Friday, November 30, 2012

Arafat: The Symbol of What?

Exhuming Yasser Arafat -Jonathan Kay 

The body of PA leader Yasser Arafat was exhumed as part of a dubious campaign to determine his cause of death.

By the time he died in 2004, many Israelis simply didn't care that much about Arafat - who had become haggard, agitated, and increasingly irrelevant to Palestinian politics.

He had gambled and lost in the second intifada, and it is doubtful that Israel would have risked international censure and humiliation by killing this aging terrorist.

The sight of Arafat's exhumation provides an apt symbol of the backward-looking obsessions that define the Palestinian condition. The Palestinian people he once led remain prisoners of their hatred of the Jewish state.  
(National Post-Canada)

UN Votes to Recognize Palestine -C. Lynch & Joel Greenberg

The UN General Assembly voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, to recognize Palestine as a "non-member observer state," a status that falls well short of independence.
(Washington Post)

The "Palestine" Vote at the UN -Elliott Abrams

Moves in the International Criminal Court will gain Abbas one day's notice, but two can play the same game: Israel can ask why "Palestine" is committing acts of aggression against it week after week with rockets out of Gaza, which the PA claims as part of its sovereign territory.
(Council on Foreign Relations)

How Not to Create Palestine -Yossi Klein Halevi

No stateless people has rejected offers of statehood as often as the Palestinians. And no other national movement seeks to empower its people on the ruins of another people's state. Instead of forcing Palestinian leaders to face reality and negotiate with Israel in good faith, the international community encourages Palestinian fantasies, such as Abbas' latest initiative at the UN.
(Globe and Mail-Canada)

Falling for Hamas' Media Manipulation -Michael Oren

Media also emphasize the disparity between the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths, as though Israel should be penalized for investing billions of dollars in civil-defense and early-warning systems and Hamas exonerated for investing in bombs rather than bomb shelters.

The imbalance is also of language. "Hamas health officials said 45 had been killed and 385 wounded," the New York Times' front page reported."Three Israeli civilians have died and 63 have been injured."

The subtext is clear: Israel targets Palestinians, and Israelis merely die.
The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S. 

(Washington Post)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cartoon To "Celebrate" the UN Vote on "Palestine"

A cartoon worth a thousand words

Abbas' UN Gambit Will Not Bring Peace -Gilead Sher & Amos Yadlin

On November 29, the PLO under PA President Mahmoud Abbas is likely to request a UN vote on international recognition of Palestine as a "non-member state," and is expected to win a majority.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)


Today Could Have Been Palestine's 65th Birthday -Irwin Cotler

Nov. 29 marks the 65th anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution of 1947 - the first-ever blueprint for an Israeli-Palestinian "two states for two peoples" solution.

While Jewish leaders accepted the resolution, Arab and Palestinian leaders did not, launching a war of aggression against the nascent Jewish state.

Had the UN Partition Resolution been accepted, there would have been no 1948 Arab- Israeli war, no refugees, and none of the pain and suffering of these past 65 years.

Indeed, today's date could have been a day commemorating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.
The writer is the former Minister of Justice of Canada.


UN Palestine Vote Is "Diplomatic Theater"  -Isabel Kershner

"Ultimately, what we will see at the United Nations is diplomatic theater," said Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government. 
(New York Times)

What Will Palestinians Do After the UN Vote? -Editorial

Progress will require Palestinian leaders who are willing to do more than lob rockets at Israel - or submit pointless petitions to the UN.
(Washington Post)

Palestine's Muddled Statehood Strategy -Robert M. Danin

President Obama has urged the Palestinians for over a year not to push a vote at the UN. Abbas clearly and inauspiciously rebuffed him in a gesture that will no doubt figure into Obama's calculations for his upcoming Middle East policies.
(Council on Foreign Relations)

Accomplices in a Campaign to Annihilate a UN Member -Shlomo Slonim

Once a Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders - including part of Jerusalem - is endorsed by international bodies dominated by automatic majorities, Israel's presence in the territories is further delegitimized and its self-defensive measures can be discredited. Israel could then be charged with occupying the territory of a foreign state.

Abbas' goal is not to create a Palestinian state living peacefully side by side with Israel, but to replace Israel.
(Jerusalem Post)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Woman Saves Her Family from Terrorist

Woman Singlehandedly Drives Terrorist Away -Ilana Curiel

Yael Re-em-Matzpun [pictured above with scars], 39, a resident of Sde Avraham in southern Israel, managed to chase out a Palestinian who broke into her home and threatened her with a knife and an iron rod.

She struggled with him inside the house at 4 a.m., singlehandedly protecting her four children.

Yael's father, Danny Matzpun, told Ynet: "She pushed him into the bathroom and blocked the door using one of the kids' beds. She hurt herself during the struggle; he leaned against her and stabbed her in the face and the shoulder."

