Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hamas Plot For West Bank Coup Revealed

93 Hamas Men Arrested in West Bank Coup Attempt - Gili Cohen

The Israel Security Agency has interrogated 46 Hamas operatives in the West Bank over the past three months on suspicion of setting up a network of cells to commit attacks against Israel and to carry out a coup against the Palestinian Authority. Altogether, 93 Hamas members have been arrested since May for involvement in this network.

As a result of the arrests and interrogations, the security services have seized NIS 600,000 shekels ($171,000); 24 rifles, mostly M-16s; six pistols; seven rocket launchers; and a large quantity of ammunition. The head of the network was Riad Nasser, 38, of Deir Kadis near Ramallah, who did jail time in Israel in the past for his Hamas activities. Nasser was recruited by Saleh Arori, who did 16 years in an IDF prison and was subsequently deported and now lives in Turkey. 

Abbas: Hamas Plot Threatens Unity Government - Yoav Zitun

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was following reports of a Hamas plot to topple the PA government with great concern, and that the information posed a serious threat to the future of the Palestinian unity government.
(Ynet News)

Coup Attempt Hatched by Hamas Official in Turkey    

The Shin Ben said the plot was orchestrated by senior Hamas official Salah Arouri, who is based in Turkey and enjoys the support of the local officials there. The idea was to set up cells in major West Bank cities.

Hamas had no immediate comment to the claim. Hamas overtook the Gaza Strip in [a] 2007 [coup against] forces loyal to Abbas.


Hamas Seeks Islamic Caliphate, Not Palestinian State - Zvi Mazel

As an Islamic jihadi caliphate is strengthening its hold in the heart of the Middle East, the West seems intent on venting its frustrations on Israel, which is defending itself against Hamas, another radical Islamist group. Hamas was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the express purpose of destroying Israel and establishing an Islamic state on the ruins of the Jewish state.

Unfortunately, the West has yet to realize that Hamas is using the Palestinian problem and spouting fake nationalistic slogans in order to further its aims. Yet Hamas does not speak of creating an independent Palestinian state. Instead it says it is fighting "occupation," a word encompassing Tel Aviv and the whole of Israel.

Egypt is the last rampart of the Arab world against the barbaric Islamic state taking shape, as Iraq and Syria are in disarray.
The writer is a former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt.
(Jerusalem Post)

Group Cancels Trip to Glasgow after City Flies Palestinian Flag
- Kerry Gill

Plans to bring 600 U.S. visitors to Glasgow have been abandoned because of the city council's decision to fly the Palestinian flag. The trip, which would have injected hundreds of thousands of pounds into Glasgow, and the Scottish economy, was a reward to 600 salesmen and women, and their spouses, from one of the top worldwide corporations.

But after reading about Glasgow's decision to fly the Palestinian flag over the City Chambers to show solidarity with Gaza, the New York-based vice-president of the company wrote to Glasgow's Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, saying:

"I was...spearheading an event in Glasgow for 600 business visitors to be guests of your wonderful city. We were scheduling six days in Glasgow.... Having read your statement endorsing Hamas and its leadership due to the number of Muslims in your city, I have decided to cancel all plans for our trip." 

Monday, August 18, 2014

"War of Nerves" Continues

A human nerve cell. 
Netanyahu dubbed the aftermath of the Gaza operation "The War of Nerves"

Netanyahu Calls for Patience in War of Nerves
- Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh

Diplomatic sources said that one of the key messages Netanyahu conveyed during the cabinet meeting is the need for patience in the war of nerves Hamas is waging with the Israeli public.

The Gaza operation is not yet complete, more time is needed, and the greater the patience and resolve of the country, the greater the chance that Israel will be able to achieve its goal of long-term security for the south.
(Jerusalem Post)

Gaza: A Broader Offensive? - Yaakov Lappin

Should Hamas resume rocket attacks on Israel when the truce ends at midnight on Monday, the chances of Israel agreeing to conduct a prolonged war of attrition are low.

The more likely scenario is that the IDF will initiate the next phase of its operational plans, based on a deep ground offensive into Gaza to begin dismantling Hamas' military.
(Jerusalem Post)

The Myth of an Israeli Siege on Gaza

There is no Israeli "siege" on Gaza, which also shares a border with Egypt. That country, and not Israel, controls the Rafah crossing into Gaza - the main connection for Gazans to the rest of the world. For the past four years all goods are allowed to enter Gaza from Israel, except for weapons and a short list of dual-use items which can be exploited by terrorists.

Even during the latest hostilities in Gaza, an international journalist reported on shopping at one of Gaza's supermarkets, which offered "all kinds of goods." Given the free entry of almost all goods, it is impossible to legitimately claim that Gaza is under siege.

