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Update: Militants “Blow Up UNRWA Clinic,” Killing 3 IDF Soldiers

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Yesterday we reported on the deaths of 3 IDF soldiers who were killed when the building in which they had uncovered a terror tunnel exploded, having been booby trapped by Hamas. Now The Times of Israel‘s Mitch Ginsburg provides further details about the incident, including the fact that the structure was either a UNRWA clinic or a building disguised as one:

“And then we enter with our people, and they [the militants], from the very same terror tunnel, they blow up half the clinic on our troops.”“They blow [up] the UNRWA clinic on our troops.”

UNRWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment …

The three soldiers, members of the elite Maglan unit, were taking precautionary measures in efforts to limit damage to the structure before eliminating the tunnel, when the explosives detonated in the small building.

The soldiers had sent in sniffing dogs and a small tractor to minimize damage to the structure, but explosives rigged to the building detonated, toppling a section of the building on the soldiers.

Fifteen soldiers were injured. IDF soldiers evacuating the wounded came under fire from Palestinian fighters …

Edelstein used the alleged clinic as an illustration of the difficulty inherent in fighting an enemy willing to exploit both civilians and non-governmental organizations. “Once you enter such a clinic and you see the UNRWA sigh on it and you know there is a terror tunnel there, you know it’s a very very sensitive building, and you’re thinking of the not-terrorist Palestinians living there all around, and you’re trying not to harm this place,” Edelstein said.

Again, we pray that God comforts the loved ones of the three soldiers lost, and that He provides strength and healing to all those wounded.

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 9:44 AM  | Stand For Israel

Amid the Tunnels and Traps of Hamas’ Gaza

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff has long provided thoughtful, well-written journalism on Israel and the Middle East. Now he gives this gripping account of traveling with IDF paratroopers into Gaza, in search of the tunnels and traps Hamas has built:

“The sheer destruction around us is devastating,” a battalion commander, Yoav, noted. “What’s most disturbing is that they operate from this urban environment, and the ones who suffer most are the civilians. I’d much rather manage all this in face-to-face combat against a real Hamas, one that is genuinely here.”

He elaborated: Late one evening, after the troops thought they had secured the area around another tunnel, he said, three Hamas fighters suddenly emerged from a tunnel shaft out of the ground, and almost managed to catch the soldiers off guard. Luckily, the officer said, the soldiers were alert and reacted quickly. “The second they saw us, the terrorists slipped back into the tunnel. They then popped out from another entrance,” he said …

This is indeed one of the most difficult problems for IDF forces fighting within the Strip. Hamas has worked tirelessly in recent years to build up the tunnel infrastructure, with multiple entrance-ways that enable its gunmen to move quickly and undetected between private homes and streets and alleyways. At any moment, a Hamas fighter might come out of the ground and open fire with machine guns and anti-tank missiles on the troops.

An additional challenge is Hamas’s almost unthinkable decision to rig the homes of many residents in the Strip with explosives, aiming to collapse the structures upon Israeli soldiers.

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 8:51 AM  | Stand For Israel

UNRWA: The Damage Done

(Photo: flickr/ amargretecom)

(Photo: flickr/ amargretecom)

In three separate incidents since the start of Operation Protective Edge, schools in Gaza being run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were found to be stashing rockets – the very same rockets the IDF is trying to locate and destroy. In at least one of these cases, UNRWA returned the rockets they discovered to “local authorities” – Hamas – undoubtedly used them to launch attacks against Israeli civilians instead of handing them over to the Israeli army.

UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide various services to more than half a million Palestinian refugees after Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. But many people argue that UNRWA is fundamentally flawed, and has only exacerbated the issue of Palestinian refugees, who today number over five million.

The status and future placement of Palestinian refugees is one of the fundamental obstacles to peace between Israel and its neighbors. And while the Palestinian Authority and Hamas continue to call for the return of all refugees to their original neighborhoods within Israel proper – a scenario which would effectively bring an end to the Jewish state – it is UNRWA that has kept this fantasy alive.

