Monday, July 28, 2014

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Kerry’s mediation
On Saturday, he flew from Cairo to Paris to meet with his Qatari and Turkish counterparts. Also present were the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Britain and Italy.
Conspicuously absent were representatives from Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
Why would Kerry agree to engage in talks with Turkey and Qatar – two countries openly hostile to Israel and supportive of Hamas’s terrorist agenda that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and its replacement with a caliphate run in accordance with a reactionary version of Islamic law? Isn’t the US supposed to be on the side of nations, such as Israel, that support freedom, democracy and equality and are enemies of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and its patrons?
What does this incident say about Kerry’s ability to confront other challenges to world security such as Iran’s nuclear weapon program? Since Kerry took over as secretary of state a year-and-ahalf ago, there have been a number of disputes between the US and Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu openly criticized Kerry’s support for the interim deal with Iran. During Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon derided Kerry’s security proposals along the Jordan border, calling the secretary “messianic” and “obsessive” about the prospects for peace.
Kerry’s mistakes strengthen Hamas’s resolve
Kerry and his staff made an outrageous decision to turn their backs on the Egyptian framework for a ceasefire in a manner that encouraged Hamas to continue shooting rockets.
This first mistake was exposed by none other than the political leader of the organization, Khaled Mashaal, who said in a press conference in Doha, the Qatari capital, that Kerry had turned to al-Attiyah and Davutoglu two days after the Israeli operation in Gaza began and asked them to push for a ceasefire. At the time, Kerry knew full well that a major Egyptian effort was underway to persuade Hamas to stop firing immediately. By turning to Doha and Ankara behind the backs of Cairo and Jerusalem, Washington — no doubt unintentionally — strengthened Hamas’s resolve against Egypt and Israel.
But the mistakes didn’t stop there. The farce continued with the amateurish draft that was immediately rejected by Israel’s security cabinet; it then reached new heights on Saturday in Paris, when Kerry decided to participate in an international summit on Gaza, attended by his new friends al-Attiyah and Davutoglu as well as the foreign ministers of the European Union, but not by a few players that Kerry apparently perceives as marginal – representatives of Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and, of course, Israel.
When numbers in Gaza masquerade as fact
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center found, on July 23, that 775 people had been killed in Gaza, of whom 229 were militants or terrorists (135 Hamas, 60 Islamic Jihad, 34 from other terror organizations); 267 were civilians; and 279 could not yet be classified.
Many of the Palestinian figures subsequently quoted, by the UN and other international organizations, “are not worth the paper they’re written on,” Reuven Erlich, the director of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, told The Times of Israel. “They’re based mostly on Palestinian sources in Gaza, who have a vested interest in showing that we’re killing many civilians.”
His center, he said, thoroughly researches the casualties. In order to ascertain an accurate identity of the dead, the center’s staff researches the person’s background on Palestinian websites and searches for information about their funerals and for other hints that could shed light on the person’s true occupation.
The authorities in Gaza generally count every young man who did not wear a uniform as a civilian — even if he was involved in terrorist activity and was therefore considered by the IDF a legitimate target, military sources said.
Latest Al Jazeera Data Shows Gaza Casualties Still Mostly Combat-Aged Males
On Sunday, blogger Elder of Ziyon posted new charts, updating the data released by Al Jazeera last week and the week before, and confirming the same trend.
The first chart shows the male-female split and then graphed by age group, with most of the men being 20 to 24 or 25 to 29. The second chart compares the results to Gaza’s actual age distribution, casting further doubt on Hamas’s claims, as the majority of the dead fit the profiles of fighters, men in their 20s, rather than the broader population.
The blogger also published a link to a Google Document created by Guy Bechor based on the official list of Gazan dead from the International Middle East Media Center, for others to examine the raw data.
IDF Soldier in Al Jazeera Interview on Hamas Human Shields: They Throw Civilians at Us ‘Like Cannon Fire’ (VIDEO)
An Israel Defense Forces reservist addressed Hamas’ use of human shields in a recent interview on Al Jazeera America, saying the terror group uses Gaza’s civilians like cannon fodder as weapons against IDF troops.
When confronted by the Al Jazeera correspondent about child casualties in Gaza during Israel’s current Operation Protective Edge, Ezagui said the world “isn’t getting a clear picture of what’s going on.”
“Yes there’s a death toll, but it’s not something that’s on Israel’s hands. It’s not on the young soldiers. The brave men who are going in there to protect their people. It’s Hamas that are throwing Palestinians at us like cannon fire and it’s devastating,” said Ezagui, who lost his left arm while on duty in 2008.
The lone soldier asserted that the terrorist organization should be held responsible for putting Gaza civilians “in such a terrible situation.” Gazan children “don’t deserve to be used as human shields, to be indoctrinated at such a young age,” he said
IDF Soldier Izzy Ezagui on Al Jazeera

