Lest We Forget

On Friday, Breitbart posted an article about the five Americans who are still being held hostage by Hamas. These are the names of the five Americans–Keith Siegel, 65, Sagui Dekel-Chen, 35, Omer Neutra, 22, Edan Alexander, 20, and Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23.

The article includes a brief biography of each:

The last time Goldberg-Polin’s parents saw him, was on October 6, the night before Hamas’ attack on Israel, right before he left to go camping with a friend, Aner Shapira.

His mother, Rachel Goldberg, last heard from her son the next morning, receiving two texts from him. In one, he told his parents that he loved them. The other text message said: “I’m sorry.”

…Keith Siegel and his wife Aviva Siegel, 62, were taken hostage by Palestinian civilians from their home in the kibbutz of Kfar Aza. After being driven to Gaza in their own vehicle, the couple was then sold to Hamas terrorists.

Aviva Siegel was later released during a truce in November 2023 and has since spoken out about her time in captivity.

…The son of Connecticut-born Jonathan Dekel-Chen, Sagui Dekel-Chen lived on the Nir Oz kibbutz with his wife, Avital, and their children. Sagui’s parents also live on the same kibbutz.

In an interview with the Times of Israel, Sagui’s father explained that his son and others had sounded the alarm in their kibbutz after seeing “heavily armed and precisely organized” Hamas terrorists going through their community.

…Edan Alexander was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey. After graduating from high school, he went on to join the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion.

At the time of Hamas’ attack, he had been stationed near the Gaza Strip, and a little after 6:30 a.m., he had informed his mom, Yael Alexander that he was safe.

However, around 7:00 a.m., she was not able to reach her son and a week later the family discovered Edan was among those taken hostage by Hamas.

…At the time of Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, Omer Neutra had been serving as a tank commander near Gaza.

After graduating from high school in New York City, Omer went to Israel and enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces.

He went there for the right reasons, you know, he felt that he wanted to protect, and he’s not the kind of guy that was looking for a war,” Omer’s mom, Orna Neutra explained.

The last time Omer’s parents heard from him was the day before Hamas’ attack.

Let’s not forget who started the war in Gaza and the barbarism of the attack on Israel.

Where Is The International Outrage?

On Tuesday, The Times of Israel posted an article about the treatment of the hostages Hamas kidnapped on October 7th. Considering what the Hamas
Charter says about Israel and Jews, it is not surprising that the hostages were not treated well. However, some of the treatment is well outside the boundaries of international law.

The article reports:

A Health Ministry representative tells the Knesset Health Committee that the hostages freed from Hamas captivity were given tranquilizer pills before being handed over to the Red Cross for transfer to Israel. The drugging would have aimed to make the hostages appear calm, happy and upbeat after suffering physical abuse, deprivation and psychological terror for more than 50 days in Gaza.

Dr. Hagar Mizrahi, head of the Health Ministry’s medical division, specifically names the drug Clonazepam. Known as Clonex in Israel and sold under the brand names Klonopin and Rivotril elsewhere, the drug is used to prevent and treat anxiety disorders, seizures, bipolar mania, agitation associated with psychosis, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The ministry representative does not disclose whether the drugging has been confirmed by blood tests done on the released hostages at Israeli hospitals, or from the freed hostages’ testimony, or both.

Families of hostages speaking earlier to the committee were the first to raise the issue.

Where is the United Nations? Where is America? Where is the international outrage?

What The Israeli Defense Forces Are Discovering

On Monday, The Times of Israel posted an article showing what the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have found at the Hamas headquarters under Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital, which treats children. The headquarters was purposely placed there so that if the IDF were to attack the hospital, they would be accused of war crimes. Never mind the war crime of placing your command center under a children’s hospital.

The article reports:

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit and the 401st Armored Brigade have raided Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital, which treats children, and that Hamas operatives were holed up there. He says he has just returned from the hospital, having filmed there, and that the IDF has evidence indicating that hostages were held there.

“Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control center, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons, computers, money, etc,” Hagari says, in an English-language press conference.

“We also found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages here,” he says, adding that “this is currently under our investigation,” but that the IDF has intelligence to verify it.

