Beyond the Cusp

May 31, 2013

IDF Avoiding Confrontation and Reality

Chief of Staff General Benny Ganz was recently questioned as to what was the policy and rules of engagement for IDF soldiers when confronting rock throwing attacks. His reply was they were under orders to use passive riot control measures only unless there threat to life was imminent. When queried to explain the logic behind minimizing any confrontation when these attacks had already proven life threatening as proven by the Palmer and son murderers who were just convicted and three year old Adelle Biton still barely clinging to life unconscious in an Intensive Care unit, General Ganz replied that the reasoning behind their strategy was not to cause the situation to escalate by turning up the IDF response. Perhaps the time has come to look at the recent history since the end of the last major strikes on Gaza that resulted in a measurable decrease in the numbers of rockets launched into southern Israel.

 

Since the IDF took determined and forceful measures in responding to the rocket assaults having increased to an intolerable level the rockets have almost stopped while the rock attacks in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and even a few attacks in the Galilee and Negev areas have ramped up beyond simply noticeable to near intolerable. While a couple of years back the major impetus for the Palestinian attacks was rocket fire out of Gaza well before that was ramped up, the rock attacks were at a lesser level of scattered attacks measured on a weekly basis of two or three a week. Over time the frequency, though not covered by most news outlets including print, internet, radio and television, the frequency has ramped up such that the attacks were almost daily when the Defensive Smoke (Shield) was finally launched as an answer to the rocket attacks. Currently the attacks have ramped to the point where calling them daily almost does not give an accurate description and perhaps these rock assaults would be best characterized as hourly. They have also escalated to the point where arson fires are lighted in order to have fire departments respond so that the Palestinians can assault the first responders with rocks often using slings which make the rocks life threatening. If you ask the Israelis living in these areas under a level of assault with rocks where it could be best described as a war footing, they would tell General Ganz that the rock assaults have already escalated even without any measurable IDF response. These victims of what resembles a greater and organized assault on their lives and any movements they need to make such as driving to work or to shop or any travel that takes them on most major arteries connecting them with the rest of the country deserve adequate protections from the rock assault threats which is the responsibility of General Ganz and the IDF. These assaults have escalated to the point where the rock attacks have entered into their communities where youths using slings and slingshots or simply throwing of rocks into the communities or at the community members who tend their fields and crops. What exactly is General Ganz waiting for and what will it take for him to estimate that the Palestinian assaults have reached the point where he would consider the situation critical?

 

The assault on Gaza which ended, at least temporarily, the rocket fire into Israel was a proper use and show of force and it had the desired results. Why is it that General Ganz now believes that taking these rock attacks for the serious threat and escalated risk that they have become would not be deterred should the IDF troops respond with greater than passive force. Where there have been instances where an argument could be made for the use of deadly force, but there are lesser responses which could be utilized to deter these potentially lethal rock attacks. The rock attacks made where the attackers utilize vehicles moving at great speed in order to make the rocks a greater threat as they launch them at coming vehicles adding greatly to the impact speed and momentum making these attacks obviously intended to threaten lives and definitely have reached a level deserving of lethal response. Those rock attacks against people in an open attack where slings or other speed enhancing methods are utilized to again increase the threat raising it to potential fatal levels also are deserving of whatever response is necessary to end such attacks plain and simple. These types of attacks have become the norm and are occurring numerous times each day in numerous locations and are of a sufficient threat that the Israelis under such threats do not have the comfort of fearing escalation which has inflicted General Ganz and likely his political higher-ups. General Ganz and those politicians responsible for such decisions, it is time to end these murderous attacks before any more Israelis pay with life and limb. It is time to perform the duties for which you hold command, the protection of the innocent from the terrorists who are threatening and plaguing their lives with rock assaults on an hourly basis. And if you need even more of a reason, your own troops are also under threat and will continue to be so until you allow them to act. Soldiers especially should not have to feel like their lives are less important than those who attack them mercilessly and the same goes double for the citizens they are tasked to protect. Please take off the velvet gloves and wear the steel gauntlets of determined defense of the innocent and bring an end to the rock throwing terror threats.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 16, 2013

