Prime Minister Netanyahu vetoed targeted attacks on Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmud a-Zahar according to a report in Yisrael Hayom.
According to the newspaper, Lapid said that the IDF should “take down
the heads of Hamas,” including Hamas-Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh and the
head of the organization's political bureau, Khaled Meshaal.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Chairman of Yisrael Beytenu) and
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Chairman of Jewish Home) supported
The prime minister opposed it.
It was decided instead to bomb the homes of the Hamas leaders even though it is known that they are not residing in them.
Diplomatic sources explained that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
wants to behave in a more “measured” way, “in order to give Israel
international maneuvering room.”
Netanyahu ordered the elimination of Meshaal by poison in Jordan in
September, 1997, but the assassination bid failed. Jordanian security
forces arrested two of the Israeli agents involved and the Mossad team
found itself trapped in Amman. Israel ended up supplying an antidote to
the poison that was killing Meshaal and freeing 70 jailed terrorists,
including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas.
I think Netanyahu is spooked because of the Meshaal thing seventeen years ago. IDF helicopters eventually took care of Yassin.
The Middle East must lead the world in ceasefires. If ceasefires were
the road to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful
place on the planet. “Ceasefire”
and “negotiations” are magic words to “the international community.”
But just what do ceasefires actually accomplish? In the short run, they save some lives. But in the long run they cost far more lives by lowering the cost of aggression.
one time, launching a military attack on another nation risked not only
retaliation but annihilation. When Carthage attacked Rome, that was the
end of Carthage. But
when Hamas or some other terrorist group launches an attack on Israel,
the aggressor knows in advance that whatever Israel does in response
will be limited by calls for a ceasefire, backed by political and
economic pressure from the United States.
It is not at all
clear what Israel’s critics can rationally expect the Israelis to do
when they are attacked. Suffer in silence? Surrender? Flee the Middle
— most unrealistic of all — fight a “nice” war, with no civilian
casualties? General William T. Sherman said it all, 150 years ago: “War
If you want to minimize civilian casualties, then
minimize the danger of war, by no longer coming to the rescue of those
who start wars.
Not only was Israel attacked by vast numbers of rockets, but it was also invaded — underground — through mazes of tunnels. There
is something grotesque about people living thousands of miles away, in
safety and comfort, loftily second-guessing and trying to micromanage what the Israelis are doing in a matter of life and death. Such
self-indulgences are a danger, not simply to Israel, but to the whole
Western world, for they betray a lack of realism that shows in
everything from the current disastrous consequences of our policies in
Egypt, Libya, and Iraq to future catastrophes from a nuclear-armed Iran.
Indeed. Imagine if Obama and Kerry had been in charge in June 1944....
Mohammed Deif: 'Our soldiers run toward martyrdom like yours flee from death'
Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif broadcast a message to Israel on Tuesday night on Hamas' al-Aqsa television network. In addition to the message in the title, he said that there would be no cease fire until the 'siege' of Gaza is lifted, and there would be 'no compromise.'
Let's go to the videotape.
Apparently, those 'brave warriors' who are 'running toward martyrdom' do not include the Hamas leadership, which continues to hide in the basement of Gaza City's Shifa Hospital.
The terrorist was enlisted into Hamas in 2007, and underwent basic
combat training; in 2013 he was recruited to an "advanced" commando unit
of Ezzadine al-Kassam, in which he was drilled in the use of a wide
variety weapons including pistols, M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles, RPGs,
PKC heavy machine guns, and locally-produced hand grenades.
However, as far back as 2010, he had been enlisted into a special
terrorist cell, along with 10 other Hamas operatives, who underwent a
period of training for infiltration attacks, including parachuting
Then, in 2014, the cell was sent for a final training assignment in
Malaysia - to learn how to paraglide in preparation for a deadly
infiltration into southern Israel.
He claimed that the plans were so secret that he had not yet even been informed of the precise location of the attack.
According to the Shabak, "from the details extracted during the
suspect's interrogation it is apparent that Hamas invested an enormous
effort in strengthening and building up its capabilities, within the
context of which it built and trained a commando military force."
"Moreover, it was clear that Hamas had been preparing for an IDF
operation in Gaza for quite some time - preparations which included
building vast tunnel networks, planning combat operations against IDF
forces and kidnappings of Israeli soldiers," the Shabak continued.
"Most intriguing of all, however, is that Hamas has been actively
planning "high-quality," unique, and significant forms of terror against
Israelis - such as infiltration through paragliding - all while
receiving assistance and training in other countries (in this case,
The suspect joined Hamas in 2007, and became a part of its military wing, the Al-Kassam Brigades. His rise through the terrorist army in Gaza reveals the extent of training Hamas members undergo. He became proficient in the use of a Kalashnikov automatic rifle in varying shooting positions, and then joined Hamas's domestic guard force, where he served in night shifts.
The suspect then underwent additional training, mastering a heavy machine gun, as well as the use of locally produced hand grenades. In 2012, the Shin Bet said, he joined Hamas's reserves unit, which was tasked with special operations during wartime.
In 2013, he joined an elite Hamas cell, received a Kalashnikov to carry with him at all times, and later trained in the use of M-16s, RPG, and bombs. The suspect also underwent training in how to kidnap soldiers, and tunnel warfare. He was scheduled to train others in the same combat skills this month.
The suspect traveled to Malaysia in 2012, where he and nine other Hamas members learned how to fly a powered parachute. In Gaza, the cell underwent repeated training sessions on how to fly into Israel and carry out attacks, and were ordered by their Hamas commanders to keep their training top secret.
