Beyond the Cusp

May 17, 2019

Iran Pushing the Envelope

 

Iranian forces, including their fast-ships, have been striking and sabotaging oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Thus far, they have yet to damage a ship such that it leaked oil, was disabled or sank. These attacks have technically broken past the level that President Trump stated could merit a response from the American forces in the region. That leads one to wonder if, when and what it will take to rise to the level where President Trump cannot any longer ignore these provocations. This leads to an entire series of further questions as to whether Iran will settle for renegotiating with the United States or push until they force a confrontation. The question which is most important remains whether or not inevitably there will be any actual meeting of the two forces, Iran and the United States. Guess we could say that is the billion-dollar question.

 

We can assume that President Trump would prefer to force negotiations which does not mean that he will ignore almost any level of provocation. That leads to what exactly are the intentions of the Iranian leadership, which boils down to is the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei set upon pressing matters beyond the breaking point. That is where this entire scenario becomes a nightmare. Ali Khamenei appears to be set on pushing this into a military conflagration between Iran and the United States and top that off by having Hezballah and likely Islamic Jihad and Hamas attacking Israel with a heavy missile and rocket bombardments just as their Supreme Leader, the heads of the IRGC and a number of other officials have promised will be part of any conflict in the Middle East. You may ask, why would Iran engage both the United States and Israel as doing so would only endanger Iran even more. What the Iranians believe is that by promising to target Israel, this would make it more difficult for the United States to actually engage Iran. This is unfortunate as threatening Israel will have little if any influence upon any decisions which President Trump will be forced to make should Iran continue escalating their strikes on shipping. Iran might even go farther and attack ground targets in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or any of the other Gulf States. That would force a confrontation as such a threat to oil shipments and production would cause havoc with oil prices which would be another means for forcing the confrontation with the United States. The bad news is that things do appear as if the Iranians, specifically the IRGC, will not end their escalations until they force an American response. That could then lead to an ever-widening Middle East war.

 

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, one of the foremost Middle East experts, predicts with his article, “The Third Gulf War has already begun,” that the only item still undecided is the date when the unavoidable war will begin and how fast and far will it expand to the rest of the Middle East. We here in Israel have been trying to ignore the slowly heating of the Persian Gulf and instead watching the Eurovision being held currently in Tel Aviv. There is nothing like an entertaining distraction right when one is so badly needed. We, unfortunately, have little interest in the singing contest and far more interest in what our immediate future holds. One thing which cannot be said is that life is boring here in Israel. We just had ten-thousand screaming mad fire-, stone- and explosive-throwing rioters protesting Nakba Day along the Gaza border this past week. This was taken for what it actually is, just the next installment of the Arab attempts to make our lives unbearable. The vast majority of Israelis are made out of sterner stuff than folding before such threats. This is even more valid an argument when things could always be so much worse and the threats so much more frightening. Even then, the Israeli response is to simply respond as the situations require. Any attacks which are tractable to Iran, then Israel has promised that Iran would feel some part of the response. The truth is we would really prefer to live in peace allowing us to pursue making discoveries, treatments, inventions and other advancements which would advance and improve the lives of people around the world in the process.

 

Should Dr. Kedar prove correct, once the conflagration between Iran and the United States initiates, then we would hope that the Iranian threat to involve Israel was bluster and not an actual threat which they will follow through upon. If Hezballah were to initiate aggressions against Israel, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has promised a response which will bring the ability of Hezballah and Lebanon to conduct any further aggressions to a halt as rapidly as Israel is able. Fortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not promise “shock and awe” type of attack as was the threat which was made by President George W. Bush against Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The initial attack proved to appear less shock and awe because the attacks were specific and struck only those targets desired thus limiting the collateral damage, additional suffering, and a less impressive display than what many expected. Simply put, it was a far cry that the bombings conducted during World War II in which cities were laid to waste. The most well known of such attacks was the firebombing of Dresden (see image below). That was the original shock and awe. Hopefully the world will never again know destruction such as Dresden as well as Tokyo and, of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki of World War II. These are exactly the threats which Iran has threatened to unleash. We should all hope that, to use an old western America phrase, Iran is all hat and no cattle. The unfortunate reality is the Iranians may be dead set on causing a stampede unleashing as much cattle as they can lay their hands upon. May any actual exchange be short and cause the minimal number of casualties and end almost before it starts.

