Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Did Israel Make Hamas Crawl?

How Israel made Hamas crawl - Yossi Melman

If the cease-fire holds, the results of the 50-day war in Gaza will mark an important and impressive achievement for Israel.

Hamas was forced to accept Egyptian and Israeli dictates.

Hamas crawled to the cease-fire
. One should not be impressed by the well-organized victory festivities in Gaza. Most of Hamas’s demands and preconditions were rejected from the outset.

The cease-fire is unlimited in time and Hamas was not promised anything except that which had been offered at the start of the military campaign.

Full of itself and arrogant, it miscalculated. If Hamas had not rejected the offers, Israel would not have launched a ground incursion. Hamas’s 32 attacking tunnels would not have been destroyed. Its rockets and mortar shells wouldn’t be reduced to a residual arsenal of 20 percent – from 10,000 to approximately 2,000.

And most importantly, parts of Gaza wouldn’t have been destroyed.

Surely people [in Gaza] will not go to protest in the streets. Hamas has established a reign of fear and terror. The massive public executions during the war, and in particular last week, of alleged traitors were not aimed at unveiling and disrupting Israeli intelligence operations, rather to send a clear message to the Gazans: We are Hamas and we are here to stay. Don’t dare revolt against us. But locals have a long memory. They will remember who brought them the calamity.

[Hamas] stood up for 50 days against the mighty Israeli war machine. They paralyzed Israel’s international airport for two days. Israel’s economy took a relative hit. They tried to infiltrate in commando operations from the sea and the tunnels. But in most cases they failed and achieved nothing significant.

The bottom line is that Hamas failed to reach its strategic goals. Israel showed determination and except some marginal manifestations, the Israeli home front was stubborn and did not break down.

The real index with which to check Israel’s gains is against the war’s declared aims. The leading trio – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz – who have shown reason and self restraint in order to avoid more casualties, were determined not to surrender to populist voices, including from their cabinet colleagues who pulled out long knives to stab them in the back and demanded to “smash Hamas.”
[Jerusalem Post]

Assessing the UN's "Gaza Crisis Atlas 2014" - Dan Smith

Last week, the UN published a 100-page "Gaza Crisis Atlas" showing the location of 12,000 points representing damage caused between July 9 and August 5.

Several patterns are discernible: The attacks are in no way "random" or "indiscriminate." 72% are within 3 km. of the border with Israel, the location of dozens of terror tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel.

The IDF has published a map of known terrorist infrastructure. By overlaying the IDF's map with the UN's damage points, the correlation is uncanny. It now becomes clear that the rest of Gaza was, for the most part, undamaged. Less than 5% of the land was affected.

Hamas Gave Us 50 Days to Destroy Its Capabilities
- Interview with Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror

Former Israeli National Security Advisor Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror told Israel Channel 2 TV:

"Hamas, in its stupidity, gave us 50 days to destroy its capabilities, to strike its infrastructure, to destroy its network of attack tunnels, to reach a point where its ability to manufacture weapons is close to zero. The number of rockets it has left is very small, and to rebuild what it had will take a long time, if at all, because the government on the other side of the border, the Egyptian government, is not like the previous government....[Hamas] also has more than 1,000 dead."

"This does not mean that Hamas will not open fire in another month if it comes to the conclusion that it has received nothing so far. This is more or less a cease-fire agreement. It didn't receive anything, and it may be that it will understand that it received nothing and will open fire." 
(Israel Channel 2 TV-Hebrew)

Gaza Street Seething and Hamas in Disarray - Herb Keinon

  • The targeted killings and the intelligence information regarding the tunnels created a great deal of suspicion of people collaborating with Israel, and this often led to abandoning the use of advanced communication equipment, which made management of the fighting for Hamas' top brass even more difficult.
  • According to the assessments, the prevailing mood in the street is one of bitterness and anger toward Hamas, whose leaders were among the first to hide and left the civilians to fend for themselves.
  • (Jerusalem Post)

    Bibi, Guerrilla Warfare, and Public Opinion - Max Boot

    Netanyahu’s judgment clearly is that a ceasefire which restores the status quo ante bellum is the best Israel can do right now, and he is surely right. That is not satisfying for those who hunger for an idyllic version of war in which the bad guys surrender after being bombed for a few days, but it is line with the complex reality of irregular war as it has been waged over the centuries.

    The Media & Gaza War

    Skewed Coverage: Media in the Gaza War - Richard Behar

    Journalists working for American news outlets have "become part of the Hamas war machine" in the ongoing war in Gaza, notes Gary Weiss, one of the world's top business investigative reporters

    On Aug. 11, the normally Israel-averse Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned the terrorist group for "the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month."

