Tuesday, August 09, 2022

From Ian:

Key military and political takeaways from ‘Operation Breaking Dawn’
Israel’s 66-hour campaign targeting the military leadership of Palestinian Islamic Jihad was a major success on multiple levels. The first was military: Israel succeeded in taking out the entire PIJ command structure, rapidly achieved its military objectives, striking over 170 strategic targets with limited collateral damage, and then quickly brokered a ceasefire.

The second and perhaps even more surprising success was that coverage of Israel’s preemptive strike in the international media was muted, as were the condemnations from around the world that are typically connected to any Israeli military action.

Unparalleled military dominance
For decades, Israel has enjoyed superior intelligence, firepower and air power compared to its enemies. However, Israel’s military edge over local terror factions has reached a new level, as demonstrated clearly both during the current round of hostilities and the previous one just over a year ago.

For better and for worse, Israel has become a surveillance superpower. Israel is watching and listening; even to apps and channels its enemies think are encrypted. Israeli security services can track and locate nearly any device at any time.

These game-changing surveillance capabilities plus advanced technology enable the Israel Defense Forces to generate new targets in real time using complex algorithms. During the 11-day “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May 2021, Israel was able to automatically and continuously generate new targets in the middle of the fighting, in a manner beyond the scope and abilities of any human intelligence.

The second component of Israel’s military dominance is pinpoint accuracy. If a target is in the dining room of an apartment on the fourth floor of a 10-story building, Israel can put a missile through the window of the room.

Israel is thus able to identify, locate and strike targets while dramatically minimizing collateral damage and civilian casualties. This enables Israel to inflict mortal blows to terror infrastructure and only terror infrastructure. On multiple occasions during the three-day operation, for instance, Israel delayed a strike due to children identified playing in the area, waiting to fire until civilians were clear of the area.
Ruthie Blum: Identifying with the invisible residents of southern Israel
This struck me more with each phone call I received on Saturday evening from friends in Jerusalem and elsewhere inquiring whether I thought there would be additional Red Alerts later that night. Each expressed surprise when I responded that the rockets were still flying, every few minutes, without let-up, as they had been for the past 24 hours. The thing is that the bulk was felt in the south.

Contrary to what these friends had assumed, my knowledge about this untenable situation had nothing to do with my having to write about it. Nor was my cognizance the result of a permanent perch in front of the TV and Internet.

No, the reason for my keen awareness of what the residents of the south were having to endure was the Red Alert app that I had downloaded on my phone. I didn’t need to have it; I could hear the sirens in my own neighborhood, and lists of rocket-launches and their locations were visible on every television channel.

But it was a way to get a sense of how often the people who live close to Gaza were under immediate attack. The frequency of the app’s notifications was chilling. Indeed, the chime barely ceased, around the clock, for two-and-a-half days.

Every eerie “cling” sound represented innocent Israelis—from communities whose names are unfamiliar to most of their counterparts to the north—hurrying to hole up in safe rooms, bomb shelters or stairwells. It’s no wonder that many took their kids and fled, until the ceasefire, to homes farther away from the missile-equipped murderers next door.

The Israeli government, especially the current interim one, constantly calls for unity. What might help in this virtually impossible endeavor would be a heavy dose of empathy for those bearing the brunt of the enemy’s will—and repeated attempts—to annihilate the entire Jewish state.

When the next round of rocket barrages begins—and there will be a next round—I urge everyone, Israelis and sympathizers abroad, to arm him/herself with a Red Alert app. It’s an eye-opener, including for those of us who think that we can identify with the plight of our civilian brethren on the front lines.
Caroline Glick: The strategic blindness of Israel’s caretaker government
Israel’s operation demonstrated the depth of the strategic challenge Gaza poses. Islamic Jihad is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, which founded it in 1988 and still arms and commands its operations today. Islamic Jihad used to be seen as a mere nuisance in the Gaza Strip. But this week it showed it has amassed an arsenal capable of presenting Israel with a massive security challenge. Even worse, it has just a fraction of the capabilities that Hamas enjoys.

Hamas is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran, but it is an Iranian client. Hamas receives funding and arms from Tehran. Its leaders are in direct, intimate contact with the Iranian regime, which they brag about. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh was in Tehran last April to participate in Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s inauguration. Hamas’ tens of thousands of missiles cover nearly all of Israel. Its anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles pose a threat to Israeli ground and air operations in Gaza.

