Sunday, 28 December 2008

Israel Matzav: Video: IAF strikes on Gaza weapons caches#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: IAF strikes on Gaza weapons caches#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Did Egypt sell out Hamas?#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Did Egypt sell out Hamas?#links#links#links#links


Written by: Dan Illouz

For 2000 years, during our horrible exile, whenever a Jew was insulted, beaten or tortured, all he could do was put down his head in shame. For 2000 years, if a Jew ever tried to defend himself, he would be confronted to a system which excluded any possible defense for him and would get punished of any attempted to defend himself. He was forced to “turn the other cheek”, even when that meant letting his relatives be maimed, raped, tortured or killed.

100 years ago, we said: “No More”. 100 years ago, we decided that we will start a movement that will bring back national pride to the Jewish people. We decided we will not be the punching bags of humanity. We decided that, for the first time in 2000 years, “Jewish blood will not be cheap anymore”. No, this was not a statement of blind racism speaking about a different DNA makeup. It was a statement which strove to bring back justice to a world which has unjustly cheapened the blood of Jews for over 2000 years. We were saying: “You will not be able to kill us without expecting a strong response from us! You will not be able to insult us without expecting us to defend our pride! You will not be able to shoot rockets at us without expecting us to exercise our right to self defense!”
Over the past few years, rockets have been constantly fired on the southern cities of Israel. The only thing these rockets could have been a response to, when they started, was the unimaginable concessions the Israeli government gave to the Palestinians by undertaking the expulsion of its own citizens from the Gaza Strip and giving away full control to the Palestinians. Not only were those rocket attacks constant and terrifying, they were joined together with other types of attacks, including, over 917 days ago, the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit who is still being held captive by Hamas. Over the past few years, 10 046 missiles fell on southern Israel. Yes, I did not mistakenly add a zero! 10 046 missiles!!

And what did we do?
In our constant, extreme, characteristic, blinding and sometimes problematic hope for peace, we did not do anything. We had a few minor operations here and there, in which we tried shooting at the launchers of the Kassam rockets, but those were never successful because by the time we could respond, the launchers of the rockets were already gone from the scene of the launch.
So, instead of responding, we kept on asking for calm. We kept on requesting a ceasefire. One day, as the limit to our unexplainable patience was obviously coming closer, and as Hamas was obviously in a need for a time of calm in order to renew its arsenal and better attack us in the future, we agreed to a ceasefire. Yes, everyone knew that a ceasefire would be detrimental to Israel because everyone knew that while we would try to use this time to plant the seeds of peace, Hamas would use it to regroup in order to better attack. Still, what can you do - we continued to hope!
After the ceasefire expired, Hamas had effectively regrouped. They refused to extend the ceasefire and started, once again, shooting rockets at Israel. Yes, the ceasefire actually gave them more strength! Some of their rockets could now hit Ashdod – one of the bigger cities of Israel!
Finally, after months – no, years!- of staying back, Israel decided it was time to defend itself. Over the weekend, Israel has started an operation in the Gaza strip. However, even after those years of attacks which make this response more than justified, there is a sense of shock at the numbers coming out of Gaza. Over 280 dead. Wow! 280 human beings were killed. For people who hate death, this is, honestly, a horrible tragedy. So, how are we to react to that?
In today’s world, there is an underlying pressure for Jews, and Zionists, to put their heads down in shame after seeing these numbers. Yes, even the strong Zionists are afraid to switch their facebook status in support of the Gaza operation. Yes, even the strong Zionists are afraid to scream their support for the State of Israel in such a time of bloodshed and conflict.
The Torah does tell us that we cannot, we are forbidden, to rejoice in our enemies’ suffering. So, we should not rejoice in their death. However, let’s make no mistake: I am not, in the slightest way, ashamed of the State of Israel. I am proud of the State of Israel for finally standing up and defending it’s citizens. Yes, every single death is a tragedy – a HUGE tragedy. I cannot express how annoyed I am that people need to die. However, the most basic moral duty of a government is to ensure it’s citizen’s safety. Finally, after many years of holding back, the State of Israel has regained its moral standing by once again ensuring the safety of its citizens. We should not rejoice in our enemy’s suffering or death but we should rejoice that the State of Israel is finally defending its citizens and that the Israelis living in the south will, hopefully, finally be able to start living a normal life again!
Let us not be blinded by the reports which have gone out in the past few days. The Israeli attacks are not an aggression – they are a legitimate response in self defense.
They are not in response to a few rocket attacks which came out in the past few days – they are in response to 10 046 missiles which have been launched on Israel in the past few days.
They are not un-proportional: Can someone tell me what the proportional response to 10 046 rockets would be? Can someone tell me what the proportional response is to years of living in fear where every few hours you must go hide under a desk because there is an alarm going off signaling an incoming rocket? Please! Let me know! What would be more moral than ensuring that the rocket attacks end!

