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How Hamas Uses Social Media

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Operation Protective Edge once again showed that Israel’s battle against Hamas is often as fiercely fought on the field of public opinion as it is on the battleground, as the terror group works to bias the masses against the Jewish state through the media. Writing for Tablet, Aaron Magid looks at how Hamas sends three different messages (in three different languages – English, Arabic, and Hebrew) to the West, to the Arab Middle East, and to Israel:

With 91,400 followers and counting, al-Qassam’s Arabic Twitter page has built a substantial network. Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a professor of political science at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, explained that Palestinians “felt that the Arab media was not paying enough attention to what was happening in Gaza because the Arab press was busy covering Syria, Iraq, and Libya.” The Al-Qassam media team stepped into that gap, frequently posting over 30 tweets daily during the war, including videos of attacks and pictures of fighters. Some tweets were mainly informative. For example, “#Breaking 22:30 Al-Qassam Brigades has shelled the occupied Ashdod with 3 Grad Rockets.” Others are far more aggressive, with Al-Qassam posting a picture of a burning car in Beer Sheva, claiming that it had been hit by a Palestinian rocket and boasting that the “enemy knows of injured violators” after the rocket strike. Al-Qassam also used the same word, violator, when announcing the death of 4-year-old Israeli Daniel Tragerman, who was killed by Hamas mortar fire.

One of Al-Qassam’s most popular broadcasted clips was the video showing how its fighters infiltrated a military base inside Israel via an underground tunnel, killing five ill-prepared Israeli soldiers at close range. When Al-Qassam linked the YouTube video to its Twitter account, the post was retweeted 1,476 times and the clip spread to Arab and Israeli TV channels, increasing its popularity. By emphasizing its killing of dozens of Israeli soldiers, Al-Qassam was, according to Abu Saada, “trying to boost the morale of the Palestinians that in…

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 11:31 AM  | Stand for Israel

Hamas Has Two Headquarters: Gaza and Turkey

(Photo: wikicommons/ Kimdime)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Kimdime)

While Operation Protective Edge dealt a heavy blow to Hamas’ terrorist capabilities in Gaza, the terror group still resides there. Israel Hayom also reports that Israel is all too aware of Hamas’ second base of operations in Turkey:

In a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon criticized Turkey for the support it provides to Hamas.

“Turkey is playing a cynical game,” Ya’alon told Hagel. “Hamas is supported by Turkey and Qatar. Hamas has two terror headquarters — in Gaza and in Istanbul.

“Hamas moved its terror headquarters from Damascus to Istanbul, in Turkey, a NATO member, where it is represented by Saleh al-Arouri, who orchestrates terrorist attacks against Israel from there and attempted to instigate a coup against [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas in Judea and Samaria,” Ya’alon said.

Ya’alon and Hagel discussed a range of topics on Tuesday, including Iran, the Islamic State group, Syria, Operation Protective Edge and Israel-U.S. defense ties. Ya’alon thanked Hagel for U.S. aid in the development of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.

“Even if there are disagreements between the U.S. and Israel, they should not be allowed to cloud the deep friendship and warm, intimate ties between the two countries,” Ya’alon said.

A U.S. Defense Department statement said Hagel “reaffirmed the United States’ deep commitment to the security of Israel, and the importance of the U.S.-Israel defense relationship.” Hagel and Ya’alon “agreed to continue to work together to maintain the strength of the U.S.-Israel security relationship,” the statement said.

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 8:16 AM  | Stand for Israel

The Clear Lines of Good and Evil

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Hamas is a ruthless terror organization whose brutality is matched only by its hypocrisy. Its leaders encourage Palestinian mothers to send their kids on suicide missions, while their own children are neatly tucked away in bed or studying in universities abroad. They invite war and destruction on Gaza, extolling the virtues of war against Israel while hiding in their bunkers, as the rest of their fellow Gazans remain vulnerable to Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes.

Hamas receives billions of dollars in foreign aid. But instead of using it to build schools, hospitals, shopping malls, and residential buildings, they use it to fund their terrorist activities. And with the leftover change, Hamas’ leaders pocket millions, living in the kind of luxury their people will never know.

