Thursday, July 24, 2014

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Abbas Endorsed Hamas Demands
Evidently, Abbas has reached the conclusion that unless he hurries up and declares his support for the Palestinian "resistance" groups in the Gaza Strip, his people will march on his office and force him to quit.
That prospect is probably why Abbas decided this week to send his wife and grandchildren to stay at the family's residence in Amman, Jordan. According to various reports, members of Abbas's families left Ramallah "secretly" and headed for Jordan amid increased criticism of the Palestinian Authority president.
Witnesses said that security has been intensified around the home and office of Abbas in Ramallah out of concern for his safety.
Abbas's fear of a Palestinian revolt against his regime has driven him into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Another reason for the unexpected change in Abbas's policy could be related to a promise he received from Qatar to provide the Palestinian Authority with financial aid. If true, this would strain relations between Abbas and al-Sisi, who is despised by Qatar -- the largest funder of Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Alan Dershowitz: How selective body counts incite more violence
During a two day period this past week while dozens of Palestinians and several Israelis were killed, the media failed to report that in neighboring Syria, 700 Arabs and Muslims were killed in just two days of fighting. This constitutes only a tiny fraction of the 160,000 people killed in Syria during the ongoing civil war. According to the Britain-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 53,978 civilians have been killed including 8,607 children and 5,586 women. Many if not most of these deaths were deliberate—part of calculated efforts on both sides of the conflict to maximize civilian casualties.
Yet this body count has received little notice compared to the far smaller body count in Israel and Gaza. Why is this? Is it because when Arabs and Muslims deliberately kill other Arabs and Muslims, that deserves less attention than when Israelis kill Arabs and Muslims, even in self-defense and in an effort to prevent the murder of their own civilians? If so, this is racism pure and simple, and the application of a noxious double standard. The lives of all human beings have worth, and the death of Arabs and Muslims at the hands of other Arabs and Muslims deserve as much media coverage as the deaths of Arabs and Muslims that are caused by Israel's efforts to protect its own civilians.
The media's exclusive focus on the death toll in Gaza—without explaining that it is largely Hamas' fault and part of its media strategy—incites hatred and anti-Semitism around the world. It has incited violence against Jews and Jewish institutions in many cities. Much of this violence comes from radicals on the hard left and from radical Islamists. But a recent incident in Italy shows that bigoted hate can come from the mouths of intellectuals as well as the fists of rabble rousers. Gianni Vattimo, who has been called Italy's most famous philosopher, recently announced that he would personally, "like to shoot those bastard Zionists," calling them "a bit worse than the Nazis". He said he was planning to launch a fundraising campaign to buy better rockets for Hamas so that this Jew-hating group can kill more Zionists, by which he means Jewish Israelis. He urged European volunteers to join Hamas and fight alongside of them against Israel, as volunteers fought against Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
The U.S.-Israel Alliance: No Apologies Necessary
First, there is no change in U.S. policy toward Israel that will win any true allies in the Muslim world, no matter what its leaders claim. They often assert that only if we would solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem first, relations would improve. This is a tactic. These leaders employ it simply to divert Western officials from making demands on them instead of on Israel. The reality is that most Arabs view the U.S., its European allies, and Israel with ineradicable contempt.
No Arab state has recognized the legitimacy of a Jewish -- or often even a pluralistic -- state in Palestine. Egypt and Iraq have been persecuting their Christians, only because the Jews were all forced out already; and many Muslim countries cannot even abide each other, as seen every day in the Shia-Sunni conflict, still under way after centuries.
This struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not about land. If it were, there would have been a two-state solution long ago. Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would have said yes to the Camp David Plan offered by President Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Barak. The current strife between the Hamas terrorist movement and Israel is just another stage in the permanent state of Arab hostility towards the existence of a Jewish state in the region.
Stand with US: Who is responsible for the suffering in Gaza?

Times of Israel Live Blog: Cabinet to vote on emergency aid to south; Europe lifting flight warning
The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Thursday, the 17th day of Operation Protective Edge. Late on Wednesday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal rejected a ceasefire unless the blockade of Gaza is lifted, and the Israeli cabinet met to discuss expanding the ground op against Hamas’s rockets, tunnels, and infrastructure. Earlier 30,000 attended the funeral of US-born soldier Max Steinberg in Jerusalem, as other funerals took place elsewhere in Israel. The IDF death toll rose to 32, with another soldier MIA presumed dead and claimed by Hamas to be in its hands. After a day and a half of chaos for passengers at Ben-Gurion airport and around the world, US officials lifted a ban Thursday morning on flights to Tel Aviv.
Ninth Lesson From the Gaza War: Hamas Will Use Humanitarian Aid for Evil
It required 800 tons of concrete to build the terror tunnel that almost resulted in a massacre of Israelis on a kibbutz near the Gaza border last week, the Washington Post reports.
Where did all that concrete come from? And how is it related to the $47-million in “humanitarian aid” that Secretary of State John Kerry now wants to give to Hamas?
Top 10 must-reads on Operation Protective Edge
Since Operation Protective Edge was launched, the internet has been awash with articles and analysis — here are the top ten:
Alan Baker: The Latest Hamas-Israel Confrontation — Some Pertinent Legal Points
This paper is intended to place the current Hamas-Israel conflict within the proportions of international law and practice, with a view to dispelling some of the media hype and exaggeration, and the selective and biased statements and allegations being made against Israel.
