|IDF heroes returning to Israel|
Netanyahu's 'Long War' Doctrine -Jonathan Spyer
It is likely that the insurgency which would have followed the destruction of Hamas rule would have proven a magnet for the jihadi forces which are currently proliferating in the neighborhood. ISIS and similar organizations are already in the Gaza Strip in small numbers. But the "global jihad" would like nothing more than to find a platform from which to begin war against the Jews.
Given this, it is not surprising that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have chosen an operation limited in scope.
Netanyahu, in stark contrast to his image in Europe and to a lesser extent in North America, is deeply cautious when it comes to the use of military force.
Indeed, the record shows that Israel elected to begin a ground campaign on July 18th only when it became clear from its actions and its statements that Hamas was not interested in a return to the status quo ante.
The general sense in Israel is that his performance as a leader has been relatively effective — setting clear and limited goals and pursuing them with vigor.
|A young Netanyahu|
In such a conflict, what matters is not a quick and crushing perception of victory. Indeed, the search for a knockout, a final decision in this or that operation , given the underlying realities, is likely to end in overstretch, error and non-achievement. What matters is the ability to endure, conserve one's forces — military and societal — and to work away on wearing down the enemy's will.
Military achievement, as well as economic and societal success, are all weapons in this war.
This view notes the essentially implacable nature of the core Arab and Muslim hostility to Israel. So it includes an inbuilt skepticism toward the possibility of historic reconciliation and final-status peace accords.
There are reports of Israel establishing a de facto buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip, to reduce the ability of Hamas to fire short-range rockets at southern Israeli communities. All this forms part of an effort to undertake the containment and incremental weakening of the Islamist entity in Gaza, in cooperation with whoever, for his own reasons, is willing to cooperate.
Netanyahu's vision is a chilly one, though it is not ultimately pessimistic. It aims to provide firm, durable walls for the house that the Jews of Israel have constructed. Within those walls the energies of Israeli Jews will ensure success — provided that the walls can be kept secure, thus believes the Israeli prime minister. It is from the point of view of this broader strategic picture that the current actions of Israel need to be understood.
[Middle East Forum]
Israel Confirms Hamas Funded Kidnapping -Batya Ungar-Sargon
Israel has confirmed that the funding for the June kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers was provided by Hamas.
Hassam Qawasameh, a Palestinian man arrested on July 11 in connection with the abduction, admitted that the orders and financing of the kidnapping came from Gaza. Paul Hirschson, deputy spokesperson for international media at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted the news this afternoon after an Israeli gag order was lifted.
Hirschson confirmed by phone that Qawasameh was arrested three weeks ago in connection with the kidnapping, and that Qawasameh admitted the Hamas connection under interrogation. Ynet reports that money from Hamas operatives in Gaza was used to purchase weapons used in the attack, as well as the plot of land in which the bodies were buried.
Today’s confirmation refutes speculation from various news outlets last week that Hamas wasn’t behind the kidnapping, and that the kidnappers were operating as a “lone cell.”
Fighting without silver bullets -Caroline Glick
[I]f Hamas continues to attack southern communities at any level Israel will have no choice. It will have to send its forces back into Gaza with the mission of retaking control there.
There is only one thing worse than reasserting Israel’s military control over Gaza: Losing southern Israel. So long as residents of the south fear returning to their homes, Israel is losing southern Israel.
This looming prospect of having to retake Gaza would be bad enough if Israel only had to concern itself with Gaza. But Israel enjoys no such luxury.
Far more dangerous that Hamas is Hezbollah. Whereas Hamas’s missiles are unguided, Hezbollah has guided missiles that are capable of reaching every centimeter of Israeli territory. And their payloads are big enough to destroy high-rise buildings.
Unlike Hamas, Hezbollah has anti-aircraft missiles and anti-ship missiles capable of disrupting air and naval operations. Hezbollah has drones that it has launched successfully. And the possibility that Hezbollah has some level of unconventional weapons cannot be ruled out. Hezbollah commanders and fighters have gained massive experience fighting in Syria and Iraq. They have sophisticated intelligence gathering capabilities including human intelligence and signals intelligence assets. They have advanced command and control systems.
And by all accounts, Hamas’s terror tunnels are nothing in comparison to Hezbollah’s extensive network of tunnels that run beneath the border with Israel. Hezbollah’s announced war plans involve invading and taking control over communities in the Upper Galilee.
Hezbollah’s decision to go to war in 2006 was made in Tehran, by Hezbollah’s Iranian masters. The decision not to go to war since has also been made by Tehran. Tehran decided to deploy Hezbollah to Iraq and Syria. And Tehran will decide, based on its own sense of priorities, when Hezbollah and its massive arsenal of terror should attack Israel.
Given the threats from Lebanon and Iran, it is clear that Israel’s decision to try to limit its operations in Gaza was necessary. Israel cannot afford to tie its forces down indefinitely. And if Israel is forced to retake control over Gaza, it will need to deploy its forces in such a way that it maintains sufficient reserve capacity to handle Gaza, Lebanon and Iran simultaneously.
The time has come for us to recognize that there are no easy answers for Israel. IDF operations in Gaza in recent weeks have dealt a harsh blow to Hamas. [I]f Israel and Egypt are able to block US attempts to open the borders for Hamas resupply, then Hamas can be defeated through attrition.
If not, then Israel will have no choice but to retake control of Gaza while maintaining enough forces in reserve to respond to a second front in the North, and finally end Iran’s dream of becoming a nuclear power.
There are no silver bullets. The price of freedom is hard work and vigilance.
Comic Shelter: Comedy on Gaza's border -Hannah Dreyfus
[T]hree New York comics took their act to Israel Defense Forces troops stationed near the Gaza border. [O]ne soldier [said] he didn’t want to sit in the front row, because he was scared the comedians would pick on him. “I told him, ‘You’re carrying an M16 — you’re safe.’”
Even Hamas, the Gaza terrorist group raining rockets on Israel, wasn’t immune from the laugh lines — at the expense of New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, that is. “I personally think we should bring Hamas to NYC — the Second Avenue subway tunnel is taking forever,” Teman said.
[The Jewish Week]
Israelis took to social media to offer creative solutions to the conflict. A video by www.101hakafot.com used computer graphics in one such production, which has since gone viral on social media networks. The film shows the territory of the Gaza Strip being detached from the Israeli mainland, sailed across the ocean and docking in the Hudson River alongside Manhattan. Hamas then commences to cause 'Code Red' rocket alert sirens to go off on American television broadcasts while US President Barack Obama appears to be addressing the nation regarding the annexation of Gaza as the "51st state."
Terror Tunnels Into Our Heartland
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned that relinquishing Israeli control of the West Bank would expose Israel's home front to infiltration tunnels leading into the heartland of Israel.
In a statement he released marking nine years since Israel's rooting out of its settlements in Gaza, Bennett said that the disengagement had taught us that "he who runs from terror has terror chase after him. Those who chase after terror, will live in security."
VIDEO: Hamas Rocket Launch Pad Revealed - Gallagher Fenwick
France 24 has exclusive footage of a Hamas rocket launching pad that appears to prove the militant group has been firing from areas heavily populated with civilians. The site, in Gaza City, is some 50 meters from a hotel where the majority of international media is staying, and just 100 meters from a UN building.
During a live broadcast to the Paris studio, a rocket was fired overhead, forcing the reporter and crew to take cover.
Defeat for Hamas, Devastation for Gaza - Avi Issacharoff
The fact that all Palestinian factions accepted the Egyptian framework, and abandoned the Qatar-Turkey channel, marks a significant victory for Egypt and a humiliating defeat for Hamas.
For almost three weeks Hamas had rejected the proposal for an unconditional ceasefire with its demands to be addressed only afterwards. But on Monday it changed course. That shift signals the difficult position in which Hamas now finds itself. The damage done to Gaza stands in the billions of dollars, and Hamas certainly cannot fix it alone.
(Times of Israel)
Iran Watches Israel Knock Down Hamas Missiles - Victor Davis Hanson
In the current war, Israel has found a method of inflicting as much damage on Hamas as it finds politically and strategically useful without suffering intolerable losses. And because the war is seen as existential - aiming rockets at a civilian population will do that - Israeli public opinion will largely support the effort to retaliate.
The more the world sees of the elaborate tunnels and vast missile arsenals that an impoverished Hamas had built with other people's money, and the more these military assets proved entirely futile in actual war, the more Hamas appears not just foolish but incompetent.
Iran is watching the war, and its surrogate is not doing well.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Gazans Are Responsible for Their Suffering
- Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland
The fact that we are fighting with one hand and supplying food and energy to the enemy state with the other hand is absurd. This generosity strengthens and extends the ability of the enemy state of Gaza to fight us. Hamas is the authentic representative of the population there. It rose to power following democratic elections and built an impressive military ability with the residents' support. The Gazans' suffering is not the result of Israeli pressure but of their support, through their elected government, for an armed struggle.
As soon as the fire ceases, we will be under heavy pressure to open up the crossings, restore the electricity lines, and help rebuild buildings and infrastructure. Israel should agree, but only if the other side agrees to demilitarize Gaza of heavy weapons. We are dealing with an enemy state, not with a terror organization which is seemingly operating from within an innocent civilian population.
The writer is a former head of Israel's National Security Council.
Reconstruction in Return for Demilitarization - Zvi Hauser
Israel must make it clear, as soon as possible, that Gaza's reconstruction will be attached to the Strip's effective demilitarization: If a cement and concrete truck enters from the Israeli side, a rocket truck exits from the Egyptian side.
There are thousands of rockets and tens of thousands of mortar shells left in Gaza. The extent of the reconstruction must be linked to the depth of the demilitarization.
The writer served as Israel's cabinet secretary (2009-2013).