"Hamas has invested many resources in building up its power, including the building and training of a commando army," the Shin Bet. "It also prepared itself for ground combat with Israel, and constructed a network of tunnels designed to harm IDF soldiers and kidnap a soldier. In addition, Hamas planned significant and unique "quality" terror attacks, such as a flying into Israel on a powered parachute, while receiving assistance and training in other countries," it added.
All of which means that Operation Protective Edge was long overdue.
Chris, Sami, I just saw this post on your site. Pretty funny - you guys keep letting Hamas store rockets at, and shoot rockets from, your facilities (in the direction of Israel at civilian populations), your facilities then get blown up, and then you whine about it and accuse Israel of "war crimes". Although most comedians try not to overuse their material, this particular joke remains fresh.
Nevertheless, for the safety of the children you purport to educate, you might want to mull over these ideas:
1. Weapons depots and launching sites are not schools, no matter what you call them.
2. If you don't want your schools to get blown to bits, keep them rocket-free.
3. Kids and weapons are generally not a good mix. If your goal really is to educate children and not endanger them, you should teach them at someplace where Hamas isn't storing explosive materials.
By the way, if you don't want to change your tune, someone has come up with a revised logo for you to use, which I attach.
Military Intelligence: 'The Rosh HaShannah attack was a myth invented by Haredi media. We know nothing about it'
A tweet from Haredi reporter Yaakov Rivlin.
בכיר באמ"ן בפני ועדת חו"ב: תוכנית החמאס לפרוץ בראש השנה מעשר מנהרות לשטח ישראל- אגדה שרצה בתקשורת החרדית. לנו אין כל מידע על זה.
— יעקב ריבלין (@arivlin1) July 30, 2014
Translation: Senior office in Military Intelligence before [Knesset] Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee: The Hamas program to infiltrate into Israel on Rosh HaShannah via ten tunnels is a tale that is running around the Haredi media. We known nothing about it.
Maybe this is connected to some hard questions being asked by journalist Nachum Barnea about why if the tunnels are such a danger, the government was willing to agree to a truce without touching them?
Netanyahu agreed to
the ceasefire last week, despite knowing about the tunnels and the
threat they posed. His decision, and that of the Cabinet, was made
within the sphere of legitimacy. Bennett, who voted against it because
of the tunnels, thought otherwise, but the cabinet had other
What is not legitimate is the gap between rhetoric and reality.
Netanyahu was not the first to warn about the tunnels, but he did so
halfheartedly. As prime minister he did not see the tunnels as
sufficient threat to justify military action, before and during Pillar
of Defense in 2012, and before and during Protective Edge. He chose to
take a risk. When he told Channel 2's Udi Segal that he hoped that the
problem of the tunnels could be solved politically, he knew that this
was not grounded in reality.
Netanyahu, like others in the government, was surprised by Hamas'
offensive ability, its fighting spirit and the subsequent number of
fallen soldiers. Only he can answer the question of whether prior
knowledge of the price would have prevented him from rolling into a
ground operation. It's not certain that he is able to answer such a
question - even to himself.
In summer 2010, a
discussion took place in the Southern Command - one of many - on the
issue of the tunnels. It was a fascinating discussion, precisely because
there wasn't really anything new in it. Anyone who today pleads
ignorance about the tunnels is lying to others - or to himself. For
better or for worse, everything was on the table.
GOC Southern Command at the time, Yoav Galant, opened the debate.
Terrorist organizations are preparing an attack via the tunnels, he
said, high-quality attacks in real time, using extensive infrastructure
throughout the sector. Hamas had taken advantage of the calm since
Operation Cast Lead to improve its level of preparedness for terrorist
attacks, and the tunnels were an important element in their planning.
The threat, Galant said, was expected to get stronger: The length of
the tunnels was growing, the pace of work accelerating, and the ability
to hide improving. The command made great efforts to address this issue
in six areas, including defense, attack, intelligence and development of
technology. These efforts must continue.
Subterranean warfare, said the general, is a method of fighting in
which the enemy has shown operational capability and success, and
against whose abilities there is no effective solution. The use of the
tunnels is growing, a fact that demands creative solutions.
A complete solution, he concluded, would include exposure of the
digging work, accurate detection of the tunnel routes and the ability to
prevent, disrupt or wipe out the threat.
No less than seven different methods for dealing with the
tunnels were raised during the discussion. Each had a more grandiose
name than the last (there are no limits to creativity when it comes to
inventing military names) but the results were ultimately disappointing.
The Southern Command established a test site near Kerem Shalom,
including a tunnel at a depth of 10 meters. And while these efforts bore
no fruit, there was still great faith in the summer of 2010 that a
solution would be found to the problem of the tunnels.
One idea included a system of sensors to detect all digging
operations. But the system failed and the army stopped using it. Another
system of sensors above ground was supposed to detect all activity
carried out below it, but this system was not automated and required
A third invention was meant to locate tools that were being used
underground; a fourth involved drilling into the ground, inserting
poles, connecting to the water system and turning on the taps. The
monetary cost was astronomical, and ultimately prohibitive.
The fifth system was designed to monitor excavation work from the
air; the sixth aimed to reveal the route of a tunnel once it had been
discovered. And finally, the seventh system was based on "statistical"
drilling and explosions, and proved to have low efficiency.
In the absence of any redeeming technological invention, there was no
way around dealing with the tunnels on three parallel tracks:
intelligence, military operations beyond the Gaza border fence, and a
sizeable financial investment in technological development.
Intelligence-gathering efforts were made, but military operations beyond
the fence were disabled at government direction, and money was not
allocated. The tunnels were forced onto the backburner.
