Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From Ian:

Golani soldier Oron Shaul caught in Gaza ambush is MIA
The IDF has identified only six of the seven soldiers caught in a deadly ambush in Gaza City’s Shejaiya area earlier this week, the army announced Tuesday. The seventh soldier, named Tuesday afternoon as Oron Shaul, would appear to be missing in action. There is no definitive evidence of whether he is alive or dead.
“The identification process of six of the soldiers killed has been completed and confirmed,” the army said in a statement. “The efforts to identify the seventh soldier are ongoing and have yet to be determined.”
The announcement came several days after Hamas announced that it had abducted a soldier. “The Israeli soldier [name deleted] is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades,” a Hamas spokesman said more than 12 hours after the battle.
Times of Israel Live Blog: Soldier killed Tuesday morning; Kerry calls for immediate ceasefire
Netanyahu says Israel will continue to defend itself; army names Oron Shaul as missing soldier presumed killed in Gaza fighting; Hamas claims it kidnapped soldier; IDF death toll rises to 28; over 600 Gazans said killed so far
Hamas is Gaza’s worst enemy
Amid their grief, Palestinians must begin to look beyond the immediate conflict to question why their leaders, especially Hamas, have delivered them little but poverty, chaos and destruction. The answer, as US commentator Alan Dershowitz wrote in Saturday’s Inquirer, is the real enemies of the Palestinian people are Hamas leaders who love Palestinian children less than they hate Israel: “That’s why they are prepared to use these children as human sacrifices in their efforts to destroy the nation-state of the Jewish people.’’
Without a credible ceasefire, the toll will rise, especially as Hamas refuses to allow civilians to shelter in Gaza’s many tunnels, which are the preserve of its fighters. Despite the naivety of much of the Western media in seeking to blame Israel alone for the high casualty rate, some Palestinians realise Hamas is putting their lives at risk. For years, it has also shown scant concern for their quality of life, heavily arming itself while ignoring the local economy and food production. Any legitimate ceasefire must acknowledge Hamas’s culpability in starting the conflict with its kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers last month. Long term, Gaza residents must understand they are on a hiding to nothing with Hamas.
21 ways you can help Israel today
Israel is at war, and over the last few weeks, I have received requests from across the Globe from friends, family, friends of friends and friends of family, asking me if I know any ways that they can help Israel in her time of need. There are so many ways to help, and particularly for those not in Israel and who are therefore not able to send physical items through local collections, here are some of the many reputable websites through which you can donate:
Please note, before you send food or pizza to places, it is worth checking if it is needed or even wanted. I have been in touch with a number of bases that are overflowing with unwanted toiletries and junk food. Some bases, on the other hand, are far out and would really appreciate some decent food and some cans of deodorant! If you are sending food, please don’t send fresh goods that spoil, or chocolate that melts. High on the food request list are energy bars, dried fruit and black coffee, but a lot of soldiers would prefer fresh underwear, socks, towels, undershirts (black or olive colored), toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, wipes and mosquito repellent.
Thank you, and may all of our soldiers come home to us speedily, safely, and having completed their mission.

Pierre Rehov: The Terrorists' Reality Show, Who Has the "More Romantic Story"?
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
CBC National Airs Unsubstantiated Video Alleging Israeli Sniper Killed Palestinian Civilian
Is this video authentic? The jury is still out, but it’s interesting to note that no blood is visible on the individual. Importantly, what is the dead man’s name? Can his body be found in a local morgue? Has (or will) he be buried, with or without an autopsy? Were Israeli soldiers even in the area when this alleged incident occurred? Were Hamas snipers around? What time did this alleged incident occur? Who were the witnesses to the alleged killing? If dead, did he die instantly or while en route to the hospital? Were any bullets or bullet fragments secured for evidence to confirm if IDF bullets killed him?
We find it interesting that at 2:23 in the ISM video, the man in the green shirt appears immediately to the left of the person with the camera and then two seconds later, the camera goes black and purple (a possible edit) and then the man in the green shirt is what looks like at least 5 feet away from the cameraman. We also find it interesting that the 3 individuals (aid workers?) in yellow jackets aren’t running to flee for their lives after the alleged sniper attack whereas most people would be terrified. Instead, they just look from overhead. This has the hallmarks of a Pallywood production.
Video: Israeli troops on break from fighting sing “The nation of Israel will never give up”
Part of the anti-Israel war effort includes attempts to demoralize Israel and its supporters. That is why Hamas, Hezbollah and others try so hard to kidnap Israeli civilians or soldiers, and even to grab dead bodies.
That psychological warfare is on full display in the media and social media. But it’s not working because Israelis know that Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups in Gaza, who fire from among civilians towards civilians, leave Israel with no choice but to fight in a war it didn’t want but in which so much is at stake.
Despite losses from infiltrators and in city combat, Israeli troop morale is high from all reports.
