# 201 – New Year 5773 by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 201 – New Year 5773

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
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January 2, 2012

MSFUN – I won’t waste time with puns and abbreviatoral games (my new word). Today I heard a BBC report (yes, I still cannot switch them off, despite their apparent biased views) from Haiti. How, even 2 years after the earthquake, some conditions have actually worsened. The head of the MSF hospital there (Médecins Sans Frontières) made it clear that his job was to put himself out of a job. That needs no explanation, does it? (Don’t give them fish; teach them how to fish).

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And so to Palestine. UNRWA’s job, I am sure, is supposed to be to put themselves out of a job. Yet they are now in their 64th year of sustaining the refugees and their camps. Just as Belgium appeared to be happy to break the record for the longest period of non-government in a democracy, the Palestinians and their entourage (UN, ‘brother Arabs’, etc.) appear to be masochistically interested in breaking all longevity records for refugees. “Welcome”, they all said. “Stay in this little ‘rat-infested’ shack and we’ll look after you until you get your swamp back….”.

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Palestinians? When Hamas took over control of Gaza, back in 2006, they banned the annual December celebrations of the establishment of Fatah (originally set up in 1959, followed by the formation of the PLO in 1964. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation was to liberate Palestine…..a reminder that Israel’s ‘occupation’ only happened in 1967).

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In recent months, the Arab ‘Spring’ (‘Uprising’, Upheaval’) flowed over into Palestinian territory and hinted at the unification the two main factions. Gotta be united, speak with one voice, in order to be heard by democratically-minded peoples. Well, last week, Hamas again banned the Fatah celebrations.

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And yesterday, Hamas denied that their leader, Marshaal, based in Damascus, announced that armed attacks on Israel should stop. Can’t have such terrible things said in public, can we now.

And yesterday, stuck on page 7 of the Jerusalem Post, a report of yet 2 more rockets being fired from Gaza. It’s not even interesting for us. That’s how far it’s come.

So much for Palestinian peace and unity.

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Part II

We had a New Year’s Party here – a lot of fun…a means to re-connect with friends we just have had no time for recently. Here’s us happy at our first grandchild, and here’s they, with an average of 6 each…

 

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[One couple, Americans, work with the US embassy here and are involved in the installation of the ‘Iron Dome’ , the system aimed at protecting Israel from the rockets being fired – initially from Gaza, but more batteries will be installed in the North against attack from Hezbollah. We thanked them].

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[And today, I read that a shipment of 20 of the rockets had had some kind of accident and were disposed of’. At $50,000 value each, that’s a $1 million mistake. And a reminder that every time these terrorists run out of their bunker and shoot off a rocket, it will cost us $50,000 to try and protect our livelihoods and our lives.

Is this socially acceptable?]

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So, back to the party….

I asked our guests, how would you finish this sentence: “In my experience, in 2011, Israel became a better place because…”

Here are the answers we received:

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(A friend from overseas) “the people I meet are very nice; the cities, Tel Aviv and Haifa are fantastic; great architecture, a fabulous museum (I just saw the new wing)”

“the peaceful summer demonstrations in Rothschild Blvd against the high prices”

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“we showed the World the value of one Jewish life (Gilad Schalit)”

“love and peace are in the air”

“people started to come out with their feelings…the social protest”

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“in my eyes, the most exciting event in 2011 was the return of Gilad Schalit, and how the whole nation stood behind the decision to bring him back”

“of the social protests”

“Gilad Schalit was released in spite of the heavy price”

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“lots of everything sweet” (I think this person was already drunk…)

“the girls on the beaches are just wow (I think this is the same person)

“the bars and restaurants never close” (not so true in Jerusalem)

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“it has a superlative combination of old and modern”

“we had the ‘social justice’ protest”

“the Israelis proved that involvement does change things”

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And my contribution?

“In the eyes of the media and the public overseas etc., Israel appears to make – and does make – quite a few mistakes. But the unbelievable exchange of Gilad Schalit for over 1,000 Palestinians, and the extraordinary months of peaceful protests in the streets, the tent cities, proved that this country has very high standards of decency and democracy.

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It is as if we invented the phrase ‘political correctness’, for much of what we tolerate would, in most other ‘western’ and/or ‘decent’ countries would have been fraught with blood and abuse”.

There, I’ve said it.

Happy New Year,

Stephen

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