Tuesday, July 08, 2014

From Ian:

Operation ‘Protective Edge’ Commences as IDF Targets Terror Sites in the Gaza Strip
In combined efforts of both aerial and naval forces, the IDF targeted overnight approximately 50 terror sites and targets across the Gaza Strip, commencing operation ‘Protective Edge’ – aimed to retrieve stability to the residents of southern Israel, eliminate Hamas’ capabilities and destroy terror infrastructure operating against the State of Israel and its civilians.
Among the targets are 4 activity sites utilized by Hamas operatives who are responsible for numerous rocket attacks and were involved in various terror activities against the State of Israel.
IDF Targets Two Terror Sites in Op. Protective Edge


3.5 Million Lives in Danger: the Growing Range of Hamas Rockets


More Than 450 Gaza Rockets Fired at Israel Since January, 200 in Last Month
Since January of this year, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 450 rockets towards Israeli citizens in communities across southern Israel, according to an IDF spokesperson. More than 200 of those rockets have been fired since June 12, the day on which three Israeli teens were abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists.
At least 80 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel within 24 hours on Monday, July 27, with air raid sirens sounding throughout Monday night in southern Israel including the city of Ofakim and the Merhavim region. According to the IDF, 11 of the 80 rockets were shot down by Iron Dome systems. The IDF spokesperson also stated that Hamas was responsible for launching a large majority of the rockets.
Iron Dome Intercepts Rockets Over Ashdod


ToI Liveblog: State orders massive call-up of 40,000 reserves as Gaza death toll hits 10
Israel launched a major operation against Gaza in the early hours of Tuesday morning, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, following heavy Hamas rocket fire over the preceding days. The fast-escalating situation in the south comes in the shadow of spiking Jewish-Arab tensions in Israel over the brutal killings of four teenagers — three Jews and one Arab — by extremists. Stay with The Times of Israel’s liveblog for updates throughout the day.



Israeli army ready to ‘go all the way’ in Gaza
Following a meeting with the heads of Israel’s security establishment in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The gloves are off.”
“Hamas chose this escalation and will pay a heavy price,” he added.

