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Hamas Atrocities and the Rules of War

(Photo: flickr/  l_suddenly)

(Photo: flickr/ l_suddenly)

In today’s Daily Dispatch, we note that the terrorist projectile that killed Daniel Tragerman, a four-year-old Israeli boy, was a mortar fired from a United Nations facility. In light of this, and last week’s U.N. report that actually stated Hamas was using such civilian facilities to launch attacks, Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin writes on the terrorist group’s atrocities and the rules of war:

General Benny Gantz recalled one incident that didn’t make it into the UN report in which a Palestinian mortar killed a four-year-old Israeli boy. According to Gantz the shell that took his life was fired from a United Nations building. The question the general raised is of what use are such rules if they serve to protect Hamas killers while endangering Jewish children?

The UN report gave Israel credit for the fact that incidents in which the Israel Defense Forces’ fire was deemed to be unjustified or wrongful due to the impact on civilians resulted in investigations and/or prosecutions of those involved. But it what failed to grasp was that two factors undermined most of the criticisms of Israel’s conduct in Gaza. One is that widespread infiltration of UNRWA by Hamas personnel who use UN facilities as storage depots. The other is the fact that the Hamas government of Gaza systematically exploits civilian buildings that are treated as off limits to Israeli fire for military purposes.

As Gantz detailed, it was well known, even during the war, that the Hamas leaders who were directing the rocket attacks on Israel were doing from the safety of hospital buildings. It was also clear throughout the campaign that Hamas was firing the thousands of rockets that were shot at Israeli cities from the immediate environs of shelters, schools and hospitals…

Were the world prepared to let Israel go into Gaza and capture these terrorists and the government in whose name they operate, it might be possible to say that there is no need to think about rules. But we know this isn’t so….

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Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 8:28 AM  | Stand for Israel

Palestinians Need Reforms, Not Elections

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

Last week, we reported that Hamas has gained much support in student elections in the Fatah-controlled West Bank. Now, as Western powers urge the Palestinians to hold general elections, Gatestone Institute’s Khaled Abu Toameh writes that that is not a good idea, as that would pave the way for a Hamas victory:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has recently come under pressure from Western governments and politicians to hold long overdue elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

But those who are demanding that the Palestinians hold another free and democratic election are ignoring the possibility that Hamas will once again win the vote…

Free and democratic elections are the last thing the Palestinians need now. Such elections would only pave the way for a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority and plunge the region into chaos and violence. As long as Abbas’s Fatah faction is not seen as a better alternative to Hamas, it would be too risky to ask Palestinians to head to the ballot boxes. Instead of pressuring the Palestinians to hold new elections, world leaders should be demanding accountability and transparency from the PA.

They should also be urging the Palestinian Authority to pave the way for the emergence of new leaders and get rid of all the corrupt old-guard representatives who have been in power for decades. Finally, the international community should be urging the PA to stop its campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel, which drives more Palestinians into the open arms of Hamas and other radical groups, who assume that if the Israelis are as terrible as they are told, they might as well join the group dedicated to killing them rather than to discussing peace.

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Monday, May 4th, 2015 at 8:11 AM  | Stand for Israel

Israelis on Border: Hamas Is Preparing for Next War

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Even though last summer’s Operation Protective Edge slowed Hamas’ attacks on Israel, it didn’t fully stop the Gaza-based terror organization. Israel Hayom reports that Israelis living close to the Gaza border are all too aware that Hamas is again working on its terrorist capabilities in preparation for its next attack on the Jewish state and her people:

Residents of the Gaza border communities were not surprised by the Israeli defense establishment’s reports that Hamas military head Mohammed Deif is likely alive and back in charge of the group’s military wing. Residents of the area also spoke about recent reports that Hamas has now resumed building terror attack tunnels and manufacturing rockets.

