Tag: Kiryat malachi

AS “ISLAMIC SPRING” REINFORCES POWER-DRUNK HAMAS, ISRAEL’S HOSPITALS HEAL GAZAN, P.A. CHILDREN

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The Long-Term Implications of the Israel-Hamas Clash: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Nov. 21, 2012 —This clash did not begin with rocket fire but with ramped-up terror activity on the Israel-Gaza border, including the detonation of an explosive-filled tunnel that had been dug into Israeli territory and the firing of an anti-tank missile at an IDF jeep on a border patrol.

 

The Children Given Life In The Midst Of War: Nicky Blackburn, Israel 21C, Nov. 20, 2012— Mohamed is from Betlahia in Gaza, and his operation is taking place in Israel in the midst of a bitter and dangerous conflict that has seen both sides bombing each other continually for seven days.

 

Hiding Jewish Origins is Futile and Pathetic: Rabbi Dov Marmur, Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 15, 2012—The formal notice of the passing of  Walter Carsen, the renowned Canadian patron of the arts who died last month shortly after his 100th birthday, stated that he was “of German origin.”…In fact, he was Jewish, as are his two children, which they only found out from their mother when they were in their teens.

 

On Topic Links

 

New Jewish Museum to Open Next Year in Warsaw: Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Winnipeg Jewish Review, Oct. 25, 2012

Why Was There War In Gaza?: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 22, 2012

The Truth About Gaza: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2012

 

 

THE LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS OF THE ISRAEL-HAMAS CLASH

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

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, November 21, 2012

 

The current clash between Israel and Hamas has been continuing in a mode of static warfare, marked by ongoing missile fire at Israeli communities from Gaza and Israeli aerial attacks on terror targets….This clash did not begin with rocket fire but with ramped-up terror activity on the Israel-Gaza border, including the detonation of an explosive-filled tunnel that had been dug into Israeli territory and the firing of an anti-tank missile at an IDF jeep on a border patrol.

 

These attacks, part of a long series of shooting and explosive-charge incidents along the border, showed how Hamas’ strategy had changed over the past two years. In Hamas’ view, the Arab Spring, which has become an Islamic Spring in the Middle East, has altered the balance of power between the Arab world and Israel.

 

Egypt, in the past a close U.S. ally and supporter of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah led by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), is now Islamist and led by the Muslim Brotherhood movement, the parent-movement of Hamas. Egypt’s new Islamist government regards Hamas as a strategic partner in the struggle against Israel. It musters all its political power to help Hamas in the international arena, including harnessing the Arab League to this mission. Indeed, it is through Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime that Hamas now enjoys the possibility of dialogue with the United States and Europe.

 

Hamas has also drawn great encouragement from its political achievements. Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh was received as a head of state in visits to the Arab Spring countries and Iran, and the emir of Qatar made the first state visit to Gaza and bestowed Arab legitimacy on Hamas’ rule.

 

The power-drunk mood is evident in the statements of senior Hamas officials over the past two years. In the past, Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin predicted Israel’s destruction by the end of the third decade of this century, and other senior Hamas figures said the next generation would be the one to witness the liberation of Palestine. Today, though, the tune has totally changed. Liberating Palestine “from the river to the sea” is portrayed as a fully realistic goal for the present generation thanks to the Islamic Spring, which has redrawn the map of the Middle East, and in light of the decisive role of the jihad-ready Muslim masses in giving the region its character.

 

Conversely, Hamas views Israel as floundering in growing strategic distress as Turkey and Egypt become major, bitter enemies within the Arab world’s new vision of its struggle. The Hamas leadership sees Israel’s political and military options, including the exercise of its right to self-defense, as increasingly limited.

 

In the context of the new balance of power, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal asserted that Israel can neither swallow Gaza nor eject it; that is, it has no real way of coping with the challenge Hamas poses to its security and, in the long term, existence. It was this that led Hamas to adopt a new, bolder and provocative policy that seeks to substantially and systematically erode the “rules of the game” that prevailed in the informal ceasefire understandings between Israel and Hamas, whereby the Palestinian armed struggle was kept on a low flame.

 

Although, in hindsight, Hamas made a tactical error regarding Israeli policy, its basic approach has not changed: it views each round of armed conflict with Israel as a stage in a long-term war of attrition…At the same time, Hamas sees these armed clashes as a means of inflaming the West Bank, thereby opening a further front against Israel and wresting rule from the Palestinian Authority….

 

Despite the military blows it has suffered, Hamas is coming out stronger from this round of conflict with Israel. Neither Egypt nor Turkey, nor any of the Arab League countries, has condemned Hamas’ rocket fire on Israeli communities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as a war crime. On the contrary, Hamas enjoys wall-to-wall backing in the Arab world, and the current crisis has highlighted Egypt as Hamas’ new patron since the closing of the group’s offices in Damascus. The financial aid that will flow into Gaza will enable Hamas to rebuild and even further develop its military infrastructure for the next round.

 

“Blockaded” Gaza is not blockaded at all. Its border with Egypt is open, for all intents and purposes. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through it, along with commodities at a rate of millions of dollars annually, together with enormous quantities of weapons, as the latest clash has made evident. This de facto open border with Egypt gives Hamas an important advantage in rehabilitating its capabilities and developing its military infrastructure.

 

The new Middle East has not brought tidings of democracy with Western values of human rights. Instead democracy has provided a one-time means for the Muslim Brotherhood and other movements to take the reins of power. The real aim is to institute shari’a law in stages – in the view of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood movement, the only real form that democratic values can take….

 

Although Hamas has tried to conceal Iran’s role in building the military infrastructure in Gaza, that role has been confirmed and officially acknowledged by Islamic Jihad. Fajr-5 missiles and other weapons have been ferried from Iran and Hizbullah to Hamas and the Palestinian terror organizations, and Iran has given much assistance in training the Palestinian forces for battle.

 

Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are prepared to cooperate with Iran even though it is actively supporting the Assad regime in Syria – which, over the past two years, has been committing war crimes against the Sunni population that reach the level of crimes against humanity and genocide.

 

The Iranian role reveals more than anything else the supreme common denominator between radical Shiite Islam and radical Sunni Islam. The two sides are able to overcome their profound differences and cooperate on the basis of a shared sphere of interests: the struggle against Israel, the continuation of the revolutions of the Islamic Spring, and the ejection of Western influence from the region.

 

Gaza’s transformation into a terror entity, with an extensive military infrastructure and advanced weaponry, removes the basis for any claim that territory is no longer important in the missile era, and demonstrates the vital need for continued Israeli control of key areas of the West Bank that, under any scenario, would give it even minimally defensible borders. A withdrawal to the 1967 lines would likely result in Israel facing yet another military and terrorist front that could, by linking up with regional actors such as Iran, Egypt, and Hizbullah, threaten Israel’s continued existence….

 

Once again, radical leftist organizations have come out in support of Hamas. In Toronto, for example, Canadian leftist activists have upheld Hamas’ “right of resistance” as evidenced in the current hostilities, ignoring the fact that international human rights organizations define such tactics as war crimes. The unwritten alliance between the radical left and Hamas rests on common demands that the West change its policy in the Middle East, stop supporting “illegitimate” Israel, and instead opt for cooperation with the rising Islamic forces.

 

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THE CHILDREN GIVEN LIFE IN THE MIDST OF WAR

Nicky Blackburn,

Israel21C, November 20, 2012

 

Mohamed Ashgar is bored. The 11-year-old, who suffers from rheumatic heart disease, has been at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon for a week waiting for surgery, but it was delayed because of poor blood test results. Now he just wants to have the operation and get back home quickly to his parents and his four brothers and sisters. His dream when he is finally well again – to go back to school. Ill health has kept him out of class for over a year already.

 

Sitting on the end of his bed in hospital pajamas, Mohamed has a cheeky face and a sweet, wide grin. He tells ISRAEL21c that he’d like to be prime minister when he grows up – maybe. It’s all so completely normal, except for one thing: Mohamed is from Betlahia in Gaza, and his operation is taking place in Israel in the midst of a bitter and dangerous conflict that has seen both sides bombing each other continually for seven days.

 

On Sunday, Mohamed and his grandfather Dahud, 58, who accompanied him into Israel, were in the hospital when a siren went off. They and the other children on the ward – many of them crying and scared — were hurried to the shelter, a room at the end of the corridor that doubles as a nurses’ cupboard with boxes of stationery and spare pajamas on the shelves.

 

The missile from Gaza was intercepted by the Iron Dome, but fragments of it fell a few meters from the hospital, causing a car to burst into flames. Another part of the shell was later found inside the hospital.

 

Mohamed is in Israel thanks to the Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), a non-profit organization based at Wolfson that provides children from developing countries, often those ravaged by war, with heart surgery and follow-up care.

 

He’s not the only child at the clinic from Gaza right now. There are also two baby girls – Remas, and Leen, who has Down syndrome — and a six-year-old boy, Salah, who arrived with his mother on Sunday during the siren. In the midst of some of the fiercest fighting, they managed to come by car from Khan Yunis to Gaza City, and then by ambulance to the Erez crossing, where they were met by Israelis and brought to Wolfson.

 

There are Palestinians from the West Bank too, including six-month-old Losen, who was in surgery when the sirens went off. Her father, Ahmad Faygan, 30, a municipality worker from Tul Karem, said the only thing he could think about as the sirens blared was whether the surgeons would abandon his daughter to take to the shelters. They didn’t. There are five Iraqi children, and 18 others from Kosovo, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zanzibar – all mixed in together.

 

SACH is the largest program of its kind in the world. Aside from bringing children to Israel for lifesaving surgery, the organization trains physicians, goes on missions abroad to operate on kids, and has a weekly clinic on Tuesdays for children in the West Bank and Gaza. The 70 to 80 medical staff involved in the program all work voluntarily. All medical costs for most of the patients are covered by SACH.

 

The organization was conceived by US immigrant Dr. Amram Cohen, and founded in 1995 by Cohen and Dr. Sion Houri, now head of the pediatric intensive care unit at Wolfson. It began with Ethiopian children and broadened to include children from 44 countries. Cohen died in 2001 in a climbing accident on Mount Kilimanjaro.

 

Some 3,000 children have had surgery at Wolfson through SACH, of which about half are Palestinian, and 70 percent of these from Gaza. SACH also sends Israeli doctors to train cardiologists and treat patients in the developing world. In addition, SACH personnel at Wolfson train medical practitioners from developing countries — so far, nearly 80 doctors, including about 20 Palestinians – and work intensively with doctors in Tanzania and Ethiopia….

 

Does being in a conflict with Gaza make a difference to the staff? “From outside it might look strange, but here it’s routine,” says Houri, as he walks the wards of the pediatric department greeting patients, parents and nursing staff in a mix of Hebrew, Arabic and English. “It’s Middle East logic: At the same time we are bombing each other, a mother comes with her son from Gaza for surgery. Missiles are falling, but we carry on as usual. For us it’s normal to be so abnormal….

\

For the parents and children from Gaza right now, it’s no doubt a surreal experience. Their leadership is at war with Israel, militants are firing hundreds of missiles at Israeli cities and towns, and their own families are sheltering from Israeli retaliation. But here in Israel they are treated warmly and compassionately, and – most important of all – their children are being given vital surgery. “We are very glad to be here for the operation, but we really feel for our family back home,” says Dahud. “We aren’t frightened for ourselves; we’re frightened for them in Gaza. We feel more protected here.”

 

“We have family in Gaza and we’re very much afraid of what’s happening there, but we aren’t nervous about being here in Israel,” says 26-year-old Anfam Faygan, mother of Losen. “We have some anxieties about being hit by a missile, but we don’t feel any different from the other parents in the hospital. They treat our daughter as they would their own.” It’s her daughter’s second operation at Wolfson. Her first was at the age of 10 days. Her final corrective surgery was on Sunday. “The parents and children feel very safe in Israel,” remarks Houri, whose son is now serving in the Israel Defense Forces. “You can see they feel good, by their smiles.”

 

He remembers an incident some years ago when two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah were lynched by a mob of Palestinians. At the same time a Palestinian mother was at Wolfson with her child. “She was sitting outside the ward and she was completely white,” says Houri. “I had to calm her down. Here, now, people don’t seem to be in much anxiety. Their main concern is that people at home might get hurt, not that they are here amongst Israelis.”

 

Does all this work with Gaza have an impact on the situation? “Judging by the amount of missiles that have fallen on Israel, it doesn’t seem to,” says Houri ruefully. “We just have to do what we can. People know the reality. It’s not just one child from Gaza that we’ve operated on, it’s not something that can be hidden away. We’ve operated on hundreds of children. We’ve had all kinds of reactions over the years. At Wolfson, Palestinian and Israeli mothers sit down and talk to each other for the first time.”…

 

In the meantime, Mohamed is still anxiously waiting for his turn. If his blood tests improve, the operation should go ahead next week. His grandfather, who worked for 40 years in Israel, hopes that one day the situation between Gaza and Israel will improve.

 

“I used to travel all over the country for work and then go home afterwards,” he says passionately. “I’m hoping that these days will come again.”

