Monday, July 28, 2014

COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY'S BLOGS

An apology for the partly incoherent blog this morning. I am once again trying to dictate to word  but with a newer version of Dragnet. It  still has to understand  many of my words  and some time decides to write on its own. We hope that in a short period of time that will not be a problem.

 I thought that my late night proof reading had caught most of the errors but when I read it late this morning it was obvious that there was too much gibberish left. I trust it now reads  properly .

I hope all read David's this morning's blog. If you do not have it bookmarked go to it via CLIPS.

Likewise, Dan's blog contains a suggestion that a forward thinking Administration and Council  should promptly consider and implement.


GAZA POST WEEKEND



Once a sucker always. Always a sucker. Once again I am trying to dictate using Dragon 12 instead of typing I certainly will get many typos and unusual words. And already in this paragraph I see to typo errors in punctuation and a word I did not say. 
 Unfortunatetely I overslept and just now (11am) I am able to again proof read and be appalled by the number of errors i words and punctuations. I am trying to correct all I find so this makes sense.

Monday was to be a day of discussion on how to solve the perpetual conflicts in that part of the world that we know as Palestine. However, first things first and I should try to bring us up today as far as what I know on Sunday afternoon. Saturday night the Israelis and finally Hamas agreed to a 12 hour humanitarian cease-fire which said it was up to four more hours by the Israelis.

Subsequently Israel proposed agreed to a 24 hour additional cease-fire and as long as it could continue destroying Hamas expired tunnels and rocket launch sites in the area it control. Instead Hamas launch the rockets immediately after the original cease-fire expired. Israel is at first refrain from retaliating but as soon as it indicated that it would Hamas said then agreed to a further cease-fire.

There is no question that there have been some irresponsible attacks on pure civilian sites by the Israelis, and but there is no question that Hamas is not recognized the so-called Geneva conventions which prohibit the placing of offensive weapons of war among civilian habitation. The result of course is that any attempt to destroy them is going to results in large civilian casualties.

It is very difficult to get an accurate unbiased opinion about what is really happening in Palestine. Too few of us read any newspaper in depth, indeed there are a few papers that really devote any space to news stories except those that have to do with murder or robbery or tragedy. Exceptions are for us, the New York Times as perhaps the Wall Street Journal. And what he would lay our biased the Times 30 in national affairs tends to lead to the left, whereas the Journal leans to the right. Thus both papers are at times guilty of editorializing and in their news. Columns,

And we no longer have the great unbiased radio news broadcasts by such giants as Edward Murrow, Eric Sevareid, Howard Smith, or Walter Cronkite. Instead today’s news broadcasts on television are mostly a show production which briefly touches on the news; not in depth and most often reflecting the philosophy of the station owner. Fox news is extremely right whereas MSNBC tends to be very liberal. Listen to both and divide by two; you might get the truth.

When it comes to the fighting in the Gaza strip; the carnage in Gaza makes good television, whereas the lack of any substantial damage any where’s in Israel is of no interest to the media. We get no input on their lives under frequent alarms and rushing to a shelter.

Thus while they the TV media may give us an accurate indication of what is happening in Gaza, however it tells only part of the story. One station made its propaganda while pointing out the terrific amount of damage in Gaza, while commenting that there been minimal damage in Israel. It went so far as to have a commentator remarked that Israel’s bombs cause a great deal of damage including the shaking buildings in the area whereas the Hamas rockets damage is only local because they are much smaller.

It went on to point out that since the conflict began Israel and got some 3000 bonds bombs  while Hamas and only shot over 2000 rockets into Israel of which most had landed in fields and not in any city. For all the Gazans killed only three Israel citizens had been killed. Apparently that made Hamas’s rocket shooting just as trivial matter and not worth fighting over.


The impression perceived is that Israel is committing a crime against humanity and Hamas is doing is of. Little consequence. It matters not that Israel’s iron Shield has intercepted the great majority of the rockets aimed at the major cities and others due to the nature of their random generalize targeting an area without a specific location just fall into an empty field.

Every civilian death in Gaza increases sympathy for Hamas’s cause. It is not to improve life in Gaza that they are fighting for; the concrete used in the tunnels would have better served Gaza in houses and hospitals. The funds spent on weapons and rockets could have better been used to rebuild the infrastructure. For Hamas to have sought peaceful relations with Israel would have been unthinkable if that had succeeded.

Constant daily indiscriminate shooting of rockets into Israel is a terrorist act which no nation should have to tolerate.