The assailant then climbed out a window and ran away, before he was caught [and killed] by security forces two km. from the scene.
(Ynet News)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pastrami & The Gaza War

Pastrami -Etgar Keret

The air-raid siren catches us on the highway. My wife, Shira, pulls over to the side of the road and we get out of the car. Lev holds my hand; he's seven. Following Home Front Command instructions, Shira lies down on the side of the road. I tell Lev that he has to lie down, too. But he keeps standing there.

"Lie down already," Shira says, raising her voice to be heard over the blaring siren. "How'd you like to play a game of Pastrami Sandwich?" I ask Lev. "What's that?" he asks, not letting go of my hand. "Mommy and I are slices of bread," I explain, "and you're a slice of pastrami, and we have to make a pastrami sandwich as fast as we can." 
The author is a well-known Israeli writer.
(New Yorker)

Why was there war in Gaza? -Charles Krauthammer

Seven years ago, in front of the world, Israel pulled out of Gaza. It dismantled every settlement, withdrew every soldier, evacuated every Jew, leaving nothing and no one behind. Except for the greenhouses in which the settlers had grown fruit and flowers for export. These were left intact to help Gaza’s economy — only to be trashed when the Palestinians took over.
Israel then declared its border with Gaza to be an international frontier, meaning that it renounced any claim to the territory and considered it an independent entity.

In effect, Israel had created the first Palestinian state ever, something never granted by fellow Muslims — neither the Ottoman Turks nor the Egyptians who brutally occupied Gaza for two decades before being driven out by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

It gave the land. It got no peace.

Israel has once again succeeded in defending itself. But, yet again, only until the next round, which, as the night follows the day, will come. Hamas will see to that.
[The Washington Post]

Iran Escalates Executions and Amputations -Hugh Tomlinson   

Iran has increased the number of public executions and amputations it carries out, taking advantage of the international focus on Gaza to reduce prison overcrowding.

At least 81 people have been hanged in the past ten days. "Every time the international community's attention is elsewhere we see a spike in executions across Iran," said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam from Iran Human Rights.       

For Israel, Gaza Conflict Is Test for an Iran Confrontation -David E. Sanger & Thom Shanker

Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and a military historian, noted: "In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union." In the Gaza operation, "Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran."
(New York Times)

Israel's Iron Dome Shield

Israel's five Iron Dome batteries shot down 421 rockets launched from Gaza. The military put Iron Dome's success rate at 90%. To lower costs, the system engages only rockets that threaten populated areas. Israel says it needs 13 batteries for satisfactory nationwide defense. 
(Reuters-NBC News)

Israel Arrests Hamas, Islamic Jihad Cell Behind Tel Aviv Bus Bomb -Gili Cohen

Israeli security forces apprehended the perpetrators of a bombing attack on a Tel Aviv bus that wounded at least 30 people. Operatives linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad admitted in their interrogation to preparing the bomb used in the attack, as well as purchasing the cell phone used to remotely detonate the device.

Will Israel Take the PA to the International Criminal Court? -Herb Keinon

 [D]uring the height of the Gaza crisis, Netanyahu, during numerous talks he held with various world leaders, asked his interlocutors why they were not calling on Abbas to stop the rockets from Gaza. "They would tell him to 'get serious,' and that Abbas has no control, to which Netanyahu would reply, 'So what is all the talk about statehood recognition at the UN,'" one government source said. The idea was to demonstrate how divorced from reality the whole UN proposal was.

The source asked, "If the Palestinians go to the UN and get recognition, next time there is a rocket attack from Gaza, why can't we attack Ramallah, and why can't we take them to the International Criminal Court and accuse them of war crimes?"
(Jerusalem Post)

Hamas' Gaza Victory -Editorial

Regarding America's war in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger once noted that "the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win." Regarding Israel's latest war against Hamas in Gaza, the same considerations apply.
The leaders of Hamas understand that they have emerged politically intact and strategically stronger after eight days of inconclusive fighting. The terrorist group fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israel - forcing millions of Israelis into bunkers and bomb shelters - but suffered no decisive military defeat.

Israel lives in a bad neighborhood that has become more dangerous since the Arab Spring. Israel has at least degraded Hamas' ability to attack if there is a war with Iran next year.
(Wall Street Journal)

Is Israel's Gaza Campaign Laying the Groundwork for an Attack on Iran?
-Moran Stern

In October a mysterious blast occurred at the Yarmouk military base on the outskirts of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Yarmouk was a base camp to receive arms shipments from Iran that were smuggled to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Satellite images indicate that the bombing of Yarmouk was executed from the air. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the only one in the region with the capabilities to execute such a strike.

The operation in Sudan sent two clear messages to Tehran: First, that Israeli intelligence follows Iran's whereabouts in the region. Second, if the IAF can safely reach and destroy a target some 1,120 miles from Israel, it can make the 1,000-mile journey to Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel's Gaza operation was not aimed at destroying the Hamas regime in Gaza, but rather at paralyzing it militarily. Aside from the immediate respite it would provide Israel from rocket fire, this would also ensure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad stay out of the conflict in case Israel strikes Iran.

