Monday, August 04, 2014

Israel Spurns Ceasefire Talks; Seeks End On Her Own Terms

Israel's Unilateral Move - Amos Yadlin

Israel chose an alternative that, at least in the short term, places Hamas in a difficult strategic position. Israel regained international legitimacy for its actions; Hamas was again cast as a terrorist organization lacking all credibility that for the sixth time violated a cease-fire that Egypt and the international community initiated and Israel accepted.

By its action, Israel establishes four premises that present Hamas with a new strategic situation:
  1. The demands for which Hamas went to war are no longer on the table. Hamas is left without the siege being lifted, without an airport or seaport, without salaries, without prisoner releases, and without the reconstruction of Gaza.
  2. Hamas is left with a Gaza in ruins, a humanitarian crisis, hundreds of dead, thousands of wounded, one-quarter of a million refugees - and no way to deal with it.
  3. If Hamas continues to fire at Israel, despite Israel's vastly superior firepower, Israel will continue to pummel Hamas. Its political and military leadership will continue to live in underground bunkers.
  4. Unlike in previous rounds of fighting, Israel and Egypt will ensure that Hamas will be unable to rebuild its force - Egypt by continuing to prevent smuggling and Israel by the freedom of action it has reserved for itself to prevent Hamas' force build-up.
Should Hamas continue the current level of rocket fire at Israel, this will force the Israeli government to reconsider the option of expanding the military operation - one that [is] free of the need to deal with the attack tunnels.

Should Hamas choose the "drizzle option," i.e., returning to the situation of limited fire on the Israeli communities bordering Gaza, Israel will have to make it clear that the policy of response preceding Operation Protective Edge is no longer valid and that any fire will be met with an extreme response.
Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, director of INSS, served as the IDF's chief of Defense Intelligence.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

What Would You Do? - Deutsche Welle interviews Amos Oz

Amos Oz

Amos Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusual way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners.
     Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?
    Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

I am afraid that there can be no way in the world to avoid civilian casualties among the Palestinians as long as the neighbor puts his child on the lap while shooting into your nursery.

This morning I read very carefully the charter of Hamas. It says that the Prophet commands every Muslim to kill every Jew everywhere in the world. It quotes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion [an anti-Semitic diatribe] and says that the Jews controlled the world....So I hardly see a prospect for a compromise between Israel and Hamas. I have been a man of compromise all my life. But even a man of compromise cannot approach Hamas and say: "Maybe we meet halfway and Israel only exists on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays."

Unlike European pacifists I never believed the ultimate evil in the world is war. In my view the ultimate evil in the world is aggression, and the only way to repel aggression is unfortunately by force. That is where the difference lies between a European pacifist and an Israeli peacenik like myself. And if I may add a little anecdote: A relative of mine who survived the Nazi Holocaust in Theresienstadt always reminded her children and her grandchildren that her life was saved in 1945 not by peace demonstrators with placards and flowers but by Soviet soldiers and submachine guns. 
(Deutsche Welle-Germany)

Where is the Hamas Offensive? -Cherryl Smith, PhD

Where is the Hamas offensive?

We get constant news of the “Israeli offensive” and the “Gaza offensive” but both refer to action by Israel. What about the Hamas offensive? This phrase does not exist in mainstream media. It doesn’t come up in a Google search. And without the concept of “Hamas offensive,” the fact that Israel is fighting a defensive war stays out of focus.
[Honest Reporting]

The way to defeat Hamas -Caroline Glick

Hamas went to war with one goal, to reopen Gaza to the world. Hamas is fighting to open Gaza’s border with Egypt, to end Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza coast, and to reinstate its lines of finance. Hamas wants open borders so that it can import arms and the means to rebuild its tunnels. It wants to open the borders so that it can replenish its coffers.

The reason that Hamas is certain that when the war ends, it will achieve its goal of opening Gaza’s borders is simple. The United States says so.

The official position of the US government is that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will involve opening Hamas’s borders to the world. This position was spelled out by Secretary of State John Kerry in the draft cease fire that he sent to Israel last Friday.

Gaza Fighting Is "Proxy War" for Entire Mideast - Josh Levs

"Most Arab states are actively supporting Israel against the Palestinians - and not even shy about it or doing it discreetly," says CNN analyst Ali Younes. It's a "joint Arab-Israeli war consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia against other Arabs - the Palestinians as represented by Hamas....From the perspective of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and some other Arab states, what the Israeli Prime Minister is doing is fighting this war against Hamas on their behalf so they can finish the last stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood."

Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, says, "It's no longer the Muslims against the Jews. Now it's the extremists - the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbullah, and their backers Iran, Qatar and Turkey - against Israel and the more moderate Muslims including Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia." 

Israeli Withdrawal: Dilemma for Hamas - Avi Issacharoff 

The IDF is redeploying along the Gaza border after neutralizing the Hamas tunnels extending toward Israel. The IDF will not withdraw entirely from Gaza, but it will leave the populated areas and keep troops deployed in a narrow area inside the Palestinian territory.

If this round of hostilities concludes without Israel or Egypt agreeing to accept even one of its demands, Hamas will be humiliated. The Palestinian public will ask itself why Hamas drove Gaza to ruin for no reason, with no results to show for its efforts. 
(Times of Israel)

IDF Eradicates Hamas' Crown Jewel - Yaakov Lappin 

The IDF has destroyed Hamas' flagship terrorism project: its network of tunnels that snuck into Israel. Many of the underground passages were filled with weapons and explosives, and enabled terrorists to emerge in Israel disguised as IDF soldiers. In some of the tunnels, the army discovered motorcycles earmarked for speedy raids into Israel and subsequent return to Gaza.

The IDF is reorganizing its ground forces, which remain active in three areas across Gaza as the remaining tunnels are destroyed. 
(Jerusalem Post)

Terrorist Armies Fight Smarter - Robert H. Scales & Douglas Ollivant 

Look carefully at media images of ground fighting across the Middle East, and you will notice that the bad guys are fighting differently than they have in the past. U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq used to say: "Thank God they can't shoot." Well, now they can.     

We see Islamist fighters becoming skilled soldiers. In Iraq the Islamic State fighters maneuver in reasonably disciplined formations. They employ mortars and rockets in deadly barrages. They continue to display an eager willingness for death.     

Hizbullah now is among the most skilled light infantry on the planet. In the case of Hamas in Gaza, they have been fighting in well-organized teams. Units stand and fight from hideouts and tunnel entrances. They wait for the Israelis to pass by before ambushing them from the rear. They are getting good with second-generation weapons such as the Russian RPG-29.

Iranian advisers throughout the Middle East are getting better at their craft. As the Israelis have been painfully learning, terrorist groups are turning into armies, pairing their fanatical dedication with newly acquired tactical skills. 
Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College. Douglas A. Ollivant is a fellow at the New America Foundation's Future of War project.
(Washington Post)

Israel Seeks Advantage by Reversing Course - Ilene Prusher

Israel pulled most of its troops out of Gaza and decided to take a completely different tack in its war with Hamas. After four attempts at a humanitarian cease-fire over the past few weeks, including a much vaunted one Friday that collapsed after two hours, Israel decided that it was no longer pursuing a truce with Hamas. Instead, it opted for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, except for a new buffer zone along the border, in the belief that there was more to be gained from walking away from a merry-go-round of failed cease-fires.

The move also deprives Hamas of the victory it has sought. "We neutralize their main strategic forces, and leave them alone, without any achievement, without any demand, in their devastated place called Gaza," Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said Sunday.

Previous negotiated cease-fires, like the one in November 2012, served to "hamper" the IDF by limiting how it could respond. By unilaterally pulling troops out of Gaza, Israel believes it has gained the freedom to act as it sees fit.

Israel: Hamas Will Not Get Anything - Griff Witte & Sudarsan Raghavan

Israel plans to finish its latest Gaza campaign on its own terms, without negotiating a deal with Hamas. By rejecting further talks, "Israel is telling Hamas that they're not going to get anything," said Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel's military intelligence division. Hamas "will tell themselves a victory story. But this horrible situation in Gaza will be on their hands." 
(Washington Post)

Hamas Lost Big - Eyal Zisser

In 2007, Hamas became the first Islamic movement to overpower an existing Arab government. The Arab Spring allowed Islamic groups to seize the reins of power in Egypt and Tunisia. But Hamas is the only Islamic movement that has managed to stay in power. The Muslim Brotherhood has shown it is inept at governing. After rising to the top, the Islamists failed to demonstrate that they had what it took to run a country. Hamas' 7-year rule over Gaza has been just as bad. Provoking Israel resulted in a calamity of unimaginable proportions.

The operation has shrunk Hamas to its proper dimensions.
(Israel Hayom)

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