Life in Israel

Life in Israel

Life in Israel

The Intifada two years on

As Israel and Jews worldwide marked the Fall Feasts season in
September, Israel also prepared to mark the second anniversary of the outbreak
of the Al Aksa Intifada, which broke out on the eve of Rosh Ha Shana, September
29th 2001. Two years on, the death toll from the intifada is more
than 620 Israelis, the majority being innocent citizens who were blown up in
buses or restaurants, or shot by snipers while driving in their cars. More than
1500 Palestinians are dead, most of them persons directly involved in the
planning of, and carrying-out of acts of terror which have resulted in the
deaths of dozens of Israelis. Apart from this unacceptable death toll, thousands
more have been physically injured. Countless numbers of people have also been
emotionally traumatized by the shocking effects of the explosions and shootings.

Leading political leaders of the UN, USA and EC have made
many attempts to stem the violence and bring both sides back to the negotiating
table. All have failed, simply because the Palestinian leadership does not
really want to negotiate. PA chairman Arafat turned down 96% of the territory he
was asking for, opting instead to order the initiation of the intifada which has
tragically caused the above mentioned death and injury. Israel's economy had
also been drastically affected by the intifada, with the essential tourist
market being decimated by the fear that has been falsely induced by the
unbalanced reporting of the secular media. While Israel's economy has been
drastically affected, the Palestinian economy had been all but destroyed, with
many families living in total financial despair.

Mega Attacks Planned

A new and extremely concerning aspect has entered the Israel
/Palestinian conflict. Over the last few months, Israeli security officers have
successfully intercepted Arab terrorists on their way to carry out a 'mega
attack'. The inspiration for these large scale attacks seem to have come from
the attack on the WTC. First of all a truck filled with an enormous quantity of
explosives was intercepted on the way to destroy one of Tel Aviv's tallest
high rise buildings. Then in July an extremely serious disaster was (Divinely?)
averted when a terrorist attached a bomb to the underneath of a fuel tanker. As
the truck entered the main fuel dump on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, the bomb was
exploded by remote control. There was an explosion, but they placed the bomb on
a diesel tanker, thus greatly reducing the force of the explosion. If they had
placed the bomb on a gasoline tanker, up to 60,000 people could have been wiped
out by the explosion and the ensuing fire and chemical cloud that would have
affected much of Tel Aviv.

A few weeks later a car was intercepted laden with
explosives. The car was exploded by army sappers and seen around the world on
television. The size of the explosion was monumental, and had the terrorist's
plans come to fruition, the casualties would have been very, very high. Had any
of these planned mega attacks succeeded, they could have launched the Middle
East into, at the very least, a regional war.

Imminent Collapse of the Temple Mount ?

Since the eruption of the Al Aksa Intifada, following the
September 2000 visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, the entire Temple
Mount area has been off limits to Jews and Christians alike. During this time
period the Muslim Waqf has been carrying out major excavations under the Temple
Mount compound. This unsupervised removal of earth has disturbed both Israeli
and international archaeologists who are extremely concerned at the loss of
artifacts from the second temple period. Truckloads of earth have been removed
and dumped without being sifted for archaeological material. Because of the
sensitivity of the Temple Mount issue, Israeli police and the Antiquity
Authorities were powerless to do anything about it. Of greater concern has been
the structural damage that has resulted from the work being carried out. The
path of the rainwater flow has been changed in the process, causing water to
trickle down the walls, thus eating them away. Over the last few weeks, Israeli
engineers have been watching with great concern a bulge that has developed in
the eastern corner of the southern wall. The bulge is now 190 square metres in
size and protrudes by 1.5 metres at the worst point. Engineers are saying that
there is a very real possibility of the southern wall collapsing and taking the
southern part of the Western wall and Temple Mount with it. Israeli
Archaeologist, Dr. Eilat Mazar, says "the Waqf are doing nothing about the
problem, except blaming Israel. Israel is powerless to help, because Jews are
not allowed on the Temple Mount. The only thing it (the Waqf) cares about is
Islamicizing the Temple Mount and nothing else. The question is not "Will the
wall fall?", but whether the wall will collapse on thousands of worshippers,
or will it happen in a controlled manner".

Wazzani River Water Diversion

While much of world attention focuses on Jerusalem and the
West Bank, another issue is threatening to cause major problems on Israel's
northern border with Lebanon. The Wazzani river is a tributary of the Hatzbani
river which flows much needed water into the Sea of Galilee. Israeli aerial
surveillance has provided evidence that the Lenanese are engaged in an
engineering project that will divert 10% of the water away from its path to
Israel. Pumping could begin as soon as early October. Prime Minister Sharon sent
a harsh warning to Lebanon recently stating "Don't try to pump more water
from the Wazzani river". For years now, Middle East commentators have forecast
that the next major war in the area, may be over water, rather than oil. The
current Israel / Lebanon disagreement over the Wazzani river water may just
fulfill those forecasts as Israel is considering a military response if the
pumping begins. A delegation of American water experts visited the project in
September to help mediate the issue.

Preparations for Iraqi Attack on Israel

As the war rhetoric between the USA and Iraq has increased
over the last few months, the Israel government and Defense Department have been
watching developments very closely. In the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein
launched 39 Scud missiles at major targets in Israel. One Scud just overshot the
Haifa oil refinery, just 3 miles from where I sit writing this report.
Naturally, Israel is more than a little nervous as the USA increases pressure on
Saddam. From Saddam's point of view, his only hope of surviving a US led
attack, would be if the other major Arab states stood with Iraq. And Saddam also
knows that his only hope of that happening is if he initiates a war with Israel,
expecting that the Muslim brotherhood would quickly join in the attack against
the Zionist enemy. Israel's worst case scenario is the likelihood of Iraq
utilizing their vast stocks of chemical and biological warheads. In preparation,
the IDF is updating gas masks and inoculating medical personnel against