Time of Israel Live Blog: In call to Ban, Netanyahu rejects ‘one-sided’ UN call for ceasefire
IDF said to deny it hit Shifa medical center; Rocket fire and air strikes pick up after respite for Muslim holiday; Security Council and Washington push for immediate ceasefire; Palestinian delegation to meet in Cairo for truce talks
Israel offered medical aid to Gazans, but the PA refused to accept it
A senior Health Ministry official told Ynet that the aid is funded out of the ministry's budget, and includes medicine, chemotherapy and medical equipment that are ready to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, after having been approved by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
The Health Ministry said it would continue efforts to transfer the medical supplies to the Strip.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry also helped build a field hospital operating at the Erez border crossing by the Medical Corps. The ministry has decided to allow any patient or wounded from the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment in any of the Israeli hospitals should the need arise.
Bibi Eats Up Sour Candy
Whatever you feel about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, he speaks so well and effortlessly.
So well, in fact, that by the end of this interview, hostile CNN anchor Candy Crowley can only agree with him.
Israeli PM Netanyahu on CNN - FULL INTERVIEW 7/27/2014

Netanyahu: Hamas Has Broken All Cease Fires We Have Agreed To
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that Hamas has broken all cease-fires so far and is to blame for the mass casualties.
Speaking with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Netanyahu expressed his frustration with Hamas over the growing violence in the region and Hamas’ refusal to stick to any cease-fires.
“Hamas has broken five cease-fires that we accepted and we actually implemented. They rejected all of them, violated all of them, including two humanitarian cease-fires in the last 24 hours. Now they come with their own cease-fire proposal and they violated it,” Netanyahu told Wallace.
He defended Israel’s decision to protect itself from Hamas’ violence. “We’ll do whatever is necessary to achieve our goal,” he said.
Netanyahu: Hamas Has Broken All Cease Fires We Have Agreed To

Benjamin Netanyahu Confronts NBC’s David Gregory Over Claim That Israel Targeted a U.N. School
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu profoundly slapped down moderator David Gregory’s assertion that Israel had been involved in the “targeting of a U.N. school that killed children and those civilians who were fleeing a safe place to go in the fighting.”
Netanyahu resoundingly condemned Gregory’s statement and insisted that the “Secretary General of the United Nations before this incident took place, said that, admitted that two U.N. schools in Gaza were used to stockpile rockets.”
The NBC host began his line of questioning by lamenting “about the price to Israel, [in] this ongoing conflict. The staggering number of dead civilians on the Palestinian side in Gaza” before falsely claiming that Israel had deliberately targeted a U.N. school in Gaza. Gregory continued to distort the facts in the case and wondered “was this a mistake on the part of Israel even though the U.N. says this was clearly marked and that the Israeli forces knew the GPS coordinates of this school?”(h/t MtTB)
Obama Calls Bibi, Demands 'Immediate, Unconditional' Ceasefire--HAMAS Rejects!
President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly on Sunday evening to demand that Israel enact "an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities," the White House said, adding support for the demilitarization of Gaza. Hamas immediately rejected the idea: "Those who try to take our weapons, we will take their life.”
Obama's call for Israel to stop fighting comes as a ceasefire proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry that came remarkably close to Hamas's main demands was rejected unanimously by the Israeli cabinet Friday, and a poll showed Sunday that nearly 9 of 10 Israelis want their military to keep up its attacks on Hamas's rockets and tunnels. Obama did not offer to help demilitarize Gaza; he merely supported that as part of a "lasting solution."
Twitter, Hamas and the Three Boys
A little white lie snowballs into a huge one
The saga began with a tweet by Buzzfeed writer Sheera Frenkel, claiming that “After Israel’s top leadership blamed Hamas kidnap for 3 teens, they’ve now admitted killers were acting as ‘lone cell.’” Frenkel sought to highlight her own article about the issue that had appeared at Buzzfeed on June 15 that had asked “who was behind the kidnapping of three Israeli teens.”
In her piece she relied on interview with experts and activists such as Gershon Baskin to provide different theories about the kidnapping. Frenkel’s initial piece was not the problem. But on July 25 she made a serious error in how she presented the “information.” She had relied on a tweet by Jon Donnison, the BBC Sydney Correspondent covering Australia, but who formerly covered the West Bank and was now back covering it during the war with Hamas.
At 2:28 pm on July 25, he tweeted “Israeli police Mickey Rosenfeld [sic] tells me men who killed 3 Israeli teens def lone cell, hamas affiliated but not operating under leadership.” Frenkel had picked this up two hours later at 5:40am; but notice how she changed the wording around to claim “Israel’s top leadership…now they’ve admitted killers were acting as ‘lone cell.’”
Except that is not what Donnison had tweeted at all. He had done a good job relaying accurate information from the Israel Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld about the investigation focusing on the Hamas cell of the Qawasmeh clan; Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha. The Hebron area based clan or large extended family has produced numerous Hamas members over the years, including the bomber of Jerusalem bus 2 massacre in 2003. (h/t Bob Knot)
Captured Intel Reveals Hamas’ Explosive Plans
Our soldiers found a Hamas training manual in Gaza. The contents: instructions on how to make bombs at home.
Our soldiers on the ground in Gaza recently captured a training manual that gives step-by-step instructions on how to make homemade bombs. The manual amounts to a terrorism 101 handbook on concealing and detonating all kinds of explosives.
The training manual found by IDF soldiers contains instructions for handling and detonating different types of explosives. Page 14 explains how to fill a television-shaped bomb with shrapnel.
An Inside Look Into Life Under Hamas' Tunnel Threat

