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The ‘Media War’ is Finally Tilting to Israel’s Side: Rex Murphy, National Post, July 19, 2013— I often call to mind the Avalon peninsula of Newfoundland when I think of Israel, and imagine what it would be like to crowd seven million people onto the fragments of the island most familiar to visitors.
Tunnels Matter More Than Rockets to Hamas: Michael B. Mukasey, Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2014 — Early in the current clash between Hamas and Israel, much of the drama was in the air.
Mowing the Grass in Gaza, and Beyond: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 18, 2013— Israel's protracted conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the feebleness and fecklessness of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the gains made by radical Islamists in Arab civil wars raging across the region, call for a reassessment of Israel's strategic posture.
Winning the Moral High Ground is a Loser's Game: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, July 16, 2014 — In our modern age, things no longer exist to perform their function.
Terror in School (Video): Youtube, July, 2014
Jewish Federation of Ottawa-Pro Israel Rally-Marc Garneau (Video): Youtube, July 16, 2014
PM to Nation: Operation Will Continue Until Quiet is Restored: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2014
Palestinians: The Arabs Betrayed Us – Again: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, July 21, 2013
Mowing the Grass in Gaza: Prof. Efraim Inbar & Dr. Eitan Shamir, Besa, July 17, 2014
National Post, July 19, 2014
I often call to mind the Avalon peninsula of Newfoundland when I think of Israel, and imagine what it would be like to crowd seven million people onto the fragments of the island most familiar to visitors. And think further of what it would be like to see Carbonear or Twillingate or St. John’s under deadly attack on and off for 70 years, and further troubled by a rain of thousands of rockets and missiles fired apparently at whim, indifferent to their targets, by a remorseless enemy. Considering this, and all its struggles since its birth, I’ve long thought that tiny, democratic Israel should just be left alone to thrive. Maybe others are starting to see it that way, too. I sense some turn in the world’s opinion on what we call the Middle East conflict. The terms of understanding are changing.
Canada, more particularly Stephen Harper, can take partial credit for some of that change. As a world leader, Mr. Harper has been the best counter-voice to the cliched hostility and animus found in most self-labelled “progressive” perspectives. Indeed his clarity on Israel’s right to exist, to be free of menace and molestation from its enemies, greatly annoys the professional anti-Israelis who flourish on the campuses and in the progressive opinion pages of the West. And rarely has he been as staunch in his backing of the beleaguered Israeli state as in this latest flareup. The Prime Minister has spoken with exquisite clarity on Israel’s right to defend itself. On this white hot question even Mr. Harper’s most visceral critics have to acknowledge he is a very model of the clear, unequivocating politician. Dislike him if you will, object to the policy if you must, but no one may claim he is not absolutely forthright on where he stands and what he means. He is certainly more resolute than U.S. President Barack Obama on this file (and on Ukraine, too), and is setting something of a leadership example to his peers around the world.
There’s a real turn here in the attitudes and commentary on Israel which mark a departure from the previous occasions of conflict and confrontation. The near automatic and unconditioned sympathy for the “Palestinian cause” we have seen before is not being as quickly or reliably manifested this time. Hamas and its brethren in terror are not getting quite the pass they have on previous occasions. In fact, Hamas, by their obstinacy, refusal to cease fire in any meaningful way, and their reliably bloodthirsty and hate-filled rhetoric is, if only in part, finally being held responsible for its words and deeds. How strange that the “media war” that always accompanies the actual war is tilting — for once — to Israel’s side. And it’s no surprise. The usual crew of protestors who routinely take to shouting in the streets about Israel’s war crimes, their “Nazi” tactics and the “imperialist aims of the ‘Zionist entity’” have helped. The obsessives of Israel Apartheid Week have helped too. The antics of the activists have greatly marred their limited appeal.
The utterly tendentious BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement — also associated with the dismal Apartheid campaign — provoked another massive backfire. More colleges and universities have ended up siding with Israel, shunning the BDS crowd. It’s more than just the anti-Israel forces not getting a pass. Opponents have actively came out to dissociate from or directly condemn them. This is a sea-change. After this cruel and strange week, with fighting on the ground in Gaza and planes being shot down over Ukraine, the world, or parts of it, are looking at events with less detachment and neutrality. We are involved in this world, deny it as we will. We are not, as we sometimes think, spectators.
