Thursday, May 17, 2018

From Ian:

Matti Friedman (NYTs): Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy
The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.

Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn’t work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom — the soldiers won’t know which — will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas’s tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel’s enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand?

These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn’t what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey’s president called it “genocide.” A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about “whiteness and Zionism,” part of an odd trend that reads America’s racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age — the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous — have crept into the worldview of people who should know better.

For someone looking out from here, that’s the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times.
Bret Stephens (NYTs): Gaza’s Miseries Have Palestinian Authors
Notice, also, the old pattern at work: Avow and pursue Israel’s destruction, then plead for pity and aid when your plans lead to ruin.

The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.

But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk?

Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.

The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind?

Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?

That’s a question to which one can easily guess the answer. In the meantime, it’s worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian aspirations.

No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated acts of self-harm and destructive provocation.

If Palestinians want to build a worthy, proud and prosperous nation, they could do worse than try to learn from the one next door. That begins by forswearing forever their attempts to destroy it.
Col Kemp: Hamas are using their own people as expendable tools. Don’t fall for their games
Many have condemned Israel for using excessive and disproportionate force. I cannot assess every incident, but I can say for sure that this is not the case. The IDF has strict rules of engagement, similar to our own, which conform to the laws of war and, when appropriate, to human rights law. IDF commanders exercise tight control over use of force, and I stood beside a battalion commander on the border as he directed operations in his sector.

Those who say it would be no big deal if the crowds reached the border fail to understand the potentially catastrophic implications. If they succeeded in breaking down the fence, thousands would pour through, intent on violence against Israeli civilians. Among them would be armed terrorists with orders to reach border communities and carry out mass murder. Some villages are just a few minutes’ dash from the border. Hamas social media provided Google maps marked with routes from the border to the communities they intended to attack. Had that horrendous scenario occurred, the IDF would have defended these communities with lethal force and many more people would have died.

All of this is no doubt hard to fully understand, especially if you are conditioned to see Israel in a bad light. But those who wrongly accuse Israel of using too much force play into the hands of Hamas.

I am in no doubt that the international reaction to conflict in Gaza has validated Hamas’s human shield tactics and encouraged them to step up their violence. This has contributed to the death toll. Anyone who is genuinely interested in human rights and concerned to improve the wretched lives of the people of Gaza should support Israel’s lawful efforts to defend its sovereign territory and condemn Hamas, which so malevolently oppresses its people and throws away the lives of innocent men, women and children.

I was at the Gaza border, we did all we could to avoid killing
Of course, the primary mission was to prevent hundreds of thousands of Gazans from infiltrating into our territory. That kind of invasion would be perilous, mortally dangerous, to the nearby communities; would permit terrorists disguised as civilians to enter our kibbutz and moshav communities, and would leave us with no choice but to target every single infiltrator. That’s why our soldiers were directed to prevent infiltration, in a variety of ways, using live ammunition only as a last resort.

The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence. In addition, over the past few weeks there have been serious efforts to save the lives of children and civilians who have been pushed to the front lines by the Hamas, who are trying to hide behind them in order to infiltrate and attack Israel.

When there is no alternative, and live ammunition must be used to stop those who storm the fence, the soldiers make heroic and sometimes dangerous efforts not to kill and to only injure those on the other side. The IDF stations senior commanders at every confrontation point to ensure that every shot is approved and backed up by a responsible figure with proper authority. Every staging area has an especially large number of troops in order to make sure that soldiers are not put into life-threatening situations where they will have no choice but to fire indiscriminately.

A situation where thousands of people rush you is frightening, even terrifying. It is extremely difficult to show restraint, and it requires calm, mature professionalism. Sixty-two dead is an enormous number. But I can testify from my first-hand experience, that every bullet and every hit is carefully reported, documented and investigated, in Excel spreadsheets. Literally. I was there and I saw it with my own eyes.

This isn’t the time or place to discuss the situation in general and the desperate plight of the residents of Gaza. I’m not interested in starting a political discussion here, although I do have a clear position. What I’m trying to do is present, for everyone who really wants to listen, the extent of the IDF’s enormous effort to protect Israel’s borders while minimizing injuries and loss of life on the other side.

