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BREAKING NEWS: MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT MH17 REPORTEDLY SHOT DOWN NEAR UKRAINE-RUSSIA BORDER (Donetsk)—A Malaysian passenger airliner with 295 people on board was shot down near the border of Ukraine and Russia, where witnesses say dozens of bodies are scattered around the wreckage, according to a number of reports. The Boeing 777, carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members, was shot down at an altitude of 10,000 metres above eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian bureau of the Russia-based news agency Interfax reported. The Boeing plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets. "We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the armed forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets," he said. (CBC, July 17, 2014)
BREAKING NEWS: EXPANSION OF OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE (Jerusalem)—Following ten days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip. The IDF's objective as defined by the Israeli government is to establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continues indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas' terror infrastructure. In the face of Hamas' tactics to leverage civilian casualties in pursuit of its terrorist goals, the IDF will continue in its unprecedented efforts to limit civilian harm. The IDF will operate resolutely to defend the State of Israel conducting itself with professionalism, a strict moral code of conduct and a deep respect for the sanctity of human life. (IMRA, July 17, 2014)
Why Hamas Said No to Egypt's Sisi: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, July 17, 2014— Hamas's rejection of Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire with Israel did not come as a surprise to many Palestinians.
Who’s Afraid of Boots on the Ground in Gaza?: Lazar Berman, Times of Israel, July 17, 2014 — An IDF ground incursion into the Gaza Strip is growing increasingly likely.
NGOs’ Immoral Tunnel Vision: Abraham Cooper, Times of Israel, July 15, 2013— Who is not moved by the pictures of Israeli families with 15 seconds to reach the safety of bomb shelters from terrorist rockets…
Gaza, A Tragedy of Errors: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, July 17, 2013— Every organization, like every group, has goals and objectives, and every group organizes its objectives according to its own priorities, with these objectives and their order of importance serving to reflect the group's culture.
The Popular Palestinians: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2014
Time to Annex? If Palestinians Can’t Govern …: Seth Lipsky, New York Post, July 17, 2013
Pallywood Swings Back Into Action for Gaza Conflict: William A. Jacobson, Legal Insurection, July 12, 2014
Anti-Israel Protesters: The Jews Control All the Oil and Obama: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, July 15, 2014
WHY HAMAS SAID NO TO EGYPT'S SISI
Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute, July 17, 2014
Hamas's rejection of Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire with Israel did not come as a surprise to many Palestinians. On Wednesday, Hamas announced that it had officially informed the Egyptians of its opposition to the cease-fire proposal, which had been issued by the Egyptian authorities 48 hours earlier.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas was opposed to any cease-fire that "does not meet, from the outset, the conditions of the resistance groups." One of the reasons that Hamas rejected the proposal, Abu Zuhri said, was because the Egyptians did not consult with the Islamist movement before announcing it.
Hamas's conditions included the reopening of all border crossings and the lifting of the blockade that was imposed on the Gaza Strip seven years ago. But Hamas's rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire plan should be seen in the context of its strained relations with the regime of President Abdel Fattah Sisi. Sisi's cease-fire proposal is not much different than that presented by deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in November 2012. Then, Hamas accepted Morsi's proposal, entitled "Special Understandings For Cease-fire In Gaza." Sisi's plan, rejected by Hamas, is entitled "The Egyptian Initiative For Cease-fire In Gaza." Both plans called for a cessation of fighting between Israel and Hamas, and for the reopening of the border crossings for passengers and goods.
The main difference between the two plans was an invitation from Sisi to Israel and Hamas to hold separate talks in Cairo to "complete discussions about consolidating the cease-fire and pursuing confidence-building measures between the two parties." Back then, Hamas had no problem accepting a cease-fire engineered by a Muslim Brotherhood president, who considered the movement a close friend and ally of Egypt. But Hamas views Sisi as an enemy — that is why its leaders are not prepared to accept anything he offers, even in the form of a cease-fire that is aimed at saving the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. By rejecting the cease-fire, Hamas has shown that it prefers Israel's bombs to Sisi's offer. For Hamas, Sisi represents a hostile regime that has declared war on the movement and its Muslim Brotherhood allies in Egypt. Hamas holds Sisi responsible for tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip by keeping the Rafah border crossing closed and destroying hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. The last thing Hamas wants is to award Sisi — and enhance his standing in the regional and international arena — by accepting cease-fire "initiative" from him.
