Tag: Gaza Rockets

OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE: AFTER HAMAS’ REPEATED REJECTIONS TO DE-ESCALATE HOSTILITIES, IDF BEGINS GAZA GROUND OPERATION

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

 

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)

 

Contents:

 

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.

 

On Topic Links

 

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.

 

 Contents

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. 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.]

 

Contents

NGOS’ IMMORAL TUNNEL VISION                                                            

Abraham Cooper                                                                                                            

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.

 

Contents

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.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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M.E. INSTABILITY GREATER THAN EVER: HAMAS REJECTS CEASEFIRE, SYRIA’S “CW” STOCK REMAINS UNKNOWN, & ISIS DECLARES CALIPHATE

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

 

TWO CHARGED WITH ASSAULT AFTER PALESTINE HOUSE PROTEST TURNED VIOLENT (Toronto) Two people have been charged with assault after this month’s violent protests outside Palestine House in Mississauga, Ont., both allegedly supporters of Palestine House who attacked Jewish Defence League members. JDL president Meir Weinstein said the charges are both related to Palestine House—an organization which the Canadian Government halted funding due to concerns about the program’s support for extremism—members using sticks to allegedly assault people. A partial video of the demonstration shows confrontation between both sides, and someone being hit with a stick carrying the Palestinian flag. Approximately 130 JDL demonstrators were protesting the abduction and slaying of three Israeli teens in the evening of July 3, across the road from Palestine House. Palestine House officials say 200 of their own members came to counter-protest the revenge killing of a Palestinian teen, allegedly by Jewish extremists. Two people protesting with the JDL were arrested but released without charges. (National Post, July 14, 2014)

 

Operation ‘Protective Edge’: ROCKETS FIRED AT TEL AVIV, SOUTHERN ISRAEL; 1 DEAD (Jerusalem) Terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a fresh barrage of rockets on central and southern Israel Tuesday afternoon, killing an Israeli civilian in his thirties near the Erez Crossing on the border with Gaza. The man was apparently distributing food to soldiers when he was killed by mortar fire. One other person was lightly wounded in the same attack. Hamas later claimed responsibility for the death, insisting the man was an IDF soldier. So far Tuesday, more than 100 rockets have been launched at Israel from Gaza. It comes as the Israeli Air Force launched 30 airstrikes on terrorist targets in Gaza, after Hamas rejected ceasefire efforts and fired a salvo of rockets at Israeli civilian centers. The Israeli military held off from responding for several hours to allow Hamas time to accept the ceasefire. (Arutz Sheva, July 15, 2014)

 

Contents:

 

The Palestinian Blessing: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2014— From time to time Israel and her supporters should give thanks for having as enemies the Palestinians and their supporters.

Sorry!: Daniel Gal, July, 2013— In Israel, Ephraim Kishon is considered one of the most humorous writers among our literati.

Has Syria’s Chemical Weapons Arsenal Truly Been Dismantled?: Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham,  BESA, July 13, 2013— June 30, 2014 was set to be the deadline for the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapon (CW) capabilities, with the last portion of the declared arsenal removed from Syria just last week.

What Does an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq Mean?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, July 1, 2013— On the first day of the month of Ramadan (29 June 2014), the day on which World Pride Day was celebrated as a marker of social and cultural progress, the reestablishment of the Islamic caliphate (state) was declared in Iraq and a caliph was appointed to lead it.

 

On Topic Links

 

A Gaza Ceasefire Now Would Be a Strategic Miss: David M. Weinberg, BESA, July 15, 2014

President Obama: Now is the Time: Marvin Hier, Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2014

Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, June 17, 2014

ISIS Is About to Destroy Biblical History in Iraq: Christopher Dickey, Daily Beast, July 7, 2014

 

THE PALESTINIAN BLESSING                                                                      

Bret Stephens                                                                                                      

Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2014

           

From time to time Israel and her supporters should give thanks for having as enemies the Palestinians and their supporters. As of midday Monday, Hamas had fired more than 1,000 missiles at Israel, aimed more or less indiscriminately, without inflicting a single Israeli fatality. It isn't every enemy whose ideological fanaticism, however great, is exceeded by its military and technological incompetence. It's true that much of the incoming fire has been shot down mid-flight by Israel's Iron Dome, but Hamas must have seen that coming since the defense system was first deployed during the last round of fighting in 2012. It's as if the French had concluded from the Battle of Agincourt that the English long bow wasn't as effective as advertised and would surely fail against a more determined cavalry charge.

 

Alongside Hamas in Gaza there is the rump regime of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. Mr. Abbas is supposed to be a bystander in this conflict. But he made his sympathies known when, within a day or two of the fighting and with fewer than 50 Palestinian fatalities, he accused Israel of "genocide" and "war against the Palestinian people as a whole." "Shall we recall Auschwitz?" he added. I sometimes wonder whether supporters of the Palestinian cause—at least those capable of intellectual, if not moral, embarrassment—cringe a little at the rhetorical flourish. Bashar Assad, in whose court Palestinian leaders bowed and scraped for a decade before the current uprising, used chemical weapons against the Palestinian refugee town of Yarmouk a year ago and then starved out the remaining residents. More than a quarter-million Palestinians living in Syria for decades have also been made refugees by Mr. Assad's assaults. Yet last month Mr. Abbas congratulated Mr. Assad on his re-election: "Your election to the presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic guarantees Syria's unity and sovereignty," the Palestinian president groveled, "and starts a countdown to the end of Syria's crisis and its war against terrorism." This detail, reported by AFP, seems to have escaped mainstream attention, though it remains a useful reminder of just who—and what—Mr. Abbas is.

 

Similarly with pro-Palestinian demonstrators marching in the civilized nations. In Paris on Sunday, one such group of demonstrators tried to lay siege to a synagogue "with bats and chairs," according to the Associated Press, trapping 150 Jewish congregants inside until police could rescue them. A day earlier, a firebomb was thrown at a synagogue in a Paris suburb. At yet another French protest there were calls for the "slaughter of the Jews." In Seattle, a Voices for Palestine rally posted signs reading "Zionist Israel=Nazi Germany." In Frankfurt, protesters held signs reading "You Jews are Beasts." Police lent the protesters a loudspeaker, ostensibly to "de-escalate the situation," according to the Jerusalem Post. Maybe the Presbyterian Church, USA, which last month voted to divest from companies doing business with Israel, will issue a statement of concern. But don't count on it. All of which, as I say, is a blessing for Israel and her supporters.

 

If you must have a nemesis, better it be a stupid one. If your adversary has an undeserved reputation for moderation and sincerity, better that he should give his own extremism and hypocrisy away. If you are going to be the object of mass protests and calumny, better to be hated by the worst than by the best. Israel's enemies continuously indict themselves, whether or not the rest of the world has the wit to see it. What if it were otherwise? It has always been something of a surprise to me that Israel's enemies and critics have usually been too consumed by their own hatred to spot, or exploit, the Jewish state's most obvious weakness. This is not the narrowness of its borders, or the fractiousness of its politics, or its vulnerability to atomic attack, or this or that ticking demographic bomb, whether of the Palestinian, Israeli-Arab or ultra-Orthodox variety.

 

The real weakness is a certain kind of vanity that confuses stainlessness with virtue, favors moral self-regard over normal self-interest, and believes in politics as an exercise not in power but in self-examination. People, and nations, with such attitudes cannot be beaten militarily. But they can easily—too easily—be shamed. Witness the outpouring of national self-reproach following this month's murder of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish assailants. The killing was appalling, but it took Hamas's missiles to prevent it from turning into an excruciating morality play. It may someday be that Palestinians will wise up; that the next intifada, should it come, will be Gandhian in its methods and philosophy; that the next Palestinian leader will be in the mold of Vaclav Havel, not Fidel Castro. In the face of that kind of movement, Israeli resistance to a Palestinian state would crumble. But that's not the direction in which Palestine is going. Every Hamas missile and every barbaric protest is a reminder that the supreme purpose of Israel is to defend its people, not flatter them.

 

 

Contents

SORRY!                                                                                                                        

Daniel Gal                                                                                                                           

July, 2014

 

In Israel, Ephraim Kishon is considered one of the most humorous writers among our literati. It is a humor spiced with paprika, like that of his native Hungary. Some time after the Six Day War, when, after our sudden victory, the bulk of sympathy for Israel was transformed into acerbic criticism, he wrote an unforgettable book intended for the Western world: A Thousand Excuses, For Being Victorious. In effect, once the danger had passed, the world directed its cries of indignation against Israel.

 

In reading the present reactions to the Hamas aggression, with the limitless criticism [of Israel] in the media and from European politicians, I have a strong urge to plagiarize our dear Kishon, and to say to Israel's numerous critics:

 

Sorry, a thousand apologies for having the Iron Dome to protect us!

Sorry, that there has not been a life lost from the Israeli population.

Sorry, for having prepared the population on how to conduct itself when facing rockets flung indiscriminately at Israel.

Sorry, for wanting to live a normal life amidst all of this abnormality.

Sorry, for a lack of parity in the number of victims.

Sorry, for turning aside and destroying rockets launched at us before they could reach their civilian targets.

Sorry, for destroying a commando of Hamas frogmen as they were exiting the sea, before they could kill is.

Sorry, for not being able to offer you a war with images of our defeated people.

Sorry, for not offering you a proportionate war, as you would like.

 

I have watched over the last few hours as you have gone about trying to achieve a truce whatever the cost. I remember one of our great Ben Gurion's jokes: “Be sure that all parties will want a truce only when the outcome of the conflict tilts toward us.”

 

(Daniel Gal, former Israeli Consul-General in Quebec and Montreal, lives in Jerusalem.)

 

Contents                    

          

HAS SYRIA’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS

ARSENAL TRULY BEEN DISMANTLED?                                                             

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham                                                                               

Besa, June 29, 2014

 

June 30, 2014 was set to be the deadline for the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapon (CW) capabilities, with the last portion of the declared arsenal removed from Syria just last week. But Syria has not been completely co-operative with international inspectors to say the least, and a lot of inquiry and supervision are still to be conducted. As the final date approaches, this paper aims to examine the events that lead to this situation, and highlight the various implications.

 

Currently, Syria is heavily involved in a lengthy, uncertain civil war. Consequently, Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has been loath to completely dispose of Syria’s CW capabilities, as this essentially means the loss of a crucial component of his armament inventory. If not restrained internationally, Assad will definitely continue to use CW whenever conventional weapons are regarded by him as inadequate. The Syrian regime is fully aware of the critical role of CW for the outcome of the civil war. Assad has no moral qualms about using CW, and his Russian and Iranian allies would not truly discourage him from doing so, particularly if he is on the verge of losing the war. Nevertheless, it seems that Syria has ‘sacrificed’ a major portion of their CW arsenal. Threats of an attack on Syria by the U.S. for repeatedly and brutally using CW throughout the civil war has certainly had some influence in this. Ostensibly, Assad has met the Syrian undertaking of chemical disarmament, but in reality, the remaining, seemingly marginal, issues are of great concern and have dangerous potential.

 

A. In September 2013, upon declaring the quantity of the existing CW arsenal and production plus operational capacities, Syria reported 23 sites, the locations of which are not publicly disclosed. According to Syria, these sites held a combined 41 facilities containing “1,300 tons of chemical precursors and agents, plus 1,230 unfilled munitions.” Currently, no further investigations have been held in Syria to ascertain that no additional sites and/or additional quantities existed and/or were added.

 

B. It is not clear whether since September 2013 production of CW was entirely stopped throughout Syria. Additionally, reports by the Syrian opposition claiming hidden CW (mainly VX agent-loaded) in the area of Hama cannot be ignored. The opposition’s claim that at least 20% of the Syrian CW arsenal was not declared might be true.

 

C. The employment of toxic chemicals by the Syrian regime continued during the first half of 2014. The chemical attacks mainly included chlorine, ammonia, and possibly additional toxic chemicals, such as pesticides. Regardless of the list of chemical warfare agents Syria declared, common and industrial chemical weapons have been and may still be used. The typical delivery mode has been dropping intoxicating barrel-bombs from helicopters. Airborne chlorine-releasing canisters have been used as well.

 

D. Although prohibited by the CW and BW (biological weapons) conventions, no toxic materials of biological origin, namely toxins, were declared by Syria. However, such agents are probably present in the Syrian arsenal. Besides, it is highly likely that Syria also continues to maintain certain pathogens as deployable biological warfare agents.

 

E. The security and safety within the remaining Syrian CW facilities are doubtful. Although often serving Assad as an excuse, there is a tangible danger that the rebels seized, or are prone to seize, undeclared depots of Syrian CW. It is noteworthy that the Libyan army prevented the dispatch of mustard gas from Libya to the rebels in Syria.

