I’ve been watching the events unfold in Israel for the past few weeks and I am constantly amazed at how the truth gets twisted and turned around to fit a narrative that doesn’t exist.  The latest round of terror from the Palestinians seems to have started with claims by the Palestinian Authority that Israel was looking to change the status quo on the Temple Mount (known as Har HaBayit in Hebrew).  Their claims were that more Jews were visiting the Temple Mount and creating a situation whereby they would demand a place to pray – or at least a defacto situation whereby the Israeli government would insist on providing them a place to pray on the Mount – and therefore offending the Muslims and “threatening” the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  Of course, among the Palestinians the apparent logical progression of this is that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was in danger of being destroyed (I assume that’s what went through their minds) and this was fed by the Palestinian leadership – including Abu Mazen.

Never mind that Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount only amounted to about 0.3% (approximately 10,000 in total) of all visitors in 2014 (compare that to the 200,000 Christians and the 4,000,000 Muslims who visited there in 2014) (1) – to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership – to them the Jews are threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  Really?  The truth is the Palestinians – having decided and proclaimed that they are no longer bound by the Oslo Accords (their actions over the past 15 years seems to have indicated that they weren’t all that interested in being bound by those accords since 2000) needed some issue to claim that they must go on the offensive.  And now they have.  Over the past few weeks Palestinians – with the encouragement and provocation of the Palestinian Authority – have been waging a renewed and invigorated terror campaign against Israelis – mostly through stabbing attacks within the Green Line (the line demarcating the boundary between pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank).

The latest attacks involved two Palestinian terrorists – two cousins – one 13 years old and the other 15 years old – who stabbed two Israelis in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem (2).  The police responded and killed the older of the two attackers.  Rather than try to help defuse the situation the Palestinian Authority’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, declared that Israel “summarily executed” the 15 year old terrorist and demanded that the Israeli police arrest the personnel who fired on him.(3)  It comes as no surprise that the Palestinian Authority would make such a ludicrous claim.  They are looking to continue escalating the tensions and the violence all the while claiming that they are trying to calm the situation.  According to Israeli defense sources Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas) is appealing for calm among the Palestinians (4).  However, while he may be appealing for calm he is also working to incite further attacks by claiming that every “drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid (martyr) will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will” (4) and that “Al-Aksa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They [the Jews] have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet” (4).  As always, he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Abu Mazen is the modern day Janus.  You cannot have it both ways – you cannot claim that you are trying to calm the situation and yet still exhort your followers to continue to attack and commit terrorist acts.

  1. “Only 0.3% of Yearly Visitors to Temple Mount are Jews”, The Jewish Press, Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, October 9th 2015, found at http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/only-0-3-of-yearly-visitors-to-temple-mount-are-jews/2015/10/09/
  2. “Jerusalem stabbers were cousins, 13 and 15 years old”, The Time of Israel, Tamar Pileggi and Judah Ari Gross, found at http://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-stabbers-were-13-15-year-old-brothers/
  3. “Abbas spokesman: Israel ‘executed’ teen stabber’, The Times of Israel, Adiv Sterman, found at http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-spokesman-israel-executed-teen-stabber/
  4. “Abbas working to restore calm in West Bank, Israeli sources say”, The Jerusalem Post, Jeruslaem Post Saff, found at http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Abbas-working-to-restore-calm-in-West-Bank-Israeli-defense-sources-say-421445

Ali Jarbawi, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority recently penned an op-ed in the New York Times that attacks and slams the Israeli media using the claim that the Israeli media was “grumbling about the lack of an official Palestinian response” on the death of Ariel Sharon, Israel’s former Prime Minister.  Except of course, the Israeli media is NOT grumbling!

Mr. Jarbawi seems to think that if he can spout whatever lies he can – no one will call him on it.  Let’s take a look at one lie in particular:

Throughout his career he did not take a single positive step toward reaching a political settlement with them to bring about peace. The motivation behind every one of his policies was to force them to surrender.

The Man Who Made Peace Impossible“, The New York Times, Jan 21, 2014

What Mr. Jarbawi ignores are the historical steps which Ariel Sharon took to move the peace process forward.  Steps such as

  • A unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza strip with removal of Israeli settlers and military personnel while leaving behind an infrastructure which the Palestinians could use to build with,
  • Declaring that the Palestinians should have a state of their own in September 2001, and
  • Endorsing the Road Map for Peace sponsored by the United States, the European Union and Russia

Mr. Jarbawi continues with his faulty accusations by claiming that Sharon unilaterally “broadened the I.D.F.’s attacks against Lebanon into a full-scale war” yet fails to mention that the I.D.F. was responding to continuous shelling by P.L.O. artillery placed in Southern Lebanon – a country that was dysfunctional and lawless due to a raging civil war at the time.  His portrayal of the I.D.F. as the instigator of the war remains far from the truth.

