Continues Military Operations

The dogs of war when unleashed are difficult to reign in once they get their teeth into the flesh of victims. Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak made clear the Israel Defense Force (IDF) will continue its operations despite attempts by the UN to halt fighting and restore decent living conditions for the Gaza population. He emphasized while Israel respects the UN, “the fighting goes on and he IDF is continuing to apply force.” The Israel argument is they have a right to restore peace in southern areas of their nation and the operation, according to Chief of Staff, General Ashkenazi, “we have achieved exceptional results in damaging Hamas, its infrastructure, and its military wing.” He denied reports that IDF is using white phosphorous bombs.

Israel claims to have destroyed about 70% of the tunnels in Gaza which leaves one wondering why there was need to bomb civilian areas if tunnels were a major focus of the attack. One is also left wondering if Hamas leadership overestimated their ability their ability to deal with an Israel attack. In cases where two parties indulge in constant rhetoric and defiance, the end result is civilians will suffer as are the people of Gaza who are caught in a no man’s land where words of defiance are hurled nonstop until guns begin to blaze and children begin to die. Israel went beyond the limits of a response by killing hundreds of civilians and Hamas went beyond its own capacity to defend Palestinians by seeking a military confrontation that could have been avoided.

In the end, death and destruction results for the innocent.

Protests For 900 Deaths-Silence For Five Million!

The death of a single human to violence is one too many, the death of 900 is a terrible event, but the death of five million humans without voices being raised in protest is obscene. The world is witness to protests over the death of 900 Palestinians during the carnage that has enveloped Gaza in wake of the Israeli attack to halt rocket attacks. However, there are no world wide protests at the death of 5,000,000 people in the Congo. There are no crowds waving signs saying “we are all Congolese,” but there are numerous ones saying, “we are all Palestinians.” How does one account for this double standard of concern? Is it that those being killed in the Congo are not the result of Jewish hands? Is it because those being killed have black skins?

This writer has always been fascinated how European intellectuals will call for boycotts of Israeli academic institutions but never say a word about boycotting those in Zimbabwe where over 1,700 already have died of cholera nor will they urge boycott of Iranian institutions whose government is blatantly anti-female, anti-gay, and anti-free speech. Israel has responded to a Hamas provocation in a manner that goes beyond what the response should have been. Yes, Hamas placed weapons in schools and mosques but bombing them knowing innocent men, women and children will die is inexcusable.

The Congo has never captured the interest of celebrities or governments. It is a land faraway inhabited by people whose skins are dark colored and while their land possesses wealth it somehow has never captured the interest of those who portray themselves as concerned for human rights. One can only wonder what it would take to make their deaths of interest to intellectuals who love marching in protests against oppression. If I may be sarcastic for a moment, would it help the people of the Congo if they imported members of the Israel Defense Force to kill a few and get intellectuals to march in parades with signs saying, “we are all Congolese?”

Israel– The Right Or The Wrong War?

The Israel army has cut Gaza in half as ground forces ripped into the Strip in search of Hamas rocket launcher sites. There are a reported 30 Israel casualties as troops on the ground face well warmed Hamas forces which are ready to fight to the death. The past few days have witnessed an unprecedented air bombardment of Gaza as Israel planes attempt to take out Hamas military sites including those which have been established in civilian areas and even mosques. The growing issue is whether or not Israel is repeating its mistakes in Lebanon by confronting land forces with land forces. Will Israel get bogged down in the streets of Gaza and will Israel tanks by hit by new weapons given Hamas by Iranian sources?

Gaza is not Lebanon. It is flat and there is no equivalent to the mountains as was the case in Lebanon. If Israel troops enter cities, hundreds of innocent civilians will die and there will be heavy casualties on both sides. The reality is air bombing has resulted in massive destruction of the Gaza infrastructure and its population is even in worse shape than before. There is only one logical solution to the current situation– a cease fire supervised by UN forces and an end to rocket attacks along with opening all crossings so supplies can freely enter or leave.

