International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Who Is Destroying the Palestinian Dream?

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)


Writing at the Gatestone Institute, the courageous Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh discusses the Gaza Strip’s rapid descent into chaos and anarchy:

Since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, Hamas has maintained a tight grip on the area, home to some 1.7 million Palestinians. But now Hamas’s totalitarian rule over the Gaza Strip seems to be nearing its end, as the Islamist movement faces increased challenges from various militias and groups in the area.

Some of Hamas’s rivals belong to more radical terror groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-affiliated militias created by salafi-jihadis inside the Gaza Strip. Others belong to the secular Fatah faction, whose members continue to dream of the day when they will be able to topple the Hamas regime and regain control over the Gaza Strip.

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Monday, August 3rd, 2015 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas’ Child Abuse Camps



As most of us around the world enjoy the weather, barbecues, and other charms of summer, the children of Gaza spend their summers in a very different way. Gatestone Institute’s Khaled Abu Toameh reports on the terrorist training camps again filled with children being indoctrinated to hate and attack Israel:

For the third running year, thousands of Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip are receiving military training as part of Hamas’s summer camps.

The camps, which are being held under the banner “Vanguards of Liberation,” are aimed at preparing children as young as 15 for fighting against Israel. More than 25,000 children have joined this year’s Hamas camps, according to Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip.

What is most disturbing about this practice is that the families are not hesitant to send their children to be trained as future jihadis in the war against Israel. On the contrary, many of the families interviewed in the Palestinian media in the past few days said they were proud to see their children being taught how to use various types of weapons…

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Friday, July 31st, 2015 at 8:15 AM  | Stand for Israel

A Year After War, Israelis Relocate to Gaza Area



It was last summer when Israel was pressed into conflict in Gaza, after Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli boys, launched countless rockets, and planned further attacks via terror tunnels. But a year later, Israel Hayom’s Yael Branovsky reports, many Israelis – including a woman who operated one of The Fellowship’s important and much-needed emergency hotlines during the war – are now moving to southern Israel, near Gaza:

During Operation Protective Edge, when rockets and mortars rained down on Gaza-adjacent communities, many families left their homes only to return after the fighting stopped. Other families moved permanently to quieter parts of the country. Some families, however, have not allowed the Qassam rockets and sirens to ruin their dream and have moved to an area where “emergency routine” is part of day-to-day life…

The Barkai family, from the tranquil northern Negev moshav of Givot Bar, moved to Kibbutz Or Haner at the height of the fighting last summer. At the time, Elad, the father of the family, was drafted to the reserves, the movers never came, and the family was living without furniture for several weeks because suppliers from the center of the country refused to come to the area. The mother, Mizhav, was busy operating an emergency hotline sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, whose volunteers delivered food and medical supplies in Ashkelon and Beersheba — and the family only became acquainted with their new home after the war was over.

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Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 at 8:23 AM  | Stand For Israel

Palestinian Unity Gov’t to Resign over Gaza

(Photo: flickr/joegaza)

(Photo: flickr/joegaza)

Over a year ago, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas formed a “unity” government, with the plan of governing both the West Bank and Gaza. Other than their shared animosity toward Israel, the two parties have been unable to cooperate, and The Times of Israel reports that the Palestinian Authority is about to resign because of its inability to act in the Gaza Strip:

“The government will resign in the next 24 hours because this one is weak and there is no chance that Hamas will allow it to work in Gaza,” said Amin Maqbul, secretary general of the ruling Fatah movement’s Revolutionary Council…

Hamas ruled Gaza for seven years but its administration stepped down last June when the Ramallah-based consensus government was sworn in.

Comprised of independent technocrats, the government lineup was agreed by both Fatah and Hamas and was given a mandate to govern both the West Bank and Gaza, ending seven years of separate administrations.

But in practice, it has been unable to extend its authority to Gaza, which was devastated by a deadly 50-day war with Israel last summer and where Hamas remains the de facto power.

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 2:35 PM  | Stand For Israel

Ex-Generals, Diplomats Absolve Israel of War Crimes

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Israel’s international enemies are still pursuing charges of war crimes against the Jewish state, for its actions in combating terrorists in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. But The Jerusalem Post’s Tovah Lazaroff reports that a high-level group of diplomats and military experts have absolved Israel of any wrongdoing after a fact-finding mission there in May:

The IDF acted within the bounds of international law during its war with Hamas in Gaza last summer, a high-level group of former diplomats and military experts concluded after a fact-finding mission to Israel in May, according to the NGO UN Watch.

UN Watch said a full copy of the report had been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission into last summer’s conflict. The two-member UNHRC probe, headed by former New York Supreme Court justice Mary McGowan Davis, is expected to publish its own findings with the next 10 days, possibly as early Monday.

On Friday, Geneva-based UN Watch published sections from a report in support of Israel by the ad-hoc High Level International Military Group, whose 11 members include the former NATO Military Committee chairman Gen. Klaus Naumann of Germany; former Italian foreign minister Guilio Terzi; former US State Department ambassador at large for war crimes issues Pierre-Richard Prosper; and the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp.