    Since the war began on July 8, so much of the Western coverage has been predictably skewed against Israel - through those time-honored journalism tools of sloppy and lazy reporting, superficiality, nuance, omission, lack of historical knowledge, or flat-out agenda-driven lies and bias. "We're talking about journalism that functions as a tool of a terrorist organization, Hamas: breathlessly pushing its narrative, whether cowed by its threats, sympathetic to its cause, or simply ignorant," says Weiss.

    This epidemic of journalistic malpractice is contributing to the pain and loss of life that Palestinians in Gaza are suffering - as it helps to empower Hamas. In turn, this no doubt helps spread oil on the rising and frightening anti-Semitism we're seeing in Europe and elsewhere.

    The arithmetic of civilian casualties in Gaza is one of the principal media crimes in this war. Major Western journalists routinely swallowed the huge civilian-casualty figures dished out to them by Gaza's Ministry of Health, a bureaucratic arm of a terrorist group that was shown to have lied about such figures in past wars. In some cases, reporters cite numbers instead from the UN, which gets its numbers from - surprise - the Hamas ministry. 

    An Insider's Guide to the Gaza War - Matti Friedman
    • The way the Gaza war has been described and responded to abroad has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought - namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. News organizations believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.
    • If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are more complicated.
    • Every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported. In one seven-week period (Nov. 8 to Dec. 16, 2011), I counted 27 separate AP articles, an average of a story every two days, on the various moral failings of Israeli society - a tally higher than the total number of critical stories about Palestinian government and society that our bureau had published in the preceding three years.
    • Any veteran of the press corps here knows that Hamas intimidation of reporters is real. As an editor on the AP news desk during the 2008-2009 Gaza fighting, I personally erased a key detail - that Hamas fighters were dressed as civilians and being counted as civilians in the death toll - because of a threat to our reporter in Gaza. The policy remains not to inform readers that a story is censored unless the censorship is Israeli.
    • The fact is that Hamas intimidation is largely beside the point because the actions of Palestinians are beside the point: Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. Many of the people deciding what you will read and see from here view their role not as explanatory but as political. Coverage is a weapon to be placed at the disposal of the side they like.
    • The land that Israel controls consists of the 0.2% of the Arab world in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as "Jewish-Arab" - a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries (or, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide). Yet the "Israeli-Palestinian" framing of the story allows the Jews to be depicted as the stronger party.
    • When journalists cover the Jews' war as more worthy of attention than any other, when they portray the Jews of Israel as the party obviously in the wrong, when they omit all possible justifications for the Jews' actions and obscure the true face of their enemies, international press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.

      The writer was a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press (2006-2011).

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Hollywood Backs Israel

    Over 190 Hollywood Notables Sign Pro-Israel Statement Criticizing Hamas

    "Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities," reads a statement signed by more than 190 entertainment execs, actors, producers and showrunners including Sarah Silverman, Minnie Driver, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    The statement was circulated on Saturday by Lana Melman, director of the Creative Community for Peace organization. A full list of names who signed the "Commitment to Justice and Peace" statement is here.  
    (Hollywood Reporter)

    Arabs Kick Obama Out of Sandbox

    Arab Nations Strike Libya, Surprising US
    - &

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    Hamas' Public Executions

    Quds News Photo

    What Happens to Palestinian Moderates - Editorial

    One of the myths about the Middle East is that there would be peace if only Israel courted Palestinian moderates. This might be possible if any Palestinian who harbored such a thought wasn't summarily executed.

    The practice goes back to the days of the British Mandate when the mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini killed Palestinians open to a Jewish presence. During the anti-Israel uprisings in the 1980s, Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction murdered some 800 Palestinians for alleged collaboration. The Palestinians will never have peace as long as they keep murdering anyone who wants it
    (Wall Street Journal)

    Unlikely Executed Palestinians Connected to Israel - Amos Harel

    Hamas has executed a large number of suspected collaborators. Yet it is highly unlikely that the murdered victims had any connections to Israeli intelligence agencies, particularly with regard to disclosing the whereabouts of the recently targeted Hamas commanders. It is more likely that they had publicly challenged Hamas policies in Gaza. That was the message: Anyone opposing us risks his life.

    Hamas on Executions - Smadar Perry

    11 people, including two women, were brought on Friday morning to the busy intersection in front of Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. Their hands were tied behind their backs, their mouths gagged. The executioners waited until the curious masses had gathered - the children were not kept away - and put bullets into each of the 11 heads. That afternoon, a Hamas firing squad assembled in the Great Mosque complex. There was a short salvo, and the waiting ambulance was loaded up with seven victims. And there was no rest for these executioners on Saturday, when they killed another four.