 

Image of Dresden Firestorm Consuming the City

Image of Dresden Firestorm Consuming the City

 

The best would be no conflict and a peaceful resolution. But we have two blustering leaders who both are very unlikely to be bluffed or pressured into backing down. On the Iranian side, their leadership from the Supreme Leader, President, IRGC commanders and others are all threatening maximum levels of force even to threatening to destroy the American fleet with a single missile. This has been interpreted as likely a threat to use an EMP device though a nuclear tipped missile would also fit the bill and should not be put beyond the Iranian intent. They have promised similar total devastating attack upon Israel which would instigate a similar response against all attacking forces as well as likely an attack on Iran. So, if the question is are the Iranian leaders suicidal? They have responded to this question already stating that they would consider the complete and total destruction of Iran a reasonable price to pay if that is what was necessary for the destruction of Israel and the United States. All we can assume is that this is probably the most dangerous threat the world has faced in years. The near future promises, as things currently stand, to be filled with threats which could lead to a war spreading beyond the initial borders, even beyond Israel. The Iranians are counting on Russia coming to their aid. Russian President Putin probably is not feeling as attached and ready to aid Iran as the Iranians believe which could prevent any conflict from spreading outside the Middle East, as if that is not horrible enough. Things could not stand to be much worse than they now sit, may the threats pass without incident.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 26, 2015

How Does Europe Define NGO in Israel and More?

Filed under: 24/7 News Reporting,Absolutism,Act of War,al-Qaeda in Gaza,Amalekites,Anti-Israel,Anti-Semitism,Anti-Zionist,Appease Islamic Interests,Appeasement,Arab Appeasement,Arab Authority,Arab World,Arabs,Ashkelon,Balkans,Ben Bernake,Blood Libel,Boko Haram,Border violence,Borders,Boycott,Civilization,Conflict Avoidnce,Coverup,Defend Israel,Deportation,Dhimmi,Disengagement,Divestment,Domestic NGOs,Emergency Aid,Enforcement,Euro,Europe,European Council,European Governments,European Historic Anti Semitism,European Media,European Pressure,European Union,European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs,Executive Order,Foreign Funding,Foreign NGOs,France,Gaza,Gaza Blockade,Germany,Government,Great Britain,Haiti,Hamas,Hamas Charter,Hate,History,Hostages,IAF,IDF,IHH,Illegal Immigration,Immigration,Infiltration Tunnels,Inquisition,Internal Pressures,International Politics,Intifada,Intifada,ISIS,ISIS in Gaza,Islam,Islam,Islamic Jihad,Islamic Pressure,Israel,Israeli Capital City,Israeli Interests,Israeli Media,Janet Yellen,Japan,Jerusalem,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,Jihad,Kidnap Children,Kidnap Soldier,Kidnapped Israeli,Knesset,Leftist Pressures,Legal Blockade,Light unto the Nations,Mainstream Media,Mavi Marmara,Media,Media Bias,Middle East,Military,Military Option,Misreporting,Murder Israelis,Muslim World,Muslims,Natural Disasters Releif,Nepal,Omission,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Pressures,Palestinian Security Force,Peace Process,Politicized Findings,Politics,Prime Minister,Promised Land,Promised Land,Quran,Recognize Israel,Repatriation,Response to Terrorism,Russian Pressure,San Remo Conference,Sanctions (BDS),Saudi Arabian Pressure,Secular Interests,Security,Sharia,Shiite,Smuggling Tunnels,Statehood,Sunni,Support Israel,Taqiyya,Tel Aviv,Terror,Third Intifada,Threat of War,Three No's,Torah,United Nations,United Nations Presures,United States,United States Pressure,Western World,World Opinion,World Pressures,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 2:15 AM
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Most people read news about some NGO making some claims or making accusations and their ears perk up and they assign extra special veracity to the words that follow the announcement that such-n-such groups, an NGO, claims that… No matter what nation the NGO calls home, the NGO is considered to be independent of any political bend and especially free of the foreign policy interests of any government because NGO stands for Non-Governmental-Organization. But perhaps this is not as pure as we have been led to believe as there are numerous NGOs which it turns out are paid agents for European nations and are used as the new twenty-first-century pirates who are sent on NGO raids of other nations seeking to find or provoke a situation which can be utilized to slander another nation, and if they can hit NGO pirating gold, perhaps even something presentable to an international court or be brought for one of those oh-so political lynching before the United Nations General Assembly where condemnations are all but automatic on any charges against certain “always guilty nations” or perhaps the United Nations Human Rights Council or, even better for elevating the paying nation’s international prestige, the charges can be filed by their NGO in their highest tribunal which has already applied to and received by the United Nations to hear and adjudicate human rights and war crimes charges and the whole cycle has come home and returned on their investment.

