Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Tag: Gaza

IDF INVESTIGATES GAZA OPERATION WHILE JEWISH STATE PREPARES FOR NEXT CONFRONTATION

IDF Opens Probes into Gaza Special Ops Raid that Went Awry: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2018 — The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday announced it was launching two separate investigations into an operation that went awry in the Gaza Strip earlier this month…

Israel’s Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges: Michael Hostage & Geoffrey Corn, Real Clear Defense, Nov. 3, 2018 — Hezbollah has threatened Israel’s northern border for decades.

Why Japan is Building its Military, Fast: David J. Bercuson, National Post, Nov. 6, 2018— With 18 diesel electric submarines, four so-called “helicopter destroyers” that look suspiciously like small aircraft carriers, 43 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 25 minesweepers and training ships, fleet oilers, submarine rescue ships and other vessels, Japan’s navy…

The INF Treaty Hamstrings the U.S. Trump is Right to Leave It.: Elbridge Colby, Washington Post, Oct. 23— The Trump administration has announced that it plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987.

On Topic Links

Israeli Air Force Holds First-Ever Combat Rescue Drill With Six Other Forces: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Nov. 26, 2018

Looking at the Gaza Strip: From Short Term to Long Term: Kim Lavi, Udi Dekel, INSS, Nov. 20, 2018

Hezbollah Firepower Exceeds 95% of World’s Conventional Armies, Report Says: Sean Savage, JNS, Nov. 9, 2018

In the Middle East, You Win With Fear: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018

                             

IDF OPENS PROBES INTO GAZA

SPECIAL OPS RAID THAT WENT AWRY                                                                 

Judah Ari Gross                                                                                                  

Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2018

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday announced it was launching two separate investigations into an operation that went awry in the Gaza Strip earlier this month in which special forces soldiers were exposed by Hamas operatives, leading to a firefight in which one Israeli officer and seven Palestinian gunmen were killed. In response to the raid and the deaths of its men, the terror group launched a massive three-day attack on Israel, along with other terror groups in the Strip, firing some 500 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza border and leading Israel to the brink of war.

On the night of November 11, Israeli special forces soldiers entered the Gaza Strip on an intelligence-gathering raid, the details of which remain under a strict gag order by the military censor. According to Hamas officials, the Israeli soldiers were from the Sayeret Matkal elite reconnaissance unit and entered the coastal enclave through a proper border crossing, either Israel’s Erez Crossing or Egypt’s Rafah. They were said to have been driving through Gaza in civilian vans, approximately three kilometers (two miles) from the border. Israel has not confirmed any of the claims.

During the mission, the unit was stopped and searched at a Hamas checkpoint, and were initially believed to be Palestinian criminals, according to recordings of the terror group’s radio chatter, transcripts of which were published by Hadashot news. At a certain point, the Israeli troops opened fire on the Hamas gunmen, prompting a gun battle. An Israeli lieutenant colonel — who can only be identified by the first Hebrew letter of his name, “Mem” — was killed and another officer, who went back to recover Mem’s body, was wounded. The special forces unit beat a rapid retreat from the coastal enclave, calling in airstrikes for cover and a helicopter evacuation from the elite search-and-rescue Unit 669.

According to the army, one investigation will be conducted within Military Intelligence. The findings will be presented to the head of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Tamir Hyman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. The military said an initial probe was expected to be completed within the coming weeks. In addition, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon — the former head of IDF Operations — was also charged with a wider investigation into how the army conducts such raids. Alon was instructed to lead a team to “examine and study the challenges and [make] recommendations at the level of the General Staff, of multiple army branches and of the inter-organizational cooperation between different special forces,” the army said.

The Hamas terror group is conducting its own investigation into the Israeli raid. Last week, Hamas published photographs of eight people that it says were involved in the raid. The photographs were distributed on social media along with the email address and two phone numbers of the terror group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in order to allow people to provide information about the operation. The phone numbers stopped working later in the day.

Pictures of the two cars allegedly used by the Israeli special forces soldiers during the raid were also published. Though freely available on the internet, the photographs could not be published by Israeli media by order of the military censor. The censor approved the publication of the pixelated photograph used in this article.

In a highly irregular public statement, the censor also called on Israelis not to share any information they have about the raid, even if they think it benign. “Hamas is working now to interpret and understand the event that occurred within Gaza on November 11, and every piece of information, even if it is considered by the publisher as harmless, is liable to endanger human lives and damage the security of the state,” the censor said. Hamas officials are said to view the gun battle as a failure, because their primary goal — according to a Hadashot news report — was to capture the IDF soldiers who had placed themselves so near Hamas’s grasp.

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ISRAEL’S NEXT NORTHERN WAR:

OPERATIONAL AND LEGAL CHALLENGES

Michael Hostage & Geoffrey Corn

Real Clear Defense, Nov. 3, 2018

Hezbollah has threatened Israel’s northern border for decades. Today, however, the nature of this threat has become dire, and the risks of escalation real, as Iran continues supplying Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon with game-changing weapons to devastate the Israeli homeland.

When the next conflict erupts between Israel and Hezbollah, its scale and intensity will bear little resemblance to those of recent memory. Hezbollah today is highly competent, adaptable and lethal. Its forces have gained invaluable battlefield experience in Syria and amassed more weaponry than 95 percent of the world’s conventional militaries, including at least 120,000 rockets and missiles. This is more than all of Europe’s NATO members combined, and ten times as many as when it last went to war with Israel in 2006.

Especially troubling is Hezbollah’s growing arsenal of powerful long-range precision missiles capable of striking targets throughout Israel. Unlike in recent conflicts, Israel’s missile defenses will be incapable of shielding the nation from such a threat. From the outset of conflict, Hezbollah will be able to sustain a launch rate of more than 3,000 missiles per day – as many as Israel faced in the entire 34-day conflict in 2006.

Despite this quantum leap in its capabilities, Hezbollah is under no illusion about its ability to inflict military defeat on Israel. It will not seek victory in the valleys of Lebanon or the skies over Israel, but in the court of public opinion. To do so, it will use combat operations to lay the groundwork for an information campaign delegitimizing Israel. Two tactics will be central to Hezbollah’s efforts: first, deliberately attacking Israeli civilian population centers to compel an aggressive response by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF); second, illegally exploiting the presence of Lebanese civilians to shield itself from IDF attack.

Hezbollah will then manipulate the inevitable casualties by relying on widespread misperceptions about the true nature of combat operations and how international law (the law of armed conflict, or LOAC) regulates such operations. It will use the inevitable images of civilian suffering in Lebanon to portray Israel’s lawful operations as immoral and illegal. By weaponizing information and the law, Hezbollah will seek to force Israel to halt its self-defense campaign before the IDF can achieve decisive victory.

This is the increasingly prevalent face of hybrid warfare, where law-abiding militaries confront non-state actors like Hezbollah who blend robust combat capabilities and unlawful tactics with sophisticated information operations. This difficult reality is highlighted in a new report by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s (JINSA) Hybrid Warfare Task Force, which examines the significant operational and legal challenges Israel will confront when it is compelled to engage Hezbollah and potentially other regional adversaries including Iran.

A key finding is that Hezbollah’s intentional emplacement of rockets, missiles and other vital military assets in villages and cities throughout Lebanon will increase risks to innocent civilians. To gain strategic advantage, Hezbollah will exploit the common – but erroneous – assumption that Israel, by virtue of attacking these sites, must be acting unlawfully, even when the unfortunate effects of these attacks are rendered unavoidable by Hezbollah’s deliberate and illegal use of human shields. This dilemma for Israel is further complicated by our expectation that the IDF will be compelled to undertake large-scale, aggressive operations to neutralize as much of Hezbollah’s rocket threat as possible before it is ever employed.

This will include ground operations deep into Lebanon. In addition to their sheer scale, the nature of such operations in towns and villages will magnify the likelihood of collateral damage and civilian casualties. This will also make it much more difficult for the IDF to utilize the extensive and often innovative measures to mitigate risks to civilians that have been commonplace during more limited operations – for example, warnings and providing civilians time to evacuate before an attack.

Despite these challenges, our task force found an IDF fully committed to compliance with the LOAC, knowing full well Hezbollah seeks to exploit this very same commitment. We worry, however, that the nature of a major combined arms operation will contribute to the operational and legal misperceptions that are so adeptly exploited by enemies like Hezbollah, resulting in false condemnation of Israel from the international public, media and many states.

How this story plays out for Israel will have reverberating effects for other professional militaries, including our own. Unless the challenges of such operations become more widely understood, with more credible assessments of legality, morality and legitimacy, others will be incentivized to replicate Hezbollah’s perverse tactics.

Ultimately, this requires a greater appreciation of the realities of combat against hybrid adversaries. It also requires a greater appreciation for how the LOAC strikes a rational balance between civilian protection and military effectiveness. Nowhere will these considerations be more apparent – and more consequential – than in Israel’s next conflict with Hezbollah.

 

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WHY JAPAN IS BUILDING ITS MILITARY, FAST                                                                 

David J. Bercuson

National Post, Nov. 6, 2018

With 18 diesel electric submarines, four so-called “helicopter destroyers” that look suspiciously like small aircraft carriers, 43 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 25 minesweepers and training ships, fleet oilers, submarine rescue ships and other vessels, Japan’s navy — the Maritime Self-Defense Force — is the second largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world. It is also highly advanced technologically and is growing all the time. The two 27,000 ton Izumo-class helicopter destroyers, the largest in the fleet, with flat flight decks and islands on the starboard side of the vessels, are small compared to the United States Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers (approximately 100,000 tons) or Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers (65,000 tons). But if equipped with the new short-take-off-and-vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighter they will still pack a powerful punch. And Japan is considering adding more of these aircraft carriers to its fleet and advanced U.S.-style Aegis class destroyers, capable of shooting down medium-range ballistic missiles.

The irony in all of this is that Japan’s post Second World War constitution still contains a provision — Article 9 — that prohibits it from possessing any offensive military capability. In the early 1950s, Japan began to build its self-defence forces and now has a powerful navy, a modern medium-sized air force that will soon fly the F-35 along with specially built F-15s, alongside more than 300 fighter aircraft and 50,000 personnel, and a growing land army and marine sea landing capability.

Are these military assets “defensive” in nature? Partly, but aircraft carriers, high-speed destroyers, modern fighter aircraft and assault ships are surely as offensive as they are defensive. And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it plain that in less than two years, he intends to seek to change the Japanese constitution to drastically curtail any obligation Japan has to maintain a purely defensive capability. In other words, he will ask the Japanese people and legislature to bless what Japan has already done. That could be more problematic than people realize.

Like Germany, Japan suffered greatly in the Second World War. Virtually all its great cities were levelled either with atomic bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) or fire raids that were carried out by giant B-29 bombers at low altitude at night. The attacks burned the heart out of Japan’s cities. In March 1945, 100,000 people were killed in one night in a fire raid on Tokyo and many acres of the city were burned to the ground. Submarine blockades of Japan drastically curtailed food and fuel supplies. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers were killed either in the United States’ march across the Pacific or in the Russian invasion of Manchuria near the end of the war. Japan was a prostrate nation by the end of 1945 and its ancient system of government was a shambles.

The result of this terrible defeat was the rise of pacifist thinking throughout Japan. Having suffered from military defeat, few Japanese were interested any longer in military adventurism. At the same time democracy took root under the American occupation of Japan. To give but one example, although women still endure many disadvantages in Japan — as they do here also — the Americans forced the Japanese to accept women as fully equal in civil rights and political authority. Japanese industry re-grew and although Japan is no longer the second largest economy in the world — it was recently surpassed by China — it is still a highly technologically advanced economy turning out everything from advanced motor vehicles to high-quality TV sets and computers. Prime Minister Abe is a strong supporter of free trade as are most of the political hierarchy of Japan.

Why then would the Japanese people support a militarization of their country? We need look no further than the bellicose growth of Chinese nationalism and the recent moves by the Chinese to dominate the South and East China Seas in the way that the United States dominates the Caribbean. The Chinese have made no secret of their ambition with the creation of artificial islands that now host air bases, anti-aircraft missiles, and Chinese “coast guard” vessels that though mostly painted white (as coast guard vessels generally are), mount naval-style guns on their foredecks.

Japan is heavily dependent on sea transport, especially for fuel oil and natural gas, that comes from the Middle East via the Strait of Malacca and the Formosa Strait. With the U.S. under President Donald Trump adopting an increasing isolationist tone, Japan, like Australia and other nations in the region, will have to put more assets into their own defence.

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THE INF TREATY HAMSTRINGS THE U.S. TRUMP IS RIGHT TO LEAVE IT.          Elbridge Colby                       

Washington Post, Oct. 23

The Trump administration has announced that it plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987. This treaty banned the United States and Russia from possessing any ground-launched ballistic and cruise missile systems with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles). The administration’s decision is sure to elicit a cacophony of criticism, but the truth is that the United States should no longer tolerate the INF status quo. The reasons basically boil down to two: Russia appears unwilling to give up the systems that violate INF (meaning INF is essentially a dead letter), and, more important, the United States no longer benefits from a ban on ground-based intermediate-range systems — but because of China, not Russia.

This is not to downplay the importance of INF. The treaty played a major role in enabling and locking in the diminution of tensions that ended the Cold War. In particular, it eliminated all of the Soviet Union’s SS-20 intermediate-range missiles, which posed a particularly pressing threat to NATO’s defenses in the 1970s and 1980s.

This was all well and to the good. But today is another day. Russia is no longer abiding by the treaty, and Moscow gives no indication of being open to coming back into compliance. The treaty has therefore become a one-way arrangement: The United States is abiding by it, but Russia is not.

This would not by itself be a compelling argument for withdrawal, because the United States does not require INF-restricted systems for effective deterrence and defense in Europe, and staying in the treaty highlights Russia’s perfidy. The United States and its NATO allies must take steps to improve their defense posture against Russia, but noncompliant systems are not necessary to do this. Since the Russian threat is more modest in scale than the Soviet one was, the United States could meet the need by investing in better penetrating strike aircraft and munitions, sea- and undersea-launched missiles, improved ground-based fires, more resilient basing, better logistics, more effective and affordable air and missile defense, and the like.

Rather, the most compelling reason for withdrawal is that the United States could materially improve the military balance against China in East Asia by developing and deploying INF-noncompliant systems. China poses a much larger and more sophisticated long-term military threat than Russia, and U.S. strike options are more constrained by the geography of the Pacific. Washington would benefit from having the ability to deploy survivable land-based ballistic and cruise missile systems to provide a larger, more diverse and resilient greater strike capability in the event of a conflict in the western Pacific.

The United States is currently complying with a treaty unilaterally and suffering for it — albeit in a different theater. It was worth spending several years trying to bring Russia back in compliance, but that course has clearly failed. Now is as good a time as any to adapt our arms-control architecture to our strategic needs. Many will argue that leaving the INF treaty is tantamount to tearing down the late-Cold War arms-control architecture, thus bringing the world to the nuclear brink. But such statements are gross exaggerations. First, INF did not need to be a disarmament treaty; most arms control treaties involve ceilings rather than bans, as well as transparency and inspections. There is nothing inherently destabilizing about INF systems. In reality, it was likely that then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev simply wanted to reduce the economic burden imposed by the Soviet military, and getting rid of INF systems was a convenient way to do that.

Second, if anyone should be calling for withdrawal, it should be the disarmament community. For those who look at arms control as a useful strategic tool but not a panacea, violations are important but not existential, because resting a nation’s security on arms control would be foolhardy in the first place. It is disarmers who argue that we should put our faith in treaties — but if there is no consequence for violating them, what hope is there for disarmament?

All that this means, however, is that there is a middle course open. Russia clearly believes it needs INF systems, and the United States could benefit from them in Asia. A revised INF that regionalized the treaty and replaced the ban with ceilings and transparency measures, as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty does with strategic systems, is therefore a natural area of potential agreement. Ending up there could make sense for all parties.

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On Topic Links

Israeli Air Force Holds First-Ever Combat Rescue Drill With Six Other Forces: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Nov. 26, 2018—In the first international drill of its kind, the Israeli Air Force hosted six foreign air forces for an helicopter combat search-and-rescue drill in November.

Looking at the Gaza Strip: From Short Term to Long Term: Kim Lavi, Udi Dekel, INSS, Nov. 20, 2018—In the most recent escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the message conveyed by both parties was that they are not interested in paying the price of a war that will ultimately return them to square one.

Hezbollah Firepower Exceeds 95% of World’s Conventional Armies, Report Says: Sean Savage, JNS, Nov. 9, 2018—Israel and Hezbollah have been adversaries for decades now, dating back to the Jewish state’s involvement in the Lebanese civil war.

In the Middle East, You Win With Fear: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018—The past six months have brought us violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip border, cross-border infiltrations, rocket fire and incendiary kites and balloons. This means that a so-called “agreement” or truce is not a viable option.

HAMAS WANTED ESCALATION WITH ISRAEL DURING LATEST ROCKET BARRAGE, BUT BIBI “PREVENTED UNNECESSARY WAR”

Will History Repeat Itself if the Right Brings Down a Likud Government?: Jeff Barak, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2018— Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows his history: Whenever a Likud-run government has been brought down by its erstwhile allies on the Right, the Left has returned to power.

Why Israel Doesn’t Want a War With Gaza: Mudar Zahran, American Thinker, Nov. 16, 2018 — The Israeli people are rarely as angry with their political leadership as they are today – and the reason for their anger is clear: they believe that their leadership has failed to take decisive military action against the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

What is Hamas’s End-Game? Escalation Control: Dan Feferman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018— I almost entitled this piece “Hamas, What the Hell?!” but I thought better of it.

Palestinians Arresting Women; Where are the Media?: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 19, 2018 — Last August, the Palestinian Authority (PA) protested because Israel arrested a Palestinian woman from Hebron on charges of incitement and affiliation with Hamas.

On Topic Links

Let Me Get On With My Job: How Netanyahu Dwarfed his Political Rivals Within: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018

How Hamas Brought Israel to the Brink of Election Chaos: Seth J. Frantzman, National Interest, Nov. 16, 2018

Liberman: Bennett Flip-Flop Shows Why Hamas is Emboldened: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018

The Israeli Security Concept: Wandering Through a Maze: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Nov. 15, 2018

                   

WILL HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF IF THE

RIGHT BRINGS DOWN A LIKUD GOVERNMENT?                                                                             Jeff Barak                                                           

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2018 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows his history: Whenever a Likud-run government has been brought down by its erstwhile allies on the Right, the Left has returned to power. Hence his determination to recapture control of his coalition and not be seen as having been forced into elections in March.

If there are to be early elections, it is crucial for the prime minister’s positioning that he is the person pulling the plug on his government, at a time of his own choosing, as opposed to losing a no-confidence vote in the Knesset and being kicked out of office.

In 1992, the hardline Yitzhak Shamir had to bring forward the date of the elections after two small right-wing parties left his coalition to protest against a plan to grant autonomy to the Palestinian population in West Bank and Gaza Strip. Fought against a background of a poorly performing economy, no progress in the peace process, and public protests against institutional corruption (unlike our present prime minister, Shamir himself was famed for his frugal lifestyle and disinterest in money), Yitzhak Rabin succeeded in forming the first Labor-led coalition for 15 years.

Seven years later, Netanyahu shared a similar fate to Shamir. Unable to win the right wing’s support for the Wye Agreement, which promised further Israeli withdrawals from populated areas in the West Bank, Netanyahu lost a vote of no confidence in the Knesset, forcing his government to disband. In the resultant elections, Netanyahu was decisively beaten by Labor’s Ehud Barak and turned out of office.

Avigdor Liberman’s resignation as defense minister threatens Netanyahu with a repeat performance of 1992 and 1999. Yet again, a Likud prime minister is being undermined by a political ally to the right of him. Liberman’s charge that Israel capitulated to terrorism in agreeing to a ceasefire with Hamas after the Palestinians fired almost 500 rockets into Israel is a deadly missile attack on Netanyahu’s credentials as Israel’s Mr. Security.

