Wednesday, July 23, 2014

From Ian:

The terrible cost of thwarting Hamas
Israel’s mood at the start of this war with Hamas was one of confident assurance. We wouldn’t be deterred by the rocket threat, and Hamas would be contained.
That’s utterly changed. The rockets turned out to be the least of our concerns. And the national mood now is a mixture of anguish at the growing toll of IDF dead, anger at the feckless response of parts of the international community — notably the US — and confidence in the troops and (atypically) the political leadership.
To lose the lives of 30 Israelis to terrorism is, appallingly, nothing new in a country that survived the suicide bombing onslaught of the second intifada. As the former Shin Bet intelligence chief Avi Dichter pointed out on Tuesday, 30 Israelis were killed in a single Hamas suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover Eve March 27, 2002. That was the worst, but still only one of dozens upon dozens of bombings that battered Israel’s buses, restaurants and shopping malls a decade ago.
But to lose 30 soldiers battling vicious Islamic extremists in Gaza produces anguish of a different nature. Our soldiers are our future. They’re the youngsters among us, who have been required because of Israel’s unique geographic and geostrategic peril to place themselves on the front line for years of service before their young lives have really begun. We feel guilty that we’ve pitched them into war. We, the safe civilians, draw our strength from the sky-high level of their determination and motivation to protect us. We wish it were us, the grownups, who were on the front line. We’d have much preferred for the rockets, targeting all of us, to have been the chief threat.
Caroline Glick: Obama to the rescue – of Hamas
While Israel had killed 183 terrorists, it appeared that most of the terrorists killed were in the low to middle ranks of Hamas’s leadership hierarchy.
Hamas’s senior commanders, as well as its political leadership have hunkered down in hidden tunnel complexes.
In other words, Israel is making good progress.
But it hasn’t completed its missions. It needs several more days of hard fighting.
Recognizing this, Israel’s newfound Muslim allies have not been pushing for a cease-fire.
In contrast, the Obama administration is insisting on concluding a cease-fire immediately.
As Israel has uncovered the scope of Hamas’s infrastructure of murder and terror, the US has acted with the UN, Turkey and Qatar to pressure Israel (and Egypt) to agree to a cease-fire and so end IDF operations against Hamas before the mission is completed.
To advance this goal, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Monday night with an aggressive plan to force on Israel a cease-fire Hamas and its state sponsors will accept.
Alan Dershowitz: Has Hamas ended the prospects for a two state solution?
The new reality caused by Hamas' shutting down of international air travel to and from Israel would plainly justify an Israeli demand that it maintain military control over the West Bank in any two-state deal. The Israeli public would never accept a deal that did not include a continued Israeli military presence in the West Bank. They have learned the tragic lesson of Gaza and they will not allow it to be repeated in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority, however, is unlikely to accept such a condition, though it should. This will simply make it far more difficult for an agreement to be reached.
It was precisely one of the goals of the Hamas rocket and tunnel assaults to scuttle any two-state agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The Hamas Charter categorically rejects the two-state solution, as does the military wing of Hamas. In this tragic respect, Hamas has already succeeded. By aiming its rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport, Hamas may well have scuttled any realistic prospects for a two-state solution. It cannot be allowed to succeed.
The international community, which has a significant stake in protecting international air traffic from terrorist rocket attacks, must support Israel's efforts to stop these attacks—permanently. If Hamas is allowed to shut down Israel's major airport, every terrorist group in the world will begin to target airports throughout the world. The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over the Ukraine will be but one of many such tragedies, if Hamas is allowed to succeed. An attack on the safety on Israel's airport is an attack on the safety of all international aviation. Israel is the canary in the mine. What Hamas has done to Israeli aviation is a warning to the world. In its efforts to prevent Hamas from firing rockets at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel is fighting for the entire civilized world against those who would shoot down civilian airliners. The world should support Israel in this noble fight.

JPost Ediotorial: End game
International pressure is mounting on Hamas and Israel to accept a cease-fire. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry are in the region, aiming to put a stop to the current violence.
With a death toll of over two dozen IDF soldiers, over a hundred Hamas terrorists and hundreds of Palestinian civilians during the first two weeks of Operation Protective Edge, the international momentum for a cease-fire is clearly going to grow.
But unless a cease-fire plan presented by Ban or Kerry includes a mechanism that leads to the demilitarization of Gaza and its deadly minders Hamas, Israel will justifiably be reluctant to accept.
The IDF is in the middle of a large ground operation that has set as its goal the destruction of Hamas’s tunnels.
The terrorist organization has used these tunnels to try to attack Israeli communities located close to the Gaza Strip.
Times of Israel Live Blog Int’l airlines cancel 160 flights; Thai worker killed by shell
The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Wednesday, the 16th day of Operation Protective Edge. The IDF death toll is at 29, with another soldier MIA presumed dead and claimed by Hamas to be in their hands (dead or alive). US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are in the region, but a ceasefire does not appear close. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the operation will continue until sustained quiet is achieved for Israel and Hamas’s terrorist capabilities greatly degraded. Some foreign airlines are suspending flights to Israel after a rocket hit a home near the airport. IDF-Hamas fighting in Gaza remains intensive, Hamas is still trying to carry out attacks in Israel through tunnels, and rockets are still being fired.
Just when you thought they could not get any lower: 'Palestinians' using Fogel family murder pics for propaganda
I just found the picture above on Facebook.