Similarly, Hamas does not want Abbas to play any role in a cease-fire agreement lest that strengthen his standing as the representative of all Palestinians. Statements by Hamas leaders over the past week have been extremely critical of Abbas's stance regarding the war with Israel. Top Hamas officials have gone as far as condemning Abbas for conspiring with Israel and Egypt to eliminate the Islamist movement and end its control over the Gaza Strip. A sign of growing tensions between Hamas and Abbas was provided on Tuesday when the Palestinian Health Minister, Jawad Awwad, tried to visit the Gaza Strip. As soon as Awwad entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, Hamas supporters pelted his vehicle with stones, eggs and shoes, forcing him to flee the area. The Palestinian Authority [PA] later issued a strong condemnation of the assault, holding Hamas "elements" responsible. Hamas leaders complained this week that President Sisi did not even bother to consult with them before drafting his cease-fire proposal. "We heard about the cease-fire proposal through the media," said a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip. The official claimed that Sisi chose to negotiate with Israel and PA President Mahmoud Abbas instead of with Hamas and the other terror groups in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is also suspicious of Sisi's true intentions. Leaders of the movement are convinced that the Egyptian president's ultimate goal is to disarm the movement and other terror groups and hand the Gaza Strip back to Abbas's PA.
Some Palestinians believe that Qatar and Turkey exerted pressure on Hamas to reject Sisi's cease-fire plan. Relations between the two countries and Egypt have deteriorated as a result of their continued support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Hamas is probably interested in a cease-fire, but not one that would bolster the standing of Sisi. This war is not only between Hamas and Israel. It is also a war also between Hamas and Sisi's Egypt. Hamas is demanding that Israel halt its "aggression" on the Gaza Strip. But its main demand is that the Egyptians end their blockade on the Gaza Strip and reopen the Rafah border crossing. Hamas is also demanding that the Egyptians stop their security measures against the Islamist movement and the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, including travel restrictions and the destruction of smuggling tunnels.
Hamas is now seeking to replace Egypt with Qatar and Turkey. The movement is determined to deny Sisi the "honor" of assuming a major role in solving the current crisis. So far, Hamas appears to have been successful in its effort to marginalize Sisi. It now remains to be seen whether Qatar and Turkey will be able to save Hamas.
WHO’S AFRAID OF BOOTS ON THE GROUND IN GAZA?
Times of Israel, July 17, 2014
An IDF ground incursion into the Gaza Strip is growing increasingly likely. Hamas has rejected an Egypt-backed ceasefire, and rockets continue to fall on Israel despite intense airstrikes. Some Israeli commentators say that the air campaign has reached its culmination point, and is not likely to achieve much more than it already has. The problem with a ground invasion, say experts both in Israel and abroad, is that it will cost Israel dearly in the lives of its soldiers. “A limited ground incursion is more likely than ever. And if that happens, Netanyahu knows the IDF is likely to suffer casualties,” read an article in the National Review. “A threatened ground invasion of Gaza would cause heavy casualties on both sides,” wrote the Washington Post editors. A ground operation “could exact a heavy toll in blood,” predicted Brig.-Gen. (res.) Tzvika Fogel in Israel Hayom.
Recent history shows the exact opposite. Military operations should never be undertaken lightly, but the preponderance of evidence shows that when Israel embarks on major ground operations in the Gaza Strip, IDF deaths are remarkably low. Looking at the past decade of Israeli incursions into the coastal region, the pattern is clear: Hamas struggles mightily to exact even moderate casualties among Israeli forces, while losing dozens, even hundreds, of its own fighters. After losing 11 soldiers in APC explosions on the Philadelphi Route near Rafah in May 2004, Israel sent in ground forces from the Golani and Givati infantry brigades, supported by combat engineers, the Shimshon infantry battalion, and a tank brigade. Israel killed around 40 terrorists in and around Rafah, and lost a grand total of zero soldiers in the week-long operation.
