German Military Disasters

When I was a child it was common to rank countries according of their supposed fighting ability.  The Germans were always ranked first, even before the British.  But, reality and experience show that this was an illusion.  Here are two good examples.

In WWI, after 4 years of stalemate of trench warfare, the German Generals running the war, Gens. Ludendorff and Hindenberg, saw their opportunity.  In 1917, the revolution in Russia took them out of the war, so the Germans moved a million troops from the eastern front to the western front to take the initiative.  They decided on a major breakthrough named Operation Michael in the center of the French Front between the main French and British defensive positions, in an area where there was no strategic objectives and so the British defences were weakest.

Indeed when they struck they broke through and advanced more in 3 days than they had done in 4 years.  Ludendorff thought this would win them the war, before the Americans arrived on the Allies side.  This seemed like a good idea at the time, but then things went wrong, the German troops advanced so fast against little resistance that their supplies could not catch up with them, they ran out of ammunition and food, so they took to looting from the French citizens and British supply depots.  This lead to a lot of German drunkenness and loss of discipline.

Also, there was no specific objective to this massive attack.  Under pressure from his officers, Ludendorff, almost on the point of collapse, decided that they should take the town of Amiens, that was a major train junction.  But the French then brought up their army and decided to make a stand at Amiens.  They held off the Germans, who had great losses, and then the British and Americans arrived on the scene and the Yanks attacked with tanks, that was the first major tank success in military history.  The battle of Amiens in 1918 turned out to be a major disaster for the Germans, without adequate supplies of ammunition and food, they were defeated.  German losses in both Operation Michael and the Battle of Amiens were ca. 350,000 dead, while combined Allied losses were ca. 250,000.  The Battle of Amiens brought about the surrender of the German forces and the end of WWI.  So it was not the Jews who lost them the war, it was heroic German General Ludendorff.

In WWII, in 1944 Hitler expected a major Russian attack and assumed it would be in the central front in open tank country, as had been the case at Kursk in 1943.  So he moved his major remaining army south, and then Gen. Zhukov with the main Russian army outflanked them and attacked in the north, thus breaking through towards Berlin.  Anticipating the need to defend Berlin against the possibility of a Russian attack from the east, Hitler had built three defensive lines.  When the Russians did attack they faced these defensive lines with an army of ca. 1 million men.

The first defensive line on the heights of the west bank of the Vistula River held out for several  weeks, but eventually fell in February, 1945.  In April, the Russians attacked the second line of defence at the Seelow Heights.  Here a massive series of underground bunkers were connected by tunnels about 130 m below ground.  The turrets were made of 10 inch thick steel and the construction was of reinforced concrete.  But, it fell in only 3 days, because the Germans could find only 10,000 soldiers to man it when it was intended for 26,000.  This was because Hitler had refused to allow German troops to retreat on several fronts and so they were either surrounded or destroyed.  In this way it is estimated that some 200,000 Germans troops were killed, and they were not available to defend Berlin.

Once they had overcome the Seelow Heights, the only defence between the Russians and Berlin were the available defenders.  There were ca. 100,000, who consisted mostly of Hitler youth, older men of work battalions and untrained cadets.  They were overcome by the Russian forces with a 10:1 advantage and ca. 90% of them were killed.  Hitler then committed suicide and the City was taken and the War ended in May.

Of course, Hitler committed several elementary mistakes.  He moved his last major defensive army south without sufficient intelligence, relying on his intuition.  He refused to allow intact armies to withdraw thus reducing any chance of defending Berlin, and he sacrificed young and old rather than surrender.  Luckily for us he was a lousy General, who allowed his early successes against unprepared armies to foster his sense of invincibility.

PS. Dear friends: I am going to be busy with my son’s visit for a few days, so will return to blog later,  Best Jack

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Why the Palestinians Can’t Win

There are numerous reasons why the Palestinians cannot win in their aim to destroy Israel and replace it with a Palestinian State:

  1. The Palestinians have no industrial capability or potential, they are basically an agrarian people.  Meanwhile Israel has developed many industries, including notably technology and military industries (Rafael, the Israeli armaments manufacturer is one of the most innovative in the world and recently won a billion dollar contract to equip the Australian Defense Forces with modern tank armaments).
  2. The Palestinians want to destroy Israel more than they want to develop their own State, they lack the infrastructure to organize a State.
  3. Palestinian politics is primitive, there is no concept of a loyal opposition as in democracies.  Their rubric is: if you are my enemy I must kill you.  That is why the Palestinians are fractured into many factions and why Fatah and Hamas cannot reconcile.
  4. The Arab States pay lip service to the Palestinian cause, but none of them are prepared to pay what they pledge to donate, and they are certainly not prepared to fight on behalf of the Palestinians.  Those that did in the past were defeated time and time again by the IDF.  Palestinians are not allowed to enter several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
  5. The Palestinians have been supported from cradle to grave for three generations by international aid, including thru UNRWA.  No wonder they have no motivation to develop themselves, but prefer to break down what others have built.
  6. Palestinian society is basically tribal, certain clans control specific cities
    (Ramallah by the Tawil and Barghouti, Jerusalem by the Nashishibis and Husaynis, Jenin by the Yahya and so on).  Such a  feudal system is outdated.
  7. Palestinian Arabs are Muslims and share with other Muslim societies the tendency towards violence and terrorism.  Their culture is based on shame and death.
  8. The longer the conflict goes on the greater is the gap, economic and military, between Israel and the Palestinian entities.  For example, Israel is a world leader in technology and the Israeli currency, the shekel, is one of the strongest in the world.

