Saturday, 3 January 2009


Hamas has been stockpiling weapons in civilian homes. This is against international law, but since I'm no great fan of international law I mention it only to note all the media outlets who aren't mentioning it - the folks who cannot formulate a sentence about Israel's policies without telling about whatever Israel is doing which is illegal. Those hypocrites, you know. But I digress.

According to the laws of war, placing military ordinance in civilian settings is forbidden because it erases the line between civilians and soldiers, and since getting at the soldiers so as to kill them is permitted, civilians will inevitably also be killed. Hezbullah, Hamas, and the Fatah-based Palestinian terrorists never put any store in any of that just-war theory or practice, since in their self understanding they are victims, period, and no matter what they do will always be justified. Their useful idiots in the West parrot this alongside them, thus demonstrating their rejection of the noble heritage of the Enlightenment.

The practice has booby-trapped Israel, of course. If we hit the terrorists along with their civilian shields, we're damned for waging war on civilians. If we refrain, so as not to be damned, the terrorists are safe, and sooner or later they'll kill Israelis.

The advance of technology, however, has created new possibilities. In the week of air-attacks, the IDF proved it had excellent intelligence, and in many cases targets hit from the air kept on exploding for a number of minutes after they were hit, as the ordinance stored there exploded. More significant, the IDF has figured out how to separate the civilians from the weapons: call the neighbors and give them ten minutes warning. The numbers prove how efficient this has been: prior to the ground invasion, more than 600 targets had been destroyed, fewer than 500 Palestinians killed, and fewer than 100 of those were civilians even by Palestinian and UN reckoning. Of course, there remain the pictures of civilians surrounded by devastation, but they're alive, and it wasn't Israel that stacked bombs in their cellars.

Apparently, by Friday Israel had made at least 9,000 (nine thousand) such phone calls.

Here's an American website touching upon the same story.

Alongside the thousands of civilians whose lives have been spared there are hundreds, at least, of armed Hamas fighters, the people who put the explosives in the cellars in the first place: by warning their neighbors, Israel has warned them, too, thus giving them the chance to escape and fight another day: say, tonight, or tomorrow, when they'll still be alive to fight the IDF troops, instead of lying dead under the rubble, as would have been possible had we hit their explosive stashes without prior warning, as any normal army wold have done.

So far this post hasn't said anything new: you knew it all already. Well, in my professional life I deal with complex IT systems, and I've given a bit of thought t this issue seen from that perspective:

First, Israel clearly has created a sophisticated GIS (geographic information system). A system that records tens of thousands of buildings, their location, and their distance from each other. Then there's a database with the names of the tens of thousands of families who live in the buildings, and the phone number of each family. The system has the ability to identify all the families and phone numbers that could be affected by an attack on any given building. Finally, given the numbers involved, there must be a system that automatically makes concurrent phone calls to dozens of families, since everybody has to have the same ten-minute warning.

Ah, and someone put tens of thousands of piece of information into that database.

Such a system costs real money, takes time to set up, and since it is obviously operating close to flawlessly, it was tested, fiddled with, tested, fiddled with, and tested again. The purpose, I remind you, is to save the lives of thousands of Palestinians who happen to have murderous neighbors.

From time to time I claim that the IDF is the most moral army in the world. This drives some people bonkers, and they often go ballistic. Alas for them, and fortunately for many Palestinians, it happens to be the simple truth.

taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


Earlier this evening I was discussing things with my daughter, who served her Civil Service between the summers of 2004 and 2006 in the childrens' cancer ward at a large hospital. As regular readers will not be surprised to read, many of the children being treated were Palestinians, mostly from Gaza. (If you had cancer, would you want to be treated in any Arab hospital?)

