Israel in the News Nov/Dec 2008
UN Chutzpah Never Ends
The UN is poised to insist that Israel pay Lebanon $1 billion to compensate for damages to Lebanon during the 2006 war against Hezbollah.
“Yes, you read that correctly,” wrote Michael Freund in a recent article in The Jerusalem Post. “The UN wants Israel to pay for having the gall to defend itself.”
“Even for a body with such a long and remarkable record of anti-Israel hyperbole,” Freund wrote, “the UN has outdone itself this time.”
Freund suggested Israel add up all the damage Hezbollah has done to Israel and force Syria, Lebanon, and Iran—which sponsor Hezbollah terrorism—to foot the bill.
“And while we’re on the subject of liability,” he said, “the UN might wish to consult its lawyers. After all, UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] troops in southern Lebanon have lethargically presided over repeated Hezbollah arms buildups while doing little to stop them, despite the requirements of UN Security Council resolutions. Their hands aren’t entirely clean when it comes to preventing the outbreak of conflict.
“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t invoke principles of fairness and equity and then demand that Israel be made to pay while ignoring the other side’s culpability.”
More Israeli Concessions?
Although trading land for peace has never worked, Ehud Olmert prepared to give away the store, as the saying goes.
While prime minister of Israel, he offered the Palestinian Authority (PA) more than 98 percent of Judea and Samaria—home to more than 360,000 Israelis. He also expressed willingness to allow 5,000 Arabs to take up residence inside Israel proper. These Arabs claim descent from those who fled when Israel became a state in 1948.
Olmert also negotiated dividing Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians and relinquishing key Jewish neighborhoods.
“The notion of a Greater Israel no longer exists, and anyone who still believes in it is deluding themselves,” he said, according to Arutz-7.
Arutz-7 reported, “The Israeli position on Jerusalem has continually softened in the past year, especially since American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared that the Har Homa neighborhood, near Gilo in southern Jerusalem, is a ‘settlement,’ putting it on par with all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. By definition, all of the neighborhoods added to Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967 have the same status as Har Homa. These areas include French Hill, Gilo, Ramot, Pisgat Zev and East Talpiot, among others.”
Arutz-7 also reported that Abbas “has asked Olmert for the large Jerusalem suburb of Ma’aleh Adumim, which is located on the edge of the Judean desert and is home to approximately 36,000 Jews, as well as Givat Ze’ev, named after Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, located north of Jerusalem and home to approximately 11,000 Jews….Abbas still wants to discuss the possibility of commandeering the large Jerusalem neighborhoods of Gilo and French Hill.”
The PA’s strategy is consistent with a 2001 plan in Arab Strategic Report to obliterate Israel by changing its demographics. Arab migration into Israel, coupled with a high Arab birthrate, would make Arabs the majority by 2035, it said.
Muslims Urinate Near Torahs
ARUTZ-7—Muslims converged on the Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron recently, urinated next to Torah scrolls, and left behind Hamas flags. The Cave of the Patriarchs is the tomb of the biblical founders of the Jewish faith, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their wives, Sarah, Rivka [Rebekah], and Leah. Hebron resident Asher Horowitz explained that he and others spotted the Hamas flags when they were returning holy books that had been taken into safe storage before the prohibition from Jews entering the Cave of the Patriarchs went into effect around Ramadan.
Ever since Muslims destroyed Torah scrolls in the Cave of the Patriarchs in the 1980s, Jews always remove holy books and lock the Holy Ark when they are prohibited from entering.
Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, said there is always some sort of damage discovered upon their return every time Jews are prohibited from entering the holy site.
“It is not all the Muslims,” he said. “But there always are a few who in the past have ripped mezuzot off the entrances to the rooms of worship or simply leave behind vandalism. Complaints have been filed with the police in the past, but no one ever has been arrested.”
Rifles for PA
ARUTZ-7—Defense Minister Ehud Barak arranged for a secret transfer of 1,000 Kalashnikov rifles and tens of thousands of bullets from Jordan to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in September, according to the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had promised the arms to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
“We cannot demand that they fight terror, riots, and terrorist groups without giving them the power to do so,” sources told the newspaper. Military commanders in the field objected, recalling similar cooperation in the 1990s that ended up with PA soldiers using the weapons to attack Israelis.
Barak approved approximately 20 new PA police stations for Judea and Samaria because of reports the PA is coordinating with Israel to wipe out Hamas money-laundering offices.
Earlier this year, PA policemen attacked Israel several times with newly acquired weapons that were transferred with the encouragement of the government.
O Scary Town of Bethlehem
The little town of Bethlehem where the Savior was born continues to be a dangerous place for those who follow Him. They are beaten, kidnapped, and tortured by Muslims under the ruling Palestinian Authority (PA). And many of them continue to flee from there and surrounding areas in Judea and Samaria.
“There are many examples of intimidation, beatings, land theft, fire-bombing of churches and other Christian institutions, denial of employment, economic boycotts, torture, kidnapping, forced marriage, sexual harassment, and extortion,” International human rights lawyer Justus Reid Weiner told the Jerusalem Institute for Global Jewish Affairs. PA officials are directly responsible for many of the attacks, and some Muslims who have converted to Christianity have been murdered.
Arutz-7 recently reported Weiner’s statements: In one case, a Muslim family appeared on the doorstep of a wealthy Christian family in Judea and Samaria and demanded that the Christian family’s daughter, known for her beauty, marry their son. The son was already dressed for the wedding, accompanied by the sheikh and 15 Muslim men. To protect his family, the girl’s father opened fire on the entourage, killing three and wounding 10. The girl’s family immediately abandoned their home and fled abroad, said Weiner.
Weiner also said the PA tortured two Muslim brothers from Samaria who became Christians. The first was arrested, interrogated, and forced to wear a cardboard sign reading “Najib the Christian.” Then he was told to curse Jesus. He eventually made contact with Israelis who hid him. He was finally granted asylum in Norway.
His brother spent 21 months in a PA prison, seven of them in underground solitary confinement. Weiner quoted his testimony: “I was beaten with sticks; they stripped me naked and made me sit on bottles, and on the legs of chairs that they turned upside down, and many, many other sadistic things that I am even ashamed to say. Many times they allowed lynch mobs like the al-Aqsa Brigades to come in and pull prisoners out of the cells. They were taken out and shot on the spot, their bodies then dragged through the streets for all to see.”
The young man was liberated by the Israel Defense Forces. He lives in Israel, but his wife and eight children remain behind under constant threat of harassment. He hopes to find asylum in Norway.
Despite all of this, Weiner said, American Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans and the United Church of Christ blame Israel for the Middle East conflict.