UPDATE 10 am Israel time Thursday:
At least five mortars and missiles were fired at Israelis living in the Chof Ashkelon, Eshkol, and Negev regions yesterday. Some people were treated for shock and trauma, but no physical injuries were reported.
The steady erosion in the Israeli public’s trust of President Obama continues. You may remember that it was announced in November 2011 that the “most massive” joint military exercise in U.S.–Israel history would take place in January of this year. It was to have involved 5000 U.S. troops being flown to Israel to engage in a wide array of drills.
In January, however, President Obama postponed this exercise until “later in the year”. In the meantime, some 12,000 U.S. troops went to Jordan in late May as part of “joint exercises” with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Three months later, on August 30th, the Obama Administration let it be known that the U.S.–Israel exercise had been downgraded to between 1200-1500 U.S. troops coming here for “purely defensive exercises”.
This morning it was announced that the long postponed drill will finally take place next week, but it has been further downsized by the Obama White House to involve only 1,000 U.S. soldiers (most of whom are already stationed here); some 2000 other Americans will supposedly participate “remotely” from the U.S. and Europe.
Your humble servant invites you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusions about the relationship between President Obama and Israel.
It was a beautiful day on Eilat’s Chof Al Mog (Coral Beach) yesterday. With the temperature hovering around 45 C. and the wind kicking up in gusts of up to 50 km per hour, it was ideal weather for going underwater to snorkel for the angel, trigger, damsel, hawk, puffer, goat, clown, stone, and butterfly fish that dart among the vivid corals in the icy Red Sea.
Out on the beach itself, I was struck by the large numbers of armed female IDF soldiers patrolling the area and remembered the terrorist incident of last month when a female IDF Caracel sniper killed one of the terrorists who attacked IDF soldiers near Mt. Seir in the Negev on the Sinai border. I thought about how strong and confident these women are–women who have been raised in a society and culture based on female and male equality.
Unlike Palestinian society and culture.
Take the case of Nancy Zaboun, a 28-year-old, married Palestinian woman and the mother of three children (aged 8, 6, and 3) who got married to her husband, former PLO policeman Shadi Abedallah, when she was only 18. Almost immediately the beatings began.
Often the beatings were so severe that she had to be hospitalized for days at a time. Each time it happened, she was blamed by those in her Palestinian society for not being a “good enough” wife. And Shadi Abedallah was never arrested. Each time his wife was hospitalized, he was merely asked to sign yet another pledge that he would stop beating her.
But he never did.
Finally three months ago, in July, Nancy Zaboun took time out from her job at a clothing store in Bethlehem and summoned up the courage to file for a divorce. On July 30th she attended the first court hearing in the divorce case.
A few hours later, as Nancy Zaboun was walking through the densely crowded Bethlehem shuk (open-air market)–just down the street from the Church of the Nativity–Shadi Abedallah came up behind her, grabbed her hair and pulled her back, took out a butcher knife, and killed her by nearly slicing off her head.
Two weeks later, 600 men (300 from Zaboun’s “family, and 300 from Abedallah’s “family”) met for an “atwa” (truce) in order to negotiate a “diya” (settlement) to compensate Zaboun’s family for her murder. Up until the 1970s, the standard diya for the premeditated murder of a Palestinian woman was 100 camels, but in the last few years the commonly accepted sum has come to be 41,000 Jordanian dinars (about $58,000).
In Zaboun’s case, because of the costs that will be involved in taking care of her children, both sides agreed on 70,000 dinars (about $99,000). As for Abedallah, who was arrested on the spot as he gloated over his wife’s body in front of hundreds of witnesses, the Palestinian police laughingly consider him the “prime suspect” in the murder, and he awaits trial . . .
. . . with every expectation that he will soon be released because he has termed the murder of his wife an “honor killing”.
In fact, so-called “femicide” has been increasing rapidly throughout the countries of the “Arab Spring” in which Islam is on the march–as it also is in Palestinian towns and cities. There were 13 “honor killings” of women carried out by male Palestinian relatives in 2011. So far this year, the number stands at 12. In the same month that Nancy Zanoun was slaughtered, a father killed his daughter in Tulkarm, another father killed his daughter in Hevron, and a father (with the help of his son) killed his daughter in Gaza.
Of the 25 Palestinian murderers of female relatives in 2011 and 2012, not one has been convicted. Many of these were released by proving that they acted in a “state of rage”–grounds for acquittal in cases involving the murder of Palestinian girls and women.
Speaking of rage, where is the world’s outrage? Why aren’t women’s groups and so-called “human rights” groups marching in the streets demanding an end to the barbarity against Arab women?
Finally, as I sat on Chof Al Mog at sundown yesterday, it was hard to reconcile the absolute horrors inflicted on Arab women in the countries all around me with the wondrous beauty in the mountains as they captured the fading light and exposed in themselves every imaginable shade of red: amaranth, vermillion, carmine, carnelian, sinopia, and terra cotta.
How much is a woman’s life worth in Palestinian, Jordanian, Saudi Arabian, and Egyptian culture? Absolutely nothing.
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