Netanyahu has always promised his supporters a vigorous response to Palestinian terrorism, but his current premiership has been marked by a surprising and welcome pragmatism. On the eve of the most recent round of fighting in Gaza, Netanyahu was busy telling reporters he was doing everything in his power “to prevent an unnecessary war.” On a national level, his decision to follow through on this by seeking a ceasefire and not stepping up Israel’s reaction to Hamas’ rocket attacks was the correct one to make, although it will cost him politically.

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi gave the game away as to Netanyahu’s thinking, with his unscripted remarks that Hamas’ rocket attacks were “minor” in the sense they were not targeted at Tel Aviv. Unpalatable as this truth is, there is a huge difference in terms of the country’s national interest between rockets disturbing Israeli life in Gaza Strip periphery communities and one blowing up a plane on the runway at Ben Gurion Airport. Opposition politicians sanctimoniously declaring otherwise are guilty of shameless political cynicism.

Nevertheless, a prime minister cannot afford to be seen as weak on countering terrorism. Liberman’s resignation, combined with Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s constant attacks on the IDF’s weak response to events in Gaza, will inevitably erode Netanyahu’s standing among his base. The demonstrations against the ceasefire in the Likud-supporting heartland of Sderot will definitely have set off the political warning bells in the prime minister’s Balfour Street residence.

On top of this, Netanyahu also risks fighting early elections at exactly the time when Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is liable to make his decision regarding an indictment in the various corruption cases surrounding the prime minister. Despite the prime minister’s insistent denials there is nothing to these charges, he certainly does not want to be going to the polls under the cloud of a criminal indictment.

But unlike 1992 or 1999, Netanyahu is not facing a serious opponent with real leadership credentials. As former IDF chiefs of staff, both Rabin and Barak could outperform Netanyahu in the security arena. Both men also offered the country a chance of real change, which Rabin delivered with the breakthrough Oslo Agreements with the PLO and Barak with his courageous unilateral withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanon.

Unfortunately, there is no one in today’s opposition with a similar profile to either Rabin or Barak, nor is there one dominant party able to challenge the Likud’s standing as Israel’s largest party.

Now that Liberman has fired the first bullet in the 2019 election campaign, Israel’s center and center-left parties have a short window of opportunity to rally behind one leader – a returning Ehud Barak? Tzipi Livni? (Yair Lapid is too lightweight for the role and Avi Gabbai is a political nonentity) – and form one party to rival the Likud and bring down Binyamin Netanyahu. If they fail to do so, then Netanyahu will most likely break the pattern of 1992 and 1999 and re-emerge as the country’s next prime minister, despite having lost the support of his right-wing allies.         

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WHY ISRAEL DOESN’T WANT A WAR WITH GAZA

Mudar Zahran

American Thinker, Nov. 16, 2018

The Israeli people are rarely as angry with their political leadership as they are today – and the reason for their anger is clear: they believe that their leadership has failed to take decisive military action against the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

As witnessed by the world a few days ago, Hamas began shooting rockets at southern Israeli towns and villages. In total, more than 500 rockets were launched, and in response, Israel undertook very precise, decisive and surgical military air strikes, hitting some of Hamas’s most significant facilities and military installations. This brought about a very quick cease-fire, a cease-fire that has come as a disappointment for many Israelis – especially those who bore the brunt of the attacks. Apparently, the Israeli public wanted military actions that would either annihilate Hamas, or, at least, serve as a deterrent that would force it to stop shooting rockets into Israel.

The call for tough military action against Hamas is so strong that Netanyahu’s Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned in protest after the Prime Minister settled for a quick cease-fire despite Hamas’s defiance, millions of dollars in damage, and more financial support from Iran. Apparently, the Israeli public was further provoked when they saw Hamas celebrating the ceasefire, jubilantly declaring it a “victory” against Israel specifically, and Jews, generally. While militant Hamas operatives celebrated, many Israeli politicians, writers, and commentators are fed up and spitting bullets over what they perceive as the Prime Minister’s inherent weakness in combating terrorism. As a result, hundreds of Israelis from the targeted southern villages protested publicly against the ceasefire.

While the anger of many Israelis is understandable, the facts on the ground clearly explain Netanyahu’s decision to agree to a quick ceasefire – a ceasefire that saved lives on both sides. Simply put, Hamas wants war. It is my experience that when an enemy is so determined to get into an armed conflict, one must be very careful not to give the enemy what they want. Additionally, we have to realize this: those pushing the Hamas buttons are heavily financed by Iran, through the mother group, the Muslim Brotherhood, who is also deeply in bed with Iran. Therefore, it is no stretch of the imagination as to why Hamas started provoking Israel: The military actions started shortly after US sanctions on Iran took effect. In fact, unprovoked, Hamas did not have any apparent reason to start fighting; to the contrary, things were going well for Hamas.  On the very day Hamas began firing rockets, they received $15 Million from Saudi Arabia and $60 Million from Qatar to pay its public servants who have not received pay checks. As a result, a joyous atmosphere was dominant in Gaza.

At this point, evidence shows that it is safe to say that Hamas operates upon orders from its Iranian mentors. Iran is already feeling the pain caused by the US-imposed sanctions, and with more sanctions likely to come in the future, they are lashing out – and Israel is their best bet to rally support for them. In other words, Iran needs a war as a diversion from its predicaments, and to tell the US that it could cause trouble and must be left alone, otherwise full scale war will break out.

That said, Netanyahu clearly could have launched a war that would have brought him tremendous public support and strengthened his political position with the Israeli public. Nonetheless he did not give in to public pressure, and did what he felt was right based on military intelligence, because he knew the outcome would hurt Israel’s interest in the long run. The world has to recognize that if Iran got the war it wanted, it would have been the best thing that could happen for them. To make matters worse, their puppets in Hamas really don’t care how many of my people are killed in the process. That is because their terrorist leaders are millionaires hiding in bunkers. In other words, Hamas didn’t have much to lose, while Iran had a lot to gain – and Netanyahu understands this.

On the other hand, Hamas fulfilled its ‘handshake agreement’ with their bosses, and eventually agreed to a ceasefire, against their wishes. In support of this, an Egyptian military intelligence source confided in me yesterday, saying that Egypt conveyed a stern message to Hamas. He told me that the message said the following: “Unless you stop, President Trump will allow Israel to annihilate you”. This scared Hamas to the core, and forced them to agree to the ceasefire.

As for Netanyahu, he has risked his public approval ratings and political career for the sake of his nation’s interest. This is true diplomacy and should be supported around the world.  As an Arab, Palestinian, Jordanian and a Muslim, I could not help but think how Arab leaders regularly sacrifice their people for political gain while an Israeli leader is risking his entire political career to save his people. This…is the difference between a politician, and a statesman.

 

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WHAT IS HAMAS’S END-GAME? ESCALATION CONTROL                                      

Dan Feferman

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018

I almost entitled this piece “Hamas, What the Hell?!” but I thought better of it. So, I’ll ask in another way: What is Hamas’s end-game? The answer is: escalation control. In recent months, Hamas has encouraged tens of thousands of miserable and frustrated Gazans to vent their domestic anger not at them, but rather at the Gaza-Israel border. Protesters cut through the fence, torched thousands of tires, threw rocks, shot at soldiers and then realized they can terrorize Israel, Iron Dome and all, with kites and children’s balloons hooked up to flaming Molotov cocktails.

Why? To pressure Israel to relax the blockade it currently maintains on Gaza, together with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The ruthless and crafty terrorist-group-turned-government of the coastal enclave well understands that Israel will not commit mass killing of mostly unarmed Palestinians on its border and that despite its technological and military superiority, it has not yet found an answer to floating fire bombs and favorable winds. Hamas is also well aware that Israel – despite the bluster of its far-right politicians – has no interest in another war in Gaza, and certainly has no interest in reconquering the strip and establishing military control. Hamas well understands that for Israel, it is the lesser evil of many bad options in Gaza.

According to press reports and official comments from Israeli officials, the sides finally reached an agreement recently (through third-party mediators, of course) for a long-term cease-fire in which the protests, balloons and rockets would stop in exchange for Hamas gaining access to a port of its own (possibly in Cyprus), work permits for Gazans to enter Israel, and a relaxation on the embargo. The last piece of the puzzle included Egyptian pressure on the Palestinian Authority to allow such a dynamic, despite that it would grant Hamas the legitimacy it so craves while sidelining Ramallah, pushing it further away from its illusory control over what happens in Gaza. Just to make sure, Hamas also demanded last week, in full mafia form (and got) Israel to accept and even help facilitate the transfer of $15 million in cash (literally, three suitcases in a car) each month from Qatar to help pay Hamas salaries, after Ramallah stopped paying those. Electricity in the Strip is already up from four to eight hours a day since Qatari cash and fuel began entering the impoverished territory through Israel.

So, if Hamas got what it wanted, what does it get from such an unprecedented escalation (Hamas fired more rockets in one day than ever before)? And why now? What the hell, Hamas?! The short answer is: Escalation control, and because it can. While Hamas’s leadership has begrudgingly accepted that they will not be able to defeat and destroy Israel in the conceivable future, they are also acutely aware that Israel will do almost anything to avoid a full-on invasion of Gaza that would result in toppling Hamas’s rule. Such an operation would be extremely costly in Israeli lives, could take many months if not longer to restore order, and would draw significant international criticism as it would most likely result in thousands of Palestinian casualties. While many Israelis say they are in favor of such an operation now, it would become increasingly politically unpopular as the months go by and the casualty count inevitably climbs.

Since Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, it has instigated three extended conflicts against Israel, characterized by rocket and mortar fire and the digging and utilization of terror tunnels. Having largely neutralized these threats through technological innovation, Israel retaliated each time through aerial and artillery strikes, carefully choosing targets either for their symbolic or military value. The aim in each round of fighting has been to limit Hamas’s war-making ability, reestablish deterrence, and gain escalation control. In other words, Israel has aimed to set the rules of the game; Hamas sought to challenge those rules and establish rules of its own. The two sides, despite a total asymmetry of capabilities, have stumbled, more or less, onto the same playing field. Rockets beget air strikes – that is agreed. But as it turns out, rockets and mortars fired on Israeli border communities beget symbolic air strikes against pinpoint targets replete with advanced warnings (“knock on the roof”) to minimize civilian casualties, or only against the launch-team. Rockets at Ashkelon equal more significant air strikes against high-value targets (as happened last night – Israel struck 160 targets). Hamas already warned the next phase will be to extend rockets to Beersheba and Ashdod, which would invite targeting even higher value targets. Rockets on Tel Aviv will force the ground invasion neither side wants. Apparently, attempts to breach the border fence or incendiary balloons do not pass the threshold for a serious Israeli retaliation. Hamas already succeeded in establishing those rules and Israel has, more or less, accepted them.

According to the IDF Spokesperson, a covert Israeli military unit on a routine mission over the weekend deep in Gaza stumbled upon a Hamas force, resulting in a fire fight in which a senior Israeli officer and seven Hamas members, including a senior military figure were killed. So why risk a major escalation now that could cancel all the significant gains Hamas made? Simple. The 460 rockets fired into Israel, including an anti-tank missile that hit a bus (that just minutes before was full of young soldiers) are Hamas trying to gain an upper hand in the game for escalation control. An Israeli military operation deep in Gaza that ends up killing a senior Hamas leader equals hundreds of rockets, and Hamas wants to make sure Israel thinks twice before trying that again. As the sides reportedly reach a fragile cease-fire to end this two-day exchange, it seems that so far, and at least this time, Hamas has succeeded in controlling the escalation scale, and thus further weakening Israeli deterrence. Until next time.

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PALESTINIANS ARRESTING WOMEN; WHERE ARE THE MEDIA?                                       Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 19, 2018

Last August, the Palestinian Authority (PA) protested because Israel arrested a Palestinian woman from Hebron on charges of incitement and affiliation with Hamas. The 42-year-old woman, Lama Khater, is also known as a strong critic of the President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority. Khater’s scathing attacks on Abbas and his government, however, did not stop the Palestinian Authority from condemning Israel and demanding her immediate release.

This was not the first time that the Palestinian Authority has condemned Israel for arresting a Palestinian woman who voiced criticism of Abbas and his policies. Last year, the Palestinian Authority condemned Israel for arresting Khaleda Jarrar, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, one of several PLO terrorist groups. Jarrar was arrested by Israel for membership in a terrorist group and incitement.

The incidents concerning Khater and Jarrar came to mind this week as Palestinian sources revealed that Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank arrested two Palestinian women. The first woman, Majdoleen Marab’eh, was arrested in the West Bank city of Qalqilya after she criticized the Palestinian Authority’s controversial social security law. The law, which has sparked a wave of protests among Palestinians, calls for deducting 7% of private sector employees’ monthly salaries for a social-security fund and setting the retirement age for men and women at 60 years.

The second woman recently arrested by the Palestinian security forces is Suha Jbara, a mother of three from a village near Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians in the West Bank. According to Palestinian sources, the 31-year-old Jbara was arrested on November 2, when more than 25 Palestinian security officers raided her home and arrested her in front of her three children. The sources said she was suspected of transferring donations collected from Palestinians in the West Bank to the families of Palestinians killed and wounded by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.

Her father, Badran, said she was first taken to a Palestinian Authority detention center in Ramallah where, after a brief interrogation, she was transferred to the PA’s notorious Jericho Prison. He said that although his daughter suffers from a heart disease, she has been denied medical treatment and was being held in harsh conditions. A lawyer appointed by her family has since been banned from seeing her. Jbara’s family has expressed deep concern about her health. “We’re very concerned about her condition because she’s being held in harsh conditions,” the family complained. “Her three children, aged 12, 9 and 8, have since been crying, and are refusing to eat and go to school.”

“In the past few days, there is widespread outrage on social media over the arrest of Suha Jbara,” said Obada Subeih in a blog in the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network. “Undoubtedly, the Palestinian Authority has become a heavy burden on the Palestinian people. The charges attributed to her are a moral scandal for the Palestinian security forces and the Palestinian political leadership in Ramallah.” Several Palestinians took to social media to express extreme consternation over the arrest of Jbara, and described her imprisonment as “disgraceful.” They also launched several hashtags demanding her release and calling on the International community to exert pressure on the Palestinian Authority to stop targeting women. These appeals, however, have thus far fallen on deaf ears. The Palestinian media in the West Bank, which is directly and indirectly controlled by Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, has ignored the arrest of the two women…

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

Contents

On Topic Links

Let Me Get On With My Job: How Netanyahu Dwarfed his Political Rivals Within: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018 —It was over for Benjamin Netanyahu. He’d agreed on an informal truce with Hamas after 500 rockets had been fired at Israel, and his defense minister, the volatile Avigdor Liberman, had resigned in a seething firestorm of anger and recrimination.

How Hamas Brought Israel to the Brink of Election Chaos: Seth J. Frantzman, National Interest, Nov. 16, 2018—Hamas didn’t achieve a military victory. But toppling the defense minister is a kind of victory because it shows that Hamas can shake Jerusalem’s politics at the very top.

Liberman: Bennett Flip-Flop Shows Why Hamas is Emboldened: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018 —Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday that the decision by leaders of the Jewish Home party to drop their ultimatum and remain in the coalition was emblematic of Israel’s inability to follow through on its military threat against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Security Concept: Wandering Through a Maze: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Nov. 15, 2018—The discourse that tends to swirl in the wake of events like this week’s sharp Gaza escalation generally revolves around a clichéd discussion about “the loss of deterrence.”

 

AFTER LATEST GAZA ROCKET ONSLAUGHT: ISRAEL OPTS FOR CEASEFIRE, LIBERMAN RESIGNS, AND ELECTION TALK BEGINS

Why Israel Let Hamas Win: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018— Israel’s security cabinet’s decision Tuesday afternoon to walk away from the war Hamas initiated Monday and to accept a “ceasefire” is frustrating and infuriating.

Praising Netanyahu’s Caution: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Nov. 15, 2018 — People demonstrated in the streets of Sderot on Tuesday, and who could blame them?

In the Middle East, You Win With Fear: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018 — The past six months have brought us violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip border, cross-border infiltrations, rocket fire and incendiary kites and balloons.

A Rude Awakening for the Palestinian Dream: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 7, 2018— When something is built on an unstable foundation, it is only natural for its long term survival to be at risk.

On Topic Links

Israel Heads Toward Elections as Jewish Home Says it Will Leave Coalition: Raoul Wootliff, Times of Israel, Nov. 16, 2018

Netanyahu Showed Why He Is ‘King Bibi’ By Agreeing To Gaza Cease-fire: Charles Bybelezer, Media Line, Nov. 15, 2018

Barring a Miracle, War with Gaza is a Matter of When, Not If: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Nov. 13, 2018 Restore Deterrence in Gaza Now: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2018

                            

WHY ISRAEL LET HAMAS WIN             

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018

Israel’s security cabinet’s decision Tuesday afternoon to walk away from the war Hamas initiated Monday and to accept a “ceasefire” is frustrating and infuriating. Hamas shot nearly 500 projectiles into Israel in under 24 hours. It blew up a bus with a Kornet anti-tank missile. Sixty Israelis were wounded, several critically. One civilian was killed. Numerous homes were destroyed.

Israel has never experienced any rocket onslaught from Gaza remotely as intense as what Hamas and Islamic Jihad shot off on Monday and Tuesday. And yet, rather than respond with equal – or better yet – far greater force and teach Hamas and Islamic Jihad a lesson they would long remember, the security cabinet sufficed with a couple hundred pinpoint air attacks, and then accepted the IDF’s advice and opted for the ceasefire. In so doing, they left the residents of southern Israel virtual hostages of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who have retained the capacity to attack them at will.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s sudden resignation on Wednesday may help his little party Yisrael Beitenu get reelected to Knesset in the next elections. But if it does, then Liberman will have won his political survival at Israel’s expense. Hamas is entirely justified in presenting Liberman’s resignation as proof that it defeated Israel this week.

Winners don’t quit. Losers do. But beyond being frustrating and infuriating, the cabinet’s decision is a cause for deep concern. Why did the cabinet opt to stand down in the face of Hamas’s unprecedented onslaught? Leaving concerns about the prospect of war in the north with Iran, Hezbollah and Syria out of the picture for a moment, there are on the face of things, two basic explanations for the cabinet’s decision. First, maybe the WhatsApp jokes making the rounds are right. Maybe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers are a bunch of stupid chickens. Liberman effectively accused them of stupidity and cowardice at his press conference Tuesday afternoon when he announced his resignation.

But there is no evidence that Netanyahu is stupid. To the contrary. As for fear, there is ample evidence that if he and his ministers were fearful, they have good reason to be deeply worried. This brings us to the second and more realistic reason to view the cabinet’s decision to stand down in the face of Hamas’s aggression as a bright red warning light. The source of that concern is the IDF’s General Staff.

Israel does not seek to overthrow the Hamas regime in Gaza. And for good reason. The price of a war to overthrow Hamas would be exorbitant both in terms of the human and monetary cost of war. And the return would be dubious at best. Israel doesn’t have an army big enough to spare three divisions to control a post-Hamas Gaza. The other option often touted by the far Left is that Israel pay the price of overthrowing Hamas and then hand Gaza over to the PLO. The PLO, though, is no less hostile than Hamas. Israel has no interest whatsoever in empowering the PLO by giving it Gaza.

Given the absence of a better alternative to Hamas in Gaza, rather than work to overthrow the terror regime, Israel has focused its efforts on keeping Hamas as weak as possible. And so, since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, Israel’s effective strategy for dealing with the terror regime can be equated to mowing the grass. Every time Hamas becomes too powerful, Israel finds itself in another round of war with it. The purpose of Israel’s operations is to cut Hamas down to size and walk away, until the next round of war.

But this week, Hamas made clear that Israel needs to mow it down. A terror regime capable of sending 500 projectiles into Israeli territory in less than 24 hours and destroying a bus with an anti-tank missile is a terror regime that has become too powerful. So why didn’t the cabinet order the IDF to mow the grass in Gaza? Why didn’t our leaders order the IDF to kill Hamas commanders Yahye Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh? Why didn’t they order the IDF to destroy the rocket launchers and the crews that operate them? Why didn’t they order the IDF to destroy Hamas’s bases and missile depots? There are two possible explanations for their decision not to give these orders. Taken separately and together they point to an acute problem with the IDF’s senior ranks that requires immediate attention.