 

The obvious target of all the available culprits where presumed human rights are abused and there is no real, fair, just and uncorrupted judiciary where minorities are regularly seized out of their homes and executed after the briefest of trials and religious apartheid exists with factions in open warfare and every other conceivable injustice occurs daily deserving the targeting of the vast resources of the European governments both individually and through their combined financial resources funneled through the European Union in the Middle East, Africa or any other political hot spot is not Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, not North Korea and not even al-Qaeda, Hamas, ISIS, Hezballah, Boko Haram, Islamic Jihad or other terrorist entity; it is, let’s all say this together, Israel. The hot issue this week whose organizers deserved receiving roughly half a million euros from French government aid was Plateforme des ONG Françaises pour la Palestine (Platform of French NGOs for Palestine) efforts to break the internationally sanctioned and legal naval blockade of Gaza under the ever so original name of ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ which is expected to arrive any time this week. Never mind that Gaza receives every ounce of legal aid and even is permitted dual use building material of which it has been estimated that possibly a significant amount well exceeding half of the cements and other materials are confiscated by Hamas for their use in building infiltration tunnels with which to attack and murder Israelis and kidnap others to hold for ransom crossing a legally recognized border committing breaches and activities aimed at civilians all of which are acts of war. If the real reason of the ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ was to get desperately needed supplies to the people in Gaza, who admittedly could use building materials which would actually go to rebuilding their homes, stores and other damaged infrastructure resulting from repeated acts of war on the part of their existing governance of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist entities firing rockets, missiles and mortars upon Israeli civilians even to include striking Israel’s two largest metropolitan areas of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv requiring a military response to prevent further breaches of the peace, all that is required is for the aid to be delivered to any Israeli sea port where it would be inspected and all nonmilitary aid would be delivered within the following two to three days overland on any of the several tons of food, medical supplies, building materials and other approved aid withholding only those items deemed to be of a military nature and legally removed from any shipment.

 

It is almost needless to point out that these flotillas are not about getting supplies to the people of Gaza as was proven by the infamous Mavi Marmara flotilla where the lead ship attempted to run the blockade in order to ambush any IDF units used to intercept them and then be able to take film and still pictures with which to smear Israeli efforts requiring excessive violence on ‘innocent aid workers and human rights activists’ and then file them to be plastered on page one of every newspaper and film at the beginning of every news broadcast across the Western World thus presenting what the desire to claim are the brutalities committed by the Israeli military in the name of the government. These attempts by terrorists to instigate a fight and have the IDF inflict what would be presented as unnecessary violence went awry when the Israelis also arrived with cameras and shot the entire interdiction to show the world the edited out assaults initiating the actions which landed a number of both IDF and instigators in the hospital and resulted in nine terrorists who had assaulted the IDF soldiers using knives, pipes, bats and eventually small arms fire which immediately escalated the incident into an international incident where eventually the evidence from all sides was aired and the world was left to judge for themselves. Every single internationally sanctioned and recognized neutral investigations found fault on both sides but laid the blame for initiating the violence fell on the terrorist elements eventually identified as belong to IHH who boarded the ship at an unofficial stop subsequent to the filmed set-off in Turkey.

 

