Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Daily Alert – July 18, 2014

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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations 

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 18, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas: In the Next Round We Will Launch Ground Attacks on Israel(Facebook-Arabic)
Osama Hamdan, head of Hamas’ international affairs department, said Wednesday in Beirut that Hamas still has „surprises” at its disposal.
Hamas is determined to agree to a cease-fire only after its conditions are met, as Hamas sets the conditions and the enemy must surrender to them or endure continuous rocket fire.
Israel announced a cease-fire and Hamas responded by launching 47 rockets at west Jerusalem, Eilat and Tel Aviv.
„We…refuse to accept any conditions….The Jew cannot bear staying two hours in a shelter while the people in Gaza are used to falling asleep to the sound of artillery.”
„For the next round we plan to manufacture bigger rockets and we will plan the liberation of lands [of the State of Israel] and its annexation to the already liberated lands [Gaza] and we will launch ground attacks.”

See also Hamas Official: We Have Good Relations with Hizbullah and Iran, and Cooperate Against Israel – Roi Kias (Ynet News)
Osama Hamdan, the official responsible for the Department of International Relations in Hamas, discussed his group’s relations with Hizbullah and Iran in an interview with the Lebanese newspaperAs-Safir.
„The enemy is the same and his tactics are the same. Therefore, we have made continuing efforts to exchange information. There is constant cooperation and coordination in the field.”
„The relations with Hizbullah and Iran today are much better than what people think. Relations with Hizbullah are better by a number of degrees greater than what the most optimistic people would expect.” 

Iran Trained Gaza Rocket Makers – Ali Hashem (Al-Monitor)
An Iranian official told Al-Monitor that Iran is committed to the Palestinian cause. „Yes, we are sending rockets and military aid, but not the traditional way.”
Amin, a Palestinian official, told Al-Monitor, „Several brothers were brought to Tehran, where they met military commanders and experts….The training courses took time….It’s true our activists needed guidance, but they were smart enough to grasp quickly.”
„From 2011 until 2012, Grad rockets were smuggled into Gaza, while larger rockets, mainly the ones designed in Iran and Syria, were brought in parts and built inside Gaza,” said Amin. 

Canadian Journalist Documents Rocket Fire near UN School Filled with Refugees– Patrick Martin (Globe and Mail-Canada)
The Fakhoura UN School in Gaza is offering temporary housing to about 1,200 Palestinians.
After a visit to the school, heading toward the exit, we were overwhelmed by the jet-like sound of two rockets being launched from somewhere near the school.
Hamas, or some other militant group, clearly is hoping the Israelis won’t strike at the launchers, which are kept underground until the moment of firing, because they’re close to the school and so many refugees.
As the Hamas-made missiles screamed off into the sky, leaving a white vapor trail, the kids all cheered. 

Palestinian Rocket Count (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
As of July 17, over 1,497 rockets have been launched at Israel, 1,093 of which hit Israel.
301 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. 

Israel Downs Another Hamas UAV(Ynet News)
A Patriot missile defense battery intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Ashkelon coming from Gaza on Thursday evening.
On Monday, the Patriot missile defense battery felled a Hamas UAV over Ashdod. 

Weapons Caches in Houses of Gaza Terrorists(Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
The house of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist commander Ibrahim al-Shawaf in Khan Yunis was attacked on July 8, 2014. The Palestinian media reported that the IDF had sent the residents a warning prior to the attack telling them to vacate the premises.
An IDF video shows secondary explosions caused by the detonation of explosives and weapons stored in the house. 

Egyptian Forces Seize Rockets Being Smuggled from Gaza to Sinai (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
Egyptian security forces thwarted the smuggling of 20 Grad rockets and launching platforms from Gaza through cross-border tunnels into Egypt’s Sinai, security sources told MENA on Friday.
Security forces clashed with Egyptian and Palestinian Islamist militants at the opening of one of the tunnels in Egypt’s border city of Rafah. 