People are seeing there is in Israel’s actions a very real lesson for the West. Israel is hardy and steadfast in standing up against terror, of embodying democracy even under fire, of attempting to observe some scruple as missiles fly. It stands for values and virtues that we in the West have become too cavalier about. In the words of British commentator Douglas Murray, “It is Israel which takes Western values seriously and fights for the survival of those values, rather than sitting back and assuming they are simply part of some birthright.” I add only, it’s because Israel has to fight for them that they are so valued. How welcome it is to not be nearly alone in thinking so.
Michael B. Mukasey
Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2014
Early in the current clash between Hamas and Israel, much of the drama was in the air. The Palestinian terrorist group launched hundreds of rockets at Israel, and Israel responded by knocking down rockets in the sky with its Iron Dome defense system and by bombing the rocket-launch sites in Gaza. But the real story has been underground. Hamas's tunnels into Israel are potentially much more dangerous than its random rocket barrages. Israel started a ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza on Thursday, intending to destroy Hamas's tunnel network. The challenge became obvious on Saturday when eight Palestinian fighters wearing Israeli military uniforms emerged from a tunnel 300 yards inside Israel and killed two Israeli soldiers in a firefight. One of the Palestinian fighters was killed before the others fled through the tunnel back to Gaza.
According to Yigal Carmon, who heads the Middle East Media Research Institute, his organization's monitoring of published material and discussions with Israeli officials indicate that Hamas's tunnels—and not the well-publicized episode of kidnapping and murder involving young Israelis and a Palestinian teenager—were the spark for the conflict. Consider: On July 5 Israeli planes damaged a tunnel dug by Hamas that ran for several kilometers from inside the Gaza Strip. The tunnel emerged near an Israeli kibbutz named Kerem Shalom —vineyard of peace. That Israeli strike presented Hamas with a dilemma, because the tunnel was one of scores that the group had dug at great cost. Were the Israelis specifically aware of the tunnel or had their strike been a random guess? Several members of the Hamas military leadership came to inspect the damage the following day, July 6. A later official Israeli report said that the Hamas inspectors were killed in a "work accident." But what if the Israelis had been waiting for the follow-up and struck again?
Hamas now saw its strategic plan unraveling. The tunnel network gave it the ability to launch a coordinated attack within Israel like the 2008 Islamist rampage in Mumbai that killed 164 people. Recall that in 2011 Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, more than 200 of whom were under a life sentence for planning and perpetrating terror attacks. They were exchanged for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been taken hostage in a cross-border raid by Hamas. Imagine the leverage that Hamas could have achieved by sneaking fighters through the tunnels and taking hostages throughout Israel; the terrorists intercepted Saturday night were carrying tranquilizers and handcuffs.
If the Israeli strike on the tunnel near the Kerem Shalom kibbutz presaged a drive to destroy the entire network—the jewel of Hamas's war-planning—the terrorist group must have been thrown into a panic. Because by this summer Hamas was already in desperate political straits. For years Hamas was receiving weapons and funding from Shiite Iran and Syria, under the banner of militant resistance to Israel. But when Mohammed Morsi became president of Egypt in June 2012, Hamas abandoned its relationship with Iran and Syria and took up instead with Mr. Morsi and the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas also took up with Turkey and Qatar, also Sunni states, describing them at one point as the saviors of Hamas. Former benefactors Syria and Iran then called Hamas traitorous for abandoning the resistance-to-Israel camp.