The video below has gone viral on Facebook, with over 30,500 likes and almost 20,000 shares as of this writing.
It shows Israeli soldiers on a break from combat in Gaza singing:

20,000 people attend funeral of lone soldier from Texas
In response to a widespread social media call to honor a fallen soldier, some 20,000 people crowded the military cemetery in Haifa on Monday evening for the funeral of Staff Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, one of two U.S. citizens who were killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip early Sunday morning.
Because Carmeli had lived in Texas for most of his life, and his parents split their time between Israel and the United States, his friends were concerned his funeral would be sparsely attended and decided to reach out to Israelis around the country to come and pay their respects. The 21-year-old Golani Brigade soldier rooted for the soccer team Maccabi Haifa, whose fans shared the details of his funeral online, encouraging people to attend.
The effort succeeded far beyond anyone's expectations. "The thousands who came to pay their respects show the rare unity of the nation of Israel," said Meir Azoulay, a Haifa suburb resident who attended the funeral.
'The least we could do' (h/t Bob Knot/Yenta Press)
The Lone Survivor of the Golani 13
IDF soldier Shiloh Hadad is the lone survivor of the Golani 13, a combat team of fierce Israeli warriors who saved two kibbutzim from a massacre by Hamas terrorists just after dawn on Monday.
All 10 Hamas terrorists were killed in the battle.
This is his story, as told to his parents, who were rewarded with a 15-minute visit and a hug to reassure them their son was still alive after hearing the news that seven of his comrades had died in the battle to protect Kibbutzim Erez and Nir Am, both located along the Gaza border.
Hadad was the eighth man in the APC (armored personnel carrier) that responded to a report of terrorists swarming from two tunnels at dawn’s light between the two kibbutzim.
Hamas Terrorists Wearing IDF Uniforms Attack Israelis
A Hamas force wearing Israeli army uniforms emerged from a tunnel inside Israel this morning and inflicted losses on Israeli troops before being wiped out.
The Hamas squad numbered at least 10 fighters, Israeli sources said. Nine were killed but an Israeli officer said at least two may have escaped through the tunnel.
In initial accounts, which gave conflicting narratives, the Hamas force was said to have emerged from a hidden tunnel on the Israeli side of the border only 200 yards from a kibbutz, and split into two groups. Israeli soldiers whom one group encountered shortly afterwards reportedly took them to be fellow Israelis until it was noticed that they were carrying Kalashnikov rifles used by Hamas.
An exchange of fire ensued. The other Hamas group meanwhile ambushed an Israeli army jeep, which it hit with an anti-tank grenade, killing its four occupants. Israeli aircraft attacked at least one of the Hamas teams.
Rocket damages Tel Aviv region house in first direct hit in area since start of Gaza op
A rocket struck the backyard of a house in the Tel Aviv suburb of Yehud on Tuesday morning, causing major damage in the first direct hit in the metropolitan area since Operation Protective Edge began 15 days ago.
In the strike, one woman was lightly hurt and another was treated for shock. The rocket landed in the yard between two houses, completely destroying a metal storehouse and leaving a deep crater in the ground.
Oz, a neighbor who lives across the street said that the building shook from the explosion and in the apartment above him a young man went into shock and a pregnant woman began going into labor after the blast.
Netanyahu: Gaza op will expand until quiet guaranteed
During a visit to the IDF’s 162nd Armored Division — known as the Steel Division — in the south of the country, Netanyahu held a security meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and Southern Region Commander Sami Turgeman.
Netanyahu declared that Israel is determined to achieve its goal of an extended lull in hostilities.
“The operation will continue and be expanded until the goal is achieved — the restoration of quiet to Israel’s citizens for a prolonged period,” Netanyahu said.
The statement came a day after a heavy battle in Gaza City left 13 Israeli soldiers and scores of Palestinian dead, and many more on both sides injured.
Netanyahu, foreign ambassadors visit Israeli wounded in Ashkelon hospital
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday visited Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon where IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians wounded in Operation Protective Edge were receiving medical treatment.
"All of Israel embraces you and sends you their well-wishes for a speedy recovery," Netanyahu told the wounded. "You were wounded in the most important task possible - defending our home."
The premier also met with dozens of foreign ambassadors who were also touring the hospital in the rocket-battered southern city, and called for their support of Israeli efforts to defend itself in the face of Hamas.
IDF Blog: Report: Hamas Terror Activity in Gaza
As the IDF continues its operation to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, Hamas continues its inhuman tactics against Israeli and Palestinian civilians. On a daily basis, Hamas commits war crimes and ignores threats to human life in Gaza.
Hamas routinely violates international law. The terrorist organization doesn’t stop at targeting Israel civilians with rockets, it also puts Gaza’s civilians in the line of fire and uses them as human shields.