And yet, she tells, the changes in Gaza were dramatically obvious in the cancer ward. So long as Arafat was alive and (notionally) in charge, the Palestinian families tended to be well-heeled. By the time Hamas had taken over, those patients and their families had disappeared, because their own authorities in Gaza were forbidding them to enter Israel. In their place, the patients being sent from Gaza were all, and only, from families affiliated with Hamas. The cancer-stricken children of Gaza whose parents weren't loyal Hamas supporters were sentenced to death.
taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


Achikam is fighting in Gaza.This morning during services at synagogue we added a public reading, sentence by sentence, of Psalms 121:

(א) שִׁיר לַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי אֶל הֶהָרִים מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי:
(ב) עֶזְרִי מֵעִם יְהֹוָה עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ:
(ג) אַל יִתֵּן לַמּוֹט רַגְלֶךָ אַל יָנוּם שֹׁמְרֶךָ:
(ד) הִנֵּה לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל:
(ה) יְהֹוָה שֹׁמְרֶךָ יְהֹוָה צִלְּךָ עַל יַד יְמִינֶךָ:
(ו) יוֹמָם הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לֹא יַכֶּכָּה וְיָרֵחַ בַּלָּיְלָה:
(ז) יְהֹוָה יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכָּל רָע יִשְׁמֹר אֶת נַפְשֶׁךָ:
(ח) יְהֹוָה יִשְׁמָר צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם:

1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

However, as I'm a historian, I find greater solace in Psalm 83. It was written something like 2700 years ago; Jews have never stopped reading it, in its original language, ever since it was written, and all you have to do as add additional names of Israel's enemies. They come and go, some are still recognizable, others have long since disappeared in the dust, new ones appear and disappear... It's a long story. Though the ability of the Jews to hit back has gotten significantly better the past few decades.

(א) שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף:
(ב) אֱלֹהִים אַל דֳּמִי לָךְ אַל תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל:
(ג) כִּי הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ יֶהֱמָיוּן וּמְשַׂנְאֶיךָ נָשְׂאוּ רֹאשׁ:
(ד) עַל עַמְּךָ יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ עַל צְפוּנֶיךָ:
(ה) אָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי וְלֹא יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד:
(ו) כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו עָלֶיךָ בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ:
(ז) אָהֳלֵי אֱדוֹם וְיִשְׁמְעֵאלִים מוֹאָב וְהַגְרִים:
(ח) גְּבָל וְעַמּוֹן וַעֲמָלֵק פְּלֶשֶׁת עִם יֹשְׁבֵי צוֹר:
(ט) גַּם אַשּׁוּר נִלְוָה עִמָּם הָיוּ זְרוֹעַ לִבְנֵי לוֹט סֶלָה:
(י) עֲשֵׂה לָהֶם כְּמִדְיָן כְּסִיסְרָא כְיָבִין בְּנַחַל קִישׁוֹן:
(יא) נִשְׁמְדוּ בְעֵין דֹּאר הָיוּ דֹמֶן לָאֲדָמָה:
(יב) שִׁיתֵמוֹ נְדִיבֵימוֹ כְּעֹרֵב וְכִזְאֵב וּכְזֶבַח וּכְצַלְמֻנָּע כָּל נְסִיכֵימוֹ:
(יג) אֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ נִירְשָׁה לָּנוּ אֵת נְאוֹת אֱלֹהִים:
(יד) אֶלֹהַי שִׁיתֵמוֹ כַגַּלְגַּל כְּקַשׁ לִפְנֵי רוּחַ:
(טו) כְּאֵשׁ תִּבְעַר יָעַר וּכְלֶהָבָה תְּלַהֵט הָרִים:
(טז) כֵּן תִּרְדְּפֵם בְּסַעֲרֶךָ וּבְסוּפָתְךָ תְבַהֲלֵם:
(יז) מַלֵּא פְנֵיהֶם קָלוֹן וִיבַקְשׁוּ שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה:
(יח) יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיִבָּהֲלוּ עֲדֵי עַד וְיַחְפְּרוּ וְיֹאבֵדוּ:
(יט) וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי אַתָּה שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה לְבַדֶּךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ:

1Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

3They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

5For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

6The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

7Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

9Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

10Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.

11Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

12Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

13O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

15So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

16Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

17Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

18That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


A few days ago David Grossman published a searing article in Haaretz, calling on Israel to pause its attack on Hamas for two days. I'll relate to the significance of this in the internal Israeli debate in a future post. In this post I'd like to point out that no sooner had Grossman published his post, it was published also in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and, I expect, probably also elsewhere. You've got to ask yourself what this means, this international eagerness to host this particular Israeli voice. It isn't as if he's the only one, or the best articulated one, or even a particularly representative one.
taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (

Israel Matzav: IDF in Gaza City?#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF in Gaza City?#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Tens' of 'Palestinians' killed#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Tens' of 'Palestinians' killed#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF controls rocket launch areas#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF controls rocket launch areas#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: EU: Gaza action defensive#links#links

Israel Matzav: EU: Gaza action defensive#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF approaching Gaza City from 3 directions (10:00 liveblog)#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF approaching Gaza City from 3 directions (10:00 liveblog)#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF ground troops are in Gaza#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF ground troops are in Gaza#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF starts 'massive' artillery fire on northern Gaza#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: IDF starts 'massive' artillery fire on northern Gaza#links#links#links#links


January 2, 2009


Disproportionate, Huh?

Ruth King

First of all, what is the definition of proportion before we call something disproportionate? Well, the dictionary says it is comparative relation between things and magnitude as to size, quantity, number and extent. So what is disproportionate? Again, the dictionary: “out of proportion as in size and number.”

Second: Indulge me. The Jewish population of the world is now about 12,000,000 after losing one third of the world’s Jews in the Holocaust. Jews are truly disproportionate in their contribution to science, culture, the arts, theater, entertainment, technology, philanthropy, and social institutions. Don’t believe me? Just go to the operas, concerts, hospitals, museums and research institutions throughout the United States even in areas with a tiny Jewish population. Okay, I hear you. They are also disproportionate among financial crooks and disproportionate in the grief and opprobrium that these scoundrels elicit from their coreligionists. Trust me. They don’t hate Kenneth Lay or Vladimir Putin as much as they hate Bernard Madoff.

Third: The Jewish people, with the sole exception of India, have created the only post colonial democracy in the world in a sliver of land that is disproportionately small and resource poor in comparison to the Muslim Arab world surrounding them and panting for a Jihad against them. There are disproportionately more institutions in Israel and among Jews concerned with the rights of the Arabs then there are throughout the Arab/Muslim world. And, there are no – repeat, .no – institutions among Arab nations which support any Jewish or Christian grievances.

Fourth: The United Nations should change its name to the United Islamic and Dhimmi Nations, since it is disproportionately populated by Muslim Nations and their European acolytes whose anti-Israel resolutions are disproportionately numerous compared to any against Sudan or Rwanda or Somalia….the real perpetrators of atrocities.

Fifth: There are a disproportionate number of so called Palestinian refugees who still squat in Arab perpetrated squalor camps and receive a disproportionate amount of help from UNRWA and the disproportionate number of UN organizations dedicated to perpetuating their misery as a tool in the utterly disproportionate global bashing of Israel. Since the advent of those refugee camps, now five generations old, hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of refugees have been relocated throughout the world where they have learned new languages, new mores, new customs and forged new lives. But these so-called refugees get a disproportionate amount of international concern.

Sixth: Israel has been truly disproportionate in territorial concessions in its quest for peace. As a result of the Camp David Accords, 92% of the territories acquired in the war of 1967 were returned when Israel surrendered the Sinai Peninsula, the locus of a disproportionate number of terrorist acts against Israel before 1967. Egypt has obliged by permitting a disproportionate number of sermons, school books, and government controlled media cartoons and editorials libeling and threatening Israel and world Jewry.

Seventh: Do you remember the assassination of Theo Van Gogh in Holland in 2002 because he made a “controversial film depicting Islam?” Or what about the murderous rampages throughout the Muslim “street” elicited by 12 cartoons deemed to be offensive to the Prophet, published in a Danish newspaper? Reactions started with public demonstrations and escalated to violence throughout the world; fires set to American flags in the Arab “street;” fires set in Danish embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran: storming European buildings; marches in Pakistan and Indonesia and throughout the Moslem world which incidentally included many placards of crude threats to Israel and the United States; and from Gaza the Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar a call for death to the infidels. The violence resulted in hundreds injured and at least an equal number dead. Hmmm. That all sounds a tad disproportionate.