And despite all this – the situation on the border with Gaza is deteriorating. I hope that we won’t be called up again soon for reserve duty to protect our country. But if we are, we will go with the knowledge that we are serving a morally just cause. We do not rejoice when we must go to war, but we also don’t go like sheep to the slaughter. Not anymore.
The Top Ten Stupidest Criticisms of Israel's Actions on the Gaza Border
1) People have a right to peacefully protest! (Indeed they do. But there are plenty of people here who are taking butcher knives and firebombs and guns to storm the border and kill and kidnap Israeli civilians.)

2) There is no evidence of that! (Yes there is. There are Arabic Facebook pages and interviews and photos.)

3) But it's not all the Gazans who are doing that! (Right. And it's not all the Gazans who are being shot!)

4) Israel is just trying to kill as many Gazans as possible! (If it was, there would be carnage like in Syria. Israel is trying to avoid killing Gazans - aside from anything else, it is politically very damaging.)

5) Israel should just use tear gas! (They have, but it often doesn't work, such as when it's windy, or when the Gazans have gas masks and bury the canisters.)
The Ben Shapiro Show: Why The Media Get Gaza Wrong Ep. 540

Alan Dershowitz: Why Does the Media Keep Encouraging Hamas Violence?
It is true that Gaza is in a desperate situation and that it is wounded. But the wound is self-inflicted. When Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip -- removing every single soldier and settler -- Gaza could have become the Singapore of the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful area with a large seacoast. It received infusions of cash and other help from Europe. Israel left behind agricultural equipment and greenhouses. But instead of using these resources to feed, house and educate its citizens, Hamas built rockets and terror tunnels. It threw dissenters off roofs and murdered members of the Palestinian Authority who were willing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it.

Hamas rejects the two-state solution or any solution that leaves Israel intact. Its only solution is violence, and the events at the fence these past days are a manifestation of that violence. Would any country in the world allow 40,000 people, sworn to its destruction, to knock down a border fence and attack its citizens living peacefully near the border? Of course not. Could Israel have done more to reduce casualties among those trying to breach the border fence? I don't know, and neither do the legions of armchair generals that are currently criticizing Israel for the steps it took to prevent a catastrophe among the residents of villages and towns that are proximate to the border fence.

One thing is crystal-clear: Hamas will continue to use the dead baby strategy as long as the media continues to report the deaths in the manner in which it has reported them in recent weeks. Many in the media are complicit in these deaths because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line.

Perhaps Israel could do a better job in defending its civilians, but it is certain that the media can do a better job in accurately reporting the Hamas strategy that results in so many innocent deaths.

There is a marvelous cartoon that illustrates the difference between Hamas and Israel. It shows an Israeli soldier standing in front of a baby carriage with a baby in it, shielding the baby. Then it shows a Hamas terrorist standing behind a baby carriage with the baby in it, using the baby to shield him. This cartoon better illustrates the reality that is occurring at the Gaza fence than most of the "objective" reporting by the media.

Kay Wilson: In The Name of Journalism
Throughout history there have been at least 150 blood libels – a false charge against Jews that they kidnapped Christian children and used their blood for religious rites. Following these hateful lies, in almost every case, Jews were murdered, either by a mob, or following torture and a trial. The number of Jewish victims is in the hundreds of thousands.

Today we are witnessing another blood libel – from journalists not only in the Arab world, but also in the West.

Holding positions of incredible influence, the reporters tweet blasé from safe spaces ignoring context and facts. Incredulously, they deem it fitting to sympathize with the worlds richest terror group, savages who prey on victimhood – those have sworn to “tear out the hearts of the Jews.” These journalists show no impartiality, and many are even offended that, so far, Israel has lost no lives.

In doing so, these journalists are irresponsibly and dangerously lancing a boil, and the pus of the world’s oldest hatred is pouring out.

In the name of “journalism,” a blood libel is happening in front of our eyes.

Shame on them all. Every. Single. One.
The people of Gaza are Victims of Hamas

David Collier: Gaza, Hamas and why I won’t be criticising Israel today
One of the reasons I won’t be criticising Israel today is because I am in London. I am not facing 40,000 rioters sent by Hamas to the Israeli border. Instead I am safely tucked away in a relatively secure part of the globe, with the armies of British enemies pushed back through centuries of brutal conflict. Even in the last two decades many have died in the Middle East because the British army, like that of the United States, protects its borders and global interests by fighting it’s battles far from away from our shores. Our enemies are not even allowed to get close to us.