Iranian sponsorship isn’t the only thing Hamas and Islamic Jihad share. They are partners. According to media reports, there were Hamas officers in Islamic Jihad command centers all week long. Hamas approved every missile volley Islamic Jihad launched and provided it with logistical support. Given the intimacy of their cooperation, the fact that Hamas didn’t use its own missiles to attack Israel is a meaningless distinction. Indeed, it’s worse than that. Pretending that Hamas is not involved in an operation it actually enabled and participated in gives Hamas a free pass for waging war.

But for the Lapid-Gantz caretaker government, none of this mattered. The government and its attendant media insisted Hamas and Islamic Jihad are totally separate from one another, and even rivals. The government’s narrative claimed Hamas was acting like a responsible adult.

Between Friday and Saturday, the IDF’s job quickly moved from attacking Islamic Jihad to ending the operation as quickly as possible to avoid Palestinian Arab civilian casualties that would “compel” Hamas to start shooting its own missiles at Israel. In other words, the government put the onus on itself. Hamas would come in if Israel made a mistake. Hamas is responsible. It cares about its people. And it will only join the fray if Israel forces its hand.

This false narrative is doubly destructive given Hamas’ actual nature. Hamas isn’t a responsible governing authority. It’s a terrorist organization ideologically committed to annihilating Israel and the entire Jewish people. By treating Hamas as the responsible adult in the room, the government gave legitimacy to an actor that is morally, militarily, ideologically and politically illegitimate.

This is not to say that Israel should have opened a major campaign against Hamas. A caretaker government lacks the political legitimacy to initiate a large-scale conflict. But the government’s kowtowing to Hamas, like its anxious acceptance of Islamic Jihad’s ceasefire terms, was unnecessary and destructive.

Emily Schrader: Int'l media has once again shown its true colors toward Israel
Unlike previous operations with terrorist organizations in Gaza, Operation Breaking Dawn was a decisive victory for the IDF and Israel militarily and in terms of public diplomacy. Israel was able to successfully carry out actions against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization to investigate reported incidents quickly and to provide answers in real time – the most obvious of incidents being the attack near Jabaliya, Gaza, in which Palestinian civilians, including children, were killed.

Yet this effort to provide accurate information also exposed to the world that some media sources, such as Al Jazeera, aren’t concerned at all with the facts, only with the narrative of Israel being the aggressor and Palestinians being the victim. Where Palestinian claims are taken as fact, even when they come from terrorist organizations, Israeli claims – with evidence – are taken with skepticism.

In the immediate aftermath of the explosions near Jabaliya refugee camp, Palestinian sources and social media claimed that the IDF had bombed children, sharing disturbing photos of injured and bloodied children across social media channels. The news immediately was picked up by multiple sources in the international media.

The IDF, however, hadn’t operated in that area for hours meaning it couldn’t possibly have been Israel responsible for these casualties. The Israeli government and the IDF quickly issued a statement and even provided aerial video footage of the Islamic Jihad rocket barrage that targeted Israeli civilians. In the video, rockets misfiring and falling short are clearly shown, as is their impact in Gaza.

Additionally, at the time of the rocket barrage, which ended up killing Palestinians in Jabaliya, Palestinian journalist Anas Al Sheriff covered the events on his Telegram channel, explicitly stating in Arabic that a rocket had misfired and landed in the residential neighborhood of Jabaliya.

After the truth was revealed, several media sources updated their information, while most sources didn’t cover the story at all or the fact that hundreds of rockets fell short killing an estimated 16 Palestinian civilians over the weekend (incidentally more civilian casualties than Israel was responsible for in all of their airstrikes against Islamic Jihad targets).
6 Cringeworthy Headlines From Israel’s Battle Against Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Operation Breaking Dawn was a success as far as Israel is concerned. After only three days, the top echelon of Gaza’s second-largest terrorist organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was decimated. Two of its key leaders are now dead and many of its bases and weapons factories have been destroyed.

Even better, there were relatively few civilian casualties.

On the international front, the muted response of the Arab world to Operation Breaking Dawn highlighted the growing acceptance of Israel by governments across the Middle East.

In part, the relative lack of pressure on Israel can be attributed to an innovative, agile strategy that thoroughly debunked false reports that the Jewish state had killed a group of children in Jabalya, when in fact their lives ended as a result of an errant Islamic Jihad rocket.