 

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HIDING JEWISH ORIGINS IS FUTILE AND PATHETIC

Rabbi Dov Marmur

Canadian Jewish News, November 15, 2012

 

The formal notice of the passing of  Walter Carsen, the renowned Canadian patron of the arts who died last month shortly after his 100th birthday, stated that he was “of German origin.” He’s said to have described himself as “European.” In fact, he was Jewish, as are his two children, which they only found out from their mother when they were in their teens. Carsen’s parents were murdered in Auschwitz. For much of his life, he was estranged from his brother who had escaped to South America, perhaps because the latter had affirmed his Jewishness.

 

In a lengthy obituary by Paula Citron in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 13, [2012], we read that Carsen was born in Cologne into a family of assimilated Jews, fled to England to escape the Nazis and was deported to Canada as “an enemy alien” together with other Jews, many of whom came to play and important role in this country.

 

But when another deportee, Eric Koch, was preparing his book about the deportation, Carsen refused to be interviewed. Citron remarks, echoing a statement by Carsen’s daughter, that “his inability to come to terms with the Holocaust continued throughout his life.”

 

Like for so many assimilated Jews, “kultur” seems to have become for Carsen a substitute for religion. The universal nature of the arts may have appealed to him as a tool in his delusion that patronage would submerge his Jewish identity. Even his real surname, in the words of the obituary, “became part of his lost history.”

 

The story of Walter Carsen brings to mind countless others, among them Robert Maxwell, the British politician and media baron. He was born in what later became Czechoslovakia into a Yiddish-speaking family.  Virtually all of its members perished in the Shoah.  For a long time, he tried to conceal his Jewish origins and was even said to read the Lesson in the Anglican Church close to his stately home.

 

Encouraged by his non-Jewish wife and probably provoked by antisemitic slurs as his business empire began to unravel, he came to acknowledge his roots by promoting Holocaust education and supporting Israel. He was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. One of the eulogies was delivered by then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, in which he hinted at Maxwell’s services to Israeli intelligence….

 

Unlike Carsen, who by all accounts was a very successful and highly respected businessman, Maxwell turned out to have stolen countless millions from his company. This and his alleged involvement with Israeli intelligence gave rise to many speculations about how he died.

 

In her memoir,  A Mind of My Own,  his wife, Elizabeth, explores the complexity of her husband’s character and his burning desire for acceptance. She seeks to fathom what it does for a person’s identity when it’s coupled with an insatiable urge for wealth and recognition, and manifest in the mistaken – in Maxwell’s case – the belief that having survived Hitler makes you invincible….

 

The late Chaim Bermant, a distinguished British-Jewi8sh journalist and author, wrote about Maxwell: “The fact that he had fought in the war and been decorated for valour by Montgomery, that he had a stately home in Oxford, was a member of Parliament and was married to a Christian woman who was every inch a lady, did not, however, make him an English gentleman.”

 

Canada is more accommodating to ambitious immigrants. The fact that Carsen had given away most of his fortune to the arts, that he was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of Canada, and that several institutions and funds bear his name did make him the Canadian equivalent to a British gentleman.

 

But it’s tragic that in the process he should have tried to conceal his Jewishness.  Had he acknowledged his origins with pride, it’s very likely that he would have died no less honoured but very much happier. Carsen and his ilk remind us that hiding one’s Jewishness is both futile and pathetic.

 

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New Jewish Museum to Open Next Year in Warsaw: Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Winnipeg Jewish Review, Oct. 25, 2012 —The new Museum of the History of Polish Jews is scheduled to open in Warsaw in early 2013. Designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki …the museum is built on the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto facing the famous Rappaport monument depicting the Ghetto Fighters.

 

 

Why Was There War In Gaza?: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 22, 2012—Why was there an Israel-Gaza war in the first place? Resistance to the occupation, say Hamas and many in the international media. What occupation? Seven years ago, in front of the world, Israel pulled out of Gaza.

 

The Truth About Gaza: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2012—I was wrong to support Israel's 'disengagement' from the Strip in 2005. The diplomatic and public-relations benefit Israel derives from being able to defend itself from across a "border" and without having to get into an argument about settlements isn't worth the price Israelis have had to pay in lives and terror.

 

 

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HISTORY’S MOVED ON: ARAB WOUNDS SELF-INFLICTED, WHILE IRAN’S BOMB, NOT GAZA, IS ISRAEL’S PROBLEM

Contents:                             Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

 

In the Shoes of an Israeli : Charles Bybelezer, Front Page Magazine, Nov. 22, 2012 —It is an abstract exercise to envision, however inadequately, but I have often wondered: what would it be like to live amid a constant barrage of rockets, dashing for shelter with every renewed blast of the siren?

It’s about Tehran, not Gaza: Mike Evans, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2012—As missiles supplied to Iran’s proxy Hamas fly over the nation of Israel another source for concern hovers at the back of the minds of Israel’s leaders: Iran’s nuclear program.

 

Will the Arab Spring Deliver for Hamas?: Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 20, 2012—Mr. Morsi didn't rise to power to carry the burden of the Palestinian question. Egyptians could rightly claim that they had paid their dues for Palestine. Enough was enough…

 

Arab Columnists Criticize Hamas: MEMRI, Nov. 20, 2012—Alongside the official Arab condemnations of Israel's attack on Gaza, and the popular protests against it in some of the Arab countries, there has also been criticism against Hamas. This criticism is mainly voiced in the countries of the moderate Arab camp (headed by the Gulf states, the PA and elements in Egypt), which opposes the resistance camp (headed by Iran, Syria and Hizbullah)..

On Topic Links

Israel’s Gaza Options: Prof. Frederick Krantz, Isranet, December 31, 2009

Palestinian Ambassador: Hamas Must Go: Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz, Nov.21, 2012

Human Rights Hypocrisy in Gaza: Gerald M. Steinberg, National Post, Nov 20, 21012

Hamas Violence Forcing Israel to Defend Itself: Joel Lion, The Montreal Gazette, Nov. 21, 2012

Behind The Scenes: Israel's Decision to Accept Gaza Truce: Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz, Nov.22, 2012

Israel's Pillar of Defense Achieved its Goals: Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz, Nov. 22, 2012

 

 

IN THE SHOES OF AN ISRAELI
Charles Bybelezer

Front Page Magazine, November 22, 2012
 

I often try to place myself in the skin of an Israeli southerner. It is an abstract exercise to envision, however inadequately, but I have often wondered: what would it be like to live amid a constant barrage of rockets, dashing for shelter with every renewed blast of the siren? But never did I conceive actually taking a small step in their shoes.

 

Such was the case last week, as the “Code Red” early warning rocket alarm system blared throughout Tel Aviv for the first time since the Gulf War in 1991. As I looked out my window, the tension was palpable. Nobody so much as flinched. It took 30 seconds—what seemed like a small eternity—for the enormity of the situation to sink in. As people regained their senses, panic set in, sending everyone racing for cover.  And then the explosion.
 

The whole surreal sequence lasted all of 45 seconds—less than one minute to find shelter; not a bomb shelter, mind you, as there simply is no time, but rather any enclosed space, devoid of windows of course, preferably a hallway or staircase. Fourty-five seconds. Count it out. In Israel, it can be the difference between life and death.

 

Tragically, three more Israelis fell victim to this harsh reality last week, after their apartment building in Kiryat Malachi was struck by a rocket fired by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists, The missile was one of approximately 1000 fired towards Israel from the Strip between Wednesday and Sunday, following the launch of Operation Pillar of Defense, a military offensive which saw the Israel Air Force strike an equal number of terror targets in Gaza over the same period.

 

It is important to keep this in mind as accusations of “disproportionality” inevitably begin to be hurled from all directions at Israel. It is hogwash. The Jewish state cannot be faulted—but rather should be hailed—for investing billions of dollars to develop a technological miracle: Iron Dome. By intercepting in the last week upwards of 300 rockets destined for Israeli civilian centers, the anti-missile defense system saved countless Israeli lives. Likewise, it also saved Palestinian lives, which surely would have been lost in the event the IDF was forced to retaliate to a direct hit, say, on Tel Aviv.
 

This is in stark contrast to Hamas’ practice of concealing weaponry in residential buildings, schools, hospitals and mosques thereby guaranteeing the unnecessary loss of life despite the precision of Israeli strikes.  On this point, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement to the foreign press at the outset of Pillar of Defense was particularly poignant:

“Seven years ago, Israel withdrew from every square inch of Gaza. Now, Hamas took over the areas we vacated. What did it do? Rather than build a better future for the residents of Gaza, the Hamas leadership, backed by Iran, turned Gaza into a terrorist stronghold.  I’m stressing this because it’s important to understand that there is no moral symmetry; there is no moral equivalence, between Israel and the terrorist organizations in Gaza. The terrorists are committing a double war crime. They fire at Israeli civilians, and they hide behind Palestinian civilians.”

 

The fact of the matter is that Israel had no choice but to act, given that residents of the south have been living in a state of paralysis for nearly a month. The mission, after all, was initiated only after Palestinians fired over 150 rockets into southern Israel from November 9- 11; mass terror attacks which came on the heels of the more than 100 rockets fired from Gaza into the Jewish state in a span of 24 hours in late October.

 

But with restraint comes consequences, and the bitter truth is that, even with this temporary ceasefire in place, it may be too late to defuse the Gaza ticking time bomb. The geopolitical conditions in the region have changed, and Hamas’ newfound assertiveness is the direct outcome of the emergence in Egypt of its progenitor and patron, the Muslim Brotherhood….

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made this clear by recalling Egypt’s ambassador to Israel at the onset of the “brutal assault” on Gaza. Last Friday he vowed that “Cairo will not leave Gaza on its own. Egypt today is not the Egypt of yesterday.” In a further show of solidarity, an Egyptian prime minister for the first time travelled to the Strip; the visit was, in Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh’s words, “a message to the occupation.”

 

The nature of that message was repeatedly conveyed throughout Hesham Kandil’s trip—the beginning of which was supposed to usher in a three hour ceasefire—with the launching of fifty rockets at Israel, including two at Tel Aviv. That Egypt’s new Islamist government backs Gaza’s terrorist rulers was expressly confirmed by Hamas’ armed wing, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Tel Aviv while Kandil was still in the coastal enclave….

 

The point is this: when strategic threats are permitted to fester, they inevitably intensify. In this respect, for far too long one million Israelis living in the south were left to endure inhumane conditions. The eventual outcome of inaction in the face of terror was entirely predictable: what was tolerated in Sderot became the norm in Ashdod and Ashkelon, and then in Beersheva. Now, the rockets are being fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as the front lines of the Arab-Islamic war against Israel shift to the heart of the country.

 

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IT’S ABOUT TEHRAN, NOT GAZA

Mike Evans

Jerusalem Post, November 21, 2012

 

As missiles supplied to Iran’s proxy Hamas fly over the nation of Israel another source for concern hovers at the back of the minds of Israel’s leaders: Iran’s nuclear program. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency almost 3,000 machines used to produce nuclear fuel have been mounted at the underground military facility near the city of Qom. This move doubles Iran’s ability to generate medium grade, or 20 percent enriched, uranium in the months ahead.

 

What is the global significance of this action? By March or April 2013, Iran’s military could possess enough uranium for one viable atomic weapon. At that point, the fanatical Muslim leaders in the country will have reached the “red line” indicated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu [at the UN]. It is at that point Israel’s leaders must determine not if, but when to take action to protect its populace….

 

Leaders in Tehran continue to assert that Iran’s nuclear program is only for domestic use. According to sources, Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent amounts to 232 kilograms of which approximately 96 kilos could be used in the production of a weapon. Knowledgeable experts assess that another 120 to 150 kilograms would be needed for the production of a nuclear bomb.

 

With the Qom plant fully operational, and by restructuring the centrifuges, Iran could easily convert the store of uranium to weapons-grade within months. The changes at the facility in Qom are of particular concern to IAEA negotiators, to the United States, to Europe, and particularly to Israel. It is feared that the nuclear installation in Qom is invulnerable to attacks by air.

 

Thus far, United Nations Security Council talks with Iran’s officials have produced no discernible outcome, and frankly why should they have? Despite the 80% drop in the value of the Iranian currency, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have seen nothing to make them believe the US or its European allies would make any move to stop Iran’s forward motion….

 

Also of great concern to the Israelis is a report that a freighter is en route from Bandar Abbas to Gaza with a payload of 220 short range and 50 Fajr-5 missiles with larger warheads and greater range than those Hamas possessed at the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.

 

The cargo on the freighter would replace the dwindling stockpile of missiles fired into Israel since November 10. To cover its tracks, the ship has changed names and ownership several times since its launch. She departed Bandar Abbas as the Vali-e-Asr under the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. On the South Pacific Island of Tuvalu, its name was changed to the Cargo Star and hosted a Tuvalu flag….
 

Intelligence sources have also revealed that Revolutionary Guard Units from Iran are serving as advisers to the Gaza terrorists.  What better way for Iran to conceal its determination to distract Israel, and the world, from its nuclear program than to begin a skirmish with the Jewish nation?

 

The writer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is Seven Days, a new fiction book telling the riveting story of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

 

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WILL THE ARAB SPRING DELIVER FOR HAMAS?

Fouad Ajami

Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2012

 

'Egypt of today is entirely different from the Egypt of yesterday, and the Arabs of today are not the Arabs of yesterday." So said Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi after Friday prayers last week, adding: "We will not leave Gaza alone."