“Additionally, we found evidence that Hamas terrorists came back from the massacre [in southern Israel] on October 7 to this hospital, among others, after butchering Israelis in their homes,” he says.

The Spokesman also noted the IDF’s efforts to protect the civilians in Gaza:

Hagari says the IDF has been working to enable the safe evacuation of patients from Rantisi over the last week, as well as from other hospitals in northern Gaza.

“Israel helped the hospital managers evacuate the Gaza patients to a safer hospital,” he says, adding that the IDF has been informed that “the last 18 patients in the Rantisi Hospital had safely evacuated to a safer hospital.

“This is because our war is against Hamas, not against the people in Gaza. Especially not the sick, the women, or the children,” he says.

“Our war is against Hamas who uses them as human shields,” Hagari adds.

Unfortunately many residents of Gaza support what Hamas is doing.

Something To Watch

The Times of Israel posted the following headline yesterday:

Hezbollah denies border attack, says response to fighter’s death yet to come

Yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported:

Tensions remain high in the North after the IDF thwarted a Hezbollah terrorist attack Monday afternoon near Mount Dov along the border with Lebanon. The defense establishment is concerned Hezbollah might still carry out an attack against the military.

A Hezbollah cell, which numbered between three and five operatives, crossed the border, also known as the Blue Line, several meters into sovereign Israeli territory and was identified by the IDF, which opened fire on them with machine guns and tank shells.

The cell fled back into Lebanon without firing at the soldiers, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said, denying reports that anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) were fired during the incident.
“We have some tense days ahead,” he said.

While the condition of the Hezbollah cell members was unclear, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen news outlet reported that no Hezbollah fighters were killed during the failed attack. The soldiers were unharmed, the IDF said.

Hezbollah later released a statement saying there had been no clash along the border, and soldiers had fired on empty fields, making up the entire incident due to their “extreme fear” over a Hezbollah retaliation.

News from the Middle East generally resembles propaganda more than news, but the important thing to remember here is that both of these articles indicate that tensions are rising on the Israeli and Lebanon border. Please follow the links to read both stories for more information.

When The Fact Checkers Are Not Paying Attention

Generally speaking, The New York Times has been immune from the fact checkers. Somehow they are willing to overlook the misinformation and ‘leaked from anonymous sources’ misinformation that The New York Times routinely prints. The latest example of this is a claim by the times that “there had been a “longstanding American policy treating the settlements as illegal” prior to Secretary of State Pompeo’s 2019 reversal of that purported policy. (“Mixed Signals on Israeli Annexation Reflect Split Among Officials,” June 22, 2020, David Halbfinger and Michael Crowley.) That is simply not true.

CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis) notes the following:

• Note that although President Carter took the position that settlements are illegal, this was quickly reversed by the Reagan administration, which held that settlements are “not illegal.” Subsequent administrations either reiterated Reagan’s view or refrained from taking a position on legality.

• Note that the New York Times itself repeatedly reported on Reagan’s view that settlements aren’t illegal, and in the past several years has twice published corrections after wrongly suggesting the U.S. had consistently viewed settlements as illegal.

• Just as those corrections were appropriate, so too is it necessary to correct last week’s piece by Halbfinger and Crowley.

• Note that memos by past legal advisors in the State Department archive are advisory, and do not set policy or bind subsequent U.S. presidents. While Carter administration legal advisor Herbert Hansell believed settlements were illegal, the Reagan administration rejected that view.

CAMERA further notes:

To be fair, the Times isn’t the first to make this mistake. In October 2016, the Washington Post corrected its claim that the U.S. regarded settlements as illegal. A month later, the Associated Press corrected the same claim. The following month, The Times (UK) corrected, as did ABC News and the Times of Israel. In 2018, the Times of Israel corrected again. The Financial Times corrected this same error in November 2019. And two days later the Economist ran a correction of its own.

Even the New York Times itself has, in the past, corrected this false claim. After a March 2017 editorial asserted that the U.S. “has consistently held that settlement building in the occupied territories is illegal,” a correction clarified, “An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated the United States’ position on settlement building in the occupied territories. It has been highly critical of the activity, but has not consistent [sic] held it to be illegal.”