    Hamas deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk was asked what pushed them to firing squads: "Because of the pressure put on us by the residents of Gaza, because of the cries of despair and so that there would not be further chaos. We decided to create deterrence, so that people would not try to be clever," he replied. 
    (Ynet News)

    After Criticism, Hamas to Curb Public Executions - Roi Kais

    Asharq Al-Awsat reported Sunday that after receiving an outpouring of criticism regarding the public executions of "collaborators," the Hamas political echelon decided not to conduct such executions in front of the public.
    (Ynet News)

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    The Islamic State Cancer: Part 2

    How Is Hamas Different from Islamic State? - Rabbi Daniel Gordis 

    Israelis have taken great interest in Obama calling Islamic State a "cancer" after the gruesome beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. When Islamic State executes an innocent American - befuddled Israelis noticed - Obama has the capacity for outrage and moral clarity. But in Israel's conflict, even though Hamas is sworn on Israel's destruction and has been killing innocent Israelis for years, the best that Obama has been able to utter is the standard "Israel has a right to defend itself."

    Israelis still remember when then-senator and presidential candidate Obama sounded different. In 2008, Obama said in Sderot, Israel: "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if...somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

    That is exactly what Israelis have been doing, for weeks now. But U.S. diplomats and politicians have tried, for the most part, to calm the waters by treating Israel and Hamas as two morally equivalent opponents. Why is Islamic State a "cancer" while Hamas is a legitimate partner in a Palestinian unity government?
    The writer is senior vice president at Shalem College in Jerusalem.

    Pentagon: Islamic State Threat "Beyond Anything We've Seen"
    - Missy Ryan

    The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the U.S. that may surpass that once posed by al-Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said. "They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of...military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen." 

    U.S. Eyes Wider Action on Islamic State - Felicia Schwartz and Dion Nissenbaum

    The beheading of journalist James Foley has prompted American officials to begin working to knit together a broader international campaign to combat the extremists of the Islamic State. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the Islamic State can't be defeated without choking off its operations in Syria. Asked whether the Islamic State can be contained, Gen. Dempsey replied: "Yes, the answer is they can be contained, not in perpetuity. This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated."  
    (Wall Street Journal)

    ISIS Is to America as Hamas Is to Israel - Alan M. Dershowitz

    While President Obama has called for an all-out war against the "cancer" of ISIS, he has regarded Hamas as having an easily curable disease, urging Israel to accept that terrorist group, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, as part of a Palestinian unity government. Like ISIS, the Hamas Charter calls for a worldwide "caliphate," brought about by violent Jihad. Everything we rightly fear and despise from ISIS we should fear and despise from Hamas. Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

    Just as ISIS must be defeated militarily and destroyed as a terrorist army, so too must Hamas be responded to militarily and its rockets and tunnels destroyed. ISIS and Hamas must first be defeated militarily and only then might they consider accepting reasonable diplomatic and political compromises. 

    (Gatestone Institute)

    We Must Confront the Enemy in Our Midst - Editorial

    The chilling internet video of Mr. Foley's final moments on Earth serves as an affront to this country, for his killer speaks with an unmistakable British accent.  

    Stopping the Worst People on Earth - Charles Krauthammer 

    The Islamic State is overstretched. It's a thin force of perhaps 15,000 trying to control a territory four times the size of Israel. Its supply lines, operating in open country, are not just extended but exposed and highly vulnerable to air power. Stopping the Islamic State's momentum creates a major shift in psychology.

    Guerrilla armies thrive on a sense of inevitability. The Islamic State has grown in size, demoralized its enemies and attracted recruits from all over the world because it seemed unstoppable, a real caliphate in the making. People follow the strong horse over the weak horse, taught Osama bin Laden.

    Obama was slow to bring American power to bear. And slower still to arm the Kurds. But he was right to wait until Baghdad had gotten rid of Nouri al-Maliki, lest the U.S. serve as a Shiite air force. We don't know how successful Haider al-Abadi will be in forming a more national government. But Obama has for now wisely taken advantage of the Abadi opening.

    [W]hy not state the real objective of the U.S. air campaign? Stopping, containing, degrading the Islamic State.

    For now, Obama can get away with stretching the existing rationale, but not if he is to conduct a sustained campaign. For this you must make the larger case that we simply cannot abide a growing jihadist state in the heart of the Middle East, fueled by oil, advanced weaponry and a deranged fanaticism.