Furthermore, the heavy exchange of fire with Gaza is an excellent opportunity for the Israeli authorities to examine the preparedness of its home front, emergency infrastructure, and defensive military capabilities. A responsive public, who closely follows the instructions of the home front authorities, is an important element in minimizing the number of potential victims in case of an Iranian strike. While it is difficult to imagine that Israel launched its current offensive primarily to gauge these factors, it certainly provides important ancillary benefits toward that end.

Israel's actions also send a strong message: it is ready to act against its enemies and to bear the consequences.


Lessons from Gaza -Jackson Diehl

[T]his Gaza episode may finally finish off the stubbornly persistent notion that Israel should negotiate a peace settlement with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority without Hamas' involvement.
(Washington Post)

More at Stake than You Think in Gaza -Daniel Taub 
  • If the negotiations do restart and the international community urges Israelis to make significant territorial withdrawals from the West Bank as part of a peace package, it should be aware that Israelis will naturally think back to the last time they were urged to pull out of land for peace, and the value of the reassurances they were given at that time.
  • When Israelis face rocket and missiles onslaught from territory they were urged to leave, the international community needs to stand by its assurance that Israel would be entitled to respond with the force and for the time necessary to protect its civilians.

    The writer is Israel's Ambassador to Britain.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Aftermath


Specter of Iran Looms Over Gaza Crisis -Gerald F. Seib 

Looming over the crisis in Gaza is another significant power: Iran.
Iran, most analysts believe, provided the longer-range rockets that have given Hamas, for the first time, the ability to reach at least the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Israeli officials don't rule out the possibility that Iran's leaders may have helped prompt Hamas to step up its firing of rockets into Israel in recent weeks as a way to distract and tie down Israeli forces on the country's western border to reduce the chances Israel would direct its military attention eastward, toward Iran's nuclear facilities.    
(Wall Street Journal)

Hamas Can Replenish Arsenal - If Egypt Lets It -Ulrike Putz 

As long as fresh supplies of rockets keep coming through Egypt, the power of Hamas will be unbroken.

There is no doubt that the military capabilities of Hamas have been severely curtailed. But the attacks haven't broken the organization's power.

As long as the supply route Iran-Sudan-Egypt remains intact, the Islamists' arsenals will soon be replenished.
(Der Spiegel-Germany)


Ceasefire in Israel-Hamas War -Barry Rubin, PhD

Apparently, Hamas did not consult with Egypt before escalating attacks against Israel, the factor that set off large-scale Israeli retaliation. In turn, Egypt, along with Qatar, the Hamas regime's main Arab funder, pressured the regime to stop the fighting.

While people can come up with ideal solutions in their heads the problem is that Israel does not want to return to rule the Gaza Strip (which would involve armed battles almost daily) and does not have international support for overthrowing Hamas.

In a reasonable world, the international community would support, even join, in bringing down the current regime and replacing it with the Palestinian Authority. Instead, however, the international community is determined to protect the survival of the Hamas regime and the Palestinian Authority would not take back rule over the Gaza Strip, either by its own efforts to overthrow Hamas or at the hands of a victorious Israeli army.

Of course, everyone knows that this ceasefire won't last.
[The Rubin Report]

An Initial Accounting of the Gaza Operation -Dan Margalit 

Hamas has taken a body blow. Senior operatives have been killed, rocket arsenals have been pulverized, terrorist infrastructure has been destroyed, and the Iron Dome has been largely successful in protecting the Israeli home front.

For the first time in many years, Israel has struck a heavy blow against terrorists in Gaza without losing the support of the world's enlightened nations. Those who remember the criticism after Israel's Gaza operation in 2009 understand the significance of this achievement.
(Israel Hayom)

Israeli Attacks Serve as a Warning to Iran -Nicole Gaouette

Israel is fighting a "war within a war," said David Wurmser, a former Middle East adviser to then-vice president Dick Cheney.

Israel is simultaneously tackling Hamas rocket fire, demonstrating the effectiveness of the new "Iron Dome" missile defense system, and degrading the Islamist group's ability to retaliate for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

PA Wanted Hamas Defeated -Barak Ravid

A Palestinian ambassador told an Israeli ambassador earlier this week that if Israel expanded the operation in Gaza, it must work to overthrow Hamas, instead of stopping in the middle, as it did in 2009.

The Palestinian official was quoted as saying: "The Hamas offices that were destroyed are not important. The real offices are the mosques, which are connected to a widespread network of tunnels. Everything happens underground."

U.S. to Intensify Efforts to Halt Weapons Smuggling

"The president said that the U.S. would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza
(White House)

Who Won This Round? -Amos Harel & Avi Issacharoff

In Gaza, they began preparing the victory rallies. But the celebrations will not hide the serious blow Hamas suffered in the military arena by the killing of Ahmed Jabari, the destruction of its long-range Fajr missiles and the attacks on its commanders and camps.


