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The kidnapping of three Israeli teens – Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel – horrified Israel and its worldwide supporters. While the two terrorists who carried out the act are still at large, the mastermind behind the plot was indicted today and new details about the abduction and murder have surfaced:
[Hussam Hassan] Kawasmeh confessed his role in the kidnapping under Shin Bet interrogation, and implicated a number of other accomplices to the crime.
The manhunt for Kawasmeh – whose extended family figures prominently within the Hamas movement and its stronghold of Hevron – began as soon as the bodies were discovered. Realizing he would be a suspect, he prepared to flee to Jordan with the help of a fake passport and the support of several relatives in Hevron – Hashem Kawasmeh, Jameel Kawasmeh and Hassan Kawasmeh.
But his plans to escape were foiled after intelligence services got wind of them, and Kawasmeh was arrested in the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem. He had apparently shaved his beard off as part of efforts to conceal his identity, in preparation for his escape across the border.
Kawasmeh had previous spent time in an Israeli prison for links to another terror cell which carried out several bombing attacks. A significant number of his family members have also spent time behind bars or even been killed in clashes with security forces, including his brother Hussein Kawasmeh, who is currently serving a life sentence for a 2011 bombing attack in central Jerusalem which killed a British tourist and wounded dozens of others.
Another family member, the brother of kidnapper Marwan Kawasmeh, was Abdullah al-Qawasmeh. Abdullah was the leader of the Hevron branch of Hamas’s “military wing”, the Ezzadine al-Qassam Brigades. He was killed in a shootout with elite Israeli counter-terrorism police in 2003, who were hunting him for his involvement in several deadly terrorist attacks.
Hussam’s interrogation, as well as those of a number of other arrested suspects, revealed that he had played a fundamental part in the kidnapping, and served as its mastermind and…Read More » Comments (4) »
Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 10:39 AM | Stand for Israel
Throughout Operation Protective Edge, Stand for Israel reported on Hamas’ use of human shields. Taking a closer look at this inhumane tactic now that the war is over, Calev Myers wonders if the terrorists’ strategy isn’t one of human shields, but of human sacrifice:
So what is really happening here? Why do they continue to fire so many rockets at us? What do they hope to achieve? Either this is the least successful military campaign in the history of mankind, or the human casualty count on the Israeli side is not the primary goal of Hamas’ rocket strategy.
Today it is clear to the world that Hamas fires rockets from densely populated civilian areas in order to draw Israeli fire upon Palestinian elderly, women and children. Hamas has learned that systematically feeding disturbing photographs of bloody babies to the international press is the most effective weapon in the pursuit of its goals.
Hamas sees Israel as a strong enemy. It is trying to delegitimize us in order to arouse the fury of entities larger and stronger than us, even if they have to pay a very heavy price in human suffering to do so. Although the comparison is far from perfect, chapter 19 in the book of Judges tells us about a man from the tribe of Levi, whose concubine was raped and murdered by men from the tribe of Benjamin in the city of Gibeah. He cut her body into 12 pieces, sent them throughout all the land of Israel, and the rest is history. The response of all of the other tribes nearly blotted out the tribe of Benjamin from the annals of history.
The threat of Hamas’ blood-photo strategy should not be taken lightly. It has already caused an escalation of anti-Semitic incidents and attacks on Jewish communities around the world. The only way to fight this threat is by systematic and tactical advocacy, not merely in the defensive sense,…Read More » Comments (8) »
Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 8:29 AM | Stand for Israel
As soon as yesterday’s ceasefire was announced, Hamas’ leaders crawled out from the bunkers and tunnels in which they’d been living, and from the hospitals underneath which they’d been cowardly hiding, and began proclaiming that their war with Israel had resulted in victory. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Bassam Tawil wonders how the terrorist organization can consider this devastating defeat a win:
The Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leadership waged their war from deep underground bunkers, beneath high-rise buildings and below Gaza’s showcase Al-Shifa Hospital. The leadership left the civilian population above ground and urged them onto the roofs of buildings or to stay home and receive the strikes that were coming toward their weapons stockpiles and rocket launchers. Waging war from five-star hotels in Qatar or bunkers under Gaza’s urban landscape, Hamas’s leaders positioned these rocket launchers next to hospitals, schools, mosques, UNRWA facilities, residential complexes and even hotels where foreign media personnel were staying.
