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Update – 15 April 2011

Posted by Emily Gian on 15 April 2011 at 2:28pm:

Dear All,

Last Thursday, an anti-tank missile was fired at a clearly marked Israeli school bus coloured yellow, injuring two people. Sixteen-year-old Daniel Viflic suffered severe head trauma and is in an extremely critical condition (see more).

Omar Al-Ghoul, political advisor to Palestine Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, declared afterwards that the “[school] bus wasn’t that badly damaged, but Israel wants to use the attack on the bus as an excuse for its latest war crime against our people” (see more).  This is a disappointing response coming from a party with who the world expects Israel to negotiate peace but sadly, it is not atypical.

The following statement also came out following the rocket firing: “If you don’t want them to fire at you, then the Israeli public should take to the street and protest against the Gaza siege. Until that happens, you shouldn’t be surprised by such things”. The same person also stated, “I hope the Palestinians launch a massive popular resistance, one that is political and strategic, like the First Intifada (see more).”

Comments such as these are to be expected from Palestinian leaders, from certain elements in the world media and from those that who support the insidious BDS movement. 

However, the last statement did not come from any of these sources, but rather from a member of the Israeli Knesset, more specifically from Hanin Zoabi, of the Israeli Arab Balad party.

Zoabi’s presence in the Israeli political system is particularly interesting. She is a Palestinian woman, democratically elected into the Israeli parliament, who spends her time actively criticising the government both internally and externally. She even came to our shores in Australia in 2009, where she appeared in various media and at universities, unsurprisingly bashing Israel at every opportunity (see more).  This can be explained as her democratic right as an elected representative in a democratic country although one wonders whether she is appropriately representing her constituency in the course of such an enterprise. Certainly, given the upheavals in countries neighbouring her own, it is unlikely that she would get away for too long if she tried to exercise her rights in that manner.

For those that are not aware MK Zoabi was also on the Mavi Marmara during the violent confrontation last year. Just a few days after the incident, in response to claims of violence by Mavi Marmara activists, Zoabi was quoted as saying, “There was not a single passenger who raised a club. We put on our life vests. From where I was standing, I didn’t see any clubs or anything of the sort (see more)”.

Zoabi, like many others that attempted to cover up what actually happened on board the ship, is either a bad liar or she was oblivious to what really happened on the Mavi Marmara. She might have missed the plethora of video evidence that is out there (for example, Video of the cache of weapons including knives, slingshots, rocks, smoke bombs, metal rods, improvised sharp metal objects, sticks and clubs, 5kg hammers and firebombs, * Close up video of “peace activists” attacking the metal batons, *Video taken by the IDF showing passengers of the Mavi Marmara violently attacking IDF officers trying to board the ship,  *Video of the Mavi Marmara passengers attacking the IDF before the soldiers boarded the ship, *Video of the flotilla rioters as they prepared rods, slingshots, broken bottles and metal objects to attack IDF soldiers, ), but I doubt it.

My point is that Zoabi proves that her country is a true democracy. Israel faces criticism from her detractors, with claims of apartheid. Israeli daily faces comments from people who try to downplay the violent intentions of Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza. But the fact that MK Zoabi is not only allowed to freely express her views(many of which might be regarded as bordering on treason), but has a platform in Israeli and world media to freely express them, reflects well on Israel rather than on the rest of Zoabi’s twisted little world. 

The postscript to the rocket attack on the bus is even more telling. On the same day, 44 more rockets rained down on Southern Israel. Fearing Israeli retaliation, Palestinian terrorist groups declared a ceasefire (see more). I am not sure if one can just decide, after a day of firing rocket after rocket, to all of a sudden call for a ceasefire although Ghaddafi tried the same thing in Libya. Ghaddafi’s cynical offer of a ceasefire was treated with contempt and scorn by most of the world. But even though Hamas also does not generally play by any set of rules, its ceasefire offer was taken seriously by many even as the rockets continued to be being fired. Elsewhere, there were others who just kept on bashing Israel presumably oblivious to the bus and other rocket attacks, the threats and the propaganda.

As long as there are people who make excuses for rocket attacks on innocent Israeli civilians, who act as apologists for terrorism or who simply ignore such conduct, are we ever really going to get anywhere?

And that brings me to the matter of the Marrickville Council. Back in January I noted that the Council had taken it upon itself to adopt a complete boycott of Israel. Subsequently, Greens Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne failed in her bid for a seat in the NSW lower house, with many saying her stance on Israel and her conflicting pronouncements on the matter was the cause of her losing an election that she should have won in the light of the massive swing against the ALP in NSW.

In yesterday’s Australian, a report said that the proposed boycott of Israeli goods was estimated to cost ratepayers at least $3.7 million to cater for the replacement of Hewlett-Packard computers, Holden cars and changing water-disposal services (see more).  When the figures were released, Byrne stated, “The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is growing around the world because it can be adapted for local circumstances and that is what can be done in Marrickville” (see more).

This is sheer hypocrisy. As one Labor councillor, Emanuel Tsardoulias declared, “you can’t say you’ll do a boycott and then say we’ll just pick and choose on the boycott”.

Of course, the boycotters are hypocrites without this because they chose to boycott Israel and nobody else and for the most part remain silent about Israel’s security needs, about the rocket attacks, about incitement in the Palestinian media and about terrorists beheading three month old babies while they sleep in their cots.

Those who boycott as long it does not inconvenience them are contemptible. More so because their boycotts are aimed at legitimising one party, preventing positive cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians and, in the end, they thwart the efforts to bring about true peace in the region.

As Pesach approaches and we celebrate being freed from slavery, I ask you all to take some time to think about Gilad Shalit, who will spend another Pesach without his freedom, in terrorist captivity. To leave a message of support for Gilad Shalit, click here.

Wishing you all a Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach,


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