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Sderot: The Bomb Shelter Capital of the World – Alan Craig (Fathom-BICOM)
In July 2008 Senator Obama interrupted his presidential campaign with a brief visit to Israel, choosing Sderot, a city of 25,000 located close to Gaza, to declare his „unshakeable commitment to Israeli security” and promising to „tell the story of Sderot.”
8,600 rockets have hit the city since 2001; it is the bomb shelter capital of the world.
With only 15 seconds warning of an incoming rocket, bus stops are bomb shelters, playground animals are bomb shelters, shop basements are bomb shelters. 

Hamas Executed Four Palestinian „Collaborators” Since Start of Gaza Operation – Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas has executed four Palestinians on suspicion of „collaboration” with Israel since the beginning of the fighting in Gaza, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported Thursday.
Another 13 Palestinians have been arrested by Hamas on suspicion of providing Israel with information.

Israeli Killed on Malaysian Airplane Downed over Ukraine (Jerusalem Post)
Itamar Avnon, 27, was among those killed on a Malaysian airlines plane shot down over Ukraine on Thursday,Maariv reported on Friday. 

How America Can Help to Stop the War in Gaza – Liel Leibovitz (Tablet)
It cannot be repeated often enough: Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime.
Western newspapers report a simple and compelling story: Two sides, Israel and Palestine, are locked in a bloody tango, each responsible for the taking of innocent lives, each culpable for the violence.
But some things are just plain evil and should be prevented with all the means at our disposal.
Raining down rockets on a civilian population is evil. Instructing one’s operatives to kidnap and murder children is evil. Using children as human shields is evil.
People who do these things are supposed to pay a price, so that they don’t do them again. 

Israel Knows the Price of Weakness – Dan Hodges (Telegraph-UK)
People may not like the current Israeli assault on Gaza, but please, let’s not pretend we don’t understand it.
The threat of annihilation is not an historical abstraction to the people of Israel. It was the reason for the formation of that state.
The Jews of Israel learned in the most barbaric way imaginable that the price of being too strong is not as high as the price of being too weak.
The images of what is happening in Gaza may sear our consciences. But when the Jews of Israel say „never again,” they mean it.
The writer is a former British Labour Party and trade union official. 

Israeli Surgeons Save the Lives of Palestinian Children as Hamas Continues Its Rocket Assault on Israel – Barbara Kay (National Post-Canada)
On Tuesday, 13 Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank arrived at Israel’s Wolfson Medical Center in Holon (near Tel Aviv) to undergo life-saving heart operations. After their surgeries, they will recover in the nearby Children’s Home.
By now, when the sirens announcing incoming rockets blow, the toddlers there instinctively raise their arms for the volunteers to scoop them to safety in the protected room.
Palestinian children have been arriving at Wolfson’s clinic every Tuesday for 18 years for treatment by the international charity, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH). 