The Israeli attacks are not targeting civilians but rather the Hamas infrastructure. While 100% of the rockets fired by Hamas have been targeting civilians, out of the 280 people who have been killed in Gaza in this past weekend, only 15 were confirmed to be civilians. Trust me, I know that 15 civilian deaths is a tragic number. It is huge. However, let us not forget to put things into perspective. Let us not forget that, as we see numbers of dead climbing in the news media, we can also rest assured that Israel is doing its best to ensure the safety of civilians while Hamas is doing its best to ensure the death of civilians.
Yes, I am shocked at the number of deaths in Gaza. Yes, I am appalled at that number. Yes, I mourn those who died innocent. Yes, I mourn the fact that those who deserved to die did not decide to live a better, more productive, more peace loving, life. However, I put the blame of every single one of those deaths on one organization – Hamas. If legitimate self defense causes death, the responsibility of that death must rest on the shoulders of the original attacker. I am angry at the number of deaths but I know, having studied the situation, that my anger must be direct towards Hamas and the other terrorist organizations who have constantly attacked the peace loving Israel.
As the attacks continue, I will not bow down my head in shame. I will raise my head up high in pride for a country who is not afraid to defend its citizens, after having tried for the longest amount of time a peaceful route. I will raise my head up high in pride for a country who is targeting the infrastructure of terrorist organizations in order to ensure the rocket attacks on Israel will finally stop. I will raise my head up high and say: “Thank You Israel, I support you!”

It is precisely in this time where moral relativism is pushing Jews to go in hiding, and hide their support for Israeli actions in shame, that we must stand up and scream with pride that we support Israel. We must stand up, and break the moral relativism, to show that there is clearly only one moral actor in this conflict between Israel and Hamas and that actor is Israel. I encourage all of you to express your support for Israel in any possible way – on blogs, on Facebook, on twitter, by email, by phone, etc…

May this conflict which we never wanted bring about the peace which we have always yearned for.

taken from (

Esser Agaroth: What Took 'Em So Long?#links#links

Esser Agaroth: What Took 'Em So Long?#links#links


Dear Professional "Unbiased" Journalists of the World Press:

It never ceases to amaze me that so little has been said by you regarding the callous attacks by the palestinians of Gaza against Israeli civilians, schools, hospitals, children, etc., etc. with rockets and mortars day after day.

The death of an Israeli child or student or housewife or the destruction of an Israeli home never makes for news...but let Israel say enough is enough and what do you say? That the Israeli "retaliation" was "disproportionate ".

What do you mean by retaliation? Israel has been absorbing rocket and mortar fire from Gaza into its cities for months upon months without an incursion into Gaza. How long do you think the United States would tolerate San Diego being shelled by Mexico? This action is not is Purely Defensive.

When Israel decides that enough is enough, and attacks Hamas military targets (which they always locate in populated urban areas) then you call the Israeli attacks "disproportionate ". Well you can kiss my Jewish touches you left-wing bleeding heart bastards!

Collateral damage is exactly what Hamas wants and you play right into their hands by portraying Israel as the aggressor. Never mind who has been supplying Hamas and Fatah and Hizbullah with rockets (which they launch from schoolyards and from behind civilian apartment complexes), mines, explosives and arms; never mind that Israel is the only free and democratic country in the Middle-East; never mind that Israel always supports and stands behind the United States; never mind that the same people who are now being attacked in Gaza are of the very same philosophy and mindset as those who attacked the United States on 911, killing thousands of innocent civilians and women and children (and the very same who danced in the streets afterwards); never mind any of that.