“The reports that Hamas is getting stronger militarily, and the fact that the group is continuing to dig attack tunnels toward Gaza border communities, come as no surprise to any resident from the area,” Yael, a member of Kibbutz Nirim, said. “All the residents know which path we’re headed down, everyone sees what Hamas is doing on the other side of the fence, and it’s doing it flagrantly, right there before our, and the military’s, eyes, showing its preparations for the next round of fighting…”

While Hamas tends to portray last summer’s war as a victory in public, there is ongoing dissension within the group, especially due to the dire conditions in the Gaza Strip since the end of the fighting. Hamas infighting reportedly began before Operation Protective Edge, when it is believed that the terrorist group’s military wing planned a large-scale terrorist attack using a tunnel in the Kerem Shalom area, which were to include the abduction of civilians and soldiers…

However, despite the internal friction, Hamas continues to work to improve its military capabilities.

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Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 8:33 AM  | Stand For Israel

Palestinians Vote for Iran’s New Ally: Hamas

(Photo: flickr/The Israel Project)

(Photo: flickr/The Israel Project)

There are many frightening implications – besides its desire for nuclear weapons – of the growing reach and power of Iran. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh says that one of these is the Islamic Republic’s newly realigned ally, Hamas, and the sway it has with the Palestinians:

Hamas’s crushing victory in the April 22 student council election at Bir Zeit University shows that the Islamist movement continues to maintain a strong presence in the West Bank.

Hamas supporters on campus won 26 seats, compared to 16 for their rivals in the Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

The results of the election mean that Bilal Barghouti, who is serving 16 life terms in prison for his role in a series of suicide attacks against Israel, has become the “Honorary Chairman of the Bir Zeit University Student Council.”

The Hamas victory came less than 48 hours after its supporters scored a major achievement on another campus: Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron…

Besides being a political and moral victory for Hamas, this is a vote of no confidence in Abbas and Fatah.

The outcome of the election on both campuses shows that many Palestinians do not believe in Abbas’s political program, particularly the peace process with Israel. Moreover, the results show that many Palestinians still do not consider Fatah a better alternative to Hamas…

The Hamas victory did not come as surprise to those who have been closely following the anti-Israel messages coming from the Palestinian Authority. The PA’s incitement against Israel is one of the main reasons Palestinians have been turning to Hamas.

Hamas has apparently now realigned with Iran, which is “rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas.” Iran also, it seems, has sent Hamas millions of dollars over the past few months. Hamas shares “the same long-term objectives as the ayatollahs: the complete destruction of the state of Israel,” and to that end, wants to undermine and destroy anyone who recognizes Israel.

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Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 at 8:48 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas’ Twitter Campaign Is Mocked Before It Even Starts

(Photo: flickr/ hughes_leglise)

(Photo: flickr/ hughes_leglise)

Desperate to use any ploy or manner of technology to gain favor in the eyes of the world, yesterday Hamas announced that it will begin a social media campaign on Twitter. The terrorist group’s plan has already backfired. The Washington Post reports on the extremely negative backlash the #AskHamas hashtag operation has already received:

According to a number of reports, the media wing of Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, announced a social media operation aimed at Europeans on Thursday. One feature: The group would set up an English-language Twitter account (@HamasInfoEn) and allow senior members of the group to take questions via the hashtag #AskHamas.

What could possibly go wrong?

A lot, obviously. According to social media analytic company Topsy, there have already been over 3,000 tweets with the hashtag #AskHamas in the last three hours and almost all appear to be negative. Incredibly, the campaign isn’t even due to begin until Friday.

Right now, #AskHamas is going so terribly that you have to wonder if someone was seeking to discredit Hamas. However, the campaign appeared to have been retweeted by Hamas’ Arabic language account and some high-profile members of Hamas, as well as featured in a number of Palestinian news outlets. There have been no denials issued from Hamas at the time of writing.