Do the pictures look familiar? The originals from the Fogel family home in Itamar in March 2011 may be found in the video here.
How low can they go? I don't think we've hit the bottom yet.
Family of fighter declared missing: He is not a fallen soldier
The family of missing soldier Sgt. Oron Shaul, 21, is not giving up hope that he is alive, although he was in the armored personnel carrier that was blown up by an anti-tank missile in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Six other Golani Brigade soldiers were killed in the explosion.
Shaul's parents, Zahava and Herzl, and his brothers Ofek, 14, and Aviram, 22, have been waiting at their Poria Illit home for more information to surface.
"For the family, until conclusive evidence is found, Oron is not a fallen soldier, and that is very important for us to say," said Racheli Gazit, Shaul's cousin.
Two IDF tank officers killed overnight
Two IDF officers were killed during fighting in the Gaza Strip late Tuesday, bringing the total number of soldiers killed to 29.
Captain Dmitri Levitas, 26, who commanded a tank company, was shot dead by a sniper.
First Lieutenant Natan Cohen, a 23-year-old platoon commander in the Armored Corps, was killed by “terrorist fire,” according to the IDF.
Eulogy For IDF Soldier Max Steinberg In Israel
Max Steinberg was an lone American volunteer IDF soldier who was killed in action recently during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
His family came to Israel to bury their son and to give a eulogy at Mount Herzl today, where over 30,000 people attended.
To Max and other IDF soldiers who recently died defending our country, thank you for your honorable service to our country and your people.
Golani Commander Proves Why the Unit is Known for Bravery
Col. Rasan Alian, commander of the Golani Brigade, was wounded in the current conflict, while fighting in Gaza. Although evidence of some of his injuries are still visible on his face, Alian was back with his unit on Tuesday, July 22.
Unlike the enemies of the IDF, such as the Hamas leaders who are currently in Qatar, calling in their orders to the low-level terrorists to remain in harm’s way, the IDF leadership demonstrates courage and love of his fellow soldiers, no matter what the rank.
Col. Alian is known not only for his bravery, but he was also the first Druse commander of the Golani brigade.
'We win every encounter'
"We are at war, and in war the other side puts up a fight. We are taking strong action against them and we intend to win. We win every encounter," Col. Uri Gordin, the commander of the Nahal Brigade, told reporters on Tuesday.
Gordin, a former commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal, assumed command over the Nahal Brigade two months ago. On Thursday he led his troops into northern Gaza.
"The brigade has targeted many terrorists and destroyed a lot of infrastructure, starting with ammunition stores, all the way to tunnels and other [Hamas] infrastructure," Gordin said.
"The soldiers are fighting strong, with steadfast spirits. I think that these soldiers' parents, siblings and friends have a lot to be proud of.
Senior IDF Commander: Israeli Forces Have Reached Everywhere in Gaza
In the 15th day of Operation Protective Edge to foil tunneling and rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, the army boasted that its forces have put a major dent in Hamas’ war-making abilities.
“Our successes are greater than what we’d hoped for,” a senior officer told the Israeli Ma’ariv daily on Tuesday, “and our mission to hit Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, are, all in all, showing very good results.”
In a statement released Tuesday, the IDF said it had “targeted over 1,800 terror sites,” including “military posts, concealed rocket launchers, weapon manufacturing facilities and military command centers. IDF soldiers uncovered thus far approximately 30 offensive tunnels and 66 access points.”
The officer cautioned, however, that, “the more successes we have against the tunnels, the more the enemy tries to exploit resources it has built up over years.”
Operation Protective Edge: Hamas Violates International Law

IAF Provides Air Support to Paratroopers in Combat

IDF Tank Corps Moving into Gaza

IDF Thwarts Terrorist Infiltration to Israel

Wounded Golani Commander Returns to Troops

IDF Transfers Medical Supplies and Food into Gaza

Female reservists called up in unprecedented numbers
Some 60,000 IDF reservists have been called up to serve in Operation Protective Edge so far. Many are parents leaving families behind at home – but not all are fathers.
According to the IDF Spokesman who would not release exact figures, the thousands of women currently serving in reserves are a higher percentage than in any previous IDF operation. They serve in a variety of capacities, but especially in combat support in the Home Front Command, Intelligence, the Air Force and field operations.
While it is never easy for anyone to drop everything and leave home, receiving a “tzav 8,” an emergency call to service, poses unique challenges to the currently active female reservists, among them pregnant women and mothers.
JCPA: Hamas’s Attack Tunnels: Analysis and Initial Implications
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, delivered a revealing speech on March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of power with Israel, when taken together with his organization’s military build-up. In the meantime, the IDF’s war against the tunnels continues. On Monday IDF forces thwarted another terror attack after two groups of Hamas operatives (numbering about ten) infiltrated from Gaza to Israel through a tunnel, apparently on their way to carry out a mass casualty attack at Kibbutz Erez and/or Kibbutz Nir Am.
Since Operation Protective Edge began, IDF forces have foiled several other attempted attacks by Hamas near Kibbutz Sufa and Kibbutz Nirim that also made use of attack tunnels, while uncovering and blowing up dozens of tunnels in Gaza along its border with Israel. These tunnels penetrate deep into Israeli territory, sometimes reaching a length of 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles).
IDF Says Most Tunnels Have Been Found
IDF Spokesman, Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, announced Wednesday morning that the IDF has discovered most of Hamas's attack tunnels into Israel.