Armed conflict in any circumstances involves situations in which civilians are regrettably affected. International law aims to limit harm to innocent civilians by ensuring that the involved parties conduct the hostilities in accordance with humanitarian norms with a view to preventing, as much as is possible, civilian casualties.
Israel, a sovereign state with an army that conducts itself in accordance with such norms, is making every effort to abide by them, despite the blatant, willful and indiscriminate violation by Hamas, both vis-a-vis its own population as well as vis- a-vis Israel’s population.
One hopes that the crimes against humanity and the war crimes committed by the leaders and senior terrorist commanders of Hamas will not go unpunished, and that the international community will act to ensure that they do not benefit from impunity.
Israel’s Channel 2 interview with colonel Richard Kemp on the Gaza conflict
Colonel Richard Kemp:
No other army in the world has ever done more than Israel is doing now to save the lives of innocent civilians in a combat zone. And people like Ban Ki-moon or President Obama or other world leaders who tell Israel they should do more. Perhaps Israel should ask them what more they can do?
Islamist extremists around the world use very similar tactics. We’ve seen young boys being given hand grenades to throw at British soldiers with the intention that because they are young boys the soldier won’t shoot so the attacker would be able to do so without being killed himself. On the other hand, if they do shoot that is a propaganda victory for the Taliban. (h/t Bob Knot)
The Moral Maze: Israel and Gaza
Last night’s Moral Maze featured regular panellists Matthew Taylor, Melanie Phillips and Giles Fraser, and a newcomer to the programme, Jill Kirby. The witnesses were Colonel Richard Kemp, Mehdi Hasan, Dr Hugo Slim and Ted Honderich.
The first witness, Mehdi Hasan, asserted that the blockade was the root cause of the conflict, and offered the familiar (and problematic) argument that Israel was more to blame because its actions were causing so many more casualties than Hamas’s rockets. But – the blockade is not purely the responsibility of Israel. And I wished someone had asked Mehdi if he really thought lifting the blockade would bring peace. Craig, over on Is the BBC biased?, thinks Mehdi Hasan’s ready condemnation of Hamas may have been an instance of ‘taqiyyah’. While I am perfectly happy to take Mehdi’s word WRT Hamas, I think Michael Buerk was completely correct to ask (in the final summing up) whether one can simply park Hamas, as Mehdi tried to do, and analyse and condemn Israel’s actions in a vacuum.
Richard Kemp was a good witness – I was pleased he dealt so efficiently with an illogical challenge from Matthew Taylor, who asked whether one should not hesitate to shoot a fleeing bank robber who had snatched a small child as a hostage. Taylor went on ask whether, if you can’t defend yourself without killing civilians, you don’t have a duty to use restraint. This raises the further question of what ‘restraint’ actually means – I’d like to know what Taylor’s response would be to this article from Dan Hodges.
Hamas's Absurd War against Israel
The Quran was, nevertheless, turned by a significant number of Muslims into a weapon by which to kill, maim, destroy, enslave others and, most ironically, effectively to prevent the development of a culture of books or, in other words, a culture of enlightenment. Absent this culture of enlightenment, what the world finds among Arabs and Muslims is a culture of envy, of denial, of resentment, of bigotry that keeps bubbling into intermittent warfare for settling, if only temporarily, disputes that are readily rekindled into an endless round of maiming and killing while blaming "others" for the continued travesty.
Under these circumstances there is just about nothing that Jews, as "people of the Book," can do to assuage Arabs and Muslims, to make peace with Palestinians, except defend themselves as effectively as they must from the absurdity and malice of a people who have turned God's Word into a cult of death.
For Muslims, or enough of them, have sealed their hearts, plugged their ears, blinded their eyes so that they may continue heedlessly in the path of ruin they have chosen; and those Muslims who question the sheer imbecility of such conduct are then threatened as apostates and heretics.
And then there are those in the West who cheer the Palestinians on in their destructive path, with false arguments of morality, victimhood, human rights, and heedless of historical rights of Jews – and insisting that Jews should not do what they themselves would do in a similar situation, faced with never-ending abuse and violence.
New Analysis Of Gazan Casualties In Operation Protective Edge: As of July 23rd (Update)
The new figures – like those of the previous analysis – bring into question how many of those killed were really innocent civilians, and still indicate that Israel has not been indiscriminately killing Gazans.
One would imagine, if Israel was purposely trying to kill Gazan civilians, 18-28 year-old men would not make up so many of the deaths. The percentage of women would be way higher than 22% (since they make up almost half the population), and the percentage of children killed would be way higher than approximately 20%, given nearly 50% of Gazans are under 14.
Caught In The Act! Gaza Health Ministry Inflating Number of Gazans Killed
Following our previous Gazan casualties analysis - which was deliberately based on the Al Jazeera list (itself based on data from the Gaza Health Ministry) to prove a point – our reader noticed that the list itself is replete with duplicate names. In fact, there are at least 33, as I have attempted to show below. Note there could actually be way more.
Netanyahu: We Cannot Give our Attackers Immunity
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Thursday, thanking Britain for its support and stressing the need to understand Israel's struggle to defend itself in light of the UK's own history.
"You, as a representative of the UK, of Britain, have a special understanding - at least, a historical understanding - of what we're undergoing," Netanyahu began. "There's only been one other instance when a democracy was rocketed and pelleted by projectiles of death, and that's Britain during World War Two."