To return to what was to be the subject of this blog; I can be only be brief today with an attempt to expand in the future. Before Israel can really conceive of a lasting peace is imperative that Hamas rescinds its sworn objective; the destruction of the State of Israel. The Arab nations; Iraq, Syria, Iran (I know it’s not an Arab nation but Persian), Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states must formally end state of war that exist between them and Israel and recognize Israel as a nation.

Since for various reasons it seems to be impossible for one nation to be composed of both Arabs and Jews is imperative that Israel negotiates an area of the West Bank and Gaza to be a separate nation. And there has to be some guarantees and against armed forces is a new nation that would represent the threat to Israel. There has to be an adjustment and relocation of many of the settlements that would be in the new nation.

One of the most troubling problems the question of Jerusalem. Specifically the so-called East Jerusalem area which contains the most holy places of three religions; Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The solution here could be an international enclave perhaps under United Nations control.

I should continue this is a subsequent blog. Meanwhile, please comment and I hope not anonymously.

Friday, July 25, 2014

NO BLOG THIS WEEKEND

No one wants to read much less write a blog on any summer weekend. This weekend promises to be exceptional and next weekend I have family  (GREAT) so do not look for any posting before Monday.

However if something earthshaking takes place that will demand a posting I will do so.

ABOUT GAZA Part 2

Late  at night after I had scheduled this blog for 6:30 am posting there was news of an "Israel tank shell" hitting a Gaza school with 16 dead and 200 injured. Subsequently from various sources including BBC there was modification of the report stating  that origin of the "shell was premature and that there might be a possibility that it was a Hamas rocket. That there is an UN investigation in process. I cannot conceive that Hamas would aim at their school. Of course there could be a misfire which does happen, with tragic results. As of this moment judgement should be withheld pending the UN report. We must expect some plausible response from Israel including an admission and provable explanation  if it was their ROCKET. Note the BBC report says "rockets". 
"At least 16 people were killed after rockets struck a U.N.-run school sheltering Palestinians in northern Gaza, officials said on Thursday.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 200 people were wounded in the attack. This marks the fourth time that a UN facility has been hit since Israel began Operation Protective Edge on July 8, the BBC reports."

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The question which we must find an answer is who bears the moral responsibility for the civilian deaths in Gaza. Is it Israel who for the past two weeks has been conducting ground and aerial military operations in the vicinity of Gaza City?

Or is it  Hamas who had been randomly bombarding   Israel with up to several hundred rockets daily from installations interspersed among residential homes; or could it be the Gazans who in 2006  by a majority vote over the more moderate Fatah welcomed the terrorist Hamas as the authority in that area?

Hamas has declined to participate in any diplomatic effort unless all its major objectives were met before discussion, any but instead has not only increase the number of rocket launching to hundreds daily but also sent small attack parties through the tunnels knowing that it would provoke Israel’s military reaction. Perhaps the people of Gaza who by majority vote accepted Hamas’s sovereignty over the more moderate Fatah must share responsibility?

Or should the finger point not only to the Islamic countries that not only have refused after almost 70 years to recognize Israel as a country, but have supplied Hamas with the sophisticated rockets being used;  but also to all the UN nations and commissions that have been antagonistic  and that would isolate Israel against the world?

Or Israel whose weapons are killing civilians. An Israel that cannot stand by while its citizens are terrorized daily by the multiple threats of death from Hamas rockets.

Everyone from a person to a country is entitled to the right of self-protection. To condemn either for a strong reaction when no one rises to their defense is unconscionable.

The Geneva conventions which prohibit attacks on civilians of which Israel has been accused; also prohibits the placing aggressive war weapons among civilians; which Hamas has been documented that Hamas has done but has not been called to task.

This is from the 7/23/14 Times:   UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. secretary-general on Wednesday said he was "alarmed" to hear that rockets were placed in a U.N.-run school in Gaza and now "have gone missing," and he demanded a full review of such incidents.

A statement by the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon expressed the U.N. chief's "outrage and regret" at the placement of weapons at a site run by the global organization. The U.N. says that has happened at least twice so far in the current fighting.
"Those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children," U.N. staff and anyone seeking shelter, the statement said.
The rockets had been placed at one of the schools run by the U.N. refugee agency for Palestinians, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza.
A week ago, UNRWA said that during a routine check it discovered about 20 rockets hidden in one of its vacant Gaza schools and called on militants to respect the "sanctity and integrity" of U.N. property. It said the incident was "the first of its kind in Gaza."
On Tuesday, UNRWA reported a second incident, saying it found rockets hidden at a vacant school during a regular inspection. "UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets," its statement said. "The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons."

