The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide


An emotional disconnect

Israeli troopsAfter three weeks of driving around a country at war, one thing about this time is abundantly clear. Just about every Israeli Jew supports the IDF operation in Gaza.

We already knew this from the polls, of course. A Wednesday survey by Tel Aviv University reported the support at a staggering 94 percent among Israeli Jews. But hearing this first-hand offers an insight the polls can’t give: the rationale for that support despite international condemnation and images of carnage out of Gaza.

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Over the past three weeks, as evidence of civilian suffering in Gaza flooded media outlets worldwide, I asked Israelis what they thought of the fighting in Gaza and the suffering of the local population.

From hi-tech entrepreneurs in Ramat Gan to social workers in Sderot, taxi drivers and graduate students alike, the responses were almost as consistent as the level of support for the operation. The responsibility for the conflict, and for the suffering in Gaza, rests solely on Hamas, Israelis say. They often added that there could be no peace with an enemy who placed their own children in the line of fire.

“I’m disconnected emotionally from what is happening in Gaza,” said Yamit Shkolnik, a 26-year-old Jerusalemite and new mother. “It doesn’t anger me or sadden me. It doesn’t make me happy either.” That’s because “they use their dead to kill us. They shoot from inside houses, and we have to take out those houses.”

Eli Magen, a graduate student from Modi’in, said he is on the Left, but insists, “We’ve tried everything to make peace. We pulled out of 85% of the territory we conquered in 1967, and it got us missiles on our heads. Then they went and elected Hamas. What are we supposed to do with a group that thinks and acts like the Ku Klux Klan? There’s nothing Israel could have done to avoid this fight.”

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Source: Jerusalem Post


World cannot, must not condemn our war on Hamas

Hamas launching qassam rocketsThe war on Hamas is a war for Israel’s sovereignty. It was launched due to repeated rocket attacks after Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip. No country in the world would put up with a situation in which its sovereignty is undermined and its citizens threatened. Given its small size and many enemies, Israel cannot put up with this. It is therefore up to every decent person who wants Israel to strive for peace, end its occupation and return to its original borders to support its fight for sovereignty.

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The war on Hamas has bred a humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians have been killed, thousands have been wounded, and more than a million have been left homeless and in despair. There is no denying that Israel should have done much more to prevent the enormity of this crisis from happening. But the international community – which openly supports a war against the Taliban that has taken the lives of hundreds of innocent people – cannot, and must not, condemn this war.

Over the past two weeks, Israel has behaved obtusely and insensitively. But waging war is not a crime. It is yet another chapter in this tragic saga that must come to an end.

Since launching its attack on Gaza on December 27, Israel has achieved most of its goals. Hamas received a harsh blow, Israel regained its deterrent capabilities, and there is a chance the rocket fire on southern Israel will end. A correct diplomatic move may now stop the arms smuggling from Egypt and undermine the Palestinian extremists. If this happens, Israel could achieve its desired overall goal: peaceful coexistence with a weakened and deterred Hamas.

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Source: Haaretz


Are human rights for some, but not others?

Liraz Madmony (EUJS)Liraz Madmony, a 23-year-old law student from Sderot, addressed the UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Gaza in Geneva on behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) on Monday, before the vote by the council that condemned Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and resolved to send a fact-finding mission to investigate alleged Israeli abuses against Palestinians.

Here is the text of her speech.

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Thank you, Mr. President.

I come from Sderot, the city in Israel that for eight years has been terrorized, by 10,000 rockets fired against us from Gaza.

As a law student, I learned – and I believe – that all human beings have the right to peace and security.

But when I see today’s resolution, I ask: Why is the United Nations ignoring my suffering? When the terrorists committed these 10,000 violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, why was the UN silent?

Are human rights for some, but not others?

The constant assault on Sderot has destroyed our ability to lead a normal life. The warning before each attack gives us only 15 seconds to run for shelter. Fifteen seconds that will decide, life or death.

Mr. President, who will protect our right to life? My family does not have a bomb shelter, so we run to the most protected room, which is the shower.

There is one attack I will never forget. We heard the siren at seven in the morning. We ran to the shower. The rockets fell next to my house. My little brother, who was 14, went to see if anyone needed help. He found a man whose legs were blown off, and a woman blown to pieces.

My youngest brother is six. The rockets have been falling for eight years. He knows no other reality.

