I have read the news everyday during the Pillar Of Defense operation by the Israeli Defense Force. The bias from the likes of BBC News, CNN, News24 and City Press is quite overwhelming.
It is become harder and harder to read the news, knowing the truth about what is really going on in the lives of many Israelis.
There has been a lot of anger directed toward the Israeli army for the number of civilian deaths, women and children included. And while I feel for these people, unfortunately it’s an inevitable consequence of war.
There have been 1000’s of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, and whilst there had been few casualties, the fear that the Israelis have to live with was becoming too difficult to bear.
Israel had to do something about the imminent threat that the people of the South had to live with on a daily basis.
It was to my shock and horror that the international media and people as a whole condemned these acts of self defense. It is almost unimaginable that a country is expected to sit and watch while they are being pelted with destructive rockets. Some of the headlines read “Gaza under attack”. “Calls made for SA to cut ties with Israel.” “Binyamin Netanyahu faces arrest on entry to SA”
All this negative press that Israel is receiving gets me thinking.
On the 9th of September, 2003, a young woman, on the brink of starting a new life was killed in cold blood. Nava Appelbaum, a beautiful, young Jewish woman, who wanted to find the cure for cancer was blown up, together with her father on the eve of her wedding.
It was the infamous Cafe Hillel bombing in Jerusalem which claimed the lives of 5 other people and injured 50. This bomb was orchestrated by the Hamas of the Gaza strip, the Hamas who are so quick to claim “human rights violation.” I don’t remember seeing any people protesting outside parliament on the day that a wedding turned into a funeral.
(Navas wedding dressed was used as a covering of the Torah Ark at Rachel’s tomb and is inscribed with the words “Nava Appelbaum: A bride for eternity.)
Another incident that comes to mind is the story of, Koby Mandell. He was a fun loving 13 year old boy, whose only crime was skipping school to go hiking with his friend, Yosef Ishran.
It was every parent’s nightmare when the boys where found the next morning, and according to the police, both boys had "been bound, stabbed and beaten to death with rocks". The newspaper, USA today, reported, "The walls of the cave in the Judean Desert were covered with the boys' blood, reportedly smeared there by the killers.” It’s not clear who was responsible for the gruesome attack, but one thing is clear, it was a member of the “helpless” Palestinian people.
The pain of these boys’ parents is unthinkable, and although this brutal incident did cause an international outcry, I don’t remember the South African government condemning the killing of innocent children. Those people who are so vocal about the poor Palestinian people, where unquestionably very, very quiet.
Here is an extract from “blessings of a broken heart” by Sherry Mandell,
“Koby's death is a Biblical death. It is a murder that is shocking in its raw pain, its unmediated cruelty. Two Jewish boys, my son, Koby Mandell, and his friend, Yosef Ish-Ran were attacked in a cave by Arab terrorists, and bludgeoned to death with stones the size of bowling balls. I can't think about a murderer pummeling my child to death with rocks. I don't know how to cope with the pain and the evil. I imagine my son afraid, crying out, dying alone, in horror and agony. A thirteen-year-old boy.”
Did these boys do anyone wrong? No, they were two young Jewish boys, having fun, murdered purposely in cold blood. It’s hard to believe, after an incident like this, that the Palestinians really want peace.
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin sums it up perfectly, “[I]f a child is killed by Israel, it is in an act of defense directed at a building where shots were fired at soldiers. In the case of Koby and Yossi, the enemy picked out innocent children to destroy them”
Then I thought of the most recent of these tragedies. An act of sheer cruelty, carried out by two Palestinians, the very people who gain so much of the world’s sympathy.
This happened in March 2011, after Israel had relaxed some of its security measures. Two Palestinian youths infiltrated an Israeli settlement and slashed the throats of a mother, a father and three children, one who was just 3 months old at the time. The graphic details are heartbreaking, and are too difficult for me to even write down.
The two Palestinians, Amjad Awad and Hakim Mazen Awad were apprehended, found guilty and are currently serving 5 life sentences. They offer no regrets, for committing this heinous crime. The Jerusalem post reported that on a local PA TV show Awads’ relatives called him a “hero” and a “legend” for this brutal family killing.
To my knowledge, South Africa wasn’t part of the international community who condemned the attack. The same South Africa who condemns Israel at every chance, who are so worried about the human rights of the Palestinian people, that they overlook the stabbing of a 3 month old baby.
It was also hardly a coincidence that the BBC had to “apologise” for the lack of coverage of the atrocity, claiming, “It was a very busy time, and the news editors were under a lot of pressure that day.” Again there are double standards, and the favour falls on the Palestinian people.
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the terror the Israeli people face. The fear, that Israeli’s experience, every time there is as Arab on a crowded bus. The niggling feeling that a busy restaurant could turn into a gruesome bloodbath.
It’s a reality. It’s a reality that sometimes has to be dealt with, with a bit of force. It’s called self defense and it’s in the name of Nava, Koby, Yosef, the Fogel family and the many Israelis who are the victims of purposeful, hateful terror.
People who maim and murder with reckless abandon are not looking for peace; they are not looking for a ceasefire. And so Israel is going to have to do what it’s got to do-fight back.