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Even as the fighting between Hamas and the IDF slows, former U.S. national security adviser Elliott Abrams says that depleting Hamas’ rocket supplies, killing its army of terrorists, and destroying its labyrinth of terror tunnels is only the first step against defeating the terrorist organization:
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Cornered and desperate, Hamas took a chance in starting the war this summer. It has been eight years since Hamas won that election and seven since it seized Gaza. Our goal now should be to make 2014 the turning point, and make this war one from which Hamas never recovers. Hamas will claim victory this summer, but whether it actually gains from its murderous decisions or is permanently damaged by them will not be settled the day combat ends. That’s when the IDF’s current battle stops, but it’s when the longer struggle against Hamas—Israel’s and hopefully ours as well—begins again.
Monday, August 4th, 2014 at 8:59 AM | Stand For Israel
After finishing the process of destroying Hamas’ terror tunnels, the IDF has pulled its troops from Gaza’s populated areas and redeployed them along the Gaza border. The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff writes that Hamas now faces two choices – either a ceasefire that meets none of its outrageous demands, or a continuation of its terror attacks on Israel, and the quick and decisive response from the IDF that such attacks would warrant:
At the start of the operation, the organization’s military wing presented six demands for a ceasefire: the release of the prisoners freed during the 2011 swap for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and recently rearrested in the West Bank, the establishment of a port, the expansion the fishing zone, opening the Rafah crossing into Egypt, opening the crossings into Israel, and the payment of Hamas salaries. Slowly, the demands eased, and the head of Hamas’s military wing, Mohammed Deif, said last week that the organization wouldn’t agree to a ceasefire unless “the aggression ceases and the blockade is lifted.” These two demands are vague, but it was interesting to note that Deif didn’t mention the prisoner releases or the establishment of a port. And if this round of hostilities concludes without Israel or Egypt agreeing to accept even one of the organization’s demands, Hamas will be humiliated …
The Palestinian public, which now seeks quiet, will ask itself why the organization drove Gaza to ruin for no reason, with no results to show for its efforts. Hamas is aware of this, and is therefore likely to be tempted to do two things: first, fire more rockets so long as it can, despite the inevitable Israeli response; and second, to continue attempts to carry out significant attacks, mainly through tunnels that may have been left untouched, to render empty the Israeli assurances about finishing the tunnel demolitions. But an attack of that degree is likely to draw a very harsh response, perhaps even a renewed ground offensive — and once again, the Gazan…Read More » Comments (17) »
Monday, August 4th, 2014 at 8:44 AM | Stand For Israel
As the IDF searches for the soldier believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas during an attack today, Yediot Achronot reports that the humanitarian ceasefire during which the attack occurred is now over:
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“I can confirm that at 9:30 Hamas broke the ceasefire and that there is a growing fear that a soldier has been kidnapped,” a senior IDF source told Ynet, adding the incident took place while forces were searching for tunnels, a right Israel maintained as part of the ceasefire agreement …
The lull was seemingly first broken by terror factions in Gaza who fired a mortar at Israel at roughly 10 am Friday morning. The mortar, which was followed by another shortly after, failed to land in Israel, falling in Gaza territory. Meanwhile, massive clashes and fire were reported from Gaza which left at least 40 dead.
The IDF also said on Friday that a Gaza ceasefire that went into effect earlier on Friday is now over and military operations were in progress on the ground.
Asked during a media conference call if the ceasefire was over, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said: “Yes. We are continuing our activities on the ground.”
Friday, August 1st, 2014 at 9:01 AM | Stand For Israel
After Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire to begin today, the halt in fighting was broken by Hamas only 90 minutes after it began. During the attack, two IDF soldiers were killed and another, Hadar Goldin, is believe to have been kidnapped by the terrorists. The Times of Israel details the attack and reports that the IDF is now searching for the missing soldier:
The raid, which included a suicide bombing and involved enemy gunmen emerging from a tunnel shaft, came at 9:30 in the morning, during the early hours of what was to have been a 72-hour truce, and may signal a significant escalation in the 25-day-old war with Gaza.