    These are the worst people on earth. They openly, proudly crucify enemies, enslave women and murder men en masse. These are not the usual bad guys out for land, plunder or power. These are primitive cultists who celebrate slaughter, glory in bloodlust and slit the throats of innocents as a kind of sacrament.

    We have now seen what air cover for Kurdish/Iraqi boots on the ground can achieve. But for a serious rollback campaign, Obama will need public support. He has to explain the stakes and the larger strategy.
    (Washington Post)

    Destroy the Islamic State - John R. Bolton

    We must seek to destroy the Islamic State. It is simply not enough to block the group's threat to the Kurds or other vulnerable minorities in the region. The risks of even a relatively small "state" (or "caliphate") are chilling. Leaving the Islamic State in place and in control only of its current turf in Iraq and Syria (including northern-Iraqi hydrocarbon deposits and associated infrastructure) would make it viable economically and a fearsome refuge for terrorists of all sorts, just as Afghanistan's Taliban gave al-Qaeda a base of operations to launch terrorist attacks culminating in 9/11.
    The writer, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is a former U.S. ambassador to the UN. 
    (National Review)


    Obama: "Degrade and Destroy" the Islamic State
    President Obama said: Steven Sotloff "traveled across the Middle East, risking his life to tell the story of Muslim men and women demanding justice and dignity....Americans are repulsed by their [Islamic State] barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists."

    "Our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so that it's no longer a threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States." 
    (White House)

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    The Islamic State Cancer

    Islamic State Warns Of Sleeper Cells in the West
    - Michael Georgy and Mariam Karouny

    One Islamic State fighter told Reuters
    "The West are idiots and fools. They think we are waiting for them to give us visas to go and attack them or that we will attack with our beards or even Islamic outfits....They don't know we can play their game in intelligence. They infiltrated us with those who pretend to be Muslims and we have also penetrated them with those who look like them."

    Another Islamic State militant said: "America will send its rockets, and we will send our bombs. Our land will not be attacked while their land is safe." 

    After Beheading, Obama Calls for "Effort to Extract This Cancer"

    In response to the murder of American journalist Jim Foley, President Barack Obama said:

    "Let's be clear about ISIL [ISIS]. They have rampaged across cities and villages - killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims - both Sunni and Shia - by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion."

    "The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done....There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread." 
    (White House)

    It Will Take More than Words to Stop ISIS - Editorial

    With each day, the barbarism of the Islamist extremists terrorizing Syria and Iraq becomes more evident - as does the need for the U.S. and its allies to act more vigorously to block their rise. Islamist extremists in Syria and Iraq are training hundreds of foreign terrorists, including from Europe and the U.S., who could easily slip back into their home countries with malign intent. They proudly proclaim their enmity to America. America needs a genuine strategy in response.
    (Washington Post)

    Destroy the Islamic State Now - Gen. John Allen 

    If all the actions of the Islamic State to date weren't sufficiently reprehensible, the brutal murder of the brave American journalist James Foley and the potential for other similar acts will snap American attention with laser-like focus onto the real danger IS poses to the existence of Iraq, the order of the region and to the homelands of Europe and America. Make no mistake, the abomination of IS is a clear and present danger to the U.S.

    The U.S. is now firmly in the game and remains the only nation on the planet capable of exerting the kind of strategic leadership, influence and strike capacity to deal with IS

    The Islamic State is an entity beyond the pale of humanity and it must be eradicated. If we delay now, we will pay later. 
    The writer, former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, is a distinguished fellow of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.
    (Defense One)

    Gaza Heats Up Again

    Muhammad Deif, Hamas scum, may have been killed in an Israeli strike. 
    Hamas says he wasn't home.

    Targeting Senior Terrorists Reasserts Deterrence - Yaakov Lappin

    The attempt to kill Muhammad Deif, the head of Hamas' military wing, is one component of a wider strategy to reassert Israeli deterrence, former Israel Navy chief Vice-Adm. Eliezer Marom said.

    Keeping senior terrorists on the run forces them to go on the defensive and spend less time trying to murder Israeli civilians, he said.
    (Jerusalem Post)

    Family of "Righteous Gentile" Featured in New York Times Story Was Hosting Hamas Terrorist
    - Adam Kredo

    The New York Times ran a front-page profile on Henk Zanoli, who was awarded a medal by Israel for his family's efforts to save a Jewish family during the Holocaust. Zanoli recently returned his medal to protest an Israeli airstrike on a home in Gaza that killed six of his relatives by marriage.