The data shows a clear shift after Operation Cast Lead. In the three
years between the disengagement from Gaza in summer 2005 and Cast Lead
in the winter of 2008-9, the fighters of the Southern Command embarked
on 92 missions to locate the tunnels and demolish them. Tunnels were
destroyed in, among others, Saja'iyya, Zeitun and Khan Younis - sites
the IDF has returned to this past week. The ground on Israel's Gaza
border was cleared during these missions.
At the end of Cast Lead, then-defense minister Ehud Barak ordered an
end to missions beyond the fence. Galant claimed that the understandings
reached with Hamas in the wake of the operation did allow for such
actions, but Barak argued otherwise. Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff at
the time, did not intervene.
But one incident did play a defining role for both sides. In November
2008, a tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel was discovered south of
Wadi Gaza, in the central Strip. The decision was taken to attack it.
Barak and Ashkenazi both wanted to strike from the air, but Galant
claimed an air strike would not destroy the tunnel - it would only take
out the mouth, thereby making it difficult to locate later. Barak was
persuaded, and successfully dispatched a Paratrooper Reconnaissance
Battalion (commanded by Yaron Finkelman, today commander of the Gaza
After all, that worked out so well the last time...
Haaretz's Barak Ravid reports that Israel's foreign ministry is drafting an 'Israeli plan' to end Operation Protective Edge, much as it did with Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War eight years ago.
The Foreign Ministry has advised Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu to initiate the drafting of a United Nations Security Council
resolution on the terms for ending the war in the Gaza Strip, a senior
Israeli official said on Tuesday.
He said the ministry believes
such a move would minimize Hamas’ international legitimacy and advance
Israeli interests, such as disarming Gaza and returning the Palestinian
Authority to the Strip.
The ministry’s director general, Nissim
Ben Shetrit, sent a document to National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen
last week in which he proposed a “diplomatic exit plan” from the
conflict in Gaza. The document was drafted by a ministry task force
comprised of representatives from the diplomatic planning department,
the international affairs department and the political research
department. The senior official said the document was sent to Netanyahu
for his perusal.
In the document, the ministry proposed an Israeli
diplomatic initiative to end the fighting via a Security Council
resolution, similar to the way the Second Lebanon War of 2006 was ended.
Resolution 1701, which ended that war, called for southern Lebanon to
be disarmed of all rockets and heavy weaponry, stated that the Lebanese
army, which answers to the government in Beirut, would be the only legal
military force south of the Litani River, and significantly expanded
UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
suggested two ways of advancing a similar Security Council resolution on
Gaza. The first is to reach an agreement on Gaza with several countries
that have interests in common with Israel, such as Egypt, the United
States, the major European countries and the Palestinian Authority, and
then bring it to the Security Council for approval. This is similar to
how the agreement to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons was reached.
second option is simply to draft a Security Council resolution together
with the United States, Britain, France and other friendly council
The Israeli official said the Foreign Ministry believes
that if Israel initiates such a move and acts in coordination with the
U.S., Egypt and the PA, it can advance several of its diplomatic
interests: first, setting up an international mechanism to disarm Gaza
and supervise the entry of building materials, money and arms into the
Strip; second, returning the Palestinian Authority to Gaza and
stationing security forces loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the
border crossings; and third, strengthening the alliance with Egypt.
idea of using a Security Council resolution to end the war in Gaza was
raised by several ministers during meetings of the diplomatic-security
cabinet, including Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Communications
Minister Gilad Erdan. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is also studying
this idea as one possible way of ending the war. Ya’alon believes that
if efforts to reach a cease-fire via Egyptian mediation fail, America
should take the lead in passing a Security Council resolution.
Livni was foreign minister in 2006, and was the main Israeli drafter of Resolution 1701. I would expect such 'brilliance' from her. But Resolution 1701 has been a disaster for Israel, and has left Hezbullah with 40-60,000 rockets sitting on our northern border. It has worked out no better than Ehud Barak's unilateral withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000.
For those with time, I did a paragraph by paragraph analysis of 1701 and everything that was wrong with it here. But let's look back at some things 1701 did not do. From here:
In a meeting tonight with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Ehud
Olmert showed how little he understands of the resolution to which his
English-and-diplomacy deficient foreign minister Tzipi Livni agreed in
the UN. During his meeting with Lavrov, Olmert said the following:
the kidnapped soldiers are released, there will not be full
implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. Israel is
implementing its side of the resolution, and thus, Lebanon must do the
same and release the two kidnapped soldiers immediately.
are two problems with Olmert's formulation. First, it's not Lebanon
that is holding the soldiers but Hezbullah, and Hezbullah doesn't regard
itself as being bound by UN Security Council resolution 1701. It's not a
state, not a UN member, and the resolution was not addressed to it.
Second, UN Security Council resolution 1701 would not require Lebanon to
release Regev and Goldwasser (the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers) even
if it held them. The only time Regev and Goldwasser are mentioned is in
Preparatory Paragraph 3, and that paragraph is not part of the
substantive resolution. In my comments on the resolution on August 12, I noted the following:
Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time
emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise
to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the
abducted Israeli soldiers, [Note that this is in the Preparatory Paragraphs and not in the Operational ones. It doesn't mean anything. We have two more Ron Arad's. CiJ]
This evening, Olmert put only one of the final two nails into Regev's
and Goldwasser's coffins: He lifted the aerial blockade on Lebanon, but
left the naval blockade intact "because the international force was not yet in a position
to enforce the arms embargo to Hizbullah." So if Hezbullah wants to
move Goldwasser and Regev to - for example - Iran, they will have to fly
them out of Lebanon or move them overland and cannot put them on a
boat. The bottom line is that if (and it's a big if) they are still
alive, Olmert pretty much signed their death warrants this evening. By
lifting the blockades on Lebanon, he is giving up the last bit of
(admittedly flimsy) leverage he had to win their release.