The Hamas romance with Mr. Morsi was especially galling to Shiite-led Iran and Syria. The Shiites are only 10% of the world's Muslims, and neither Iran nor Syria welcomed the loss of a patron to Sunni Egypt. The coup that removed Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood regime in June 2013 brought a chill in Egypt's relationship with Hamas that has kept Egypt's border with Gaza closed, denying Hamas that route of supply. But Iran and Syria did not rush to embrace their former beneficiary. When Hamas tried to re-ingratiate itself with Iran this May, its political bureau head, Khaled Mash'al, was denied an audience in Tehran and could only meet a minor diplomat in Qatar. On June 26 the Iranian website Tabnak posted an article titled, "Mr. Mash'al, Answer the Following Questions Before Asking for Help." The questions included: "How can Iran go back to trusting an organization that turned its back on the Syrian regime after it sat in Damascus for years and received all kinds of assistance?" and "How can we trust an organization that enjoyed Iranian support for years and then described Turkey and Qatar as its saviors?" So on July 6, Hamas stood politically isolated and strategically vulnerable. It had lost the financial support of Egypt and could not get renewed support from Iran in the measure it needed. To some in the organization it appeared that Hamas had only one card to play—and on July 7 it played that card with rockets. As to the tunnels, last Thursday Israeli forces intercepted 13 armed terrorists as they emerged from a tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa in Israel.
There are other messages out there for the Palestinians instead of the violent one sent by Hamas. Writing in the London-based Arabic daily Al Hayat on July 12, Saudi intellectual Abdallah Hamid al-Din, no friend of Israel, urged Palestinians to abandon as unrealistic demands for a right of return, and to forgo as hypocritical calls to boycott Israel: "The only way to stop Israel is peace. . . . Israel does not want peace, because it does not need it. But the Palestinians do. Therefore it is necessary to persist with efforts to impose peace. No other option exists. True resistance is resistance to illusions and false hopes, and no longer leaning on the past in building the future. Real resistance is to silently endure the handshake of your enemy so as to enable your people to learn and to live." Plenty of others are sending the same message today. Whether Palestinians will listen is another matter.
David M. Weinberg
Israel Hayom, July 18, 2014
Israel's protracted conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the feebleness and fecklessness of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the gains made by radical Islamists in Arab civil wars raging across the region, call for a reassessment of Israel's strategic posture. In a situation of multiple threats from implacable, nonstate enemies like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaida, and the Islamic State group (formerly known as ISIS); and in an environment where all Arab and Islamic states from Marrakesh to Bangladesh are beset by instability — Israel must figure out how to best guarantee its long-term security.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun to give us a window into his updated strategic thinking on this question. In a speech that got very little attention in Tel Aviv two weeks ago, and in a press conference last Friday, Netanyahu laid out the essentials of an updated defense doctrine. The bottom line: Israel must actively defend all its borders by itself, including the security envelope in the Jordan Valley and West Bank. And, Israel will act to "mow the grass" as frequently as necessary to degrade enemy military capabilities and keep Israel's rivals off-balance.
When taken to their logical conclusions, these two policy planks dictate a shift in Israeli policy; a course correction that needs to be appreciated. For the past two decades, Israeli policy has been based on the twin pillars of pretentious Peres-style optimism: that a "New Middle East" was dawning based on peaceful economic cooperation, and that the establishment of a full-fledged Palestinian state alongside Israel would guarantee security for Israel. Both conceptions have collapsed. They were illusions. No peaceful "New Middle East" is emerging any time soon no matter how much Western largesse is invested, and no Palestinian government can truly be trusted to keep the peace. Be they weak or nasty, our Arab neighbors, especially the Palestinians, cannot be relied upon to act in ways that meet Israel's security needs.
Consequently, Israel must build strong fences on every frontier; ensure the non-militarization of the West Bank over the long term with its own forces; and act to ensure the demilitarization of problem areas like Gaza and Sinai. "Who knows what tomorrow will bring?" Netanyahu said in his strategic speech. "You have to stop the wave of terror at the Jordan, not at the edges of Tel Aviv." He went on to explain that under any peace agreement in the future, circumstances require that the Israel Defense Forces continue its operations in the West Bank. "In Judea and Samaria there is no power that can guarantee Israel's security other than the IDF. It's been proven in Iraq that you can't depend on local forces that have been trained by the West to stop terror. … (And thus) any arrangement will include Palestinian political and economic control alongside Israeli security control. There have been American forces in Germany for decades and they haven't interfered with German sovereignty. Same thing with Korea."