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Friday, March 13th, 2015 at 8:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Working to Outsmart Iron Dome

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

During last summer’s conflict with Hamas, Israel’s Iron Dome defense system saved countless lives by knocking down rockets launched by the Gaza-based terrorist organization. While the Iron Dome is invaluable in defeating powerful long-range missiles, the terrorist attacks that did the most damage were from shorter-range rockets and mortars. The Algemeiner reports that Hamas is now investing in short-range missile production in order to beat Israel’s defenses:

Gaza based terror group Hamas is attempting to bolster its capabilities with shorter range rockets, that have a maximum range of 30 kilometers, in order to bypass Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Seven months after Operation Protective Edge, the IDF’s Southern Command has concluded that the ongoing rocket trials being carried out by the terrorist organization are not focused on long-range rockets, principally because the Iron Dome system virtually neutralized them in the last engagement between the IDF and Hamas.

“Almost all of the trials being tested out to sea are short-range,” a senior IDF officer told Israel’s NRG news, adding that in recent months there were no long-range tests. “They are now working on improving their short-range rockets. I guess they learned their lessons and understood that Iron Dome will take down their long-range rockets. In fact, it has even become more difficult for them to smuggle these weapons into the Gaza Strip, since the tunnels and the Philadelphi Corridor are almost completely closed.”

The IDF is monitoring Hamas’ rocket experiments in order to gather intelligence, as well as develop knowledge on the progress of Hamas’ capabilities, and to see whether new rockets are being smuggled into Gaza or whether the production has become more domestic …

… Hamas, which has already publicized that it has returned to building up the strengths of its forces in anticipation of the next battle with Israel. Israeli monitoring of developments in the Strip reveal that Hamas is up to much of its old habits, like digging tunnels and building rockets launchers.

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Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Security Forces Nab Hamas Terror Cell in Hebron

IDF soldiers in Hebron.

IDF soldiers in Hebron.

Israeli security forces busted a Hamas ring in the Hebron area that was planning a series of terror attacks, including suicide bombings, according to a statement from the Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, on Monday:

The Shin Bet said it arrested 11 members of the cell in January, and that the group had carried out a failed bomb attack on Israeli troops in the West Bank.

Along with the arrests, security forces seized two sub-machine guns and explosives the cell allegedly planned on using to target Israelis, the Shin Bet said.

The main suspects in the case were named as Suhaib Mamoun Saltan, 20, from Hebron, and his cousin Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, a Hamas operative, who had been convicted and imprisoned by Israel in the past and was also at one time held under administrative detention.

The security service did not release the identities of the other nine suspects in Israeli custody.

In the coming days the Shin Bet will finish transferring the case files against the arrested men to the military prosecution and has asked that they be detained until trial, according to the statement.

“The activities of this cell reflects the real threat from Hamas activities in Hebron and especially from operatives that have been arrested in the past and then returned to the terror pool,” the Shin Bet statement read.

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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 at 2:42 PM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas’ New Army of Children

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

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,…

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Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 at 8:52 AM  | Stand For Israel

IDF Arrests Three Hamas Smugglers

Operation Protective Edge put a dent in much of Hamas’ terrorist capabilities in Gaza, but that does not mean that the terror organization has stopped its plans to attack Israel. Just cleared for publication, the IDF reports that less than a month ago, it intercepted three terrorists trying to smuggle weapons materials into Gaza:

On January 19, IDF forces identified a suspicious boat making its way towards the Gaza Strip. The navy, in conjunction with the Israel Security Agency (ISA), intercepted the vessel after requesting that the passengers stop the boat.

The craft was disguised as a fishing boat, but underneath the fishing gear liquid fiberglass was concealed. The liquid fiberglass was intended for Hamas and meant to be used in the manufacturing of rockets and mortars …

The three suspects, Mahmed Bechar, Ahmed Zaidi and Awad Zaidi​, were arrested and interrogated by the ISA. During the interrogation, the suspects admitted that they were sent to collect the manufacturing materials from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and to deliver the liquid fiberglass to Hamas’ military wing.

Furthermore, the three men provided detailed information about previous weapon smuggling activities and how Hamas intended to use the fishermen and smugglers for future smuggling attempts.

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Thursday, February 12th, 2015 at 9:47 AM  | Stand For Israel

In Gaza, Youth See Future As Hamas Fighters

225R4  Gaza. kindergarten graduation (5751) .jpgOperation 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…

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Monday, February 9th, 2015 at 8:31 AM  | Stand For Israel