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News Resources – North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Enters Gaza to Halt Palestinian Attacks – Batsheva Sobelman and Alexandra Zavis
    After 10 days of Israeli airstrikes and rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered ground troops into the Gaza Strip on Thursday night. Israeli officials said Netanyahu made the decision after Hamas rejected a cease-fire brokered by Egypt this week and fired rockets at Israel during a five-hour truce Thursday that was requested by the UN. (Los Angeles Times)
    See also IDF Begins Ground Action in Gaza
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on Thursday instructed the IDF to commence ground action to strike at the terrorist tunnels from Gaza into Israeli territory. Hamas terrorists used such a tunnel to infiltrate into Israel Thursday morning in order to perpetrate a large-scale attack against Israeli citizens.
    The directive for ground action was approved by the Security Cabinet after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, whereas Hamas rejected it and continued firing rockets at Israeli cities. In light of Hamas’ criminal and relentless aggression, as well as the dangerous attempt to infiltrate Israeli territory, Israel must act to defend its citizens.
    Operation Protective Edge will continue until it reaches its goal – restoring quiet to Israel’s citizens for a prolonged period, while inflicting a significant blow to the infrastructures of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. (Prime Minister’s Office-Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Israel Launches Ground Offensive in Gaza – William Booth, Sudarsan Raghavan and Ruth Eglash
    Israeli forces backed by artillery barrages and airstrikes launched a major ground offensive into Gaza late Thursday. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said their activities along the southern part of the Gaza Strip were carried out in coordination with Egypt. Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.
    In Gaza City, from a high floor in an apartment building, reporters watched as the sky was lit as if by lightning strikes. There were sustained barrages of artillery, flares shooting through the night and drones flying overhead. Israeli warships fired from the Mediterranean Sea.
    During a five-hour „humanitarian truce” on Thursday, a group of men at a mosque in northern Gaza said they had returned to clean up the glass from windows shattered in the previous day’s bombardment. But they could be seen moving rockets into the mosque.
    Khalid al-Batish, a political leader of Islamic Jihad, said the armed factions were prepared to keep fighting until their cease-fire conditions were met. „A truce should include a reward for the Palestinian people,” he said.
    Analysts expect the Israeli ground forces to focus on destroying the tunnels and trying to avoid engaging Hamas fighters. „If all that will stop the shooting from Gaza into Israel, I believe that after a few days they will go back [home],” said Itamar Yaar, a former top official at Israel’s National Security Council. But if Hamas attacks Israeli soldiers, the „Israeli cabinet will not have any other choice than to give orders to the armed forces to go deeper.”  (Washington Post)
    See also Video: IDF Forces Enter Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Obama: Israel Has the Right to Defend Itself Against Inexcusable Attacks from Hamas
    At the Iftar Dinner held at the White House during Ramadan on July 14, 2014, President Obama said: „Our goal has been and continues to be peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. And I will say very clearly, no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens. And so, we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas. At the same time, on top of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that we’ve worked long and hard to alleviate, the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, which is why we’ve emphasized the need to protect civilians.”
    „We’re going to continue doing everything we can to facilitate a return to the 2012 cease-fire. We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal, which we hope can restore the calm that we’ve been seeking.”  (White House)
  • UNRWA Strongly Condemns Placement of Rockets in School
    On July 16, UNRWA discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law. This incident endangered civilians including staff. Immediately after discovery, the Agency informed the relevant parties and successfully took all necessary measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school. (UNRWA)

