Wave of Stabbings

In the past few days there has been a wave of stabbings in Israel and the West Bank, taking the lives of two Israelis, and several Palestinian terrorists were killed and/or captured.  In the latest case, Dvir Sorek (18), a religious soldier out of uniform, was stabbed multiple times last night near the entrance of his community of Kibbutz Migdal Oz in the Etzion bloc.  He apparently put up a fight, so the terrorists, instead of kidnap[ping him as they usually try to do, murdered him instead.

A manhunt is now underway in the West Bank for his killers.  The nearby village of Beit Fajjar has been sealed off and is being searched house to house. Often this technique is used to persuade sympathetic individuals to provide information as to who the killers might be.  Note that these actions are always responsive to attacks from the terrorist, no such actions would occur if they did not keep attacking and killing Israeli civilians.

These attacks have been connected to Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, that praised the attackers.  There is widespread opinion in Israel that the IDF should severely punish Hamas for its constant attacks, using rockets and incendiary balloons from Gaza, weekly riots at the Gaza-Israel border and now this wave of stabbings.  In every way Hamas tries to murder ordinary Israelis.  It should not be allowed to continue. PM Netanyahu has labelled this killing a a serious crime and has hinted that he will now act to annex Area C of the West Bank into Israel proper.


The Terrorist Attack on Mumbai

I watched the movie “Hotel Mumbai” that dramatizes the terrorist attack by Muslim terrorists from Pakistan on Mumbai, India, in Nov 2008.  The attacks on the Train Station and several restaurants and hotels as well as the Chabad House, were carried out by 10 well-armed members of the Lakshar-e-taiba terrorist group.  The attacks were well planned and they were coordinated by their leader in Pakistan in real time.  Not only were the attacks terrible, gruesome and bloody, but the movie made me angry, also because of the incompetence and lack of readiness of the Indian authorities.

There was no protection whatsoever in the largest city in India, the center of commerce and business.  The ten terrorists simply arrived in a dinghy in the center of the city,  calmly walked ashore, took taxis to their target locations and started shooting and killing people in cold blood.  The local police had no unit trained to combat such well-armed terrorists and they were totally inadequate.  The only trained anti-terrorist unit was in New Delhi, and it took them 12 hours to arrive in Mumbai.  The shootings and hostage killings went on for 4 days, the terrorists carried out their carnage almost without any opposition.  Not only did they kill about 180 people and injure about 500, but they also managed to bomb and set fire to the huge major hotel the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. 

I stayed in that Hotel some years ago.  If I had known how vulnerable it was, with no guards, no protection whatsoever and no ability to escape an attack would I have stayed there then?  I think we can say the same for many places around the world.  Here are two other examples, in March, 1975, eight armed PLO-Fatah terrorists came ashore in Tel Aviv and after being attacked took over the Savoy Hotel.  They murdered 8 civilian hostages, killed three Israeli soldiers and seven of the eight terrorists were also killed.  Such an attack could not happen today (one hopes) due to the surveillance of the sea approaches by sophisticated means, as well as patrol boats of the Israel Navy.  Between 1975 and 2008 perhaps India should have learnt from the Israeli lesson.  Another incident took place in Sousse, Tunisia, in 2015 where a single terrorist opened fire on tourists on the beach, killing 38 mostly Brits.  This was not the first attack on that location and there were other terrorist attacks in Tunisia.  

Of course, the movie showed a dramatic re-telling of the events in Mumbai and the courage of some of the Hotel staff.  What was terrible was that not only did the terrorists murder everyone they could in the hotel lobby when they arrived, but they went around the hotel, knocking on doors saying “room service” and shooting people dead when they opened the door.  Never open a hotel room door unless you are sure it is really room service, and also never open a door until you are sure a terrorist incident is actually over.

The Taj Hotel was completely rebuilt and refurnished three years after the attacks and it was as if nothing had happened. Yet, the dead were still dead and lives were shattered.  No terrorists in Pakistan paid for this crime, although the Pakistan Government denied any responsibility.   One hopes India learned from this lesson, and that they have trained anti-terrorist squads in every major city.

Tankers Attacked near the Straits of Hormuz

For years Iran has been threatening to attack tankers transiting the Straits of Hormuz, the choke point in the Persian Gulf, effectively closing it to international oil transport.  This would be a catastrophe since 20% of the world’s oil from the Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait) flows through that Strait.  Now, two tankers have been attacked and set on fire in the Gulf of Oman east of the straits, possibly due to limpet mines or missiles. But, Iran adamantly denies that they were responsible and pleads innocence.  Does it really sound feasible, that some other force, not known for ever threatening to attack tankers, would do so in order to get Iran into trouble?  Would anyone with any sense ever attempt that?  It is not believable.  We can only conclude that Iran is carrying out these attacks, as US Secty. of Defense Mike Pompeo stated, and that Iran is trying to avoid the consequences by pleading innocence.  