"Israel is undergoing a similar bombardment now," he noted. "We are responding, in our own way, by targeting the rocketeers and seeking to ferret out these terrorists, who are firing behind civilians at our civilians."
"This is a double war crime," he continued. "And naturally, it's made more difficult for us to fight this criminality. As I've just shown you, the terrorists are firing rockets from schools, from mosques, from hospitals, heavily at civilian populations."
"We have to try, and are doing our best, to minimize civilian casualties, but we cannot give our attackers immunity," he added. "We seek, as best as we can, to target them - but all the civilian deaths that are there - and we regret each one of them - are the responsibility of Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad terrorists that are in league with them."
IDF may have to grab Hamas heads ‘hiding in their holes’ — minister
Dealing with the tunnels “will take another week or two,” said Erdan, the minister of communications. After that, he said, if Hamas was still firing rockets into the country, Israel would have to decide whether to send the army deeper into Gaza to find the Hamas leadership “hiding in its holes.”
He said Israel’s key goal was to have Gaza demilitarized at the end of the conflict, “otherwise what would have been the point.” Israel was also very supportive of the subsequent rehabilitation of Gaza, he said. He cited the removal of chemical weapons from Syria as a possible model, and hailed the demand by EU ministers, in a statement on Tuesday, for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to be disarmed.
Asked about Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal’s declaration on Wednesday that Hamas would only disarm if Israel did, Erdan said, “I don’t pay any attention to what he says.”
Three soldiers killed in booby-trapped house in Gaza
Three Israeli paratroopers were killed in Khan Yunis early Wednesday, bringing the army’s death toll to 32 since the IDF began operating on the ground in Gaza last week, the army said.
Shortly after seven in the morning, the paratroopers, from the brigade’s elite demolitions company, entered a booby-trapped house in Khan Yunis. Operatives nearby detonated an explosive charge, collapsing a wing of the building. The gunmen then opened fire on the troops, killing three men and gravely wounding three more.
The fallen soldiers were named as Lt. Paz Elyahu, 22, from Kibbutz Evron; Staff Sergeant Li Mat, 19, from Eilat; and Staff Sergeant Shahar Dauber, 20, from Kibbutz Ginegar.
Soldiers refuse to board obsolete, unprotected APC
A group of 30 IDF reserve soldiers notified their commanders that they would refuse to enter the Gaza Strip in M-113 armored personnel carriers, military vehicles designed by the US Army in the 1960s and first used during the Vietnam War.
The M-113, which has been in IDF use for several decades, is considered by most military experts to be unsuited for urban warfare, as its armor cannot withstand a direct hit from antitank missiles fired at close range.
WATCH: IDF targets hospital used as Hamas command center
The IDF targeted sections of the Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital in Gaza’s Shejaiya neighborhood on Wednesday, explaining that the medical facility was being used as a Hamas command center and utilized repeatedly by Islamist gunmen to launch attacks on Israeli forces. It said it had issued repeated warnings to the hospital authorities, told civilians to vacate the premises, and warned the gunmen to stop abusing the medical facility.
It later issued a video showing gunfire from the premises, and featuring a recording of phone calls from the IDF to the hospital in which the IDF was assured that the hospital was locked and there were no patients inside. The clip also showed a Hamas tunnel opening adjacent to the hospital.
“Hamas terrorists have been intentionally abusing the hospital and other international protected symbols to indiscriminately attack Israel and its civilians,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
Warning Call to Wafa Hospital Before IDF Targets Site

Video: IDF Infantry Find Weapons in Gaza Tunnel

IDF Forces Operating on the Ground in Gaza

Watch: Ground, Naval & Aerial Forces in Action

Israeli Tanks Block Missiles With Mini ‘Iron Dome’ System
A Hamas cameraman has recorded what appears to be Israel’s tank-mounted anti-missile system shooting down an approaching anti-tank rocket during a Gaza battle.
The Trophy system is a miniature, short-range version of Israel’s famous Iron Dome anti-missile system, which has effectively blocked hundreds of of Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities. The U.S. military does not have a similar system.
The three-part Trophy system is mounted on the turret of some Israeli tanks.
First, turret-mounted radars detect an approaching missile.
Then a robot arm points a block of pellet-filled explosives towards the missile.
A computerized set of fuzes detonates the block of explosive so that the explosion is squirted out in a jet of metal pellets to destroy the oncoming missile.
The success rate is secret, but the Hamas video — likely taken in the now-deserted Shejaiya zone of Gaza — seems to show the Hamas anti-tank rocket being detonated by the Trophy’s explosive jet before it can hit the tank.
Trophy System Takes Out RPG Fired At Israeli Tank

150 Palestinians surrender to IDF in Gaza
Dozens of Palestinian terror operatives, most of whom were said to be members of Hamas, surrendered Wednesday to IDF soldiers during raids in the southern Gaza Strip cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis.
The operatives, who came out of hiding spots with their hands raised above their heads, were taken into Israeli custody for further questioning.
In total, 150 Palestinians were arrested, but only 70 of them who were suspected of carrying out terror attacks were transferred under tight security to IDF Intelligence and Shin Bet facilities for interrogation, an IDF spokeswoman told The Times of Israel, adding to 28 operatives already captured. The remaining detainees were later released, Army Radio reported.