In the first five months of 2014, 60,000 individuals entered Israel from Gaza. Many were patients and their escorts who came for medical treatment in Israel and elsewhere, while large numbers of Gazan businessmen and merchants also visited Israel.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Shameful Behavior by President Obama

US halted weapons transfer to Israel during Gaza offensive

Amid diplomatic tensions between US President Barack Obama's administration and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the US halted a shipment of air-to-ground missiles to Israel last month during Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.  
In July, Israel requested "through military-to-military channels a large number of Hellfire missiles", a first batch of which was about to be released to Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Israeli and American officials. 
But the Pentagon immediately put the shipment on hold, and top officials at the White House instructed US defense agencies to consult with the White House and the State Department before approving any additional Israeli requests, according to the report.
A senior Obama administration official was quoted in the report as saying the decision to scrutinize future transfers at the highest levels amounted to "the United States saying 'The buck stops here. Wait a second…It's not OK anymore." 

The report depicted a context of poor relations between Obama and Netanyahu and claimed that the decision to halt the weapons transfer was made at a point when the White House and State Department became "increasingly disturbed by what they saw as heavy-handed battlefield tactics that they believed risked a humanitarian catastrophe," in Gaza.
[Jerusalem Post]

White House Now Scrutinizing Israeli Requests - Adam Entous

White House and State Department officials were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval. Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel.

After Israel had submitted a request through military channels for a large number of Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, the Pentagon was about to release an initial batch when top officials at the White House instructed the U.S. military to consult with the White House and the State Department before approving any additional requests. White House and State Department officials were worried about public reaction. The Palestinians, in particular, were angry, according to U.S. diplomats.

The White House and State Department have decided to require their approval for even routine munitions requests by Israel, officials say. Each case is now subject to review - slowing the approval process and signaling to Israel that military assistance once taken for granted is now under closer scrutiny.

Moreover, as Egyptian officials shuttle between representatives of Israel and Hamas seeking a long-term deal to end the fighting in Gaza, U.S. officials are bystanders instead of in their historic role as mediators. U.S. officials said Mr. Obama had a particularly combative phone call on Wednesday with Mr. Netanyahu.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also U.S. Clears Missiles Sales to Turkish Army (Hurriyet-Turkey)
See also U.S. Agrees to Send Hellfire Missiles to Iraq (CNN)

US livid with Israel? Hamas can’t believe its luck -David Horovitz

From Hamas's point of view, it must be a source of immense delight to witness the strains, and practical fallout, in the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem...

All it needs to do, Hamas can only conclude, is keep firing at Israel's towns and villages, forcing Israel to respond, confident that this will bring still more criticism down on Israel as well as growing restrictions on Israel's ability to defend itself. Wow, the Hamas leaders must be thinking, the free world is just so dumb.
[The Times of Israel]

US Post Offices refusing mail delivery to Israel

A number of postal branches in the US have told customers that they would not accept mail for delivery to Israel due to the conflict with Gaza, the Anti-Defamation League reported. The ADL recently received complaints that postal branches in Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey refused to send mail.

“The postal employees have told these individuals that current USPS policy says that mail to Israel cannot be accepted because of the current crisis,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director.

“Only once employees sought clarification from supervisors in Washington did these post offices accept packages and letters to Israel.”

Though reports circulated that mail delivery to Israel was halted for 36 hours while the Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying to Ben-Gurion Airport, the US Postal Service denied this was the case.

David Partenheimer, a representative of the US Postal service, told The Jerusalem Post via e-mail: “Any post office that might have turned away customers tendering mail addressed to Israel and dispatched by the US Postal Service during this time did so in error, and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they experienced as a result.”

The ADL penned a letter to US Postmaster-General Patrick R. Donahoe saying that postal authorities in the branches had misunderstood the temporary ban on delivery to Israel as permanent. The league urged the Postal Service to ensure that all of its employees were aware that mail delivery to Israel had not been suspended.
[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Islamic State Ascending

ISIS reintroduces crucifixion as punishment to its enemies

Aided by U.S. Airstrikes, Kurdish Forces Retake 2 Towns
- Rod Nordland & Helene Cooper

With the support of American airstrikes, Kurdish forces counterattacked against Sunni militants of the Islamic State in northern Iraq, regaining control of two strategic towns about 20 miles from Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

(New York Times)

You Want Nazis? -Mark Steyn

There have been Christians in Mosul for just shy of two millennia, since the first century. There are none today.

The Yazidi are practitioners of Kurdistan's oldest religion, fire-worshippers whose presence in the region predates Islam. They're either being executed or starved to death on a mountain.