All refugees across the globe – with the exception of Palestinian refugees – are tended to by the U.N. High Commission. This commission operates under guidelines established in 1951 and seeks to settle refugees as quickly as possible, and most frequently, in countries other than the ones from which they fled. UNRWA, whose only patrons are the Palestinians, states that those Palestinians who fled Israel in the course of the 1948 War, as well as their descendants, will retain refugee status so long as they do not return to the homes and villages from which they fled – villages and homes that no longer exist.

With over 30,000 personnel, many of whom are proud members of Hamas, UNRWA is the largest U.N. agency, and the only U.N. program dedicated to serving only one group of people –…

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 8:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

Top Secret Hamas Command Center in Gaza Hospital Revealed

(Photo: icrc.org)

(Photo: icrc.org)

As the international media focuses on the civilian casualties in Gaza – faulting the IDF, while assigning no blame to Hamas for using Palestinians as human shields, or for hiding themselves and their weaponry in hospitals, schools, and homes – one might wonder why journalists do not report the whole story. This eye-opening piece at Tablet not only explains the censorship and fear dealt with by reporters on the ground, but also reveals Hamas’ secret command center hidden in Gaza’s largest hospital:

The Israelis are so sure about the location of the Hamas bunker, however, not because they are trying to score propaganda points, or because it has been repeatedly mentioned in passing by Western reporters—but because they built it. Back in 1983, when Israel still ruled Gaza, they built a secure underground operating room and tunnel network beneath Shifa hospital—which is one among several reasons why Israeli security sources are so sure that there is a main Hamas command bunker in or around the large cement basement beneath the area of Building 2 of the Hospital, which reporters are obviously prohibited from entering.

Hamas obviously has no interest in having a photo-layout of one of its command bunkers beneath Shifa Hospital splashed on the front pages of newspapers. After all, such pictures would show that the organization uses the sick and wounded of Gaza as human shields while launching missiles against Israeli civilians. What Hamas wants is for reporters to use very different pictures from Shifa—namely, photos of Palestinians killed and wounded by Israelis, which make Palestinians look like innocent victims of wanton Israeli brutality.

To that end, the rules of reporting from Shifa Hospital are easy for any newbie reporter to understand: No pictures of members of Hamas with their weapons inside the hospital, and don’t go anywhere near the bunkers, or the operating rooms where members of Hamas are treated. While reporters can meet with members of Hamas inside the hospital—because it’s obviously convenient for everyone—they are not allowed to take…

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 3:31 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: 3 IDF Soldiers Killed in Explosion, 27 Wounded

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As the IDF works to find and destroy Hamas’ remaining terror tunnels in Gaza, Arutz Sheva reports that an explosion during an operation today killed three soldiers and wounded 27 more. A tunnel hidden inside a home had been booby-trapped and exploded as the soldiers worked to secure it:

In a statement, the army said they had been killed “while uncovering an offensive tunnel shaft in a residence in the southern Gaza Strip.”

“The house and the tunnel were booby trapped with two explosive devices that were detonated against the soldiers,” it said.

The attack was claimed by Hamas’s “military wing,” the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which claimed to have killed a group of soldiers during the bombing of a house in Khan Yunis where they were operating, in a statement that was issued earlier in the day.

Twenty-seven (27) additional soldiers were wounded.

We pray for the families of the soldiers who were killed, and for the recovery of all those injured in the explosion.

Update on this incident – 7/31/14

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 12:36 PM  | Stand For Israel

For Second Time, Rockets Found at U.N. School in Gaza

(Photo: flickr/ ismpalestine)

(Photo: flickr/ ismpalestine)

Both last week and in yesterday’s Daily Dispatch, Stand for Israel brought you news of terrorist rockets found hidden in Gaza schools. Today, The Times of Israel reports that rockets were again uncovered in a school operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA):

Israeli officials reacted furiously to the discovery. “How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “How many times can it turn its head the other way and pretend that it just doesn’t see?”

Another senior official pointed out that UNRWA has a history of letting Hamas use its facilities for its terrorist activities. “Time and again, over the years, UNRWA has been abused by gunmen from different terrorist factions who are using UN facilities to stockpile weapons, to fire rockets from, to steal UNRWA humanitarian equipment and to cause damage and fire in UNRWA’s hangars,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told The Times of Israel.

