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Earlier this week, a United Nation report faulted Israel for civilian casualties in Gaza during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. But by looking closer at the report Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin finds that even the U.N. realizes that the blame falls on Hamas for hiding its weapons and conducting its terrorist attacks from schools and other civilian locations:
On Monday the United Nations issued a report about attacks on their facilities in Gaza during last summer’s fighting between Hamas and Israel. The report’s conclusion was widely reported as finding that the deaths of 44 civilians were the fault of the Israeli military. Strictly speaking that’s true, as there’s little doubt that the casualties at some of their facilities were killed or wounded by Israeli fire. But before the anti-Israel propaganda machine starts cranking up to denounce the Israelis as war criminals—as the Palestinians are preparing to do at the International Criminal Court—a close reading of a document that was prepared by a hostile UN reveals a far more nuanced picture of what happened in Gaza…
The story told in the UN report is not one of callous Israeli behavior. Rather, even this indictment shows that the Israel Defense Forces sought to avoid civilian casualties wherever possible and didn’t fire indiscriminately.
The problem for those wanting to use this document to bash Israel is that it confirms much of what the Israelis said about the use of UNRWA facilities, and specifically the schools designated as shelters. The report admits that several such schools were used for storing Hamas weaponry. Others were, as Israel insists, used as observation posts for Hamas military action. Many were the sites of firing of rockets at Israel and Israeli forces. While UNRWA sought to deflect blame for the use of their buildings for terrorism, even the UN report notes that their security measures to avoid this were inadequate and the agency needs to take the problem more seriously…
Even more to the point, the reason why Israelis were in Gaza—from…Read More » Comments (5) »
Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 8:19 AM | Stand For Israel
As we reported earlier, rocket fire from Gaza targeted Israel at the end of its Independence Day. Now, Yediot Achronot reports that the IDF has targeted military positions in the Gaza Strip:
After four months of quiet, a rocket was fired on Thursday evening from Gaza towards communities in southern Israel. The rocket exploded in an open field in the Sha’ar Ha Negev Regional Council. There were no injuries or damages reported.
Later in the evening, the Israeli Air Force attacked militant positions in the northern Gaza Strip in retaliation for the rocket that landed in southern Israel a few hours earlier.
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Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at 4:24 PM | Stand for Israel
In Yemen on Monday, as fierce combat between Iran-backed rebels and a Saudi-led coalition continues, a Saudi airstrike targeted a refugee camp – a camp from which insurgents were fighting. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that this situation is similar to that Israel faced in Gaza, though the international reaction is much, much different:
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So, taking fire from a civilian area in which shooters were hiding, the Saudis struck back. When Israel does that in Gaza, where it is the common practice of Hamas to hide in and shoot from civilian areas, and to store weapons in schools and hospitals (including those run by the United Nations), what happens? Israel is universally condemned. UN investigation commissions are appointed, and reports such as the egregious “Goldstone Report” (officially, the “The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”) are issued. The UN Security Council holds special sessions, and the UN Human Rights Council adds additional “hate Israel” meetings to its usual list.
I cannot recall an incident where Israel struck at a refugee camp and killed 40 people all at once, also injuring 200 others, but I am willing to bet on the world reaction to this Saudi attack: zero. No meetings, commissions, no reports.
What are the lessons to be drawn? That the Arab group and the Islamic nations have more votes in the UN than Israel, which of course has but one. That there is an indefensible double standard when it comes to evaluating Israel. And, that hiding behind civilians is a widespread crime. Nothing new here.
Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 8:57 AM | Stand For Israel
The media continuously attacks Israel over any actions the Jewish state takes to defend her people and her land. But there has been no international outcry when Ma’an News reported that Egypt demolished over 1,000 homes along the Gaza Border – because Egypt isn’t Israel:
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The Egyptian army demolished 1,020 houses in the border city of Rafah as part of the second stage of the establishment of a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian security officials told a Ma’an reporter in El-Arish city on Tuesday that 200 more houses would be demolished to create a no-go zone extending 500 meters from the border fence …
After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in October 2014, the military stepped up the campaign to build the buffer zone amid accusations of Hamas support for the group that carried out the attack, which Hamas has strenuously denied.
Both sides of the border are densely populated as the city of Rafah originally extended in both directions, a growth that was the result of the Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula for more than a decade following the 1967 war.
In the early 2000s Israeli authorities demolished thousands of homes in Palestinian Rafah in order to create a 300-meter buffer zone on the Egypt border, but after the pull-out in 2005, many moved back into the area.