One explanation has been highlighted by retired senior IDF commanders and Yediot Aharonot’s military commentator Yossi Yehoshua. This explanation argues that the cabinet decision to stand down on Tuesday owed to the General Staff’s refusal to take the actions necessary to cut Hamas down to size. The General Staff’s refusal, they say, stems from the role lawyers are now playing in the IDF’s targeting decisions. Since Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, military lawyers have been attached to fighting units down to the battalion level. These attorneys are allegedly prohibiting required action by claiming that strategically significant and operationally vital actions like killing Hamas commanders and bombing rocket launching units constitute war crimes…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]

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PRAISING NETANYAHU’S CAUTION

Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                                                                  

JNS, Nov. 15, 2018 

People demonstrated in the streets of Sderot on Tuesday, and who could blame them? They had spent days running back and forth to bomb shelters and safe rooms, enduring the tension and dangers of being subjected to hundreds of rockets fired at their town, as well as the rest of southern Israel, by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza.

But their reaction to news of a ceasefire between Israel and its foes didn’t bring the usual joy and relief. They were mad that, once again, Hamas had terrorized and held hundreds of thousands of Israelis hostage — and gotten away with it. More to the point, they blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing them and the country by refusing to respond more forcefully to the 450-plus rockets fired on the country. They said he had not only abandoned them, but encouraged Hamas to repeat this dismal process the next time it suited them. Nor were these demonstrators alone in castigating Netanyahu. Some members of his coalition sniped at him for what they considered timorous behavior.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced Netanyahu, and went so far as to resign because of the prime minister’s failure to escalate the conflict against Hamas. Lieberman’s motives were transparently political since he opposed military action only weeks ago. His goal was to position himself to Netanyahu’s right if the country goes to early elections. But opposition leaders also joined in the Bibi-bashing, giving some on the left the rare opportunity to criticize him from the right for allowing a dangerous security situation to develop, and then not resolving it in a satisfactory manner. Most embarrassing was the way his critics in the Knesset and the media used video clips of Netanyahu saying the same things about former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s similar policies towards Gaza when Netanyahu was in the opposition.

But being hoisted on his own petard in this manner didn’t appear to faze the prime minister. Nor should it. The world looks a lot different from the perspective of being the person who must make life-and-death decisions, as opposed to those who can criticize from the sidelines.

The impulse to say enough is enough about the terrorist state in Gaza is almost irresistible. As long as Hamas rules the independent Palestinian state in all but name only, there will always be a dagger pointed at Israel’s throat. While Hamas agrees to ceasefires and now speaks of being willing to accept an agreement in which Israel would be forced back to the 1967 borders, it isn’t interested in peace. Its goal, made painfully obvious by the violent mass protests conducted every Friday at the border with Israel since March, is the elimination of the Jewish state. Long-term peace with it is impossible.

Why then doesn’t Netanyahu seek a final reckoning with it, rather than forcing Israelis to endure weeks like the last one, punctuated every few years by a massive counter-attack — like the operations launched in 2008, 2012, and 2014 — that always stops short of deposing Hamas? Though he is routinely denounced as an opponent of peace, when it comes to the use of military force, Netanyahu is one of the most cautious prime ministers Israel has known. The reasons are part personal and part strategy.

As a young man, like his brother Yonatan, the slain hero of the 1976 Entebbe rescue, Netanyahu served in an elite military unit often sent to do the most difficult and dangerous tasks. He understands the cost of battle and has only ordered troops into battle after every possible alternative is exhausted. Over and above his sure grasp of Israel’s diplomatic and military situation, the fact that he spends Israel’s most precious resource — the lives of its soldiers — only with great reluctance is part of the reason why he is trusted by most Israelis.

More than that, Netanyahu doesn’t believe that sending the army into Gaza is in Israel’s best interests. He knows that even a decisive knockout blow against Hamas would likely make the situation even more unbearable for the Israeli people. The fact is that Israel is in a “no win” situation with respect to Gaza. The fault for this belongs to the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who withdrew every soldier, settler, and settlement from the strip in 2005. Though he vowed that if Gaza became a terror base, Israel would strike back and re-occupy it, his successors realized that such a vow was easier said than done.

The cost of such a campaign would be prohibitive in terms of Israeli casualties, and catastrophic when one considers how many Palestinians would be sacrificed as human shields as Hamas made its last stand. The opprobrium that would be directed at Israel from a hypocritical international community that regards the Jewish state as the only one on the planet that doesn’t have a right to defend itself would be a problem. But the real concern would not be foreign criticism, but the fact that the aftermath of even a successful military effort would leave Israel with the issue of governing Gaza. Maintaining an occupation would also be costly. So would an attempt to install the rule of the Palestinian Authority there. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas desperately wants to get control of Gaza, but is only willing to do so by fighting to the last Israeli.

Netanyahu also realizes that, as bad as it is, the status quo — both with respect to Gaza and the West Bank — is better than the available alternatives, all of which would present a greater danger to Israel, and make a Palestinian state more, rather than less, likely. Rather than satisfying the need of his people for a resolution of the Gaza problem, the prime minister is playing the long game. He understands that standing pat and waiting — however long that wait must be for the Palestinians to give up their century-long war on Zionism — without making foolhardy choices to give up territory or to launch wars with unpredictable consequences is the smartest strategy.

The frustration of the residents of Sderot and other Israelis under fire is real and understandable. But as painful as it may be, those who care about the Jewish state and understand the complex politics around it should also acknowledge that Netanyahu is right to avoid another war if at all possible.               

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IN THE MIDDLE EAST, YOU WIN WITH FEAR

Prof. Efraim Inbar

Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018

The past six months have brought us violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip border, cross-border infiltrations, rocket fire and incendiary kites and balloons. This means that a so-called “agreement” or truce is not a viable option. We cannot trust Hamas to keep the calm. Only when Hamas is afraid of IDF retaliation, which has yet to come, will calm prevail. Israelis tend to overlook the fact that in the Middle East, it is fear, above everything else, that governs how people act.

Unfortunately, from time to time, we must give our enemies a violent reminder, lest they continue terrorizing us. The very fact that Hamas continues its actions unabated shows a lack of deterrence, without which no truce is worth the paper it is signed on. Expecting Hamas to honor agreements with the Jewish state it wants to annihilate is inexcusably naive. Extortion that leads to an “agreement” is a prelude to more extortion.

The assumption that boosting the quality of life for Gazans will reduce Hamas’ violence and hatred is fundamentally flawed. There is no place on this planet where there is a direct correlation between quality of life and terrorism. This holds true in the Palestinian case as well.

Recent polls show that Gazans are actually less hostile toward Israel than are their brethren in Judea and Samaria, where the quality of life is better. Perhaps the suffering in Gaza has taught them that prolonged conflict with Israel comes with great pain. While it is true that it takes time to change the behavior of large groups of people, what ultimately makes a population embark on a new political path is the degree to which it suffers. Germans suffered immensely during the two world wars and have since shed their violent past. Egypt also realized that a peace deal with Israel trumps more violence.

The goal of war is to inflict pain on the other side, to make it change its behavior. There is no point in giving Hamas candy while it fights against us. The exact opposite is true: It should be forced to pay a heavy price for its aggressive behavior. This is the message Israel should be sending Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and other enemies. To survive in the Middle East, Israel has to make it clear that it will inflict unimaginable pain on anyone who attacks it.

Israel is naturally reluctant to re-occupy the Gaza Strip. It would also serve no purpose to try to engineer its political system. Israel would not benefit from bringing the hostile Palestinian Authority back to the Gaza Strip. Likewise, it is understandable why Israel does not want to be dragged into a protracted military campaign when its eyes are trained on the most important threat: Iran. That said, the IDF can ratchet up the pressure by several notches without conquering the Gaza Strip, in order to send Hamas the message that more conflict will result in more pain.

Despite the events of this week, Israel must continue with its incursions into the Gaza Strip and even widen their scope. We must prove that we are not afraid of using ground forces to punish those who want us dead. The fear of casualties, however important, should not come at the expense of Israeli deterrence, which is essential for establishing long-term calm on the border and preventing future fatalities.

Only a crushing and devastating blow to Hamas will pave the way for a truce that would not be a victory for the terrorists. Such a truce would survive much longer than a half-baked truce that survives only several months until another extortion scheme.

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A RUDE AWAKENING FOR THE PALESTINIAN DREAM                                          

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Arutz Sheva, Nov. 7, 2018

When something is built on an unstable foundation, it is only natural for its long term survival to be at risk. It is also natural for it to be in need of constant support just to keep from falling. The belief that it will eventually be able to stand on its own two feet causes people to lend their support, but only egregious fools continue to do so if there is no hope of its ever being independent, because in that case, everythiing those supporters have invested is doomed to be irretrievably lost.

The Palestinian Authority is in exactly that position today and this article will expound on the reasons it has no hope of every being able to become a viable and independent entity. The prime reason for this situation is the very reason the PA was founded. In 1993, the Israeli government tried to find someone who would accept responsibility for eliminating the terror network created by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, someone willing to be rewarded for anti-terrorist activity by being granted the authority to rule the area and administer the lives of the Arabs living there. This was the “deal” concocted by the Israelis, and the “contractor” who accepted the challenge was the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. The Israeli government actually believed that Arafat was serious about eliminating terror and establishing an autonomous administrative system for running those territories.

Of course, this deal was doomed to failure from the start due to the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and also the government of Israel. The Arab residents considered the Palestinian Authority (PA), the governing arm of the PLO, to be the operative arm of Israeli policy, an organization collaorating with Israel by means of the coordinated security system that exists up until this very day.

“Security coordination” to the Palestinian Arab mind is a laundered word for cooperation, meaning PA security forces attempt to apprehend the terrorists that belong to organizations other than their own and hand them over to Israel. Many of the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza see this as no less than treason. In order to cover up that perceived betrayal and silence its critics, the PA employs thousands in both real and artificial jobs (the kind where the worker does not have to do anything in order to be paid) . For the sake of earning a livng, people are willing to shut their mouths and utter not a word about what they really think of the PA and the reasons for its existence.

No matter, members of the PA know exactly in what esteem the authority is held by the public. To combat this and in order to create legitimacy for themselves and the PA,  they invented a national ethos whose purpose was establishing a state under conditions to which Israel could never agree: the “right” of return for millions of “refugees” to Israel and insistence on Israel’s relinquishing Jerusalem. These impossible demands were raised knowing full well that Israel would never agree to them, and that there would never be a Palestinian Arab state, so that Israel could continue to remain the eternal enemy.  Anyone who thinks that a Palestinian Arab state adjoining Israel would live in peace with it does not comprehend the basic tenet of the Palestinian dream – fanning the flames of Israel-hatred, encouraging terror against its citizens and blaming it for all the ills of Arab society.

That is why – according to the PA media – Israel is the result of a European colonialist venture originating in Europe’s desrie to rid itself of the Jews, the Jews are nothing but cosmopolitan communities with no homeland, Judaism is a dead, not living religion, the Jews have no history in the lands belonging to “Falestin.” In addition, the Palestinian Arabs are victims of a Euroean conspiracy and their legitimate goal is to free all of “Falestin” from the “river to the sea.” Therefore “peace” with Israel can never be more than a temporary ceasefire, with the final goal the destruction of the Jewish state.

Over the past 25 years, more and more Israelis have begun to understand the failed “Oslo Accords” deal their government signed, and that is why the Israeli left, which engineered this fatal mistake, has gradually lost much of the public support it had during the initial euphoric period after the agreements were signed. The “Arab Spring” – which is more reminiscent of a wintery swamp filled with fire, blood and tears – helped the Israelis awaken from the dream of “a new Middle East” described in utopian terms by Oslo Accords master architect, the late Shimon Peres.

Today, it is clear that all Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas wanted and Abbas still desires is the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state on the ruins of the Jewish one. It is hard to find any enthusiasm among Israelis for continuing to pump oxygen into the artificial entity known as the Palestinian Authority, whose only source of life is the money it gets from other countries and pours into salaries for its employees and the murderous terrorists serving sentences in Israeli prisons…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

Contents 

On Topic Links

Israel Heads Toward Elections as Jewish Home Says it Will Leave Coalition: Raoul Wootliff, Times of Israel, Nov. 16, 2018—The Jewish Home will leave the coalition, bringing down the government and forcing new elections, senior sources in the Orthodox-nationalist party told The Times of Israel Friday.

Netanyahu Showed Why He Is ‘King Bibi’ By Agreeing To Gaza Cease-fire: Charles Bybelezer, Media Line, Nov. 15, 2018—For his entire tenure, the knock on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been that he reflexively chooses the path of least resistance based exclusively on electoral calculations.

Barring a Miracle, War with Gaza is a Matter of When, Not If: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Nov. 13, 2018—In the past 24 hours nearly 500 Hamas rockets have pummelled civilian targets in southern Israel, the most intense assault ever launched by the terrorist-run government in the Gaza Strip.

Restore Deterrence in Gaza Now: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2018—All of us abhor military confrontation or war, which inevitably leads to casualties. Today Israel faces a major threat from Hamas in the south; Iran and Hezbollah could become involved if we go for the military option.

SAUDIS & U.S. ALLIED AGAINST MUTUAL IRANIAN THREAT, DESPITE RIYADH’S ISLAMISM AND “ILLIBERALISM”

AS WE GO TO PRESS: ISRAEL, HAMAS REPORTEDLY AGREE TO CEASEFIRE — Israel and Hamas reportedly agreed to a ceasefire Tuesday after over 460 rockets were fired from Gaza to southern Israel. The ceasefire comes after close to 48-hours of escalated hostilities between Israel and Palestinian factions. The IDF said over 100 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. While the majority of others fell in open territory without causing damage or injuries, another 20 or so fell in the cities of Ashkelon, Sderot, and several other border vicinity communities. A 40 year-old man was killed Monday in Ashkelon after an apartment building sustained a direct hit by a rocket fired from Gaza. The rocket barrages came after a deadly IDF raid in the Gazan city of Khan Younis on Sunday killed an elite IDF officer and seven Hamas militants, including the battalion commander of Khan Younis. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 13, 2018)

 

Muhammad Bin Salman: For Better or for Worse?: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Nov. 2, 2018— King Salman’s announcement that Prince Muhammad has been put in charge of reorganizing Saudi intelligence…

How Saudi ‘Donations’ to American Universities Whitewash Islam: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 11, 2018— Why would the center of illiberalism, religious fanaticism, and misogyny ever sponsor the center of liberalism, secularism, and gender equality?

Massive Missile Attack on Israel after Qatar Funds Hamas: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 13, 2018— Last week, as efforts were underway to achieve a new truce between Hamas and Israel, this author asked a legitimate and straightforward question: Can Hamas be trusted?

Opportunities Abound Should Israel and Gulf Nations Cooperate: Ellen R. Wald, Arab News, Nov. 2, 2018— Events in Oman and the UAE this past week give us an opportunity to consider anew the relationship between Gulf countries and Israel, and particularly the potential for rapprochement and cooperation through the prism of the aspirations of the citizenry.

On Topic Links

Some ‘Modernizer’: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2, 2018

The Unknown Turkish Refugee Crisis: Nikolaos Lampas, BESA, Nov. 1, 2018

Turkey Demands ‘Immediate End’ to Israeli Retaliatory Strikes: David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 13, 2018

Militarization of Mediterranean Rises with Exploration Disputes: Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Nov. 8, 2018 

                   

MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN: FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE?                                                    

Dr. James M. Dorsey                                                           

BESA, Nov. 2, 2018

King Salman’s announcement that Prince Muhammad has been put in charge of reorganizing Saudi intelligence – at the same time that the kingdom admitted for the first time that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been killed within the grounds of its Istanbul consulate – signaled that the crown prince’s wings are not being clipped, at least not yet, and not publicly.

With little prospect for a palace coup and a frail King Salman unlikely to resume full control of the levers of power, Prince Muhammad, viewed by many as reckless and impulsive, could emerge from the Khashoggi crisis – which has severely tarnished the kingdom’s image and strained relations with the US and Western powers – defiant rather than chastened by international condemnation over the journalist’s killing.

A pinned tweet by Saud Al-Qahtani, a close associate of Prince Muhammad who was among several recently fired senior officials, reads: “Some brothers blame me for what they view as harshness. But everything has its time, and talk these days requires such language.” While this could be Prince Muhammad’s motto, his domestic status and mettle are likely to be put to the test as the crisis unfolds. Ankara might leak further evidence of what happened to Khashoggi, or it might officially publish whatever proof it has.

Turkish leaks or officially announced evidence would likely fuel US Congressional and European parliamentary calls for sanctions, possibly including an arms embargo, against the kingdom. In a sharp rebuke, President Trump responded to Riyadh’s widely criticized official version of what happened to Khashoggi by saying that “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies.”

A prominent Saudi commentator and close associate of Prince Muhammad, Turki Aldakhil, warned in advance of the Saudi admission that the kingdom would respond to Western sanctions by cozying up to Russia and China. This could certainly happen if Saudi Arabia is forced to seek alternatives to shield itself against possible sanctions. This does not, however, mean that Prince Muhammad would not brazenly attempt to engineer a situation in which the Trump administration has no choice but to fully reengage with the kingdom.

While pundits are suggesting that Trump’s Saudi-anchored Middle East strategy, which is focused on isolating Iran, crippling it economically with harsh sanctions, and potentially forcing a change of regime, is in jeopardy because of the damage Prince Muhammad’s international reputation has suffered, Tehran could in fact prove to be a window of opportunity for the crown prince. “The problem is that under MBS, Saudi Arabia has become an unreliable strategic partner whose every move seems to help rather than hinder Iran. Yemen intervention is both a humanitarian disaster and a low cost/high gain opportunity for Iran,” tweeted former US Middle East negotiator Martin Indyk, referring to Prince Muhammad by his initials.

“Trump needed to make clear he wouldn’t validate or protect him from Congressional reaction unless he took responsibility. It’s too late for that now. Therefore I fear he will neither step up [n]or grow up, the crisis will deepen and Iran will continue to reap the windfall,” Indyk said in another tweet. If this was an unintended consequence of Prince Muhammad’s overly assertive policy and crude and ill-fated attempts to put his stamp on the Middle East prior to the murder of Khashoggi, it may, in a twisted manner, serve his purpose.

To the degree that Prince Muhammad has had a thought-out grand strategy since his ascendancy in 2015, it was to ensure US support and Washington’s reengagement in what he saw as a common interest: projection of Saudi power at the expense of Iran. Speaking to The Economist in 2016, Prince Muhammad spelled out his vision of the global balance of power and where he believed Saudi interests lie. “The United States must realize that they are the number one in the world and they have to act like it,” the prince said. In an indication that he was determined to ensure US re-engagement in the Middle East, Prince Muhammad added: “We did not put enough efforts in order to get our point across. We believe that this will change in the future.”

Beyond the shared US-Saudi goal of clipping Iran’s wings, Prince Muhammad catered to President Trump’s priority of garnering economic advantage for the US and creating jobs. Trump’s assertion that he wants to safeguard $450 billion in deals with Riyadh as he contemplates possible punishment for the killing of Khashoggi is based on the crown prince’s dangling of opportunity…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]

 

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HOW SAUDI ‘DONATIONS’ TO AMERICAN

UNIVERSITIES WHITEWASH ISLAM                                                                             

Raymond Ibrahim

Breaking Israel News, Nov. 11, 2018

Why would the center of illiberalism, religious fanaticism, and misogyny ever sponsor the center of liberalism, secularism, and gender equality? This is the question that crops up when one considers the largesse that human-rights-abusing Saudi Arabia bestows on the leading universities — those putative bastions of progressive, free thinking — in the United States. According to a recent report in the Daily Caller, “elite U.S. universities took more than half a billion dollars from the country [Saudi Arabia] and its affiliates between 2011 and 2017. Saudi Arabian interests paid $614 million to U.S. universities over a six-year period, more than every country but Qatar and the United Kingdom.”

What would cause Saudi Arabia, which represents much that is regressive and barbarous — from having elite units dedicated to apprehending witches and warlocks, to legitimizing pedophilia — to become a leading financial supporter of America’s liberal arts? Certainly, it is not because the Saudis are randomly lavish with their money and award gifts to all and sundry. Reports often criticize citizens of the kingdom for being “stingy” and not spending on worthy and humanitarian causes.