    Zanoli and the Times failed to mention that a Hamas operative, Al Qassam Brigades member Mohammed Mahmoud al-Maqadma, was in the family's home at the time of the airstrike, according to publicly available information
    (Washington Free Beacon)

    Hamas Claims Responsibility for Kidnapping and Murder of Three Israeli Teens
    - Jack Khoury

    Salach al-Aruri, a senior Hamas official based in Turkey, boasted during a conference in Istanbul that Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades were behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June.

    "The al-Qassam's mujahedeen were the ones to carry out [the abduction]," he told an event organized by the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

    Previously, Hamas had refrained from taking responsibility for the abduction and murder.
    Video: Hamas Takes Responsibility for Murder of Israeli Teens


    Video of Iron Dome, which has revolutionized defense of rocket attack
    The killing of three of its most senior commanders in southern Gaza was the harshest blow - militarily and in terms of morale - that Hamas has sustained since the start of the Gaza war, demonstrating that Hamas has been penetrated by Israeli intelligence. Given that the fighting had re-escalated since Tuesday, and that Israel was known to be trying to hit the Hamas military leadership, the three had taken every possible precaution to evade Israeli intelligence. Those precautions simply were not good enough.
    Two of the three were not mere senior commanders of the al-Qassam Brigades. Muhammad Abu Shamala and Raed al-Attar were part of the founding generation of the Hamas military wing - long-term veterans with experience and knowledge that cannot be easily replaced.
    (Times of Israel)
    A Military Blow for Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The killing of three of Hamas' most important military commanders is the most painful blow dealt to the movement in recent years. It is already clear that the killings have shattered the self-confidence of Hamas leaders. The slain commanders are among the most protected Hamas military figures in Gaza. Only a small number of people know where they hang out.
    A sign of the panic that has engulfed Hamas following the air strikes was provided by the summary execution of three Palestinian "collaborators" on Thursday.
    (Jerusalem Post)
    - Amos Harel
    The campaign of targeted killings launched by Israel this week reflects an attempt to break out of a military standstill and compel Hamas to accept a cease-fire. Civilians are killed in these operations, but many more will die if the IDF returns in a massive ground operation in the event that Hamas continues firing rockets.
    Remaining Hamas leaders understand very well the message embedded in Israel's moves: If you don't stop now, this will continue and your families may be hurt as well. 
    The Big Lie of Gaza - Daniel Mandel

    The idea of Gaza being the most densely populated place in the world is a propaganda fabrication. Gaza had in 2010 11,542 people per square mile, less densely populated than Hong Kong (17,422), Singapore (17,723), Monaco (39,609), and Macau (52,163). No one calls these places teeming, open-air prisons - with reason. Hong Kong has the world's third largest financial center. Singapore has the third highest per capita income in the world. Monaco has the world's highest GDP per capita. And Macau is one of the world's richest cities - testimony to what hard work, solid industries and responsible government can achieve in small, resource-poor territories.
    Gaza could be the Singapore of the Middle East. But it isn't - it's governed by Hamas, whose Charter calling for war with the Jews until their obliteration is well-known to those who elected it. Gaza, along with the West Bank, has been the recipient of the highest levels of per capita aid in the world. Investment not siphoned off by Hamas has produced results: Gaza boasts shopping malls, five theme parks and 12 tourist resorts. In the last two years, Hamas has spent an estimated $1.5 billion on an underground infrastructure of terror tunnels deep into Israel for the purpose of mounting Mumbai-like mass-casualty terror assaults. 
    (Washington Times)

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Looks Who Is Speaking for Persecuted Christians

    Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? - Ronald S. Lauder

    • Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? The UN focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.
    • The Middle East and parts of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries. Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan.
    • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not a loose coalition of jihadist groups, but a real military force that has managed to take over much of Iraq. Where it truly excels is in its carnage, rivaling the death orgies of the Middle Ages. "They actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick," Chaldean-American businessman Mark Arabo told CNN, describing a scene in a Mosul park. "More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung."
    • Just as I will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering. Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering.
    • Good people must join together and stop this revolting wave of violence. It's not as if we are powerless. I write this as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth. I write this as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and sisters. The Jewish people understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent. This campaign of death must be stopped.

      The writer is the president of the World Jewish Congress.
    [New York Times]

    Israeli Humor: VideoBite

     A humorous video from Aish HaTorah

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    Hamas Plot For West Bank Coup Revealed

    93 Hamas Men Arrested in West Bank Coup Attempt - Gili Cohen

    The Israel Security Agency has interrogated 46 Hamas operatives in the West Bank over the past three months on suspicion of setting up a network of cells to commit attacks against Israel and to carry out a coup against the Palestinian Authority. Altogether, 93 Hamas members have been arrested since May for involvement in this network.

