Month: July 2014

BOLSTERED BY A SYMPATHETIC U.S., MEDIA, “PRO- PALESTINIANS,” & “TERROR TUNNELS”—HAMAS “HOLDS OUT”

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

John Kerry Has Hamas’ Back: So, Who Has Israel’s?: Lee Smith, Tablet, July 30, 2014— You know there’s something going on when Ha’aretz, the flagship of the Israeli left, reads like it’s being edited by Dick Cheney.                                                   

Why Hamas is Still Holding Out: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, July 31, 2014: Before the start of Operation Protective Edge, an entire bevy of so-called "experts" appeared on Israeli media informing us of the weak state of Hamas…                     

Hamas Underground Warfare: Dr. Eado Hecht, Besa, July 27, 2014 — Underground warfare is not a new phenomenon – it started when humans were living in caves.

Who is the Real Enemy?: Masada Siegel, Times of Israel, July 27, 2013— I was working at CNN as a field producer on Sept 11, 2001.

 

On Topic Links

 

Message from the People of Israel to the World (Video): Israel Unseen, July 9, 2014

Pro-Israel Mensch of the Day: Marco Rubio (Video): Israeli Cool, July 22, 2014

Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent: David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, July 30, 2013

Why Hamas Stores its Weapons Inside Hospitals, Mosques and Schools: Terrance McCoy, Washington Post, July 31, 2014

U.S. Senate: Support Israel's Right to Defend Itself: Ayelet Izraeli, Jerusalem Online, July 30, 2014

                               

JOHN KERRY HAS HAMAS’ BACK: SO, WHO HAS ISRAEL’S?     

Lee Smith                                                                                                                           

Tablet, July 30, 2014

 

You know there’s something going on when Ha’aretz, the flagship of the Israeli left, reads like it’s being edited by Dick Cheney. Last Friday Secretary of State John Kerry presented the Israeli cabinet with a draft of a ceasefire agreement that, in the words of Ha’aretz columnist Barak Ravid, “could have been penned by Khaled Meshal. It was everything Hamas could have hoped for.” The draft, Ravid explained, “recognized Hamas’ position in the Gaza Strip, promised the organization billions in donation funds and demanded no dismantling of rockets, tunnels or other heavy weaponry at Hamas’ disposal.” Accordingly, wrote another Ha’aretz columnist, Ari Shavit: “The Obama Administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends.”

 

The fact is that Ha’aretz is simply in step with Israeli public opinion. One poll, conducted by Israel’s Channel 10, showed that 87 percent of Israelis were in favor continuing the operation in Gaza, with another 69 percent in favor of toppling the organization that the White House wants to save. Another poll showed that 86.5 percent are against a ceasefire right now because “Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered.” Therefore, explained one pollster, Netanyahu would be confronting the vast majority of Israel if he accepted, as Obama reportedly demanded in a phone call Sunday, an immediate ceasefire. “Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas,” Netanyahu told President Obama, according to an Israeli transcript of a recording of the phone call. (A transcript the White House and prime minister's office now claim is false.) “It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.” To which Obama snidely responded: “I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.” When Netanyahu objected to Obama’s high-school mean-girl treatment—“I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks”—the president of the United States simply ignored him: “The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.”

 

Obama’s big theory of the Middle East seems to be that Israel is the least popular kid in the lunchroom, which means that it is lucky to have the United States as any kind of friend at all. But what neither the president nor his peripatetic secretary of State appear to have noticed is that the least popular kid among Middle Eastern leaders isn’t Bibi—it’s Obama. While self-infatuated postering may be the key to popularity among a certain segment of the president’s daughters’ peer group, it tends to go over badly with world leaders who face real threats—and who feel that America regularly lies to them. According to reports, Cairo was so angry that Kerry involved its regional rivals Qatar and Turkey in discussions over what new Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi considers a vital national interest that it refused to send its foreign minister to meet with Kerry in Paris. Not surprisingly, the Palestinian Authority, in whose name Obama and Kerry are supposedly acting, was also furious with the administration. Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party released a statement critical of the White House as well as his intra-Palestinian rivals: “Those who want Qatar or Turkey to represent them should leave and go live there.” The reality is that the ceasefire makes plain what the United States’ traditional regional partners have long feared: Obama is lining up against America’s traditional friends in the Middle East, with Jerusalem directly in the crosshairs.

 

It’s at times like this that Israel could use a powerful friend in Washington. When Israel is at war with a terrorist group that plotted to send hundreds of its members through tunnels to slaughter and kidnap thousands of Israelis this coming Rosh Hashanah, and the White House proposes a ceasefire agreement that works to the advantage of the terrorists, it makes you wish there was a large, well-funded lobbying organization that wasn’t afraid to remind the White House of the overwhelming American support for Israel among both Jews and Christians…Of course, the pro-Israel community does have an organization like that—or it did. Sure, AIPAC gets House and Senate members to sign letters supportive of Israel and makes statements of its own. On Monday, for instance, AIPAC President Robert Cohen said, “It is essential that the United States works closely with our democratic and indispensable ally, Israel, to ensure Jerusalem is able to keep its citizens safe from terror.” But it’s crunch time for Israel, and thus also for the organization that is supposed to represent most potently the U.S.-Israel friendship, a relationship Obama is crashing on behalf of Israel’s adversaries. So, the question is why won’t AIPAC say out loud what everyone, including the Israeli left, now sees plainly? Regardless of what Obama may feel in his “kishkes” about the Jewish state, his policies are hostile to Israel.

 

John Kerry was determined to broker a deal that would not only bring about a ceasefire but also preserve his failed peace process. The problem with his attempt to rescue his own public profile and salve his wounded ego was that he didn’t study the region carefully enough: Both Israel and Egypt consider the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian iteration Hamas to be serious threats to their own national security, and it is hard to say that the fears of both governments aren’t well founded. Both Israel and Egypt found Kerry’s proposal way too favorable to Hamas. (Indeed, Kerry had told Hamas via a Qatari intermediary that many of the Palestinian terrorist group’s demands would be met.) That was too much for Kerry, who can’t stand to be left in the corner at the dance. As the secretary showed last week when a live mic caught him on Fox News saying “we have to get over there,” Kerry needs to be in the mix, to be holding important press conferences in foreign capitals and shaping big events. Accordingly, when Israel and Egypt showed Kerry the door, the only place left for him to go was Turkey and Qatar—who back Hamas. Now, so does John Kerry…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                     

Contents                                                                                                                 

WHY HAMAS IS STILL HOLDING OUT                                                                

Dr. Mordechai Kedar                                                                                          

Arutz Sheva, July 31, 2014

 

Before the start of Operation Protective Edge, an entire bevy of so-called "experts" appeared on Israeli media informing us of the weak state of Hamas, how its oxygen supply is cut off because the smuggling tunnels from the Sinai are closed and Egypt has turned against it, as has Saudi Arabia; it cannot pay salaries, it wants to preserve the state it has created in Gaza at all costs – and so one and so forth. Because of that, they concluded, its power of resistance is limited and since we have the Iron Dome to protect us, our decision makers can act judiciously, using our military power – particularly from the air – which is immeasurably more massive than that of Hamas. Even the world is on our side, they said, and surprisingly, supports us.

 

Now, after four weeks of air attacks and two weeks of a ground operation, Gaza has seen over 1,200 of its people killed and 7,000 wounded, and has not capitulated, has not raised a white flag, continues to launch rockets to Tel Aviv and the south, and the Gazan population has not rebelled. Just imagine what would happen to Israel's government if something like that, G-d forbid, happened here. It has suddenly become clear that all the "weakness factors" attributed to Hamas – the closed smuggling tunnels that Sisi sealed, Saudi Arabia, money and state – do not have the effect the "experts" predicted for the organization. Perhaps Hamas is not exactly the organization these "experts" painted for us. Unfortunately, our mistakes result from continuing to look at the enemy through our own cultural lenses: we need money, a strong army, protection from rockets, friends in the region and international approval, and we think that if Hamas has none of these, it will be as weak as we would be if we lacked them. There is no greater error than that line of thought, because Hamas is the product of a vastly different culture where the strength and weakness factors are totally different from ours.

 

1. The Spiritual Element: The basic and most deep-seated difference between us is that Hamas depends on a "power player" in the form of Allah, who dwells on high. The organization's raison d'etre is a plan whose end goal is Allah's reign over the entire world and Hamas' activity is aimed at succeeding in that Jihad for Allah. Hamas fighters are filled with fervor and the bandanna on their heads says the "Shahada", the testimony that there is no deity besides Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet. Our army is fighting valiantly for our nation, people and land, all of which are human and tangible, and if a commander dares to write his soldiers something with an allusion to religion, he is attacked by the thought police of Haaretz, and defamed along with the Jewish message he was trying to put forward. (An allusion to IDF Brigadier General Winter, who wrote his soldiers a letter of encouragement using biblical expressions from the fight of David and Goliath and was attacked by anti-religious coercion advocates). Many of us have distanced ourselves from the "Power Player" who dwells on high and have erased the concept from our cultural experience. Hamas continues to stick to spiritual goals and in this regard, has the advantage.

 

2. Culture and Ethos: Our culture sanctifies life, health, education, progress and economic, scientific and civil success. Death negates all of these and therefore, naturally, we try to prevent it when it comes to our lives and also those of our enemies. The terror organizations in our region, on the other hand, sanctify death for Allah, and even mothers rejoice when their sons go out to die. This difference explains the fact that the over 1200 dead do not bring Hamas to ask for a ceasefire. As long as the dead are called "shaheeds", they are considered not dead, according to the Koran: "Do not think that those who have been killed for Allah are dead; they are alive and nourished by the hand of Allah (Chap. 3, v. `69). Hamas terrorists are proud of their often-used slogan: "The Jews wish for life and we wish for death." This is the reason for their using human shields, for even if those "shields" are killed, they are not really dead, so their death is not seen as something bad. In general, in the Middle East there is no dividing line between citizens and combatants, everyone is considered "the enemy".

 

3. Attitude to the Media: The media has a critical role to play in wartime, as it has direct influence on large audiences worldwide and determines the public's  opinion of the operation. Public opinion has immediate influence on politicians, who try to act in accordance with their voter's inclinations. Israel adheres to journalistic ethics and limits its announcements to the media, refraining from showing bodies, body parts and other horrors that can influence viewers. Hamas, on the other hand, does not care about causing people to  be shocked by horrible pictures of the dead and wounded, and supplies photographs that are intended to create a sympathetic audience. 4. Legal Restrictions: Israel is a country based on law, it limits military actions to the strictures of international law. Soldiers and officers can find themselves facing the Israeli courts or international ones. Hamas is not a state, does not act like one and does not limit its activities to the accepted laws of warfare. The obvious example: Israel attempts to prevent harm to non-involved citizens, while Hamas intentionally launches deadly rockets to heavily populated Israeli areas.

 

5. International Support: We have been hearing that "the world understands us" from the beginning of hostilities and therefore, that it supports our actions. However, this is a highly fragile support, easily shaken by one picture of a rocket – even a Hamas rocket – hitting a school. The change in America's position is a gigantic plug for Hamas' steadfastness, for even the US president has adopted Hamas conditions for ceasefire, first among them removing the sea blockade of Gaza, although at the beginning of the operation he supported Israel and its right to defend itself. Hamas enjoys unlimited and unquestioning outside support from Qatar and Turkey. Despite the losses and destruction in Gaza, those two countries will stream material and financial aid to Gaza, including building materials that will allow it to rehabilitate the organization, its weapons arsenals and rockets, enlist new soldiers, train and equip them as well as dig more tunnels so as to infiltrate Israel and sow death… 

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 Contents

HAMAS UNDERGROUND WARFARE                                                

Dr. Eado Hecht             

Besa, July 27, 2014

                       

Underground warfare is not a new phenomenon – it started when humans were living in caves. However, it became a deliberate form of warfare when men began digging tunnels for military defensive and offensive use. Defensive tunnels were used to hide people and property from attackers. Offensive tunnels were used to infiltrate under defensive walls or to collapse these walls by undermining their foundations. The defenders of besieged cities and forts fought back, trying to locate the attackers’ tunnels by digging their own tunnels to break in and capture their enemies in hand-to-hand combat. The major problem for the defenders was locating the tunnels. Unless the attackers were careless, this was rare. The invention of gunpowder made siege and anti-siege tunnels much more effective – the sappers could be less accurate while navigating underground in order to hit the target.

During the First World War, hundreds of tunnels (called ‘mines’) were dug on the French front by armies on both sides of the conflict, under each other’s positions. These were packed with explosives and detonated, killing dozens of men, in some cases more than a hundred, with each attack. Since the First World War, tunnel warfare reverted mostly to defensive, smuggling or infiltration uses – the most famous and widespread use being during the Vietnam War. The Vietcong dug hundreds of kilometers of multi-level tunnels to live in, hiding from American forces and using them to ambush or raid the Americans. The Americans established a special unit, the Tunnel Rats, to discover and fight inside the tunnels. More recently, since the mid-1990s, Hezbollah has used tunnels to store weapons and protect personnel. At first these were only under Beirut and in central Lebanon. However, after the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, Hezbollah also began building them in southern Lebanon as underground combat positions for launching rockets and from which to conduct military operations against IDF units above ground. After the war in 2006, Hezbollah increased its investments in these tunnel complexes. Possibly, they are also working on cross-border tunnels into northern Israel.

 

The use of tunnels in Gaza began approximately a decade and a half ago, on the border with Egypt to smuggle weapons into Gaza under the IDF border security. Very quickly, in addition to smuggling weapons, the tunnel operators began importing civilian goods. After Israel withdrew from Gaza, the number of smuggling tunnels jumped from a few dozen to hundreds as more and more Gazans got involved in this lucrative business. Taxes imposed by the Hamas government on the imports were a major source of its revenue. After the Egyptian military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government, the new regime shut down these tunnels – this being one of the causes of the present economic crisis in Gaza. From 2001 the Palestinians began using explosive-filled tunnels to attack Israeli border-posts. However, they employed this tactic rarely because the effort far exceeded the benefit – casualties were light and it was much easier to achieve them by other means. In 2006 the Palestinians tried something new – a tunnel was dug underneath the Gaza-Israel border and an assault-team emerged behind an Israeli border-post. The Israeli soldiers were surprised – two were killed, one wounded and one abducted (Gilad Shalit).

 

After taking control of Gaza, Hamas began a project to build a maze of underground concrete bunkers connected with tunnels and multiple entrances/exits underneath the residential areas of Gaza. These underground complexes are fairly similar in concept to the Vietcong tunnels, though the quality of finishing is better with concrete walls and roofs, electricity and other required amenities for a lengthy sojourn. Their purpose is to enable the Hamas command structure to reside safely underground while their armed forces conduct a mobile defense against Israeli forces. Many of the tunnels are interconnected to enable traveling underground from one to the other with multiple camouflaged openings to emerge above ground in different locations (inside civilian houses, mosques, schools and other public buildings). This enables surprise attacks on the IDF units from different directions, allowing the attackers to then disappear again underground to emerge and attack somewhere else. The exact extent of these complexes is not known. The entrances and probably the tunnels themselves are booby-trapped with explosives. These were first used during Operation ‘Cast Lead’ (December 2008 – January 2009). They were deemed successful so the project was expanded and accelerated. After the failure of Hamas’ rocket forces to inflict significant damage on Israeli towns in November 2012 (Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’), Hamas apparently decided to build a large offensive tunnel capability that would enable them to infiltrate into Israeli villages within a few kilometers of the border or place large bombs underneath these villages. The IDF knew of this operation but failed to find and destroy more than a few tunnels…                                                                                                                            

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]         

                                                    

Contents

WHO IS THE REAL ENEMY?                                                                                     

Masada Siegel

Times of Israel, July 27, 2014

 

I was working at CNN as a field producer on Sept 11, 2001. In disbelief, I watched smoke pour out of the enormous gash in the World Trade Center. Soon after, the building started to fall. The next few weeks were filled with bomb scares. New Yorkers’ days were filled with crying friends, heroic firefighters and first responders all over the streets and the smell of death which permeated the city. Millions in NY, Washington DC and Pennsylvania were traumatized. New York City was officially a war zone. The USA went after the terrorists, after Al Qaeda, even eventually killing Osama Bin Ladin. The world for once was on America’s side, except of course for the Palestinians who were dancing in the streets, giving out candy and celebrating death in America.

 

In 2005, Israel voluntarily left Gaza. Israel’s soldiers were forced to uproot their fellow citizens from their homes, all in the name of peace. Gaza leadership has been destroying infrastructure ever since. First they destroyed empty buildings that were once synagogues, instead of using them for their own benefit. Also, Israeli settlers had built greenhouses to grow vegetables when they were living in Gaza. Instead of dismantling them before they left, the settlers sold them to American Jewish donors for $14 million. The green-houses were then transferred over to the Palestinian Authority in order to help create economic opportunities for the Palestinians. Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who brokered the deal, put up $500,000 of his own cash. In September of 2005, Palestinians looted dozens of greenhouses walking off with irrigation hoses, water pumps and plastic sheeting in a blow to fledgling efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip. The result was obvious; the Palestinians destroyed their own opportunity to rebuild. A multi-million dollar opportunity to create employment was ripped to shreds with no pushback from leadership. The destruction continued outside of Gaza with unending rockets firing at Israel – hundreds, thousands of rockets. For years now, the children in border town Stderot, Israel run to bomb shelters on a daily basis…

Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel and of Jewish people. Men, women and children are all legitimate targets to kill. This is in their charter. What is not in their charter is to build bridges, infrastructure, schools and give women rights. That’s because they are not interested in freedom of the press, freedom of religion, education and gay rights. Hamas doesn’t build. It knows only how to tear down. So while the world defends Hamas, we might think about what our lives would be like if we were forced to live under an organization whose core beliefs is to kill.

 

When Israel was created as a state in 1948, the next day five Arab nations went to war against a new country. Israel has been fighting for survival ever since. Against all odds, so far Israel has succeeded. But not without an enormous challenge and psychological cost: in its 66 years of existence, it has suffered numerous wars, thousands of rocket attacks and dozens of suicide bombings. Over the past several years, thousands of rockets have been launched from Gaza, home to one of the supposed poorest people in the Middle East. How is there money for rockets but not food? How is there money for weapons and not infrastructure? Israel controls both the water and the electricity in Gaza. What country shoots rockets at another and still has their basic utilities turned on? Not to mention, Hamas is delinquent in paying their bills for these services. Billions of dollars from around the world have flooded into Gaza, where has the money gone? According to the Congressional Research Service, Since the establishment of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed about $5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. Additionally, the United States is the largest single-state donor to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UN-RWA). America has taken a keen interest in also helping the Palestinians develop an economic infrastructure. If the money was allocated properly; Gaza would have become the Singapore of the Middle-East, a thriving beach resort metropolis.