Caroline Glick correctly called 1701 the "eleventh hour" for Israel and the reconstituted UNIFIL:
already the eleventh hour for Israel and the reconstituted UNIFIL.
That's my conclusion anyway from reading Caroline Glick's column in
today's Jerusalem Post. I'm going to give you a few excerpts, but it's
got so much packed into it that you simply must read the whole thing:
1701 restricts Israel's freedom of action in three additional ways.
First, the resolution named Ahmadinejad's solicitor, Kofi Annan, as
arbiter of the sides' compliance. Annan revealed how he will be using
this authority two weeks ago when he condemned the IDF's commando raid
in Baalbek while beginning his calls for Israel to lift its air and sea
blockade of Lebanon and so enable Hizbullah to rearm, not only by land,
but by air and sea as well.
Second, although Olmert and Livni
loudly champion the European forces being deployed to Lebanon as an
important diplomatic achievement, the fact is that the decision to
empower the EU to dominate UNIFIL is disastrous for Israel. While
protesting their "love" for Israel, the Europeans are making no bones
about the fact that their decision to lead UNIFIL is motivated by their
intention to prevent Israel from defending itself.
Communist Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema made this point clearly in
his interview last Friday with Ha'aretz. There he explained that the EU
goal in Lebanon is to "prove to Israel that it can ensure its security
better through the politics of peace than through war."
today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer reminds us that Hezbullah
won the propaganda war but lost the military battle on the ground.
Krauthammer believes that Israel inflicted enough damage - despite
Olmert's weak leadership - to prevent Hezbullah from initiating a second round,
if what he calls the resolutions to disarm Hezbullah are implemented.
The problem is that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 is not
self-executing with respect to disarming Hezbullah, and all indications
so far have been that the world does not plan on doing the job.
Therefore, I cannot share Krauthammer's apparent optimism.
the central contradiction in the document is between OP11 and OP12.
OP11 basically makes UNIFIL action dependent on the Lebanese government
asking for help. In other words, only if the government asks UNIFIL to
fight against terrorists in southern Lebanon or interdict arms smuggling
can it act.
should be noted that the Lebanese armed forces are a polite fiction.
Just as Hizbullah is part of the government coalition, it has also
deeply infiltrated the army. Half or even more of the soldiers
sympathize with Hizbullah and will not do anything to - as they think of
it - "protect" Israel from attack. It is not a highly disciplined
military with a reliable chain of command. If a Lebanese soldier fires
at Hizbullah, the entire army could split into two warring factions,
something the government and politicians will want to avoid at any cost.
OP12 says UNIFIL can take "all necessary action" in its area of
deployment to fulfill its mission. This could be interpreted, for
example, to mean that the UNIFIL units will attack terrorists south of
the Litani without being explicitly asked to do so by the Lebanese
government. Everything depends on who will command UNIFIL and what its rules of engagement are going to be.
Will it honestly report violations or just look the other way? Will it
only do what the Lebanese government expressly asks or take action to
prevent cross-border attacks?
A lot will also depend on what
strategy Hizbullah adapts and what Damascus and Teheran urge it to do.
There is no chance of Hizbullah being destroyed, disarmed or moderated.
But it can choose how high a profile it will have.
Would Hamas consider it bound by a Security Council resolution any more than Hezbullah did?
Who would disarm Hamas and make sure that it didn't rebuild? EUBAM, which fled when Hamas took over Gaza?
Does anyone remember the last time an 'international force' was supposed
to protect a truce between Israel and the 'Palestinians'? How many of
you remember EUBAM? (Some material quoted from here).
Earlier this week French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
said, “We all understand why there must be no more arms in this enclosed
Gaza Strip.” But he added that he believed the EU could help prevent
The EU “can easily monitor the cargoes of boats heading for
Gaza. We can do this. We want to do it and we would do it very
He also called for the EU to send its monitors,
otherwise known as the European Border Assistance Mission, back to the
Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt, which was built for pedestrian
The work of those monitors was halted for security reasons, after the 2007 coup in which Hamas threw Fatah out of Gaza.
was stationed on the Gaza side of all four crossings: Rafah on the
Egyptian border and the Israeli border crossings of Kerem Shalom, Karni
All agreements relating to those crossings involved Israel and the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas.
EUBAM in Rafah operated under a 2005 agreement, which it had with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
2007 its representatives have sat in Ashkelon, under the terms of the
2005 agreement, in hopes that they would be able to return to Rafah.
Last week Egypt opened the Rafah borders, as it has done intermittently in the last three years, without EUBAM.
sources said if EUBAM returned it would be under the terms of the 2005
agreement. The sources did not address the the internal conflict between
Fatah and Hamas, which to date has made it impossible to revive that
If anything, the sources said, the EU wants to also
station EUBAM at the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings, where goods now
enter the area. They did not mention the Erez pedestrian crossing.
Isn't this amazing: EUBAM inspectors have been paid for the last three years
to sit in Ashkelon and do nothing. Sounds just like the Fatah
'employees' in Gaza, doesn't it? Nice work if you can get it. Oh, and
also unmentioned is how the Europeans left Gaza in 2007 - they brush
over that by saying it happened as a result of the Hamas coup. The truth
is that the Europeans fled and no one would be surprised if they did so
Would you want to rely on these 'inspectors'?
What would the rules of engagement be for any international force in Gaza? Would they need someone else's permission to act? Whose? Fatah's?
A 1701-like resolution is a really dumb idea.