News Resources – Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Soldier Killed in Gaza Fighting – Yoav Zitun
    IDF soldier Eitan Barak, 20, was killed early Friday as Israel began its ground incursion into Gaza, and five other soldiers were wounded in separate incidents. (Ynet News)
    See also Video: Soldiers Prepare for Ground Operation in Gaza
    An IDF captain briefs his company before they go into Gaza: „I don’t think I need to explain to you why we are doing what we are doing. We are here in order to do what we trained for, and what we enlisted for – to protect the State of Israel, and to enable its right to exist in freedom, without them shooting mortars at us, and without us worrying about the families here on the border. I am confident in what we are doing, because it is our right to be free in our land. It’s not a slogan, it’s the truth.”  (Israel Defense Forces)
    See also Video: IDF Chief of General Staff Briefs Generals on Ground Operation (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Hamas Rejects Egyptian Cease-Fire Initiative – Barak Ravid
    The Israel Defense Forces’ ground operation in Gaza began after the Egyptian cease-fire initiative fell through. On Wednesday, an Israeli delegation traveled to Cairo where they found that Hamas was only increasing its demands, hardening its position toward a possible cease-fire. „We found out that we, the Egyptians and [Abbas] are more or less in the same place regarding the need for a cease-fire,” said a senior official. „But we also found out that Hamas is playing a totally different game. We felt that they’re forcefully trying to sabotage the Egyptian attempts at mediation, and escalate the conflict.”  (Ha’aretz)
    See also Palestinians Fire over 100 Rockets at Israel Thursday – Roi Kais (Ynet News)
  • The Tunnel Threat on Gaza’s Border – Gili Cohen
    In less than two years, five border-crossing tunnels have been discovered in Israeli territory. The digging is quite elaborate: The tunnels are connected to electricity and usually include a number of branches inside Israeli territory. Even after Thursday’s discovery of a tunnel from Gaza to near Kibbutz Sufa, the Israel Defense Forces estimate that there are a number of additional tunnels that cross the border and are designed for carrying out attacks inside Israeli territory.
    „The principle guiding Hamas is to move the fighting to our territory – whether by means of terror attacks or by subterranean means,” explained a senior IDF Southern Command officer. „It’s impossible to deal with the subterranean (tunnels) with aerial attacks, only by entering the area.”  (Ha’aretz)
    See also The Gaza Tunnel Threat to Israel – Ron Ben-Yishai
    A large group of terrorists entered Israel through a tunnel dug in Gaza and emerged near Kibbutz Sufa, intending a major attack with a high death toll and the abduction of Israeli soldiers and civilians. Fortunately, security forces were waiting for the terrorists. But the danger of the tunnels is far from diminished, rather just further illustrated.
    No responsible political or military leader can afford to have the kibbutzim surrounding Gaza under constant threat from tunnels. The question of how many more tunnels or offshoots there are cannot be answered without an IDF presence west of the Gaza border fence. (Ynet News)
    See also Why the Hamas Tunnels Are First Priority in Israel’s Ground Offensive – Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
  • Murdered Arab Youth Recognized as Victim of „Hostile Action” – Nir Hasson and Gili Cohen
    The Israel Defense Ministry has recognized Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teen who was kidnapped and murdered in Jerusalem last month, as a victim of hostile action. This is the same terminology used to refer to Israeli citizens who are victims of terrorism.
    The announcement was made Thursday after three Israelis, including two minors, were indicted for his murder. Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said in a Justice Ministry statement: „The attorney general wishes to express his deep sorrow over this cruel act that counters all basic human morals.” The perpetrators said they carried out the murder as revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank. (Ha’aretz)