 

However, damning evidence is pointing directly to where the money has gone. Hamas built an underground city of tunnels from people’s homes in Gaza into Israel in order to kidnap and kill Israelis…Additionally, a second UN chartered school filled with missiles was found, not to mention a hospital being used as the headquarters of Hamas, where news briefings are held. Is a hospital an appropriate place for news briefings? Many media outlets, which are also businesses, need ratings and to make money. They find it much easier to show horrific photos of dead children instead of discussing facts and what alas has caused these innocent and unnecessary deaths and what could have prevented them. Perhaps that is why, earlier in the week, it was underreported when according to UN websites, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “The United Nations position is clear: We condemn strongly the rocket attacks. These must stop immediately,” said Mr. Ban. “We condemn the use of civilian sites – schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities – for military purposes.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

On Topic

 

Message from the People of Israel to the World (Video): Israel Unseen, July 9, 2014

Pro-Israel Mensch of the Day: Marco Rubio (Video): Israeli Cool, July 22, 2014

Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent: David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, July 30, 2013—Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting. Not this time.

Why Hamas Stores its Weapons Inside Hospitals, Mosques and Schools: Terrance McCoy, Washington Post, July 31, 2014 —Inside a Gaza Strip mosque in January 2009, nothing at first seemed unusual with the wooden pulpit pushed against the cement wall.

U.S. Senate: Support Israel's Right to Defend Itself: Ayelet Izraeli, Jerusalem Online, July 30, 2014—Diplomatic reinforcement from the U.S. to Israel in operation "Protective Edge": the U.S. Senate passed a resolution this morning (Wednesday) in which it supports Israel's right to defend itself from Gaza missile attacks.

                              

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 


Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

Hamas Sermon from the Gaza Strip: Our Doctrine Entails Exterminating the Jews (Video): Memri, July 28, 2014

The One Thing Everyone in Israel Seems to Agree on: John Kerry Blew it: Adam Taylor, Washington Post, July 28, 2014

Israel Says it Has Targeted and Killed High-Profile Terrorists During Gaza Fighting: Felice Friedson, National Post, July 29, 2014

Israel Must Be Permitted to Crush Hamas: Michael Oren, Washington Post, July 24, 2014

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"The Security Council Presidential Statement relates to the needs of a murderous terrorist organization that is attacking Israeli civilians and does not address Israel's security needs, including the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip according to the principle laid down in the interim agreements with the Palestinians. —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday. Netanyahu spoke with UN chief Ban Ki-moon to protest a statement issued by the UN Security Council that urged an immediate cease-fire in fighting in Gaza, telling him that the international body's call reflected the needs of Hamas – but not of Israel. In the statement, the Security Council called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip, joining a similar call by U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday. Netanyahu pointed out that “the statement does not refer to attacks on Israeli civilians, or to the fact that Hamas has turned the residents of Gaza into human shields and uses UN facilities to attack Israeli civilians. Israel accepted three UN proposals for humanitarian truces, and Hamas violated them all. Even now they are continuing to fire at Israeli civilians. Israel will continue to deal with the terrorist tunnels, and this is only the first step in the demilitarization. Instead of the funds of the international community serving the construction of terrorist tunnels for perpetrating large-scale attacks against Israeli civilians, the international community needs to act toward the demilitarization of Gaza." (Israel Diplomatic Network, July 28, 2014)

 

“I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral cease-fire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes,” —U.S. President Barack Obama, reportedly during a heated phone conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, according to a report aired on Israeli TV Tuesday. Obama’s demands prompted Netanyahu to ask what Israel would get in exchange. “I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence,” Obama responded, according to the TV outlet. In one bitter exchange, Obama declared that Qatar and Turkey — Hamas’ biggest international supporters, along with Iran — would mediate with the terrorists on Israel’s behalf, according to the TV channel. “I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators,” the president reportedly said in Sunday’s 35-minute call. Both leaders quickly denounced the purported transcript of their private discussion as fake. (New York Post, July 30, 2014)

 

“If Kerry did anything on Friday it was to thwart the possibility of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza. Instead of promoting a cease-fire, Kerry pushed it away. If this failed diplomatic attempt leads Israel to escalate its operation in Gaza, the American secretary of state will be one of those responsible for every additional drop of blood that is spilled,” —article by Ha’aretz columnist Barak Ravid, on Kerry's cease-fire plan, titled simply "What was he thinking?" Anyone who has made even a passing glance at the Israeli media in the past few days will have noticed the incredible chorus of criticism being directed at Kerry right now. The secretary of state has been lambasted by all sides for his apparent failure in attempts to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. (Ha’aretz, July 27, 2014)

 

"Kerry’s mistake isn’t any bias against Israel, but rather a bias in favor of an executable, short-term deal," —David Ignatius, in the Washington Post. Kerry originally was pushing Egypt’s plan that Hamas agree to an immediate cease-fire. But when it became clear that Hamas would not back down and Egypt didn’t have the leverage to make it work, the secretary turned to Turkey and Qatar, which holds sway over the Islamic organization due to their financial support. "By turning to Turkey and Qatar, Kerry also enhanced their position in the regional power game," Ignatius wrote. "That’s contrary to the interests and desires of the United States’ traditional allies, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the moderate Palestinian camp headed by Abbas." (Washington Post, July 28, 2014)

 

"Give us diplomatic cover in the U.N. The best thing that Kerry can do is stay out,'' —Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. until last year. "We need time to do the job, we need to inflict a painful and unequivocal blow on Hamas. Anything less would be a Hamas victory," added Oren. Kerry ultimately left France Saturday night without a long-term cease-fire. (Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2014)

 

“If Secretary Kerry and President Obama want a safer future for innocent Israelis and Palestinians alike, the most useful thing they can do is let Israel finish the job,” —A New York Post editorial. (New York Post, July 25, 2014) 

“All these achievements of Hamas, if they strike a deal without achieving something for the people of Gaza, they will lose everything and will bury themselves,” —Zakaria al-Qaq, a Palestinian political scientist at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem. “It’s a very critical moment; Hamas is to be or not to be,” he added. “If they didn’t reach what they promised to reach, it will be like a balloon, just punctured.” Despite mounting IDF casualties (53 as of Tuesday), Hamas shows little readiness to declare victory, as it did only 20 months ago, based largely on a single rocket hitting an apartment building in a Tel Aviv suburb. Analysts attributed this apparent intransigence to a fractured leadership, redrawn regional alliances, the sharp downturn in Gaza’s condition and a sense within Hamas that this time the fight is for its very existence. (New York Times, July 27, 2014)

 

“The way to understand the Hamas decision-making calculus is not by Western perspective but by their own perspective,” —Alex Mintz, dean of the school of government at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. “Hamas, the leadership does not care so much about the civilian casualties; what he looks at is the military balance. They think they can gain more. They do not feel pressure as much as we perceive.” (New York Times, July 27, 2014)

 

“We want a cease-fire, of course, but it has to be based on the demands of the resistance,” — Faraj al-Loul, a plumber shopping for vegetables on Sunday in a Gaza City market. “If they refuse to open the crossings, then we’ll all become martyrs, God willing,” he added. Many Gazans see the so-called resistance as the only possible path to pressing Israel and Egypt to open border crossings. Hamas and its backers in Qatar and Turkey have also been calling for a seaport and airport in the coastal enclave. (New York Times, July 27, 2014)

 

“No one in Libya can win,”—Mahmoud Okok, 33, a civil engineer who lived near the airport and the United States Embassy, and who abandoned his apartment because of the shelling. A cousin who also lived near the airport was killed when a rocket landed on his home. Now Mr. Okok was moving, with his wife and young son, overseas. “Enough is enough,” he said. “I have lost hope in Libyans.” For weeks, rival Libyan militias had been pounding one another’s positions with artillery, mortar rounds and rockets in a desperate fight to control the international airport in the capital, Tripoli. Then suddenly, early Saturday morning, the fighting just stopped. The pause came as United States military warplanes circled overhead, providing air cover for a predawn evacuation of the American Embassy’s staff. (New York Times, July 27, 2014)

 

“It is shocking that the Province would allow this group to hold what is ostensibly an Anti-Israel rally at Queen’s Park. The site of Ontario’s democratic legislature should not be a place where a group supporting the destruction of Israel is given permission to gather,” — Toronto City Councilor James Pasternak, in a statement issued before Al Quds Day Rally at Queen’s Park, Toronto. Councillor Pasternak was especially alarmed that the rally was being allowed after video footage from last year showed speeches encouraging the killing of Israelis.  Flags supporting Hamas were also seen at the rally. “I do not understand how after the numerous disturbing incidents at this rally in previous years it is being allowed to continue at Queen’s Park. We cannot allow our public spaces to be used to incite violence and anti-Semitism. This is an affront to the efforts of governments at all three levels in Canada to promote respect and tolerance,” said Pasternak. Despite Pasternak’s objections, “pro-Palestinian” and pro-Zionist supporters gathered in Queen’s Park Saturday afternoon, waving signs and shouting “terrorist” at one another across a metal barrier guarded by dozens of police officers. The pro-Palestinian event, known as the “International Day of Al-Quds” is held in Queen’s Park every year at the end of the month of the Muslim holiday Ramadan. (JamesPasternak.ca, July 25, 2014) & (Canadian Jewish News, July 27, 2014)

 

“If European countries fail to protect their Jews, the State of Israel will. Jewish blood is not cheap blood,” —Knesset Member, and former deputy Shin Bet chief, Israel Hasson, to a visiting group of European diplomats on Monday. Hasson added that “if you do not stand by our side, the day when Islamic terror will reach your homes, your beds and your kindergartens will come soon.” A wave of violent protests, direct attacks and ominous antisemitism in the streets, schools, and media has swept the Continent is recent weeks. (Algemeiner, July 28, 2014)

 

“Anti-semitism, this old European disease…[has taken] a new form. It spreads on the Internet, in our popular neighborhoods, with a youth that has lost its points of reference, has no conscience of history, and who hides itself behind a fake anti-Zionism,” —French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. The occasion was the 72nd anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup—the arrest of 13,000 Jews in Paris in 1942, by the French police under German authorities during the Second World War. Valls' strong, clear words are a breakthrough that separates him from the general complacency on the subject among most European politicians—and separates France from its growing reputation as a beacon of antisemitism. (Tablet, July 23, 2014)

 

Contents

SHORT TAKES

 

PALESTINIAN CASUALTIES AT GAZA HOSPITAL, CAMP FROM TERRORISTS’ ROCKETS FALLING SHORT (Gaza City) —The IDF said it was not operating in the vicinity of Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, where an explosion reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians. “A short while ago Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists,” the army said in a statement sent to reporters. Channel 2 The IDF has documented a significant percentage of Gaza rockets that fall short and strike within Gaza. During the three weeks of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has been caught using hospitals, mosques and schools to hide terrorists and weapons, all of which are contrary to international rules of war created to protect civilians. (Algemeiner, July 28, 2014)  

 

THIRD SET OF ROCKETS FOUND IN UNRWA SCHOOL (Gaza City) —The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced on Tuesday that another rocket stockpile has been found at one of its schools in Gaza. This marks the third time since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge that a weapons arsenal has been found at an UNRWA school in Gaza. UNRWA has yet to place blame on any individuals or organizations for placing the weapons stockpile within a children’s school. The UN body refused to do so on the past two previous occasions as well. After the first finding of rockets at an UNRWA school, it was reported that rather than destroying the rockets, UNRWA workers called Hamas to come remove them. (Arutz Sheva, July 30, 2014)

 

HAMAS EXECUTES ALLEGED SPIES, SHOOTS PROTESTERS IN GAZA (Gaza City) —Hamas shot some 20 Palestinians on Monday night for protesting against Hamas for the massive destruction inflicted on their neighborhood in Shejaia by the IDF in the past weeks, Channel 10 reported on Tuesday. Over the past few days, Hamas has executed more than 30 civilians from various parts of the Gaza Strip which it suspected of collaborating with Israel, unidentified Palestinian security sources told the Palestine Press News Agency. Hamas claimed it had detected alleged “spies” in the area of Shejaia and said that they were executed after an investigation into some of them. Such investigations reportedly revealed weapons and communication devices in the possession of the "spies." (Jerusalem Post, July 29, 2014)

 

IRAN'S AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI CALLS FOR ARMING GAZA TO FIGHT ISRAEL (Tehran) —Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday called on Muslims from around the world to help arm Gaza Palestinians in their fight against Israel. The call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was his latest such message during the ongoing war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel. Khamenei claims that while Israel and America seek to disarm Hamas, Iran says "the opposite … the Muslim World has a duty to arm the Palestinian nation by all means." Iran, a staunch Hamas ally, does not recognize Israel and supports militant anti-Israeli groups such as the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group. Iran does not recognize Israel and has considered the Jewish state its archenemy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. (Huffington Post, July 29, 2014)

 

HAMAS TRYING TO CUT AN ARMS DEAL WITH NORTH KOREA (Pyongyang) —Hamas is secretly trying to cut an arms deal with North Korea so it can keep bombarding Israel with missiles fired from the Gaza Strip, according to a published report. Officials of the terror group are suspected of having already made a cash down-payment on hundreds of rockets and communications gear they hope to buy from the North Koreans. “Hamas is looking for ways to replenish its stocks of missiles because of the large numbers it has fired at Israel in recent weeks,” a Western security official told the Telegraph. “North Korea is an obvious place to seek supplies because Pyongyang already has close ties with a number of militant Islamist groups in the Middle East.” Ties between Hamas and North Korea were first exposed in 2009 when 35 tons of weapons was seized from a cargo plane that made an emergency landing in Thailand. The arms were bound for Iran, which allegedly planned to smuggle them to Hamas in Gaza and the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon. According to NK News, North Korea has denied claims that Pyongyang negotiated an arms deal with Hamas. (New York Post, July 28, 2014) & (NK News, July 28, 2014)

 

ERDOGAN RETURNING JEWISH AMERICAN AWARD (Ankara) —Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is returning an award given to him by a Jewish American group in 2004, after the group asked for it back because of comments ha made regarding the conflict in Gaza. Turkey's US ambassador wrote to Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, on Erdogan's behalf saying that because of Israel's actions in Gaza and "the regrettable stance" of the American Jewish Congress, Erdogan "will be glad to return the award." Last week, Rosen described Erdogan as "arguably the most virulent anti-Israel leader in the world." He said Erdogan was given the Profile of Courage award for working for a peaceful solution in the Middle East his commitment to protecting Turkey's Jewish citizens. Rosen's open letter to Erdogan had cited the Turkish leader's recent comments that Israel had "surpassed Hitler in barbarism" through its attacks on Gaza. (Ynet, July 29, 2014)

 

WESTERN LEADERS AGREE TO WIDER SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA OVER UKRAINE CRISIS (London) —U.S. and European leaders agreed on Monday to impose wider sanctions on Russia's financial, defense and energy sectors as Ukraine said its forces advanced towards the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17. The new sanctions, which U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of Germany, Britain, France and Italy discussed in a conference call, are aimed at increasing the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Malaysian airliner was shot down over territory held by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine. The crash earlier this month has led to calls for much tougher action against Russia from Western countries who had previously imposed sanctions but only on small numbers of individuals and firms. EU member states were expected to try to reach a final deal on Tuesday on stronger measures that would include closing the bloc's capital markets to Russian state banks, an embargo on future arms sales and restrictions on energy technology and technology that could be used for defense. (Huffington Post, July 28, 2014)

 

OVER 50 DEAD IN TRIPOLI AIRPORT BATTLE AS FOREIGNERS LEAVE LIBYA (Tripoli) —Over 50 Libyan fighters died in exchanges over Tripoli's airport during the weekend in one of the worst outbreaks of violence since Gaddafi's ouster. With state authority on the verge of collapse, France and Britain have ordered citizens to evacuate. The Canadian Embassy in Tripoli has suspended operations, and staff members have been withdrawn from Libya, the Canadian government said Tuesday, citing the "unpredictable security environment in Tripoli.” One hundred people have died in the battle for the airport, with 400 others believed to be wounded, the country's health ministry announced. Over the past two weeks, radical Islamist militias have tried to wrest control of the airport from the Zintan militia, which made its name during battles against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi three years ago, and has controlled the country’s international gateway since. (RT, July 27, 2014) & (CBC, July 29, 2014)

 

CANADIAN MAN FACES TERROR-RELATED CHARGE (Vancouver) —A British Columbia man has been charged under a new anti-terrorism law for allegedly leaving Canada to join Islamist fighters in Syria. It's the first time charges have been laid under the new section of the Criminal Code that penalizes terror-related travel, said RCMP Cpl. David Falls. Hasibullah Yusufzai, 25, is accused of committing an offence for the benefit of a terrorist group or was directed by or associated with such a group. "The individual is known to have travelled to Syria to join Islamist fighters," the RCMP said in a statement. "This case underscores the reality that there are individuals in Canada who have embraced the extremist ideology and who are willing to act upon it," the RCMP statement said. “It is now considered a criminal offence ‘to leave’ or ‘attempt to leave’ the country to take part in terrorist activity, and the RCMP will pursue such criminal actions to the full extent of the law." Last month, federal intelligence officials issued a warning about an estimated 130 Canadians alleged to have joined terror groups in Syria, Yemen, Somali and North Africa. (CBC, July 23, 2014)

 

ISLAMIC STATE ORDERED WOMEN IN IRAQI CITY TO UNDERGO GENITAL MUTILATION (Mosul) —Islamic State ordered all girls and women to undergo genital mutilation in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the United Nations said Thursday. The demand by the Islamic State could affect 4 million females within the region, according to UN official Jacqueline Badcock. “This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” Badcock told reporters from Erbil, Iraq, via a video link. “This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists.” The “fatwa” said all women age 11 to 46 should have the non-medical ritual done, as it is believed to help prepare them for adulthood, according to the BBC. But often, the dangerous procedure leaves women susceptible to severe bleeding, infections, infertility and even death. The UN passed a resolution in December 2012 that banned the practice for all member states. (New York Post, July 24, 2014)

 

ISLAMIC STATE DESTROYS JONAH’S TOMB IN MOSUL (Mosul) —Islamic jihadis blew up a revered Muslim shrine in Mosul last week, traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah. The terrorists first ordered everyone out of the Mosque of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, then blew it up, residents said. Several nearby houses were also damaged by the blast. The mosque was built on an archaeological site dating back to 8th century BC and is said to be the burial place of the prophet, who in stories from both the Bible and Quran is swallowed by a whale. Iraq is facing its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops amid the blitz offensive launched last month by al-Qaeda breakaway Islamic State group, which captured large swaths of land in the country’s west and north, including Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. (Times of Israel, July 25, 2014)

 

POLL: 86.5% OF ISRAELIS OPPOSE CEASE-FIRE (Jerusalem) —Public opinion in Israel is solidly against ending Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, according to a poll released Sunday. The poll was conducted by pollster Mina Tzemach,  and was sponsored by strategist Roni Rimon, who once worked with Likud and Prime Minister Netanyahu, but who insisted he took it at his own initiative. When asking about a potential cease-fire, the poll gave two choices. The first endorsed a ceasefire because “Israel had enough achievements, soldiers have died, and it is time to stop.” The second said Israel cannot accept a cease-fire because “Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered.” Only 9.7 percent chose option one, 86.5% option two, and 3.8% said they did not know. Asked how they would rate the operation if a cease-fire happened Sunday, 2.2% said a big success, 22.6% a good result, and 47.6% a so-so result. “Israelis want victory,” Rimon said. “The public has a bitter taste in its mouth from the results of the war so far.” (Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2014)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Hamas Sermon from the Gaza Strip: Our Doctrine Entails Exterminating the Jews (Video): Memri, July 28, 2014

The One Thing Everyone in Israel Seems to Agree on: John Kerry Blew it: Adam Taylor, Washington Post, July 28, 2014—Anyone who has made even a passing glance at the Israeli media in the past few days will have noticed the incredible chorus of criticism being directed at John Kerry right now.

