Good News Friday

Because of the terrible news of the teenagers’ kidnapping which has dominated the news this week, I had considered skipping this week’s Good News Friday installment.  As I am sure you can understand, I am having great difficulty getting into the right mood.  So instead this week’s post is going to be rather different to my usual post, and I shall concentrate mostly on the military and political rather than Israeli hi-tech innovations or other lighter Israeli news.

Capitol Hill

Some good news emanates from Washington where we learn that an effort is made to defund the Palestinian Authority because of their unification pact with Hamas (h/t Brian Goldfarb):

Congressional sentiment on cutting funding of the Palestinian Authority escalated to a formal resolution in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Some fifteen cosponsors, led by Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), officially presented their resolution to defund the PA based on two violations of American law: the unity with Hamas and the recently-publicized program of monthly salaries paid to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons via the PA’s Ministry of Prisoners.

The resolution framers call for a “sense of the House” that all funding be stopped unless the PA takes verified actions “dissolving the unity government with Hamas,” regardless of any technocratic appearances, as well as “repealing the Law of the Prisoners and abolishing the Ministry of Prisoners … relating to compensation and recognition of convicted terrorists.”

Prior to today’s action, various preliminary resolutions were floated and announced from the floor of the House, including an effort in April advanced by Ted Poe (R-TX), but never put to a vote.

By entering the formal resolution, House procedures will automatically number it and refer it to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for a possible vote. That committee is controlled by Chairman Ed Royce R-CA) and its ranking member Eliot Engel (D-NY), both of whom have publicly warned the PA about a funding stoppage. If the new resolution survives the Foreign Affairs Committee, it then goes to the full House for an up or down vote.

According to Congressional analysts the new “sense of the House” resolution is not only a policy document, it is “a messaging instrument to the Obama Administration and House appropriators.”

Kol hakavod to the presenters of this resolution. It is long past time for such a decision to have been made.  If it is indeed passed it will hopefully mark the beginning of a different approach from Washington towards the Palestinians, one which will take into account its terroristic traits.

Gaza terror tunnel (file photo)

Gaza terror tunnel (file photo)

We have some good news from Gaza too. Well, good news for us at any rate. For the terrorists? When their terror tunnel collapsed, killing 5 (or 6) of them? Not so much:

Five Hamas terrorists were killed due to an explosion that occurred in a terror tunnel in Gaza on Thursday morning.

The explosion took place to the east of Gaza City, close to the security fence separating Israel and the Hamas-enclave of Gaza, according to Arab sources referenced by Yedioth Aharonoth.

Hamas reportedly initially denied that there were any injuries, and refused to explain what exactly occurred.

Eventually, Hamas told AFP that “five martyrs were killed in a resistance activity in Saghira neighborhood” in eastern Gaza City, without elaborating.

A local Arab security source was more forthright, telling AFP the “accidental explosion” happened “inside of an Al-Qassam Brigades tunnel, which collapsed on some 12 members.”

The “work accident” is anticipated to have been a case of Hamas terrorists clumsily detonating a bomb they were planning to plant on the security fence, an attack pattern that has been used regularly and recently.

I know we’re not supposed to rejoice when our enemies fall, but I have taken the liberty of making an exception this time. This is very good news for Israel – 6 fewer terrorists to kidnap or murder Israeli civilians, 6 less to feed and educate in Israeli jails, 6 less to release in exchange for Israeli hostages. Long may their tunnels collapse on them!

UN - Useless Nations

UN – Useless Nations

We even have some good news from the UN for a change! Despite the best efforts of the Arab members, Israel was elected to the vice-chairmanship of a committee on Palestinian refugees:

Israel overcame a coordinated effort by Arab states on Wednesday to thwart its appointment as vice chair of a UN committee dealing with issues such as Palestinian refugees and human rights, and will serve in that capacity at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.

Mordehai Amihai won the appointment to represent the Western European and Other Groups voting bloc on the 4th (Decolonization) Committee with 74 votes, while candidates from Belgium and Norway each garnered one vote. He received staunch backing from Britain, Canada and the US, all of which expressed disappointment with the decision to call the vote.

Of the 193 member states, 68 abstained, while 15 other votes were declared invalid. The threshold for Amihai’s appointment was 39 votes.