This newest effort is sailing the Mediterranean Sea and is anticipated to reach Israel once these participants have soaked up sufficient sun, fun and news cycles to fully show off the representatives of Human Rights NGOs, dignitaries, recognized public figures and the seemingly required member of the Israeli Knesset for that extra pinch of presumed righteousness, then they will head for Gaza to present their ‘aid for the starving masses and for rebuilding the destruction from last year’s conflict with Israel. Most of the ships making up the ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ will obey the instructions by the Israeli patrol boats and divert to drop off aid goods at Ashod, Haifa, Tel Aviv or whichever port has been prepared to receive and process the goods as rapidly as humanly possible. If form holds true, the aid packages will include food that has not been properly refrigerated or kept dry making it almost entirely unusable and medical supplies past their usable date but Israel will transfer it into Gaza where Hamas and the governing entities will simply leave it until it has to be disposed of before these useless supplies become a health hazard. That is exactly what became of the aid from the previous ‘Freedom Flotillas’ and their showcase deliveries. To be honest, most Israelis do not wish for a fight and would be more than happy if the aid actually was received by the Gazan people and any useful provisions are a benefit to them and Israel has even liberalized their permissible aid to include the very cement, rebar, wood, sheets of aluminum and other building supplies with which Hamas, Islamic Jihad et al are rebuilding the destroyed infiltration tunnels making improvements and enlarging them as well as digging new, deeper and longer ones which will have added rails for electric rail carts to get the raiding parties to the far end ready and still rested for their assaults in southern Israel and potentially beyond, just as the captured plans described when the tunnels were found and destroyed during Operation Protective Edge last summer.

 

The assault the Israelis spoiled when they found the tunnels during the ground operations included and had in place awaiting implementation of the plans during the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were motorcycles, manufactured IDF uniforms complete with patches and all identifying insignia, maps, weapons, ammunition, handcuffs, rope, drugs, syringes and supplies to outfit hundreds if not over a thousand infiltrators who could have committed mass murders and mass kidnappings mostly, as the plans indicated, from the neighboring towns and kibbutzim and even raid into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem which were to be carried out in much the same manner as the Mumbai, India assault where ten Pakistani terrorists landed near the Gateway to India Monument equipped with plastic explosives, grenades, hand guns, machine guns and other tools carrying out the worst and most lethal terrorist action in Indian history. The viciousness of the assault was exemplified by the horrific attack in the Chabad ‘Nariman House’ and the raid on the two of the main train stations and the international hotels as the terrorists continued murdering everybody they could on route to their eventual targets. The November 26, 2008 attack lasted four horrific and trying days before all the terrorists were killed with one, Ajmal Kasab, being captured and questioned by the Indian authorities seeking information on why one-hundred-seventy-nine people were killed and more than three-hundred were wounded . The estimated numbers who could have been murdered in a similar assault on Israel during the High Holidays with assaults planned to begin across the entirety of Israel coordinated for simultaneous explosions followed by the other operations including plans to assault numerous local synagogues and the main and largest synagogues in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and elsewhere included numbers so shocking as to be beyond belief and the confusion which could be entered into the equations with terrorists dressed as IDF soldiers giving spurious orders to a frightened public funneling them to set up terrorist locations where the people were likely to be murdered or taken hostage to be used in later negotiations which were unlikely to end with any acceptable results.

 

The ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ will most likely be using a similar modus operandi of the previous ‘Freedom Flotillas’ where a single selected ship staffed with instigators and terrorists who will be attempting to force a confrontation which can be filmed to be edited later to show the violence perpetrated on innocent individuals by presumed sadistic IDF Jews against simply human rights advocates which included women and other identifiable representatives of peace organizations who have volunteered to stand on the periphery in the hopes of being mistaken for one of those attacking the IDF and receive rough treatment. What these Flotilla planners are counting on is that the Israelis will attempt to use the minimalist amount of force required to divert the ship or ships attempting to break through the naval blockade which, may we remind all, has been investigated by the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and passed muster as being a legal and properly applied blockade meeting or exceeding all the requirements of such an operation. These reviews noted that all legal aid is delivered in a timely manner and in as pristine a condition as it arrived after an efficient and speedy inspection for contraband such as arms as certain dual use materials such as those used for the production of explosives, weapons, ammunition, other munitions, rockets and the fuel to launch them and other recognized illegal substances. The rules under international law on enforcement of a recognized blockade is to attempt to intercede with the least necessary force to persuade the ship’s captain to divert and dock at an assigned port for inspection and offloading of aid which will be delivered afterwards and the use of force may escalate as the orders are ignored and efforts continue to cross the blockade line. There is no actual requirement for the enforcing forces, be they ships, aircraft or other units to actually attempt to board the offending ship to take control and sail it to an approved port. Should a ship persist in attempts to cross a blockaded port and pose a threat of breaking the enforcement it becomes legal to simply shoot the ship out of the water by any and all means as the enforcing fleet and military power at the scene, if that is perceived as the least dangerous alternative for their personnel. The enforcement rules under international law allow for the sinking of the offending vessel and do not require less destructive measures. A good example of the amount of force permissible by a legally blockading nation would be a study of the Cuban Missile Crisis where United States President Kennedy had given orders for any Russian vessel crossing the blockading ships were to be fired upon and sunk. The United States blockading forces included numerous destroyers, cruisers, aircraft and the vessels which came the closest to actually firing on the Russian lead ship had she not turned away with little room left before action was taken, a nice way as saying actions were imminent, were two attack submarines which already had entered their firing sequence into the ships attack computers and I believe one had even loaded and flooded their tubes in preparation to fire. It may have been the sonar reporting of such act which convinced the Russian captain to divert his ship and not continue his confrontation. That was amongst the closest the Cold War adversaries faced off which could have had dire and vastly different consequences. The ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ personnel, planners and ship captains have probably studied the previous attempts to break the blockade and are counting on Israel to interdict by placing her troops in harm’s way if that is what becomes necessary to prevent the blockade from being transgressed. There is also the option to demand a cursory check of the goods and if found not to contain anything banned to allow the ship to proceed to a port in Gaza. The difficulty there is the requirement for boarding once again, always a dangerous process where the boarding party are the force most vulnerable which was made exceedingly evident during the Mavi Marmara confrontation.

