By Esther Korson
This blog is a kind of ‘bits of this and that’—things that I’ve wanted to share with you lately—so I’ve simply put them all together!
The first ‘bit’ is that Amnesty International recently came out with a blistering report castigating Israel for ‘Operation Defensive Edge’ in Gaza last summer, accusing the IDF of war crimes. Interestingly, Amnesty noted in its report the measures the IDF took to avoid civilian casualties—but then accused Israel of committing war crimes! The Amnesty statement reported that the IDF measures used to avoid civilian casualties included “advanced phone calls, the dropping of leaflets, notices to residents to maintain a safe distance from the building, as well as knocking- on-the-roof warning missiles.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry said, “These measures are unprecedented in modern warfare and the Amnesty report explicitly states that no one was killed in the air strikes.” Despite acknowledging the steps the IDF took to protect noncombatants, the Ministry charged Amnesty then made “unfounded allegations concerning the conduct of the IDF by suggesting that Israel intentionally targeted civilians and their property.” The Foreign Ministry said, “The report also focuses on monetary losses to Palestinian civilians rather than investigating the systematic and deliberate firing of rocket and mortars at Israel’s civilian population by an internationally recognized jihadist terrorist group.”(Times of Israel)
All of the international condemnation must be so disappointing to the IDF, as the pilots and soldiers tried in so many ways to avoid civilian casualties. As I often say, God knows the truth, and that’s what really counts. But it seems as though He isn’t the only one who knows the truth about the care that the IDF showed during its operations in Gaza! Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey said recently, “I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties.” He was speaking in New York City during a forum at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “In this kind of conflict, where you’re held to a standard that that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties. The Hamas tunnels caused the IDF some significant challenges,” Dempsey said. “But they did some extraordinary things to try to limit civilian casualties including making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” listing IDF measures such as ‘roof knocking’ and the dropping of leaflets as part of their attempts to protect civilian lives. “The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey continued. The American General recounted that an American delegation came to study their methods three months earlier to learn lessons from the conflict “to include the measures they took to prevent civilian casualties and what they did with the tunneling.”
It was in September that Washington sent a team of senior officers to learn from Israel’s tactics in ‘Operation Protective Edge.’ As Dempsey explained, “We sent a team of senior officers and non-commissioned officers over to Israel to work with the IDF to get the lessons from that participation,” referring to the group of officers as the ‘lessons learned team’ probing the extraordinary lengths the IDF took to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties. (Jerusalem Post)
A few weeks ago there was a gala fund raiser in Los Angeles for the IDF which raised a record $33 million. It was sponsored by the ‘Friends of the IDF’. Barbra Streisand, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone were among the more than 1,200 guests who attended. Pamela Anderson, who also attended, shared her love for the Holy Land, saying, “Israel is magical. It is one of my favourite places to be, a mixture of old and new, arts, music and freedom. The people of Israel are interesting, aware and generous. Israel is a place that everyone must experience.” Streisand commented, “This event is one of the most inspiring and emotional evenings of the year. The soldiers of the IDF deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for all that they sacrifice to protect Israel, the only democratic state in the region.”
In a blog a while back, I commented on the news that an anonymous person in the Obama administration called Prime Minister Netanyahu a ‘chicken sh**.’So here’s another ‘bit’—I’d love to share with you what Bibi had to say when he heard about the comment! “When Israel is pressured to make concessions it’s very easy to give in. There are ovations and ceremonies on lawns and afterwards come the missiles and the tunnels. As Prime Minister, I am responsible for Israeli security. I care about the lives of every soldier and citizen. I have been on the battlefield many times. I have risked my life for the country. And I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger our State. It must be understood that our supreme interests, with security and the unity of Jerusalem first and foremost, are not among the top concerns of those anonymous elements that are attacking us and me personally; because the attack on me was only because I am defending the State of Israel. If I did not defend the State of Israel, if I did not vigourously uphold our national and security interests, they would not attack me. And despite all the attacks against me, I will continue to defend our State. I will continue to defend the citizens of Israel. I would also like to add that I respect and appreciate our deep ties with the United States. Since the foundation of our State we have had disagreements with the US and we will yet have them. But this is not at the expense of the deep ties between our peoples and countries. And we see this again and again in the rise this year of support for the State of Israel among the American people, support that has reached an all-time high. The strategic alliance, and the alliance in values between the two countries, are continuing and will continue…” Pray for him, please!