When Kassam rocket fire killed two children in Sderot in September of that year, Israel launched Operation Days of Penitence. Again, Givati and Golani infantrymen, alongside tanks and combat engineers, entered the northern Gaza neighborhoods of Beit Hanun, Beit Lahiya, and Jabaliya. In more than two weeks, Israel killed some 87 Hamas and affiliated fighters, while losing 2 soldiers (one of whom was killed in a terrorist attack near a settlement in the northern Gaza Strip, not in the operation itself). The next major ground incursion into Gaza took place after Israel had removed all of its soldiers and civilians from settlements in the Strip in the 2005 disengagement. Gilad Shalit was snatched from his tank on the Gaza border on June 25, 2006, followed by Kassam fire on Israel. Operation Summer Rains kicked off on June 28, and continued until November 26, by which time it had become Operation Autumn Clouds. The pattern of low Israeli losses and heavy Palestinian casualties continued in the operations. Two IDF soldiers were lost and 28 injured, while Israeli forces killed around 270 Palestinian militants.
The next year and a half were relatively quiet, as a temporary peace, or hudna, held between Israel and Hamas. In addition, Hamas focused its energies on expelling Fatah forces from Gaza (or just killing them), while consolidating its rule over the Strip’s residents. But when a Kassam rocket killed an Israeli at Sapir College in late February 2008, Israel decided to reenter in Operation Hot Winter, focusing on the northern Gaza neighborhoods from which rockets were being launched. In five days of fighting, Israel killed more than one hundred armed Palestinians, losing only two of its own men. In November of that year, after a series of rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel embarked on Operation Cast Lead. This was a major operation, with the aggressive ground maneuver that was missing during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Israel lost 10 soldiers, in addition to 317 wounded, but four of them were killed in a friendly fire incident. In all, Hamas managed to kill six soldiers after spending significant time and effort preparing traps and explosives in anticipation of the invasion. Hamas and other terrorist groups, for their part, lost around 800 fighters.
Israeli tanks at the staging ground outside Gaza on December 29, 2008, the third day of Operation Cast Lead
Every soldier killed is an indescribable loss for Israel, not to mention their families, but the major ground operations over the last decade have averaged around three dead per operation — not exactly the mass losses being described by commentators this week. What about the 2006 war against Hezbollah, in which 121 soldiers lost their lives? There are a number of key differences between an operation in Gaza and the Second Lebanon War. Hamas is no Hezbollah, and Gaza is no Lebanon: the flat Gaza terrain is much more conducive to offensive operations than Lebanon’s mountains and canyons. In addition, the IDF in 2006 was a military caught in a transition that wasn’t sure what doctrine it was supposed to follow, and the tentative campaign in southern Lebanon showed this confusion. By Cast Lead in 2008, the IDF proved to be a dominant, capable, and confident force, slicing through Hamas with impressive coordination and skill.
Why are the numbers so lopsided in Israel’s favor, and why is it so hard for Hamas to kill IDF soldiers when they’re on the offensive? When Israel is playing defense, Hamas militants can plan operations, and grasp the initiative. They control the streets, and while the risk of airstrikes is a serious one, it is only one threat to counter. Multiple brigades moving quickly through Gaza’s neighborhoods is a different story entirely for Hamas. Taking one step out onto the street means the threat of lethal fire from snipers hidden on rooftops throughout the city. An IDF ambush could be waiting for them in any house. Tanks could have their sights zeroed in on gunmen moving through fields hundreds of meters away. An invading Israeli ground force presents a series of difficult dilemmas for Hamas fighters, most of which result in a violent death if they choose wrong…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
NGOS’ IMMORAL TUNNEL VISION
Times of Israel, July 15, 2014
Who is not moved by the pictures of Israeli families with 15 seconds to reach the safety of bomb shelters from terrorist rockets that can now reach beyond Tel Aviv, and Gaza families forced to choose between evacuating or heeding their democratically-elected officials to stay-put and serve as human shields to protect their Hamas leaders from Israel’s efforts to end the reign of terror raining down on Israel’s civilian population? One might think that the spectacle of Hamas’ elites again and again ordering its constituents to put their families in immediate danger, while they hide thousands of missiles within the civilian infrastructure, behind women’s skirts, under mosques and even hospitals would bring the civilized world to its senses and finally acknowledge the true nature of the Hamas regime that runs Gaza. Don’t hold your breath. In fact the United States and the European Union continue to fund and support Mahmoud Abbas’ “unity government,” that still includes Hamas as a partner.
