The view from my veranda

090105 Gaza Update

Gaza Update

Today the IDF concentrated on blowing up arms running tunnels on the Egypt/Gaza border and hitting Hamas senior operatives.

More than 30 missiles, both Kassam and Grad, were launched at Israeli citizens, one hitting a kindergarten which was thankfully empty.

Despite the above, eighty trucks loaded with humanitarian aid were transferred into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing. As the PM keeps saying, our fight is not with the people of Gaza, they have also suffered at the hands of Hamas.

Day in and day out we hear cries of Israeli cruelty in creating a humanitarian crisis, or crises in Gaza – apparently decades of Fatah corruption and Hamas hoarding of supplies, are considered irrelevant. In response to these allegations, read this report of aid to Gaza over the last short period since Operation Cast Lead, including Gazan residents brought across the border for life saving medical treatment in Israel.

Amidst the violence and confrontation, even as the rockets fall in southern Israel, Israeli and Palestinian doctors work together to save a Palestinian baby’s life.

Last week I reported that the Mosque in Gaza has not been a direct hit but rather collateral damage – as per initial reports. Since that time, and a further hit on a mosque, the IDF released the information that it was a target once it became apparent that Hamas cells were holed up in the Mosque together with large arsenal which exploded when the Israeli rocket hit, killing those praying inside.

Suddenly Israel has allies in Europe! Sarkozy is on his way to visit and the Czechs have already been. The Czechs are taking over the Presidency of the European Community. Prof. Gerald Steinberg explains what we should expect from this new situation.

Zvi finally found his way to the BBC studios the other night – they are right opposite our house! His radio interview was so successful that they then asked him to do a TV interview. Here is the link to his radio interview – it is about 1/4 of the way through

A church in Manhattans’ Harlem district prays for the safety of Israel.,7340,L-3650533,00.html

The Toronto community demonstrates in response

War, even when justified, is not a pretty thing – but inevitably heroes emerge during conflict. Some are soldiers, some citizens, some leaders and some ordinary people who show incredible bravery in the face of danger.

Tsehilim is an IDF training base in the Negev Desert where reservists are being prepared for entry into Gaza by training in a mock up of Gaza City. Incredibly reserve soldiers are volunteering to such an extent that cares are lined up outside the base and volunteers being turned away. Kol ha Kavod (Bravo) to the young men of Israel.

Sgt. Dvir Emmanueloff, (z”l) 22, of the Golani

Reconnaissance unit was killed on Sunday by mortar shell shrapnel during clashes with Hamas terrorists near Jabalya when 5 other soldiers were also injured.

Dr. Gil Taieb is a hero. Gil is a dentist living in France who comes to Israel frequently and speaks excellent Hebrew. His generosity does not just extend to bringing thousands of pairs of spectacles for the poor, Gil proudly walks through the streets of France, speaking Hebrew and reporting for Israeli television on the huge pro-Israel rally he helped to organize this week outside the Israeli Embassy in Paris. Gil is my kind of hero, a self-effacing man who does what he knows to be right not what others tell him.

Another of my heroes, someone who always comes through whenever Israel needs him, is Dr. Malcolm Hoenlein. Malcolm led a very highly regarded group (Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations) including people who are used to having the world come to them not vice versa. Malcolm brought them to spend time in Sderot, Ashkelon, Beersheva and Ashdod where they talk to people who face missile attacks every day, some of whom faced this trauma for 8 years. He makes them to walk the walk when their lives are usually talking the talk. Malcolm stresses the need for each of us to be sufficiently knowledgeable to be able ambassadors for Israel.

As a country we are quick to criticize our leaders but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Leader of the Opposition Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Tsippi Livni and the incredible Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi have set aside their differences and come together as one voice. Bravo!

I leave you today with a fascinating list of statistics which put everything into perspective. “Gaza by the numbers” includes much essential information in the real war; the war of words and rhetoric.

Wishing us all a kinder week

With love