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Source: Jerusalem Post


Israeli soldiers secret weapon: Jewish spirituality

Israeli defense forcesTwo soldiers made their way through the winding streets of Gaza City, carefully watching for booby traps. Their objective was to hunt down Hamas terrorists and locate caches of Kassam and Grad rockets and other arms.

As they deliberated whether to turn left or right at an intersection, a woman dressed from head to foot in black appeared from out of nowhere.

“Go this way,” she said, pointing to the right. For some reason, the two soldiers listened to her.

After proceeding for a few seconds, the pair heard a large explosion behind them, in the direction they had almost taken. A rigged house blew up, destroying everything in the vicinity.

The two soldiers asked the woman dressed in black who she was.

“I am the Matriarch Rachel,” she said, referring to the beloved wife of Jacob.

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This story, whether true or not, is being circulated in religious circles – via Internet forums, SMS, e-mail and word of mouth – and is fast becoming an urban legend.

There is a tendency among the faithful to introduce metaphysical dimensions to the fighting in Gaza. Two-and-a-half weeks into Operation Cast Lead, religious faith has been integral to many soldiers’ morale.

“We are being swamped with demands, from religious and secular, kibbutzniks and yeshiva students, Sephardim and Ashkenazim,” for the names of soldiers to pray for, said Rabbanit Grossman, director of the Jewish Information Center in the capital’s Mea She’arim neighborhood. The haredi organization has created a special “prayer hotline” for soldiers.

The initiative, backed by the Bostoner rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Horovitz, and Rehovot Chief Rabbi Simcha Hakohen Kook, pairs a soldier involved in the Gaza fighting with a supplicant who prays for that soldier’s health and welfare.

Only soldiers who are interested in the service – or whose family members or friends are interested – are being singled out for this special spiritual protection from Hamas terrorists.

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Source: Jerusalem Post


Living in Gaza, Under Starlight and Bomb Blasts

GazaAs big sister, I accompany two of my five younger siblings to the roof of our 14-story building. We head up there whenever we can, even if people say it makes us easy targets. We climb 13 floors of stairs just to stand and look out on Gaza and breathe in 15 minutes of air before we duck inside again. “Burning City,” the children call it. Columns of smoke rise from various locations in the distance changing the color of the sky and the sun. The entire landscape is transformed. We can make out the locations of several of the many public, residential and landmark buildings that have been turned to piles of rubble. Israeli tanks now block the roads where we used to drive along the coast. Dark, ominous warships look out of place so close to our beautiful Gaza shore, which had been one of the only escapes and source of relaxation for the besieged people of the Gaza Strip. Earthen barriers have risen in the Zatoun area, cutting off the densely populated, heavily bombarded neighborhood from the rest of the city.

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Our entire lives is now one long chaotic stream of existence: waiting in line each morning to fill up containers with water from the only working tap on the ground floor of our building, baking homemade bread from the depleting supply of flour we managed to obtain a few days into the offensive, turning on the power generator for 30 to 50 minutes in the evening to charge phones and watch the news. Meanwhile, the constant in our lives has become the voice of the reporter on the small transistor radio giving reports every few seconds of the location and resulting losses from the explosion we just heard, or other attacks farther off on the Strip.

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Source: By Safa Joudeh Time


Israel must increse its medical aid to Gaza

Israeli flagA few days ago, Physicians for Human Rights began soliciting $700,000 in donations for hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli humanitarian organization also provided a detailed list of the medical equipment Gaza lacks, including portable monitors, respirators, ultrasound and X-ray machines, wheelchairs, needles, dressings, catheters, oxygen, medical gases, endo-tracheal tubes, screws and plates for shattered limbs, and surgical gloves. According to PHR, Gaza also has a severe shortage of intensive-care beds, which cost about $50,000 apiece. Moreover, many Palestinian ambulances are out of commission.

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As of Tuesday, dozens of people had responded to the call. Some NIS 400,000 has been raised, mainly from Palestinian-Israelis. However, the campaign is still about $600,000 short. And every day, the needs are growing. Every day, Palestinian doctors are forced to operate on wounded Palestinians without surgical gloves, without anesthesia and without other basic medical and sanitary equipment.

What Israel’s government should do, this very morning, is give PHR the missing $600,000. However, the government should not make do with that. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak must double, triple and quadruple the donation. The defense establishment must immediately provide a fund of $10-20 million that will inject new life into Gaza’s collapsing hospitals.

