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Archive for May, 2010

World War II POW reflects on seeing Stars and Stripes raised at end of WWII

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

RANCHO SAN DIEGO, California –World War II POW Sy Brenner, who successfully hid his Jewish identity from his German captors until he was rescued by American troops at the end of the war, reflected in a You Tube video for Memorial Day on his reaction to seeing the Nazi flag lowered and the U.S. Stars and Stripes raised in Europe.

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American Jewish Committee condemns pro-Hamas ‘Free Gaza’ movement

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release) – AJC condemned the pro-Hamas “Free Gaza” movement and its supporters for deliberately provoking a violent confrontation with the Israeli Navy in its attempt to sail a flotilla of ships to Gaza.

“This tragedy on the high seas could have been avoided, and we regret the loss of life,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “The fact that the flotilla refused to cooperate with Israel’s repeated entreaties to unload their humanitarian cargo in Ashdod for delivery to Gaza proves that violent clashes are exactly what the international supporters of Hamas must have been seeking.”

Israel, under international law, has every right to intercept the ships, and had warned the flotilla to not attempt to land in Gaza, which is controlled since 2007 by the terrorist Hamas, a group that openly seeks the destruction of Israel, and seized control of Gaza in a violent coup ousting the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas.

“The ironically-named ‘Free Gaza’ movement, which exists to bolster the despotic Hamas regime and its Muslim Brotherhood support base in Turkey and elsewhere, sailed this flotilla not to deliver humanitarian aid — which Israel offered to deliver by land after a security check — but to add an international dimension to the relentless campaign of Hamas against Israel’s very existence,” said Harris.

When Israeli commandos boarded the ships, they were met with violence from a supposedly non-violent group, including gunfire from automatic weapons and attacks with knives and axes. Several Israelis were wounded. As a result of the clash triggered by the pro-Hamas group, a number of them were killed or wounded in the confrontation.

As the flotilla sailed toward Gaza, Al Jazeera television showed pro-Hamas activists chanting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic songs, including the notorious words, “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammed will return.” One Hamas supporter declared that the aim of the flotilla was either of two “good things…achieving martyrdom or reaching Gaza.”

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Preceding provided by the American Jewish Committee

U.S. State Department expects Israel to conduct ‘full and credible’ investigation of shipboard violence

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Monday, May 31,  issued the following statement concerning the Gaza Flotilla:

“The United States deeply regrets the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident today aboard the Gaza-bound ships. We are working to ascertain the facts, and expect that the Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation.

“The United States remains deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza. We will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, along with international NGOs and the UN, to provide adequate access for humanitarian goods, including reconstruction materials, through the border crossings, while bearing in mind the Government of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

However, Hamas’ interference with international assistance shipments and work of nongovernmental organizations, and its use and endorsement of violence, complicates efforts in Gaza. Mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by governments and groups that wish to do so. These mechanisms should be used for the benefit of all those in Gaza.

Ultimately, this incident underscores the need to move ahead quickly with negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive peace in the region. 

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Preceding provided by the U.S. State Department

StandWithUs: It did not have to be like this

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

By Roz Rothstein

Roz Rothstein

LOS ANGELES — We regret the violence, unnecessary casualties, and loss of life instigated by the anti-Israel flotilla when it defied national and international law, and provoked a confrontation with Israel early this morning (May 31)

It did not have to be like this.

Israel has sought peace and compromise with its neighbors for all of its 62 years.

However, Hamas activists and supporters, in an intentional provocation against Israel, violated international law, violently attacked Israeli military and security personnel with steel pipes, knives, rocks and, according to the most recent news reports, with gun fire, and provoked bloodshed.

It did not have to turn out this way.

The organizers of the anti-Israel flotilla claimed that their goal was bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza’s residents. Israel offered to accommodate them in any way possible, and deliver the donated goods through Ashdod, using normal search procedures. The activists rejected the offer.

The Israeli navy contacted the boats, and warned them not to proceed to Gaza, but to go instead to Ashdod. They refused.

Their refusal violated international law and directly attacked Israel’s sovereign rights. The Oslo Accords give Israel sovereignty over the Gaza coast, and international law allows countries to ask suspicious boats to identify themselves before entering their waters, and to require that they conform to the nation’s laws and security needs.

Israel cannot allow unknown goods and people to enter Gaza. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist regime that calls for the murder of Jews, the “obliteration” of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist theocracy. In the past, Israel has intercepted weapons-laden boats headed for Gaza’s coast.

No government allows unidentified people and goods to flout their border regulations and enter their countries freely. If these activists behaved similarly at passport and security control in the U.S. or any other nation’s shores, ignoring their official protocol and violently attacking security personnel, they would also have been stopped and arrested.

It should not come as a surprise that any country’s navy would find it necessary to board and search a vessel attempting illegally to enter their sovereign shores. What is surprising is that the Israeli security personnel were brutally attacked with knives, lead pipes, and other weapons when they carried out predictable and routine security procedures.