 

Unsurprisingly, various hurdles to enforcing the agreement were raised by Syria. Damascus proposed rendering the facilities inoperable. Yet that claim was rejected as easily reversible, and therefore as falling far short of the requirement under the Chemical Weapons Convention that all aspects of its program be destroyed. Damascus has also denied free access to the inspectors to some of the relevant facilities.

 

Furthermore, Syria was demanded to revise their provided list of CW and consequently submitted a “more specific” list. The original list had been based on estimates, not exact amounts of toxic agents found in storage and production facilities across Syria. The revision of the list took place only after considerable discrepancies were pointed out between what the inspectors revealed, and what was on the original declaration. At any rate, it is doubtful that the revision is adequate.

 

Assad is reluctant to give up the remaining declared CW production facilities, and probably additional undeclared chemical armament. For now, the job done by the inspectors is notable, but is far from complete. Lessons should be learned from the sagas that took place during the chemical disarmament of Iraq and Libya. An undesirable zigzag chronicle that might now be emerging with regard to the total elimination of CW and related facilities in Syria ought not to be repeated. Paradoxically, in spite of all the impediments and risks, the Assad regime is perhaps the lesser of two evils in terms of handling the issue of the CW capabilities still found in Syria. The ideal alternative, even if theoretical for now, is to establish a Western or Western-Russian apparatus that will take hold of all of Syria’s CW related installations and fully control their contents. This might eventually be the ultimate scenario, considering that special Western and Arab units are still being trained for coping with toxic materials and atmospheres found in Syria.

 

Contents

WHAT DOES AN “ISLAMIC CALIPHATE” IN IRAQ MEAN?                    

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

JCPA, July 1, 2014

 

On the first day of the month of Ramadan (29 June 2014), the day on which World Pride Day was celebrated as a marker of social and cultural progress, the reestablishment of the Islamic caliphate (state) was declared in Iraq and a caliph was appointed to lead it. The declaration of the establishment of the caliphate was transmitted via audiotape by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, spokesman of ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Greater Syria) – which changed its name to “the Islamic State.”

 

The Islamic State is trying to reinforce its battlefield achievements in Syria and Iraq by creating a new Sunni Muslim religious entity that threatens to overturn the prevailing regional political order rooted in the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916) which set the borders and carved up the Middle East into European spheres of influence. The rule of the caliphate is applied to the territory under its control. This rule, however, does not accept the existing borders or the division of the Muslims into different states on a national basis. In the view of the Islamic State, the primal sin that led to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which was a continuation of the rule of the caliphate, lies in nationalism and in the adoption of Western ideologies, such as democracy, that are foreign to Islam. Hence, the jihad is aimed at overturning the existing order and enabling the expansion of the boundaries of the caliphate to encompass all territory where Muslims live.

 

The main objective of the Islamic State is to entrench its rule (imposing its authority and defeating local militias such as that of the Kurds) and repel the counterattack by the armies of Iraq and Syria, which are fully backed by Iran and Russia. The Islamic State’s military capability to expand the territories under its rule is limited. Therefore, its leaders are trying to attain force multipliers by directly appealing to Muslims all over the world to support the caliphate and calling on the Muslim population to rebel against existing governments and thereby accelerate the worldwide Islamic revolution. The timing of the declaration at the beginning of the month of Ramadan is of supreme importance in this context. The organization Hizb ut-Tahrir (which also has branches in the West) has already hastened to welcome the declaration of the caliphate. Fear of the Islamic State is evident in Saudi Arabia (the crown jewel in the Islamic State’s vision of conquest), in Jordan (the weak link), and in other countries (Lebanon has learned of the appointment of the leader of the Islamic State). The danger of regional instability is greater than ever.

 

The declaration of the caliphate poses a challenge to the rival Islamic organizations and particularly to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has tried to promote the concept of a “political Islam” that combines Islam and democracy (according to the Islamic interpretation) and is aimed at achieving the ultimate goal of global Islamic rule in stages. Over the past year the Islamic State has made clear that it sees no room for compromises with organizations that do not fully and unquestioningly accept its authority, as was well evident in the bloody war it waged against the Al-Qaeda-backed Jabhat al-Nusra organization in Syria until it extracted a declaration of loyalty from this group. The declaration of the caliphate escalates the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and is likely to impact the Muslim communities in the West as well. In the Sunni Muslim context, the sense of identification with the caliphate creates conditions for expanded activity by groups associated with radical Islam in the West, including both the recruitment of mujahideen for combat and the perpetration of terror attacks.

 

Israel, which was not directly mentioned in the speech declaring the establishment of the Islamic caliphate, is included among the enemies that the Muslims are commanded to destroy so as to implement Islamic rule in the world. As a new regional reality emerges in the Middle East, Israel faces new and more complex security challenges than in the past. These challenges include the rise of radical Islam, increasing Iranian military involvement in Israel’s vicinity, direct threats to the stability of the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan, and the strengthening of elements that support the Islamic State in the Palestinian territories. These threats, once again, sharply focus the issue of defensible borders west of the Jordan River…                    [To Read the Key Points in the “Declaration of the Caliphate,” & Footnotes, Click the following Link—Ed.]           

 

Contents

 

On Topic

 

A Gaza Ceasefire Now Would Be a Strategic Miss: David M. Weinberg, BESA, July 15, 2014—Should the proposed Egyptian ceasefire hold and Operation Protection Edge come to an end today, Israelis should breathe a sigh of relief and then prepare for the next round.

President Obama: Now is the Time: Marvin Hier, Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2014 —Now is the time for President Barack Obama to make that inconvenient call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and finally deliver the news to him that the United States can no longer support a Palestinian government that includes ministers affiliated with Hamas, the terrorist group now firing hundreds of Iranian missiles at Israel’s major population centers.

Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, June 17, 2014—The regime of Bashar Assad in Syria held general elections on June 3, 2014. Apart from the regime’s “victory” after three years of a bitter war, a key aim behind the elections was to entrench the demographic changes that have occurred in Syria during the war, making it more of a country of Alawites, Shiites, and minorities and less of a Sunni country.

ISIS Is About to Destroy Biblical History in Iraq: Christopher Dickey, Daily Beast, July 7, 2014 —More than two and a half millennia ago, the Assyrian King Senaccherib descended on his enemies “like the wolf on the fold,” as the Bible tells us—and as Lord Byron wrote in cantering cadences memorized by countless Victorian schoolchildren: “His cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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NO MORAL EQUIVALENCE: DESPITE WESTERN APOLOGIST’S WORDS—HAMAS WAGES EVIL, JIHADIST WAR ON ISRAEL—SISI EMERGES AS ALLY

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

 

How America Can Help To Stop the War in Gaza: Liel Liebovitz, Tablet, July 11, 2014— Here’s a bit of wisdom that cannot be repeated often enough: Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime.

Why Gaza Doesn’t Have Bomb Shelters: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, July 12, 2013— One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any.

Arab World Hopes Israel Continues Operation and Destroys Hamas: Aryeh Savir, Jewish Press, July 13, 2013— The Arab world, as a default, rallies around Hamas against Israel on any and all issues.

Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, July 13, 2013— Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Obama’s Ongoing Shameful Behavior Against Israel: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, July 13, 2014— We are now reconciled to the fact that in any conflict — even when we are exercising our right of self-defense — we will either be condemned or, at best, accused of acting disproportionately.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Gaza Rules: William Saletan, Slate, July 9, 2014

Gaza War 'Unintended'? Nope, Hamas Is Sworn to Destroy Israel: Gil Lainer, Forward, July 12, 2014

Shielding Behavior: Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2014

The White House Stabs Israel in the Back — Again: Ari Lieberman, Frontpage, July 14, 2014

How The New York Times Deflects Attention From Jewish Victims: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, July 11, 2014

 

HOW AMERICA CAN HELP TO STOP THE WAR IN GAZA                    

Liel Liebovitz                                                                                                      

Tablet, July 11, 2014

           

Here’s a bit of wisdom that cannot be repeated often enough: Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime. If you don’t believe me, ask U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who was adamant on this point last year, when Syria’s president Assad, aided by Hamas’ brethren Hezbollah, engaged in the very same tactics we now see coming out of Gaza, albeit with much more devastating results. And if that’s not enough, consider a regime that targets not only the enemy’s civilians but also its own: Appearing on TV the other day, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri waxed poetic about the merits of using men, women, and children as human shields, a heinous tactic that puts every civilian in Gaza in needless risk.

 

The world has repeatedly—and rightly—asked that Israel take measures to protect the civilian population of Gaza. Israel chooses its targets very carefully, and, knowing that Hamas’ cowardly creeps would have likely stacked every strategic building with armfuls of kids, according to the instructions of its leaders, it takes extraordinary measures to provide ample warning before each strike. These include text messages and calls, leaflets dropped from above, and “knock on the roof” measures, or firing flares to signal an upcoming strike. As Will Saletan correctly noted in an article today in Slate, “The worst civilian death toll—seven, at the latest count—occurred in a strike on the Khan Yunis home of a terrorist commander. Hamas calls it a ‘massacre against women and children.’ But residents say the family got both a warning call and a knock on the roof. An Israeli security official says Israeli forces didn’t fire their missile until the family had left the house. The official didn’t understand why some members of the family, and apparently their neighbors, went back inside. The residents say they were trying to ‘form a human shield.’ ”

 

These are not interpretations, spins, or attempts at hasbara. These are facts. Which makes it all the more infuriating when people who should know better ignore them and cling instead to bizarre notions of equivalency. Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv earlier this week, the White House Coordinator for the Middle East, Philip Gordon, declared: “This is a moment for leaders on both sides to demonstrate reason and calm,” mainly because “there has clearly been far too much recrimination and some reprehensible examples of racism on both sides.” Gordon then called on the Israelis in the room to work toward finalized borders, and promised that the United States will protect Israel and “guarantee” its safety—presumably, one assumes, in the same way this administration has “guaranteed” the security of Iraq. The laughable nature of Gordon’s remarks was demonstrated very clearly when the conference in which he was speaking was interrupted because of missiles launched at Tel Aviv from Gaza, which Israel, striving to work toward finalizing its borders, exited from in 2005; it is hard to escape the conclusion that the result of exiting the West Bank at this point in time would be twice as many rockets with a much greater range. As The Times of Israel editor David Horovitz wrote in a stellar account of Gordon’s speech, “sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

 

Cry is more like it. Turn on any Western radio station, read any newspaper, listen to almost any politician address the situation, and you’ll hear a simple and compelling story: Two sides, Israel and Palestine, are locked in a bloody tango, each responsible for the taking of innocent lives, each culpable for the violence that, like a demonic Old Faithful, testifies to the might of ancient and irrational hatreds. If you believe this story, you also believe that the only way to stop the cycle of violence is to exert pressure on both sides, and since Israel is the stronger and more established party, it would make much sense to start with Jerusalem before turning to the Palestinians, who after all still leave mostly under Israeli occupation. It’s a neat formulation, and it fits in perfectly with a certain genteel liberal worldview. It’s also dead wrong… But while persistent disregard of reality may be forgiven from pundits, it is inexcusable when coming from other nations and international bodies. Of course, there are some nations that will blame Israel first no matter what she does, and I’m sure those nations have good reasons for doing so—emotional reasons, religious reasons, financial reasons, or the sheer and undeniable pleasure of hypocrisy. That’s their business. But what’s infuriating are those who espouse their formulas of equivalency with passionate, doe-eyed sincerity. Those people are not just misguided, but responsible for the erosion of a moral principle all civilized people should cherish and protect.

 

The principle is simple: Some things are just plain evil, and when things are evil, they should be prohibited by law and by the consensus of right-thinking people and nations and prevented with all the means at our disposal. Raining down rockets on a civilian population is evil. Instructing one’s operatives to kidnap and murder children is evil. Using children as human shields is evil. Putting missile launchers underneath hospitals is evil. People who do these things are supposed to pay a price, so that they don’t do them again. That’s how the international system is supposed to work. Moral equivalency vitiates this crucial principle, which is precisely what makes it not only immoral, as Ruth Wisse noted in a recent excellent article, but also the enemy of international law. By failing to actively support Israel’s efforts to defend herself, well-meaning writers and diplomats are gutting the moral and legal basis by which gassing people, or burning them alive, or kidnapping and murdering children, or occupying land that doesn’t belong to you, can be credibly seen as wrong. The message of ignoring international law is that might makes right—which makes it easier for tyrants like Vladimir Putin to treat Western protestations with the contempt that they unfortunately so richly deserve.

 

So, what should the international community do about an organization that has been designated as a terror group by the United States Department of State, which fires rockets at civilian targets at a rate of one every ten minutes, with no other aim than killing men, women, and children and rendering daily life in Israel impossible? The answer is not dispatching more John Kerrys, or condemning bloodshed, or asking “both sides” to stop. The answer, whatever side you are on, is to start being intellectually honest and admitting that the fight at hand does not have two responsible parties but one. Once that happens, and once clear and real collective measures are taken to bring terrorist organizations to justice, it might be possible to talk about peace.