More recently, our streets have remained silent from protest whilst the Syrian conflict has butchered half a million people. Given the absolute silence in the face of real Genocide and ethnic cleansing occurring across the globe, little is more hypocritical than global tears over the deaths of what we know now were mainly Hamas operatives on the Gaza border. One of those nations involved in the Syrian massacres, Turkey, has just expelled the Israeli Ambassador. Turkey? Erdogan is surely having a laugh.
Hamas and Gaza

It is thirteen years since Israel withdrew from Gaza. Pulling back its forces, dismantling settlements and forcibly removing Jewish residents. Almost immediately Hamas won an election and then tried to replace the Palestinian police with Hamas forces in Gaza. This internal conflict eventually led to the ‘Battle of Gaza‘ between Fatah and Hamas, which resulted in Hamas taking full control of the Strip.

The history since then has been tragic. The growing Gazan population has been under the control of a terrorist regime intent on conflict rather than dialogue. With international funding looking after the basic necessities of daily existence, Hamas funds have gone towards fighting Israel rather than improving the lives of its citizens. There have been three major conflicts and the last one in 2014, was devastating.
David Horovitz: World must tell Gaza’s Hamas-abused masses the truth: There will be no ‘return’
The world owes it to the Palestinians to correct its definition of Palestinian “refugees” — and it can do so, incidentally, without in any way impacting any aid assistance it provides for Gaza and the West Bank.

It owes it to the Palestinians to make clear that Israel will not be required or pressured to commit national suicide as a Jewish state by absorbing millions of descendants of Palestinians who used to live in what is today’s Israel. Just as Israel, following the division of Mandatory Palestine by the UN in 1947 and independence in 1948, built a thriving state in its revived historic home, including by absorbing hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Middle Eastern and North African countries, so the Palestinians should be encouraged to build a thriving Palestinian state alongside and in true peace with Israel as the home to their millions — a first ever Palestinian state, in a framework that was spurned by the Arab world 70 years ago and that they tragically continue to reject.

The world owes it to the Palestinians to push for a genuine two-state solution — for a Palestine at peace with today’s majority Jewish Israel, not for a Palestine that simultaneously insists on destroying Jewish Israel. To help both sides move toward a genuine two-state solution that would give the Palestinians independence and enable Israel to maintain its democracy and Jewish character — a negotiated separation.

Want to alleviate the ongoing tragedies of Gaza? Want to prevent the endless repetition of horror days like Monday? Make plain to the Palestinians that they have no “right” of “return.” Tell them that they deserve leadership that doesn’t lie to them and abuse them. And make it clear that their independence can only be achieved through a genuine readiness for coexistence, alongside majority-Jewish Israel.
Daniel Sugarman: I said Israel should be ashamed – now I am the one who is ashamed
I failed to acknowledge that, either way, Israel would be giving Hamas what it wanted. Shoot at those charging at you and Hamas would have its martyrs. Fail to shoot and Hamas would break through the barrier and bring suffering and death – its stated aim - to Israelis living only a few hundred metres away from that barrier. The march may have originally been, as it was declared to be, about Palestinians returning to the homes they had to leave 70 years before. But Hamas’s aim was far more straightforward - “We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.”

I wrote in my previous article that Israel was a regional powerhouse, and that it was strong enough to take criticism from Jews in the Diaspora.

I still believe it is strong enough to do so. I just don’t believe that my criticism of it was valid. Given the circumstances, and the situation on the ground, I am at a loss in terms of coming up with a better solution. The choice was, quite literally, shoot at people running at you with the stated aim of killing you and your families, or fail to shoot and let them do it.

A few days ago I said I could not and would not defend Israel’s actions. Now, in the cold light of day, I could not and would not see how I would fail to defend them.

I said that Israel should be ashamed of its actions. But today I am the one ashamed.
Haaretz: If You Call the Gaza Death Toll "Disproportionate," How Many Israelis Have to Die for the Sake of Symmetry?
Did the Israeli army act carelessly in Gaza, shooting hastily into crowds of helpless civilian protestors? Are Israel's critics suggesting that if there were a lot more Israeli dead, and a hundred Jewish bodies were strewn across the desert in southern Israel, then Israel's action would be acceptable?