“These gifts and contracts,” the report continues, “in some instances, are intended to influence students’ and faculty experts’ views on the kingdom.” While this explanation may make sense to Western sensibilities which tend to think only in terms of nation-states, in reality, Saudi Arabia is influencing “views” on Islam.  After all, the desert kingdom is modeled after the principles of Islam arguably more than any other Muslim nation in the world.  Saudi society and politics are virtually synonymous with Islamic society and politics—or, in a word, Sharia.

Much of this has to do with the desert nation’s unique place in Islam: Muhammad and Islam were born in what is today “Saudi Arabia,” making Peninsular Arabs the descendants of Islam’s first Muslims, who conquered much of the post-Roman Christian world in the seventh century, transforming it into the Muslim, Arab-speaking world…Their Saudi descendants are not “Wahhabis”—a strawman term created by Saudi funded Western academics—but dedicated Muslims.   Walking in the footsteps of their Arabian forefathers and prophet, they seek to empower and spread Islam. That is, after all, the widely believed reason why Allah bestowed so much oil wealth beneath their feet: for them to use it to resuscitate Islam’s “glorious” heritage and their role as leaders.

The importance of Islam to Saudi Arabia — and vice-versa — is well captured on the website of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC: For centuries the people of the Arabian Peninsula have possessed a strong identity based upon the tenets of Islam. Saudi Arabia… adheres to Islam, honors its Arab heritage and tradition, and presses vigorously forward in the service of Islam… The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Islam, the birthplace of its history, the site of the two holy mosques and the focus of Islamic devotion and prayer. Saudi Arabia is committed to preserving the Islamic tradition in all areas of government and society….. The Holy Qur’an is the constitution of the Kingdom and Shari’ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system.

That Saudi Arabia’s identity is “based upon the tenets of Islam; ” that it “presses vigorously forward in the service of Islam,” and that the “Qur’an is the constitution of the Kingdom, and Shari’ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system” — should all make clear that the Saudi worldview is antithetical to the spirit of Western liberal education.

Capital punishment in the desert kingdom still takes place (as seen in this video of a hysterical woman being incrementally beheaded); child-marriage and slave-like conditions are rampant; “apostates” are persecuted and sometimes sentenced to death; churches and other non-Muslim houses of worship are strictly banned, and Christians quietly worshipping in their homes are regularly arrested, imprisoned and tortured. Saudi Arabia even has online a fatwa, an Islamic-sanctioned opinion — in Arabic only— entitled, “Duty to Hate Jews, Polytheists, and Other Infidels” (my translation here). It comes from the fatwa wing of the government, meaning it has the full weight of the government behind it. Written by Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999), former grand mufti and highest religious authority in the government, it still appears on the website…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]          

 

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MASSIVE MISSILE ATTACK ON ISRAEL AFTER QATAR FUNDS HAMAS

Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 13, 2018

Last week, as efforts were underway to achieve a new truce between Hamas and Israel, this author asked a legitimate and straightforward question: Can Hamas be trusted? The conclusion was that a real truce between Israel and Hamas can be achieved only after the Palestinian jihadi terrorists are removed from power, and not rewarded for violence and threats. Days later, Hamas itself provided proof as to why it cannot be trusted with any deal, including a truce.

Since yesterday, Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip have been firing hundreds of rockets into Israel. The current barrage began hours after Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli commandos inside the Gaza Strip, killing an Israeli officer and moderately wounding a soldier. In response, the Israeli army killed seven terrorists, including a top Hamas military commander — Sheikh Nur Baraka.

The Israeli commando unit was not inside the Gaza Strip to kill or kidnap anyone. They were there as part of a routine covert operation to foil terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups. The commandos, all the same, were attacked by Hamas terrorists who did try to kill or kidnap some of them. The soldiers of the elite Israeli unit managed to return to Israel under the cover of Israeli airstrikes called in to aid their exfiltration.

What is clear is that it was Hamas, not Israel, that initiated the armed clash with the Israeli force. It was Hamas that attacked the Israeli soldiers, killed the officer, and then rushed to accuse Israel of launching a “new aggression” against the Gaza Strip. When the Israeli soldiers tried to defend themselves and killed seven terrorists with return fire, Hamas accused Israel of committing a “despicable crime” against Palestinians.

It is worth noting that the Hamas attack on the Israeli commandos came hours after a Qatari envoy left the Gaza Strip. The Qatari official, Mohammed El-Amadi, had arrived in the Gaza Strip last week carrying suitcases stuffed with $15 million in cash. The money was delivered to Hamas leaders so that they could pay salaries to thousands of their employees in the Gaza Strip. The Qatari financial grant was delivered to the Gaza Strip with Israel’s approval. The Qatari envoy even entered the Gaza Strip through Israel’s Erez border crossing.

Why did Israel facilitate the transfer of the Qatari cash to the Gaza Strip? Israel has been — and still is — trying to avoid an all-out war with Hamas. Israel is not afraid of Hamas. Israel simply does not want the Palestinian civilians living under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip to pay another heavy price for the foolish acts of their leaders. Israel, in fact, has repeatedly expressed a desire to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians there.

In recent years, Israel has been actively working to support reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli measures include the upgrading of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza to more than 800 truckloads of building materials and other goods to enter Gaza on a daily basis, and facilitating the passage of more than 3.4 million tons of materials into Gaza since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. Earlier this year, Israel presented to the EU, US, UN, and the World Bank various projects that were approved by the Israeli government to develop infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, promote energy solutions and create employment opportunities for the Palestinians there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended last week’s deal with Qatar by saying it was aimed at preventing a “humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu said that he would do “whatever I can” to keep Israelis living in communities adjacent to the border with Gaza safe, while at the same time working to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Hamas took Qatar’s $15 million cash grant, paid its employees, and days later has resumed its terrorist attacks against Israel. This is Hamas’s way of saying thank you to the Qataris and Israelis who have been working hard to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip and avoid another war — one that is likely to cause more suffering to the two million Palestinians living there.

Hamas has clearly interpreted the goodwill gesture of Israel and Qatar as a sign of weakness. Hamas leaders have even gone on the record as saying that the $15 million grant was the “fruit” of the weekly violent riots that it has been organizing along the border with Israel since March. Shortly after the Qatari envoy delivered the grant to the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum used those very words: he boasted that the Palestinians were finally reaping the fruits of their violent protests along the Gaza-Israel border.

Hamas’s stance is reminiscent of its reaction to the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Then, Hamas and other Palestinians also interpreted the Israeli “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip — intended to give Gaza the chance to become a Singapore on the Mediterranean — as a sign of Israeli weakness and retreat. A few months later, Hamas even won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election — largely because it claimed that it had forced Israel to pull out of the Gaza Strip by conducting suicide bombings and rocket attacks. Hamas told Palestinians back then: vote for us because we drove the Jews out of the Gaza Strip through the armed struggle.

The renewed Hamas attacks on Israel serve as a reminder that the terrorist group is not interested in a real truce. Hamas wants millions of dollars paid to its employees so that it can continue to prepare for war with Israel while not having to worry about the welfare of its people. Qatar’s $15 million cash grant has failed to stop Hamas from launching hundreds of rockets into Israel. On the contrary, the money has only emboldened Hamas and increased its appetite to continue its jihad to eliminate Israel. All the money in the world will not convince Hamas to abandon its ideology or soften its position toward Israel…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]

 

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OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND SHOULD

ISRAEL AND GULF NATIONS COOPERATE                                                                 

Ellen R. Wald

 Arab News, Nov. 2, 2018

Events in Oman and the UAE this past week give us an opportunity to consider anew the relationship between Gulf countries and Israel, and particularly the potential for rapprochement and cooperation through the prism of the aspirations of the citizenry. The entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is preening for economic breakout — the promise that comes from an educated class and ambitious people. Gulf countries who choose to work with Israel could gain an advantage over those who do not. After all, Israel has the Middle East’s most dynamic economy, best higher education system and a cultural experience that aligns easily with the rest of the region.

In the last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman and an Israeli judo team competed in Abu Dhabi. The Israeli team celebrated the Jewish Sabbath in Abu Dhabi and, when two Israeli judokas won gold medals, the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, was played without incident. At the same time, Middle East events have reminded us all that we are foolish to deny the existence or sovereignty of another nation. We know that countries and populations need not approve of everything that happens in another country.

Egypt and Jordan have had peace and cooperation with Israel for 40 years and 24 years, respectively. Both Egypt and Jordan have benefited through the economic exchange most of all. Tourism from Israelis has been a success, and international visitors to Israel can now easily add side trips to Giza or Petra. There are other trade benefits as well. For instance, Israel supplies Egypt with natural gas, just as Israel would be a natural customer for Gulf region oil. Even now, Israel buys oil from Iraqi Kurds that is transported through Turkey. As Egypt, Jordan and other groups have benefited from relationships with Israel, Gulf countries could find even more opportunities.

Israel has the highest gross domestic product per capita in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, a G-20 country, has the largest economy in the region, and the Emirati economy is also slightly larger than Israel’s. However, according to the World Bank, Israel has the world’s 31st largest economy and the largest non-hydrocarbon economy in the Middle East. It is known globally for its tech industry. There was even a bestselling 2009 book about it called “Start-up Nation.” Israel is also a leader in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. By the start of this decade, Israel was the fourth-largest pharmaceutical exporter to the US, ahead of the UK, Canada, China and India. The partnership opportunities for Gulf businesses and engineers abound.

Israel is also home to several of the best universities in the Middle East, according to Times Higher Education. Israel has two universities listed in the top 250, four in the top 500, and six in the top 800. No other Middle Eastern country has as many universities so highly ranked. Moreover, in the last seven years the number of Arab (Palestinian) students at Israeli universities has grown by 78.5 percent, according to Israel’s Council for Higher Education. Today, 16.1 percent of students at Israeli universities are Arab (Palestinian), so the cooperation could be seamless. There is a great opportunity for the exchange of students and scholars in engineering, sciences, medicine and entrepreneurship…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]

 

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On Topic Links

Some ‘Modernizer’: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2, 2018—The modernizing rulers of the Arab Middle East date from the early 19th century, with Muhammad Ali of Egypt, who forcibly indentured the peasants of the Nile valley to farm cash crops, and Ahmad Bey of Tunisia, who in 1846 became the first Muslim ruler to abolish slavery.

The Unknown Turkish Refugee Crisis: Nikolaos Lampas, BESA, Nov. 1, 2018—According to data from the Greek Asylum Service, over the past two years, the number of asylum applicants from Turkey has grown from 189 in 2016 to 2,463 in August 2018. This represents an increase of approximately 1,300%. Moreover, according to Eurostat, approximately 25,000 Turkish citizens applied for asylum in European countries between 2016 and 2017.

Turkey Demands ‘Immediate End’ to Israeli Retaliatory Strikes: David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 13, 2018— The Turkish government demanded Israel end its air campaign in the Gaza Strip following a massive wave of rocket and mortar attacks from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.

Militarization of Mediterranean Rises with Exploration Disputes: Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Nov. 8, 2018— Tensions are rising quickly in the eastern Mediterranean over sharing hydrocarbon reserves in the area.

 

IDF CONFRONTS “UNSTABLE AND EXPLOSIVE” SITUATIONS IN GAZA AND SYRIA

Israel Has Reached Decision Time on Gaza: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Oct. 17, 2018 — Events in Gaza are moving quickly, and Israel has now reached a critical fork in the road with two main paths…

Putin May Not Want a Fight with Israel, But He May Get It: David J. Bercuson, National Post, Oct. 5, 2018— Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad can sleep a little better these days now that Russia has completed delivery of a new system of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

Russia and NATO Show War Games Aren’t Just Games: James Stavridis, Bloomberg, Sept. 6, 2018— Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad can sleep a little better these days now that Russia has completed delivery of a new system of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

Canada’s Fighter Jet Debacle: This is No Way to Run a Military: David Krayden, National Post, Oct. 3, 2018  — Last week the United States Marine Corps flew the F-35 joint strike fighter into combat for the first time.

On Topic Links

Israel’s All-Terrain EZRaiders Latest Law Enforcement Rage: David Israel, Jewish Press, Sept. 21, 2018

What Will the Next Israel-Hezbollah War Look Like?: Ehud Eilam, Israel Defense, Oct. 7, 2018

A Tale of A Lone Soldier: Ariel Rudolph, Jerusalem Online, Sept. 14, 2018

Two Junk Submarines, and Our Long Tradition of Terrible Military Procurements: Nima Karimi, National Post, Oct. 3, 2018

                            

ISRAEL HAS REACHED DECISION TIME ON GAZA                                                  

Yaakov Lappin

JNS, Oct. 17, 2018

Events in Gaza are moving quickly, and Israel has now reached a critical fork in the road with two main paths: a significant military escalation, which has the potential to gain momentum and turn into a broader armed conflict; or a long-term arrangement, designed to restore calm to the area.

Opinions in the security cabinet have been split on whether to give Egyptian mediation efforts more time to reach an arrangement with Hamas or whether to respond more forcefully to Hamas’s border attacks. Until the middle-of-the-night rocket attack that smashed a house in Beersheva into rubble, and which saw a second rocket head towards central Israel, it was easier for proponents of the mediation efforts to make their case.

The Israel Defense Forces had been able to largely contain the Hamas-organized border rioting, which included grenade and IED attacks, and Israeli cities were not under fire. The western Negev region, however, was under constant low-level Hamas attacks, including arson, incendiary balloons and border disturbances; life for local residents there has not been easy these past six months. Gaza’s civilians—trapped between endless feuding between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority—have seen their situation deteriorate considerably, and are on the verge of an economic and humanitarian crash.

Hamas thinks that by playing a game of dangerous brinkmanship and ramping up the pressure on Israel, Jerusalem will be more likely to enter into an arrangement that lifts security restrictions on Gaza. It is a gamble that could blow up in Hamas’s face. At 3:40 a.m. on Wednesday morning, sirens went off in Beersheva and changed the direction. The family inside the home narrowly averted a terrible fate, thanks to the alertness and quick thinking of a mother who rushed her family into a rocket-proof safe room. A major red line had been crossed, and an intelligence investigation had begun in Israel to figure out who crossed it.

Already, in the hours after the attack, the IDF indicated that it was linking Hamas, Gaza’s ruling regime, and the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second-largest faction in Gaza, to the attack. Hamas and PIJ were quick to deny any link to the rockets, even going so far as to describe it as “irresponsible.” The IDF seemed unimpressed. A military spokesman noted that the attackers launched mid-range, locally produced rockets that “are in possession of only two organizations in Gaza: Hamas and PIJ, which very much narrows it down.”

The spokesman said the military was less concerned about which organization launched the projectiles, noting that Hamas “bears full responsibility.” The Israeli Air Force then struck 20 Hamas targets across Gaza, including an offensive terror tunnel that crossed into Israel, tunnel-digging sites in Gaza and a maritime tunnel shaft on the Gazan coastline, designed to let Hamas commando cells head out to sea without being noticed. Additional targets destroyed by Israel included rocket and weapons’ factories.

But that response still falls into the normal Israeli retaliation pattern and indicates that Jerusalem had not yet taken a decision on whether to take things further or not. Factors that sway that decision include the results of the IDF’s intelligence investigation, which should shed more light on exactly who fired the rockets, the result of the Egyptian mediation efforts and the status of other key fronts, particularly the highly explosive northern arena, where Israel is busy trying to keep Iran out of Syria. If Israel can avoid having to deal with multiple active arenas at the same time, it would prefer to do so. It is not so clear that this can, however, be avoided. The IDF has drawn up responses for a range of scenarios, and would be ready to strike Hamas and PIJ more severely if it receives a directive from the government to do so.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has taken the unusual step of publicly announcing his conclusion that the time for talk has passed, and that all of Israel’s efforts to de-escalate the situation—by injecting essential goods into Gaza, like fuel and electricity—have failed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, following a military evaluation meeting that he took part in, that Israel “would act with great force”—a possible signal that Israel was not prepared to absorb the rocket fire and go back to business as usual.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas views Gaza as a rebel Islamist province that should be brought to its knees for splitting away from Ramallah’s rule. He has played his own role in blocking chances for a truce arrangement. Abbas has placed heavy economic sanctions on Gaza and refuses to act as a channel for international investment in Gaza’s civilian infrastructure until Hamas surrenders to him.

The result is a highly unstable, explosive situation that is teetering on the brink of escalation. The coming hours should reveal in which direction Gaza and Israel will go. If the result is conflict, then it will be one that Hamas and its allies brought upon the heads of the Gazan people.

As IDF Southern Command chief, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said, “Hamas pretends to govern in Gaza, and tells the Gazan population that it seeks to improve their lives. However, in reality, Hamas specializes in riots at the border fence and in using explosive devices, incendiary and explosive balloons, and, as we saw last night, rockets. Hamas worsens the lives of ordinary Gazans.”

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          PUTIN MAY NOT WANT A FIGHT WITH ISRAEL, BUT HE MAY GET IT                                                 David J. Bercuson                                                                                                                                   National Post, Oct. 5, 2018

Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad can sleep a little better these days now that Russia has completed delivery of a new system of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. These missiles replace an obsolete system of S-200 missiles that Syria has operated for some time. The S-200s have proven useless in deterring or defeating Israeli air strikes aimed at Iranian military installations in Syria and at Syrian transfer of advanced weapons to its client, Hezbollah, based mainly in Lebanon. The sale — objected to by both Israel and the United States — came in the wake of the destruction of a Russian reconnaissance aircraft by Syria’s older anti-aircraft missiles, which were actually aimed at Israeli fighter-bombers raiding Syria but which brought down the Russian aircraft instead.

The sale of the S-300 missiles to Syria is an important step both in the deterioration of Russian-Israeli relations and in the slide to an even greater regional conflict, perhaps one as significant as the 1973 October War, during which Egypt (now at peace with Israel) and Syria attacked Israel and initiated an almost month-long conflict that almost drew in the Soviet Union and the United States. This sale, therefore, might prove to be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most serious foreign policy mistake.

During the still-ongoing Syrian civil war, Iran backed the Syrian regime alongside Russia and Hezbollah. When Russia began to mount an intensive air campaign against the Syrian rebels, danger arose that clashes might occur between Russian and Israeli aircraft (this same danger existed between NATO aircraft bombing ISIL targets in Syria and Russian aircraft). In both cases protocols and secret communications networks were set up to allow NATO, Israel and Russia to avoid confrontations in the air. Why were the Israeli aircraft attacking targets in Syria? Not to intervene in the civil war, but to attack Iranian military installations that began to appear in Assad’s territory, and to continue to intervene in the transfer from the Syrian military to Hezbollah of sophisticated weapons systems.

The installation of the new Russian missiles sets up a variety of dangerous possibilities. If Russian missiles (presumably operated by Russian military personnel) begin to shoot at Israeli aircraft, the Israeli air force will undoubtedly attack the missile sites and possibly kill or injure members of the Russian military. The protocols that have allowed the two nations to operate in the same airspace will then break down, possibly triggering more clashes. No one can say whether the new Russian missiles are capable of bringing down the upgraded Israeli F-16 fighter bombers generally used by the IAF, or even the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that Israel is known to be operating in the skies over Syria.

If so, the propaganda coup for Russia will be immense, as will its arms sales to nations that might find themselves on the wrong end of F-35 strikes. If not, the opposite effect will occur — the S-300 will be shown to be ineffective against either the very advanced Israeli F-16s or their F-35s. That would mean political embarrassment to Russia and, no doubt, make it harder for them to sell their new missiles. It is virtually certain that Israel will not stop its air attacks, no matter what.

The other outcome, even more disturbing, would be United States intervening on Israel’s behalf to help the Israelis cope with the S-300s or to protect the reputation of the F-35 fighter, which has now been ordered — and in some cases delivered — to at least nine NATO nations aside from the United States.

So what can account for Putin’s decision to deploy the missiles? Perhaps it is this: there has been so much Russian intervention to save Assad’s regime, that the Russian Federation is now drawn deeper into Syria than was even the case in the days of the old Soviet Union. Back then the U.S.S.R. was not only an ally and major military supplier to Syria, but it was also an implacable foe of Israel. In the early 1970s, Israeli and Soviet aircraft even clashed in the skies near the Suez Canal. In trying to balance a live-and-let-live arrangement with Israel against protecting his now vassal state of Syria, perhaps Putin has decided to let Israel go.