 

The backing of the ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ by the French government using one of their nationally supported and funded NGOs is indicative of a problem which Israel had some serious problems and is where any discussion about this situation of European governments, amongst others, directly or indirectly through NGOs whose main purpose is a form of money laundering where they receive funding directly from governments who may even have requested the funding be funneled directly to another NGO where the initial recipient of the funds uses a percentage or set handling fee to pay for their services and then they pass the funds along wither through another middle NGO or directly to the intended NGO all pending the amount of separation desired by the donating government where they pay for each level of separation. Where this system is sufficiently deceitful and underhanded manner for a government to mount subversive efforts to undermine the independence or functioning of another government they wish to target through using NGOs which are officially registered with the originating government, in Israel there is a second and far more sinister route being used, the support and funding, largely through the NGO the New Israel Fund (NIF) which in turn doles the funds for different activities and functioning of other NGOs operating within Israel. The devious part is that these majority or even completely foreign funded NGOs, some by outside individuals and others by the European Union or European governments as well as Arab and Muslim governments are registered as Israeli NGOs despite their almost entirely foreign funding sources. The Israel Parliament, the Knesset, has passed a series of bills to attempt to address this situation. These legislations have included such requirements that any NGO receiving a majority of their funding from outside Israel be required to register as a foreign NGO which would eliminate some of the tax exemptions, the requirement for all NGOs to report all foreign funding including funds from other NGOs which receive the majority of their funding from outside Israel, an attempt to make foreign funds granted to NGOs to taxation and a number of other requirements many of which the very nations funding these ‘Israeli’ NGOs themselves have enacted which would even go so far as to exile any NGO from their registry forcing them to register under the nation or one of the nations paying their funding requirements which, needless to point to, prevents Israel from returning the favor in kind by subverting NGOs operating in Europe under European registry. Every one of these legislations have been denounced by people on the left of the political scale as the NGOs most likely to be affected are the most liberal and often anti-Israel NGOs that operate as Israeli NGOs. These protestations have caused each of these laws to be nullified by the Israeli Supreme Court often claiming that they are discriminatory despite their being applicable to all NGOs operating in Israel and specifically to those registering as being Israeli NGOs operating licensed by the Israeli governing body which oversees NGOs, an overseeing body which has been hampered from taking any actions against these anti-Israel, anti-Zionist NGOs who perform the bidding of their paymasters from outside Israel still enjoying the apparent approval of the Israeli government. The actions of the Israel Supreme Court are not surprising as they have performed the actions of a blocking stone placed around the neck of every piece of legislation passed by the Knesset which the Supreme Court has set themselves up as an override proof veto machine and nowhere have they been more active than against nationalist and Zionist interests such as the problem with the foreign funded anti-Israel NGOs and also another major problem, the repatriation of illegal immigrants to their home nation even to include those that the United Nations and European Union have registered as facing no oppressions or even arrest and trial should they be returned to their nation of origin. The infiltrator problem, what the illegal immigrants have been named, has caused widespread lawlessness for many neighborhoods in southern Tel Aviv and other less well-off neighborhoods. When efforts have been made to expand the territory being invaded and potentially inflicted with this problem the wealthier neighborhoods have no difficulty in receiving law enforcement fast and expediently.