 

Contents

WHY GAZA DOESN’T HAVE BOMB SHELTERS                             

Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                                                             Commentary, July 12, 2014

 

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow none of the talking heads on TV ever ask why there are no bomb shelters in Gaza. There’s no question that Hamas is outgunned by Israel. The Islamist terror group that still rules over Gaza has thousands of rockets, but Palestinians eager to cheer news of Israeli casualties have been disappointed as the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system has knocked down most of the rockets shot over the border from Gaza at Israeli cities in the hope that carnage will result. But even though Israel has gone to unprecedented lengths to avoid killing Palestinian civilians as it attacks the missile launch sites and Hamas command centers and ammunition storage areas that are embedded in packed neighborhood and especially in or around schools, mosques, and clinics, some civilians have died. Given that the Israelis have pounded the Islamists with nearly a thousand strikes this week, the approximately 150 Palestinian fatalities is actually pretty low. But still, fewer Palestinians would have died had there been places for them to seek refuge during the fighting.

 

The assumption is that the Hamas-run strip is too poor to afford building shelters and safe rooms for its civilians, a point that adds to the impression that the Palestinians are helpless victims who deserve the sympathy if not the help of the world in fending off Israel’s assault on Hamas’s arsenal. But the assumption is utterly false. Gaza’s tyrants have plenty of money and material to build shelters. And they have built plenty of them. They’re just not for the people of Gaza. As is well known, Gaza is honeycombed with underground structures from one end of the strip to the other. This doesn’t only refer to the more than 1,400 tunnels that have connected Gaza to Egypt through which all sorts of things—including rockets, ammunition, building materials as well as consumer goods–came into the strip until the military government in Cairo stopped the traffic. The chief problem facing the Israel Defense Forces in this campaign is the same one they faced in 2008 and 2012 when they previously tried to temporarily silence the rocket fire. Hamas’s leaders and fighters are kept safe in a warren of shelters build deep underneath Gaza. There is also plenty of room there for its supply of thousands of rockets and other armaments. Moreover, they are also connected by tunnels that crisscross the length of that independent Palestinian state in all but name ruled by Hamas. Indeed, when you consider the vast square footage devoted to these structures, there may well be far more shelter space per square mile in Gaza than anyplace in Israel.

 

If these structures were opened up to the civilians of Gaza, there is little doubt that would lower the casualty figures. Indeed, if the leaders of Gaza and their armed cadres emerged from their safe havens under the ground and let the civilians take cover there they could then show some real courage. But lowering casualties isn’t part of Hamas’s action plan that is predicated on sacrificing as many of their own people as possible in order to generate foreign sympathy. Instead, they cower behind the civilians, shooting missiles next to schools, storing ammunition in mosques (as today’s explosion in Gaza illustrated) and, as I previously noted, are actually urging civilians to act as human shields against Israeli fire on Hamas strongholds. Indeed, they have enlisted the people of Gaza as part of their misinformation campaign in which they attempt to conceal the presence of missile launching or masked, armed Hamas fighters in civilian neighborhoods.

 

But I have a question for the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders. What if, instead of devoting all of their resources and cash to an effort to turn Gaza into an armed fortress, bristling with thousands of rockets and honeycombed with tunnels and shelters where only Hamas members and their dangerous toys are allowed, the people of Gaza had leaders who had devoted their efforts to improving the lot of the Palestinian people since they took over the strip after Israel’s complete withdrawal in 2005? What if instead of importing missiles and other arms from Iran, Hamas had decided to try to turn their tiny principality into a haven of free enterprise instead of an Islamist tyranny built on hate and which survives on the charity of Israel (yes, Israel, which every day—including when there is fighting going on—sends trucks laden with food and medicine into Gaza to prevent the humanitarian crisis that the Palestinians claim has been happening there from occurring) and the West? Hamas has sown the wind with its cynical decision to start a war against Israel and the people of Gaza are reaping the whirlwind. Gaza doesn’t have bomb shelters. What it does have is a ruling terrorist movement that uses civilians as human shields. By tolerating such a government and by cheering when their Islamist rulers provoke Israeli counter-attacks by shooting rockets at Israeli civilians, the people of Gaza cannot entirely blame the Jewish state or the world for their fate. But whatever we may think about their decision to accept this situation, the lack of bomb shelters in Gaza should not argue against Israel defending its people.

 

Contents

 

ARAB WORLD HOPES ISRAEL CONTINUES

OPERATION AND DESTROYS HAMAS                                          

Aryeh Savir                                                                                               

Jewish Press, July 13, 2014

 

The Arab world, as a default, rallies around Hamas against Israel on any and all issues. Muslim countries in conflict, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as other Muslim countries came together last week at the UN in attempt to have Israel condemned for their so-called aggression in Gaza. However, in wake of the ever evolving geo-political reality in the Middle East, this seems to be only lip service, and the Arab World is actually interested in the IDF seriously hindering Hamas’ terror activities. They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims. A growing number of Arabs and Muslims are fed up with the Islamist terrorists who are imposing a reign of terror and intimidation in the Arab world.

 

Senior journalist Khaled Abu-Toameh, writing for Gatestone, reports that over the past week there are voices coming out of Egypt and some Arab countries, voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Isolated and under attack, Hamas now realizes that it has lost the sympathy of many Egyptians and Arabs. Egypt’s Prime Minister announced this morning that Israel is insistent on continuing what he defined as aggression, and is waiting for Israel’s willingness for a cease fire. However, President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Sisi and urged him to intervene to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Abbas later admitted that his appeal to Sisi and, other Arab leaders, had fallen on deaf ears.

 

Sisi’s decision not to intervene in the current crisis did not come as a surprise. In fact, Sisi and many Egyptians seem to be delighted that Hamas is being badly hurt. Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.” “Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas!” Wrote Azza Sami, of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram. Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year. The Egyptians today understand that Hamas and other radical Islamist groups pose a serious threat to their national security. That is why the Egyptian authorities have, over the past year, been taking tough security measures not only against Hamas, but also the entire population of the Gaza Strip. These measures include the destruction of dozens of smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.

 

Sisi and other Arab leaders are now sitting on the fence and hoping that this time Israel will complete the job and get rid of Hamas once and for all. Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah are certainly not going to shed a tear if Hamas is crushed and removed from power in the Gaza Strip, writes Abu-Toameh. The reaction of some Egyptians to the Israeli military operation has shocked Hamas and other Palestinians. As one Hamas spokesman noted: “It’s disgraceful to see that some Egyptians are publicly supporting the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip while Westerners are expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and condemning Israel.” Addressing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian actor Amr Mustafa said that they should not expect any help from the Egyptians. “You must get rid of Hamas and we will help you,” he said. He also called on Hamas to stop meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries. “Pull your men out of Egypt, Syria and Libya,” Mustafa demanded. “In Egypt, we are today fighting poverty that was caused by wars. We have enough of our own problems. Don’t expect the Egyptians to give more than what they have already given. We’ve had enough of what you did to our country.”

 

Contents

EGYPTIANS HOPING ISRAEL WILL DESTROY HAMAS                          

 

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                          

Gatestone Institute, July 13, 2014

 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Sisi and urged him to intervene to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Abbas later admitted that his appeal to Sisi and (other Arab leaders) had fallen on deaf ears. Sisi’s decision not to intervene in the current crisis did not come as a surprise. In fact, Sisi and many Egyptians seem to be delighted that Hamas is being badly hurt. Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.” Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year.

 

The Egyptians today understand that Hamas and other radical Islamist groups pose a serious threat to their national security. That is why the Egyptian authorities have, over the past year, been taking tough security measures not only against Hamas, but also the entire population of the Gaza Strip. These measures include the destruction of dozens of smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization. True, there are still many Egyptians and Arabs who sympathize with Hamas, mainly because it is being targeted by Israel. But over the past week, there are also different voices coming out of Egypt and some other Arab countries — voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip. This is perhaps because a growing number of Arabs and Muslims are fed up with the Islamist terrorists who are imposing a reign of terror and intimidation in the Arab world, particularly in Iraq and Syria. They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims. Sisi and other Arab leaders are now sitting on the fence and hoping that this time Israel will complete the job and get rid of Hamas once and for all. Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah are certainly not going to shed a tear if Hamas is crushed and removed from power in the Gaza Strip. The reaction of some Egyptians to the Israeli military operation has shocked Hamas and other Palestinians. As one Hamas spokesman noted: “It’s disgraceful to see that some Egyptians are publicly supporting the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip while Westerners are expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and condemning Israel.”..

 

Egyptian TV presenter Amany al-Khayat launched a scathing attack on Hamas. She pointed out that Hamas agreed to the reconciliation pact with Fatah only in order to get salaries for its employees in the Gaza Strip. Al-Khayat said that Hamas was seeking to depict itself as a victim of an Israeli attack only in order to get the Egyptian authorities to reopen the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip. “They just want us to open the Rafah border crossing,” she said on her show. “Hamas is prepared to make all the residents of the Gaza Strip pay a heavy price in order to rid itself of its crisis. We must not forget that Hamas is the armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist movement.”… Isolated and under attack, Hamas now realizes that it has lost the sympathy of many Egyptians and Arabs. Some Hamas leaders are now talking about the “betrayal” and “collusion” of their Arab brethren, especially Egypt. When the Egyptian authorities reluctantly and briefly re-opened the Rafah border crossing a few days ago, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum rushed to declare: “The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing only to receive bodies. Egypt is imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip and has destroyed the tunnels.” Former Palestinian Authority security commander Mohamed Dahlan predicted that the Egyptians will not do anything to save Hamas. “Egypt won’t intervene to stop the war on the Gaza Strip because Hamas was conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt,” he said. “Hamas was working with Muslim Brotherhood against the Egyptian army.” Hamas is paying a heavy price for meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt and some other Arab countries. But the Palestinians living under Hamas in the Gaza Strip are paying a heavier price, largely due to their failure to rise up against the Islamist movement and demand the right to live better lives.

 

Contents

OBAMA’S ONGOING SHAMEFUL BEHAVIOR AGAINST ISRAEL

 

Isi Leibler

Candidly Speaking, July 13, 2014

 

We are now reconciled to the fact that in any conflict — even when we are exercising our right of self-defense — we will either be condemned or, at best, accused of acting disproportionately. However, the latest round of hypocrisy by Western leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, beats all records. Despite anger and condemnation from many of his constituents, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, until last week, effectively been acting as a supplicant by virtually pleading for a cease-fire, assuring Hamas that Israel would abide by a new truce. Responding to their missiles with “restraint” and reacting on a tit-for-tat basis, bombing empty sites, Israel dispensed with any pretense of implementing genuine deterrence. As critics predicted, Hamas interpreted this as a signal of Israeli weakness, which emboldened the organization to intensify and extend missile attacks to all major cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, sending the majority of the population to the shelters. Hundreds of missiles rained down throughout the country, but Iron Dome has successfully intercepted rockets, avoiding massive civilian casualties and major dislocation on the home front. Iron Dome has proven to be another example of Israeli ingenuity in the face of crisis, but no system is foolproof, and we must gird ourselves for possible casualties in the future…

 

We are grateful to the American people and the successive administrations, including the current administration, for the generous aid toward our defense requirements. Although we appreciate that the U.S. administration expressed support for our right to exercise self-defense, we consider it intolerable and hypocritical for Obama and his spokesmen to blur the distinction between the terrorist aggressors and us, their purported allies who are acting in self-defense. Obama patronizingly urged both sides to display “restraint” and not be motivated by “revenge.”…This demonstrates that despite Netanyahu’s extraordinary, even painful efforts to appease Hamas and avoid war, we are still being bracketed together with the terrorists in a distasteful conundrum of moral equivalence and condemnation for ultimately fulfilling a government’s principal obligation — to provide security and protection for its citizens. This is reflected in the statement issued on Saturday by the UN Security Council and approved by all its members, calling for a cease fire without any reference to the cause of the crisis.

 

If I were the prime minister of Israel, I would write a letter to Obama and other Western leaders along the following lines: Your equivocal response to our legitimate obligation to protect our citizens has profoundly disappointed the vast majority of Israelis. I therefore dispense with conventional diplomatic formalities and frankly convey our frustrations. Israel is the only democracy in which the rule of law applies in this turbulent region. We have avoided the carnage and mass murder that has enveloped millions of people in this region, which has been overwhelmed by the barbaric forces of Islamic fundamentalism. We have no desire to rule others and have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to make sacrifices to achieve peace with security. We failed because our purported Palestinian peace partner is unable, and many believe unwilling, to make the reciprocal compromises required. We were even unable to conduct negotiations with him without releasing mass murderers whom he subsequently feted as national heroes.