Israel Says it Has Targeted and Killed High-Profile Terrorists During Gaza Fighting: Felice Friedson, National Post, July 29, 2014—Israel’s strongest blow to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a guerrilla-like army that participated in the previous rounds of fighting against Israel in 2009 and 2012, was the assassination of Salah Abu Hassanein, commander of its Military Media Division.

Israel Must Be Permitted to Crush Hamas: Michael Oren, Washington Post, July 24, 2014—U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of Great Britain and France all are rushing to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

 

Rob Coles, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme,   www.isranet.org Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284. mailto:ber@isranet.org

 

 

 

 

 

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MORAL CLARITY: GAZA OPERATION CONTINUES; IN IRAQ— ISIS FORCES CHRISTIANS FROM MOSUL, THREATENS BAGHDAD

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

NB: Throughout Israel’s history, IDF soldiers have fallen in defense of their country and families. This reality continues as the IDF operates in Gaza to defend Israel from Hamas rocket fire and the threat of terrorist infiltration by tunnels. Please click on the following link to view the names & photos of the 53 IDF soldiers who fell in the fight to protect Israeli civilians:

In Memoriam: The 53 IDF Soldiers Who Gave Their Lives to Protect Israel: Jerusalem Post, July 29, 2014

 

Since the beginning of Operation “Protective Edge”:

 

Over 2270 rockets have been launched at Israel.

Approximately 448 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

9 patients from Gaza were treated in the COGAT field hospital on 23/7. They were sent for further treatment in Israel with their escorts.

970 trucks have entered the Gaza Strip via the Kerem-Shalom crossing carrying food, medicines, medical equipment and relevant humanitarian aid.

Israel has held 32 infrastructural repairs in Gaza.

 

Contents:

 

The Need for Moral Clarity on the Israel-Hamas War: Irwin Cotler, Algemeiner, July 28, 2014— The latest Israeli-Hamas war, with its evocative images of human suffering, has engaged hearts and minds the world over, particularly in this digital age of social media and instant communication.                                                      

Palestine Makes You Dumb: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2014:Of all the inane things that have been said about the war between Israel and Hamas, surely one dishonorable mention belongs to comments made over the weekend by Benjamin J. Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.                                                                                           

 

Christians at the Mercy of Jihadis: Financial Times, July 25, 2014 — Just weeks after seizing swaths of northern and central Iraq, the jihadi extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant have driven out the remaining Christians of Mosul           

The ISIS Caliphate’s Coming Blitz of Baghdad: Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast, July 28, 2013— When the minions of the self-anointed caliph in the self-declared Islamic State that now straddles Iraq and Syria blow up a mosque supposed to contain the remains of the prophet Jonah, or offer punctilious details about the kind of purdah to be imposed on women, the world takes brief notice.

 

On Topic Links

 

To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman: Chloe Valdary, Tablet, July 28, 2014

Hamas Killed 160 Palestinian Children to Build Tunnels: Myer Freimann, Tablet, July 25, 2014

Presbyterian Church USA Criticizes Israel, Ignores Christian Persecution: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, July 27, 2013

Iraq’s Abandoned Christians: Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2014

 

                               

THE NEED FOR MORAL CLARITY ON THE ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR               

Irwin Cotler                                                                                               

Algemeiner, July 28, 2014

 

The latest Israeli-Hamas war, with its evocative images of human suffering, has engaged hearts and minds the world over, particularly in this digital age of social media and instant communication. Indeed, the death of any innocent — Israeli or Palestinian — is a tragedy, and no one can fail to be moved by the human suffering and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But, while Hamas has rejected cease-fires proposed by Egypt and the UN, including a humanitarian cease-fire, it has continued its relentless rocket assaults and tunnel invasions, the proximate triggers for this immediate conflict. If we want to prevent further tragedies, it is important to go beyond the “fog of war” — to go behind the daily headlines that cloud understanding and the clichés (the “cycle of violence”) that corrupt it — and ask some fundamental questions about root causes and the basis for its resolution.

 

1. Are you aware that the Hamas charter and declarations call for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews wherever they may be? 2. Are you aware that the Hamas charter and declarations refer to Jews as “inherently evil,” as a “cancer” as responsible for all evils in the world and as defilers of Islam? 3. Are you aware that Hamas — not only during the present hostilities, but before them— has propagated a state-sanctioned culture of hate in the mosques, in the schools, in the broadcasting system, in the summer camps and training camps? 4. Do you agree that such statements promote hatred and contempt for Jews and constitute an obstacle to peace? 5. Do you agree that Israel, like any other state, has the right to live in peace and security, free from any threats or acts of force? 6. Are you aware that since Israel withdrew all its citizens, uprooted all its settlements, and completely disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has deliberately – and indiscriminately – launched over 11,000 rockets and missiles, terrorizing Israeli cities, towns and villages? 7. Are you aware that Hamas’ deliberate strategy of targeting Israeli civilians constitutes an armed attack under the UN Charter in violation of customary international law?

 

8. Do you agree that Israel— like any other state — has both the right and obligation to protect its citizens, and a right to self-defence against such armed attack as set forth in Article 51 of the UN Charter? Indeed, in a recent joint statement, the European Union’s 28 foreign ministers called on Hamas to “immediately . . . renounce violence,” while recognizing Israel’s “legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks.” 9. Do you agree that, while Israel has the right to self-defense, its exercise must comport with the principles of international humanitarian law, including the principle of proportionality and the prohibition against the infliction of unnecessary suffering? 10. Do you agree that Palestinians in Gaza have the same right as Israelis to live in peace and security? Are you aware of the domestic repression by Hamas of Palestinians in Gaza, of the use and abuse of Palestinian civilians as human shields and that Hamas has converted the civilian infrastructure to an underground terrorist city? 11. Are you aware that Hamas is designated a terrorist entity by Canada, the United States and the European Union, and that UN Security Council resolutions require Palestinian governing authorities to deny safe havens to terrorists? 12. Are you aware that Hamas squandered the opportunity offered by Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005 to divert resources from state building to the building of a terrorist infrastructure at the expense of its own people?

13. Do you agree that the cease-fire must be durable and sustainable to protect the peace and security of both Israelis and Palestinians? 14. Do you agree that a comprehensive and enduring cease-fire should include: the recognition of Israel’s right to live in peace and security; the cessation of all acts of terror and violence against Israeli civilians; the demilitarization of Gaza; the dismantling of its weapons infrastructure and the disbanding of its terrorist militias; the establishment of an international protection and stabilization force to enforce the cease-fire and to protect against the rebuilding of any terrorist infrastructure; the deployment of a massive humanitarian undertaking to ensure assistance reaches those in need; the initiation of a comprehensive program for the reconstruction of Gaza and the rehabilitation of its citizens; and the freeing of Palestinian society from the cynical and oppressive culture of hate and incitement fueled by Hamas.

 

I close on a personal note. I write not only as a law professor and MP, but as one who has family in Israel and friends in Palestine, and who has lived and worked in the region and been engaged in the struggle for peace. The overriding truth of these past 40 years for me has always been clear and remains the same. I will stand with those who support the right of peoples in the Middle East — Israelis and Palestinians alike — to live in peace and security, free from any threats or acts of force, a cornerstone of UN principle and Canadian foreign policy; and I will oppose all those, like Hamas and its patron Iran, who seek the destruction of any people or state in violation of the UN Charter and all civilized norms.

 

[Irwin Cotler is the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada      and the Liberal Party of Canada’s Critic for Rights, Freedoms & International Justice.]

 

Contents                                                                                                                  

PALESTINE MAKES YOU DUMB                                                                  

Bret Stephens                                                                                                      

Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2014

 

Of all the inane things that have been said about the war between Israel and Hamas, surely one dishonorable mention belongs to comments made over the weekend by Benjamin J. Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. Interviewed by CNN's Candy Crowley, Mr. Rhodes offered the now-standard administration line that Israel has a right to defend itself but needs to do more to avoid civilian casualties. Ms. Crowley interjected that, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Jewish state was already doing everything it could to avoid such casualties. "I think you can always do more," Mr. Rhodes replied. "The U.S. military does that in Afghanistan."

 

How inapt is this comparison? The list of Afghan civilians accidentally killed by U.S. or NATO strikes is not short. Little of the fighting in Afghanistan took place in the dense urban environments that make the current warfare in Gaza so difficult. The last time the U.S. fought a Gaza-style battle—in Fallujah in 2004—some 800 civilians perished and at least 9,000 homes were destroyed. This is not an indictment of U.S. conduct in Fallujah but an acknowledgment of the grim reality of city combat. Oh, and by the way, American towns and cities were not being rocketed from above or tunneled under from below as the Fallujah campaign was under way. Maybe Mr. Rhodes knows all this and was merely caught out mouthing the sorts of platitudes that are considered diplomatically de rigueur when it comes to the Palestinians. Or maybe he was just another victim of what I call the Palestine Effect: The abrupt and often total collapse of logical reasoning, skeptical intelligence and ordinary moral judgment whenever the subject of Palestinian suffering arises.

 

Consider the media obsession with the body count. According to a daily tally in the New York Times, as of July 27 the war in Gaza had claimed 1,023 Palestinian lives as against 46 Israelis. How does the Times keep such an accurate count of Palestinian deaths? A footnote discloses "Palestinian death tallies are provided by the Palestinian Health Ministry and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs." OK. So who runs the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza? Hamas does. As for the U.N., it gets its data mainly from two Palestinian agitprop NGOs, one of which, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, offers the remarkably precise statistic that, as of July 27, exactly 82% of deaths in Gaza have been civilians. Curiously, during the 2008-09 Gaza war, the center also reported an 82% civilian casualty rate.

 

When minutely exact statistics are provided in chaotic circumstances, it suggests the statistics are garbage. When a news organization relies—without clarification—on data provided by a bureaucratic organ of a terrorist organization, there's something wrong there, too. But let's assume for argument's sake that the numbers are accurate. Does this mean the Palestinians are the chief victims, and Israelis the main victimizers, in the conflict? By this dull logic we might want to rethink the moral equities of World War II, in which over one million German civilians perished at Allied hands compared with just 67,000 British and 12,000 American civilians.

 

The real utility of the body count is that it offers reporters and commentators who cite it the chance to ascribe implicit blame to Israel while evading questions about ultimate responsibility for the killing. Questions such as: Why is Hamas hiding rockets in U.N.-run schools, as acknowledged by the U.N. itself? What does it mean that Hamas has turned Gaza's central hospital into "a de facto headquarters," as reported by the Washington Post? And why does Hamas keep rejecting, or violating, cease-fires agreed to by Israel? A reasonable person might conclude from this that Hamas, which started the war, wants it to continue, and that it relies on Israel's moral scruples not to destroy civilian sites that it cynically uses for military purposes. But then there is the Palestine Effect. By this reasoning, Hamas only initiated the fighting because Israel refused to countenance the creation of a Palestinian coalition that included Hamas, and because Israel further objected to helping pay the salaries of Hamas's civil servants in Gaza.

 

Let's get this one straight. Israel is culpable because (a) it won't accept a Palestinian government that includes a terrorist organization sworn to the Jewish state's destruction; (b) it won't help that organization out of its financial jam; and (c) it won't ease a quasi-blockade—jointly imposed with Egypt—on a territory whose central economic activity appears to be building rocket factories and pouring imported concrete into terrorist tunnels. This is either bald moral idiocy or thinly veiled bigotry. It mistakes effect for cause, treats self-respect as arrogance and self-defense as aggression, and makes demands of the Jewish state that would be dismissed out of hand anywhere else. To argue the Palestinian side, in this war, is to make the case for barbarism. It is to erase, in the name of humanitarianism, the moral distinctions from which the concept of humanity arises. Typically, the Obama administration is hedging its bets. The Palestine Effect claims another victim.

 

Contents

CHRISTIANS AT THE MERCY OF JIHADIS                                     

Financial Times, July 25, 2014

                       

Just weeks after seizing swaths of northern and central Iraq, the jihadi extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant have driven out the remaining Christians of Mosul. After daubing their houses with N for Nazarenes, Isis offered them stark choices: convert to Islam, accept ancient taxes on minorities, or death. To underline their contempt for any interpretation of religion but their own, these Sunni supremacist blackshirts blew up the shrine to Jonah in Mosul, a prophet revered in the Koran and the Bible. This is more than a subplot in a wider tragedy. The spectre of an east Mediterranean empty of Christians is haunting, not just because it would uproot a 2,000-year-old heritage where Christianity was born. Other minorities such as the Druze fear that if the Christians are driven out they will be left alone, while secular Arabs know they will have lost a unique window on the world – a bridge between east and west.

 

This did not start last month when Isis captured Mosul. Nor is it confined to Iraq. Across the Arab world, Christians, perhaps 15m among 300m Muslims, are endangered: threatened by Islamist radicals; forced by limited opportunities to seek new lives abroad; accused of complicity in the schemes of foreign predators; and menaced by the upheavals sweeping the region and laying bare the hard-wiring of sectarianism. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, indigenous Assyrian Christians, mostly Chaldean, endured a backlash that reduced their numbers from about 1m to 300,000. The US-led occupation, by bringing the Shia to power in the Arab heartland for the first time in centuries, rekindled the age-old schism between Sunni Islam and Shiism – and Christians were caught in withering crossfire. Revanchist autocracy against the Arab spring has piled on the misery.

 

The 2011 revolution in Egypt was followed by riots between Copts (about 10 per cent of Egyptians) and Muslims, inciting suspicion that the ancien regime – now restored to power – was trying to widen a sectarian cleft and force citizens to choose between the old order and chaos. In Syria, where Christians also make up some 10 per cent of the population and Aramaic, the language of Christ, still survives, the minority Assad regime from the outset targeted other minorities such as Christians and Druze with a subliminal narrative: stand with us because, if we fall, you will be put up against the same wall by Sunni fundamentalists. Isis has been the main beneficiary of its savage repression, and Arab and western failure to support mainstream rebels. In Lebanon, Christians who had previously ruled emerged disempowered from the 1975-90 civil war and are now divided between factions allied with the Shia, led by Hizbollah, and remnants of the old Phalange party, who have cast their lot with the Sunni. War and emigration have reduced their numbers to about 30 per cent of the population.

 

As the fires of Syria and Iraq melt the borders imposed by Europeans after the first world war, despair abounds, especially among Christians. There is nostalgia for pan-Arab nationalism, which turned into an alibi for dictatorship. There is talk of recourse to a neo-Ottoman order of outside protectors and the millet system of ethno-religious autonomy. Iran and its Shia allies such as Hizbollah self-servingly say they are the only shield of the minorities against jihadist savagery. But any real turnround will require mainstream Sunnis to reassert leadership and crush extremism within their camp. Breaking the sectarian spiral also requires pan-communal effort to rebuild states based on equal citizenship and diversity, reflected in confederal institutions, bicameral parliaments and devolved power. Whether there will be many Christians left to share in this endeavour is menacingly moot.

 

 Contents

THE ISIS CALIPHATE’S COMING BLITZ OF BAGHDAD                                   

Jamie Dettmer

Daily Beast, July 28, 2014

 

When the minions of the self-anointed caliph in the self-declared Islamic State that now straddles Iraq and Syria blow up a mosque supposed to contain the remains of the prophet Jonah, or offer punctilious details about the kind of purdah to be imposed on women, the world takes brief notice. But the group’s military campaigns have made less news in recent weeks because they seemed to have stalled. Now, according to Western military analysts, it’s time to start worrying again. Those studying the attacks by the group formerly known as ISIS see critical changes in the bombings and skirmishing by the caliph’s troops and their allies in and around Baghdad. Some experts warn that a blitzkrieg—a lightning attack—is imminent, and it will be one the beleaguered and squabbling politicians in the Iraqi capital are ill equipped to combat. But it is more likely to be a guerrilla and terrorist offensive than an all-out push along conventional military lines.

 

Until recently, Islamic militant action around Baghdad appeared sporadic, uncoordinated, and lacking a clear strategic purpose. But analysts at the U.S.-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War, who have been plotting the locations and types of attacks in the recent flurry of blasts buffeting the Iraqi capital, have noted a clear pattern developing. They say it suggests the Islamic State is building up to something big and is no longer just focused on consolidating its grip and developing governance in the lands it now controls. The institute’s analysts predict the caliphate may be readying for an onslaught, possibly timed for the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Monday or during the Eid holiday celebrations this week. The aim would not be to seize Iraq’s capital, which has a very large Shia population with every incentive to fight to the death against an organization that slaughters Shia prisoner en masse. The purpose of the Islamic State offensive would be to sow mayhem and to keep Iraq’s state apparatus from recovering from its stunning defeats in June, when it lost control of Mosul, the second-largest city in the country.