IDF Responds After Hamas Breaks Cease-Fire

Senior Officer: 'We Have All of the Attack Tunnels'
A few more days are needed in order to dispose of the remaining tunnels, he said.
The IDF blew up two more tunnels in the course of the last 24 hours. “The longer we stay on the ground [inside Gaza], the more we learn about the extent of the tunnels and the route they were built in.”
IDF forces attacked 40 terror targets in Gaza in the last day, and the tunnels remained their main focus. “This is our central goal and that is why we are concentrating more and more forces in Gaza to complete the assignement.”
“The IDF knew all about the tunnel threat and was ready for it,” he said. “I imagine the political establishment knew about it as well. We on the Committee were not shocked by the news of the tunnels.”
Armored Corps Detonate Tunnel Used for Terror

IDF Paratroopers Expose Hamas Tunnel and Weapons

IDF Homefront Command: Our Guidelines Save Lives

Ministers: We Should Have Attacked Harder
Hawkish ministers in Israel's cabinet spoke about Operation Protective Edge in Gaza Monday morning as if they know it is effectively over.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Yair Shamir (Yisrael Beytenu), told Channel 2 that the IDF had enough time to truly defeat Hamas, but did not do so. “Three weeks are a very long time for a sophisticated and strong army like the IDF,” he opined. “It could have done in ten days what it did in 21 days, and then we would have had a few more days to hunt down the heads of Hamas.
"Militarily, I feel that there is a missed opportunity here,” he explained. “We had a chance to be victorious and go all the way, to defeat the body that fought us.” Shamir said that the fault was not the military's, which “did what it was told to do thoroughly and with professionalism,” but in the instructions it was given.
The Faux ‘Investigations’ of Human Rights Watch
On July 21, Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), sarcastically tweeted, “People accept @HRW reporting as fair & accurate around globe but when it comes to poor, helpless, defenseless #Israel we’re suddenly biased.” Now, the first half of Roth’s statement is specious. HRW is roundly and widely criticized across the globe for its politicized approach and false reporting.
But the more important question relates to the second part of Roth’s antagonistic and unprofessional Twitter rant: Why is Roth so worried about HRW’s work on Israel?
One place to start is the pattern of false accusations and invented or totally distorted legal language, which NGO Monitor and others have identified in HRW’s reports on Israel’s actions in Gaza (2012 and 2008-9), Lebanon (2006), and Jenin (2002). As opposed to rigor and expertise, HRW “investigations” reflect anti-Israel bias, lack of research methodology, and flat-out fabrications.
Danny Dayan: Obama, Kerry Caused 'Long-Term Damage'
Danny Dayan, head of the Council of Judea and Samaria, said Monday that asking Israel to stop its attacks on Hamas at this time was “a perversion of morality and diplomacy.” Israelis understand quite well, he said, that “they are fighting for their homes. No matter what we do the enemy will never be satisfied” without Israel's destruction. “We must continue fighting until our goals are reached.”
Dayan was speaking in light of the heavy pressure being placed on Israel by US President Barack H Obama for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire. In his proposal, Obama said that the issue of Hamas' disarming was a matter for later discussions, a stance that Dayan said he was shocked by. “There is no other way to describe it other than as a perversion of morality and diplomacy.
“When they leave office soon, we will all breathe a sigh of relief, quiet but quite audible,” he said. “It will take a long time to repair the damage caused by Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry.”
'West Bank heats up, tension in north Israel'
The last few days have seen a significant increase in Palestinian violence in the West Bank. Riots returned to East Jerusalem last Friday and are still continuing.
In Gush Etzion there were at least two attempts to stage a terrorist attack. On Friday an Israeli woman was hit by an Arab driver when he drove his car into the bus/hike stop on the main intersection on highway 60.
Earlier that week Palestinians stormed a neighborhood in the settlement of Har Gilo. They threw stones at the windows of houses and forced the residents to flee.
Today Israeli Border police prevented a major attack when they stopped a car that was loaded with explosives at the Tzur Hadassah checkpoint in Gush Etzion. The car was on his way to the centre of Israel.
Fatah-Affiliated Terror Group Takes Credit for Shots Fired at Violent Demonstration
Two people were killed during the clashes with Israeli forces that erupted when the thousands of demonstrators marching from Ramallah reached the Qalandiyah checkpoint, at the entrance to Jerusalem, Thursday night. Palestinian sources said more than 200 people were wounded by both live fire and rubber bullets. Dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation.
The Israel Police said shots were fired at Israeli forces from the vicinity of the demonstration. Palestinian sources said that Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, claimed responsibility for this shooting. Sources in the IDF central Command said these were the most violent demonstrations in a long time.
Satellite images show destruction in bomb-ravaged Gaza
The images, snapped by the Pleiades satellite, published over the weekend by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, compared the way a northeastern section of Gaza looked on July 6 — two days before the start of Israel’s offensive — and July 25. Damage could be seen to Gaza City, Toffah, Shejaiya, and Shaaf.
Shejaiya was the scene of heavy fighting as IDF forces clashed with hundreds of Hamas fighters in the densely built-up area.
UNITAR said analysis showed some 604 destroyed structures with another 236 severely damaged. There were an additional 46 moderately damaged structures. Roads, as well as agricultural and non-urbanized areas, were pockmarked with 66 craters from ordnance dropped by the Israeli Air Force.
IDF: Mortar round landed in empty UNRWA yard, did not kill Gazans
An Israeli army inquiry into fighting at a UN facility in Beit Hanoun Thursday found that IDF mortars did not play a role in the killing of 16 people in the school courtyard, dismissing claims that the military was responsible for their deaths.
The army admitted that an IDF-fired shell did hit the UN-run school’s yard, but at a time when there were no people in the area.
“A single errant mortar landed in the school courtyard, injuring no one,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Sunday in a conference call.
Lerner described a scene of “intense fighting” in the vicinity of the school last Thursday afternoon, including volleys of anti-tank missiles fired at soldiers, who responded with live fire. The militant fire, Lerner said, came from the areas “adjacent to, and in the vicinity of, the school.”

