Friday, August 1, 2014

Blaming Israel And Extreme Persecution In The Middle East

The UN Continues To Blame Israel For Everything

The United Nations Security Council met once again Thursday on the crisis in Gaza. This time it heard “humanitarian” briefings from Under Secretary-General for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Valerie Amos, and the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krahenbuhl.

The briefings were as much a one-sided political attack against Israel as they were genuine reports on humanitarian conditions in Gaza.  Relying on a preliminary UN assessment and ignoring the circumstances in which Israeli soldiers claimed to have been under fire from jihadists operating in the vicinity of an UNRWA elementary school in Jabalya, they seized on an alleged artillery shelling by the Israeli military on July 30th that was said to have struck the school and resulted in 19 Palestinian fatalities.  They condemned only Israel for violating international law.

Both senior UN officials had basically nothing to say about Hamas’s war crimes in using civilian homes, hospitals, mosques and schools to hide their weapons and to serve as entrances to their terror tunnels.  Indeed, neither official made any reference to the tunnels at all.

Moreover, both senior UN officials claimed that Israel is the “occupying power” of Gaza. Therefore, under this line of reasoning, Israel as the “occupying power” must take care of the increasing number of displaced civilians whom Israel has warned to evacuate in advance of military operations. There’s just one problem.
Their premise that Israel is the occupying power in Gaza is false. In fact, it has been false since 2005 when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. Hamas is the governing authority in Gaza after its election by the people of Gaza and its subsequent expulsion of members of the rival Fatah faction to take over sole power to run Gaza.  

Yet we do not hear a word from these two senior UN officials or even the UN Secretary General himself as to the grave harm that Hamas has brought upon its own people in violation of its obligations as the governing authority to protect its civilian population. Hamas’s political leader lives in luxury in Qatar. Hamas’s other leaders hide in security in the tunnels they have built for themselves from which to launch their attacks against Israeli civilians. As for the civilians that Hamas as the governing authority in Gaza is obligated to protect, it has instead used them as human shields. Hamas has cruelly left them without even the slightest modicum of personal security such as bomb shelters or even the right to enter the same tunnels that Hamas leaders use for their own security.

At least three UNRWA schools were discovered by UNRWA itself to have been used to harbor Hamas rockets

While acknowledging that at least three UNRWA schools were discovered by UNRWA itself to have been used to harbor Hamas rockets, the UN senior officials in their respective statements to the Security Council minimized the importance of the discoveries. UNRWA’s Commissioner-General claimed that “UNRWA takes robust measures to closely monitor all its facilities to which it has access in an effort to prevent misuse by combatants and other parties.”

This laughable claim is belied by the fact that UNRWA lost track of some of the rockets it had discovered and turned over others to the “local authorities” – i.e., Hamas. With regard to the school where the rockets went missing, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary General, admitted during a press briefing on July 24th that UNRWA had posted “a solitary guard” at the school gate overnight after the rockets were first discovered. “Obviously, given the context of the sort of conflict we see on the ground, a single guard is probably not sufficient to protect an entire building, but our personnel are stretched very thin. It’s quite possible that over the course of that day the weapons were… whatever weapons were there, were taken away.”

No kidding. Mr. Haq’s admission is hardly indicative of “robust measures” to “prevent misuse by combatants.” Given UNRWA’s history of bending over backwards to please Hamas, it is not likely that UNRWA is going out of its way to be vigilant any time soon. It’s easier for UNRWA to just let Israel respond to Hamas’s provocations and then join Hamas in blaming Israel for the predictable consequences of the response.

Valerie Amos said in her statement to the Security Council that “we need more humanitarian pauses to enable us to reach those in need.” Israel, but not Hamas, agrees. 

What Ms. Amos failed to mention was that Israel has undertaken a series of such pauses, which Hamas has either rejected outright or violated with more rocket firings against Israeli civilian population centers. Moreover, many civilian lives could have been saved if Hamas had accepted Egypt’s original ceasefire proposal as Israel had done. Neither “humanitarian” report to the Security Council places any responsibility on Hamas for these civilian deaths, not to mention Hamas’s deliberate use of Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Both Valerie Amos and Pierre Krahenbuhl focused on what they characterized as Israel’s “illegal” blockade of the border crossings as the underlying cause of the conflict. Mr. Krahenbuhl went so far as to declare to the Security Council that “Notwithstanding Israel’s legitimate security concerns, the illegal blockade must be lifted.”

Consider the outrageous implications of the UNRWA Commissioner-General’s statement. 

Israel’s civilian population has lived under rocket assaults for nine years. Hamas has taken cement shipped from Israel to help build schools, hospitals and homes and diverted that cement to build tunnels from which to launch ground attacks inside Israel against Israeli civilians. Advanced weapons stored in those tunnels, schools, hospitals and homes have been smuggled into Gaza from Iran and other sources even in the face of the border crossing restrictions. Humanitarian relief including food and medical supplies still continue to be sent by Israel across the border to Gaza in the midst of all of the fighting. Yet, “notwithstanding” Hamas’s actions, which demonstrate why very tight security at the border crossings is needed more than ever, Mr. Krahenbuhl has essentially told the Security Council not to worry about Israel’s clear and present security concerns. They are to be handled at some indeterminate time in the future. In the meantime, his call for an immediate opening of all border crossings would make an already untenable security situation much worse.

At a press briefing at UN headquarters on July 30th the UN’s second highest ranking official - Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson - said that Israel was responding in a disproportionate manner to Hamas’s attacks. I asked him what precisely he expected Israel to do in the circumstances it finds itself. He had no real answer. All he could say was that the UN wants an immediate end to the fighting. So does Israel, but not Hamas unless it remains free to resume its attacks at a time of its own choosing.