"We can point to a solidification of the goals and a deepening of the accomplishments,” he told IDF Radio. “The soldiers are reporting about numerous tunnels that are in our hands, and I can determine that most of the tunnels are in our hands. We are now taking action to neutralize the tunnels and destroy them.”
The Minister of Communications, Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is a member of the Diplomacy and Security Cabinet, called Wednesday for the toppling of Hama's Gaza regime.
"It is gradually coming to light that nothing can be worse than Hamas,” he explained. “Therefore, we should consider the goal of toppling Hama's government and personally causing harm to each of its commanders.”
WaPo: While Gaza is “Mired in Poverty,” Hamas Built at Least 36 Tunnels at $1 Million Each
Describing this emerging “tunnel war,” a Palestinian militia document obtained by the news Web site al-Monitor said the objective of the underground network was “to surprise the enemy and strike it a deadly blow that doesn’t allow a chance for survival or escape or allow him a chance to confront and defend itself.” …
Analysts said the tunnels are a major prong of Hamas’s military strategy against Israel. The IDF has sussed out 36 of what it calls “terror tunnels,” but there are probably more. While the Gaza Strip remains mired in poverty — the 2011 per capita income was $1,165 — Hamas is thought to have sunk more than $1 million into the excavation and maintenance of every tunnel. “Much to the misfortune of the people of Gaza, Hamas has invested far more resources in ‘underground Gaza’ than in ‘upper Gaza,’” wrote al-Monitor’s Shlomi Eldar. “The ‘change and reform’ that Hamas offered its voters was invested in its tunnels at the expense of the people of Gaza.”
IDF uncovers another Gaza tunnel; uniforms, maps and weapons found
The IDF on Wednesday afternoon uncovered a new tunnel shaft in Gaza, leading to an underground passage that contained maps, weapons and IDF uniforms. Meanwhile, a Givati infantry unit fired on a terrorist cell that surfaced from a tunnel. One terrorist was shot.
What Hamas Rockets Falling On Your Head Means In Ten Minutes
You owe it to her to listen. Dana Bar-on speaks about rockets and tunnels.
EXACTLY as I was about to hit publish, my iPhone tells me rockets are flying again.
10 minutes about living on the Gaza border

For second time, rockets found at UN school in Gaza
For the second time in less than a week, rockets have been found in a school in Gaza operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the body said.
“Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”
Liberman to Ban: Israel outraged over UNRWA turning over rockets to Hamas
Liberman said Israel was very “troubled” by these developments. “UNRWA schools were established to educate children in Gaza, but instead they are providing a hiding place for rockets meant to kill children in Israel,” he said.
He said that the decision to give the rockets back to Hamas was something completely “unacceptable.”
Liberman told Ban that the Middle East was in the midst of a “tsunami,” and not because of the events in Gaza, but rather because of what was transpiring in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.
“But that reality is not reflected in part of the UN institutions, such as the UN Human Rights Council where countries like Cuba and Venezuela approve resolutions condemning Israel,” he said. His meeting with Ban came just prior to a meeting of the UNHRC in Geneva about the situation in Gaza.
If UNRWA handed rockets over to Hamas, is that a war crime? Did it have a choice?
Professor.Mordechai Kremnitzer, Israel Democracy Institute Vice President and a former top university and IDF legal official, went much further calling UNRWA's actions unambiguously a "war crime."
Kremnitzer said that any attempted defense by UNRWA that it transferred the rockets to neutral unity officials was "preposterous" because "it ignores the reality" on the ground in which the unity government "has no effective control over Gaza or Hamas."
Accordingly, said Kreminitzer, the rockets were functionally given to Hamas, a terror organization which fires rockets indiscriminately at civilians – making the transferors, UNRWA, complicit in Hamas' war crimes.
He reasoned that giving the rockets to "unity" officials was either "extremely foolish" or an "intentionally evil" act, and that he does not think UNRWA is foolish enough to be absolved of culpability.
State Dept Defends UN Agency that Gave Rockets Back to Hamas
Harf said that the U.S. is working to UNRWA to ensure that if more rockets are discovered, they are not given back to Hamas, a terror group.
“This wasn’t a good outcome,” Harf said. “We certainly don’t think it was. But I would caution people from jumping to conclusions about, you know, what UNRWA was trying to do here. We’re working with them to try to do better in the future.”
“So you don’t — you don’t believe that this amounts to aiding and abetting of” Hamas, a reporter asked.
“I would certainly not say that,” Harf said.
Canada's FM Demands Probe into Rockets at UNRWA Schools
Canada's Foreign Minister on Tuesday called for a United Nations (UN) investigation of the discoveries of weapons caches at schools it operates in Gaza.
"I was appalled to hear reports, one as recent as today, of stockpiles of rockets in a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza," Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said, according to the AFP news agency.
"Even more alarming were reports that in the first case, officials with the United Nations returned these weapons to Hamas (which Canada lists as a terrorist organization), once Israeli officials discovered their location," he said.
Baird did not specify the source of these allegations.
"Canada unequivocally calls on the United Nations to launch an immediate independent investigation to determine the facts surrounding these reports. Canada also calls on the United Nations to ensure that in the second case, no rockets are returned to Hamas,” said the Canadian Foreign Minister.
"Anything less than an independent investigation would be absolutely unacceptable," he declared.