Such a thing could happen easily enough. If the fence were breached and a single terrorist were to reach one of the civilian towns that have long been the intended targets of Hamas rockets and tunnels, the Israeli and Hamas death tolls might quickly "balance out."

But Israel will not sacrifice a single life in these long-suffering towns without a fight. Neither will Israelis permit an Israeli soldier or civilian to be kidnapped without doing their utmost to stop it. That is why Israel will do what it must to repel these mobs, and it is a moral obscenity to propose that it should do otherwise.

Multiple commentators have argued that Israel's military had alternative, non-lethal methods of restraint to contain the demonstrators. But this argument seems to me more a wish than a reality. 40,000 determined protestors cannot be contained with water hoses or conventional crowd control.

Israel's training of its soldiers was intense, instructions were detailed, and experienced officers were in command. Shoot-to-kill was not a first resort but an absolute last resort. If resorting to deadly force had been ruled out, a breach of the fence by thousands of demonstrators was likely inevitable.

In 2007, the Quartet set out the conditions for normalizing the political status of Hamas. They included a Hamas commitment to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and support of past international treaties and obligations. Hamas refused then, and refuses now, to meet these conditions. It is this refusal, and not the actions of Israel, that isolates Hamas and makes it a terrorist group and an international outlaw.
Ex-Shin Bet head: Hamas doesn't want to fight Israel but must lower demands
Despite the Gaza border crisis, Hamas has no interest in fighting Israel and wants a state like other nations, but needs to lower its demands to get there, former Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen told Army Radio on Thursday.

Hamas is asking itself, “How can it get Israel to change its blockade policy? It wants to be a state like any other state… It has no interest in fighting Israel. It knows it cannot conquer us,” but that its terms for moving on with Israel are unrealistic, he said.

The openness to viewing Hamas as theoretically no longer wanting to fight Israel was surprising coming from Cohen, who has made few public appearances to date and is usually viewed as hawkish on security issues.

Cohen said that Hamas is at its lowest point yet and feels like it is out of military options, all of which Israel has blocked.

At the same time, he said, Hamas is frustrated with the desperate economic situation and knows its stability is potentially in jeopardy until it provides jobs and some normalcy to its people.
Trapped in Its Own Paradox, Hamas Is Buying Time With Gaza Protests
Four years after the end of its last armed conflict with Israel, Hamas once again finds itself in a corner, strategically isolated from the region and ruling over a sinking ship.

Hamas’ efforts to find a “big brother” in the area — a state power that could back it — have all ended in failure. The Sunni Arab world, which is busy dealing with Iran and its own domestic crises, has no patience for Hamas’ hardline Islamist ideology and its recipe for neverending conflict with Israel.

Still, Hamas needs a backer if it is to maintain its regime in Gaza. It is looking for a power that can promote its interests in the international arena. Hamas’ failure to find such an entity has driven it into the hands of Iran and Hezbollah. Hamas has moved closer to Iran simply because there is no one else. Even Turkey, a Sunni Islamist state that is sympathetic to Hamas, is too distant to make a significant difference or alleviate the pressure on the terrorist group.

Egypt vehemently rejects the idea of partnering with Hamas, correctly viewing it as a member of the same Muslim Brotherhood movement against which the Egyptian leadership has waged war for years. From the perspective of Egypt’s current leadership, Hamas will always be a collaborator with the enemy.

One Persian Gulf economic powerhouse, Qatar, does provide some funds to Gaza, but not enough to change the status quo.

Hamas knows it remains utterly isolated.
IDF hits Hamas targets in Gaza following gunfire to Sderot, troops
Israeli Air Force jets struck several Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

Four different targets inside a military compound belonging to the group were hit, including buildings and infrastructure. Three additional targets inside a weapons production facility were also struck.

The strike was carried out in retaliation for heavy machine-gun fire that hit the southern Israeli city of Sderot, as well as for a number of shooting attacks against IDF troops along the Gaza border during the day, the army said.