Israel's Gaza Operation Achieved Its Goals -Aluf Benn

Netanyahu showed it was possible to bomb Gaza and kill Hamas' chief of staff without harming the peace with Cairo. In the new strategic environment generated by the "Arab Spring," this is no mean feat.

Israel Dominates the New Middle East -Fareed Zakaria

We were warned that the battle between Israel and the Palestinians might spread because we are in a new and much more dangerous Middle East where Islamists are in power. In fact, there is a very low likelihood of a broader regional conflict. It's true that we're in a new Middle East, but it's one in which Israel has become the region's superpower.

This is why Egypt, despite being under a new Islamist government, is not going to risk war with Israel. Nor are the other Arab states. They will make fiery speeches and offer humanitarian assistance. But they will not fight alongside the Palestinians in Gaza.
(Washington Post)

Savage Display by Hamas

Six 'spies' executed before mob in Gaza City -David Williams

Six men accused of being 'Israeli spies' were dragged through the streets of Gaza City and executed in front of a chanting mob today.

Witnesses said the six were taken to an intersection in the north of the city where they were summarily shot for providing intelligence that helped Israel pinpoint key figures in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad targeted by their warplanes.

Gunmen chained the body of one of the alleged collaborators to a motorcycle and dragged it throughout the main streets of Gaza City in a warning to others who 'betrayed'
[Daily Mail]


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hamas Aims To Set Off Air Raid Sirens Deep in Israel

Israeli children watch the Iron Dome system which has shot down some of Hamas' rocketry

Gaza Rockets Stripped of Explosives to Fly Further -Dan Williams

Some of the Palestinian rockets fired far into Israel lacked warheads because they were stripped down to increase range and spread alarm over a wider population, Israeli security sources said.

"They're pipes, basically," said an Israeli official.

"Our assessment is that the prestige of setting off alarms deep in Israel, and being perceived as fighting on, is as important to them now as spilling our blood."

The Truth about Gaza -Bret Stephens

In 2004 as editor of the Jerusalem Post, and in 2006 in a Wall Street Journal column, I made the case that Israel was smart to withdraw its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip. I was wrong. If Israel had maintained a military presence in the Strip, it would not now be living under this massive barrage.

The diplomatic and public-relations benefit Israel derives from being able to defend itself from across a "border" and without having to get into an argument about settlements isn't worth the price Israelis have had to pay in lives and terror.

Put simply, Israel's withdrawal from Gaza yielded less security, greater diplomatic isolation, and a Palestinian regime even more radical and emboldened than it had been before.
(Wall Street Journal)

Arabs in Jerusalem and the West Bank Celebrate Rocket Fire -Khaled Abu Toameh

There is nothing more nauseating than watching people celebrate as rockets are being fired toward Israel from Gaza. As soon as the sirens went off, many Palestinians in Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods and in the West Bank took to the streets and rooftops to cheer Hamas. Some launched fireworks and chanted, "We are all Hamas!" and, "O Jews, the army of Mohammed is coming after you!"

Never mind that the rockets could have fallen on their heads. As far as these Palestinians are concerned, there is no problem if a number of Arabs are killed on the way to destroying Israel.

One wonders whether a majority of Palestinians would ever agree to any form of compromise with Israel. In today's world of the Palestinians, anyone who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor and a collaborator; but anyone who calls for the destruction of Israel is a hero.
(Gatestone Institute)

Hamas Will Never Achieve a Palestinian State  -Gerard Henderson

In 2010 some condemned Israel's interdiction of the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara, where there was loss of life among those attempting to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.

It is now clear what Israel was on about. Namely stopping the importation of larger and more effective rockets to such terrorist entities as Hamas and Islamist Jihad for use against Israeli cities - including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
(Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hamas Goal: Hit Tel Aviv

A chilling Hamas video, revealing their desire to hit Tel Aviv

America, Israel, Gaza, the World -Walter Russell Mead
  • For some, Zionism itself is an illegitimate idea and a state that has no right to exist has no right to defend itself. Anything it does to defend itself is a crime. This is how Hamas and many others think and it is why people in this camp are able to work themselves up into such a froth of indignation and rage when Israel responds to their fire.
  • Certainly if a terrorist organization were to set up missile factories across the frontier in Canada and Mexico and start attacking targets in the U.S., the American people would demand that their President use all necessary force without stint or limit until the resistance had been completely, utterly and pitilessly crushed. Americans might feel sorrow at the loss of innocent children and non-combatants killed when overwhelming American power was used to take the terrorists out, but they would feel no moral guilt. The guilt would be on the shoulders of those who started the whole thing by launching the missiles.
  • [T]hey admire Israel's strength and its resolve for dealing with the appalling blood lust of the unhinged loons who start a war they can't win, and then cower behind the corpses of the children their foolishness has killed.
  • The whole situation strengthens the widespread American belief that Palestinian hate rather than Israeli intransigence is the fundamental reason for the Middle East impasse, and the television pictures that drive much of the world away from Israel often have the effect of strengthening the bonds between Americans and the Jewish state.
  • Far from seeing Israel's use of overwhelming force against limited provocation as harsh or immoral, many Americans see it as courageous and wise. It strengthens the sense that in a wacky world where a lot of foreigners are hard to understand, the Israelis are honest, competent and reliable friends - good people to have on your side in a tight spot.
(American Interest)

Gaza Boy Killed by Palestinian Rocket -Phoebe Greenwood

The highly publicized death of four-year-old Mohammed Sadallah appeared to have been the result of a misfiring home-made rocket, not a bomb dropped by Israel.