"We don't want to rule over the Palestinians, but the meaning of the necessary security measures is that some of their sovereignty will need to be limited." In other words, Netanyahu has reached the conclusion that true demilitarization of Judea and Samaria as called for in the Oslo Accords is impossible without a strong and permanent Israeli military imprint in all areas of the West Bank. It is only courtesy of the nightly IDF raids on jihadist cells in Jenin, Nablus and Hebron that Israelis and Palestinians alike live a daily life of relative calm. Otherwise, the West Bank would become Gaza. Critics will say that there is no sovereign state in the world so circumscribed and limited — where security is maintained by the army of another country. The critics are right; no such creation exists nor will it be born. The most that Israel can countenance is essentially a Palestinian province with political and economic autonomy, while Israel remains fully in charge of security.
Whether Netanyahu ever truly accepted the notion of a full-fledged Palestinian state is irrelevant. Time has moved on and circumstances have changed. A Palestinian province or autonomous region is now the maximum on the table. A Palestinian "state," as in "two-state solution," is both a misnomer and an anachronism. Get used to it. The same goes for the military operation that Israel is currently conducting in Gaza. To be forthright, Israel should make it clear that such offensives will have to be repeated again and again. Keeping the enemy off balance and reducing its capabilities ("mowing the grass") requires the intermittent use of force. Israel is not looking for a diplomatic solution with Hamas; it is waging a war of attrition. Thus Israel must project unrelenting ruthlessness and grit. Get used to it.
Critics already are calling Netanyahu "disingenuous," accusing him of not seeking a "genuine" accommodation with the Palestinians; of being a shill for the "settlement enterprise" and for "conquest." They say that he is going to perpetuate an "unsustainable status quo" in the West Bank. But Netanyahu is being genuine. He is confronting the fundamental realities that lie at the core of Israel's relationships with the Palestinians and the surrounding, collapsing Arab world. He is sweeping aside the misconceptions that undergirded the failed policies of the past twenty years. He is articulating a worldview and policy program that is based on realism, not on empty optimism; on the region as it is, not as we would like it to be. Israel stands almost alone on the front lines against rampaging Islamic radicalism, coming at Israel from almost every direction. In such a situation, Israel will not soon be relinquishing strategic tracts of land to any neighbor, and it will be lashing out frequently to quash nearby insurgencies and their armories, especially when the weapons are actually fired at Israel. The only "unsustainable status quo" is a situation where Israel cannot defend itself by itself for fear of international disapproval.
Sultan Knish, July 16, 2014
In our modern age, things no longer exist to perform their function. Washing machines aren't designed to clean clothes, but to save water and energy. Food isn't there to be eaten, but not eaten. And armies aren't there to win wars, but to be moral. And the truly moral army never fights a war. When it must fight a war, then it fights it as proportionately as possible, slowing down when it's winning so that the enemy has a chance to catch up and inflict a completely proportional number of casualties on them. Forget charging up a hill. Armies charge up the slippery slope of the moral high ground and they don't try to capture it from the enemy, because that would be the surest way to lose the moral high ground, instead they claim the moral high ground by refusing to try and capture it, to establish their moral claim to the moral high ground, which they can't have because they refuse to fight for it.
Israel has been engaged in a long drawn out struggle for the moral high ground. The moral high ground is to the modern Israeli what the land of Israel was to their pioneer ancestors who drained swamps, built roads and shot bandits. Then some of the bandits were discovered to be the oppressed peoples of the region, fresh from Syria or Jordan, who then got busy retroactively protesting the settlements built on that stretch of swamp that had been set aside in their revisionist history as belonging to their great-grandparents while dangling oversized house keys to the swamp.