Soldier: Terrorists Charged with Babies in Hand
Parents of wounded soldiers spoke to Kol Yisrael on Tuesday and shared some of the disturbing stories they had heard from their sons. They said soldiers have repeatedly seen young children in Sheijaya, Gaza, be sent out into the streets with guns to try to attack IDF troops.
One parent reported that terrorists had run at IDF soldiers with a gun in one hand and a baby in the other, apparently in hopes that the soldiers would see the child and hold their fire. If soldiers fired, the parent added, the child’s death could be used as propaganda against Israel.
“They’re continuing the same trick of using children as human shields, just as they did in Operation Cast Lead,” one father said. Women are used as human shields as well, he added.
Canada’s The Globe and Mail Reports Seeing Hamas Fighters Dressed as Women, One Concealing Weapon in Baby Blanket Like an Infant
Canada’s The Globe and Mail on Monday reported seeing Hamas militants in Shuja’iya, during a humanitarian truce, disguised as women, with one concealing his weapon in a baby’s blanket “as if it were an infant.”
“The presence of militant fighters in Shejaia became clear Sunday afternoon when, under the cover of a humanitarian truce intended to allow both sides to remove the dead and wounded, several armed Palestinians scurried from the scene.”
“Some bore their weapons openly, slung over their shoulder, but at least two, disguised as women, were seen walking off with weapons partly concealed under their robes. Another had his weapon wrapped in a baby blanket and held on his chest as if it were an infant.”
So You Want Proof Hamas Uses Civilians As Human Shields? Here Are Ten Examples.
Since Israel's Operation Protective Edge began over three weeks ago, the mainstream media has been highlighting the civilian casualties in Gaza. In most cases, even if they report the Hamas use of human shields they report them as "Israeli allegations," as opposed to facts. One example is the report by NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin embedded above.
So to help Mr. Mohyeldin and those like him below are ten examples of Hamas using civilians as human shields. If these arent convincing, let me know because there are a lot more.
Tunnel attack fears turn Gaza border kibbutzim into ghost towns
While the Nir Am kibbutz was under lockdown on Monday, a deadly battle ensued between the Israeli troops and a squad of Gaza militants, who had tunneled their way across the border and emerged about a mile away from the farm community.
Israel said it killed 10 gunmen in the battle. The military said some were wearing Israeli army uniform and were equipped with explosive belts. Four Israeli soldiers, including the commanding officer, died in the fight.
"The threat of a mortar bomb is nothing compared to a militant force of 10 men coming into our community to carry out a massacre," said Shaike Shaked, one of the founders of a nearby Israeli africultural community, Netiv Haasara.
Egypt: Army shoots suicide bomber near Gaza border
The Ma’an news agency quoted an Egyptian army source to the effect that the attacker carried an explosive device and was shot after he attempted to cross the border with Israel south of Rafah.
The source claimed that the Egyptian army had also destroyed a vehicle loaded with Grad missiles in Sheikh Zuweid in the North Sinai district, killing at least two operatives inside.
The Egyptian army said that it had thwarted a total of two missile attacks against Israel since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8.
Hamas song mocks Israeli MIA Oron Shaul
Hamas TV broadcast a song celebrating their claimed kidnapping of missing Israeli soldier Oron Shaul. Shaul has been MIA since his Armored Personnel Carrier was destroyed during combat in Gaza on July 17, 2014. In a mocking video, Hamas calls the "kidnapping" their "Ramadan victory" and "the most beautiful holiday gift." The song also addresses Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu: "You retard, you will accept [our] terms and drink from the cup of humiliation." The song opens with a fictitious phone call of someone trying to call the missing soldier:
The kind of country we are – and proud of it
Our question of you should be: What kind of government has so little respect for the value of human life that it urges you to remain in place in spite of the warnings of our military command to the contrary? As for us, we place a high enough value on every human life, including yours, to minimize the potential casualties that eventuate from a ground invasion. So that’s the kind of country we are – a Jewish country with Jewish values and a desire not to inflict civilian casualties.
Ahmed, your life is not one that any of us would like to experience. You are residing in a living hell created by your own leadership for their own political purposes without regard to your welfare. Even sadder is the fact that the shots are being called by people sitting far away from the conflict whose own lives and those of their families are clearly not in danger. The question you raise should be directed at your own government, a government that chooses to let you live in squalor and poverty while creating a political crisis with us that makes us sacrifice our best and brightest in battle.
As Cicero said in his first oration against Cataline, “O tempora o mores” – “Oh what times! Oh what customs!” And shame on the government of Gaza for making you suffer and forcing us to inflict death and destruction on your land.
Obsessing About Gaza, Ignoring Syria (And Most Everything Else)
Why is this so? I can spend all day speculating, but one explanation for this lack of coverage is a relative lack of interest in the Syria/Iraq theater by Arabs and Muslims, or at least relative lack of interest in comparison to the obvious interest in the Gaza crisis. The American media takes at least some of its cues on Syria from the intensity of coverage in the Arab world. The Washington bureau chief of Al-Hayat, Joyce Karam, was one of the few people to notice the weekend death toll in Syria. She tweeted, in reference to anti-Israel protests in Pakistan, “Syria is essentially Gaza x320 death toll, x30 number of refugees, but no protest in Pakistan…”
I asked her why she thought this is so. Her answer: “Only reason I can think of is Muslim killing Muslim or Arab killing Arab seems more acceptable than Israel killing Arabs.”