Eighth : In February 2005 Ariel Sharon offered the release of 900 Arab prisoners in exchange for some promises from Abbas. In June of 2006 Israel released 429 Arab prisoners in exchange for some more promises. In July of 2007, Israel released 255 prisoners for a few more promises which were withheld until that September when 90 more were sprung for more promises. In August of 2008 another 198 prisoners were released for some more promises and just a month ago 224 Arab prisoners were released in exchange for more promises. Okay, here is the tally: Prisoners released since 2005: roughly 1,500. Arab promises kept: 0. Hmmm. That too sounds a tad disproportionate since a disproportionate number of the prisoners released returned to terrorism.

Ninth: The prisoners released by Israel all looked fit and well fed. Not a hand chopped in the bunch. That’s an example of disproportionately mild punishment for murderers in a section of the world that abets “honor killings” and stoning for adultery and beheadings for “infidel’ behavior.

Tenth: The mainstream media is disproportionately biased and ignorant. This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows the history and facts of the ongoing Jihad against Israel. It will come as no surprise to those who are stunned by the disproportionate reluctance of the media to confront militant Islam and the disproportionate sensitivity of media apologists to anything that may smack of “Islamophobia.”

Eleventh: Check out the number of terrorist incidents, including those that have been thwarted in the world, in every continent, from Argentina, to the Philippines to India to London, to Paris to the United States. Are there not a disproportionate number of er…ah…Muslims among them? And, are there not a disproportionate number of silent imams and mosques and Islamic fraternal organizations that fail to condemn them?

Twelfth: Let’s get to Gaza now. In 2005, when the Israelis removed Jewish population from Gaza, Jewish philanthropists bought 3,000 homes and disproportionately productive farms and greenhouses for the Arabs. These greenhouses used highly advanced agricultural technology and insect control and harvesting systems and temperature and moisture regulation. They also supplied Israel with more than half of its daily produce. The Arab response was trashing, looting and destruction of every home, greenhouse and farm including hoses, irrigation systems, water pumps and plastic sheathing. Then, talk about disproportionate chutzpah, the Arabs demanded and got food from Israel.

Thirteenth: President-elect Barack Obama said that he could not sit by while his kids in their beds were victims of continued rocket attacks. I don’t expect him or a Hillaried State Department to stand by that strong statement. There is a disproportionate amount of Arab money and influence on our government. Just see the disproportionate amount of big bucks former Presidents and legislators get from the Arabs.

Finally, here is one thing that I know. Americans are smarter and better than those whose columns they read, or whose programs they watch, or their legislators who make and remake policies. We are a people who are disproportionately fair. Outside of the fringes in the left and right, the largest proportion of Americans understand Israel’s dilemma and are rooting for Israel in its existential struggle against Jihad.

That is why I love being a proud Jewish American. Contributing Editor Ruth S. King is a freelance writer who writes a monthly column in OUTPOST, the publication of Americans for a Safe Israel. Feedback:

taken from : B'NAI ELIM (


January 02, 2009

A Real Cease-Fire Needed in Gaza

By Charles Krauthammer

Late Saturday, thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons.-- Associated Press, Dec. 27WASHINGTON -- Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis -- 6,464 launched from Gaza in the last three years -- deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage -- or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb -- will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

For Hamas the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible -- also on both sides. It's a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.

That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza -- peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.

What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza's Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base -- importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.

The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers. They were all removed in September 2005. There's only one grievance and Hamas is open about it. Israel's very existence.

Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world's opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire -- exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d'etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.

Israel's only response is to try to do what it failed to do after the Gaza withdrawal. The unpardonable strategic error of its architect, Ariel Sharon, was not the withdrawal itself but the failure to immediately establish a deterrence regime under which no violence would be tolerated after the removal of any and all Israeli presence -- the ostensible justification for previous Palestinian attacks. Instead, Israel allowed unceasing rocket fire, implicitly acquiescing to a state of active war and indiscriminate terror.

Hamas' rejection of an extension of its often-violated six-month cease-fire (during which the rockets never stopped, just were less frequent) gave Israel a rare opportunity to establish the norm it should have insisted upon three years ago: no rockets, no mortar fire, no kidnapping, no acts of war. As the U.S. government has officially stated: a sustainable and enduring cease-fire.

If this fighting ends with anything less than that, Israel will have lost again. It can ill afford to lose any more wars.

taken from : B'NAI ELIM (
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