Thursdays WSJ repeating that story noted that the vacant schools “was close to two other UN schools being used to shelter displaced Gazans”.

From the same day Times: “When Hamas sent a barrage of rockets into Israel, simmering hostilities, and back and forth strikes, erupted into war.
At first, when Hamas rockets were being intercepted mainly by Israel’s Iron Dome system as Israel hit Gaza with devastating force, the group strove to persuade its supporters that it was having enough impact on Israel to wrest concessions: Its radio stations blared fictional reports about Israeli casualties.
But as it wore on, the conflict revealed that Hamas’s secret tunnel network leading into Israel was far more extensive, and sophisticated, than previously known. It also was able to inflict some pain on Israel, allowing Hamas to declare success even as it drew a devastating and crushing response. Its fighters were able to infiltrate Israel multiple times during an intensive Israeli ground invasion. Its militants have killed at least 27 Israeli soldiers and claim to have captured an Israeli soldier who was reported missing in battle, a potentially key bargaining chip.
But as the recent fight with Israel has revealed, Hamas was importing tons of cement — desperately needed for Gazan schools and houses and construction jobs — to reinforce the tunnels it built to infiltrate Israel and hide its weapons.”
And more: GAZA CITY — Militant rockets can be seen launching from crowded neighborhoods, near apartment buildings, schools and hotels. Hamas fighters have set traps for Israeli soldiers in civilian homes and stored weapons in mosques and schools. Tunnels have been dug beneath private property.” (7/24 Times Internet news).

There is enough documentation to confirm Israel’s claims that Hamas is using the presence of humans as a shield for its weapons.

Another point that Hamas must shoulder most of the blame for the collateral damage- a polite phrase for civilian casualties- is the fact that it has refused to agree to three proposals for a cease fire, the latest by Egypt. Hamas has said it will not agree to one without concessions which would be the equivalent of a victory and a defeat for Israel.

Think about it; if your neighborhood was subject to repeated barrages of gunfire so that you and your children were frequently in danger would you not have the authorities take every step possible to eliminate the problem even if others are held in hostage as a Human shield?

Next; possible solutions.

FYI From Bloomberg News.
Hamas, a spinoff of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was founded in 1987 amid the first Palestinian uprising and later gained notoriety for a campaign of suicide bombings that killed hundreds of Israelis.
The group won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. It took control of Gaza the following year after a bloody confrontation with forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah in the West Bank.
The group is led by Mashaal, 58, who operates from Qatar. The rest of his political team is divided between Gaza and several Arab countries while the Qassam Brigades are in Gaza. There have historically been tensions between the outsiders and those in the Palestinian Authority, Gazans and West Bankers, hawks and doves, politicians and fighters.
At the start of the fighting there were conflicting reactions that hinted of divisions when Egypt came up with its cease-fire proposal. Qassam quickly rejected it while the political leadership took a few days before dismissing it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A HISTORY OF PALESTINE



Let us be clear about one thing. I am not writing these “blogs” as an apology for the number of civilians’ deaths in this Israel invasion of the Gaza strip because I am Jewish. I am posting it because there are facts that are constantly being ignored or rejected by some through lack of knowledge and other by pure bigotry. The facts that I present can all be confirmed through googling the internet; however my sources were multiple and I am not able to note all sources.


Before there can be any discussion about what or who is right or wrong in Gaza it is impossible to understand what is happening in Palestine today without at least a brief 1200 word historical record of the area.


From about 1100 BC the twelve tribes of Israel lives in the highlands of what was Judea and Samaria as well as the coastal areas. Jerusalem was David’s and Solomon’s capital and the first Temple was there.  After Solomon’s death the Kingdom split into two. In the  north the larger and more powerful Israel's  capital was in Samaria which in 742BC was captured and destroyed by Assyria . The ten tribes that supposedly occupied that area are known as the lost tribes, but it is believed that most of the population remained and ultimately was absorbed in other newer occupants of that area. Their descendants live there to this date.


The smaller Southern nation Judea lasted until about 586BC when the Babylonians destroyed the city and the Temple. This led to the Babylonia captivity, although it is now believed that the majority still remained in that area, until the Persian conquest and the return and rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Second Temple after 536 BC.


Other rulers over Palestine were Alexander and his Greek successors from 330 BC until the Roman conquest around 73BC

The Second Temple was destroyed after a Jewish revolution in 70AD (CE) and d the Jewish population was dispersed although population centers remained near the Galilee.