98 Hamas Rockets Have Landed Inside Gaza

One source of civilian injuries in Gaza is the many Palestinian rockets that have fallen short and landed inside the Strip. These 98 rockets (so far) have most certainly caused casualties.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Syrian Massacre Photos Recycled as Gaza Tragedy -Anav Silverman   

The Arab news site Alarab Net released a photo on Nov. 18 which depicts three bloodied children and their mother lying on a floor, who were allegedly "massacred" in Gaza.

Tazpit News Agency found that the photo originally had been published on the Dubai-based Moheet news site on Oct. 19 with a story about Syria.

Last week, Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades uploaded a photo of a dead child in his weeping father's arms, which was alleged to be the result of an IDF strike in Gaza. The American news site Breitbart found that the photo had originally appeared in a slideshow about the Syrian conflict in October in the UK Guardian.   

Israel Demands 15-Year Lull, Morsi Guarantee
-Elior Levy

According to reports in Cairo, Israel's conditions for a ceasefire include:

1. A lull for a period of more than 15 years.
2. An immediate cessation of arms smuggling and the transfer of weapons to Gaza.
3. Cessation of rocket fire on the part of all armed Palestinian factions and an end to attacks on soldiers near the Gaza border.
4. Israel has the right to hunt down terrorists in the event of an attack or if it obtains information on an imminent attack.
5. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will remain open, but the crossings on the Gaza-Israel border will remain closed.
6. Egypt's politicians, headed by President Mohammed Morsi, will be the guarantors of any ceasefire agreement; meaning, the agreement will be backed by Egypt's political echelon rather than by its security establishment.
(Ynet News)

Hamas Weighing Israel's Ceasefire Terms -Elior Levy

Hamas deputy politburo chief Mousa Abu Marzook said that the group rejected Israel's terms for a ceasefire, while Hamas spokesman Razi Hamed told Al-Jazeera that Israel and Hamas had agreed on 90% of an outline for a truce. Abu Marzook told Al-Arabiya that Israel has presented two preconditions that were not acceptable to Hamas: a demilitarized zone near the border and a cessation of weapons smuggling via tunnels.
(Ynet News)

Gaza Rocket Hits School in Ashkelon -Yaakov Lappin & Ben Hartman

A rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza hit a school parking lot in Ashkelon. No injuries were reported as all Israeli schools are closed within a 40-km. radius of Gaza.  
(Jerusalem Post)

Can Terrorists Be Deterred? -Moshe Arens

If the terrorists cannot be deterred, and the population in the southern half of Israel is not to face recurrent rocket attacks, each time increasing in intensity, the terrorists have to be disarmed, their rockets destroyed and rocket supply lines blocked. That has to be the ultimate aim of a military operation or diplomatic initiative.

Preventing the recurrence of rocket attacks on Israel in the coming months requires the cooperation of the Egyptian government. It must reestablish control over Sinai and block all attempts to supply weapons to Hamas and its affiliates in Gaza from Sinai. [O]nly American diplomacy can bring this about.
The writer served as Israel's minister of defense three times, as minister of foreign affairs, and as Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

Rubin Dubs Gaza: 'The Suicide War'

The Suicide Strategy: Launching Losing Wars and Still Winning
-Barry Rubin, PhD

One of the most important things to understand about how the Middle East works is what I’ll call the suicide strategy. It can be described as follows:

I will start a war that I cannot win in order to create a situation where the other side wrecks my infrastructure and kills my people. Then I will lose militarily but win the battle. How? By the following means:

--I’ll kill some people on the other side and do some damage to it. Since they are weaker and less brave than I am they will give up. The longer the war, the more likely they are to look for a way out even if that involves many concessions on their part. Using terrorism against their civilians reinforces this tactic.

--By suffering, and magnifying that suffering using a generally sympathetic Western media, I will make the other side feel sorry for me and oppose their own leaders who will be portrayed as bullying, bloodthirsty, and imperialistic.

--The specter of war, suffering, and especially civilian casualties, will drive the “international community” to press my adversaries to give in, stop fighting (even if I continue it on a lower level), let me survive, and even give me benefits.

That’s how you stage a losing war but end up the winner.
[The Rubin Report]
Many countries condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza. A few countries including Canada, Britain, Germany and the US support Israel’s right of self defense. With the exception of Canada, the latter go on to recommend restraint with a variety of words.

