Monday, April 19, 2010
"Celebrating the Jewish State"
This is being written hours before Yom Ha'Atzmaut -- Israeli Independence Day-- will begin. Regularly I mention this: There is a siren sounded as Yom HaZikaron fades into darkness, and we, as a nation, go from mourning the dead to celebrating the nation. Some are discomfited by this, but I find the transition moving and quintessentially Jewish, for we as a people live with pain and joy, side by side. Sharing two videos. First, a prayer for the Israeli Defense Forces:
And then, an accounting of some of our incredible achievements:
In addition, I have placed on my website a brief description of our rights to eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Please, read it, share it with others, and bookmark it for future reference. It contains basic information that everyone should have, and which all too many are not aware of.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon has given a major interview to the JPost.
Here I provide a couple of significant quotes:
"Those who want to continue the Oslo process, who want us to continue to give and give and give, without a Palestinian willingness to recognize our right to a national home, are cooperating with the phased plans for Israel's destruction."
"If we are seen as standing firm against the Jihadists, against Hamas and Hezbollah, that serves the US interests. And if we are seen as weak, whether in Lebanon, Gaza or in Judea and Samaria, that harms US interests."
"The phased plans for Israel's destruction"? Something else everyone needs to be aware of:
After the Yom Kippur war, after the Arabs had tried again and again to defeat Israel militarily and had found it impossible, a new approach was decided upon. The PLO instituted something called the "Strategy of Stages." (It's documented.) This means taking Israel down one step at a time by weakening her, including via diplomatic means.
THIS is what we are witness to today. For example, the insistence that we accept the Arab "Peace Initiative" is part of this. It's not about truly making peace with Israel, but rather trying to shove us back to the non-defensible '67 lines and to force us to accept millions of so-called refugees who would further destabilize us from within.
Various demands made of us by the Arabs need to be examined with a jaundiced eye: What is real movement for peace and what is motivated by intention to weaken us as a step towards our eventual destruction? When this yardstick is utilized, a great deal becomes apparent.
Because keeping Israel strong is an imperative, I turn, with considerable reluctance, to a major scandal that has made press here and abroad. This scandal deserves analysis because of two major issues:
One is the readiness of a left wing inside of Israel not to stand strong with us, but to take positions that are destructive to us. This, more than all the attacks from the outside, is a source of grief.
And then, a readiness on the part of the left -- here and elsewhere equally -- to always judge Israel harshly and to demonstrate an inordinate concern for Palestinian Arabs, including those who are terrorists. This needs to be addressed, particularly when crimes are committed and distortions advanced in the name of this "higher" concern.
The scandal, which most are undoubtedly familiar with, concerns the theft of classified documents by Anat Kamm, when she was working as a soldier assigned to IDF Central Command. (She had passed security clearance but the check was obviously insufficient.)
Certain media sources particularly within the States made a heroine of her, because, according to her version of matters, "I didn't succeed in changing enough things that it was important to me to change during my army service, and I thought that I would bring about that change by exposing them. That's why it was important to me to inform the public about the IDF's policies in the territories."
Well, bravo for her. She lifted 2,000 documents -- downloading them to CDs and then uploading them to her own computer -- more than two years ago. Documents that would put our soldiers and civilians in jeopardy were they to fall into the wrong hands. Documents that included top-secret information about IDF units and armaments, and operational plans.
Part of what was claimed in her defense -- in particular by Judith Miller on "The Daily Beast" website -- was that Kamm was a journalist, and Israel, in actions reprehensible for a democracy, was denying her journalistic freedoms. The fact is that Kamm didn't become a journalist (of sorts) until after she had stolen the documents -- and had left the army and started working for the Walla Web portal. She stands accused of espionage.
Kamm, after her military discharge, gave the documents to Uri Blau, a reporter at Haaretz (which has behaved reprehensibly in the course of this incident).
Blau based at least one 2008 story on this material, which tipped off the Shin Bet. Israeli security put a gag order on this incident so that Israeli media could not carry the story. As I understand it, negotiations ensued with Blau who agreed to return the material as long as he wasn't required to reveal his source.
Ultimately, Shin Bet discovered it was Kamm who had lifted the documents and recently she was placed under house arrest (angering Kamm, who was attempting to protect her). Meanwhile, it turned out that Blau had returned some but not all of the documents, and he fled to London, refusing to return. The Shin Bet, which had been using soft techniques to bring Blau around is approaching this with more vigor at this point.
To the best of my knowledge, Blau has not returned and there are still documents in his possession. What is more, Kamm claimed to have "lost" one CD, so that some information is floating in an indetermination location.
Just recently, while the gag order (which has since been lifted) was still in effect, the story was broken by the NYTimes, which made Kamm a heroine.
The Times article describes what Blau had written about:
"The article by Mr. Blau at the center of the storm...focused on an episode in June 2007 in which two Palestinian militants belonging to the Islamic Jihad group were killed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank. The military said at the time that the two were killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces.
"Mr. Blau noted that months before, one of the militants, Ziad Subhi Muhammad Malaisha, had been marked as a target for assassination by the Israeli Army’s Central Command, which is responsible for the West Bank.
"Mr. Blau’s article suggested that Mr. Malaisha’s killing contravened an Israeli Supreme Court ruling from December 2006 that strictly limited the circumstances in which the military can to carry out pre-emptive strikes. Haaretz printed copies of Central Command documents stating that Mr. Malaisha and two other Islamic Jihad leaders were eligible targets alongside the report."
We will leave aside for a moment the question of whether the Court has proper jurisdiction to decide how the IDF operates with regard to known terrorists. What the Court had said was that terrorists can be shot only if they cannot be arrested and if there are no others who are not targeted in range. The charge is that this ruling is circumvented by the IDF.
Blau cited the head of Central Command who said: "If the guy [who they've identified as a terrorist who's wanted] doesn't put his hands up we don't ask questions, we immediately establish contact. I don't want to have people hurt for no reason. If I know that the guy is armed and is a ticking bomb, then I want him to be hit immediately without fooling around."
Blau offered this as a condemnation of the IDF, but it depends on perspective. A ticking bomb who is armed... do you risk IDF personnel attempting to arrest him?
This, then was the "crime" of which the IDF stood accused by Blau. And it is this issue that resulted in seriously negative PR for Israel, once again.
For me it is not only an issue of a soldier breaking the law and a journalist who lied to Israeli Security. For me it also about priorities that are badly skewed and a continued attempt to malign Israel.
We're talking about terrorists here, just any Palestinian Arab on the street. Terrorists who either have already been involved in the death of innocent Israelis or are enmeshed in a system that plans such deaths. And we are in a war with them, no matter that most do not recognize that war.
This is of a piece with the accusations made against Israel in the Goldstone Report. In the course of defending ourselves, and in spite of care taken with regard to operations, we stand forever accused of improper behavior.
For those learning of such accusations in the media, the lesson is that there should be no rush to judge Israel.