Judging by the number and scale of anti-Assad protests (or anti-ISIS protests) in the Muslim world, she is obviously on to something. The Muslim world does seem more interested in Arabs who are killed by Jews than in Arabs killed by Arabs, and I’m guessing that this influences the scope and scale of the Gaza coverage as well. Why this is so—why the horrific levels of violence across the Arab world don’t seem to prompt such intense feelings, either in the Muslim or non-Muslim worlds, is a subject for another time. What is true for now is that Syria should be covered with the same focus and intensity that is applied to the war in Gaza.
Andrew Bolt: More rockets, more killing suits Hamas’s purpose
More than 2000 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel over the past six weeks, all at civilian targets as far away as Jerusalem. They have been fired even during ceasefires and have now forced international airlines to scrap flights to Israel’s international airport.
No country could tolerate that.
Asked on the ABC this week what Hamas hoped to achieve by this indiscriminate firing, spokesman Osama Hamdan replied: “Well, it’s clear that we are hoping to achieve a long-term ceasefire ...”
Firing rockets for a ceasefire? Liar.
No, Hamas wants to show enough Palestinian corpses to make Israel a pariah, not least in countries which now fear their Muslim minorities.
Hamas is also ensuring there are corpses. Its TV station has ordered residents to ignore Israeli warnings — by leaflets and telephone calls — to move away from targets.
Defaming Israel: Bigotry or electoral strategy?
Former UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has a lot of nerve slamming Israel over civilian deaths. How many civilians died in Britain's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Perhaps it's bigotry, perhaps it's pandering to the rising Muslim electorate
This is Jack Straw, UK foreign secretary at the launch of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, speaking in parliament last week:
“For all the vacuous words of the Israeli government and the IDF spokesman, they have no regard for international humanitarian law; they place a completely different and much lower value on Palestinian life compared to Israeli life” and “the actions that they are taking are completely outwith the United Nations Charter and any idea of how a civilised nation ought to behave.”
Are these appallingly defamatory comments a result of being a) an extreme bigot or b) electoral considerations?
Dr. Mordechai Kedar: On Rape, the Culture of Shame - and Radio Interviews
It can be said that throughout the Arab world sexual violence and rape are an inseparable part of the many conflicts that are tearing the Arab world into shreds. Rape during conflicts is a weapon of war that has terrible psychological effects for the victim and her family, and its purpose is to subjugate them mentally, sow fear in their hearts and paralyze them militarily. This finds its expression in the Arabic proverb: "Death but not shame", meaning "I prefer death to humiliation", because shame in that culture is worse than death.
And now, for the radio interview. I was asked by the interviewer how one can deter a suicide terrorist-bomber, the kind that does not fear death. My laconic, prompt answer was the standard one used in the Middle East, that is, that the threat of raping the wife or mother of the terrorist is the only threat that could prevent him from a suicide attack. It goes without saying that I did not even hint at the possibility that Israel could or should commit such a travesty as to act in that fashion. The use of rape as an example was meant to point out the great difficulty a country like Israel has when dealing with this culture, because Israel would never commit or condone immoral and illegal acts, as I wrote above.
If someone actually found it possible to understand from what I said that I include Israel among the nations who act in that manner, I can only accept responsibility for not explaining the issue clearly enough.
'Sharon Promised Me 40 Years' Quiet'
Brigadier General (res.) Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, who served as IDF chief rabbi during the 2005 "Disengagement Plan" from Gaza and northern Samaria, told Arutz Sheva in an exclusive interview Thursday about his feelings as he witnesses the harsh fighting in Gaza today, nine years after its Jewish population was expelled.
The rabbi said that there is “great pain over the fallen and with their families,” yet “the heart widens in view of the IDF's accomplishments and the overflowing national unity, and the great miracle that took place in the Divine chain of events that began with the murder of the three boys, and from there to the exposure of the tunnels that are so dangerous.”
The rabbi was referring to the view held by many, that the IDF's strong response to the triple abduction and murder of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha'ar and Eyal Yifrah hy"d – Operation Brother's Keeper and the arrest of many Hamas terrorists in Judea and Samaria – led directly to the Hamas rocket barrage on Israel, as the Islamist group saw its presence in Judea and Samaria being threatened. The escalated missile attacks in turn led to Operation Protective Edge, and the failure of the terrorists' rockets to cause significant Israeli casualties prompted Hamas to make use of its vast network of "terror tunnels" to infiltrate into Israel, thus waking the IDF to the extent of the danger they pose.
"I would like to remind everyone who the enemy is, which we are confronting. The enemy seeks to annihilate, kill, destroy us, just like the greatest enemies of Israel did in the past. This is not some entity that is trying to build and be built up, but rather to uproot, just like what happened nine years ago, and everything it does is meant to destroy this nation.”
"We left Gaza and what are they doing? They have not planted a tree or built a home, but created a war. It is delusional.”
Rockets found at UN Gaza school ‘have gone missing’
The UN secretary-general on Wednesday said he was “alarmed” to hear that rockets were placed in a UN-run school in Gaza and now “have gone missing,” and he demanded a full review of such incidents.
A statement by the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon expressed the UN chief’s “outrage and regret” at the placement of weapons at a site run by the global organization. The UN says that has happened at least twice so far in the current fighting.
“Those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children,” UN staff and anyone seeking shelter, the statement said.