Honest Reporting: What Really Happened at that Gazan UN School?
Investigating and reporting facts from a war zone can be extremely difficult, everyone understands that. News organizations want to be one of the first to report a story. But often, reporting so quickly means not taking even minimal time for fact checking.
However, the media have a responsibility to find out all they can before making accusations that will then be heard around the world. They don’t have to accept the Israeli version of events. But they should at least be skeptical before reporting information that comes from sources like Hamas.
UN Security Council officially calls for unconditional cease-fire in Gaza
The statement expresses strong support for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance" in Gaza, where Israel's military offensive has entered its 21st day.
All 15 council members had agreed on the statement, diplomats said, and it would be formally adopted at a midnight meeting on Sunday.
The Security Council statement, drafted by Jordan, "urged all parties to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond" and "calls on parties to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire, based on the Egyptian initiative."
Israeli UN envoy slams Security Council’s ceasefire call
The envoy spoke to journalists after the Security Council issued the call.
“The presidential statement [of the Security Council] miraculously managed to not mention the Hamas or rockets or Israel’s right to defend its citizens,” he said.
Prosor declared that he was appealing not to world leaders, but rather to the public’s common sense.
“Tonight I want to speak as the voice of reason to the citizens of the world who need to hear the unvarnished truth,” he said. “We have grown tired of the vilification and demonization of the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Kerry, come quick! The Jews are winning!
Participation in the process of ending the conflict should be limited to the countries that are directly affected by conditions in Gaza: Israel, Egypt and the PA (perhaps also Jordan). Turkey and Qatar have no more place at the table than New Zealand. Why should they?
The UN, John Kerry, various governments and media that have expressed anguish over the humanitarian situation should realize that this is the best hope to end the conflict and save innocent lives.
But if they persist in demanding that Israel surrender to aggression, then they bear the responsibility for the suffering of innocents no less than the Hamas war criminals that precipitated it.
Excessive Force: Israel, Hamas and the Gaza Conflict
Compared to the UN's battles in Somalia, largely carried out by US forces sent by President Bill Clinton, the US intervention in Panama during the administration of the first President Bush, and the fighting in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, it seems inescapable that in comparison the IDF has acted with great restraint as it tries to avoid as much as possible civilian casualties while fighting an enemy that does its best to hide behind civilians.
Of course, it's important to remember a key difference between the fighting in Gaza and Somalia: in Somalia there was no threat to American civilians at home, whereas Israel is fighting to protect the lives of its civilians, who are under attack. One can only imagine what the US would have unleashed had America itself been threatened.
The bottom line is that once again many elements of the media, and the international human rights community, are judging and convicting Israel by standards that apply to no other country, and are largely ignoring the fact that the IDF is taking more care to avoid harming noncombatants than any other army ever has.
Obama Admin Seeking ‘A Common Place’ Between Israel and Hamas
On CNN’s State of the Union, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser said that Secretary of State John Kerry is seeking “a common place” between Israel and Hamas in order “to stop the violence” in Gaza.
Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s closest foreign policy advisers, also criticized Israel over civilian casualties in Gaza, saying “I think you can always do more.”
Rhodes did not elaborate on where “a common place” between Israel and the terrorist group sworn to its destruction may be found. Hamas maintains as its official slogan: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.”
Rhodes: Obama Admin Seeking "A Common Place" Between Israel and Hamas