But wait - our foreign minister is Avigdor Lieberman, who is one of the ministers who has been pushing to eliminate Hamas as part of the current operation. Did he authorize the foreign ministry to do this?
Oh wait, the foreign ministry is full of Leftists, and Israeli Leftists do whatever they can to undermine any government with which they don't agree, whether they are part of it or not.
Hamas keeps telling us that they're 'winning,' but they're faring badly enough that they have now called on Hezbullah to deflect some of the IDF's might by attacking Israel from the North.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, who serves as Khaled Mashaal’s top deputy and who is currently based in Cairo, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that the organization hoped that the Lebanese Shi’ite group would engage Israel from the north.
“We hope the Lebanese front will open and together we will fight against this formation [Israel],” Abu Marzouk told RIA Novosti.
“There’s no arguing that Lebanese resistance could mean a lot,” Abu Marzouk said.
Last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to support "the resistance in Gaza in any way necessary" in its fight against the IDF.
Nasrallah made the statements in a phone call with Mashaal and the leader of Islamic Jihad Ramadan Salah.
Talk of Hezbullah joining in is just that - talk. Hezbullah still remembers what it suffered and what Lebanon suffered in 2006, when there was still a colorable argument that Hezbullah was not the same thing as Lebanon. Given Hezbullah's position in the Lebanese government, that argument can no longer be made. Hezbullah is Lebanon and Lebanon is Hezbullah (yes, I know, I argued that was the case in 2006, but it's much more true today). Israel has warned Hezbullah in no uncertain terms that if it attacks, Israel will destroy all of Lebanon's infrastructure (which they started to do in 2006 and then stopped when then-President Fouad Siniora went crying to George Bush). It should take about four hours.
On top of that, Hezbullah is embroiled in defending the Assad regime in Syria (Israel Radio reported last week that Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's nephew was killed fighting for Assad on the Lebanese - Syrian border last week). It doesn't have the manpower to send after Israel.
And Hezbullah, like Hamas, is dependent on a tunnel network, but one that would not require as much close quarters finding to destroy.
Hezbullah would be foolish to get involved in this. I don't see it happening.
What does President Obama really think about Israel and Hamas?
What does president Obama think about Israel and Hamas?
Back in 2008, he said: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
Again, in 2013 he said: "When I consider Israel’s security, I think about children like Osher Twito, who I met in Sderot – children, the same age as my own daughters, who went to bed at night fearful that a rocket would land in their bedroom simply because of who they are and where they live. That’s why we’ve invested in the Iron Dome system to save countless lives – because those children deserve to sleep better at night. That’s why we have made it clear, time and again, that Israel cannot accept rocket attacks from Gaza, and have stood up for Israel’s right to defend itself. And that’s why Israel has a right to expect Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist."
But in 2014, he demands Israel would cease fire with no prior conditions - and while Hamas continued firing rockets on the last 5 ceasefires Israel announced. So Mr. president, what do you REALLY think, and whom do you really stand with?
Obama to Hamas: 'If you like your rockets, you can keep your rockets'
On Tuesday night, I reported on the alleged transcript of Sunday's conversation between Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Barack Hussein Obama, in which Obama pressured Netanyahu to accept an unconditional 'cease fire.' With respect to rocket fire, Obama said that he 'believed' that Hamas would stop.
Later in the evening (but already in my post), both the White House and the Prime Minister's Office issued identical denials on Twitter as to the authenticity of the conversation.
Aaron Lerner points out that the truth is far worse than the transcript. Obama regards disarming Hamas as only being part of a 'final settlement,' despite the fact that the disarming of all terror organizations was a part of the original Oslo accords in 1993. In Obama's world, if Hamas likes its rockets, it can keep its rockets. Obama will not discuss disarmament with Hamas unless and until Israel agrees to divide Jerusalem and dismember its heartland.
In truth, the White House press release describing the conversation is far
worse than the transcript presented by Oren Nahari.
According to the White House press release "The President stressed the U.S.
view that, ultimately, any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the
demilitarization of Gaza."
While the EU declares that the terrorists in the Gaza Strip should be
disarmed, Mr. Obama doesn't see the demilitarization of Gaza before there is
a "lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".
Put bluntly: if we don't agree to divide Jerusalem then Hamas can keep its
So while this transcript has Mr. Obama arguing with Netanyahu over the
choice of mediators, the White House has Mr. Obama stating for the record
that the demilitarization of Gaza is off the agenda until Israel can reach
a "lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".
In this case the truth is worse than what is now claimed to be fiction.
Hamas' 'success': 16 human shields killed in UNRWA school in Jabalya
Speaking of UNRWA and weapons being hidden in its schools.... 16 human shields were killed in a Jabalya school on Wednesday. UNRWA blamed Israel.
Shelling of a UN school being used as a shelter in the northern
Gaza Strip killed 16 people on Wednesday, a UN official said. The
official blamed Israel for the shelling.
Wednesday's shelling hit the school in Jabalia refugee camp, Hamas
terrorist emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, on the 23rd
day of Israel's military campaign against the Palestinian coastal
territory, which is controlled by a genocidal terrorist government.
An AFP correspondent said that at least one shell had hit
the school – the outer wall of the complex was damaged by shellfire –
and in a bombed-out classroom people were picking body parts off a
An official for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, who requested
anonymity, confirmed the strike, saying it hit a bathroom and two
classrooms inside the UNRWA girls' school.
The army had begun heavy tank shelling in the area a couple of hours prior to the incident, an AFP correspondent said.
Meanwhile, the IDF has released video clearly showing Hamas firing rockets from an UNRWA school.