What matters to you, is that in your holier-than-thou judgment, Israeli response should be restrained - tempered and humane. Have you ever seen what’s left of an Israeli bus and those people inside after a palestinian (suicide bomber - no such thing) murderer blew up inside that bus...Or, the inside of a crowded restaurant after a palestinian murderer strapped with explosives exploded amongst the tables...Or, the inside of a Israeli classroom after a rocket came crashing through the roof?

How long would you take it and how restrained would be your response against those responsible? You never use the word "Terrorist" in conjunction with "Palestinian". No, you call them "Militants" like some unruly child. Well they are not militants, or unruly children, these so-called palestinians are Murdering Terrorists by every definition of the word.

Israel has tried all that is humanly possible to bring about peace between the palestinians and Israel. They don't want peace! They want Israel's destruction and will settle for nothing less. They are like a cancer that has been eating through the center of the body...What do you do with a cancer? If it will not respond to conventional therapy then you excise it!

There will never be a "Two State Solution", the so called palestinians don't want it, and the rest of the Arabs will never let it happen. Therefore, there should be a One-State-Solution...Israel from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea - and if the Arabs in between don't like it, then let them go back to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan - where they originated. If you don't like this Blogmaster's opinion, this is one Jew who doesn't give a damn! Never Again! Blogmaster
taken from : B´NAI ELIM (


Gideon Levy has a one-track mind: Israel is awful. The funniest example for this came a few years ago when he was sent to Beijing to cover some event; while there he managed to dig up a Palestinian businessman. The fellow is married to a Chinese woman, drives a Mercedes and makes millions in the skyrocketing Chinese economy, but he was willing to give Levy an hour and to tell how awful it is to be a Palestinian refugee.

He has a regular column in Haaretz on weekends, called "The Twilight Zone", where he tells about the suffering of the Palestinians. This morning he published an extra-curricular column. His animosity against his country is even more explicit than what you find at the Guardian.

Yet I can live with Gideon Levy. One significant difference between him and our foreign critics is that he's here. When Palestinian terrorists were blowing themselves up in Tel Aviv, before we figured out how to block them, his life was in the same danger the rest of our lives were in, as Peter Beaumont's life isn't. The second difference is that he's criticizing his own county, not someone else's. Anyone who knows how to read between the lines knows that the American and British forces fighting their just wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are less scrupulous than the Israelis when it comes to trying not to his civilians, yet to the best of my knowledge no-one in any major media outlet in either country does what Levy does. The Guardian screeches about Israeli war crimes, factual or other, but never treats its own forces to a similar level of scrutiny. They're not only antisemites, they're also hypocrites, an accusation that can't be leveled at Levy. Third, since Levy is an Israeli, he has the right to hold his own society up to a higher standard, even one so high as to be cruel and unreasonable. It's his society he making his demands from, not someone else's.

He's wrong of course, in his interpretations, and not always accurate in his factual depictions, but he's a sign of our democratic strength, and I can live with him.
taken from :Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


Times of London can't make up its own mind abut the facts. First, it has us understand Israel is killing Palestinian civilians:

Children on their way home from school and policemen parading for a graduation ceremony were the principal victims of a bloody few hours that left the territory in flames.

Neat sleight of hand, that: children and celebrating policemen, one single category. Then, deeper into the news item, we're informed that

The strikes caused panic and confusion as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory. Most of those killed were security men — including Gaza’s police chief — but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead.

If you keep on going all the way to the bottom of the page, you finally get some numbers:

Earlier in the day, when the death toll stood at 155, police spokesman Ehud Ghussein had said about 140 Hamas security forces were killed.

Yesterday I speculated that The Independent is probably awful. Perhaps I spoke too hastily. Their leader this morning is perfectly reasonable. They haven't become Zionists, but if everyone wrote like this, I wouldn't need to blog about it.

The Guardian, meanwhile, is even lower today than it was yesterday. They've got a column written by Peter Beaumont, none other than their Foreign Affairs editor. Obviously everything is all Israel's fault, you wouldn't expect anything else from the Guardian, but Beaumont goes even further and hopes that Israel has finally given the Arab world something that will focus their minds on how evil their real enemy is:

But perhaps in a wider Arab world, becoming more uncomfortable by the day about what is happening inside Gaza, something is changing. And Israel has supplied a rallying point. Something tangible and brutal that gives the critics of its actions in Gaza – who say it has a policy of collective punishment backed by disproportionate and excessive force – something to focus on.