US defends aid to UNRWA despite rocket caches
The State Department defended Secretary of State John Kerry’s decision to grant $15 million in humanitarian aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), even as the organization confirmed the discovery of additional rockets stored in one of its Gaza schools. Critics in Washington, however, blasted the secretary’s decision to include UNRWA as a recipient of part of a $47 million humanitarian package designed to aid Gazan civilians.
Israel has long raised eyebrows at the organization, a permanent UN agency separate from the international body’s general refugee relief agency. On Tuesday, UNRWA confirmed that it had found a second major cache of rockets hidden in one of the organization’s schools.
UNRWA Needs to be Dismantled
If you call up a known killer and say, listen, I think I found 20 of your guns…come get them…and the killer (or in this case killers) come and take the guns and go out and start shooting…there is a good chance you will be arrested for aiding and abetting – in short, being a partner in the murder. You knew the person had killed before; you knew the person wanted to kill again. Knowing all this, you handed the killers guns. You share in all that is done with those rockets…I mean guns.
Today, Hamas fired several rockets at large areas in central and southern Israel. With the grace of God and Iron Dome, no one was killed – that makes it attempted murder.
Petition: UN Human Rights Council must investigate Hamas war crimes
Please sign and circulate this petition for the UN Human Rights Council to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law by Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas is internationally recognised as a terrorist organisation, which is launching missile attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilians and endangering the lives of innocent Palestinians. We call on the UN Human Rights Council to urgently investigate the serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by Hamas, including:
Must-See Video: Palestinians, Iran, Syria Fail to Silence UN Watch
GENEVA, July 23, 2014 - The Palestinian ambassador to the UNHRC, together with Iran, Syria, Egypt, Cuba and Venezuela tried but failed to silence UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer during today's UN Emergency Session on Gaza, as he defended Israel's right to resist Hamas aggression, and called out the hypocrisy of those who initiated the biased proceeding.
As expected, the council voted 29 to 1 (USA), with 17 abstaining (EU & others), to condemn Israel for "gross violations of international human rights," and it created a new commission of inquiry to produce a second Goldstone Report.
UN emergency session on Gaza: Hillel Neuer speaks out

Israel tells UN Human Rights Council to 'get lost'
Council's decision to investigate possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza draws harsh responses from Israeli officials • PMO: The decision is a farce, they should probe Hamas State Department: U.S. will stand up for Israel even if it means standing alone.
Naturally, Israeli officials responded harshly to the initiative. The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying "the decision is a farce. Instead of investigating Hamas for committing a double war crime -- firing rockets at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians -- the Human Rights Council calls for an investigation against Israel, which is making unprecedented efforts to avoid harming civilians."
"The Human Rights Council should begin investigating Hamas' decisions to turn hospitals into command centers and schools into weapons depots and to place rocket launchers next to playgrounds, private houses and mosques," the statement continued.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who had to limit her travels after the 2009 Goldstone report accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza, wrote on her Facebook page following the council's vote: "I have two words for you: Get lost."
Liberman: UNHRC is the Council for Terrorist Rights
The UNHRC, he said, has long ago turned into the rights council for terrorists.
"We will continue to fight terror and continue to fight the hypocrisy and anti-Semitism of bodies such as the UNHRC,” said Liberman.
“When countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and the like, who do not know the concept of human rights, point an accusing finger towards us, it is a sign that we are doing the right things," he added.
ADL: UNHRC Inquiry a 'Perversion' of Power
The ADL expressed that such a commission will serve to further undermine the “cause of protecting international human rights.”
"With all of the evidence of the millions of Israelis hunkering down in bomb shelters under threat of Hamas rockets, of Hamas blatantly firing and storing rockets, missiles and other weaponry from and in schools, mosques, apartment buildings and ambulances, the Human Rights Council has again chosen to focus on alleged Israeli crimes," ADL National Director, Abraham H. Foxman, stated.
"Does this institution not recall the absurdity of the investigation into Israel’s alleged crimes during in its 2008-09 Gaza operation? Even the head of that commission, Justice Richard Goldstone, publicly repudiated the report’s conclusions."
U.S., Canada Criticize UNHRC Over Bias Against Israel
Speaking to reporters, Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said “we do strongly oppose today’s special session at the Human Rights Council and the resulting resolution as the latest in a series of biased, anti-Israel actions at the Human Rights Council.”
“We strongly oppose the creation of this kind of mechanism that you spoke about because it’s one-sided,” she continued.
“No one’s looking here at Hamas rockets, no one proposed looking at anything else other than Israel in this case, and again, we oppose it as one-sided,” stressed Harf.
WP Editorial: The U.S. should push for the disarming of Hamas in Gaza-Israel cease-fire
The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.
One of those demands is for a full reopening of Gaza’s land and sea borders. While this would allow relief and economic development for the territory’s population, it would also allow Hamas to import more missiles and concrete for new tunnels. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the Egyptian government and other would-be brokers are right to seek a cease-fire, but they should reject Hamas’s agenda. Instead, any political accord should come after a cease-fire and be negotiated with the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas. It should link opening of the borders and other economic concessions to the return to Gaza of the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, the disarmament of Hamas and elections for a new government.
In setting such conditions, international mediators will likely have the quiet support of most of Gaza’s population. Polls show that they are fed up with Hamas’s rule and with its use of women and children as cannon fodder in unwinnable wars with Israel. The next government of Gaza should be one that invests in schools, health clinics and houses, not in tunnels.
