Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CNN learns a new word

When the attacks are done by Muslims, it's "activists" or "militants" or even "pacifists" (e.g. the Flotilla).

But when it's Jews? No problem finally using the word "Terrorist".

Way to go CNN.

PS: No, it does not matter that they're quoting Bibi. If they don't bother quoting him when he uses the word "terrorist" on other occasions, they don't get that luxury now.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Middle East: Theater of the Absurd

To celebrate my return on the grid (yes I know you've missed me during my well-deserved holiday), a wonderfully absurd headline:

Lebanon files UN complaint against Israel
Officials in Beirut say IDF artillery response to Katyusha rockets was a violation of UNSC Res. 1701 and of international law.
Because Katyusha rockets are the very opposite of a violation of international law, right?

They don't even deny that Katyusha rockets were launched, they're just getting pedantic with the actual amount of them.
The Lebanese report claimed that only one rocket was fired from Lebanon into Israel and that the IDF fired six artillery shells.
Yes, tit for tat, that's what they're trying to get the UN to believe.

The sad part is really the fact that Lebanon knew it could lodge such a craptastic complaint at the UN without getting laughed at. It really shows that the UN has become completely irrelevant.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gaza fashion sense

Whether or not people agreed with the the Gilad Shalit deal, last Tuesday I know everyone agreed on one thing while watching the Egyptian Interview.

That shirt was one freakin' ugly shirt.

So someone explain to me, how is it that this shirt is now the height of fashion in Gaza?
But while most focused on his gaunt frame, it appears many Palestinians were more interested in his outfit, which became an immediate trend in Gaza. Merchants in the Strip are now offering "The Shalit shirt" in a wide range of colors, for NIS 60 ($16.5). The demand, it seems, is very high.
Facebook group member uploads photo comparing himself to Shalit

I guess there really is a humanitarian fashion crisis in Gaza.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The day after the release - random Gilad Shalit thoughts

I feel emotionally spent after spending the day yesterday following every minor event related to the release of Gilad. There's a jungle of thoughts running around my head, it's impossible to get them organized.

  • Today is a better day than yesterday. Today, Gilad wakes up in his own bed, and will meet only people he knows and trusts.
  • So many little things he'll need to catch up on. In five years he's missed out on (among others) Facebook, iPhones, last Harry Potter book, Lady Gaga, Chemistry Nobel prize... 
  • We all saw the forced Egyptian TV Interview. It was cruel and sadistic. And yet, it highlighted the stark contrast between Gilad's sweet character and the brutality of his captors.
    I almost retched when I heard the question "You’ve known what it’s like to be in captivity. There are more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, will you now join the campaign for their release?"
    Gilad answered "I’ll be very happy if they are released, but they shouldn't go back to fighting Israel"
    This answer is nothing short of amazing, considering his captors were right behind him with a gun, and he couldn't be sure that his answers wouldn't prevent him from going home.
  • Side note: this was not how it was translated in Arabic or by the BBC. People not listening to the original Hebrew received "I'll be very happy if they are released and go back to their families". Why bother interviewing him if you're going to lie about his answers?
  • Speaking of cruel and sadistic, the interviewer Dragon Lady said she didn't know he was being forced to do the interview.
    Really? Masked Hamas men with guns behind him, and you think it's his free will?
    This looks like it's exactly how Gilad would like to spend his time
  • To all the people who criticize Israel for "disproportionate use of force", where are you now? Why are you not criticizing this deal for its disproportionality?
  • Reading users' comments on any other news site which allows them is an experience equivalent to reading a Kafka novel. On more than one occasion I've read comments talking about "the arrogance of the Israelis, thinking that they're the chosen people, that one Israeli is worth over a thousand Palestinians".
    Really? You guys think that we set the exchange rate? How clueless can you get?
  • To all the people who scream "Apartheid" at Israel, will you continue doing that? You do realize that here we have killers going free just because they're Muslim and their targets were Jews? 
  • Amna Muna, the She-Devil who lured Ofir Rahum to his death, was not nice to other inmates while in prison. In fact, she harassed and terrorized them. So much in fact, that she refused to enter Gaza because she feared retaliation from her victims' families. Instead, she delayed the whole thing and finally got sent to Turkey. May she choke on a Turkish delight. Amen.
  • There were some delays in getting Shalit back due, among other things, to the Egyptian interview. We waited patiently, holding our breath.
    There were some delays in getting the freed prisoners to Beitunia, and finally the transfer route was changed. Of course the Palestinians rioted and threw stones. No one is even surprised because it's so typical.
  • Notice how relieved we all were that Gilad, while extremely pale, traumatized and underfed, is more or less in good condition?
    How come nobody even doubted that the Palestinian terrorists would be?
    Oh right, Israeli Double Standard time.
  • I started crying when I heard the Yas'ur pilot say over his speaker "מביאים את גלעד הביתה" (We are bringing Gilad home).
  • What a dissonance. Gilad, after 5 years in captivity, can still muster enough optimism in him to say that he hopes this will advance peace. The terrorists, after barely a few minutes of freedom, already cried for "the next Gilad Shalit" to be kidnapped. 
  • It's so nice to see Noam and Aviva genuinely smiling. 
  • I can hardly believe the strength of character that Gilad has shown. What a sweet, brave young man.
I'd like to end this post with an apology to Gilad. 
For years we've glimpsed into your life, into your family. We feel like we know you, and now that you're back we act almost like we deserve a piece of you and your life. We don't. Please forgive our curiosity, it all comes from a good place in our hearts, and we want confirmation that now, everything will be all right and you'll be happy. I hope everyone respects your privacy.