    See also Three Indicted for Killing Arab Teen – Jodi Rudoren
    On Thursday, a 29-year-old Israeli Jew with a history of psychiatric problems and two of his teenage relatives were indicted for the kidnapping and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in Jerusalem on July 2. (New York Times)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel Enters Gaza

  • Israel’s Gaza Offensive: The Country Had Little Choice after Hamas Rejected a Cease-Fire – Editorial
    Israeli ground forces moved into the Gaza Strip Thursday, and it’s hard to see what other choices the country’s leadership had to defend its citizens from the terror group Hamas’ unrelenting missile attack. Israel agreed Tuesday to a cease-fire proposal from Egypt and held its fire for six hours. Hamas kept firing throughout the day, while raising its demands. „We will continue to bomb until our conditions are met,” said a Hamas spokesman.
    This time Israel should stay the course until it achieves its strategic objective of neutralizing Hamas’ missile attacks. Two previous bouts of fighting in 2009 and 2012 failed to do this. This does not require a full occupation of Gaza. But it does mean seizing a zone to prevent the underground smuggling from Egypt of munitions and longer-range rockets into Gaza. It also means targeting Hamas’ military and political leadership.
    Hamas won’t stop its rocket and other attacks until it concludes that the military and political price it is paying is too high. Until that happens, a democracy like Israel is obliged to take the steps necessary to defend itself. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Create a Different Strategic Balance Against Islamic Terrorism – Hillel Frisch
    In 2002, Israel engaged in massive offensives against Yasser Arafat’s PA, its security forces, Fatah and the other terrorist organizations. It temporarily took over the big Palestinian towns, and has been „mowing the grass” ever since through daily preventive arrests of terrorist operatives. This policy, coupled with security cooperation with the PA security services under Muhammad Abbas’ rule, has had a dramatic effect. Terrorism in the West Bank has declined to levels that prevailed before the first intifada and have remained low ever since.
    Israel has avoided a massive ground attack on Gaza on the assumption that such an attack will have no lasting effects and might even make the situation worse. Destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas could lead to its „jihadization”; to a Gaza controlled by a variety of small jihadist groups at Hamas’ expense who would neither be deterred nor subject to pressure to desist from terrorist activity.
    Israel should adopt the highly successful anti-terrorist strategy it employed in the West Bank over the past decade and take over Gaza temporarily to destroy the terrorist infrastructure as much as possible.
    Even if a weakened Hamas was overwhelmed by other jihadistgroups, they might spend more time fighting each other than against the Zionist enemy, as we see today in Syria. Prof. Hillel Frisch, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, is a professor of Political Science and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Why Israel Launched a Ground War in Gaza – Aaron David Miller
    Sure, Iron Dome has ensured that there were almost no Israeli casualties from Hamas’ rocket attacks. But Netanyahu can’t allow a new status quo in which Israel is subjected to the disruptions and potential casualties of daily rocket attacks. The responsibility of a government is to guarantee not just security but normalcy. And life isn’t normal today in Israel. Sooner or later Hamas was bound to get lucky. Its missiles, or some terrorists tunneling out of Gaza, would succeed in killing a significant number of Israelis. So Israel had to act now. The writer is vice president and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Politico)