 

And Gaza will not leave Mr. Morsi alone. As in decades past, Egypt is playing mediator between the Palestinians and Israel—but Mr. Morsi finds himself in a more precarious position than his predecessors. He has been involved in a delicate balancing act since his election in June, mindful of his indebtedness to the Hamas-allied Muslim Brotherhood that brought him to power and of his need not to alienate his foreign-aid benefactors in Washington….

 

Mr. Morsi didn't rise to power to carry the burden of the Palestinian question. The 18 magical days of protests in Tahrir Square that upended the military regime, and the elections that followed, weren't about pan-Arab duties. Egyptians could rightly claim that they had paid their dues for Palestine. Enough was enough—the last of Egypt's four wars with Israel (in 1973) appeared to deliver a binding verdict: Egypt would put behind it the furies and the dangers of the struggle of Palestine. Yet here was Mr. Morsi indulging the radicalism and ruinous ways of Hamas when even the Palestinians have fed off  that diet for far too long.

 

It is commonplace to observe that the Arab Awakening of 2011-12 has remade the region, that the rise of Islamist governments in Egypt and Tunisia, and the rebellion in Syria, have brought a new balance of Arab forces. The men of Hamas could see this new landscape as favorable to their kind of politics. Hamas fought a fratricidal war against its rival, Fatah, and the prize in 2007 was Gaza's virtual secession, under Hamas rule, from the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank. The established Arab states had cast their lot with the "legitimate" order of Fatah, and Hamas was left to the isolation of Gaza….

 

But the Arab rebellions suddenly gave Hamas a reprieve from this dilemma. The secular regimes toppled, and political Islam began riding what looked like an irresistible historical wave. Gone was the Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak, who had been a partner of Israel in the blockade that isolated Gaza. Hamas could read his demise as evidence that 'collaborationist" regimes aren't destined to last.

 

The ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia and Egypt only added to Hamas's conviction that history was breaking its way. Throughout their modern history, the Palestinians have looked for a redeemer—a man, a power—that could spare them the rigors of a compromise with their Zionist adversaries…

 

Then, as luck would have it, there was the emir of Qatar, eager for a role beyond his small principality. He has vast treasure and sway over the Qatari-based satellite channel al-Jazeera. He bet big on the Libyan revolution against Moammar Gadhafi and on the Syrian rebellion, and he had some sympathy for Hamas. Last month, the emir made a highly publicized visit to Gaza, bringing aid of $400 million and the promise of more.  So an Egyptian-Turkish-Qatari alliance formed….

 

On Sunday [Nov. 18] in Egypt’s leading official daily, Al-Ahram, I came upon a daring column by one of that paper’s writers, Hazem Abdul Rahman. The solution lies in the development of Egypt, not in Gaza, he observed. He minced no words: President Morsi wasn’t elected to serve the cause of Palestine—his mandate was the “pursuit of bread, freedom, and social justice.” The popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood has eroded, but it cannot find salvation in foreign policy: “That road is blocked, the other players are ill-intentioned, including Hamas, Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, even the United States.”

 

Mr. Abdul Rahman didn’t think much of Mr. Morsi’s decision to withdraw the Egyptian ambassador to Israel after its counterattack against Hamas began last week. Egypt needed its ambassador there to conduct its own diplomacy, the columnist said, and this was nothing more than grandstanding.

 

The Palestinians ignore a fundamental truth about the Arab Awakenings at their peril. These rebellions were distinctly national affairs, emphasizing the primacy of home and its needs. Indeed, the Palestinians themselves have bristled in indignation that the pan-Arab media have zealously covered Syria while all but ignoring Palestine, which was the obsession of the 1960s and 1970s.

 

History has moved on, and Arab populations have gone their separate ways. They caught on to the sobering conclusion that the cause of Palestine had been hijacked by military regimes and tyrants for their own ends. As they watched the Syrian fighter jets reduce so much of the fabled city of Aleppo to rubble, they understood that their wounds are self-inflicted, that their political maladies have nothing to do with Israel. Hamas better not press its luck. Palestinian deliverance lies in realism, and in an accommodation with Israel. Six decades of futility ought to have driven home so self-evident a lesson.

 

(Mr. Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and the author most recently of "The Syrian Rebellion" (Hoover Press, 2012)

 

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ARAB COLUMNISTS CRITICIZE HAMAS

MEMRI, November 20, 2012

 

Alongside the official Arab condemnations of Israel's attack on Gaza, and the popular protests against it in some of the Arab countries, there has also been criticism against Hamas. This criticism is mainly voiced in the countries of the moderate Arab camp (headed by the Gulf states, the PA and elements in Egypt), which opposes the resistance camp (headed by Iran, Syria and Hizbullah). The following are excerpts from some of the articles: 

 

Egyptian Columnists: Hamas's Actions Have Devastating Consequences

 

Gamal Al-Ghitani, editor of the weekly culture supplement of the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar, claimed in an article that Hamas's policy is never intended for the good of the Palestinian interest, and expressed fear that this policy would be used by Israel as a pretext to occupy Sinai: "There is nothing that makes our hearts bleed like the pictures of the martyrs killed in Gaza as a result of Israeli fire and the mistakes of Hamas, which hijacked the [Gaza] Strip and its residents and forced them to accept its control and the control of its allies, in order to carry out a worrying policy that caused dire results. The most dangerous [result] is transforming the Palestinian cause from a national cause based on land and people to a religious issue…

 

"Hamas's plans… are never meant to benefit Palestine and the Palestinian cause. On the contrary, they grant a golden opportunity to the Israeli extremists to initiate a war against the defenseless Palestinian people… Hamas and its dangerous policy… place the entire homeland under a threat, the most minimal devastating consequence of which would be granting Israel a pretext to invade Sinai and recapture it in response to military operations launched from Sinai by factions associated with jihad organizations like Al-Qaeda and with [organizations] linked to Hamas… We must act wisely and reconcile the national and pan-Arab interests.”

 

Ibrahim 'Issa, editor of the independent Egyptian daily Al-Dustour Al-Asli wrote: "It is our human, religious, and national duty to support the Palestinian people in Gaza without any bargaining. Avoiding [this duty] is a weakness and a disgrace. Notice that I call [to support] the Palestinian people – not Hamas – since Hamas's decisions can sometimes be useful and correct, but can sometimes be disastrous for the people… This is a movement that has not conducted new elections to demonstrate the people's consent or opposition to its policy, [even though] seven years have passed since the elections [that brought it to power], which were the first and last [elections it ever won]…"

 

Columnists: Gaza Is A Pawn On Iran's Chessboard

 

Lebanese journalist Khayrallah Khayrallah wrote on the liberal website elaph.com that the Gaza war is a result of Iran's wish to demonstrate its control over Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood. The hope that Iran and Egypt would come to the Palestinians' rescue, he said, only reflects the breakdown of the Arabs' powers of reasoning: "The Palestinian people and their cause are nothing but a bargaining chip for Iran. Sadly, some Palestinians believe that Iran is on their side and that it will [help them] get back Jerusalem. Some Palestinians also believe today that Egypt can be counted upon to start a new war in the region, when Egypt… [actually] has other worries having to do with overcoming its deep political, economic and social crisis…
 

"The Palestinians still dream that some Arabs and Iranians will leap to their rescue. They do not understand that the Iranian missiles in their possession are merely a tool – [a means] by which Iran can [demonstrate] that it has the first and last word in Gaza and that it controls key parts of the Hamas movement, as well as some small [Gazan] organizations… This is a breakdown of Arab reasoning, which fails to grasp that the war currently raging [in Gaza reflects] Iran's desire to show the Arabs that it can use the Muslim Brotherhood to realize its goals…”

 

Egyptian journalist 'Imad Al-Din Adib wrote an article titled "Look For Iran In All That Happens" in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. He stated: "Iran plays a devastating role in the Arab arena while exploiting the regional tensions during the Arab Spring revolutions in order to heat up the region and harass Tel Aviv and Washington, which could eventually lead them to agree to negotiate with Iran on Iran's own terms… The Iranians follow a simple philosophy: 'Start a fire in the region until the world complains about the flames and [world leaders] come to you asking for your intervention. Then you can bargain with them and receive what you want'…

 

"Iran wants [to bargain for] three main things: recognition of its nuclear capabilities; the lifting of the trade and economic embargo; and the restoration of its [relations with the world]  and admission into the international community on all levels… "The countries burned by the fire Iran started now see it as the 'Great Satan,' which ignites the fires of tension in the region… We are [merely] a pawn on the Iranian chessboard, and Iran does not care if the region is set on fire, if its economy is ruined, or if everyone is standing on the brink of a devastating war."

 

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Israel’s Gaza Options: Prof. Frederick Krantz, CIJR Isranet, Dec 31, 2009 —Hamas is a Sunni Islamic radical terrorist organization whose primary raison d’etre, clearly expressed in its founding covenant, is the destruction of Jewish Israel.  

 

Palestinian Ambassador: Hamas Must Go: Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz, Nov.21, 2012 —As the Israel Air Force continued to pulverize Gaza and Hamas fired rockets at the south of Israel last Monday, an Israeli ambassador telephoned his Palestinian counterpart. Both officials have served for several years in the capital of the same major country.

 

Human Rights Hypocrisy In Gaza: Gerald M. Steinberg, National Post, Nov 20, 21012—Human rights and international law, or at least the accompanying rhetoric, are an integral part of 21st-century warfare. In Iraq, Afghanistan and whenever Israel acts to defend its citizens, a cacophony of United Nations ideologues and their allies in groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch automatically condemn the use of force as a “war crime.”

 

Israel's Pillar Of Defense Achieved Its Goals: Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz, Nov.22, 2012 —Its objectives: to reinstate the Gaza cease-fire with Hamas, which had unraveled in recent months, and to stabilize the peace with Egypt now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in power.

 

Hamas Violence Forcing Israel To Defend Itself: Joel Lion, The Montreal Gazette, Nov. 21, 2012—But while suffering is of course universal, the symmetry that has been played over again and again is only an illusion. A closer examination of the facts paints a different picture, one that is far from symmetrical.

 

Behind The Scenes Of Israel's Decision To Accept Gaza Truce: Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz, Nov.22, 2012—The Israeli decision to accept the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire deal was made after two days of fierce disputes among the triumverate of top Israeli ministers that led the operation in Gaza, as well as the broader forum of nine.

 

 

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GAZA WAR: WESTERN MEDIA, STATES DON’T GET IT: ONLY FORCE CAN DETER TERRORIST WAR CRIMES

Contents:                             Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Western Media Elites Just Don’t Get the Middle East: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, Nov. 18, 2012 —The elite currently in power in the Western mass media is never going to comprehend the Middle East. There is a problem with bias, for sure, but the big problem is the impenetrable ignorance of the very people who are entrusted with explaining the region to others.

 

Israel’s Just War: Jonathan Kay, National Post, Nov 19, 2012 — Were Israel truly to unleash its firepower in the manner of, say, Bashar Assad against his own people (37,000 dead and counting in Syria — as opposed to about 100 in Gaza during the current campaign), then all of Gaza would be a smoking ruin, and a million desperate Gazan refugees would be streaming into Egypt.

 

In Support of a Ground Offensive: Efraim Inbar and Max Singer, Mid East Forum, Nov. 19, 2012—In our view, an armored push into Gaza in order to deal the Hamas military wing a decisive blow is necessary. From a strategic, long-term perspective, Israel cannot avoid confronting Hamas head-on, and must take action sooner rather than later.

Hamas Uses Palestinian Children As Human Shields: InfoLive.TV, Jan 1, 2010—A short video presenting visual evidence of the long-standing Hamas tactic of exploiting civilians as human shields, and civilian buildings as cover for terrorist attacks. 

 

On Topic Links

 

Who Wants to Defeat Hamas?: Neville Teller, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2012

Should Israel Agree to a Cease-fire?: Robert Spencer, Front Page Magazine, Nov 20, 2012

Palestinian State 2.0: Asaf Romirowsky, YNet News, November 1, 2012
The ‘Kids’ Behind IDF’s Media: Allison Hoffman, Tablet Magazine, November 20, 2012

When Did Hamas Become Secular?: Hanin Ghaddar, Now Lebanon, November 19, 2012

 

 

WESTERN MEDIA ELITES JUST DON’T GET THE MIDDLE EAST
Barry Rubin

Jewish Press, November 18, 2012

 

The elite currently in power in the Western mass media is never going to comprehend the Middle East. There is a problem with bias, for sure, but the big problem is the impenetrable ignorance of the very people who are entrusted with explaining the region to others. They insist on imposing their own misconceptions on the situation while ignoring the evidence.

 

Consider Janine Zacharia. What a distinguished resume: Jerusalem bureau chief and Middle East Correspondent for the Washington Post (2009-2011); chief diplomatic correspondent for Bloomberg News (2005-2009) and before that five years working for the Jerusalem Post in Washington DC and another five years working for Reuters and other publications from Jerusalem. Right now she’s a visiting lecturer at Stanford University in communications.

 

Surely, such a person must understand the region’s issues and if anyone isn’t going to have an anti-Israel bias in the mass media it would be her. And she isn’t anti-Israel in a conscious, political sense. Indeed, she obviously views herself as being sympathetic. Rather, it is her assumptions that make her type of views inevitably anti-Israel and more broadly inevitably destructive of U.S. interests on other issues.