The IDF launched Operation Protective Edge to combat Hamas’ rocket fire and its use of tunnels to attack Israelis. Throughout the operation, Hamas has shown its true face, committing war crimes against Israel and endangering its own people.
IDF strikes 190 Gaza terror targets over past 24 hours
The IDF struck some 190 terrorist targets over the past 24 hours in the Gaza Strip, including over 100 in the area of Shejaia, the army said Tuesday.
Targets included underground rocket launcher, homes of terrorists used as command and control centers, a site used to produce weapons, military structures, tunnels, and surface to surface missile launchers.
The IDF attacked over 1,715 terrorist targets since the beginning of its ground offensive on Thursday night.
Ground units have so far uncovered 66 tunnel shafts that are part of 23 underground passages. Six tunnels have been destroyed. The army took 28 terrorists into custody, the army added.
Grad Rocket Launchers Discovered Next to Gaza School

Blasts After IDF Strike Prove Hamas Used Tunnel for Terror

Terrorists Use Ambulance for Transportation in Gaza

Exclusive: US intelligence source claims Hamas has many more tunnels than Israel says

As Israeli security forces thwarted the latest attempt by terrorists to infiltrate Israel via tunnels from Gaza on Monday, The Jerusalem Post has learned that Israel may be underestimating the extent of tunnel penetration on its southern border.
Steven Emerson, founder and executive director of the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism, told the Post in an exclusive interview on Sunday that US intelligence officials believe that Israel is underestimating the number of tunnels.
He said that according to a senior National Security Council official dealing with the Middle East, American satellites – equipped with special high resolution infrared detection technology – have preliminary findings of around 60 tunnels on the Israel-Gaza border.
IDF denies any direct attack on Al Jazeera or other press offices in Gaza
The IDF spokesman on Tuesday denied there was any direct attack on Al Jazeera's or other press offices in Gaza.
The spokesman also said that there had not even been any warning shots, but could not, at this early stage, confirm or deny whether there had been indirect damage to the building from firing at nearby military targets.
Tuesday morning brought numerous reports of attacks, with some reporters on the seen saying they were evacuating and under attack.
Guardian duped by fake NBC Tweet claiming white phosphorous attack
A few hours ago, we noticed this update on the Guardian Live Blog on the Gaza War, edited by Matthew Weaver.

You of course don’t have to be a whiz at social media to realize that a real NBC News Twitter account would have more than 79 followers and 25 Tweets!
Anne Bayefsky: Ban Ki-moon's shameful message in Israel's hour of need
It is hard to imagine two more unwelcome, uninvited visitors to Israel in the middle of a war against Palestinian terrorists than UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry. But even more unwelcome is that they are working together.
Their common cause is that although Israel has a right of self-defense in theory, Israel ought to be prevented from exercising this right in practice.
Events over the past week have provided an extraordinary demonstration of this reprehensible nexus.
Efraim Karsh: Palestinian suffering used to demonize Israel
No sooner had Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop the sustained rocket and missile attacks on its civilian population by the Gaza-based Hamas terror organization than it came under a barrage of international criticism, with tens of thousands of violent demonstrators flocking into the streets of London, Paris, Berlin, Oslo, Sydney, Buenos Aires and New York, among other places, to demand an end to the “Gaza slaughter.”
How can this be? Why do citizens of democratic societies enthusiastically embrace one of the world’s most murderous Islamist terror organizations, overtly committed not only to the destruction of a sovereign democracy but also to the subordination of Western values and ways of life to a worldwide Islamic caliphate (or umma)? Not out of a genuine concern for Palestinian wellbeing. For although the “Palestine question” has received extraordinary media coverage for decades to the exclusion of far worse humanitarian and political problems, the truth is that no one really cares about the fate of the Palestinians: not their leaders, who have immersed their hapless constituents in disastrous conflicts rather than seize the numerous opportunities for statehood since the Peel Commission report of 1937; not the Arab states, which have brazenly manipulated the Palestinian cause to their self-serving ends; and not Western politicians, the media, NGOs, human rights activists, and church leaders enticed into self-righteous indignation by any Israeli act of self-defense.
America’s curiously selective moral calculus vis-à-vis Israel
Sure, the Obama administration has voiced its support for Israel’s right to defend itself. But by couching this phrase alongside an overly insistent need for restraint, Washington is in fact sending the following message: you Jews can of course defend yourselves, but only up to a point.
The bottom line is that in the first 13 days after the start of Operation Protective Edge, the Palestinians fired 1,780 rockets from Gaza at Israeli towns, villages and cities. That averages out to about 137 rockets a day, or more than five per hour, every hour, for nearly two weeks.
This is unconscionable, unacceptable and it must be stopped.
In this war, we should bear in mind the immortal words of the late General George S. Patton, Jr., who commanded the US Third Army after the invasion of Normandy in 1944. Once, before heading into battle, he reportedly declared, “May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I sure as hell won’t.”
