There is a superstitious belief within our office that it should never be said that things are quiet in Israel.
An example is this article which I came across last week. It mentioned that the terrorist stabbing attacks that have been an all too regular occurrence over the last six months in Israel, had slowed down. This was credited to
“goodwill gestures by the IDF, better tactical operations, and proactive measures taken by the Palestinian security services”.
Reading it made me feel a little uneasy.
And then a couple of days ago, I found an article in the Economist that dealt with how Israel is using social media – the terrorists’ latest tool of choice for incitement to violence with their murderous messages – to detect and prevent potential attacks.
The talk about reduction in terrorist activity did not sit well as we have come to learn that in Israel “quiet” often means the calm before the storm.
And sure enough, on Monday afternoon, the story about the discovery of a Hamas terror tunnel two weeks ago was cleared for publication. The tunnel, found in Israeli territory abutting Gaza, was the first since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Security forces neutralised the structure but the implications of the news are wide-ranging and truly frightening.
These new tunnels are said to be built to be stronger, more durable, of better quality and less likely to collapse due to bad weather or explosions. Their construction is a result of the continued flow of goods and materials necessary for the rebuilding of Gaza and to make life better for its population above the ground.
The funding comes by way of monies donated, ostensibly well-intentioned and in good faith by a number of international bodies but Hamas is funneling much of this aid into producing deadly weapons and terror tunnels to fuel its well-oiled terror machine. Yet even with the uncovering of this latest piece of Hamas handiwork, which by their own admission is “only a drop in the sea from what the resistance has prepared”, the world looks away.
One has to ask where is the scrutiny over the funding by international bodies of monies donated for humanitarian purposes? And if there is none, then surely the agencies that are doing nothing about the diversion of their funds for offensive warlike purposes are complicit in such activity?
Later on Monday, Israel was taken back to a very terrifying period of history when a bomb exploded on a bus in Jerusalem. Twenty-one people were injured and the pictures are eerily reminiscent of the days of the last decade when suicide bombings were a very regular and very scary occurrence throughout the country.
One of the passengers, Racheli Dadon said,
“my daughter and I got on the number 12 bus, and my daughter went to the back to find us seats while I paid the bus driver. We hadn’t even sat down when all of a sudden we heard a huge explosion, and glass began to fall on us. Everything was dark and full of smoke… I collapsed. Her whole face was black and burned… She’ll be 16 in a month, and now she’s sedated and on a ventilator. I’m praying that she’ll get out of this ok”.
Many Palestinians reacted in the way they have been accustomed to when tragedy strikes for Israelis – by celebrating and handing out candy in the streets. Hamas issued a statement on its website saying
“Hamas welcomes the Jerusalem operation, and considers it a natural reaction to Israeli crimes, especially field executions and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
At roughly the same time in New York, a young girl whose mother was murdered at the entrance of her family home in front of her eyes stood before the United Nations, begging that body to condemn Palestinian terror. Renana Meir said,
“I never intentionally harmed another person. It never occurred to me to mistreat another human being just because she looks or thinks differently. I have never taken out my frustrations on people who have done something to me. I was not raised that way, I was raised to love the other, to respect all people, to love unconditionally and to see each and every person as a human being”.
She was no doubt referring to the comments of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who, just ten days after Dafna Meir z”l was murdered said,
“it is human nature to react to occupation… Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of half a century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process. Some have taken me to task for pointing out this indisputable truth”.
But Renana continued,
“It is hard to express in words how deep the pain is, how unbearable the longing is for my mother and how this longing breaks my heart and soul… I do not hate or support hate. No amount of frustration justifies hurting another person. With a broken heart we come here today to ask for your help. Help us create peace through love and help us all to see that there is good in everyone”.
Her father Natan added,
“I ask you leaders of the world to spread faith, tolerance and love. These are the fertilizers needed to grow the flower of peace”.
Meanwhile, Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN and Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador traded barbs when Danon declared, “shame on you for not denouncing terrorism”.
Mansour shot back about Palestinian children and the occupation.
Danon deplored him to say
“I condemn all act of terrorism: one sentence you cannot say. Shame on you for that.”
But Mansour could not bring himself to denounce terror. Much like his friends back at home such as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who struggles to do the same, just as he struggles to recognise Israel for the Jewish State that it is, and likewise has, during his eleven-year Presidency, taken every opportunity to avoid taking the steps expected from a responsible leader who is supposed to be a partner in peace.
Just as the theft of monies meant for humanitarian purposes by Hamas to build their terror tunnels is largely ignored by the international community, so too is its failure to denounce the terror which continues despite the occasional lull. And for that failure, the world is also complicit.
Emily Gian is the Director of Media and Advocacy at the Zionist Federation of Australia.