From the news side, an August 8, 2013 correction in the NY Times likewise acknowledged that “the United States has taken no formal position in the last several years on whether [settlements] are legal or illegal.”

Unless those corrections were themselves in error, last week’s claim about a “longstanding” policy that settlements are illegal (and a similar claim last November by the same reporter, David Halbfinger) can’t be true.

This sort of reporting by The New York Times might help explain why much of the Jewish vote (generally readers of The New York Times) is misinformed on America’s policy toward Israel and the value of Israel in the world community.

Booby Traps In An UNRWA Health Clinic

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. They have hospitals, schools, and clinics in Gaza. Today the Times of Israel is reporting that three IDF soldiers were killed in a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic that housed the opening of a tunnel. The soldiers were taking precautionary measures to limit the damage to the building while blowing up the tunnel when the explosives rigged by the Hamas fighters detonated, collapsing the building and killing the soldiers.

On July 20, I reported the following (rightwinggranny.com):

Here is the UNRWA’s “apology” for allowing rockets to be stored in one of their schools in Gaza and here is a follow-up article stating that they did not turn said weapons over for destruction to UN forces or some other legal body that respects human rights but rather gave them back to Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that has to date committed numerous war crimes and various human rights violations according to the fourth Geneva Conventions.

UNRWA apologized for the incident, but obviously did not change its actions. The article at the Times of Israel reports that many of the buildings that house the tunnels have been booby trapped.

The Times of Israel also reports:

Turgeman ( IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman) said the IDF is “days away” from completing the military goal of destroying all of the tunnels, though the process is complex. Four tunnels have been destroyed in the past 24 hours, he added.

Turgeman revealed that the IDF expanded its operation on Tuesday night, targeting new sites in the north and center of the coastal enclave.

With the amount of concrete Hamas poured into the tunnel project, two hospitals, 20 schools, 20 healthcare centers, and 100 kindergartens could have been built, he said.

It is a shame that the United Nations did not supervise Gaza to make sure that hospitals, schools, and healthcare centers were built instead of the tunnels used to attack Israel. I truly believe that with the building of these tunnels, Gaza has given up its right to be an independent state.

Israel Did Not Hit The Hospital And The Playground

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the hospital in Gaza that was supposedly attacked.

The article quotes The Algemenier:

The Israeli army said it was not operating in the vicinity of Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, where an explosion reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians.

“A short while ago Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists,” the army said in a statement sent to reporters.

The failed attempt to fire the projectile apparently hit a car near the center, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News, causing the casualties.

The station said that a “Hamas Fajr-5 rocket aimed at central Israel, which was fired from a playground outside the Shifa hospital and exploded on the site causing casualties, had at least a 100 kg (220 lbs) warhead,” according to The Times of Israel.

The article at Power Line includes a photo with the comment:

The Algemeiner performs the service of running the suggestive photograph below with the caption: “Nick Casey, The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East Correspondent, posted a photo to Twitter of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed on camera at Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, which Hamas uses as a base. The photo has since been removed. Photo: Nick Casey / Twitter.”

The fact that Hamas uses a hospital as a base of operations and fires rockets from a playground tells us all we need to know about how Hamas feels about protecting civilians.

Thank God For The Israel Defense Forces

The Times of Israel posted an article yesterday about an attempted attack by Hamas terrorists on civilians at Kibbutz Sufa. The terrorists emerged from a tunnel, ready to attack, realized they had been spotted, and attempted to go back into the tunnel. That is the point at which Israeli aircraft bombed the tunnel entrance.

This is the link to the article above to see the YouTube video of the attack:

The article reports:

The tunnel is part of a network of underground channels, laboriously dug, as offensive lanes into Israel. In June 2006 two Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush that began via a tunnel in the same region, and a third, Gilad Shalit, was captured and taken back to Gaza. His exchange, five and a half years later, for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, is considered one of Hamas’s crowning achievements.

In the years since that assault several complex tunnels have been discovered, including, most recently, one that was found and bombed on the eve of Operation Protective Edge.

Lerner said he did not believe the attack was a significant shift in the tide of the 10-day-old campaign.