Canadian ambassador tweets strong support for Israel
Twitter and how it works was almost unknown to Vivian Bercovici before she was appointed Canada’s ambassador to Israel last January. A quick study, she started an account on the social media site upon her arrival and began honing her tweeting skills. Now her forceful postings since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge two weeks ago are hard to miss.
It could even be argued that they cross over—or at least skirt— the line between diplomacy and advocacy.
“It is advocacy only in that I am advocating the position and policies of the Government of Canada,” Bercovici told The Times of Israel. “My tweets are strongly worded. I would like to think that they reflect the message and tone of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird in terms of Canada’s unequivocal support for Israel.”
Unicef Declares War on Israeli Children
All of Hamas’ leaders, the politicians such as Ismail Haniyeh and the military such as Mohammed Deif, are probably hiding in a bunker under the Shifa hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, as they did during the last operation in Gaza in 2012.
Once again, the Islamists are deploying all their humanitarian arsenal against Israel and using their own children as human shields.
In Shuja’iya, the Muslim terrorists launch rockets, Iranian grad-type missiles, from the mosque of Abu Ayn, from the Wafa hospital and from a kindergarten. But UNICEF, the UN agency devoted to the rights and lives of children, has never raised its voice against the Palestinian leadership.
IDF Returns Fire After Terrorists Attack From Gaza Hospital
The IDF has struck a terrorist position in Gaza's Al Wafa hospital, illustrating the highly sensitive and illegal use of civilian targets as human shields by Hamas and other Gazan terrorist groups.
IDF sources say that the controversial decision to attack the position was taken after several days in which ground forces came under heavy fire from gunmen positioned inside the hospital grounds. The fire reportedly included both light weaponry and heavy anti-tank missiles directed towards IDF armored vehicles.
"The hospital premises were being used as war rooms and command centers by the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad," said an IDF spokesperson.
The military added that it had repeatedly warned international agencies and the Palestinian head of the hospital directly about the gunfire from the hospital, as well as several other senior Palestinian officials - but to no avail. Instead, in the past several hours the intensity of the attacks has only increased, posing a real and imminent danger to the lives of soldiers operating in the area, forcing the IDF to respond with fire of its own.
Is prime Israel target Muhammad Deif overseeing Hamas’s strategy?
Muhammad Deif’s oversight of a series of terrorist attacks — including suicide bombings and kidnappings — saw him rise to the head of Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, and become a prime Israeli target over the past two decades. His injuries marginalized him, but some members of the Israeli security establishment believe he regained command of the Brigades following the assassination of Ahmad Jabari in November 2012, a targeted killing that marked the start of Operation Pillar of Defense.
On Tuesday night, the Israel Air Force bombed his home in Khan Younis. Military chiefs would not have thought it likely he was there; they were sending a message.
Bound to a wheelchair after having lost his arms and legs in a July 2006 Israeli Air Force strike on a Gaza home where he was hiding — and an eye in a helicopter strike on his car in the Gaza neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan in September 2002 — Deif still has the mental capacity to command Hamas’s military apparatus, said former deputy Shin Bet commander and current Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson.
Israel rebukes UN human rights chief for suggesting IDF guilty of war crimes in Gaza
Israel, which accuses the Council of bias, boycotted the Geneva forum for 20 months, resuming cooperation in October. Its main ally the United States, a member state, has also said Israel is unfairly singled out.
“Navi Pillay demonstrates once again her unfortunate lack of discernment in grasping real situations in real life,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said.
“She would be better advised to seek credible first-hand information rather than making intolerably biased statements based on newspaper clippings. Her embarrassingly shallow and populist affirmations may pander to the more obscurantist members of the Human Rights Council but do a huge disservice to actual human rights.”
Today: 7th UNHRC special session against Israel (N. Korea only had 1…)
From its inception in 2006 until and including today’s urgent meeting to condemn Israel, the UN Human Rights Council has held 21 special sessions. Of the 17 sessions that criticize countries, more than 30 percent have been on Israel. They are examined below.
In addition, in the middle of regular sessions, the HRC has three times convened an “Urgent Debate”: the first one against Israel over the flotilla incident of June 2010, for which the council created the entire urgent debate mechanism itself, and in which a fact-finding mission was created that produced a one-sided report whose conclusions were later refuted by the UN Secretary-General’s own Palmer Commission; and two on Syria, in February 2012 and May 2013. No other country has been subjected to an urgent debate.
UN Chief Condemns Rockets, but Urges ‘Maximum Restraint’
Ban previously condemned Israeli counter-terror operations in Gaza as “atrocious” and called for Israel to “do far more to protect civilians.”
He had a more moderate message in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel. He began by declaring that the UN “strongly” condemns rocket attacks, and added, “we condemn the use of civilian sites, schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities for military purposes.” He agreed with Israel's right to defend itself from the attacks as rocket alerts continued throughout his speech.
Ban also urged Israel to exercise “maximum restraint.” He said he had the same message for both Israelis and Palestinians, “Stop fighting, start talking, and take on the root causes of the conflict.”
Watch: Netanyahu Presents UN Chief with Hamas Rockets
During United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Israel on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented him with the rockets and operating methods of Hamas terrorists.
Netanyahu showed Ban, among other things, some of the long-range rockets that Hamas has used to target central Israel. Netanyahu also showed the UN chief some proof that Hamas has been using civilians as human shields.
Ban Ki-Moon Travelled to Mideast on Flight Financed by Hamas Backer Qatar
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon flew to Cairo on a Qatari-chartered plane, Newsweek reported Monday.
