Israel in the News Sep/Oct 2010

Behold Berwick
Bypassing Senate confirmation, U.S. President Barack Obama in July named a Medicare chief who supports socialized medicine and belongs to an anti-Israel physicians’ group. Dr. Donald Berwick contributes financially to Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which routinely slanders Israel.

According to an article in The American Spectator titled “Donald Berwick and the Anti-Israelis,” Berwick “began donating thousands of dollars to PHR in 2000 when the outfit was focusing most, if not all, of its investigations on Israel’s treatment of terrorists during the Intifada….In 2002…[a] PHR investigation added credibility to the false claim that the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] massacred the population in Jenin. It went after Israel in seven major reports….It also gave an award to Eyad Sarraj, a human rights activist in Gaza who later justified homicide bombings as a natural response to Ariel Sharon’s election as prime minister and helped organize the recent flotilla operation. During this time, Berwick’s contributions to PHR steadily increased.”

Berwick joined the PHR board in 2008, which the article said accused Israel of “deliberately targeting wounded civilians and medical facilities.” These charges later became the core of the UN’s infamous Goldstone report accusing Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009.

Berwick has been a professor of pediatrics and health care policy in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

A New Nemesis
ARUTZ-7—One of at least four rockets recently fired at Israel by terrorists in Gaza appears to be a special “import”—an advanced Kassam that can be aimed more accurately.

Last year Palestinian Authority sources claimed Iran had exported its rocket technology to Gaza terrorists, helping them increase their rocket range to more than 20 kilometers (12.43 miles). Ordnance has been “imported” through the hundreds of smuggler tunnels that honeycomb the area under the border between Gaza and Egypt. Egypt has the ability to control the goods going through the tunnels.

Volleyball Violence
ARUTZ-7—An Israeli women’s volleyball game against Serbia in Turkey was surrounded by violence in July when pro-Palestinian Authority (PA) protesters clashed with Ankara police.

“Don’t be dogs of Zionism. God will hold you to account,” shouted some 100 demonstrators as they hurled water bottles and poked and rapped on the shields of the police officers with their PA flag poles.

“Esteemed friends,” a police commander appealed to the hostile crowd, “please don’t cause trouble.”

The demonstrators had been coached by organizers. E-mail messages advising protesters to hide PA flags and banners and shout slogans were caught and blocked by security personnel. According to the Associated Press, one message named the hotel housing the Israeli Athletes. In 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were killed by terrorists at the Munich Olympics.

Meanwhile, a PA minister encouraged people to follow the example of Munich massacre mastermind Abu Daoud. In a program on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television in July, Mohammed Ishtayeh praised the terrorists who planned the massacre.

“The martyr Abu Daoud continues the convoy of martyrs who fell for the sake of Palestine,” he said. “We all follow his path. As for the claim that history can be written in a different way, I think it is unjust to say that Palestinian history can be written in a different ink. The ink in which Palestinian history has been written is red. I believe it will continue to be written in red ink.”

PA Pollution
ARUTZ-7—Pollution from Palestinian Authority (PA) towns is ruining natural areas in the Binyamin region, and the Israeli government allows the situation to continue, members of the Binyamin Regional Council said recently.

Residents of the PA town of Anata near Jerusalem dump their trash in a pond that is known to be filled with sewage. When too much garbage is thrown in, it overflows, leading the sewage to flow into nearby natural streams.

The PA apparently does nothing to enforce proper disposal of trash in the area, according to their testimony. They called on Israeli authorities to get involved to prevent serious damage to the Jerusalem aquifer.

The council’s complaint came shortly on the heels of a similar warning regarding pollution in the Jordan River, specifically at a site holy to Christians. An environmentalist group wants to halt baptisms at the site due to raw sewage leaking into the water near the PA-controlled city of Jericho, which has caused high levels of harmful bacteria in the water.

Some Gratitude!
ARUTZ-7—Police and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) agents recently tracked down and arrested members of a Hamas terrorist cell responsible for a June shooting attack that killed a police officer. Two other officers were wounded.

Two weeks before the murder, one of the terrorists had received humanitarian aid at Israel’s Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where he had accompanied his 6-year-old daughter for surgery that removed a tumor from her eye. The operation had been paid for in full by an Israeli charity foundation.

Code Fragments
ARUTZ-7—For the first time in Israel, a document has been uncovered containing a law code that parallels portions of the famous Code of Hammurabi. The code is written on fragments of a cuneiform tablet, dat-ing from the 18th and 17th centuries B.C.E. (B.C.) in the Middle Bronze Age that were found in Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeological excavations at Hazor south of Kiryat Shmonah in northern Israel.

Gaza Is Not Starving
A new mall, gourmet restaurants, and markets overflowing with fresh produce. No, this isn’t the United States. It’s Gaza, which Israel has been accused of starving to death. Reported well-known journalist Tom Gross:

Last year this website [tomgrossmedia.com] revealed to a Western audience pictures of the bustling, crowded food markets of Gaza that the Western media refused to show you. Earlier this year I reported the new Olympic-size swimming pool of Gaza (no shortage of building materials or water here) and the luxury restaurants….When the BBC TV world news headlines again led with a report about how “devastated the economy in Gaza is,” an impressive new shopping mall opened in Gaza.

Janine Zacharia wrote in The Washington Post June 3, “Grocery stores are stocked wall-to-wall with everything from fresh Israeli yogurts and hummus to Cocoa Puffs….Pharmacies look as well-supplied as a typical Rite Aid in the United States.”

For a host of photos on Gross’s Web site, go to <tinyurl.com/32ejzxa>. Be sure to scroll all the way down. Wrote Gross: These “are not the kind of things you see in The New York Times or CNN or in Newsweek.

PCUSA Tones Down Criticism of Israel
ARUTZ-7—The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) in July amended a report that condemned Israel as an “apartheid” state and that called for divestment from it.

A group of influential pastors within the denomination was unhappy with the report issued by the PCUSA’s Middle East Study Committee. The report was so harshly anti-Israeli that even the leftist group J-Street took exception to it. After a group called Presbyterians for Middle East Peace called on the assembly to reject the report in its entirety, it was decided to replace the historical analysis in it with eight personal narratives—four pro-Arab and four pro-Israeli—which have yet to be written.

The committee also added a clause that affirms Israel’s right to exist.

The PCUSA did approve a resolution denouncing Caterpillar for selling its products to Israel but voted down two proposals to divest from the tractor manufacturer. It also reaffirmed a policy that calls on the United States to put strings on U.S. military aid to Israel.

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