Sadly the only way to win the moral high ground is by losing. Just look at the massive Arab armies who repeatedly invaded Israel, did their best to overwhelm it with the best Soviet iron that the frozen factories of the Ural could turn out, and lost the bid to drive the Jews into the sea, but won the moral high ground. Then their terrorist catspaws spent decades winning the moral high ground by hijacking airplanes full of civilians, murdering Olympic athletes and pushing old men in wheelchairs from the decks of cruise ships. All these killing sprees accomplished absolutely nothing useful, aside from the killing of Jews, which to a certain sort of mind is a useful thing in and of itself, but that failure won the terrorist catspaws the moral high ground. Their failure to win a war by hijacking buses full of women and taking the children of a school hostage conclusively established their moral superiority and nobility of spirit.
The world was deeply moved when Arafat waddled up to the UN podium, with his gun, wearing a mismatched cotton rag on his head that would decades hence become the modish apparel of every third hipster standing in line with a can of 20 dollar fair trade Lima beans at Whole Foods, because his commitment to killing people in a failed cause that even he didn't believe in, in exchange for money from his backers in the Muslim world showed his deep commitment to the moral high ground. In the seventies, after Israel had won a few too many wars, Henry "Woodcutter" Kissinger, suggested that it lose a war to gain the sympathy of the world. Golda wasn't too enthusiastic about the idea, but with the old woodcutter in charge of handing out the axes, there wasn't much choice about it. Israel came close to being destroyed in '73, but just when it might have won the sympathy of the world, its armies of young men dashing from synagogues into overcrowded taxis to get to the front lines, turned the tide. Israel won. The woodcutter of Washington lost and Israeli scrapyards filled up with piles of Soviet steel, which was good news for the big sweaty guys who ran them, but bad news for those pining for the lofty fjords of the moral high ground.
In '91 the Israelis went nuclear and decided to beat Arafat at his own game. Rabin and Peres talked the old terrorist out of retirement and down to Washington D.C. where they surrendered to him in an official ceremony at the Rose Garden overseen by a beaming Bill Clinton. Finally Israel had won the moral high ground. And the United States had carved off a chunk of that delicious moral high ground, even though Clinton was forced to fidget in his chair at Oslo when his Nobel Peace Prize went to the greasy terrorist, though perhaps he should have considered that defeat to be another victory of the moral high ground. But the moral high ground proved notoriously elusive for the Jewish State. There was a brief lull when it seemed that the original sin of kicking ass had been atoned for in the Rose Garden, but then the terrorists started killing Israelis again and the Israelis insisted on fighting back. In no time at all the moral high ground was roped off with a special reserved section for terrorists and a sign reading, "No Israelis Will Be Admitted Unless They Renounce Their Government, Zionism and the Right of Self-Defense."
Peace was the last best hope of the new Israeli Hatikvah, not to be a free people in their own land, but to be a moral people in a land that didn't really belong to anyone in particular, but that they were optimistic everyone could live in harmony in. But peace with terrorists meant not fighting back and there was a limit to what the 70 percent of the country that didn't go to sleep fantasizing about peace would accept in the name of peace. And so, terrorists killed Israelis, Israelis killed terrorists, that part of the world located in an ugly modernist building overlooking Turtle Bay, which the turtles would like to have back, condemned Israel and demanded that it resolve things peacefully by surrendering more land to the terrorists in order to build up their confidence in Israel's commitment to a peaceful solution. The terrorists were not expected to reciprocate and build up Israel's confidence in their commitment to a peaceful solution because they already had the moral high ground by way of losing the last thirty engagements with the IDF, including the battle of the school they set up snipers in, the church they took over and the hospital that they used as an ammo dump. The great quandary for Israeli leaders is how to win a war without losing the moral high ground. This is a tricky matter because it requires winning the war and winning the peace. And you can't do both at the same time…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Terror in School (Video): Youtube, July, 2014
Jewish Federation of Ottawa-Pro Israel Rally-Marc Garneau (Video): Youtube, July 16, 2014
PM to Nation: Operation Will Continue Until Quiet is Restored: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2014—
Palestinians: The Arabs Betrayed Us – Again: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, July 21, 2013—Every now and then, the Palestinians are reminded of the fact that most Arabs don't care about them and their problems.
Mowing the Grass in Gaza: Prof. Efraim Inbar & Dr. Eitan Shamir, Besa, July 17, 2014—Hamas left Israel’s government no choice but to order the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to start a land incursion.
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