Sounds callous? Perhaps.
But in a war of survival against a determined foe, it is the only way to prevail.
Israel’s cerebral war in Gaza, and its risks
The Israeli army is fighting a war in the service of a ceasefire. It is, like its leaders, very cerebral. But is it getting the job done?
The rationale, at the onset, was this: If the aerial strikes do not prevail, as they did last time, Israel will address the threat of tunnels, unearthing the strategic channels dug by Hamas. As the organization sees its labor demolished, as the rocket stores are depleted, as the troops draw closer to the heart of Gaza, Hamas will wait until the PR conditions are ripe and, as is its custom, dress defeat in the gowns of victory.
Understanding the risks of each further escalation, though, the IDF and the government built an exit ramp into each stage of the operation.
Those Gazans, What's Their Story?
We have no more tears to shed with regard to the state of the Palestinian Arabs in general and that of the people of Gaza in particular. The 100 years of the Arab-Israeli conflict are primarily 100 years of Arab hatred and violence that have only brought them misery and poverty. But even though the Palestinians are to blame for their own plight, the people of Gaza are among the most wretched of people.
The curse "Go to Gaza" is an idiomatic phrase copied from Arabic and expresses accurately the contempt with which their Arab brothers regard them.
Gaza is the dilapidated backyard of the Palestinians. Nobody ever wanted Gaza or wants Gaza now and even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, when he wanted to make a political concession to the Arabs, preferred to give them Gaza.
Pro-Israel Mensch of the Day: Marco Rubio
Dozens of videos are being shared through email and Facebook during Operation Protective Edge.
I confess I do not open them all, but this one I got from Leah W, is a must see.
It is good to know that someone in Washington, DC gets it!
Thanks Sen. Marco Rubio.
You stated that civilian deaths in Gaza are 100% Hamas’ fault in the US Congressional Record, now please talk to NBC News.

PM Excoriates Hamas on International News Channels
Netanyahu appeared on three TV news channels - Sky News Arabic, Fox and NBC – and discussed some of Israel's recent military activity in Gaza.
"They [Hamas] have taken billions of dollars,” he told Sky Arabic. "Instead of building kindergartens with it, they're building tunnels, concrete tunnels to blow up our kindergartens."
"They are the enemies of the Palestinians,” the Prime Minister said. “I can tell you that we opened up a hospital, a field hospital, a humanitarian field hospital on the edge of Gaza, and Hamas doesn't let the people come there. They're hiding rockets in hospitals; they're hiding arms in hospitals; they're shooting from hospitals. So they just don't care.”
“I agreed now to three different calls for ceasefires,” Netanyahu added. “We kept them, even though Hamas kept firing and they violated every one of those ceasefire calls: the Egyptian ceasefire, the UN ceasefire, the Red Cross ceasefire."
‘We’re waiting to discover another tunnel’
Early Monday morning, Nicole Rabin raced around her home locking the windows and doors so that a terrorist could not easily enter.
Now, as she sits on the sofa of her Kibbutz Nir Am home in the late afternoon, she can hear repeated explosions from the IDF’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip.
“This is the kind of place where no one locks their doors,” she said, but the idea of coming face-to-face with a terrorist in her home is more frightening than the more than 180 rockets that have fallen on the kibbutz during the last decade.
“This is an entirely different story,” she said.
Israelis Living Near Gaza: ‘We’re Like Ducks in a Shooting Gallery’
In the two weeks since the onset of the Israeli army’s Operation Protective Edge to stop rocket salvos from Gaza, area residents in dozens of kibbutzim, towns and villages are now coping with threats from another direction: terror infiltrators via terror tunnels.
“We’re like ducks in a shooting gallery,” Raya Pasi of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, north of the coastal enclave, told Israel’s Channel 2 News on Monday.
“This is a threat that’s coming up between our feet,” she said of the repeated attempts to strike civilian communities from underground.
Hey You in Washington! This is What Life in Israel is Like.
The idea occurred to Artists 4 Israel when they visited Sderot during Operation Cast Lead to paint murals on the bomb shelters there. One of the artists was really shaken by the shelters.
[Craig] Dershowitz explains: “He had always considered the shelters to be safe havens and, after visiting them, he realize that they were traumatizing and fearful places. He wanted the world to experience it. So Artists 4 Israel joined with an installation artist and a lighting artist.”
The artists collaborated and, through a “mind-blowing artistic process,” the Bomb Shelter Museum was born.
The experience starts with the Tzeva Adom going off. People rush into the BSM. Once inside, they watch videos of rocket attacks and hear the screaming and crying all around them. The Bomb Shelter shakes, and smells fill the space. It is a serious dose of the barebones, stark, painful reality.
Maybe it’s the tight space, maybe it’s the loud sounds, or perhaps the darkness combined with the videos and the engagement of various senses, but the combination creates an experience that profoundly affects nearly everyone who goes through it.