US senators push for end to Hamas threat in ceasefire
In a letter to President Barack Obama, three senators — Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrats Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin — said any cease-fire should create a situation in which Israelis no longer face the threat of brazen terrorist attacks.
The three lawmakers set a high bar for Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Israel trying to negotiate a cease-fire. Obama administration officials have said Hamas must be denied the ability to fire rockets on Israelis.
“The threats posed by Hamas rockets and tunnels whose only purpose is to kill and kidnap Israelis are intolerable, and Israel must be allowed to take any actions necessary to remove those threats,” the senators wrote. “Any effort to broker a cease-fire agreement that does not eliminate those threats cannot be sustained in the long run and will leave Israel vulnerable to future attacks.”
In defiant speech, Mashaal denies ceasefire close
In a defiant appearance broadcast live from Qatar, Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashaal said Wednesday evening that his Islamist movement would not agree to an interim ceasefire in Gaza followed by negotiations on its demands, as proposed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel wants to see Hamas disarmed after the conclusion of the war, but Mashaal said his movement would only lay down its weapons if Israel, too, disarmed and ended the occupation.
Why the flight cancellations are such a blow to Israel
They were a distressing reality check to a country that prides itself on being an island of normalcy in a sea of chaos.
Israelis and visitors alike often talk about how Israel is wrongly perceived as a war zone. Yes, the surrounding region is a mess, full of unstable and repressive autocracies where violence – often perpetrated by the government against its people — is de rigueur. But Israel is a stable Western democracy, closer to Europe in mentality, economy and culture than to its neighbors to the north, east and south. It’s a normal country with normal people leading normal lives.
The moment the airlines decided Tel Aviv was too dangerous to fly in and out of gave the lie to that argument, dealing a serious blow not just to Israel’s image overseas but to the way Israelis look at themselves and their country (though many of them believe the airlines are grossly overreacting).
Airline Branch Manager Says FAA Cancellation ‘Smacks of Politics’
According to Israeli daily Israel Hayom, the manager said, “The information we received from the Civil Aviation Authority takes into account all safety measures for Ben Gurion Airport and in this case there is no security justification for stopping flights. This is probably just another way to pressure Israel to reach a ceasefire.”
Later on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz outright accused the White House of launching an economic boycott of Israel.
In a statement he said: “The facts suggest that President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands.”
Senator accuses FAA prohibition of furthering BDS
Despite repeat denials from the agency that the Federal Aviation Administration flight ban into Ben Gurion International Airport was politically motivated, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) castigated the decision as trying to force Israel into accepting US foreign policy.
In a statement issued shortly after the initial travel ban was extended for an additional 24 hours, Cruz emphasized an incongruity between the Obama Administration’s decision to ban flights to Israel and its announcement to give additional aid to Gaza, which Cruz says ultimately will benefit Hamas.
“Aiding Hamas while simultaneously isolating Israel does two things. One, it helps our enemy. Two, it hurts our ally,” said Sen. Cruz.
Glenn Beck: U.S. Travel Ban to Israel a ‘Win for Hamas’
Glenn Beck issued an impassioned plea to Israel to defend themselves and expressed his sorrow that the FAA has decided to ban travel to Israel.
Beck reported that the FAA banned travel to and from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, after a rocket, fired by Hamas, hit a house near the airport.
“They (the Obama administration and the FAA) gave a win to Hamas. Have you heard anybody saying anything about how Hamas should stop? Instead, we’re stopping people from flying while we’re lecturing the people who are trying to stop the people with the rockets. We’re equating violence with violence,” Beck said on his radio show Wednesday.
“This is a direct attack on Israel by our country and by the FAA,” he added.
European Carriers Extend Flight Ban to Israel
Major airlines shunned Israel for a second day on Wednesday amid fears that rocket fire from Gaza could endanger flights into Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, AFP reports, after European airlines followed the FAA's extension on a ban on flights to Israel.
In Washington, officials renewed a formal ban on American flights to Israel until 1615 GMT on Thursday, and around the world many other airlines took their own precautions.
Turkey's Airline Extends Suspension of Flights to Israel
Turkey's national carrier has extended its suspension of direct flights to Tel Aviv for another day for security reasons due to the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas, the communications minister said on Wednesday, according to AFP.
"We had halted the flights to Israel yesterday, now we decided to extend the suspension for another 24 hours because the risk continues," Lutfi Elvan was quoted as having told reporters.
Some Concrete Facts About Hamas
Israeli troops entering Gaza last week have so far uncovered 18 tunnels used by Hamas to send armed terrorists into Israel and built using an estimated 800,000 tons of concrete.
What else might that much concrete build? Erecting Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, required 110,000 tons of concrete. Hamas, then, could’ve treated itself to seven such monstrosities and still had a few tens of thousands of tons to spare. If it wanted to build kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters, like Israel has built for the besieged citizens of Sderot, for example—after all, noted military strategists like Jon Stewart have spent last week proclaiming that Gaza’s citizens had nowhere to hide from Israel’s artillery—Hamas could have used its leftovers to whip up about two that were each as big as Giants Stadium. And that’s just 18 tunnels. Egypt, on its end, recently claimed to have destroyed an additional 1,370. That’s a lot of concrete.