Money alone, however, is not enough. The Israel Defense Forces must seize the humanitarian initiative and erect a field hospital at the Kerem Shalom or Kissufim or Erez border crossings. The army should announce that first, the hospital will care for children: Any wounded Gazan child who is not receiving appropriate treatment in Gaza will receive excellent treatment at the Israeli hospital. If the experiment proves successful and is not abused, it can be expanded to offer emergency treatment to women, the elderly and anyone else not involved in terror.

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By Ari Shavit Haaretz


The Ordeal of Gaza survivors

Palestinian childrenSameh, aged three, and Ahmad, 18 months, cry all the time.

As she sits on the bed in al-Quds hospital in Gaza City, their mother Fatima al-Shamouny, 36, tries to comfort them.

But as she tells their – and her own – story, she sobs too.

The boys were found on Wednesday, with their dead father and unconscious mother nearby, four days after the emergency services said they began trying to reach the neighbourhood.

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They were among 30 people Palestinian Red Crescent workers said they evacuated from Zeitoun, a south-eastern suburb of Gaza City, on Wednesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the paramedics found “shocking” scenes of wounded people huddled together in houses among dead bodies, weak after having had no food or water for several days.

In one home, the agency said, four small children were found sitting close to their dead mothers, “too weak to stand on their own”.

It is not clear if Sameh and Ahmad were in that particular house – it may be that the unconscious Fatima was initially thought to be dead – but she says she and her toddlers were among those who had a long wait for help.

Survivors’ accounts

The ICRC has accused the Israeli military of failing to live up to its obligations under international law to facilitate the evacuation or to care for the wounded.

The agency said it had been requesting safe passage for its ambulances to access the neighbourhood since 3 January, but only received permission to do so from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) four days later.

The details of exactly what happened at the Shamouny family compound are still sketchy.

Survivors have told the BBC that 26 of the extended family’s 65 members died in Israeli military operations.

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Source: By Rushdie Aboualaf BBC News


The Israel Gaza war, by the numbers

David saranga (Consul for media and public affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York)As Israel continues to fight Hamas and its deeply entangled terror factions in Gaza, I thought of writing an article about the 10,200 rockets that have been fired from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns since 2001. I thought of writing about the thousands of Israeli citizens who live their lives in 15-second bursts, waiting in fear for the next warning siren to alarm, at which time they have mere seconds to take cover inside a bomb shelter before a missile strikes. Surely these figures alone are enough to make anyone’s jaw drop.

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Because of the sea of words and wave of articles that continue to flood the media regarding the war in Gaza, I decided to write something that would resonate with readers in a different way. Sometimes numbers speak louder than words.

To date, 396 truckloads of humanitarian aid were delivered to Gaza through Israeli crossings since Dec. 27, 2008. Too many, in fact, that the World Food Program informed Israel it would cease shipment of food to Gaza because supplies – enough to last two weeks – were overcrowding warehouses. There were 90,000 phone calls made by the IDF and 800,000 leaflets disseminated to families in Gaza warning them to evacuate their homes and stay away from terrorist and weapons storage sites.

One hundred percent of the Gaza Strip was evacuated by Israel and handed over to the Palestinians in 2005. Zero settlements remain. The 10,200 rockets fired into Israel have caused 28 deaths – 507 of these rockets were launched during the ceasefire alone. Thirty children in Israel would have been killed had they been present at the kindergarten in Ashdod that was struck by rockets from Gaza on Jan. 5.

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Source: Israel Politik/New York Daily News


Obama should speak up now!

Barack ObamaNapoleon Bonaparte once defined a leader as “a dealer in hope.” But Americans and Israelis yearning for leadership amid crisis from the incoming American president, who during the 2008 campaign was the great purveyor of hope, have thus far been sorely disappointed.

As missiles continue raining down on southern Israel, and the IDF’s Gaza campaign enters its second week, only a conspicuous silence has emanated from President-elect Barack Obama’s private Hawaii vacation compound.

While President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and their spokespeople have unequivocally backed Israel’s actions and blamed Hamas for abrogating the cease-fire, Obama has declined comment, saying instead that “there’s only one president at a time.” David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, told CBS News that “the Bush administration has to speak for America now” and that “it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to opine on these matters.” Incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has maintained a similar reticence.

BUT THE Obama team’s silence on this important issue is as surprising as it is unfortunate. In the immediate wake of his election, Obama proactively built a team designed to resuscitate the ailing US economy and reassured Americans – while ruffling the Bush administration’s feathers – that “help is on the way.” Obama presumably acted to calm the markets and to restore the confidence of those who had lost their jobs or retirement savings.