Obama: “Immediate, Unconditional” Surrender of Israel to Hamas
Hamas has repeatedly violated every ceasefire, but this comes from Obama’s phone call with Netanyahu, making this another demand for a unilateral Israeli ceasefire.
The terms are:
Israel will stop defending itself. Obama will work toward Hamas’ development and economic needs, e.g. foreign aid and an end to the Israeli blockade.
Hamas gets money and open doors for smuggling weapons. Israel gets another war next year. (h/t Canadian Otter)
‘The Biggest Political Mistake of the War So Far’
As Mead correctly noted, the discovery that Hamas’s rockets can threaten its main transportation link to the outside world makes it much harder for Israel to end the fighting without eliminating Hamas’s rocket capabilities. But it also makes it much harder for Israel to quit the West Bank as long as there’s any chance of it turning into a rocket launching pad like Gaza has.
The vast majority of Israel’s foreign investment and trade comes from the West, and Israel’s geographic distance from the West means this commerce depends on aerial traffic. With its airport shuttered, investors can’t come in and time-sensitive exports can’t go out. Thus Israel simply cannot afford to have its air links with the West at the mercy of a terrorist organization. Its economy wouldn’t survive.
Whether the FAA’s decision was actually political I don’t know. Perhaps the agency was merely spooked by the previous week’s downing of a commercial airliner over Ukraine. Yet the fact that the ban was reversed two days later even though the security situation hadn’t changed, combined with the fact that major airlines like British Airways never suspended flights to begin with, support the contention that the decision, as Haaretz military analyst Amos Harel put it, “had no substantive professional basis,” and was intended primarily to browbeat Israel into accepting Secretary of State John Kerry’s completely unacceptable cease-fire proposal.
If so, to quote Harel again, it reflected “a fundamental lack of understanding of the Israeli mindset”–and not just about the cease-fire. That single FAA decision did more than any political argument ever could to ensure that Israel won’t be leaving the West Bank anytime soon.
Elkin: Last Time We Listened to the US, Hamas Took Over
MK Ze’ev Elkin, the head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said in a YNet interview,
“The international pressure is starting. Last time we listened to the Americans, and we let Hamas participate in the elections. [Then] Hamas took over all of Gaza, and we got terrorism in return. Hamas is a terror organization, just like Al-Qaida, and therefore there is nothing to talk about regarding negotiations.”
Elkin added, “That Hamas is still firing means they aren’t yet deterred, and they haven’t yet reached their breaking point.”
Yadlin: Hamas won’t voluntarily demilitarize, IDF must do it for them
Asking Hamas to demilitarize Gaza is like asking a priest to convert to Judaism, former military intelligence head Amos Yadlin said Sunday.
“This is their ideology, what they believe in, their resistance,” he added. “They will not demilitarize Gaza voluntarily. The only one who can demilitarize them is the IDF.”
Yadlin, who is currently the head of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said that Israel needed to apply “much more military pressure” on Hamas' military wing, which he acknowledge has been “beaten,” but not hard enough.
Hamas chief: We cannot coexist with occupiers
Asked by veteran interviewer Charlie Rose whether he could foresee living beside Israelis in peace, Meshaal said only a future Palestinian state could decide whether to recognize the Jewish state.
"We are not fanatics, we are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers," he said.
"I'm ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs," he said. "However, I do not coexist with the occupiers."
Pressed on whether Palestinians could recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal reiterated Hamas' position -- the group does not recognize Israel.
Friends, family mourn soldiers who fell in Gaza
St.- Sgt. Guy Levy, St.-Sgt. Guy Boyland, St.-Sgt. Avraham Grintzvaig, St.-Sgt Gal Bason, Sgt. First Class (Res.) Barak Refael Degorker, Capt. Liad Lavi, were buried Sunday.
The lesson of the lone soldier
One of the more unintended results of the current war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has been the discovery by many Israelis of “the lone soldier.” While this came amid tragic circumstances, it is incumbent upon us to channel this discovery for good.
Three soldiers, Sean Carmeli and Max Steinberg from the United States and Jordan Ben-Simon from France, were killed in the early days of the ground battle.
All three were defined as lone soldiers; those serving in the army without the local support network of parents and close family.
‘Abba, I’m still crying’
When the funeral on Sunday was over, Yosiel Chalon, 16, knelt by his father’s grave, placed his face in the wreath-covered mound and cried.
Chief Warrant Officer Rami Chalon, 39, a father of four, died Saturday in Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba where he had hung between life and death since he was critically wounded in Gaza – as he attempted to evacuate a wounded soldier from the battlefield.
“I want to be just like you when I grow up,” Yosiel told the hundreds of mourners who filled Hadera cemetery, as he parted from his father in a tearrilled eulogy. “You are a hero.”