Officials in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel that Netanyahu had therefore instructed the army to launch a “continuous, methodical, and forceful campaign” against the terrorist group in the Gaza Strip.
“The directive to the Israel Defense Forces is to be ready to go all the way,” the sources said, adding that even a ground operation was on the table.
Israel Assassinates Hamas Naval Commando Chief in Pinpoint Strike (VIDEO)
Mohammed Shaaban and two other individuals travelling in a vehicle were killed in the air strike, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News.
There were no reports of anyone else killed in the strike, which apparently used a low-level charge which left another vehicle nearby unscathed.
Israel to Security Council: Condemn Hamas Before It's Too Late
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Ron Prosor, said on Monday night that it was time for the UN Security Council to condemn Hamas’s indiscriminate attacks against millions of Israeli civilians.
“In a single hour earlier today, Hamas and other terrorists fired over 65 rockets towards Israeli homes, schools, and hospitals – that is one rocket per minute. With only seconds to run for cover, Israelis will spend the night sleeping in bomb shelters,” Prosor wrote in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council.
“Israel will no longer tolerate this situation. Those who target Israelis with terrorism will pay a very heavy price,” he added.
“At this critical moment,” wrote Prosor, “the Security Council has an obligation to unequivocally condemn Hamas before it is too late. The very real danger of an even greater escalation hangs over the region. The Council must publicly denounce terrorism and call on President Abbas to dissolve the unity government before the situation further deteriorates.”
Abbas Demands that Israel Stop Gaza Airstrikes
In an official statement published by the PA’s WAFA news agency and in which Abbas was described as “the President of the State of Palestine”, the PA head called on the international community to immediately intervene to stop what he called “the dangerous Israeli escalation”.
Israel’s actions, he warned, could "drag the region into further destruction and instability."
Abbas stressed the importance of maintaining a truce in order to protect the lives and property of the Palestinian people. He added that the PA leadership is holding urgent talks with several Arab and international officials in order to restrain Israel.
The statement did not mention the rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel, nor did it condemn the violence by Palestinian Arabs towards Jews.
Amid rocket fire, summer camps closed in the south
A directive from the IDF Home Front Command called for camps to be closed in all towns within 40 kilometers of Gaza. The directive covered communities close to Gaza as well as the larger towns and cities of Ashkelon, Beersheba, Ashkelon, and Kiryat Malachi.
Likewise, studies and examinations at education institutes, including at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, were aborted. The IDF also prohibited any event for more than 300 people from being held within a 40-kilometer (25 mile) radius of Gaza.
Israeli Basketball Star Omri Casspi Urges Citizens of the South, Including His Parents, to Remain Strong Under Fire
Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi announced his solidarity with the citizens of Israel’s southern towns, including his own parents, shortly after a barrage of Gaza rocket attacks rained down on Monday evening.
“Be strong citizens of the south (my parents included),” Casspi wrote on Facebook along with a quote about Israel from John F. Kennedy:
“John F. Kennedy: Israel was not created in order to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.”
At the time of publication, the post had been “Liked” 3446 times.
Hamas Reaps Benefits from Terror
How will all this end? At this point, Hamas seems to think that it will be Netanyahu who will blink first since at this point it seems unlikely that the normally cautious prime minister will risk further antagonizing the U.S. when he seems not to think that Israel has much to gain from a new fight in Gaza.
But if the two sides do merely stand down, there should be no illusions about who was the winner in this exchange. Hamas started this fight with a gruesome terror attack but rather than paying any real price—other than the arrest of some of its West Bank operatives—for this atrocity, it has enhanced its standing among Palestinians. By provoking a group of Jewish extremists to behave in the same bestial fashion, it has also obscured the real differences between the two societies and hurt their erstwhile rival/partner Abbas by exposing him to ridicule from Palestinians who saw his condemnation of terror as weakness or toadying to the Israelis. By firing rockets deep into Israel without incurring a response that will threaten its leadership or its weapon stores, Hamas will have re-established itself as an equal to Abbas rather than a junior partner.
Hamas decides to go for broke
Isolated by Israel, shunned by Egypt and battered by Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Hamas has decided to go for broke. True, it had used its massive missile arsenal with relative restraint as of Tuesday afternoon, but it nevertheless hopes that a new round of violence can reshuffle the deck and leave it with a better hand.
The Islamic movement’s distress calls — directed mostly at Ramallah — have intensified over the past week. With 44,000 Hamas civil servants out of work and without salaries as Ramadan began, Hamas foreign ministry official Ghazi Hamad convened a press conference on July 3 to warn that “the Gaza Strip is in grave danger and the unity government doesn’t care what’s happening here.”
Hamas claims responsibility for rocket fire on Israel
The armed wing of Hamas, Izz al-Din al-Qassam, took responsibility for a barrage of rocket fire on Israel on Monday night, claiming to have shot some 100 rockets within a few minutes at the South.
Heavy rocket barrages slammed into southern Israel on Monday evening, triggering air raid sirens across wide areas, including Rehovot and Beit Shemesh.
Hamas Makes Demands as Condition for Halting Rocket Barrage
A statement made Saturday by Hamas official Osama Hamdan said that the terrorist group would accept no ceasefire in its attacks on Israeli civilians unless Israel ended its blockade of Gaza.
Hamdan’s remarks were reported on the Hamas website Al Qassam:
Head of Hamas’s foreign relations Osama Hamdan said that his movement will not accept any ceasefire in light of the continued siege on Gaza.
He told al-Resalah Net in an interview published on Saturday that the Israeli siege on Gaza is an ongoing aggression that must be stopped.
Obama urges restraint for Israel, Palestinians
In an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Obama called it a “dangerous moment” for the region where a vaunted US peace effort recently collapsed. Writing in emotional terms, he said he couldn’t imagine the pain suffered by the parents of the three Israeli teens, but was also heartbroken by the senseless murder of a Palestinian teenager who many suspect was killed as payback.
“All parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments, published in Hebrew, Arabic and English, reflected growing US concern about tit-for-tat violence spiraling out of control as the fragile situation in Israel appears to deteriorate.
War in Gaza: 5 Tips For Sorting Through the News and Sharing Responsibly on Social Media
Rockets are flying. Israel’s responding with air strikes and a call-up of reservists. The army named this mission Operation Protective Edge.
The conflict isn’t only being fought over the skies of Gaza and the Israeli home front. It’s also being fought in the media. We’re going to see all kinds of news reports, photos, and video. People are already posting observations on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
As we all want to be informed, and inform others, how do we sort through the information overload? And what’s our own responsibility for what we choose to share?
Honest Reporting: Israel on the Verge of Major Conflict