 

A sustained bombing campaign could well finish off the government of the embattled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is still trying to cling to power, despite indications that even Iran, his main foreign backer, thinks it is time for him to step down. There has been a burst of attacks by bombers wearing suicide vests and also car blasts “along avenues of approach to the capital and also within Baghdad proper,” the institute notes in an intelligence update. Most significantly, the analysts say, IS has been launching coordinated suicide attacks like those on July 19 which involved half a dozen or more blasts in a day. IS has made these so-called wave attacks a signature feature in their terrorist repertoire but had not mounted one on the capital since May 13. The July 19 blasts were spread across the city touching many points of the compass—and they were deep in predominantly Shia strongholds, including Kadimiyah in the northeast, Bayaa, Jihad and Saydiyah in the southwest and Abu Dashir in southern Baghdad, where the Iranian-backed Shia militia Asai’b Ahl al-Haq holds sway. The unfolding attacks display the group’s “high level of inter-cell coordination, its reach into Baghdad proper, and its ability for multiple teams to communicate, even in the context of Baghdad’s heightened security posture since the fall of Mosul,” according to the institute’s assessment.

 

It is significant that IS seems to have no problem penetrating districts controlled by Shia militias, suggesting the group’s leadership may have infiltrated sleeper cells into the capital even before the fall of Mosul. The caliphate has maintained a drumbeat of attacks in the Shia stronghold of Sadr City despite heightened security there and the fact its location in northeastern Baghdad is on the other side of the city from the territory IS holds outside the capital. On July 16, for instance, jihadists detonated two car bombs in Sadr City in a simultaneous attack that left nine dead and dozens injured. In the immediate wake of the IS capture of Mosul in early June, alarmed press reports suggested the Sunni militants were “creeping closer” to the capital. Even last month, some intelligence analysts in the region were arguing the jihadists would not launch a conventional offensive, but would instead focus on demoralizing commando raids and a suicide-bombing blitz in Baghdad to force the Iraqi state to defend its capital rather than mount an offensive to try to retake Mosul or other territory captured by IS.

 

Now the time for the bombing blitz and commando raids appears to be approaching. “There are clear signs that what they are doing now is to test Baghdad’s defenses and to gauge the reactions from Shia militias and the Iraqi army,” says a senior U.S. intelligence official based in the region. The information the jihadists glean from these operations can help them formulate specific attack plans. What impresses the official, and other analysts in the region, isn’t just how expert and disciplined the jihadists are being in their approach to Baghdad, but they are doing this at the same time they are consolidating their hold on towns they have seized elsewhere—and they have launched a major offensive against the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Last week, the caliphate seized another major oilfield in Syria. On Thursday the group’s fighters targeted Syrian army bases outside Raqqa and in Hasaka and Deir el Zour. IS celebrated the assaults by posting online photos of headless bodies that the group claimed were soldiers killed in the attacks.

 

On Topic

 

In Memoriam: The 53 IDF Soldiers Who Gave Their Lives to Protect Israel: Jerusalem Post, July 29, 2014 —Israel mourns the deaths of the 53 soldiers and officers killed in action in Operation Protective Edge.

To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman: Chloe Valdary, Tablet, July 28, 2014 —The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.”

Hamas Killed 160 Palestinian Children to Build Tunnels: Myer Freimann, Tablet, July 25, 2014 —As the death toll of Operation Protective Edge rises, the deaths of children are firmly in the spotlight—and rightly so.

Presbyterian Church USA Criticizes Israel, Ignores Christian Persecution: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, July 27, 2013—Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth of investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government's actions "harm the Palestinian people."

Iraq’s Abandoned Christians: Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2014 —Does innocent human life matter in the Middle East if it is Christian?

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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LEST WE FORGET: REMEMBERING THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF WWI— PREVENTING A SIMILAR CATASTROPHE IN GAZA & UKRAINE

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

The Mighty Combustion of Small Events, and Other Lessons From the First World War: Rex Murphy, National Post, July 26, 2014— History, said T.S. Eliot, has many “cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues.”

How to Kneecap the Thug in the Kremlin: Michael Weiss, Foreign Policy, July 24, 2014 — Since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russian-backed and Russian intelligence-led separatists in Ukraine, Westerners have learned a great deal about Vladimir Putin and the regime he has built and overseen, uninterrupted, for 15 years.

President Obama Abandons Israel: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, July 27, 2014 — In the midst of a bitter war – one that Israel sought to avoid – the statements and initiatives from U.S. President Barack Obama and his inept secretary of state, John Kerry, have convinced Hamas that if they maintain their campaign of terror against Israel and the civilians of Gaza, the international community will intervene on their behalf.

How the UN Was Perverted into a Weapon Against Israel: Joshua Muravchik, New York Post, July 26, 2013— The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to create an “independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human-rights law” in the current war in Gaza.

 

On Topic Links

 

The War That Broke a Century: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2014

Israel and Ukraine, Each Fighting Against the Forces of Terror and Chaos: Mark Steyn, National Post, July 23, 2014

Stop the Jew-Hatred and Build Palestine: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, July 22, 2013

Obama to World: Drop Dead: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2014

 

                               

THE MIGHTY COMBUSTION OF SMALL EVENTS,

AND OTHER LESSONS FROM THE FIRST WORLD WAR                      

Rex Murphy                                                                                                          

National Post, July 26, 2014

 

History, said T.S. Eliot, has many “cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues.” He continues rather bleakly that what history might or could teach us emerges with “subtle confusions” offered only when our “attention is distracted.” Eliot’s is a necessary caution against seeking specific lessons from history; despite the maxim, it never “repeats itself.” Rather it is like the ancient oracles, speaking always in riddles, hiding its truths in ambiguities and perplexity. The only lessons we may draw are general ones. It will never speak to a single or particular event, but it has its maxims and morals which we cannot safely ignore. From the First World War, most have taken the theme that (relatively) small events can spiral into a mighty combustion. Europe was a cat’s cradle of connections and alliances, its rulers abominably short-sighted and absurdly confident, no controlling mind overseeing or attempting to oversee what a single push on the chessboard might eventually precipitate. That war resulted from a cascade of misjudgements and misperceptions set in motion by the singular deed of a Serbian terrorist.

 

People looking at the world today are, I think rightfully, seeing something of a parallel with confusions of a century ago. In the last weeks and months, what a crowding and a tangling of events we have seen. And we have seen, too, how, just like a hundred years ago, an event in one place has its connection and impact in others. A jet shot down over Ukraine has a consequence for Israel a week later. We draw too from the reckless drift into the First World War how small and underscale the actors of that day were, how little the rulers, whether czars, monarchs, presidents or revolutionaries, truly understood of the events they thought they were managing. The leaders then were tragically unequal to the times, but of course, as leaders unfailingly do, thought otherwise.

 

The few who did see — like Lord Grey, who looked out on the world at the eve of war and uttered the memorable prophecy “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime” — were destined as Cassandras have always been to see their judgements ignored and their laments unheeded. “Put not your trust in princes” is not Eliot, but the Psalms. The “princes” of 1914 we now see for what they were — befuddled, arrogant and above all careless of consequences. Who has optimism that today’s leaders are any more wise or ready? Looking at events since the destruction of the twin towers in September, 2001, the inaugural deed of the current crises, who can draw coherence or logic from them. It has been a scramble and a tumbling from one event to the next since that awful day. And by one of history’s “subtle confusions,” as Eliot had it, Afghanistan and Iraq are tending now (and in Iraq’s case, is already there) to a condition more threatening than when the vast effort here in the West to confront terrorism began.

 

And in all of this, there is no voice that articulates the dangers potentially present, no leadership that has the reach of the globe that inspires. That Mr. Putin should be, even in a negative sense, the “strongest” leader on the scene, the one with a thought-out, calculated agenda, is a deep sadness. The West has had some peace since the last great war, almost 70 years of it now. And we have had with that peace an astounding march of technological and material progress. Both tend to make people forgetful of worse times. It renders them careless of the foundations upon which peace is first secured and then maintained, and nourishes the delusion they are exempt from the horrors and perils that have been a constant in human affairs.

 

So it seems now to some, as it seemed to some a century ago, that there is a menacing scattering of events and conflicts, where a disturbance, an accident or misadventure (such as the shooting down of the passenger jet) in one arena could unwind into a chain of unforeseen events, a haphazard flow of unpredictable cause and effect. And here, despite Eliot’s cautions, we can draw another clear and unconfused message from history: Whenever full-scale war comes. it is always worse than the previous one. Not even the trenches of the First World War, or the terrible technologies of the Second, will carry the freight of conflict in our time. We, after all, as we like to say, have “mastered” the atom.

 

Eliot was right in his main assertion. Every period has to learn its own history, but we can so frame our minds and school our judgments on the permanent elements of human conduct as to be duly wary of the play of forces beyond our ability to grasp. We may  start with the axioms that human affairs are always riddled with error, confusion, misjudgement and carelessness, and that all of those fallibilities and failings have had, and will have again, massively turbulent consequences.  The example of a century ago is ominous and necessary. History “deceives with whispering ambitions, guides us by vanities.” Eliot again.

 

                                                                      Contents                                                 

HOW TO KNEECAP THE THUG IN THE KREMLIN                                 

Michael Weiss                                                                                            

Foreign Policy, July 24, 2014

 

Since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russian-backed and Russian intelligence-led separatists in Ukraine, Westerners have learned a great deal about Vladimir Putin and the regime he has built and overseen, uninterrupted, for 15 years. They've learned that an international tragedy involving the murder of hundreds of innocents weighs not at all upon the mind of the KGB czar. Russians had long grown accustomed to this fact, thanks to Putin's handling of the Kursk submarine disaster and the Beslan and Nord-Ost (aka Moscow theater) hostage crises, all episodes in which the president's mendacity, incompetence, and cold indifference to human life necessarily meant that more of it had to be squandered. But now Americans and Europeans have definitive proof of what motivates a Soviet-style post-Soviet dictator when it comes to the well-being of their citizens, too. An important lesson should be learned from this affair.

 

Last week, Putin's wholly owned guerrilla subsidiary in Ukraine blew 298 civilians out of the sky, looted the belongings of the victims, let their cadavers rot for days in the hot summer sun, then violently obstructed OSCE monitors from inspecting the carnage. Talk of a forensic "investigation" at this point is just that — talk. Furthermore, according to U.S. intelligence, the Kremlin was evidently so pleased with this performance that it has dispatched more materiel to the culprits in eastern Ukraine. This new hardware includes rocket launchers, light arms, and tanks — only adding to the sophisticated weapons already sent in to aid the rebel cause. There are "indications," U.S. officials say, that advanced Russian anti-aircraft systems — such as vehicle-mounted Buk (or SA-11) missile launchers, which defense and aviation analysts agree were responsible for downing MH17 — had been moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia and then back to the Motherland following the immolation of the airliner. The West has lately discovered something about Putin that Marina Litvinenko did eight years ago: his penchant for covering up his worst crimes.

 

"Without a doubt, the state over whose territory this happened bears the responsibility for this frightful tragedy," Putin said, neglecting to mention that he considers the relevant territory part of Novorossiya, his revanchist concept of Russia's "near abroad" brought even nearer. At a meeting of Russia's Security Council on July 22, the first words out of Putin's mouth after "Good morning, colleagues" were: "Today we will consider the fundamental issues of maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country" — the same two fundamental issues he has so thoroughly trampled in his next-door neighbor by annexing Crimea and invading Luhansk and Donetsk. He also laughably denies that he is master and patron of the anti-Kiev insurgency, even when faced with overwhelming evidence. It was further disclosed by U.S. intelligence that Russian, not Ukrainian, territory is being used to host the separatists' very own Fort Bragg. Satellite imagery released by the United States has located what the Washington Post has termed a "sprawling Russian military installation near the city of Rostov," which acts as both the training ground and munitions clearinghouse for the irredentists. If Russia had satellite footage showing the Pentagon instructing Quebecois on how to steer an Abrams tank at a U.S. military installation in northern Maine, I am sure Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia Today would be the first to let us know about it.

 

The Kremlin has spent years accusing the United States and its European allies of arming and facilitating "terrorists" in Syria. So let's look at whom it has been arming and facilitating in Ukraine. Col. Igor Strelkov, the self-styled "commander-in-chief" of the self-styled "Donetsk People's Republic" (DPR), first claimed credit for shooting down what he believed to be a Ukrainian cargo plane on July 17. He had good cause to believe as much, given that his forces had downed one before, killing more than 30 Ukrainian servicemen on board. "We warned them — don't fly in 'our sky,'" Strelkov said, before realizing that "they" were AIDS scientists and Dutch babies. On the Russian social media platform VKontakte, in a forum he has used for months to disseminate his communiques, Strelkov even identified the rough location from which the missile or missiles are now thought to have been fired: the city of Torez, in the Donetsk region. This happens to be one of two locations (the other is Snezhnoye) where a Buk missile system has since been video-recorded and geolocated being driven around, well after MH17 crashed into a field…

 [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

PRESIDENT OBAMA ABANDONS ISRAEL                                                  

Isi Leibler                                                                                                   

Candidly Speaking, July 27, 2014

                       

In the midst of a bitter war – one that Israel sought to avoid – the statements and initiatives from U.S. President Barack Obama and his inept secretary of state, John Kerry, have convinced Hamas that if they maintain their campaign of terror against Israel and the civilians of Gaza, the international community will intervene on their behalf. From Israel’s vantage, despite the continuing tragic losses, there can be no turning back until the weapons of destruction and the tunnels are neutralized. Failure to achieve this will doom us to a future and possibly even more dangerous confrontation with these genocidal barbarians.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership has been exemplary. Despite extraordinary pressure from all sides of the political spectrum, he succeeded in charting a responsible policy. The initial restraint, his acceptance of the Egyptian terms of cease-fire and his avoidance of demagoguery, united the nation and even scored points among open-minded circles in the international community. The most incredible aspect to this conflict was the almost total effectiveness of the Iron Dome, which neutralized missiles directed to our heavily populated cities, and thus precluded an otherwise much more extensive and costly ground operation.

 

Yet we suffered a profound shock at the discovery of the extent and sophistication of the underground city Hamas had constructed with prolific tunnels entering into Israel – even into public dining rooms of kibbutzim – creating a scenario for horrifying mass terrorist abductions and massacres of 9/11 proportions.

The Western media’s sympathy for Hamas, inciting hatred against Israel by their excessive display of gruesome images of children killed, was completely out of context. That Israel possesses the fire power to level Gaza to the ground, if it intended doing so, was ignored. Rarely did it acknowledge that Israel had accepted cease-fires which Hamas had rejected. Nor that Israel maintained a flow of humanitarian aid, electricity and water to Gaza and that terrorist casualties were treated in Israeli hospitals. In fact, Israel even established a field hospital for the sole purpose of treating Gazan civilians.

 

The media behaved unconscionably in failing to highlight the fact that most of the civilian casualties in Gaza were incurred because Hamas had ordered women and children to ignore Israeli early warnings to evacuate, obliging them to act as human shields at rocket launching sites and command posts. Schools, hospitals, mosques, and U.N. R.A. headquarters were used to stockpile armaments and launch missiles. By this behavior, Hamas is responsible for every civilian casualty, which is unquestionably defined as war crimes. As Netanyahu stated, “Israel employs missile defense to protect its citizens; Hamas uses its civilians to protect missiles.” Whereas no army in history has ever gone to the extremes of the IDF to minimize civilian casualties, the obscene U.N. Human Rights Council dominated by dictatorships and rogue states, has launched an investigation of what it has already defined as “Israeli war crimes.” In what is clearly intended to be a repeat of the notorious Goldstone Commission, there is not even the pretense of objectivity and no call to investigate Hamas. The U.S. voted against this travesty but the Europeans, to their discredit, abstained. Predictably, this led to a global eruption of massive anti-Semitic demonstrations and violence, condemning Israel for allegedly targeting or being indifferent to the fate of Gazan civilians.

 

In this context, we appreciate that the American people and Congress have displayed overwhelming support for Israel and remain grateful for the financial support sponsored by Congress that enabled us to create and produce the Iron Dome. Yet the diplomatic posturing of the Obama administration has been utterly deplorable at a time when we are entitled to rely on the U.S. to fully support its only genuine democratic ally in the region. Israel is confronting genocidal Hamas, the equivalent of al-Qaida, whose charter explicitly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, and enjoins its supporters to murder Jews whenever the opportunity arises. This same terrorist organization condemned the United States for the murder of bin Laden. Our current conflict is not between two states but against a barbaric genocidal terrorist organization which the U.S. itself regards as illegal. This is a clear case of good versus evil – surely something Americans unlike postmodernist Europeans, do instinctively appreciate.

 

Aside from incanting mantras of Israel’s right to defend itself, Obama has yet to condemn Hamas for exploiting its civilians as human sacrifices. Instead, from the outset he has sought to restrict Israel’s military response, repeatedly urging restraint and “proportional response”. Obama set the pattern which the rest of the world followed, providing Hamas with expectations that with growing civilian casualties, Israel would be pressured to step down. The hypocrisy of Obama and others in their condemnation of Israel is mind-boggling when reviewing the various military initiatives and drone attacks undertaken by the U.S., NATO, France, et al. The odious moral equivalence must also be viewed in the context of 180,000 innocent civilians literally butchered in Syria, and with the massacres of the ISIS in Iraq and the rest of the region.

 

As the Israel Defense Forces continue to eliminate the myriad of terrorist tunnels, Obama stepped up his calls on Israel to act more “proportionately,” expressing horror at the casualties and indicating that we are not doing enough to protect civilians. He even stated that once 1,000 Palestinian casualties have been reached, he would force an end to the conflict. It is also widely believed that the Federal Aviation Administration decision to temporarily halt flights to Israel was a calculated political ploy by the Obama administration to further exert pressure. Precisely what further steps does Obama suggest Israel should take to minimize civilian casualties without endangering its own citizens? Would the United States or any responsible government enable terrorists to maintain their operations from mosques, hospitals, schools and homes and continue indiscriminately raining thousands of missiles on its citizens?

 

It is ironic that in the present context, the Europeans, traditionally disposed to be hostile to Israel, passed a resolution not merely condemning Hamas attacks, but also demanding the demilitarization of Gaza — something that Obama, who merely calls for a return to the conditions governing the former “truce,” has yet to demand. The uninvited presence of Kerry — who many Israelis now regard as an unguided missile — and who has been making off-the-cuff sarcastic remarks about Israeli failure to avoid Palestinian casualties, will only encourage Hamas to maintain the missile attacks. Kerry undermined the Egyptian cease-fire initiative by inexplicably turning to Qatar and Turkey to act as mediators. Qatar, regarded by the U.S. as an important “ally,” with whom it recently signed an $11 billion arms deal, is a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated entity and the principal funder of Hamas and ISIS. Turkey’s demagogue Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an outspoken hysterical anti-Semite who accused Israel of engaging in “barbarism worse than Hitler.” Needless to say, Israel cannot be expected to engage with those who openly promote the Hamas agenda. His final act of betrayal of Israel was his repudiation of the Egyptian cease-fire which Israel had accepted. Instead Kerry conspired with Qatar and Turkey…to seek to impose new cease-fire terms which would prevent Israel from destroying the tunnels it had discovered and he provided undertakings that the “blockade” of Gaza and release of Hamas prisoners and other concerns would be reviewed, with no reference to the demilitarization of Hamas. The Israeli Diplomatic-Security Cabinet unanimously rejected this offer placing Israel in direct conflict with the U.S.

