Oznia, a blog of Israel things

~Unconditional Support? by ronshapiro
June 8, 2009, 6:24 am
Filed under: opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At least Clinton is being reasonable.

The world was very excited when the White House changed hands from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. I was one of those, but am no longer in that state of ecstasy, as some of his approaches have been a little questionable, especially in the Middle East.

I do not remember where I heard this, and do not know who to credit the idea, but I love it. President Obama, while dealing with Middle East, is holding diplomats with a higher degree of respect than one would in the United States.

I understand that President Obama wants to give everyone a chance, but does he really believe that EVEN IF Hamas renounced terror, they would stick to their word? Or if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised to shut down the Iranian Nuclear Program, would he follow through?  We don’t even expect our OWN politicians to deliver everything they promise!

Hamas, for those who don’t know, translates to Islamic Resistance Movement; speaking Obama’s language will never matter, especially when their name implies violence.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the person who wants to “wipe Israel off the map” and uses rhetoric to deny the Holocaust constantly, will he suddenly claim he has no intention to stop funding Hezbollah, the Islamic Brotherhood, Hamas, and other terrorist groups? And if he does, how should someone believe him?

President Obama also takes a different stance on how to advise Israel. Unlike President Bush who supported Israel nearly unconditionally, President Obama is trying to force his beliefs onto Prime Minister Netanyahu.

By no means do I believe that the American President should support everything Israel does, many times it is important to disagree. However, to take a way a nation’s sovereign right to rule is in no way acceptable.

On one side, I understand President Obama’s reasoning that communities in the West Bank are detrimental to feelings toward peace. And I agree that no new settlements should be built, it obviously is counter productive. And every ‘illegal outpost’ should be eliminated as well. But can President Obama say that natural growth is not allowed? Who’s right is it to tell parents that they may not have children. As Americans, we pride ourselves on being free and having the ability to make our own decisions. Should we become like China and limit childbirth to one per couple?

I am also not ready to just give over the West Bank entire to the Palestinian Authority. Eventually, it is almost impossible to conceive a region where the Palestinians will not have full control over that area, but at the current moment, are they ready? Are WE ready right now? Can we allow the West Bank to become another Gaza Strip and be taken over by Radical Islam?

I know that while President Obama will do great things in his presidency, I am worried by what he may force onto Prime Minister Netanyahu by using the media and speeches like his recent one in Cairo.

At least Secretary of State Clinton is right next to him. When asked if the United States would attack Iran if they were to drop a nuclear bomb on Israel, she replied with, “I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that were Israel to suffer a nuclear attack by Iran, there would be retaliation.”

No matter whether Prime Minister Netanyahu decides to employ President Obama’s plan word for word, at least we know that they highest ranking official in the United States Foreign Affairs will protect our homeland.


~Land of Liberty by elan
April 23, 2009, 11:20 am
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: , , , , ,

The international media continues to accuse Israel of committing gross violations of the Geneva Conventions and trespassing on human rights during the recent war with Hamas, the terror organization currently in control of the Gaza strip. Whether, and to what extent, the Israel Defense Forces actually broke international law deliberately or accidentally, remains to be seen. However, it is extraordinarily clear that Hamas consistently attacks Israeli population centers and uses schools, hospitals and residential structures as shields against Israeli troops and air strikes.

The Reason Foundation, in its magazine, explains the key difference between Israel and Hamas. While the terror organization strangles the civil liberties of Gazans and is willing to sacrifice them to hurt Israel’s self image, the middle east’s only democracy is engaged in a healthy debate over its tactical procedures. Dany Zamir, a former officer in the IDF, is openly criticizes the government and the military, without fear of reprisal. War is always ugly and bloody. The international community should cut Israel some slack for allowing dissent towards its policies and striving to avoid collateral damage.

~Let me explode your house, then will you love me? by ronshapiro
March 10, 2009, 11:49 am
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: , , , , ,

The most common question when dealing with Hamas :: “How does this make any sense?”

This time, it refers to the rising approval ratings after the Operation Cast Lead.  A post on Ha’aretz said that a Hamas support is rising, according to the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.  It says that the poll was conducted face-to-face, so hopefully this mean that those surveyed felt pressured to say “yes” for Hamas.

But how would this make sense.  Here are a couple statistics:

  • 5,000 homes destroyed
  • 1,300 Palestinian fatalities

The more realistic statistics are listed later in the article.

  • 71% of Palestinians believe they are worse off now than they were before the Operation Cast Lead
  • Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is only ahead 2% (47%-45%) of current PA President Mahmoud Abbas – there is a great chance that this could be changed in actual elections, especially when votes are submitted privately.

One could only hope that the statistics that the poll focussed on are incorrect, and would change in real-life elections.

~Gaza Stimulus Package: When Will This End? by joshman91

On February 10, 2009, the Israeli public made it abundantly clear that they are fed up with the status quo. Although most would like to see peace, they have grown tired of this past administration’s efforts to appease their enemies. Before I continue, I would like to make it clear that I am for peace. Having said that, I have come to the realization that territorial concessions and terror are mutually exclusive. Since the famous handshake between Yassir Arafat and Yitzak Rabin, instead of “Land for Peace” we have seen “Land for Terror.”

Perhaps the greatest example of why “Land for Peace” is a failed philosophy is Gaza. After the results of Sharon’s “Unilateral Disengagement,” I challenge anyone on this blog to argue why doing the same in Judea and Samaria would be effective. Before I discuss the security disasters that have resulted from the disengagement, I would like to make note of how inhumane our fellow Jews have been treated by the Israeli government. Many of the Gush Katif (region in Gaza) refugees are unemployed, homeless, and have experienced psychological damage. The government subsidized them to go on a “mission” and then evicted them from their homes.