ברוך שובך

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Israeli-Palestinian exchange rate

The next time you hear someone use the faded old rhetoric of  comparing number of Israelis killed vs. number of Palestinians killed in order to bash Israel, just remind them of the exchange rate which Palestinians have imposed on the region.

As of today, 1 Israeli life is worth 1027 Palestinian lives.

Let's have a look at the region's skewed concept of "Fair Market Value", shall we?

Over the past 30 years, Israel has released around 7000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 19 Israelis and the bodies of 8 Israelis. Here is an overview of some of the most notable exchanges:
  • Jibril Agreement in 1985: 1150 prisoners released in exchange for 3 Israeli prisoners. Among the released: Ahmed Yassin
  • July 1996: A deal with Hezbollah to return the remains of 123 Lebanese soldiers in exchange for the remains of 2 Israelis.
  • June 1998: Another deal with Hezbollah, to return the remains of 40 Hezbollah soldiers (including Nasrallah's son's remains) in exchange for the remains of one Israeli.
  • January 2004: Yet another Hezbollah deal, 435 prisoners in exchange for the bodies of 3 Israeli soldiers kidnapped at the very beginning of the 2nd Intifada (Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sawaid), and "businessman" Elchanan Tennenbaum.
    Among the released: Mustafa Dirani and Abdel Karim Obeid, two "jokers" originally intended as bargaining chips for Ron Arad.
  • July 2008: 5 terrorists, among which Samir Kuntar, and the bodies of 204 other terrorists, were exchanged for the coffins containing the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. 
  • September 2009: Israel released 20 female prisoners for a proof-of-life tape of Gilad Shalit.
No, Israel is no stranger to this history of lopsided prisoner exchanges.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Double-Edged Sword

While all the news of the world are pointed at the Shalit family, I'd like to take a step back and look at Benjamin Netanyahu, who ultimately bears the responsibility for the decision of the prisoner release.

Think of all that must be going through his head, and has been for years.

On one hand, there's a boy who hasn't begun to live his life yet because he was obliged, as every young Israeli man, to first serve his country as a soldier.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

So who are these monsters we have to release?

Make no mistake about my feelings in regard to the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. I am very happy that he will come home and while the price to pay for his release is very high, I applaud my government for being able to make this very difficult choice, and support this decision.

But it is an incredibly high price to pay and one can only wonder about the society which welcomes monsters such as the terrorists we are forced to release.

Here's a little glimpse of a handful of the people beasts the peace-loving and state-deserving Palestinians wish to see free:

  • Walid Abd al-Aziz Abd al-Hadi Anajas, born in 1980, currently serving 36 life sentences for his role in the terror attack at Moment Caffé in Jerusalem on March 9, 2002, where 11 civilians were immediately killed and 54 more were injured.
  • Nasir Sami Abd al-Razzaq Ali al-Nasser - Yataima, born in 1977, currently serving 29 life sentences for his role in helping bomb the Park Hotel in Netanya when it was full of guests for the Passover Seder on March 22, 2002, where 30 civilians were killed and 140 injured.

  • Maedh  Waal Taleb Abu Sharakh, born in 1980, currently serving 19 life sentences for his role in the bombing of bus 37 in Haifa on March 5, 2003, in which there were 17 fatalities and 53 wounded.
  • Fadi Muhammad Ibrahim al-Jaaba, born in 1982, currently serving 18 life sentences, also for his role in the bombing of bus 37 in Haifa.
  • Mus’ab Ismail aI-Hashlimun, born 1982, currently serving 17 life sentences for dispatching the two suicide bombers who realized the twin bus bombing in Beer Sheva on August 31, 2004, where 16 civilians were killed and 100 wounded.
  • Tamimi Aref Ahmad Ahlam, born in 1980, the female terrorist currently serving 16 life sentences for driving the suicide bomber to his destination, the Sbarro pizza restaurant terror attack on August 9, 2001, where 15 people (including 5 members of the same family) were killed, and 130 people wounded.
  • Abd al-Aziz Yussuf Mustafa Salehi, born in 1981, the man who proudly waved his blood stained hands to a cheering crowd after the brutal lynch of two Israeli non-combatant reservists, before their bodies were thrown from the window and trampled on, on October 12, 2000.

  • Muna Jawad Ali Amna , born in 1976, serving 1 life sentence, was present at the Ramallah lynching and was excited by what she saw, and decided to get active online. She lured 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to Jerusalem then Ramallah, after telling him on the Internet that she was a new immigrant from Morocco. She drove him to his killers who fired several shots at him.
    While in prison, she adopted a young baby born there, does not regret what she did and says that people shouldn't look at her only as a murderer, she also has a deep personality.
These are not people who deserve to be free. They deserve to rot in hell for a few eternities, not to be hailed as heroes in their home villages.The only thing I can console myself with is the fact that they had very good living conditions in Israeli prisons, and will now go back to their previous, crummy living standards. In fact, they will all probably have to go into hiding because Israel has made it clear that just because they are being returned does not mean they are no longer targets.

Remember, it's easier to kill them outside of prison rather than inside.

You can see the full list of the terrorists about to be freed here.
For detailed accounts of the lives cut short because of these terrorists, One Family Fund has it all. Read their stories and remember their lives.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The torment of freeing Gilad Shalit

I don't dare get my hopes too high.

Just yesterday there was the inauguration of the exhibit of "When the Shark and the Fish first met", a story written by 11 year old Gilad Shalit, at the European Parliament in Brussels.

And today I come home to read the headline we've been waiting for for over five years.

Gilad could be home within days

I can hardly believe it.

I know there are two sides to this argument.