Such predictions can be dangerous to make. For example, who predicted that Pres. Sadat of Egypt would make peace with Israel in 1968, or who predicted the downfall of Communism in the Soviet Union.  The lesson of history is that anything can happen.  Yet the idea that the Palestinians will defeat Israel and form a stable country can be dismissed pretty much as fantasy.

Fauda

I have just finished watching the second series of “Fauda,” an Israeli TV series, that I can honestly say was the most gripping, realistic and violent series I have ever watched.   I don’t think this is because I am an Israeli either.  It tells the story of Palestinian terrorists and Israeli counter-terrorist agents in a dramatic version of reality tv.  As far as I can judge, it is devoid of political agenda, it shows all characters, both Arab and Israeli, Muslim and Jew, as real humans, and treats them, good and bad, equally.

Fauda” means a mob attack, as has happened many times when Israelis are discovered in Arab towns, they are attacked, beaten and sometimes killed by a mob.  As an example, in 2000 two Israeli soldiers took a wrong turn and ended up in Ramallah.  Even though the Palestinian police took them into custody, they were attacked by a mob, literally torn apart limb from limb and the perpetrators smeared their blood all over their hands and faces.  Some of them were later caught, tried and executed.

This series is based on the real experiences of its creators in the Duvdevan (cherry) undercover unit of the Israeli security forces.  All the members speak fluent Arabic and some have done so since birth.  The hero Doron’s father comes from Baghdad (as did some 200,000 Jews from Iraq) and speaks Arabic as his native language,  The portrayal of the Arabs is to my mind very realistic, their motivations and actions are believable and in context.  The mothers of the terrorists are shown to be proud women, who do not want their deaths, but once they are shahid (martyr) publicly support them.

A most striking aspect of this series is that there is no ideology or idealistic sentiment expressed by the Israeli agents.  They never say, “I am doing this for my country” or “I am a Zionist.”  They are simply doing their job – defending their families, their people and their homeland, all unspoken.  And it is clear that the origin of the violence comes from the Palestinians, from their Islamist terrorists, who often operate as “lone-wolves” out of pure hatred (often expressed) for the Jews (they never say for the Israelis).

The acting in this series is excellent and has won the series many awards.  The impact of the series is so great that sometimes I was unable to watch.  If you don’t like violence, don’t watch Fauda, if you do like a realistic portrayal of an enthralling human drama don’t miss it.

A Price for Jerusalem?

Yesterday in a speech, Pres. Trump stated that Israel will have to pay a price in the peace plan that he is working on for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there.  At the same time, John Bolton, his foreign policy adviser who is currently visiting Israel, stated emphatically that there is no quid pro quo for the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the move of the Embassy.  Who shall we believe in this contradictory situation?

John Bolton is a great friend of Israel and can be trusted to speak the truth, by contrast Pres Trump is a politician who is under great pressure from various legal aspects and also is known for speaking in an impromptu and sometimes erratic manner.  On the other hand he is often known for taking controversial stands in order to get his “deal.”   Almost every President has been sympathetic to Israel, but has been prepared to pressure Israel to make concessions to the Arab side because they are more rigid and more numerous.  Could it be that Trump is merely repeating that pattern.

In several glimpses at what might be in Trump’s plan, it has been reported that Israel is prepared to grant Gaza a port in Cyprus and an airfield near Eilat with a guaranteed connection to Qatar.  But, they will have to be under Israeli supervision, so that no arms are smuggled in.  A leader of the Fatah movement that controls the PA has stated that Hamas will not accept this, not only because Pres. Abbas of the PA has said that the Palestinians will not cooperate with any Trump plan, but also because Hamas will never do any deal with Israel.

Maybe in the end the Trump plan will be a non-starter, as has been the fate of previous plans (remember Pres. Bush’s much-touted “Road Map for Peace”).  If it is, it will be because of the persistent intransigence of the Palestinians to make any peace deal with Israel. To do so would be in effect admitting that their claim to the whole of “Palestine” is unrealistic. In that case, whether or not Israel should pay a price for the US recognition of  Jerusalem as its capital, will be moot. As PM Ben Gurion admitted, he prayed when the UN were voting for the partition plan for the Palestine Mandate that the Arabs would torpedo the deal, because then Israel would be free to act.  So it has been and so it will ever be.

America is an Apartheid State

If Israel is an “apartheid” state then so is America, and in that case so is Britain and Canada and Australia, and most of the world.  The word “apartheid” was coined by the Afrikaners to describe the state of keeping the Black and White races apart in South Africa.  It really has no relevance whatsoever for Israel, nor for America and the others.