 

The PA then united with Hamas, an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization whose charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel and enjoins its followers to seek to kill Jews wherever they may be. It is Hamas controlling Gaza that launched missile attacks against us, obliging us to respond forcefully only after having provided them ample warnings to cease their barbaric onslaught on our civilian population. I ask you, President Obama, how would you respond if a region adjacent to the United States controlled by terrorists bombarded American civilians with hundreds of rockets daily? What would you consider to be a proportionate U.S. response to such an attack? Could you visualize instructing American military forces to make telephone calls in order to warn civilians to evacuate areas that were going to be targeted because they served as missile launching areas or terrorist command posts? Would you consider it appropriate to conduct targeted assassinations — as you have done in Afghanistan and elsewhere — against leaders directing missiles on American civilians and calling for the destruction of the United States?…

 

By any ethical standard, Hamas represents the epitome of an evil jihadist Islamic fundamentalist regime. Its charter calling for the murder of Jews is backed up by a consistent record of deliberately targeting innocent civilians, whether by blowing up buses, cafés or shopping malls; abducting and murdering children; or firing missiles indiscriminately at civilian centers. Surely under the present circumstances and taking into account the terrible carnage as hundreds of thousands of innocent people are massacred in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region by the jihadist counterparts of Hamas, we are entitled to expect that our allies would unequivocally distinguish between the aggressors and those defending themselves. There is no moral equivalency and to even imply that Israel bears some responsibility for the escalation of the current crisis by calling on both sides to exercise “restraint” is not just disappointing but a breach of trust between allies. It is surely now time for the United States and the EU to unequivocally support the forces of democracy against the forces of evil.

 

Contents

 

On Topic

 

The Gaza Rules: William Saletan, Slate, July 9, 2014—According to many critics, Israel is slaughtering civilians in Gaza.

Gaza War 'Unintended'? Nope, Hamas Is Sworn to Destroy Israel: Gil Lainer, Forward, July 12, 2014 —I feel the need to respond to a recent column by J.J. Goldberg, “How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza.”

Shielding Behavior: Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2014—The hardly unexpected reactions to Operation Protective Edge, from those who rarely react when Israel is attacked, may be regarded as a preview of comments to come.

The White House Stabs Israel in the BackAgain: Ari Lieberman, Frontpage, July 14, 2014—Let us engage in a brief thought experiment.

How The New York Times Deflects Attention From Jewish Victims: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, July 11, 2014 —The New York Times could hardly ignore the ghastly murder of innocent Jewish teenagers or the unrelenting Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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DESPITE MISLEADING MEDIA REPORTS—NO MORAL EQUIVALENCE BETWEEN ISRAEL & HAMAS TERRORISTS

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

 

Dangerous Comparisons: Dan Diker, Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2014— The horrific kidnapping and murder of Arab teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, apparently at the hands of Jewish teen terrorists, has shaken Israel to its core.

The Abyss Between Two Heinous Episodes: Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2013— As America approached its national holiday this year, Israel and world Jewry were plunged into mourning for three students who were abducted and murdered by members of the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

The Fire This Time: Jonathan Spyer, New York Daily News, July 10, 2013— In recent years, even as the constant threat of terrorism from Hamas and Hezbollah loomed, Israelis would note the political conflagrations burning up the region all around them and would contrast these with the relative tranquility and normality in their own immediate neighborhood.

An Answer to Murder: Prof. Julien Bauer, Jerusalem Post, July 2, 2013— Israel is in a state of shock over the murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach.

Israel is Doing its Best to Avoid Civilian Deaths. Hamas Can’t Say the Same: National Post, July 11, 2014— According to many critics, Israel is slaughtering civilians in Gaza.

 

On Topic Links

 

There is No Moral Equivalence But Netanyahu Must Act Now: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, July 9, 2014

Why Does Hamas Want War?: Daniel Pipes, National Review, July 11, 2014

Hamas’s (and Iran’s) Fail-Safe Strategy: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2014

Breaking the Kidnapping Cycle: Amiel Ungar, Jerusalem Report, July 8, 2014

Where are the Palestinian Mothers?: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2014

A Bloody Endless Peace: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, July 10, 2014

 

DANGEROUS COMPARISONS                                                  

Dan Diker                                                                                                                

Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2014 

           

The horrific kidnapping and murder of Arab teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, apparently at the hands of Jewish teen terrorists, has shaken Israel to its core. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu immediately and unequivocally condemned the murder. Netanyahu said, “I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime will face the full weight of the law. I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers…. I do not distinguish between terrorism and terrorism.” As might be expected of Israel, the unequivocal, across-the-board public condemnation; speedy capture of the prime suspects; visits to the victim’s home by senior Israeli ministers; and government assistance to the victim’s family all bespeak both national anguish and at the same time, the proper moral response of a free, democratic society to a moment of domestic crisis.

 

While the murder’s political motive renders it terrorism, the heart-wrenching public anguish in its wake is reminiscent of that which followed the 2012 New Town, Connecticut, school massacres and the Denver movie theater shootings. Even Rachel Fraenkel, mother of Naftali Fraenkel, one of three Israeli teens recently kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, in the midst of her own mourning period condemned the apparent revenge attack, saying, “Even in the depths of the mourning over our son, it is hard for me to describe how distressed we were over the outrage that happened in Jerusalem – the shedding of innocent blood is against morality, it is against the Torah and Judaism, it is against the basis of our life in this country.”

 

Israel’s response to this tragedy notwithstanding, a new moral equivalence between Israel and Fatah and Hamas is being explicitly or implicitly suggested by Western media and other observers. This parity of legitimacy between terrorist groups or terrorism-supporting organizations and democratic states such as Israel that struggle against them is more dangerous than the hundreds of rockets and mortars that Hamas is firing indiscriminately into civilian neighborhoods in Israel’s southern towns and cities. The New York Times, for example, characterized these recent events as Israel and the Palestinians “descending into a spiral of personal vendettas and bloodletting” in a July 6 report. The Washington Post called it “spiraling violence could be the spark that ignites a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against the Israeli occupation.” Such characterizations are misleading. The latest terrorist acts committed by Hamas in Judea and Samaria, and in Jerusalem allegedly by Jewish teens, would seem to defy categorization as manifestations of “personal vendettas.” Instead, they illustrate the vast differences between the character of radical terrorist groups and that of Israel as a free society that is battling both radical Islamic terrorism and domestic terrorism.

 

Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, an ideological precursor to al-Qaida. It is a major driver of the current reconciliation government with the Palestinian Authority, and publicly calls for the kidnapping and murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel as a matter of ideology, theology and policy. Hamas, as reflected in its 2006 victory in the Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections in its ongoing bid to take over the PA, enjoys broad Palestinian public support. Americans and Israelis remember that the streets of Gaza were filled with candy on 9/11, and with tears when the United States killed Osama bin Laden. The Hamas leadership in Gaza and the West Bank are in a marathon race for local public opinion, which largely supported the Hamas terrorist attack against Israeli children as an effective strategy to free Palestinian terrorists incarcerated in Israeli jails. The “outgoing” Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, publicly called for the kidnapping of Israelis during his “goodbye” address to the Palestinian public on the eve of the recent swearing in of the Palestinian reconciliation government. Hamas and Fatah both embrace and nurture a culture of incitement to murder Israelis, name streets, boulevards, schools, camps and public spaces after terrorists, and educate and train children to embrace jihad.

 

In Israel, unlike in some other Western countries, incitement to murder and violence is not protected free speech. It’s punishable by law. While enforcement has been lax in many cases, Israel has already punished soldiers and prosecuted others who have called for revenge against Hamas. The Israeli teen terrorists who are accused of carrying out the Abu Khdeir murder represent no one, are identified with no political party, religious sect or social movement. As Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to Washington noted, “They will not be hailed as heroes and no public squares will be named in their honor.” Instead they have earned the condemnation of the nation state of the Jewish people, as well as of the media, shapers of public opinion and public representatives. These deranged kids (some under 16) have banished themselves far beyond the outer fringes of Israeli society. That’s why suggesting a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas and Fatah via the “cycle of violence” news narrative is dangerous. It may make for neat news packaging, but does a disservice to Israel and other liberal democracies battling jihad and radical Islamic terror while striving to strengthen the moral fabric of their own societies.

 

Contents

THE ABYSS BETWEEN TWO HEINOUS EPISODES                       

Ruth R. Wisse                                                                                                                     

Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2014

 

As America approached its national holiday this year, Israel and world Jewry were plunged into mourning for three students who were abducted and murdered by members of the Palestinian terror group Hamas. Thirty-eight years ago, on July 4, 1976, jubilation greeted the news that an Israeli commando raid had freed 102 fellow citizens held hostage by Palestinian terrorists at an airport in Entebbe, Uganda. These different outcomes for the same kind of villainy directed at Jewish targets prompts us to ask which side is winning this unilateral war. Some would say that Arab violence against Jews is no villainy at all, but merely an alternate form of national politics. Representatives of the American government seeking peace in the Middle East have been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders as though dealing with equivalent societies with an equal investment in territorial compromise. In the arts, the Metropolitan Opera in New York this season plans to present a work that gives sympathetic voice to Palestinian terrorists who in 1985 shoved a disabled American off a cruise ship and into the ocean because he was a Jew. Reflecting the abjuration of evil, the opera is called "The Death of Klinghoffer" instead of "The Murder of Klinghoffer."

 

Now that Jewish suspects have been apprehended in the Jerusalem murder of 16-year-old Arab Mohammed Abu Khudair, there are those who would cite the parallel between this heinous crime and the recent murders of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel as proof of moral and political equivalence between the two societies. One anticipates that in the coming days the standard outlets for such views will offer standard justifications for Arab rioting and condemnations of Jewish extremism as part of the same alleged cycle of violence. But are the situations comparable? Arab rioters did not wait for the identification or apprehension of suspects in the killing of Mohammed Abu Khudair to begin destroying Jewish life and property. One of their first targets was Jerusalem's new light-rail system that connects Jewish and Arab sectors of the city. In their own communities, murderers of Israelis enjoy support, encouragement, adulation. News of the abduction of three Israeli boys had no sooner hit the Internet on June 13 than Arab celebrants were handing out candies and posting three-fingered salutes, called Gilad Shalits, for the Israeli soldier seized by Hamas and held for five years until "swapped" in 2011 for 1,027 Arab prisoners whose crimes had included the killing of 569 Israelis. The celebrants of mid-June were mocking the value that Jews place on individual life, one that contrasts so sharply with the value they place on taking Jewish life. Three Shalits would have given them three times the bargaining power had the abduction not ended with the boys being shot instead. Almost a month after the murder of the Jewish boys, the Arab perpetrators are still on the loose.

 

In startling contrast, Israeli police instantly distinguished among several false leads to track down the Arab victim's suspected killers. Some Israelis had already denounced the presumed Jewish seekers of vengeance, with neither side waiting for formal indictment much less due process before engaging in self-recrimination on one hand and accusation on the other. The identification of Jewish suspects by the Jerusalem police triggered instantaneous condemnations: Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, who heads the Yeshiva at Elon Moreh, said Jewish law calls for capital punishment for crimes of murder, citing first the crime against the Israeli Arab and then the crime against the Jewish students…

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

 

Contents

THE FIRE THIS TIME                                                                                                

Jonathan Spyer                                                                                                   

New York Daily News, July 10, 2014

 

In recent years, even as the constant threat of terrorism from Hamas and Hezbollah loomed, Israelis would note the political conflagrations burning up the region all around them and would contrast these with the relative tranquility and normality in their own immediate neighborhood. These observations were made nervously, not with arrogance. Behind them was the assumption that it couldn't last. Sooner or later, the wave of political fury sweeping the region would erupt in Israel's immediate vicinity too. Now it has happened. The local version of the militant Islamist political orientation which is driving the instability in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt has now once more awakened in Israel and is spreading chaos in its wake.

 

Whichever particular wing or structure or iteration of the Hamas movement precisely was responsible for the recent kidnapping and murder of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shayer and Eyal Yifrach, there is no serious doubt remaining as to the movement's responsibility for this atrocity. It was this act which proved the trigger for all that has followed: the rounding up of Hamas suspects as Israel scoured the West Bank in search of the boys; a rain of missiles and rockets from the Hamas sovereign enclave in Gaza, and now, the real possibility of a renewed IDF ground operation into Gaza.

