This is going to be another catch-up post since I’ve been too busy to keep up with the news in recent days.
I’m not sure how on earth this news item flew in under the radar of all the mainstream media: Thousands flee Gaza via tunnels, hundreds drown:
Thousands of Palestinians have fled the Gaza Strip clandestinely with the help of tunnel smugglers in recent months due to the war with Israel and the declining economy.
Their flight came to light over the past week with the sinking of two ships carrying Palestinians from Gaza — one off the coast of Malta last week, and the other off the coast of Egypt — and the drowning of hundreds of passengers.
According to Wednesday’s daily Haaretz, the Palestinian Embassy in Greece reported that the ship that sank off the coast of Malta was carrying more than 450 passengers, most of them Gaza Palestinians. Other reports say the vessel was rammed intentionally by another ship run by rival smugglers.
The Gaza-based human rights group Adamir collected the names of more than 400 missing people. “No one knows where they are; the whole Gaza Strip is talking about it. It’s such a painful story, as if it’s not enough what happened in the last war and now another blow comes,” Adamir director Halil Abu Shamala told Haaretz, noting that most of the passengers were young people but that there were also whole families aboard.
At least 15 Palestinians drowned when another ship sank off the Egyptian coast near Alexandria on Saturday.
One Gazan involved in such operations told Haaretz: “This trip costs between $3500 to $4000 dollars a person. It’s a relatively small tunnel; most of the big ones have been blocked by the Egyptians. People crawl dozens of meters and at the end of the tunnel on the Egyptian side of Rafah a minibus or other vehicle waits for them and takes them to Port Said.”
He added that Egyptian security officials are bribed to look the other way.
Haaretz heard testimony that the refugees board small boats, sometimes dozens per boat. Once they leave Egyptian territorial waters they switch to another boat that in most cases sails to Italy. The trip usually takes about a week.
One refugee told Haaretz that when the boat approaches the shore it issues a distress call and Italian navy and Red Cross ships pick them up. In other cases, people jump into the water with life jackets, and are rescued by the Coast Guard or the Red Cross.
It’s hard to believe that the international media, who so love to report on dead Palestinians missed this story. Perhaps the fact that they weren’t killed by Jews made the story uninteresting. Surely not…
On the subject of Muslims killing Muslims, ISIS is still rampaging, looting and beheading their way through the Middle East – and exporting their “revolution” to the rest of the world, even as far as Australia, where a beheading plot was thwarted by the authorities:
Australian police thwarted an alleged Islamic State plot to abduct and behead a member of the public as officers detained 15 people in the nation’s largest-ever anti-terrorism operation.
Authorities carried out the pre-dawn raids in Sydney today after receiving intelligence that a senior Islamic State member was urging supporters in Australia to carry out “demonstration killings,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters.
The operation, along with raids in Queensland state, came days after the government raised Australia’s terror alert to the highest level in a decade, citing the threat posed by local supporters of Islamic State. Abbott, who will host world leaders at November’s Group of 20 summit in Brisbane, has committed 600 military personnel to the U.S.-led fight against the group in the Middle East.
Speaking of ISIS, and following the kidnap of Fijian UN troops and the close escape of Philippino troops from ISIS kidnappers, UN troops from UNDOF, the peacekeeping force between Israel and Syria, fled into Israel for safety.
After 40 years, the U.N. forces meant to separate Israel and Syria have fled their posts — fled into Israel, for safety. Here is the account from The Tower website:
“The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which was established in 1974 to ‘maintain the cease-fire between Israel and Syria’ and … ‘supervise the areas of separation and limitation, as provided in the May 1974 Agreement on Disengagement,’ withdrew its peacekeepers from Syrian territory today because ‘the situation has deteriorated severely over the last several days.'”
Reuters quoted United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric: “‘Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the U.N. peacekeepers along the ‘Bravo’ (Syrian) line and in Camp Faouar,’ he said, adding that all U.N. personnel in those positions have been moved to the Israeli side.”
The collapse of this force in the face of a deteriorating situation raises questions, and Yossi Klein Halevi put it squarely to his fellow Israelis:
“During the recent failed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Secretary of State John F. Kerry suggested that Israel yield control over the West Bank border with Jordan to an international peacekeeping force. Yet last week hundreds of U.N. peacekeeping troops on the Israeli-Syrian border barely escaped into Israel after al-Qaida forces overran their position. Whom should we rely on to protect us if not ourselves?”
Yossi Klein Halevi’s question is extremely pertinent and must be addressed to the world at least as much as to his Israeli compatriots, who I am sure understand the situation a good deal more clearly than the UN or the US Administration.
On the subject of Israel’s security, the Red Alert sirens were sounded this morning in the south, as the Muqata reported:
However it is being reported that these were false alarms. I don’t wish to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I find it hard to believe that the Code Red sirens, which worked so efficiently throughout the 50 days of the Gaza war, are suddenly malfunctioning. In fact the article itself reports otherwise:
Area residents reported hearing explosions, according to Israeli news site NRG.
The scare came after a mortar was fired at Israel from Gaza on Tuesday night. The mortar landed but did not cause injuries or damage.
Methinks I smell a cover-up, perhaps to prevent panic before the 3-day Rosh Hashana festival that begins next Wednesday.
On Aug. 30, Palestinian terrorists set a Jewish man on fire in Jerusalem, and on Sept. 1, other Palestinian terrorists tried to set an entire bus full of Israeli Jews on fire.
Yet I couldn’t find any mention of these horrific attacks in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or any other major American news outlet. Why is it that news about burning Jews is not considered fit to print?