Accepting the flight from Qatar, which sponsors the terrorist organization Hamas, puts Ban in a compromised position. Newsweek notes that when he condemned the Israeli efforts to defend itself from Hamas rockets on Sunday, it marked “the first time in two weeks that Ban did not mention rocket or other attacks against Israelis.”
Aside from coloring Ban’s statements, his coziness with Qatar also threatens his ability to arrange a long-term ceasefire that would effectively restrain Hamas.
Israel: Kerry, Go Home
"There is no real option for a cease-fire now. This operation is unavoidable."
Those were the words of an Israeli minister on Tuesday, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo, Egypt to push for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas terror group. The Israeli leader who poured cold water on Kerry's mission was not, however, a hard-liner, but one of the most dovish members of the government.
The leader, Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, added: "Hamas is not close to a cease-fire in terms of its conditions," according to the Jerusalem Post.
Humiliation in Egypt: Kerry, Staff Forced to Pass Through Metal Detectors
In a symbolic incident that likely raised eyebrows back in Washington, Egyptian security forces forced U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his team of negotiators to pass through metal detectors before they met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the Presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday.
Reporters at the event said security officials asked Kerry and others in his entourage to remove their jackets in order to allow an inspector to pass a magnetic wand over their garments.
Demanding that senior officials go through the process is a generally unheard-of stricture commonly waived for senior diplomatic officials on state business. (h/t Bob Knot)
Hot Mic, Cold Shoulder
It’s been a while since Kerry has graced the region with his presence. This is just as well. ‎If it hadn’t been for the secretary of state’s flying back and forth between Jerusalem and ‎Ramallah for months on end to “assist” in the establishment of a Palestinian state, there ‎would not be a war going on in Gaza right now.‎
As is always the case when Israel engages in “two-state-solution” talks with the ‎Palestinian Authority, terrorism against the Jewish state ensues. Buoyed by what they ‎perceive as a crack in Israeli armor, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas up the ante on ‎demands already met — such as the release of massive numbers of terrorists held in Israeli ‎prisons — and then launch operations against the Israeli homefront.‎
The present war in Gaza, thus, has Kerry’s fingerprints all over it.‎
The absurd and amoral disproportionality charge
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer recently asked if Israel was “overreacting” in Gaza. Rebuffing this new, trendy disproportionality argument, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mocked those who say “yes, you have the right of self-defense, as long as you don’t exercise it.” Simplistic, voyeuristic media coverage spreads “Palestinian porn” – obsessed with exhibitionist victimization, not sex. Exploiting their dead, Palestinians seek to arouse the world’s guilt – while deflecting responsibility for triggering the conflict.
This proportionality indictment is not only absurd but amoral. When a democracy launches a just war, its moral obligation to its citizens and soldiers is to apply overwhelming force against the enemy, to secure peace quickly and authoritatively.
War by definition entails resorting to violent extremes.
Are Israel’s Attacks on Gaza Proportional?
So what does “disproportionate” mean? The number of dead on each side is often cited as evidence of disproportionality—so far more than 600 Gazans have been killed and 30 Israelis. In war, one side aims to emerge victorious and intuitively their casualties will be fewer. Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, has highlighted that this was the case in World War II, when German casualties were 20 times greater than those of the Allies, who turned German cities to piles of rubble despite the fact that Germany never managed to drop a single bomb on the continental U.S.
Another frequent point of contention is the types of munitions used, both offensively and defensively. Israel strikes at rocket launchers with sophisticated missiles launched from F-16 jets and is able to successfully shoot down crude Hamas rockets. This advantage has been labelled as “unsportsmanlike” by some commentators. To suggest that combat should be a level playing field with each side playing for a draw conflicts with the nature of warfare, which is not, in fact, a game.
Dermer: IDF deserves Nobel Peace Prize for ‘unimaginable restraint’
During an address at the Christians United for Israel Summit in Washington, Dermer was interrupted several times by hecklers, but delivered a passionate and warmly received speech in defense of Operation Protective Edge, calling Iran the “Great Evil” and accusing the United Nations and human rights groups of inadvertently aiding Hamas in its war against Israel.
“Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes,” Dermer said. “But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”
Dermer’s comments followed a statement issued by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Sunday said that the IDF is the “most humane and bravest army in the world.”
Hamas uses human shields 'for a reason'

Brooke Goldstein: Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About The War Between Hamas and Israel
3. Because the Laws of Armed Conflict Are Being Endangered
Yet no matter how far Israel bends to adhere to the laws of armed conflict (while Hamas thwarts them), Israel’s Operation Protective Edge is portrayed by the Western media and the UN as a criminal enterprise. Even the Arab world has come out strongly against Hamas. Egypt has publicly criticized Hamas for failing to save Palestinian lives and refusing to accept the ceasefire offers. In an unprecedented act, the Palestinian Authority’s own representative to the UN, Ibrahim Khraishi, condemned Hamas for perpetrating war crimes, stating on Palestinian Authority TV, “[T]he missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile, constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets.”
The West has failed to show the same moral courage. The UN remains silent on Hamas’s targeting of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, instead opting to hold an emergency session focusing on Israel, and only Israel, which is expected to produce the regular anti-Israel vitriol and implicitly grant Hamas immunity. The media routinely refers to Hamas as “militants”, though they are a U.S.-designated terrorist group, and places the organization on equal moral footing with the Israeli Defense Forces, even though the latter is a military held to the highest ethical standards in human history. World leaders, save Canada’s Prime Minister Steven Harper, have found it difficult to criticize the Iranian-backed Islamist terror organization Hamas without, in the same breath, criticizing Israel though Israel is in fact exercising great restraint.