Again in an earlier blog, I mentioned that the United States will not put “Israel” in a US passport emanating from Jerusalem. This is particularly strange since a number of years ago the US Congress—which has always been extremely pro-Israel—passed a law calling on the government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the US Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But the Presidents have refused to comply even until now. Well, guess what? Right now a family has petitioned the Supreme Court on this very matter! As a result of the petition, the US Supreme Court is weighing the constitutionality of the law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace on their US passports. The court appears to be divided on the case that involves the long-standing US policy that the President and not Congress has sole authority to provide American recognition of who controls Jerusalem. At least one Justice recommended that the law should be upheld and that Jerusalem, Israel, should be written on the passport with a disclaimer added on by the government saying that ‘this is not intended to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.’
Avi and Naomi Zivotofsky are the petitioners in this case before the Supreme Court on behalf of their son, Menachem, who was born in Jerusalem. A reporter asked Menachem, “So if your passport says just Jerusalem, it would be embarrassing?”
“No,” he replied, “but there would be some people who would see just Jerusalem and think that I’m not proud to be an Israeli.”
“Dad, why is this important to you?”
“Very similarly, we’re proud we moved from America to Israel. We’re still proud Americans but we moved to Israel because we’re also proud of the State of Israel and it’s an honour to represent all of the Americans whose children are born in Jerusalem. The passports should say that they were born in Israel,” said Avi. As Netanyahu is fond of saying, Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. Isn’t it crazy that we have to fight for that recognition? It is a sign indeed that we are in the end times!
A new poll was published yesterday showing that 80% of the “Palestinians” support the individual terror attacks that have tragically occurred recently in Jerusalem by “Palestinian” individuals who have stabbed or hatcheted Israelis or rammed their cars into crowded train stations. In addition, the poll showed that more than half of the “Palestinians” support a new Intifada (violent uprising against Jerusalem) and Hamas would win the presidency if new elections were held. Hamas! Can you imagine that the world thinks these people are partners for peace? Don’t be fooled. They do want piece—they want Israel piece by piece by piece until we disappear into the sea. Sorry, folks—according to the God of Israel, WE ARE HERE TO STAY!!! Halleluyah!
And then one last thing that you might not know about. Bear in mind that Israel is the size of Rhode Island and that we just spent an enormous amount of money on the Gaza war last summer to stop the rocket attacks. But as soon as Ebola broke out, Israel immediately sent experts to train the affected countries in isolation techniques. In response to urgent pleas from the UN, the World Health Organization, the US and other countries, Israel also sent more than a million shekels worth of medical equipment as well as expert personnel to fight the spread of the African Ebola epidemic. In early November, six containers were loaded onto a ship in Ashdod en route to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea containing three mobile emergency Ebola treatment units and medical equipment. Each clinic consists of 20 beds. The clinics are fully equipped and each unit will be accompanied by an Israeli team including technicians to set up the field hospitals and to train local personnel on how to run them, along with doctors and nurses under the auspices of the Health Ministry. They will train their African counterparts to educate at-risk populations on how to prevent the spread of the disease.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told a Security Council in September, “Just as Israel answered the call for humanitarian aid in Haiti, Ghana and the Philippines; Israel is ready for the new challenge standing before the world and has started providing funds and medical equipment. The time for global action is now. Tens of thousands of lives and the future of West Africa hang in the balance. Every country, no matter how small, has a role to play in combating the Ebola epidemic. We are standing at a crossroad. In our generation global health and development goals that once seemed unattainable are now within our reach.”
Israel is a very, very small country, but once again we see that this little nation has a big heart.
Follow News from Jerusalem