"The terrorist organization Hamas is solely responsible for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences for the acts of terror carried out from Gaza against the citizens and sovereignty of Israel,” read a statement by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, adding that the military “is determined to continue its missions and to ensure security to the residents of Israel."

Following the gunfire, IDF tanks fired against two Hamas observation posts in southern Gaza. Sderot Mayor Allon Davidi said the response was not significant enough and called for a much harsher strike.
The Distortion of International Law in Gaza
The Israeli organization B’Tselem recently called for Israeli soldiers to disobey orders on the Gaza frontier and refrain from using live fire against attempted infiltration and terrorist acts. A formal “opinion” published by the Israel Democracy Institute lends support to B’Tselem. Another organization filed a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court, alleging that the IDF rules of engagement permitting the use of live fire on the Gaza border are illegal under international law.

These three examples and others like them all share a similar premise: international law permits the use of lethal force only as a response to direct mortal peril or against armed targets. This categorical claim represents a radical and distorted interpretation of international law that directly contradicts basic concepts in the laws of armed conflict.

International law is of course ambiguous and complex, yet certain principles are easy enough to define. So what does the law actually say?

The law distinguishes between civilians and combatants. While enemy combatants can be targeted with very few limitations, civilians are protected by an array of provisions and restrictions. However, the law withdraws these protections and in effect defines a civilian as a “combatant” for all intents and purposes when a civilian engages in “direct participation in hostilities.”
Amid Crisis, New Israel Fund Calls on UN to Investigate Israel
In the midst of vicious attacks along Israel’s border led by terrorists, the IDF has valiantly protected the State of Israel.

Against this backdrop, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated that “no country would act with greater restraint than Israel,” adding that Hamas is responsible for the deaths and injuries.

She said, “Let’s remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy.” She added, “Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.”

While reports from Gaza suggested that the majority of protesters were unarmed, Ms. Haley called attention to the tactics employed by some, which included the use of Molotov cocktails and other weapons.

The Trump administration noted Monday that the deaths of protesters along the border were “tragic,” but ultimately the responsibility of Hamas, not the IDF. “We believe that Hamas as an organization is engaged in cynical action that is leading to these deaths,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters.

But where is the New Israel Fund (NIF) when it comes to these Palestinian terrorists?
Self inflicted Palestinian humiliation is not Israel's problem
I am going to risk predicting that, contrary to their boasting, a million Palestinians aren't going to succeed in invading Israel this week.

And if I am already sticking my neck out I will share another prediction:

The Gaza Strip could have become a burgeoning export dynamo exploiting its close proximity to European markets.
That in the wake of this failure there are going to be talking heads suggesting that Israel must make concessions or gestures to the Palestinians to somehow compensate them for their humiliation.

And there will be sophisticated talking heads suggesting that Israeli must make concessions or gestures to support the Palestinian leadership that ostensibly acted behind the scenes so that a million Palestinians didn't invade the Jewish State.

Let's be clear.about this.

The Palestinians are responsible for their humiliation.
The Gaza battle isn’t over yet
The Gazan street was in a state of shock Tuesday, on Nakba Day of all days. The resistance movements—Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, alongside Fatah in the West Bank—were supposed to demonstrate their full force on the street that day, but things didn’t go as planned.

Several hundred Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, mainly in the Al-Bureij area, flocked to the fences and run wild as a force of habit. The result was one dead Palestinian and 50 wounded. Considering the weekend protests of the past two months, it was almost a regular day.

In the West Bank, some 1,000 protestors gathered in 18 sites. Despite the forecasts, it ended up being the calmest Nakba Day Israel could have wished for.

There isn’t a single PR genius capable of explaining to normative people in the world a death toll of 61 and 2,850 wounded Palestinians in one day of protests. Israel will pay for Monday’s events. In the short run, these numbers created a shock in Gaza. Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar may have encouraged young Gazans to smash into the fences, but as the bodies piled up and the hospitals collapsed—it made the leadership stop and think.

The social media discourse reveals a dispute: Part of the Hamas leadership is demanding revenge and wants to keep pushing the street to the fences so as not to lose the momentum; another part wishes to examine the political-economic achievements Hamas might be able to score from Monday’s victims.