    Palestinian Rocket Fire on Israel

  • Israel Uses Its Arms to Protect Its Civilians; Hamas Uses Its Civilians to Protect Its Weapons – Daniel Taub
    Israel has made strenuous efforts to focus its attacks on terrorist infrastructure, targeting rockets and missile launchers. At the same time it took extraordinary measures to limit the damage to the civilians above and around these targets. One is hard-pressed to find an example of another conflict in which a military used phone calls, text messages, leaflets, and warning shots to alert residents to impending strikes. Notwithstanding these efforts, there has been a heavy civilian toll on the Palestinian side. Since Israel uses its arms to protect its civilians, whereas Hamas uses its civilians to protect its weapons, there has been a predictable asymmetry of casualties.
    In 2005 Israel uprooted more than 8,000 Israelis and more than twenty settlements from Gaza, in the hope that Gazans would build a prosperous society, with tourists flocking to its beautiful beaches and agriculture flourishing in the greenhouses Israel left behind. When this terrorist regime is finally disarmed and dismantled, this Gaza may yet become a reality. The writer is Israel’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom. (Independent-UK)
  • Why Gazans Are Again Paying for Hamas’ Choices – Dennis Ross
    Hamas has never put the Palestinian people first; it has always been willing to sacrifice them for its ideological cause – even now telling them not to heed Israeli warnings to evacuate buildings or areas. Hamas wants to produce civilian casualties among both Israelis and Palestinians. Hamas protects its leadership and missiles by putting them underground, but not its public. The writer was President Bill Clinton’s Middle East envoy and served in senior positions in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Obama administrations. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Palestinians Do Not Recognize the Jews’ Right to a State– Shlomo Avineri
    The Palestinians don’t think this is a conflict between two national movements. From their perspective, this is a conflict between the Palestinian national movement and an entity that is destined to vanish from the world. The analogy that appears in Palestinian textbooks sees all of Israel as Algeria, and that the Israelis will disappear just as the French settlers in Algeria did.
    The Israeli position talks about „two states for two peoples.” But in the Palestinian version, the phrase „two peoples” doesn’t appear. Those of us who supported Oslo must recognize that the Palestinians are genuinely uninterested in a solution of two states for two peoples because they’re unwilling to grant legitimacy to the Jewish right of self-determination. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ha’aretz)
  • Israel Seeks to Restore Deterrence as U.S. Influence Wanes – Jonathan Schanzer
    Iron Dome, a missile defense system developed and funded with U.S. assistance, has intercepted 90% of the Hamas rockets hurtling toward Israeli population centers. The Israelis are deeply grateful to America for this remarkable technology. But, meeting with several senior Israeli officials last week, I was also struck by their equally strong desire to establish deterrence in a region that grows more dangerous by the day, and where U.S. influence is waning commensurately.
    Every leader in the region knows full well that the U.S. is trying to extricate itself from the Middle East. They know that the current Gaza conflict, the ongoing Syria slaughter and other regional upheavals are a collective nuisance to this administration. The writer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Politico)
  • Why Israel Is Winning in Gaza – Jonathan Kay
    This is the third time that Israel and Hamas-run Gaza have done this. A three-week conflict in late 2008 and early 2009 resulted in an Israeli ground campaign and about 1,400 deaths – all but 13 of them on the Palestinian side. In November 2012, a smaller-scale confrontation resulted in about 200 deaths on the Palestinian side, and six on the Israeli side. Hamas continues to rhapsodize about the annihilation of Israel and its Jews, while devoting its meager wealth to the acquisition of more weapons. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has little choice: No country could sit by idly while its towns and cities are used for target practice by warmongeringjihadis.
    Many of the rockets have been shot down by Israel’s improved Iron Dome missile-defense system, a technical marvel that not only has saved human lives but also has reduced the stress level of the inhabitants of Israel’s largest cities. Yes, some weddings have been cancelled, as well as a Neil Young concert. But that’s pretty thin gruel for those Hamas supporters who see every confrontation as a chance to sweep the Zionists into the sea. (National Post-Canada)
  • Ending the Occupation of Gaza Served to Escalate the Conflict– Clifford D. May
    In 2005, Israel ended its occupation of Gaza. Every settlement, every settler, every synagogue and cemetery was removed. Hamas turned Gaza into a terrorist enclave from which more than a thousand missiles have been fired at Israeli communities in recent days. In this case, it was clearly not occupation that led to conflict. On the contrary – ending the occupation of Gaza served to escalate the conflict. When Hamas and similar groups talk about „occupation,” they’re referring to every square inch of Israel. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.(Washington Times)
  • Israeli Think Tank: Hamas Is Committing War Crimes – Edna Adato
    Hamas’ actions in the fighting of recent days constitute war crimes, the Israel Democracy Institute says in a position paper published Wednesday. „Rocket attacks against unprotected Israeli civilians who do not pose a concrete military threat are a clear violation of international law and impose individual criminal responsibility on the perpetrators of the launchings.” The document argued that it was permissible for Israel to attack civilian structures that Hamas had turned into weapons storehouses and meeting places if there was proof that they were being used for military purposes. (Israel Hayom)
    See also Operation Protective Edge and International Law – Yohanan Plesner, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Prof. Amichai Cohen, and Eli Bahar (Israel Democracy Institute)
  • Lessons Learned – Danny Ayalon
    Hamas’ launching capabilities, which cover nearly the entirety of Israel, give further impetus to Israel’s demand that Hamas be disarmed, similar to the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons. No UN member state would ever accept or allow massive indiscriminate missile launches on their citizens. The writer is former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian Rocket Fire on Israel – World Responses 