So here’s her article in Slate. The title is “Why Israel’s Gaza Campaign is Doomed.” Not, why this response is the best of a set of difficult options; not why the world should support Israel; not why Hamas should be removed from power with international support but why Israel is wrong and stupid to fight. “Doomed” is a pretty strong word.

 

The subhead—adapted from Zacharia’s text—is “Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to bomb Hamas militants will leave Israel more isolated, insecure, and alone.” Not the decision of Israel’s unanimous leadership including first and foremost its military and defence experts but that of a prime minister who now plays a role for the American media most closely approximated to that held by former President George W. Bush.

 

And by defending itself against an onslaught of rockets—120 in one week–Israel will be worse off even though by the way every Western country I’m aware of has supported Israel. Why will Israel be more isolated, insecure, and alone? Because the unspoken assumption of the Western media elite is that anyone who uses force, even in self-defence, ends up worse off.

 

It is quite reasonable to state that the campaign will not end the problem. Everyone in Israel and in Israel’s leadership and all the generals and Netanyahu know this very well. They also know that a country that does not defend itself and maintain its credibility and deterrence is going to end up doomed, isolated, insecure, and alone.

 

They also know that the best that can be expected given this situation is to force Hamas to deescalate for two or three years before the next round. One of the goals of the operation is to destroy the large military stockpiles–especially longer-range missiles–that Hamas has accumulated since 2009. Thus, Hamas will have to start all over again to smuggle in weapons. The next time they start a war it will be from a far weaker position than if they had not taken such losses….

 

Zacharia…faithfully represents the current standpoint of the Western elite. Here is her prescription: “Israel needs a far more sophisticated, diplomatic, long-term strategic policy for dealing with Gaza and all the threats around it—from Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and perhaps Egypt. A new Israeli approach may have to include a willingness to at least try talking to Hamas, which is fighting its own internal battle against even more radical, anti-Israel groups in the Gaza Strip. It may mean putting more pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, languishing in irrelevance in Ramallah, to make peace with Hamas so there can be negotiations with Israel and a permanent end to this rocket-war madness.”

 

[For Zacharia:]

 

–The “Palestinian militant groups” want to drag Israel into an all-out war. Therefore, she reasons, Israel is foolish to engage in such a war. But the other side wanting a war that Israel prefers to avoid has been a common feature of Israeli history as in 1948, 1967, and 2006. The Palestinian leadership and Arab states misjudge the balance of forces (that is, they don’t know they lose) or feel such a losing war is worthwhile to mobilize popular support and to prove the individual group involved (in this case Hamas) is the best and most courageous of Fedayeen.

 

–The other side consists of “militant groups.” The problem with avoiding the word “terrorist” is not that it sanitizes those attacking Israel but that it downgrades their ideology and intentions. Hamas openly declares it will destroy Israel and commit genocide against Jews generally. Terrorism is a tactic. What lies behind it is a desire to murder all the civilians on the enemy side, whether or not any specific attack succeeds in killing a few of them….

 

–The fault is with Israel. It doesn’t have a proper diplomatic policy, you see, because there’s no willingness to talk to Hamas. Does Hamas [not have a] character of its own? Might it have an ideology and goals of its own? Might Hamas be to Israel what al-Qaida is to the United States?

 

If one actually knew anything about Hamas–and Israelis have three decades of experience in studying, fighting, and dealing with it—the idea of a negotiated solution would be ridiculous….Yet Zacharia is blaming Israel for not being good enough to negotiate a deal with a group whose televised children’s shows call for the physical extinction of Israel, the mass murder of its inhabitants, and future careers for kiddies as suicide bombers.

 

–Hamas is fighting even more radical groups in the Gaza Strip and therefore it must be moderate or at least potentially so. That isn’t really true. Of course, Hamas cracks down on groups that attack its own rule or prove to be inconvenient. But far more often it cooperates with Islamic Jihad and even al-Qaida affiliated groups. These attack Israel with Hamas’s cooperation and forbearance and then Hamas can claim innocence, thus waging war and claiming it isn’t doing anything at all. This is a transparent ploy but one that, as with Zacharia, many influential people in the West buy hook, line, and sinker.

 

–Israel can “put pressure” on Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, and end the attacks from the Gaza Strip permanently. Yet anybody—much less a journalist who spent years dealing with the Middle East—should know that Abbas has zero influence in the Gaza Strip and any deal he makes (and he doesn’t intend to make one) will have no effect on Hamas or the Gaza Strip….

 

In other words, what Zacharia writes—and this is common throughout Western academic, media, and governmental circles—is completely absurd. The solution not being taken up is to overthrow Hamas just like the Taliban was overthrown in Afghanistan…But there is zero support in the West for bringing down Hamas. President Barack Obama helped bring a pro-Hamas regime in Egypt. And the man who never pressured Abbas pressured Israel to reduce sanctions on the Gaza Strip, thus helping Hamas remain in power so it can continue firing rockets at Israel.

 

I do not expect the mass media to improve nor do I have any hope of educating the journalists who write this kind of thing. They are not going to change in the near- or even medium-term future. Hence, they will be ignored instead. Equally, the governments who follow this kind of line will have no effect—at least no positive effect—on regional problems. The new feature of the last few years is that the U.S. government has contributed to making things much worse.
 

And that’s why there will be no “permanent end” to this rocket war madness or all of the other varieties of madness that are getting worse in the region. It is the policy of those people who do not understand what they are talking about or dealing with who are doomed. They are the ones who need a new policy.

 

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ISRAEL’S JUST WAR

Jonathan Kay

National Post, Nov 19, 2012

 

This is the third time the world has seen this tragedy performed. Act I was in 2006, during Israel’s Lebanon War with Hezbollah. Act II played out in 2008 and early 2009, with the first Gaza War. And now Act III is being performed, once again in Gaza.

 

In all three instances, the pattern has been the same: A militant group provokes Israel through kidnapping, bombardment or terrorist attacks. When Israel’s collective tolerance reaches its limit, the IDF returns fire with its larger arsenal. In 2006 and 2008, Israel followed up with a ground invasion.

 

The media coverage also follows a predictable pattern. In all three cases described above, international reports generally were fairly balanced until such time as Israel actually exercised its right to self-defence. At that point, reporters began turning the struggle into a David-vs-Goliath narrative that ignores the morally essential question of who started the conflict.

 

As the conflicts dragged on, even the terrorists’ most hideous tactics — deliberately targeting civilian population centers — were re-imagined as heroic gestures of defiance. Great attention has been paid to the cheers of glee that always rise up among Arabs when some feeble trophy — destroying an Israeli house, or spreading temporary panic in the southern part of the country — is won.

 

The missile sites and rocket-launching cells that Israel destroys, on the other hand, receive relatively scant attention. Hamas and Hezbollah minders have little interest in taking a BBC or CBC reporter to see the wreckage of Iranian-made munitions….

 

Given the close confines of Gaza, and the cynical manner by which Hamas stores and operates its weapons near civilian areas, it is a tribute to Israel that the body count is not higher in the current conflict. But that is no comfort to the Arab parents, siblings and spouses who have seen their loved ones killed by Israeli weapons. This includes the surviving members of the Dalu family, whose two-storey home was demolished on Sunday, killing 12 at one blow. However this war came about, and whatever the religion of the victims, that is a hideous human tragedy, full stop.

 

Such examples show that Gazans are double victims — politically enslaved to warmongering Hamas Islamists, and also physically endangered when Israel inevitably retaliates. Even in death, these victims are exploited in lurid funereal displays that feature the corpses of young children held aloft by shrieking cadres as propaganda totems for the benefit of YouTube.

 

All wars are hell — which is why Hamas and Hezbollah, were they led by rational and humane men instead of unhinged anti-Semites, wouldn’t start them. What needs to be remembered — despite all the emotional power that the image of even one bloodied Arab child musters in the eye of the observer — is that Israel has done everything in its power to cut through the fog of war, and focus its firepower on missiles and militants.

 

Remember, too: Were Israel truly to unleash its firepower in the manner of, say, Bashar Assad against his own people (37,000 dead and counting in Syria — as opposed to about 100 in Gaza during the current campaign), then all of Gaza would be a smoking ruin, and a million desperate Gazan refugees would be streaming into Egypt.

 

Incidentally, if one substitutes the word “Jew” for “Gazan,” and “the sea” for “Egypt,” the apocalyptic scenario imagined in the immediately previous sentence is precisely the exterminationist fantasy that propels Hamas and Hezbollah jihadists to turn Gaza and southern Lebanon into one big suicide cadre.

 

As polls demonstrate, Israelis are proud of the way the war has been conducted on their side. Meanwhile, the country’s Iron Dome anti-missile system has shown residents that the IDF has an emerging answer to “asymmetric” Hamas and Hezbollah aggression. Widely cheered scenes of Iron Dome intercepting missiles over Tel Aviv actually have served to bring the nation together and raise morale — an ironic effect given jihadis’ delusion that their missile attacks can bring Israel to its knees.

 

Hamas no doubt will invent reasons to claim “victory” when the current conflict ends. But perhaps once all the bodies are buried, they will have time to reflect on how cruel and ultimately pointless their campaign against Israel has become.

 

But if they don’t, Israeli generals will be ready to do this all over again a few years from now, in Act IV. Israel can’t make Palestinian terrorists stop hating Jews. But they can teach them hate’s consequences as many times as it takes. Don’t blame Benjamin Netanyahu if they’re slow learners.

 

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IN SUPPORT OF A GROUND OFFENSIVE

Efraim Inbar and Max Singer

Mid East Forum, November 19, 2012

 

For nearly a week, Israel has been under attack from terrorist elements in Gaza, primarily Hamas. As the Israeli air force and navy respond with surgical, targeted strikes on Hamas facilities, the government is weighing the possibility of ordering a ground offensive too.

 

In our view, an armored push into Gaza in order to deal the Hamas military wing a decisive blow is necessary. From a strategic, long-term perspective, Israel cannot avoid confronting Hamas head-on, and must take action sooner rather than later. For Israel to restore quiet to its borders and ensure its survival in the new Middle East, Arab governments and terror organizations must feel that it would be a mistake for them to militarily challenge Israel. Israel must demonstrate that even in the face of great political pressures it is strong enough and willing, when necessary, to take vigorous action.

 

While strong Israeli action carries serious risks, strength and victory also bring many benefits. In the current and developing environment Israel has no safe or good choices; it will have to take dangerous actions. Acting later will be more dangerous than acting now, and sooner or later Israel will be forced to act.

 

For some time, we have advocated the need to respond to attacks from Gaza with a large-scale military operation. We said that if no such action was taken, the attacks against Israel would surely increase, and indeed they have. Gaza is small enough for Israel to destroy most of the infrastructure and the leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist organizations that are based there. The goal of such a ground offensive would be to restore deterrence and signal an Israeli determination to battle the rising Islamist forces in the region. By acting sooner in Gaza, Israel will also greatly reduce the missile retaliation it would face if and when it strikes Iran's nuclear facilities.

 

Current political conditions seem to weigh in Israel's favor for an incursion into Gaza now. Hamas is politically weakened, and most of the Arab world is busy with pressing domestic issues, or with other crises such as Syria. Today we can again say that attacks on Israel will surely further increase if the IDF does not now take the drastic and dangerous action involved in a full-scale military invasion of Gaza. A smaller operation, akin to Cast Lead, will create at most another short postponement of attacks on Israeli civilians and will be followed by further escalation.

 

When its environment is benign, a country should act prudently and cautiously avoid trouble. But Israel already lives in a different kind of environment, and there is every reason to expect that this environment will become more hostile in the next few years, as the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power in more countries and consolidates its position in Egypt, and as the West sinks deeper into modes of appeasement. In particular there is likely to be a higher cost to an attack on Hamas in the future as the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt strengthens its ties with the terror group.

 

If Israel tries to "accommodate" the current nasty diplomatic environment, it will gradually see its security eroded. Instead, Israel must boldly protect its interests and make sure that its enemies are afraid of potentially devastating consequences. As long as they believe that political pressures prevent the Jewish state from harming them, these enemies will inexorably and assuredly increase their attacks on Israel. This is due partly to natural strategy and partly to the temptation in each country to seek internal political gain by acting against Israel. With growing Muslim Brotherhood power, and the growing partial rivalry between the Brotherhood and Salafi jihadists in Egypt, the political pressure on Cairo to act against Israel will grow….

 

Deterrence will be created if the military branches of Hamas and the PIJ are decimated. In addition to deterrence, important practical military benefits will be gained by destroying the physical and human infrastructure that Hamas, PIJ, and other organizations have built up in Gaza, even though such infrastructure can be and will likely be rebuilt….

 

It is likely that Israel will face very great pressure, even from the US, to desist from such an operation. Israel should resist such pressure. It should explain to the US administration and to the public what its objectives in Gaza are – the destruction of the military organizations that are threatening and attacking Israel – and the necessity of staying in Gaza for the weeks required to achieve these objectives, which will postpone the next crisis as long as possible.

 

If Israel is diplomatically forced to abort the effort before achieving its goals it will pay the full political price and get only a fraction of the benefits it needs in return. In fact, Israel will pay a greater political price for an attack that is prematurely cut short than it would if it were able to complete the job, no matter how much it would suffer in the court of public opinion.

 

Of course, a ground offensive runs the risk of getting bogged down in the Gaza quagmire and of costing Israel unexpectedly heavy troop losses. Obviously, the IDF needs to develop and effectively execute a plan designed to avoid these pitfalls. Our point is that from a strategic, long-term perspective, Israel cannot wait any longer and must confront Hamas head-on.

