Thursday, December 27, 2012

ISRAEL'S FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM REMEMBERED


ISRAEL'S FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM REMEMBERED

Israel’s defensive operation, Operation Cast Lead started four years ago - December 27th 2008 - after over 12,000 rockets and mortar shells were launched into Israel from Gaza by Hamas and other terrorist organisations since 2000. The barrage of rockets from Gaza deliberately endangered the lives of over 1 million Israeli citizens living in Southern Israel. The purpose of Operation Cast Lead was to reduce Hamas’s ability to harm Israeli civilians by targeting terrorist facilities.

The campaign was a success with a low ratio of civilian to combatant casualties unprecedented in the history of asymmetric warfare. Subsequently there was a marked decrease in rocket fire into Israel.  The low number of civilian casualties was particularly remarkable given that Hamas hid in civilian areas and used civilians as human shields. At the same time they attempted to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. They therefore committed a double war crime.

Contrastingly, over 2.5 million warning leaflets were distributed by the Israeli Air Force over areas marked as terror facilities, announcing upcoming strikes. Advance warnings, in the form of news broadcasts and approximately 165,000 phone calls were made to residents of those buildings urging them to leave, prior to any military action.

Zionist Federation Chairman Paul Charney said ”The fourth anniversary of Operation Cast Lead reminds us that Israel is surrounded by enemies who challenge its very existence. The Zionist Federation will always recognise and stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself against those who seek to destroy it”.

The Zionist Federation (ZF) will always support Israel’s right to defend itself.  To keep up to date with the latest ZF news, visit our blog at: http://zionistfederation.blogspot.co.uk/.

If you require a spokesperson for Thursday 27th December 2012 please call Gary on 07946 206 221 or email gary@zfuk.org with ‘URGENT’ in the subject box. 

OPERATION CAST LEAD: FOUR YEARS ON


Operation Cast Lead: Four Years On

This is a post from Stephen Hoffman, the campaigns officer for The Zionist Federation 

The 27th December 2012, the fourth Anniversary of Operation Cast Lead will take place. For the anti-Israel brigade who treat Israel as the devil incarnate, whether it is in the printed press, on the radio or TV, it presents an opportunity to present Israel as bloodthirsty war criminals who like nothing better then killing Palestinians. These people are completely deluded and what they say should be taken with a pinch of salt and it is my intention in this blog to show why.
The anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is a reminder about the threat to its existence Israel faces from those who seek to destroy it. Israel may look strong, but is surrounded by enemies who wish to throw it into the sea – from non-state terrorist actors such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to states like Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who act as if Israel’s very existence is an abomination.
Israel, after severe provocation, launched Operation Cast Lead to protect over 1 million citizens living in southern Israel, who had come under constant rocket fire between 2000-2008 from Hamas-governed Gaza. Whilst, thanks to rocket shelters, not many Israelis died, children bore psychological scars, whilst many left, unable to deal with the constant rocket fire. No national government would accept this intolerable situation, especially as the main job of any government is to protect the security of its inhabitants. Israel had shown great restraint from 2000-2008 when nearly 12,000 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel from Gaza. This well-intentioned restraint had not achieved anything. This was mainly down to Hamas, whose raison d’etre is to destroy Israel. Due to this, they seemed intent on turning Gaza into a terrorist paradise.
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead after realising that it could not allow a situation to continue that was directly threatening its citizens. The stated purpose of Operation Cast Lead was to target the hubs of terrorism where the missiles into Israel were coming from, and to significantly retard the ability of those trying to attack Israel. In this it seemed to be successful, with the highly respected Mossad saying that thanks to Operation Cast Lead, rocket fire, though not stopping, had reduced significantly in numbers.
However, during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s image took a battering, especially in the media. The perception was that Israel had deliberately killed many Palestinian civilians thereby acting disproportionately. However, this was far from the truth. Israel tried its best to avoid civilian casualties, as its quarrel was not with the Palestinian people, but with Hamas, who were directly responsible for the rocket attacks as they occurred on territory that they governed in Gaza. Hamas hid in civilian areas and used civilians as human shields, whilst attempting to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. In doing so they committed a double war crime. This also showed that Hamas saw both Israeli and Palestinian life as cheap. In doing this, they were directly responsible for the deaths of Palestinians and the terrible plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Contrastingly, the Israeli Air Force distributed over 2.5 million warning leaflets over areas marked as terror facilities, announcing upcoming strikes. Advance warnings, in the form of news broadcasts and approximately 165,000 phone calls, were made to residents of those buildings urging them to leave, prior to any military action. Israel didn’t have to do this, but they were committed to doing all they could to avoid Palestinian civilian deaths, which was made impossible by the actions of Hamas.
Israel lives in a hostile neighbourhood, having to continually fight for its existence.  Operation Cast Lead also showed definitively that Hamas is like a leopard that won’t change its spots. It remains a vile antisemitic terrorist organisation committed to Israel’s destruction. Those who naively think that Hamas is interested in peace should remember that Operation Cast Lead was a response to Hamas turning Gaza into a terrorist’s playground. Let’s remember four years on that Israel still thrives in a hostile environment, despite its existence and right to defend itself being continually challenged. In this environment, it is important as friends of Israel to stand with it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

PALESTINIAN LEADERS AGAIN JEOPARDISE PEACE PROCESS


PALESTINIAN LEADERS AGAIN JEOPARDISE PEACE PROCESS

Hamas is holding a rally in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) today.

