UPDATES 6 pm Israel time, Tuesday, December 17 2013:
**Believe it or not, there are still Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that remain without electricity at this hour following the storm that ended three days ago. There are reports of entire families trapped in trailers and houses with no way to get out. In some cases, portable generators have been helicoptered in to supply power; in other cases, the communities have been completely abandoned–to the utter disgrace of the government.
**The anti-Israel European Union reared its ugly head again yesterday—pompously threatening that if Israel announces more construction of Jewish homes, schools, and hospitals following the next release of Palestinian terrorist murderers from Israeli prisons on December 29, the EU will blame Israel for any concomitant breakdown in the “talks” with the Palestinians.
**And why do the Europeans feel free to make such hypocritical threats? Because they know that Benjamin Netanyahu is becoming increasingly spineless. It was announced yesterday that our pusillanimous Bibi has frozen plans to establish IDF military colleges on Mt. Scopus because of “fear” of what the Americans might think.
Fear of what the Americans might think? Mt. Scopus is the home of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem beside which the new colleges were to have been established. Has Netanyahu now reached a point where he is afraid to place a college in Jerusalem beside Israel’s most famous university? Unbelievable.
**According to sources close to PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO (Fatah) and Hamas have agreed to form a “unity government.” Of course, this report must be taken with a stiff grain of salt–especially given the number of times such a reconciliation has failed in the past.
However, if this report is true, it is one more nail in the coffin of the so-called “peace process”. Hamas, like Fatah, remains wholly dedicated by words, deeds, and charter to the elimination of Israel.
**There is more talk today that the current coalition is looking increasingly shaky as Netanyahu associates are expressing their intense displeasure over Yair Lapid’s withering criticism of every aspect of Benjamin Netanyahu’s behavior. Nothing is likely happen in the short run, but various parties are beginning to stake out their positions.
It is worthwhile remembering that should Lapid and his Yesh Atid party decide to bolt the coalition, the religious parties would almost immediately step in, meaning that a new coalition would have to formed from Likud Beiteinu (31), Jewish Home (12), Shas (11), and United Torah Judaism (7). This grouping would produce 61 votes in the Knesset–one more than necessary for a majority.
The murder of 31 year old Staff Sergeant Major Shlomi Cohen on the border with Lebanon around 9 pm on Sunday night has left your humble servant angered on many different levels.
The basic facts are that Cohen, an IDF Naval Officer, was driving his vehicle in Israel, 50 meters from the border, on an official mission near the IDF post at Rosh Hanikra. At some point, a sniper from the Lebanese Army, hidden in a position about 200 meters away (150 meters inside of Lebanon), fired six to seven shots into Cohen’s unarmored jeep killing him.
If the IDF’s sending Cohen out on a mission unaccompanied and without a proper vehicle wasn’t bad enough, the IDF reaction to the murder has been abominable.
The first reaction was to immediately blame Cohen for not taking the proper precautions on the road.
The second reaction was to rush to the defense of the Lebanese Army declaring—with no firm knowledge whatsoever—that the murderer was a “rogue” Lebanese soldier “acting alone.” This incredible declaration came after the Lebanese Army incredibly announced that it had lost contact with the soldier/murderer following the murder.
The third reaction was to absolve Hezbollah of all responsibility—again with no corroborative information whatsoever. We had the spectacle of IDF Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv telling Israel Radio: “The chances of Hezbollah [being responsible] are very low. This does not fit in with their pattern, it’s not in their interest, and it didn’t occur in an area they are active in.”
The fourth reaction was the usual blather that we hear so often in the south to excuse IDF inaction, namely that the IDF has decided not to act for the moment but reserves the right to act when it sees fit.
The final absurdity was Israel crowing about a victory yesterday in the United Nations Security Council because it decided to condemn the murder. A victory?
What is the bottom line?
An Israeli soldier was brutally murdered by a member of the Lebanese Army which apparently had full knowledge of who the murderer was and even where he was. More than this, the murder took place in a place that is supposed to be under United Nations’ (UNIFIL) control–but as usual the United Nations was nowhere to be seen. And finally, what group is it that actually controls that area of southern Lebanon? Hezbollah.
In sum, the abandonment of Shlomi Cohen by the IDF with no attempt by the IDF to aggressively seek out his murderer or murderers is pathetic.
Maayan Cohen, expressed her feelings about the IDF abandonment of her husband in this way today: “I do not understand how the IDF sent him on this mission without an ounce of protection. It was not the first time.”