They’re Throwing Deadly Cinderblock Size Rocks; Not Just Little Pebbles

Rocks being utilized as deadly weapons have a long and storied history in the Middle East and throughout the ancient world. Armies had divisions of archers and slingers which were equal threats in the course of combat and wars. One of the most famous and well known confrontations from ancient times pitted a young smallish shepherd boy against a giant of a man in heavy armor and the young shepherd proved victorious using a fair sized rock and a sling. The battle is, of course, the Biblical confrontation between the Philistine Goliath and the Israelite David told in the Book of Samuel. If one were to go through the effort to review the photo and video evidence of these confrontations between Palestinians throwing rocks and Israeli IDF soldiers armed with rifles they would come across evidence which points to the standoffs as not being anywhere near as disparate as the media likes to portray these events. Often one will see evidence of Palestinians using slings in order to add more force to their projectiles though many of the photographers attempt to avoid having such throwers in their frames of reference as their intent is to display the maximum advantage to the IDF in order to make the Palestinians appear the victim of a great and horrendous inequality of force. Much of the more liberal Israeli press such as Haaretz is also to blame as they tend to downplay if they even bother to cover these attacks unless there are serious injuries or even deaths. There have been numerous rock attacks which have been covered by Arutz Sheva which is located in Beth El in Samaria where the Israeli victims have required Emergency Room care or even Hospitalization and surgery which were not covered in the majority of the rest of Israeli news services thus also never being picked up by the leading news sources around the world. If the potentially fatal rock throwing were to be covered whenever there was substantial damage or serious injury then the world would be reading about them on a weekly basis multiple times and even daily during the more active periods. The world would also be familiar with one especially dangerous type of rock attack utilized by the Palestinians where they use a car at high speed on one of the narrow two lane roads in Judea and Samaria and launch their cinderblock sized rocks or cement projectiles aiming for the driver’s side of the windshield of an oncoming vehicle thus having additional force equal to the additive speed of the two vehicles to maximize the potential for penetrating the windshield and killing the driver and possibly everyone else in the vehicle should the car lose control and careen off the road crashing into trees or overturning. But these attacks are rarely covered in any of the world’s major news services while every time the IDF responds to these deadly attacks they are front page news depicting them as bloodthirsty monsters.

 

The world media lack of coverage of the often life threatening rock attacks by Palestinians upon Israeli civilians should not come as any surprise as the world media does not cover the literally thousands of rockets fired out of Gaza by Palestinian terrorists belonging to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda in Gaza, Popular Resistance Committees and any other terrorist groups targeting Israeli civilians almost exclusively with deadly intent. The only times the news services give coverage to the rocket attacks is when Israel responds with an offensive of their own such as Cast Lead and Pillar of Smoke, the actual translation of the latest Israeli response to the rocket attacks which was mistranslated as Pillar of Defense which gave a more ominous sound to the Israeli actions and avoided any reference to the Exodus in the Bible where the Israelites were led through their trek out of Egypt by a Pillar of Smoke by day and a Pillar of Fire by night. Even when the rocket attacks are covered they are contrasted against the Israeli response which makes them appear to simply be the Palestinian response to Israeli aggressions and often the coverage makes only minor references to the steady daily attacks by the terrorists in Gaza often going two, three, or even more weeks without having one day pass without at least one rocket attack. The coverage also will report the number of Palestinians who are killed often not differentiating and identifying that the largest numbers of these casualties are actual terrorists or their supporters. They also contrast that while the Israeli intervention is resulting in Palestinian fatalities that the Israelis rarely are killed by the rocket attacks and that this makes the Israeli efforts unfair and disproportionate. There is almost never any reflection or explanation of why the disparity between the two sides concerning casualties. The fact that in Gaza the terrorists demand that the civilians allow the storage of munitions and supplies within their homes, their Mosques, their Hospitals, their schools, and their public areas including shopping centers and markets with the threat of immediate execution as a collaborator if anyone should have the audacity to refuse is not reported. The rockets are almost exclusively fired from near schools, between houses, on hospital roofs, and often with children gathered around the launcher to guarantee the Israelis will not fire on the launch positions.