 

There is a tendency to see the Israeli-Palestinian arena as somehow set apart from the rest of the Mid-East neighborhood. But this is an illusion. Firstly, in the most tangible way, the most potent elements of the Hamas assault on Israeli cities of recent days is made possible only by the movement's link with Iran. The M-302 missile which was fired on Hadera on Tuesday is a product of Syria, and was almost certainly supplied to Hamas by Iran. Similar materiel was discovered by the IDF on the Klos-C arms ship, apprehended by the IDF on its way from Iran to Sudan in March. Similarly, the Islamic Jihad movement, which has been rapidly gaining strength at Hamas's expense in Gaza in recent months, is a full proxy of Iran. But in a deeper sense, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are local manifestations of the particular, pathological Islamist political-religious-paramilitary style and ideology which has challenged order and made life a misery all across the region in recent decades, and with added strength in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring of 2011…So why then have Israel and its environs nevertheless managed to avoid the general collapse of these other countries? The reason is deterrence.

 

There is a single, dominant military element west of the Jordan River. This element is the Israel Defense Forces. But deterrence, alas, is a perishable substance, which must be periodically replenished. Hamas, facing difficult economic straits, with its tunnels sealed by Sisi's armed forces, with newer and yet more radical Islamist elements inspired by ISIS emerging from within, evidently decided that it was time for another round. As of now, Israel is engaging in a far reaching operation designed to hit at Hamas' capabilities. But more profoundly, in the simple and brutal logic of the neighborhood, Israel is trying to remind Hamas of the cost of tangling with the Jewish state. The objective of this is not to re-conquer Gaza, nor to impact on local politics, still less to impose suffering on the Palestinians for its own sake. When one's neighbors are Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the modest objective of quiet can only be bought at the cost of periodic military actions intended to remind the enemy of the cost of aggression and thus reinforce deterrence. Because of the strength of Israeli arms, the conflict between Israel and the PA territories don't resemble those roiling Iraq or Syria. The relative balance of forces, however, is a lesson which those who wish to turn the country into something resembling those hell-holes must periodically re-learn – through bitter experience.

 

Contents

AN ANSWER TO MURDER                                                                                       

Julien Bauer                                                                                             

Jerusalem Post, July 2, 2014

 

Israel is in a state of shock over the murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach. Yet what is a national tragedy in Israel is perceived as a foot-note outside.  Many people in the Western world were not even aware that Palestinian terrorists had kidnapped the three boys on their way home and that nothing had been heard about them since then. With the FIFA Mundial in Brazil on one side and the advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on the other, who cares about three Israeli Jewish teen-agers?

 

Even after the murders were announced, reactions from Western capitals were ambivalent. The first reaction  of the White House was a blanket denunciation of killing innocent people, without an iota of empathy, without even recognizing that the three teen-age victims had names. A little later, President Obama did some damage control: he expressed some understanding, “as a father,” for the teen-agers, he called them by name, but ended with an appeal for calm and negotiations, meaning no serious Israeli response to the savagery of its enemies. The same approach, “we are sorry but life must continue as if nothing had happened,” was taken by the European States.

 

What should be Israel’s answer? Some are arguing for a massive operation in Gaza, others want to continue heavy pressure on Hamas in Judea and Samaria, or propose, “as a Zionist  response,” to establish new settlements. The first two options, the most military ones, are of dubious interest. They will weaken Hamas and other radical groups for a short period of time. After a few months or, at best, a few years, the violence will come back. But “planting new roots” in Israel, on both sides of the Green Line, is of a different nature. It is civilian and not mostly military. It changes the map either for the foreseeable future or, at a minimum, until an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is reached. To build settlements in a haphazard way, one here, one there, is emotionally satisfying but not politically savvy. The choice has to be strategic, understood by Israel’s enemies as a consequence of any act of savagery, and must also be geared towards the future.

 

An area with these three requirements is E1, the hill between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim. This land is empty. Sooner or later, it will be inhabited–if E1 becomes an Arab district, it will ensure the weakening of Israeli sovereignty east of Jerusalem. If E1 becomes a Jewish district, it will prevent Arab districts, both the old and the new, from encircling Jerusalem and cutting the link between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim. E1 represents a rare case of either-or, of one side winning, and the other side losing. To build on E1 will most probably lead to international condemnation of Israel. The Security Council will blame Israel and, under the Obama administration, it can be expected  that the US will not veto such a condemnation, and will abstain. It will not be the first time Israel is blamed. Only a few years ago, Israel was pilloried for constructing the new Jerusalem district of Har Homa. Today Har Homa is part and parcel of Jerusalem.

 

To make the rationale for building on E1 perfectly clear, not just as a superficial reaction but as a fundamental policy decision, the name E1, not fitting for the Holy City, should be changed, to Beit haShlosha, the House of the Three.  Establishing the House of the Three will be a tribute to Naftali, Gil-Ad and Eyal, an answer to Palestinian savagery, and a step forward for Jerusalem.

 

(Julien Bauer is Professor of Political Science at l’Université

du Québec à Montréal. He is spending a semester in Jerusalem.)

 

Contents

ISRAEL IS DOING ITS BEST TO AVOID CIVILIAN DEATHS.

HAMAS CAN’T SAY THE SAME

William Saletan

National Post, July 11, 2014

 

According to many critics, Israel is slaughtering civilians in Gaza. It’s “purposefully wiping out entire families,” says an Arab member of Israel’s parliament. It’s committing “genocide — the murder of entire families,” says Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. Iran says Israel has committed “massacres against the defenceless Palestinians.” The charges are false. By the standards of war, Israel’s efforts to spare civilians have been exemplary. Israel didn’t choose this fight. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the terrorist organizations that dominate Gaza, claim that Israel provoked the conflict by arresting Hamas members in the West Bank. But arrests in one territory don’t justify aerial bombardment from another. Israel didn’t hit Gaza until terrorists had fired more than 150 rockets into Israel and had rejected a cease-fire.

 

Some of the pictures that purport to show devastation from the Israeli strikes are fakes borrowed from other wars. As of Thursday afternoon, the death count ranged from 30 to 60 or more, depending on where you mark the onset of the conflict. Every death is tragic, and the longer the assault goes on, the higher the toll will go. Still, given that Israel has struck more than 750 targets so far, you’d have to conclude that either Israel is failing miserably to kill people or, more plausibly, it’s largely trying not to kill them. Israel’s defence minister admits his forces have targeted “terrorists’ houses” as well as “arms, terror infrastructures, command systems, Hamas institutions, [and] regime buildings.” The houses belong to Hamas military leaders. An Israeli official boasts that “there’s not a single Hamas brigade commander that has a home to go back to.” Israel’s legal rationale for targeting these homes is that they were “terror command centres” involved in rocket fire or other “terror activity.” But while Israel has tried to kill commanders in their cars (and has succeeded), it has avoided unannounced strikes on their homes.

 

The last time Israel targeted buildings in Gaza, a year and a half ago, it used leaflets and phone calls to warn residents to get out beforehand. It also fired flares or low-impact mortars (known as a “knock on the roof”) to signal impending strikes. Human rights groups didn’t accept these measures as protection from legal responsibility, but they did hail them as progress. Israel claims to be applying the same measures today. Hamas and other Palestinian sources confirm that the Israeli military has issued phone warnings to families in the targeted homes. The worst civilian death toll — seven, at the latest count — occurred in a strike on the Khan Yunis home of a terrorist commander. Hamas calls it a “massacre against women and children.” But residents say the family got both a warning call and a knock on the roof. An Israeli security official says Israeli forces didn’t fire their missile until the family had left the house. The official didn’t understand why some members of the family, and apparently their neighbours, went back inside. The residents say they were trying to “form a human shield.”

 

Human shields are a difficult problem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas is responsible for civilian deaths in Gaza, because it deliberately sets up rocket launchers and military infrastructure in civilian areas. That excuse is too broad. The low death rate in this week’s airstrikes — and the explanations from Israeli officials as to how the casualty rate has been minimized — show that it’s possible to degrade Hamas’ military assets without killing hundreds of people. The Khan Yunis scenario is different. There, the human shield was voluntary. According to Ha’aretz, an Israeli officer insisted on Wednesday morning that if other civilians followed this example — responding to prestrike warnings by going onto the roofs to form human shields —Israel wouldn’t be deterred. Maybe the officer was bluffing. But what if this scenario happens again? And what if the would-be martyrs appear on the roof while Israel still has time to avert the strike, which wasn’t the case in Khan Yunis? Would their deaths be homicide? Would they be suicide? That’s a tough call. But anyone concerned about the deliberate targeting of civilians in this conflict should first look at Hamas. The rocket fire from Gaza into Israel began well before the Israeli assault on Gaza. Initially, the rockets were Islamic Jihad’s idea. But in the last few days, Hamas has joined in with gusto, claiming credit for missiles fired at several Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.

 

Apologists for Hamas argue that its weapons are less precise than Israel’s, so collateral damage is inevitable. That won’t wash. Hamas now has longer-range missiles, known as M-302s or R-160s, that are more precise than its clumsy old Grad rockets. It has been firing the new missiles at cities anyway. Hamas has also flatly rejected the principle of sparing civilians. According to a Hamas spokesman, “All Israelis have now become legitimate targets.” I’ve criticized Israel for demolishing the West Bank homes of suspected Arab terrorists. That policy is indefensible. But in the Gaza war, it’s clear that Israel has gone to great lengths to minimize civilian deaths. The same can’t be said of Hamas.

 

              CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic

 

There is no Moral Equivalence But Netanyahu Must Act Now: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, July 9, 2014—The words of last week’s Torah portion resonate loudly, as we read of the non-Jewish prophet Balaam’s description of “the people that dwells alone and is not counted among the nations.”

Why Does Hamas Want War?: Daniel Pipes, National Review, July 11, 2014 —Politicians start wars optimistic about their prospects of gaining from the combat, Geoffrey Blainey notes in his masterly study, The Causes of War; otherwise, they would avoid fighting.

Hamas’s (and Iran’s) Fail-Safe Strategy: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2014—What is Hamas doing? Hamas isn’t going to defeat Israel.

Breaking the Kidnapping Cycle: Amiel Ungar, Jerusalem Report, July 8, 2014—Before the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, the three Israeli teens abducted and murdered in Judea in mid-June, were discovered, I was asked to write about a hypothetical ransom deal under which Israel would release a boatload of convicted terrorists in exchange for the release of the trio.

Where are the Palestinian Mothers?: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2014 —In March 2004 a Palestinian teenager named Hussam Abdo was spotted by Israeli soldiers behaving suspiciously as he approached the Hawara checkpoint in the West Bank.

A Bloody Endless Peace: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, July 10, 2014 —"War is peace," entered our cultural vocabulary some sixty-four years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 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.
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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

WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE? DESPERATE TO REMAIN RELEVANT IN TURBULENT M.E., HAMAS USES ROCKETS & KIDNAPPINGS TO PROVOKE WAR—IS KERRY’S FAILED “PEACEMAKING” TO BLAME FOR CURRENT CRISIS?

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

 

Where is the Outrage Over the Bombardment of Civilians in Israel?: Arsen Ostrovsky, Telegraph, July 8, 2014— You see, as most people in the UK were waking up this morning, and those in Europe, United States and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Hit Hamas Hard to Create a Different Strategic Balance Against Islamic Terrorism: Prof. Hillel Frisch, Besa Center, July 9, 2013— Israeli military strategy towards Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) has been vastly different from its strategy towards Gaza.

Why Did Hamas Provoke a War?: Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, July 9, 2013— The current battles between Israel and Hamas were provoked by Hamas. Why?

America Is the Arsonist of the Middle East: Lee Smith, Tablet, July 8, 2013— Events are moving so quickly in the Middle East that it seems like whatever you are reading is already outdated.

 

On Topic Links

 

Naftali Bennett Speaks At Israeli "Peace Conference" (Video): Youtube, July 9, 2014

New York Times Criticizes Israel for Trying to Save Lives in Gaza [CIJR noted this reprehensible NYT article in Wednesday’s “Media-ocrity of the Week”—Ed.]: Elder of Ziyon, July 9, 2014

Politicians on Right Call For Escalation in Gaza: Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2014

What Reporters Need to Know During Operation Protective Edge: Elder of Ziyon, July 9, 2014

Five Points on ‘The Situation’: Meir Halevi Siegel, Jewish Press, July 8, 2014

 

WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE OVER THE BOMBARDMENT

OF CIVILIANS IN ISRAEL?                                                                  

Arsen Ostrovsky                                                                                                             Telegraph, July 8, 2014

           

You see, as most people in the UK were waking up this morning, and those in Europe, United States and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian Hamas terrorists in Gaza. In the last 24 hours alone, over 120 rockets have been fired on southern Israel. That’s approximately five rockets per hour. By the time I finish this article, odds are that count will have risen to 125 rockets. To put things in context: one million Israelis is roughly 13 per cent of the population. Thirteen per cent of the UK population equates to about 8.4 million people, or the entire population of London. A number of Israelis have already been injured, though thankfully without fatalities. The only reason more have not been hurt is because Israel has invested millions of dollars in bomb shelters and the Iron Dome defence system. Meanwhile, Hamas, whose very raison d'être is the destruction of Israel and which is recognised as a terrorist organisation both by the EU and UK, has invested millions of dollars in foreign aid into more rockets.