The Egyptian government, which has actively destroyed smuggling tunnels underneath the border and directly targeted Hamas since the 2013 military coup, has now promised to uproot as many as possible to ensure the creation of a buffer zone on its side.
The border area used to be host to hundreds of tunnels which Gazans used to import goods to get around the seven-year-old Israeli siege of the territory.
Thursday, March 19th, 2015 at 8:31 AM | Stand For Israel
For members of the Israel Defense Forces’ Kometz unit, nights are spent tending to the northern half of the Gaza border fence, re-stringing torn strands of barbed wire and repairing the electrical damages done by winter rain and lightning — it’s work that is unremittingly dangerous, laborious, and absolutely crucial:
The 60 kilometers of fence separating Israel from Gaza, first built with the onset of the Oslo Accords in 1994 and bolstered physically and technologically since then, can be, at times, a ticket to relative safety for some Gaza residents.
In recent months, from September to January, 84 Palestinians from Gaza have been arrested for crossing the border fence, The New York Times reported this week. The rise, up from a reported 13 per month average before the summer’s war, is seen as an expression of desperation. Compared with Gaza, “the prison in Israel is like a five-star hotel,” Youssef Abbas, a former fence-crosser, told the paper.
For the army, though, and for the majority of Israelis, the fence is the frontline against terror infiltration. And the men tasked with its upkeep are prime targets in an area that is seldom visited by patrolling troops on account of the dangers of sniper fire and IED ambushes, sprung by luring the troops to the fence.
“It’s like being a duck on a firing range,” said Sgt. Maj. Ran Shlomo, the Kometz unit commander, who has been tending to Israel’s many border fences in and around the Gaza Strip since he joined the army in 1990.
Shlomo, who began his service with Kometz along the Philadelphi Corridor, which separated Gaza from Egypt, said in an interview that he has seen the threats against the Kometz soldiers evolve from gravel to fist-sized stones, to small arms fire, to mines, to short-range anti-tank missiles, to more complex guided missiles.
Speaking of improvised mine fields, a terror tunnel packed with so much explosives that it blew an empty jeep high into the air, and an RPG anti-tank…Read More » Comments (1) »
Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at 2:42 PM | Stand For Israel
We recently reported on Hamas’ ongoing training of young people as its next generation of terrorists. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh says that the transformation of Gaza into a terrorist training camp for children – while allowing the people of Gaza to suffer – is a crime:
For the past several months, Hamas leaders have been complaining that they do not have enough money to rebuild the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the last war with Israel.
However, it appears that Hamas does have enough funds to train, arm and indoctrinate thousands of young Palestinian men and boys.
While thousands of Palestinian families who lost their houses during the war continue to live in public shelters throughout the Gaza Strip, Hamas recently established 18 camps for military training.
The Hamas military training camps, under the motto “Vanguards of Liberation,” have attracted some 17,000 Palestinian males aged 15-21. The young recruits were trained how to use various types of weapons, including pistols, rifles and mortars. They were also “educated” about the need to eliminate Israel and “restore Palestinian rights…”
If Hamas has the resources to fund and arm a new “Liberation Army” consisting of 17,000 fighters, why does it continue to demand that the international community allocate billions of dollars for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip? The money that was spent on the “Vanguards of Liberation” training camps could have solved the problems facing thousands of Palestinian families who lost their homes during last summer’s war (Operation Protective Edge).
But Hamas, which is first and foremost responsible for the tragedy of these families, is not interested in taking any part in the efforts to rebuild destroyed homes. Instead, Hamas seems to be more determined than ever to continue raising new generations of Palestinians on jihad and hatred.
Hamas has turned the Gaza Strip into a huge training camp for jihadis and militiamen affiliated not only with it, but also with the Islamic State. By forming a new army that consists mostly of teenagers,…Read More » Comments (3) »
Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel
Operation Protective Edge, last summer’s conflict in Gaza, found the IDF putting a dent in much of Hamas’ terror capabilities. But despite the defeat the terrorist organization took, The Times of Israel’s Mai Yaghi reports that thousands of Gaza’s young people are being trained as the group’s next generation of Hamas terrorists:
Hatem is only 14 but has already lived through three wars with Israel. Now the young Gazan says he is making sure he’ll be ready to fight in the next one …
“I will become a resistance fighter,” the boy said proudly during a graduation ceremony in Gaza.
Hatem is one of 17,000 youngsters who graduated late last month from two military training camps where Hamas — the de facto power in Gaza — said it was preparing the next generation to fight against Israel.