Gaza Strip Dangerously Low on Fake Blood, Agency Warns - Originally posted November 2012 (satire)
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has warned that the coastal strip’s supply of fake human blood is close to depleted, and that as a result Hamas must increasingly resort to other forms of media manipulation in the ongoing battle for public perception with Israel.
“Just last week the inventory stood at 40,000 liters, but Israeli attacks both real and imagined have reduced the supply to less than 4,000 liters in a matter of days,” said spokesman Yahya Fakir. “And the ongoing Israeli blockade has made it nearly impossible to obtain a reliable supply.” Israel maintains a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons from entering the territory. Smuggling tunnels from Egypt are the only other avenue for bringing in goods and materiel, and those tunnels have come under attack in the current Israeli air offensive.
To illustrate the dire circumstances facing the Red Crescent, Fakir pointed to a BBC video of a wounded man being carried by his comrades. The BBC reporter described the man as suffering the injuries in an Israeli air attack, and then the man could be seen getting up walking under his own power, clearly healthy. “This is the kind of unprofessional charlatanry to which we must now resort,” lamented Fakir.
State Dept: Hamas Does Not Play A Role in Palestinian Govt
CNN reporter Elise Labott questioned Psaki about the United States’ continued support for the Palestinian unity government, saying, “You’ve seen the comments that are coming out of Hamas. And now that the U.S. has, in effect, kind of accepted the fact that Hamas is now in this unity government, you would think that as leader of this unity government, it would be incumbent on President Abbas to rein in or take — you know, try and maintain some kind of control over the activities of Hamas.”
“You’re right in a sense that we’ve stated from the beginning that we would judge the interim government by its actions, composition and policies,” Psaki replied. “And based on what we know now, it hasn’t changed. We don’t believe that Hamas plays a role in the government.”
President Shimon Peres Insists Hamas, Fatah Separate
President Shimon Peres insisted that Hamas and Fatah are two separate entities Tuesday morning, headlining the "Israeli Peace Conference" by contrasting the two despite both their unity pact and the recent escalation from Gaza.
"All requests from international forces to Hamas to recognize Israel and make peace were rejected, and instead of peace, shooting at residents of the south has not stopped," he continued. "We cannot come to terms with death, there is no compromise with mortar shells, and there is no compromise when we are face constant danger falling on the heads of children and their mothers."
Peres then denied that Hamas and Fatah are both behind the terror, despite Fatah's own threats recently against Israel and lack of public condemnation of the rocket fire.
Haaretz Portrays Judaism as the Obstacle to Peace
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper will tomorrow host the grandly-named “Israel Conference on Peace” in Tel Aviv. In a crammed schedule across twelve hours, an intriguing array of speakers–Israelis, Arabs, Europeans, and Americans, left-wingers and right-wingers–will address economic development, human rights, access to water, the prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough, and other critical aspects of this particular Middle Eastern conflict.
That is why, in the collection of articles assembled by Haaretz to accompany the conference, you will find Gideon Levy, one of the paper’s resident anti-Zionists, declaring preposterously that “a Jewish state means a racist, nationalistic state, meant for Jews only.” You will find an official Haaretz editorial insisting that the murderers of the Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, are the “descendants and builders of a culture of hate and vengeance that is nurtured and fertilized by the guides of ‘the Jewish state.’” And you will find a longer meditation on the same theme by Avraham Burg, the scion of a leading Zionist family and the former Speaker of the Knesset, who concludes that the root of Israel’s problem lies (as he describes it) in the anti-gentile culture that distinguishes the Jewish faith.