 

So, where is the outrage? Since the beginning of this year, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 450 rockets on Israel, with about half of them coming since mid-June, when two Hamas terrorists kidnapped and brutally murdered three Israeli teenagers. Why is it that a majority of the international community only notices when Israel undertakes its sovereign right, and obligation, to defend its citizens? Can you imagine if even one rocket was fired on London, Washington, Paris or Moscow? This is simply intolerable and no country can, or should, tolerate such attacks on its people. Where is the outrage from the United Nations, which does not hesitate for a moment to call a "special emergency session" on the "Question of Palestine" or pass the umpteenth resolution blindly condemning Israel? But 24 hours after the rocket attacks on Israel started, I am still waiting for even one syllable of condemnation from the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly or the Human Rights Council.

 

Where is the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who repeatedly slams Israel over settlement building, but is yet to say a word about the Palestinians firing over 120 rockets on Israeli civilians in one day? Even 10 Downing and the Foreign Office are yet to comment. Where are all those so-called enlightened liberals, who continue to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish State, but are silent in the face of Palestinian terror against Jews? Where are all the human rights organisations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and Oxfam, who do not waste a single opportunity to condemn Israel for human rights violations against the Palestinians? Are the human rights of Israelis not equally important? Or is Jewish blood really that cheap? Where is the outrage from the mainstream media? Instead, news organisations like the BBC, lead their stories about the rocket attacks headlines like ‘Israel launches new air strikes on Gaza Strip’ and not ‘Palestinian Terrorists in Gaza Rain Down Over 120 Rockets Against 1 million Israelis in 24 hours.’

 

Where is the outage that Iran, which the international community is currently negotiating with over their nuclear weapons program, and which has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, is the primary funder and supplier of arms to Hamas? Where is the outage that civilians across southern Israel are being instructed not to send their kids to school and stay in bomb shelters, or that 24 prematurely born babies and 34 newborns had to be moved last night to a protected area in Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva, due to the rocket attacks from Gaza? What sort of inhumane way is that for children to live? Where is the outrage that the very same Hamas now responsible for the rocket fire against millions of Israelis, was only a month ago welcomed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, our so-called ‘partner for peace’ into his unity government, while the international community, including the EU, rushed to embrace it? As I conclude, another two rockets were just fired from Gaza. So again, I ask: where is the outrage?

 

Contents

HIT HAMAS HARD TO CREATE A DIFFERENT

STRATEGIC BALANCE AGAINST ISLAMIC TERRORISM                     

Prof. Hillel Frisch                                                                                                          

Besa Center, July 9, 2014

 

Israeli military strategy towards Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) has been vastly different from its strategy towards Gaza. Israel assessed correctly in the second intifada that the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria was easy to penetrate because of its relatively low density of population, but difficult to contain because of its size and the length of the green line (over 300 kilometers long). Gaza, by contrast, was easy to contain but difficult to penetrate because of its small size and high density of population, especially its very large refugee camps. Israeli moves, consciously or unwittingly, expressed these differences. In 2002, Israel engaged in two massive offensives against Yasser Arafat’s PA, its security forces, Fatah and the other terrorist organizations. It temporarily took over the big Palestinian towns, and has been “mowing the grass” ever since through daily preventive arrests of terrorist operatives across the entire area. This policy, coupled with security cooperation with more pliant PA security services under Muhammad Abbas’ rule, has had a dramatic effect. Terrorism in Judea and Samaria has declined to levels that prevailed before the first intifada and have remained low ever since.

 

In Gaza, Israel took a different path. Because Gaza was difficult to penetrate, but presumably easy to contain, Israel decided to withdraw unilaterally. The results, as we all know, were much more problematic. Improved rocketry eroded the assumption that Gaza could be contained. Meanwhile, Israel has avoided a massive ground attack on Gaza on the assumption that it is not only difficult to penetrate Gaza, but that such a ground attack will have no lasting effects and might even make the situation worse. Proponents of the status-quo thesis argue that a massive attack on Gaza to destroy the military infrastructure of Hamas will lead to its “jihadization”; to a Gaza controlled by a variety of small Jihadist groups at Hamas’ expense. Unlike Hamas today, these groups will not be a stable “strategic address.” They neither will be deterred nor subject to pressure to desist from terrorist activity.

 

Is the status-quo thesis valid or is it now the time to engage in a full-scale offensive against Hamas and the other Islamist-jihadist groups in Gaza? The answer is the latter; it is time for a full scale offensive. Israel should take over Gaza temporarily – destroy the terrorist infrastructure as much as possible, to the point where Israel will then be able to minimize future damage to its cities by limited military actions against the Hamas infrastructure. In short, Israel should adopt the highly successful anti-terrorist strategy it employed Judea and Samaria over the past decade. This will not completely end terrorism from Gaza, nor will it fully alleviate the plight of Israeli communities adjacent to Gaza, but it will considerably reduce the threat to Israel’s major population centers.

 

Maintaining the status quo, by contrast, is increasingly dangerous. After two rounds of punishing limited offensives, one can surmise that the strategic address argument hardly works. More worrisomely, Hamas is aiming at linking Israeli moves against the Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria to the escalation in rocket strikes against Israel. Were Israel to implicitly accept this linkage – and it might be doing so already by curtailing its moves in the West Bank against Hamas to cajole the organization into agreeing to a lull – this would not only directly threaten the security of Israelis but also the longevity of Abbas’ PA. Were Israel to accept this linkage, Hamas could kidnap, kill and build-up its infrastructure in the West Bank under the threat that Israeli moves against Hamas will provoke massive rocket attacks. Hamas would essentially be calling the cards in the West Bank, undoing the achievements of the 2002 offensive. Hamas infrastructure would pose a direct threat to the PA; a complete change in the balance of power between Israel and Hamas. Yet, this is what the return to the “status-quo” threatens to bring. In politics, there is rarely a prolonged status-quo, certainly not in a conflict as bitter as between Israel and Hamas.

 

The future ramifications of agreeing to the linkage might even be more severe. With the rising power of the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’ organization and the threat it poses to Jordan’s security, it is absolutely vital to maintain an Israeli free hand against all terrorism in West Bank. Other arguments made in favor of the status-quo can also be questioned. A Hamas weakened by direct Israeli assault and threatened by other Jihadist groups, might be willing to be a more pliant strategic address just as was the PA after the 2002 ground offensive. A weakened Hamas will also facilitate Israeli intelligence penetration in Gaza. At present, Hamas counter-intelligence has partially succeeded uncovering informants. The smaller Jihadist groups do not possess these capabilities nor will they be likely to possess them in the more fluid situation that will prevail in Gaza after the assault…         

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

 

Contents

WHY DID HAMAS PROVOKE A WAR?                                                        

Elliott Abrams                                                                                                                  

Council on Foreign Relations, July 9, 2014

 

The current battles between Israel and Hamas were provoked by Hamas. Why? When increased levels of rocket fire began about a week ago, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu responded with restraint. He sent clear messages to Hamas in public statements, and via Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, that he wanted no war, and no incursion into Gaza; if the rocket attacks ended, this confrontation would be over. But Hamas chose to increase the pace of firing, guaranteeing an Israeli response. The question is why, and there are several answers.

 

First, consider Hamas’s situation a week ago. The economic situation in Gaza is dire, due both the reduced Iranian support and to the closure of the border with Egypt by the Egyptian Army. Gazans are unhappy with Hamas, due to the repression and corruption they see in its rule in Gaza, and to the economic situation. When Mohammed Morsi was elected president of Egypt two years ago, Hamas thought its situation would change: it is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and now Egypt had a Brotherhood president. But even in his year in office, Morsi could not deliver for Hamas; the Army blocked him. And then he was overthrown by a military coup, replaced now by a president who commanded that Army and is deeply hostile to Hamas and the Brotherhood. The sense of growing power and perhaps inevitable victory for the Brotherhood is gone now.

 

So Hamas needed a way out of its increasingly difficult situation. John Kerry’s peace negotiations might have delivered some shake-up in the overall Israeli-Palestinian situation, but they failed. Hamas then tried a political maneuver: a deal with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority to form a non-party government in Ramallah that held the promise of bringing Hamas into the PA and PLO after elections later this year. But that maneuver was getting Hamas little benefit and few Palestinians believed an election would actually happen. Meanwhile, most attention in the region was directed to ISIS, Iran, Iraq, and Syria; Hamas, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more broadly, were no longer news.

 

Finally, the arrangement Hamas had reached with Israel—no rocket attacks out of Gaza, no Israeli attacks into Gaza—was becoming increasingly tough for Hamas to maintain. Teen-age boys and young men do not join Hamas in order to police Gaza’s borders and prevent Islamic Jihad from attacking Israel; they join in order to attack Israel. Hamas was risking the charge from other terrorists that it was an auxiliary police force for Israel, and risking that young men would drift away to those other terrorist groups. So, the Hamas leadership decided it had to shake things up.

 

This new battle with Israel has several benefits for Hamas. To say that Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt are passing messages from the Israelis about mutual restraint, and are urging Hamas to back off, is to say that these governments are now in daily contact with Hamas leaders. Statements from Hamas are now, once again, front page news; Hamas is no longer irrelevant. Hamas is now in its eyes and those, it hopes, of many Arabs, back in the front line of the struggle against Israel. It will also, it must believe, be seen as the heroic victim of Israeli attacks, worthy of solidarity and support—both political and financial. And this episode in its long struggle with Israel allows Hamas to show its capabilities: longer range missiles that attack Tel Aviv and further north, sea-based attacks by swimmers who enter Israel from the beaches, tunnels that would enable the kidnapping of more hostages to exchange or permit heavily armed men to reach Israeli communities and exact a high price in lives, and a high volume of rockets to overwhelm Israel’s high-tech defenses like Iron Dome. Finally, Hamas must believe that Israel desires to damage it and restore deterrence, but not to destroy Hamas and its rule in Gaza. Believing that chaos and anarchy or rule by Islamic Jihad would be even worse for Israel than rule by Hamas, the organization may believe that it will emerge from this round of warfare bloodied but still in place.

 

It is a very big gamble for Hamas, and the size of the gamble is the measure of Hamas’s desperation. For so far, Hamas has not done much damage to Israel. The swimmers were killed the minute they came out of the water. The tunnels have been discovered and bombed. The missiles are causing Israelis to flee to bomb shelters, but thank God (and Iron Dome) they have so far not caused much property damage and no loss of life. Meanwhile Israel targets Hamas’s missiles and especially its missile launchers, headquarters, arsenals and warehouses, and leaders. There is not much Hamas can call a victory except proving the range of its rockets. All this can change in an instant: a rocket can land in a hospital or school, in Gaza or in Israel—and much more likely in Israel, because the Hamas rockets are unguided. Significant loss of life in Israel would be viewed as a “victory” by Hamas, and enough of these “victories” could lead it to seek an end to this round and a return to calm. But Hamas wants more than calm: it has demands. It wants the men who were freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit, and recently re-arrested, to be freed again by Israel, and even has demands of Egypt—to open the border with Sinai far wider.

 

Hamas may have reached the conclusion that it must soon abandon those demands and agree to a truce, but be unwilling to stop until it can point to some “achievement” like hitting a major tower in downtown Tel Aviv or killing a large group of Israelis. But if there are no such “victories” and the Israeli assaults continue, that will change. This appears to be Israel’s assessment: keep increasing the pressure until Hamas, which started this war because it saw too many threats to its survival and dominance in Gaza, comes to see continued war as the key threat. Those who want the violence to end must realize that the larger is the Israeli effort now, the sooner Hamas will conclude this round must be ended.                      

 

Contents

AMERICA IS THE ARSONIST OF THE MIDDLE EAST                                       

Lee Smith                                                                                                   

Tablet, July 8, 2014

 

Events are moving so quickly in the Middle East that it seems like whatever you are reading is already outdated. Yesterday, after Hamas fired dozens of rockets into Israel over the weekend, Israeli Air Force planes targeted the Gaza-based group and killed at least seven members. Hamas’ actions follow the murder of a 16-year-old Arab Israeli, who was killed by soccer thugs in an alleged act of retribution for the abduction and murder of three Jewish Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were found last Monday. Netanyahu has repeatedly warned Hamas to cease its attacks. Hamas responded on Monday that it will continue its attacks until the blockade on Gaza is lifted. Both sides are likely to escalate.