Army foils attempt to smuggle weapons, weed from Jordan
Shortly after 1 a.m. IDF lookouts spotted a suspicious vessel crossing the northern area of the saltwater lake.
When the boat reached the shore two men got out and hid a sack among the bushes on the beach. Three other men emerged and joined them. As the gang was still at the site, security forces arrived and detained them.
Officials uncovered seven shotguns, six pistols, and a large quantity of marijuana. Two of the men were from Jericho and the other three from East Jerusalem. All five were taken for questioning.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Lieberman Calls for Assassination of Hamas Leader Mashaal
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday reportedly called for killing arch-terrorist and Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal.
“This is the only way to hurt Hamas,” Lieberman said, according to Channel 2 News.
The Hamas official is currently in safe refuge in Qatar, which backs the group.
Qatar “has become a problem for the entire world,” Lieberman told visiting Rwandan Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, and slammed the Arabian Peninsula nation’s support for Hamas.
Worker Suspended for Pro-Terror Facebook Post
Tzfat Mayor Ilan Shochet on Monday suspended a municipal worker who posted on his personal Facebook page a message that supported anti-Israel terror groups, according to Kikar Hashabbat.
The message, which the worker reposted on his page, read “Zionism is the enemy of humanity. We are all Palestine.”
Shochet called the sanitation department worker, a resident of the village of Dir el-Asad, to his office for a hearing Monday, after receiving dozens of complaints from residents about the posting.
For Nazareth, Israel is the murderer, Egypt the accomplice
Before the mass rally in support of Gaza turned violent Monday afternoon, dispersed with tear gas and “skunk” water cannons, slogans were chanted and speeches delivered.
The procession left from outside the Church of the Annunciation and moved slowly toward the Mahmoud Darwish Cultural Center. Thousands of protesters heeded the call of the High Follow-Up Committee — the largest Arab-Israeli umbrella organization — and took to the streets waving large Palestinian flags. Some were carrying posters of mangled Palestinian children with the Hebrew words “The Israeli bank of targets.”
They were unmistakably Israeli: men in trendy sunglasses and gelled hair, women in skinny jeans and tank tops; Palestinian keffiyehs wrapped around their shoulders. Some were wearing crucifix necklaces, others the communist hammer and sickle.
Hundreds riot in Nazareth as pro-Gaza rally turns violent
Arab Israeli business owners across the country shuttered their shops and thousands turned out into the streets of Nazareth Monday to protest Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, clashing with police and leading to several arrests.
At the same time, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman urged Israeli citizens to permanently boycott any store owner taking part in the demonstrative measure.
“I call to everyone: Do not purchase anything more at shops and businesses owned by those who are participating in the Arab community’s general strike,” Liberman wrote on his Facebook page.
On Monday evening, thousands of Arab Israelis massed in the northern city of Nazareth to voice their opposition to Israel’s offensive in the Hamas-controlled enclave and to pay their respects to Palestinian civilians killed during the operation.
Some 200 protesters hurled stones at police officers, while others attempted to block roads at the scene, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. Police responded with water cannons and stun grenades, arresting 10 people after the 3,000-strong demonstration in Israel’s largest Arab city.
Israeli Celebrities Respond to IDF Deaths – ‘I Don’t Have a Drop of Pity Left’
Israeli entertainers are filling their social media feeds with anguished and angry personal comments over the deaths of 27 IDF soldiers and close to 100 wounded in fighting in Gaza.
“I have no pity,” said outspoken singer and dancer Michal Amdurski. “Sorry, but I don’t have a drop of pity left,” she angrily wrote her fans, according to Channel 2 News.
“No matter how much you try to explain to me that Hamas ordered (Palestinians) to remain in their homes and threatened the residents of Sajayeh not to leave, they, in my opinion, are the same as terrorist suicide bombers that use their children as human shields,” she said.
Minister Calls Out US on Pro-Palestinian Focus
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) issued sharp criticism of US President Barack Obama Tuesday, after the White House's repeated calls for a cease-fire in Gaza.
"It's disappointing to hear the President of the United States present his request for an immediate ceasefire out of concern toward civilians in Gaza," Katz said. "What about the citizens of Israel, who have been bombarded by rockets for years and threatened with abductions? What about the IDF forces, who have paid a heavy price to complete their mission?"
Katz said that he trusts Netanyahu will make the right decisions, including "what should be done to remove the threat of terror that looms over the citizens of Israel."
Will Kerry Hand Hamas a Victory?