Once we accept that scenario, then the prospects look bleak.  That Iran would do this while Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is actually in Tehran on a State Visit, in order to mediate an agreement between Iran and the US to avoid a military clash between them, shows the degree of cynicism that Iran displays.  In addition, Supreme Leader Khomenei told Abe that it is beneath him to send a message to Trump.

On news of the attacks on the two tankers, the price of crude oil shot up by 4% and  remains steady awaiting future events.  Many oil companies are reviewing their supply chain and looking to see how they can manage without the flow of oil from the Gulf should the situation worsen.  If the US does strike back at Iranian facilities in response to these attacks, there could be a war, and Iran might well strike at Israel.  The consequences could be disastrous, for Iran and the world, considering the oil situation.

Gaza: It’s All in the Context

The BBC headline went like this “In a flare-up of fighting between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, seven Palestinians and one Israeli were killed.”  Without context this, of course, sounds (deliberately) like Israel is somehow responsible and they kill more Palestinians than the Palestinians kill Israelis!  But, the context is significant.  It doesn’t mention the following salient facts:

  • The Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad initiate the flare-up by firing missiles into Israel.  We call them “rockets” because they aren’t very sophisticated, but the Palestinians make thousands of them and they are easy to set up and fire. The indiscriminate attack on civilian populations is a war crime.  Why now?  For two reasons, first Israel is soon due to host the Eurovision song contest and this is clearly an attempt by the Palestinians to sabotage that.  Also, the Palestinians feel that they are losing the limelight, they are not a top issue on the world’s agenda and they feel the need to start a flare-up in order to grab headlines.
  • Why are more Palestinians killed than Israelis?  It’s simple, because Israel does all it can to decrease human casualties, while the terrorists do all they can to maximize casualties.  For example, in Israel there is a Home Front Command that sounds sirens whenever there is an attack (we even have an app that sounds a siren on our cell phone), and there are orders to immediately take shelter in a building, and there are reinforced shelters in every public building and within every apartment complex.  Every house is required to have a safe room, and I am sitting in mine now and I had to pay for it to be added to my house when I did renovations.  These of course greatly reduce the Israeli casualties. Note that all public events and all schools and universities are cancelled, the streets are quite empty.  By contrast, the Palestinian terrorists have no shelters for their population and in fact use women and children as human shields, which is a war crime, in order to stop Israeli attacks against them.  They maximize their casualties because they know that the world’s media (with a pro-Palestinian bias) will emphasize their losses.  They care less for human life.  By the way, the current total is four Israeli civilians killed and 80 wounded and 18 Palestinians, mostly Hamas fighters, killed.
  • Israel is caught in a dilemma, and the Palestinians know this.  In order to stop these frequent attacks, Israel would have to free the IDF to destroy Hamas and IJ, which would mean waging war on them.  Both sides would suffer casualties and being a  democracy this would be very unpopular in Israel.  At first the public wants the rockets to be stopped, but at what cost?  This is why Israel has spent huge sums (with US support) to develop an anti-missile system, the Iron Dome, that tracks all rockets fired and targets only those fired towards populated areas, and destroys about 4 out of every 5, but no such system is perfect.  So Israel has to “manage” the flare-ups, to apply enough death and destruction in Gaza to cause the terrorists to be deterred.  When I say “deaths” I don’t mean to ordinary Gazans, but to terrorist leaders.  You will see that a Hamas leader was killed in a targeted killing and this is a signal to Hamas that if they continue firing rockets more of their leadership will be killed and this is a deterrent to them to stop. Also they are firing rockets at cities in central Israel now, Rehovot and Gedera, and this is unacceptable to the Israeli public and government.  So the IDF response will have to become stronger and fiercer.
  • If Israel did destroy Hamas, who would be responsible for the 1.2 million Gazans?  The fear is that Israel would then find itself occupying a hostile population for which it was responsible for supplying food, water, and everything else.

After the event, the world will be shown photos of the destruction in Gaza and will say this was a disproportionate response and so on.  But, no country would put up with such continuous missile attacks from external terrorist groups.

In the Shelter!

It’s midnight and I’m sitting in my shelter (mamad)in Beer Sheva after the sirens have gone off.  Today 300 rockets were fired at southern Israel by Hamas from Gaza.  I’m thinking, why do we put up with this when we could bomb these barbarians to dust?  Why do we put up with this month after month, year after year?  Because we don’t want to be accused by the world of killing poor innocent Palestinians?  Yes, there would be civilian casualties, but they would be minimized.  Our armed forces would make sure that the guilty are hit, we have excellent targeted killings.  Yet, they can try to kill us almost without criticism.  If you ask me it’s gone on long enough, we need to give them a taste of shock and awe.  When they come up out of the rubble they won’t have the ability to fire any more rockets! 

