Monday, July 14th Commentary
After two years of relative calm, Israel and Hamas are warring again and on the surface it appeared justified. 3 Jewish teenagers were kidnapped. Israel blamed Hamas. The Israeli military then launched a massive 18-day search-and-rescue operation. It was June 30th when the boys’ bodies were found and by then Israeli citizens had been whipped into a frenzy. Then came the murder of a Palestinian boy, apparently burned alive in retaliation by some extremist Israelis.
Before I get into this, understand I have no hidden motive here...no anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish hatred in my heart. This is about politicians and the crap they pull on the public.
Israel has strict censorship laws so the media were muzzled at the outset and could not report what they found without suffering severe penalty. It wasn't until the muzzle was removed on July 1st, after the boys bodies had been found, when the truth begin to emerge.
Based on what is available at the moment, those boys were dead soon after they were kidnapped. Shot 10 times by a gun with a silencer on it by criminals unknown. The kids were hitchhiking. They were picked up in a Hyundai by their killers who were likely dressed in Jewish religious garb. What we now know is that Israeli authorities knew the kids were dead, 24 hours later but the Netanyahu government deliberately withheld that information for more than two weeks, making it appear there was hope the boys were alive and could be rescued. Instead, as the allegations go, Netanyahu used this abduction as the excuse he needed to militarily crush Hamas. You see Hamas recently did a deal with the Palestinian Authority to rule jointly and Israel was not about to negotiate a Middle East Peace deal with the PA as long as a known terrorist group was now clearly in bed with Mahmoud Abbas and his team. They needed a pretense to move militarily and the kidnappings became the excuse, steeped in lies.
So far there is no proof readily available to show that Hamas was behind the kidnapping and killing of those boys. Could it simply have been rogue Palestinian extremists? Israel would have us believe Jewish extremists killed the Palestinian teen so why not the other way round?
So now we have 4 dead teenagers plus, according to Hamas health authorities more than 1-hundred-70 people killed on the Palestinian side by the Israeli military bombardment and many of those killed were civilians.
At some point there will be another ceasefire. With any luck it will be sooner than later. Israel will not have achieved its objective of permanently obliterating Hamas. Nor will Hamas achieve its objective of terminating Israel and the rest of the world will go back to ignoring the Middle East until the next flare-up. I find it reprehensible that Netanyahu would put Israelis through the anguish and torment just to whip up public support for his desire to forever crush Hamas. Equally as reprehensible is Hamas hiding weapons and its leadership amongst the civilian population exposing them to Israeli bombing runs.
Toronto council comment
As regular listeners know I was away last week on vacation. This time I stayed around town and didn't do a heck of a lot but I did go to part of the Toronto city council meeting. I walked away thinking some of these councillors are thick as bricks. Not very smart.
Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper was explaining to council her finding that Mayor Rob Ford violated city council's Code of Conduct because he sent robo calls to Councillor Paul Ainslie's constituents telling them their councillor ignored their wishes and voted against a subway in Scarborough. As Leiper explained, the violation was primarily that Ford made an allegation about the councillor without any factual basis for making the claim...the allegation that he ignored his constituents when clearly Ainslie had widely consulted with his constituents before making his decision. I understood what she was saying but then a number of councillors started to question the Integrity Commissioner trying to clarify what she was saying. One asked, does that mean we can't make robo calls or that the mayor cannot make robo calls to some of his constituents if they are just in one councillor's ward? I started to think, well maybe I didn't get what she was saying but Lieper explained again and again it was the unsupported-by-fact allegations the Mayor made and that he never tried to talk to Ainslie about why he voted against a subway or whether he'd consulted his constituents before doing the robo call to say Ainslie ignored their wishes.
At least one councillor asked the Integrity Commissioner about Twitter and allegations that are sometimes made there against councillors and shouldn't she investigate those matters. That was a complete red herring that had nothing to do with anything. Simply put, the Commissioner investigates when someone files a complaint. That is the rule set by city council and she is following it as she follows the Code of Conduct...the rules set by city council. It was exasperating to watch. I can only guess what was going through Janet Leiper's mind especially when her report was readily available online for the councillors to read before the council meeting even began.
Obviously we can't ask those councillors who didn't understand to be smarter. All we can hope for is their constituents will pay closer attention to which candidates really have the where-with-all to do the job and vote accordingly in October.