But no country encourages Israel to devastate Hamas and its rocket arsenal. When they support our right of self defense they imply that should the rockets stop, Israel should stop.

Why is Israel not allowed to defeat her enemies? Especially here where our enemy Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization. Does anyone demand that the US stop killing al Qaeda terrorists? On what basis does the US have the right to kill terrorist who aren’t targeting the US?

After 9/11 the world accepted that the US had the right to destroy Al Qaeda and remove the Taliban from power.

Hamas started the war. Israel should have the right, and the support of the world, to finish it by defeating Hamas.
Over 90 Percent of Israelis Support Gaza Operation -Aaron Lerner

91% of Israelis support Israel's latest Gaza operation, while 5% do not, according to a poll conducted Thursday for Channel 10 News.


Hamas rocket squads aimed at Jerusalem for the first time Friday, along with Tel Aviv. The air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem after the start of the Jewish Sabbath. The holy city is located about 75 km. (47 miles) from Gaza. No injuries were reported. 
Gazans Watch with Pride as Hamas Targets Jerusalem

Gazans have been watching with gleeful pride as Hamas militants fire rockets deeper than ever into Israel, targeting Jerusalem for the first time. "I never liked Hamas, but I wished I could kiss the forehead of the one who fired the rocket on Jerusalem," Saed Moaserji, 19, from Jebaliya in Gaza, said.
(AP-Fox News)
Israel's Right to Self-Defense Against Hamas -Alan M. Dershowitz

There is absolutely no comparison between the murderous war crimes being committed by Hamas and the lawful targeting of terrorists by the Israeli military.

Targeting civilians is a calculated Hamas policy designed to sow terror among the Israeli population. Hamas supporters celebrate the murder of Jewish civilians. Every rocket fired by Hamas at a non-military Israeli target is a war crime that should be universally condemned by all reasonable people.

Israel's response - targeting only terrorists and Hamas military leaders - is completely lawful and legitimate. It constitutes an act of self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of the UN Charter and universally accepted principles of international law.
Some in the media insist on describing the recent events in Gaza as "a cycle of violence," without distinguishing between the war crimes committed by Hamas and the lawful actions undertaken by Israel to protect its citizens against such war crimes. It would be as if the media described lawful police efforts to stop illegal drug-related murders as a "cycle of violence."

The international community and the media must begin to differentiate between war crimes committed by terrorists and legitimate acts of self-defense engaged in by a responsible military.
The writer is a Professor of Law at Harvard.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Gaza War Continues: Relative Silence from Arab World

Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers clean human remains from a house hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants killing 3 people in southern city of Kiryat Malahi on November 15

An Israeli inspects the damage in a house hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists into the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Malahi

A picture taken from the southern Israeli town of Sderot shows smoke billowing from a spot targeted by an Israeli air strike inside the Gaza strip on November 15

  Israelis take cover in a large concrete pipe used as a bomb shelter after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip on Kiryat Malachi
Two observations about the hostilities: 
(1) The old Arab-Israeli wars were military clashes, the recent ones are political clashes. The wars of 1948-49, 1967, and 1973 were life-and-death struggles for the Jewish state. But the wars of 2006, 2008-09, and now 2012 are media events in which Israeli victory on the military battlefield is foreordained and the struggle is to win public opinion. Opeds have replaced bullets, social media have replaced tanks. Will Israel prevail in arguing that its enemy initiated offensive action? Or will those enemies, Hamas or Hezbollah, convince observers that Israel is an illegitimate regime whose recourse to force is criminal? The war must be fought primarily as a media event.

(2) If Hamas knows it cannot defeat the Israel Defense Forces and will get a bloody nose for its efforts, it obviously has motives other than victory in mind. What might those be? Several come to mind:
  • Test the waters in the aftermath of Barack Obama's reelection.
  • Rouse public opinion against Israel and make it pay a price internationally.
  • Refute accusations by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that it has abandoned "resistance."
  • Remind the Palestinian Authority, as it seeks statehood at the United Nations, who controls Gaza.
  • Rile up Israeli Arabs.
  • Pre-empt Egyptian plans to destroy Gaza tunnels, as Cairo cannot be seen helping Israel in a time of crisis.
[National Review Online]
Growing Ties between Egypt, Turkey May Signal New Regional Order
- Jeffrey Fleishman

Egypt and Turkey are forging an alliance that showcases two Islamist leaders maneuvering to reshape a Middle East gripped by political upheaval and passionate battles over how deeply the Koran should penetrate public life.
The relationship may foreshadow an emerging regional order in which the sway of the U.S. gradually fades against Islamist voices no longer contained by militaries and pro-Western autocrats.   

