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What we were talking about this week

Rocket attacks from Gaza

Overnight in Israel between Monday and Tuesday, a large number of mortars and rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israeli civilians, many intercepted by the Iron Dome.

Gaza border community residents were instructed to stay in safe spaces after Code Red sirens went off. Over the next day or so, they were told to return to these safe spaces a number of times. Thankfully, there were no casualties, but it could have been shocking, especially considering two of those rockets landed in the yard of a kindergarten. Luckily, the students were not there at the time.
My question: Is this the next stage in Hamas’ “peaceful demonstrations” against Israel? Were these peaceful rockets that were fired at Israeli civilians with one landing near a kindergarten?

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In the course of around 24 hours, over 100 rockets were fired at Israeli civilians. This video illustrates the amount of time most residents of the south have to make it to a safe space after they hear a Code Red siren.


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Families living in communities right on the border with Gaza have even less time than that. What would you do?

Meanwhile, the United States called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the latest attacks on Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, “The recent attacks out of Gaza are the largest we have seen since 2014. Mortars fired by Palestinian militants hit civilian infrastructure, including a kindergarten. The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza.”

Even though the US called the meeting, and I know they have Israel’s back, I could not help but be concerned that the other member states were going to use this opportunity to call on Israel’s response to be proportionate.

So tell us, what is a proportionate response to 120 rockets?

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The emergency UN Security Council briefing on Gaza took place on Wednesday, but shamefully Kuwait blocked the US draft statement.


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US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made the following remarks:

“Thank you, Madam President, and thank you, Special Coordinator Mladenov, for your briefing.

The United States called this meeting today to talk about the dangerous and destructive activities of the terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip. You might think that the rest of the Security Council would join us in condemning a terrorist organization like Hamas. There shouldn’t be any debate about this. But of course, because this attack involves Israel, the standard is different.

The United States drafted a Security Council statement that would have condemned Hamas for launching rockets and endangering civilians. This should have been a no-brainer. You would think no one would want to side with Hamas when it comes to condemning rocket launches. But the statement was blocked.

We called for a meeting under the agenda item “threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.” But again, we were blocked. Apparently, some Council members did not think Hamas launching rockets qualified as terrorism. The United States begs to differ.” Read more.

The US has since also made a statement about the Kuwaiti draft resolution:

“The United States will unquestionably veto Kuwait’s draft resolution. It is a grossly one-sided approach that is morally bankrupt and would only serve to undermine ongoing efforts toward peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. There is not one single mention of Hamas in the resolution, when Hamas is chiefly responsible for the recent violence in Gaza. The text criticizes “excessive” and “indiscriminate” use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, when in fact, it is Hamas that fired 70 rockets indiscriminately into Israeli towns this week. The resolution calls on Israel to immediately cease its actions in self-defense, but makes no mention of Hamas’ aggressive actions against Israeli security forces and civilians. The resolution calls for immediate steps toward ending Israeli restrictions on access into Gaza, while making no mention of Egypt’s restrictions and no mention of Hamas’ deliberate attacks against Israel’s determined efforts to provide humanitarian access into Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing. Those who choose to vote in favor of this resolution will clarify their own lack of fitness to take part in any credible negotiations between the two parties.”

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Breaking the Silence – Don’t break the truth!

Avner Gvaryahu, Executive Director of Breaking the Silence who will talk to Australian audiences next week, can tell as many lies as he likes, but he can never escape the truth.

These brave soldiers served in Avner’s unit in the army, and they have a clear message – “it is ok to criticise, it is wrong to lie”. This video is a must watch to understand the bigger picture.

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Please also read this brilliant piece in yesterday’s Australian Jewish News by Benayahu Carmi, who is one of the soldiers who served with Avner and speaks about his experiences in the video above.

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Avner has since claimed that he and Benayahu never served together, but I think you get a clear picture of who is telling the truth here.

Benayahu writes:

“I am not saying that mistakes are not made or that from time to time individual soldiers fail to live up to the high expectations that the IDF has for its members.

The IDF has an effective system of investigation and prosecution for those soldiers who fail to adhere to its code of conduct and it is to that system that Avner and his colleagues can and should report their allegations with the detail that would be necessary to allow an investigation (and if necessary a prosecution) to take place. What I fundamentally disagree with is BTS’ method of shopping these outrageous and unsubstantiated allegations to a willing media outside of Israel in order to demonise and isolate our country. That is no way to achieve the change that they say they want and nor will it ever result in a single alleged offender every being brought to justice.

Australia needs to know that the voice of BTS is not the voice of the mainstream in Israel where an overwhelming portion of the population are serving or will serve in the IDF. It is not even the voice of the mainstream Israeli left. It represents, at best, a very tiny fraction of the citizen/soldiers of Israel, and it does so through lies. I have no problem with Avner’s political views. I do have a problem with the fact that he and his friends behave as if they are above democracy in Israel, better than the system of checks and balances that underpin it and somehow more moral than the millions who have served before them, with them and after them. They are trying to force their opinions about the resolution of the conflict by inciting the world against the only democracy in the Middle East.

I will not be there when Avner speaks. I do not believe that anybody can effectively contradict him and his colleagues as with rare exceptions nobody is able to test the allegations that he makes. I hope that in my own small way I have encouraged you to question his lies and not simply accept them as he would have you do- on face value and without independent verification.