It’s quite possible that the clashes will resume. On Tuesday evening, reports began arriving about buses ordered to drive the masses to the fences. The IDF remains on high alert.
Palestinian caught at Gaza fence says Hamas plans riots so ‘people won’t revolt’
The Israeli military on Wednesday released footage from the interrogation of a Palestinian man who was arrested as he infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, in which he claims that Hamas is leading the recent border riots in order to stave off an uprising.

“Hamas organizes these riots so the people won’t revolt,” said the Palestinian suspect, whose face was blurred in the video.

“They’re the ones controlling the Strip, ruling it. Everything that happens goes through them,” he said.

On Tuesday, he was one of several Gazans who breached the security fence and entered Israeli territory during a violent border protest. They were arrested by Israeli soldiers shortly after they made it past the fence, the army said.

The Israel Defense Forces released his filmed testimony on Wednesday night. In the video, the suspect speaks in Arabic to the Israeli soldiers, while he sits handcuffed on what appears to be a kite covered in swastikas that had been flown into Israel from Gaza.

New weapon against rioters: 'The Choco Drone'
The Defense Ministry's directorate of research and development of weapons and technological infrastructure (Mafat) revealed Wednesday, in the context of disturbances on the Gaza border and in Judea and Samaria, a new development that will help IDF soldiers disperse rioters with nonviolent means.

The “Choco Drone” project was developed by Mafat and in cooperation with the Israeli defense industry, especially for the events of the current week, particularly “Nakba Day.”

This week, the drone began its operational activity in the Gaza Strip, with its operation defined as successful. With the new development, IDF forces are not required to reach a point close to the border - all operations are carried out from the air according to the decision of the commanding officer in the field.

The drone is designed to carry heavy weights and is suitable for a variety of uses as well as for low-altitude flying. The ability to disperse rioters was not among its planned uses, but when the need arose, its designation was changed within a short period of time.

The drone was fitted with a shell capable of holding a large quantity of bags containing foul-smelling substance - known as "chocolate."
Netanyahu Scoffs at CBS Question About Meeting with Hamas: ‘Could You Talk to Al Qaeda?’
In an interview with "CBS Evening News," Netanyahu said he wished the recent violence at the Gaza border had never happened. He told anchor Jeff Glor it was not a "peaceful demonstration."

"Hamas is pushing people with a view of a massive infiltration into Israel, openly declaring their goal is to destroy Israel," Netanyahu said. "They're paying these people so it's not the peaceful demonstration that you think about."

"They're pushing civilians, women, children, into the line of fire, with the view of getting casualties," he added. "We try to minimize casualties. They're trying to incur casualties in order to put pressure on Israel, which is horrible."

Asked if his army went too far, Netanyahu said he didn't know of any military that would do anything differently against a similar threat. No Hamas leaders were immune from Israeli targeting, he said, if they continue to dispatch "terrorists to kill us."

"Do you see yourself under any circumstance talking to Hamas?" Glor asked.

"As long as they seek our destruction, what am I going to talk about?" Netanyahu asked. "Could you talk to al Qaeda? Would you have discussions with bin Laden? About what?"

Glor drew parallels with the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"Sometimes, meetings that might be unimaginable end up happening," Glor said.

"You're right. It's happened to us with our Arab neighbors [like Jordan]. But that's when you have leaders who've decided that they abandon the goal of war and destruction and annihilating the other side," Netanyahu said.

Gaza Border Coverage: Shame on the Media
We’re seeing a veritable tsunami of media commentary, most of it highly critical of Israel in the aftermath of this week’s Gaza border violence.

New information is now coming to light that calls into question the overwhelming and knee-jerk reaction of the media and elsewhere to place almost the entire blame on Israel for the violence and deaths that occurred.
Hamas publicly acknowledges 50 of its dead were operatives

The overwhelming narrative adopted by the media was one of Israel shooting dead unarmed civilians protesters who posed little to no threat.

This despite plenty of evidence to the contrary (see HonestReporting’s previous post) including social media posts from the protest organizers calling for participants to bring concealed weapons and encouraging them to breach the fence and kill or kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians.

Yet, with the death toll at some 62 Palestinians, the truth is steadily leaking out. 50 of the dead were claimed by Hamas official Salah al-Bardaweel as their operatives.