 

The bottom line is that Israel is surrounded by enemies who will spare no efforts to kill as many Israelis as possible. Israel cannot respond effectively to each small attack, and the only way to prevent small attacks is to make the enemies believe that they cannot tell when Israel will respond to a small attack with a blow that the enemy is really afraid of. What the enemy is afraid of is the loss of power, and perhaps some of the terrorist leaders are also afraid of being killed. Therefore, an escalation of conflict via a ground operation, an idea that most of the international community opposes, is nevertheless necessary.

 

Prof. Efraim Inbar is a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. Dr. Max Singer is a founder of the Hudson Institute and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

 

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HAMAS USES PALESTINIAN CHILDREN AS HUMAN SHIELDS

InfoLive.TV, Jan. 1, 2010

 

A short film presenting visual evidence of the long-standing Hamas tactic of exploiting civilians as human shields, and civilian buildings as cover for terrorist attacks. Footage shows examples of Palestinian terror groups hiding behind the Palestinian civilian population in order to launch attacks against Israeli targets.

 

“The parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations…” Geneva Convention

 

 

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Should Israel Agree to a Cease-fire?: Robert Spencer, Front Page Magazine, Nov. 20, 2012—In all negotiations that may transpire, Israel will insist that the rocket attacks from Gaza must cease. But no cease-fire or previous negotiated settlement of any kind has ever accomplished this; why will this one be different? For that matter, no state has ever successfully reached a negotiated settlement with an enemy who had vowed to destroy it; why is Israel constantly expected to be different?

The ‘Kids’ Behind IDF’s Media: Allison Hoffman, Tablet Magazine, November 20, 2012 —The government still has to generate the talking points, what we want to achieve, and then we turn it over to the kids, and they translate it into this new language of social media,” said Daniel Seaman, deputy director general of the Ministry of Public Information and Diaspora Affairs, who ran the government press office during Operation Cast Lead. “I say it’s magic.”

 

When did Hamas become secular?: Hanin Ghaddar, Now Lebanon, November 19, 2012—The Syrian opposition can resist Assad as much as they want, but their cause will not be recognized by these leftists as long as some Islamists have joined them. Meanwhile, Hamas and Hezbollah can be as Islamist as they want; they will be forgiven, as long as they resist, or say they are resisting, Israel.

 

Who wants to defeat Hamas?: Neville Teller, Jeruslaem Post, Nov. 20, 2012 —Writing from Gaza during Israel’s current “Pillar of Defense” operation, one particular journalist from the UK called Hamas “the elected government in Gaza.” The idea that somehow Hamas is a legitimate administration has found widespread acceptance. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Palestinian State 2.0: Asaf Romirowsky: YNet News, November 1, 2012—While a functioning Palestinian State remains desirable, the fact that Palestinian leadership has refused to directly negotiate with Israel and uses bodies like the UN to endorse a "virtual" state that has no viable infrastructure is telling. Is the Palestinian goal a state of their own, or just the erasure of Israel, to be followed by what?

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

GAZA WAR: HAMAS’ MISCALCULATION, FAJR-5’s, LOOMING IRANIAN BOMB, DICTATED ISRAEL’S “DISPROPORTIONATE DETERRENCE”

Ambassador Alan Baker

Is Peace Possible? Israel, Palestinians & the  UN

 

Monday, November 19, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

The Chevra  @  5237 Clanranald  |   $5 at the door

 

RSVP: 514-486-5544  |  cijr@isranet.org

 

 

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

Contents:

 

 

Only Disproportionate Deterrence Will Offset Hamas: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Nov 18, 2012 —In fact, a disproportionate response to aggression is fully consistent with international law in which the prime obligation of the state is to protect its civilians. Those seeking to deny us this basic right are maliciously hypocritical.

Hamas' Miscalculation: Barak Mendelsohn, Foreign Affairs, Nov. 18, 2012—In fact, two factors pushed Hamas to ramp up its bombing campaign: competition from Salafi groups and Hamas' belief that its strategic environment had improved in the wake of the Arab Spring.

 

With Longer Reach, Rockets Bolster Hamas Arsenal: Ethan Bronner, New York Times, November 17, 2012 — When Israel assassinated the top Hamas military commander in Gaza on Wednesday, setting off the current round of fierce fighting, it was aiming not just at a Palestinian leader but at a supply line of rockets from Iran that have for the first time given Hamas the ability to strike as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Western Media Elites Just Don’t Get the Middle East: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, November 18th, 2012

"IDF Did More to Safeguard Civilians Than Any Army in History of Warfare": Col. Richard Kemp, UN Watch, October 16, 2009

Eleven Reasons Why This Is Not Cast Lead: Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz, Nov.18, 2012

Paz Azran, 12th grade student from Ashkelon speaking to 70 Ambassadors and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu About her experiences under bombardment: IraeliPM, YouTube Video, Nov 12, 2012

Dear North American Student: Rebecca, CIJR, Nov. 16, 2012 

 

 

 

ONLY DISPROPORTIONATE DETERRENCE WILL OFFSET HAMAS

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Nov 18, 2012

 

The Jewish state was created to overcome powerlessness and provide a haven for Jews – not to have them cringing in shelters. There had previously been considerable criticism of the government for its failure to adequately respond to the ongoing toll inflicted on over a million Israeli citizens obliged to endure thousands of missiles launched against them at the whim of a loathsome neighboring terrorist state….

 

Hamas is no longer a terrorist faction. It is in every respect an independent state the majority of whose citizens enthusiastically support the terrorist initiatives and missile launches initiated by its evil leaders, who are committed to our annihilation.

 

The situation deteriorated with the rise to power in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood, the creators of Hamas. Since then, the Egyptian authorities stood by as Hamas accumulated vast quantities of sophisticated missiles and other lethal weapons including guided anti-tank missiles and shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft weapons from Iran, Libya Sudan and other states.

 

That explains why, despite awareness that Operation Pillar of Defense may escalate into full-scale war, all sections of Israeli society fervently support the IDF operation. It is also gratifying that Jews throughout the world are actively demonstrating solidarity with Israel.

 

Hamas was emboldened to test our resolve, believing that Israel would be fearful of confronting the new Egyptian regime and also encouraged by the active support from the Turkish government and the recent visit to Gaza of the emir of Qatar, who contributed $400 million to their coffers.

 

Israel was indeed sensitive to these issues, as well as the effect of a military conflict diverting attention from Iran – especially now as it proceeds with its uranium enrichment. There was also concern at the civil war in Syria and the dramatic rise of Islamic extremism throughout the region. To top it off there were inhibitions because of the US presidential elections.

 

Nevertheless, Hamas miscalculated. By intensifying the bombardment of the South, it obliged the State of Israel to respond harshly or forfeit any modicum of deterrence. The initial outcome was good. The IDF had clearly learned from the lessons of previous wars: intelligence was impeccable; action was systematic and rational with, to date, minimal civilian casualties.

 

It must be stressed that the targeted killings of terrorist leaders are not acts of revenge or showmanship. They are logical military actions which can be rationally justified in moral terms.

The killing of Ahmad Jabari, regarded as the Palestinian counterpart of Osama bin Laden, is a prime example….

 

The global response from most Western countries, which followed President Obama’s lead condemning the rocket attacks and endorsing Israel’s right to self-defense, has until now been satisfactory, despite the usual calls for restraint and for Israel to act in a “proportionate” manner.

 

But these are early days. Initially, we are unlikely to face problems at the UN Security Council. However, the General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council, controlled by Islamic and other anti-Israeli coalitions, have consistently viewed Israel as the aggressor and never the victim. Neither of these bodies has even once condemned the Hamas missile attacks and there is little doubt that they and NGO bodies such as Amnesty International will blame Israel exclusively for reigniting the armed conflict.

 

In addition, while the IDF is taking extraordinary precautions to minimize civilian casualties, there will invariably, as in any military conflict, be mishaps – especially in Gaza where Hamas ruthlessly employ human shields by locating armaments and launching missiles in civilian residential areas….

 

Clearly, the IDF would prefer to limit the conflict to pinpointed aerial strikes. However, if Hamas continue raining rockets against Israeli civilians, Israel will be forced into a ground offensive in which greater casualties are inevitable.

 

The main challenge for the government is to devise an end strategy to achieve long-term deterrence as well as a strategy to be implemented instantly should Hamas become sufficiently re-emboldened to recommence missile launches. Israel has no desire to return to the era of the tit-for-tat war of attrition whereby we respond to missile launches by bombing rocket launching sites and empty buildings.

 

Although some of our allies are already urging us not to respond “disproportionately,” such a concept has absolutely no relevance to the threat facing Israel. While still seeking to minimize civilian casualties, we must create genuine deterrence in order to avoid future full-scale conflicts of ever increasing magnitude. In fact, a disproportionate response to aggression is fully consistent with international law in which the prime obligation of the state is to protect its civilians. Those seeking to deny us this basic right are maliciously hypocritical.

 

The issue of Israel continuing to provide Hamas-controlled Gaza with services is another bizarre anomaly. It is one thing to be sensitive to the humanitarian needs of civilian noncombatants, but to continue providing electricity and other utilities to a neighboring state raining missiles on us is utterly perverse. If the lights went out automatically every time a rocket was dispatched, the inconvenienced Gaza residents might even influence their leaders to hesitate before launching missiles.

 

An intensive government campaign must be implemented to counter the impact of successive years of the world having become conditioned to regarding Israel under missile attacks as normative. We must highlight the fact that such attacks against civilians are unequivocally war crimes….

 

We must recognize that in future conflicts, the terrorists will continue accumulating more effective and lethal weapons to employ against us. We must therefore endeavor to resist calls for a cease-fire until such time as Hamas, in conjunction with the Egyptians, undertake to cease their aggression.

There must be a clear understanding that any breach would result in harsh “disproportionate” Israeli responses including the targeted killings of those responsible for initiating attacks. In the absence of such an agreement an enforced cease-fire will be perceived as a major victory for Hamas and our citizens will simply return to the life of terror they endured since the first Kassams were launched a decade ago.

 

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HAMAS' MISCALCULATION

Barak Mendelsohn

Foreign Affairs, November 18, 2012

 

The escalation in the fighting last week between Israel and Hamas caught many observers by surprise. Operation Cast Lead, Israel's 2008 campaign against Hamas, had led to an uneasy calm between the warring sides. And last year's release of Gilad Shalit (the Israeli soldier who had been kidnapped by militants in 2006) in exchange for a thousand Palestinian prisoners had even given observers hope that Israel and Hamas had found a way to manage their conflict. But then, Hamas attacked an Israeli mobile patrol inside Israeli territory on November 10 and Israel retaliated by assassinating Ahmed Jabari, Hamas's military chief. This time, the violence that has followed has not faded quickly; indeed, the fight is still intensifying.

 

Given the destruction wrought by Israel and Hamas' last major conflict, Hamas' calculations in the lead-up to this round of fighting are especially puzzling. The typical explanation is that Hamas ramped up its rocket campaign earlier this year in an effort to break Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip. Under fire, Israel had to retaliate.

 

That answer, though, is unsatisfying. In many ways, the siege had already been broken…Israel's efforts to tightly control the area's borders, which started after Hamas won elections there in 2006, had gradually wound down. After the public relations disaster that followed Israel's 2010 mishandling of the Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla, the flow of goods over the Israeli border into Gaza increased substantially. Moreover, the tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border, through which most of the goods coming into Gaza are smuggled, became so elaborate that they resembled official border crossings. In fact, the volume of trade that travels through the tunnels could be up to $700 million dollars a year.

 

To some extent, Hamas had a political interest in perpetuating the siege idea, which could be used to foment anger against Israel and drum up popular support. Further, it made sense for the movement to preserve some limitations on the movement of goods into Gaza, since the smuggling industry lined its coffers. Thus, although life in Gaza might not have been all that pleasant for Gazans, Hamas wanting to break the siege is not a compelling explanation for its renewed violence against Israel.

 

In fact, two factors pushed Hamas to ramp up its bombing campaign: competition from Salafi groups and Hamas' belief that its strategic environment had improved in the wake of the Arab Spring. Since Hamas was elected, it has found the Salafi groups in Gaza especially difficult rivals to manage….

 

Under pressure, Hamas repeatedly tried to quell the Salafi threat, and it did not shy from using brute force to do so. The clearest demonstration came in August 2009, when Hamas killed the leader of Jund Ansar Allah, a Salafi group that had openly challenged Hamas' authority, and a number of its members. But short of using extreme violence to suppress Salafism in Gaza, which would have been too costly for Hamas, Hamas could not eliminate the Salafi challenge. It watched with worry as new Salafi groups emerged and strengthened throughout the strip.

 

The pressure on Hamas only increased in the wake of the 2011 Arab uprisings. The Egyptian revolution and the subsequent chaos in the Sinai Peninsula were a backwind in the sails of Gaza's Salafis. The collapse of authoritarian regimes in North Africa unleashed a flood of weapons and fighters, which Salafis channeled into the Sinai Peninsula. With the Egyptian military unable to control the area, Gazan Salafis turned the peninsula into a staging ground for attacking Israel. They believed (correctly) that Israel, anxious not to kill its peace accord with Egypt, would not dare to respond directly….