ISIS are fast-track Nazis. No messing about with a few property restrictions and intermarriage laws as a little light warm-up: They're only in the business of "final solutions", and they start on Day One and don't quit until the last Christian and Yazidi is dead or fled.

To put pressure on Netanyahu, you fly in John Kerry to bore him to death. To put pressure on ISIS would require a commitment the West is not willing to make. So Christians will vanish from the region, and the Yazidi will vanish from the world.

As much as Americans might wish it were so, this is not just a story of one bunch of obscure foreigners sticking it to another bunch of obscure foreigners. It's also a story of a dying superpower betraying its friends in retreat
[Jewish World Review]

Threat of Islamic Terrorism Is Spreading - James Kitfield

The outgoing chief of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said in an interview:

"In 2004, there were 21 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 18 countries. Today, there are 41 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 24 countries. A lot of these groups have the intention to attack Western interests, to include Western embassies and in some cases Western countries. Some have both the intention and some capability to attack the United States homeland."

"Unfortunately the [al-Qaeda] core ideology and belief system [of perpetual jihad] is spreading, not shrinking. Look at the unbelievably violent videos [of beheadings, executions, and the destruction of religious places] coming out of Iraq just in recent days."

"When Bin Laden was killed there was a general sense that maybe this threat would go away. We all had those hopes, including me."
(Breaking Defense)


Fuelling Genocide -Mark Durie

The United States has ironically called for greater cooperation [in northern Iraq]. UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, urged 'all parties to the conflict' to allow access to UN relief agencies. She called on Iraqis to 'come together' so that Iraq will 'get back on the path to a peaceful future' and 'prevent ISIL from obliterating Iraq's vibrant diversity'.

Of course it is not 'vibrant diversity' which is being wiped out in Iraq, but men, women and children by their tens of thousands. This is not about the failure of coexistence, and the problem is not 'conflict'. This is not about people who have trouble getting on and who need to somehow make up and 'come together'. It is about a well-articulated and well-documented theological worldview hell-bent on dominating 'infidels', if necessary wiping them off the face of the earth, in order to establish the power and grandeur of a radical vision of Islam.

The American administration, according to Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute, 'withholds arms from the Kurds while awaiting a new, unified Iraqi government with a new prime minister. Meanwhile … no Iraqi troops are in Nineveh province.' Only at a few minutes to midnight on the genocide clock has the US begun to launch military strikes against IS forces.

These events ought to be sobering to the West, not least because thousands of the IS jihadis were raised and bred in the mosques of Europe, North America and Australia, not to mention the madrassas of nations such as Malaysia, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Having been formed by the theology of radical Islam in their home societies, would-be jihadis are flocking to Syria and Iraq where they seek victory or martyrdom, killing and raping as they go.
[Middle East Forum]

The Garwood, New Jersey home sporting an Islamic State flag

Islamic State Flag Removed from New Jersey Home -Adam Kredo

Police in Garwood, New Jersey confirmed that a militant flag associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) was removed from the front of a local home after hundreds of online activists expressed fear and revulsion.

Garwood Police Chief Bruce D. Underhill confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that officers were “aware of the situation” and residents at the suburban home “voluntarily” agreed to remove the flag.

A photo of the home with the ISIL and Turkish flags was tweeted out and quickly attracted hundreds of retweets and comments.

[The Washington Free Beacon]

UN: "Barbaric" Sexual Violence in Iraq

"We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities," two senior UN officials said in Baghdad.

"Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner."

Some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery.
(UN News Center)

Hillary got it right -Charles Krauthammer, MD    

"Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."— Hillary Clinton, The Atlantic, Aug. 10

Leave it to Barack Obama's own former secretary of state to acknowledge the fatal flaw of his foreign policy: a total absence of strategic thinking.  Yes, of course everything Hillary Clinton says is positioning. [B]ut sincere or not —  she's right.

Why did Obama wait seven months after the IS takeover of Fallujah and nine weeks after the capture of Mosul before beginning supplying the Kurds with desperately needed weapons? And why just small arms supplied supposedly clandestinely through the CIA? The Kurds are totally outgunned. Their bullets are bouncing off the captured armored Humvees the IS has deployed against them. The Pentagon should be conducting a massive airlift to provide the pesh merga with armored vehicles, anti-tank missiles and other heavier weaponry.

And why the pinprick airstrikes? The IS-Kurdish front is 600 miles long, more than the distance between Boston and Washington.

The Pentagon admits that the current tactics — hitting an artillery piece here, a truck there — will not affect the momentum of the IS or the course of the war.

