Archive for June, 2011

It is now the fifth anniversay of the kidnapping of the soldier Gilad Shalit by the Hamas terrorist organisation, and it is still unknown where he is kept in the Gaza Strip, under what conditions, and even though I hate to say this, if he is still alive. No one has been allowed to visit him, and although the International Red Cross have asked to do so a number of times, they have always received a negative answer. All Palestinian prisoners in Israel live under good conditions, with regular visits, television, phone calls and even the possibility of studying for a university degree. I even read the other day that because they heard of the water shortage in Israel, they insist on having long showers. And for reasons unknown to me, all this is allowed.
 
Now evidently our Prime Minister Natanyahu wants to put an end to some of the conditions I just mentioned for part of the prisoners, the ones convicted of really great terror-related charges, and straight away, all the Arab prisoners started a one-day hunger strike because of that (although I later heard on the radio, that they stopped it when their food trays were put into the cells). It seems impossible to come to any agreement with Hamas, they raise their “price” constantly, demanding for more and more of their Israeli held prisoners to be released, over a thousand (among those are many who will surely return to their former behaviour of terrorism) and to Israel’s latest suggestions for an agreement, worked out with German middle-men, they have so far not replied. What will become of Gilad, this poor, unhappy young man? His only “guilt” was that he did his service for his country.
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This week a nationwide civil defense exercise is taking place in Israel. The Israel Defence Forces believe there is a possibility of future war and they estimate that up to 800 missiles and rockets a day could be fired into Israel in this event, if fought on several fronts.
A senior defence official said that for this reason we need to know  what the most important facilities that we need are, in order to continue working – water and electricity and such – and how to make that happen. During this week-long drill, the Home Front Command, Defence Ministry’s National Emergency Administration, Israeli Police and other services will test their responses to a massive bombardment from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Iran. On Wednesday, we civilians will also take a small part, as sirens will go off twice during this day, and we are supposed to enter shelters and/or protected housing. In order not to frighten the population we have been told that if there is a real raid, the sirens will sound up and down.
 
Now for a few words about Jonathan Pollard, who is already serving 26 years of his life sentence in prison for spying. He received a much harsher sentence than anyone else ever did in America for a similar crime, and one which did not hurt the U.S.A.. And what was his crime? He first tried to convince his Navy superiors that they should share intelligence on Iraqi weapon plants with Israel (which as a friendly nation I think they should have done normally). But they disagreed and Pollard illegally took matters into his own hands and gave us this information, enabling us to destroy Iraq’s nuclear plant. A few days ago Pollards father passed away, a petition was made  for “compassionate leave” to President Obama to enable Jonathan to attend his father’s funeral, but this was denied. He had not been allowed to attend his mother’s funeral some years earlier either.

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It is difficult to believe the amount of terror that is going on in Syria these days. Because of the people’s demonstrations, President Assad with the help of his armed forces are murdering their own citizens by the hundreds, or even thousands, and so far no end is in sight. Helicopters and tanks are taking part in this conflict, and houses too are being destroyed. Over 10,000 Syrians, including army defectors who felt unable to fight against their own people, have so far escaped to Turkey, where a tent-city has been set up for them. Many had to be taken to hospitals straight away – men, women and children. The army deserters claim  that Syrian soldiers “raped women in front of their husbands”, and were ordered to shoot at unarmed civilians.
Where is the world? Where are the United Nations?
 
Egypt announced the arrest of an Israeli spy, but it is certain that this is a mistake and they have taken into custody a young Israeli who also has American nationality and entered their country with his American passport. The Egyptians allege that a Mossad spy was caught in Cairo on suspicion of trying to recruit  youths to act against the authorities, but Israeli Foreign Ministry officials said they were ” totally and completely unfamiliar with this story”. The young man,Ilan Grabel has been detained for 15 days, and hopefully he will not go on trial, and be set free.
 
Ilan’s father, Daniel, said his son was a student who volunteered for a US refugee agency and described Egypt’s allegations as “totally wrong.” “This whole story is totally delusional as far as I am concerned … any connection to working with the Mossad has no grounds” . He added that Ilan was working in Egypt as part of his university studies.”He is volunteering as part of his studies and he gets (academic) credits for summer work … He had to stay in Egypt for three months as part of the American agency that is connected with transferring refugees from Egypt,” he said. Irene Grapel, the mother of the alleged spy, said that she spoke with her son in a telephone conversation facilitated by the US Embassy in Cairo on Monday, in which he assured her he was not hurt and had been allowed to meet with US diplomats in Egypt, but was completely innocent.
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This last Sunday was what the Arabs called ” Naksa Day” (a day of mourning for the loss of territory during the 6-day war), and there were demonstration all over the country, but the most violent of all, did not take place in Israel itself, but on the border between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights. Hundreds of Syrian marchers tried to cross the border, but luckily Israeli troops had been prepared for this and managed to prevent them, although unfortunately there were casualties including dead on their side. We believe the number of dead and wounded given by Syria were greatly exaggerated, and rumour has it that these “marchers” had been paid to do so by President Assad’s government. His aim of course, was a provocation to challenge Israel’s sovereignty,and especially to divert international attention away from what is happening in his country, where for many weeks,  tens and sometimes hundreds of demonstrating unarmed citizens are being daily killed by Assad’s people.
 
Our Prime Minister Netanyahu said this incident was an attempt  “to heat up and to breach our borders.” He added that “the struggle is not about the 5th of June (the start of the 1967 six-day war) but rather the 15th of May 1948.  The dispute is over the very existence of the State of Israel. The Arab attacks then created  two refugee problems: A Jewish one  (seemingly forgotten by the world) and a Palestinian one. While Israel absorbed Jewish refugees from Arab countries, the Arab countries never tried to solve the Arab refugee problem, to integrate them, and even let the western world up to this  day, pay for their existance. The oil-rich Arab states see no reason for doing so.
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