 

So, how did we get here? Who is to blame? From one perspective, what we’re watching is the latest round in a nearly century-long cycle of Arab-Israeli violence, so it’s hardly surprising to see violence erupt once again. However, it’s also worth noting that it is precisely because peace is so rare in the Holy Land that the status quo needs to be given its space and left alone. Or you need to have a very good reason for disturbing it.

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry thought he had one. “People in Israel aren’t waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there’ll be peace, because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and a sense of prosperity,” Kerry said last May in Jerusalem. “But I think if you look over the horizon,” he continued, “one can see the challenges.” In other words, what lay over the immediate horizon was more violence and bloodshed, unless Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas got together under American leadership and changed their act. Kerry’s peace process started nearly a year ago now, July 29, with a nine-month deadline for an agreement. Over that period, Kerry met with Abbas at least 34 times and talked a lot more frequently with Netanyahu. His first aim was to convince the two sides that in spite of all the apparent difficulties, the negotiations were not a formal exercise but rather a serious attempt at peacemaking. “Every journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” President Barack Obama solemnly told negotiators for the two parties about the talks. “What’s important is seriousness.” To get Abbas to the table, the American team asked Netanyahu for a confidence-building measure—either freeze settlement construction or release Palestinian prisoners. He chose the latter.

 

What Netanyahu wanted in return was for Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The request was a non-starter: Netanyahu understands it’s virtually impossible for Abbas, or perhaps any Palestinian leader in the foreseeable future, to relinquish claims to all of Palestine. If Netanyahu was hoping to illustrate for the Obama Administration the core problems in Middle East peacemaking, Kerry and his team already understood that there would be no resolution of final claims. Their goal was a framework agreement that would lay out, as a Haaretz article explains, “a future point of departure”—and, not inconsequentially, send a message to the rest of the region that America was still a key player even after withdrawing all its troops from Iraq and declining to get involved in Syria’s bloody civil war. The negotiations produced their share of public squabbles over specific issues, like how long Israeli troops might stay in the Jordan Valley, which gave reporters something to write about.

 

Yet the most basic problem that Kerry faced was that neither side had any real faith in America’s own commitment to the negotiations. The Israelis distrusted Kerry’s envoy Martin Indyk, and Abbas felt like the Americans were trying to trick him, to pull a “Dennis Ross”—referring, explains Haaretz, “to the veteran American diplomat who was known for his practice of first striking a deal with the Israelis and then presenting it to the Palestinians as an American proposal.” As one senior U.S. official said about the administration’s handling of Abbas, “We weren’t sensitive enough toward him, and we didn’t understand how he felt. In retrospect, we should have behaved differently.” But it was the big picture that really rattled both Jerusalem and Ramallah. If the Americans had once resembled a big, shiny department store where U.S. regional partners could do all their shopping—weapons, money, political support, diplomatic cover, etc.—the current White House clearly seemed intent on rolling down the shutters. For instance, despite the massive American investment, in lives and money, in Iraq, Obama withdrew in 2011 and promised the same with Afghanistan.

 

All of the administration’s Middle East policies pointed to the same thing: America wants out of the Middle East. From the perspective of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the administration has unaccountably weakened its own negotiating position with Iran over the clerical regime’s nuclear weapons program. Why would you play nice with an adversary and relieve sanctions when the point is to crush your enemy and then show mercy? If the Iranians get the bomb, it’s a problem not only for Israel, but also Abbas, whose Iranian-backed rivals will be strengthened. For three years, the administration had no policy to address the Syrian conflict, which Obama called someone else’s civil war—i.e., not America’s problem. If the administration’s press surrogates, Washington insiders, and the Europeans think the American commander-in-chief pulled off a diplomatic masterstroke when he signed on to the Russian initiative to get Bashar al-Assad to relinquish his chemical weapons arsenal, this is simply not how it looks in the Middle East. From that perspective, Obama is a bluffer. And a guy who won’t back up his own words with actions is not likely to back up his allies with actions when the going gets tough—and even the most cockeyed optimist in the region knows that actually solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be tough…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic

 

Naftali Bennett Speaks At Israeli "Peace Conference" (Video): Youtube, July 9, 2014—With translation from Hebrew.

New York Times Criticizes Israel for Trying to Save Lives in Gaza [CIJR noted this reprehensible NYT article in Wednesday’s “Media-ocrity of the Week”—Ed.]: Elder of Ziyon, July 9, 2014 —This is really sickening reporting by the New York Times…

Politicians on Right Call For Escalation in Gaza: Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2014—Transportation Minister Israel Katz posted a photo of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Facebook on Wednesday with crosshairs around his head.

What Reporters Need to Know During Operation Protective Edge: Elder of Ziyon, July 9, 2014—  As an observer of previous Israeli operations in Gaza, and as the person who has uncovered and publicized some huge journalistic errors during those times, I strongly caution reporters [but if they ignore this, then their readers should take note/editor] not to make the same mistakes that they have made in the past in their coverage.

Five Points on ‘The Situation’: Meir Halevi Siegel, Jewish Press, July 8, 2014 —As Alex Fishman, military correspondent for Yedioth Aharonoth, wrote Sunday, knocking Hamas out of Gaza could cause a vacuum there, one that could be filled with Islamic radicals that would make Israel long for the good old days of Hamas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 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

FOR P.A., ISRAEL AS JEWISH STATE IN M.E. – NOT “SETTLEMENTS”, “PALESTINE” – IS THE PROBLEM

 

________________________________________________________________
 
AVIGDOR LIBERMAN: LETTER TO BARONESS ASHTON
Jerusalem, August 20, 2012

 
Baroness Ashton,
 
…I would like to update you regarding the current situation of Israel's relationship with the Palestinian Authority (PA). As a preamble, I would like to emphasize that the purpose of this letter is to demonstrate Israel's goodwill, desire to build trust and sincere desire to create a positive atmosphere vis a vis the PA, with the goal of bringing our neighbors back to the table of direct negotiations. Unfortunately, we have encountered repeated Palestinian patterns of refusal and consistent attempts to turn to pointless activity, counterproductive to any constructive efforts….
 
Israel has in recent months undertaken several significant gestures towards the Palestinians: Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Shteinitz and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad concluded (July 31) arrangements with respect to the transfer of goods between Israel and the PA and related tax procedures. These steps, which were recommended by the International Monetary Fund, will improve the PA's tax system, increase revenues and bolster the Palestinian economy.
 
In light of the PA's budget crisis, Israel transferred at the beginning of the month of Ramadan (July 27) an advance of NIS 180 million (approximately USD 45 million) of August tax remittances. The money was intended to help the P A pay salaries in time to celebrate the holiday. An agreement was concluded (July 14) to employ an additional 5,000 Palestinian construction workers in Israel; the number of roadblocks was reduced to 10, most of which are normally open; the remains of Palestinian terrorists were returned (May 31). In addition, Israel agreed to develop the gas field off the Gaza shoreline.
 
Israel is promoting infrastructure projects in Area C, including completion of a master plan. In 2011, 119 infrastructure projects were approved, 58 of them with international financing. Fifteen projects relating to the construction and renovation of infrastructures for schools and clinics have received "fast-track" approval. I won't go into all the details of additional Israeli gestures that were made throughout 2012, all of them with the goal of assisting the Palestinian economy and easing the lives of the residents in the West Bank and Gaza.
 
Unfortunately, despite these steps, we do not see any willingness or positive attitude on the part of the PA. The opposite is the case: we see a rise in the Palestinian activity against Israel in the diplomatic and legal arenas, with attempts to accelerate illegal construction in Area C (including dragging the EU into this problematic activity), to encourage an economic boycott on the Israeli economy in the territories and to generate repeated negative statements against Israel. In addition, we have encountered a relatively new campaign, blaming Israel for the murder of Yassir Arafat, as well as the ongoing institutionalized incitement in the Palestinian media, attacking Israel and the legitimacy of the State's existence.
 
Mr. Mahmoud Abbas' unfortunate behavior indicates that he apparently is uninterested or unable — due to his standing in the domestic Palestinian scene vis a vis Hamas, and in light of the regional geopolitical situation — to reach an agreement which would bring an end to the conflict, including addressing all the core issues. Instead he is creating a culture of blaming Israel for delaying the process, while attempting to achieve advantages without negotiation via blackmailing and ongoing attempts to internationalize the conflict.
 
The situation as I have described it is supported not only by the facts but also may be corroborated by the Jordanians, who made a great effort to facilitate Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs direct dialogue between Israel and the PA. Unfortunately, because of the attitudes of Mr. Abbas and his partners, these efforts did not lead to any progress. This situation is very clear to the Jordanians.
 
This pattern of refusal is not new. With the Annapolis process, under the previous Israeli government, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians far-reaching concessions and gestures of goodwill, more than any other Israeli government, without success….
 
Two additional matters should be taken into account: the historic Bar-Ilan speech of Prime Minister Netanyahu, which called for a two state solution, and the unprecedented step of the current government, which, in response to Palestinian demands, temporarily froze the construction in the settlements, in order to renew peace negotiations. As part of the Palestinian systematic pattern of avoiding bilateral negotiations, these steps were met with rejection and with unilateral steps by the Palestinians, under Mr. Abbas' leadership.
 
In a calculated manner, Mr. Abbas is focusing his dialogue with the international community on the subject of settlements. Unfortunately, the international community tends to accept this discourse lock, stock and barrel, without criticism or a nuanced approach. This is a damaging attitude, which does not reflect the reality on the ground.
 
The entire area of the settlements constitutes approximately one percent of the area of the West Bank. The last settlement which Israel constructed was in 1991. In the framework of the peace accord with Egypt (1979), Israel took the painful step of evacuating all the settlements and military bases in Sinai. In 2005, Israel evacuated all of our settlements from the Gaza Strip, as well as four settlements in the northern West Bank, but instead of peace and security, we received the Hamas government in Gaza which opposes the existence of Israel, and is unwilling to live in peace with us, as well as 14,000 rockets and  missiles which were indiscriminately shot at towns and villages in southern Israel.
 
Facts and history, as opposed to the simplistic stereotypes and political bias, contradict the idea that somehow the settlement enterprise is the main obstacle to renewing the negotiations. This premise simply does not stand up to the test of reality or the historic precedent of the peace process between Israel and our neighbors. Both peace accords, with Egypt and Jordan, were signed when settlements existed; the claim that settlements are the obstacle to peace is unfounded.…
The Palestinian Authority is a despotic government riddled with corruption. This pattern of behavior has led to criticism even within his own constituency. Due to Abbas' weak standing, and his policy of not renewing the negotiations, which is an obstacle to peace, the time has come to consider a creative solution, to think "outside the box," in order to strengthen the Palestinian leadership. This is crucial, so that the Israeli gestures to strengthen the economy, stability and strength of the PA will not be turned into a boomerang against Israel.
 
Despite Mr. Abbas' delays, general elections in the PA should be held, and a new, legitimate, hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership should be elected. The PA elections were due to be held in 2010 and have since been postponed several times. As of today, no new date has been set for elections. Only such a leadership can bring progress with Israel….(Top)
 
Avigdor Liberman
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

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PALESTINE IS NOT THE PROBLEM
Efraim Karsh

Middle East Forum, August 2012

 

…[L]et us assume for the sake of argument that Israel and the PLO-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) were to sign a formal peace treaty. Would this stop the effort to delegitimize the Jewish state campaign or eliminate anti-Semitism from the European scene? Hardly—for the simple reason that the Palestinian question has next to nothing to do with either of these. Though anti-Zionism has been the core principle of pan-Arab solidarity since the 1930s—it is easier, after all, to unite people through a common hatred than through a shared loyalty—the Arab states (and the Palestinians' international champions) have shown far less concern for the well-being of the Palestinians than for their own interests.

For example, it was common knowledge that the May 1948 pan-Arab invasion of the nascent state of Israel was more a scramble for Palestinian territory than a fight for Palestinian national rights. As the Arab league's secretary-general Azzam once admitted to a British reporter, the goal of King Abdullah of   Transjordan "was to swallow up the central hill regions of Palestine, with access to the Mediterranean at Gaza. The Egyptians would get the Negev. Galilee would go to Syria, except that the coastal part as far as Acre would be added to Lebanon."
 
From 1948 to 1967, when Egypt and Jordan ruled the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Arab states failed to put these populations on the road to statehood. They also showed little interest in protecting their human rights or even in improving their quality of life—which is part of the reason why 120,000 West Bank Palestinians moved to the East Bank of the Jordan River and about 300,000 others emigrated abroad. "We couldn't care less if all of the refugees die," an Egyptian diplomat once remarked. "There are enough Arabs around."