But then again, altering the course of a war would be a strategic objective. That seems not to be in Obama's portfolio.
[Jewish World Review]

Gaza: The Song Remains The Same

What Is to Be Done About Gaza? -Efraim Inbar

Hamas' refusal to accept a ceasefire indicates that the Protective Edge operation has so far failed to attain its modest goal of calm on Israel's border with Gaza. 

Operation Protective Edge has not weakened or threatened Hamas enough to encourage it to accept a ceasefire.  Reconquering Gaza is an unlikely option.  Involving international actors to help manage the conflict, uprooting Hamas leadership, and/or re-instating Mahmud Abbas as leader in Gaza are equally unlikely solutions. 

Consequently, the only option available to Israel is...launching another ground attack to the point where Hamas fears that its rule over Gaza is at stake
[Middle East Forum]

Hamas Threatens Escalation - Jason Burke

Hamas deputy information minister Ihab al-Ghussein threatened a "major escalation" of rocket strikes against Israel if Israel did not respond to Palestinian demands, as sporadic rocket fire from Gaza into Israel continued.

Standoff at Gaza Cease-Fire Talks - Avi Issacharoff

At the Gaza cease-fire talks in Cairo, Israel and Egypt are jointly determined not to give Hamas what it wants. There's an Israeli readiness to ease border restrictions and to expand fishing rights off the Gaza coast, but nothing more than that. Cairo, too, is emphasizing to Hamas that it can forget about a seaport or an airport unless or until all of Gaza is demilitarized.

For now, at least, Hamas wants to be seen as refusing to capitulate. Hamas hopes there'll be enough pressure on Jerusalem to give it some kind of gain that would allow it to come out from the corner it's painted itself into.
(Times of Israel)

Hamas Needs Deaths in Order to Claim Victory - Bassem Eid

Hamas paved the road for the death of our people. Indeed, Hamas needs these deaths in order to claim victory. Death of its own people empowers Hamas, enabling it to accrue more money and more arms.

The lesson is that we must rid ourselves of Hamas and completely demilitarize Gaza. Then we will open up the border crossings. I say this as a loyal Palestinian and because I care for my own people.
The writer is a human rights activist and a political commentator.
(i24 News)

It's Anti-Semitism, Stupid -Efraim Karsh

Let's admit it: Israel can never win the media war against Hamas. No matter what it does, no matter how hard it tries. Not because the Islamist terror group is the underdog in this conflict, but because the sight of Arabs killing Jews (or other Arabs for that matter) is hardly news; while the sight of Jews killing Arabs cannot be tolerated.
[Jerusalem Post]

Friday, August 08, 2014

Gaza War Continues Despite Israel's Withdrawl

Gaza Resumes Rocket Fire - Isabel Kershner & Jodi Rudoren

A 72-hour truce in the Gaza fighting expired at 8 a.m. Friday as Palestinians fired a barrage of rockets into Israel, signaling Hamas' refusal to extend the lull and its desire to apply pressure for its demands to be met at talks in Cairo.

Indirect talks underway in Cairo appear to have yielded few results. Israel is demanding measures to prevent Hamas from rearming and, eventually, the demilitarization of Gaza. 
(New York Times)

Hamas Vows to Restart War - Sudarsan Raghavan

Hamas officials at a public rally vowed to never give up arms and to reignite war if Israel does not accept their demands to lift an economic blockade of Gaza, while supporters chanted, "Blow up, blow up Tel Aviv." With a turnout of a few thousand people, the demonstration was much smaller than the massive crowds Hamas has attracted in the past.     

"The war is not over yet," Mushir al-Masri, a top Hamas official, told those gathered. "Our fighters are still in the field, in their frontline positions. Our tunnels still exist, and they reach into Israeli territory. If Israel doesn't agree to our demands, we will come there." Masri declared that Hamas had defeated Israeli troops during the war.
(Washington Post)

The Gaza Numbers Game - Elliott Abrams

18% of the rockets fired by Hamas - about 600 rockets - were fired from schools, hospitals, mosques, and cemeteries.

14% of the rockets fired by Hamas actually fell inside Gaza. That's more than 450 rockets.

Before Israel is blamed for every bit of damage done inside Gaza by rocket fire, a calculation must be made of the damage inflicted by Hamas itself.    
(Council on Foreign Relations)

Netanyahu: Battle "Will Soon Come to a Theater Near You"
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in an interview with Sean Hannity that the threat from Islamic militants is real, and will spread to other countries if the terrorists are not stopped. "This is a danger I've been pointing to, it's not a spin, it's not a whim, it is a clinical diagnosis of a pathological movement that is sweeping our area but will soon come to a theater near you and it has to be stopped now."    