Now that Assad, full of “his” military victory over the rebels, has announced that his next goal is to wrest the Golan Heights back from Israel (which captured that area in 1967), the Russians are in danger of being dragged into a far more serious and much more dangerous situation than they have been in in Georgia or even in eastern Ukraine.                              Contents

   

RUSSIA AND NATO SHOW WAR GAMES AREN’T JUST GAMES                                                                   James Stavridis

                                                Bloomberg, Sept. 6, 2018

Over the coming weeks, both NATO and Russia will launch a series of super-high-end war games. These games are hardly for fun — rather, they are deadly serious practice sessions for hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of combat aircraft, and flotillas of combat ships. While no one will die (other than by accident, a not uncommon occurrence in such exercises), the messages going back and forth are crystal clear: We are prepared for war.

Russia’s exercise is called Vostok — which means “east” — and will be held principally east of the Ural Mountains. It is the largest military exercise by Russia since Soviet times (in 1981) and will deploy 300,000 troops and more than 1,000 military aircraft. Of note, China will participate with thousands of its troops operating alongside the Russians (there will also be a token contingent of troops from Mongolia, which has been a partner to both Russia and NATO at times).

The message to the West is obvious: Russia and China might work together militarily against NATO in the East or the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific. The futuristic novel “Ghost Fleet” by Peter Singer and August Cole gives an excellent description of a high-tech war that begins unexpectedly in the Pacific with Russia and China allied against the U.S. These war games provide a preview of that sort of military activity could look like — and it should be very worrisome to U.S. planners.

NATO will conduct its own huge military exercise, named Trident Juncture 2018. It will take place on the northern borders of the alliance and will involve 40,000 troops from all 29 nations, a couple of hundred aircraft and dozens of warships. While not as spectacularly large as Russia’s Vostok, it will serve as a “graduation exercise” for NATO’s new Spearhead Force, a serious, highly mobile capability that can put NATO combat troops into the Baltic states to repulse a Russian invasion within a matter of days.

Led by a highly motivated Italian unit that could be fully ready to fight in 48 hours, the spearhead force also includes Dutch and Norwegian forces. Advance word says the exercise will include a mock invasion of Norway by U.S. Marines. This robust event is part of a vast improvement over the anemic states of readiness in NATO just a decade ago.

Of note, two high-capability militaries that are not NATO members, but are close coalition partners — Sweden and Finland — will participate. When I was supreme allied commander of NATO a few years ago, I deeply admired the professionalism and military excellence of both nations, which participated with NATO in many global operations. The Russians are deeply concerned about the possibility of Sweden and Finland considering NATO membership, and their involvement in Trident Juncture will stoke those fears in Moscow. All of this means tension and the possibility of miscalculation. We should pay particular attention to four key elements of these very serious games.

First, we need to recognize that there are internal messages working here on both sides. In the Russian case (and especially from the perspective of President Vladimir Putin), the games signal the high capability and professionalism of the nation’s troops. This builds on the patriotic pride that was created by the invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, and is a signal to the general population that their military is more than capable of holding on to those gains. As for NATO, the message is similar, and directed toward the front-line states that border Russia — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Norway — and NATO partners Finland and Sweden. In the West, the message is one of capability and credibility — a willingness to fight if necessary.

Second, the role of China is nuanced. The Russian games were originally conceived as a deterrent not to NATO, but to China. Let’s face it: China, with its vastly larger population and need for economic growth, looks at the vast, natural-resource-rich tracts of Siberia the way a dog looks at a rib-eye steak. Yet a growing nationalism on the part of President Xi Jinping and unease over the Donald Trump administration’s hawkish policies on trade has China looking to develop a stronger relationship with Moscow. And Russia, frustrated with the antipathy of the U.S. (driven these days not by the White House but by Congress) is willing to draw nearer to China. While the longer-term relationship is fraught, it is a partnership (and a war game) of convenience at the moment.

Third, there is real military improvement that stems from such exercises. Pushing the European allies and Canada to deploy troops allows an increase in military interoperability on many fronts: technical synchronization of radio communications; alignment of targeting from different nations’ aircraft (a significant challenge in the NATO Libyan operation, for example); highly complex anti-submarine warfare operations; and multi-unit infantry and armor maneuver. All of these are challenging, and practice will make both sides much closer to perfect…

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

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CANADA’S FIGHTER JET DEBACLE: THIS IS NO WAY TO RUN A MILITARY

David Krayden

National Post, Oct. 3, 2018

Last week the United States Marine Corps flew the F-35 joint strike fighter into combat for the first time. That same day, one of the fighters also set a first: crashing in South Carolina — fortunately without the loss of life. As military aviators would remark, crap happens (or words to that effect). The state-of-the-art fighter jet first flew as a prototype in 2006 and has been flying with the United States Air Force since 2011. The Royal Air Force in the U.K. also uses the F-35. And just this year, in a moment of sheer historical irony, the Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of its first F-35s.

Why irony? Because just as Australia was welcoming its new jets to its defence inventory, Canada was at the doorstep begging for Australia’s used F-18s. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan had come calling because politics had again intervened in Canada’s storied but sorry defence procurement planning. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, not knowing what to do with the obsolescent CF-18s — ordered by his father in the late 1970s for a 1982 delivery — had been musing about buying some Super Hornets from Boeing but had decided not to in a peevish fit of trade retaliation.

Of course the Super Hornets were only a “stop-gap” measure anyway, as both Trudeau and Sajjan emphasized. The contract to replace the entire fleet of aging CF-18s would be delayed again because Trudeau did not want to buy the previous Conservative government’s fighter replacement choice: the F-35. But there’s an additional irony here. The F-35 was not just the choice of the Harper government. It was initially selected by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien. The primary reason: interoperability with our primary allies. The U.S., U.K. and Australia would all be buying the F-35 so it just made sense.

I was working at the House of Commons at the time for the Official Opposition defence critic, who thought the decision to participate in the development, and eventually, the procurement of the F-35, was a refreshing but rare moment of common-sense, non-political defence planning on the part of the government.

It seemed the Liberals really didn’t want a repeat of the fiasco that surrounded the EH-101 helicopter, the maritime patrol and search and rescue helicopter that the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney had selected after an assiduous military assessment. The chopper was dubbed a “Cadillac” by Chrétien in 1993 and quickly cancelled when he won the election. This cost Canada millions in cancellation fees for backing out of the project, and then the Liberals ultimately purchased the same aircraft for search and rescue — now rebranded as “Cormorants.” They remain in service today.

This kind of debacle couldn’t be allowed to happen again with the F-35. But it did. And it is. And it seems it always has. In many NATO countries, national defence is a bipartisan or nonpartisan issue. Any cursory examination of Australian and British defence policy over the past five decades will reveal that no matter the party in power — ie: Liberal/Conservative or Labour — defence policy remains constant. Of course the defence departments are subordinate to the government of the day, but those governments don’t use defence as a political tool to punish the opposition.

In Canada, the Liberals and Conservatives work together as well — but often in the worst interests of Canadian Armed Forces. The F-35, again, illustrates that point. The previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper pointedly supported the acquisition of the F-35, but dithered over three terms because Harper thought the expenditure might erode his voter support.

Ironically, it was NDP leader Thomas Mulcair who was the most vocal proponent of the F-35 during the marathon 2015 federal election campaign. Had Harper been re-elected, I don’t believe the Royal Canadian Air Force would be looking at new fighter jets to fly or even the contract to manufacture them. But he wasn’t re-elected. Justin Trudeau is the prime minister, and our next generation of fighter aircraft is still nowhere in sight. The entire fleet of CF-18s is approaching absolute retirement age and that won’t be changed by the absurd plan to buy Australia’s used aircraft while our allies take delivery of planes that Canada was — in a fit of judicious, nonpartisan planning — eyeing decades ago. It really is no way to run a military, but there’s no end in sight.

 

Contents 

On Topic Links

Israel’s All-Terrain EZRaiders Latest Law Enforcement Rage: David Israel, Jewish Press, Sept. 21, 2018—The EZRaider is presented by its maker, Israeli startup company DSRaider, as a breakthrough vehicle in a new category all by itself in all-terrain riding, allowing the user complete control with minimum training.

What Will the Next Israel-Hezbollah War Look Like?: Ehud Eilam, Israel Defense, Oct. 7, 2018—Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy and a non-state organization based in Lebanon, had fought the IDF in the 1980s and mostly in the 1990s when the Israeli military was deployed in Lebanon. In 2006, the two sides clashed again, for 34 days, a war that ended in a kind of a tie. They might fight again because of escalation or if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, following an Iranian attempt to produce a nuclear weapon.

A Tale of A Lone Soldier: Ariel Rudolph, Jerusalem Online, Sept. 14, 2018—M. was born in Israel but after her parents divorced, when she was six years old, her mother left Israel and M. grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. She completely identified with her Israeli roots and maintained contact with her Israeli peers, visited Israel occasionally and associated with the Jewish community in England.

Two Junk Submarines, and Our Long Tradition of Terrible Military Procurements: Nima Karimi, National Post, Oct. 3, 2018—It was recently discovered that Canada (apparently Transport Canada) has expressed interest in purchasing a surveillance drone from Germany. This, however, as David Pugliese reports, is no ordinary drone: not only is it second-hand, it is also severely gutted, “without many core components it needs to fly.”

 

HAMAS-BACKED, ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTS, ROCKET FIRE, AND “FIRE KITES” CONTINUE IN GAZA

Truce or War: Hamas’s Bipolar Rule in Gaza: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, July 14, 2018— Several hundred Palestinians participated in clashes at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip last Friday…

Scorched Earth and International Law: Michael Cotler-Wunsh, Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2018— The last few months have given rise to the return of a historical military strategy known as “scorched earth,”…

‘Pay to Slay’ and Why the ‘Occupation’ Continues: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, July 9, 2018 — To Israel’s critics, there really is only one issue to discuss with respect to the conflict with the Palestinians: the “occupation.”

Palestinian Sovereignty after Abbas: Dr. Alex Joffe, BESA, July 13, 2018— “Après moi, le deluge” – a form of blackmail – has a long and ignoble history in international affairs.

On Topic Links

Netanyahu Visits Arson-Ravaged Gaza Border, Warns of a ‘Protracted Stuggle’: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, July 16, 2018

How to Report on the Next War in Gaza: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, July 11, 2018

Economics Won’t Help. The Palestinians Will Continue with Terror Attacks: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, JCPA, July 10, 2018

Oslo is Obsolete: Time for a Victory Mindset: Gideon Saar, Jerusalem Post, July 06, 2018

 

TRUCE OR WAR: HAMAS’S BIPOLAR RULE IN GAZA                                             

Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, July 14, 2018

Several hundred Palestinians participated in clashes at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip last Friday, the remnants of the so-called “March of Return” demonstrations, which at times advocated for Palestinian refugees’ return to their homes — in Israel, of course — and at other times pressed for breaking Israel’s “blockade” of Gaza. Hamas is putting considerable time, energy, and money into keeping up a presence at these demonstrations, even though the number of participants has been steadily decreasing.

As the clashes went ahead, thousands of Gaza residents went to the Gaza beach, simply to enjoy themselves on family outings, just like old times. Gaza’s coast is unsafe for bathing due to pollution, but many people went into the water anyway to cool off from the oppressive July heat — an attempt at normalcy in one of the least normal places in the region, or on Earth.

Gaza is a place where poverty, with its accompanying economic and humanitarian hardships, is only growing more severe — a place that gets only four hours of electricity per day followed by a 16-hour blackout. Ice cream and even cold water are in short supply because there is insufficient power to keep them cold. The generator-powered elevators in high-rise buildings only operate on the hour and are idle the rest of the time. Of the water that flows through the pipes only once every five days, approximately 97 percent is undrinkable. Almost every home in Gaza has a device for filtering and improving the water that comes from the faucets.

These are only small examples of the mad state of things in the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s bipolar nature is also evident in bigger issues: Hamas, the terror organization that controls Gaza and seeks Israel’s destruction, has been intermittently working in recent weeks to keep things relatively calm with the Jewish state, even amid periodic escalations of rocket fire and endless fire kites and incendiary balloons flown into and burning the fields of southern Israel. It has also been intermittently trying to reach a long-term cease-fire agreement with Israel, even as it continues to dig terror tunnels and produce long-range rockets.

While ever howling of “hardship” and “the blockade,” Hamas consistently chooses to spend its funds on its terror infrastructure rather than investing in the population. Examples of this abound, from the enormous budget of its military wing to its collection of money from Gaza’s residents to fund its ongoing military activity. A classic example is recent events at the Rafah border crossing.

For some time, the Egyptians have been bringing through the Rafah crossing merchandise and products that they previously barred from entering Gaza, such as construction materials, fuels and other products. Approximately 30 million liters of diesel fuel, supposedly intended for Gaza’s power station, have been brought in since the beginning of the year. Hamas buys the diesel fuel from Egypt, but instead of using it all to fuel the station and produce more hours of electricity per day, it has been using some of the diesel fuel to make a profit. Of the 30 million liters, 17.8 million were taken to Gaza’s power station. Another 12.2 million liters were either sold on the black market to those willing to pay the maximum price for it, or diverted for Hamas’s military purposes. Hamas makes a profit of NIS 2.5 on every liter of diesel fuel sold in Gaza.

The Rafah border crossing has become Hamas’s most significant economic lifeline. It has been open for 70 days since the beginning of the year, compared to only 36 days throughout the whole of last year (This is partly the result of the dramatically improved security situation in Sinai). Hamas collects a tax on all merchandise that enters through the Rafah border crossing, unlike at the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel, where the taxes go to the Palestinian Authority.

Two large companies are in charge of the transport of merchandise. On the Egyptian side, the company in charge is Ibna’a Sina’a (The Sons of Sinai), and has ties with the Egyptian security forces. On the Palestinian side, the company in charge is Multitrade, a company that has ties with Hamas. If a Palestinian merchant wants to bring merchandise into Gaza, he must pay close to $5,000 per truck. He must also pay both companies for unloading and loading the stock. In this way, each kilogram of merchandise brings more and more revenue to Hamas’s dwindling coffers. Here it must be added that Hamas is dealing with a severe budgetary problem, even if taking into account Iran’s willingness to provide it with financial aid — a willingness that is once more uncertain due to the economic sanctions that have been imposed upon Iran.

Anyone in Israel who hopes that these measures by Hamas, which every Gazan is aware of, will lead to unrest or demonstrations against the terror group, is bound to be disappointed. According to polls in Gaza, most of the residents believe the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas are primarily responsible for the situation in Gaza, followed by the “occupation” — meaning Israel, which has no presence in Gaza — and only then Hamas, which controls Gaza.

The question, even before Friday night’s escalation, is where all this is leading, and whether another major conflict is around the corner. Hamas has been exerting quite a bit of effort to let Israel know it has no interest in open conflict. On the other hand, it is doubtful that Hamas will maintain this trend if the humanitarian situation directs public anger in its direction…

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

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SCORCHED EARTH AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

Michael Cotler-Wunsh

Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2018

The last few months have given rise to the return of a historical military strategy known as “scorched earth,” in which approximately 100 fires have ravaged and devastated hundreds of acres of the State of Israel, in particular in agricultural communities along the Gaza border. An hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, devastating fires have been set ablaze by balloons and kites flown over the border that have destroyed thousands of acres of fields, forests and wildlife.

Judging from recent events, it seems that the war of attrition launched against the nascent State of Israel in 1948 has not ended, only morphed. The commitment to its destruction has not vanished, only mutated. Enacting the age-old adage “Plus ca change, plus c’est la même chose,” it seems that those that did not accept the legitimacy of a Jewish homeland in the ancestral home of the Jewish people still do not, and are committed to its destruction utilizing any and all means to achieve their goal.

Ironically, the hope for finding a solution and of realizing the centuries-old dream of peace, persuaded many to adopt a paradigm that would enable a “way out.” According to this well-meaning, responsibility-taking paradigm, it was the results of the Six Day War (launched in a surprise, well-planned campaign by five neighboring Arab countries in 1967) that rendered Israel responsible for the terms and conditions of a much-coveted peace. If only Israel would withdraw from areas that it “conquered” in the aftermath of that war, there would be peace. If only there was a “two-state solution,” Palestinians would no longer carry out murderous attacks against Jews. Living under “occupation” resulted in “understandable” violent reactions according to this narrative, and “settlers” were vilified as the barrier to peace, the root of all evil. Herein lies the paradox. The adoption of this narrative actually fueled Israel’s hope, in keeping with millennia of Jewish tradition, that there is a chance to realize the dream of peace with its neighbors.

With all the incredible progress our world has made in the last century, including Israel’s contributions, despite the advances in health research, desalination of water, production of food, global online resources in education, that harbor the potential of improving the human condition, it seems that the machinery of hate and war has remained the same. Rearing its ugly head, recreating itself and holding the world back from genuine progress, it is a sad reminder of human inability to comprehend the repetition of history and recognize real threats as they arise.

Despite seeming progress, tactics of destruction and strategies of devastation reappear with ever so slight modifications or variations. Close and long-range missiles threaten and are launched into Israel, forcing it to develop self-defense systems such as Iron Dome to protect its civilian population; underground terror tunnels are dug into the country below external borders threatening individuals and communities, forcing Israel to develop technologies that address tunnel warfare; and now, in a cynical abuse of kids’ toys and joy, terror balloons and kites are utilized in an old-new version of scorched-earth practice, destroying decades of hard work, amazing achievement and dreams of a better future.

Once again, thousands of Israeli civilians, men, women and children, are living under daily threat and trauma. Doing the only thing that can be done against the terrorism that seeks to instill fear and paralyze them, they work, shop, write exams, drop kids off at camp or school, doing their utmost to lead a semblance of normal life. In these heroic daily acts that should be understood and acknowledged as such, they are fighting terrorists by denying them the victory of instilling anxiety and dread. Hundreds of volunteers show their support by doing the only thing they can, showing up in solidarity and working with brave firefighters day and night, to minimize the damage and save what can be saved.

In defiant breach of international law, fires are ravaging Israel daily. It is noteworthy that this strategy of destroying the food and water supply of the civilian population in an area of conflict is banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions. The relevant passage states: “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.”

The past few months have brought many civilians to the very area that is burning, along the Gaza border, for a gathering that highlights the unacceptable breach of international law and offers much the same clarity as to the enemy that Israel faces. Week after week, we gather to demand the return of the remains of Hadar Goldin, abducted and murdered by Hamas, the very same terrorist organization responsible for the implementation of the scorched-earth strategy. In a cynical abuse of the humanitarian ceasefire, under the auspices of the UN and brokered by the US in the “last blast from the warfare past” in the form of underground tunnels. In a cynical abuse of the understanding of the sanctity of life, and in violation of international law, they have been holding Goldin’s remains for four years. Week after week, en route to the gathering, the heartbreaking changeover from green to black can be seen, the demoralizing smoke in the air can be smelled. Week after week, we continue to go, recognizing the importance of standing together in solidarity, and of understanding and sensing reality…

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

                                                                       

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‘PAY TO SLAY’ AND WHY THE ‘OCCUPATION’ CONTINUES           

Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, July 9, 2018

To Israel’s critics, there really is only one issue to discuss with respect to the conflict with the Palestinians: the “occupation.” For them, Israel’s presence in the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem—the territories it gained as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War—is an outrage. The fact that Israel has not retreated from these lands, irrespective of any discussion of its rights, history or the potential consequences, remains the sole salient fact about the conflict.

So it’s not terribly surprising that the attempts by both the United States and Israel to pass laws forcing the Palestinian Authority to stop paying subsidies to terrorists and pensions to their families hasn’t persuaded foes of the Jewish state to reverse their thinking. They don’t even seem to consider what Abbas’s Fatah and its Hamas rivals are doing to ensure that peace hasn’t broken out, let alone to stop complaining about the “occupation.”