 

The new regional order presented Hamas with a serious dilemma. As the ruler of Gaza, it could not sit on the sidelines while Israel targeted territory under its control. But it was unable to fully rein in the Salafis without proving once and for all that it was no longer a resistance movement. For Hamas, then, the only choice was to tolerate the attacks. It portrayed them at home as a way to preserve the struggle against Israel. Abroad, it refused to acknowledge any role in them at all to reduce the danger of a backlash. Over time, pressure from Hamas rank and file led the organization to take a more active role in each round of violence.

 

The flaw in Hamas' logic, though, was that it assumed that Israel would cooperate and not retaliate. Israel would not let Hamas shirk responsibility, though, and demanded that Hamas assert its authority over the radical factions. To reinforce the message, this year, Israel carried out a number of strikes on Hamas targets. Once it became a target itself, Hamas was even less able to show restraint. It eventually resumed carrying out its own strikes on Israel, a move that was cheered by the Hamas rank and file, who, without such attacks, might have defected to the more radical groups.

 

Another of Hamas' miscalculations was expecting Egypt to be supportive of its actions, which, when combined with Israel's fear of alienating the regime in Cairo, would allow Hamas to escalate the conflict without it spinning out of control. The hope was not off base….But, the group was wrong again. Hamas' closer ties with Egypt did not discourage Israel from fighting back.

 

Simply put, Hamas' strategic environment was not as favorable as it thought. When it tried to push Israel's boundaries, Israel pushed back. Now the group is in a bind. It needs a face-saving resolution to the fighting, one that would allow it to claim some achievement worth of the devastation inflicted this month on Gaza. Even after that, the group will still face the same old tension between its ideology of resistance and the responsibilities that come with governing. And all the while, its Salafi challengers will be lurking, challenging its commitment to the struggle against Israel. If Hamas wants to avoid future such escalations, it will need to crack down on these groups.

 

But that would come with a price — in popularity and legitimacy — that Hamas seems unwilling to pay. Hamas must also finally make the transition from resistance movement to normal political party. It will probably take a push from Cairo for that to happen. Hamas' alliance with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood offers the group some of the cover it needs to make the much-needed transition. And the Muslim Brotherhood is a good model for Hamas to follow, besides. Absent Hamas' political transformation, no cease-fire with Israel will hold for long. The next round of violence awaits, just over the horizon. 

 

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With Longer Reach, Rockets Bolster Hamas Arsenal

 

Ethan Bronner

New York Times, November 17, 2012

 

When Israel assassinated the top Hamas military commander in Gaza on Wednesday, setting off the current round of fierce fighting, it was aiming not just at a Palestinian leader but at a supply line of rockets from Iran that have for the first time given Hamas the ability to strike as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

 

The commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, had shifted Hamas’s low-grade militia into a disciplined force with sophisticated weapons like Fajr-5 rockets, which are named after the Persian word for dawn and have significantly increased the danger to Israel’s major cities. They have a range of about 45 miles and are fired by trained crews from underground launching pads.

 

Hamas had perhaps 100 of them until the Israeli attacks last week, which appear to have destroyed most of the stockpile. The rockets are assembled locally after being shipped from Iran to Sudan, trucked across the desert through Egypt, broken down into parts and moved through Sinai tunnels into Gaza, according to senior Israeli security officials.

 

The smuggling route involves salaried employees from Hamas along the way, Iranian technical experts traveling on forged passports and government approval in Sudan, Israeli officials said.

Mr. Jabari’s strategy has been so effective and alarming for Israel that it is preparing for a possible next stage in the four-day-old battle: a ground war in which its troops would seek to destroy remaining rocket launching bases and crews and munitions factories.

 

Under Mr. Jabari, Hamas also developed its own weapons industry in Gaza, building long-range rockets as well as drones that they hoped to fly over Israel just as Israeli drones roam the skies of Gaza…The current operation to eliminate the Hamas rocket launchers could serve to cripple the ability of Iran’s allies in Gaza from retaliating should Israel ever carry out its threat to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

 

“Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are building weapons with experts from Iran,” one top security official said Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “What we took care of …was their own production facility for U.A.V.’s,” he added, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. “This was all the work of Jabari, who was a very sophisticated and strategic thinker.”

 

A number of recent Israeli military attacks were aimed at cutting the supply chain into Gaza. In late October, a munitions factory in Sudan was hit from the air. Israel did not acknowledge carrying out the attack, but the winks and nods of officials here make clear that it did. Israel has carried out several other such attacks on Sudan, including on convoys, in the past few years.

 

In addition, Mossad agents killed a Hamas official in a Dubai hotel in early 2010 because he was thought to be crucial to the Hamas supply chain of weapons and rockets into Gaza.  One official here said that until Israel ended its military occupation of Gaza in 2005, there were only primitive weapons factories there. The Hamas rockets had a flight capacity of about a mile, they could not be aimed and they flew in a wild cylindrical pattern. Hamas then built better rockets that could fly up to 12 miles.

 

That changed little until 2007, when Hamas fighters pushed the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority out of Gaza into the West Bank and took over governing the coastal strip. “At that point, Jabari turned his neighborhood defense operation into a real army,” said a retired Israeli general whose portfolio included Gaza and who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He organized what was a militia into companies, battalions and brigades. He sent commanders to Syria and to Iran to be trained by the Revolutionary Guards. And then he built up this whole new branch to develop military technology focusing on long-range missiles.”…

 

In addition to the Fajr-5, Hamas has a few hundred of what are known as enhanced Grad rockets, which have a range of about 25 miles. The Grads are 122-millimeter rockets that have bigger warheads than the standard Grads, but their accuracy is relatively low. The Grads may also be coming from Iran but others are made in Gaza and imported from Libya. In addition, Hamas has hundreds of standard Grads that have a range of about 12 miles, as well as thousands of homemade mortars and Qassam rockets with a range of about six miles.

 

Israeli officials said the movement of the Fajr-5 rockets through Egypt could not go unnoticed there, given their size. Each is 20 feet long and weighs more than 2,000 pounds — the warhead alone weighs 375 pounds — and the trucks carrying them across Egyptian bridges and through roadblocks into Sinai would be hard to miss.

 

In the current conflict, Israel’s antirocket system, known as Iron Dome, has been more effective than expected, but still dozens of rockets have landed.  Whether the military operation against Gaza is a dress rehearsal for any future attack on either Iran or Lebanon — where Hezbollah has thousands of rockets pointed at Israel — is a matter under debate here. Some see it as clearing away any possible trouble from Gaza. Others say that makes little sense, given the difference of scale in the conflict in Gaza and any war against Iran or Hezbollah. Hamas’s arsenal is tiny compared with what Hezbollah in Lebanon is thought to have: thousands of rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv.

 

Yonatan Touval, an analyst with Prime Source, a private Tel Aviv risk-assessment company, said, “The Iron Dome system is ineffective in intercepting longer-range projectiles, such as those that would be launched from Lebanon toward the Tel Aviv area. To address this threat, Israel is currently developing the Magic Wand system, but it is not expected to become operational before 2015.”….

 

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Paz Azran, 12th Grade Student from Ashkelon Speaking to 70 Ambassadors and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu About Her Experiences Under BombardmentIsraeliPM, YouTube Video, Nov 12, 2012

 

Dear North American Student: Rebecca, CIJR, Nov. 16, 2012 — A letter from a Canadian, Jewish, Israel young woman who is currently studying in Israel having made aliyah  and after having served in the IDF. A unique perspective from a wise, younger person who is able to understand the comparison between a person living in Israel, versus a person living in any Western city.

 

Western Media Elites Just Don’t Get the Middle East: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, November 18th, 2012—The elite currently in power in the Western mass media is never going to comprehend the Middle East. There is a problem with bias, for sure, but the big problem is the impenetrable ignorance of the very people who are entrusted with explaining the region to others. They insist on imposing their own misconceptions on the situation while ignoring the evidence.

 

"IDF Did More to Safeguard Civilians Than Any Army in History of Warfare": Col. Richard Kemp, UN Watch, October 16, 2009Statement to UN Human Rights Council, 12th Special Session — Debate on Goldstone Report— The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties.

 

Eleven Reasons Why This Is Not Cast Lead: Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz, Nov.18, 2012— This isn't a second Operation Cast Lead, though. There are a number of significant differences in the circumstances and execution of the latest offensive which are affecting the way events are unfolding and will influence the eventual outcome.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

OREN: GAZA CRISIS SIMILAR TO MAY, 1967 (OR 1948) – POLLARD’S 28TH YEAR OF PRISON; QUEEN’S U. HONOURS JIMMY CARTER

Ambassador Alan Baker

Is Peace Possible? Israel, Palestinians & the  UN

 

Monday, November 19, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

The Chevra  @  5237 Clanranald  |   $5 at the door

 

RSVP: 514-486-5544  |  cijr@isranet.org

 

 

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

Contents:

 

Israel’s Right Of Return Fire: Globe Editorial, The Globe and Mail, Nov. 15 2012— Israel is right to be responding swiftly and forcefully to bombardment from Gaza. For months, the leaders of Hamas have been building up a more powerful arsenal with which to assault their neighbours.

 

 

An Open Letter To President Obama: Esther Pollard, Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2012 —I write with some urgency to draw to your attention the request for clemency which my husband, Jonathan Pollard, filed more than two years ago during your first term in office.In the interim, Jonathan’s health has continued to deteriorate while calls for his release by senior American officials continue to mount.

 

Michael Oren: It’s May 1967—Or May 1948: Bari Weiss, Tablet Magazine, Nov. 15, 2012—“In the best of circumstances, it’s May 1967. And the worst, May 1948. Rarely in our history have we ever faced such a broad spectrum of monumental threats.”

 

Queen’s U. Faces Backlash Over Plan To Honour Jimmy Carter: Sarah Boesveld, National Post, Nov 15, 2012 —Queen’s University is facing a backlash from Jewish alumni over its decision to award former U.S. president Jimmy Carter — a strong critic of Israel — an honorary degree next week.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Iran's Agenda in the Gaza Offensive: Stratfor Gobal Intelligence, November 16, 2012

Montreal’s Debt to the Jews: Joe King

Hamas Military Leader Jabari Got What He Deserved: Jonathan Kay, National Post, Nov 14, 2012

Paul Ehrlich: A Petrified Pundit: Barbara Kay, National Post, Nov 14, 2012
 

 

 

ISRAEL’S RIGHT OF RETURN FIRE

 

Globe Editorial

The Globe and Mail, Nov. 15 2012,

 

Israel is right to be responding swiftly and forcefully to bombardment from Gaza. For months, the leaders of Hamas have been building up a more powerful arsenal with which to assault their neighbours. For years, factions in Gaza had sent rockets into Israel that for the most part did no great harm – a nuisance that was occasionally dangerous to Israeli civilians, but rarely inficted serious injury.

 

Recently, however, Hamas has gained more confidence and has become more ambitious in its purchasing of missiles. As an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, it feels encouraged by that movement’s increasing ascendancy in Egypt and other countries of the region. By sending many more, and more lethal, rockets into Israel, it cannot do any good for the inhabitants of Gaza whom they rule, or for other Palestinians. Their attacks are merely vindictive and narcissistic, but they are a serious threat to the people of Israel.

 

The Egyptian government, which relies on American money, is unlikely to give any practical help to Hamas, but these events put it in a difficult and amibguous position.

 

Israel has so far wisely refrained from a ground offensive – let alone to a reoccupation – though it has moved troops toward its border with the Gaza Strip, and has called up reservists, quite properly to provide for contingencies. The Israeli Defence Force appears to be well informed on the locations of Hamas’s armaments, and can do most of what it needs to do by way of aerial bombardment….

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

MICHAEL OREN: IT’S MAY 1967—OR MAY 1948

Bari Weiss

Tablet Magazine, November 15, 2012

 

Michael Oren has served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. for the past three years. But his real trade isn’t diplomacy, it’s the past: Before Oren took on arguably the toughest job in Washington, he wrote books about Mideast history. So when I spoke to the ambassador yesterday afternoon [Nov. 14] about Operation Pillar of Defense, I asked him what historical moment he’d compare this one to: “In the best of circumstances, it’s May 1967. And the worst, May 1948. Rarely in our history have we ever faced such a broad spectrum of monumental threats.”

 

There’s the Iranian regime bidding for nuclear weapons, a Muslim Brotherhood government running Egypt, Hamas ruling Gaza, Hezbollah controlling southern Lebanon, and the civil war raging in Syria that spilled into Israel earlier this week. Jordan, a reliable Israeli ally since the mid-1990s, has become even more critical since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in Egypt. But many suspect it’s only a matter of time before the Arab upheaval fells King Abdullah II—especially given current protests.

 

That would be a worst-case scenario for Israel. “Jordan is what keeps Iran out of our backyard,” said Oren. “Our defense border is the Jordanian-Iraqi border”—that is, not the Jordanian-Israeli one.

 

It’s difficult not to see this operation— pinpointing and targeting Hamas leaders, while taking out underground missile sites—as intended for an audience beyond the Strip, namely the one watching in Tehran. (The Iranians have undertaken major air drills in the past few days, and revealed new missile systems.) But Oren insists the Islamic Republic has nothing to do with this operation: “This is not about sending a message to Iran. This is a message about defending a million of our citizens,” he said. “It would be the equivalent of 40 million Americans in bomb shelters.”