Last summer, Israel and Hamas fought a 50-day war that killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and 73 people, including 66 soldiers, on the Israeli side. Israel maintains that up to half of those killed in Gaza were Hamas fighters.
It was their third conflict in less than five years, following an eight-day conflict in 2012 and a 22-day war in late 2008 and early 2009. Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel.
Children were on the frontline of the latest conflict, with UN figures showing about 500 were killed in Gaza. Jerusalem blamed Hamas for all civilian fatalities, since it placed its rocket launchers and cross-border tunnel openings in Gaza residential areas.
Just five months after the war ended, thousands of those who survived signed up to join the Hamas training camps.
“I want to join the Qassam Brigades because they are the strongest in Gaza,” said 15-year-old Mohammed Abu Harbid, who also took part in the training.
With the humanitarian situation in post-war Gaza growing steadily worse, a fresh flare-up with Israel seems likely, some say.
And with many schools being used to shelter the displaced and unemployment standing at 41 percent, many youngsters were eager to join the camps.
Hamas insists that teaching children how to carry…Read More » Comments (5) »
Monday, February 9th, 2015 at 8:31 AM | Stand For Israel
This summer, Operation Protective Edge put a dent in Hamas’ terror capabilities in Gaza. However, The Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Lappin reports that the terrorist group is quickly rebuilding its forces:
Hamas and allied terrorist organizations in Gaza have spent recent months intensively rebuilding their guerrilla terrorist capabilities, which sustained significant damage during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
“Their aim is to recover the military infrastructure that was damaged and return it to full capabilities and broaden it,” according to a recent report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Tel Aviv, which is a part of the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center, founded by leading members of the Israeli intelligence community.
To that end, Hamas has allocated the necessary funds, personnel, and equipment, despite the shortages suffered by the civilian sector in the Strip, the study found. Its domestic security bodies are part of the effort.
“This stands out especially against the background of the ongoing delay in the civilian recovery of the Gaza Strip,” the report said, adding that it “illustrates well that, as in the past, Hamas’s priorities clearly lie in rebuilding military capabilities at the expense of civilian needs.”
Dr. Reuven Erlich, head of the Terrorism and Intelligence Center, told The Jerusalem Post, “We see that when it comes to military programs, resources flow without a problem.
This is no coincidence. If their priority was in civilian reconstruction, would they allocate their few resources to offensive military programs?
Hamas in Gaza is using mass media to safeguard and strengthen support among the Gazan public for its military wing and to propagate the idea of “armed resistance,” while indoctrinating children and teenagers, the report’s authors said.
The center reported observing in recent months a large recruitment program of teenagers aged 15 to 21 and their deployment to training camps opened by Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades.
More than 17,000 youths trained in the camps, according to the report, undergoing basic military training, and then advanced training in kidnapping soldiers and tunnel…Read More » Comments (4) »
Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 at 9:50 AM | Stand For Israel
In today’s Daily Dispatch we report on the resignation of William Schabas, the anti-Israel head of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s commission to investigate last summer’s Gaza. While Schabas leaving is a positive, Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin writes that the investigation itself is still an affront to the Jewish state:
When the United Nations Human Rights Council announced its plan to convene a commission to investigate last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, it didn’t even bother pretending to be fair to the Jewish state. The UNHRC spends most of its time ignoring all of the most egregious violations of human rights and atrocities around the world and, instead, concentrates almost all of its energies on demonizing Israel and its efforts to defend its citizens against terrorist attacks. The commission it impaneled reflected that same bias. At its head was William Schabas, a Canadian law professor who had already denounced Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as a war criminal and stated his belief that Hamas was not a terrorist group. Schabas bitterly resented the criticism that rained down on his head from those who considered the commission to be a kangaroo court. But rather than continue, he has now resigned, still insisting on his fitness to lead the effort. That is to be commended, but Israel ought not to be suckered into taking the UNHRC’s bait. Though it is possible that his successor might be a less egregious pick, Israel should stick to its decision not to cooperate with this travesty.
Israel was criticized for deciding not to play along with the UNHRC. It was asserted that by boycotting the panel, it was losing an opportunity to make its case to the world about its side of the story. The decision would, it was asserted, leave the field open for the Palestinians to paint the war as a tale of Jewish aggression against helpless Gaza civilians and completely ignoring the fact that Hamas not only used those people as human shields but also started the…Read More » Comments (10) »
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 8:35 AM | Stand for Israel