The View From My Veranda
Sheila's Letter From Jerusalem
15th January 2009.
Day 20 of Operation Cast Lead
OK Let’s start at the beginning. Condi and Ehud made up after their rather public and inappropriate tiff! In a telephone conversation the two decided that the current situation was infinitely more important than winning points over each other. They have a job to do and it is more urgent than any other on the agenda. What could have been a major problem has turned into a storm in a political teacup with not a drop spilt into the waters around Boston. Efforts to bring Egypt into a more active role in the peacekeeping will go ahead.
The Israeli Central Elections Committee determined that the Arab political parties, Balad, United Arab List-Ta’al are ineligible to run in the February 2009 elections, on the grounds that, in practice, they are unwilling to recognize the State of Israel and call for armed conflict against it. They constantly undermine the Israeli Government, the actions of the IDF and use their position of privilege to work for the enemy. The decision will go before the Supreme Court for a final pronouncement.
Many Americans believe that Europe in general and the UK in particular, due to their ever increasing Moslem citizens and their influence, hate Israel but the USA is safe . Don’t be complacent – in this video from Fort Lauderdale look at the demonstrators cursing and using foul language http://bijenkorf.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/pro-hamas-ft-lauderdale/
Thanks to BICOM for publishing parts of a parliamentary debate. BICOM offices in London were attacked by a gang of “yobbos” two days ago but the staff is soldiering on. http://www.bicom.org.uk/news/news-archive/bicom-briefing–gaza-situation-update—14-january-2009
David Cairns (Labour Party): “According to reports from Egypt, the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, and Saeed Jalili from the Iranian security services are actively encouraging Hamas not to enter into a ceasefire and, indeed, to step up the rocket attacks. Does my hon. Friend agree that those reports not only underline Iran’s wholly malign influence in this region but underscore genuine fears among the Israeli public that behind Hamas is a country led by a lunatic and committed to the destruction of the State of Israel?”
The “Phosphorous” shells over which the IDF is accused of war crimes are not phosphorous at all. The IDF’s “Medusa” shells create a smoke screen to foil the aim of enemy gunmen so that they cannot aim their weapons accurately. Not only are these shells legal, they have been used by the Allied Forces in Iraq for some time.
Today the IDF managed to execute two senior Hamas terrorists and the morale of the Hamas rank and file is in total disarray because they cannot hold the usual gruesome funerals with thousands in the streets. In the same IDF foray an UNWRA facility and a hospital were hit. In initial television interviews the Senior UNWRA representative spoke said that Hamas was indeed shooting from the building, but his report was ignored by most of the media. In addition an IDF shell allegedly hit the 14 storey building which houses the press corps in Gaza City but as yet it is unknown if that was the actual source of the explosion since the amount of arms caches of Hamas in built up areas of Gaza City is enormous. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1231950855726
Rockets and Grad missiles are still coming over the border, but in much smaller quantities. This evening however a Grad rocket made a direct hit on a moving car in a residential area of Beersheva seriously injuring a woman and child. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3656914,00.html
Reuters invite you to comment on their coverage of Middle East Affairs in general and this period in particular on their blog – a brave decision. I ask only one thing of you – be polite and representative – insulting words achieve negative results. http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2009/01/15/reporting-in-gaza-striving-for-fairness/
Yesterday Jerusalem had a tiny taste of what Sderot has endured for 8 years. Apparently a Grad rocket, bound for Yavneh, was picked up on the Jerusalem missile detectors and the siren sounded. Many youngsters who did not live through the second Gulf war were totally panic-stricken and no-one knew exactly what to do, to run for the shelter or to stay where we were. It was a mistake, a simple glitch in the system but it gave us some insight into the unbelievable terror each day brought to the residents of the Southern Border with Gaza.
Our dear friend Canon Andrew White is today recovering from a stem cell transplant in his beloved Baghdad. He opted to undergo the operation in Baghdad, performed by an Iraqi doctor who he trusts implicitly. He wrote to me yesterday to say that the pain from the drugs which increase the production of the stem cells in his body was excruciating yet he continued with his work in without a moment’s hesitation. I promised Andrew that I would ask you to pray for his well-being. Even those of you who have not heard of his amazing work and his untiring efforts despite the all pervading horror of his advanced MS and the fact that his wife Caroline and two young sons wait anxiously him in the UK.
It is hard to be optimistic and think about normal life since our every moment is steeped in newscasts. However, yesterday was my birthday and my wonderful girlfriends wanted to take me out! This is a protracted birthday which began with birthday cake with my daughter Rachel and her three children two days ago; lunch with my friend Judith in the German Colony yesterday and breakfast with Rosa and Polita in the glorious Anna Ticho House today. It will continue with the family on Shabbat and even extend into next week with Betty and Dana but as we laugh and take pleasure in the sunshine and good food, conversations inevitably turn to our all pervading fear for our boys in the IDF and the task that has fallen upon their young shoulders. As I think of their lost innocence and future nightmares I’m drawn to Golda Meir’s famous words which may sound trite to some but express the very essence of our battle for peace in our little country.
Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.
Please G-d, I pray that we will always love our children more than we hate anyone and will follow every avenue to give them a secure and kinder future where they can raise their children safely right here in their own home
Shabbat Shalom and much love from Jerusalem