Something to be ranked with Deir Yassin. With the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Something, at last, that Israel's foes can say looks like an atrocity.

Creepy, isn't it? The fellow is hoping that the Arabs will actively hate the Israelis as much as he, his newspaper and his readers do, and that the overtly antisemitic killers of the Hamas will serve as their rallying point. (Sabra and Shatilla, by the way, were massacres by Arabs of Arabs).
As a small side story, it's interesting to note the URL given to Beaumont's column: Israel and the Palestinians terrorism. And you thought the Guardian never uses the word "terrorism" in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Mahmoud Abbas apparently doesn't read his Guardian, because he's blaming Hamas for what he's calling a massacre, while standing next to the Egyptian Foreign Minister. It would be hard to make up such a story line, wouldn't it: Arabs condemning Hamas, while the Guardian prays they'll join it in its hatred of Israel.
taken from :Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' break through Rafah crossing into Egypt#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' break through Rafah crossing into Egypt#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Hamas rockets#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Hamas rockets#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Shock and awe, Israeli style: IDF destroys 40 smuggling tunnels in 4 minutes#links#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Shock and awe, Israeli style: IDF destroys 40 smuggling tunnels in 4 minutes#links#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Nasrallah vows to open a second front#links#links

Israel Matzav: Nasrallah vows to open a second front#links#links

Israel Matzav: Did Hamas' strategy backfire?#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Did Hamas' strategy backfire?#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Israel warned civilians to leave targeted areas#links#links

Israel Matzav: Israel warned civilians to leave targeted areas#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Hamas television celebrates Israeli deaths#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Hamas television celebrates Israeli deaths#links#links#links#links#links



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: MIKETZ Gen. 41:1-44:17


The exile of the Children of Israel in Egypt and their subsequent redemption and exodus are the paradigm of all exile and redemption, physical and spiritual. The chief oppressor is Pharaoh, King of Egypt, a figure first introduced in the Torah several parshiyos earlier, in LECH LECHA (Ch. 12, v. 10ff). Famine had forced Abraham to go down to Egypt, the "nakedness of the earth" (just as in our parshah, famine forces his descendents down to the same place). Egypt is the stronghold of MITZRAYIM, second son of the accursed Ham, who had "uncovered" his father Noah's nakedness. In the same tradition of sexual immorality, Pharaoh, representing the evil, self-seeking aspect of earthly power, kidnapped Sarah, embodiment of the Indwelling Presence of G-d, until a divine plague forced him to release her. According to tradition, Sarah was released on the night 15 Nissan, the date of the later Exodus of her descendants from Egypt.

Our parshah of MIKETZ traces the successive stages in which the snare was laid to force Jacob and his Twelve Sons to follow Joseph down into exile in Egypt in preparation for the ultimate redemption of the Children of Israel years later on that same date. The net is artfully prepared by Joseph, who alone of all the sons of Jacob had the power to stand in the House of Pharaoh. Joseph is the archetype of the Tzaddik who enables us to survive in This World. Having been drawn down to Egypt by Joseph, the Children of Israel are eventually redeemed by Moses, who, having been brought up in the House of Pharaoh, had the power to stand there. Moses is integrally linked with Joseph, and thus Moses "took the bones [= the essence] of Joseph with him" up out of Egypt. Moses is the Tzaddik who teaches us the path leading through the wilderness of This World to the Land of the Living -- the Land of Israel.

This World is but a dream. Pharaoh is dreaming. Pharaoh is the "back-side" (PHaRAO = ORePH, the back of the neck) -- the external appearance of This World as opposed to it's inner "face", the inner spirituality and meaning. The outward appearance is frightening: plump prosperity turning into wizened waste.

Pharaoh is the worldly ego. "So says the Lord G-d, Here I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great crocodile [=primordial serpent] lying down in his rivers, who says: 'The river is mine, and I made myself' (Ezekiel 29: 3, from the Haftara of parshas VO-ERO which recounts the plagues sent against Egypt). Pharaoh thinks he is all-powerful -- "I made myself" -- but in the end he is humiliated by G-d's plagues, which show him his limitations. As yet his downfall is still far-off -- a distant vision, a bad dream. Yet already Pharaoh is being humiliated. The dream is terrifying. Pharaoh's own magicians and wise men are helpless: they cannot give meaning to his dream. The only one who can help Pharaoh is "a man who has the spirit of G-d in him" (Gen. 41:38), the truly righteous Tzaddik: Joseph.