Yet while this concerted effort to hold international media outlets accountable for the quality of their reporting is an encouraging development, several headlines in connection to Jerusalem’s attempt to protect citizens from over 1,000 rockets that were launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad show that a bias against Israel exercising a fundamental right to defend itself persists.

Questioning the existence of terrorist targets: The sites chosen by Israel weren’t alleged terrorist targets, as the above headline by ABC News implies. Rather, in response to credible intelligence of an imminent threat emanating from the PIJ in Gaza, the IDF launched a series of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip in which it targeted Palestinian Islamic Jihad members and infrastructure:
Operation Breaking Dawn: Three Ways the Media Got It Wrong
Over the weekend, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group fired 1,100 rockets towards Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. More than a million Israeli civilians were sent running to shelters as they feared for their lives.

And while Iranian-backed terrorists attacked families in southern Israel, Tel Aviv and the outskirts of Jerusalem, the media assault against the Jewish state also went into full swing.

Here are three ways journalists misled their readers about Operation Breaking Dawn and PIJ.

The PIJ-Israel Conflict Places Hamas in a Trap
Hamas, though it will never admit it publicly, could not ask for a better result than the battering PIJ has received from Israel. This strengthens Hamas significantly, and Israel has understood this sensitive situation very well. This understanding was reflected in its precise, cautious targeting of PIJ targets in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s efforts prevented Hamas from entering the fighting.

Both Hamas and PIJ represent the thinking of Palestinian Muslims, many of whom reject the path chosen by their secular brethren (an acceptance of living side-by-side with Israel).

Now, with PIJ weakened by Israel, Hamas can not only rest assured that it has an exclusive lead position in Gaza, but it can also begin to fill a void in the northern West Bank, where Israel has arrested large numbers of PIJ operatives.

All of this can significantly help Hamas position itself in the race for the Palestinian leadership when the 87-year-old Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas finally steps down. Hamas will likely become the most relevant movement, outshining Fatah, and certainly outshining PIJ.

The May 2021 conflict that Hamas fought with Israel stands as proof, as far as Hamas is concerned, that it is on the right path, leading as it did to increasing international and Israeli investment in Gaza’s economy, and a boost to Hamas’ status as “guardian of Jerusalem,” the banner under which it sparked that confrontation last year.

PIJ’s pale imitation of this achievement saw the group fire rockets at Jerusalem on Sunday, at a time when Jews mounted the Temple Mount in the Old City to mark the holy Jewish day of Tisha B’Av. But ultimately, PIJ’s attempt to be the next Hamas failed, and the results of that failure will continue to be felt by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel long after the next truce comes into effect.
Real winner of flare-up between Israel and Islamic Jihad is Hamas
Operation Breaking Dawn focused on an imminent threat from Gaza, but that is only part of a larger move that has been underway for months to stop the Islamic Jihad from establishing a terror infrastructure in the West Bank with the help of Iran. The faction leaders intended to end the wave of arrests of their operatives in Jenin, and with the guidance of Iran, threatened the security around the Gaza border. Israel needed to remove the threat.

Among the operation’s achievements was the lack of provocation that would've prompted Hamas to join in the fighting, nor were the Arab Israelis provoked to take any action in protest, in contrary to events of May 2021.

Israel's capabilities were not achieved in a day. The Shin Bet prepared detailed profiles for each of the Islamic Jihad’s commanders, and it took them months, if not years.

While the government and military were being slammed for imposing a de-facto closure on civilians near the border with Gaza, the Shin Bet, IDF’s Southern Command and the General Staff were reviewing the profiles of the commanders and preparing an operation to take them out.

The basics of the operation were planned ahead, which allowed quick and precise decisions to be made, based on developments on the ground.

The opening move of the operation was made by the Shin Bet, who was responsible for gathering intelligence on Islamic Jihad targets. Once the intelligence was ready, and the attack plans finalized, the head of the Shin Bet gave the green light to carry it out.

An even bigger success was the targeted killing of Khaled Mansour, the Islamic Jihad’s commander of Gaza's southern district on Saturday. By that point, a hunt was on for Islamic Jihad members, who behaved like wanted men. Intelligence gathered by the IDF and the Shin Bet were delivered to the Israeli Air Force in real time.

The challenges of locating Mansour, hiding in a saferoom among Gazan civilians, while avoiding large-scale collateral damage, were much more complex.