Thus Kerry’s decision to fly to Cairo to work on a cease-fire is exactly the news that Hamas wanted to hear. They have already made it clear they don’t care how many Palestinians die in the conflict they provoked so long as the end result grants them the political concessions from Egypt that will further their cause. They know that if the U.S. was not prepared to pressure the Egyptian government to throw Hamas a bone or to force Israel to stop operations aimed at eliminating their rocket arsenal and blowing up their underground fortresses, there was no reason for Kerry to come to the region. A cease-fire that would grant Hamas no political victories didn’t require the personal presence of the secretary in Cairo. But by bending to the usual hypocritical international outcry against any Israeli attempt to take out the terror nest on their border, the administration is signalling that it won’t let Netanyahu take out Hamas or allow Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi to stand his ground about sealing his country’s border against infiltration from an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood he deposed.
Were Obama and Kerry prepared to show the kind of resolve that Netanyahu and Sisi have exhibited it would be very bad news indeed for Hamas and its foreign cheerleaders that continue to nurture delusions about Israel’s destruction. Instead, the U.S. appears to be as clueless as ever about the stakes involved in this fight and cracking under the pressure generated by the Palestinians sacrificed by Hamas on the altar of their jihadist mission. If so, the price paid by both Israelis and Palestinians in the future will be considerable.
Kerry Pledges $47 Million in Aid for Gaza
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday pledged $47 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza as he flew to the region to intensify efforts for an immediate truce, AFP reports.
Kerry, who has voiced willingness to tour the region as long as needed, started his mission in Cairo where he met visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The two leaders both called for an end to two weeks of violence.
"We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel's appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself," Kerry told reporters as he met Ban.
Kerry said that the United States would provide $15 million to a $60 million emergency appeal from UNRWA, the refugee agency for “Palestinian refugees”.
US Envoy Calls for Abbas to Rule Gaza; Conditions Support for Israel on Limiting Casualties
The United States Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told Israeli TV Saturday night that his country will work to restore Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority to power in Gaza after Israel’s current military operation against Hamas is successfully completed.
Appearing on Israel’s popular Saturday night program ‘Channel 2 News’, Shapiro said “At the end of this conflict, we’ll seek to help the moderate elements among the Palestinians to become stronger in Gaza.” “They might”, he continued, “be able to run Gaza more effectively than Hamas, a terror organization.”
Shapiro was able to evade several attempts by his interviewers to get him to condemn or repudiate the PA’s recent welcome of the Hamas terror group into a national Palestinian Unity government. He did confirm that PA President Abbas, who has been uncharacteristically critical of Hamas‘ current war against Israel was actively working with Egypt to produce a lasting ceasefire that could end the conflict.
'My Bad': State Sept. Official Deletes Tweet with Hashtag Backing Hamas
A senior member of the U.S. Department of State tweeted his support for Hamas on Sunday, but after a barrage of complaints he soon deleted the tweet and apologized for his unwise action, saying it was just a "mistake" and that he accidentally tweeted the "wrong hashtag."
As the ground action in Gaza continues and emotions climb on all sides, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel jumped to his Twitter account and added the "#UnitedForGaza" tag to his Tweet about Russia and the flight MH17 investigation.
In most cases, those using the "#UnitedForGaza" hashtag are supporters of Hamas who blame Israel for purposely harming civilians. But Under Secretary Stengel later claimed it was all an accident; he didn't mean to use that hashtag.
In short order, Stengel tweeted a new message saying, "Earlier tweet with wrong hashtag was a mistake. My bad." (h/t MtTB)
US advises against non-essential travel to Israel
The Department of State recommended that US citizens “consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank.” It also reaffirmed “the longstanding strong warning to US citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip,” describing the security environment as “complex.”
“The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and US citizens need to be aware of the risks of travel to these areas because of the current conflict between Hamas and Israel,” it said.
While taking into consideration increased risks from rocket fire and infiltrations from the Palestinian enclave, the government reiterated that it was not evacuating Americans from Israel.
The advisory registered a number of changes to earlier warnings, reflecting the deteriorating security situation in Israel.
US carriers suspend flights to Israel over rocket fears
The US Federal Aviation Administration barred flights to Israel Tuesday evening for 24 hours, citing security concerns.
The notice came after US airline Delta said it was indefinitely suspending flights between the United States and Israel.
US Airways also announced it was suspending flights, but only until Thursday.
The moves were announced hours after shrapnel from a rocket damaged a home in the central Israeli town of Yehud, which abuts Israel’s main international airport.
Speaking Truth To Power
Sometimes you just have to have a bit of a scream. This morning my scream was directed at the US Ambassador to the United Nations: Samantha Power. She tweeted about the Dutch Foreign Minister:
Absolutely right: “Moving speech by Dutch FM: To my dying day I won’t understand…that human remains should be used in political game.”
What’s going on right now in Israel? There were 7 soldiers blown up in Gaza. We have 6 complete bodies but Hamas expended huge effort trying to steal some body parts of our soldiers.
Former PA Official: Firing Rockets at Israel ‘Restores Our Human Dignity’
This, in a nutshell, is why the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains unsolvable, and why it produces spasms of violence with monotonous regularity: For too many Palestinians, including “moderates” like Zakout, “human dignity” derives from hurting Israelis–even knowing full well that the resultant Israeli counterstrikes will cause far greater harm to Palestinians.