Israel’s Supporters Must Stop Using These 13 Phrases
Mainstream Western media coverage of Israel is laced with expressions intentionally crafted to delegitimize the Jewish State. The good news is that these terms weren’t written in stone 3,300 years ago, but are post-Israel independence creations. By forfeiting this language, we forfeit our history. Here are 13 phrases we must stop repeating.
Muslim Brotherhood Org that Met with Obama WH Calls for Islamic War Against Israel
The head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group, called upon fellow Islamists and Arabs to declare holy war against Israel “for the sake of Palestine.”
IUMS was founded by Egyptian cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader described by National Review’s Andrew McCarthy as “The most influential Sunni Islamist in the world.”
In 2003, Qaradawi issued a fatwa (religious declaration) that called for the killing of US soldiers in Iraq. (h/t Canadian Otter)
Beduin attack in Negev town shocks residents
Negev residents expressed shock and dismay following a stormy Sunday night when Beduin Arabs threw Molotov cocktails and stones at cars in the town of Omer, near Beersheba, blowing up the car of a district judge.
“We sought coexistence with the Beduin and now it blew up in our face,” Omer mayor Pini Badash told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Badash said that around 150-200 Beduin youths came and threw rocks and fire bombs at cars. “People here are in shock,” he said.
Israel fires into Syria after mortar shell hits Golan
The IDF responded early Monday morning to a mortar shell launched from Syria that hit the Golan Heights, firing at suspicious positions on the Syrian side of the border.
No injuries or damage were reported on the Israeli side.
In late June, Israel carried out a series of airstrikes targeting Syrian troops in retaliation for a deadly cross-border attack, killing four people and wounding nine others. A teenage Israeli boy was killed and two other people were wounded in what was the first deadly incident along the volatile Israeli-Syrian frontier since the start of the Syrian civil war.
Egypt 'Not Embarrassed' to Import Israeli Gas
Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Sherif Ismail, sees no problem with allowing the British BG Group to import gas from Israel, he told Daily News Egypt Wednesday.
“This is a must”, he added, explaining that without imports, gas companies working in Egypt might resort to international arbitration and sue the government.
“As the Minister of Petroleum, I remain of the opinion that there is no problem in letting BG Group import Israeli gas to protect Egypt from international fines and arbitration,” Ismail said.
PMW: Fatah to Israelis: Prepare body bags
Today, Fatah, headed by Abbas, posted the following threat to Israelis:
“Sons of Zion, this is an oath to the Lord of the Heavens: Prepare all the bags you can for your body parts”
[Facebook, “Fatah - The Main Page,” July 7, 2014]
Two days ago, Fatah posted a similar threat with a picture of burning houses:
“The sons of Fatah will turn your settlements into balls of fire and increase your horror”
[Facebook, “Fatah - The Main Page,”July 5, 2014]
Earlier this month, Fatah posted a poem including the line “We wish for the blood to become rivers”:
“The source of terrorism is the Zionist...The Zionist, by Allah, is treacherous O settler, O malicious one Your time has ended... O Arabs, enough betrayal: We wish for the blood to become rivers... This homeland wants [your] rage - It does not want you to wait.”
[Facebook, “Fatah - The Main Page,” July 3, 2014]
Students swear allegiance to murderers of 37 civilians
PA TV newsreader: In Bethlehem, the council of the Student Union at the Palestine Ahliya University organized the third festival of allegiance and loyalty to Martyrs Khalil al-Wazir Abu Jihad and Dalal Mughrabi.


Arabs Rob Gaza Bank Clean Using IDF Attack as Cover
Overnight, as Israel finally began retaliating against Gaza for the 450 rockets launched at Israel, some enterprising Gazans used that attack to their own benefit, masking the noise of their own operation.
Under cover of the sound from the rocket fire explosions, a group of Gazans blew open the entrance to Bank of Palestine in Gaza City.
They cleaned out the bank and escaped.


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