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 Content

HOW THE UN WAS PERVERTED INTO A WEAPON AGAINST ISRAEL        

Joshua Muravchik

New York Post, July 26, 2014

 

The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to create an “independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human-rights law” in the current war in Gaza. Well, actually, not all violations. Only those attributable to Israel — as the resolution makes quite explicit. And what might those violations be? The very same resolution spells them out, not as allegations but as established findings. “The Council,” it reads, “condemns in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations…since 13 June 2014.” In other words, Israel’s guilt is already established, and the mandated “investigation” is but a method of punishing Israel by subjecting it to months of verbal laceration and then perhaps sanctions. As the Queen of Hearts said in Wonderland: “Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.” Hamas is not subject to “investigation.” Its role is to be the star witness for the prosecution. This is not spelled out, but we know the script. Four years ago, when Israeli forces last entered Gaza, this same council passed a similar resolution, condemning Israel and mandating an “investigation.” This was the Goldstone Commission, and its principal source of information was testimony at hearings in Gaza arranged by Hamas where witnesses detailed the toll of Israeli strikes while denying the presence of military targets.

 

Even if not all of them were Hamas members, all knew what Hamas expected them to say — and none would dare defy it. Richard Goldstone’s report accused Israel of “crimes against humanity,” a special category of crime invented for Nazi war criminals. Two years later, Goldstone renounced his report, saying: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” More likely, what changed was not Goldstone’s knowledge but his inability to defend his work to the outside world once he was no longer ensconced in the anti-Israel hothouse that is the United Nations. This, after all, is the same organization whose General Assembly chastises Israel three times as often as all other countries combined; that has declared Palestinian terrorism to be a “legitimate” means of “fulfilling…one of the goals and purposes of the United Nations”; that once classified Zionism as a form of racism; and that has three special bodies devoted exclusively to agitating against Israel although no other such body exists for any other country. This astounding bias was not always present. In 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine, thus legitimating Israel’s birth, and Israel was soon granted admission as a member. In 1967 and 1973, UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 called for “secure and recognized boundaries,” thus implicitly acknowledging that Israel need not relinquish all of the territory captured in the Six Day War.

 

How did it all turn around so dramatically? During its early decades, in the aftermath of World War II, when American power and prestige was high, the US largely dominated the UN. Washington pressured its European allies to relinquish their empires, and the UN pushed decolonization. Thus were scores of new nations born in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The UN grew from 51 to 193 members. Many formed the Non-Aligned Movement. Originally this meant non-aligned in the Cold War, but NAM did not disappear with that conflict. Today it has 120 members, thus controlling every UN body except the Security Council where the “Permanent Five” hold vetoes. Fifty-seven of the NAM’s 120 members are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, meaning that the OIC dominates the NAM. And the core of the OIC is the 22-strong Arab League. Thus, through telescoping leverage have the Arab states turned the UN into a kind of crusade organization against Israel. The complement to the NAM/OIC/Arab dynamic was also on display in the Human Rights Council’s recent action. Twenty-nine states voted for this blatantly prejudiced resolution, of which 21 are not free, according to Freedom House, making their presence on the council absurd. The United States alone voted “no.” England, France, Germany, Italy and other free countries abstained. Beset by guilt over their colonial pasts, Europeans rarely buck the NAM. This mindset works against Israel in the UN and beyond. In an era of “the rest against the West,” when global cultural elites find virtue only with the “rest,” Israel remains largely “Western.” For this, it has been sentenced. The predetermined verdict will follow.

 

On Topic

 

The War That Broke a Century: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2014 —Next week marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.

Israel and Ukraine, Each Fighting Against the Forces of Terror and Chaos: Mark Steyn, National Post, July 23, 2014 —The two big international headlines of the moment are the downing of the Malaysian jet over Ukraine and Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

Stop the Jew-Hatred​ and Build Palestine: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, July 22, 2013—Whichever side of the Arab-Israeli conflict one stands on, you cannot deny the courage and perseverance of the Palestinian people.

Obama to World: Drop Dead: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2014 —Asked on "Meet the Press" Sunday whether this was the lowest moment in U.S.-Russia relations since the Cold War, America's robo-Secretary of State John Kerry replied: "We live in an extremely complicated world right now, where everybody is working on 10 different things simultaneously." Well, not everyone.                             

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

THE WEEK THAT WAS: WHILE KERRY & CO. DISCUSS CEASE-FIRE—FOR ISRAEL, DEMILITARIZED GAZA SHOULD BE “END GAME”; NEW MONTREAL JEWISH HISTORY TOUR

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

Obama to the Rescue–of Hamas: Caroline Glick, Real Clear Politics, July 23, 2014— Operation Protective Edge is now two weeks old.

Of Friends and Foes: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 24, 2014 — The old adage is so very true: You discover who your real friends are in times of ‎crisis.

End Game: Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2013— International pressure is mounting on Hamas and Israel to accept a cease-fire.

Walking Tour Sheds Light on City's Hidden Jewish History: Morgan Lowrie, Montreal Gazette, July 10, 2014 — The Hebrew lettering on the old stone arch is still visible, poking up above the orange panelling and metal and glass façade of the Collège Français.

 

On Topic Links

 

Ambassador Ron Dermer Owns CNN (Video): Jewish Press, July 25, 2014

Who Is Like You O Israel: Isranet, July 25, 2014

The Goldstone Effect: Gerald M. Steinberg, NGO Monitor, July 20, 2014

Average Gaza Citizen Wants a Steady Job — in Israel — Not More Hamas Rocket Fire, Poll Finds: Joe O’Connor, National Post, July 23, 2014

 

 

 

OBAMA TO THE RESCUE—OF HAMAS                                                               

Caroline Glick                                                                                                       

Real Clear Politics, July 23, 2014

 

Operation Protective Edge is now two weeks old. Since the ground offensive began Thursday night, we have begun to get a better picture of just how dangerous Hamas has become in the nine years since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. And what we have learned is that the time has come to take care of this problem. It cannot be allowed to fester or grow anymore.

 

We have known for years that tunnels were a central component of Hamas’s logistical infrastructure. What began as the primary means of smuggling weapons, trainers and other war material from Hamas’s sponsors abroad developed rapidly into a strategic tool of offensive warfare against Israel. As we have seen from the heavily armed Hamas commando squads that have infiltrated into Israel from tunnels since the start of the current round of warfare, the first goal of these offensive tunnels is to deploy terrorists into Israel to massacre Israelis.

 

But the tunnels facilitate other terror missions as well. Israel has found tunnels with shafts rigged with bombs located directly under Israeli kindergartens. If the bombs had gone off, the buildings above would have been destroyed, taking the children down with them. Other exposed shafts showed Hamas’s continued intense interest in hostage taking. In 2006 the terrorists who kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit entered Israel and returned to Gaza through such a tunnel. Today the presence of sedatives and multiple sets of handcuffs for neutralizing hostages found in tunnel after tunnel indicate that Hamas intends to abduct several Israelis at once and spirit them back to Gaza. In an interview with Channel 2 Monday evening, Minister Naftali Bennett spoke of a mother at Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara who told him that her children wake her in the middle of the night and tell her that they hear digging beneath their beds. As Bennett said, this state of affairs simply cannot continue. People cannot live in fear that there are terrorists burrowing beneath their homes, digging tunnels to murder or kidnap them. These tunnels must be found and destroyed not merely because they constitute a physical danger to thousands of Israelis. They must be located and destroyed, and Hamas’s capacity to rebuild them must be eliminated because the very idea that they exist makes a normal life impossible for those immediately threatened.

 

Hamas’s tunnels are also the key component of their command and control infrastructure inside Gaza. Hamas’s political and military commanders are hiding in them. The reinforced bunkers and tunnel complexes enable Hamas’s senior leadership to move with relative freedom and continue planning and ordering attacks. The sophistication of the tunnels and the malign intentions of Hamas are not in the least surprising. But Hamas’s rapid advances in both tunnel and missile technology are deeply worrisome. At a minimum, they indicate that if it is allowed to end the current round of fighting as a coherent, relatively well-armed terrorist army, Hamas will be able to rapidly rebuild and expand its capabilities.

 

As a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is not a stand-alone terror group. It is part of a much larger web of Islamic jihadist terror groups including al-Qaida and its affiliates as well as the Shi’ite Hezbollah. Like Hamas, all of these threaten several major Sunni Arab states. Due to their recognition of the threat Hamas and its allies pose to the survivability of their regimes, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken the unprecedented step of supporting Israel’s efforts to defeat Hamas. They understand that a decisive Israeli blow against Hamas in Gaza will directly benefit them. Not only will Hamas be weakened, but its state sponsors and terrorist comrades will be weakened as well.

 

Presently, Hamas’s most outspoken state sponsors are Qatar and Turkey. As Israel’s Calcalist newspaper reported earlier this week, Qatar is Hamas’s biggest and most important financier, a role it plays as well for ISIS, al Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood and various jihadist groups in Libya. Turkey for its part is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. Like Qatar, Turkey has also been a major supporter of ISIS and al Nusra, as well as Hamas. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s slander against Israel has grown so hysterical in recent weeks that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been trying to downplay Turkey’s animosity, called him out on his open anti-Semitism.

 

By Tuesday morning, IDF forces in Gaza had destroyed 23 tunnels. The number of additional tunnels is still unknown. While Israel had killed 183 terrorists, it appeared that most of the terrorists killed were in the low to middle ranks of Hamas’s leadership hierarchy. Hamas’s senior commanders, as well as its political leadership have hunkered down in hidden tunnel complexes. In other words, Israel is making good progress.  But it hasn’t completed its missions. It needs several more days of hard fighting. Recognizing this, Israel’s newfound Muslim allies have not been pushing for a cease-fire.

 

In contrast, the Obama administration is insisting on concluding a cease-fire immediately. As Israel has uncovered the scope of Hamas’s infrastructure of murder and terror, the US has acted with the UN, Turkey and Qatar to pressure Israel (and Egypt) to agree to a cease-fire and so end IDF operations against Hamas before the mission is completed. To advance this goal, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Monday night with an aggressive plan to force on Israel a cease-fire Hamas and its state sponsors will accept.

 

As former ambassador to the US Michael Oren told the media, it is clear that neither Israel nor Egypt invited Kerry to come over. Their avoidance of Kerry signals clearly that the US’s two most important allies in the Middle East do not trust US President Barack Obama’s intentions. And their distrust is entirely reasonable. The State Department has openly applauded Turkey and Qatar for their involvement in attempts to achieve a cease-fire. Last week Israeli officials alleged that the US was responsible for Hamas’s rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. By attempting to coerce Egypt to accept Qatar and Turkey as its partners in mediation, Obama signaled to Hamas’s leaders that they should hold out for a better deal. Due to Turkey’s membership in NATO and the glamour of the Qatari royal family, many Westerners find it hard to believe that they are major sponsors of terrorism. But it is true. Turkey and Qatar are playing a double game. While sending his ambassador to Brussels for NATO meetings, Erdogan has been transforming Turkey from an open, pro-Western society allied with Israel into a closed, anti-Semitic and anti-American society that sponsors Hamas, ISIL, al Nusra and other terrorists groups.

 

As for Qatar, the tiny natural gas superpower presents itself to Americans as their greatest ally in the Muslim world. The emirate gives hundreds of millions of dollars to US universities to open campuses in Doha and pretends it is a progressive, open society, replete with debating societies. Qatar hosts three major US military bases on its territory. And it is becoming one of the most important clients for US military contractors. Earlier this year Qatar signed an $11.4 billion dollar arms agreement with the US. At the same time, according to the Calacalist report, Qatar is the major bankroller of ISIS and al Nusra in Syria and Iraq. It gives $50 million a month to jihadists in Libya. It gives Hamas $100m. in annual aid. And in the past two years Doha has provided Hamas with an additional $620m. dollars, including $250m. it transferred to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s personal bank account, and $350m. in military aid to Hamas, transferred after the Egyptian military forced the Muslim Brotherhood government from power last July. Add to that the $100m. per year that Qatar pours into Al Jazeera’s satellite network – which has dedicated itself to undermining pro-Western Arab regimes while popularizing the likes of al-Qaida and Hamas, and Qatar is the largest financier of international jihad in the world.

 

Rather than notice that Qatar and Turkey are playing a double game, and treat them with suspicion, the Obama administration has embraced them. Chances that Kerry will secure a cease-fire in the near future are small. In all likelihood, the government will be able to buy the time necessary to complete the mission in whole or large part. But the fact that the US has chosen at this juncture in the operation – with Israel enjoying unprecedented support from the most important Sunni states in the region – to side with Hamas and its state sponsors in their demand for an immediate cease-fire speaks volumes about the transformation of US foreign policy under Obama’s leadership.

 

Contents

OF FRIENDS AND FOES                        

David M. Weinberg                                                                                                 

Israel Hayom, July 24, 2014

 

The old adage is so very true: You discover who your real friends are in times of ‎crisis. The war with Hamas has made it very clear who Israel's friends, and foes, are, ‎and who skulks in a morally dubious middle ground.‎ The list of Israel's friends is shorter, but significant and powerful. ‎ The list starts with hundreds of young Jews, from North America and France in ‎particular, who made aliyah over the past two weeks, despite the war. The best line ‎of the week belongs to Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, who said, "We've ‎had more immigrants than missiles." (Not quite, but close.)‎

 

It continues with Jewish communal leaders and fellow Jews around the world, who have ‎either come to visit on solidarity missions, energetically gone to battle for Israel on ‎the airwaves and social media platforms, or launched chain-mail prayer campaigns. ‎It continues further with Christian colleagues and friends everywhere, from many ‎‎(but not all) denominations, who are praying, advocating and demonstrating for ‎Israel. I pleased to say that I've been inundated with emails of support from ‎Christian friends this week.‎

 

Then come the governments of Canada, Australia and to a certain extent France and ‎Germany, too, who backed Israel's defensive operation, and provided Jerusalem ‎with diplomatic time to conduct the just war against Hamas. Nobody surpasses the ‎moral clarity of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said that "solidarity ‎with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict," and that "Canada is ‎unequivocally behind Israel."‎ The Egyptian government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, too, has proven to be a rock solid ‎ally in the war on radical Islamic terrorism, out of shared interests. If Israel yet ‎manages to squeeze Hamas into a corner or bring about its capitulation, it will ‎partly thanks to Egyptian cooperation. ‎

 

Finally and most meaningfully, Israelis have rediscovered true friendship among ‎themselves. At no time in the 25 years that I have lived in Israel do I recall such a ‎moment of shared national consensus. This is an existential war; a war for our ‎homes — and whether in uniform or not, all citizens have drafted themselves to assist ‎in some way. ‎ Twenty thousand garden-variety Israelis showed up in solidarity and tribute for the ‎funeral of lone soldier Sean Carmeli in Haifa this week, and 30,000 for the funeral of ‎lone soldier Max Steinberg in Jerusalem. ‎ Because the people of Israel are one, and no sacrifice goes unrecognized.‎..

 

The list of Israel's foes is longer, but predictable and manageable.‎ Sadly, the list of enemies includes Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who said that ‎Israel's barbarism surpasses Hitler's." It includes radical Israeli Arab leaders like MK ‎Hanin Zoabi — probably the most hated woman in Israel — who has championed ‎Hamas. It includes vast swaths of the European left — which turned out to ‎demonstrate against Israel with the radical Islamists, flying the green flags of Hamas ‎and Hezbollah, and smashing Jewish store and synagogue fronts. It includes the U.N. Human Rights Council, ‎which has decided to investigate Israeli, but not Hamas, "war crimes," with all ‎European countries abstaining.‎ Sadder still, it includes the American Jewish J Street organization, which declined ‎to participate in pro-Israel demonstrations this week because the rallies offered "no ‎voice for [J Street] concerns about the loss of human life on both sides" and no ‎recognition of the "complexity" of the issues or the need for a "political solution." ‎Such ugly, pusillanimous poppycock!‎

 

It also includes Mahmoud Abbas, who has quietly egged Israel on (since his faction stands to benefit most from the decapitation of Hamas), while ‎publicly lambasting Israel and accusing it of war crimes. ‎ Abbas is not "part of the solution," as the political Left ridiculously wants us to ‎believe once again, but a central part of the problem. Hamas and other Islamic ‎jihadists blew him away in Gaza and would do so in the West Bank if not for IDF ‎control of the territory. And Abbas is no partner for any real peace accord, as the ‎failed Kerry diplomatic process proved for the umpteenth time. ‎ Beware the growing chatter on the Left about re-empowering Abbas in the West ‎Bank and Gaza.‎

 

The list of vacillating and doubtful friends is led, alas, by the Obama ‎administration. Every administration statement about Israel's "right" to defend ‎itself has been "balanced" by hyper hand-wringing about Palestinian suffering. ‎ Instead of leading a global diplomatic offensive that champions Israel's "obligation" ‎to protect itself, and that musters any and every means to help its sole dependable ‎Middle Eastern ally in that mission, the Obama administration has acted to narrow ‎Israel's chances of success.‎…

 

Rounding out my list of ambiguous friends are all those who claim to understand ‎Israel but have taken particular umbrage at the destruction and wrath wrought in ‎Gaza. ‎ None of these "friends" were around to protest Hamas persecution and subjugation ‎of Gazans over the past decade or the insane Hamas weapons buildup. None of ‎these "friends" took to the streets to express outrage at the Hamas rockets that sent 5 million Israelis into bunkers. None have truly protested Hamas' practice of ‎hiding behind civilians.‎ None of these "friends" remonstrated too much about the 700 Arabs killed over two ‎days last week in the Syrian civil war, or the tens of thousands of Palestinians ‎starved to death in Yarmouk over the past year by Assad's forces, or the 250,000 ‎killed in that civil war over the past two years. ‎ It must be so awkward having to check whether the dead child is from Gaza or Syria ‎before deciding whether to be morally outraged.