Israel Military Considering Iran Attack

One can never lose money betting on the stupidity of Israel leaders when it comes to issues of how to attain peace in the Middle East. Instead of embracing the Arab League proposal for peace based on 1967 borders, Israel leaders engage in rhetoric rather than dealing with reality. The Jerusalem Post now reveals the Israel Defense Force(IDF) is drawing up plans for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities regardless of whether America approves of the attack or not. One Defense minister noted that while it was preferable to work in coordination with allies, “we are also preparing options that do not include coordination.” An assumption of the IDF is they can seriously impact Iranian nuclear facilities with air strikes whether assisted by the United States or not.

An attack on Iran would unleash thousands of terrorists including hundreds of suicide bombers which would result in chaos in the Middle East and elsewhere. There is a new American president and he deserves an opportunity to work with Israel and Arab nations in order to attain peace. Attacking Iran is an act of stupidity that will destroy possibilities for peace for at least ten years.

Israel Army Seeks To Protect Palestinian Rights

The Israel military commander of Judea and Samaria has petitioned the High Court to reverse a decision by a military appeals court which says a Jew who spent ten years cultivating land owned by a Palestinian was legally entitled to keep the land. The land in question has been occupied and cultivated for ten years by the Land of Israel Seminary and it attempted to register the land under what is termed, “first registration” but was turned down on ground it could not prove it obtained the land through a legal transaction with a Palestinian. The group then turned to a military appeals court which granted ownership on grounds it had cultivated the land for ten years.

The IDF is doing what any honest and fair nation would do, protect land rights of the owner. Under the British Mandate, much land was never officially registered even though people had lived on plots for hundreds of years. Palestinians who left in 1948 have encountered difficulty getting back their land and restrictions such as those imposed by military courts violate human rights.

One can only ask if it is OK for Jewish groups to take over land owned by Jews?

Madness Of Gaza Continues!

Last week, Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni sent a message to newly elected president Barack Obama to stay out of the Israel-Palestinian conflict because everything was under control and the last thing that needed was the introduction of new ideas to the bargaining table. In the meantime, chaos continues to be the rule in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Popular Resistance Committee(PRC) threatened to avenge a strike carried out by the IDF which they claim killed two people. The IDF denies ever operating in the area and believes the incident probably occurred when some terrorists blew themselves up. Rockets continue emanating from the Gaza Strip and hitting Israeli towns. Hamas took credit for firing eight of the Kassam rockets on Friday.

There is need for a real cease fire in the Gaza area and, most probably, it requires introducing new ideas since the current situation has reached the ridiculous stage. How about asking Turkey, which is trusted by both sides, to send several thousand troops into Gaza, assume control of border crossings, and restore peace and sanity to the area?

Israel Defense Force Increases Arab Recruits

There is little doubt prejudice exists within Israel by its Jewish majority toward members of the Arab minority. Israel law exempts non-Druze Arabs from being drafted into the Israel Defense Force(IDF) although a surprising number of Arabs do join the force. Many enter the IDF for economic reasons and are frequently allowed to serve in various roles. Most of the Bedouin recruits function as trackers with desert reconnaissance forces, and play a key role in the Gaza blockade. The typical Arab recruit believes military service provides a way out of poverty and ensures having a good relationship with local authorities. A problem facing many who have served and then enter civilian life is they are not welcome among Arab groups and they still encounter Israeli Jewish prejudice.

Among the tasks of the Israel government and people is to engage with the issue of prejudice against Arabs in their nation. The idea of a binational state will not emerge for many years, if it ever does, but in the meantime, Israel must eliminate all forms of discrimination against Arabs. A good beginning place is ensuring that those who serve in the IDF secure good jobs upon discharge.