During the proceedings, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor thanked countries that supported Israel’s bid and accused the Arab Group of hypocrisy, calling their challenge “an assault on the rules and norms of the United Nations.”

“The committee appointments of Arab States at the United Nations borders on absurd,” he said. “The Arab Group did not see anything wrong with the membership of Iran, a state that arms [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and Hezbollah, in the Committee on Disarmament and International Security.

“We find corrupt countries leading the budget committee at the UN, and countries with rotten justice systems leading discussions on the legal issues committee,” he said.

The secret vote had initially been called for last week by Qatar, which said that Israel was unfit to serve as vice chair of a committee dealing with Palestinian refugees and investigations of its own practices because “its track record was rife with murder and its occupation had lasted more than 66 years.”

Saudi Arabia argued that Israel’s appointment was the “moral equivalent of placing the apartheid regime of South Africa in charge of a committee to end racism.”

Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Egypt also registered their objections, with several pointing out that Amihai had been elected by only 38 percent of the member states.

One can but laugh, or alternatively splutter with indignation, at the sheer gall, the utter chutzpah, the bare-faced demagoguery of the Arab members who accuse Israel of murder and corruption, when their own barbaric societies and murderous civil wars are broadcast live on TV for all the world to see.

Kol hakavod to all those countries who backed Israel’s election, especially Britain, Canada and the US. May this be the beginning of a new relationship between Israel and the UN, and not just a single swallow signifying a non-spring.

On the subject of support for Israel, one can hardly do better than the inimitable Pat Condell  whose video has been going round the internet on all the pro-Israel blogs: “Why I support Israel”:

I do love Pat Condell and his irreverent, non-PC but so sharp sense of humour. Kol hakavod to him for having such a strong sense of morality and principle.

#BringBackOurBoys – #EyalGiladNaftali

#BringBackOurBoys – #EyalGiladNaftali – Left to right: Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shayer

Concluding this week’s installment, returning to the subject occupying all our minds, the only good thing to come out of the terrifying kidnapping of the three teenagers is that it has brought about a surge of Jewish unity and an outpouring of heartfelt prayers to G-d to help find and rescue the three boys. Here is just a very partial list of the prayer services and vigils being held around the world:

In Boston
In Belfast
In Miami
In Washington DC
In Seattle
In Sussex,
organized by the Sussex Friends of Israel group

And of course all around Israel all the time, in every community and every synagogue. Even entertainment events like concerts start with the reciting of a few chapters of Tehillim for the safety of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. I honestly can’t remember such a wave of Jewish – not Israeli but Jewish – sentiment and unity. May we merit to keep this unity even in times of peace, and not just in times of crisis.

If you would like to help complete the recitation of Tehillim for the boys, go to this communal Tehillim page, Tehillim Yachad,  which will issue a chapter at random for you to say. You can say as many or as few as you want. Each chapter helps to complete another book of Tehillim read in prayer for the boys’ safety.

May all our prayers fly up to Heaven, straight into G-d’s hands.

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and may we hear besorot tovot speedily, Amen.

Please do an extra mitzvah, bring in Shabbat early and/or pray for the safe return of:

Yakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah  יעקב נפתל בן רחל דבורה
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim גלעד מיכאל בן בת-גלים
Eyal ben Iris Teshura  אייל בן איריס תשורה

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3 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    This is a great post especially at such a difficult time.I really wasn’t in the mood to hear about more of the wonders of scientific and medical start-ups even though they are important.You presented a post which I could enjoy in these tense times.
    Amen to more tunnels collapsing!
    What I don’t understand is how come a financial freeze wasn’t instated as soon as PA joined with Hamas? It took 3childrens kidnapping to get the ball rolling even though Hamas’s leaders costantly call for the murder of all Jews.

  2. cba says:

    “May all our prayers fly up to Heaven, straight into G-d’s hands.

    Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and may we hear besorot tovot speedily, Amen.”

    Amen, Sela.

  3. Brian Goldfarb says:

    I agree about Pat Condell, except that I have a slight problem with his views: he openly professes support for UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) which fails to disguise the racism of a significant proportion of its members, to say nothing of the sexism of many.

    When I know he’s bashing antisemites or the BDS mob, I’m all for him.

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