Hamas opposing aid in Gaza

Israel is putting a lot of effort into getting aid into Gaza, but Hamas is making it difficult. The Jerusalem Post explains what is happening now with aid.

The IDF plans to open more crossing points into Gaza starting on Wednesday, in an effort to vastly increase aid to the civilian population. …

The IDF now hopes to open the grain chute at the Karni crossing, a major passage way for goods …

On Monday, the IDF opened the chute at Karni for a test run during which 23 truckloads of grain were sent into Gaza, according to Lerner.

It was shut on Tuesday, however, after the army found a tunnel on the Gaza side, meant to be used for a mine attack.

On Wednesday the IDF hopes to open the chute for the passage of 60 truckloads of grain.

That’s not quite what you hear in the media over here. Aren’t the Palestinians crying out for aid and the naughty Israeli’s letting them starve? Yet according to the J-post, it is Hamas standing in the way. Read on, and you’ll find out about Kerem Shalom, where much aid is sent through:

Nor is this a risk free operation, he said. Hamas has been known to shoot mortars over the wall.

Should there be an attack, he suggested that it would be wise to seek safety in the white concrete room at the edge of the lot.

“On one hand, we want to let the aid in, but it is a difficult situation when they start lobbing mortars at us,” he said.

Hamas also:

  • Steals trucks of food aid and sells it to the highest bidders.
  • Fires rockets from a school during a humanitarian cease-fire (intended to allow aid to be distributed).
  • Probably directly attacks UN aid convoys, killing some workers. The mainstream media initially blamed Israel for this incident but I haven’t seen any corrections published now more facts have emerged (who attacked them is still disputed but it certainly wasn’t an Israeli tank), so most of the world still thinks Israel has attacked the aid convoys.
  • Uses mosques and schools to attack Israel, and meets in a hospital, directly endangering their fellow Palestinians by requiring Israel to attack these sites if they are to attack Hamas.

I’ll stop the list there, but it would be easy to go on. Please, local media, some balance would be great.

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Israel invades Gaza

It was just waiting to happen. Israeli troops are right now moving into Gaza, to try and stop Hamas’ rocket attacks. Aljazeera news had excellent coverage of it this morning, and the Stratos TV channel (if you have Freeview) is putting them on more often then normal to cover developments.

It is very interesting to compare the official line that most of the media are saying about this war with what the Israeli officials are saying. Although Aljazeera is certainly biased towards Hamas, they have done some good interviews of the Israeli spokespeople to cover the other side of the conflict.

Most media outlets are going on about an “Israeli airstrike on a mosque” that killed 10 people. The Israelis however say that Hamas has been using mosques as weapons caches, in breach of international law, knowing Israel will not attack them. Israel attacked some militants near a mosque, a Hamas weapons cache blew up, which killed a number of people outside a mosque. So according to the Israelis, those deaths were caused by Hamas weapons, not Israeli. It is hard to know whose story is correct, but the Israeli one sounds very plausible.

According to the Israelis interviewed, all information coming out of Gaza is controlled by Hamas and is deliberate propaganda. Hamas is feeding information about a “humanitarian crisis” to the outside world, and saying that Israel is denying access for organisations such as the Red Cross. Israel says that is nonsense, they are in direct contact with the medical people in Gaza, who have plenty of supplies and say there is no crisis. Furthermore Israel is allowing access for charities and sending in a hundred trucks a day carrying humanitarian aid! What other country would give their enemies supplies in the middle of a war?

Hamas claims there are hundreds of civilian deaths, and this is parroted by most media outlets. Israel claims most of these are Hamas militants, with only 10% being civilian – as opposed to Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel for the past 8 years where 95% of the dead were civilians.

It is clear we need to take the news reports very cautiously, as it is impossible to determine what is real and what is propaganda. But bear in mind that Israel is retaliating finally following eight years of rocket attacks aimed directly at civilians. Furthermore it is impossible for anyone to avoid civilian casualties when they are fighting terrorists who are willing to use mosques and residential areas as bases, deliberately drawing Israeli fire on their civilian neighbours.

More info.

NZ military has been run into the ground

If there is one area of policy that is the first priority of government, it would have to be defence. This is because it doesn’t matter what else you do in the country, if someone can sail up and take over, reversing all your good work, it was all in vain. Defence is the insurance that allows you to do everything else.

This NZPA story is very concerning:

The navy is finding it difficult to sail, the airforce to fly and the army would struggle to take part in combat, the 2007/2008 Defence Force annual report revealed today.

In the report, the army said while land forces were “partially” prepared for low level conflicts, the army was not equipped to meet higher threat situations

Read the whole story. Basically there seem to be serious problems with poor equipment in all three branches. And there is a lack of firepower in the equipment that exists. On top of this the military is finding it difficult to retain staff – possibly because they get sick of working with run-down equipment.

At the end of the day, our defence force is incapable of defending us. We have no combat aircraft, a few boats armed with peashooters, a few helicopters, and a lightly-armed army. Although the total number of staff is at its highest in seven years there are still insufficient staff to operate our ships, planes and helicopters.

Although Labour will boast of having put more money into defence while they have been in power, it is hard to see where the money has gone. The military is costing more but we don’t even have an air combat wing any more. Maybe the extra defence funding has been sucked up by rising fuel costs and increasing wages.

National won’t improve this situation. They feel they have reached an “enduring consensus” on defence policy with Labour, and are quite happy with the status quo.

We need to actually invest in defence. Current policy seems to be based on the presumption that we live in a “benign strategic environment”. All this means is that it has been so long since the last war that threatened NZ that we are probably due for another, but people are forgetting the last one and the importance of defence.

The Family Party is committed to adequately funding our defence forces, at a level (relative to GDP) comparable to that of our allies and similar countries to ourselves. We must have strong relationships with like-minded countries, especially Australia, the USA and the UK, and a defence force that is capable of pulling our weight in these relationships.

We will rebirth the Maori battalions, boosting our defence forces while providing a career path for young Maori and Pacific men who have underachieved in school. We are also willing to tackle the hard issues, and will be open to debate on dropping the ban on nuclear ships if this would assist in our relationships with other countries, but would require a public mandate by way of a referendum to do so, as this is a very divisive issue.

We need to be able to defend our country from attack, especially as the world is likely to become a more violent place in future as oil and other resources become scarcer. New Zealand has excellent agricultural land that would be ideal for an overpopulated country seeking security of food supply. We also have large reserves of coal and gas, also gold, and possibly oil and uranium. We are a valuable prize sitting almost completely unarmed in the middle of nowhere, as this video humorously, but very accurately, shows.

War has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. We must be prepared.

“At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”

And in the meantime we can only be grateful that at least whenever we sing the National Anthem we are asking God to defend us, as we sure can’t!