Israel has pressing security needs on its border with Gaza, which is controlled by a terrorist organization, and has become a center of other terrorist entities as well, such as Al Qaeda and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas was responsible for close to 40% of the suicide attacks against Israeli citizens, has launched over 8,000 rocket attacks at communities in southern Israel since 2005, and intensively smuggles weapons to continue its war. Israel could not give a free pass to vessels that might contribute to Hamas’ terrorist efforts.

It did not have to be like this.

The flotilla organizers claim they are “peace activists.” They should be very concerned that the Hamas government they seek to aid is an enemy of peace, opposes all compromise and negotiations, and systematically incites its people to hate and kill Israelis. They should be concerned that Hamas is a brutal regime that has tortured and murdered almost a thousand Palestinian rivals, summarily executes alleged Israeli “collaborators,” terrorizes and oppresses Gaza residents, and has held kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit incommunicado for nearly three years, violating all human rights standards. They should also be concerned that in supporting the Hamas regime, they endorse the murder of Jews and the genocidal threats of Hamas’ main sponsor, Iran.

It did not have to be like this.

The flotilla organizers could have sincerely sought peace by urging Hamas to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, accept past Palestinian-Israeli agreements, and reject terrorism and violence. Instead, the flotilla activists endorse Hamas’ current extremism and belligerence.

People of good will everywhere should condemn the flotilla’s goals and its violence.

From Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch:

On the day before the Gaza flotilla confronted the Israeli navy, Al-Jazeera TV documented the pre-battle atmosphere created by men on board the flotilla, chanting a well known Islamic battle cry invoking the killing and defeat of Jews in battle:

“[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!”

Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad’s army in 628. Many Jews were killed in that battle, which marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia. There are Muslims who see that as a precursor for future wars against Jews. At gatherings and rallies of extremists, this chant is often heard as a threat to Jews to expect to be defeated and killed again by Muslims.

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Rothstein is president and chief executive officer of StandWithUs, a pro-Israel advocacy group based in Los Angeles

Gaza blockade legal response to constant missile attacks on Israel — Consulate-General

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (Press Release)–The following statement was issued Monday, May 31, by Israel’s consulate general in Los Angeles:

“Israel regrets all loss of human life and injuries which came as result of the unfortunate events aboard the vessel Mavi Marmara on Monday, May 31.

“The responsibility for the consequences of this politically motivated publicity stunt aimed at capturing the attention of the international media, rests on the organizers of the flotilla, which included elements with links to Hamas – a murderous terrorist organization which smuggles arms aimed at killing Israeli citizens.
  
“Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, more than 10,000 rockets and mortars have been fired on our civilian population.  As a result, Israel had no other option but to impose a naval blockade in order to stem the flow of such munitions.
 
“Israel appealed to the convoys of ships to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod so that humanitarian supplies could be delivered to Gaza via land through existing crossings after being checked for dangerous materials.  The flotilla rejected the offer, and one of the organizers themselves said that issue was not about the delivery of humanitarian aid, but rather about breaking the ‘siege’.  All attempts at dialogue and reaching an understanding were rejected, leaving no doubt that this was as an act of provocation having nothing to do with a genuine concert for the wellbeing of Gazans.  Ships forcing their way into Gaza will do nothing to aid the people there.
 
“Israel said that it would use all means at its disposal to prevent the vessels from violating Israeli and international law.
 
“Under international law, a maritime blockage is recognized as a legitimate tool during a time of armed conflict.  A blockade may be imposed at sea, including international waters, so long as it does not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral states.  International maritime law clearly states that when a maritime blockade is in effect, no boats – including both civilian and enemy – can enter the blockaded area.  Any vessel that violates or attempts to violate a maritime blockade may be captured over even attacked under international law.
 
“When it became clear that the flotilla of 6 vessels intended to break the blockade, Israel attempted to intercept the boats and then boarded the vessels to escort them to Ashdod.  Due to the large number of vessels, there was an operational need to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from our shores. 
 
“Five of the boats proceeded to Ashdod without incident, while active resistance was encountered on the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara.  Aboard the ship, Israeli forces were savagely beaten with lead pipes, knives and pistols prepared in advanced by the crew.  Several Israeli soldiers were wounded as result of the confrontations, including one who is in critical condition.
 
Israel will continue to act decisively to protect its sovereignty and right to protect itself.  No other nation would accept a violation of this sort.
“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  Thousands of tons of food, goods and equipment are transferred to residents daily by Israel and international organizations such as the United Nations.
 
“Since January 2009, more than 1 million tons of humanitarian aid have been transferred.  That is approximately one ton of aid for each man, woman and child in Gaza.
 
“During the first quarter of 2010 alone, almost 100,000 tons of supplies have been provided, including: 48,000 tons of food products; approximately 550 of milk powder and baby food; 2,700 tons of rice; 40,000 tons of wheat; 185 tons of aggregates; 2,000 tons of clothing and footwear; 20 tons of iron; 25 tons of cement; and more than 1,000 tons of medicine and medical equipment. 
 