 

Contents

END GAME                                                                                                              

Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2014

 

International pressure is mounting on Hamas and Israel to accept a cease-fire. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry are in the region, aiming to put a stop to the current violence. With a death toll of over two dozen IDF soldiers, over a hundred Hamas terrorists and hundreds of Palestinian civilians during the first two weeks of Operation Protective Edge, the international momentum for a cease-fire is clearly going to grow. But unless a cease-fire plan presented by Ban or Kerry includes a mechanism that leads to the demilitarization of Gaza and its deadly minders Hamas, Israel will justifiably be reluctant to accept. The IDF is in the middle of a large ground operation that has set as its goal the destruction of Hamas’s tunnels. The terrorist organization has used these tunnels to try to attack Israeli communities located close to the Gaza Strip. It would be ill-advised to halt the operation now, before achieving the goal set by the IDF and the security cabinet. Doing so would mean that thousands of families living in the towns, moshavim and kibbutzim adjacent to Gaza would continue to live in fear. Pulling our troops out now would mean squandering a rare opportunity. Our soldiers are already inside Gaza Strip; at the very least they should be allowed to finish the job. Only ground troops can locate and destroy these tunnels.

 

But while focusing on the short-term, and admittedly limited, goal of destroying the tunnels adjacent to the border, our leaders should be looking ahead to longer-term goals, the most important of which is the gradual demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. Plans like the one touted by Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz includes elements that are worth exploring by those international interests trying to broker the ceasefire. The plan calls for the international community to oversee the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip using the same system that is successfully ridding Syria of chemical weapons. In return, Arab countries and the international community would provide the Palestinian Authority with $50 billion to rehabilitate refugee camps and build the Gaza Strip. Obviously, this cannot be achieved overnight. Not unlike Israeli foreign policy that over the years has raised international awareness of the Iranian nuclear threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and others in the government should be spearheading a campaign to garner support for and involvement in the demilitarization of Gaza. There will be no quiet until it is demilitarized. The flare-ups of Gazan attacks every several months will continue. As soon as Hamas is forced to give up its arms, peace will reign, because Hamas aggression is the source of the conflict. The demilitarization of Gaza is not just an Israeli interest. Each time Israel is forced to carry out an extended military operation in response to rockets aimed at Israeli civilians, and cross-border terrorist attacks and kidnappings, thousands of Palestinian civilians inevitably suffer the consequences. Neutralizing Hamas’s military abilities would remove one of the many destructive forces operating in the region inspired by a violent and reactionary interpretation of Islam.

 

Egypt has an interest in a demilitarized Gaza Strip. Hamas has been involved in deadly attacks on Egyptian forces in Sinai. And Egyptian antipathy toward Hamas is an extension of the war that President Adel Fattah al-Sisi is waging against Hamas’s ideological ally, the Muslim Brotherhood. The gradual demilitarization of Gaza might also facilitate the increased political influence of the more moderate Fatah leadership. Egypt is interested in placing Palestinian Authority forces in charge of the Sinai-Gaza border crossing at Rafah. This might be the first step toward the return of Fatah to political prominence in Gaza. So while the short-term goal of Israel must be to strike a severe blow to Hamas’s military infrastructure and destroy as many tunnels as possible along the border, the end game must be the gradual demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. Until that happens, the chances of achieving a long-term peace are very slim.  

 

Contents

WALKING TOUR SHEDS LIGHT ON CITY’S HIDDEN JEWISH HISTORY                                                             

Morgan Lowrie                                                                                                                             

Montreal Gazette, July 10, 2014

 

The Hebrew lettering on the old stone arch is still visible, poking up above the orange panelling and metal and glass façade of the Collège Français. Walk to the back of the Fairmount St. school, and one can see the bricked-over stained glass window that once shone light into a large and beautiful synagogue once described as Montreal’s Carnegie Hall of Hazzanut, or sacred Jewish music. Just a few blocks away on St-Laurent Blvd., most of the visitors to trendy tapas restaurant and concert hall La Sala Rossa have no idea that the space was once a community centre for Jewish socialists. All around the Plateau and the Mile End, the buildings are marked by traces of Montreal’s Jewish history. “You can’t understand Montreal without studying the Jewish fact,” says Zev Moses, executive director of the online-only Museum of Jewish Montreal. “It’s an intrinsic part of Montreal’s history.”

 

This summer for the first time, the museum is offering public walking tours of historic Jewish neighbourhoods, focusing on the Plateau and Mile End. It represents an expansion for Moses’s museum, which began in 2010 as an online mapping project for Jewish landmarks. Today, the website contains a vast array of maps, stories and interactive exhibits, chronicling Jewish life in the city from 1760 to today. Moses’s tours focus on the areas where the first large communities gathered following the period of greatest Jewish migration, between 1900 and 1914. Despite poverty and hardship, the new immigrants quickly made their mark, creating institutions such as schools, synagogues and libraries. In the decades between the 1920s and the 1950s, writers and left-wing radicals held political meetings, and both Yiddish and Hasidic culture thrived in the Plateau and Mile End. “Montreal has one of the most diverse Jewish communities in the world,” says Moses, 30. “We have Jews from Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, which makes it really unique. In a city where you face the tension between English and French, there was a space for a very rich Jewish culture to grow between the other two.” But by the 1960s, the Jewish community had largely left the Plateau and Mile End, settling instead in the westward suburbs such as Côte-St-Luc, Côte-des-Neiges and Hampstead. Today, many of the old institutions have been repurposed, with only a discreet Star of David or distinctive rounded windows giving away their history.

 

On the Mile End walking tour, summer research fellows Pascale Greenfield and Aaron Dishy take pedestrians past dance studios, row houses and daycares, all of which were once important Jewish institutions. Some of the buildings, such as the former Young Men’s Hebrew Association (now luxury condos), are impressive spaces. Others, such as the former synagogue of influential Hasidic rabbi David Flaum, are modest in size and quality of construction, and give no sign of the importance they once held. To Moses, this is part of the point of the tour: to shed light on the historically and culturally significant places before they are forgotten or demolished. “We want to bring awareness to the fact that there are a lot of structures around the city that mean something to Montreal’s Jewish history. We’re not acting as Heritage Montreal, but we want to broaden the scope of what is worth saving, or talking about saving,” he said. He believes that his project’s appeal extends beyond just the Jewish population, and can help Montrealers understand more of their own immigrant history. “The stories we’re telling are pretty universal. They’re about people looking for community, about trying to keep their culture alive and grow it, to deal with economic and political challenges, and to make a life for themselves, in Montreal, in Quebec and in Canada.”

 

For more information, visit the museum at imjm.ca

 

CIJR Wishes All its Friends and Supporters Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

On Topic

 

Ambassador Ron Dermer Owns CNN (Video): Jewish Press, July 25, 2014 — Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, during a CNN interview, takes on the faulty and lacking CNN coverage of events, and specifically related to Hamas using UN schools as weapons depots, and the UN chief warning against the use of UN schools by Hamas.

Who Is Like You O Israel: Isranet, July 25, 2014 — What's happening here in the staging area [area where soldiers prepare to enter Gaza] is beyond comprehension, not rationally, not emotionally and begs the imagination.

The Goldstone Effect: Gerald M. Steinberg, NGO Monitor, July 20, 2014— From the first day (July 8) of Israel’s response to renewed and deadly rocket attacks from Gaza, the network of highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) went into high gear.

Average Gaza Citizen Wants a Steady Job — in Israel — Not More Hamas Rocket Fire, Poll Finds: Joe O’Connor, National Post, July 23, 2014—Hamas leader Khaled Meshal was in Doha, Wednesday, telling reporters from his five-star hotel the hardline Islamists would not back down from their bloody fight with Israel until Gaza’s borders are opened, and the crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the embattled territory’s coast lifted.

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

Who is like you O Israel

A soldier on the border writes:

What's happening here in the staging area [area where soldiers prepare to enter Gaza] is beyond comprehension, not rationally, not emotionally and begs the imagination.

Almost every hour a car shows up overflowing with food, snacks, cold drinks, socks, underwear, undershirts, hygiene supplies, wipes, cigarettes, backgammon and more. They're coming from the North and the Center, from manufacturers, from companies and private businesses, from prisons, Chareidim and Settlers, from Tel Aviv and even Saviyon.

Every intersection on the way down here we get stopped, not by the police, but by residents giving out food. What is amazing is that the entire situation wasn't organized and everyone is coming on their own without coordination between the folks coming.

They're writing letters and blessings, how they're thinking of us all the time. There are those who spent hours making sandwiches, so they're as perfect and comforting as possible.

Of course representatives of Chabad are here to help soldiers put on Tefillin and distributing Cha'Ta'Ts (Chumash, Tehillim, Tanya) for every troop transport and Breslov are showing up to the border and dancing with the soldiers with great joy.

The Chareidim are coming from their yeshivot to ask the names of the soldiers with their mothers' names so that the whole yeshiva can pray for them. It should be mentioned that all of this is done under the threat of the terrorist tunnels and rockets in the
area.

Soroka Hospital (in Be'er Sheva) today looks like a 5 star hotel. A wounded friend who was recently discharged told us how the MasterChef truck is parked outside and is preparing food for the wounded.

It goes without saying the amount of prayer services that are going on. On the religious front as well, there are lectures and Torah classes, all the food is obviously Kosher. Shachrit, Mincha, and Maariv with Sifrei Torah. They're giving out tzitzit and Tehilim by
the hundreds. It's become the new fashion! The Rabbi of Maglan [Special Forces unit] told me that almost the entire unit has started wearing them, because the Army Rabbinate has been giving out tzitzit that wick away sweat. They're gaining both a Mitzva and a high
quality undershirt. We've started calling them "Shachpatzitzti" (a portmanteau of the Hebrew term for body armor and tzitzit). We're having deep conversations late into the night without arguments, without fights and we find ourselves agreeing on most stuff.

We're making lots of jokes at Hamas's expensive and without politics. There's lots more to add but my battery is running low and the staff has been requesting someone give a class on Likutei MoharaN (Breslov).

How happy is the nation that is like this.

Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky: Understanding UNRWA

The Palestinian refugee issue has been around since 1948. UNRWA, the United Nations institution dedicated to their preservation, has been in existence since 1950.

With the recent re-approval of UNRWA's mandate for more than three years, it is worth asking: how long have Western policy makers understood that UNRWA was a tool for Palestinians and Arab states to perpetuate the "refugee crisis" and that Palestinians would never accept anything except repatriation to Israel, an attitude that guarantees hostilities in perpetuity? The answer is, since the beginning. That is why after more than sixty years, British diplomatic documents on UNRWA and the Palestinians are still classified by the Foreign Office.

 

UNRWA was established to "carry out in collaboration with local governments the direct relief and works programmes as recommended by the Economic Survey Mission." This mission, under the leadership of former Tennessee Valley Authority administrator Gordon Clapp, had recommended vocational training and regional development as the means to facilitate "reintegration" of Palestinian refugees, either through repatriation to Israel or resettlement in surrounding countries. Arab states clamored for regional development aid, hinted repeatedly that they would accept Palestinians, and throughout the 1950s, billions were poured into aid schemes that improved their infrastructure. But no Palestinians were ever resettled.

 

The game was apparent early on. In May 1952, the Foreign Office received a remarkable report forwarded by British diplomat Sir Edwin Chapman-Andrews that noted "Everything has been sacrificed to [UNRWA director John Blandford's] lone effort to "sell" the three-year plan to the Arab states—and SYRIA in particular—while measures which might influence the success of the negotiations are left undone."

 

The report lamented UNRWA's lack of educational and vocational training programs, the lack of a public-relations effort, or any successful agricultural programs in Jordan. Refugee relief was well-organized, but anything related to reintegration was subject to "stagnation, waste and misuse of money and manpower."

 

The report concluded, "much stress has been laid by the Director on how the three year plan should be described. It has been called successively 'Reintegration,' 'Resettlement,' 'Self-Support,' … The play with words hoodwinks nobody…" Everything not related to relief was understood as "settlement"—that is, relocating Palestinians to Arab states.

The British representative to UNRWA, Sir Henry Knight was unimpressed and in a handwritten note commented, "This is a poor report." According to the covering note, the report had originated with "the Friends friends," pointing to a Quaker group, American Friends Service Committee, which had provided refugee relief in Gaza from 1948 to 1950.

But the rest of the report was taken out of the National Archives in 1982 by the Foreign Office, which for over a year refused to declassify it on the grounds that "it remains sensitive under Section 23 of the FOIA (information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters)."

 

Finally, after a year of Freedom of Information Act requests, a redacted page was provided with two or three words blacked out, the name of an intelligence source who passed on yet more rumors regarding an underground organization, this one urging Syrian dictators Shishakli and Selo to arm the refugees. Whether the source was Quaker remains known only to the Foreign Office.

 

But the problem for the Foreign Office is not long-dead intelligence sources named in an ancient memorandum. Rather, it is the fact that the Foreign Office, and indeed all Western chancelleries, knew by the early 1950s that UNRWA could only maintain the Palestinians in stasis.

 

Then, as now, Palestinian refugees would accept nothing other than full repatriation to Israel. In the interim they demanded loudly that "The world owed them a living," as a variety of UNRWA officials put it at the time. Indeed, a banner displayed at a 1949 Gaza protest demanded "1. Send us back home. 2. Compensate us. 3. Maintain us until we are refreshed."

 

If there were any misapprehensions the Foreign Office had only to listen to Lt. General Sir Alexander Galloway, the retired British High Commissioner for occupied Austria, who had become UNRWA's head in Jordan in 1951.

 

Galloway was fired at the demand of the Jordanian government the next year when he refused to dismiss Western employees and hire locals. In August of 1952, he published a blunt op-ed in the Daily Telegraph and Morning Post that lambasted UNRWA, the Arab states and the refugees themselves:

 

    What is the solution? Of course the problem is difficult. Refugee settlement, except under dictatorship, is a long, expensive business. Somehow or other the Arab Governments, the United Nations, UNRWA and some of the refugees have got to face facts. There is a need of a change of heart and a better atmosphere. There is need to distinguish between a tempting political manoeuvre and the hard, unpalatable fact that the refugees cannot in the foreseeable future return to their homes in Palestine. To get this acceptance is a matter of politics: it is beyond the function of UNRWA. Second, a determined effort should be made to get the 'host' countries to take over relief from the Agency, thus freeing it to get on with the much more important task of resettlement.

 

Since then, rather than admit UNRWA was a failure and publicly confront an historically unprecedented situation—a group of refugees who refuse to relocate and host countries who refuse to permit refugee resettlement—the West has simply accepted the devolution of UNRWA into a vast and expensive welfare mechanism. This is a role that UNRWA enthusiastically embraced.

 

Privately, some clarity prevailed, at least at the outset. But it was accompanied by decades of lying to Western publics that foot the bill for UNRWA about the temporary nature of the project, and then about its supposedly vital and permanent reality. Alternatives, notably turning over responsibilities and funding to Arab states and the Palestinian Authority have never been seriously contemplated.

 

Lies to the Palestinians also abound—about their own responsibilities, as well as those of their Arab hosts. That the "right of return" remains one of the central obstacles to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement (along with Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state) demonstrates that little has changed in sixty years. In the meantime, UNRWA has thrived as the internationally funded health, education and welfare system for the Palestinians, something sacrosanct and permanent rather than provisional and temporary. By embracing its role as provider to generations of Palestinian "refugees", UNRWA forestalled the Palestinian encounter with reality.

 

Claims about UNRWA's permanence or indispensability no longer go unchallenged, but British and American policy makers are, if anything, less honest today about UNRWA than they were in 1952. Keeping an ancient report classified is symptomatic of this larger dishonesty. The recent renewal of UNRWA's mandate is too.

OPERATION “PROTECTIVE EDGE”: MEDIA “COUNTS BODIES,” UNHRC ISSUES RESOLUTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL—BUT NOT HAMAS—& IDF TARGETS “TERROR TUNNELS”

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

UN Emergency Debate on Gaza Creates New Goldstone Report, Condemns Israel for "Gross Human Right Violations": Hillel Neuer, UNWatch, July 23, 2014—Testimony delivered…23 July 2014, by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, at the UN Human Rights Council Emergency Session on Gaza.

The Absurd and Amoral Disproportionality Charge: Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2014 — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer recently asked if Israel was “overreacting” in Gaza.

How Selective Body Counts Incite More Violenceselective: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, July 23, 2013— The media has obsessively counted every dead body in the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas’s Attack Tunnels: Analysis and Initial Implications: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, July 22, 2014 — Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, delivered a revealing speech on March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of power with Israel, when taken together with his organization’s military build-up.

 

On Topic Links

 

In Calgary, Pro-Israel Protester Reportedly Strangled With Israeli Flag; Syrian Refugee Compares Violence to ISIS (VIDEO): Joshua Levitt, Algemeiner, July 23, 2014

UN Emergency Session on Gaza: Hillel Neuer Speaks Out (Video): UNWatch, July 23, 2014

Levin to Stewart: If Hamas Had Weapons Israel Has, 'Israel Would Cease to Exist' (Video): Michael W. Chapman, CNS News, July 23, 2014

Baird Disappointed That UN Human Rights Council Ignores Hamas’s Terrorist Attacks: Department of Foreign Affairs, July 23, 2013

 

                               

UN EMERGENCY DEBATE ON GAZA CREATES NEW GOLDSTONE REPORT, CONDEMNS ISRAEL FOR "GROSS HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS"

Hillel Neuer                                                                                                                       UNWatch, July 23, 2014

 

Testimony delivered…23 July 2014, by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Emergency Session on Gaza…

 

Mr. President, I have just returned here from visiting Israel to tell this assembly, and the world, about the grave situation that I witnessed and experienced. Never before, in the history of Israel’s seven decades of existence, has its men, women and children come under such a massive aerial assault, forcing them, at the sound of air raid sirens day and night, to run for shelter. An entire nation—towns, villages and cities, from the Negev Desert up to the Galilee, from the Judean hills of Jerusalem to the Tel Aviv seashore—has been under brutal and relentless attack, from more than two thousand mortars, rockets and long-range missiles, fired from Gaza toward civilians in every part of the Holy Land.

