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Update – 6 November 2007

Dear Advocates,

The Israeli Air Force recently took film of Palestinian terrorists firing rockets at Israel from a courtyard outside an elementary school in Beit Hanun (Northern Gaza). The film was released last week but surprisingly seems to have escaped the attention of our local media. For vision of the video clip and a statement from an IDF Spokesman, click here. The incident was reported on Israel’s ynet in an article entitled ‘Terrorists firing mortars from schoolyard’.

This attack from inside a school is yet another clear indication of the callous disregard of Palestinian terrorism (including the elected Hamas government which controls this area) for the safety of its own people. It also shows the difficulties encountered by the IDF in defending its own citizens against such attacks while not wanting to cause unnecessary civilian casualties on the Palestinian side. You can bet however, that in the unfortunate event that such causalities do occur, certain segments of the media will willingly throw the spotlight on the IDF and highlight the consequent Palestinian suffering.

Yet there is almost no coverage of the suffering of the citizens of Israeli border town such as Sderot which remain under a constant barrage of quassam missile attacks from Northern Gaza. And because there is a dearth of reporting of such things, there is little outrage against such barbarism in the local press.

Tuesday 30 October was World Solidarity Day for the Kidnapped Soldiers. Students worldwide campaigned in more than 40 rallies, with the participation of thousands of students, in places such as New York, Holland, France, Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Jewish students at University campuses in Australia also participated. Visit the official website by clicking here. Karnit Goldwasser, wife of abducted soldier Ehud Goldwasser, spoke in a videoconference with six U.S University campuses. To watch the hour-long conference, click here. Over 100 events have taken place all over the world.

I came across a recent article in Ma’an News Agency, a Palestinian online newspaper entitled ‘PRC Leader: Kill Jews Everywhere’. In addition to the rather grizzly threats made by the Salah Addin Brigades spokesperson Abu Mujahid he also alluded to Gilad Shalit and denied there was any intention to hurt the captured Israeli soldier. He said, “Islamic morality states that captives cannot be harmed”.

BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who spent 114 days as a hostage in Gaza, also mentioned the same thing in an article about his ordeal stating that ‘he [one of his captors] said that I would not be killed. That I would be treated well, in keeping with Islamic codes of conduct towards prisoners.’ To read the rest of his article, click here.

Although past behaviour might cause us to be sceptical, we can only hope that this applies not only to Gilad Shalit and all of Israel’s other abducted soldiers and that they are released from captivity unharmed in the very near future. Hopefully, this might happen in conjunction with the current peace initiatives.

Finally, a story on a positive note from Beyond Images entitled “Senior Israeli doctors treat Iraqi children with heart diseases” about how top Israeli doctors set up a one-day cardiology clinic in Amman, Jordan, in order to screen Iraqi children with heart disease. This side of Israel is rarely heard of in our sensationalist media which shuns such stories.

I opened with news about the film clip of mortars being fired from a school in northern Gaza and will close with the news that, despite the hostility and the continuing attacks on their civilians, Israeli authorities are currently assisting in the repair of the crumbling sewerage system in the same area which earlier this year collapsed and took the lives of five
Palestinians. The kindness and good will of the Israeli initiative will of course remain unheralded in our media. Perhaps Noah Pollak, who wrote this insightful article Show of Force, is right when he says that “Israel needs a new strategy for fighting one of its greatest enemies: the world press”?

Best wishes,

Emily Chrapot
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507