And when they need the best doctor to treat a family member or a loved one, where do they turn? Israel, of course!

This week, Tel-Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital confirmed that it had treated the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who was hospitalized in Israel “for a number of days,” before being sent back to Gaza after her condition stabilized. It turns out that Haniyeh’s daughter was not the only family member to be treated in Israel this year; the former Hamas premier sent his aging mother-in-law and one-year-old granddaughter to Israel for medical treatment as well.

The contrast between Israeli and Palestinian society is as stark during wartime as it is in times of relative quiet. Israel does everything to protect its citizens from attack, while Hamas places Palestinian civilians in harm’s way; Israel does everything it can to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties, while Hamas tries to kill and maim as many Israeli civilians as possible. And in the intermediate periods of quiet, Israel treats Palestinians – even terrorists – in its hospitals, while an Israeli cannot set foot in Palestinian territory for fear of being killed.

The lines of good and evil are so clearly drawn in the Arab-Israeli conflict, yet so many, even in the west, fail to support the just side….

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 8:34 AM  | Stand for Israel

Recruiting and Building Rockets, Hamas Determined to Keep Grip on Gaza

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

(Photo: Alamy/Ahmed Deeb/ZUMA Press)

Operation Protective Edge disrupted Hamas’ ability to rain terror on Israel – much of its rocket supply was depleted, many of its terror tunnels were found and destroyed. But even as the terrorist group has been weakened, and even as Gaza begins to rebuild, The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reports that Hamas, too, is rebuilding in an attempt to keep its grip on the Gaza Strip:

Things are as they were: Poverty, desperation, extremism and tens of thousands of displaced people. The sea is the same sea, and Hamas is the same Hamas, with the same aspirations.

There is one major difference, though: Hamas is poorer. Without the income from the Gaza-Egypt tunnels, and having stopped collecting taxes, its funds are dwindling. While the PA will oversee the actual reconstruction of the Strip, Hamas’s top priority is the reestablishment of its internal infrastructure — including its financial infrastructure …

Hamas has lowered its profile, but financial problems or not, it has no intention of relinquishing practical control over the strip. Gaza’s government and social services will formally be run by the Abbas-led administration, but Hamas is not going anywhere. Its police and military hierarchies will continue to operate throughout Gaza, and Abbas’s PA security forces will not, except perhaps at the border crossings.

Furthermore, despite those budgetary constraints, Hamas is already busily is trying to revive its military industry. Since the end of Operation Protective Edge on August 26, it has managed to conduct a series of rocket tests into the Mediterranean, underlining that a new line of rockets is being produced …

Meanwhile, the Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has launched a recruitment drive. Last Thursday, the very day that the “national reconciliation government” held its much-hyped first meeting in Gaza, the brigades held a large military parade in Shejaiya. Some of the same officials who greeted PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the morning attended the brigades’ rally in the afternoon — a rally intended to convey a clear message to the residents of…

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Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 8:28 AM  | Stand For Israel

Rebuilding Gaza Starts Slowly – Very Slowly

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

Yesterday in Cairo, Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas asked for $4 billion in aid to rebuild Gaza. He received international pledges for at least that much. However, writes Elliott Abrams, the world is aware that Hamas still controls Gaza, and that the money meant for rebuilding might only go to rebuild the terrorist organization:

There are at least two main issues. First, Egypt and Israel want to be sure that construction materials do not go to Hamas for its construction of tunnels, arms depots, and other means of making war rather than for building homes, schools, and the like. They also want to be sure that Hamas does not smuggle in arms and ammunition. This means the establishment of a border control regime and some way of identifying end users inside Gaza. Second, the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah (or the Palestinian Authority–same thing) continues.