This should be a matter of grave concern for the international community, given Hamas’ antisemitic character (as evidenced in its Charter), refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist and rejection of any peace initiative. 

If proof was ever needed - after Mahmoud Abbas’s rejectionist Palestinian UN bid that he is not interested in peace - then this is it. By allowing a highly provocative Hamas rally, Fatah is condoning Hamas’ repugnant principles. With Hamas still firing rockets into Israel and killing Israeli citizens, this rally is inciting terrorism and poses a very real security risk to Israel. It also shows the error of the UN to admit the Palestinian Authority into the community of nations, considering Abbas’s anti-Israel views expressed in his UN speech, and that he has tamely given Hamas a platform for its odious views in the West Bank.

The rally celebrates Hamas’s 25th anniversary. It includes speeches from senior Hamas leaders who have been involved with terrorism, made vile antisemitic remarks and are on record as calling for the destruction of Israel. It is hard to imagine anything more designed to obstruct peace, with many of those involved having blood on their hands. As Fatah is in control of the West Bank, it bears full responsibility.

Zionist Federation Chairman Paul Charney said: “This sham ‘reconciliation’ between Fatah and Hamas simply underlines the fact that Mahmoud Abbas has no interest in living in peace with Israel. If he did he would return to the negotiating table now and condemn Hamas’ commitment to Israel ’s destruction. He would find a willing negotiator in Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has shown a willingness to talk with a credible peace partner.”

The Zionist Federation and all its UK members will always stand with Israel and challenge those who are not interested in peace. 

ZF AND EL AL PAY TRIBUTE TO THE CHIEF RABBI


ZF AND EL AL PAY TRIBUTE TO THE CHIEF RABBI
On Sunday 16th December at 7.30pm, El Al and The Zionist Federation are holding an event together to mark the fantastic achievements of the UK’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks.
For many years Lord Sacks has been a fantastic ambassador for the Jewish community in the UK and worldwide. He has also helped bring people in the UK closer to Israel through his passionate and eloquent defence of Zionism. It is important that his efforts are recognised and El and ZF hopes this event goes some way to achieving this. To make this occasion as joyous as possible there will be high quality musical entertainment throughout the evening.
Zionist Federation Director Alan Aziz said, “The Zionist Federation is delighted to partner with El Al to celebrate the exceptional work of the Chief Rabbi. I look forward to working closely with El Al now and in the future to bring Israel closer to those living in the UK.”
This exciting occasion would not have been possible without the hard work of El Al. President and CEO of El Al General Elyezer Shkedy who was previously Commander of Chief for the Israeli Air force stated, “El Al is proud to work with The Zionist Federation to recognise the achievements of the Chief Rabbi. We will continue to work with The Zionist Federation so that the connection between the UK Jewish community and Israel is strengthened.”
The Zionist Federation and all its members will always stand with Israel and ensure its voice is heard in the UK.
DO A MITSVAH ON CHANUKAH
On Sunday 16th December from 3pm to 6pm the Jewish community thanks to the vision of El Al will get the chance to make a little bit of history by writing a letter inscribed with their name to complete a special Sefer Torah. Alongside this amazing opportunity, there will be high class musical entertainment provided, as well as children activities and refreshments. This is all for free.
This groundbreaking Sefer Torah will be used as an emergency torah for those Jewish communities across the world who require it in times of need and distress. The Zionist Federation is proud to support this laudable project by El Al that will make sure that Jews across the world will never be alone. When there is an emergency in the world Israel is normally the first on the scene offering their expert help, and a team is always flown from El Al to help in these important efforts. This Torah follows in the best of these traditions through travelling with the El Al team on these emergency missions.
 El Al President and CEO General Elyezer Shkedy who was previously Commander of Chief for the Israeli Air force said, “As a global airline El Al is fortunate to have many Jewish passengers from across the world. We wanted to make sure that in their times of need we could help ensure the vitality of Jewish communities across the world. I am sure the UK Jewish community will play a major part in this.”
Zionist Federation director Alan Aziz stated, “The Zionist Federation has partnered with El Al so that the Jewish community in the UK can contribute to an extraordinary Sefer Torah. I believe this torah will help bring disparate Jewish communities closer together then ever before.”
The Zionist Federation will continue to hold events to ensure the vitality of the worldwide Jewish community and to ensure that it remains united.