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Source: By Michael M. Rosen Jerusalem Post Opinion


Gaza: 300 Yards Between Life And Death

Rafah crossingMathematically, it’s not a tricky equation. Politically, though, it’s a complete conundrum. I’m talking about the scenes on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing Sunday.

It was the morning after the start of the Israeli ground assault on Gaza. In the dark, a few hours earlier, I’d been able to make out the sound of Israeli tank tracks grinding through southern Gaza; the whoosh of missiles fired by Apache attack helicopters into targets just a few hundred yards away and the rat-a-tat of assault guns as Hamas and Israeli fighters closed in on one another.

Now, it was light, and around 30 trucks lined up at the Rafah border gates. They were piled high with much needed medical supplies for the teeming hospitals of Gaza and the mounting casualties. The aid had come from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egyptian NGOs and even Scotland. There was even an eight-strong team of Greek trauma surgeons ready to go in and rescue the dying.

It would have been a heartening sight after the madness of the night except for one major detail — the border was closed, the gates firmly shut. That medicine was going nowhere.

And that’s the simple equation. Three checkpoints and 300 yards separated life-giving supplies from the Palestinian wounded and dying. There was fuel in the trucks, drivers at the wheel and politics in the road.

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Source: Karl Penhaul CNN Blog


Why israel needs a ground operation

Israeli troopsPrevious polls have shown that Israelis are apprehensive about the kind of ground operation in Gaza that has just begun. This is a direct reflection of Israelis dwindling confidence in the IDF’s ability to emerge  victorious from a ground war in this dense and treacherous territory. And this very skepticism is a key factor in Israeli leaders’ decision to go in on the ground last night.

If Israelis, traumatized by the 2006 Lebanon war, have a hard time believing they can win a ground war against Hamas, so do Israel’s neighbors. Hamas spokespersons were bragging last week that Israel would not dare invade Gaza, and promised that the Jewish state would pay a high price if it did. If the Gaza war ended without a ground operation, Hamas leaders would have crowed that Israel was deterred by Palestinian forces,  and this would have led to a further erosion of Israel’s reputation as a nation that cannot be intimidated. If Arab terrorists perceive Israel as a country wary of conflict, terrorist groups will only attack more in hopes of defeating the paper tiger.

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Source: By Shmuel Rosner Jerusalem Post Blog


Living with Rockets: Saving a life in Sderot

Hamas launching qassam rocketsOn Tuesday morning, as I was getting ready to leave my home, a woman’s voice said “Tzeva Adom! Tzeva Adom! Tzeva Adom!” over Sderot’s public speaker system. I had already heard this alarm a few times that morning, and several hundred times since I moved to Sderot. It meant that a rocket fired by Hamas in Gaza would explode somewhere in or near Sderot in about fifteen seconds. I went about my business, turning off my computer and packing my books, as I awaited the explosion.

When the inevitable happened, I heard that unmistakable cracking sound at the tiny fraction of an instant, the KA of the KABOOM! It indicated that Hamas had been lucky this time and hit somebody’s home, instead of their rockets landing in a field whose mud muffled the blast. One learns to pick up these subtle differences in kinds of explosion if one lives in Sderot. Less subtle was that my building shuddered, and my windows danced in their frames; I felt the slight shove of the shockwave going through my body. I knew that this Kassam rocket had landed within a few blocks of my home.

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Source: By David Farer Jerusalem Post Blog


To all you “embarassed” Jews

Jewish star of davidWhen you come and live in israel, that comfortable Diaspora fence you have been perched on all those years suddenly disappears. There is no more grey area; you’re either for us or against us.

It’s ironic that such a symbol of security should also be the symbol of indecisiveness. Such is the nature of The Fence.

It’s easy to criticize Israel from afar, it’s easy to be drawn in by the ludicrous political corectness, western liberalism and, in many cases, a sense of extreme embarrassment forced on and often embraced by Jews in the Diaspora. It’s easy to shout and scream and criticize, worrying what your non-Jewish neighbors or colleagues may think, becoming the ultimate apologists. It’s easy to scream from your comfortable pseudo-Jewish ivory towers. What seems to be harder is for you to muster some sense of loyalty and support for your own people (Jews) and your own country ( Israel). (Just a reminder.) And there aren’t enough righteous gentiles to save us all.

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Source: By Jeremy Cardish Jerusalem Post Blog


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