The Gaza/Hamas scenario is a recurring nightmare — it’s happened before in 2006, 2008, and 2010 — but the international community, including the UN and the world’s NGOs, say and do virtually nothing, and when they do act, they often succeed in only making things worse. In 2014, flak jacket-wearing ‘war’ correspondents on the ground and talking heads back in TV studios from London to Los Angeles repeatedly ask: why don’t Palestinian civilians have bomb shelters? There are two discomfiting reasons: First–Bomb shelters might actually minimize civilian casualties among Gaza’s hapless populace, something that would negatively impact Hamas’ core-strategy in its asymmetrical war against Israel. Hamas counts on spawning martyrs-on demand for the 24-hour, internet-driven news cycles to depict Israel as a Nazi-like monolith bent on murdering innocent babies and their mothers. The second reason is that there is a desperate shortage of cement, but no one ever demands to know why. That’s because a series of new tunnels diverted thousands of tons from 24,000 concrete slabs Israel was pressured into allowing into Gaza to ease a so-called crisis in the civilian construction center. Those slabs were used o build sophisticated tunnels extending into Israeli territory to wreak havoc through more kidnappings and suicide bombings targeting Israelis civilians.
One such “terror tunnel” discovered earlier this year — thirty meters deep, equipped with power generators that extended into southern Israel being readied for “a quality terrorist attack” on peaceful kibbutz residents.
Not a peep of protest or outrage from the international NGOs that had clamored for the release of the “building materials for Gaza’s civilians. The hall of shame reads like a who’s who of Europe’s Civil Society, including Christian Aid, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Handicap International, IKV Pax Christi, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Medical Aid for Palestinians, Medico International; MS ActionAid Denmark; Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Oxfam, Quaker Council for European Affairs, Save the Children UK, and Trocaire. Amnesty International UK and 21 other groups published Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade claiming—that despite the easing of the Gaza blockade—“Gaza needs 670,000 truckloads of construction materials for housing alone in Gaza, while “an average of only 715 truckloads of construction materials” per month had been let in. Gisha, an NGO based in Israel, complained: “The Israeli approval process requires international organisations to document in tremendous detail every nut and bolt design for construction projects as if we were regulating highly specialised weapons.” Wonder if Gisha spokespeople would still argue the point today while they do the 15 second dash to take cover from Hamas’s seemingly endless supply of missiles and the multitude of underground storage facilities hiding them.
Clearly, Hamas’ chutzpah is continuously supercharged by international NGOs who stubbornly refuse to accept U.S. President John Adams’ insistence that “facts are stubborn things” that have to be accepted. Tragically, that is not the case when Israel and Palestinians are involved. Instead of calling out Hamas for its crimes against humanity — against the people of Gaza, NGO’s are instead leading the ludicrous charge of “disproportion response” by the Israelis, when what really upsets Hamas and its “humanitarian” fellow-travelers, is the lack of “proportionality” between Israeli and Palestinian casualties. Palestinians forced to become “human shields” deserve all our sympathies. Deserving our scorn however are international NGOs that maintain their deafening silence in the face of brutal Hamas’ continuing policy of using its own women and children as cannon fodder. Perhaps the NGOs are too busy doing what they do best: preparing the next indictment of the Jewish State for having the gumption to protect its citizens from the scourge genocide-seeking terrorists.
GAZA, A TRAGEDY OF ERRORS
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Arutz Sheva, July 17, 2014
Every organization, like every group, has goals and objectives, and every group organizes its objectives according to its own priorities, with these objectives and their order of importance serving to reflect the group's culture. Different groups have different objectives and different priorities, and it is the interaction between groups that exposes the objectives of each of them as well as their individual priorities and cultures.