Yet those who put the lion’s share for the continuation of the conflict on Israel, the Netanyahu government and American supporters really should pay more attention to the facts on the ground. The Knesset passed legislation last week that forced the government to withhold transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in proportion to the amounts that Ramallah pays to terrorists imprisoned in Israel, as well as in pensions to the families of those who have committed acts of terror. This so-called “pay to slay” act is a potentially devastating blow to the P.A. since it receives nearly half of the $5.2 billion it spends every year from taxes collected for it by Israeli authorities. This comes after the U.S. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act back in March, which would similarly withhold U.S. aid to the P.A. if it continues subsidizing terrorism.

But the potential loss of so much money hasn’t moved the P.A. to even discuss halting the flow of funds to terrorists and their families. In 2018, it will spend about $360 million, approximately 7 percent of all of its revenues, on the various “heroes and martyrs” funds that go to those who kill or wound Israelis, or seek to do so. On Sunday, P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas reiterated this stand, saying that nothing would interfere with this practice.

To the Palestinians, this is not merely social-welfare spending for an estimated 35,000 families; it is also a matter of patriotism. The PLO—the parent group of the authority that Abbas rules despotically—has been doing this since it came into existence in 1965. The fact that this predates the “occupation” of the West Bank by two years should serve as a hint to observers as to the true cause of the conflict. But the point here is that the P.A. is not shy about saying why “pay to slay” is integral to what it means to be a Palestinian. Abbas and his Fatah Party, as well as Hamas, sees those who get the money as carrying out the national will of the Palestinian people. They believe these “heroes and martyrs” have every right to “resist” the presence of Jews on any part of the land on which the two peoples live.

That is why we need to ask Israel’s critics what it is they are actually protesting when they talk about the “occupation.” To those who see the existence of a Jewish state on any part of the territory between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea as a wrong that should be righted, it doesn’t really matter what the Palestinians do. If you think Israel shouldn’t exist and that Zionism is a racist crime, then all Palestinian acts of “resistance”—up to and including the most bestial acts of terrorism and mass murder—is both understandable and justified. If “occupation” means all of Israel, which is how the most Palestinians consider any land over which Jews have sovereignty, then there’s nothing really to talk about.

Along with Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, that’s also the perspective of groups that oppose Zionism elsewhere, including the United States. Their concern about the “occupation” isn’t a protest about West Bank settlements. Supporters of BDS and opponents of Zionism, like the Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow groups, are similarly either indifferent to or opposed to Israel’s continued existence, and therefore just as uninterested in Palestinian terror…

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

 

Contents

   

PALESTINIAN SOVEREIGNTY AFTER ABBAS

Dr. Alex Joffe

BESA, July 13, 2018

Après moi, le deluge” – a form of blackmail – has a long and ignoble history in international affairs. Fomenting chaos and touting one’s own regime as the only possible safeguard is a basic policy tool of Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas. Internationalization of the conflict is another traditional tool. But what happens to the idea of Palestinian sovereignty when those two conflict?

Abbas is 82 years old and, as we are frequently reminded by Abbas himself, in poor health. His increasingly frequent hospitalizations are a reminder that his era of pseudo-stability will soon end. That pseudo-stability takes this form: the Israeli security apparatus keeps Hamas at bay in the West Bank, allowing Abbas to crack down on his rivals; and in exchange, the PA does not support a full-fledged uprising, only terrorism by individuals. The probability of chaos, in the form of Hamas efforts to take over the West Bank or factional warfare between “security services,” is very real.

What will not end is the century-old Palestinian tradition of demanding that the international community take responsibility for the conflict, provide material support, and guarantee a political outcome that is favorable to them. This is done continually in international fora like the UN and through the mechanisms of UNRWA, lawfare, and the international BDS movement. The Palestinians demand that they set the agenda and that the international community provide the muscle and the cash. Reciprocal demands are trivial and lip service only, such as an “end to incitement.” Even so, without fanfare, Palestinian sovereignty, or the promise thereof, is compromised.

The myth of indispensability is an old trick pioneered by the rais himself, Yasser Arafat. Abbas’s brinksmanship trades on the promise of his own mortality to extract material support from Europe and the US, much of which is then stolen, with full knowledge of the donors, by the PA. Abbas’s repeated threats to dissolve the PA are also in line with this strategy. Apparently only he can simultaneously blackmail donors with the threat of uncontrolled violence and ensure that violence is limited through payoffs.

Similarly, threats of violent leadership contests between old-time Fatah members such as Muhammad Dahlan and Marwan Barghouthi, or between nascent strongmen such as Jibril Rajoub, former head of preventive security in the West Bank, and Majid Faraj, chief of general intelligence, have been long discussed. The implicit promise to the West is, to paraphrase an apocryphal statement by US President Lyndon Johnson, they are bastards but at least they’ll be our bastards. Of course, selecting among future blackmailers is no easy task, for Palestinians or the West.

But these internal Palestinian battles have another context – an international one. For one thing, they are funded by the international community and by Arab states through support to the PA. For another, the PA is always demanding that the international community uncritically support it and its political positions. Internationalization of the conflict, by generating antipathy towards Zionists, Israel, and Jews, has been a Palestinian strategy for a century. Third, no Palestinian leader is truly independent. All have become tools of larger movements, from Hajj Amin Husseini onward.

Through the very act of demanding international support, Palestinians long ago lost international leadership of their own issue as Arab and Muslim regimes have used it to rally their own societies and, along with the Soviet bloc (and now the global red-green alliance), to create a wedge against the West. But where does all of this leave the idea of Palestinian sovereignty? By choice and by default, there has never actually been any, nor do Palestinian political elites promise any. The future shape of their own society has been out of their hands for decades. The pattern continues today. By internationalizing the conflict, Palestinian elites demand solutions imposed from outside on their own impossible terms, but settle for payoffs from donors unwilling to exercise their leverage…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Netanyahu Visits Arson-Ravaged Gaza Border, Warns of a ‘Protracted Stuggle’: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, July 16, 2018—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday paid a visit near the Gaza border — an area whose residents saw hundreds of rockets and mortar shells fired at them over the weekend and endured months of fires set by Palestinian incendiary kites and balloons — warning Israel was in a “protracted struggle.”

How to Report on the Next War in Gaza: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, July 11, 2018—After Hamas spent months repeatedly attacking Israel’s border with Gaza, including dispatching fiery kites that consumed 2,260 acres of land—that’s just about three Central Parks laid to waste—Israel responded this week by shutting the Kerem Shalom crossing, banning anything save for food and medicine.

Economics Won’t Help. The Palestinians Will Continue with Terror Attacks: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, JCPA, July 10, 2018—The ostensible connection between the Palestinian economy and terrorism is now taking center stage in discussions about the Palestinians.

Oslo is Obsolete: Time for a Victory Mindset: Gideon Saar, Jerusalem Post, July 06, 2018—Finding a solution to any conflict or disagreement between two sides demands the will and mutual understanding. It cannot be accomplished unilaterally.

 

 

WESTERN MEDIA PLAYS INTO HAMAS’ PROPAGANDA AND “DEAD BABY STRATEGY”

Why Does the Media Keep Encouraging Hamas Violence?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, May 17, 2018— If this were the first time that Hamas deliberately provoked Israel into self-defense actions that resulted in the unintended deaths of Gaza civilians, the media could be excused for playing into the hands of Hamas.

The Media War on Palestinian Agency: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, May 14, 2018— Palestinian Arabs are human beings, which means they are possessed of free will, agency, and the natural capacity to reason like any other people.

Media Goes Wild in Anti-Trump, Anti-Israel Fervor: Ben Shapiro, The Hill, May 15, 2018 — On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran with another of its desperate appeals for circulation.

Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy: Matti Friedman, New York Times, May 16, 2018— During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story.

 

On Topic Links

‘Canada Would Do Exactly the Same Thing’: Israel’s Deputy Minister Defends Gaza Border Violence (Interview): CBC, May 16, 2018

Guardian Editorial on Gaza Perfectly Shows the Media’s Anti-Israel Bias and Hatred: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 16, 2018

Hamas Official: Majority of Palestinians Killed in Violent Protests are Our Men: IPT News, May 16, 2018

Why Is Hamas So Interested in Palestinian Deaths?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, May 16, 2018

 

WHY DOES THE MEDIA KEEP ENCOURAGING HAMAS VIOLENCE?

Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, May 17, 2018

 

If this were the first time that Hamas deliberately provoked Israel into self-defense actions that resulted in the unintended deaths of Gaza civilians, the media could be excused for playing into the hands of Hamas. The most recent Hamas provocations — having 40,000 Gazans try to tear down the border fence and enter Israel with Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons — are part of a repeated Hamas tactic that I have called the “dead baby strategy.” Hamas’ goal is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible so that the headlines always begin, and often end, with the body count. Hamas deliberately sends women and children to the front line, while their own fighters hide behind these human shields.

Hamas leaders have long acknowledged this tactic. Fathi Hammad, a Hamas Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated as far back as 2008: “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘we desire death like you desire life.'”

Hamas used this tactic to provoke two wars with Israel in which their fighters fired rockets from civilian areas, including hospitals, schools and mosques. When Israel responded, it tried its best to avoid civilian casualties, dropping warning leaflets, calling residents of potential targets and dropping non-lethal noise bombs on the roofs of houses that were being used to launch rockets and store explosives. Inevitably, some civilians were killed, and the media blamed Israel for these deaths, despite the precautions it had taken. The same was true when Hamas built terror tunnels used to kidnap Israeli civilians. The entrances to these tunnels were in civilian areas as well, including mosques and schools. Using their own civilians as human shields, while targeting Israeli civilians, is a double war crime. Yet, the media generally focuses on Israel’s reaction to these war crimes, rather than Hamas’ war crimes.

The cruel reality is that every time Israel accidentally kills a Gaza civilian, Israel loses. And every time Israel kills a Gaza civilian, Hamas wins. Israelis grieve every civilian death its army accidentally causes. Hamas benefits from every death Israel accidentally causes. That is why it encourages its women and children to become martyrs. Calling this the “dead baby strategy” may seem cruel, because it is cruel. But don’t blame the messenger for accurately describing this tactic. Blame those who cynically use it. And blame the media for playing into the hands of those who use it by reporting only the body count and not the deliberate Hamas tactic that leads to one-sided body counts.

It is true that Gaza is in a desperate situation and that it is wounded. But the wound is self-inflicted. When Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip — removing every single soldier and settler — Gaza could have become the Singapore of the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful area with a large seacoast. It received infusions of cash and other help from Europe. Israel left behind agricultural equipment and greenhouses. But instead of using these resources to feed, house and educate its citizens, Hamas built rockets and terror tunnels. It threw dissenters off roofs and murdered members of the Palestinian Authority who were willing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it.

Hamas rejects the two-state solution or any solution that leaves Israel intact. Its only solution is violence, and the events at the fence these past days are a manifestation of that violence. Would any country in the world allow 40,000 people, sworn to its destruction, to knock down a border fence and attack its citizens living peacefully near the border? Of course not. Could Israel have done more to reduce casualties among those trying to breach the border fence? I don’t know, and neither do the legions of armchair generals that are currently criticizing Israel for the steps it took to prevent a catastrophe among the residents of villages and towns that are proximate to the border fence.

One thing is crystal-clear: Hamas will continue to use the dead baby strategy as long as the media continues to report the deaths in the manner in which it has reported them in recent weeks. Many in the media are complicit in these deaths because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line. Perhaps Israel could do a better job in defending its civilians, but it is certain that the media can do a better job in accurately reporting the Hamas strategy that results in so many innocent deaths.

There is a marvelous cartoon that illustrates the difference between Hamas and Israel. It shows an Israeli soldier standing in front of a baby carriage with a baby in it, shielding the baby. Then it shows a Hamas terrorist standing behind a baby carriage with the baby in it, using the baby to shield him. This cartoon better illustrates the reality that is occurring at the Gaza fence than most of the “objective” reporting by the media.

Contents

THE MEDIA WAR ON PALESTINIAN AGENCY

Sohrab Ahmari

Commentary, May 14, 2018

Palestinian Arabs are human beings, which means they are possessed of free will, agency, and the natural capacity to reason like any other people. This basic, incontestable anthropological reality needs to be frequently restated today since our media and foreign-policy establishment has apparently concluded the opposite. The latest media assault on Palestinian agency came Monday, as Israelis celebrated the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, while Palestinians attempted to infiltrate en masse the barrier fence that separates the Jewish state from the terrorist-run Gaza Strip to the south.

By the Western media’s dim lights, the blame for Hamas’s criminal stunt and the casualties it caused lay with . . . anybody and everybody but Hamas and the Palestinians. The narrative emerged early on Twitter, and the social-media platform’s deplorable tendency to flatten reality into cheap, emotive images no doubt accelerated its dissemination. The juxtaposition–of “Jivanka” and Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating in Jerusalem while Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians at the Gaza border–proved irresistible to reporters. The BBC’s Katty Kay, for example, was quick to point out that President Trump’s warm words for the Jewish state came while there were “41 dead on the Israel Gaza border today.” An AFP White House correspondent posted the two sets of images side-by-side–a smiling and clapping Bibi next to a photo of fire and smoke from Gaza–with the words: “Quite the disconnect.” He had garnered more than 2,600 retweets as of this writing.

Then there was Peter Beinart (Marshall, declined): “While Jewish + Christian bigots celebrate an occupied city, Jewish soldiers kill people fleeing an open-air prison. As a great lover of Zion said long ago, ‘This is not the way.’” Yes, “fleeing.” That is an interesting way to describe a concerted, Iranian-regime-funded operation to violate Israeli sovereignty and do “whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones,” as the Washington Post quoted one of the “protesters” describing the movement’s goals.

The Palestinians’ more sophisticated friends know what Hamas is all about. They understand that young men whipped into a frenzy by an organization that exists to destroy world Jewry, per its charter, aren’t exactly latter-day Freedom Riders. But they think that the Palestinians can’t help themselves. While they expect Israel–a state encircled by hostile populations and threatened with nuclear extinction by the Iranian mullahs–to behave like Norway, of the Palestinians they have the most dismal, if any, expectations.

Thus Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer tweeted: “The Palestinians killed today knew Israeli Defense Forces would use lethal force in response to their demonstrations. It didn’t stop them. They felt hopeless.” The Mideast reporter Sulome Anderson echoed his sentiments: “Imagine the desperation it takes to walk into live gunfire from the Middle East’s most powerful fighting force, armed with nothing more than rocks & the occasional Molotov or grenade. Try to conceive of the circumstances that could drive so many human beings to such an act.”

Or maybe try to conceive of the poisonous power of Hamas’s anti-Semitic ideology and the Palestinians’ permanently aggrieved mentality, which has allowed the conflict to fester despite numerous peace offers from the Israeli side. There are desperate people all over the world who never translate their frustration into suicide bombing, stone throwing, border-rushing, and violent “Days of Rage.” It does the Palestinians no good to treat them as children entitled to tantrums, as permanent wards of the international community or, worst, as wild men bereft of reason. Then again, such highhanded pity isn’t really about helping the Palestinians so much as it is about flattering their Western friends.

Meanwhile, Israel has good reason to celebrate: 70 years of independence, a dynamic economy, an innovative tech industry, a vibrant public square, a globally influential culture, demographics that are the envy of the West, burgeoning alliances with former enemies, and now American recognition of its capital. Leave it to the New York Times to frame the anniversary as a moment of “peril” and a “nightmare taking shape.” The Times dispatch, by David Halbfinger, acknowledges these successes. But it claims that “Israelis seem not to know what to feel” and quotes historian Tom Segev, who says that the “future is very bleak.” This is a distorted picture of Israeli sentiment. Massive celebrations have been going on for weeks, involving hundreds of thousands of people. It does, however, reveal the psychological anguish in the Times newsroom over the Jewish state’s triumph.

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MEDIA GOES WILD IN ANTI-TRUMP, ANTI-ISRAEL FERVOR                                                               Ben Shapiro                                                                                                                       The Hill, May 15, 2018

 

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran with another of its desperate appeals for circulation. This time, it blamed Ivanka Trump for Hamas-generated violence in the Gaza Strip. The cover featured a grinning Ivanka, dressed to the nines, at the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. But instead of her gesturing to the placard featured on the new embassy, the Daily News photoshopped in a photo of a wounded Palestinian on the Gaza border — so now Ivanka was gesturing at Palestinian suffering, a smile spread broadly across her face. The headline: “DADDY’S LITTLE GHOUL.”

This is absolutely abhorrent. It’s also reflective of the media coverage of both the Trump administration and Israel overall. The media have been repeating Hamas propaganda — and, presumably, they know it. They’ve been claiming that Israel is killing “protesters,” even though these are Hamas-led riots. They’ve been claiming that Israel has been targeting civilians, when it is clear this is not the case. And now they’re claiming that the Trump administration is to blame. The Washington Post headlined, “Israelis kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza protesting U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem.”

The violence in the Gaza Strip has been ongoing for weeks, and has been entirely orchestrated by Hamas. Palestinians, including Hamas terrorists, have been throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops, as well as explosive devices and stones; they’ve been burning tires and attempting to cut through the border fence with wirecutters. The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Ronen Manelis, says Hamas is paying families to protest, and that they have intelligence that Hamas seeks to kidnap an Israeli soldier.

Hamas’ leadership has announced that it seeks to promote violence along the border, and has activated tens of thousands of Palestinians as public cover for that violence. Hamas’s leader, Yahya Sinwar, said last month, “We will take down their border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al Zahhar openly told al Jazeera, “This is not a peaceful resistance … when we talk about peaceful resistance, we are deceiving the public. This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies and enjoying tremendous public support.” Palestinian participants know this. NPR asked a Gazan flying a kite with a swastika about his motivation. His answer: “We want them to burn.” Mohammed Mansoura, a 23-year-old “protester,” explained, “We are excited to storm and get inside … whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.”

Palestinian rioters captured by Israel have said the same thing. According to the Israeli Security Agency, Yahiya Eijle, a Hamas member arrested on April 29, told them that Hamas was instructing its activists to cut the fence, that they want their activity to be seen “in the international media as a popular uprising, and not as violent action led by its militants,” and that Hamas members are embedded in the general population for purposes of public relations. Another Palestinian terrorist captured by Israel stated that “Hamas militants in civilian clothes encourage children to try to cross the fence in order to steal IDF equipment.”

Yet according to the media, all of this is Israel’s fault — or the fault of the dastardly Trump administration. Never mind that Hamas has participated in ongoing war with Israel since its election in 2006, the year after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Never mind that Hamas routinely locates terrorists among civilians in order to mislead the media into believing that Israel targets civilians. (Hamas hid its headquarters during the 2014 Gaza war in a hospital). No, it must be Ivanka Trump’s fault.

Let’s be clear: Ivanka Trump’s presence in Israel to announce the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has nothing to do with the violence. Blaming Ivanka Trump for the situation in Gaza isn’t just politically illiterate, it’s utterly immoral. Ivanka is Jewish; her husband is Jewish; they were in Israel to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. To photoshop her on the cover of a newspaper grinning as she gestures to a picture of a wounded Palestinian is nothing less than a blood libel. But all’s fair in love and anti-Trump garbage these days

 

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FALLING FOR HAMAS’S SPLIT-SCREEN FALLACY

Matti Friedman

New York Times, May 16, 2018

During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story. At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.

Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday’s awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to cross the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film. About 40,000 people answered a call to show up. Many of them, some armed, rushed the border fence. Many Israelis, myself included, were horrified to see the number of fatalities reach 60.

Most Western viewers experienced these events through a visual storytelling tool: a split screen. On one side was the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem in the presence of Ivanka Trump, evangelical Christian allies of the White House and Israel’s current political leadership — an event many here found curious and distant from our national life. On the other side was the terrible violence in the desperately poor and isolated territory. The juxtaposition was disturbing.

The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.

The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences. Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn’t work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom — the soldiers won’t know which — will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas’s tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel’s enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand?

These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn’t what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey’s president called it “genocide.” A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about “whiteness and Zionism,” part of an odd trend that reads America’s racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age — the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous — have crept into the worldview of people who should know better.

For someone looking out from here, that’s the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

‘Canada Would Do Exactly the Same Thing’: Israel’s Deputy Minister Defends Gaza Border Violence (Interview): CBC, May 16, 2018—Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren blames Hamas for the bloodshed at the Israel-Gaza border this week, and says the media is doing the militant group’s bidding. Israeli forces killed at least 60 Palestinians, most by gunfire, and injured more than 2,700 since Monday during protests near the border.