A suicide bomber and other gunmen engaged the IDF forces as they sought to decommission a tunnel. Shortly after the combined attack, it became clear to Israeli forces in the area that a soldier was missing …
MK Omer Bar-Lev, a former commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, said the militants will have likely tried to get the soldier out of the area via tunnels. “It’s a race against time… by the ground forces, to close off the area, and search house by house,” he said.
The army said in an official statement that it was “currently conducting intelligence efforts and extensive searches in order to locate the missing soldier.”
Lerner added that only a short while elapsed between the attack and the realization that a soldier had gone missing. He said the searches were being led by Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Brigade, and that the soldier’s family had been updated on the situation.
We pray that the IDF quickly finds the missing soldier, and that he is not harmed by the terrorists who have abducted him.Comments (33) »
Friday, August 1st, 2014 at 8:39 AM | Stand For Israel
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:
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“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.
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 8:51 AM | Stand For Israel
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…Read More » Comments (2) »
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 3:31 PM | Stand For Israel
Stand for Israel has been reporting on the recent frequency of terrorist rockets being found in United Nations-operated schools. And as we noted in today’s Daily Dispatch, rockets were again found in a UNRWA-run school in Gaza on Tuesday. The Times of Israel reports that this is the third such occurrence since the onset of Operation Protective Edge:
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In its press release, UNRWA’s spokesperson said that the discovery was made during a routine inspection of the school, “which was closed for the summer and not being used as a shelter.”
“All the relevant parties have been notified,” UNRWA said, without elaborating which parties. Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, has launched over 2,000 of rockets at Israel in the past month …
Despite announcing the discovery, UNRWA could not send a UN munitions expert to disarm and remove the weapons “because of fighting in the vicinity,” it said in a statement. “But we hope to do as soon as the security conditions allow.”
It was not clear from the statement where the school was, how many rockets Hamas or one of the other Palestinian terror groups stored at the UN facility, or where the weapons are now.
Tuesday’s incident was the third instance in which Palestinian armaments were found in UN facilities in the Gaza Strip …
In Jerusalem, officials charged that the weaponry was returned to Hamas. “The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 9:37 AM | Stand For Israel
The Iron Dome defense system has proved its worth, helping defeat many of the terrorist rockets launched on Israel over the past weeks. But Hamas’ extensive system of attack tunnels that are still being uncovered by the IDF, writes Jeffrey Goldberg, illustrates the terrorist group’s true, murderous goals and shows how Israel must continue to respond:
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But there is no Iron Dome for tunnels. The tunnels give me real pause. It’s hard enough to imagine a situation in which your neighbors are quite intentionally trying to blow up your house and kill your children with rockets. But Hamas’s well-developed kidnapping strategy represents a whole other category of depravity. The handcuffs and tranquilizers are mere baroque, Pulp Fictionish details. The core depravity of Hamas is its longstanding policy of treating every Jew as a target for elimination.
So I would ask this question: What would you want your government to do if your enemy was digging tunnels under your village, in order to pop out at night to kill or kidnap you? Could you imagine taking the risk that members of your family might be seized, dragged underground, handcuffed and tranquilized, and then held in the dark, perhaps for years, perhaps never to come home? Hamas terrorists have recently emerged from these tunnels inside Israel multiple times. This is not a theoretical threat …
The tactical goals are to terrorize Israelis and bring about the international delegitimization of Israel. The strategic goal — the theological goal, in fact — is to bring about the end of their country.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 8:44 AM | Stand For Israel
In an interview for CBS yesterday morning, Charlie Rose spoke with Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader safely hidden in Qatar during the conflict in Gaza. Among other topics, when Rose pressed Meshaal whether he would recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal answered, “No.” Watch the interview above.Comments (5) »
Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Stand For Israel
In this fascinating interview with CNN, the son of one of the founders of Hamas discusses the terror organization’s tactics and ultimate goals. Now a Christian, Mosab Hassan Yousef details how the group his father helped found aims not only to kill Palestinian civilians but to destroy the Jewish state, as well.Comments (21) »
Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Stand For Israel