Netanyahu said the militants are under Iran's "nuclear umbrella," adding, "If Iran itself can intimidate the U.S. with intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads, then we bring history into a different threshold altogether." 
(Fox News)

Hamas' Absurd Claims of Victory - Steve Huntley      

If the picture in Gaza of collapsed buildings, demolished homes and rubble everywhere is victory, what would defeat look like?

Hamas claims the 3,000 rockets it launched vanquished Israel. But nearly all of those rockets missed their targets or were shot out of the sky by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.

If the deaths of hundreds of Hamas terrorists - 900 by an Israeli count - is success, what would defeat look like?

This Gaza war was a disaster for Hamas. The civilian deaths and injuries that did occur were the sole responsibility of Hamas' total disregard for the safety of the people it ruled.   
(Chicago Sun-Times)

Of Palestinians Killed in Gaza War: Half Were Terrorists
We have examined the first 300 names on the Palestinian Health Ministry's lists. Out of 289 names of those killed that we were able to identify, terrorist operatives constitute about 49% and non-involved civilians constitute about 51% of the names. 
(Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

Hamas' Phony Statistics on Civilian Deaths - Alan M. Dershowitz

It's a mystery why so many in the media accept as gospel Hamas-supplied figures on the number of civilians killed in the recent war. Hamas claims that close to 90% were civilians. Israel says that close to half were combatants. Even human rights group antagonistic to Israel acknowledge, according to a New York Times report, that Hamas probably counts among the "civilians killed by Israel" the following groups: Palestinians killed by Hamas as collaborators; Palestinians killed through domestic violence; Palestinians killed by errant Hamas rockets or mortars; and Palestinians who died naturally during the conflict.     

It is lazy and dangerous for the media to rely on Hamas-approved propaganda figures, which in the past have proved to be extremely unreliable.
(Gatestone Institute)

Israel's Conduct in Gaza Is a Model for Other Nations - Peter Wehner

During his press conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked: "Do you feel your actions, Israel's actions, were proportionate?"  

The BBC reported on Feb. 14, 1945: "British and U.S. bombers have dropped hundreds of thousands of explosives on the German city of Dresden....Last night, 800 RAF Bomber Command planes let loose 650,000 incendiaries and 8,000 lb. of high explosives and hundreds of 4,000 lb. bombs in two waves of attack. They faced very little anti-aircraft fire." According to History.com, the Allied firebombing raids killed as many as 135,000 people.     

My point isn't to condemn Great Britain (or the U.S.). My point is that in war, terrible things happen and innocent people die. By historical standards Israel has conducted itself in its conflict with Hamas with remarkable care and decency. I'm not sure there are many parallels to it. The way Israel has handled itself in this conflict is a model for other nations to follow. 

IDF Fulfilled All Ethical Requirements - Naama Lansky

The Israel Defense Forces carried out Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in compliance with ethical requirements, according to Israel Prize laureate Professor Asa Kasher, who helped formulate the IDF Code of Ethics. "Every battalion commander has an officer in charge of locating civilians, and everything is overseen by too many lawyers, who help direct the operation on the ground. The number of casualties is irrelevant - it does not speak of omissions or any wrongdoing on the part of the IDF."    

Israel is facing a torrent of aggressive criticism because "there are people whose perspective is very shallow. They are shown photographs of a destroyed house and a doll's severed leg, photographs that are sometimes even from Syria, and they cry out. They do not understand anything and they feel the need to express a shallow sort of good-heartedness that has them momentarily identifying with the underdog." 
(Israel Hayom)

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Better Late Than Never? Obama Bombs Islamic State

Head of ISIS, Calif Ibrahim

American Forces Bomb ISIS Targets -

IS Controls Unmatched Resources and Territory - Terrence McCoy     

What was recently a ragtag cadre of former al-Qaeda operatives has now morphed into a transnational, fully-militarized and very rich operation said to control more than one-third of Syria's territory.    

The Islamic State "now controls a volume of resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations," wrote defense expert Janine Davidson of the Council on Foreign Relations.    

Experts estimate the group is pocketing as much as $3 million per day in oil revenue.
(Washington Post)

Islamic State Seizes Territory in Lebanon - Maria Abi-Habib

Fighters from the extremist group Islamic State streamed across the border from Syria into Lebanon, taking over the city of Arsal after overrunning police posts and a military barracks.