During the time that Mohamed Morsi was President of Egypt, terrorists had pretty much free rein in the Sinai Peninsula. I suspect that many of these tunnels were dug during that time. The only way that Israel can be secure is to make sure these tunnels are caved in and there is not underground access to Israel for terrorists.

Why Are We Still Supporting This?

On Saturday The Times of Israel posted an article about the latest meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting. The UNHRC voted for five resolutions condemning Israel. The resolutions were widely supported by the UNHRC. There were no resolutions regarding the persecutions of Christians in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Egypt.

The article reports:

One such resolution, entitled “Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan,” is part of the UNHRC’s permanent Agenda item 7 on Israel. Israel is the only country on the Council’s permanent agenda.

Although the four resolutions that dealt with Palestinian topics were all adopted by a vote of 46 to 1, the fifth, which was sponsored by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and demanded that Israel return the “Syrian Golan,” received more limited support. That resolution passed by a vote of 33 to 1, with 13 abstentions.

During the debate before the votes, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Paula Schriefer denounced the resolutions.

“None of the world’s worst human rights violators, some of whom are the object of resolutions at this session, have their own stand-alone agenda item at this Council. Only Israel, a vibrant and open democracy, receives such treatment,” said Schriefer.

“Not only are the resolutions under this agenda item biased, but they work against our collective efforts to advance a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” added Schriefer, who led the U.S. delegation to the UNHRC. “This Council continually singles out Israel for criticism without acknowledging the violent attacks directed at its people, nor the obligations and difficult steps of both sides to resolve the conflict.”

Christians in Egypt, Syria, and Iran are being beaten and killed, and the UNHRC is worried about Israel, where Arabs have more freedom than anywhere in the Middle East. Really? It is time for America to ask the United Nations to go somewhere else. The United Nations has been taken over by a political bloc of countries that are run by tyrants who do not support democracy or religious freedom. It is time for them to go.

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A Major Problem With The Road To Peace

Today The Times of Israel is reporting that the Iron Dome missile defense system stopped five rockets that were aimed at Ashkelon. Three other rockets landed in open areas outside the city.

The article reports:

“The IDF response was precise, swift and efficient in eliminating terror capabilities that only exist in order to terrorize, kill and maim Israelis,” read a statement by Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, who later linked to footage of Iron Dome intercepting the rockets:

Until the Arabs in the Gaza Strip stop sending rockets aimed at civilians in Israel, I don’t think peace is possible.

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America’s Foreign Policy Decisions Impact Countries Other Than America

Yesterday The Times of Israel reported on Israel‘s reaction to President Obama’s handling of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.

The article explains Israel’s reaction to President Obama’s recent statements:

It is worried, furthermore, at the ever-deeper perception of Obama’s America in the Middle East as weak, hesitant and confused — most especially in the view of the region’s most radical forces, notably including Bashar Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran.

 And it is profoundly concerned that the president has set a precedent, in seeking an authorization from Congress that he had no legal requirement to seek — and that Congress was not loudly demanding — that may complicate, delay or even rule out credible action to thwart a challenge that dwarfs Assad’s chemical weapons capability: Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons.

I don’t know whether or not Congress will decide to take military action against Syria. I do know that the fact that President Obama did not call Congress into session to vote on Syria now indicates a lack of urgency which I do not believe is appropriate in the situation. It would seem to me that the gassing of upwards of a thousand innocent people might be a reason for quicker, more decisive action.

The article in The Times of Israel concludes:

Jerusalem is worried, too, of a direct line between requesting Congressional approval for military action against Syria — a relatively straightforward target — and feeling compelled to honor the precedent, should the imperative arise, by requesting Congressional approval for military action against Iran — a far more potent enemy, where legislators’ worries about the US being dragged deep into regional conflict would be far more resonant.

Israel remains hopeful that, to put it bluntly, Obama’s America will yet remember that it is, well, America. The alternative, it rather seems, is something the leadership in Jerusalem finds too awful to so much as contemplate just yet.

When America is weak and has a weak President, the world is a more dangerous place. Because we have lost the respect of the world, our having overwhelming force is not enough to deter other countries from doing bad things. Unfortunately, because we are weak, we may have to use our weapons to prevent further bad things from happening.

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