On October 12 in Cairo, at an international conference on rebuilding Gaza, PA president Mahmoud Abbas will ask for $4 billion in pledges. He may get some pledges; cash is a different story. Many donors are wary of corruption in the PA and in Hamas, and fear Hamas efforts to divert funds and materials to illicit terrorist uses. Donors from the EU have made some foolish statements about how tired they are of paying for reconstruction of buildings that Israel then bombs, and appear to be seeking some Israeli promise never to strike Gaza again. This is impossible, because Hamas remains in charge in Gaza and may well decide to launch fusillades of mortars and rockets into Israel again, hiding as it usually does within, behind, and under civilian facilities such as houses, mosques, and hospitals. If this happens Israel will respond, so the kind of pledge some European donors have been seeking is impossible to give. Hamas has chosen war several times before and may well choose it again.

The central problem is that Hamas is still running Gaza. The new Palestinian “technocratic”…

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Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 8:35 AM  | Stand For Israel

Human Shields Aren’t Rethinking Hamas

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

Yesterday Stand for Israel reported on a new poll that showed 80% of Palestinians support resumed rocket attacks against Israel. Writing at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin explains why these people – used by Hamas as human shields – still support the terror group:

In the aftermath of its disastrous 50-day war against Israel this past summer Hamas saw its popularity skyrocket with huge majorities in both Gaza and the West Bank telling pollsters that the Islamists “won” and that they supported their conduct. A month later, Palestinians have sobered up a bit. But the latest numbers paint a picture of a population that is still not ready for peace or anything that looks like it …

Palestinians continue to support Hamas firing more rockets at Israel if the blockade of Gaza is not lifted with 80 percent overall endorsing this position and 72 percent of Gazans also backing the proposition. Given that the only reason the blockade was imposed on Gaza to begin with was the Hamas coup with which the group seized power in 2007, this position sets up a circular argument. But far more shocking than that is the response to the question posed about whether they support Hamas firing rockets from populated areas.

While Hamas generally denies doing this, it is not exactly a secret that it does it so as to use civilians as human shields against possible Israeli counter-attacks aimed at silencing the rocket launchers. Nor are Palestinians unaware of the fact that this practice deliberately exposes them to death and destruction, a cynical tactic whose purpose is to get as many civilians killed as possible.

Yet the survey showed that a solid majority of Palestinians—57 percent—supported this slaughter …

Though enthusiasm for Hamas is not unanimous, it remains more popular than its Fatah rivals. Why? Because the unchanging dynamic of Palestinian politics is that whichever party spills the most Jewish blood will always have the upper hand. Since its inception a century ago, Palestinian Arab…

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 8:49 AM  | Stand for Israel

Islamic State Using Human Shields

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas once again resorted to its tactic of using Gaza’s civilians as human shields. They are not the only terrorist organization to do this, though. Writing at World Affairs Journal, Michael J. Totten says that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) is using human shields in its fight against the U.S.-led coalition:

The Pentagon says Islamic State fighters in Syria are using human shields to protect themselves from American airstrikes. I can’t verify that claim, but it’s a little like saying the Islamists breathe oxygen. Of course they’re using human shields. It’s what terrorist armies in the Middle East do when facing a civilized enemy.

It wouldn’t accomplish squat against a war criminal like Bashar al-Assad. His regime would happily take out a thousand Sunni civilians to kill a single Islamist fighter. He’d see the thousand civilians as bonus points. But the West doesn’t fight like that and the Islamic State knows it …

The US cares more about the welfare of Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq than the Islamic State does—which is not likely to help the medieval head-choppers and crucifixion enthusiasts much in the hearts-and-minds department.

Hamas gets an almost-free pass for this gruesome behavior in Gaza, but that’s only because no one but Israelis and Palestinians fear Hamas might one day come after them. Dozens of countries are involved in the war against the Islamic State, including Arab countries, and the Islamic State is clearly at war with the entire human race, beginning with the very civilians it’s hiding behind.

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand for Israel

Gazans Speak Out on Hamas War Crimes

(Photo: IDF blog)

(Photo: IDF blog)

While Hamas’ strategy of using human shields has been exposed, and its members have even admitted to launching rockets from civilian locations, the world still wants to blame Israel for the civilian deaths in Gaza this past summer. To find the truth, the Gatestone Institute’s Mudar Zahran spoke to actual Gazans, who told a very different story:

They spoke of Hamas atrocities and war crimes implicating Hamas in the civilian deaths of its own people.

Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas’s revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of “communicating with the Mossad”. “Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists — or actually any journalists at all,” he said, continuing:

“Hamas does not want the truth about Gaza to come out. Hamas terrorizes and kills us just like Daesh [ISIS] terrorizes kills Iraqis. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us. The Gazans you see praising Hamas on TV are either Hamas members or too afraid to speak against Hamas. Few foreign [Western] journalists were probably able to report what Gazans think of Hamas.”

D, a store owner, said:

“There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue.”

To verify those reports, I spoke to a second Gazan academic, who holds a PhD. from a Western university, who stated:

“Hamas did kill protesters, no doubt about that. But we could not confirm how many were actually killed. If…

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Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 8:25 AM  | Stand for Israel

What Does Hamas Really Want?

(Photo: flickr/  l_suddenly)

(Photo: flickr/ l_suddenly)

As the dust settles in Gaza and Israel after a relatively long war, Yaakov Lappin, a journalist at the Jerusalem Post, writes that the current truce forms a good opportunity to examine the reason Hamas began their conflict this summer in the first place:

Hamas’s bloody clashes have a dual purpose: First, they act as a fuel that Hamas pours on the national consciousness of Palestinians, to keep hatred burning, and ensure that Palestinians continue to see themselves as being at war with Israel, while viewing Hamas as the soldiers of that war, and thus their saviors.Second, such wars marginalize Hamas’s rivals in Ramallah, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority [PA], which Hamas often attempts to depict as an Israeli “collaborator.”

Keeping the armed conflict alive — whatever the cost to Gazans — is the central tenet of Hamas’s survival strategy.

Above all else, Hamas wishes to ensure that the torch of jihad keeps burning, to pass it on to the next Palestinian generation. Nothing keeps the flames of jihad alight, and Hamas’s popularity secure, like frequent wars.

Long, open-ended truces, Hamas may fear, could lead to a hibernation of the conflict, which in turn could lead to a long-term political settlement with Israel.

In Hamas’s lexicon, truces and ceasefires are synonymous with rearming and regrouping, and preparing the next attack on Israel.

 

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Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 9:17 AM  | Stand for Israel

Fatah Accuses Hamas of Stealing Millions in Gaza Aid

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas stole the lives of Israelis, as well as the Gazan people it forced into acting as human shields. Now Algemeiner’s Dave Bender reports that Fatah, the terrorist organization’s erstwhile partner in the Palestinian unity government, is accusing Hamas of also stealing hundreds of millions in aid money during the war:

A Palestinian Authority (PA) official claimed Tuesday that $700 million in international aid designated for reconstruction and humanitarian use in Gaza was taken by Hamas, “over the blood of the children of Palestine,” Israel’s NRG News reported.

Fatah spokesman, Ahmad Assaf, claimed that, during Operation Protective Edge, Hamas’ leadership in Gaza absconded with the money before it reached its destination.

“They raised funds from the Arab world in the name of the martyrs in Gaza, and on behalf of women, children and elders, and they talked about rebuilding the Gaza Strip and Israel destroyed mosques,” Assaf said in an interview with Arab media.

The Fatah spokesman insisted that Hamas’ leadership must “return the money they stole from the families of the dead and wounded refugee families whose homes were destroyed by the war,” and warned against the Islamist group “taking advantage of the circumstances of the war of destruction…”

This is not the first time that Fatah has accused Hamas of exploiting the situation in Gaza, in their favor.

During the 50-days of the operation to quell rocket fire and terror attack tunnels, official Palestinian sources said Gazans and Hamas took control of aid transferred from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing facility and used it for personal needs.

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 1:26 PM  | Stand for Israel

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Rabbi's Commentary
Rejoicing in God’s Word

The festive Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah ends and begins the annual cycle of Torah readings in synagogue. It is God’s Word that offers comfort and hope to Jews and Christians alike, reminding us of His permanent presence in our constantly changing world.


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