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This week’s letter from Israel – February 2, 2024

February 2, 2024

My dearest friends,

This week has been a particularly wet one. Israel is usually at its happiest when it rains. The level of Israel’s largest natural water resource, Lake Kinneret, remains the most accurate reflection of our national mood. On this front, we’re doing well.

This year, our main concern regarding the weather, is its effect on the wellbeing of our soldiers. Ori sent us some photographs of his activities along the Lebanese border. Cold, wet, misty and muddy is the way to best describe them. Makes me realize how fortunate I am to be able to curl up under my warm blankets while our soldiers protect our borders with such dedication and under such difficult conditions.

We spent last Friday glued to our television sets trying to understand the initial rulings of the International Court of Justice. What upset me most, was that Hamas wasn’t there to answer for their war crimes before, on and after October 7. This travesty of justice completely undermines the attempt to legally adjudicate the conflict.

The judges at the ICJ did not issue an interim order demanding an immediate cessation of the hostilities. I guess this means the court is of the opinion that Israel enjoys the right to self-defense including the elimination of Hamas and its military infrastructure. The court is also of the opinion that Israel has not committed acts of genocide.

The ICJ judges called for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages. Who, I ask, is expected to deliver on that? The judges didn’t even suggest a candidate for the job. Yet another example of lip service being paid to an issue nobody wants to take ownership of.

The judges also insisted that more humanitarian aid be provided to Gaza. This responsibility has been assigned to Israel. Surely humanitarian aid to Gaza should be contingent on the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages. What can be more humanitarian than releasing innocent hostages? But the judges chose to remain silent on this.

The most ridiculous ruling made by the judges was the one which speculated that Israel might, in the future, commit acts of genocide. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe judges should adjudicate the facts and not engage in speculation.

The South African government laid on a hero’s welcome home for their legal team. Supported by Al Jazeera, they claim to have won a resounding victory. But South Africa clearly failed to achieve her prime goal of stopping the war.

South Africa did, however, achieve her more realistic goal of dragging Israel through a long and messy legal battle at the ICJ on charges of genocide. This charade of trying to demonize Israel is likely to continue for the next few years.

The institutions representing the international community have clearly failed to define how a country, aspiring to uphold the rules of war, should conduct itself against a terror entity with no accountability.

Justice will not be forthcoming from the ICJ. Those guilty of genocide aren’t on trial. All we’ll get from this legal charade is another blood libel against Jews and an emboldened Hamas.

The revelation that UNRWA staff members were amongst the Hamas militants who perpetrated the October 7 massacre came as no surprise to anybody in Israel.

For the past 75 years, UNRWA schools have served as the breeding ground for indoctrination and brainwashing the children of Gaza. A quick glance through any UNRWA sponsored text book confirms this. If the UN is committed to finding a lasting peace in the Middle East, UNRWA must be dismantled. It’s role in financing terror and perpetuating the conflict has been proven beyond any shadow of doubt.

It’s also been revealed that 1,200 UNRWA employees are active members of Hamas and other terror groups and around 50% of UNRWA’s employees in the Gaza Strip have close family links to these organizations. This revelation has forced some of UNRWA’s major donors, including the US and the EU, to put their financial contributions on hold, pending further investigation.

I find it difficult to believe that the higher echelons of the UN are not fully aware of this abuse of power to develop and finance the Hamas terror infrastructure. This revelation should be embarrassing for them. But fear not. Their spin-doctors will find the right story to excuse their actions and enable them to continue promoting their warped agendas. Don’t expect anybody to take responsibility or to resign their positions.

The CIA World Factbook provides a ton of information. So, for those who like trivia, life expectancy at birth in Egypt in 2023 was 72.5 years. In Syria, it was 74.6. In neighbouring Jordan, it was 75.0. In wealthy Saudi Arabia, it was 76.9 years. In Gaza, life expectancy at birth was 74.8 years. Pretty much par for the course. These numbers beg the question as to whether there’s any foundation to the claim that Gaza is in the throes of a humanitarian crisis. Sounds to me like the world is in crisis.

At this time, the plight of the 136 Israeli hostages being held by Hamas remains unclear. We are told that 108 hostages, amongst them elderly people, women and children, are alive. The remaining 28 were murdered by Hamas.

My condolences to those mourning their nearest and dearest. My wishes to the injured for a complete and speedy recovery. May God protect our brave soldiers. May the hostages soon be reunited with their families.

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and better times ahead.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Harris Zvi Green.

About the Author
Harris Zvi Green was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Aged 77, he made Aliyah 53 years ago. An accountant by profession, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for a number of Israel based hi-tech companies. He is married to Phyllis. They have 3 married children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Harris Zvi Green is a founder member of Truth be Told, an organization engaged in public diplomacy on behalf of Israel.
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