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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…Read More » Comments (6) »
Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 8:28 AM | Stand For Israel
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”…Read More » Comments (13) »
Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Stand For Israel
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…Read More » Comments (6) »
Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 8:49 AM | Stand for Israel
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:
Comments (5) »
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.
Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 8:41 AM | Stand for Israel
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…Read More » Comments (19) »
Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 8:25 AM | Stand for Israel
The world is now focused on stopping the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), and the media – as it so often does – has forgotten the war against terrorists, Operation Protective Edge, that only just finished. Now, the Associated Press is reporting that Hamas has admitted to war crimes during that conflict – war crimes that those who stand for Israel knew about all along – and Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin worries that the world won’t take notice:
But perhaps some of those who pooh-poohed Israel’s claims that Hamas was firing rockets at Israeli cities from civilian areas and thereby using the people of Gaza as human shields will pay a smidgeon of attention to the news that, as the Associated Press reported today, Hamas operatives admit that they did exactly what the Israelis said they did.
According to the AP, contrary to the claims of its defenders, Hamas operatives have admitted firing rockets from civilian areas in Gaza …
Hamas figures quoted by the AP contend that it was impossible for them to fire missiles without being in the vicinity of civilians because the strip is so congested. There are two answers to this argument.
One is to point out that, despite the contentions about Gaza being the most congested place on earth, that there are, plenty of vacant areas in the strip. Parts of Gaza are crowded but it is not one continuous urban jungle. If Hamas really wanted to avoid Israeli fire being brought down on areas where civilians lived they could have used such places. But, firing from beaches or open fields doesn’t provide the cover that hospitals, mosques or school courtyards give the terrorists.
More to the point, if the only places they shoot missiles that are deliberately aimed to cause the maximum civilian casualties for the Israelis are an urban area, and then a group that was not a pack of bloodthirsty terrorists would have held its fire. Hamas did not.
These admissions prove again, as if much more…Read More » Comments (13) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Stand for Israel
As the United States and other nations battle the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), it isn’t the only group threatening to terrorize the free world. While many ignore Hamas, and others champion them, it is heartening to know that some leaders still realize the terrorist threat that they are. In a speech on Thursday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not only called them what they are – a terrorist organization as bad as the one the U.S. is currently fighting – but pledged American support in Israel’s ongoing fight against Hamas:
But there is another evil organization in the world today that, like ISIS, has zero regard for humanity; they are kidnappers and executioners; they are violent extremists who murder innocent civilians; they are terrorists who cower behind women and children, using them as human shields; they are saboteurs of peace and provocateurs of bloody conflict who will not stop until their enemies are annihilated.
Once again, I’m not talking about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. I’m talking about Hamas. Hamas and ISIS are both vicious, corrupt, hateful, evil groups. And both are extreme. Yet, for some reason, Hamas’ brutality doesn’t elicit the same horror from the international community as ISIS. How can that be?
One of the few differences between these two terrorist organizations is that Hamas has a narrow, ghastly focus — the destruction of Israel. Consider its actions over the past several months:
Hamas raided its own limited supplies for housing and general infrastructure, intended to repair the destruction that occurred during the last conflict they initiated. But Hamas instead used the stolen materials to build tunnels to hide and infiltrate Israel — infiltrating to kill, maim, kidnap and murder the innocent. These depraved agitators launched thousands of rockets into Israel, hoping to inflict death and destruction. Their rockets had no aiming capabilities — they fired indiscriminately, not caring whether they hit a child,…Read More » Comments (21) »
Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 8:21 AM | Stand for Israel