Beyond the Cusp

September 29, 2016

What is Said About the IDF?

 

We often hear accusations and denunciation of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claiming the Israeli military uses undue force, excessive force, disproportional force, and cause unnecessary injury, death, damage and destruction while breaking universal codes and laws amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes and uses methods which can only be termed as collective punishment in order to maximize the pain and suffering of the Arab Palestinians. Such a litany of offenses such that one can only have nightmares when thinking of any Military operations conducted by the IDF would have to be the conclusion reached by any objective research or analysis of IDF operations. So, what have been the results of actual investigations of these alleged criminal offensives committed by Israeli soldiers and forces? Let us look back and see exactly what have been the conclusions of exactly one of these reviews, the most famous, Jenin. But first let us allow an IDF soldier describe the type of soldier serves in an IDF combat unit, and some would say any unit, us included, as he talks to some supporters of Israel visiting the holy lands.

 

The question-
What makes the Israeli soldier the best in the world?


answered by
Colonel Sharon Gat

 


 

One of the supposed famous uses of overt and undue force was the attack on the Jenin Refugee Camp often referred to as the Jenin massacre or the battle for Jenin. The operation took place as part of Operation Defensive Shield which was in response to and in order to bring to an end the Second Intifada after almost two thousand Israelis, mostly civilians, had lost their lives being murdered in suicide bombings, ambushes, shootings, stabbings and many other assaults and terror attacks. Ten times as many suffered injuries of which many were horrific crippling and permanently scarring injuries as a result of explosive devices laced with nuts, bolts, broken glass, screws, metal shards and other projectile some of which had been tainted with rat poison and even with human blood assumed to have carried pathogens such as AIDS infected blood. The use of human blood, even infected with AIDS or other pathogens would be largely ineffectual as the explosive heat would serve to disinfect the blood and break it down making it simply another foreign substance. The Second Intifada was planned to be executed by Yasser Arafat even before his supposed historic visit to Washington D.C. to shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, thus beginning the Camp David Summit, and work towards a peace with Israel. The Camp David Summit finally collapsed with the end of President Bill Clinton’s term in office after the Taba Initiative in January 2001. The Second Intifada began September 28, 2000 escalating through February 8, 2005 with Operation Defensive Shield executed from March 29 through May 3, 2002 presumably to, according to WikipediA “to catch and arrest terrorists and, primarily, their dispatchers and those who finance and support them; to confiscate weapons intended to be used against Israeli citizens; to expose and destroy facilities and explosives, laboratories, weapons production factories and secret installations. The orders are clear: target and paralyze anyone who takes up weapons and tries to oppose our troops, resists them or endangers them – and to avoid harming the civilian population.” The Arab Palestinian leadership complained to their echo chamber known as the United Nations General Assembly which also allowed the European and rest of the western media, especially left leaning news sources such as Haaretz, the New York Times, the Guardian, France Channel 2, the BBC and so many more, to fill their front pages with horror stories and place large block print headlines to match the hyperventilating verbiage of IDF atrocities of which the largest and most famous was the Battle for Jenin. This is where we start.

 

Jenin Typical Media Image Shot From One End of Destruction To the Farthest End Making for Devastated Landscape

Jenin Typical Media Image Shot From One End of Destruction
To the Farthest End Making for Devastated Landscape

 

The claims about the Battle for Jenin grew as the days wore on even after the fight was concluded. The actual battle began on April 1, 2002, April Fool’s Day; so appropriate, as what followed could be the biggest and most destructive intended April Fool’s Day lie, prank, ever perpetrated, and continued until April 11, 2002, and the IDF pulled out from the area on April 18, 2002, after making sure that all explosives, traps and other dangerous items assuring that it would be safe when the people, the Arab Palestinians, returned to rebuild the area, a relatively small area, especially when compared to the reports and media exaggerations. The Arab Palestinian representative and assistants kept their echo chamber filled with ever progressively grim and horrific updates about the events in the Jenin Refugee Camp and the echo chamber, better known as the United Nations General Assembly, reverberated each claim assuring that it would ring around the globe repeated in every newspaper and broadcast. They were especially and dutifully reported in the left leaning media such as Haaretz in Israel, the New York Times (the grey lady) from which others get their marching orders, amongst those the Washington Post, and also France 24, the BBC and a host of others where headlines and too serious reporters on screen told of the daily, hourly reports of civilian massacres, torture and all sorts of depravities presumably committed while the few but determined Fatah and PLO warriors attempted in vain to rescue the unfortunate refugees being subjected by the IDF. Not too much later the United Nations sent its investigators team to prove the allegations that the IDF was a marred and all too human and depraved military oppressing and rampaging in the Palestinian camp. Finally, on April 19, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1405 to send a fact-finding mission to Jenin.