My name is Benayahu Carmi. I am not a senior officer, and I am no expert in matters of National Security. I am a soldier/citizen of Israel that served in the same unit as Avner Gvaryahu. I served with him for three years shoulder to shoulder and he defames me and all of our brothers in arms with his lies. Don’t be fooled.”

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60 Minutes and “Holy Real Estate”

Who watched the “Holy real estate” segment on 60 Minutes Australia last week and had some issues with how they presented Israel?

HonestReporting have put together this brilliant article which takes on 60 Minutes point by point.

“There is a persistent myth in journalism that speaking to at least one person on “both sides”of an issue creates a balanced, accurate and informative story.

But balanced journalism requires identifying the representative, mainstream voices and fitting them into an accurate understanding of the overall context. Focusing on extreme, polarizing voices creates merely an illusion of balance.

Enter Tom Steinfort from 60 Minutes Australia who recently visited Jerusalem and managed to do a disservice to both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Read more 

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Headline fail of the week


HEADLINE FAIL: This is precisely why headlines matter.

Last week is was revealed by by Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry that 8 month old Layla al-Ghandour had been taken off the official list of Palestinians killed in border clashes with Israeli troops because she may have died of a preexisting medical condition.

Layla’s death is incredibly sad, but the images of her that were posted around the world were used to further condemn Israel for the events surrounding the violent Palestinian riots. When it was later revealed that Layla may have died from a pre-existing medical condition, and not from Israeli tear gas as was reported, those media outlets that were quick to use Layla’s image to further condemn Israel, were less forthcoming in revealing the true cause of her death.

The health ministry is now conducting an investigation into her death to determine the truth cause. She was therefore left off the full list of “martyrs”, as the health ministry called the 50+ terrorists killed during violent protests.

Given this new information, it seems that media organisations are still falling over themselves in order to continue on with their anti-Israel narrative, as was the case with the Daily Times, who ran with the headline “8-month old killed due to Israeli tear gas not included in Gaza ministry’s death count”.

Sorry Daily Times, she was not included because it would appear that she may not have died due to tear gas inhalation, and not the other way around. We urge you and other outlets to at least tell the story the way even HAMAS says it happens, and not according to their own agenda!

The original article came from AFP News Agency with the headline “Gaza tear gas baby left off official death count”. While it is not much better, why did the Daily Times feel the need to change it and in doing so, change the entire narrative of the story?

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Great reads of the week

I am not used to seeing great, pro-Israel Op-Eds in Fairfax publications, so I was surprised to see two in the last week.

The first is from last Sunday, where  the Australian Financial Review carried a fantastic Op-Ed by Former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer entitled “Feckless West can’t keep falling for Hamas propaganda“. He talks about the real reason why there is no peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But first, he begins:
“There’s something a little undignified about former ministers and prime ministers lecturing their successors. After all, their successors operate in a different environment from their predecessors. What’s more, when you reflect on the past you somehow remember things more favourably than they were.

So let me be really positive about my Liberal successor, Julie Bishop. She took a courageous decision to oppose outright the biased resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate why Israeli troops had fired on and killed about 60 Palestinians on the Israel/Gaza border.

In doing that, she applied the test I always applied to the numerous Middle East resolutions put up in every imaginable UN forum; support the resolution if you think it will help the peace process. If you don’t and, what’s more, if it’s just a political stunt, then oppose it.”

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The second piece appeared in today’s Sydney Morning Herald entitled “The truth behind Hamas and the Gaza protests” by Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer.

Earlier in the week, the Sydney Morning Herald had the nerve to quote Avner Gvaryahu declaring, “It makes no sense to bring a sniper rifle to an unarmed protest”, a lie he repeated again later in the article.

In Ambassador Sofer’s article, the SMH and their audience is thankfully reminded that: “The trouble is that not even Hamas claimed that the protests were peaceful, not even Hamas claimed that the protestors were unarmed, and not even Hamas claimed any connection whatsoever to the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. On the contrary – it was Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar who proclaimed in April that the purpose of the rioting is to “tear down the border and tear their [Israelis] hearts from their bodies”. It was the co-founder of Hamas Mahmoud Al-Zahhar who made no bones about stating publicly “when we talk about peaceful resistance we are deceiving the public… This is bolstered by military force and our security agencies”. It was Hamas social media outlets which instructed rioters to “arm themselves with guns and knives with the aim of breaching the border”. It was the Hamas leadership who called the riots “The March of the Return” – their own acknowledged euphemism for the replacement of the Jewish State by a Palestinian state on the same territory; at no stage did they refer to the violence as “The March Against the U.S. Embassy Opening”.

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BDS Fail of the Week


He always was my favourite Beatle!

Ringo Starr is performing in Israel next month and ahead of his visit, he talked to  Yedioth Ahronot about the requests by the BDS movement not to perform in Israel.

“I didn’t hear anything about it. I am coming to Israel as a musician. It’s very simple: we have a lineup of 20 concerts, they suggested “Israel” and I straight away said yes, thank you! We play music all over the world – wherever they want us – Finland, France, Russia – this is not politics. Music is not politics. You had a 70th birthday and this is an excellent opportunity for me, from this stage, to bless you.”

Take that BDS!

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