James Delingpole: Enough Hamas Dead Baby Propaganda in the Western Media, Already!
What kind of mother takes her baby to a conflict zone where rocks and bullets are flying and tear gas chokes the air?

Why, a Palestinian mother like the one pictured weeping over her dead baby in lots of newspapers today. (Including, I note, the former conservative imprint the Daily Telegraph which has put it on the front page…)

“Palestinian officials said the baby died in an Israeli tear gas attack, a claim disputed by Israeli forces” says the Telegraph.

But if a picture is worth a thousand words then that caption is meaningless.

All most people are going to see is a pretty young mother, flanked by two older female relatives, desperately hugging the shrouded corpse of her baby.

What are we to make of this?

Well it’s theoretically possible, I suppose, that everything the Palestinian propaganda industry is telling us is true: that this young woman called “Mariam” just happened to be innocently wandering past with her eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour when, lo!, the evil Israelis struck with their wanton tear gas and poor Leila died.

But if it is true, it would be a first. “Pallywood productions”, as Hamas’s propaganda arm is known, has a long track record of making stuff up – particularly when it involves Israelis supposedly doing bad things to kids.

What’s surprising is not that Hamas goes on trying to play this trick – but that the Western media goes on letting it get away with it.
Exclusive -- Michael Oren: Hamas Has Weaponized the Western Media
Deputy Minister Dr. Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, told Breitbart News on Wednesday that Hamas is using the western media to undermine Israel’s national security.

Dr. Oren spoke exclusively with Breitbart News in the dining room of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, two days after the U.S. embassy opened in Jerusalem and after dozens of Palestinian rioters were killed at the Gaza border.

The international media, he noted, had reported the clashes as if Israel were killing innocent, young Palestinian demonstrators, even though many of the rioters were armed, and many — at least 24 of the 61 dead — were members of the Hamas terror group.

“We developed Iron Dome,” Dr. Oren said, referring to Israel’s anti-missile system, “but we have no Iron Dome, as far as I can see, for the public diplomacy and legal aspect of this, because the next war is not going to end on the battlefield, but at The Hague.

“The battlefield is no longer the battlefield, but the media,” he continued, adding that Hamas had developed a “new missile” that can evade the Iron Dome.

“It’s called a ‘demonstrator.’ It’s cheaper, it carries less risk, and in most cases, the missile is reusable.”
WaPo Story About Dead Palestinian Baby Changes, No 'Correction' Made
The Washington Post published a story early Tuesday about the violent protests in Gaza, including reports from the Palestinian Health Ministry regarding the number of dead and wounded.

That story included a baby who reportedly died after inhaling tear gas. (The baby was identified as Laila Ghanem or Layla Ghaben, depending on the publication.) Palestinian officials and multiple media outlets seized on the story, calling the baby a martyr. A public funeral was held for her on Tuesday.

When conflicting reports came late Tuesday from the the Associated Press indicating that the baby had died of a pre-existing condition, The Washington Post changed both the headline and the story without issuing a correction.

Dozens of London Jews say Kaddish for Palestinians killed in Gaza
A few dozen young people in London recited Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer, for fatalities in Gaza whom a Hamas official had said mostly belonged to his organization.

The activists gathered outside Parliament Square Wednesday, reading the names of the 62 Gazan Palestinians listed by the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza as killed in clashes Monday and Tuesday between tens of thousands of protesters and Israeli troops guarding the border with Gaza. The riots were part of a march organized by Hamas whose stated goal was to breach the border fence and cross into Israel.

Israel accused the Hamas terror group of encouraging the protests and using them as cover to attempt to carry out terror attacks, including firing at troops and attempting to breach the border fence.