Not surprisingly, the Arab states have never hesitated to sacrifice Palestinians on a grand scale whenever it suited their needs. In 1970, when his throne came under threat from the PLO, the affable and thoroughly Westernized King Hussein of Jordan had no qualms about slaughtering thousands of Palestinians, an event known as "Black September." Six years later, Lebanese Christian militias, backed by the Syrian army, massacred some 3,500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in the Beirut refugee camp of Tel Zaatar. These militias again slaughtered hundreds of Palestinians in 1982 in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, this time under Israel's watchful eye. In the summer of 2007, the Lebanese army killed hundreds of Palestinians, including many civilians, in the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared. None of the Arab states came to the Palestinians' rescue. Worse, in the mid-1980s, when the PLO—officially designated by the Arab League as the "sole representative of the Palestinian people"—tried to re-establish its military presence in Lebanon, it was unceremoniously expelled by President Assad of Syria.
 
This history of Arab leaders manipulating the Palestinian cause for their own ends while ignoring the fate of the Palestinians goes on and on. Saddam Hussein, in an effort to ennoble his predatory designs, claimed that he would not consider ending his August 1990 invasion of Kuwait without "the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Arab territories in Palestine." Shortly after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, Kuwaitis set about punishing the PLO for its support of Hussein—cutting off financial sponsorship, expelling some 440,000 Palestinian workers, and slaughtering thousands. Their retribution was so severe that Arafat was forced to acknowledge that "what Kuwait did to the Palestinian people is worse than what has been done by Israel to Palestinians in the occupied territories."
 
If the Arab states have shown little empathy for the plight of ordinary Palestinians, the Islamic connection to the Palestinian problem is even more tenuous. It is not out of concern for a Palestinian right to national self-determination but as part of a holy war to prevent the loss of a part of the "House of Islam" that Islamists inveigh against the Jewish state of Israel. In the words of Hamas's covenant: "The land of Palestine has been an Islamic trust (waqf ) throughout the generations and until the day of resurrection…. When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims."

In this respect, there is no difference between Palestine and other parts of the world conquered by the forces of Islam throughout history. To this very day, for example, Arabs and many Muslims unabashedly pine for the restoration of Spain and look upon their expulsion from that country in 1492 as a grave historical injustice….As illustrated by the overwhelming support for the 9/11 attacks throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds, this vision is by no means confined to a disillusioned and obscurantist fringe of Islam; and within this grand scheme, the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is but a single element and one whose supposed centrality looms far greater in Western than in Islamic eyes….[The above is an excerpt from Karsh’s book The War Against the Jews. For the full article please see the On Topic links below – Ed.] (Top)

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BOEOTIA IN PALESTINE: THE WAR FOR AREA C
Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post August 28, 2012

 
Recent articles about the village of Sussiya highlight the struggle that is taking place in ‘Area C’ of the West Bank. In the absence of a Palestinian state the West Bank has continued to percolate along the status quo lines set down in the Oslo agreement. Many commentators miss this in their analysis of what is taking place in terms of “the conflict.” People speak about being “pro-peace,” but if one defines the absence of war as a form of peace, in fact the West Bank is quite peaceful. But that masks the quiet conflict that takes place every day for control over a small sliver of land.

Area C is an abstract invention of a peace agreement that was never fully implemented. In this sense it is a bureau-geographic creature, invented so that it could eventually be disbanded. At Oslo in 1993 and 1995 the West Bank was divided into three sections, one of full Palestinian civil and police control, one of mixed control and an area of full Israeli civil and military control. This last area includes all 121 recognized Jewish communities in the West Bank as well as the other 100-odd Jewish “outposts.” The Jewish population of this area is estimated at 270,000.

Almost every study on the size of Area C puts it at 62 percent of the West Bank, or 3,482 sq. km, which makes it slightly larger than Yosemite national park in the US.  That Area C is often said to include a majority of the West Bank is primarily due to the fact that much of the desert was placed in Area C as part of Israeli military reservations. The entire Jordan valley, except Jericho and several villages, is part of Area C….

The quiet conflict for Area C is being waged because, for all intents and purposes, Israel has given up any interest in the rest of the West Bank. Except for Hebron, Israel long ago withdrew its forces from the Palestinian cities which had been re-occupied during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.…

There is a remaining piece of the Area C puzzle: The security fence includes about 8.5% of the West Bank between it and the Green Line. This includes the entire area of east Jerusalem that Israel has annexed.  The dispute is over those areas between the security fence and the major Palestinian population centers which run along the mountainous center of the area. Wherever there is a Jewish community there is [a Palestinian] effort to quietly encroach upon that community, to plough up land, to refurbish terraces, plant orchards, farm land and inhabit houses. The notion is that the more Palestinians can make parts of Area C appear to be Palestinian, the more pressure the international community will bring on Israel to release claims to it.

Like ancient Boeotia, which served as a pawn in the war between Athens and Sparta, Area C is a buffer zone that must be conquered and put to use by one side or the other. After all, Area C is all that is left, it is the place where the land is still in dispute, where a ploughed field or a harvested orchard can make or break states. That might sound ridiculous, but each case, each farmstead, each shack, each deed that is presented in court creates waves that impact beyond the lives of the several dozen individuals involved.

The recent news about Area C is what a World Council of Churches 2011 EAPPI document called the “quiet transfer.” According to this brochure the area “was meant to be gradually transferred to Palestinian administration” but instead Israel has been working to remove Palestinians from it.

The UN estimates that there are some 150,000 Arabs living in the area C in 270 “villages, camps and other communities.” However, according to a UN document produced by OCHA in August 2011, “two-thirds of [them] live in localities which are partly located in Area A and B.” Supposedly the remaining third, 50,000 people, are mostly Bedouin and “herders.” The UN estimates there are 27,000 members of these “herding communities” comprising some 5,000 families.

This little group of people is the focus of a massive international campaign. After OCHA spent a year interviewing some members of this group in the spring of 2011, it released a memo called “displacement and insecurity in Area C of the West Bank.” The memo claimed that the herders or Bedouin faced “restrictive and discriminatory planning…restrictions on movement…[and] military harassment.” The EAPPI factsheet published in 2011 piggybacked on this report with claims that Israel had demolished 342 structures in the area and made 656 people homeless.

On August 28, Mya Guarneiri, a Jerusalem based pro-Palestinian activist, wrote an op-ed in The National in Australia that claimed that “dozens of Palestinian and Bedouin villages are threatened with demolition and over 27,000 men, women and children face forced transfer. Most of these people are refugees.”  Notice how she characterizes the entire Palestinian population as being “threatened” with “forced transfer.”

One of the newest stories about the “transfer” was reported in The New York Times when Jodi Rudoren claimed that “the Israeli government has asked the Supreme Court to allow the demolition of eight Palestinian hamlets in the South Hebron Hills.” She went on to claim that it involves “about 1,800 people who live at least part time in a dozen communities that predate Israel’s 1967 seizure of the West Bank from Jordan, and in some cases have been around since the 1800s.”

An Israeli government spokesman quoted in the article noted that “starting from 2009, an increasing trend of augmenting and strengthening the population on the C Grounds is taking place.”  A great deal of misinformation is bandied about regarding these groups. Not only are they said to be refugees from 1948, but they are also then said to have lived in some ancient village since the 1800s. It is claimed that they cannot build houses because Israel does not provide permits in Area C, and yet it is also claimed their houses predate the creation of Area C in 1993 and the conquest of the area in 1967.

Oddly, the “villages” often appear on no maps, aerial photos or documents until the past several decades…. UN notations and the reports often note that the people live only “part time” in a place or sometimes in Area B and sometimes in C. Yet these nomadic herding groups become permanent residents of ancient villages when Israeli policy is concerned.

Area C has to be understood as the last part of this unsettled dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, the focus on it is generated for propaganda purposes to influence people to believe that one side or the other has more rights to it. (Top)

____________________________________________________________________

THE CASE AGAINST DISENGAGEMENT;
WHY REPEAT WHAT DIDN’T WORK?

Adam Kramer

 

 Lately there has been a rising number of Middle East experts, as well as some Israeli officials, calling for a unilateral disengagement from the West Bank. Ehud Barak, Israel’s Minister of Defense, advocated this type of unilateral action during a speech he gave at the Institute for National Security Studies. Others who have expressed support for a similar plan include members of an organization called Blue White Future, who explained their position in an Op-Ed in the New York Times, and Rafael D. Frankel, who outlined his stance in an article in The National Interest.

Given the moribund current peace negotiations with the Palestinians, these pundits are promoting an Israeli pullout from most of the West Bank settlements as a way to achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and to ensure Israel’s permanence, as a Jewish State. While this plan would ensure the crucial caveat that Israel remain a state with a strong Jewish majority, it is not so clear that Jews are in fact losing their hold on remaining the area’s majority. More importantly, though, an Israeli unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank would be replicating too many of the same mistakes that Israel made in its withdrawal from Gaza, thereby making it a plan that Israel certainly shouldn’t pursue. 

To see what would unfold if Israel were to leave the West Bank, one could look at the events that occurred following Israel’s similar unilateral disengagement from Gaza. Ariel Sharon withdrew from Gaza without negotiations and without fully realizing the future ramifications of his precipitous decision. What has transpired in the seven years since the pullout has been twofold. Firstly, while Gaza was supposed to become a future home-country for Palestinians under the PA, the Strip was quickly over-run by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, who proceeded to expel the PA.

Secondly, Israel has certainly not become safer since the disengagement experience but instead has had to endure seven years of almost endless rocket fire from Gaza terrorists into southern Israeli cities.

By unilaterally handing over the West Bank—which is over ten times as large in landmass as Gaza– Israel would not be receiving any security or peace guarantees in return for the land, thereby replicating the Gaza experience. Radical terrorist groups like Hamas or Islamic Jihad that filled the power vacuum in Gaza, would do likewise in the West Bank. Even if the PA and Fatah took steps to ensure this violent takeover would not happen, and instead held their own democratic elections (which is moot), nothing would prevent Hamas’ candidates from winning these elections and then seizing power. Obviously, what would unfold in either situation would be Gaza 2.0: either the terrorist organization Hamas or a terrorist PA ruling over another territory adjacent to Israel.

By handing over the West Bank without peace guarantees from the PA in exchange, which is what these advocates are backing, Israel would be putting itself in an almost impossible security situation, even for Israel’s powerful defense force. The West Bank’s lengthy eastern border with Jordan would need constant monitoring to prevent terrorists from entering the West Bank, as they have been entering Gaza from its now porous border with Egypt. Not to be forgotten is the fact that the West Bank’s western border would only be a few miles from Ben Gurion International Airport; maintaining secure airport use would obviously be an enormous security challenge.

Another security related issue is how to manage Israeli citizens displaced from the West Bank. This issue – of how to resettle, house, and find employment for the displaced persons – was a major issue during the pullout from Gaza. In fact, a recent Israel Hayom article details that many of those who were removed from Gaza back in 2005, still do not have permanent homes or jobs. How would the issue would be handled if it were to be done on a scale ten times greater? 

Many of these leaders who advocate the creation of a de-facto Palestinian state are motivated by a desire to ensure the longevity of Israel as a state with a Jewish majority. They believe that by keeping the status quo, Israel will eventually lose its Jewish majority. Therefore, they believe that the government needs to act with great expediency to maintain the State’s Jewish identity.
 
In 1950, Jews encompassed over 85% of Israel’s demographic. However, that tremendous majority has now declined a bit, to the point where Jews comprise around 75% of the country’s total population. If this decline were to continue uniformly, as many believe it will, then by the year 2040 or so, Jews would in fact lose their majority.

However, other studies affirm the antithesis. One American-Israel Demographic Research Group, argued that this trend of decline in percentage of Jews will reverse itself,  since Israeli birth rates are rising while Arab birth rates are falling. The population “crisis” is not an imminent threat, and Israel is not in danger of losing its Jewish majority. This report added that previous predictors of Israeli demographics did not end up becoming true, so that predictions that Israel will lose its Jewish majority in only thirty years should certainly be taken with a grain of salt. (A study conducted in the 1960’s had predicted that by the year 1990, Arabs would be the majority in Israel. Obviously, this study has proven false.)

Oftentimes, something that looks good on paper, once it happens in real life, it can end up completely differently.  The Gaza disengagement should teach Israel a strong lesson, that unilaterally evacuating land and allowing terrorist groups to take it over is not the best plan of action. (Top)
[Adam Kramer, 15, is a CIJR 2012 Cohen Summer Intern; he lives in Boston.]

___________________________________________________________________

 

 

On Topic

 

∙       Middle East Forum, August 2012
Efraim Karsh

∙       Gatestone Institute, August 16, 2012
Khaled Abu Toameh

∙       Ynet News, August 26, 2012
Asaf Romirowsky

∙       Jeruslaem Post, August 30, 2012
Herb Keinon

∙   New York Times, July 25, 2012
Dani Dayan

∙       CiF Watch, August 12, 2012
Gidon Ben-Zvi

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