* * *


Temporal leaders may imagine they are pulling the strings, but the underlying forces that drive human history are great global cycles of success and decline ("Seven years of plenty" / "Seven years of famine") that are in the power of G-d alone. Likewise, G-d alone has the power to send truly wise leaders to guide us through these cycles to a better end.

While Pharaoh is the archetype of the self-seeker, Joseph is the archetype of self-discipline. The latter is the virtue needed to get through This World successfully. Pharaoh knows how to consume to gratify the self here and now -- to live the dream of This World. This may work as long as the river keeps flowing. But Pharaoh does not know what to do when the flow stops. He is unprepared, because Pharaoh is PARU'AH, undisciplined. He does not know how to conserve and save for lean times.

Pharaoh's self-seeking is rooted in the fundamental flaw of Adam: KERI, spilling the seed in vain -- waste. Thus it is said that the sparks in the seed spilled by Adam fell to Egypt, where they had to be rectified in the generation of Joseph and in the generation of Moses. The rectification in the generation of Joseph was accomplished by the DISCIPLINE which Joseph brought to the country. Joseph used the Seven Years of Plenty to teach the Egyptians to put limits on IMMEDIATE CONSUMPTION AND GRATIFICATION in order to SAVE for the FUTURE.

(Similarly in the generation of the Exodus, the Children of Israel, incarnation of Adam's spilled seed, were rectified through the building of Pharaoh's "store-cities".) We must all learn how to set limits to the physical gratification we receive from this world in order to make the best use of our time here to acquire and "save" Mitzvos and good deeds. These are our TZEIDAH LA-DEREKH, the "sustenance for the way" that leads to the Land of the Living, the Future World.
The world today is suffering from the catastrophic effects of IMMEDIATE CONSUMPTION on the global ecology in the form of reckless depletion of resources, pollution etc. and on the moral fabric of contemporary society. The model of happiness entertained by most of the world -- CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION -- is unsustainable and destructive, and must be replaced with Joseph's model: that we must "circumcise" ourselves and learn self-discipline. Only by thriftily "saving" Torah and good deeds can we attain true happiness. Thus Joseph told the "Egyptians" to "circumcise" themselves (see Rashi on Gen. 41:55).

* * *


"It is good when manifest reproof stems from hidden love" (Proverbs 27:5).

The essence of good leadership is to teach people to lead themselves -- to take themselves in hand and use self-discipline to attain the good that is available in this world.

Had Joseph revealed himself to his brothers immediately on their first arrival in Egypt, he would have elicited little more from them than superficial expressions of contrition for a sin whose seriousness they still did not understand. "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16) -- don't "sit down to eat bread" when your brother is screaming in the pit (Gen. 37:25).

Joseph used his consummate wisdom to engineer events that would put his brothers in the same situation in which they had placed him. As the compassionate leader, Joseph sought to make his brothers draw their own conclusions, knowing that the lessons we learn on our own flesh are more deeply inscribed and instilled than those we simply hear from others.

Joseph engineered events that would force his brothers to "read" and "interpret" for themselves the message of reproof the events implied. So it had been from the beginning. When Joseph dreamed of the sheaves bowing down to him, it was the brothers who interpreted the message for themselves. "Will you surely rule over us?" (Gen. 37:8).

Years later, the brothers bowed before the Egyptian Viceroy TZOPHNAS PA'ANEAH ("Interpreter of that which is Hidden", as Joseph had been named by Pharaoh, Master of the Dream).

"And Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them, AND HE MADE HIMSELF STRANGE [vayisNACHER] to them" (Gen. 42:7).

In order to chastise his brothers and bring them to genuine contrition, Joseph acted not like a BROTHER but like a NOCHRI, a STRANGER. He clothed himself in the garb of a stranger with a heart of stone, deaf to all appeals.

Joseph's way of teaching and educating his brothers can help us understand how G-d may sometimes have to beat down the walls of people's insensitive hearts by chastising them with enemies that appear strange and incomprehensible to them.