Thousands Gather in Prayer at Kotel
Tens of thousands of people gathered at the Kotel (Western Wall) Sunday to pray for the welfare of IDF soldiers locked in battle with Hamas terrorists in Gaza. The prayers were held in the context of “Yom Kippur Katan,” a “minor Yom Kippur,” which takes place on the eve of a new Jewish month, and which many dedicate to prayer, repentance, and fasting.
On Sunday night, the Jewish month of Av begins. The first nine days of the month, leading up to the Fast of the Ninth of Av, are days of semi-mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple, with many Jews refraining from eating meat, taking haircuts, or dressing in freshly-laundered clothing.
Video: Newly-Installed Rivlin Visits Families of Gaza Fallen
Rivlin visited with the Ashdod family of fallen soldier Sgt. Ben Itzhak Oanounou, a member of the Golani Brigade who was killed in battle in Shejaiya last Sunday. Rivlin embraced the parents and siblings of Ben, telling them that “Ben symbolized preparedness and the desire to ensure that Israel remains free in its land. The entire nation of Israel is part of the Operation Protective Edge, and we are all looking to our soldiers for succor. The heart of the entire nation is with you,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin also went to Rishon Lezion, where he met with the family of Sgt. Tal Ifrach, a member of the Egoz Unit of the Golani Brigade. He died in a battle in Shejaiya last Monday. Also visiting at the time were members of the Unit. Rivlin told them that they were “our heroes. I see how you, our children, get better with every generation."
Watch: IDF Soldiers Perform Ethiopian War Song
Put together Israeli soldiers, aliyah from Ethiopia, and the Facebook era, and you get this: an infantry unit performing an Ethiopian war chant. The unit appears to be in training rather than in combat, and the weather appears to be too cold for the video to have been recent, but it has been making the rounds on Facebook and gaining popularity as the Gaza war progresses and the nation seeks to strengthen its morale. Even the guy on the gurney chimes in.
Meet the IDF's 'Foreign Legion'
Not only young immigrants travel a long way to fight for Israel. A number of IDF reservists living and working in Europe, Africa, and America have dropped everything and have rushed back to help make Operation Protective Edge a success.
"I've been doing reserve duty with the same guys for 10 years, showing up for every call and every gathering, never missing anything. When Operation Protective Edge began, it was clear that my place was here, with the guys, defending the homeland," says 1st Sgt. Felix Neuber, 31, a reservist living in Finland who is a devoted member of the Armored Corps.
Exposed IDF Guidebook Instructs Soldiers to Behave Ethically Toward Civilians, Avoid Acts of Revenge
IDF commanders and soldiers received operation-specific instructions on respecting the dignity of civilians, avoiding acts of revenge-driven violence and other ethical issues.
A report by Israel’s Channel 2 on Sunday, day 20 of “Operation Protective Edge”, revealed a booklet which details the goals of the operation and the appropriate way for soldiers to conduct themselves on the battlefield.
Israelis band together to support soldiers
Israeli citizens purchased some 50,000 care packages for Israeli soldiers as part of the Rami Levy supermarkets and Israel Hayom joint initiative to subsidize, pack and deliver the care kits to the troops.
Over the weekend, more than 10,000 of the packages, containing items such as socks, underwear, wet wipes and sweets, were delivered to the soldiers. On Sunday, an additional 15,000 packages, assembled at the Israel Hayom offices, were delivered to soldiers throughout the country. The remainder of the packages will be sent out over the next few days.
American comedians bring laughs in the face of danger
Professional comedians Ari Teman and Danny Cohen like to make people laugh, but they are completely serious about showing their support for Israel during this time of conflict with Hamas in Gaza. The two have arrived in Israel to perform a week of stand-up shows, an operation they have dubbed Rocket Shelter Comedy.
“We’ve come to cheer people up, but to tell you the truth, I have been amazed by how many smiles I have seen on people’s faces here,” said Teman. “People are even smiling when they’re driving, which is really unusual given how Israelis drive.”
Indicting Hamas for war crimes
Hamas must be indicted in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Evidence of Hamas’s crimes in the Gaza Strip has been visible for a decade to anyone not blinded by an obsessive commitment to an anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic outlook.
The truth has been revealed, unexpectedly, by two organizations: the European Union and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), a body that challenges the United Nations Human Rights Council for the title of the most worthless international organization in the world.
At the meeting on July 22, 2014, the 28 foreign ministers of the EU declared that the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians, constituted “criminal and unjustifiable acts.”
One can paraphrase the quote from Oscar Wilde. To find unexpectedly hidden in one of the UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip a batch of 20 rockets on July 16, 2014 that Hamas was planning to fire against Israeli civilians may be regarded as a misfortune; to find a second batch of rockets in another UNRWA school three days later looks like carelessness.