The country more or less remained under Roman/Byzantine rule until about 634AD when Islam conquered it. Although the population majority  was still Christian until the time of Saladin about 1187 AD it was ruled by various Islamic Caliphs with the exception of a brief period under Crusader rule from 1099 to 1187, until 1516 when the Ottomans Captured Jerusalem.


Their rule last until the end of WWI until Dec. 1917 when the British captured the City. In 1922 the British were given by the League of Nations the mandate over the area. (The French received what is now Iraq and Syria)
 MODERN ERA


This brings us up to the last near 100 years; starting with the Balfour Declaration a November 2, 1917 letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild that made public the British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration led the League of Nations to entrust the United Kingdom with the Palestine Mandate in 1922.



However the British treated its Mandate as a colony albeit one that firs had Arab insurrection and later a period of Jewish underground fighting. But in 1948 the British had literally wiped its hands from any control of the region on May 14, 1948



On May 14, 1948, Israel became an independent state recognized by the United Nations as a country in its own right but with limited area and no access to its traditional religious sites in Jerusalem.



The original UN plan had to be to also establish an independent Palestine state and to have Jerusalem under International Control (UN?).


However on May 15 Israel was attacked by the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. In 1948, the Arab Legion, trained and led by British officers, conquered the Old City of Jerusalem and took control of territory for Jordan on the western side of the Jordan River, which became known as Transjordan.


The Arab nations involved negotiated their own armistice talks; however, refused to recognize Israel's existence and negotiate peace. They remained in a state of war with the Jewish state.
They continued their economic, political, social and cultural boycott of the Jewish state which was instituted by the Arab League in 1945. 

The Arab economic boycott of Israel prohibited Arab peoples, companies and states from conducting business both with Israel and with other companies who do business with Israel. They also embarked on a campaign to isolate the Jewish state in the international community.


The Arab states provided little help to Palestinians who became refugees after the war. Only Jordan offered Palestinian Arabs citizenship. Refugee camps were set up and maintained primarily by the United Nations and other international relief organizations.
 
Suez Crisis;  In July 1956 Egypt announced that it was going to nationalize the Suez Canal which since it had also blockaded the Straits of Tiran to shipping bound for Israel on Oct.29,1956 Britain, France, and Israel  attacked through the Sinai Peninsula and controlled the canal. The US and USSR forced Israel to withdraw but the straits remained opened.


The Six-Day War June 1967 between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Syria aided by troops from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, resulted in a crushing defeat of the Arabs and not only was the vulnerable 6 mile neck along the coast between the northern and southern portion of Israel expanded but Jordan was expelled from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Absorbed was the Sinai and Gaza from Egypt and the strategic Golan heights  from which Syria would bombard the kibbutz’s in the plains of the Galilee. 

After Egypt under Nassar signed a peace agreement and recognized Israel the Sinai with all the Israel investments was returned to Egypt.


From 1967-1970 there were intermittent border confrontations when a cease fire was signed.


The Yom Kippur: on October 6, 1973, Yom Kippur the most holy day for Jews, Egypt and Syria simultaneous attacked across the cease fire lines. It was 20 days before Israel could defeat them.


Around 1970 the PLO had been expelled from Jordan and relocated into southern Lebanon and along its Syrian border. From 1971 to 1982 there were periodic rocket and terrorist attacks on the Galilee. 

In 1978 Israel invade that part of Lebanon to stop those attacks. In 1982 due to increased PLO terrorist activities in June expelled the PLO from that area but it was replaced by the Iran supported Hezbollah with whom that was constant guerilla warfare on a small scale through 2000.


The First Intifada (1987-1993) and the Second Intifada (200-d by suicide2005) were  periods of PLO attacks on Israel population marked by suicide bombings in which large numbers of Israel civilians, focusing on women and children were killed  or maimed.


In 2006 Israel forces again invaded southern Lebanon along the Syrian border because of increased Hezbollah attacks and severely destroyed its capabilities.  


In 2005 the Gaza citizens by a narrow margin repudiated the more moderate Fatah which ruled the West Bank as the Palestine Authority in favor of Hamas dedicated to the destruction of Israel. 

This resulted in the Dec. 2008-Jan. 2009 Israel incursion into Gaza to stop the rocket firing aimed at Israel habitation within 12 miles of the border.


For the last few years the rocket attacks have increased in intensity; up to several hundred a day from Gaza causing random casualties and damage along with increased terrorist attacks onside in Israel.


Next post will contain excerpts from the printed media about the situation, including the failed armistices.