 

There was one effort which many found amusing as a member of the Knesset brought a number of these illegal immigrant families to enjoy some recreation at one of the public swimming pools in a wealthier Tel Aviv neighborhood. The people monitoring who were allowed to enter this ‘public swimming pool and recreation area’ made every effort to prevent the entry of these ‘other outsiders’ but were eventually forced to permit their entry. Within minutes of their entering this public area the most affluent found the atmosphere so threatened that they made a hasty retreat before being put in a position of sharing their environs with those such as these people who had been unfairly thrust into their formerly perceived protected public area. Such grandstanding only succeeded in making some ripples in the news over the ensuing week and then everything returned to normal and the criminal elements were still ignored and the residents of the afflicted neighborhoods almost require escort just to do their grocery shopping and going out after sunset is unthinkable, such is the reality the Supreme Court is forcing on these unfortunate people who have sufficient problems just making ends meet and who deserve better security in their neighborhoods but even law enforcement has been timid in imposing the law in such neighborhoods as they cannot be on every street corner, or so we have been informed.

 

Reform is going to be required on many fronts but Israel is a young nation still ironing out some of her deficiencies and rough spots. Israel is still on their first republic unlike some in Europe who have worked their way through five republics within their last two to three centuries or had coups which led to consequences for the entirety of Europe and beyond. For a relative newcomer to the world’s stage and facing probably one of the roughest of neighborhoods to make their debut and against all odds she remains standing and not about to throw in the towel no matter how many NGOs of foreign funding antagonize her soldiers and protest her duly elected government attempting to use bullying tactics as described in such playbooks as Rules for Radicals, the Communist Manifesto, Che Guevara’s A Revolutionary Life and many others. Books not read or not considered enlightened enough include the worldviews from Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Immanuel Kant, George Berkeley, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Montesquieu with his separation of powers concept, and even Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift. The ‘Age of Reason’ which was also known as the Enlightenment brought a whole new manner of government where the common man was respected and was a capable individual who had learned much from the greatest of all teachers, the hardships and challenges of everyday survival from which we get this well-known phrase thanks to Friedrich Nietzsche (and an aside to Conan for making it known by the masses), “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Let us hope that the ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ and all the incidents she may cause in the coming days only make us, all of us, stronger.

 

That is the one thing which I believe makes much of the world angered by Israel and turned to scorn and ridicule her is that as the Jewish State, Israel attempts to be better in their treatment and assistance to others, to honestly make a difference where it counts in the world and make it a better place by the actions of each and every individual Israeli. If Israel is capable of lifting up souls one at a time, then that is what she will endeavor to accomplish. Israel has a soul and a heart and these fill her with hope over fate, light over darkness, helping over pitying. This is evident in Israeli assistance to those suffering from a natural disaster such as was in Haiti, the Philippines, Japan and recently Nepal. Many Nepalese were perplexed by the Israeli response both to their needs and to locating every single Israeli known to be in Nepal. They noted we sent search and rescue along with medical teams to places even the Nepalese government does not visit. Israel continued the search even when there was but one Israeli not yet accounted for and then refused to leave after hearing of his death but instead mounted an expedition to locate, retrieve and bring his body home to be interred where his loved ones could know he rested, his mortality rested. It did not escape the Nepalese people that there were nations with hundreds and even thousands of people in Nepal who sent nobody to assist their own people, let alone the people of Nepal yet Israel tracked down and located every Israeli including the retrieval of the one fatality’s body and aided the people of Nepal remaining even after every Israeli had been accounted for; remaining plus sending a second team to relieve the initial assistance sent in order to provide until the emergency had ended and Nepal was as healthy and back on her feet as possible after such a disaster. Israel had the first operating fully equipped and staffed hospital in Haiti, built and equipped a clinic in a remote village where no such care was available and trained the villagers how to use the most useful equipment and eventually left the clinic and equipment in place and had even interested some medical personnel including some physicians to set up practices in the clinic. Israel had the most wonderful and beautiful of programs I have ever encountered anywhere with their Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) which is a non-profit organization based in Israel but reaching out to the world wherever there is a need leading to their being known worldwide for their commitment to saving lives by improving the quality of cardiac care for children from developing countries and creating centers of medical competence in these countries. They not only help finance and build departments in hospitals and entire hospitals where none exist and train the physicians in cardiac care for children leaving behind a self-sufficient group who is fully capable of providing the care to the people locally. Until such care is available locally they fly children from all nations, and they mean all nations even if to have that child cared for in Israel but the government does not recognize or particularly like Israel, they fly the family to a neutral nation and then to Israel without stamping their passport, provide the cardiac care and recovery and return them through the same neutral nation all because life is precious. You want a one phrase for Israel, try every single life matters. That is the basis for so much Israel does even in ways that are difficult to explain, but rest assured that all life is precious is still included in what Israel does and it shows quietly in her actions.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 17, 2012