"G-d will bring up a people against you from afar from the end of the earth, like the eagle swoops, a people whose language you will not understand, a people of fierce countenance who will not show respect to the old or compassion for the youth." (Deuteronomy 28: 49).

But like Joseph's indirect, roundabout reproof to his brothers, G-d's reproof has but one purpose: "And they will confess their sin and the sin of their fathers and the treachery that they have committed against Me, that they went contrary [with KERI] against Me; So I will go with them contrary [with KERI, apparently chance events] and I will bring them in the land of their enemies, and then their uncircumcised heart will be humbled and then they will make appeasement for their sin. And I will remember my COVENANT." (Leviticus 26:40-42).

With consummate skill, Joseph brought a series of "troubles" upon his brothers that would bring them to successive levels of self-understanding and genuine contrition. Joseph's first step was to separate one brother (Shimon) from the others and hold him in detention. The brothers read the message: "And one said to the other, But we are guilty over our brother, the pain of whose soul we saw when he pleaded with us and we did not hear: that is why this trouble has come upon us" (Gen. 42:21).

The final stage was when Joseph engineered the framing of Benjamin with Joseph's "stolen" divining goblet (Gen. ch. 44). Still appearing to his brothers as the Egyptian Viceroy Sourcerer, Joseph's choice of scenario was one that had special meaning for the brothers, as they had all (with the exception of Benjamin) witnessed their DIVINER grandfather Laban (Gen.30:27) searching the tent of Rachel, for his stolen TERAFIM (idols).

At last the brothers grasped the complete message. They had stolen their brother and sold him as a slave. "And Judah said, What shall we say to my lord, what shall we speak and how can we justify ourselves? G-d has found your servants' sin."

In next week's parshah we will continue with the beautiful story of how Judah steps forward to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS BROTHER. This was the goal of all Joseph's "reproof".
The above-quoted words of Judah are woven into our TACHANUN (supplicatory) and SELICHOS (penitential) prayers:

"What shall we say? What shall we speak? How can we justify ourselves? Let us search out and investigate our ways and return to You. For Your right arm is stretched out to receive those who return. Please G-d, save us."

Shabbat Shalom! Chodesh Tov Umevorach! Happy Chanukah

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

--AZAMRA INSTITUTEPO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 IsraelWebsite:

Israel Matzav: Flying pigs moment: Abu Mazen, Aboul Gheit slam Hamas

Israel Matzav: Flying pigs moment: Abu Mazen, Aboul Gheit slam Hamas


The London Times still has an item up from yesterday, about two Palestinian girls who were killed by rockets fired by their own side that were aimed at Israeli civilians but fell short. I mention this merely as a reminder of who Israel faces - and how it doesn't get reported in some media organs.

The New York Times gives the story in its context. Its top headline, "Israeli Gaza Strike Kills More than 200" is followed by the subtitle "Air Attacks are a Response to Hamas Rocket Fire on Israel". The following article tries to be factual:

Most of those killed were Hamas police officers and security men, including two senior commanders, according to Palestinian officials. But the dead included at least a dozen civilians, including several construction workers and at least two children in school uniforms.

The rest of the long new item is reasonable reporting. It doesn't dig back into the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor tell much about the Hamas charter which is blatantly antisemitic ("the Jews are to blame for both world wars"), but that's not how newspaper reporters understand the world; given how they do, this new item is fine. Only once does the reporters' (3 of them contributed to the item) lack of historical perspective trip them up:

The leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, said in a statement that “Palestine has never witnessed an uglier massacre.” Later, in a televised speech, he vowed to fight Israel. “We say in all confidence that even if we are hung on the gallows or they make our blood flow in the streets or they tear our bodies apart, we will bow only before God and we will not abandon Palestine,” he said.

Any idea what he's talking about, Mr. Haniya? It's a deft piece of propaganda. To Western ears, he makes it appear as if Israel is trying to destroy the Palestinians, massacre them and exile them from their land, none of which is true. For Palestinian ears, however, the same set of sentences means something different: "We're in this fight because we'll never give up any of Palestine", i.e Israel has no right to exist. Neat, huh? The NYT folks missed it, because though they're good journalists, you need to be more than a good journalist to understand this story.