    As a result of the arrests and interrogations, the security services have seized NIS 600,000 shekels ($171,000); 24 rifles, mostly M-16s; six pistols; seven rocket launchers; and a large quantity of ammunition. The head of the network was Riad Nasser, 38, of Deir Kadis near Ramallah, who did jail time in Israel in the past for his Hamas activities. Nasser was recruited by Saleh Arori, who did 16 years in an IDF prison and was subsequently deported and now lives in Turkey. 

    Abbas: Hamas Plot Threatens Unity Government - Yoav Zitun

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was following reports of a Hamas plot to topple the PA government with great concern, and that the information posed a serious threat to the future of the Palestinian unity government.
    (Ynet News)

    Coup Attempt Hatched by Hamas Official in Turkey    

    The Shin Ben said the plot was orchestrated by senior Hamas official Salah Arouri, who is based in Turkey and enjoys the support of the local officials there. The idea was to set up cells in major West Bank cities.

    Hamas had no immediate comment to the claim. Hamas overtook the Gaza Strip in [a] 2007 [coup against] forces loyal to Abbas.


    Hamas Seeks Islamic Caliphate, Not Palestinian State - Zvi Mazel

    As an Islamic jihadi caliphate is strengthening its hold in the heart of the Middle East, the West seems intent on venting its frustrations on Israel, which is defending itself against Hamas, another radical Islamist group. Hamas was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the express purpose of destroying Israel and establishing an Islamic state on the ruins of the Jewish state.

    Unfortunately, the West has yet to realize that Hamas is using the Palestinian problem and spouting fake nationalistic slogans in order to further its aims. Yet Hamas does not speak of creating an independent Palestinian state. Instead it says it is fighting "occupation," a word encompassing Tel Aviv and the whole of Israel.

    Egypt is the last rampart of the Arab world against the barbaric Islamic state taking shape, as Iraq and Syria are in disarray.
    The writer is a former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt.
    (Jerusalem Post)

    Group Cancels Trip to Glasgow after City Flies Palestinian Flag
    - Kerry Gill

    Plans to bring 600 U.S. visitors to Glasgow have been abandoned because of the city council's decision to fly the Palestinian flag. The trip, which would have injected hundreds of thousands of pounds into Glasgow, and the Scottish economy, was a reward to 600 salesmen and women, and their spouses, from one of the top worldwide corporations.

    But after reading about Glasgow's decision to fly the Palestinian flag over the City Chambers to show solidarity with Gaza, the New York-based vice-president of the company wrote to Glasgow's Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, saying:

    "I was...spearheading an event in Glasgow for 600 business visitors to be guests of your wonderful city. We were scheduling six days in Glasgow.... Having read your statement endorsing Hamas and its leadership due to the number of Muslims in your city, I have decided to cancel all plans for our trip." 


    A wake-up call -Jonathan Tobin

    The news that Israel's security services foiled a plot by Hamas that was aimed at toppling the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank will probably be ignored...

    But rather than dismissing this as a minor story, those who are pushing Israel hard to make concessions to both Hamas and the PA should be paying closer attention to what the terrorists intend to do and the implication of their plans for a truce that would further empower the Islamists.

    The details of what Israel's Shin Bet service discovered during the sweeps of the West Bank in May and June should curl Abbas' hair. The group that he had embraced as a partner in the PA as a result of the unity pact he signed in April wasn't planning on going along with Fatah's leadership as Abbas and Secretary of State John Kerry naively believed. Instead they set up new terror cells in all the major towns and cities of the West Bank whose goal was to ultimately set off a new conflagration with Israel with a series of massive attacks throughout the area including one on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

    But the decision to acquiesce to any of Hamas's demands will have consequences for more than the future of Gaza. The assumption that Abbas can continue to hang on to the West Bank and maybe even assume some power in Gaza is based on the idea that Hamas is on the ropes and without options. But once the resupply of Hamas in Gaza begins, it will have serious implications for Abbas's future.

    Those who have spoken of Hamas, as having evolved to the point where it is a legitimate political force and not a terror group should have had lost their illusions about the group amid the rocket launches and the discovery of the tunnels. But the revelation about the coup attempt should remove any doubt as to the Islamists' intentions.

    The Obama administration, which has been eager to push Israel to do something to allow Hamas a way out of the conflict, should realize that the coup should end its illusions about Palestinian unity and the ability of Abbas to make peace while partnering with the terrorists.
    [World Jewish Review]

    Bringing Abbas Back: Not a Good Idea - Khaled Abu Toameh 

    Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion.     

