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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

November 6, 2012

Hamas commits war crimes, launching 600 rocket attacks on Israeli civilians: Where's the UN condemnation?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

Unless you happen to stumble across just how many missiles Hamas has shot at Israel in 2012, based on the coverage of the world's media sources you might think all is quiet on the Gaza front.

The truth is shockingly quite the opposite. Just a few weeks ago Hamas fired more than 80 rockets at Israel in a single day. That brings the total number fired this year to more than 600---and with two months to go in 2012, the Palestinians will likely break last year's count of 680 rocket attacks.

In this week's candid, highly personal FLAME Hotline article, international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky reveals his own anger and makes a powerful case why Israel supporters should be equally outraged at yet another example of the international disregard for the lives of Israeli civilians.

In the face of this most recent bombing of Israel, neither the European Union (EU) nor the United Nations (UN) has issued any statements resembling a condemnation. In fact, the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who recently criticized Israel for building apartments in Jerusalem, was deafeningly silent.

Perhaps if one of Hamas' bombs had struck a school or daycare center, and hundreds of Israeli children had been killed, the New York Times might have provided more accurate coverage. Instead, as it has so often done in the past, the New York Times uses its headlines to focus on the Israeli air strikes that begin only after Hamas' bombing is well underway.

Israel has spent millions upon millions of dollars on bomb shelters and a missile defense system to protect her citizens---up to one million of whom have had to seek such shelters this year---and which is the major reason more Israelis have not been hurt or killed.

Though the casualties have been limited so far, the bombings remain a war crime and an act of war on the part of Hamas. Obviously, Israel should not feel compelled to refrain from mounting a definitve defense against its terrorist neighbors.

Not only is it appropriate for Israel to respond, it is in fact necessary. Any other country in the same position would respond with massive force. In response to the Syrian shelling of a border town in Turkey, Turkey responded by shelling Syrian military targets over a two-day period.

However, whenever Israel responds to Hamas' rocket attacks with targeted air strikes of its own, we know that the inevitable UN outrage will soon follow, despite the fact that the UN Security Council has issued no condemnation of Hamas' incessant bombing of Israel.

I urge you to pass along this week's Hotline about the world's---and especially the U.N.'s---continued indifference to Hamas' bombing. Email it to friends, colleagues, and fellow congregants using the "send to a friend" button at the bottom of this email, or using the buttons above to share it via social media.

Thanks for your continued support of Israel, and thank you for your support of FLAME.

Best regards,

Dave Nogradi
FLAME Hotline Contributor

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My Country is Under Attack. Do You Care?
by Arsen Ostrovsky, The Huffington Post, October 24, 20122

I'm angry.

You see, as most Americans were waking up this morning, and those in Europe and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel -- over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. In the space of 24 hours, since Tuesday evening, 80 rockets have been fired on southern Israel. That's more than three rockets per hour. By the time I finish this article, odds are that count will have risen to 85 rockets.

Just to put things in context: one million Israelis is roughly 13 per cent of the population. Thirteen per cent of the U.S. population equates to about 40 million people.

A dozen Israelis have already been injured, with several of them seriously. The only reason more have not been hurt is because Israel has invested millions of dollars in bomb shelters and the Iron Dome defense system, while Hamas has invested millions of dollars in foreign aid in more rockets.

But here is why I'm angry.

I'm angry that in 2012, over 600 rockets have already been fired from Gaza with no end in sight. I'm angry that the world only notices when Israel undertakes its (sovereign) right to defend its citizens. Can you imagine if even one rocket was fired on Washington, London, Paris or Moscow? No nation on earth can, or should, tolerate such attacks on its people.

I'm angry that while the United Nations never hesitates to call a "special emergency session" on the "Question of Palestine" or pass the umpteenth resolution blindly condemning Israel, that I am still waiting for a session on the 'Question of Israel' and Palestinian terror. In fact, 24 hours after the rocket attacks started, I am still waiting for even one syllable of condemnation from the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly or Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

I'm angry that Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, could not find a moment to condemn the Palestinian rockets, but did find time to laugh and dance with South Korean rapper Psy from the popular dance craze Gangnam Style.

I'm angry that while the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton slammed Israel last week over the building of several hundred apartments (in an area that will arguably remain part of Israel anyway), that I am still waiting for her to slam the Palestinians for firing 80 rockets in one day.

I'm angry that there are those who continue to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish State, but are silent in the face of Palestinian terror.

I'm angry that ships and flotillas continue to set sail for Gaza to show "solidarity" with the Palestinians, but where is their solidarity with the people of southern Israel?

I'm angry that while human rights organizations like Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and others do not waste a single opportunity to condemn Israel for human rights violations against the Palestinians, the human rights of Israelis are seemingly not important enough for them. Is Jewish blood really that cheap?

I'm angry that mainstream newspapers like the New York Times, lead their stories about the rocket attacks with such headlines as "Four Palestinian Militants Killed in Israeli Airstrikes," and not "Palestinian Terrorists Rain Down Over 80 Rockets against One Million Israelis."

I'm angry that so many people are blind to the fact that Iran, which has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and now seeks to obtain nuclear weapons, is the primary funder and supplier of arms to Hamas. I'm angry at the fact that all civilians in southern Israel today were instructed not to send their kids to school and stay in bomb shelters. What sort of inhumane way is that for children to live?

I'm angry when people continue to say that 'settlements' are the main impediment to peace, and not Hamas, a terrorist group which does not recognize Israel's right to exist and seeks its destruction. I'm angry when I see pictures like this, of a home in southern Israel hit by a rocket from Gaza today, yet have the audacity to say "ah, but they're just like toys; what damage can they do?"

I'm angry that there is someone out there who does not know me and has never met me, yet still wants to kill me -- for no other reason than being Israeli.

I'm angry when I hear residents in southern Israel say "we just lie on top of our children and try to protect them with our bodies" or that "we're living on borrowed time" -- yet the world seems oblivious to their desperate cries for help.

No, I am not angry. I am outraged.

Arsen Ostrovsky is an international human rights lawyer and freelance journalist living in Israel.

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