In a coordinated response in Tripoli, Lebanon's second-largest city, masked, armed men affiliated with the Islamic State whizzed by on motorbikes, attacking soldiers there.
(Wall Street Journal)

"White Shrouds" Mobilize Against ISIS - Marlin Dick 

Last month's sweeping territorial gains by militants from ISIS in Syria's Deir al-Zor province have generated a fierce counter-offensive by locals, organized loosely in "popular resistance" groups. Small, clandestine groups calling themselves "white shrouds" have adopted a low-profile tactic of assassinating ISIS militants and attacking their positions.

In the last few weeks a string of small-scale, hit-and-run attacks have been reported in more than half a dozen villages between Deir al-Zor and the border town of Al-Bukamal, where a demonstration by residents against ISIS late last month was dispersed by gunfire.

Some supporters of the movement against ISIS are referring to the actions as a "tribal intifada." An observer said ISIS was largely to blame for the counter-offensive because it had violated the non-aggression pacts struck with locals.
(Daily Star-Lebanon)

Hamas Threat Is No Different from Islamic State
- Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi 

Hamas' modes of warfare in the current conflict reveal the ideological and operational likeness between Hamas and the Islamic State (IS). From the start, Hamas directed its massive and ongoing missile offensive at civilian targets. Hamas hardly appears different from IS, which decrees a policy of the genocide of infidels without any moral constraints.

Hamas in Gaza provides a comfortable haven to all the Palestinian terror organizations and allows al-Qaeda and IS groups to operate freely so long as they do not defy its rule. On the ideological level, there is no difference between how Hamas and IS view the West and the worldwide Islamic revolution. Hamas, too, calls for the founding of the Islamic caliphate with its capital in Jerusalem.  
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


Obama Authorizes Airstrikes in Iraq    

President Barack Obama announced Thursday: "Today I authorized two operations in Iraq - targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death."
(White House)

IS Captures Dam in Iraq - Alissa J. Rubin and Tim Arango

Sunni militants captured the Mosul dam, the largest in Iraq, as their advances in the country's north set off fearful rumors in Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital.     
The dam, which sits on the Tigris River, provides electricity to the city of Mosul and controls the water supply for a large amount of territory.

In a statement, the Islamic State vowed to continue its offensive. "Our Islamic State forces are still fighting in all directions, and we will not step down until the project of the [Islamic] caliphate is established, with the will of God."
(New York Times)


Israel Might Have Won; Hamas Certainly Lost - David Horovitz 

Whether or not Israel "won" - attaining "sustained calm" for its people - will be determined by the negotiations now taking place in Cairo. But Hamas certainly lost.

Three weeks ago, with its rocket capacity largely intact, its fighting forces completely intact, the tunnel network it had spent seven years building intact, and most of the Gaza it claims to represent intact, it rejected an unconditional ceasefire. On Tuesday, with most of its rockets used to relatively little effect, hundreds of its gunmen dead, 32 of its major tunnels smashed, and Gaza devastated, it pleaded for the very same unconditional ceasefire. That constitutes defeat.

The world is very angry with Israel. It holds Israel primarily accountable for the devastation in Gaza. But for what it's worth, Israelis most of the way across the spectrum honestly aren't too conflicted. They are not insensitive to the terrible death toll and devastation in Gaza; they just know that Israel didn't provoke it, and believe Israel's leaders and armed forces tried to minimize it, in a war Israel didn't want but couldn't avoid. Few Israelis believe that any other country would have tackled the particularly pernicious Hamas strategy of using Gazans as human shields more carefully than the IDF did. 
(Times of Israel)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

What's Next In Gaza?

IDF heroes returning to Israel

Netanyahu's 'Long War' Doctrine -Jonathan Spyer

It is likely that the insurgency which would have followed the destruction of Hamas rule would have proven a magnet for the jihadi forces which are currently proliferating in the neighborhood. ISIS and similar organizations are already in the Gaza Strip in small numbers. But the "global jihad" would like nothing more than to find a platform from which to begin war against the Jews.

Given this, it is not surprising that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have chosen an operation limited in scope.

Netanyahu, in stark contrast to his image in Europe and to a lesser extent in North America, is deeply cautious when it comes to the use of military force.
Indeed, the record shows that Israel elected to begin a ground campaign on July 18th only when it became clear from its actions and its statements that Hamas was not interested in a return to the status quo ante.

The general sense in Israel is that his performance as a leader has been relatively effective — setting clear and limited goals and pursuing them with vigor.

A young Netanyahu
Netanyahu's caution derives from his perception that what Israel calls "wars" or "operations" are really only episodes in a long war in which the country is engaged against those who seek its destruction. In the present phase, these forces are gathered largely under the banner of radical Islam, though this was not always so.