    Many seem to have forgotten that even while he was in control of Gaza, Abbas could not stop the rocket attacks or disarm any of the terrorist groups. Even if the PA returned to Gaza, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear. Abbas and the PA cannot return to Gaza unless Hamas and its allies are completely disarmed     

    Abbas would probably love to retake control over Gaza. However, under the current circumstances, his return to Gaza would be seen by Hamas and other Palestinians as an act of treason. The last thing he needs is to be accused of returning to Gaza "aboard an Israeli tank."     

    Abbas still does not trust Hamas in spite of the unity agreement he signed. After the Hamas coup in 2007, Abbas revealed that Hamas had tried to kill him just before its militiamen seized control of the entire Strip.

    Moreover, a plan by the Islamist movement to overthrow his regime in the West Bank was revealed this week.
    (Gatestone Institute)

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    "War of Nerves" Continues

    A human nerve cell. 
    Netanyahu dubbed the aftermath of the Gaza operation "The War of Nerves"

    Netanyahu Calls for Patience in War of Nerves
    - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh

    Diplomatic sources said that one of the key messages Netanyahu conveyed during the cabinet meeting is the need for patience in the war of nerves Hamas is waging with the Israeli public.

    The Gaza operation is not yet complete, more time is needed, and the greater the patience and resolve of the country, the greater the chance that Israel will be able to achieve its goal of long-term security for the south.
    (Jerusalem Post)

    Gaza: A Broader Offensive? - Yaakov Lappin

    Should Hamas resume rocket attacks on Israel when the truce ends at midnight on Monday, the chances of Israel agreeing to conduct a prolonged war of attrition are low.

    The more likely scenario is that the IDF will initiate the next phase of its operational plans, based on a deep ground offensive into Gaza to begin dismantling Hamas' military.
    (Jerusalem Post)

    The Myth of an Israeli Siege on Gaza

    There is no Israeli "siege" on Gaza, which also shares a border with Egypt. That country, and not Israel, controls the Rafah crossing into Gaza - the main connection for Gazans to the rest of the world. For the past four years all goods are allowed to enter Gaza from Israel, except for weapons and a short list of dual-use items which can be exploited by terrorists.

    Even during the latest hostilities in Gaza, an international journalist reported on shopping at one of Gaza's supermarkets, which offered "all kinds of goods." Given the free entry of almost all goods, it is impossible to legitimately claim that Gaza is under siege.

    In the first five months of 2014, 60,000 individuals entered Israel from Gaza. Many were patients and their escorts who came for medical treatment in Israel and elsewhere, while large numbers of Gazan businessmen and merchants also visited Israel.
    (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    Shameful Behavior by President Obama

    US halted weapons transfer to Israel during Gaza offensive

    Amid diplomatic tensions between US President Barack Obama's administration and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the US halted a shipment of air-to-ground missiles to Israel last month during Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.  
    In July, Israel requested "through military-to-military channels a large number of Hellfire missiles", a first batch of which was about to be released to Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Israeli and American officials. 
    But the Pentagon immediately put the shipment on hold, and top officials at the White House instructed US defense agencies to consult with the White House and the State Department before approving any additional Israeli requests, according to the report.
    A senior Obama administration official was quoted in the report as saying the decision to scrutinize future transfers at the highest levels amounted to "the United States saying 'The buck stops here. Wait a second…It's not OK anymore." 

    The report depicted a context of poor relations between Obama and Netanyahu and claimed that the decision to halt the weapons transfer was made at a point when the White House and State Department became "increasingly disturbed by what they saw as heavy-handed battlefield tactics that they believed risked a humanitarian catastrophe," in Gaza.
    [Jerusalem Post]

    White House Now Scrutinizing Israeli Requests - Adam Entous

    White House and State Department officials were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval. Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel.

    After Israel had submitted a request through military channels for a large number of Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, the Pentagon was about to release an initial batch when top officials at the White House instructed the U.S. military to consult with the White House and the State Department before approving any additional requests. White House and State Department officials were worried about public reaction. The Palestinians, in particular, were angry, according to U.S. diplomats.

    The White House and State Department have decided to require their approval for even routine munitions requests by Israel, officials say. Each case is now subject to review - slowing the approval process and signaling to Israel that military assistance once taken for granted is now under closer scrutiny.

    Moreover, as Egyptian officials shuttle between representatives of Israel and Hamas seeking a long-term deal to end the fighting in Gaza, U.S. officials are bystanders instead of in their historic role as mediators. U.S. officials said Mr. Obama had a particularly combative phone call on Wednesday with Mr. Netanyahu.
    (Wall Street Journal)
    See also U.S. Clears Missiles Sales to Turkish Army (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    See also U.S. Agrees to Send Hellfire Missiles to Iraq (CNN)

    US livid with Israel? Hamas can’t believe its luck -David Horovitz

    From Hamas's point of view, it must be a source of immense delight to witness the strains, and practical fallout, in the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem...