Eighth Lesson of the Gaza War: Hamas Reeling, and Kerry Comes to the Rescue
And what does Israel get in return for this sacrifice? Sarcastic jabs from Barack Obama’s Secretary of State about how Israel’s actions are not “pinpoint” enough.
Kerry’s perspective is apparently filtering down to his underlings at the State Department. Under Secretary Richard Stengel was caught this weekend sending a tweet under the hashtag “UnitedForGaza.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly that the Gaza conflict must end not with another cease-fire, but with the international community demilitarizing Gaza. Likewise, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who is now the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East, said on Israel Television’s Channel 10 on July 15 that there needs to be a “long-term plan for Gaza that…deals with the real security requirements of Israel in a permanent way…Hamas cannot carry on with the military infrastructure that it has.”
Netanyahu and Blair are right. Gaza must be stripped of its 10,000 rockets, armed drones, weapons depots, missile-making laboratories, and terror tunnels.
Why Fatah may decline to rule Gaza again
True, Egypt has expressed an interest in Fatah’s manning the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egyptian Sinai, in line with the 2005 Gaza crossings agreement that had been brokered by former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Middle East observers may recall that Rice’s plan to help Fatah control Gaza ended in Hamas’ 2006 landslide presidential and parliamentary victory.
More important, recent history has reminded us that Fatah’s return to rule the Gaza Strip would likely end before it began; notwithstanding the current national unity government, Hamas-Fatah enmity is no secret. It has been described as worse than PA-Israeli relations.
Observers may remember that in 2007, Hamas’s lightning takeover of Gaza resulted in Fatah officials and activists being hurled to their deaths from Gaza rooftops. This time around, Hamas is not the sole Islamic authority in town. Aside from Hamas, competing groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, ISIS and other Salafist jihadi leaders and organizations have labeled Abbas and the Fatah as traitors for participating in the Kerry peace process from mid-2013 to April 2014. In fact Palestinian Health Minister Jawad Awad canceled a trip to Gaza City’s Shifa hospital on July 15 after protesters pelted his car with shoes and eggs as he arrived from Egypt ,through the Rafah crossing.
EU calls on Gaza to disarm
The European Union issued a statement on Tuesday condemning Hamas rocket fire on Israel and calling on all Gaza terrorist organizations to disarm.
The statement, released following a meeting in Brussels and signed by 28 foreign ministers, condemns "the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians," and describes the firings as "criminal and unjustifiable acts."
The EU further called on Hamas to end the rocket fire immediately, and stressed that "all terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm. The EU strongly condemns calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields."
The Headline You Will Never See
Why didn't the UN convene an emergency session to condemn the killings? How is it that the EU did not send an envoy to resolve the conflict as quickly as possible? Why didn't the BBC, CNN, and other international TV networks rush their correspondents to film the carnage, to interview the survivors, and to show the world the tragedy?
Why didn't Muslims and Islamic organizations throughout the world convene to collect aid for the dispossessed victims? Where is BDS? Why were these people’s deaths so callously ignored by the world?
The answer is obvious. Aadil Khan, whose house was bombed, has the misfortune to live in Waziristan, and he and his countrymen had the misfortune to have been bombed by the Pakistani military.
Madeleine Albright: Hamas putting civilians in line of fire hurts Israel’s ‘moral authority’
After conceding that Hamas is intentionally making civilian casualties more likely, she said that it was nevertheless the case that those causalities are sapping Israel of its “moral authority.”
“I do think that it is very hard to watch the number of Palestinians that are being killed – innocents,” Albright began. “It is hard to dispute the fact that, as Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has said that, in fact, there are innocents being put in the way in order to act as shields.”
“But the bottom line is, I think that this is hurting Israel’s moral authority,” she continued. “I think it looks as though they’re overdoing, which is why I think there has to be more emphasis on the fact that they have accepted the cease-fire. And then try to figure out who has any influence over Hamas in order to get them to accept a cease-fire.”
Madeline Albright: Hamas putting civilians in line of fire hurts Israel's 'moral authority'

President Peres accuses Qatar of financing Hamas terrorism
President Shimon Peres, in one of his final duties before leaving office today, held a 50 minutes breakfast meeting on Wednesday with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Ban’s entourage included Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN.
Whereas in the past Peres has placed the blame on Iran for financing and encouraging Hamas terror operations, on this occasion he charged Qatar, saying that Qatar had no right to spend millions of petrol dollars to enable Hamas to build rockets and tunnels instead of developing Gaza.
One of Britain's most notoriously anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Members of Parliament has caused controversy again after publicly admitting that he would engage in terrorist activities if he lived in Gaza.
David Ward MP, who is a member of the Liberal Democrat party that forms a coalition government in the UK tweeted earlier on Tuesday: "Ich bin ein #palestinian - the West must make up its mind - which side is it on?"
This followed a tweet that read: "The big question is - if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes".
Ward's admission came soon after Breitbart London reported his comments that sought to give rhetorical cover fire to Hamas terrorists in Gaza. It is also not his first time making anti-Israel comments, and he has also been implicated in anti-Semitism in previous years which led to him temporarily losing the Liberal Democrat party whip. (h/t Canadian Otter)
The 9 Best Responses to David Ward MP's Terrorist Tweet
British Member of Parliament David Ward has said that if he lived in Gaza, he would "probably" join those firing rockets into Israel i.e. Hamas terrorists.