The United Nations Relief & Works Agency For Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced
Tuesday that another rocket stockpile has been found at one of its
schools in Gaza. This instance marks the third time since the beginning
of Operation Protective Edge that a weapons arsenal has been found at an
UNRWA school in Gaza.
UNRWA has yet to place blame on any individuals or organizations for
placing the weapons stockpile within a children’s school. The UN body
refused to do so on the past two previous occasions as well.
The UN body, after both previous findings, has handed the rockets it had found back into the possession of “the local police," otherwise known as the terrorist group Hamas.
This week, UNRWA supplies and building materials had been found in Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure, which has been used to smuggle weapons and carry out attacks on the State of Israel.
I'm shocked. Just totally shocked....
And here's a fact you might not have known.
UNRWA is currently the largest agency-subdivision of the entire UN, employing over 30,000 staff.
It's long past time to disband UNRWA and to start treating 'Palestinian refugees' like every other refugee in the world. Starting with resettlement in third countries.
Transcript of Netanyahu - Obama phone call leaked to Israeli media?
This is from the Times of Israel daily blog on the War in Gaza
Hebrew transcript of Obama and Netanyahu’s phone call
Israel’s Channel 1 publishes a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone
conversation Sunday, in which Obama is insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip.
The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral
ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities
unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world
from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and
Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012
understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege
restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
This transcript is hard to believe, but here's a Channel 1 (the government-owned television station) report backing it up. The broadcaster said it was a 35-minute call and that he got the transcript from an American source.
Let's go to the videotape (sorry, Hebrew only).
Both the White House and the Prime Minister's office deny the authenticity of the transcript. They each posted the same two tweets (see below):
We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2
— @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014
Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2
— @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014
We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 29, 2014
Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 29, 2014
You don't think the White House or the State Department would leak something like this do you? Hmmm.
After six years of resetting, leading from behind, ending wars,
nation building at home, and pivoting to Asia, the U.S. has reduced
itself to a husk of its former influence. When Kerry showed up in Cairo
to meet with the president of Egypt, he was wanded by the guards, as if
he had just wandered in from the airport security line.
underlined his dubious relevance by his inability to secure a ceasefire,
and his dubious wisdom by making it his overarching goal. At this
point, after Israel has committed itself on the ground, the U.S. should
be seeking to give it the time it needs to do as much damage as possible
to Hamas’s military infrastructure, instead of effectively bailing out
the terror group.
Kerry held an ill-advised confab in Paris with
Qatar and Turkey, the patrons of Hamas. Even the Palestinian Authority
blasted this as the “friends of Hamas” meeting. With the Egyptians, the
Saudis, the Emiratis, the Jordanians, and the Palestinian Authority all
functionally on Israel’s side in the Gaza War, it should be in a
superior diplomatic position, but its superpower patron evidently didn’t
get the memo.
By the time Kerry returned home, he had been
showered with so much criticism by the Israelis that the U.S. government
was saying it could endanger our relationship. The question raised by
Obama-administration foreign policy again and again is, How can
self-styled “smart power” be so dumb and toothless?
of Kerry’s failings, he is a relative giant among a foreign-policy team
composed largely of political hacks and post-American declinists. At
least Kerry retains some of the old Democratic-party belief in America’s
importance in the world. His condemnation of Syria’s use of chemical
weapons last year was a stirring moral indictment of the Assad regime
– although President Obama immediately undercut him when he abandoned
his own “red lines.”
So far, Kerry’s tenure as secretary of state
is making Hillary Clinton’s undistinguished stint look impressive by
comparison. But that’s mostly a matter of timing. It is his misfortune
to be present at the unraveling, as crisis after crisis unfolds, with
the administration lacking the interest or the tough-mindedness to
It makes absolutely NO sense that Netanyahu would ask for a cease fire unless Obama-Kerry are forcing him to 'ask.' Israel wants to finish the job in Gaza and there is overwhelming public support for that. Is Kerry trying to present Netanyahu with a fait accomplis? What could go wrong?
Israel's Channel 10 reports that during a lull in the fighting in Gaza City's Shejaiya neighborhood on Monday, 20 'Palestinians' went out to demonstrate against Hamas and the war. Hamas surrounded them and shot them as 'collaborators' (link in Hebrew).
And you think that what you see reported from Gaza is objective?
Oh well... Hamas denies agreeing to 72-hour cease fire
Earlier this afternoon, the 'Palestinian Authority's Yasser Abd Rabbo (one of the sponsors of the 'Geneva Initiative') announced that Hamas and Islamic Jihad would unilaterally cease fire for 24 hours and that if Israel went along it would be extended to 72 hours. The cease fire was to go into effect immediately.
"After extensive calls and consultations with the brothers in Hamas
and Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian leadership announces on behalf of
everyone the willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24
hours," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary General of the Palestine
"We call on all Arab and international parties to support this ...
and hold Israel fully responsible for the consequences of refusing it,"
he said, reading out a statement.
He added that "there is also a suggestion from the United Nations to
extend this truce for 72 hours and we are dealing positively with this
The Israeli media fell all over itself to take the 'offer' seriously.
Israeli Channel 2's veteran Arab affairs analyst Ehud
Yaari said that Abed Rabbo is "a serious person" and that an
announcement of this nature probably has substance behind it.
There was just one small catch....
There has been no cessation of the fire from Gaza into Israel and
from Israel into Gaza so far, however. The IDF has been targeting the
Rimal neighborhood of Gaza for the first time and telling residents of
the eastern side of Khan Younis to evacuate their homes.
"Gaza's sole power plant has stopped working due to Israeli shelling
last night, which damaged the steam generator and later hit the fuel
tanks which set them on fire," Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told AFP.