 

Abed Rabbo claimed about the mission that it was to be, “the first step toward making Sharon stand trial before an international tribunal.” That was just another of the accumulating charges being barked by the Arab Palestinians from top to bottom. The refugees were the prime players telling the media horror stories about how the bulldozers were collapsing houses on entire families intentionally preventing them from escaping, torturing, shipping bodies out in trucks, mass graves and every other conceivable horror imaginable. The reporting made some wild conjecture over what horrors were to be reported and how Israel was finally going to be found out as finally the United Nations, backed by the Security Council, nothing would stop the truth this time, the reckoning was upon Sharon and the Israelis and their infernal IDF. The moment came and passed anticlimactically as only fifty-two Palestinians died, the majority combatants.

 

Jenin Battle Map and the Truth

Jenin Battle Map and the Truth

 

After the rumors rampant before the report continued, despite knowing they would soon be proven a lie, continue claiming that upwards of 16,000 killed and the entire camp all but destroyed. The media in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv reported these claims often as facts. The end result was an area the size of a football pitch was destroyed and less than 100 casualties were suffered combined. The entire build-up crashed in a single hour when the truth cut it to the bone, to the marrow. But the lie of Jenin refuses to die as it is still referred to as the Jenin massacre. Reality rarely shines on the Jenin story as the only thing still massacred in Jenin is the truth and the truth is further wounded every time the lies seep forth being used to rile hatreds.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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April 14, 2015

They Have Actually Started Eating Each Other

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The differences between Hamas and Fatah have been well documented and their 2007 open warfare for the control of Gaza was simply the Super Bowl which had one merciful fact, it lasted just under one week from June 10 to June 15, 2007. The official casualty count was one-hundred-twenty Palestinian combatants and thirty-nine Palestinian civilians and two UN personnel. This was the most famous and heavily reported violence between Palestinian factions though there have been numerous breakouts of violence between different family groups, crime entities, competing terrorist groups and sometimes even violence between individuals. Most of the violence has been ignored by most of the world’s media as reporting on violent disagreements between separate Palestinians would detract from their normally presented angelic image usually used to paint the darlings of the mainstream leftist media. If Israelis had problems anywhere near the level of the animosities often overlooked between Hamas and Fatah it would lead every newscast and top every newspaper in the world. Unfortunately for the mainstream media the animosity between Hamas and Fatah and the charges Hamas levels against the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas has been such that it has demanded coverage from time to time. Just to give an idea of the extent that differences and threats between even Hamas and Fatah and the President of the Palestinian Authority just this past week Mahmoud al-Zahar, an ranking officer with Hamas, leveled challenges to the rule of Mahmoud Abbas calling his continued rule as illegitimate as he has not stood for election and thus Abbas’s term as “president” expired years ago. He further accused Abbas of “treachery” for allowing for security coordination and cooperation with the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Zahar also equated Abbas’s name as an “embarrassment” to every Palestinian. Zahar also addressed the charge that Hamas was working to form their own Palestinian state in Gaza by presenting that Hamas would not be satisfied with a state in Gaza or in the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria) as their intent is intent on the complete destruction of Israel. Mahmoud Al-Zahar further stated, “If we succeed in setting up a government in Gaza, autonomy, civil administration or any other framework on a portion of the land of Palestine, that does not mean that we give up on one other grain of Palestine.” Just one week earlier Al-Zahar demanded an end to the Palestinian Authority and explained that the “honeymoon period” was over as was any hope of continuing the “unity government” calling for a return to the “armed struggle.” Of course none of this was reported on the evening news throughout much of the world even including some newscasts in Israel. These little spats cannot be permitted to spoil the view that everything between the factions within the Palestinian Arab families might have even the slightest possibility of hitting a rough spot.