Madeleine Albright is Still Pressuring Israel
It's been 22 years since Madeleine Albright was a foreign policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, 17 years since she was America's ambassador to the United Nations, and 13 since she was secretary of state. Yet all these years later, Albright is still pressuring Israel and trying to appease Israel's enemies.
Like many former government officials, Mrs. Albright, who is now a professor at Georgetown University, keeps showing up in the media as a foreign affairs expert. Unfortunately, she's doing it at Israel's expense. Interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on July 22, Albright paid lip-service to Israel's right to self-defense, but then got to her main point, accusing Israel of "overdoing it" in Gaza. She said Israel's anti-terrorism actions are "disproportionate" and claimed Israel has lost its "moral authority."
This is the same Madeleine Albright who was asked by Lesley Stahl on "Sixty Minutes," on May 12, 1996, if international sanctions against Iraq were worth it, since "we have heard that half a million [Iraqi] children have died." Albright replied: "We think the price is worth it." So much for proportionality!
Lesson Eleven of Gaza War: Abbas Slaps the U.S. Again and Again
Israel’s “peace partner” Mahmoud Abbas slapped America in the face again, just hours after Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Middle East last week to seek an Israel-Hamas ceasefire.
Successive U.S. administrations have propped up Abbas, presented him to the world as a peacemaker, and championed his demand for a Palestinian state. The U.S. has given more than $10 billion since 1994 to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, both of which Abbas chairs.
And here’s what it received in return: Abbas’ PLO announced on July 23 that it completely supports all of the extremist conditions that Hamas has set for a ceasefire: The release of hundreds of Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israel; the lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza (so that Hamas can import more Iranian rockets, plus lots of cement to build more terror tunnels); and huge amounts of international aid, which of course will go straight into the pockets of corrupt Hamas and PA officials.
Flying Pig Alert: Canada’s Green Party President “Gets It” On Gaza
Instead, we can just look at what has happened since Israel left Gaza. Yes, it was occupied by Israel, from 1967 to 2005, 38 years. And then, in a decision that rocked many people, Israel said that although it did not see a partner for peace in Gaza, and although Israel has a very clear policy that it will trade land for recognition and peace, Israel decided to leave, fighting its own citizens, showing once more that it sticks to its word about the settlements not being permanent, but instead something to be removed painfully if peace is achievable to be had.
And then Hamas took power. It has nearly been ten years. Since August 2005, Gazans have been in control of their own destiny. Some might say otherwise, yet Gazans have their own government and they are their own people: If their neighbours, Egypt and Israel, close their borders to Gaza, one must look to a Gaza run by a terrorist organization cum government that teaches and propagates hate, death and destruction to understand why.
Terror Group Threatens to 'Chop Off the Heads of the Jews'
Jews who refuse to leave “Palestine” will be subject to beheading, a Palestinian group closely associated with Hamas threatened over the weekend. The “People's Resistance Committee, which is involved in the fighting in Gaza, made the threat as it announced that it was responsible for firing rockets at an IDF patrol east of Jebalya.
The 107 millimeter rockets, which the group specializes in using, has been nicknamed “the whip of death” by PRC terrorists. The group has threatened to “murder the soldiers of the treacherous thieves,” who robbed them of “Palestine.”
“We will get to you and chop off your heads,” the group threatened. “Leave our land, your army and leadership cannot protect you
Islamic Jihad Said to Have Iranian 'Judgement Day' Missile
Islamic Jihad has “many more surprises up its sleeve,” said Abdullah Shalah, head of the terror group said Sunday. In an interview on an Arab satellite station, Shalah said that “We have a store of strategic weapons that we have never used,” but was prepared to bring out against Israel if the war in Gaza continued. With that, he did not specify what those weapons were.
According to sources in Gaza, those weapons are Iranian-made “Zelzal” missiles, an unguided missile that can carry a payload of up to 600 kg (1,323 pounds) of explosives for a distance of up to 200 kilometers. Speaking to the Donia Alwattan news site, the sources, which claim to be close to Islamic Jihad, did not say how many such missiles the terror group had, adding that “this is their 'judgement day' weapon.”
Egypt: Morsi salutes ‘resistance’ in Gaza
Under Morsi’s rule, Egypt brokered a truce in 2012 between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, after they fought a similar deadly war. Hamas is an offshoot of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group.
“Our compass is set on supporting Palestine against the usurping occupier and we are with any resistance against any occupier,” Morsi said in a message posted on his official Facebook page late Sunday.
Fatah: "We will turn Tel Aviv into a ball of fire"