The group gathered outside the British houses of parliament sang songs and read out the names of the 62 people killed in Gaza, before reciting the Kaddish prayer. (h/t dabney)
Daily Express publishes Hamas propaganda and blood libel that Israel gases babies
The Daily Express is considered to be a 'conservative' British newspaper and one of the few that is not anti-Israel. In fact it rarely publishes much 'foreign news' in any detail at all, which is why yesterday's unprecedented full page story demonizing Israel with the blood libel that it gassed a baby to death in Gaza is so appalling. It was known the previous day that this baby’s death had nothing to do with Israel (the baby died of a pre-existing condition). But this is by no means the only thing shoddy about this most vicious and unbalanced anti-Israel hit piece. Note also the following:
  • The Express had not provided a single news item previously about Hamas's ongoing provocations and violence against Israel's border, so its readers will know nothing about the context of what happened on Monday. On the contrary the story presents the lie that this was a spontaneous protest against the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.
  • In fact the border - where all of the violence took place - is not even mentioned until paragraph 9. Instead the narrative is that Israel - out of nowhere - started to drop cannisters of lethal tear gas in the middle of Gaza. The fact that many of the 40,000 demonstrators were armed and violently attempting to breach the border - is not mentioned.
  • Whereas the Hamas propaganda claims - including the ludicrous story of how the baby came to be in a war zone - are accepted as facts, the Israeli case is presented by claims in sarcastic quotes.
  • Especially interesting is the fact that the claims by Ambassador Regev and pro-Israel Colonel Kemp are both taken out of context from the the full statements they made. For example, whereas Kemp made a powerful and convincing argument about why all the blame for any deaths lay with Hamas and that the Israeli army had been meticulous in minimising casualties, the only quotes used by him here imply that force was being used as a deterrent to protesting.
CAA complains to BBC over claim that orthodox Jews are “dominating” Donald Trump’s inner circle
Campaign Against Antisemitism has complained to the BBC over an article published yesterday regarding the decision to relocate the embassy of the United States to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.

The article stated that Donald Trump’s “base also lobbied hard for the move. That included right-wing American Jews whose message was amplified by the conservative orthodox Jews dominating Mr Trump’s inner circle.”

It is factually inaccurate to assert that conservative orthodox Jews dominate President Trump’s inner circle. Most of his inner circle and key foreign policy advisers are non-Jews, including Mike Pence, John Kelly, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Nikki Haley and Rudy Giuliani. President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and adviser Jason Greenblatt, are affiliated with modern orthodoxy, which is different to orthodoxy, while other Jewish senior advisers, namely Stephen Miller and Steven Mnuchin are connected to more liberal strands of Judaism.

Inaccurately reporting that conservative orthodox Jews dominate President Trump’s inner circle, which is a stereotype of Jewish control, could fuel antisemitism in the UK. This was evidenced in our Antisemitism Barometer research, which found that 81% of British Jews believe that media bias against Israel fuels persecution of Jews in Britain.
Israeli news crew attacked in Turkey amid diplomatic fallout
A pair of Israeli journalists were attacked in Istanbul on Wednesday amid the sharp deterioration in ties between Turkey and Israel over clashes on the Gaza border and the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Ohad Hemo, Palestinian affairs correspondent for Hadashot TV news, and cameraman Oded Bino were reporting from Istanbul’s Taksim Square when they were accosted.

“A group of Turks recognized the ‘Hadashot’ logo and the language [Hebrew] in which we were speaking. They stood and yelled ‘murderers, murderers’ and then a few started pushing us,” said Hemo. “One of them started really hitting my cameraman.”

Hemo said the two then left the square. “Bino is OK, he’s in a lot of pain,” he said, though neither required medical treatment.

Hemo said the incident was indicative of the “strong anti-Israel atmosphere here” following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fierce broadsides against Israel.
Hamas Terrorist At Gaza Border Surprised To Hear Media Describe Him As Peaceful Protester (satire)
A member of militant terror group Hamas who had been attempting to breach the Israeli border after the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem confessed he was surprised to hear dozens of U.S. media outlets describe him as a “peaceful protester,” sources confirmed.

The aggressive “soldier of Allah,” who has declared he will not rest until Israel has been wiped off the face of the earth, admitted he wasn’t quite sure how to take the news that Western media had labeled him an innocent family man and unwitting victim of Israeli aggression.

“Frankly, I want to get in there and kill as many of the evil occupiers as I can,” he told reporters as he hid among women and children after hurling rocks and rolling burning tires toward Israeli soldiers stationed at the border. “So to be called a ‘peaceful demonstrator’ was a little off-putting. Don’t I deserve more credit for my efforts?”

“It’s kind of embarrassing, really. What if my family sees that?” he added.

At publishing time, the Hamas terrorist had been surprised to learn the media had called him an “unarmed” demonstrator, in spite of the fact that he had clearly been armed with several weapons during the protest.

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