“During Operation Protective Edge last summer, in the air, on the ground and at sea, Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard,” the group concluded.

“We saw clear evidence of this from the upper to the lower levels of command. A measure of the seriousness with which Israel took its moral duties and its responsibilities under the laws of armed conflict is that, in some cases, Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives,” the group said.

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Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 8:27 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli Planes Strike Gaza After Rockets Hit South



Yesterday we reported that red alert sirens had once again sounded in the Holy Land, as terrorist rockets from Gaza were launched at southern Israel for the second time in a week. The Times of Israel’s Ilan Ben Zion reports that Israel responded to the rocket attack with airstrikes on terrorist targets in Gaza:

Israeli Air Force planes bombed three targets in the Gaza Strip after midnight on Thursday, shortly after rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled territory hit southern Israel.

The IDF confirmed three airstrikes on “terrorist infrastructure” in the Gaza Strip that scored direct hits. Hamas media reports said one airstrike targeted a Hamas military training ground in the central Gaza Strip and another hit targets in the southern city of Khan Yunis. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the attacks.

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement that the Israeli military “will act against the aggression, will act against those that wish to terrorize Israel and will act to protect Israelis in the line of indiscriminate Gaza rocket fire…”

The airstrikes came a few hours after three rockets were shot at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip Wednesday night, sending residents hurrying to bomb shelters for the second time in a little over a week. A Salafist group in the Gaza Strip named the Omar Brigades, which is sympathetic to the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire…

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Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 8:17 AM  | Stand for Israel

The Question of Hamas, Gaza, and Israel

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

In a Daily Dispatch last week, Stand for Israel reported that Amnesty International at last fingered Hamas for war crimes during last summer’s war in Gaza, a turnaround for the usually anti-Israel organization. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams looks at what this means for Israel, Hamas, and human rights organizations’ anti-Israel bias:

Amnesty International has just issued a report on human rights violations by Hamas in Gaza during last year’s conflict between Hamas and Israel.  It has garnered a great deal of attention, in part because Amnesty has previously been very critical of Israel.

This report skewers Hamas. Here is Amnesty’s own summary:

Hamas forces in Gaza committed serious human rights abuses, including abductions, torture and summary and extrajudicial executions with impunity during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict. To date, no one has been held to account for committing these unlawful killings and other abuses, either by the Hamas de facto administration that continues to control Gaza and its security and judicial institutions, or by the Palestinian “national consensus” government that has had nominal authority over Gaza since June 2014. (more…)

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Monday, June 1st, 2015 at 8:11 AM  | Stand for Israel

How Israel Will Evacuate Border Towns During Next War

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Yesterday’s rocket attack launched from Gaza not only broke the silence between the last such strikes, but also brought the Israelis who live near the Gaza border back into focus, as they are the people whose lives are most directly threatened by such terrorist activities. The Jerusalem Post’s Noam Amir and Maariv Hashavua look at Israel’s plan to evacuate those towns in harm’s way once the next war with Hamas begins:

Towns located up to seven kilometers from the border of the Gaza Strip will be evacuated according to predetermined, mapped locations which will make room for the proper defense management without harming citizens.

Ten months after Operation Protective Edge, the Israel Defense Forces, the National Emergency Authority and the local authorities in the South are in the final stages of formulating a plan to evacuate the residents of the South in the event of another Gaza conflict.

The program, entitled “safe distance,” will provide an evacuation plan for all communities within a seven-kilometer radius of the Gaza Strip.

Each community will be informed of its evacuation plan and in that way residents will know where to go and who will be hosting them before there is a need to evacuate. The distribution of evacuation maps is already under way. The military will be the one with the authority to determine when it is time to evacuate…

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 at 10:42 AM  | Stand for Israel

When Gazans Fight, Israel Suffers


As we reported yesterday, several rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, with one landing in Israeli territory. The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reports that this latest attack stemmed from an Islamic Jihad dispute, and provoked a measured response from Israel:

The rocket barrage that Islamic Jihad launched — due to internal tensions within the group — drew a limited, measured Israeli response that included bombardments of two of its targets in Rafah and Khan Yunis, the headquarters of the Popular Resistance Committees, and a Hamas position in the northern Gaza Strip. All the positions were empty and no one was injured, evidently due to an Israeli effort to prevent loss of life that likely would have drawn an additional Palestinian attack…

Gaza’s rulers also find it convenient, to a certain extent, to enable sporadic rocket fire in order to avoid being dragged into an internal war in Gaza, to not be seen as collaborating with Israel, and to signal to Jerusalem that total calm will remain elusive as long as the Gaza problem is not solved entirely and comprehensively.

Tuesday night’s rocket fire, as The Times of Israel reported, came out of an internal conflict between sector commanders in Islamic Jihad. In a personal conflict between the incoming and outgoing commanders of the northern Gaza Strip — a conflict that included the kidnapping of activists close to the dismissed commander — close associates of the latter fired rockets at Israel. And that is the status quo between Israel and the Gaza Strip: Two Gazans fight one another, and the chips fly at Israel.

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 at 8:29 AM  | Stand for Israel

Fault Hamas and UNRWA for Gaza Casualties

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

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…

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Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

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