By Elliot Jager
- Kerry Seeks Palestinian Recognition of Israel as Jewish State
- Palestinian Police, Refugees Clash over UN Aid Strike
© 2014 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager
© 2014 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.
JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the trailblazing warrior-statesman who transformed the region and was reviled by Arab foes, died on Saturday at the age of 85 and after eight years in a coma caused by a stroke.
The Sheba Medical Center that has been treating Sharon said last week that his health has been declining. Sharon had been suffered from failure vital organs including his kidneys shortly before his death.
Sharon’s nurse, Marina Lifschitz, said he had not suffered while lying comatose, though he had at times given basic responses to stimuli. She recalled at one point holding up a picture of his late wife, Lily, for him to view.”And suddenly I saw a tear simply rolling out of his eye. That is very difficult to forget,” Lifschitz told reporters.
A maverick in war and politics, Sharon reshaped the Middle East in a career marked by adventurism and disgrace, dramatic reversals and stunning rebounds.
“Arik was a valorous soldier and a bold statesman who contributed much to the security and building up of the State of Israel,” said President Shimon Peres, a former political ally of Sharon and, with the ex-premier’s death, the last of the Jewish state’s founders still in public life.
One official said Sharon’s remains would lie in state in parliament in Jerusalem on Sunday. A memorial service will be held there on Monday morning, followed by an afternoon funeral near Sycamore Farm, Sharon’s residence in southern Israel.Among foreign dignitaries expected to attend are U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former British prime minister Tony Blair, the official said.
Sharon denied wrongdoing but was eventually forced to resign as defense chief in 1983 after an Israeli probe said he bore “personal responsibility” for not preventing the bloodshed.
© 2014 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires
GAZA CITY, Gaza — A Gaza sniper shot dead an Israeli civilian over the border Tuesday and Israel hit back with airstrikes on two Hamas training camps, which hospital officials said killed a Palestinian girl near one of the targets.
The Israeli man, who the military said was working on Israel’s security fence, was the first Israeli killed on the Gaza frontier in more than a year.
His death, which drew a swift threat of retaliation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came amid heightened tensions after two suspected Palestinian attacks — a bus bombing near Tel Aviv on Sunday that caused no casualties and the wounding of an Israeli policeman in a stabbing on Monday.
Officials from Hamas, the Islamic group which rules Gaza, and witnesses said Israeli aircraft bombed the group’s training camps in Khan Younis and al-Bureij. Witnesses said Israeli tanks fired shells east of Gaza city.
Gaza hospital officials said a girl, whom they estimated was two-years-old, was killed by shrapnel during the Israeli strike on the Bureij facility.
She was standing with other family members outside their home near the camp and two of her brothers were wounded, the officials said.
Earlier, a Palestinian was killed in a separate incident in northern Gaza, hospital officials said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said he was handling an explosive device near the security fence and that soldiers fired at him after warnings.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the sniper attack, which followed a Palestinian rocket strike on southern Israel on Sunday that caused no casualties.
“This is an extremely grave incident and we will not ignore it,” said Netanyahu, who was visiting the southern town of Sderot, about a kilometer [half a mile] from the Gaza border, at the time of the shooting.
“Our policy has been to thwart [Palestinian attacks] and to respond [to them] forcefully, and that is what we will do in this case,” he said, referring to the shooting, in a statement released by his office.
However, since an eight-day war in November 2012, both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas Islamist rulers have been wary of taking military action that could trigger widescale fighting.
No one was hurt in Sunday’s bomb blast on the bus, which had been evacuated after the explosives were spotted, and the wounded policeman was expected to recover.
But the incidents, which Israel blamed on Palestinian militants, fueled concerns of a new Palestinian uprising as peace talks show few signs of progress.
Hamas praised Sunday’s bus bombing — the first in Israel in more than a year — but stopped short of claiming responsibility.
Violence in the West Bank has increased in recent months. At least 19 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the occupied territory since the U.S.-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood resumed in July after a three-year break.
ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
JERUSALEM — Israel’s supreme court Wednesday ordered a new investigation into the shooting and wounding by Israeli security forces of an American activist as he protested against the West Bank separation barrier in 2009, judicial sources said.
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The court gave the state and the police four months to investigate the type of munitions used by Israeli forces in the incident and the distance they were fired from.
Tristan Anderson‘s family filed an appeal with the supreme court after Israeli authorities closed the case in February 2010, saying that there was “no proof of criminal behavior on the part of the police.”
A tear gas canister hit Anderson in the head during a demonstration against the West Bank separation barrier on March 13, 2009 in the Palestinian village of Nilin.
He suffered serious brain damage that left him partially paralyzed. His parents and their lawyers welcomed the ruling, saying that the police investigation had been marred by “negligence.”
The neighboring villages of Bilin and Nilin, near Ramallah, host demonstrations every week against the separation barrier, which Israel says is intended to prevent attacks, and which Palestinians have named the “apartheid wall.”
The International Court of Justice ruled on July 9, 2004 that the construction of the wall was illegal and demanded it be dismantled, as has the U.N.General Assembly.
The wall’s proposed route will cover 712 kilometers (442 miles), of which nearly two thirds is incomplete and 85 percent of which lies inside the West Bank, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report published on the ninth anniversary of the ICJ ruling.
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The document said the barrier will isolate 9.4 percent of the West Bank, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem.
© AFP 2013
I genuinely empathize with the victims of the Boston bombing. They were killed, maimed, injured and/or forever traumatized only because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As they gathered to compete in or watch the marathon underway, they were—like all terrorism victims—the epitome of innocent.