Ward has form in shilling for Hamas and in involving himself in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tropes.
Below are some of the best Twitter responses to Ward's "Ich bin ein Palestinian" tweet, and his Hamas terror endorsement:
British opposition head slams Israel over Gaza operation
By contrast, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron robustly defended Israel’s right to self-defense and blamed Hamas for the crisis.
Ed Miliband, who is leader of the Labour Party, addressed the crisis in Gaza when he met with President Barack Obama and US National Security Adviser Susan Rice at the White House on Monday, the Huffington Post reported.
“We oppose the Israeli incursion into Gaza,” Miliband said. “I don’t think it will help win Israel friends. I don’t think this will make the situation better. I fear it will make it worse.”
France condemns Gaza ‘massacres,’ calls for ceasefire
“In Israel and in Gaza, the situation is very hard,” Fabius said as he arrived for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.
“Nothing justifies continued attacks and massacres which do nothing but only claim more victims and stoke tensions, hatred,” he said.
“France will act forcefully to demand an immediate ceasefire,” he added.
Fabius met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend to discuss the situation in Gaza.
Obama is trying to destroy Israel
The US FAA (under instruction from the State Department) has banned all US flights to Israel and is pressing all European airlines to do the same (most have already agreed at time of writing). By doing this Obama is demonstrating his power to destroy Israel's economy if they do not surrender to his demands to appease Hamas. This comes on top of a series of decisions made in the last few days designed to show the extent to which the US is now supporting Israel's enemies. These include:
Not only failing to censure Iran for its supply of the rockets that are pummelling Israel, and for its failure to comply with the nuclear talks deadline, but actually rewarding Iran with a massive $2.8billion bribe simply to extend the nuclear talks which are now certain to end with Iran having a nuclear weapon capability.
Pushing a Qatar sponsored 'ceasefire initiative' knowing that Qatar are the financial backers of Hamas and that their plan includes a demand for lifting the embargo of Gaza that is the only thing stopping totally unlimited arms supplies to Hamas.
Providing another $50 million to Gaza via the UN's Palestinian agency UNRWA just after Hamas rockets were found in two UNRWA schools (and which were returned to HAMAS by UNWRA).
Bloomberg jets to Israel in defiance of flight ban
US billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday he was jetting into Tel Aviv to show solidarity with Israel, calling for a US flight ban to be lifted immediately.
The move from the former mayor of New York, a city of eight million with the largest Jewish population in the US, puts him at odds with the US government that backed the ban to protect US citizens from possible Hamas rocket attacks.
Bloomberg urged the US Federal Aviation Administration to reverse the ban, saying it had handed Hamas an “undeserved victory” in a more than two-week conflict with Israel.(h/t dabney_c)
Israel Transportation Minister: Cancellation of Flights to Israel Gives a ‘Prize to Terror’
Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said on Tuesday that the recently announced cancellation of European and U.S. flights to Israel handed a victory to terrorism.
“There is no reason for the American companies to stop their flight and give a prize to terror,” Katz said, according to Jerusalem Post correspondent Niv Elis.
On Tuesday, four major U.S. airline carriers announced their decision to cancel flights heading to Israel indefinitely, one specifically citing the danger of Gaza rocket attacks near Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.
Israel set to open second int'l airport in response to flight cancellations
Transportation Minister Israel Katz on Wednesday instructed the relevant agencies to immediately open the Uvda airport, the country's second terminus for air traffic which lies just north of Eilat, in the wake of the spate of flight cancellations announced by major foreign airlines.
Katz convened a meeting of senior civilian aviation officials who recommended that the Uvda airport be utilized to replace Ben-Gurion Airport.
Speaking to reporters at Ben-Gurion Airport, Katz said that Uvda would begin operating at noon local time. The minister said that efforts are also being made to provide service to some 4,000 Israelis who were left stranded in Istanbul after their airlines refused to fly into Lod in light of the FAA ban announced on Tuesday.
HamasFlights cancellation to Israel: a victory for Hamas
The airlines which suspended the flights to Ben Gurion Airport are definitely rewarding Hamas. “What a successful boycott” are rejoicing now all of Hamas friends, and they are much more in numbers than they are ready to admit. For example, among them there are all the anti-Israeli demonstrators who took the streets with antisemite slogans, as we could witness in these days in London, Paris, and in Italy as well.
The flights cancellation epitomizes Israel’s worst nightmare, i.e. its isolation from the West. This small, brave splinter of civilization and democracy has been abandoned in the midst of an extremist, dictatorial, islamist world.
Israel, the FAA, and International Isolation
Everyone is jittery from the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine, they will say. If so, Hamas has succeeded in turning Israel into Donetsk. Moreover, the timing of the FAA’s absurd and unjustified warning seems to have more to do with Kerry’s visit to the region to impose a cease-fire on Israel. Until his administration’s flight ban, that effort seemed entirely futile.
The West Bank is vastly larger and closer to central Israel than Gaza. What Hamas could do periodically and with great difficulty will be a daily occurrence. Israel would be able to survive, but with a sword at its neck, and on terms constantly dictated by the Palestinians, and whoever is ultimately in charge of the FAA.