An AFP reporter saw huge fires raging near the plant Tuesday
morning, noting that fire department vehicles were still unable to
reach the area.
The damage of the power plant exacerbated the heavy damage to
civilian infrastructure in Gaza already inflicted during the 22 days of
the Israeli offensive aimed at stamping out terrorist rocket fire and
destroying attack tunnels.
Besides the power plant, Gaza also purchases electricity from Israel,
but many of the supply lines have been badly damaged by the recent
fighting, Sheikh Khalil said.
"Five out of 10 of the Israeli electricity lines into the Gaza Strip
were also damaged because of Israeli shelling, and maintenance still
cannot reach the areas and fix them," he explained.
Israel blamed Hamas fire for damaging some of the supply lines. Two weeks ago, Israel said that a Hamas rocket hit the power line that supplies electricity to Khan Younis and Deir el-Balah.
It's not clear when Israel Electric Company workers will be able to
repair the system, but they are apparently in no rush to do so. Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked the IEC not to risk the lives of
its employees in trying to restore power to the affected sector in Gaza, an operation that could take hours.
One suggestion for action against Gaza that has come up numerous times in Israel – including from MKs – is cutting off electricity to Gaza, which Israel is still supplying.
The article also says that power to Gaza has been reduced by 90% and yet somehow they still have electricity 12 hours per day. Boo. Hoo.
Palestinian witnesses said Israeli tank fire hit the fuel depot of the Gaza Strip's only power plant on Tuesday, cutting electricity to Gaza City and many other parts of the Palestinian enclave of 1.8 million people.
A thick column of black smoke rose from the facility, which supplies the territory with two-thirds of its energy needs, and the fuel containers were in flames.
"The power plant is finished," said its director, Mohammed al-Sharif.
He said the local fire brigade was not equipped to extinguish the blaze.
An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment and said she was checking the report.
The plant had already been hit last week and was working at a reduced capacity of about 20 percent, allowing only a few hours of electricity a day for Gaza's residents.
Maybe they should have thought of that before they started shooting rockets and digging tunnels.
Three weeks ago, Andriy Parubiy, the head of Ukraine’s National
Security and Defense Council, compared eastern Ukraine’s situation to
what Israel faces and warned that terrorists would likely adopt similar
tactics in other countries if the West didn’t take a firm stance against
“We, of course, studied the experience of both Croatia and Israel, but here a lot of new features are added,” Parubiy said.
“And, if Russia sees that this experience is successful, this
experience can very easily be used in any Baltic countries, and even in
Belarus and Kazakhstan.”
Yesterday, Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Henadii Nadolenko made both the comparison and the warning even more explicit in an op-ed in Haaretz.
Unambiguously titled “Ukraine and Israel: Together in fighting
terrorism,” it declared, “We, the representatives of Ukraine, have,
together with the people of the State of Israel, personally felt the
totality of the threat posed to civilians by the criminal activities of
After enumerating the losses both countries have suffered, Nadolenko
continued, “I am convinced that the huge loss of civilian and military
life might have been avoided had the activities of terrorist
organizations had been condemned by the international community.” Then,
citing the recent downing of a civilian airliner over eastern Ukraine,
he drove the point home:
I would like to emphasize once again that the crime,
which killed 298 innocent civilians from around the world, is another
confirmation of the fact that today’s terrorism is not constrained by
In this regard, once again I would like to appeal to the thinking and
caring people of the world to demonstrate their support for these
peoples, who came upon a fight with an evil that threatens the security
of everyone, regardless of nationality or place of residence.
I believe that the countries that are faced with terrorism and who
try to fight this evil should support each other, and should join their
efforts in order to draw the world’s attention to our cause. We must
begin to receive real help and support from international organizations
in order to combat this threat.
I feel sorry for the Ukrainians. They cannot fight Russia on their own, and the odds of them getting any help from the West so long as the Hussein Obama administration is in power are not good. They have to hold out for at least another two and a half years (longer if Obama is replaced by Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren).
North Miami Beach synagogue vandalized by Hamas supporters
Hamas and its supporters haven't just taken their battle against Israel and the Jews to Europe. They've also taken it to the United States. Here's video from a synagogue that was vandalized in North Miami Beach, Florida.
The IRS's political agenda isn't just about the Tea Party
In the ongoing imbroglio over the Internal Revenue Service, it's the IRS's treatment of the Tea Party that has grabbed most of the headlines. But I have shown in the past, as have others, that the IRS also discriminated against organizations that opposed President Hussein Obama's Middle East policies. The most blatant case where that happened was the denial of tax exempt status to Z Street, an organization based in Philadelphia that seeks to help Jews in Judea and Samaria. The IRS claims that conservative organizations like Z Street were 'stuck' in the bureaucracy, and that's why their applications took so long to process. But the Wall Street Journal reports this morning that emails from the IRS (at least those that were not erased) show that the dragged out process that Z Street (specifically) faced was deliberate.
2009 the Pennsylvania group Z Street applied for tax-exempt status for
its mission of educating people about Israel-related issues. In 2010 an
IRS agent told Z Street that its application was delayed because the tax
agency's Washington, D.C. office was giving special scrutiny to groups
whose missions might conflict with Administration policies. The IRS's
"Be On the Lookout" list that November also included red flags for
groups referring to "disputed territories."