The Israeli Government has avoided making war and destroying Hamas for two reasons, not only the casualties, on both sides, but then if Hamas is destroyed who will be responsible for Gaza and its 1.2 million Arabs.  In principle the Palestine Authority should be in control there, but the PA is an avowed enemy of Israel and also uses terrorism against our civilians and furthermore it’s on the point of financial collapse.  Why should we help them, when they wouldn’t be able to stop Hamas anyway?

When I was a child I hid in a shelter from the bombings in London carried out by the Nazi Luftwaffe.  Now in old age I have to shelter from rockets from Hamas.  As far as I am concerned there is no difference between the Nazis and Hamas, they both want to kill all Jews.  If the Allies exacted “unconditional surrender” against the Nazis in WWII, and “shock and awe” against Saddam Hussein, why don’t we use the same tactics against these terrorist murderers.  Let the chips fall where they may, but this continual bombardment has to be brought to an end!

Sri Lanka Terrorism

Let us suppose you are an Islamic terrorist looking around the world for a good place to attack, where there are churches and tourists and where the security is not so good and the ability to infiltrate a team with explosives is easy.  Well, they found it in Sri Lanka,  an island paradise where religious tolerance flourishes, where there is rule of law and democracy (at least after the vicious civil ware between the majority Sinhalese and Tamils was resolved 10 years ago).  Nearly 300 people were killed in a series of bombings of churches and hotels in the capital Colombo and other cities during Easter Sunday.  Most of the bombings were reported to be either suicide bombings or car bombs, typical tactics of the Islamists.

Police have pointed the finger of suspicion at the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a native Sri Lankan Islamic organization and its leader Zahran Hashim.  But the actual terrorists are believed to have been foreigners, infiltrated into Sri Lanka without the intelligence forces having any suspicions.  About 25 foreigners were killed in the bombings, including several Brits.  This should be a wake up call for every country around the world, no where is immune from this scourge of Islamic terrorism.

The focus of attacks on Christian minorities is typical of the Islamists, and this has been perpetrated in Egypt (against the Copts), in Syria (against the Arameans) and in Iraq (against the Chaldeans).   Meanwhile Christians in the West, including in the US, have been very slow to react and respond to such attacks.  Immigrants from many countries are being allowed entry into the EU and US, but no preference is given to Christians who come from minorities that are being specifically targeted by Islamist terrorists.  This will not be the last string of coordinated terrorist attacks in countries around the world, causing the breakdown of law and order and freedoms.  But, they must be guarded against with improved security and vigilance.



Terror Murder

When I opened my Sunday newspaper the photo of a smiling beautiful young woman of 19 with curly ginger hair stared back at me.  She was Ori Ansbacher and she looked happy and healthy.  But, the caption nearby told the story that she was brutally murdered and mutilated while walking alone in a forest near Jerusalem.  Her killer was an Arab man named Arafat al-Rifaiyeh, aged 29, who left his home in Hebron with a long knife looking to kill a Jew and traveled to Jerusalem where he happened upon Ori alone in the forest.  He was captured by the Israeli police on Saturday hiding in Ramallah.  The horrible thing is that BDS and other Jews-haters justify such disgusting murders.

We Israelis are outraged and disturbed by the continual murders of Jews by so-called lone-wolf Palestinian terrorists, who wish to continue  the work of the Nazis and other anti-Semites, to murder Jews and chase them from wherever they are. We don’t know how her parents came to be living in Israel, maybe their ancestors had been here for generations, or maybe they are Holocaust survivors, but without any doubt Ori had as much right to live here as any Arafat, and  further she had the right to life!  Israeli Amb. Danny Danon has made a complaint to the UN Security Council over her murder, but you probably won’t read about it in your papers in the West.

I saw that the Labor Party of Israel is considering a campaign for the next election supporting giving a State to the Palestinians.  And former C-in-C Benny Gantz who now has the Israel Resilience Party wants another withdrawal. Every sensible Israeli knows that doing such a thing will not lead to peace, on the contrary it will only increase and amplify the ability of the Palestinians to carry out such terrorist attacks.  The Palestine Authority under their dictator Pres. Abbas continue to pay all terrorists who carry out murders of Jews and also pay their family if they are killed or captured.  If this isn’t support of terrorism what is?  Such a policy will spell electoral suicide for the already shrinking Labor Party and every poll predicts a move to the right in Israeli politics.