Settlers aside, the disengagement has brought about a new age of terror. Since 2005, when Israel withdrew all settlers and security forces from every last inch of Gaza, thousands of rockets have been launched into southern Israel. While the media likes to make note of the fact that the rockets have caused few deaths, they ignore the fact that the Israelis cannot go to the mall. Residents of Beer Sheva have to worry about sending their kids to Kindergarden; the psychological damage that has resulted is disturbing.

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~The True Reality of The Current Conflict by zionismlives
February 2, 2009, 2:04 pm
Filed under: opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, so the battle for the safety of Israel’s citizens is over—for the moment. But the war between Israel and its enemies continues and will continue if respect for human dignity and diplomacy is not undertaken by both sides of the conflict.

In the most recent war, we can all (hopefully) agree that Hamas did many awful things including continuing rocket fire on Israeli civilians, using Palestinian civilians as shields, and keeping the war going despite the heavy casualties in their population.

But, I will claim (and many reading this will no doubt disagree with me) that Israel has acted in ways that I am ashamed of. It continued the complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, despite the fact that the blockade is a major excuse by Hamas for its shameful rocket attacks. This complete blockade, having been in place for more than 18 months (since Hamas’ violent takeover of the Strip in June of 2007), is a big reason why there are so many tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. With the normal ways to get goods out of the question for Gazans, they searched for a means to get basic goods to their people and thus make a living. The solution came in the tunnels that Hamas soon utilized to smuggle rockets and arms into their land.

Israel also created a complicated travel system in Gaza during the War that prevented many humanitarian supplies from getting to their intended targets. I cannot and will not deny the fact that Israel and other countries and organizations pledged lots of supplies to the civilians of Gaza, but I will maintain that the vast majority of those who needed the help were unable to get it. This is because of the active military actions in the Strip and the lack of communication between IDF forces and humanitarian suppliers. This pushed Gazans to blame Israel, not Hamas for their troubles because to them, Israel both destroyed their homes and denied them access to medicine and such. Israel, I know, was not out to hurt the civilian population of Gaza, but it did not justly deal with the realities on the ground that civilians were going to be hurt because of Hamas’ despicable tactics.

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~War in Israel, While in Israel by jpachefsky
February 1, 2009, 2:18 pm
Filed under: opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Two weeks ago we returned home from our ‘Senior Israel Experience’  – an educational trip where the senior class at the Jewish school I attend spends 3 weeks experiencing Israel. We left for Israel a day after Israel invaded Gaza (by air) due to the increased number of rocket attacks promoted by Hamas, and returned two days before the ceasefire.

Being in Israel during war time was a new experience for me. Throughout this trip, our group was getting security updates by the minute. One of the sadder moments on our trip, was when our beloved madrich (counselor)/medic/security guard, Didi, was called into active duty. It was sad to see him go, but we understood he needed to fulfill his duty to our country. Our original itinerary included visits to the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Kiryat Gat (Chicago’s Partnership 2000 – P2K – city; however, all of these visits were cancelled due to riots in eastern Jerusalem, and katushas falling on Kiryat Gat. While visiting Ir David (the City of David), we received a call from our security outlet (which gets constant updates from the IDF) telling us we needed to leave immediately due to a security concern in a neighboring Arab town. Our final security encounter occurred while we were in the Knesset – someone accidentally triggered the security alarm in a part of Jerusalem. During our tour, a security guard rushed over and told us we needed to head towards the bomb shelter immediately. About a minute later, we heard the all-clear, and understood that accidents happen. But it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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~War, Even for the Right Reasons, Is Wrong by zionismlives
January 13, 2009, 3:09 pm
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is going to be more of a controversial post. Bear with me. And, keep in mind, I love Israel with all my heart. It just needs to be put in its place every now and again, especially with so many Jews spewing blind, pro-Israel propaganda these days.

I will not deny the suffering of Southern Israel. And I do not believe the world should deny it either, although it does on a daily basis. The physical damage the daily rockets, that now endanger over one million lives, inflict is nothing compared to the mental damage they inflict. I just saw a report that said more than 75% of children in Sderot and surrounding areas suffer from various forms of trauma.

However, I am fundamentally against any full out war, especially one that has caused 920 deaths—43% of them, according to CNN, civilians. That is just short of 400 innocent Palestinian men, women, and children that have died so far. Yes, we must be amazed at the precision of the IDF’s campaign in making the other 57% of the casualties Hamas. But, that previous number is still astounding, and makes the costs of this War too much. Israel has claimed that a much higher percentage of the deaths are Hamas—an obvious discrepancy that comes from different meanings of the term “civilian.” To Israel, anyone that is in some way related to Hamas is considered a militant. That means all the people working in the government and all the people working for the social branch of Hamas are considered militants. A secretary in a government office and a social worker should never be considered militants. Israel sends flyers and makes calls to the civilians that there is going to be a bombing, but, where do the civilians go when their movement is greatly restricted by IDF ground troops and the simple fact that none of them can leave the country? In addition, Israel has made a few mistakes about civilians.

The example of the Samouni family is a good one. They were living in a Hamas-controlled area, and were told by the IDF to move themselves into one house for their safety. That night, the building was shelled, killing 30 members of the family. The wounded were not able to be helped for days even though IDF soldiers and tanks were just 50 meters from the building, because the army said it was too dangerous for aid workers to enter the scene. (The article about the incedent)

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