 

The truth is that rough spots is the norm between Hamas and Fatah or even Hamas and the Arab Palestinian Authority and have been that way since the elections in 2006 when Hamas won the Parliamentary elections and Abbas decided that there was no need for having an election for his spot as the President of the Arab Palestinian Authority as he had just succeeded the Late Yasser Arafat just over eighteen months earlier and extended his term until the next elections in 2009. This problem was the result of the hubris of the United States, surprise, surprise. President George W. Bush and his then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted that the Palestinian Parliamentary elections of 2006 had to be open to all the parties of the Arab Palestinian Authority, both Fatah and Hamas. Somehow they missed insisting on Islamic Jihad but why quibble over degrees of disasters. Mahmoud Abbas pleaded with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to reconsider informing that allowing for Hamas to field candidates against Fatah would result in a disaster and a Hamas victory, the only variable was the scale of the disaster. Prime Minister Sharon also demanded that this open election not be pressed as it would all but guarantee a Hamas victory which Israel pressed would be a disaster for Israel, any hopes for peace and might even result in a new war. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice remained adamant and the rest is history, Hamas won a majority in the Parliament and all elections going forward would end up cancelled after the Gaza War which led to a Hamas government in Gaza and a Fatah controlled Arab Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

 

There was a new wrinkle this past week when violence flared in Judea and Samaria between different segments of the Arab Palestinian Authority, of different Fatah factions. The latest flare-up has broken out in two locations, Jenin, once the location of a false massacre that to this day is still used to attempt to besmirch the IDF despite the fact that even the United Nations, not exactly the best friend when it comes to defending Israel, investigated the battle and found that for all intents and purposes the casualties were virtually all combatants and the numbers were minimal and nowhere near the numbers claimed by Palestinian spokespersons or numerous international NGOs, and Nablus, historically named Shechem since the times of ancient Israel of nearly three-thousand years ago. Both Jenin and Nablus are within Area A which places them under complete Arab Palestinian Authority control which includes both civil and security. The laws in these two cities and surrounding areas is made by the Arab Palestinian Authority Parliament and is enforced completely by the Arab Palestinian Authority Security Forces personnel. All of this was spelled out and stipulated part and parcel in the 1993 Oslo Accords and was intended to allow the Arabs to prove they were capable of self-rule and managing their own areas, the results of this have been mixed at best. The violence which broke out this week was not a sign that things are going neither well in Jenin nor in Nablus. Let us take the two locations separately.

 

Jenin has been a powder-keg as the refugee camp there has been the home of numerous different terrorist squads and crime within the camp has been a running problem as the refugees are denied employment and are prime candidates to join terrorist squads or turn to crime as any manner of escape from the camps is highly desirable. The fact that there are Arab Palestinian refugee camps within Judea and Samaria as well as within Gaza is virtually beyond belief. These Arabs are living in what can only be described as government provided apartment buildings similar in design to the government housing in the inner cities in the United States, permanent structures made of concrete forms and fully furnished just as any other apartment building except that these apartment buildings hold Palestinians denoted as refugees living amongst Palestinians in a Palestinian governed area. Should the world decide tomorrow to end the farce which is the Palestinian refugee permanent and festering situation where if either of your parents were refugees then you will grow up as a refugee and your children and their children yet to be born will also be refugees. The violence, which was reported in some news media given the kind of coverage where it was not a leading story, broke out on Friday between members of the Fatah Party, possibly from their “military wing” the al-Aqsa’s Military Brigades, and Arab Palestinian Authority Security Forces, the “military and police forces” of the Arab Palestinian Authority which is made up mostly if not entirely by Fatah members in central Jenin near the refugee camp. This was simply the latest in a series of firefights between the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades forces and the Arab Palestinian Authority forces. One such incident resulted in the Arab Palestinian Authority Security Force Headquarters being engulfed in a hail of bullets where fortunately and miraculously nobody was injured.