In such a conflict, what matters is not a quick and crushing perception of victory. Indeed, the search for a knockout, a final decision in this or that operation , given the underlying realities, is likely to end in overstretch, error and non-achievement. What matters is the ability to endure, conserve one's forces — military and societal — and to work away on wearing down the enemy's will.

Military achievement, as well as economic and societal success, are all weapons in this war.

This view notes the essentially implacable nature of the core Arab and Muslim hostility to Israel. So it includes an inbuilt skepticism toward the possibility of historic reconciliation and final-status peace accords.

There are reports of Israel establishing a de facto buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip, to reduce the ability of Hamas to fire short-range rockets at southern Israeli communities. All this forms part of an effort to undertake the containment and incremental weakening of the Islamist entity in Gaza, in cooperation with whoever, for his own reasons, is willing to cooperate.

Netanyahu's vision is a chilly one, though it is not ultimately pessimistic. It aims to provide firm, durable walls for the house that the Jews of Israel have constructed. Within those walls the energies of Israeli Jews will ensure success — provided that the walls can be kept secure, thus believes the Israeli prime minister. It is from the point of view of this broader strategic picture that the current actions of Israel need to be understood.
[Middle East Forum]

Israel Confirms Hamas Funded Kidnapping -Batya Ungar-Sargon

Israel has confirmed that the funding for the June kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers was provided by Hamas.

Hassam Qawasameh, a Palestinian man arrested on July 11 in connection with the abduction, admitted that the orders and financing of the kidnapping came from Gaza. Paul Hirschson, deputy spokesperson for international media at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted the news this afternoon after an Israeli gag order was lifted.

Hirschson confirmed by phone that Qawasameh was arrested three weeks ago in connection with the kidnapping, and that Qawasameh admitted the Hamas connection under interrogation. Ynet reports that money from Hamas operatives in Gaza was used to purchase weapons used in the attack, as well as the plot of land in which the bodies were buried.

Today’s confirmation refutes speculation from various news outlets last week that Hamas wasn’t behind the kidnapping, and that the kidnappers were operating as a “lone cell.”
[Table Magazine]

Fighting without silver bullets -Caroline Glick

[I]f Hamas continues to attack southern communities at any level Israel will have no choice. It will have to send its forces back into Gaza with the mission of retaking control there.

There is only one thing worse than reasserting Israel’s military control over Gaza: Losing southern Israel. So long as residents of the south fear returning to their homes, Israel is losing southern Israel.

This looming prospect of having to retake Gaza would be bad enough if Israel only had to concern itself with Gaza. But Israel enjoys no such luxury.

Far more dangerous that Hamas is Hezbollah. Whereas Hamas’s missiles are unguided, Hezbollah has guided missiles that are capable of reaching every centimeter of Israeli territory. And their payloads are big enough to destroy high-rise buildings.

Unlike Hamas, Hezbollah has anti-aircraft missiles and anti-ship missiles capable of disrupting air and naval operations. Hezbollah has drones that it has launched successfully. And the possibility that Hezbollah has some level of unconventional weapons cannot be ruled out. Hezbollah commanders and fighters have gained massive experience fighting in Syria and Iraq. They have sophisticated intelligence gathering capabilities including human intelligence and signals intelligence assets. They have advanced command and control systems.

And by all accounts, Hamas’s terror tunnels are nothing in comparison to Hezbollah’s extensive network of tunnels that run beneath the border with Israel. Hezbollah’s announced war plans involve invading and taking control over communities in the Upper Galilee.

Hezbollah’s decision to go to war in 2006 was made in Tehran, by Hezbollah’s Iranian masters. The decision not to go to war since has also been made by Tehran. Tehran decided to deploy Hezbollah to Iraq and Syria. And Tehran will decide, based on its own sense of priorities, when Hezbollah and its massive arsenal of terror should attack Israel.

Given the threats from Lebanon and Iran, it is clear that Israel’s decision to try to limit its operations in Gaza was necessary. Israel cannot afford to tie its forces down indefinitely. And if Israel is forced to retake control over Gaza, it will need to deploy its forces in such a way that it maintains sufficient reserve capacity to handle Gaza, Lebanon and Iran simultaneously.

The time has come for us to recognize that there are no easy answers for Israel. IDF operations in Gaza in recent weeks have dealt a harsh blow to Hamas. [I]f Israel and Egypt are able to block US attempts to open the borders for Hamas resupply, then Hamas can be defeated through attrition.

If not, then Israel will have no choice but to retake control of Gaza while maintaining enough forces in reserve to respond to a second front in the North, and finally end Iran’s dream of becoming a nuclear power.