Disputes between groups occur when their goals are diametrically opposed. For example, the Jewish people living in Israel see the Land of Israel as their land and their primary goal is to survive there forever, while the so-called (Pan) Arab Nation has chosen destroying Israel as one of its goals, but not as the chief one. The reason that Israel still survives in the Middle East is that its destruction –for the time being – is not the main thrust of the Arab Nation, which has not united in an attempt to destroy her. Peace between parties in conflict arrives when one of them, or both, changes its opposing goals or priorities. When Egypt and Jordan defined themselves as independent from the Arab Nation (supposing there really is a united Arab entity) and its primary goals, and when the rulers of these countries understood that the meta-goal of eliminating Israel is not achievable, they further changed their order of priorities, placing economic issues in higher priority – and making peace with Israel.
Did the change filter down to the general population? – That is a different question, which has no clearcut answer. Sometimes one group temporarily changes its priorities for a short period due to other concerns. A humanitarian catastrophe such as tidal waves and heavy rains that cause flooding can cause the group to cease its jihad against Israel for a while so as to rescue women and children from homes that have been flooded. Does that mean that the flooding has erased the jihad from its place at the top of the list of priorities? Most definitely not. Unemployment and famine can also temporarily change the order of priorities, explaining the desire of Gazans to work in Israel. At the moment, they need to make a living and are willing to come to work in Israel, letting the jihad wait for a more opportune time.
Mistakes happen when one group thinks that the rival group has permanently changed its priorities, when it is actually only pretending to do so, or has done so temporarily. This is the major error of those who pushed for the Oslo process, among them Israelis, Europeans and Americans. Someone bamboozled them into thinking that the artificial new group, self-defined as "Palestinians", had left the Arab Nation and adopted objectives and priorities that differ from those of the Arab Nation. Because the Israeli Arabs worked in Israel from 1967, some, both in and out of Israel, believed that they had separated themselves from the Arab Nation and erased the destruction of Israel from their culture and objectives. This is also the reason that the tired souls among us – and in the world – make sure to call them "Palestinians" and not "Arabs" – not only because they want to create a new nation, but in order to allow for a new culture that does not include the meta-objective of the Arab and Islamic Nation, destroying Israel.
The concept of a New Middle East that spawned the Oslo Accords was based on the premise that the Arab Nation changed its priorities, erased destroying Israel from the top of its list of priorities, and has replaced it with welfare, development, education and health. The Palestinians, according to this concept, have changed their priorities, erased the destruction of Israel and replaced it with the state, economy and welfare. Reality was more complex: Hamas appeared on the stage in 1987 and did not hide its goals and priorities. In addition, there was Yasser Arafat searching for a way to bring a Trojan horse, that is Arab military forces, into the land of Israel, with some naïve Israelis believing that the PLO would "take care of Hamas without a Bagatz or Betselem (without having to obey the courts and face hostile NGO's) ". They thought that Arafat was telling the truth and fell right into his trap, despite it being obvious that he had no intention of changing his objectives and priorities. He only changed his way of speaking, in order to be able to continue with his nefarious plans.
In 2004, the blood-soaked Second Intifada was beginning to recede. Israelis were weary and exhausted from the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PLO terror attacks and the more than 1000 victims killed in them. Many Israelis searched for a solution and building on the foundation of this national depression, then PM Ariel Sharon decided to leave Gaza unilaterally. The decision was greeted with approval not only by the left, but also in the political center and even to its right. Many people felt that the expulsion of residents from the Katif Bloc was a fair price for disengaging from Gaza. Many Israelis expected the PLO to establish normal life in Gaza and that it would control Hamas and other terror groups because of its interest in establishing a strong entity that could eventually become a state…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
The Popular Palestinians: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2014—If the Palestinians are merely engaged in a nationalist struggle for self-determination, then why are they inciting genocide of Jewry?
Time to Annex? If Palestinians Can’t Govern …: Seth Lipsky, New York Post, July 17, 2013—The collapse of a ceasefire plan for Israel and Hamas would be a moment to test the Jewish state’s super-weapon — Caroline Glick. Or, more precisely, her idea of a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East.
Pallywood Swings Back Into Action for Gaza Conflict: William A. Jacobson, Legal Insurection, July 12, 2014 —In the propaganda war against Israel, fakery is key. Pallywood is the longest running series in the history of fiction.
Anti-Israel Protesters: The Jews Control All the Oil and Obama: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, July 15, 2014—Michael Coren of SUN News (Canada’s equivalent of FOX News) went out to chat with a few anti-Israel protesters. And the results were filled with the usual doses of crazy.
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