IDF ‘didn’t follow up’ on MRI-style, below-surface technology to find tunnels
Paul Bauman, a Canadian who is one of the world’s foremost experts on discovering underground tunnels and voids, insists that the technology exists and has been used in the US, Canada, Korea, and other places. “We actually did some work with the IDF some years ago, showing them how the technology we’ve developed works,” Bauman told The Times of Israel in an interview. “They were interested, but there was no follow-up. Why, I couldn’t say.”
The IDF said it could not comment on the matter.
Had the army worked with Bauman, using the sophisticated methods he has developed and successfully employed over the past decade, things might have been different. While there is no foolproof, single tech solution to discovering tunnels, a combination of several techniques — radar, tomography, and seismic measuring — could give Israel a technological advantage over Hamas, creating a map of what is happening under the surface, and making it much easier to find tunnels and the terrorists who dig them. (h/t Canadian Otter)
If You Want to Find Support For Israel, Read the Newspapers—in Cairo
Historically, Arab states have banded together in support of the Palestinians when fighting with Israel erupted: Any mention of Israel typically drew accusations of IDF gross misconduct and dramatic statements of solidarity with the Palestinian people. This has not been the case in the latest round of fighting. Egypt’s stance specifically has changed remarkably, combining implicit support for Israel’s military operation in Gaza with harsh criticisms of Hamas.
Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukri, went so far as to blame Hamas for Palestinian deaths: “Had Hamas accepted the Egyptian proposal, it could have saved the lives of at least 40 Palestinians,” as reported by Egyptian state news agency MENA.
Numerous Egyptian media reports have also expressed explicit support for Israel’s actions. Azza Sami of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram wrote, “Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas!”
Italian Philosopher Calls to 'Shoot Zionists', Arm Hamas
Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo has joined the alarming tide of anti-Israel hate-speech in Europe on Wednesday, saying he wanted to set up a fund to help Hamas "buy better weapons", and saying that he would personally like "to shoot those bastard Zionists."
Vattimo insisted that Hamas is “fighting with toy rockets that don’t really kill anyone.” When asked whether he would like to see more Israelis killed, Vattimo - who edited a book entitled Deconstructing Zionism: A Critique of Political Metaphysics - told Radio 24 broadcasters, “Of course! But unfortunately, I can’t really shoot."
The leading Italian philosopher had previously claimed that he was a "peaceful person" at the start of the interview.
Thailand demands Israel relocate Thai workers from near Gaza
The government in Thailand urged Israel on Thursday to relocate the 4,000 Thai nationals currently employed in southern Israel near the Gaza border, according to a report by AFP.
The demand comes a day after a Thai national was killed by shrapnel from a mortar shell launched by Hamas in Gaza. The mortar exploded in a greenhouse and a shrapnel fragment fatally wounded the man in his neck.
The Thai man became the third civilian fatality in Israel since Operation Protective Edge began.
Israel singles out Qatar as key Hamas terror sponsor
President Shimon Peres accused Qatar on Wednesday of becoming “the world’s largest funder of terror” due to its financial support for Hamas in Gaza.
“Qatar does not have the right to send money for rockets and tunnels which are fired at innocent civilians,” the outgoing statesman told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem. “Their funding of terror must stop. If they want to build then they should, but they must not be allowed to destroy.”
Qatar Friday Sermon: Allah, Kill the Jews, Freeze the Blood in Their Veins

Israel slams 'diplomatic dwarf' Brazil for recalling envoy to protest Gaza operation
Brazil on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations in protest over the IDF's operation in the Gaza Strip.
The Foreign Ministry immediately slammed Brazil for the move.
“This is an unfortunate demonstration of why Brazil, an economic and cultural giant, remains a diplomatic dwarf,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.
“The moral relativism behind this move makes Brazil an irrelevant diplomatic partner, one who creates problems rather than contributes to solutions.”
Iran Supreme Leader: The Only Solution For Crisis Is Israel's Destruction
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Wednesday that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza.
Meanwhile, revolutionary guards announced new missiles which could destroy Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
ISIS, Other Terror Groups Call for Israel’s Destruction
Meanwhile, The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the terrorist organization that controls large swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory, has released a YouTube video full of anti-Semitic vitriol. The group is exploiting Israel’s counterterrorism operations in Gaza to promote its anti-Israel agenda and justify attacks against the Jewish State. According to an IPT translation, the video includes this violent warning to Israel and its supporters:
I Am Tell You Why Ukraine Different From Gaza By Vladimir Putin (Satire)
People are ask me why am support Israel right to defend self against Gaza terrorists while encourage and arm Ukraine separatists. Answer is simple: Ukraine separatists patriots with desire to breathe free air. Gaza terrorists bunch of murderous, corrupt fanatics. Dangerous people, threaten international air travel.
World cannot stand by and letting them shoot down airplanes. Important that you realize just how different are Eastern Ukraine and Gaza. Eastern Ukraine historically close to Russia, has vast resources; Gaza historically close to unimportant, has open sewers.
Venezuela Geological Survey Finds No Evidence of Hamas War Crimes (Satire)
A government-sponsored geological study of Venezuela has turned up no evidence of war crimes by the militant Hamas organization, the BBC reported today. Hamas runs the Gaza Strip and is currently engaged in hostilities with Israel.
“This study proves conclusively who holds the moral high ground,” said President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro. “It is high time the international community lay the blame squarely at Israel’s doorstep for whatever atrocities have taken place.”

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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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