But imagine if this happened again next week at a pizzeria, killing 15 diners; and again a week later on a bus, killing 19 passengers. Then at a discotheque, killing 21 teens. Then at a church, killing 11 worshippers. And so on it goes, with a new bombing almost every week.
Israelis don’t have to imagine. They just have to remember. Between 1995 and 2005, each year saw an average of 14 suicide bombings, with 66 victims murdered. The year 2002 was the worst, with 47 bombings that slaughtered 238 people.
That’s almost one Boston bombing every week. Adjusted for population differences, Israel’s victims in 2002 amounted to the equivalent of three 9/11 tragedies in one year. And these bombing statistics don’t include all of the shootings, stabbings and other violent attacks by Palestinian extremists during those years.
Most Americans (and Europeans) who enjoy lives of far greater security can barely recall such attacks because they usually received only scant and perfunctory media coverage, if they were mentioned at all. A few particularly gruesome attacks (like the Netanya Passover bombing that killed 30 and injured 140) were prominently reported, but most attacks were barely and inconspicuously noted, and many smaller but horrific attacks went entirely unreported.
Of course, whenever Israel responded militarily to these attacks, it would be headline news. As Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Stephens noted in 2009, “Every Palestinian death receives somewhere in the order of 28 times the attention of every Chechen death.”
When Israel erected its West Bank security barrier, a nonviolent but extremely effective way to prevent Palestinian terrorism, that too was headline news. The fence was even brought before the International Court of Justice in 2004—unlike the terrorism that compelled it. Israel surely had other uses for the $2 billion spent to build the barrier, but the number of attacks and fatalities dropped so dramatically after its construction that few Israelis doubted its necessity.
Israel’s terrible experience with terrorism has forced it to develop relevant expertise, from more effective security and counterterrorism techniques to emergency medicine procedures that respond better to the mass casualties of terrorist attacks. In fact, Dr. Alasdair Conn, a top emergency doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, where most of the 183 victims of the Boston attack were treated, noted that Israelis helped train his team to respond to terror attacks.
But managing terrorism is hardly what Israelis want to be experts in; they’d much rather focus on other areas where they’ve excelled: high-tech, medical research, clean tech and other innovative pursuits that improve life rather than stop those trying to ruin it.
As a proud American who was in Manhattan on 9/11, I was horrified by our nation’s traumatic wake-up call to the evil of terrorism and the vulnerability of any open society—even the world’s only superpower. The Boston bombing—and the 24/7 coverage of it across virtually all media—was a disturbing reminder that we are all vulnerable; it was also a tiny (and hopefully temporary) taste of the far greater vulnerability experienced every day by Israel.
A democracy the size of New Jersey, Israel must contend not only with the continuous threat of Islamic terrorists launching cross-border or homegrown attacks, but also with about 200,000 missiles potentially aimed at it from virtually every direction and an Iran that regularly threatens to destroy it while developing the nuclear means to do so.
With so many constant threats, it’s a miracle Israelis can maintain any semblance of everyday sanity, much less win Nobel prizes and get more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any country after the USA and China. How do they do it?
If you talk to Israelis, their approach seems to be a proud and stubborn refusal to let terrorism change their lives and a determination to succeed despite the terrorists—thereby defying them. And that may provide some guidance or inspiration for Americans trying to get back to a sense of normal.
We quickly killed one Boston bomber and nabbed the other. We buried bin Laden in 2011. And we’re producing content, technology and ideas that are the envy of the world. Let’s keep it that way. Go USA.
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.
Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, a military thriller about the Iranian nuclear threat that also explores the impact of terrorism on ordinary people.
Last Independence Day, Israel Hayom photographer Ziv Koren and I toured Israel’s borders. We went to the Egyptian and Gaza Strip borders, as well as the Syrian and Lebanese borders, the crossings to Jordan and the West Bank separation fence in northern Samaria.
We saw the incredible investment Israel made, both in money (billions) and equipment (technology), to stop infiltration and reduce threats.
So when we got a phone call from farmers in Lachish about the numerous break-ins in their area, we were incredulous. But the stories were so troubling—and the statistics so dramatic—that we decided to drive there on Wednesday and see things for ourselves. To speak in cliches, what we saw was not a fence but a hole—a black hole.
Our talks with security forces revealed that everyone is aware of the problem, and every week the item appears on their desks at the Judea (Hebron) Brigade, which is in charge of the territory; at the Judea and Samaria Division; at Central Command and their counterparts in the Israel Police; at Border Police; and at Shin Bet.
Everyone knows just how big the hole is, the extent of the damage that has already been done and how troubling its future potential is. Just to clarify things, since the beginning of 2013, more than 20 terror cells in the West Bank were busted and their members arrested for planning to abduct Israelis. Had one of them decided on Wednesday to use one of the surrounding Palestinian villages as a launching point, nothing would have stood in their way of kidnapping a soldier at the Lachish training base or a civilian at any one of the nearby communities.
Despite the clear and present danger, nothing is happening to remedy the situation. Members of the security establishment talk about tactical operations, but the herders and farmers in the area can’t remember the last time they saw an Israel Defense Foces ambush in place, or even a patrol. They now take it upon themselves to defend the fence and secure all the cattle and every tractor.
Sound ridiculous? This is the day-to-day reality at the Lachish strip.
Even repair work on the breached fence hasn’t been carried out, making the barrier that was meant to stop terrorist attacks and thievery one big, inviting hole. One feels compelled to say that one day everyone will wake up when it’s too late, after a terrorist attack or abduction is carried out, yet still, we should hope that someone— the defense minister, public security minister, chief of general staff or police commissioner—will decide this very morning to act and do what’s necessary.
For the original article, visit israelhayom.com.
Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.