The chaos of fighting terrorists
Regarding “The IDF knows how to probe” (editorial, September 7): The IDF’s finding is of a likely probability that Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was accidentally killed by an Israeli soldier. Any rational observer would come to a similar conclusion. If the trained Israeli soldier wanted to kill her and her colleague Ali al-Samoudi, he could have killed each of them with one or two shots.
The fact that multiple shots were fired in their direction, wounding him in the shoulder and killing Abu Akleh proves that it was an accident and not deliberate. This is what happens in the chaos of fighting terrorists.
Let’s not forget, over the years, hundreds of journalists have been killed in a war zone; it’s a dangerous occupation. Last month, Tim Page, the renowned Vietnam War photographer, died. He was wounded four times, including being pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, but he was revived.
Undue haste and recklessness
Though your editorial “Decision needed” (September 9) correctly calls out the United States in its criticism of Israel’s rules of engagement, the premise upon which it is based is somewhat faulty. You assume that the US administration is ignorant of the arduous training that Israel’s military personnel must undergo, or the protocols governing hostile actions through which the IDF operate. Not so.
Surely, from the early days of 1949, when diplomatic relations between the two countries were first established, there has been a military liaison monitoring how Israel conducts itself on the field of battle. It goes without saying, I should think, that the United States is fully cognizant of the procedures and policies that determine how our men and women in uniform behave, both during peacetime as well as in theaters of war. As far as the American government is concerned, Israel’s undue haste and recklessness resulted in a needless death.
Which, of course, overlooks the fact that Shireen Abu Akleh voluntarily put herself in danger. She could have been a doctor, a social worker, a teacher, a bank executive. She chose, instead, to be a journalist and was willing to assume the risks that can be expected when employed in a hazardous occupation. Her death was indeed unfortunate, regardless of the rifle from which the errant bullet was shot.
That, though, is no reason for Israel’s armed forces to become hesitant when in the midst of a combat situation. As you rightly pointed out, hundreds of journalists who have found themselves in situations similar to the one Abu Akleh was in, have been killed over the years. Strange, though, that an apt description of these occurrences has not yet been coined.
Clearly, these are not incidents of friendly fire, nor can they be appropriately referred to as collateral damage. Peripheral fatalities, maybe?
Certainly not the last tsar
Amotz Asa-El’s article is one of my favorite weekly articles because I find that it is usually well researched and unbiased. But “The last Soviet tsar” (September 9) was way off the mark.
It has always amazed me that a country/union so rich in culture and natural resources has always been ruled by people who have sought to isolate it from the rest of the world and rule its people with an iron fist. His ego came before his people and Putin is a prime example of the Russian tsar. His war with Ukraine is senseless and was totally uncalled for – and at the cost of tens of thousands of lives.
Gorbachev was different. He was the first and only Russian leader to realize that for Russia to advance, it had to change – and change dramatically. He not only led the changes, he also implemented them, notwithstanding, I am sure, strong resistance from his secret service. Maybe you can call him a “good” tsar, but certainly not the last tsar – the world is still waiting for that day.
Comparison of Gorbachev to Shimon Peres and F. W. de Klerk is inappropriate. Shimon Peres tried to impose his peace process with an opponent whom we all knew was playing him. It cost many lives – both Israeli and Arab.
F. W. de Klerk was forced into handing over control of South Africa by western world pressure. All was fine while Nelson Mandela was still in control. However, after he left the scene, the country became like the rest of Africa – lawless and financially ruined.
Much more of a pariah state
Herb Kenon’s article “Iran nuclear-deal fatigue” (September 9) describes an inability of the public to deal with the ebbs and flows of the endless negotiations, especially including reasonable disagreements among military and security people as to whether a reconstituted deal would be good or bad for Israel in the long term. However, it omits additional factors that may affect some Israeli opinions on the matter.
Firstly, Iran is aware of and should fear Israel’s second strike capabilities. Large numbers of cruise missiles being launched from Israeli submarines is just one example. This could happen to the Iranians even if an attack failed due to Israeli missile defense capabilities.
Secondly, Iran has to consider that if its attack somehow succeeded, it would kill large numbers of Arabs, including Palestinians and those in countries that surround Israel. They might even damage and/or destroy the Dome of the Rock and their precious al-Aqsa Mosque. Iran would be much more of a pariah state than it is today.
Thirdly, Israel should be able to rely on the IDF, including its demonstrated missile defense capabilities for protection, and as well as the Mossad’s ability to “interfere” with Iranian nuclear development.