Strength Of Israel Democracy Shown

A video released by an israel human rights group which depicts an Israeli soldier firing a rubber-coated bullet at the feet of a prisoner who was blindfolded and had his hands bound, is an example of the horror of war, but it also reveals a strength of Israeli democracy. The prisoner, Ashraf Abu Rahmeh, was slightly hurt by the shot and was immediately treated at the scene of the incident. In a statement to the press, the Israeli military termed the incident a “stark violation” of its rules of conduct and safety and said military police were investigating.

Israel’ Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, condemned the soldier’s conduct and said the incident “is atypical and unacceptable and does not represent the Israel Defense Forces or its values.” The soldier claimed he fired at the prisoner’s foot on the order of an officer, but the officer insists he only told him to shake the rifle.

We believe this incident represents the strength of Israel democracy. The army and the nation of Israel condemned having a rubber-coated bullet fired at the foot of a prisoner. This demonstrates there is a healthy democracy alive in Israel. In how many nations of the world would a soldier be reprimanded in such a manner and in how many would the head of the armed forces make known his displeasure? It is difficult to imagine Hamas or Hizbullah apologizing for shooting at the foot of a captured Israeli soldier.

Egyptian Diplomat Brings Hamas Truce Offer To Israel

As Jews throughout the world celebrate the Passover holidays, Egtpitan Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman will soon be arriving in Israel with an offer from Hamas for a truce. The Egyptian government has been actively engaged in peace discussions with Hamas for many reasons including a desire to avoid its own confrontation with Gazans if Hamas orders a breathrough of Egyptian lines on the Gaza border. Discussions about a truce began months ago spearheaded from the Israel side by Gen(ret.) Amos Gilad and Suleiman. Prime Minister Olmert continues repeating the government line that no discussions were being held with Hamas, either official or not official.

There is some evidence of a split in Hamas leadership with those on the scene in Gaza seeking a reduction of tension while Hamas leaders stationed in Damascus are more prone to seek increasing tension in order to force Israel to the bargaining table. A key factor hindering attaining a cease fire is that while Israel wants an end to Kassam rocket attacks, it does not want a cease fire which allows Hamas to resupply with rockets and other weapons. There is concern among some Israel leaders that Hamas wants to create a situation in which Israel comes across as the intransigent party.

Hamas insists any truce also entails opening border crossings and a halt to Israel Defense Troop operations in the Gaza area. Hamas has agreed in principle to the Egyptian proposal and, in effect, has thrown the ball into the Israel court for further action. However one problem that impacts any truce is whethe Hamas is able to control other militant factions such as the violent Islamic Jihad to cease firing rockets.

Israel Defense Force Teaching Children In School

The Israel Defense Force has initiated a new program in schools termed “the Golden Way and the Sky” as part of an effort to instill feelings of citizenship within young people. The campaign launched this week by the Education Ministry and the Israel Air Force sends thousands of IDF soldiers to visit schools and talk to students about the values and achievements that have made Israel’s armed forces succeed throughout their nation’s history. Officeers expound on values such as carrying out a mission at all costs and having pride in achievements of the Jewish state.

In one lesson, students are told the following scenario: “Soldiers are trapped in this house. Hizullah is firing on them from here, here, and here. After five hours, the soldiers decide they have to get out of the house and run under heavy fire to this location here. When they run, one of them stops, under heavy fire to inspect a body of one of the terrorists. That soldier was later awarded a medal for bravery. Why did he stop to examine the body?” Students shout out answers like looking for a radio or checking the terrorist’s disguise. But the officer points out he was seekng to gather intelligence.

Yosi Sarid, former education minister raises issues about emphasizing the military as critical to the lives of children and they will encounter a military experience later in life. Retired General Avigdor Kahalani, comments: “The school’s job is to prepare good citizens for the country. The teachers aren’t doing it so the army needs to.”

I can not comment on the job being done or not done by Israel teachers regarding education in citizenship, but one can assume there are thousands of successful educators working to foster values of good citizenship within the schools of Israel. There is something sad when members of the armed forces have to be the ones teachng citizenship. Does it raise issues as to what is the meaning of “citizenship?”