Israel in the News Nov/Dec 2007
Arab Rockets Traumatize Sderot
Intense rocket fire from Palestinian Gaza into Jewish Sderot has led Defense Minister Ehud Barak to declare a state of emergency in the western Negev communities, thereby transferring authority over local councils and municipalities to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Nine Kuds-3 rockets struck Sderot as school opened, sending 12 Israeli children to the hospital. Islamic Jihad boasted of the vicious attack, calling it a “present for the start of the new school year.”
One Israeli mother declared, “My 13-year-old son refuses to go to school, and he has to have psychological treatment twice a week, but no one cares. We practically live inside the shelter on the ground floor, and my kids can’t even take a shower. Does anyone care?” Arutz-7 reported.
Asked what she would advise the government to do, she said, “They should bomb Gaza from the air! I don’t want to have to live in fortified buildings; let the people in Gaza fortify themselves. Nor do I want any soldiers to get killed because of us. An air attack to wipe out all traces of those who have sent us rockets for the last seven years and made our lives unbearable—that’s the solution.”
Israeli officials are trying to decide how to handle the situation. Arutz-7 reported Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opposes a proposal to cut electricity, water, and gas supplies to Gaza to combat the rockets but has ordered officials to review the legal ramifications of doing so in an effort to impair Hamas’s ability to govern the Strip.
Said one official, “We won’t continue to supply oxygen [to Gaza] in the form of electricity, fuel, and water when they are trying to kill our children.”
Muslims Destroy Temple Wall
ARUTZ-7—A large trench being dug on the Temple Mount is destroying a never-before uncovered section of the outer wall of the second Temple. The construction is being supervised by the Waqf—the Muslim authority acting as custodians to the Temple Mount.
Top Israeli archaeologists warn that the Arab excavations may destroy the wall. Dr. Eilat Mazar said, “Irreversible destruction is going on there.”
Archaeologists demand construction halt on the trench, which is about 1,300 feet long and five feet deep. The Waqf, which is using bulldozers, steam shovels, and other heavy equipment, claims the trench is being dug to replace 40-year-old electrical cables for nearby mosques.
Photos show carved stones, which appear to be a section of the wall, casually dumped in a pile. Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of the Temple Institute, said the Temple remains are being “purposely destroyed with no supervision.”
The Israel Antiquities Authority approved the construction on Judaism’s holiest site, and police say they will not act since the Antiquities Authority approved the dig.
The wall is from the outer wall of the Temple itself, unlike the Western Wall, which is a remnant of the retaining wall around the larger Temple platform.
“The whole world is wondering what the Jews are doing,” Richman said, “[in] allowing their most precious site, the Holy of Holies, to be destroyed right before their eyes.”
ARUTZ-7—Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s intention to give away most of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“We keep hearing about an international summit in November in which we will more or less promise to give away more land in another unilateral withdrawal,” Netanyahu said. “It wasn’t enough that we retreated in Lebanon and Gaza, that now they’re planning another one!
“So they’ll say that it’s not unilateral, rather now we have a partner,” Netanyahu continued. “And who’s the partner? Abu Mazen [Abbas]! He’s a partner? Reciprocity is when you get something back in exchange for what you give. But what will we receive? Will we receive the complete nullification of the [Arab] ‘right of return’ [to Israel]? We know that we will not. Will we receive sovereignty over Jerusalem?No, we know that [our government] has ceded this. And it keeps on going, with every Olmert-Abbas meeting, another 100 terrorists are freed…and that’s when they meet here. When they meet in the US, it’s hundreds of terrorists who go free, and we hear that at the summit they’re going to be talking about thousands!…Not to mention the guns that the PA keeps receiving.
“This government just gives and gives,” Netanyahu railed, “and receives nothing. And this will place us in dangers much greater than we have known before, as we see in Sderot; the risks in the Galilee continue as well. Our country will end up endangered by rockets from three directions.
“They themselves [Barak and Olmert] realize there is a problem, and they say they can’t withdraw right now [from Judea and Samaria], because then the terrorists will take over and fire at us. This means it won’t bring peace, but will rather bring the rockets closer.
“What, then, must we do? We must first of all realize that at present, there is simply no Palestinian partner. The reason why Judea and Samaria do not turn into Hamastan is because we are still there. We must also create conditions that will make it harder for extremist Muslims to recruit youths to their ranks. In addition, we must have joint economic projects with Jordan; as opposed to some people who say that peace will bring prosperity, we know that economic prosperity can create some conditions for peace.”
Critics Slam Amanpour’s Reporting
Christiane Amanpour’s reporting on “God’s Jewish Warriors,” which aired in August on CNN as part of her six-hour, three-part television feature on Jews, Muslims, and Christians, was the “most poisonously biased and factually shoddy feature to air on mainstream American television in recent memory,” said CAMERA’s executive director, Andrea Levin.
Jonathan Tobin, executive editor of The Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia called the series “nothing short of a brazen lie” that asked viewers to “pretend that there is an intrinsic connection, or even symmetry, between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim extremists.”
CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, has published a detailed, scathing attack on the highly publicized program. Levin cited numerous errors and condemned Amanpour for equating a handful of Jewish extremists who have been overwhelmingly condemned by Israeli society with “the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns underway across the globe.”
Amanpour also concentrated on the West Bank settlements, Levin said, suggesting they are illegal and the cause of Arab anger. “Yet the Arab world was just as anti-Israel (actually more so) before the settlements were built.”
Wrote Levin: “Amanpour…portrays Jewish settlements in the West Bank as an encroachment on ‘Arab’ land—repeatedly referring to disputed territories as ‘Arab’ or ‘occupied’ land (22 times throughout the program).”
She interviewed former President Jimmy Carter, who is overtly pro-Palestinian and told her no American politician could survive politically while calling for settlement-related aid cuts to Israel: “There’s no way that a member of Congress would ever vote for that and hope to be re-elected,” Carter said. However, Levin listed 17 congressmen who have voted against aid to Israel and/or opposed other resolutions favoring Israel. Ronald Reagan, in fact, who succeeded Carter as president, said he disagreed with the Carter administration, which called the settlements “illegal.”
Tobin said Amanpour’s segment on “the threat from extremist Jewish settlers and the entire network of support for the State of Israel in the U.S. was as classic an example of a dishonest piece of biased programming as anything that has been broadcast on a major network.”
In his article titled “View from America: CNN’s False Symmetry” that ran August 27 in The Jerusalem Post, Tobin said the idea that the West Bank settlements obstruct peace “is nothing short of fantastic, especially given the events of the past several years, which have shown how uninterested the Palestinians are in peace with Israel, no matter where its borders are.”
Tobin said CNN used an argument “that has rightly been termed a modern intellectual justification for anti-Semitism” and that the Jewish settlers threaten no one “and are, if anything, among the primary victims of Muslim terror.”
To read CAMERA’s rebuttal in its entirety, log on to camera.org.