Jerusalem Imam: Egypt Should Annex Gaza, Lead Arab Armies in Annihilating the Jews

Rogers: Iran Aiding, Arming Hezbollah and Hamas
Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) on Sunday slammed the Obama administration for unfreezing $2.8 billion in Iranian assets, saying that money is being used to fund Hamas.
“Iran is publicly, in their own newspapers, touting the fact that they are helping to militarize Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” Rogers said on Face the Nation. “They’re supporting Hezbollah in the fight in Syria and supplying Hamas in the Gaza Strip with weapons.”
The White House announced last week that it would give Iran access to the money in order to continue nuclear talks through November.
“You can’t just pick and choose one particular region. It has to work in concert,” Rogers said. “So when you free up $2.8 billion for Iran when they’re already cash strapped because of sanctions, that means they can continue to do bad activities in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas Spokesman: Israel Has Reached Only a Fraction of the Tunnels

Hamas defector slams ‘death worship’
A high-profile Hamas critic, and son of one the group’s leaders, struck out at the terrorist group for its “worship of death” and its plans to establish a global caliphate, in a recent interview.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, a Hamas defector who worked for 10 years as an informer for the Shin Bet, explained to CNN last week that, for Gaza’s rulers, human life is of no consequence.
“Hamas does not care about the lives of Palestinians, or the lives of Israelis, or Americans; they don’t care about their own lives,” Yousef said. “They consider dying for their ideology a way of worship.
New Hamas CGI: Threatening To Bring Down Planes
When still images of an unrelated incident 8 years ago doesn’t work, make a snazzy CGI animation with the wrong plane and broken Hebrew to instill fear in the enemy lie to your own minions.
Gaza Conflict Spotlights Role of Qatar, the Hamas-Funding U.S. Ally
“Qatar is a very strange place. They rely on the U.S. for protection and invest heavily in the U.S.,” said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), noting that the U.S. has its largest Mideast airbase—Al-Udeid Air Base—in Qatar.
“[But] at the same time, just miles away from [the airbase], you can find the head of Hamas (Khaled Mashal), and there was even a Taliban embassy there for a while too. All of these things make for a foreign-policy anomaly,” Schanzer told
With the war raging in Gaza, Israeli leaders have begun to single out Qatar for its support of Hamas. During a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on July 23, now-former Israeli President Shimon Peres slammed Qatar for becoming “the world’s largest funder of terror.”
PFLP-GC chief says Syria, Iran, Hezbollah armed Hamas
PFLP-GC Secretary-General Ahmad Jibril spoke to Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV on July 17 and said that the Islamist terror group controlling the Gaza Strip has received “a lot of help both in the scientific sense and in transferring weapons and equipment” from Tehran and its allies in Damascus and Lebanon.
“After 2008, hundreds of our young people left the Gaza Strip for Syria, Lebanon, and Tehran, to train and to learn how to improve these weapons,” Jibril said referring to Hamas’s missiles. “Allah be praised, these weapons indeed were improved.”
In the interview, translated by MEMRI, Jibril described the route by which arms were smuggled from Syria to the blockaded Gaza Strip, explaining that the armed from Iran can’t be transferred by the Persian Gulf because it “is under surveillance.”
UN Slams Israel For Intercepting Rockets During Ceasefire (satire)
US President Barack Obama joined the international community in condemning the Israeli use of its interception system, saying that the downing of the Kassam, Fajr-5, and M-75 rockets represents a gross violation of the terms of the ceasefire. “We support Israel’s right to defend itself, as we have maintained throughout this episode, but take exception to Israel actually defending itself,” said the president at a White House press conference Monday morning. In response to a reporter’s question about Hamas firing the rockets during the ceasefire, Obama repeated his statement.
It remains unclear what happens now that the Israeli offensive has been halted, but the IDF still holds the positions it captured within the Gaza Strip and continues to destroy the tunnels it has discovered, tunnels that, according to Israeli intelligence assessments, were intended to be used in a mass terror attack in September against southern communities. The Security Council voted to explicitly condemn those IDF actions, calling them, “a crude violation of Palestinian sovereignty.” Both Palestinian officials and many Security Council members understand that sovereignty to include the ability to kill Israelis.
Titanium Zev
Titanium is an element of low density and high strength, very resistant to corrosion.
I was getting worn down, with all the rockets from Gaza, anti-Israel news reports, endless Pallywood photos, Tweets full of vile images and videos of Arab children encouraged to use weapons.
Then a friend shared a video her 13 year old son produced with his bar mitzvah money. Titanium Zev, a new oleh from the US, sings his song.
Titanium-Zev Moore (David Guetta ft.Sia)


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