Mr. Jarbawi also notes incorrectly that “[i]n 2000, he entered Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a holy Muslim site, which triggered the second intifada”.  Unfortunately for Mr. Jarbawi, this is not true.  The second intifada was being planned months before Mr. Sharon ever entered the Al Aqsa mosque.  According to the Mitchell Report (named after U.S. Senator George Mitchell who led the committee examining the cause of the violence that began in September 2000) :

“The Sharon visit did not cause the ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada.’ ”

Mitchell, George, “Al-Aqsa Intifada: Mitchell Report“, May 4, 2001

In fact, according to the then Communications Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Imad Faluji, the violence had been planned in July of 2000 since Yasser Arafat’s return from Camp David when he rejected the offer proffered him by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak.  This fact was later corroborated when Hamas’ Mahmoud Zahar admitted that Arafat had instructed his organization to launch terror attacks against Israel after the failure of peace negotiations. (Toameh, Kaled Abu, “Arafat ordered Hamas attacks against Israel in 2000“, The Jerusalem Post, September 28, 2010)

Another piece of evidence pointing to the planning of the second intifada by Arafat long before Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque is provided by Suha Arafat – Yasser Arafat’s widow – who admitted that Arafat had planned the uprising:

“Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return….Camp David had failed, and he said to me, ‘You should remain in Paris.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because I am going to start an intifada.’”

Suha Arafat admits husband premeditated Intifada“, The Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2012

The final point that Mr. Jarbawi gets wrong centers on Sharon’s initiation of the Separation Wall between Israel and the West Bank.  Mr. Jarbawi claims that the motivation for this wall was to force Palestinians to move:

Unable to expel the Palestinians, Mr. Sharon began his plan to “move” them internally by building the separation wall in 2002, which swallowed up approximately 11 percent of the West Bank’s land area

The Man Who Made Peace Impossible“, The New York Times, Jan 21, 2014

However, this was not the motivation for the barrier at all.  With the start of the Al-Aqsa intifada the Palestinians began to send suicide bombers into Israel to carry out terrorist attacks against civilians.  The Israeli government, led by Sharon, decided to build a separation barrier in order to make movement between the West Bank and Israel harder and to reduce (with the ultimate goal of eliminating completely) the number of terrorist attacks in Israel proper.  According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

between 2000 and July 2003, when the “first continuous segment” of the barrier was built, 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis and injuring over 1,900. However, from August 2003 to the end of 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445

Israeli West Bank Barrier“, Wikipedia, accessed January 21, 2014

Ariel Sharon was most definitely a controversial and complicated figure.  He was despised by many, seen as a hero to others and, in the end, felt that what he did was in the best interest of Israel.  There can be no doubt that his record will be dissected and interpreted over and over.  But Mr. Jarbawi’s painting of a blood-thirsty man who made not a single step towards trying to reach peace with the Palestinians is patently false.  And as for the Israeli media grumbling about the “lack of an official Palestinian response” to Mr. Sharon’s death?  I haven’t heard any.

After taking time off to allow my left ankle to heal from WHATEVER it was that was bothering it (after numerous trips to the orthopedist, x-rays, MRI and blood work – the doctor was unable to pinpoint the source of the problem) I’ve finally gotten back to running as of a few weeks ago. My Fitbit replacement came last week (the first one died just five weeks after I got it and Fitbit replaced it under warranty!) and I’ve been ramping up my mileage – slowly and carefully. However, even watching what I eat (carefully) I find that my weight has not really moved down.

Normally, as I ramp up my workouts my weight comes down and starts to progress towards 165 lbs – but this time I’m finding my weekly weigh-ins coming in around 170 – 171.5 lbs. I’m not sure why – perhaps I’m not running enough to see that drop that I’ve come to expect or perhaps I’m not tracking my intake as well (although I’ve been very diligent about that). Either way I’ve been a little frustrated with the lack of movement in my weight. I’m planning on doing the Runner’s World Half-Marathon in October of this year (assuming I can keep from getting injured) in addition to several 10Ks and some 5Ks as well. Maybe, as my mileage picks up again (I’m currently only doing about 13 miles a week whereas before my injury I was doing about 20 – 25 miles a week) I’ll start seeing that drop in weight that I expect. I’m also planning on doing more cross-training (cycling, swimming, weights) in order to try and get more balance in my overall fitness so that I hopefully won’t get injured again (we still don’t know what caused the problem with my ankle and I was very disappointed with having to miss the Takoma Park 5K and the Marine Corps Historic Half-Marathon in May).

June 2017
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