(Los Angeles Times)
Britain: Hamas to Blame for Gaza Crisis with Israel

Hamas "bears principal responsibility" for escalating tension in Gaza and Israel, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.  
(BBC News)
U.S. Senate Backs Israel's Actions in Gaza

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution expressing support for Israel's "inherent right to act in self-defense." 
Netanyahu: World Leaders Understand Israel's Need to Defend Itself
"I want to express my appreciation once again to President Obama for his unequivocal, clear support for Israel's right to defend itself. I also want to express my appreciation to the other world leaders I've had a chance to speak to in the last 24 hours: to President Hollande of France, to UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, to EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and to Quartet representative Tony Blair. I want to thank them for their understanding of Israel's need to defend itself, and Israel's right to defend itself."
(Prime Minister's Office)
Hamas Trying to Restore Shattered Morale - Khaled Abu Toameh

There were no signs whatsoever that Hamas was interested in a cease-fire with Israel at this stage. The assassination of Ahmed Jabari, commander of Hamas' armed wing, has hurt the Islamist movement so badly that it feels the urgent need to restore not only its lost dignity, but also the shattered morale of its members and supporters. Hamas feels that with the killing of such a senior figure, it has lost its balance of power vis-a-vis Israel, and will agree to a cease-fire only after it extracts a heavy price from Israel. Failure to do so will undermine Hamas' credibility in the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims.
(Jerusalem Post)
Time to Get Tough -Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

The government of Israel has launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip. It is an operation that is justified, and in fact overdue. American Jews across the political spectrum should be offering their support.

It would be hard to imagine a case where Israel has been more patient than in Gaza. Sderot and the surrounding communities have been subjected to missile fire from Gaza for 11 years. With sickening regularity, rockets fall on civilian centers and hundreds of thousands of Israel's citizens flee to shelters. A single rocket aimed at an American city would likely provoke a far more drastic response than anything Israel has attempted or even contemplated.

In short, I support a real "get tough" policy in Gaza. Common sense dictates that there must be a high, ongoing price exacted for every attack originating from Gaza. Israel came into being so that Jewish children would never again have to huddle together in fear, terrorized by enemies of the Jewish people, while their parents stood by helplessly.
The writer served as president of the Union for Reform Judaism from 1996 to 2012.

Abbas' UN Chess Game

UN Vote Could Challenge Control of Airspace and Territorial Waters -Joe Lauria

The vote in the UN General Assembly this month to make the Palestinian Authority an observer state could give the PA the right over its airspace and territorial waters, which are now under Israeli control, and to press charges against Israelis before the International Criminal Court.
Observer state status would allow the authority to accede to treaties and join specialized UN agencies. Denis Changnon, an ICAO spokesman, said the treaty gives members full sovereign rights over airspace. The Law of the Sea Treaty would give the PA control of its national waters off Gaza, now under an Israeli naval blockade.
The U.S. Congress has threatened to cut off $500 million in security and economic aid to the authority if it becomes an observer state. In 1989, the Palestinians made a previous attempt to become a non-member state in the General Assembly but withdrew under U.S. pressure. 
(Wall Street Journal)

Unable to Pay Salaries, PA Pursues Statehood -Ben Lynfield

While Palestinians prepare for an upgrade in status at the UN, the PA has been failing to pay on time its 170,000 employees, whose salaries directly support about a quarter of the West Bank and Gaza population.
In retaliation for the UN move, Israel is considering suspending transfers of tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. ''If they breach blatantly the whole framework of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, then there is no way back and Israel will do whatever it sees fit. He who burns bridges should not complain about not being able to get to the other side."  
(Christian Science Monitor)

Israel Will Consider Canceling Oslo Accords If Palestinians Gain Upgraded UN Status
-Barak Ravid

Israel will consider partial or full cancellation of the Oslo Accords if the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution to upgrade the status of Palestine to that of a non-member observer state on Nov. 29.

The head of the Israel Foreign Ministry division for international organizations, Amb. Roni Leshno-Yaar, told Israeli embassies around the world: "The Palestinian resolution is a clear violation of the fundamental principle of negotiation and is a violation of the agreements between Israel and the PLO. The adoption of the resolution will give Israel the right to re-evaluate previous agreements with the PLO and consider canceling them partially or completely, and would make progress in the peace process more difficult in the future."

"Palestine" Does Not Qualify as a "State" -Rick Richman
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demands recognition of a Palestinian state while refusing to recognize a Jewish one; and he now seeks admission to the UN as a non-member state even though "Palestine" meets none of the four requirements under international law for a state.
  • Under the Montevideo Convention (1933), a state "should possess the following qualifications": (1) a defined territory; (2) a government; (3) capacity to enter into relations with the other states; and (4) a permanent population.
  • "Palestine" lacks a "defined territory." To have a defined territory, "Palestine" has to negotiate it with Israel; until then, its self-definition of territory is not a "defined territory" under the law; it is simply a negotiating position.
  • "Palestine" lacks a "government." It is ruled half by a terrorist group and half by an unelected administrative entity whose last election occurred nearly seven years ago. The government of each half considers the government of the other half illegitimate, and both are correct.
  • "Palestine" lacks the "capacity to enter into relations with the other states." Abbas has no capacity to bind the rulers of Gaza, nor even to implement his own commitments in the area in which he rules, with no capacity to bind "Palestine" to anything.
  • "Palestine" lacks a "permanent population." Most of the population considers themselves perennial "refugees" who seek to "return" to a different state, not to be permanent residents where they currently live.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gaza War Dubbed "Pillar of Defense"