Now Hamas will claim its prize for its role in Israel's success.
MEMRI: Criticism Of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) In Saudi Arabia, UAE: It Is Damaging The Palestinian People In Service Of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
Following the August 5-7, 2022 military conflict between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Israel, criticism was voiced in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, appearing in both the press and social media. Critics claimed, inter alia, that PIJ is an Iranian proxy organization operating in Iranian interests and thus inflicting suffering on the Gaza Strip residents, and that the conflict erupted because of Iran's desire to accelerate the nuclear negotiations in Vienna. One writer criticized the launch of Iranian missiles from within the Gaza Strip's civilian population.

Elements in Saudi Arabia and the UAE also mocked the statements in recent days by commanders of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in which they warned that Israel would pay a heavy price for its crimes in Gaza and that Hizbullah would land a heavy blow on Israel when the tine was right. They asked why Iran was not making good on its threats at a time when Israel was attacking Gaza.

This report reviews the Saudi and UAE criticism of PIJ and mockery of the Iranian threats.

Senior Saudi Journalist: The PIJ Is An Iranian Proxy Being Used By Iran To Set The Vienna Negotiations In Motion
On August 6, 2022, the senior Saudi journalist 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, former editor of the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and director-general of Al-Arabiya TV, tweeted: "The compass of events [is as follows]: The Gaza residents always pay the price. But how should the battle be understood? It depends whose side you are on – [are you] for or against Iran? [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy organization, just like Hizbullah, [the Iraqi-Shi'ite] Asaib [Ahl] Al-Haq, and the Houthis [in Yemen]. Palestine is not their concern.

"Tehran wanted to set the Vienna negotiations over the Iranian nuclear project in motion, so Hizbullah attacked the [Karish natural gas field] with its UAVs, and [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad fired its missiles."[1]

Saudi Intellectual: "The Palestinian Cause Has Become A Bargaining Chip In The Hands Of.. The [Iranian] Ayatollah Regime"
Saudi intellectual Turki Al-Hamad tweeted: "It is apparent that if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today this does not shock most Arabs and most of the world's [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with the Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, Why [is this so] and who is to blame?

"Is it because the [Palestinian] side [leading] the confrontation here is an extremist Islamist organization whose activity is subordinate to orders from Iran, which is seeking to reap diplomatic gains [in the nuclear negotiations] in Vienna[?] Or is it because this is an outcome of the Palestinian leaders' cumulative failures throughout history in dealing with the Palestinian cause? Or are all the answers correct?

"I believe that the main reason is the lack of confidence in all the Palestinian leaders and their manipulation of [the Palestinian] cause. From the Arabs' and the world's perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motivates, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime."[2]
Generation Jihad PodCast: What just happened in Gaza?
Bill is joined again by Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at FDD, and by Joe Truzman, research analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal, to discuss the latest round of violence that emanated from the Gaza Strip this weekend and eventually resulted in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. They also unpack details about the terrorist group behind the escalation, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) — including where they get their weapons, training, and funding (spoiler alert: it’s Iran).

MEMRI: PIJ Rocket Misfires, Lands in Gaza Neighborhood During Live Mayadeen TV Broadcast
During a live Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) coverage of the recent escalation between Gaza and Israel on August 7, 2022, the channel’s correspondent insisted that a rocket that had misfired and hit in a local neighborhood had actually been fired towards the sea. The correspondent then asked the cameraman to turn the camera away from the densely populated area in which the rocket had landed.

The Israel Guys: 1,000 ROCKETS FIRED AT Israel From Gaza in 3 Days
The Terror organization, Islamic Jihad, has launched nearly 1,000 rockets and mortars at Israel from Gaza in just 3 days. The Israeli military struck more than 140 Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, eliminating much of the terrorist’s senior leadership.

During the conflict, Islamic Jihad shot a faulty rocket towards Israel which landed inside of Gaza killing 3 Palestinian children, and displaying these terrorist’s complete disregard for human life. On the opposite side, Israel repeatedly delayed an airstrike on one of the top terrorist leaders in Gaza because there were innocent Palestinian children playing nearby the building.

At the Indy, Israel is presumed guilty unless its innocence can be 'verified'
Note what Trew did here. Claims by the health ministry run by Hamas – the antisemitic extremist group committed to Israel’s annihilation – that Israeli attacks killed “31 people, including six children and four women” are cited without wording questioning the veracity of the terror group’s numbers.

Israel’s denial, on the other hand, is qualified by cautioning readers that the media outlet “was not able to verify that”. So, the accused Jewish state is presumed guilty, unless they, or others, can prove their innocence – making the odds of acquittal on par with that of suspects in Soviet show trials.

