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Posted in: Israel

Published on Jun 16, 2010 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for NewsRealBlog

Commission to Investigate Israel's Right to Self-Defense, Obama Approves


IDF soldier

This past weekend, Israel yielded to world pressure and convened a panel to investigate its decision to defend itself from a Turkish terrorist invasion, granted, one in which the terrorists chose to hide themselves among the useful (humanitarian) idiots. The White House has called this an "important step forward."

Oh, is there a bridge I'd like to sell you.

Turkey has not been pressured into convening a similar panel to investigate the role the Turkish-funded Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) organization played in this so-called freedom flotilla. Nor is Turkey admitting that it funded the mercenaries who came precisely to trigger a riot of world propaganda against Israel. Unbelievably, it worked.

But that's Turkey for you: They still refuse to admit the Turkish genocide of the Armenians.

The Israeli panel will consist of two Israeli experts in international law, one retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice, and two foreign observers, one from Ireland, one from Canada. Why is Israel being forced to waste time in justifying its right to exist? What diversion is this from more imminent dangers?

I have a friend, the Canadian author and publisher Howard Rotberg, who believes that Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are preparing a chemical attack against Israel. He tells me that just today, Israel distributed gas masks to all of its citizens in a drill. Gas masks? Awful, terrible, but ironic too since just today Israel has also announced that it possesses a huge deposit of natural gas, possibly an amount great enough to be a game-changer.

However, according to another of Rotberg's sources (Geostrategy-Direct):

Western intelligence sources said the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has overseen the accumulation of a huge missile arsenal along the border with Lebanon. The sources said the arsenal included Scud C and Scud D missiles, with ranges of 550 and 700 kilometers, respectively. The Scuds are kept just inside Syrian territory to avoid an Israeli attack, an intelligence source said. The sources said the Syrian military has been training the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah to operate the Scuds.

But I have two other friends who tell me that Israelis seem quite happy and are going about their business without a headline-induced worry in the world.

Maybe they are living in denial, maybe they have closed themselves off from reality, but their economy is thriving. Maybe they want to savor each moment of life, they love life, they're at the beach, having a good time one friend said.

But back to the Flotilla Chelm Commission. Yes, this is better than a United Nations Commission or one staffed by the European Union. But really, the idea that Israeli soldiers are killers, torturers, the most bloodthirsty soldiers in the world is offensive and hilarious.

My second husband was an Israeli and he used to sneak out of his base in order to visit his mother and to enjoy her home cooking! If anyone has spent any time in Israel, you know that the soldiers are very young. Although there are career officers, and older reservists, it is mainly a young, civilian army. The girls and the boys are a familiar part of the Israeli landscape. Everyone either is or knows someone who is in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The entire country under the age of 45-50 is called up in an emergency. Everyone picks up soldiers who are hitchhiking. They do not seem strange or dangerous.

They are the most ethical soldiers in the world.

I had the privilege of meeting ten wounded Israeli soldier-heroes over the weekend. Some soldiers were as short as I am! (Ridiculously, this made me–a relatively short woman–feel taller, bigger, happier.) Some soldiers towered over me. Some were well muscled. Others less so. All were seriously wounded in Operation Cast Lead or in the Second Lebanon War.

All were unbearably sweet and so grateful to be taken on a holiday to tour the sights in America.

The Upper East Side Orthodox world in Manhattan turned out to meet them. We were hanging from the rafters. The rabbis delivered inspired sermons. (Truly, these are the righteous ones among our people; they are our feet, the sturdy foundation of our survival.) The women wept or held back tears. These young men (about whom I wrote here) have lost hands or the use of a foot. Some shake. Many use canes. Others survive only with the help of pain medication.

Their spirits are happy, sunny, grateful.

Their family origins include Ethiopia, Yemen, possibly Iraq, Russia, and both eastern and western Europe. One soldier, Roi, has endured 20 operations in the last 30 months. He is facing the twenty-first surgery in July. Israeli-born, he spoke to us eloquently and in colloquial English.

His story would make a movie.

He was trapped in a courtyard in Lebanon. He was shot in his leg and could not walk. He was shot in his jaw and could not talk. He shot several Hezbollah members. The shooting duel continued. Roi was shot in other parts of his body. When a soldier-buddy came to rescue him, he was also shot, as was the medic who came to tend to them both. Roi was shot again and again. The pain was enormous. Still, Roi insisted that the other soldiers leave without him. Miraculously, Roi managed to remove his body armor, slip through a hole in a fence, and drag his body along the ground until he found some Israeli soldiers. But, because there were so many other casualties, Roi was not taken away to a hospital for four hours.

He endured.

There he was, standing before us, sweet and smiling, brave and grateful, well-spoken, a consummate survivor.


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