My wife is in a Home; at the Home the nurses are totally mixed, there are some with  black skin and some with white.  The blacks are both Beduin Arabs and Ethiopian Jews.  The whites are both Israeli and Russian Jews.  They all work together without any problem and indeed the Head nurse is a Beduin man.  So what?  It makes no difference to me or anybody else here.  We all get along without any problem.

Beer Sheva is a big city, where there are Beduin Arabs working in every sphere, from bus drivers to doctors, from store clerks to university professors. Anyone can visit and see for themselves, just buy a ticket or look on Google.  The very concept of such a state as “apartheid” is so irrelevant that it is childish nonsense.  Ah, but then I know that it is not meant to be taken literally.  It is a political slogan, a statement of opposition, even hatred, of Israel as a Jewish State.  Let’s tell it like it is, those who bandy around this slogan are ignorant, ideological haters, pure and simple. They aren’t interested in the truth, the facts, the reality, they are only interested in pushing their leftist agenda.

What is this agenda? That Israel is a creation of the imperialist West, that it is a colonial incursion into the poor, simple Arab’s domain.  That the Palestinians are more deserving of support above all other refugees (Syrians, Yemenis, Iraqis, Afghanis, Rohingya, Black Africans) because they are a leftist cause.  That if we can defeat Israel, which is a weak link in the Western imperialist structure, through the use of propaganda, boycotts and even terrorism, then we can begin to undermine and break the Western imperialist control of the world!  On to revolution!!  What a lot of poppycock (do people actually believe this rubbish?)

Not only is Israel a working democracy where minority rights are protected, with Arab representatives (some of whom hate Israel itself) in the Knesset, but it is also one of the strongest of Western outposts.  It protects the very rights not only of free speech at home, but the free speech of those who excoriate it.  If a Palestine State were to be established it would be anti-Western, anti-American, and probably a failed corrupt State like most of the Arab Muslim States, but also a magnet for all kinds of terrorists.  Killing each other, killing Palestinians, killing Jews and any westerners with the best of intentions who venture there (like the “kindness tour” cyclists who were murdered in Tajikistan).

Two examples of Israel’s strength, yesterday it was announced that PepsiCo have paid b$3.2 (that’s billion) to buy Soda Stream, the Israeli Company that was driven out of the West Bank by the BDS movement and is now located near Rahat, a Beduin town just north of Beer Sheva (and employs mostly Beduin Arabs).  Israel has just completed exercises with the European air forces and the Greek Navy.  Israel is here to stay, and will be here long after these stupid propaganda labels are long forgotten.

 

Corbyn’s Bias

A great deal has been made of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-semitism.  I am not so concerned about that.  After all he represents a party that supposedly caters to the working class in the UK, and from my experience growing up there, the working class in the UK is endemically anti-semitic. Not that the upper classes are not, but they at least are more polite and subtle about it.

Also, Labor increasingly comes to represent the immigrant groups from Africa and Asia, but mainly Muslims from Pakistan.  There are now Pakistani Muslim Brits at all levels of the Labour Party, and some of them have been openly anti-semitic and anti-Israel.  So it is not surprising that the rank and file of the Labour Party would choose someone like themselves to represent them as their leader.

No, what is really worrying and indeed unacceptable in a British leader is that Corbyn has allowed his animus towards Jews to influence his political ideology so much that he has repeatedly called Haimas and Hezbollah his “friends”.  Let’s remember that these are terrorist organizations, involved in murdering innocent civilians in many countries.  Further, they are recognized as terrorist organizations by the UN, the US and importantly by Britain.  As a friend of these terrorist organizations, as well as the BDS boycott movement against Israel, Corbyn should be on an MI5 watch-list.  He has shared stages on numerous occasions with known terrorists, who not only call for the destruction of Israel and the victory of Islamism, but have also themselves participated in the planning and carrying out of terrorist attacks.

They may not be al Qaeda or IS, but I challenge anyone to show me the basic difference between their ideologies.  The increasing tempo of lone wolf attacks in Western Europe, including in France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden and Britain, are carried out by a sick ideology that believes that killing infidels in their homelands will bring about the religious war that will result in the victory of Islam in all of Europe and then the world.  The sick thing about this is that the leader of the British Labour Party is on their side!

Short Trips Around Small Countries: Summary

In recent blog posts I have described my short trips around some small countries, namely: Holland, Wales, Norway, Japan, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, Jordan and Israel.  In addition I have previously described my trips around Croatia (June 14-15, 2012) and Portugal (May 13, 2013).  That’s 11 countries.  I could also describe Greece, and Hong Kong, but have decided to stop for now..

I have also visited some not-so-small countries: England (where I grew up), India, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Serbia, Australia, Canada and the USA (where I lived for 30 years) But, it is not my intention to write about these large countries.

Places I have not visited include Central and South America (Costa Rica, Uruguay, Paraguay), China, South East Asia (Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc,), as well as North Africa (Tunisia), the Gulf States (Bahrain, Abu Dhabi), central Asia (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia) and New Zealand.

If some travel book publisher would like to publish these blog articles as a book, including photos, please contact me.  I might be amenable to travel to some of the countries I mentioned that I have not so far visited, with an appropriate budget.  One can only try.