 

The amazing thing is the Fatah and the Arab Palestinian Authority both have Mahmoud Abbas as their leader. Abbas is the Chairman of the Fatah Party and the President of the Arab Palestinian Authority, so this pitted armed men from one side under Mahmoud Abbas shooting and engaged with armed men on the other side under Mahmoud Abbas, and this is a normalcy within their society with its dualities often drawn to separate the so-called refugees from the rest of the population. The next day, Saturday, in the Balata “Refugee Camp” in Nablus, the car of a leading Fatah activists, Fayiz Arafat, was set on fire. Several days before his vehicle was burnt, he was the target of an apparent assassination attempt which the local people placed the blame on the Arab Palestinian Authority Security officers. These shootings have been escalating under the radar for quite some time and only recently have they spilled out of control and thus started to be reported in some reports within the communities, both refugee and normative Arab Palestinians. These outbursts of violence have been escalating with their having been two main sources leading up to these escalations, coup attempts by Hamas and the influx of ISIS supporters starting to form cells which are then seen as rivals leading to their targeting by the long-standing forces from within Fatah, some of which also serve in the Arab Palestinian Authority Security Forces. Last year there was being formed a larger force by Hamas operatives for the purpose of launching a coup against Fatah and taking over the Arab Palestinian Authority in a similar escalation which resulted in Gaza being run by Hamas outside of the Arab Palestinian Authority control and rule. The Hamas growing threat was detected by Israeli forces who arrested the leaders of the cell and the cell collapsed fragmenting without its leadership.

 

The breakout of firefights between Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade forces and the Arab Palestinian Authority Security Forces is a surprising development. The supporters of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades forces lay all of the blame for instigating this situation by pressing their efforts against Fatah Activists Fayiz Arafat as part and parcel of their attempts to also take control over the Balata Refugee Camp wresting it from its local control and enforcement by the Fatah forces. This is not as far-fetched as it may at first appear as there has been any number of these situations recently. Some of the violence has occurred before but then mostly as isolated incidents. There was also the arrest and breakup of an ISIS cell in Hevron earlier this month and more such threats promise to appear as ISIS has gained strength by garnering recruits from both Fatah members and Hamas members plus anyone who have lost their faith in the faction’s ability to deliver on its promises of destroying Israel and instead seek out ISIS who have a record of being the stronger force capable of delivering on their promises for actions in place of words though we have seen little reservations. Should these differences continue to fracture the Arab society and place each group at the other groups’ throats with the violence constantly ramping upward becoming more serious, eventually destroying any hopes of the entire Arab community. Turning to ISIS will simply represent the Arab society proving that their intent was never to form their own state but solely to destroy the Jewish State of Israel. Such irreconcilable truth being exhibited will only serve to refute even their most ardent supporters’ claims that their intentions are of a limited nature and not having the complete destruction of Israel as their lifelong goal. Turning to ISIS will signal the end of the ability of even the Europeans and the lunatic fringe extreme leftists from denying the claim that the aims of the Palestinian society is destruction of Israel and not the construction of their own state.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 2, 2012

Syria vs. Israel; The Stories of Homs and Jenin

The violence in Syria gives the world, especially those who accuse Israel of using undue force and genocide, a chance to clearly differentiate between real indiscriminate use of military force to maximize casualties against limited, focused and precise force implemented to protect the innocent. Syria is the example of indiscriminate force being implemented with total disregard for the innocents and noncombatants while Israel during their Operation Defensive Shield which targeted terrorist training and storage areas while also taking known terror operatives into custody used precise and limited force in order to allow differentiation between combatants and innocents. We will compare these two military interventions using the primary city in which the conflict was focused, Homs in the current civil war in Syria and Jenin in the Israeli Defensive Shield operation used to combat terror activities.

