UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Friday, February 7 2014:
*More rockets were fired into southern Israel last night though exactly what happened remains unclear today. Reports on the ground indicated that at least two rockets were launched from Gaza toward Ashkelon at about 8 pm and that one of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome battery positioned by the city. However, this report was contradicted by the IDF spokesman’s office a few hours later which claimed that the Iron Dome had not been used. In any case, another missile was fired into the Eshkol region a few hours later.
Take a moment and try to imagine what life is like in southern Israel. You never know when the next missile warning siren will sound (if it sounds at all), and you always have to be aware of how far you are from the closest bomb shelter. The one thing that you never have wonder about is whether the IDF will finally stop the rocket fire because you know that it won’t.
*The Friday circus on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem played out again this afternoon. Thousands of Muslim “worshipers” emerged from Friday prayers in the early afternoon and immediately attacked Israeli security personnel with “rocks” and any other items they could find. The Jerusalem Police then made a show of dispersing the rioters and arrested a token 5 rioters. Throughout it all, Hamas and Fatah flags were waved from Judaism’s holiest place–a place where Israeli flags are forbidden to be displayed for fear of upsetting the Muslims.
*Intense battles have been fought in Syria during the last 24 hours with Syrian Army forces attacking rebel al-Qaeda groups now entrenched along the Israeli border. Syrian jets have been pounding the groups with “barrel bombs”–bombs filled with gasoline that explode on contact.
*Almost unnoticed by the international media, another referendum has been held in “democratic” Egypt–the first since former President Morsi was ousted. This time the vote was on a new constitution that is backed by General Sisi and his military government, and according to the Egyptian Election Commission this morning it has been approved by 98.1% of the voters. General Sisi will certainly be the next president of Egypt should he decide to run.
You will recall, dear readers, that the Jerusalem Municipality approved permits for 558 new apartments this past week. 386 of these units will eventually be built in Har Homa in southern Jerusalem, 136 in Neveh Ya’acov, and the final 36 in Pisgat Ze’ev in the northern part of the city.
Immediately a firestorm of criticism was unleashed–a firestorm that has continued today with the Palestinians, U.S. State Department, and European Union all working together to castigate Israel. Reading from the same playbook, these entities are all repeating that Israel is flaunting international law by building apartments in these “settlements”.
To hear Hanan Ashrawi, John Kerry, and Catherine Ashton tell it, Har Homa, Neveh Ya’acov, and Pisgat Ze’ev are ramshackle outposts at which Jewish “settlers” have pitched tents on “Palestinian” land.
Even a cursory look at just one of these neighborhoods–Pisgat Ze’ev–shows just how ludicrously absurd these claims are.
To begin with, Pisgat Ze’ev has a Jewish history that dates back thousands of years. Tell el-Ful, which overlooks the neighborhood, was the location of the capital of the Tribe of Judah and the site of King Saul’s palace more than 3000 years ago.
Second, Pisgat Ze’ev is about as far away from a ramshackle outpost with pitched tents as one can imagine. In fact, it is the largest residential neighborhood in Jerusalem with a population of more than 50,000 Israelis. Pisgat Ze’ev has 22 synagogues, 58 kindergartens, 9 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 3 high schools.
The next time you hear anyone questioning the Jewishness of Pisgat Ze’ev or calling Pisgat Ze’ev “a settlement”, remember today’s blog.