17 September 2014 - 22 Elul 5774 - כ"ב אלול ה' אלפים תשע"ד

With a cease-fire in effect as of 26 August, the 12th in the 50 days of conflict, of which, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, previous ones have been broken by Hamas, perhaps the streets of both Gaza and Israel will remain quiet for some time and cautious optimism will prevail.

Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz was quoted as saying that, “While Hamas was not knocked out, it was delivered a severe blow that could very well be the beginning of the end of its control of the Gaza Strip. Hamas started this round with 10,000 rockets, and is now estimated to possess between 2,000 and 3,000.

“It started with Hamas possessing some 32 attack tunnels leading into Israel, and the army destroyed all the ones it had identified. And Hamas has had hundreds of fighters, including commanders, killed,” explained Steinitz.

“Hamas destroyed Gaza, harmed itself, and didn’t achieve anything,” he added. “Hamas knows the truth, they can celebrate, but they know the truth,” concluded Steinitz.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas and other terrorists organisations in Gaza prompted many sympathy groups to spring up in the region to rally in support and solidarity of the Gazan people. Spurred on by the many hundreds of civilian lives lost and partly fuelled by other rallies taking place in around the world, as well large Muslim populations in Asia.

Over the past few months, nearly every country in Asia organised solidarity marches in support of the people of Gaza and the Palestinians.

A rally event was organised in Singapore, held at Hong Lim Park on 28 July. More than 1000 people gathered, organised by Muhd Firdaus Bin Marzuki, founder of the facebook group, From Singapore to Palestine (FS2P). Mr Firdaus created the fanpage in 2012 to create awareness in Singapore about the situation in Palestine. A total of eight speakers voiced concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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Children threatened on Sydney school bus E-mail

One of the more disturbing developments from the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, was the shocking incident of Jewish children being threatened on a school bus in a suburb in Sydney, Australia.

Dozens of Jewish children were traumatized by a gang of teenagers last month who stormed a school bus and allegedly hurled racial abuse and threats. Eight teenagers threatened children saying Palestine ‘must kill the Jews’ and screaming ‘Free Palestine’.

New South Wales state police said five juveniles were arrested over the incident. According to a police statement, they were questioned at a police station but were later released without charge into the custody of their parents pending further investigations.

The bus carrying about 30 children aged 5 to 12 years from three Jewish schools were subjected to “physical and racial threats” by a group of eight male teenagers, aged 15 to 17, who boarded at a bus stop in the the eastern suburb of Randwick, police said. No one was injured. One of the parents, Jackie Blackburn, said her three daughters, aged 8, 10 and 12, would need counselling after their terrifying bus ride.

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Recognise Yom Kippur as an official UN holiday E-mail

Some 32 countries wrote a letter to a committee of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in support of Israel’s bid to have the international body recognise Yom Kippur as an official holiday.

The letter, dated 30 June, was sent to the General Assembly’s Committee on Conferences and calls for Yom Kippur to be recognised beginning in 2015. The letter says that: “The UN recognises the major festivals of many of the world’s main religions, yet Judaism is not represented.

“We believe that the UN’s calendar should reflect the organisation’s founding principles of coexistence, justice and mutual respect. We urge the UN to correct this inequity and recognise the holiest day of the Jewish faith,” the letter stated.

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