Guardian Editorial on Gaza Perfectly Shows the Media’s Anti-Israel Bias and Hatred: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 16, 2018—The first thing that stands out in The Guardian’s latest official editorial on the Gaza border riots is the absence of even one use of the word “Hamas” in more than 600 words of text, despite the fact that the violence has been organized and funded by the terror group.

Hamas Official: Majority of Palestinians Killed in Violent Protests are Our Men: IPT News, May 16, 2018—Hamas official Salah Bardawil may have destroyed the narrative that Israel is indiscriminately killing non-violent protesters at the Gaza border. The vast majority of Palestinians killed, Bardawil told a Palestinian interviewer, were Hamas fighters.

Why Is Hamas So Interested in Palestinian Deaths?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, May 16, 2018—Hamas defined the day of violent clashes at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2018, during which some 59 Palestinians were claimed to have been killed, as living proof of a victory for jihad and the armed struggle against Israel. It openly admitted that these were not spontaneous demonstrations but a campaign orchestrated by Hamas and other Palestinian organizations defined as terrorist groups in the West.

 

HAMAS ORCHESTRATES VIOLENT GAZA “PROTESTS” AMID U.S. EMBASSY MOVE & ESCALATING ISRAEL-IRAN TENSION

The Gaza ‘Protests’: Editorial, Weekly Standard, May 15, 2018 — On Monday President Donald Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to move the United States embassy in Israel to the country’s capital, Jerusalem.

Smoke & Mirrors: Six Weeks of Violence on the Gaza Border: Richard Kemp, Gatestone Institute, May 14, 2018— Since 30th March Hamas has been orchestrating large-scale violence on the border between Gaza and Israel.

Israel Unleashes Powerful Strike Capabilities After Iran Hits First: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, May 10, 2018— In striking more than 50 Iranian military targets within 90 minutes early on Thursday morning, the Israel Defense Force displayed just a sample of its advanced, intelligence-fueled precision firepower, dealing a crushing blow to Iran’s assets in Syria.

What Might an Israel-Iran War Look Like?: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, May 10, 2018— In both word and deed, Israel is firmly committed to its red lines.

On Topic Links

Hamas has Taken Gaza Back to the Stone Age: Jason Greenblatt, Jerusalem Post, May 11, 2018

For Hamas, Dancing on the Brink of Chaos is a Winning Tactic: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, May 15, 2018

Conflicting Claims Swirl As Israel Continues Air War Against Iranian Interests In Syria: Joseph Trevithick, The Drive, Apr. 17, 2018

Israel’s Nuclear and Conventional Deterrence: Prof. Louis René Beres, BESA, Apr. 29, 2018

 

THE GAZA ‘PROTESTS’

Editorial

Weekly Standard, May 15, 2018

On Monday President Donald Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to move the United States embassy in Israel to the country’s capital, Jerusalem. As usual, the American and European media’s coverage interpreted the event in the worst possible light for the nation of Israel. One learns very little from our mainstream news sources about what the move may mean for the nations primarily concerned—Israel and the United States—but a great deal about the Palestinian “protests” happening along Israel’s southern border with Gaza: Headlines in the New York Times and Washington Post proclaimed (misleadingly) “Israel Kills Dozens and Wounds 1700 at Gaza Border” and “Over 50 Killed in Gaza Protests as U.S. Opens Embassy in Jerusalem.”

We put the word “protests” in quotation marks advisedly. In ordinary English usage, a protest is a collective action or gesture meant to bring pressure on a government or corporate entity. The Gaza “protests” are meant to bring pressure on Israel, but they’re intended mainly to kill and maim both Israelis and the Palestinian “protesters” themselves.

These demonstrations would be better described as suicide-riots. For nearly two months, Hamas and other militant factions have been encouraging young Palestinian men to storm the fence separating Gaza from Israel. The rioters cut holes in the fence, charge Israeli guards with crude weapons like axes, and lob fire bombs over the wall in attempts to set Israeli fields on fire. Hamas has pledged to massacre those on the other side of the fence, and these riots are expressions of that intention. Israeli defense forces are obliged to respond with force. An axe-clutching Palestinian insanely charging into Israeli territory isn’t a “protester” but a combatant and a terrorist. The fact that he doesn’t expect to prevail against the might of the Israel Defense Forces—he is in essence on a suicide mission—doesn’t somehow oblige Israeli soldiers not to use force to stop him. The Israelis have no choice but to fire back, and they do, often with deadly results.

This is Hamas’s longstanding strategy: The more Palestinian young men die, the more hellish the conditions of Palestinian neighborhoods, the more sympathy aroused in Western media. Hence Palestinian rioters’ destruction of the only cargo passage through which cooking fuel can get to Gaza’s 2 million residents. The act of vandalism appears senseless unless you understand Hamas’s aim is to make Palestinians destitute for the benefit of Western media.

And the Western media generally fill their expected role by placing at least an equal share of the blame on Israel and its American backers. So, for instance, American and European media readily accept casualty statistics from the Gaza Health Ministry, a Hamas outfit deliberately aiming to exaggerate Palestinian deaths. These same media, similarly, nearly always accept as genuine the reasons for the riots expressed by Palestinian organizations. Eighteen years ago, it was Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple mount that supposedly sparked the second intifada and the attendant bloodshed. This time, we’re told, it’s Trump’s embassy move that gives Palestinians license to plunder their own resources in acts of irrational rage.

Most ordinary Palestinians, however, appear to be smarter than the smart people whose job it is to give us news about Israel and the Palestinian territories. Despite all the violence in Gaza, the place where most Palestinians live—the West Bank—has remained largely quiet. The Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, too, have been devoid of riots. All contrary to the dire predictions of Western experts who foresaw destruction and bloodshed across the Arab world in response to the U.S. decision to move its embassy.

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SMOKE & MIRRORS: SIX WEEKS OF VIOLENCE ON THE GAZA BORDER

Richard Kemp

Gatestone Institute, May 14, 2018

Since 30th March Hamas has been orchestrating large-scale violence on the border between Gaza and Israel. The major flare-ups have generally occurred on Fridays, following mosque prayers, when we have repeatedly seen concerted action involving crowds of up to 40,000 people in five separate areas along the border. Violence and aggressive actions, including specific acts of terrorism involving explosives and firearms, have also occurred at other times during this period.

Hamas intend to continue this violence until the 14th or 15th of May 2018. The 15th is the date they will commemorate as the 70th anniversary of ‘Nakba’ Day – ‘Castastrophe’ Day, the day after Israel’s declaration of statehood. There is however speculation that an upsurge in violence is now planned for the 14th, coinciding with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. It is expected that the violence will reach a culminating point of intensity on one or both of those days, which, as well as coinciding with Nakba Day and the embassy opening, are also at the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan, when violence usually increases in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hamas is currently planning to mobilise up to 200,000 people to the Gaza border, which — if it materialises — will be well over twice the maximum number seen previously. Hamas will also be determined to incite greater violence than ever before, and to make significant penetrations of the border fence. In the face of such efforts it is likely that there will be very high casualty figures among Palestinians. In addition to the border area, there are Palestinian plans for significant violence elsewhere around this time including in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Although 15th May was originally intended as the culmination of six weeks’ violence on the Gaza border, Palestinians have recently declared an intent to maintain their aggression at the border throughout the month of Ramadan.

The Gaza violence has been orchestrated under the pretext of the ‘Great March of Return’, a demonstration to draw attention to what Palestinian leadership consider to be a right of return of their people to homes in Israel. The stated intention is not just to demonstrate, but to actually break through the border fence en masse and physically march in their thousands through the State of Israel. The intention of the ‘right of return’ of course is not actually the exercise of such a ‘right’, which is strongly contested, and is in any case the subject of final status negotiations. It is well understood as a long-standing Arab policy intended to eliminate the State of Israel and has of course been consistently rejected by the Israeli government.

The real goal of Hamas’s violence is to continue their long-standing strategy of creating and intensifying international outrage, vilification, isolation and criminalisation of the State of Israel and its officials. This strategy includes creating situations which compel the IDF to respond with lethal force so that they are seen to kill and wound ‘innocent’ Palestinian civilians.

Within this strategy, Hamas have used a range of tactics which include firing rockets from Gaza into Israeli population centres and constructing sophisticated attack tunnels under the Gaza border into nearby Israeli communities. Critical elements of these tactics are the use of Palestinian human shields — civilians, often including women and children, who are either forced or volunteer to be present in locations from where attacks are launched or commanded; or where fighters, combat supplies and munitions are located; so that Israeli military response will include potential harm to these civilians. In some cases, including during the current wave of violence, we have seen Hamas present their fighters as innocent civilians; numerous fake incidents staged and filmed which purport to show civilians being killed and wounded by Israeli forces; and films of violence from elsewhere, eg Syria, portrayed as violence against Palestinians.

Following the use of rockets and attack tunnels, in three major Gaza conflicts (2008-2009, 2012 and 2014), as well as in other more isolated incidents, we now observe the use of a new tactic with the same fundamental purpose. This is the creation of large-scale ‘demonstrations’ combined with aggressive actions again intended to lure Israeli defensive action that leads to killing and wounding of Gaza civilians, despite strenuous IDF efforts to avoid such civilian casualties. In some respects this new tactic is more effective than the use of rockets and attack tunnels, because the primary targets for these activities — political leaders, international organisations (eg UN, EU), human rights groups and media — find it harder to understand the use of lethal force against what are falsely portrayed as peaceful demonstrations which they can equate to similar activities in their own cities.

As always, many elements of these primary targets have been ready and willing to be taken in by this ploy. Since the start of this spate of violence we have seen vehement condemnations from the UN, EU and ICC; from several governments and human rights organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; and from many newspapers and broadcast media stations. These have included demands for international inquiries into allegations of unlawful killing and accusations of breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights law by the IDF…

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

 

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ISRAEL UNLEASHES POWERFUL STRIKE

CAPABILITIES AFTER IRAN HITS FIRST

                      Yaakov Lappin                                                                                                     JNS, May 10, 2018

In striking more than 50 Iranian military targets within 90 minutes early on Thursday morning, the Israel Defense Force displayed just a sample of its advanced, intelligence-fueled precision firepower, dealing a crushing blow to Iran’s assets in Syria. This exchange of fire represents a new, stepped-up phase in the escalating Israeli-Iranian standoff in Syria.

Much of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria was destroyed in this wave of strikes, likely leaving the Quds Force—the overseas elite Iranian unit trying to consolidate its presence in Syria—reeling. The Quds Force has been busy in Iran, building missile and rocket bases, drone bases, importing Shi’ite militia forces and trafficking heavy weapons into the region. It had begun launching direct attacks on Israel in contrast to Iran’s older pattern of aggression, which was based on activating proxy attacks. Most disturbingly, the Quds Force had begun initiating the next stage of Iran’s takeover of Syria. All of these efforts had one goal: to be able to use Syria as a springboard for attacking Israel.

The Iranian axis in Syria, with the help of Russian airpower, has nearly completed its victory over the Sunni rebel organizations and could now turn its attention to stage two of its Syrian project: Israel. The Iranian leadership has made no secret of its intention to establish a grand, radical Shi’ite empire across the Middle East, stretching across Iraq, Syria and Lebanon—and beyond. These imperial ambitions threaten not only Israel, but the region’s Sunni powers, which is why these states are in full support of Israel’s self-defense measures. Iran’s mistake was to underestimate Israel’s ability to put a stop to this plan. On Tuesday night the Quds Force, led by the charismatic and notorious Gen. Qasem Soleimani, dispatched a truck rocket-launcher towards Israel. As it drove south of Damascus, preparing to fire on Israel, it was destroyed in a missile attack.

The ability to detect such a developing threat in real time—and take action—is exactly the kind of unparalleled intelligence and strike capabilities that enable Israel to be a step ahead in its conflict with Iran. But the Iranians did not take the hint. They tried again on Wednesday night, firing 20 rockets at IDF positions on the Golan Heights. The IDF was prepared, intercepting the rockets with Iron Dome missile-defense system, and then going on the offensive in a massive wave of firepower.

Israel’s operation on Thursday, which was the largest conducted by the Israel Air Force in years, required extraordinary intelligence-gathering abilities, and in particular, the know-how to map out the various locations in which the Quds Force had taken root. This intelligence was then converted into the capability to fire guided munitions at the targets in large quantities in little time. Several of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s air-defense batteries made the mistake of getting involved in the fight, firing surface-to-air missiles at Israeli jets. They paid a price for that decision; a good number of units were destroyed in Israeli counter-strikes.

These events ultimately mean that Iran tried to force the Jewish state to accept its presence in Syria, and the effort completely failed. Iran ended up losing more than 50 military targets, and Israel’s message to Tehran—to exit Syria immediately—received a powerful boost. It’s too soon to know if this round of fighting has ended. But Iran is unlikely to give up on Syria so quickly. Despite the blow absorbed, the Iranians will likely make a new attempt to move into Syria, smuggling new kinds of weapons, and preparing the ground for future attacks on Israel.

The events of recent days have marked the start of a new phase in a long-term Iranian-Israeli long-term conflagration. This is a conflict, however, that began when Iran came to Israel’s borders to threaten and attack it, and not the other way around. So far, Hezbollah has kept out of this conflict, and this is welcome news. Iran is unlikely to want to risk its proxy ensconced in Lebanon, preferring to continue pointing Hezbollah’s 120,000 rockets and missiles at the Jewish state. Despite a remarkable display of Israeli military capabilities, this is no time to be complacent. The Iranians will be back, and the IDF must be prepared for its return.

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WHAT MIGHT AN ISRAEL-IRAN WAR LOOK LIKE?

Prof. Hillel Frisch

BESA, May 10, 2018

In both word and deed, Israel is firmly committed to its red lines. The reddest of all is that Israel will not permit Syria to be turned into a forward base for direct Iranian operations and a manufacturing center for precision-guided missiles. The Islamic Republic of Iran is equally committed to making both of those things happen.

Given their mutual resolve in meeting diametrically opposed objectives, the prospects of a conflagration between Iran and its proxies against Israel are high enough to consider how such a war might play out and what the ramifications might be of such a deadly conflict. If war does break out, it will signal the end of an era ushered in by the October 1973 War and formalized in the peace treaty with Egypt, which was the most powerful Arab enemy at the time. That treaty marked an end to inter-state wars between Muslim states and Israel.

Most of the conflicts in the four and a half decades since have taken place between Israel and non-state actors, including the long low-intensity conflict between Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, and Israel in southern Lebanon and the larger conflagration in 2006. Would Iran attack Israel directly or make do with activating Hezbollah? (The Syrian army has its hands full completing the defeat of the Sunni opposition forces in northeastern Syria in the Idlib area and preventing their resurgence.)

Tehran might decide to attack directly for several reasons. One is its perception that a Hezbollah-directed missile war might not be sufficiently costly to Israel to deter it from continuing to attack the Iranian infrastructure in Syria. It would also bring in its wake the danger that Israel might choose to retaliate directly against Iran.

Hezbollah’s war-weariness could be another factor in Iran’s decision to either attack alone or share the pain of war-making with its proxy. Hezbollah draws its ranks from a small community of fewer than two million souls. It is responsible for the continuous bloodletting of that community’s youth from 1982 to 2000, primarily against Israel but also against the Sunnis of Tripoli and the Palestinians in the “war of the camps” in 1985.

The bloodletting came to a temporary halt with the Israeli withdrawal/hurried retreat from southern Lebanon in 2000 and the disintegration of its Maronite-supported militia, only to reemerge six years later as Hezbollah suffered hundreds of deaths in the 2006 confrontation with Israel. Six years after that, Hezbollah was again bleeding its community’s youth in the bloody civil war in Syria, which continues to this day. The lack of popularity of what is probably the deadliest of Hezbollah’s wars to date can be seen in the major media sites linked to the organization.

These sites scarcely report on Hezbollah’s participation on the Syrian battlefield, and the sophisticated videos the organization produces to immortalize the fighters (“martyrs”, as they call them) are buried on the sites in a way that makes them difficult to find. They are clearly intended for the families alone and not for the general Shiite public, which seems opposed to such participation – not least because the Shiites do not want to antagonize their Sunni neighbors in Lebanon and once again risk a deadly civil war.

Demographic data also show that the birthrate of Shiites in Lebanon (as indeed in Iran itself) has plummeted. In 2004, it reached a “European” fertility rate that is below replacement rate.  This means new recruits will increasingly come from four member families that have already experienced painful loss of life. For these reasons, Tehran is more likely to attack Israel directly. However, as it has no air force and very little capacity to dispatch troops from Iran (they would be prey to Israel’s air force en route), Iran will probably opt for a missile war in which Hezbollah will likely take part.

A missile war and the subsequent massive use of Israeli air power would reveal both countries’ vulnerabilities. Iran is vulnerable despite its massive population size compared to that of Israel (80 million for Iran as opposed to 8.5 million for Israel) and the even more substantial difference in territorial size (1.65 million sq. km for Iran compared to only 21,000 for Israel).

Why is Iran as vulnerable as Israel despite these differences? Because it has existential liabilities. One is that Iran exports 90% of its oil and gas from a single port (essentially an island), Kharg, one hundred miles southeast of the tip of the Iraqi-Iranian border on the Persian/Arab Gulf. The revenues Iran derives from that oil and gas amount to at least 40% of government expenditures and around half its foreign reserves. Also, the port of Bandar Abbas (“bandar” is “port” in Farsi) on Iran’s southern tip is responsible for 90% of its container trade. The goods brought in by container represent only 15-20% of total trade, but they are the goods that keep the Iranian quality of life in the 21st century.

One can safely assume that the Israeli air force has given much consideration to addressing these two major points of Iranian vulnerability. The war will be very destructive and disruptive – not only for Israel and Iran but for neighboring states as well. Israel might feel compelled to attack airports in Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq to prevent the movement of Iranian troops and equipment. Israel is vulnerable due to its small size and dense population, especially in its coastal area. But it has one advantage: Israel’s citizens will be firmly behind its democratically elected government in the event of hostilities with Iran.

This might not be the case for the fundamentalist regime of Iran, whose population has been paying dearly for the regime’s imperialist ambitions and will pay a hundred times more if such a war breaks out. Who knows? To stave off its own downfall, the Iranian regime might decide to avert a war with Israel – which never wanted a conflict with Iran in the first place.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Hamas has Taken Gaza Back to the Stone Age: Jason Greenblatt, Jerusalem Post, May 11, 2018—As Hamas continues to exploit protests to foment violence against Israel, finding a way to help the people of Gaza in any meaningful way becomes more and more challenging. All parties interested in bringing change to Gaza need to face the reality that Hamas has failed its own people.

For Hamas, Dancing on the Brink of Chaos is a Winning Tactic: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, May 15, 2018—Monday was undoubtedly among the most bewilderingly dissonant days in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: As the Israeli leadership, joined by US officials, feted the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem, and as tens of thousands of Israelis welcomed back Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai in celebrations in Tel Aviv, the Gaza Strip suffered one of its most doleful days in memory.

Conflicting Claims Swirl As Israel Continues Air War Against Iranian Interests In Syria: Joseph Trevithick, The Drive, Apr. 17, 2018—he Syrian government and its partners have issued a string of contradictory reports regarding yet another reported Israeli strike against Iranian interests in the country. Though the exact details of the event remain unclear, Syria’s dictator Bashar Al Assad and his Russian benefactors seem eager to dismiss the incident, in part or in full, while still declaring some sort of victory in the aftermath a massive U.S.-led missile barrage against various chemical weapons sites in the country.

Israel’s Nuclear and Conventional Deterrence: Prof. Louis René Beres, BESA, Apr. 29, 2018—Left to their own likely preferences, whether expressly stated or prudently obscured, certain of Israel’s potentially nuclear adversaries could someday bring the Jewish State “into the eternal darkness, into fire, and into ice.” It is indispensable, therefore, that Israel’s senior leadership take all conceivable steps to ensure that any preventable failures of deterrence never spark a nuclear attack or exchange.