The BBC has a 1000-word, titled "Massive Israeli air raids on Gaza". The fact of Hamas rockets on Israeli civilians is noted only more than 600 words into the report, unless you count an attribution to an Israeli announcement in the 5th paragraph; the BBC however only gets around to admitting that there may be some truth to that Israeli claim near the end of the report.
And then you've got the Guardian. I suppose I ought also to look at the Independent, and maybe tomorrow I will, since it really isn't fair to single out the Guardian for its straightforward antisemitism, but a few years ago the Independent starting requiring readers of its website to pay for the torture, so I stopped going there. The Guardian has a larger readership, I'm told, and is the top-notch paper of the British Left, so when it's antisemitic, this is the responsibility of all those who go along with it.

The Guardian starts it report with a headline one can stomach: Air strikes in Gaza kill 205 as Israel targets Hamas. But this is the first paragraph:

Israel stood defiant tonight in the face of mounting international condemnation, as it vowed to continue a massive bombing offensive against key targets in the Gaza Strip that left 205 dead and 700 others injured.

Most of the article is about how the international community, including the White House, is critical of Israel's actions; in the entire article there is only one, cryptic mention of the Hamas rocket attacks and that comes in an attribution to Ehud Barak.

I expect the fools at the Guardian really believe what they write, but that's no excuse. As for the facts, let's wait a day or two and see if the world's mumbles of caution really are "mounting international condemnation", or if they're mumbles of condemnation. One way or the other, it's hard to see what happened on the international scene today that might be described as mounting international condemnation. When that happens, it of course still won't mean the world is right, but so far, it hasn't even happened. It's a weekend, between Christmas and New Years, the Europeans are all on vacation....

And then the Guardian offers us Ian Black's punditry:

Devastating air strikes may limit Hamas's capacity to attack – but will almost certainly increase its support among Palestinians.

He doesn't know this, mind you; he's speculating. As he does throughout his article:

The bomb and missile strikes by F16 warplanes this morning hit Hamas compounds and positions from Gaza City to Khan Yunis in the south of the coastal strip. Civilian casualties, on a normal school and working day, must have been inevitable in the densely populated area.

In other words, he doesn't have any facts, but he assumes the Israelis "must have" killed many civilians.

Retaliatory Palestinian fire killed one woman in southern Israel – underlining the unequal military balance.

It's just not fair, is it. The Palestinians can't kill as many civilians as they'd like. And it's totally unreasonable that Israel is killing so many Palestinians when all the Palestinians are doing is kill your ocasional Israeli. (It was a man, by the way, Beber Waknin of Netivot. Not a woman.)

opinion polls shows that Binyamin Netanyahu, leader of the rightwing Likud, is likely to beat Livni's centrist Kadima party in Israel's elections, set to take place in February. Prospects for revived talks, which were already slim, must have now diminished further.

Background, you see, so you get the general picture: not only are the Israelis attacking today and killing Palestinians civilians, but next month they're going to elect a government that will halt peace negotiations.

The looming general election is another reason Israel is not keen to send troops into Gaza on a large scale, which would expose its own forces to heavy casualties. Instead Israel prefers to use its unchallenged aerial superiority – clearly a blunt instrument that cannot distinguish between fighters and civilians.

Cowardly Israelis, killing Palestinian civilians from the air with blunt intruments (see "hammer", as in the title).

This is nothing short of a massacre, an outrage," the independent Palestinian MP Hanan Ashrawi – no friend of the Islamists – told the BBC from her Ramallah home. "The cycle of violence is generated by the occupation and by the ongoing state of siege that is attempting to collectively punish a whole people.

"This will enhance the standing of Hamas. People are sympathising with Hamas as the people who are being ruthlessly targeted by Israel. They are seen as victims of ongoing Israeli aggression."

Which is interesting, since Ashrawi lives - as noted - in Ramallah, and Ramallah - as not noted - is blooming. The economy is up, the quality of life is up, the distance from Hamas-controlled Gaza is growing ever greater, and all of this a stone's throw from Jerusalem. Weird, these Israelis; they try so hard to hit the Palestinains they don't even notice that right next door, in Ramallah, the Palestinians are beginning to do well for themselves.

taken from: Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (

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