“Against all evidence, UNRWA refuses to acknowledge reality and pathetically attempts to ingratiate itself with Hamas, pretending that nothing serious has happened,” the senior official said. “This is a classic case of beaten-wife syndrome, which we have been witnessing for years from UNRWA. The people of Gaza, and indeed taxpayers from countries who contribute to UNRWA’s budget — including Israel — deserve better.”

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 3:57 PM  | Stand For Israel

A Stubborn Status Quo in Gaza

(Photo: flickr/ patrik.herogame)

(Photo: flickr/ patrik.herogame)

As the count of Israeli soldiers killed in action rises, and as Gazans lose their lives during the IDF’s operation against Gaza-based terrorists, there is but one party at fault for all of the losses. Writing at Commentary, Max Boot places the blame squarely on Hamas, stating that the disproportionate death toll does not mean that Israel is the aggressor, but is the result of Hamas’ insistence on attacking Israel and its refusal to care about the Palestinian people in Gaza:

In a sense both sides are the victims of Hamas’s leaders who refuse to recognize Israel’s existence or to give up their armed struggle against it. If only the Hamas leaders had done what normal democratic politicians would have done when Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005: which is to say, if only they had focused on economic development, then none of this would have happened. Israel would have happily cooperated in boosting living conditions in Gaza; it only instituted a blockade on Gaza, with exceptions for humanitarian supplies, when it became clear that it was becoming an armed base for an attack on Israel. In fact wealthy Jewish donors even gave the Palestinians 3,000 greenhouses left behind by settlers. But instead of growing flowers, Hamas prefers to harvest hatred. The greenhouses were looted and covert rocket factories were constructed …

… the odds are heavy that Hamas will remain in charge after Israel’s operation ends–and Palestinians will continue to pay the price for its extremism time and again.

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 9:08 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF troops uncover 21 smuggling tunnels in Gaza

smuggling tunnelThe IDF’s efforts in Gaza are paying off:

IDF soldiers from the Paratrooper Brigade uncovered 8 shafts leading to smuggling tunnels during Friday morning skirmishes in the Gaza Strip. Soldiers from the Givati Brigade also uncovered 13 similar tunnels for a total of 21 so far.

The finds align with the government declaration that the IDF’s main targets in their ground incursion would be tunnels in use by Hamas.

The troops apparently uncovered the tunnels in coordination with intelligence efforts and found a cache of weapons being stored there.

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Friday, July 18th, 2014 at 4:36 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking: IDF Begins Ground Incursion into Gaza

Photo: IDF

Photo: IDF

IDF ground forces have begun moving into the Gaza Strip with the purpose of destroying Gazan terror tunnels leading into Israel, the prime minister’s office confirmed Thursday:

“Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens. The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night.

The IDF said that the operation will involve infantry, engineering corps, and tank units combined with air force and naval support and intelligence.

Thank you for keeping Israel in your prayers as she continues to fight for her safety.

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Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at 3:02 PM  | Stand For Israel

Missiles Found in School in Gaza

UNRWA-logo-212x300About 20 rockets were found in a Gaza school operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on Wednesday. The rockets were found during a routine inspection, and confirm — once again — the claim that Hamas and other terror groups use civilian infrastructure to hide weapons: 

“Yet again, Gaza terrorists abuse UN facilities to carry out their violent activities. Hamas and other terror groups are determined to put civilians in harm’s way and will respect nothing in their violent frenzy,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “We expect the UN and the international community to condemn and to act strongly against this brazen violation of international humanitarian law, which endangers children and UN humanitarian activities.”

This incident was “the first of its kind in Gaza,” the organization said, adding that it “endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestinian refugees in Gaza.”

UNRWA informed all officials immediately after discovering the rockets, and “successfully took all necessary measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school.”

Officials from the agency, which has a reputation in Jerusalem of being exceedingly critical of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians, have been summoned to the Foreign Ministry. They have apologized to Israel for the incident, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said.

 

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Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at 2:30 PM  | Stand For Israel
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Rabbi's Commentary
Heartbreak, Courage - and Unity

The news from Israel has been heartbreaking. Ten more IDF soldiers were killed yesterday, five while fighting Hamas terrorists who crossed into Israel through tunnels…


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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