 

And never before, in the modern history of nations, has a free and democratic society come under such sustained bombardment from a terrorist organization, one that openly strives for and celebrates the murder of civilians, and that, as its general worldview, glorifies death. Did the world ever imagine that the ancient city of Jerusalem—sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and replete with holy places that are recognized by the United Nations as protected world heritage sites—would be deliberately targeted by indiscriminate rockets? And yet it is. During one air raid in Jerusalem, I ran down to the basement of a building with little children crying and traumatized. During an air raid in Tel Aviv, the neighbors of an apartment building showed great strength of spirit in defiance of terrorism, by reaching out to strangers in the shelters, as we heard the booms of the rockets above. And as  I was seated in my airplane, about to depart and return back here to Geneva, the air raid siren went off around the airport. We all had to rush off the plane and seek shelter. You’ve heard the news today: that international airlines are now ceasing to fly to Israel because of this danger. I believe that the world should salute this terrorized, besieged and embattled nation, which has refused to surrender to demoralization, instead showing such courage, resolve and strength of spirit in surviving—and resisting—this massive aggression. And people should consider: Is there any precedent in world history for a nation passively to suffer a three-week bombardment of its civilian population, by more than 2,000 deadly rockets? The attempt by Hamas to shut down Israel’s sole international airport, in a country already besieged by land from hostile forces from north to south, would constitute the strangulation of an artery vital to the life of Israel’s people and economy.These acts of aggression also target the sovereign rights of the nations under whose flags these airplanes fly.I ask each ambassador in this chamber to take a moment and imagine terrorists deliberately firing deadly rockets at the airports of Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, or Frankfurt; Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, or Tokyo. How would your government react? How long would your nation wait before doing everything in its power to exercise its right, under international law and morality, to resist such aggression?

 

Mr. President, I turn now to the resolution upon which this Council will soon vote. The text before us denounces Israel, denies its right to self-defence, and disregards Hamas war crimes. We ask: why does this Council refuse to say that which was said only two weeks ago by the Palestinian ambassador himself? In an extraordinary moment of candor, Palestinian Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi admitted, on Palestinian TV, that “each and every” Palestinian missile launched against Israeli civilians constitutes “a crime against humanity.” And that, by contrast, Israel’s own response actions in Gaza “followed the legal procedures” because, as Hamas spokespersons admitted on TV, “the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment; but, “as for the missiles launched from our side, we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or about the operations we carry out.” Can any UN entity, or any individual, be truly for human rights when they refuse to say that which was said by the Palestinian ambassador himself?

 

Is it possible that the true purpose of this session is to silence the true victims and voices of human rights around the world by deflecting attention from the world’s worst abuses? We ask all those who embrace hypocrisy and double standards: if in the past year you didn’t cry out why thousands of protesters were killed and injured by Turkey, Egypt and Libya; when more victims than ever were hanged by Iran; women and children in Afghanistan were bombed; whole communities were massacred in South Sudan; hundreds in Pakistan were killed by jihadist terror attacks; 10,000 Iraqis were killed by terrorists…

 

[Hillel Neuer is the UN Watch Executive Director, and a former CIJR Publications Manager]

 

                                                                     

Contents

THE ABSURD AND AMORAL

DISPROPORTIONALITY CHARGE                                 

Gil Troy                                                                                                              

Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2014

 

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer recently asked if Israel was “overreacting” in Gaza. Rebuffing this new, trendy disproportionality argument, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mocked those who say “yes, you have the right of self-defense, as long as you don’t exercise it.” Simplistic, voyeuristic media coverage spreads “Palestinian porn” – obsessed with exhibitionist victimization, not sex. Exploiting their dead, Palestinians seek to arouse the world’s guilt – while deflecting responsibility for triggering the conflict. This proportionality indictment is not only absurd but amoral. When a democracy launches a just war, its moral obligation to its citizens and soldiers is to apply overwhelming force against the enemy, to secure peace quickly and authoritatively.

 

War by definition entails resorting to violent extremes. The cliché that democracies are slow to anger but once mobilized become formidable, reflects the power harnessed when free-thinking citizens finally are willing to risk their routines because of the intensity of a threat. When deploying some of its citizens in the resulting armed conflict, a democracy’s first obligation is to guard the home front while solving the problem that prompted the war. The democracy’s second obligation is to try to protect its soldiers. A democracy cannot, therefore, allow its soldiers to fight with blinders, handcuffs and leg irons. The ugly reality remains that trying to limit ferocity in war is like trying to limit sweat in a basketball game – there’s no spigot to regulate such a natural, inevitable flow. To be clear, the current progressive and media “proportionality” talk is not about crossing that red line of targeting civilians directly. The issue is war’s lethal side effects, what the Pentagon euphemistically calls “collateral damage” but should be labeled frankly as the death of innocents. During America’s Civil War General William T. Sherman said: “War is cruelty and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.” Sherman’s “war is hell” understanding linked effect and cause. When the cause is just, those guilty of triggering the war bear full blame for the war’s savagery. Americans have usually fought more harshly than Israelis.

 

Even during these recent battles against a Hamas foe who respects no rules, Israel has often forfeited the element of surprise, dropped leaflets, even aborted attacks to save civilians. Sherman advised: “You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war.” Over a century later, a leader far more ambivalent about military power, Bill Clinton, articulated his own brutal truth about the necessary balance of fear any self-respecting country must maintain when attacked, especially by terrorists. As the “Blackhawk Down” nightmare unfolded in Somalia in 1993, President Clinton complained to staffers: “We’re not inflicting pain on these f–kers. When people kill us, they should be killed in greater numbers.” In that Battle of Mogadishu, between 1,500 and 3,000 Somalis died, including civilians. For some reason, the media at that time did not simply tally body counts without providing any explanation or context in an attempt to make the well-armed Americans appear brutal. Reporters emphasized the 18 dead Americans – especially after Somalis dragged some American bodies through the streets.

 

War reportage should not treat the casualty count as some kind of moral barometer. War is not a game; only in games such as golf does a higher score make you the loser. The fact that Germany suffered over 10 times the number of war dead than Americans did in World War II does not change that war’s moral calculus. One can only imagine Wolf Blitzer on D-Day, counting German casualties without acknowledging German guilt. Americans were fighting a savage war – as all wars are – against a particularly heinous regime. Hamas is similarly responsible for the carnage now. In fact, this “overkill” condemnation implicitly acknowledges Israel’s justification in responding to thousands of rockets launched from territory it left nine years ago. Hamas not only turned Gaza into a launching pad and tunnel warren, it has proved that as long as Israel exists, many Palestinians will call Israeli land “occupied,” disproving the Left’s blame-Israel-first occupation preoccupation. The issue is Israel, not Israel’s West Bank presence.

 

These difficult days, while most Israelis are sticking to their routines between scrambling to shelters during Color Red alerts, the closer you live to the Gaza border, the more your life is disrupted. Some Israelis emphasize the resulting disruption, fear and casualties in an attempt to compete with the Palestinian woe-is-me, we-are-the-victims war porn. Most Israelis, however, prefer demonstrating indomitable insouciance, echoing Londoners resisting the Nazi Blitz. Two weeks ago, amid the great tensions preceding the war, we celebrated my daughter’s bat mitzvah. After working so hard to learn her Torah portion, she made one request: that her father and two brothers start a family flash-mob to Ray Charles’s classic cover of “Shake a Tail Feather” during a post-bat mitzvah beach party for her friends (getting her mother and sister to dance was easy). So there we were, Twisting and Phoney-Moroneying on the beach, flash-mobbing away, with the menace of rockets already clouding the magical Mediterranean night. The image of this dance – and many other normalizing moments amid the moaning of sirens, shrieks and explosions of rockets and sound of feet running to shelters – illustrates Israelis’ scorn for Hamas threats. Cliché but true: living well is the best revenge. We mourn both sides’ suffering – and hope for a quick, peaceful resolution. The memorial for the 2001 Hamas suicide bombing at the Dolphinarium disco vows “lo nafseek lirkod,” we won’t stop dancing. We are all saying that to Hamas, even while mourning our painful losses this week. We won’t be manipulated by false claims of disproportionality into risking even more Israeli casualties. And we absolutely won’t stop dancing.

 

 Contents

HOW SELECTIVE BODY COUNTS INCITE MORE VIOLENCE              

Alan M. Dershowitz                                                                                                 

Gatestone Institute, July 23, 2014

 

The media has obsessively counted every dead body in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. They rarely explain why so many more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed: Hamas does not allow Palestinian civilians into their shelters, while using civilian areas from which to fire their rockets; Israel, on the other hand, devotes its resources to building shelters and Iron Dome protection. Put another way, while Israel uses shelters and Iron Dome to protect its civilians, Hamas uses its civilians to protect its rockets and its terrorists… Recently, supporters of Hamas have argued that to say that Hamas uses civilians as human shields is a manifestation of racism and an attempt to dehumanize Palestinians. But it is Hamas' own leaders who have long boasted of this tragic reality. Listen to Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council: "For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death like you desire life.'"

 

Ban-Ki Moon—who is not known for a pro-Israel bias—recently confirmed what every objective observer knows to be true: that Hamas uses hospitals and schools as shields from which to launch rocket attacks against Israeli civilians—a double war crime. Here are his words: "We condemn the use of civilian sites – schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities – for military purposes." He was referring, of course, to Hamas, since Israel does not use such civilian facilities to fire rockets. That is why more Palestinians than Israelis have died in recent weeks. During a two day period this past week while dozens of Palestinians and several Israelis were killed, the media failed to report that in neighboring Syria, 700 Arabs and Muslims were killed in just two days of fighting. This constitutes only a tiny fraction of the 160,000 people killed in Syria during the ongoing civil war. According to the Britain-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 53,978 civilians have been killed including 8,607 children and 5,586 women. Many if not most of these deaths were deliberate—part of calculated efforts on both sides of the conflict to maximize civilian casualties. Yet this body count has received little notice compared to the far smaller body count in Israel and Gaza. Why is this? Is it because when Arabs and Muslims deliberately kill other Arabs and Muslims, that deserves less attention than when Israelis kill Arabs and Muslims, even in self-defense and in an effort to prevent the murder of their own civilians? If so, this is racism pure and simple, and the application of a noxious double standard. The lives of all human beings have worth, and the death of Arabs and Muslims at the hands of other Arabs and Muslims deserve as much media coverage as the deaths of Arabs and Muslims that are caused by Israel's efforts to protect its own civilians.

 

The media's exclusive focus on the death toll in Gaza—without explaining that it is largely Hamas' fault and part of its media strategy—incites hatred and anti-Semitism around the world. It has incited violence against Jews and Jewish institutions in many cities. Much of this violence comes from radicals on the hard left and from radical Islamists. But a recent incident in Italy shows that bigoted hate can come from the mouths of intellectuals as well as the fists of rabble rousers. Gianni Vattimo, who has been called Italy's most famous philosopher, recently announced that he would personally, "like to shoot those bastard Zionists," calling them "a bit worse than the Nazis". He said he was planning to launch a fundraising campaign to buy better rockets for Hamas so that this Jew-hating group can kill more Zionists, by which he means Jewish Israelis. He urged European volunteers to join Hamas and fight alongside of them against Israel, as volunteers fought against Franco during the Spanish Civil War. If Vattimo is indeed Italy's most famous philosopher, I cry for the current state of philosophy in a nation that has contributed so much to that field over the millennia. Vattimo reminds me of the intellectual thugs—some of them "eminent" philosophers who provided academic cover and justification for the fascist abuses of Hitler and Mussolini. It is interesting, and perhaps relevant, that Vattimo is a follower of Martin Heidegger, a philosopher who joined the Nazi Party and provided cover for its anti-Semitic policies. Hamas, after all, is an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, which actively supported Hitler during World War II. It is also interesting that Vattimo, who vociferously supports gay rights, would have such hatred for the one country in the Middle East that accords equal rights to gays and be so supportive of Hamas which punishes gays by torture and execution. Obviously his hatred for the nation state of the Jewish people runs deeper than his support for gay rights.

 

It is a crime under the law of the United States and several European countries to provide material support to designated terrorist groups, of which Hamas is one. Vattimo has committed this crime and might well be banned from travel to the United States and other countries or arrested if he travels to countries that have such laws. The media has a moral obligation to tell the whole truth when it shows the pictures of the dead and counts the bodies on each side. If it fails in this obligation, it becomes complicit in the sins and crimes of bigots such as Vattimo and in the war crimes of Hamas.

                                                         

Contents
 

HAMAS’S ATTACK TUNNELS:

ANALYSIS AND INITIAL IMPLICATIONS                                             

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi                                                                             

JCPA, July 22, 2014

 

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, delivered a revealing speech on March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of power with Israel, when taken together with his organization’s military build-up. In the meantime, the IDF’s war against the tunnels continues. On Monday IDF forces thwarted another terror attack after two groups of Hamas operatives (numbering about ten) infiltrated from Gaza to Israel through a tunnel, apparently on their way to carry out a mass casualty attack at Kibbutz Erez and/or Kibbutz Nir Am. Since Operation Protective Edge began, IDF forces have foiled several other attempted attacks by Hamas near Kibbutz Sufa and Kibbutz Nirim that also made use of attack tunnels, while uncovering and blowing up dozens of tunnels in Gaza along its border with Israel. These tunnels penetrate deep into Israeli territory, sometimes reaching a length of 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles).

 

Hamas has accumulated a great deal of experience in using the tunnels for operational purposes. Since 2000, hundreds of tunnels have been dug along Gaza’s border with Egypt, providing a lifeline for Hamas’s military buildup. The tunnels have been a main conduit for Palestinian imports from Egypt on a scale of millions of dollars annually, and for smuggling military supplies (from ammunition to missiles) and the construction materials needed to build the network of attack tunnels in Gaza. Importation through the tunnels (it was in Egypt’s political interest that this be referred to as “smuggling”) was fully controlled by the Hamas government, which levied a tax on the items and used its huge profits to accelerate its military buildup and preparation for hostilities with Israel.

 

During the Second Intifada, which began in September 2000, Hamas made use of attack tunnels that were dug opposite IDF positions along the Philadelphi Route. These tunnels enabled Hamas to lay powerful explosive charges beside the IDF positions in an effort to destroy them. On June 25, 2006, a joint Hamas/Jaish al-Islam (an al-Qaeda affiliate) unit infiltrated from Gaza to Israel through a tunnel whose opening was about a hundred meters from the border in Israeli territory, near the Kerem Shalom crossing. In that attack, an officer and a soldier were killed and the soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted.

 

Based on Hizbullah’s experience in the Second Lebanon War, and with the assistance and guidance of Iran, Hamas has also made use of the tunnels to build an underground network of missile launchers. During the Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah greatly expanded its underground fortifications in Southern Lebanon with the aid of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) and even North Korean engineers, who also provided guidance in how to incorporate the tunnels into Hizbullah’s military doctrine. Tunnel warfare provided armies facing a technologically superior adversary with an effective means for countering its air superiority. For example, a tunnel is opened only briefly to launch rockets and then immediately closed to prevent detection of the launchers’ location by the IDF. The concealment of these launchers in tunnels, in the heart of the civilian population, makes it very difficult to detect them in real time and attack them.

 

The rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during 2012-2013 was a golden age for Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood.  During the tenure of President Mohamed Morsi and his foreign policy adviser Khaled al-Kazaz (a resident of Canada), missiles and a great deal of ammunition moved through the tunnels to Gaza, along with the materials needed to construct plants and manufacture missiles.

In addition to receiving close to half the budget of the Palestinian Authority, the economic aid the Hamas government received from international actors, including European countries, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, has helped it channel significant resources to its military buildup and the construction of the attack tunnels. Also of help to Hamas were Israeli and international human rights organizations, which constantly pressured Israel to allow the entry of cement and iron into Gaza for purposes of civilian construction. In reality, these materials mainly went into building the attack-tunnel network, instead of houses for the Palestinians.

 

The attack tunnels create a new equation in the power balance between Israel and Hamas. They give Hamas an ability to infiltrate Israel and carry out strategic attacks involving mass killing, along with an ability to launch missiles from locations concealed within civilian population centers that serve, in effect, as human shields. Should Hamas retain in the future 20 tunnels, and dispatch 50 operatives in each, they could deploy 1,000 men behind Israeli lines. The tunnels would allow Hamas to wreak havoc if they are left in place. Hizbullah’s tactics, learned from Iran, have been replicated in Gaza, particularly the use of the tunnels to provide “breathing space” in waging the military campaign. The Hamas-Hizbullah-Iranian aim is to cause as much harm as possible to the civilian population and weaken Israel by damaging its economy. Like Hizbullah, Hamas in the current round has tried to strike strategic targets in Israel and inflict mass casualties, including the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the chemical plants in Haifa, and Ben-Gurion International Airport.

 

Despite the reconciliation agreement with Fatah and the establishment of the unity government, one of Hamas’s objectives in the war is to ignite another intifada on the West Bank aimed ultimately at the toppling of Palestinian Authority rule and instituting a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian national movement. This current round of fighting highlights the importance of continued Israeli security control of key areas of the West Bank to prevent a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority, and the maintenance of minimal defensible borders should a Palestinian state be established.

 

On Topic

 

In Calgary, Pro-Israel Protester Reportedly Strangled With Israeli Flag; Syrian Refugee Compares Violence to ISIS (VIDEO): Joshua Levitt, Algemeiner, July 23, 2014 —A pro-Hamas rally in Calgary, Canada, turned violent at the weekend, with a report of the extent of the brutality against supporters of Israel published on Wednesday by a dissident blogger who equated the hatred on display as being on par with what he experienced fleeing the civil war in Homs, Syria.

UN Emergency Session on Gaza: Hillel Neuer Speaks Out (Video): UNWatch, July 23, 2014 —The Palestinian ambassador to the UNHRC, together with Iran, Syria, Egypt, Cuba and Venezuela tried but failed to silence UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer during today's UN Emergency Session on Gaza, as he defended Israel's right to resist Hamas aggression, and called out the hypocrisy of those who initiated the biased proceeding.

Levin to Stewart: If Hamas Had Weapons Israel Has, 'Israel Would Cease to Exist' (Video): Michael W. Chapman, CNS News, July 23, 2014—Conservative talk-radio host Mark Levin strongly criticized comedian and quasi-news commentator Jon Stewart for his acerbic jokes and comments concerning Hamas's ongoing missile attacks against Israel, stating that "if Hamas had the weaponry that Israel had," then "Israel would cease to exist."

Baird Disappointed That UN Human Rights Council Ignores Hamas’s Terrorist Attacks: Department of Foreign Affairs, July 23, 2013—Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement after the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) once again singled out Israel while not even mentioning Hamas and its continued terrorist operations…

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

WHILE HAMAS IS BOLSTERED BY “TAKING ISRAELI LIVES”— PUTIN IS EMBOLDENED BY A FECKLESS U.S. & DIVIDED E.U.

