Response and Defense
My mother used to say, “Enough is enough, and too much is plenty.” Well…we passed the “plenty” mark a long time ago where terrorism and threats by terrorist entities are concerned. But what I see is that the excesses of terrorists are beginning to stiffen backs a bit. In the face of acts that are increasingly obscene, there is a growing recognition that tough stances are necessary. Not nearly enough yet, mind you, but growing.
The most obvious example at the moment of a nation being pushed to a new stance by terrorist excesses is Jordan. As most of my readers undoubtedly know, ISIS has executed a Jordanian pilot by locking him in a cage and burning him alive; this was captured on videotape. Jordan is part of the US-led alliance against ISIS, and their pilot, Lt. Mouath al-Kasaesbeh, was captured when his plane went down over Syria. There are no words for the inhumanity of what was done to him, and the Jordanians are beyond furious. Thus have critics of action against ISIS now joined the chorus of rage.
The first thing Jordan did was to execute (apparently by hanging) two al-Qaeda connected Iraqi prisoners – already convicted and, as I understand it, sentenced to death, but being held long term in prison. Now King Abdullah is quoted as saying:
“We are waging this war to protect our faith, our values and human principles and our war for their sake will be relentless and will hit them in their own ground.”
And a Jordanian government spokesman has spoken about intensifying “efforts to stop extremism and terrorism to undermine, degrade and eventually finish Daesh [the Islamic State].” (Emphasis added)
Rhetoric in part, perhaps, because honor is involved. But a welcome perspective, none the less. And Jordan is already increasing bombing.
Here at home, I’ve noted a number of ways in which the responses of our government seem to me to be increasingly tough. These responses have nothing to do with declarations of war, and may seem relatively minor, but are not. They send an important message regarding our strength, our rights, and our readiness to take action to protect ourselves. Constant vigilance is required on a number of fronts:
Israeli-Arabs who leave Israel – apparently getting into Syria via Turkey – to join ISIS are being tracked and arrested on their return. In ISIS camps they are trained in torture and weapons use. After being interrogated, they are indicted, and, if found guilty sentenced. Although it appears from news reports that sentences remain too lenient, European nations might take a lesson from this practice.
See here, for example:
And speaking of ISIS, seven Arab Israelis were arrested recently for attempting to set up an Islamic State cell in the Nazareth area.
Last month, the Shin Bet and a special police unit, working together, identified and then closed down three Israeli NGOs that were funneling money to activities intended to “inflame tensions on the Temple Mount.”
These groups were established last October by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel “with the purpose of funding activities meant to disrupt the security of visitors to the Temple Mount and in order to inflame tensions and cause disturbances, while harming the sovereignty of the State of Israel at the site.”
There are groups of Arabs – often women – who have been paid to come up on the Mount and harass Jews both verbally and physically.
Last Saturday night, an IDF unit in the Shomron came upon Palestinian Arabs throwing firebombs at on-coming cars. The army opened fire on them, and one of the Palestinian Arabs was killed.
It is critical to consider the attacks upon cars – whether by firebombs or rocks and bricks, all of which can maim and kill – with utmost seriousness.
This is a very modest response (TOO modest a response, in my opinion). But, as it is a first, it is a step in our asserting ourselves: The Israel Electric Company is now cutting back on service to the PA areas because of the enormous unpaid electric bill. Service will be cut in half for two hours every day.
The organization Im Tirtzu – “if we will it,” from Herzl – is staunchly Zionist, and prepared to expose those who are not. B’Tselem, on the other hand, is an Israeli NGO that poses as a human rights group, but is in fact enormously politicized, and anti-Israel. B’Tselem just released a report, allegedly documenting “war crimes” committed by Israel during our recent war with Hamas, Operation Protective Shield. Their findings will be used by what was at least until this week referred to as the Schabas Commission, which has a UNHRC mandate to “investigate” Israel’s behavior during the war (more on Schabas below).
Now Im Tirtzu has exposed the fact that B’Tselem received funding for this report from Ramallah, from “a Palestinian foundation that, among other things, finances organizations related to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
Says Im Tirtzu: “Israeli citizens and the international community who will read B’Tselem’s report have a right to know that this report does not represent an objective investigation of truth with justice as its guiding principle. Rather, this is the result of a political agenda and the negative attitude toward Israel.”
On Monday, William Schabas – the Canadian legal academic who had been appointed to head the UN Human Rights Council investigation on Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza this past summer – resigned. He had been exposed:
Turns out that in 2012, he wrote a legal opinion for the PLO and was paid for doing so.
He apparently did not see this as a conflict of interest that would disqualify him. In fact, he declared, all innocence, that “this work in defense of human rights appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks.” He assumed the position, he maintained, with full commitment to “act with independence and impartiality. I have fully respected that undertaking.”
As Anne Bayefsky, who directs the Touro College Institute on Human Rights, wrote, “”Yea, right.”
The UNHRC might have scrapped the work of the investigatory commission, but that would have been expecting too much. One day later, Schabas’s successor – former NY judge Mary McGowan Davis – was appointed. Davis, already a member of this commission, had served as well on the Goldstone Commission, the findings of which were subsequently repudiated by Goldstone himself.
As Bayefsky points out (emphasis added):
“Israel’s achievement in this whole affair…is not that it brought to light damning information about Schabas that compelled him to step down.
”Rather, the achievement is that, now that he has stepped down because of incontrovertible evidence of bias, it will be easier for Israel to dismiss the report as completely one-sided and useless when it does come out.
”This incident also provides real-time evidence to those tired of hearing Jerusalem argue that it does not get a fair shake in international organizations, that – indeed – it does not get a fair shake in international organizations.
”…Schabas has lost his credibility, and as a result so has the commission that he chaired, even before the paper it is working on even sees the light of day.”
This is unreal, but not unexpected:
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli coordinator for government activities in the territories, is in Europe to discuss better relations with the EU. He was scheduled to meet with European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Israel, which is responsible for “maintaining and developing Parliament’s contacts and relations with the Knesset.”
The invitation to Parliament members said that his visit presented an “excellent opportunity to carry an open dialogue, as well as raise issues of mutual interest.” But that visit never happened. In the face of objections by left wing members, it was cancelled.
”Portuguese parliamentarian Marisa Matias, from the European United Left–Nordic Green Left grouping, was quoted as saying that ‘giving him [Mordechai] a platform to host a lecture would legitimize his violations of international law and human rights. Rather than giving a warm welcome to those who stand for repression and apartheid, the EU institutions should pressure the Israeli government to abide by the rules of international law and UN resolutions. We must bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.’”
What this tells me is that the Legal Grounds Campaign has quite a task to do, to set the record straight. There is no such thing as “the occupied Palestinian territories.” Nor is Israel remotely apartheid. These are terms bandied about for political purposes with less than no respect for truth.