Hamas’s claims, in contrast, are presumed reliable, unless proven false.

Further, how, if they don’t accept the IDF’s evidence, and AP’s corroboration, could the Independent definitively prove that misfired Palestinian rockets killed the children in Jabaliyah, short of their reporters somehow witnessing both the rocket fire and the resulting explosion? The answer is that they can’t.

Israeli security forces kill wanted terrorist Ibrahim Nabulsi in Nablus
Israeli forces killed wanted Palestinian terrorist Ibrahim Nabulsi in Nablus on Tuesday morning during an hours-long gun battle.

One other terrorist was also killed and 10 others wounded in the raid, which was a joint operation by the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency and Israel Police.

Nabulsi and several other gunmen had opened fire on the Israeli forces after barricading themselves inside a residential building in the city’s kasbah area, according to the IDF.

Members of the Israel Police Counter-Terrorism Unit hit the building with a shoulder-fired missile, the military said in a statement.

During the operation, local residents rioted, hurling rocks and explosive devices at the Israeli forces, who responded with riot-dispersal tools as well as live fire.

Nabulsi, known locally as “The Lion of Nablus,” was a member of the unaffiliated “Baruka” terrorist cell, according to the IDF. Responsible for several shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the Nablus region and the surrounding area, including at Joseph’s Tomb, he had narrowly escaped from the Israeli military several times in the past.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid addressed the raid on Tuesday, calling the elimination of Nabulsi “another step in our uncompromising fight against terrorism.”

“I commend the joint action of the security organizations—ISA, IDF and the Israel National Counter-Terrorism (INCT) Unit of the Israel Police—which led to a highly successful, precise action, without [Israeli] casualties,” he said in a statement.

Counterterrorism unit dog killed in Nablus clashes
A counterterrorism unit dog named Zili was killed in Nablus on Tuesday during a conflict between the unit and Palestinians in which terrorist Ibrahim Nabulsi was killed. The canine was buried in the cemetery for the unit's canines later in the day.

"Unfortunately, during activity in Nablus, nine-year-old Zili was killed, a four-legged real fighter," said Police Chief Kobi Shabtai. "In 2019, Zili entered a multi-story building in Ramallah and found and overpowered the terrorist who killed Ori Ansbacher until the Counterterrorism Unit arrived to arrest him."

Shabtai added that the aim of the soldiers had been to arrest the suspects and take them in for questioning, but they were forced to use extreme force when the suspects resisted and shot at the soldiers.

"Whoever resists and risks the lives of police officers and soldiers will get a determined, strong response from the forces of Israel Police," he said.

Hezbollah Warns Israel Against Targeting Palestinian Terrorists in Lebanon
The head of Lebanon‘s powerful armed movement Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, warned on Tuesday against any Israeli attempts to expand their targeting of Palestinian terrorists to Lebanon.

“Any attack on any human being will not go unpunished or unanswered,” Nasrallah said in a televised address marking Ashura, a melancholic commemoration for Shi’ite Muslims of the killing the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein.

The comments came after a flare-up in violence between Israel and the Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza strip, prompted by Israel’s arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad commander earlier this month.

On Saturday, Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz hinted at the possible targeting of Islamic Jihad officials abroad, who he said could be seen in “restaurants and hotels in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon“.

“They too will have to pay the price,” Gantz said.

Russia Puts Iranian Satellite Into Orbit
Russia launched an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday from southern Kazakhstan, just three weeks after President Vladimir Putin and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West.

The remote Khayyam sensing satellite, named after the 11th Century Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam, was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and entered orbit successfully, Russia’s space agency said.

Iran’s space agency has received the first telemetry data sent from the satellite, the official IRNA news agency said.

Tehran has rejected claims the satellite could be used by Moscow to boost its intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, saying Iran will have full control and operation over it “from day one.”

The Washington Post reported last week that US officials are concerned by the fledgling space cooperation between Russia and Iran, fearing the satellite will not only help Russia in Ukraine but also provide Iran “unprecedented capabilities” to monitor potential military targets in Israel and the wider middle east.

Iran says the satellite is designed for scientific research including radiation and environmental monitoring for agricultural purposes.

Russia has sought to deepen its ties with Iran since Feb. 24, when the Kremlin ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, prompting the United States and its allies to impose the most severe sanctions in recent history.

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