The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

19th November 2010

Shabbat Shalom
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn up an agreement with the United States Government to continue the building moratorium with the exclusion of Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s exclusion from the moratorium would be an enormous achievement for the Prime Minister and for Israel showing Jerusalem’s special status. The supposed “reward” for agreeing to the moratorium is a false hope. The aeroplanes were part of a deal signed by Ehud Barak several weeks ago; We are asked to stop building and decide on the final borders of both Israel and the PA within 90 days without any solution to the refugees, compensation, the status of Jerusalem and all outstanding issues; we will not be given the planes already within our special arrangement and our Prime Minister will appear to be rigid and warmongering if he doesn’t agree and the Palestinians are expected to do………. nothing, not even recognise our existence as a Jewish National home!!!! We must read and understand exactly what this demand entails and its repercussions. Prime Minister Netanyahu has an enormous task on his head because no-one understands the might of these demands.

The United Nations needs serious re-evaluation. Its conduct, purpose and bias are clear, but then I decided to check who pays what in terms of their UN fees. Israel pays more than $40 million a year membership fees to the United Nations, which is more than any Arab or Islamic country including the oil rich ones! Iran pays $4.3 million while the US pays $598 million, surely time for a major assessment of the balance of power in the UN and a determined outside investigation of its disproportional responses to Israel! Maybe suggesting that in order to be on the Human Rights council one should have an impeccable record on human rights?
Canon Andrew White is in Baghdad where the mayhem is complete as the local extremists take the Allied withdrawal as victory. The Christian community is under siege and decimated by bombs and terror attacks. Andrew no longer lives on the American Army compound, his only refuge is in St Georges Church compound. He has lost 100 members of his flock recently and one of his drivers lost his legs in a targetted bombing. The Very Reverend, Canon Dr. Andrew White said these few simple words in a personal email to me and gave me permission to tell you and the world “There is only one country in the entire Middle East where Christians are safe and that is Israel.”

The London Revue of Books would, one would think, review books. Apparently its raison d’etre is to write scurrilous lies about Israel. Among the articles this Arts Council publication has published:
* “The state of Israel wishes to inculcate in its soldiers a “neo-Nazi ideology wrapped in Judaism.” (LRB article, 22 July 2004)
* “Should Arabs in Israel be forcibly sterilized to prevent their children outnumbering the children of Israel’s Jews? … Was this inherent in the Zionist idea?” (LRB article by Charles Glass, 24 June 2004)
* “Gas chambers are not the only way to destroy a nation [like the Palestinians]. It is enough to destroy its social tissue, to starve dozens of villages, to develop high rates of infant mortality.” (LRB article by vehemently anti-Zionist Israeli Yitzhak Laor, 9 May 2002)
* Yasser Arafat is “admirable” for not having “betrayed his people and accepted the offer [of an independent Palestinian state] made at Camp David.” (LRB article by Raja Shehadeh)
* LRB readers were told that the IDF were “arrest[ing] hundreds of people… [and] concentrating them in camps behind barbed wire”. (LRB article) Please read Tom Gross’ report

Liu Xiaobo is the winner of this years Nobel Peace Prize but he will not be able ot receive it since he is in prison for expressing his opinions against the ruling party in his home country of China. His wife was allowed to tell him but she is in house arrest too; his family cannot go because they have been warned not to. Thus the headline should read PEACE HAS BEEN CANCELLED IN 2010

Further to Leakpedia on Tuesday a website published a list of 200 IDF soldiers which it classifies as directly involved in operations carried out in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Each entry features the soldiers and officers’ pictures and personal details, including identification numbers and addresses. This endangers many Israeli soldiers and could lead to their arrest in a Europe hungry for excuses.,7340,L-3986365,00.html
147 years ago Abraham Lincoln spoke the words of the Gettysburg Address. He too thought that war may cleave his nation….

Danny Seaman left his post heading the Prime Ministers Office Press Office for foreign journalists. Danny executed his enormous task with honour and with a great love and concern for Israel, which did not always meet with the approval of his seniors. He will be sorely missed – men of his calibre are rare.

Harry Potters grave is in Ramle! As the media hype builds over “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” Private Harry Potter was a British soldier killed in 1939 after a battle with an armed band of local Arabs and his grave in Ramle has now become a major tourist spot. I always felt that JK Rowling and Harry Potter were stories highly relevant to todays tribulations but this is ridiculous!!!!

Happiness is a moral obligation says Dennis Prager

Talking of happiness, I actually got out of the house this week and not to the doctors!! Girlfriends took me to drink coffee (Cafe Hafuch of course ) and eat wonderful salads. The other evening my childhood friend Susan took me to the Botanical Gardens, to Caffit Restaurant, which was overflowing with clientèle. We sat beside the pond, the balmy night air kissing the dark waters, mirror smooth, reflecting the trees on the far bank. The portions are as generous as the people and as we ate our complimentary anti pasti the most gigantic bowl piled high with a little lettuce, lots of vegetables, Bulgarian cheese and a huge pile of oven roaster sweet potato chips!!!! The setting, the company, the food and the fact that I was out of bed and out of house made the day complete!!! I cannot wait to return to the passages of the Old City, to my beautiful Mahane Yehuda Market where Zvi said they miss seeing me, to the streets and coffee shops where I can once again see the incredible rainbow of people who make up this exceptional city.

I often think that the greatest asset of Israelis is that we know what the world thinks of us and truthfully don’t care. Those countries that most despise us in Europe are falling under enormous economic and social stagnation Israel is young, strong, vibrant, innovative, bubbling and so full of history that it is difficult for us to understand why anyone would think we don’t belong here. As one elderly friend said to me “When I was in Europe they kept telling me to go back home to Jerusalem – now I am here they tell me to go back home to Europe”. We must remember that in a world that only reads headlines people have short memories. We have to defend what is ours and no matter how good the intentions of world leaders they cannot take away our homeland. How any leader that claims to be a Christian can deny our right to Jerusalem is beyond my understanding.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, from the most breathtakingly beautiful city in the world