Indeed, the decision-making behind the FAA ban demands investigation. Ben Gurion remains an extremely safe airport. The FAA had many various measures short of a flight ban, like warnings, that it could have imposed. The FAA only warns airlines about flying to Afghanistan; it does not ban them. And the FAA move comes the day after a general State Department warning about Israel–though far more people were killed in Chicago on Fourth of July weekend than in the Jewish state since the start of the Gaza campaign.
Whatever the intent, the administration has cornered Israel in a booby-trapped tunnel, with Hamas on one side, and economic perdition on the other.
Two Hamas fighters treated in Israeli hospitals
According to an Israel Radio report, two Hamas terrorists are being treated at Israeli hospitals following their capture after assaults on Israeli forces.
The report, which ISRAEL21c is attempting to substantiate through the IDF Spokesman’s Office, reveals that a 16-year-old Hamas assailant is listed in moderate condition at Ashkelon’s Barzilai University Medical Center, and that another Hamas terrorist was admitted to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheva.
Khaled Abu Toameh: ‘Abbas’s family leaves Ramallah for Jordan’
“For the first time and secretly, all the members of President Abbas’s family have left to their residence in Amman,” the Monday report said.
It said that Abbas’s wife and grandchildren were among the family members who left Ramallah.
The newspaper said that Muhammad Shehadeh, who is in charge of Abbas’s security detail, has decided to beef up security around the PA president’s office and residence in Ramallah.
The departure of Abbas’s family and the tight security measures came in response to growing resentment among Palestinians with the PA president and his policies in wake of the Israeli military operation against Hamas. (h/t Bob Knot)
Abbas: No one will have peace if Palestinian children don't
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that Israel has crossed every boundary and every moral international law over the course of Operation Protective Edge.
"Our rage is large and we won't forgive. No one in the world will benefit from peace while Palestinian children aren't enjoying peace," said Abbas in Ramallah. (h/t Bob Knot)
Abbas Threatens to Pursue Israel Over 'Gaza Crimes'
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas launched a scathing attack on Israel on Tuesday night, and vowed to pursue the Jewish state over its self-defense operation in Gaza.
Speaking at a meeting of the PA’s leadership in Ramallah, Abbas declared, "The leadership will make an effort to stop the aggression on Gaza.”
He went on to claim that Israel has violated all the international laws in its operation in Gaza, stressing that "we will pursue the perpetrators of the crimes against our people, until they are punished."
PA's UN Envoy Pleads for Action Against Israel
The Palestinian Authority (PA) envoy to the United Nations pleaded for action on Tuesday from the Security Council over Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
"On behalf of the Palestinian people, we ask: What is the international community doing to stop this bloodletting, to stop Israel's atrocities?" the envoy, Riyad Mansour, was quoted by AFP as having said during a debate on the Gaza crisis.
Iran Calls on Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas to ‘Ink Defense Pact’ Against Israel
Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars on Tuesday cited Commander of Iran’s Basij Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, as calling on the “resistance groups in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon to sign a defense treaty to help and support each other” against Israel.
“We ask the resistance forces in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon to endorse a defense pact so that an attack on any of them will be an attack on all of them and if the Zionist regime makes an aggression against any of them, all of them will grow united to confront it,” Naqdi said in Tehran on Monday night.
9 Things You Need To Know About Hamas — Straight From Its Charter
Before you comment on the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, you really have to read the charter upon which the terrorist group Hamas was founded.
To understand Israel’s enemy in Gaza, you have know why the group was constituted. And it wasn’t constituted to negotiate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hamas was founded in December 1987. In August 1988, it issued a covenant outlining its mission. The covenant has never been renounced by Hamas, even though some try to claim it is now merely a historical artifact.
Here are nine key takeaways about Hamas, taken straight from its charter.
Hamas Are Beating Palestinians With Big Sticks
This is from German TV. It’s put together mostly from old film. I have had it confirmed that it is Hamas, beating up Palestinians in Gaza. It comes from this Israeli site, Kooker. This is just standard, every day violence dished out by Hamas thugs against the same civilians they’d like to have the IDF kill in telegenic ways.
At one point, one of the women screams at the Hamas man: “you are worse than the Jews”.
He counters: “what are talking about?? We are not Jews!”
She replies: “You can talk about the Jews! You are a lot worse! What are you doing here??”
Nations To Codify Special Laws Of War For Israel (satire)
Among the provisions, says Belgian representative Mort Dedjiws, are several aimed at giving Israel’s foes parity in certain capabilities. “For example, Israel will be required, prior to engaging in any use of force, to provide the opponent with the equivalent weapons system,” he said. “And if there is a defensive capability that Israel possesses the enemy lacks, Israel will be barred from deploying that system.”
Other restrictions include a new requirement upon Israel to alert all targets, in writing, of an impending strike at least thirty days in advance. Notice must be sent through registered mail, with the thirty days commencing only upon confirmation of receipt. Further, airstrikes may only be conducted by paper airplane, and infantry will be required to ask politely three times before receiving the enemy’s permission to fire. If no permission is granted, the IDF will be required to abort the mission.
A new regulation proposed by Britain will have attached to every IDF ground battalion at least four anti-Israel journalists, with a stipulation that two of those four be provided by the British Broadcasting Corporation. “The BBC remains one of the world’s leading sources of news and analysis, but the organization does not have enough constant assignments for all the anti-Israel journalists on its payroll,” said British envoy Sir Huffington Post. “This provision will go a long way to solving both problems. It’s a win-win situation.”

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