    All it needs to do, Hamas can only conclude, is keep firing at Israel's towns and villages, forcing Israel to respond, confident that this will bring still more criticism down on Israel as well as growing restrictions on Israel's ability to defend itself. Wow, the Hamas leaders must be thinking, the free world is just so dumb.
    [The Times of Israel]

    US Post Offices refusing mail delivery to Israel

    A number of postal branches in the US have told customers that they would not accept mail for delivery to Israel due to the conflict with Gaza, the Anti-Defamation League reported. The ADL recently received complaints that postal branches in Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey refused to send mail.

    “The postal employees have told these individuals that current USPS policy says that mail to Israel cannot be accepted because of the current crisis,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director.

    “Only once employees sought clarification from supervisors in Washington did these post offices accept packages and letters to Israel.”

    Though reports circulated that mail delivery to Israel was halted for 36 hours while the Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying to Ben-Gurion Airport, the US Postal Service denied this was the case.

    David Partenheimer, a representative of the US Postal service, told The Jerusalem Post via e-mail: “Any post office that might have turned away customers tendering mail addressed to Israel and dispatched by the US Postal Service during this time did so in error, and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they experienced as a result.”

    The ADL penned a letter to US Postmaster-General Patrick R. Donahoe saying that postal authorities in the branches had misunderstood the temporary ban on delivery to Israel as permanent. The league urged the Postal Service to ensure that all of its employees were aware that mail delivery to Israel had not been suspended.
    [Jerusalem Post]


    Bullies in the White House -Laura Fein

    Make no mistake, these actions were taken explicitly to punish Israel for what the administration perceives as a lack of cooperation or, perhaps, obedience — something not required of other allies or recipients of aid. An anonymous “senior Obama administration official” described the United States as Israel’s “strongest” friend, but added that the “notion that they [Israel] are playing the United States, or that they’re manipulating us publicly, completely miscalculates their place in the world.” 

    “Playing us?” “Miscalculates their place?” Sounds like a threat from the bully in my junior high: I’m stronger, so do what I say, or else

    These statements make clear the hostility of the administration to Israel. And the resulting action, a power grab from the Defense Department and a slap in the face of congressional intent, indicates a fundamental change in the nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship, one that should concern us deeply.
    [New Jersey Jewish News]

    IDF Civilian Casualties Compares Well to America's - Evelyn Gordon

    According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, of the victims of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2008 whose age and gender could be determined, 46% were women and 39% were children. By contrast, according to the UN, 12% of all Palestinians killed in Gaza were women and 23% were children, far lower than the percentages killed in U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

    The White House, Pentagon, and State Department have all accused Israel in the harshest terms of doing too little to prevent civilian casualties. Yet Israel's record on this score is better than America's.

    Obama Administration Makes War on Israel -John Podhoretz

    For five and a half years now, some Israel advocates have been attempting to make the case to others that there is something new and dark in the Obama administration’s perspective on Israel—that there is an animus as pronounced as the one during the administration of the Elder George Bush, which was so self-evident the Jewish vote for Bush in the 1992 reelection was a staggeringly low 11 percent.

    This Wall Street Journal article should now leave no illusions. In its transparent hostility the Obama administration is worse than the Bush 41 administration. It’s the worst since Eisenhower. Were it not for Iron Dome, it would be the worst ever. And given the decision to hold up weaponry during wartime, it may yet surpass Eisenhower.
    [Commentary Magazine]


    Israel to Reduce Dependence on U.S. Weapons - Amir Rapaport 

    Things that had been taken for granted in U.S.-Israeli defense relations, like the fact that Israel could always count on a U.S. airlift of ammunition in time of trouble, are no longer certain since the U.S. decision during the Gaza war not to enable the shipping of ammunition to Israel.

    About ten days into the war, Israel submitted a request for various types of munitions, including Hellfire missiles, to replenish dwindling inventories. Yet the U.S. completely stopped all connections with Israel's defense procurement delegation. For days, no item could be shipped. The order to stop the processing of all Israeli requests came from a senior echelon - probably the White House. The arms issue was resolved toward the end of the war, and strategic defense relations between the two countries continue, including extensive intelligence cooperation.

    Nevertheless, the Israeli defense establishment has decided to reduce the production of weapon systems in the U.S. and will rely more heavily on Israeli-made products. Israel will also intensify the manufacture of Israeli missiles that can substitute for U.S.-made munitions. 
    (Israel Defense)