The first of the firebomb attacks took place in Jerusalem’s City of David neighborhood. A Molotov cocktail—a flaming bottle of gasoline which explodes upon contact—was hurled through the window of a historic 19th-century house known as Beit Meyuhas. One of the residents, a 45-year-old man, was struck by the firebomb and set on fire. He suffered first and second-degree burns to his face and head. Second-degree burns often result in permanent scarring and require skin grafting.
Burning one Jew is not enough to satisfy the appetite of Palestinian terrorists. On Sept. 1, two firebombs were thrown at an Israeli bus traveling on Route 505, between the towns of Migdalim and Kfar Tapuach. … . The flaming bombs exploded as they crashed through the front windshield of the bus. Flying glass slashed the driver. It was only by a miracle that he was able to stop the bus without crashing—and that the flames did not spread through the entire vehicle.
On Aug. 20, Palestinian rock-throwers attacked an Israeli automobile traveling near the Yitzhar junction. An 11-month-old baby was wounded. Medics on the scene were quoted as saying that it was a “miracle” she survived, since the rock that hit her was the size of a fist.
Three days later, Yedaya Sharchaton, his wife Hadassah, and 1-year-old daughter Nitzan were driving in the Gush Etzion region. Arab rocks smashed through the front windshield, causing Yedaya to lose control of the car. It flipped over. All three family members were injured; Yedaya suffered internal bleeding. It turns out that my family was on the same road as the Sharchaton’s just a few days before as we headed to celebrate my granddaughter’s bat mitzvah by serving hot dogs to Israeli soldiers at a base in the Hebron hills.
Flatow aptly concludes his article thus:
Telling the truth about Palestinian behavior makes it harder to mobilize pressure on Israel to give in. That’s why in the editorial offices of the New York Times and so many other newspapers, news about burning Jews isn’t fit to print. Sadly, it’s that simple.
And that really sums up the attitude not only of the New York Times, but the Guardian, the BBC, CNN and all the rest of the alphabet soup of news agencies that misreport on the Middle East.
One final scandal to complete this post is the “Unit 8200″ Scandal. Israel Matzav has a very good summary of the whole incident:
43 IDF reservists from ‘Unit 8200,’ Israel’s showcase intelligence unit from which much of the country’s high tech has been spawned, have sent a ‘letter of insubordination’ to the IDF and the media. The letter says that they refuse to ‘harm innocents‘ as part of their IDF service.
The soldiers, who include extremist leftist activists, complained that their service to Israel’s security “harms innocents.”
According to the soldiers, the Arab residents of the region are “completely exposed” to Israeli spying and surveillance, adding “as opposed to Israeli citizens of citizens of other countries, there’s no oversight on methods of (intel) gathering, surveillance and use of information in regards to Palestinians, whether they’re involved in violence or not.”
The IDF responded before the Sabbath started. Most of the other responses have come this evening.
In response to the letter, the IDF Spokesperson Unit noted “Unit 8200 has worked from the day of its formation to gather intel, which allows the IDF and security sources to fulfill their missions, and on a daily basis aids in the protection of citizens of the state of Israel.”
“The Unit acts through a variety of means and on many fronts, while using methods and rules aimed solely at the necessities of intelligence,” added the statement, responding to the claims of invading privacy in numerous aspects of daily life.
In a particularly low blow, the letter was sent to the media before it was sent to the soldiers’ IDF commanders.
After the Sabbath started, Walla reported that a counter letter from current and past members of 8200 was published.
“We are veterans of Unit 8200, soldiers and reserve soldiers, past and present, who wish to express shock, disgust and total renouncement of the letter written by our fellow soldiers, who chose political refusal over our unit,” the opposing text said.
“This political refusal has no place in the army in general and in Unit 8200 in particular,” it continued. “In the hour that reserve soldiers are called to serve their country, we put aside our preferences and political opinions and go to serve our country.”
“We regret that our friends make cynical use of politics in their legal and moral duty to serve in the reserve unit, which in our eyes constitutes the highest honor, and seek [instead] to undermine the activities and achievements in the unit’s defense of the country and its people.”
Over 150 people have expressed support for the counter-letter so far, and the initiators are attempting to collect as many signatures as possible before mailing a physical copy of the document to the leftist opponents in the next several days.]
Tonight, opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog – a Major in 8200 – came out against the letter.
“Proper disclosure, I am a major in Unit 8200 and have accompanied it for decades,” wrote Herzog on Facebook. “I love the unit, its soldiers and commanders. Its contribution to the security of Israel and its citizens, and even beyond that, is immense. Thousands upon thousands of Israeli citizens owe it their lives. Fighting terror is meticulous and complex work that requires the best minds.”
“I oppose refusal to serve and am wholly disgusted by it,” he added. “This unit and its operations are vital not only for wartime but especially and mostly for peace.”
“I am not saying that there are no mistakes. Certainly, these are possible, and Israel’s military history is full of them, but there are ways to complain and bring the complaints to an inquiry and discussion. I also think that there are ways of effecting change, certainly when there is a feeling that injustice was done somewhere. But not by encouraging and calling for refusal to serve, or through damaging global publicity whose price we – the citizens of Israel – will pay.”
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon also slammed the reservists.
Read the whole thing.
Then, returning to my previous point about media misreporting, Israel Matzav shows us how the NYT “piles on” in the Unit 8200 scandal.
And it’s not only the NYT of course. BBC Watch shows us how the BBC gave its readers only a partial report, omitting the vital information that Unit 8200 members sent a counter-letter. or that members of the Knesset opposition also rejected the letter.
Similarly, CiFWatch document the Guardian’s tendentious reporting on the Unit 8200 letter as they champion their favourite subject: disloyalty and insubordination in the IDF.
The real news is out there for those who wish to find it and learn about it. The operative word is “wish”. Most of the MSM have no wish to learn about the realities of the Middle East, and even if they meet this reality face to face, they have no intention of reporting on it accurately, especially if it puts Israel into a good light.