The Israeli writer Naomi Ragen, in her searing, heartfelt article entitled “Don’t Cry for Us Israelis,” articulated this sentiment perfectly:

“We aren’t greedy for sympathy. After all, we got so much after the Holocaust, we prefer other people to have their share now. These days, we prefer to live, rather than have people cry over us and the injustices done to us.
So by all means, cry for the Palestinian people – men women and children – whose duly elected leadership has callously left them without protection from just retribution for their terrorist crimes. The leaders who took their people’s aid money and are living in Qatar in five star hotels building shopping centers for themselves. Who built terrorist tunnels under their homes, mosques, hospitals and schools, and recruited their sons to die for Allah, while they sit in bunkers waiting for the U.N. to rescue them.
Don’t cry for us, or our families, or our children, or grandchildren. Not this time. Not ever. Not if we can help it. Because this time, thank God, we have a country. We are armed. This time, with God’s help, we know how to protect ourselves from Nazis and their high-minded media cheerleaders.”

Ms. Ragan has ably articulated Israel’s own “golden formula” to ensure its survival against jihadists determined to kill every Jew they can find and destroy the state of Israel if given a chance.

[Where is the media and public outrage? No demonstrations? No marches? How odd]

As the war between Israel and Hamas enters its fourth week - the frenzied condemnation of Israel for exercising its inherent right of self-defence continues to dominate the media coverage of the conflict.

Ishaan Tharoor writing in theWashington Post wonders why:

“The world is transfixed by the conflict in Gaza, as the death tolls of both Palestinians and Israelis killed in the fighting continue to rise. It has animated global public opinion and sparked protests in myriad far-flung cities.

But as the rockets and bombs fall, a deadlier war next door rolls on. The Syrian civil war has claimed 170,000 lives in three years; this past weekend’s death toll in Syria was greater than what took place in Gaza. By some accounts, the past week may have been the deadliest in the conflict’s grim history. Meanwhile, the extremist insurgents of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), have continued their ravages over a swath of territory stretching from eastern Syria to the environs of Baghdad, Iraq’s capital; the spike in violence in Iraq has led to more than 5,500 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year.”

M D Harmon writing in the Portland Herald criticises this media blockout:

“Why should it matter if a nearly 2,000-year-old way of life practiced by millions is being exterminated and no one will do anything to halt it?

Perhaps because it teaches a wider lesson about what the civilized world faces when it confronts rampant Islamic extremism.

In much of Iraq and Syria today, millions of Christians, whose ancestral presence there predates current Muslim majorities by centuries, are being scrubbed out of their homes.

But, while some in the wider church and the media are paying attention, getting war-weary Western nations to take effective action seems impossible. Even humanitarian aid isn’t being widely discussed.”

The newly-declared Islamic State (IS) - which includes Mosul - Iraq’s second largest city - already exceeds the area of Great Britain.

Sharia law has been imposed in Mosul - where Christians have lived since shortly after the death of Christ.

Christians were given 24 hours to leave Mosul or convert to Islam and pay a tax - or die.

“A senior Christian cleric in Iraq, Patriarch Louis Sako, estimated that before the advance of IS, Mosul had a Christian community of 35,000 - compared with 60,000 prior to 2003.
According to the UN, just 20 families from the ancient Christian minority now remain in the city, which Isis has taken as the capital of its Islamic state.”

“Across the Middle East, a long history of hard-won co-existence faces extinction from a belief system devoted to domination, and this time in control of an “Islamic state.” Will it again strike us directly, as it did 13 years ago this Sept. 11?”

Nuri Kino - reported on Fox News - confirms the tragic situation in Syria and identifies those engaged in persecuting these ancient Christian communities:

“Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, also has been nearly emptied of Assyrians, Armenians and other non-Muslims…
... The prideful tone in which the perpetrators speak whenever I have interviewed them—both Al Qaeda and IS——is equally shocking. These are mostly disgruntled young men who were teetering on the edges of society in their own homelands, often in European suburbs, and now believe they have the power to do whatever they want in the name of Islam. They can claim any house in IS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria as their own, and tell the owners to either leave or risk being killed. They can take any woman as their wife…
... At least 700, 000 non-Muslims—Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis and others—have left Iraq by now. No one knows how many have left Syria.”

“ISIS has set out to erase every Christian trace. All 30 churches were seized and their crosses stripped away. Some have been permanently turned into mosques. One is the Mar (Saint) Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, newly outfitted with loudspeakers that now call Muslims to prayer. The 4th century Mar Behnam, a Syriac Catholic monastery outside Mosul, was captured and its monks expelled, leaving behind a library of early Christian manuscripts and wall inscriptions by 13th-century Mongol pilgrims.

Christian and Shiite gravesites, deemed idolatrous by ISIS, are being deliberately blown up and destroyed, including on July 24, the tomb of the 8th-century B.C. Old Testament Prophet Jonah, and the Muslim shrine that enclosed it.”

Patrick Coburn does not mince his words in The Independent:

“It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War.”

Yet the media shows little interest in exposing the decimation and dispersal of the Christian communities in Syria and Iraq.

Google reports on the Israel-Gaza war outnumber reports on the ISIS-Christian conflict by about 20:1.
The West is equally as disinterested at this appalling ethnic and religious cleansing and forced transfer of Christians.

An impotent United Nations shows its unwillingness to intervene.

Israel meanwhile ensures that Jews will never find themselves in the same boat as the abandoned and hapless Christians.

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