China, India, North Korea, Japan, South Korea, Viet Nam, and the South China Sea

As if the arguments over China laying claim and total rights to all of the South China Sea including the right to prevent its usage by other nations and to intercept and claim all goods on any ship found in its waters wasn’t enough to drive the rest of the countries of Asia to the brink, the recent launch of a three stage rocket which proved capable of placing an object in orbit, even if not under total control, has made the games even more interesting. China’s South China Sea claims pushed India, Japan, and Viet Nam to join their forces and hold a joint naval operation in a move of unity and signaling their defiance of China’s claims. Japan has even taken the initial steps of amending their Constitution in order to allow them to strengthen their military making it able to operate away from their coastal waters and serve as more than simply a home-front guard. The levels of apprehension emanating from China’s neighbors are more than a simple reaction to China’s growing power, but are equally likely a reaction to the apparent diminishing of American power in South East Asia. With China rapidly expanding their naval power and soon to be launching modern aircraft carriers the nations in the area are starting to doubt if the United States will still be able to uphold their part of the treaties and conventions which had held the balance in the area until recently. With the announcement by United States President Obama that the American Navy will soon be downsized, and most critically, reducing the number of aircraft carriers and fleets by as much as one third has sent ripples of panic through the nations who had been dependent on the American Navy to be the overwhelming force in the Pacific but now are looking at a new order rushing into place where China is the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the Pacific Ocean. This situation will deserve close attention as it may be the best indicator of the waning of the United States as a global power and the emergence of China as one of the new central figures in the coming new order.

Enough said on China which has been well covered and on to this recent semi-successful launch by North Korea and its effect on the area. Already there have been reaction coming from politicians in Japan and South Korea and they are taking opposite sides. As has been the recent trend in South Korea to the developments and challenges coming from their northern neighbors, North Korea, they are once again preaching appeasement. South Korea has been slowly sliding towards some form of reconciliation and reuniting with the North Korea and away from their United States orbit. They have all the signs of a tired people who have simply accepted their inability to influence or alter the inevitable. The passivity of South Korean politics likely reflects the mood of the younger citizens as most polls show a continued desire to resist any influences coming from North Korea while indicating that the younger South Koreans favor compromises and finding a path that is non-combative and more agreeable, avoiding possibilities of conflict or misunderstanding. Time will tell if the political pendulum will continue to swing in this current direction or if it is reaching its apogee and is soon to begin to swing back towards defending the difference between the two Koreas.

Meanwhile, Japan is taking the exact opposite approach. Japanese politicians have almost universally expressed dismay and proposed defending their islands from the growing threat posed by North Korea. Where developing nuclear weapons has thus far mostly been a subject left untouched on the shelf, this reaction from Japan is consistent with their reactions to China’s growing militarism and aggressive attitudes over the South China Sea. Japan has been reaching out and establishing ties with India among other Asian countries who also feel threatened by China and now North Korea. Japan is currently working to free themselves from what was historically a self-imposed passivity after World War II when they insisted that being restricted militarily to a self-defense force by their constitution. Needless to say, the United States gladly complied. That restriction is very likely to become a relic of an age that is passing into history with few who recall the reasoning and desires that gripped Japan after the devastations brought upon themselves by their aggressions which led to World War II and their eventual crushing defeat. So, it appears that the old historic rivals may both soon be building militaries once again and heading for another episode in the series of conflicts that have been regular occurrences throughout all of history. As they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The one fact that makes this scenario even more threatening is the fact that China has a demographic time-bomb ticking away due to their one child per family laws. This has had two dangerous effects; the first is a rapidly aging population and the second is the large percentage of male children among the generations since the passage of the one child rules which has always historically led to wars since beginning of time.

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