 

And yet Iran was the subject we kept coming back to. “I think that the key to it all is Iran,” Oren said. “Gaza’s basically an outpost of Iran. Lebanon is an outpost of Iran. Assad is a lackey of Iran.” Indeed, one key lesson Oren draws from Israel’s previous territorial withdrawals is that Iran’s proxies tend to fill the vacuum left behind. “Wherever we have withdrawn, the Iranians have filled it. In Lebanon, in Gaza.”

 

Since Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005), the IDF has played an ongoing game of whack-a-mole with Hezbollah and Hamas. Oren argued that this tactic has been more successful than some have claimed. “After the Lebanon war [of 2006] we were very tough on ourselves, with the whole Winograd Commission. But I think we were too tough on ourselves. In fact, we deterred Hezbollah” in that war.

 

Four years since Operation Cast Lead, deterrence is once again the name of the game for the IDF in Gaza: “Hamas may have to just be reminded again, and reminded in large scale, that we will not allow our citizens to be shot at with impunity,” Oren said. “It will go on for as long as Hamas continues to escalate.” Israel said Wednesday that it is prepared to expand this campaign into a ground operation.

 

“We have nothing to be ashamed about, nothing to apologize for. This is our right,” said Oren. “Ahmed Jabari killed dozens and dozens of Israelis.”

 

And what would victory look like? “Victory looks like security restored to the inhabitants of the south,” said Oren. Longer term, the goal is a change in mindset. “The Palestinian people have to internalize that as long as they choose leadership like Hamas, that will bring them no closer to statehood, no closer to economic and social development, and no closer to peace.”

 

With weeks until Israelis go to the polls, some see a clear connection between the election and this operation. Oren dismissed the question: “This is not about the elections. We didn’t want war,” he said. “This government has exhibited superhuman restraint: 2,500 rockets since 2009. Last month, 800 rockets. In the last week, 300 rockets. What government in the world wouldn’t have responded with war a long time ago?”

 

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AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Esther Pollard

Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2012

 

Dear President Obama, Congratulations upon your election to a second term as president of the mightiest nation in the world, the United States of America. May your second term in office be a blessing to America, to its allies and to the world.

 

I write with some urgency to draw to your attention the request for clemency which my husband, Jonathan Pollard, filed more than two years ago during your first term in office.

 

In the interim, Jonathan’s health has continued to deteriorate while calls for his release by senior American officials continue to mount. I write in the sincere hope of urging you to respond favorably and speedily to Jonathan’s petition and to all of the official appeals for his immediate release.

 

Traditionally, some time next week, shortly before November 22, you will be pardoning this year’s American National Thanksgiving turkey, thereby sparing its life.

 

As the president of the United States, your granting clemency to a lowly barnyard bird demonstrates to the world the great respect that the American people have for the values of justice, compassion and mercy. It is in this light that I write to bring to your personal awareness once again, the urgent plight of my husband, Jonathan Pollard.

 

On November 21, 2012 – the day before Thanksgiving – Jonathan begins his 28th year of a life sentence with no end in sight. I urge and implore you, Mr. President, to include Jonathan in the list of holiday clemencies that are expected to be announced by the White House shortly, enabling those who are set free to get home in time for the holidays.

 

Mr. President, G-d has seen fit to elevate you for yet another term to the position of the head of the most powerful nation in the world, the president of the United States of America, and to invest in you powers of clemency second only to His own.

 

Clearly these gifts were bestowed upon you as a man worthy and capable of fulfilling the biblical injunction which describes what G-d requires of man, namely: “to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your G-d.” (Micha 6:8) Over the past two years, since Jonathan submitted his clemency petition to you on October 15, 2010, there has been a burgeoning public awareness of the injustice of his sentence. Many senior American officials as well as high-ranking legal officials and elected representatives have appealed to you, both publicly and privately, to release Jonathan.

 

In their words, his release is a matter of simple justice because “his sentence is grossly disproportionate.” And it is appropriate on humanitarian grounds because his health is failing after more than a quarter of a century of affliction in American prisons.

 

Those who know the case best have been very clear in their publicly stated opinions and in their letters to you, indicating that keeping Jonathan in prison any longer is a travesty of justice. These include, among many others: former secretary of state George Shultz, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, former White House legal counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former attorney-general Michael Mukasey, former deputy attorney-general Phillip Heymann, former assistant secretary of defense Lawrence Korb and former CIA director James Woolsey.

 

As well, in a historic display of bipartisanship, a group of 18 prominent former United States senators wrote to you, Mr. President, and asked that you commute Jonathan’s sentence to time served. A number of the signatories served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, including senators Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona), Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming), the late Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), Birch Bayh (D-Indiana), Connie Mack (R-Florida) and David Durenberger (RMinnesota)….

 

Another bipartisan congressional appeal to you, jointly sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith and Eliot Engel, is being circulated and has already acquired dozens of signatures in support of my husband’s release.

 

Internationally, Jonathan’s release is supported by a number of prominent organizations and individuals, including the European Parliament, the European Jewish Congress and the African Redeemed Church of Christ, which has more than 14,000 branches in 110 countries and has more than five million members in Africa alone.

 

My husband, Jonathan Pollard, has now served more than six to eight times the usual sentence for the offense he committed. After enduring 27 years of the harshest afflictions in prison, including seven years in solitary confinement, it is time to release him, now, while he is still alive – before it is too late….

Mr. President, if a lowly turkey is deserving of your compassion and merits the dispensation of justice by your own hand, how much more so does a man who has more than paid the price for the offense he committed and is now, after 27 years in prison, in danger of losing his life.

 

We are taught, “From Heaven did the Almighty look down upon the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to liberate those who are doomed to die.” (Psalms 102:20-21) While those who hold the reins of power are urged: “Let the groaning of the prisoner come before you; According to the greatness of your power, set free those who are condemned to die.” (Psalms 79:11) Mr. President, I implore you, set my husband free by commuting his sentence to the 27 years he has already served, and send him home to me in the Holy City of Jerusalem for the Holiday of Light which fast approaches – and G-d will surely bless!

 

Respectfully, Esther Pollard, Mrs. Jonathan Pollard.

 

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QUEEN’S U. FACES BACKLASH OVER
PLAN TO HONOUR JIMMY CARTER

Sarah Boesveld

National Post, Nov 15, 2012

 

Queen’s University is facing a backlash from Jewish alumni over its decision to award former U.S. president Jimmy Carter — a strong critic of Israel — an honourary degree next week.

 

Shimon Fogel, chief executive of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said his organization has received about 50 “angry and frustrated inquiries” over the past month from graduates of the respected Canadian university, worried their school will be tarnished by Mr. Carter’s view of Israel as an apartheid state and his controversial relationships in the Arab world.

 

“It’s just a huge lightning rod for distress and disappointment,” Mr. Fogel said. “He simply doesn’t meet the test of somebody that is seeking to offer a constructive contribution towards advancing peace. And it’s in that context that we’d express real disappointment that a leading institution like Queen’s would further legitimize or validate him by conferring on him this kind of award.”

 

The 88-year-old former president and his wife are expected to attend Queen’s convocation in Kingston next Wednesday to accept the degrees honouring “their philanthropic and advocacy work in areas such as housing and mental health,” according to a statement from Queen’s principal Daniel Woolf on the university’s website. It will be Mr. Carter’s first honourary degree from a Canadian university.

 

“They are wonderful examples of the same qualities that characterize the Queen’s spirit, and I’m sure their presence at convocation will be a memorable experience for everyone,” Mr. Woolf said.

 

And while the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, has indeed been a champion of human rights through his not-for-profit Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity, Jewish North Americans have bristled at his positions on Israel.

 

In his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Mr. Carter characterizes Israel as an apartheid state. He has also repeatedly said Israel has no interest in a two-state solution, Mr. Fogel said, and his comments and interventions supporting “Israel’s detractors” attempt to “isolate and delegitimize Israel” as the region’s only democracy.

 

“When it comes from somebody in the Arab world, it’s not met with any surprise,” Mr. Fogel said. “When it comes from and is articulated by somebody who is the leader of, in effect, the lead country in the democratic world, it has an entirely different impact.”

 

Lars Hagberg for PostMedia News Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., is honouring Jimmy Carter's philanthropic and advocacy work in such areas as housing and mental health, according to a statement from Queen’s principal Daniel Woolf on the university’s website. While he’s sure Queen’s fully intended to honour Mr. Carter for his human rights work alone, Mr. Fogel said the school “failed to do their due diligence that would have flagged [his views on Israel] as problematic.”

 

Michael Shafron, who graduated from Queen’s with an MBA in 1987, said he had a “freakout moment” when he received an alumni email bearing the news. The Atlanta, Ga., resident wrote a letter to Queen’s chancellor David Dodge “The area of his life that I find so egregious, the portion that I find so detestable, are his blatant anti-Israel/anti-Semitic positions he has staked out since leaving the presidency,” Mr. Shafron wrote.

 

He then forwarded the letter to Mr. Woolf, who responded, in part, by saying: “While I regret that the committee’s decision displeases you, it is a broad-based committee whose work we value and whose choices we support.” Mr. Woolf said the university will continue to give honourary degrees to people of many different political and ideological stripes and base its decision on the significant work that the recipient has done for the good of others.

 

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Montreal’s Debt to the Jews (pdf): Joe King — The extraordinary debt of Montreal to its Jewish community has never been widely acknowledged but has been recognized by some of Canada’s most important personalities.

 

 

Hamas Military Leader Jabari Got What He Deserved: Jonathan Kay, National Post, Nov 14, 2012 —The 52-year-old Jabari was a symbol of the nihilistic Jew-hatred that comprises Hamas’ foreign policy (and which is encoded in its founding 1988 covenant, where “the fight with the warmongering Jews” is a prominent theme).

 

Paul Ehrlich: A petrified pundit: Barbara Kay, National Post, Nov 14, 2012 ­—Professor Ehrlich favours the dual stylistic approach of apocalypticism and cheap personal attack. Imagine a kind of grizzled, male version of Ann Coulter, but on the left – with the same ominously merry twinkle in the eye, but minus the wit.

 

Iran's Agenda in the Gaza Offensive: Stratfor Gobal Intelligence, November 16, 2012

To begin to make sense of the escalating conflict in Gaza, we need to go back to the night of Oct. 23 in Khartoum. Around 11 p.m. that night, the Yarmouk weapons facility in the Sudanese capital was attacked, presumably by the Israeli air force.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

NETANYAHU: NO ISRAEL-TERRORIST “MORAL EQUIVALENCE” – AS 3 DIE, ANSWER CLEAR: REMOVE TERRORIST REGIME

 

Toronto Conference

 

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Ambassador Alan Baker

Is Peace Possible? Israel, Palestinians & the UN

 

Monday, November 19, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

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RSVP: 514-486-5544  |  cijr@isranet.org

 

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

Contents:

 

 

Statement To The Foreign Press: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IMRA,  Nov. 15, 2012

There is no moral symmetry; there is no moral equivalence, between Israel and the terrorist organizations in Gaza. The terrorists are committing a double war crime. They fire at Israeli civilians, and they hide behind Palestinian civilians.

 

Why Israel Attacked Gaza: Jonathan Schanzer, National Post,  Nov 15, 2012

In a surgical air strike on Wednesday [Nov. 14], Israel eliminated the terrorist leader who masterminded the capture of Israeli soldier Gilat Shalit in 2006. Yesterday’s attack killed Ahmed Jabari, a top leader of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, more commonly known as the armed wing of Hamas.

 

No Alternative to Israeli Self Defense: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Nov. 15, 2012

To its credit, yesterday the State Department rightly declared that Hamas was responsible for the latest round of violence along the Gaza border and that Israel had the right to defend itself. Even the New York Times editorial page affirmed that Israel had that right this morning.

 

Lessons for the World from a New Gaza War: Barry Rubin, Rubin Reports, Nov. 15, 2012

The new war between Hamas and Israel has a lot of important lessons for international diplomacy and U.S. policy today. It once again shows that a country, especially one faced by a hostile adversary who cannot be turned away by words or compromises, has limited choices.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Israel Changes The Rules Of The Game: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Nov. 15, 2012

Analysis: The Battle For The South Has Begun: Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2012

Morsi Aims To Incite Violence Against Israel: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Nov. 15, 2012

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT TO THE FOREIGN PRESS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

IMRA,  November 15, 2012

 

"In recent days and weeks, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza have made normal life impossible for over one million Israelis. No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why my government has instructed the Israeli Defense Forces to conduct surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. And this is why Israel will continue to take whatever action is necessary to defend our people.

 

I want to remind you that, seven years ago, Israel withdrew from every square inch of Gaza. Now, Hamas took over the areas we vacated. What did it do? Rather than build a better future for the residents of Gaza, the Hamas leadership,  backed by Iran, turned Gaza into a terrorist stronghold. They fired thousand of rockets at our cities, at our towns, at our civilians, at our children. They’ve smuggled thousands of rockets and missiles into Gaza, and they deliberately place these rockets and missiles in civilian areas: in homes, in schools, near hospitals. This year alone, they fired over one thousand rockets and missiles at Israel, including close to 200 rockets in the last 24 hours.