 

The reason that the Israelis have such a low casualty count is also hardly ever mentioned. Israel has built shelters throughout the regions which are within range of the majority of the rockets fired by the terrorists in Gaza. They require all new housing to be built with a safe room which meets structural requirements that make it able to withstand even a direct strike by the majority of rockets. The Israeli government has also reinforced schools, hospitals and people’s homes without charge for those who are unable to afford such upgrades. The Israeli government periodically offers to contribute or even to completely pay to have shatterproof reinforced windshields, rear window, and side window for the vehicles of people who live in areas prone to the rock attacks in order to keep the people safe or at least safer. Providing such services is an expensive endeavor but the Israelis having a great respect and love of life believing it is worth any price to keep the people safe. This respect for life is even seen when the Israelis must turn to using military force as they go to great extremes in attempting to avoid civilian casualties including calling off attacks if civilians are present and could possibly be placed in danger. Yes, sometimes there are mistakes which then are trumpeted by the world media endlessly for weeks, months even. One example was the massacre that never was in Jenin. Even despite the fact that the United Nations investigation into the so-called Jenin massacre proved that no such massacre took place and that of the casualties that the vast majority were combatants and there was no massacre but still there are speeches condemning the Israelis for the Jenin massacre held on college campuses during Israeli Apartheid Week and references to the Jenin massacre every year in the United Nations General Assembly recognition of the plight of the Palestinians held every year on November 29th under the title “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”.

 

Simply ask yourself how many times you have heard about the rock attacks on Israelis by the Palestinians both in Judea and Samaria and even within the Galilee in the mixed towns, villages, and farm lands. There was one such attack just yesterday which resulted in tragedy. After an attack by Palestinians on vehicles, individual cars, buses and trucks, there were a number of resulting accidents one of which resulted in very serious wounds to a mother and her three daughters. Where the two oldest daughters and the mother are in serious condition in Beilinson Hospital, her infant one year old daughter is barely holding on to life and doctors are concerned and have reported to be doing everything in their abilities to save her delicate little life. This attack took place at the Gitai Avisar Junction where additional injuries have been reported. The wife of a former Minister of the Knesset was moderately injured when a rock crashed through the windshield of the bus in which she was a passenger shattering the glass some of which hit her face and slivers embedded in her eyes. She too is in the hospital receiving treatments and is expected to recover and retain her sight. Also, the bus driver was injured with broken glass striking his face and eyes yet somehow managed to take control of the bus and drive it beyond the ambush zone before pulling over and stopping. There were a number of other injuries at this location which continued until the Border Police and the IDF arrived on scene.

 

This was far from an isolated incident or something new, but most do not realize this as these attacks are rarely reported and when they are the coverage tends to minimize the severity and danger these attacks pose. Israeli former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted giving some reference with which to frame this deadly attack by Palestinian terrorists stating, “The first victim who was killed by rock-throwing Arab rioters was soldier Esther Ohana, who had a rock thrown at her vehicle, hit her head and lost consciousness, and died two weeks later.” Lieberman was speaking about an attack which occurred in January of 1983. He added that since the murder of Ohana thirty years ago “dozens of others were hurt and seriously wounded by Arab rock-throwing rioters in Judea and Samaria.” It has possibly been the fact that such attacks have become commonplace enough that the Israeli and world press no longer sees any need to report them any longer. The problem this causes is that when Israel finally does respond to these many different, various but still consistent attacks, be they rocks or rockets, is that the heavy-handed blame Israel for the violence reporting becomes believable as the listeners have no reference or context of the months of terror attacks which forced the Israeli response. The public is left with the impression that the Palestinian rock, rocket or any other form of terror or assaults only occur in response to Israeli military actions. There is little history and reporting over the long buildup which necessitated the Israeli aggression so the Israeli response appears to have come out of the blue without any provocations. This is an injustice and only serves to discredit Israel and grant credibility to those who accuse Israel of needless violence against the poor innocent Palestinians who are cast as not being able or inclined to raise a finger against their oppressors, Israel. The truth is almost daily there are provocations where Palestinian terrorists threaten Israeli lives; destroy Israeli property, crops, vehicles, structures, homes and shops; fire rockets aiming at Israeli neighborhoods, shopping centers, synagogues, schools, buses, or anyplace that Israelis congregate; or sling rocks of varying sizes at Israeli individuals, cars, busses, light rail, and other forms of conveyance all of these disparate forms of violence intended to take Israeli’s lives or at least make their lives as difficult and treacherous as possible. While I have no illusions that the news reporting will change, I hold hope that the Israeli government will assign at least one Minister of the Knesset to publicize the violence and assaults aimed at the Israeli people and possibly begin to balance the reporting so that the people of the world can make fair and informed opinions and put an end to the propaganda and unbalanced reporting which by design makes the Palestinians victims and Israelis victimizers. The lie must be revealed and placed in the light of truth and allow the reality to be placed before the world and then when all the facts are in the open the people of the world can decide. It may not change a single opinion, but that is a different problem for another time. One calamity at a time, I cannot handle them in bunches.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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