SYRIA-RUSSIA-IRAN ALLIANCE AND HAMAS-BACKED GAZA RIOTS THREATEN ISRAEL’S SECURITY

The Holocaust and Assad: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2018— If Syria, Russia and Iran are right and Israel did in fact carry out an attack on a Syrian air base a day and a half after Bashar Assad’s regime used chlorine gas against civilians in a Damascus suburb, the Jewish state should be proud.

The Extraordinarily High Stakes in Syria: Noah Rothman, Commentary, Apr. 11, 2018— U.S.-led retaliatory strikes on Syria are imminent.

No Country Would Tolerate What Hamas is Doing at Israel’s Border: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Apr. 6, 2018 — Wednesday was a relatively quiet day along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

What The New York Times isn’t Telling You About Israel’s Gaza ‘Blockade’: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2018 — Nearly every New York Times dispatch about the recent violent pre-planned riots in Gaza has used the word “blockade” to describe Israel’s treatment of the territory.

On Topic Links

Syria to Chair UN Disarmament Forum on Chemical & Nuclear Weapons: UNWatch, Apr. 9, 2018

Report: 80% of Palestinians Killed in Gaza Border Crisis Were ‘Terrorists’: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2018

West Bank’s Apathy Amid Gaza Chaos Shows Palestinians Becoming a Divided People: Khaled Abu Toameh, Times of Israel, Apr. 8, 2018

Palestinians: License to Kill Americans: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 12, 2018

 

THE HOLOCAUST AND ASSAD

Editorial

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2018

If Syria, Russia and Iran are right and Israel did in fact carry out an attack on a Syrian air base a day and a half after Bashar Assad’s regime used chlorine gas against civilians in a Damascus suburb, the Jewish state should be proud.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, as Israel commemorates the destruction of European Jewry at the hands of Nazi Germany and its allies in Vichy France, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine and elsewhere, it is essential for the world – and the Assad regime – to know that indiscriminate acts of barbarism will not be tolerated.

US President Donald Trump was exercising a healthy moral sense when he responded strongly on his Twitter account to the atrocity committed by Assad’s regime against Syrians in Douma, including women and children. “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.”

Trump’s Tweet should be followed up by military action and it should be backed by all civilized countries, particularly the nations of the European continent on which the Holocaust was carried out. (Russia, which prides itself so much on having destroyed Nazism during World War II, is now protecting the Assad regime and spreading lies that poison gas was not used in Douma.) The point of the military action is not to change the course of the civil war in Syria. Rather, the point of a combined US, European military strike that causes significant damage to the Assad regime’s military capabilities is to make a moral statement and, one hopes, to deter Syria from using poison gas against anyone in the future.

What makes the Syrian use of chlorine gas all the more despicable is that it was motivated not by desperation but by depravity. Assad, with the backing of Russia and Iran, has all but won the civil war. Forces loyal to him have surrounded Douma. In any event, the ruthless murder of civilians is rarely if ever a deciding factor in war. In World War II the Axis powers were responsible for the vast majority of deaths – as well as for a disproportionately high rate of civilian killings, in part due to the Holocaust – yet their defeat was total and relatively speedy once the US entered the war.

Assad, apparently emboldened by Trump’s declaration that the US plans to pull its troops out of Syria, believed that the world would stand by in indifference, as it has in the past when he used barrel bombs containing chlorine against civilians. Perhaps Assad also thought that the Trump administration’s decision a year ago this month to fire Tomahawk missiles at Syrian army bases in response to his use of Sarin gas was a blip and that the US under a fickle Trump, who was now in the mood for retreat, would not act again alone among the nations. Perhaps he also thought that the US and other nations would make a distinction between the chlorine gas used this week and sarin, the nerve gas developed by the Nazis during World War II.

Syria’s Assad and Putin’s Russia must know that they are not above the moral reckoning of the community of civilized nations. The two men lied when they claimed to have handed over all of Syria’s chemical weapons to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in accordance with a deal reached between the Obama administration, the UN and Russia in 2013. Now they must pay for their lies. Failing to act will send a message to other rogue states and autocratic strongmen that it is possible to lie and deceive in international forums without consequences.

It should mean something that Syria is a signatory of a 1997 convention that bans not only the use but also the production of chemical weapons. Syria should be just as compliant as any other country, or face the consequences. Holocaust Remembrance Day is not just a time to commemorate those lost to genocidal hatred, it is a time to remember the many failures of the community of nations that made the Holocaust possible, so that they are not repeated.

 

Contents

THE EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH STAKES IN SYRIA

Noah Rothman

Commentary, Apr. 11, 2018

U.S.-led retaliatory strikes on Syria are imminent. The president said so himself. On Twitter. In fact, he went into wildly imprudent detail about the forthcoming military action, describing the type of ordnance that would be used and confirming that Russia has threatened to target American assets in defense of its Syrian patron. Donald Trump’s decision to accentuate Moscow’s threats and Russia’s relationship to the regime he intends to target places appropriate emphasis on the real stakes of America’s coming mission. But neither the president nor his administration is making a compelling case to the country as to why our deepening involvement in Syria is in America’s national interest. Those interests are as clear as they are critical.

The Trump administration established a precedent in April of 2017 with its strikes on Syrian targets following Damascus’s gruesome release of sarin nerve gas on civilians. Breaking with the last administration, this president made it clear that the use of prohibited and indiscriminate weapons will not be tolerated. That precedent evolved into a doctrine when the administration publicly threatened the Bashar al-Assad regime in June of 2017 following reports indicating that another mass casualty gas attack was in the planning stages. The threats worked; Assad backed down, and a mutually understood set of parameters had been established.

The tacit exemption both Trump and Barack Obama adopted for dual-use chemicals ensured that the Assad regime would deploy chlorine gas on civilian targets frequently and that stronger nerve agents would eventually be used again. In 2017, both Damascus and Moscow, which operates a number of sophisticated air-defense batteries across the country, all but consented to a relatively bloodless strike on a single target (Russia received forewarning ahead of the attack). They will likely stand down in the face of something similar in 2018. If, however, the United States is disinclined to pursue cosmetic and superficial strikes on Syrian targets—which would have no deterrent effect on Bashar al-Assad or anyone else, for that matter—Russia will face increasingly serious pressure to respond militarily.

Russia can only stand down so many times before the value of its S-400 anti-air batteries—which Moscow is right now attempting to sell to India in violation of U.S. sanctions—begins to depreciate. Russia’s envoy to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, probably expressed the prevailing sentiments in the Kremlin when he said Russia would attempt to shoot down U.S. missiles in flight if America and its allies were to attempt any broader retaliatory response to Assad’s chemical attack on civilians. More frightening still, Zasypkin also intimated that Russia would attempt to respond disproportionately, potentially targeting U.S. ships and aircraft. These may not be the empty threats of one diplomat. In the last 24 hours, Russia has begun jamming U.S. unmanned vehicles over Syrian skies, harassing French warships in the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast, and engaging in snap naval exercises near U.S. maritime assets.

Moscow has no interest in inaugurating a broader war with the West. It would almost certainly lose that costly conflict, but it does not have to limit its response to direct action in the Syrian theater. Moscow might turn up the temperature in Eastern Ukraine, increase support for Islamist insurgents in Afghanistan, augment aid to the North Korean and Iranian regimes, harass NATO’s air and sea assets, violate NATO airspace, or all of the above. Given the risks associated with a retaliatory strike on Assad, why should the U.S. chance it? Unfortunately, the Trump administration has almost no choice.

The White House now feels enormous political pressure—both at home and abroad—to maintain the precedent that the administration established last April. That means that the next round of punitive strikes will have to be more expansive to be effective, or there will be more chemical attacks and not just in Syria. That would be a disaster. American soldiers are deployed all over the world, often in nations with weak governments engaged in civil hostilities. Any number of illegitimate regimes would like to deploy with plausible deniability these cheap and relatively ubiquitous weapons of mass destruction. The erosion of the prohibitions around chemical warfare will mean that more Americans are exposed to these agents, and even casual contact can be hazardous (as U.S. soldiers who were exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq can attest).

In the last 13 months alone, two state-sponsored chemical attacks (attributable to Russia and North Korea, respectively) using nerve agents were executed on foreign soil, poisoning many civilians in the process. This is reckless, and it can lead to a spiraling crisis. Reestablishing deterrence is in America’s vital national interest. At the moment, that would likely mean disabling anything in the Assad regime’s possession that can fly, as well as targeting chemical production and storage facilities. This mission must be broad in scope if America’s strategic objective is to be achieved…

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

 

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NO COUNTRY WOULD TOLERATE WHAT

HAMAS IS DOING AT ISRAEL’S BORDER

Vivian Bercovici                               

National Post, Apr. 6, 2018

Wednesday was a relatively quiet day along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Israelis were out in throngs, picnicking in a national park in the northern Negev desert, enjoying spectacular spring weather during the weeklong Passover holiday. A few hundred metres to the west, small groups of Palestinians were seen scurrying a little too closely to the border fence, on motorcycles. They were likely readying for the continuation of their #MarchofReturn.

For weeks leading up to Friday March 30, Hamas had been exhorting Gazans to assemble at the fence to commemorate the Palestinians’ “Land Day,” and from there conquer all of Israel and Jerusalem.  Speaking to protesters last Friday, Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, fired up the crowd to storm the so-called “transient border.” This “March of Return,” he declared, “affirms that our people can’t give up one inch of the land of Palestine.” When the Gazans came, many reportedly out in large family groups with children, Sinwar added for good measure that they would “eat the livers of those besieging” them. He actually encouraged them to feast on the bodily organs of Israelis.

Since then, 20 Palestinians participating in the still ongoing march activity have reportedly been killed by IDF responses, mostly sniper fire. Scores more have been injured by riot-control techniques, rubber bullets and tear gas. The dead include Hamas fighters, whose portraits have been featured in Gaza media reports where they are hailed as “martyrs” in the ongoing struggle to liberate all of Palestine from the Zionist colonizers. These particular martyrs were reported by the IDF to have been at or very near the fence with Israel, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers, or reportedly attempting to infiltrate Israel. They ignored warning shots, flares and the firing of tear gas canisters. Each fatality will be carefully investigated.

The IDF estimates that approximately 41,000 Gazans participated in the march, with most doing so peacefully and at a safe distance from the fence. The goal of Hamas organizers and fighters, however, was clearly to provoke an Israeli military reaction. Israel’s critics claim the IDF fired recklessly on a “peaceful protest,” massacring innocents. Thing is, peaceful protests do not encourage participants to overrun an international border, or use weapons, while threatening to conquer the country and murder its people. Thousands of Israeli civilians live within a few hundred metres of this fence, in agricultural settlements that have been undisputedly part of Israeli territory since 1948. Peaceful protests are not organized by terrorist organizations and led by terrorist leaders, some of whom show up with Molotov cocktails and other weapons.

Local residents and the IDF are bracing for Friday, when the Hamas government controlling the Gaza Strip is promising a fresh offensive: for tens of thousands of “peaceful protesters” to dump masses of car tires along the fence and burn them. The plan is to create a toxic black cloud, allowing Hamas fighters to more easily breach the border. There is no doubt that Hamas’ primary raison d’être is to destroy Israel. That paramount goal is clearly stated in the organization’s charter. There is no question that Hamas places little importance on the welfare of Gazans. Hundreds of millions of dollars in Western dollars donated for civilian aid is diverted from humanitarian purposes to build Hamas’s network of tunnels burrowing into Israel, funnelled into local weapons factories and, of course, the bank accounts of Hamas leaders.

There is also little doubt that many Gazan civilians, bussed from their homes on the coastal Strip to the border fence by Hamas, actually did come to protest peacefully — and are being exploited by Hamas as human cannon fodder, to bait the Israeli military into killing civilians. Incredibly, a seven-year-old girl was sent to walk up to the fence. Alone. Was someone hoping she’d be hurt? If so, they were disappointed: She was sent back unharmed. Shamelessly exploiting civilians, especially women and children, is the modus operandi of Hamas, responsible for almost all suicide attacks against Israelis during the second Intifada. Hamas has a well-chronicled habit of storing and shooting rockets and other weapons into Israel from hospitals, UN-run schools, clinics and apartments.

When ISIL terrorists murder and maim on the streets of Europe, shock, consternation and horror ensue in the West. But Hamas is like ISIL light: they are despotic, murderous Muslim extremists who subjugate women and persecute homosexuals, while imposing an unforgiving theocracy on the Gaza Strip. If a group like that was to carry on in Europe as it does on the Gaza-Israel border, it is difficult to imagine Europeans would sit back in deck chairs with binoculars and just watch. The protesters of Gaza will not succeed in overrunning Israel, of course. But given a chance, many aspiring martyrs will storm the fence and unleash as much carnage as possible, if they can.

Yahya Sinwar and his fellow thugs promise to hold border demonstrations every Friday until May 15, culminating in a grand protest on the 70th anniversary of the declaration of Israeli independence, which the Palestinians mark as the “Naqba,” or the day of catastrophe.  The response so far by the UN body, predictably, has been to vilify Israel in hastily convened emergency sessions. What the global community should instead be asking is: why are Hamas’s “peaceful protesters” carrying weapons and calling for the destruction of Israel? Aside from the United Kingdom and the United States, no one has bothered to ask the obvious questions. Canada certainly hasn’t.

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WHAT THE NEW YORK TIMES ISN’T TELLING

YOU ABOUT ISRAEL’S GAZA ‘BLOCKADE’

Ira Stoll

Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2018

Nearly every New York Times dispatch about the recent violent pre-planned riots in Gaza has used the word “blockade” to describe Israel’s treatment of the territory. “While Gaza was poor and crowded to begin with, the 11-year-old blockade by Israel and Egypt has driven it into crisis,” reports a “news analysis” by Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger that appears in the April 8 Times. A news article in the April 7 Times reported, “The protests are aimed at Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which began after Hamas seized control in 2007.” A news article in the April 6 Times referred to “the second round of protests against Israel’s longstanding blockade of Gaza.”

An article on page one of the March 31 Times reported that the Palestinians “were protesting against Israel’s longstanding blockade of the territory and in support of their claims to return to homes in what is now Israel.” Leave aside the inconsistencies. Some Times accounts mention Egypt’s participation in the “blockade,” while others omit it. Some Times accounts describe the riots — sorry, “protests”— as only against the “blockade,” while others also mention the “claims to return.” Let’s focus for now on the unifying thread, that term “blockade.” My authoritative Webster’s Second Unabridged dictionary defines a blockade as “a shutting off of a place or region by hostile troops or ships in order to prevent passage” or “any blocking action designed to isolate an enemy and cut off communication and commerce with him.”

Using that word overstates it to describe Israel’s treatment of Gaza. Israel’s Defense Ministry reports that in one week in March of 2018, 2,728 trucks entered the Gaza Strip from Israel, carrying 74,202 tons of supplies, including 87 tons of medical supplies, 15 tons of agricultural products, 1,506 tons of food supplies, and 51,044 tons of building supplies. Another week this year, the Defense Ministry reported 1,712 trucks entering Gaza, carrying 49,166 tons of supplies, including 43 tons of medical supplies, 92 tons of agricultural products, 5,426 tons of food supplies, and 31,356 tons of building supplies. In one single day in February, 11,485 tons of goods, in 379 trucks, entered Gaza through Israel, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry. On another February day, 12,295 tons of goods in 431 trucks entered Gaza through Israel, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.

In addition, Israel supplies electricity to Gaza via ten power lines. And Israel supplies water to Gaza via two pipelines. Some “blockade.” You won’t read about all those trucks of supplies in the New York Times, alas. Now, it is true that Israel maintains control over its border with Gaza, as does Egypt. But nearly all countries do the same thing on their own borders. I drove across the border to Canada from the United States through Vermont earlier this month. Some Canadian border guard stopped the car and looked inside before letting us in. A friend’s parents were visiting the US from Canada for Passover. An American border guard stopped their car and inspected its contents, right down to opening up a cooler full of Passover food. Does that mean that the United States is “blockading” Canada or that Canada is “blockading” the United States? No.

And of course, the Israel-Gaza situation is different than the US Canada one, in part because Gaza is controlled by a terrorist organization, Hamas, that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and that has a proven record of using imported supplies to build tunnels and rockets for deadly attacks on Israeli Jews. Accusing Israel of a “blockade” of Gaza when in fact Israel is allowing food, medicine, building supplies, electricity, and water into the territory is inaccurate. It gives Times readers a false impression of what is actually happening, uncritically echoing Palestinian propaganda. That’s not to say that the situation in Gaza is a picnic. But the blame for it lies with the Hamas terrorist organization, not with Israel or some “blockade” imagined by Times journalists.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Syria to Chair UN Disarmament Forum on Chemical & Nuclear Weapons: UNWatch, Apr. 9, 2018—Despite accusations that it perpetrated yet another deadly chemical weapons attack on Saturday, Syria will next month chair the United Nations disarmament forum that produced the treaty banning chemical weapons…

Report: 80% of Palestinians Killed in Gaza Border Crisis Were ‘Terrorists’: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2018—Around 80% of the 32 Palestinians killed by the IDF during the ongoing Gaza border crisis were terrorist operatives or identified with terrorist organizations, an intelligence report asserts. The report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that 26 of the 32 Palestinians fit into those categories.

West Bank’s Apathy Amid Gaza Chaos Shows Palestinians Becoming a Divided People: Khaled Abu Toameh, Times of Israel, Apr. 8, 2018—For the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Friday was another difficult day. For the Palestinians in the West Bank, Friday was just another ordinary day — a day for weddings, family gatherings, and, for some, dining at the fancy restaurants in Ramallah and Nablus.

Palestinians: License to Kill Americans: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 12, 2018—Hate speech and incitement make up the core of the Palestinian narrative. For several decades now, the Palestinians have been waging a massive and vicious campaign of incitement against Israel.

Paul Merkley: The Largest Lesson from the Gaza War

For me, the utmost revelatory moment of the Gaza war – as I write, in shaky recess on account of another doubtful ceasefire — came during the interview that Osama Hamdan, the official press spokesman for Hamas, gave to Lebanon’s Al-Quds television July 28 and that was picked up by CNN on August 4, just as terms were being announced for that earlier ceasefire.  Hamdan proudly asserted that, among other accomplishments, Hamas had finally got the world to understand that Israeli’s new war, like all its previous ones, was patently for the purpose of replenishing low supplies of the blood of Christian children — which, “as everyone knows,” the Rabbis need for constant levels of production of ritual matzoh. Asked to repeat the statement Hamdan did not flinch: “This is not a figment of imagination or something taken from a film …. the Israelis concentrate on killing children.” (www.algemeriner.com, August 5.)

Hamdam’s words visibly shook the Western TV broadcasters, who imagine themselves enlightened above the generality of viewers in the deeper causes of all things. But this thinking is not news to Israelis. Warnings about the Israeli blood-harvesting  is visited daily on the heads of Palestinian-Arab children  via the Palestine Authority’s televised children’s shows and is a central component in the authorized curriculum in its schools.

Meanwhile, the cause for which Hamas  has set up its citizens for slaughter before the world’s cameras is being colorfully demonstrated as Hamas’ allies, founders of the new Islamic State, make available over social media their video records of the death marches of their enemies — Christians, Yazidis and various segments of the Muslim community who imagine that they are true servants of Allah but are not so in the eyes of the newly-proclaimed Caliph of All Muslims. These ceremonies end in literal rivers of blood (www.dailymail.co.uk, July 29, 2014.)

Every day, it seems, experts trot out new graphs demonstrating the latest connections among the ever-proliferating terrorist groups, noting arcane differences in their recent histories  and  their game-plans, but only hinting at their financial sources. Fascinating though this all may be, the bottom line for the rest of us is that this ever-ramifying menace arises out of the ever-growing need of Muslim young men to fulfill the letter of Allah’s command:

Judgment day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill the Jews, and then the Jews will hide behind stones and trees, and Allah will make the stones and trees speak, saying, “Oh Muslim, the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him’…

The irreducible message of authentic Islam is that strife cannot end anywhere in the world until all have submitted to Islam. Meanwhile, our politicians, echoing their foreign policy experts, tell us that Arab unhappiness is only incidentally about religious matters, and will go away once a proper port has been built along the Gaza strip.

 

(Paul Merkley is a CIJR Academic Fellow)