 

I’m stressing this because it’s important to understand one simple point. There is no moral symmetry; there is no moral equivalence, between Israel and the terrorist organizations in Gaza. The terrorists are committing a double war crime. They fire at Israeli civilians, and they hide behind Palestinian civilians. And, by contrast, Israel takes every measure to avoid civilian casualties. I saw today a picture of a bleeding Israeli baby. This picture says it all: Hamas deliberately targets our children, and they deliberately place their rockets next to their children. Despite this reality – and it’s a very difficult reality – Israel will continue to do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties.

 

I have to say that from my talks with world leaders, I have the clear understanding that they have a clear understanding of this. Yesterday I spoke to President Obama and I briefed him on Israel’s operations. I want to express my  appreciation once again to President Obama for his unequivocal support for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also want to express my appreciation to the other world leaders I’ve had a chance to speak to in the last 24 hours: to President Hollande of France, to UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, to EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and to Quartet representative Tony Blair. I want to thank them for their understanding of Israel’s need to defend itself, and Israel’s right to defend itself.

 

In the past 24 hours Israel has made it clear that it will not tolerate rocket and missile attacks on its civilians. I hope that Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza got the message. If not, Israel is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to defend our people."

 

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WHY ISRAEL ATTACKED GAZA

Jonathan Schanzer

National Post,  November 15, 2012

 

In a surgical air strike on Wednesday [Nov. 14], Israel eliminated the terrorist leader who masterminded the capture of Israeli soldier Gilat Shalit in 2006. Yesterday’s attack killed Ahmed Jabari, a top leader of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, more commonly known as the armed wing of Hamas. Israel released a video of the strike, showing a direct hit on Jabari’s car as it rolled down a Gaza street, only to explode into a ball of flames….

 

During his tenure, Jabari was credited with “professionalizing” Hamas’ paramilitary operations. He presided over the organization’s shift away from suicide bombings (largely prompted by Israel’s building of a separation barrier) to increasingly deadly rocket attacks that have reached deeper and deeper into Israel’s heartland. He was also an architect of Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, during which the group waged a short but bloody war against its rival Fatah faction.

 

But Jabari is perhaps best known for the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. The otherwise elusive terrorist even allowed himself to be photographed in October 2011 when he delivered Shalit into Egyptian custody. It was as if he were taking a victory lap. His picture was soon ubiquitous on Gaza streets, in celebration of what was deemed one of Hamas’ most successful operations. With Jabari gone, Hamas must now fill a considerable void, and this should create some disarray within the movement. This may have been one of Israel’s objectives.

 

It is still unclear whether the Israelis’ Operation Cloud Pillar will target other senior leaders, but the Israelis have in the past led decapitation campaigns with deadly efficiency. In an effort to weaken Hamas during the second Intifada, in 2004, Israel targeted Hamas founder and spiritual guide Sheikh Ahmed Yassin with a helicopter strike in Gaza. Shortly thereafter, the Israelis assassinated Yassin’s successor, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, in another surgical helicopter strike. Several months later, Ismail Abu Shabab, who had been Hamas’s third-most senior leader, met a similar fate….

 

After the wave of targeted assassinations in 2004, The New York Times speculated that the campaign only enhanced “the popularity of Hamas on the street.” Yet it also appeared to achieve its intended objective: Hamas’ leadership fell into a period of disarray.

 

And Hamas is reeling again now. After leaving its headquarters in Syria because of the ongoing carnage there, and after losing Iran’s patronage due to the international sanctions placed on the Islamic Republic’s illicit nuclear activities, Hamas has been forced to seek new support.

 

Qatar, Turkey and, to a lesser extent, Egypt, have contributed to a political rehabilitation effort, designed to reintegrate Hamas into an emerging Muslim Brotherhood political order in the Middle East. This reorientation has brought about a crisis of leadership, however. Long-time political leader Khaled Meshal appears to be stepping down, while the roles of other figures, including Jabari, have been in flux.

 

But sowing disarray was not Israel’s primary objective here. The Israelis needed to respond to a series of rocket attacks in recent days, including a guided missile attack on an Israeli jeep that wounded four soldiers. Deterrence is a critical component of Israeli military doctrine.

 

The most compelling factor, however, may have been escalating Israeli concerns over the ordnance Hamas was stockpiling. Israel reportedly hit several key weapons caches in Gaza yesterday, including some that included the deadly Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets, which have powerful payloads and ranges long enough to strike Israeli population centers.

 

Interestingly, last month the Israelis are believed to have carried out a raid on an Iranian weapons factory deep inside Sudan. Sensitive security sources indicated that “game-changing” rockets — the kind that could cause untold harm to Israel’s civilian population — were what prompted that daring attack into enemy territory. The Gaza operation appears to be part two of that raid: A concerted effort to take out as many long-range rockets as possible, with the added benefit of eliminating those who procured them.

 

Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

 

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NO ALTERNATIVE TO ISRAELI SELF DEFENSE

Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary, November 15.2012

 

To its credit, yesterday the State Department rightly declared that Hamas was responsible for the latest round of violence along the Gaza border and that Israel had the right to defend itself. Even the New York Times editorial page affirmed that Israel had that right this morning. But the Times, speaking as it does for liberal conventional wisdom, claimed that Israel’s government was wrong to exercise that right. Rather than taking out the head of the terrorist group’s military wing, it “could have responded as it usually has in recent years, avoiding high-profile assassinations while attacking rocket-launching squads, empty training sites and weapons manufacturing plants.” The Times also suggested Israel could have implored the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt to intervene on its behalf with its Hamas ally. It concluded by saying that an even better idea would have been to conduct peace negotiations with Hamas’s Fatah rivals.

 

This risible list of suggestions provides the background to the debate that will, no doubt, soon ensue as inevitably the discussion about what has happened begins to revolve around how zealously Israel should defend itself. Farcical stories, such as those claiming Hamas was willing to make peace or at least agree to a permanent cease-fire, and that this was only prevented by a cynical decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to launch a counter-attack, will be told and believed by those who always buy into the lies of the terrorists. It will be argued that Israel needn’t have treated the latest massive barrage of rockets on its southern region as a big deal. But all this will be merely a cover for what is really at stake: the right of the Jewish state to live in peace, irrespective of where its borders are drawn.

 

The problem with all of the helpful suggestions that Israel is getting this week is that these suggestions treat the basic premise of Hamas’s strategic plan as either normal or reasonable. What’s wrong with the calls for restraint or the barbed comments about better alternatives to retaliation is that they are based on the idea that Israel ought to be willing to tolerate a “normal” amount of terrorism emanating from Gaza….

 

Many in the foreign policy establishment have spoken of Hamas as having embraced non-violence in the last year. But the group continued to not only fire rockets and to tolerate attacks from smaller organizations, it also continued to dig tunnels, such as the one found last week, designed to facilitate terrorist operations inside Israel and to build up its arsenal of rockets.

 

Some allege that Netanyahu’s decision to retaliate for the recent surge in rocket attacks is linked to his own political prospects in Israel’s January elections. But that reverses the truth about the fighting. It is Hamas that is playing politics with rockets as it seeks to upstage the Palestinian Authority and to solidify its popularity by demonstrating that it is attacking Israel.

 

Netanyahu is hoping that he can avoid a costly ground operation. Few in Israel want any part of an infantry battle inside Gaza or to return to governing the area that it abandoned in 2005. But the idea that Israel has reasonable alternatives to air operations intended to hamper Hamas’s ability to attack Israel is a myth. The peace process is dead in the water precisely because support for terror against Israel and opposition to its right to exist makes it impossible for any Palestinian moderates — and it is a stretch to claim that term applies to the PA and its Fatah leadership — to negotiate with Israel. If there is to be any hope for peace, Hamas terrorism must be stopped. The group provoked this battle because it believed that the fighting would enhance its standing with Palestinians while doing nothing to harm its warm relations with Egypt and Turkey. But its leadership must be made to understand that the cost of this fighting will be higher than it can afford to pay….

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LESSONS FOR THE WORLD FROM A NEW GAZA WAR

Barry Rubin

Rubin Reports, November 15, 2012

 

The new war between Hamas and Israel has a lot of important lessons for international diplomacy and U.S. policy today. It once again shows that a country, especially one faced by a hostile adversary who cannot be turned away by words or compromises, has limited choices. And in that case a government must do what it must do.

 

A key to the problem of Western comprehension of international realities is admirably summarized by a New York Times editorial on the subject: “No country should have to endure the rocket attacks that Israel has endured from militants in Gaza, most recently over the past four days. The question is how to stop them permanently.”

 

Now the answer to that question is simple to understand if not easy to implement. The attacks can only be stopped if Hamas is removed from power and replaced, given contemporary circumstances, by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA is certainly no prize but that’s a reasonable goal for what is often referred to as the international community.

 

Yes, Hamas won an election in 2007 but then it staged a violent coup, threw out the opposition, and has thus governed as an unelected dictatorship. It has no legal basis since Hamas never accepted the Oslo accords agreements. Hamas is also a terrorist group. And it daily voices not only its opposition to Israel’s existence but also advocates—and teaches the children of Gaza to carry out some day—the commission of genocide against all Jews.

 

So the answer to the Times’ question is a no-brainer, right? In fact, of course this response is not what the Times has in mind.  Instead, the newspaper and like-minded people present the following list:

 

–Israel should negotiate with Hamas. Great idea but an impossible one because of a factor Western leaders, academics, and journalists often do not take seriously nowadays: ideology. Hamas means what it says, intends to continue the violence for years in the belief it can win total victory, and is indifferent to the sacrifice of its own people. So in this case negotiations are not an option.

 

–If there is a comprehensive Israel-Palestinian peace there would be no more war. Actually even if such an agreement were to be reached—which is impossible because the PA won’t make one—Hamas would step up attacks in an attempt to destroy the agreement.

 

The PA could not make a deal that would include the 40 percent of the Palestinians who live in Gaza. And Hamas would try to overthrow the PA in the West Bank and might even succeed. Then Hamas, perhaps with the Fatah people who allied with it, would have a fully sovereign state to use as a platform for an intended war of genocide against Israel.

 

Part of the problem is that the West is not psychologically prepared to deal with fanatics, people who don’t measure the balance of forces before entering a war and are indifferent to the suffering of their own civilians. Westerners tend to use a materialistic yardstick: holding elections, having to govern themselves, a higher living standard and more education will make people moderate. The problem is that this has been tried out in the Middle East—as it is being tried now—and doesn’t work.

 

–Israel should just shut up and let Hamas attack it whenever that group so chooses or at most respond with only minimal force. This concept is often implicit in coverage of the issue as in one prestigious newspaper whose main article explained that Israel’s killing the military chief of Hamas, whose main job was to plan terrorist attacks on Israelis, threatened to create a regional crisis….

 

So given the fact that it does not want to reoccupy and govern Gaza (though one of the accusations thrown against Israel is that it still occupies Gaza!), Israel has limited choices. The best of the lot is to limit any materiel that gets into Gaza that can be used for war and to retaliate as necessary to obtain several years of relative peace….

 

Another part of the problem is the external situation. Egypt is ruled by a Muslim Brotherhood regime. The Gaza Strip is governed by a Muslim Brotherhood regime. See any pattern here? What saves the situation for the present is that the Egyptian government doesn’t want an all-out confrontation now. Just hours before the war began it received a pledge of $6 billion in aid from the European Union. This is, of course, a noble endeavor to help Egypt’s people though it also puts billions of dollars in the hands of anti-Western, antisemitic extremists. Maybe it will moderate them but it is certain that the money will strengthen them.

 

As for the United States, it supports Egypt but it also supports Israel. So it will encourage a ceasefire and probably after a few days there will be a ceasefire. Hamas will “partly” observe it until the next time it chooses to attack Israel. Perhaps by that point the Salafists in Egypt will be ready for a fight and the Brotherhood regime will need to stir up some hysteria to help it fundamentally transform the country and distract attention from its domestic dictatorship and failures.

 

So the lesson of this new Gaza war is that terrorist regimes must be removed from power because otherwise they will keep provoking war, terrorism, and instability. Having ruled out that option, the only alternative is periodic conflicts like the one going on now in the Gaza Strip. Can Israel sustain this situation? Of course, that is basically the framework in which it has been living and prospering for 64 years. Is it preferable? Of course not.  What is the world going to do to make it better? Nothing.

 

And what does Hamas’s behavior tell us about that of other Islamists in power? A great deal once one factors in patience and subtly on the part of such regimes as those in Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, and perhaps soon Syria.  I said above that the lesson of the Gaza Strip is that terrorist, radical regimes should be removed from power. It goes without saying that they should not be helped into power by the West in the first place. Unfortunately, that is a lesson that the Obama Administration still doesn’t understand.

 

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Morsi Aims To Incite Violence Against Israel: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Nov. 15, 2012

Israel’s Gaza counterattack has revealed the extent of the problem the region, and Israel specifically, faces with a post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt

 

Israel Changes The Rules Of The Game: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Nov. 15, 2012

Israel's actions on Wednesday went a long way toward restoring the deterrence lost during the most recent escalation. The assassination of Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing, and the equally important targeting of Hamas’ long-range rocket caches, stunned the Islamic organization. It was reminded once again of the adversary it is up against and what the real balance of power is.

 

Analysis: The Battle For The South Has Begun:Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2012

Nearly four years after Operation Cast Lead, a new battle to restore security for the South has begun. The deterrence levels gained by Israel in the 2009 operation have run out, in great part due to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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