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

When Killing Jews Means ‘Restoring Dignity’: Evelyn Gordon, National Post, July 22, 2013— To truly understand the current fighting in Gaza, it’s important to listen to Jamal Zakout.

Putin’s Investigation Is a Fake, and It’s Time to Stop Playing His Game: National Review, July 22, 2014 — By the end of this week, America and Europe will have to make the most crucial and far-reaching decisions about the West’s relationship with Russia since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

EU Leaders Deeply Divided Over Russia: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, July 21, 2013— European divisions over relations with Russia are being laid bare by the shooting down of a passenger plane over Ukraine.

Seeing Putin Plain: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2014 — In the fall of 2007 I participated in a debate in New York on the question of whether Russia was again becoming an enemy of the United States. I argued it was.

 

On Topic Links

 

Unseen Scars of War: Psychological Consequences of the Hamas Attacks on the Israeli Civilian Population: Irwin J. Mansdorf, JCPA, July 20, 2014

Russia's Anti-West Isolationism: Maxim Trudolyubov, New York Times, July 20, 2014

Arming the Enemy: Geoffrey Norman, Weekly Standard, July 22, 2014

Obama and Putin’s Savage World Order: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, July 21, 2013

                   

WHEN KILLING JEWS MEANS ‘RESTORING DIGNITY’                        

Evelyn Gordon                                                                                                                  National Post, July 22, 2014

 

To truly understand the current fighting in Gaza, it’s important to listen to Jamal Zakout. Zakout, a secular resident of Ramallah, is no fan of Hamas, as Amira Hass noted in a report in Haaretz last week: He has held various positions in the Palestinian Authority, including spokesman for former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, took part in the Geneva Initiative (a nongovernmental effort to draft an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement), and opposed the “militarization” of the second intifada. Nevertheless, Hass writes, the fighting is bolstering Hamas’s status even among Palestinians like him, because “when Hamas manages, despite everything, to continue launching missiles at Israel and disrupting normal life there, Zakout says this restores their feeling of human dignity.” This, in a nutshell, is why the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains unsolvable, and why it produces spasms of violence with monotonous regularity: For too many Palestinians, including “moderates” like Zakout, “human dignity” derives from hurting Israelis — even knowing full well that the resultant Israeli counterstrikes will cause far greater harm to Palestinians.

 

This is something you would simply never hear an Israeli say, because Israelis see human dignity as stemming from saving life, not taking it. This doesn’t mean they oppose using military force in self-defence. Indeed, they overwhelmingly support the current operation: After absorbing 13,000 rockets from Gaza over the last nine years, they want the rockets stopped; they want children in the south to be able to grow up normally, instead having 45% suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder due to constant rocket fire, and they want people all over Israel to be able to lead their lives without disruption. But they would never say that dropping bombs on Gaza enhances their “human dignity”; they view war as an unpleasant necessity which they would much rather not have to engage in.

 

This difference in Palestinian and Israeli attitudes is epitomized by two technological developments that have become the darlings of their respective peoples: the Iron Dome anti-missile system and the M-75 rocket. The M-75 is a technological marvel — a homemade medium-range rocket capable of striking Tel Aviv, developed despite stringent Israeli import restrictions aimed at preventing Hamas from doing just that. It’s a purely offensive weapon with no defensive purpose, and Palestinians love it. An enterprising Gaza merchant even named a perfume after it two years ago, when it was first deployed, and Reuters reported that sales promptly soared.

 

Iron Dome is also a homegrown technological marvel. But it’s the M-75’s mirror image: a purely defensive weapon with no offensive purpose. And that’s precisely why Israelis love it: Its purpose is to save lives rather than take them. It’s not that Israel lacks homegrown, technologically marvelous offensive weapons. But while killing people who seek to kill you is sometimes necessary for self-defence, and most Israelis have no qualms about employing offensive weapons for that purpose, they would never love them. They view taking life as an unpleasant necessity that they would much rather be spared.

 

Palestinians, to be fair, have no defensive weaponry to love; they don’t even have basic civil-defence measures such as shelters. But that, as Jonathan Tobin wrote in Commentary  last week, is because Hamas deliberately opted to invest all its efforts in offensive capabilities rather than measures to protect its own people. It prefers taking Israeli lives to saving Palestinian ones. And this preference has only bolstered Hamas’s popularity. This seeming anomaly is explained by Zakout’s insight: To many Palestinians, human dignity comes not from bettering their own lives, but from worsening Israelis’ lives. Or as a Hamas parliamentarian succinctly put it, “We desire Death, as you desire Life.” And as long as Palestinians derive their sense of human dignity from killing Israelis, peace will never be possible.

 

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PUTIN’S INVESTIGATION IS A FAKE,

AND IT’S TIME TO STOP PLAYING HIS GAME                               

National Review, July 21, 2014

 

By the end of this week, America and Europe will have to make the most crucial and far-reaching decisions about the West’s relationship with Russia since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There can be no avoiding them, because any such avoidance would be a decision to drift further into appeasement, weakness, and an eventual conflict with Putin’s Russia on less favorable terms. The shooting down of a civilian Malaysian airliner by “pro-Russian separatists” in eastern Ukraine, with the loss of 298 lives, is both a catalyst and a turning point. Whether the turn is toward a more brutal war in Ukraine and a protracted cold war between Russia and the West or toward second thoughts by Moscow and a diplomatic de-escalation of the crisis, however, will depend on what the West now does.

 

That means the West must first decide on what not to do. It should not focus on holding an international/judicial inquiry into the shooting down of the airliner — as the Dutch, the Malaysians, and the families of the victims understandably want to do. The reason is simple and adequate: There won’t be a judicial inquiry unless the Russian government thinks it can fake evidence convincingly enough to cast doubt on the undoubted truth that it is responsible for what happened. The only inquiry therefore will be a “fixed” inquiry — and that is literally worse than useless. Russian and pro-Russian agents on the spot in eastern Ukraine are already removing evidence (including the black boxes), violating the corpses of the victims, and threatening legitimate observers. It is too late to rescue a real inquiry.

 

But no inquiry is necessary to discover the truth that is already known to the main players in slightly varying degrees. Russian government officials know exactly what happened all the way down to who actually fired the missile that destroyed the Malaysian airliner, whether they were serving Russian military intelligence officers, or recent Russian ex-military “volunteers,” or local neo-fascist “pro-Russian separatists,” or mercenaries from Chechnya, Central Asia, etc. Western intelligence officials know almost all of these things from satellite photographs, communications intercepts (thank you, NSA and “Five Eyes”), and their agents on the ground. Western publics and media know all of this in general but not always in particular — as do those Russians who access Western media through the Internet. The only people in the dark are those ordinary Russians who trust their own mass media, which provide them with thrillingly absurd anti-Russian conspiracies by the West.

 

The truth is as follows: The Russian state is responsible for shooting down a civilian airliner. All that is in doubt is its precise degree of responsibility. If the missile was fired by Russian officers or by others controlled by or in immediate contact with Russian military or intelligence, then Moscow’s responsibility is total. If the missile was given by Moscow to simpatico terrorists or mercenaries or volunteers, then its responsibility is only slightly less, while being also tainted by utter recklessness. This is the behavior of, at best, a low-level criminal state with an ethic of ruthlessness and a tradition of incompetence.    

 

What, however, should be done with this truth? Western governments have two options. They can reveal this information in graphic detail at the United Nations, as part of a strong Western response — including further economic sanctions and the supply of advanced Western arms to Ukraine — to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Or they can privately threaten to do all these things in tough diplomatic negotiations with Russia designed to get a reversal of Putin’s aggressive and illegal policies. Our view is that the second policy will be credible only if we first implement the first. A policy of threatening terrible things but doing mild ones will be seen by the Kremlin as something it can sit out and wait to evaporate. The West must show that it is determined to defeat Putin while being also willing to work with a post-imperial Russia. To judge from the statements of Western leaders over the weekend, that now seems a realistic prospect. The atmosphere surrounding the Ukrainian crisis has changed. Until yesterday, most people, including most Western governments, thought that Putin would win — at least in eastern Ukraine; now they are less sure of that, and keener to see him lose…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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EU LEADERS DEEPLY DIVIDED OVER RUSSIA                                        

Soeren Kern                                                                                                           

Gatestone Institute, July 21, 2014

 

European divisions over relations with Russia are being laid bare by the shooting down of a passenger plane over Ukraine…But despite a growing body of evidence that MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine, the European Union's 28 member states have still been unable to agree on even a basic unified response to the attack.

 

Western European countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands—all of which enjoy strong trade relations with Russia—have long been reluctant to antagonize Moscow, based largely on economic and energy supply considerations. By contrast, eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states, all of which experienced decades of misery under Soviet military domination, favor a far more aggressive EU policy regarding the Kremlin, which they view as posing a potentially existential threat. Few Europeans have had the courage to follow the lead of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was the first Western leader directly to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over the MH17 disaster. Abbot has warned Putin that his attendance at the G20 summit in Brisbane in November will be contingent on how much co-operation Australia and other countries receive from Russia in securing an independent international investigation into the plane crash.

 

By contrast, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, evidently fearful of angering Putin, has been walking on eggshells. "If I bang my fist against the table now… then I reduce the chances of the Netherlands and all those who support us getting the facts on the table," he told a news conference in The Hague. Rutte has also played down expectations that the Netherlands would support tougher EU economic sanctions against Russia or the Ukrainian separatists. In an interview with the New York Times, one of the main opposition leaders in the Netherlands, Alexander Pechtold, said: "We are a small country, dependent on our exports, and unlike the United States, we cannot always react from our moral high grounds. Still, if it is proven that the Russians have their fingerprints on this horrible event, we cannot look in the other direction." Russia is the third-largest destination for Dutch exports outside Europe after the US and China. The Netherlands is also a key tax shelter for Russia's billionaires. Amid reports that some of the bodies were being looted or removed from the crash site, Rutte has stepped up his rhetoric. On his Twitter feed, he wrote: "Shocked by images of totally disrespectful behavior, downright disgusting. Absolutely urgent now is the rapid repatriation of victims."

 

Arguably the most befuddled European response to the downing of MH17 has come from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seemed oblivious to the scale of the disaster when she told a group of 1,000 guests gathered in Berlin just hours after the attack to celebrate her 60th birthday: "We are living in happy times." According to those in attendance, Merkel's words "fell flat." After Merkel was criticized for downplaying the crime, Merkel begrudgingly acknowledged that, "it is especially Russia's responsibility for what is going on in Ukraine right now." She added that the EU's response so far has been more than "adequate." Merkel has urged Putin to use his influence with the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine to facilitate an international investigation into what German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called an "incident." Steinmeier later tweeted that the killing of hundreds of innocents as a "crime beyond any imagination." But he then employed rambling phraseology in an apparent effort not to be seen as pinning blame on Russia: "Those responsible would lose any right to claim their interests in the name of humanity."  Observers say Merkel, who was recently named "the most powerful woman in the world," is afraid of Putin, who provides Germany with more than one third of its gas imports.

 

Another key individual involved in shaping Europe's response to Russia is Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency. Renzi has been keen to avoid alienating Russia, Italy's biggest supplier of natural gas. Renzi is also energetically pushing for his foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, to replace Catherine Ashton as the EU's new foreign policy chief. Mogherini, who has almost no foreign policy experience, is unabashedly pro-Russian. Her candidacy is being opposed by Poland and the Baltic countries, which believe Mogherini would be too accommodating toward the Kremlin. For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."

 

In France, President François Hollande is loath to antagonize Putin ahead of the delivery of two highly sophisticated Mistral-class amphibious assault warships in a contract worth €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion). The first warship is to be delivered in October, and the French navy is currently training Russian sailors how to use it at the port of Saint-Nazaire. After the Russian invasion of Crimea in March 2014, the United States and several EU states criticized the deal. But others, including Germany, have defended France's decision to go ahead with the sale. In the wake of the MH17 disaster, however, a senior European diplomat told the EU Observer that France risks "international ridicule" if it goes ahead with the deal. "Putin has pursued a policy of dividing the U.S. and the European Union, as well as the EU internally. This incident [the air disaster] is going to make it harder for him [Hollande] to do this." For now, France appears keen to keep talk of the air disaster separate from the arms deal. "The most important priority right now is to shed light on what happened in this catastrophe," a French government official said. "We should not turn away from this subject in order to discuss some hypothetical consequences, or to talk about subjects which are not really connected."

 

In a rebuke of Merkel and other European leaders for their reluctance to confront Russia, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Europe must now "respond robustly." In a blistering article published by the Sunday Times on July 20, Cameron called the attack on MH17 a "direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them."

Cameron added: "For too long, there has been a reluctance on the part of too many European countries to face up to the implications of what is happening in eastern Ukraine…. It is time to make our power, influence and resources count. Our economies are strong and growing in strength. And yet we sometimes behave as if we need Russia more than Russia needs us."

 

It remains to be seen whether the MH17 disaster will serve as a moment of moral and strategic clarity and cajole European leaders into confronting Russia's increasingly increasing bellicosity. More than 50% of the EU's total energy consumption in 2012 was imported from outside the EU, according to the most recent data compiled by Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency. A large percentage of that imported energy originates in Russia. In 2012, some 33.7% of the EU-28's imports of crude oil were from Russia, as were 32% of the bloc's imports of natural gas. The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas. The Nabucco pipeline, for example, was a plan to push gas from the Caspian Sea region into central Europe by bypassing Russia and Ukraine. The project was shelved in June 2013, after Moscow pressured southern European countries into supporting the rival South Stream pipeline, run by Gazprom, which is majority owned by the Russian government.

 

More recently, Israel decided to ship much of its natural gas to Egypt, further confounding efforts to lessen EU dependence on Russian sources. Energy analysts say the failures point to a lack of a common EU energy policy, which means that Russia is likely to remain Europe's chief natural gas supplier well beyond 2020. Even if the EU were to achieve complete energy independence, however, it would hardly change the crux of Europe's security problem, which is its over-reliance on diplomatic and economic "soft-power" at the expense of military "hard power." European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "post-modern" superpower, have long argued that military hard power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security. The EU's lack of a hard power deterrent has emboldened Putin to the point where he has been able to run roughshod in Crimea and Ukraine with impunity, and evidently there is not much Europe's soft power can do about it.

 

Contents

SEEING PUTIN PLAIN                                                                  

Bret Stephens                                                                                            

Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2014

 

In the fall of 2007 I participated in a debate in New York on the question of whether Russia was again becoming an enemy of the United States. I argued it was. "We worry about political trends within Russia," I said in my closing statement, "not just because we are friends of democracy, human rights, freedom, the rule of law, but also because the respect that governments have for their own people tend to correlate with their attitude and behavior vis-à-vis the outside world. We worry about Russian behavior toward countries like Ukraine, Estonia and Georgia because we fear that behavior is a harbinger for what's in store for Europe and the United States." If you think I'm claiming vindication here, you would be right. But it wasn't as if it took great political acumen to come to such conclusions.

 

Vladimir Putin's first major act in power had been to lay waste to the city of Grozny in a manner reminiscent of Tamerlane. Next he went after his domestic opponents in show trials that recalled the methods of Andrey Vyshinsky. Soon he linked hands with Jacques Chirac of France and Gerhard Schröder of Germany to try to stop the Iraq war—which is to say, to keep Saddam Hussein in power. Then he supplied Iran with its first nuclear reactor. In 2005 Mr. Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. In 2006 a mysterious pipeline explosion left Georgia without gas in the dead of winter, a tactic used against several of Russia's neighbors. Later that year came the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, a muckraking journalist, and Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian intelligence officer who had defected to Britain and was dispatched with a dose of polonium. A few months later Estonia, another free-world thorn in Russia's side, was subjected to a massive cyberattack.

 

This is only a partial list of the evidence available at the time of the debate. But it suggested a definite trend. The invasions of Georgia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine still lay in the future. So did the murder of Sergei Magnitsky, the prison sentences for Pussy Riot, the legal harassment of Alexei Navalny, the asylum granted to Ed Snowden, the cheating on the IMF Treaty. And now the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines…Flight 17 and the murder of its 298 passengers and crew, followed by the coverup. How do you "reset" that? You don't. You can't. But you can at least try to figure out where you went wrong at the start. Take Columbia University professor and Russia expert Robert Levgold, who took the opposite side in that 2007 debate. Russia, he argued, was not an enemy but "a challenge." The problem of Russian foreign policy wasn't so much its aggressive efforts to reconstitute the old Soviet sphere of influence, but rather its "ambiguity and shapelessness." U.S. policy should focus on "constructive and effective dialogue." In a Foreign Affairs article in 2009, Mr. Levgold went a step further: "Too many Americans," he cautioned, "mistakenly believe that Russia's leaders are incorrigibly antidemocratic and bent on bludgeoning Russia's neighbors, blackmailing Europeans, and causing trouble for the United States." It was important, he added, to change the tone. "If the style and substance of Obama's foreign policy change as much as he and his team have suggested they will, the context for U.S. policy toward Russia will improve no matter what happens on the specific issues that set the two countries at odds." By and large, the professor got exactly the policy he wanted. Yet the results were precisely the opposite of the ones he forecast.

 

U.S.-Russia relations were strained at the time of the debate. They are in shambles today. Mr. Obama's good will did not beget conciliation from Mr. Putin. It elicited contempt. A more cautious and less unilateral U.S. foreign policy did not turn Russia into a team player at the U.N. Security Council. It merely facilitated Russian obstructionism. Consistent attempts to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine, to offer Mr. Putin this or that off-ramp, did not induce better behavior. It signaled that the West lacked any will to stand in Russia's way. There was no White House outrage when Russian separatists were shooting down Ukrainian aircraft in recent weeks. On the contrary, Mr. Obama was trying to ring-fence events in the region as "a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing," as somebody once said.

 

Does it occur to anyone in the administration that U.S. efforts to play down events in eastern Ukraine contributed to the permissive environment in which Flight 17 was brought down? Political shortsightedness being almost incurable, Mr. Legvold has taken to the pages of the current issue of Foreign Affairs to urge "damage control" in relations with Russia and to avoid "misperceptions." But the main misperception has been his—and the administration's—view of today's Russia. Too bad Vladimir Putin sees this White House exactly for what it is.

On Topic

 

Unseen Scars of War: Psychological Consequences of the Hamas Attacks on the Israeli Civilian Population: Irwin J. Mansdorf, JCPA, July 20, 2014

Russia's Anti-West Isolationism: Maxim Trudolyubov, New York Times, July 20, 2014

Arming the Enemy: Geoffrey Norman, Weekly Standard, July 22, 2014

Obama and Putin’s Savage World Order: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, July 21, 2013

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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