Rocket launched from Rafah, Gaza towards Tel Aviv

The battle for the South has begun -Yaakov Lappin

Nearly four years after Operation Cast Lead, a new battle to restore security for the South has begun. The deterrence levels gained by Israel in the 2009 operation have run out, in great part due to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

With Hamas feeling confident over the ascendancy of its fellow Islamists in the region, and the emergence of a new patron in Cairo, it and Islamic Jihad chipped away at Israeli deterrence, attempting to set new rules by preventing the IDF from carrying out vital security missions on the Gaza border.

As it built up its rocket arsenals, Hamas and the other factions responded to Israel’s measures to secure the border with more and more indiscriminate rocket barrages on the long-suffering South, filling the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians with dread, trauma and disruption.

Hamas has overplayed its hand. It mistook Israeli restraint for weakness.

The current operation underway in Gaza is based on a flexible approach. It began by sending a strong message to Hamas: that it must choose between the survival of its members and the continued firing of rockets at southern cities, towns and villages. At the same time, Israel has left Hamas with an exit. Should it decrease the rocket attacks, the IDF will scale back its operation.

The aim is not to topple the Hamas regime – at least not at this stage.

Israel once again has proved that its intelligence capabilities in Gaza are superb not only by targeting the head of the rocket- launching machine, Ahmed Jabari, but also by removing most of Hamas’s long-range underground rocket launchers in the first wave of air strikes.

The ball is now in Hamas’s court. If it chooses to continue to lash out at Israel’s civilians, it could find itself face to face with a ground offensive, a development that would take the current operation to a new level.

Operation Pillar of Defense is also a message to the wider region, now filling up with Islamist forces: Israel will not be deterred from taking basic steps to defend its civilians.
[Jerusalem Post]

Operation Pillar of Defense: What You Need to Know -Simon Plosker

The current attacks began on Saturday night (Nov.10) when Palestinian terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an army jeep traveling on the Israeli side of the border fence. Four IDF soldiers were injured. Since then, over 120 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilians.

Booms heard in Tel Aviv area following warning siren -Yaakov Lappin

Two booms were heard following an air raid siren in Tel Aviv, just an hour after a rocket from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open field outside of Rishon Lezion. There were no reports of injuries in either strike.

The attacks mark the first time the center of the country was hit [in] renewed violence from the Gaza Strip. The incident was also the first time that a real siren was sounded in Tel Aviv since the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

[T]hree people were killed and two others injured in a direct hit on a Kiryat Malachi apartment building. Hours later, a rocket fired into the Eshkol region injured three IDF soldiers, two moderately.
MDA paramedics treated five wounded people at the site of the Kiryat Malachi attack, in which a rocket hit a four-story building. Three people were pronounced dead on the scene and two others were suffering moderate injuries, including a baby.

A house in Ashdod and a school in Ofakim near Beersheba also sustained damage from rockets on Thursday morning. Rockets also landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area, Gan Yavne and Ashkelon.

The IDF Spokesman's Office stated the Iron Dome rocket defense system has successfully intercepted more than 80 rockets since the operation began.
[Jerusalem Post]

IDF Restores Deterrence -Ron Ben-Yishai

The Israeli government and security establishment concluded that the terror groups in Gaza are not deterred and that the threat on the residents of Israel is growing. Therefore, Israel decided to restore its deterrence through a series of painful attacks on top military figures and assets belonging to all the terror organizations in Gaza, with an emphasis on Hamas. Only a drastic operation that would exact a heavy toll from the terror groups would restore the diminished deterrence.

However, Israel does not want to give the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt an excuse to violate the 1979 peace agreement.
Israel's goal is to achieve a long-term ceasefire with Egyptian mediation, so that all of Gaza's armed groups would be committed to it. The IDF will continue to pound Gaza until such a truce is reached.
(Ynet News)

Pallywood Returns to Gaza -Simon Plosker

What happens when the cameras turn up at the scene of an airstrike in Gaza and there simply aren’t enough Palestinian dead and injured to produce dramatic footage that can be used against Israel in the international media? We’ve seen it before. Palestinians who appear to be injured or even dead for the benefit of the TV cameras turn out to be nothing of the sort once they are no longer the focus.
This is all the more so in Gaza, where Palestinian stringers are often filming in the absence of international news crews.

The example below is taken from a BBC interview on the targeted killing of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari. During the interview (full version here), footage from Gaza is shown. At 2:11 mins in, a Palestinian in a beige jacket and black T-shirt, presumably injured in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike, is picked up and taken away. Yet at 2:44 mins, the same Palestinian has staged a remarkable recovery.

We’ve taken the relevant footage so that you can see for yourself: 

Welcome [back] to Pallywood!