Is This the Last Stand for Hamas? -Benny Avni
Can Hamas survive the latest onslaught in Gaza? The terrorist organization has clearly learned from past confrontations and is trying to hone its military abilities in the current exchange.
Meanwhile, millions of Israelis—including the easy-going beachgoers of Tel Aviv and its environs, Israel’s most populous region, as well as those living in the outskirts of Jerusalem—braced themselves for a hot night of red alert sirens signaling the arrival of incoming rockets from Gaza.
What the current operation would decide is whether that bet will turn Hamas’s fortunes around, or deal a major blow to its claim for Palestinian leadership.
[Jewish World Review]
Why Are We Fighting with Gaza, Again? - David Horovitz
Moslem Worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque Celebrating Hamas Rockets Falling Near Jerusalem
Palestinian Rockets Reach Further into Israel - Batsheva Sobelman
"Moderate" Fatah Also Firing Rockets - Khaled Abu Toameh
Fatah has several hundred militiamen in the Gaza Strip, some of whom are members of the Palestinian Authority security forces, who continue to receive their salaries from Western governments.
At least two Fatah armed groups announced that they had started firing rockets at the "settlements" of Ashkelon and Sderot, cities inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel, with another Fatah group claiming responsibility for firing 35 rockets into Israel since Sunday.
State Department Condemns Hamas Targeting of Civilians
Jen Psaki, State Department Spokeswoman, July 8, 2014:
We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza. No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we certainly support Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks. We appreciate – we’re concerned, of course, about the safety and security of civilians. I know there’s been a range of reported attacks that have gone directly on both sides, the residents of southern Israel who are forced to live under rocket fire in their homes, the civilians in Gaza who are subjected to the conflict because of Hamas’s action.
(Department of State)
Obama and the Middle East Mess - Jonathan Tobin
Hamas's decision to escalate the fight with Israel, both by sanctioning the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens and the subsequent missile attacks, is directly related to its belief that the unity pact marked a turning point in its long struggle with Abbas's Fatah.
Though Hamas was forced to make a deal with Fatah in large measure because of its cash shortages and isolation after its break with Iran and the fall of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government, it has revived its political fortunes by reverting to violence.
If Hamas is allowed to stay in the PA without penalty and Israel is constrained by American demands for "restraint" from the sort of military offensive that will truly make the group pay a heavy price for its behavior, then its prospects for eventual victory over Abbas are improved. The slide into what may be another intifada or at least another round of fighting in Gaza is blamed on Netanyahu's supposedly belligerent attitude. But this is exactly what many observers feared would be the inevitable aftermath to another failed U.S. peace initiative. Secretary of State John Kerry's peace talks were acclaimed as a noble effort even if the odds were always against success. But by raising the stakes in the region at a point when everyone knew the Palestinian leadership was unready for peace, he set the stage for a chance for Hamas to interject itself into the process in this manner.
Even worse, by deciding to treat the Fatah-Hamas pact as no big deal, the U.S. sent exactly the wrong signal to both Abbas and Hamas. While Abbas was allowed to think there would be no price to pay for abandoning the peace process and embracing unreconstructed terrorists, Hamas soon realized that it could literally get away with murder without the U.S. blinking an eye or rethinking its determination to restrain Israeli efforts to deal with the terror group.
The result is the current escalation that has damaged Abbas while allowing the Islamists to reclaim their status as the address for "resistance" against Israel. Barack Obama may not have wanted the current fighting to happen and, indeed, he would very much like it to stop. But the administration's maneuvering led inevitably to another blowup that had the ironic effect of weakening Abbas, the one figure in this mess the president actually likes.
America's mixed messages are not the sole reason why the situation has deteriorated but they have played an outsize role in making things worse. If the president really wants to advance the cause of peace, he should forget about more bland pronouncements such as his op-ed, and start reminding both Abbas and Hamas that they will suffer if they don't embrace the cost of peace.
Anything short of that is a continuation of a policy that is exacerbating the conflict rather than solving it.
[Jewish World Review]
IDF Kills 5 Hamas Terrorists Infiltrating from Sea - Yaakov Lappin
IDF units intercepted a Hamas commando unit that sought to infiltrate Israel from the sea at Zikim Beach, just north of the Gaza Strip. See video: