Monday, August 08, 2022

From Ian:

David May and Richard Goldberg: With Israel under attack, Biden must fight UN anti-Semitism
Pillay’s defense of anti-Semitism is nothing new. In 2008, as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Pillay lashed out at “certain lobby groups focused on single issues,” a coded reference to Jewish organizations, which were trying to block a follow-on to the wildly anti-Semitic (and ironically named) 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. The event led to calls to make Israel a pariah, prompted a walkout by the United States and “disintegrated into an anti-American, anti-Israeli circus,” according to Holocaust survivor Rep. Tom Lantos, who was in attendance.

Pillay’s defense of her fellow commissioners’ remarks hasn’t prevented withering condemnation from the United States. Ambassadors and envoys criticized the “antisemitic, anti-Israel comments” and expressed indignation that a UN official questioned Israel’s legitimacy as a UN member. Other countries and organizations chimed in, too.

These condemnations are appropriate and welcome. But without decisive action, when the Human Rights Council convenes in September, the “Jewish lobby” commission will take Israel-bashing to a new level.

Kothari also made clear the commission is working to label Israel an apartheid state — widely expected based on its mandate to probe “systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”

The apartheid accusation against Israel, besides being absurd, manifests an anti-Semitic goal of denying Jews the right to self-determination by claiming that Israel’s existence is a racist endeavor. In fact, that’s a textbook example of anti-Semitism put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an intergovernmental group of dozens of countries committed to fighting the scourge of Jew-hatred.

In June, during the Human Rights Council’s 50th session, 21 countries joined the United States in condemning the commission’s bias against Israel. But America and its allies did not press for terminating the commission’s mandate. As events of the last days make clear, their warning shot went unheeded.

When the council reconvenes in September, the commission may try to expand its probe into Israel’s latest counterterrorism operations. Nations that stand opposed to anti-Semitism should instead join the Biden team in voting to dissolve it. This should be a high diplomatic priority for both the National Security Council and State Department — deploying National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken as needed to lock down the votes.

It’s also major test for the Biden administration’s belief that it could reform the Human Rights Council by rejoining it. If America proves unable to terminate the “Jewish lobby” commission’s mandate, both the administration and Congress must re-evaluate the utility of US participation in a Jew-hating circus.
The European ties with terror-linked Palestinian NGOs - opinion
SO, HOW can Europe – especially the Netherlands – pretend that there’s no reason to discontinue its support for the designated NGOs?

The first clue is the sheer scope of European funding for these NGOs. In the last decade, Europe has allocated more than €200 million for the PFLP-linked NGO network. Financial support is merely one component in a much more intricate and intimate relationship that European countries maintain with these NGOs. Although European funders justify funding policies on the basis of supporting human rights, civil justice, and peace, the reality is that political goals stand at the center.

Indeed, as opposed to maintaining a disinterested relationship, these NGOs play the role of intermediaries and subcontractors, providing important services to the funders. For instance, Europe’s NGO partners are crucial sources of information and influence, particularly regarding foreign policy issues. Selected organizations can serve as influencers in public policy discourse and generate political pressure on Israel – most particularly when it comes to the future of the West Bank, Gaza and more.

Europe’s willingness to overlook, and refusal to act on, Israel’s terror-designation of six Palestinian NGOs reflects this long history and the lack of independent oversight involving millions of euros. These so-called “civil society movements” serve as a means for European officials to perpetuate one-sided policies and attempt to gain more influence regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues.

At the same time, European governments have a responsibility to examine the actual results of their continued funding for terror-linked NGOs. In the face of clear evidence of the PFLP links, the illusions of “promoting democratic values” and creating “a free and strong civil society” among Palestinians is no longer sustainable.
Liz Truss: As PM, I would consider moving embassy to Jerusalem
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss would consider moving her country’s embassy to Jerusalem if she becomes prime minister following next month’s Conservative Party leadership election, she wrote in a letter to Conservative Friends of Israel on Friday.

“I understand the importance and sensitivity of the location of the British Embassy in Israel,” Truss wrote. “I’ve had many conversations with my good friend Prime Minister Yair Lapid on this topic. Acknowledging that, I will review a move to ensure we are operating on the strongest footing within Israel.”

Truss also supported Israel, separately, at the launch of Operation Breaking Dawn on Friday, with the Foreign Office tweeting that she said: "The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself. We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which has resulted in casualties on both sides. We call for a swift end to the violence."

In the letter to Conservative Friends of Israel, Truss wrote that she “remain[s] committed to standing up to Iranian hostility and their pursuit of nuclear weapons,”

What about Iran?
“I have been clear that progress on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not moving fast enough and I assure you that if the JCPOA collapses, all options are on the table,” Truss stated.

Israel opposes a return to the JCPOA, seeking more robust and longer-lasting limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.

In contrast to Truss, Rishi Sunak, the other Conservative candidate who was chancellor of the exchequer until recently, wrote in his letter to the pro-Israel group that he would seek “a new, strengthened nuclear deal that extends the sunset clauses, lengthens the breakout period and curtails Iran’s ballistic missile program. The credible threat of snapback sanctions, which has so far been missing from the negotiations, is the only way we can force Iran to seriously engage with these proposals.
  • Monday, August 08, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon
The UN Special Rapporteur on the "occupied Palestinian territory," Francesca Albanese, tried to say she was against rocket attacks on civilians - but essentially caved when challenged.

She tweeted, "Indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza is no acceptable response to Israel’s unlawful bombings, because it harms civilians and it is therefore unlawful too. This should not obscure Israel's responsibility for maintaining its violent 55yo occupation and 15yo blockade of Gaza."

Immediately, terror supporters challenged her. Instead of defending her anti-terror half of the statement, she responded with empathy.

Like here:

And here:

Killing civilians is not a fundamental right under any interpretation of international law. Her cowering to those who defend it reflects a complete lack of moral fiber - which we would expect from the UN.

But she went further, calling into question the idea of a Jewish state altogether:

So even within the "1967 borders," the UN Special Rapporteur questions Israel's right to exist altogether.

Albanese then went on to write a new tweet to clarify her position on terrorism:

Palestinians' right to resist is inherent to their right to exist as a people. An unlawful act of resistance does not make the resistance unlawful. An unlawful act of an unlawful occupation makes the occupation more unlawful (and the list on the desk of the ICC Prosecutor longer)
Albanese is trying to toe the line of saying that she supports "resistance" but not terror attacks.

But what does that mean, practically?

No one is stopping Palestinians from having peaceful protests, or from choosing to boycott Israeli products, or from calling strikes. No one questions those rights. 

But when Palestinians use the word "resistance," it means only one thing: terrorism. It means attacking Jews. It means stabbings and car rammings and suicide bombings and firebombs, throwing boulders on cars speeding along a highway and bombing buses and cafes. Hamas' translation is the "Islamic Resistance Movement." The Arabic Wikipedia article on "Palestinian resistance" lists the most gruesome terror attacks as examples (even though it pays lip service to "civil and popular resistance," it brings practically no examples.) 

So when a UN Special Rapporteur says she supports "resistance," it can only be interpreted one way by those who use the term the most. 

Either she is ignorant as to how the term is interpreted (even though her responders made that clear,) or she on some level agrees with is while knowing that she cannot publicly support terrorism. Either way, it shows the immorality, not the morality, of the UN.

UPDATE: See also this.

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  • Monday, August 08, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

I received a fundraising letter from UNRWA USA, written by its "Director of Philanthropy," Hani Almadhoun.

It included this section:

 For my family, word got out that a 26-year-old relative lost his life. In a rush to report the news, they shared an image of his younger brother, and confusion followed. Later it was confirmed that our cousin was indeed the victim of the unprovoked attacks.
His 26-year old relative was Mohamed Ahmed Abdel-Fattah Al-Madhoun - a terrorist for Islamic Jihad, of the North Gaza Brigade, pictured above.

Yes, UNRWA-USA is using the death of a terrorist as a means to raise money for UNRWA.  And its director is part of a family that supports Islamic Jihad.

But why would anyone expect that UNRWA-USA's fundraising arm is not linked to terrorism? Or that they wouldn't defend an Islamic Jihad terrorist as an innocent civilian victim of Israeli aggression?

UNRWA-USA raises some $4 million annually. Is anyone checking where that money goes?

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From Ian:

Israel Surprised the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza
Fearing an imminent terrorist attack in early August, Israel declared four days of restrictions and a shutdown of the Israeli communities along the Gaza border. On August 5, 2022, Israel seized the initiative and struck a preemptive blow against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad centers and leaders in Gaza.

The Breaking Dawn operation aimed to thwart imminent Islamic Jihad terror attacks on Israeli targets using antitank missiles and sniper fire in response to the arrest of senior Islamic Jihad official Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin in the West Bank.

In recent days Islamic Jihad had sought to change the rules of the game and create a new linkage equation between the IDF's arrest of its operatives in the West Bank and continued quiet along the Gaza border.

The Islamic Jihad leadership sought to create a standoff whereby any harm to its operatives in the West Bank, their arrest, or the endangerment of the lives of security prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, would spark an escalation at the Gaza border.

The Israeli political echelon decided to launch the operation once it was clear that the efforts by Egypt and Hamas to restrain Islamic Jihad had failed. The terror group was at an advanced stage of preparations for attacks along the border.

Iran orchestrated everything that happened inside and along the Gaza borders. Ziad al-Nakhalah, the Islamic Jihad leader, visited Tehran’s leaders and ran the campaign in coordination with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Israel succeeded in surprising Islamic Jihad using remarkable intelligence and technological capabilities. Israel thwarted the attacks that Islamic Jihad was planning and killed the group's entire military leadership in Gaza. Rehabilitating the IDF's deterrence against Islamic Jihad is very important.
Melanie Phillips: Israel pre-empts further Iran proxy attack
Even in the most precisely targeted airstrikes against military targets, there will inevitably be some civilian casualties. The death or injury of any child in these circumstances is a tragedy, whoever is responsible. But what the western media wilfully misses time and again in its reporting of Israel’s military campaigns are two crucial points.

First, that Israel’s defence forces go to lengths unmatched by any other military force — including the British and American — to avoid civilian casualties.

Second, while Israel targets terrorists and their infrastructure with rare precision and only ever as a defensive measure, the PIJ, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in Gaza deliberately target Israeli civilians. That is a war crime — as is also their strategy of siting their missiles and other terror infrastructure within civilian areas, thus using Gaza’s civilians, including their children, as hostages and human shields.

Israel’s enemies also point to the relative absence of Israeli casualties, as if this proves a “disproportionate response”. Not only does this grossly misunderstand proportionality in warfare (the response to aggression needs to be in proportion to the threat, not to the number of casualties sustained). There’s also this. When missiles rain down on southern Israel, the population takes cover in air-raid shelters. In Gaza, the Palestinians don’t build air-raid shelters to protect their people against war. Instead, they build terrorist tunnels from which to launch yet more murderous attacks on Israeli civilians.

This distinction is, of course, lost on the United Nations whose perverted and obsessive animus against Israel cannot be exaggerated. Thus the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said he was:
deeply concerned by the ongoing escalation between Palestinian militants and Israel, including the targeted killing today of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza…I am deeply saddened by reports that a five-year-old child has been killed in these strikes. There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians.

But he doesn’t seem to have been “deeply saddened” by the hundreds of missile strikes against Israeli civilians; nor by the murder of Israelis in March and April.

And let’s not overlook Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur to the “Palestinian territories,” who tweeted:
A short time ago, Israel reportedly accepted an Egypt-brokered cease-fire. PIJ rejected it and unleashed another barrage of rockets, one of which fell in an open area next to the Ashkelon marina.

Let’s hope for a speedy end to this latest outbreak of hostilities. But to the malice of the western media or the UN against Israel, there is, alas, no cease-fire in prospect.
Jonathan Tobin: Gaza fighting changes nothing about Israel’s image struggle
If you check the Twitter pages of Israel bashers in politics, the media or the chattering classes, you’ll find the same tired arguments treating the Palestinians as the victims of Israeli aggression, as if 30 years of Israeli peace efforts and Palestinian rejectionism and terrorism had never happened. Not one anti-Zionist course being taught on an American college campus will be altered. Nor will the advocacy of groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace or IfNotNow, all of which falsely claim that Israel is an “apartheid state,” be changed as a result of the actions of Islamic Jihad and their Iranian sponsors.

Arguments about the anti-Semitic BDS movement, efforts to restrict U.S. military aid to Israel, or the unreasonable and criminal behavior of Hamas, PIJ or their “moderate” Fatah rivals running the West Bank who reward terrorists and their families with pensions aren’t affected by the facts about the conflict.

If you accept the false Palestinian narrative about Israel being born in sin as an expression of Western imperialism and colonialism, as those who buy into intersectionality and critical race theory do, then it doesn’t matter what the Israelis or their terrorist opponents actually do.

That’s important not just because it speaks volumes about those who regularly libel Israel from the editorial pages of major newspapers or from platforms on liberal cable news networks. It’s also something that both those who speak for Israel—and those groups and individuals who support it—must draw the correct conclusions from.

Talking about the need to ensure Israeli security or the tremendous care that the IDF takes to avoid civilian casualties, which is almost certainly unmatched by any army in the world, seem like important debating points in the discussion about the conflict. The same is true when you remind people about the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. But none of that matters to those who think ill of the Jewish state.

There isn’t even much evidence that it does much to rally Jewish opinion behind Israel, which is heavily influenced by biased media outlets and ignorance about the facts of the conflict. If you accept, as so many Jews have, that it’s somehow unfair that Palestinians don’t have an Iron Dome, or that the perceived imbalance of power means that the terrorists and those they exploit are the underdogs, then history or the true reason for the stalemate is forgotten.

All of this means that while defenders of Israel should always debunk the lies of their opponents, they must also understand that their purpose should be to remind people that Israel has a right to exist and that the goal of its enemies is to deny that right. Once you establish that basic truth, you’re making clear that those who question the right of the Jews to one state aren’t merely wrong but practicing discrimination. Which is to say that they are anti-Semites.

So, rather than being bogged down in security arguments or bragging about the sacrifices Israel has made for peace, which only convince its critics that it is a thief returning stolen property rather than a country whose cause is just, friends of the Jewish state must speak primarily of Jewish rights and about how anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Everything else is generally a waste of time and effort.
  • Monday, August 08, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Hamas health ministry issued their list of 43 people killed over the weekend. Here is my preliminary analysis.

Bolded names are children.

1- Imad Abd al-Rahim Shallah, 50 Gaza.

With PIJ
2- Youssef Salman Qaddoum 24 Gaza.PIJ
3- Tayseer Mahmoud Al-Jabari, 50 Gaza City.PIJ
4- Salama Muharib Abed 41 Gaza.PIJ
5- Alaa Abdullah Qaddoum, 5 Gaza City.With PIJ
6- Donyana Adnan Attia Al-Amour 22 Gaza.Likely PIJ rocket
7- Mohamed Ahmed Abdel-Fattah Al-Madhoun, 26 Al-Nada Towers.PIJ
8- Fadl Mustafa Zorob 30 Khan Younis.PIJ
 9- Muhammad Hassan Al-Bayouk, 35, Khan Younis.PIJ
10- Ahmed Mazen Azzam, 25 Gaza Strip.PIJ
11- Tamim Ghassan Abdullah Hijazi, 23 Al-Zana.PIJ
12- Osama Abdul Rahman Al-Suri, 27, Bani Suhaila.PIJ
13- Hassan Mohamed Mansour, 26, Jabalia. PIJ
14- Naama Muhammad Abu Qaida 62 Jabalia.Likely PIJ rocket
15- Nour El-Din Ali Al-Zubaidi 19 JabaliaLikely PIJ rocket
16- Hazem Muhammad Salem 12 Jabalia.Jabalia rocket
17- Ahmad Muhammad Al-Nayrab 13 Jabalia.Jabalia rocket
18- Moamen Muhammad Al-Nairab 4 Jabalia.Jabalia rocket
19 - Khalil Iyad Abu Hamadeh, 19, Jabalia.Jabalia rocket
20- Ahmed Walid Al-Fram, 18 Jabalia.Jabalia rocket
21- Misbah al-Khatib 50 Jabalia agreed.Jabalia rocket
22- Muhammad Muhammad Ibrahim Zaqout 19 Jabalia.Jabalia rocket
23- Ziad Ahmed Al Mudallal, 36 Rafah.PIJ
24- Muhammad Iyad Hassouna, 14 Rafah.With PIJ in Rafah
25- Ismail Abdel Hamid Mohamed Salameh, 30 Rafah.With PIJ in Rafah
26- Hana Ismail Ali Salameh, 51, Rafah.With PIJ in Rafah
27- Rafat Saleh Ibrahim Al-Zamili, 45, Rafah.PIJ
28- Khaled Saeed Mansour 47 Rafah.With PIJ in Rafah
29- Alaa Saleh Al-Tahrawi, 30, Rafah.With PIJ in Rafah
30- Ahmad Muhammad Afana, 31, Jabalia.Hamas (but not target)
31- Dia Zuhair Al-Borai, 30 Jabalia.Likely PIJ rocket
32- Jamil Ehab Najm 15 Jabalia.Likely PIJ rocket
33- Jamil Najm Najm 6 Jabalia.Likely PIJ rocket
34- Nazmi Fayez Abu Karsh 16 Jabalia.Likely PIJ rocket
35- Hamed Haider Najm 17 Jabalia.Likely PIJ rocket
36-Mohamed Salah Negm 17 Jabalia.Likely PIJ rocket
37- Muhammad Yasser Nimr Al-Nabahin 13 Al-Bureij.With Hamas (son)
38- Ahmed Yasser Nimr Al Nabahin 9 Al-Bureij.With Hamas (son)
39- Dalia Yasser Nimr Al Nabaheen 13 Al Bureij.With Hamas (son)
40 - Yasser Nimr Mahmoud Al Nabahin 45 Al-Bureij.Hamas
41 - Khaled Ayman Yassin, 27 ZaytounUnknown
42- Shady Emad Nimr Kahil, 27 ZaytounUnknown
43- Abd al-Rahman Jum’ah al-Silk 19 al-Shuja’iyya.Unknown

We know seven people were killed by an errant Islamic Jihad rocket in Jabalia. There was another set of deaths, five children, in the Fallujah cemetery in Jabalia that look to be from an errant rocket as well based on photos of the damage. I am counting several other likely errant rockets based on the descriptions of their deaths in PCHR as being from "shrapnel" or, in some cases, in an "open field" where it would make no sense for the IDF to attack.
One Hamas member, Yasser Nabahin, seems to have been targeted by the IDF, and he was near his three sons who were also killed. I don't know if this was an accident or if he was actively fighting with Islamic Jihad. Hamas' obituary does not say he died while fighting, but if he went rogue, they wouldn't say that. 

Another Hamas member, Ahmad Afana, was apparently killed when a wall collapsed on him as he was trying to extricate people from a building, so he wasn't killed by Israel.

This would mean that the IDF killed 13 terrorists. There were 10 civilians killed as human shields or collateral damage. Islamic Jihad killed (or likely killed) 16 civilians with rocket fire that fell short. Three I do not yet know, and one was an accidental death. 

The Jerusalem Post quotes the IDF with somewhat different statistics, but a similar number of people killed by PIJ rockets:
The Palestinians, however, reported a total of 35 deaths out of which 26 were innocent bystanders. Of the 26, 11 were killed in Israeli airstrikes, and 15 were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets that failed to clear Gaza.
I don't know why they say 35 total when the Gaza authorities said 43. (Some reports say 44.)

Either way, Islamic Jihad killed far more civilians than Israel did. 

UPDATE: Here is a photo of the room where Donyana al-Amour (#6) was killed. The spray patterns on the walls (small shrapnel holes)  indicate it was a PIJ rocket.  (h/t Abu Ali Express)

UPDATE 2: Another child, Fatima Abeid, was killed by this rocket that fell on Beit Hanoun as can be seen in this video. (h/t Abu Ali Express)

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  • Monday, August 08, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

The New Arab is inconsolable - Israel killed a promising young karate champion!

A Palestinian karateka has been identified as among those killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza on Friday, with the bombardment continuing into its third day on Sunday.

Youssef Qaddoum, who was a member of the Palestinian Al-Zaytoun Sports Club, was reportedly killed during Israeli strikes on the neighbourhood of Al-Shuja’iyya, east of Gaza city.

The Palestinian Shehab news agency quoted the sports club in a statement saying that "the young martyr Youssef Qaddoum was present at his house with a number of his neighbours before they were caught by the missiles of the Zionist enemy planes".

The club went on to state that the karate player was immediately martyred after the targeting, and that prayers will be sent to comfort the deceased’s family. They also urged all human rights organisations to intervene in the series of daily crimes carried out by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian athletes.

Qaddoum, who was 24 years old, was described as one of the club’s most distinguished karate players and has participated in many sports tournaments.
How terrible that Israel would target an athlete!

Then again, this morning, Islamic Jihad published a list of its members who were killed - and sure enough, we see "The martyr fighter/ Youssef Salman Muhammad Qaddoum (24 years), Gaza Brigade" listed.

I wonder if The New Arab will update their article with this new information that undercuts their entire thesis that Israel is targeting athletes. Because journalists, especially those from pro-terror outlets, are so ethical.

The five year old girl who was killed on Friday, Alaa Qaddoum, was his relative, and he was clearly the target while she was effectively hoped to be a human shield. 

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  • Monday, August 08, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

An AP dispatch about the Gaza fighting this past weekend throws in a conspiracy theory:

Israel said it took action against the militant group because of concrete threats of an imminent attack, but has not provided details. Caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who is an experienced diplomat but untested in overseeing a war, unleashed the offensive less than three months before a general election in which he is campaigning to keep the job.
There two sentences meant to give the impression that the fighting wasn't necessary and the caretaker government made up an excuse to look macho and gain power in the next elections.

It is beyond absurd. An article in Al Monitor by Ben Caspit on Friday described the events leading up to the initial bombings:

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation came after several days of tension on the Gaza border, over the arrest of in the West bank of a senior Islamic Jihad member.

In fact, at the start of the week, Israeli security forces appeared to have scored yet another victory over terrorism with the arrest of the Islamic Jihad’s West Bank commander Bassem Saadi. The Aug. 1 raid by Israeli commandos and Shin Bet agents in the Jenin refugee camp was complex, with Israeli forces coming under brutal fire that forced them to hole up with Saadi in his home until a rescue team arrived to extricate them unharmed.

Saadi’s arrest was intended to deal a severe blow to the terrorism that swept through Israel from late March to early May, much of it carried out by Palestinians from the Jenin area. In political terms, the successful raid appeared to signal yet another upbeat week in the fortunes of Yair Lapid, the caretaker neophyte prime minister struggling to position himself as a viable alternative to “Mr. Security,” former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the Nov. 1 elections.

However, as always in Israel and the Middle East, any victory can turn into a fiasco within a heartbeat, every ending is a new beginning and nothing ever turns out the way it was meant to. The footage of Saadi being dragged on the floor by Israeli troops accompanied by an attack dog generated a widespread storm, especially in the Gaza Strip, where Islamic Jihad is headquartered....

Hours later, Israeli intelligence had already detected the deployment of Islamic Jihad teams along the Gaza border, toting anti-tank rockets and other weapons, in search of targets on the Israeli side. The head of the military’s Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, ordered the closing of all roads along the border vulnerable to rocket attack. Residents of the kibbutzim and other communities in the area were instructed to remain indoors until further notice.

The spring terror attacks, Israel's going after Islamic Jihad leaders in Jenin to stop them, the events of this past week in the "Gaza envelope," Islamic Jihad's open threats over the past week - none of this is mentioned by AP. 

And this is just what we know. Why would Israel reveal intelligence information about an imminent attack? 

At the same time,  how does it make any sense that Israel would start a potential war for political purposes? Most citizens are reservists in the army - no one would be happy if they thought they'd have to go away from home and potentially fight for a mere political stunt. That would backfire pretty spectacularly. 

Similarly, no Israeli government would put its residents at risk from hundreds of rockets - Iron Dome is good but not perfect and people get injured scrambling for shelter even if it was perfect. Israelis wouldn't stand for that, either.

To float such an idea is to say that Israeli politicians are willing and eager to put their own constituents' lives at risk for political gain. 

Practically, Lapid's party Yesh Atid has 17 seats in the Knesset; it is part of a coalition with other parties who also want to lead the next government. Why would they go along with this conspiracy to keep Lapid in office? Why would they remain silent about it? 

AP is publishing an antisemitic conspiracy theory. 

But this is the subtle antisemitism that pervades international media coverage of Israel. If the reporter can't figure out why Israel is doing something, or is offended that Israel doesn't share enough intel, it must be that Israel is up to something underhanded. Certainly Israel cannot be telling the truth, even though lying would hurt them far more. 

And as with other cases like the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, the media does not look for any evidence that would contradict their gut feeling that the Jews are certainly the guilty party and are always up to something. The only theories worth exploring are the ones that suggest that the Jews are acting odiously. 

(h/t Irene)

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Sunday, August 07, 2022

By Daled Amos

In the midst of Operation Breaking Dawn, on Saturday night, at about 9pm, a rocket explosion in Jabaliya in Gaza killed 4 children.

As expected, Israel was blamed.

But this time, unexpectedly, Israel was able not only to present its case that it was not responsible, but also to get the media to present a balanced report that presented Israel's contention that the explosion was the result of a misfired rocket from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Israel Gets The Media To Notice

The results were media reports that actually were balanced. The Times of Israel had a survey of some of the reporting:

CNN reported:

In one incident Saturday, four children were among seven people killed in an explosion in Jabaliya. The Palestinian Health Ministry initially said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike. Israel rejected the claim and said it was the result of errant rocket fire, and released a video showing what it said was the Islamic Jihad rocket sharply changing course in the air and hitting the building.

The New York Times referred to the incident twice. First, on Saturday:

Three children were also killed on Saturday, though it was not immediately clear whether they were hit by an Israeli strike or a misfired Palestinian rocket. The Israeli military said they were killed by a failed Islamic Jihad rocket launch.

Then on Sunday:

Israel said some of those children were killed on Saturday night when an Islamic Jihad rocket misfired and fell short in the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said it had not been operating in that area at the time. Islamic Jihad has not commented on the Israeli claim.

France's AFP quoted Israeli sources that  “it had ‘irrefutable’ evidence that a stray rocket fired by Islamic Jihad was responsible for the deaths of several children in Jabalia, northern Gaza, on Saturday.”

Al Jazeera reported:

At least four children were killed in a blast close to the Jabaliya refugee camp on Saturday, according to Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip. It blamed Israel for the deaths, but the military denied any responsibility, saying the explosion was caused by a failed rocket launched by Islamic Jihad. Al Jazeera could not verify the claims immediately.

On Saturday, The Associated Press reported 

The Israeli military said an errant rocket fired by Palestinian militants killed civilians late Saturday, including children, in the town of Jabaliya, in northern Gaza. The military said it investigated the incident and concluded ‘without a doubt’ that it was caused by a misfire on the part of Islamic Jihad. There was no official Palestinian comment on the incident.

However, by Sunday the AP apparently decided that in the interests of balance, instead of presenting the two sides as to who was responsible, it would not address the question of responsibility at all and merely reported “among the dead were six children and four women” -- without any mention the possibility that some of them may have been killed by misfired PIJ rockets.

On the other hand, is the German news site Bild, whose headline was straightforward without hedging, "Palestinian missile kills civilians in Gaza."

What Did Israel Do Differently This Time?

One of the criticisms of Israel when it comes to getting its side of the story out to the world is that it is just too slow, allowing the terrorists and Israel-haters plenty of time to get their version of things out and presented before the world audience. Israel just does not react quickly enough.

Not this time.

Lahav Harkov addresses this in her article How Israel shot down false reports on Jabaliya explosion. Israel already started responding on the same day -- Saturday.

“We identified the potential for damage from this incident very quickly,” Head of the Public Diplomacy Directorate Lior Haiat said on Sunday. “We understood it could be a public diplomacy catastrophe that could lead to diplomatic harm that could change the direction of the campaign.”

Within minutes, Haiat, IDF Spokesperson Ran Kohav, representatives of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry discussed the incident. Defense officials were quickly able to determine not only that the IDF was not responsible, but that Islamic Jihad very clearly was.

Haiat was able to coordinate a media plan with the others within an hour. [emphasis added]

Here is Israel's statement that came out the very same day, via Twitter:

And that was only the beginning.

The statement was translated into multiple languages and delivered to Israeli embassies worldwide, which then passed the statement on to local media.

The IDF posted a statement as well:

Keren Hajioff, PM Lapid's International Spokeswoman made a video for TV and social media, where she made a similar statement:

Another welcome step, considering Israel's reputation of not dealing well with the media, was Culture and Sports Minister Chilli Tropper being released from an ongoing Security Cabinet meeting so that he could speak to Israeli media on behalf of the government.

Of course, it helped that Israel was able to provide videos to support its claim:

Now that Israel has demonstrated the ability to get its message across and reported in the media, what Israel needs is the ability to do this consistently.

Maybe it can even do a better job in presenting its side in the death of Abu Akleh.

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  • Sunday, August 07, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

Israel haters have been trying to compare the current Gaza fighting to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

But the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel disagrees.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniichuk on Sunday expressed his solidarity with Israel in its military campaign against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. 
"As a Ukrainian, while our country is under brutal attack from a close neighbor - I feel great sympathy towards the Israeli public," the Ukrainian ambassador wrote on his Twitter account. 

"Terror and malicious attacks towards citizens have become daily matter for Israelis and Ukrainians," he added. "We have to put an end to it. We pray for peace and hope the escalation ends soon." 
You have to take this with a grain of salt - Ukraine wants Israeli weapons, while Palestinians cannot provide it with anything useful. And Ukraine does not exactly have a voting record in the UN that supports the idea that it ever identified with Israeli under attack.

But it shows how vacuous the Israel haters are in trying to hitch their cause to whatever is trendy.

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From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Operation Breaking Dawn was a long time in the making
Operation Breaking Dawn, which started on Friday, was a long time in the making.

Israel’s southern communities had been in a lockdown since last Tuesday after Israeli security forces arrested Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior member Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin. Good intelligence and careful preparation are obviously necessary to carry out such an arrest.

Residents of the South, who were held virtual hostages afterwards, now know why: Such intelligence and preparation also enabled the IDF on Friday to kill Islamic Jihad’s top commander in Gaza, Tayseer al-Jabari, in a precise operation and thwart a ticking time bomb: He was reportedly involved in planning imminent major attacks on Israel, including the use of lethal anti-tank missiles close to the border.

Jabari replaced Baha Abu Al-Ata, who was killed in a similar airstrike in November 2019. Other senior Islamic Jihad figures were killed in well-conducted strikes over the weekend, including Islamic Jihad’s southern division commander Khaled Mansour.

Although it is natural to compare the current round of fighting with terrorists in the Gaza Strip to last year’s Operation Guardian of the Walls – when Hamas launched an attack on Israel starting in the capital on Jerusalem Day in May 2021 – Operation Breaking Dawn so far seems to have more in common with Operation Black Belt in which Al-Ata was killed and Hamas chose not to get openly involved.

Responding to threats
But if Israel doesn’t forcibly respond to the threats of one terrorist organization, the other organizations driven by the same desire to harm the Jewish state will be emboldened. And that includes Hezbollah over Israel’s northern border with Lebanon as well as terror cells in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Over the weekend, Islamic Jihad launched more than 350 rockets at Israel and many more were fired at the country yesterday. Although the United States and others issued initial statements of Israel’s right to self-defense, there were also immediate calls for Israel to prevent an escalation and in effect to stop responding.

Although Israel has the upper hand from a purely defensive viewpoint in this round of hostilities, like in previous ones, the Palestinians have the advantage when it comes to public relations and international sympathy. Whenever Israel justifiably responds to the indiscriminate firing of rockets – every one of them a war crime – by carrying out attacks against terrorist targets in Gaza, it is immediately and unfairly perceived as the aggressor rather than the victim.
Richard Kemp: Gaza: The Usual Suspects Condemn Israel
Commenting on the killing of Zawahiri, UN Secretary General's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN was "committed to fighting against terrorism and strengthening international cooperation in countering that threat".

Of course it was a different story when Israel acted against Jabari. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland was "deeply concerned" by "the targeted killing today of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza."

Israel has not claimed its operation in Gaza — codenamed Breaking Dawn — is to deter. The government has made it clear that the strikes were to prevent an imminent threat to the Israeli population. It had hard intelligence that PIJ, led by Jabari, was planning attacks across the border from Gaza. Protecting its people from violent external attack is not only permitted under international law, it is the duty of every government. If deterrence of such attacks were possible, Israel would have taken action to deter.

PIJ is an Iranian proxy, directed and funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Its leader, Ziad Nakhaleh, has been in Tehran for the last few days, meeting with his IRGC paymasters and other government officials including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

As PIJ and its fellow jihadists have indiscriminately fired an estimated 400 missiles (at time of writing) at targets from Sderot to Tel Aviv since Operation Breaking Dawn began, the IDF has continued to launch precision strikes from the air and the ground to halt the attacks on Israeli citizens. Just as Israel's casus belli for attacking PIJ targets was lawful, it has taken the utmost care to ensure its continued strikes are also lawful, only attacking targets that are proportionate and necessary to the military objectives and giving warnings where civilian casualties could occur.

We can expect non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Human Rights Watch to pile on. Amnesty International, however, might be slightly more circumspect as they are at present gyrating from the widespread international reproach that greeted their just-published report condemning Ukraine's defensive actions, in which they again showed the total incomprehension of war and the laws of war that they often demonstrate in their denunciations of Israel.

Slavering for the last two days at the prospect of IDF-inflicted mass casualties, much of the media immediately and without any evidence eagerly pointed the finger at Israel over the tragic killing of seven people, including four children, in Jabalia camp in the Gaza Strip. They will undoubtedly try, but journalists and UN investigators will find it hard to refute the IDF's confirmation that they did not strike the location and have conclusive video and radar evidence that the deaths were caused by a misfired PIJ rocket, launched as so often from within the civilian population. This would certainly fit, as approximately a quarter of all terrorist rockets fired so far during this campaign have landed inside Gaza, not in Israel.
The Collapse of Islamic Jihad's Equations
Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah said during a television interview in Tehran that almost any time Israel attacks Gaza, all of the terrorist organizations rally to respond in unison. Yet Hamas has not fired a single rocket.

One Islamic Jihad spokesman told Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen network on Saturday that the commander of Islamic Jihad's northern region in Gaza wasn't killed due to superb intelligence acquired by Israel, but rather because he was intentionally deceived into going there by the Egyptian mediator in order "to finalize a cease-fire agreement with Israel" - implying "treasonous collaboration" between Cairo and Jerusalem.

Another spokesman said Hamas was completely in step with Islamic Jihad and a full partner in the rocket attacks against Israel, but that it was concealing this - reflecting Islamic Jihad's distress over being alone in this fight.

It's safe to assume that Hamas may see the "positive" aspects of the Israeli offensive: putting Islamic Jihad in its place, sending it a message that it isn't allowed to plot attacks against Israel without Hamas' approval, and making it obey the decisions that are made in Gaza, not in Tehran.
Ruthie Blum: Avoiding mention of Iran while urging Israeli restraint
Meanwhile, Israel made it clear to the PIJ that it was willing to end the fighting, but only if the calm is reciprocated. PIJ has said through mediators that one condition for its compliance is the release of Sa’adi—a demand that should not and will not be met.

None of this makes the slightest difference to the moral-equivalence choir, certainly not those at the United Nations, whose Israel-bashing knows no bounds. Indeed, contrary to Erdan’s false hopes, they are at the ready to sing their tired chorus of bogus accusations, regardless of other occurrences around the globe.

That Russia burst into its own aria is not surprising, of course, since anything that serves as a distraction from its blitzing of Ukraine is welcome in Moscow.

In a statement on Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had an interesting slant on the events that are causing the Kremlin such “profound worry”: “The new escalation was caused by the Israeli army firing into the Gaza Strip on August 5, to which Palestinian groups responded by carrying out massive and indiscriminate bombardments on Israeli territory.”

Adding that her government was calling called on “all parties to show maximum restraint and work towards a ceasefire,” she said that Moscow reaffirms its “principled and consistent position, reflected in the relevant resolutions of the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council in support of a comprehensive and long-term settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with the two-state principle.”

Finally, she concluded, “It is possible to put an end to cyclical violence only within the framework of the negotiation process, the result of which should be the realization of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state within the 1967 borders.”

She conveniently omitted key facts, such as Tehran’s role as sole bankroller of its proxy, PIJ. Hamas also receives money from Iran, but has other sources of income, as well.

Speaking of Iran, nuclear talks resumed in Vienna on Thursday between the Islamic Republic and the world powers hungry to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal that the mullah-led regime never adhered to in any case, and from which former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

As Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, orchestrated the JCPOA, and his successor, Joe Biden, is as desperate to salvage it as Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is beneficial for them to leave Iran out of any discussion on Gaza. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, while giving a social-media nod to Israel’s “right to protect itself,” added to his tweet, “We are engaging with different parties and urge all sides for calm.”

Iran couldn’t be more pleased.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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