 

Let us look at the quasi-similarities between these two uses of military force within an urban environment. In both cases the battlefield was within densely populated urban residential neighborhoods. In both battles command had to weigh the choice between the safety of the troops under their command and the safety of any innocent residents and bystanders to what had been decided was a necessary attack. The residents and bystanders had been informed of the coming battle and were given the necessary time and a safe route in order to allow them to leave after being checked for weapons and explosive devices. This is where the initial setup for these two engagements ends. In Jenin it was known that there were ambushes and booby-traps set in the vast majority of structures and the PLO forces were well armed and had spent weeks preparing the field to their advantage in order to inflict the maximum casualties on the Israeli troops. In Homs most of the people within the area being attacked by Assad forces are unarmed civilians. The areas in Homs under attack are not booby-trapped, or so it has been reported. The area has not been carefully prepared for repelling a military offensive and the residents and bystanders have been given no quarter or opportunity to leave the conflicted area.

 

The real differences become most evident when the means of engagement are scrutinized. The IDF could have very easily taken the option to use air strikes combined with artillery, tank and other indirect fire methods in order to flatten the entire area and inflict maximum casualties without regard for who was killed. This option was ruled out as being irresponsible and as risking the death or injury of too many innocents. Instead, the IDF chose to use ground forces sending in ground troops with orders to engage only armed opponents and giving any civilians found within the area of operations free passage to safety. This cost the IDF 23 soldiers killed and 52 soldiers wounded and on the Palestinian side it was reported that 53 people were killed which broke down as consisting of 48 militants and 5 civilians. This stands in stark contrast to the casualties in Homs. The Syrian forces have stood off and shelled the neighborhoods of Homs with artillery, mortars, tank main gun fire, and using snipers. This has led to approximately three hundred estimated killed with the majority having been unarmed civilians who fall into three categories, protestors, participants in a funeral procession, or completely innocent bystanders or residents of the areas under attack. Reports have claimed that many of the innocent unarmed casualties in Homs over the months of conflict were intentionally targeted despite their being obviously unarmed and not taking part in any anti-Assad government activities. The difference between these two military operations was that the Israeli forces did everything within their control including risking additional casualties among IDF troops in order to minimize innocent civilian injury or death while the Syrian forces under President Assad have shown no regard or differentiation between combatants and civilians often intentionally targeting unarmed civilians presumably to increase the pressures on the popular anti-Assad forces by their actions.

 

The final difference between these two instances of use of military forces against irregular opposition forces was the reaction by the rest of the world. Where Israel was found guilty of heinous war crimes even before the battle had concluded by Human Rights Watch and other NGOs, the denunciations of Syrian forces took months before they were voiced. The initial reaction to the violence in Syria was sympathy for President Assad who was lauded as a reformer who had been forced by the opposition into implementing his military forces. Eventually, almost six to nine months later, did the beginning of calls for an end to the killing and doubts about the intent and reasons behind the use of force by Assad begin to surface. With the IDF action in Jenin the initial casualty count was inflated each day after the attack until by weeks end some were accusing Israeli forces of having murdered thousands of innocent civilians. These claims were eventually investigated by the United Nations who confirmed the total numbers of casualties which had been reported by the IDF but with a different breakdown on the numbers of armed terrorist combatants and innocent civilians. The numbers killed in Homs and throughout Syria have been estimated higher by the opposition against Assad than have been estimated by NGOs and official organizations including the United Nations. Somewhere around six to ten weeks ago those who had been keeping a running record of casualties in the Syrian government conflict with the rebel forces announced one-by-one stated they were no longer counting casualties. Thus far only muted attempts have been committed to ending the viscous violence tearing the fabric of Syrian society and disrupting the lives of the Syrian people. From the first hours of the IDF committing to Operation Defensive Shield there were demands from numerous fronts that Israel cease immediately. We are still waiting for such a unified and strong insistence for Assad to stop his offensive against his opposition. Israeli use of arms was in response to almost three years of Intifada with weekly and sometimes daily suicide bombings in arcades, pizza eateries, busses, the central bus terminal, and other places where Israeli civilians frequented in numbers. President Assad implemented a military response to what was initially peaceful demonstrations calling for reforms and giving the people more voice in their government. The stark differences are simply astounding and verge on beyond belief. Well, they would be if it was not for the fact that the side receiving more universal criticism was Israel, that removes any of the surprise and replaces it with revulsion, aversion, and an unwillingness to accept the ever-present double standards.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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