What we do know is that if the JCPOA agreement is reconstituted, Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, and those funds will be used by Iran to increase its support for Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., as well as for all sorts of malicious terrorist activities. And of course, treaty or no treaty, Israel has to take the same actions, because Iran can never be trusted. The discussion above leads to a conclusion that it would be better for Israel if there was no deal.
After reading the latest article by Gershon Baskin titled “The dividing line” on September 8, I feel that Mr. Baskin is suffering from a variant of Stockholm syndrome. The name Stockholm syndrome was originally coined after a bank robbery in 1973 in Stockholm. The bank employees were held hostage for six days.
Despite the conditions that the hostages were subjected to, some of the hostages began to form a bond with their abusers and ended up supporting them. After they were released, some of the hostages refused to testify against the bank robbers and even began to raise money for their defense.
People with Stockholm syndrome form a psychological connection with those who wish to harm them and begin sympathizing with their viewpoint. Many medical professionals consider this condition to be a survival mechanism in coping with trauma. Unfortunately, there is no known medical treatment for Stockholm syndrome, and it appears that Mr. Baskin will continue to identify with those who wish to destroy the one Jewish state in the world that he claims he wants to preserve.
Gershon Baskin’s latest screed, as opposed to the monotonous fare he usually serves, goes beyond the pale in this column and that of a few weeks ago. In the former, he boastfully admits traveling to Europe to collaborate (in his own words) with the patently biased and open-ended UN commission of inquiry. In this past week’s harangue, his claim of being the scion of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi notwithstanding, he places his identity outside the national consensus that considers Israel the national homeland of the Jewish people, finding more commonality with his “Arab brothers and sisters.”
Baskin twice calls for honesty. Well, let’s be honest and admit that the so-called Palestinians are an invented people whose origins are in the 1964 collaboration of Ahmad Shukeiri with the KGB in the interest of defeating Israel through organs like the UN, where they could garner an automatic majority vote against Israel’s interests as opposed to their aborted efforts to physically destroy Israel through warfare.
Baskin’s use of the term “Jewish axis” which he puts in the mouths of Right-leaning Jews I find odious given the association of the word with the evil of World War Two.
The Land of Israel is not the homeland of the “Palestinians” (just ask MK Ahmad Tibi where his family comes from) and they have not lived on the land for centuries. Nineteenth-century visitors to the Holy Land such as Mark Twain described the land as desolate, uninhabited, and barren. Baskin is entitled to his own opinions but not his own facts.
Every sovereign nation has the right to identify its ethnicity (language, religion, and culture) as its national heritage but is enjoined against discrimination against its minority populations. Israel as a democracy is no exception despite the canard of apartheid.
I too do not know what the solution to the ongoing conflict will be. Some accommodation will have to be made but not before our adversaries renounce their religious and political goal of eradicating the Jews and the State of Israel.
In his excellent article “Butt out!” (September 9), David Weinberg exhorts us not to give in to bullying, especially from the Americans. This has led to many of us questioning why on earth did the Israeli government give a huge boost to the Palestinian propaganda machine by admitting the possibility of guilt in the death of the Al Jazeera journalist?
Why? What possible benefit did the government imagine can be gained, when right from the start the Palestinians were totally uncooperative, refused to hand over the alleged bullet, and jumped from any possibility of a “tragic error” to the accusation of a deliberate murder?
From a psychological perspective, this admission is not just unnecessary, but incredibly foolish. There is absolutely no way in which Israel “looks good.” Having denied responsibility for so long but now acknowledging it, who do the people who orchestrated this, think is going to be impressed one little bit? It is a huge propaganda disaster that should lead to the dismissal of all those responsible.
No, no and again no
Regarding Greer Fay Cashman’s article “Nides: Two states will keep Israel Jewish, democratic” (September 8), I am sure the Jewish American ambassador knows that two states will definitely not be feasible ever, not only because the mandate for Palestine gave us the land in perpetuity, but also because the people there, with the help of UNWRA schools from their inception, and imams for a century or more, have been fed nothing but lies and hate against the Jewish people.
I have no doubt Ambassador Nides knows that splitting our land into two states for a bogus nation that wants nothing less than all of it, and pays for the slaughter of Jews, would be slitting our own throats – which I am glad to say is something we will not do, under any circumstances. It therefore must be that he has no choice but to follow the inane Obama/Biden line.
No, no and again no to “two states.” The most they can ever expect is autonomy in a fixed area in which Israel will be responsible for security issues and will have the right to punish those who act against its people or against the land.
We have shown such patience and reserve in spite of their malevolence, when we are entitled to counter their war against us and even drive them out of our land if they persist.