There are no silver bullets. The price of freedom is hard work and vigilance.

[Jerusalem Post]

Comic Shelter: Comedy on Gaza's border -Hannah Dreyfus

[T]hree New York comics took their act to Israel Defense Forces troops stationed near the Gaza border. [O]ne soldier [said] he didn’t want to sit in the front row, because he was scared the comedians would pick on him. “I told him, ‘You’re carrying an M16 — you’re safe.’”

Even Hamas, the Gaza terrorist group raining rockets on Israel, wasn’t immune from the laugh lines — at the expense of New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, that is. I personally think we should bring Hamas to NYC — the Second Avenue subway tunnel is taking forever,” Teman said.
[The Jewish Week]

 Israelis get creative with solutions to Gaza conflict
Israelis took to social media to offer creative solutions to the conflict. A video by www.101hakafot.com used computer graphics in one such production, which has since gone viral on social media networks. The film shows the territory of the Gaza Strip being detached from the Israeli mainland, sailed across the ocean and docking in the Hudson River alongside Manhattan. Hamas then commences to cause 'Code Red' rocket alert sirens to go off on American television broadcasts while US President Barack Obama appears to be addressing the nation regarding the annexation of Gaza as the "51st state."
[Jerusalem Post]

Terror Tunnels Into Our Heartland

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned that relinquishing Israeli control of the West Bank would expose Israel's home front to infiltration tunnels leading into the heartland of Israel.

In a statement he released marking nine years since Israel's rooting out of its settlements in Gaza, Bennett said that the disengagement had taught us that "he who runs from terror has terror chase after him. Those who chase after terror, will live in security."
[Jerusalem Post]

VIDEO: Hamas Rocket Launch Pad Revealed - Gallagher Fenwick

France 24 has exclusive footage of a Hamas rocket launching pad that appears to prove the militant group has been firing from areas heavily populated with civilians. The site, in Gaza City, is some 50 meters from a hotel where the majority of international media is staying, and just 100 meters from a UN building. 

During a live broadcast to the Paris studio, a rocket was fired overhead, forcing the reporter and crew to take cover.
(France 24)

Defeat for Hamas, Devastation for Gaza - Avi Issacharoff 

The fact that all Palestinian factions accepted the Egyptian framework, and abandoned the Qatar-Turkey channel, marks a significant victory for Egypt and a humiliating defeat for Hamas.

For almost three weeks Hamas had rejected the proposal for an unconditional ceasefire with its demands to be addressed only afterwards. But on Monday it changed course. That shift signals the difficult position in which Hamas now finds itself. The damage done to Gaza stands in the billions of dollars, and Hamas certainly cannot fix it alone. 
(Times of Israel)

Iran Watches Israel Knock Down Hamas Missiles - Victor Davis Hanson

In the current war, Israel has found a method of inflicting as much damage on Hamas as it finds politically and strategically useful without suffering intolerable losses. And because the war is seen as existential - aiming rockets at a civilian population will do that - Israeli public opinion will largely support the effort to retaliate.

The more the world sees of the elaborate tunnels and vast missile arsenals that an impoverished Hamas had built with other people's money, and the more these military assets proved entirely futile in actual war, the more Hamas appears not just foolish but incompetent.

Iran is watching the war, and its surrogate is not doing well.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
(National Review)

Gazans Are Responsible for Their Suffering
- Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland

The fact that we are fighting with one hand and supplying food and energy to the enemy state with the other hand is absurd. This generosity strengthens and extends the ability of the enemy state of Gaza to fight us. Hamas is the authentic representative of the population there. It rose to power following democratic elections and built an impressive military ability with the residents' support. The Gazans' suffering is not the result of Israeli pressure but of their support, through their elected government, for an armed struggle.

As soon as the fire ceases, we will be under heavy pressure to open up the crossings, restore the electricity lines, and help rebuild buildings and infrastructure. Israel should agree, but only if the other side agrees to demilitarize Gaza of heavy weapons. We are dealing with an enemy state, not with a terror organization which is seemingly operating from within an innocent civilian population.
The writer is a former head of Israel's National Security Council.
(Ynet News)

Reconstruction in Return for Demilitarization - Zvi Hauser

Israel must make it clear, as soon as possible, that Gaza's reconstruction will be attached to the Strip's effective demilitarization: If a cement and concrete truck enters from the Israeli side, a rocket truck exits from the Egyptian side.

There are thousands of rockets and tens of thousands of mortar shells left in Gaza. The extent of the reconstruction must be linked to the depth of the demilitarization.
The writer served as Israel's cabinet secretary (2009-2013).
(Ynet News)