This is something you would simply never hear an Israeli say, because Israelis see human dignity as stemming from saving life, not taking it. This doesn’t mean they oppose using military force in self-defense. Indeed, they overwhelmingly support the current operation: After absorbing 13,000 rockets from Gaza over the last nine years, they want the rockets stopped; they want children in the south to be able to grow up normally, instead having 45 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder due to constant rocket fire, and they want people all over Israel to be able to lead their lives without disruption. But they would never say that dropping bombs on Gaza enhances their “human dignity”; they view war as an unpleasant necessity which they would much rather not have to engage in.
Netanyahu: Hamas ‘grotesque’ but there’s hope for truce
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Monday that “there’s hope” for a ceasefire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but that he doesn’t know if it will happen under the current conditions.
Netanyahu also blamed the terror group for “the cruelest, most grotesque war that I’ve ever seen.”
“There’s one side that is clearly bent on escalation and there’s one side, Israel, that is defending its people as any country would under similar circumstances,” he said in an interview Monday with Fox News.
Netanyahu said that Israel had already accepted an Egyptian ceasefire offer but “in the Middle East it takes two to tango, sometimes three and maybe four,” in an apparent reference to the mediation efforts of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.
Ceasefire Talks to Renew in Cairo as Egypt Slams Hamas
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have headed to the Egyptian capital of Cairo to negotiate a new cease-fire proposal for Israel and Hamas.
U.S. President Barack Obama has indicated that Kerry will propose a cease-fire deal with conditions similar to those of the truce reached between Israel and Hamas to end their conflict in November 2012.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Monday that Israel will continue its offensive “as long as necessary” to stop rocket attacks by Hamas and terrorist infiltration from Gaza. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a text message that “the resistance (Hamas) will not respond to any pressure.”
Meanwhile, a senior Egyptian official on Sunday accused Hamas of neglecting Palestinian citizens after officials claimed that one of the terrorist group’s leaders, Khaled Mashaal, had been invited for Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire talks in Cairo.
On Twitter, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Admits to Being the Head of the Serpent Whose Tail is Hamas in Gaza
Iran’s military and financial support for Hamas was also touted openly in the Iranian press, which even named the Fajr 5 missiles and Abadil drones given to militants by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
The hypocrisy of it all was called out on Monday by AIPAC, the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee, which asked how the U.S. and world powers could remove further economic sanctions and extend talks with Iran, “at the very moment when Hamas is using arms supplied by Tehran to attack Israeli civilians.”
Khamenei’s social media outburst gave further credence to the accusations at a hearing held by U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce last week that “Iran’s nuclear program is just the tip of a revolutionary spear that extends across the world and threatens key U.S. interests,” with Tehran’s foreign policy being “subversive, sectarian, and set on goals that would come at the expense of U.S. interests in the region.”
Rather than “revolutionary spear,” this column seeks to use language the Iranian mullahs in Tehran will understand, with Khamenei’s Twitter rant showing that Iran’s Supreme Leader is the very head of the serpent whose tail is Hamas in Gaza. (h/t Alexi)
Hamas cares more about “underground Gaza” than above-ground Gaza
At Al-Monitor, Shlomi Eldar has an excellent article about the vast network of tunnels that Hamas has constructed in recent years– both within Gaza and, of more immediate concern to Israel, from Gaza into Israeli territory.
It helps explain the urgency with which the IDF is operating to destroy the cross-border tunnels, through which Hamas terrorists had made several attempts to launch attacks on Israelis.
Hundreds Join Pro-Hamas Demonstration in Ramallah'
Hundreds of Palestinian Arabs demonstrated in the streets of Ramallah on Monday, according to Safa news agency, in support for Hamas and its constant barrage of rocket fire on Israel.
The protest march began immediately after evening prayers, according to the daily, with a broadcast played in the central square with a message supporting Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades.
According to the protestors, Hamas is the only solution for actualizing the "aspirations of the Palestinian people," and they called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to immediately cease all security coordination with Israel.
Plainclothes PA police confiscated weapons during the protest, and arrested two Hamas members.
Muhammad Dahlan (Fmr PA Sec Minister): Hamas Does Not Know How to Turn Military Achievements into Political Gains

Kuwaiti Cleric Suwaidan: Do Not Agree to Ceasefire until They Bow Before Us, We Must Erase Israel

Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians privileged to have died this way
Hamas is trying to both justify and console Gaza's population over the many civilian deaths it has caused in the Gaza war. While broadcasting gruesome pictures of dead civilians, including children, a TV host explained that since in Islam a person's time of death is predetermined by Allah, the people who have been killed in the recent fighting have actually "gained": They would have died now anyway, but now they will receive the rewards of Martyrdom - Shahada - in Paradise.
Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians privileged to have died this way

The Atrocious Accusation of Israeli ‘Genocide’
It seems as if every time Israel defends itself, somebody points an accusing finger and yells “Genocide!” Raphael Lemkin, who coined that term 70 years ago this autumn, would have been appalled by such abuse of his life’s work.
During the 1930s, Lemkin, a Polish Jewish attorney and expert on the development of languages, trudged from law conference to law conference across Europe, making the case for legal mechanisms to define and combat mass murder.
Lemkin was galvanized by the failure of the international community to prosecute Turkish officials involved in the genocide of approximately one million Armenians between 1914 and 1918.
Erdogan abandons mediation role for anti-Israel diatribe
Before the rise to power of Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) over a decade ago, NATO member Turkey was Israel’s key ally in the Islamic world, a policy enthusiastically cheered by the United States.
Erdogan has long presented himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause and leader of the entire Sunni Muslim world. But his anti-Israel rhetoric has reached new heights in the Gaza conflict, with comments aimed at causing the maximum offense in the Jewish state by comparing its strategy in Gaza to the actions of Nazi Germany.
Erdogan has accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza and has also compared the mentality of some elements in Israeli society to that of Adolf Hitler, comments that enraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Turkey’s usually soft-spoken Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also launched his own incendiary attack against Israel over the weekend, saying Turkey had no reason to be impartial.
Turkey’s Erdogan: ‘I no longer talk to Obama’
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has stopped talking to US President Barack Obama on the phone, amid growing strains between Ankara and Washington over Syria and the Gaza conflict.
Turkey, a fierce opponent of Syrian President Bashar Assad and an open supporter of armed rebel fighters, felt betrayed when the United States backed away from military action against Damascus in September.
“In the past, I was calling him (Obama) directly. Because I can’t get the expected results on Syria, our foreign ministers are now talking to each other,” Erdogan said in a live interview on pro-government ATV channel late Monday.
Turkey Declares 'Three Days of Mourning' for Gaza
Turkey declared three days of national mourning on Monday, in a "solidarity move" for "Palestinian victims" of Israel's self-defense operation in Gaza, which it called a "massacre."
"We condemn Israel's massacre of the Palestinian people," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters in Ankara in televised comments after a cabinet meeting.
"In a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people, three days of mourning have been declared starting from tomorrow (Tuesday)."
Turkish Businesses Boycotting Israeli Products Because of Gaza
Turkish businesses and local authorities are joining a campaign, which first spread on social media, to boycott products manufactured in Israel due to its counterterrorism operation in Gaza.
According to English-language Today’s Zaman newspaper, the boycott campaign is the largest since a similar initiative that was launched following Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara in 2010.
Municipalities from Turkey's largest cities, from Istanbul to small towns in Anatolia, have urged residents not to buy products made in Israel or which have links to Israel, in solidarity with the civilians in Gaza, the newspaper reported.
A total of 12 municipalities joined the calls to boycott Israeli products. The municipalities announced that certain products would not be allowed to be sold at cafes, shops and recreational facilities run by their local authorities.
Hail Of Missiles From Area Israel Left Used As Proof Israel Should Leave More Areas (satire)
Left-wing activists and politicians in favor of further land concessions to the Palestinians are adducing the recent rocket fire from Gaza, which Israel left in 2005, as evidence that Israel should make more such concessions.
More than 1,600 rockets have been fired this month alone from the Gaza Strip, from which Israel evacuated all of its citizens, dismantled all of its settlements, and withdrew its military nine years ago. In return for handing over control of the territory to the Palestinians, Israel was rewarded with the thousands of rockets aimed its towns and cities. Those who argue for further ceding of territory to the Palestinians point to these developments as clear proof of the benefits of the Gaza Disengagement.
“Imagine the situation we would enjoy if [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu would simply sit down and sign away more territory to the Palestinians,” said Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On, whose far-left party believes Israel should withdraw from all areas seized in 1967. “What we have here is a clear demonstration of the wisdom of such a strategy, and it is unconscionable for the government to ignore its duty to do the right thing for its citizens.”
Netanyahu calls for immediate U.S.-Al Qaeda ceasefire (satire)
Here’s a transcript of Netanyahu’s remarks yesterday: “As I’ve said many times, the United States has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks from Al Qaeda. And as a result of its war in Afghanistan, and drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the United States has already done significant damage to Al Qaeda’s infrastructure. I’ve also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the rising number civilian deaths from drone strikes and the potential loss of American lives from terrorism. And that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians.”
Admittedly, it seems strange for Netanyahu to be shedding what may appear to be crocodile tears over civilian casualties, but given that Hamas actually attacked and continued to attack Israel, it’s not nearly as hypocritical as if the United States, having killed or participated with Nato in the killing of thousands of civilians in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen, was doing the same.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 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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