  • Egyptians Increasingly Critical of Hamas – Mohamed Abdelbaky, Angela Waters and Janelle Dumalaon
    The Palestinian militant group Hamas is losing support among Egyptians. Samir Ghattas, director of the Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies, an Egyptian think tank, said that although the vast majority of Egyptians dislike Israel and sympathize with the Palestinians, they think Hamas is provoking the violence. „Everybody here in Cairo and in many Arab cities knows that Hamas is behind this wave of violence in order to earn some sympathy,” Ghattas said.
    Egyptians’ attitudes toward Hamas are likely to worsen in the wake of the group’s rejection of Egyptian President el-Sisi’s cease-fire plan Tuesday, which Israel accepted. Akram Alfy, deputy director of the Cairo-based Ahwal Masrya Center for Political Studies, said, „The public considers Hamas now as any other radical group….Hamas has proved to Arab public opinion over the last decade that it only cares about its interests; everything it does indicates that it has no interest to either have reconciliation with the other Palestinian factions in West Bank or peace with Israel.”  (Washington Times)
  • Saudi Writer: The Slogans of Resistance Are Empty; The Only Way to Stop Israel Is to Make Peace with It – Abdallah Hamid Al-Din
    In a July 12, 2014, article in Al-Hayat, Saudi writer Abdallah Hamid Al-Din wrote: „How should we act today, 66 years after the establishment of the Jewish state, a state that enjoys international support and has a vast arsenal at its disposal?…If one wants to act in the world, one must accept reality even if one does not like it. Israel is part of this reality, and has been since 1948. I do not like [this] world order, but it is a fact. We must believe that every state is entitled to the same rights as any other. Every state has the right to afford its citizens a livable life.”
    „Do the [Palestinian] refugees and their descendants have the right to return? Yes! Do the Native Americans in the U.S. have the right to return to the regions that were theirs? Yes! Is that going to happen? No! Had I said to the Native Americans, ‘I will uphold your right to return and I will expel the people of America – so remain in your wretched condition’ – that would be patently immoral. The refugees will never return. That’s a fact.”
    „Ever since the 1947 [UN] partition resolution, the Palestinians’ situation has steadily deteriorated, while Israel’s situation is steadily improving. One does not need a vast amount of historical knowledge to understand that [the Arabs and Palestinians] missed one opportunity after another. Had the Arabs accepted the partition resolution, Israel’s territory would have been considerably smaller than it is today, and had they agreed [to make] peace after the defeat of 1967, their situation would have [also] been better.”
    „We must acknowledge that Israel cannot be defeated by force today, and for the foreseeable future….True resistance is resistance to illusions and false hopes, and no longer leaning on the past in building the future. Real resistance is to silently endure the handshake of your enemy so as to enable your people to learn and to live.”  (MEMRI)
  • Arab World Losing Patience with Hamas
    The offensive waged by Hamas against Israel from Gaza has sparked intense criticism in the Arab media. Alongside condemnations of the Israeli counterattack, Arab media voiced sharp and extensive criticism of the Hamas leadership’s handling of the crisis.
    Media in Saudi Arabia and in Al-Sisi’s Egypt – the leaders of the Arab world’s moderate axis and the main rivals of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement, to which Hamas belongs – accused Hamas of taking unreasonable and irresponsible steps, of trading in the blood of the people of Gaza, and of exposing them to inevitable attacks. The media in Syria also slammed Hamas. (MEMRI)
    See also Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas – Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
  • Where Is the Outrage over the Bombardment of Civilians in Israel? – Arsen Ostrovsky
    Can you imagine if even one rocket was fired on London, Washington, Paris or Moscow? Where is the outrage from the mainstream media? Instead, news organizations like the BBC lead their stories about the rocket attacks with headlines like „Israel Launches New Air Strikes on Gaza Strip” and not „Palestinian Terrorists in Gaza Rain Down Over 120 Rockets Against 1 Million Israelis in 24 Hours.”
    Where is the outage that civilians across southern Israel stay in bomb shelters, or that 24 premature babies and 34 newborns had to be moved to a protected area in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba due to the rocket attacks from Gaza?
    Where is the outrage that the very same Hamas now responsible for the rocket fire against millions of Israelis was, only a month ago, welcomed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas into his unity government, while the international community, including the EU, rushed to embrace it? (Telegraph-UK)
  • There’s Something Very Ugly in This Rage Against Israel – Brendan O’Neill
    France can invade Mali and there won’t be loud, rowdy protests in Paris. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won’t be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding „Hands off Pakistan.” But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, publish the names and ages of everyone „murdered by Israel,” and generally scream about Israeli „bloodletting.” (When the West bombs another country, it’s „war”; when Israel does it, it’s „bloodletting.”)
    Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth. It is now becoming very difficult to tell where anti-Zionism ends and anti-Semitism begins. (Spiked-UK)

Observations:Moral Clarity in Gaza – Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)

  • We routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent „cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting?
  • Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.
  • Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? Nine years ago worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians.
  • Instead of building a state, Gaza Palestinians spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.
  • They built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. And they fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
  • To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve.
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