Street sued in August 2010 for viewpoint discrimination and its case is
headed for discovery in federal court. Now emails uncovered by the
House Ways and Means Committee show that the IRS and State Department
were conferring in 2009 about pro-Israel groups like Z Street and
considering arguments to deny their tax-exempt applications.
an April 16, 2009 email, Treasury attache to the U.S. Embassy in
Jerusalem Katherine Bauer sent IRS and Treasury colleagues a 1997 JTA
News article sent to her by State Department foreign service officer
Breeann McCusker. The subject was whether 501(c) groups buying land in
Israel's disputed territories were engaged in "possible violations of
U.S. tax laws." The article chronicles the controversy and whether
"ideological activity" can "legally be financed with the help of U.S.
you might find the below article of interest—looks like we've been down
this road before," Ms. Bauer wrote. "Although I believe you've said you
can't speak to on-going investigations, I thought it was worth flagging
the 1997 investigation mentioned below for you if it can be of any use
internally when looking for precedence [sic] for the current cases." A
Treasury spokesman declined comment on Ms. Bauer's behalf.
"current cases" would have been applications like Z Street's in which
Israel-related activity was apparently being scrutinized for its
ideological and policy content. The government says Z Street got special
scrutiny because it was focused in a region with a higher risk of
terrorism, which is hard to believe and in any case doesn't explain all
of the IRS's behavior.
doesn't cover, for instance, why one questionnaire we've seen from the
IRS to another Jewish group applying for tax-exempt status asked, "Does
your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?" and
"Describe your organization's religious belief system toward the land of
Israel." No matter the answers, they should not affect the processing
of an application for 501(c) status. The State-IRS emails reveal a
political motivation for IRS scrutiny that gives Z Street powerful
evidence for its suit charging IRS bias.
the IRS filed an appeal of the judge's decision denying its motion to
dismiss Z Street's case. The government says the action stops all
discovery while the appeal is pending, a process that could take months
or even years. By filing the appeal on the last possible day, the
Justice Department is running out the clock on discovery during the
remainder of the Administration.
It's a pity that by the time this case is decided, it may no longer be possible to sanction the Obama administration. If I were representing Z Street, I would do everything I could to expedite a decision.
This is President Hussein Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser
No, this isn't a post about Benghazi, although perhaps the connection illustrated above could explain why CBS News is so consistently anti-Israel.
Last week, Ben Rhodes made a statement about as dumb as any I have ever heard from a national security adviser. In an interview with Candy Crowley, Rhodes said the following:
Interviewed by CNN's
Mr. Rhodes offered the now-standard administration line that
Israel has a right to defend itself but needs to do more to avoid
civilian casualties. Ms. Crowley interjected that, according to Israeli
the Jewish state was already doing everything it could to avoid
"I think you can always do more," Mr. Rhodes replied. "The U.S. military does that in Afghanistan."
In the Wall Street Journal (same link as above), Bret Stephens rips Rhodes some new body parts over that statement.
How inapt is this comparison? The list of
Afghan civilians accidentally killed by U.S. or NATO strikes is not
short. Little of the fighting in Afghanistan took place in the dense
urban environments that make the current warfare in Gaza so difficult.
The last time the U.S. fought a Gaza-style battle—in Fallujah in
2004—some 800 civilians perished and at least 9,000 homes were
destroyed. This is not an indictment of U.S. conduct in Fallujah but an
acknowledgment of the grim reality of city combat.
and by the way, American towns and cities were not being rocketed from
above or tunneled under from below as the Fallujah campaign was under
So why did Rhodes make the comparison? Stephens has an explanation for that too.
Or maybe he was just another victim of what I call the Palestine
Effect: The abrupt and often total collapse of logical reasoning,
skeptical intelligence and ordinary moral judgment whenever the subject
of Palestinian suffering arises.
In other words, you have to be dumb to support the 'Palestinians.'
But Stephens says it goes beyond the question of the intelligence of 'Palestine's supporters.
But let's assume for argument's sake that
the numbers are accurate. Does this mean the Palestinians are the chief
victims, and Israelis the main victimizers, in the conflict? By this
dull logic we might want to rethink the moral equities of World War II,
in which over one million German civilians perished at Allied hands
compared with just 67,000 British and 12,000 American civilians.
real utility of the body count is that it offers reporters and
commentators who cite it the chance to ascribe implicit blame to Israel
while evading questions about ultimate responsibility for the killing.
Questions such as: Why is Hamas hiding rockets in U.N.-run schools, as
acknowledged by the U.N. itself? What does it mean that Hamas has turned
Gaza's central hospital into "a de facto headquarters," as reported by
the Washington Post? And why does Hamas keep rejecting, or violating,
cease-fires agreed to by Israel?
reasonable person might conclude from this that Hamas, which started the
war, wants it to continue, and that it relies on Israel's moral
scruples not to destroy civilian sites that it cynically uses for
military purposes. But then there is the Palestine Effect. By this
reasoning, Hamas only initiated the fighting because Israel refused to
countenance the creation of a Palestinian coalition that included Hamas,
and because Israel further objected to helping pay the salaries of
Hamas's civil servants in Gaza.
get this one straight. Israel is culpable because (a) it won't accept a
Palestinian government that includes a terrorist organization sworn to
the Jewish state's destruction; (b) it won't help that organization out
of its financial jam; and (c) it won't ease a quasi-blockade—jointly
imposed with Egypt—on a territory whose central economic activity
appears to be building rocket factories and pouring imported concrete
into terrorist tunnels.
Yes, these are the people that the Obama administration and the Leftist American media love.
OMG: What Hamas is teaching its children outside the classroom
You've all seen clips of Hamas brainwashing its children in the classroom. This clip is unusual because it takes place outside the classroom. In fact, it takes place on one of those pristine Gaza beaches. This boy couldn't be more than 5 or 6.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W).
Innocent civilians? More like abused children whose innocence was stolen by Hamas.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 30 years and six grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com