“In a typical week, 15,000 tons of supplies enter Gaza including truckloads of meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fish, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other essential goods.
 
“Similarly, fuel and electricity needs are being met, and hundreds of Gazans receive medical treatment in Israel.”

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Preceding provided by Israel’s Consulate-General in Los Angeles

Attacks on Israeli soldiers were planned and executed by extremists of flotilla

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)– The tragic events aboard the Mavi Marmara on Monday  were the result of a deliberate and unnecessary provocation organized primarily by groups with ties to terrorist entities including Hamas. As information emerges regarding what really occurred, it is apparent that members of the so-called humanitarian mission planned and executed attacks on soldiers and sailors from the IDF who repeatedly requested calm and gave multiple warnings urging boats to go to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the aid would be unloaded and shipped through legal means to Gaza.

It is now apparent that the soldiers were armed with paint ball guns and were ordered not to use pistols unless faced with a life-threatening situation. They were confronted with knives, clubs and other weapons as well as live fire from guns stolen from an Israeli soldier. Several months ago, the Egyptian government prevented an envoy with aid accompanied by many of the same people from entering Gaza.

“We urge all governments to refrain from a rush to judgment and to allow the facts to emerge. The Prime Minister is on his way back to Israel and will then be able to address this fully. There is nothing to be gained from succumbing to the pressures of those who seek an immediate condemnation of Israel,” said Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chair Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.

“The Turkish group IHH, which organized the flotilla, is a radical anti-Western group that supports Hamas and is tied to the Islamic Brotherhood. IHH sought a confrontation from the very beginning of this trip. Israel requested that the flotilla redirect its humanitarian supplies to the port of Ashdod as a peaceful and non-violent option in order to deliver the supplies to Gaza through the appropriate and legal channels. Had the IHH not rejected Israel’s repeated offers and heeded Israel’s warnings, this outbreak of violence would have been easily avoided and the goods delivered to Gaza through the appropriate channels. Video footage shows that the Israeli soldiers repeatedly asked for calm, but the activists were trained and prepared to attack and inflict injuries.

“We regret the loss of life and the injuries. But the responsibility for these tragic events lies primarily with those who organized and carried out this extremist mission and those that aided and abetted them.

“The maritime blockade of Gaza – similar to those imposed by other countries in conflict situations – was imposed to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza and to protect the citizens of Israel who are subject to ongoing rocket attacks, with 150 this year alone. In the past, such ships were also used to bring arms to those fighting Israel’s right to exist. Following Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and Hamas’ victory in the Gaza elections, Hamas took complete control, expelling Fatah and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Europe and others and they all do not engage with Hamas.

“Israel has delivered more than 1 million tons of humanitarian aid since Operation Cast Lead last January and continues to deliver 10-15,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza per week. This is in addition to the vast amount of goods smuggled into Gaza through Egypt and other means.

“Why did we not hear the same voices of condemnation raised as thousands of rockets poured down on Israel or on behalf of Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas more than four years ago and held incommunicado ever since? We wish that other countries would have acted like Cyprus, which refused to allow the flotilla to sail from its ports,” said Solow and Hoenlein.
 
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Preceding provided by Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Gaza flotilla was an intentional provocation, not a peace convoy

May 31, 2010 1 comment

By Bruce Kesler

Bruce Kesler

ENCINITAS, California — Let’s cut out the crap from the international sob-sisters and abetters of Gazan Hamas thugs. Let the UN Security Council show this video upon its big screen, and then choke on the hasty lies swallowed by puerile politicians of pusillanimity pontificating from far away, and the media that vomited the lies upon its viewers and readers. Those who say anything Israel did was disproportionate parrot the word on cue, without any sense of what it means, in definition or actuality.

There are only two things disproportionate: 1. Israelis were armed with paintball guns and did not use more force to quickly quell and control those violently prepared upon the Mavi Marmara. Instead, Israel, as usual restrained itself, while no such self-control was planned by or exerted upon those on the ship. 2. The usual crowd of sympathizers to terror and antagonists to self-defense knee-jerk echoing of clearly wrong, inane and antagonistic charges against Israel, even despite the clear evidence to the contrary.

The blockade of Gaza is to prevent war material from entering. It preserves the peace. The convoy was offered but refused to have its cargo inspected and if humanitarian transferred to Gaza.

The convoy was not humanitarian in intent or action.  It was a blatant political propaganda ploy, intentionally belligerent in word and deed, to provoke in order to pressure Israel to commit suicide, opening Gaza’s borders to the type of infusion of deadly weapons and missiles for Hamas to attack Israel that flows unimpeded into Lebanon.

Any who defend the convoy or its passengers are actually furthering avoidable death and war. 

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Kesler is a freelance writer based in Encinitas.  This appeared previously on Maggie’s Farm web site.