It was the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders, not the Israelis, who are the war criminals. It was these Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders who were responsible for the civilian deaths of more than two thousand Gazans, while they safely hid and only claimed that they wanted to be shaheeds [martyrs].
While the Hamas leadership threw the Gazan civilians to their bitter fate, the Israelis used the safe rooms they had built for their civilians and their Iron Dome aerial defense system to keep their own civilians safe. Not relying solely on Iron Dome, the IDF sent infantry units to the front lines inside the Gaza Strip to protect Israel’s home front. The Israel Air Force attacked rocket and mortar shell launchers; its ground forces destroyed 32 terrorist tunnels that led from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.
Its tunnels into Israel were blown up; the rockets smuggled in from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Korea were neutralized; thousands of civilians were killed and tens of thousands of Gazan homes were destroyed, and yet the…Read More » Comments (6) »
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 9:28 AM | Stand for Israel
Yesterday we reported that Israel agreed to a long-term ceasefire in Gaza. As of today, Hamas has upheld the truce. Writing for Israel Hayom, Dan Margalit writes that despite the toll paid by Israel, her military, and her people, Operation Protective Edge is a victory for the Jewish state:
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The vanquished will try to fire rockets up until the very last moment, despite profuse bleeding. We live in a world where perception occasionally trumps reality, and where the media has become as important as the battlefield. With all of that in mind, we can say that Israel emerged the victor on Tuesday.
For all the demagoguery going around about Israel having the upper hand, there is indeed a kernel of truth to that claim: Jerusalem’s basic demands have been met …
In the grand scheme of things, Israel has come out on top. It managed to secure a cease-fire without compromising on its terms. It essentially got what it had demanded all along, even before the fighting commenced. Hamas, on the other hand, now has to account for its various shortfalls. It has lost 1,000 terrorists, 32 tunnels, and 7,000 rockets (which did not inflict significant damage). This is the truth, despite the bereaving heart putting a damper on our victory celebrations.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Stand for Israel
Yediot Achronot is reporting that Israel and Hamas have agreed on what is being called a “long-term ceasefire”:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office confirmed Tuesday evening that an long-term ceasefire agreement was reached. State-run Egyptian television also reported on Tuesday evening that a truce deal had been reached between Israel and Hamas.
An Israeli official said that Jerusalem told Egypt that it accepted its offer of an ‘open-ended’ ceasefire.
Israel responded to the proposal after all the cabinet ministers had been informed of the developments. Sources said the Egyptian offer did not include the majority of Hamas’ demands.
According to a senior source in Hamas, the agreement includes the opening of the Rafah crossing under the supervision of the Abbas’ security forces.
Yet, immediately before the truce took effect, Arutz Sheva reports that a barrage of rockets from Gaza struck southern Israel, wounding several and killing one:
The sirens preceded a heavy barrage of rockets and mortar shells, during which six people in the Eshkol Regional Council were wounded by a rocket that struck a community in the region. One was wounded critically, two others seriously, one moderately and the rest lightly.
Resuscitation attempts were conducted on the critically wounded victim, but he soon succumbed to his wounds and died. AFP cited an Israeli security source as saying he was killed by mortar fire, which likewise wounded the other victims.
We pray for those who have been affected by these terrorist attacks, for God’s protection over the Holy Land and His people, and that this peace might take hold.Comments (11) »
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 11:16 AM | Stand for Israel
Throughout Operation Protective Edge, reports of Hamas using human shields have surfaced, along with evidence of the terrorist group’s dastardly tactics. In the video above, an IDF soldier – Lt. Adam Landau – gives his firsthand account of Hamas’ use of human shields during his time serving in Gaza:
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On several occasions, Lt. Landau saw Hamas operatives using civilians as human shields. “Once, we started to look for a terrorist who we knew was in a specific house,” he said. “Suddenly, a small boy appeared, and the terrorist grabbed him and escaped with him.”
“They shot at us from mosques, schools, and of course from civilian houses,” Lt. Landau said. “In the end, if they shoot at you from a mosque, You see a family’s house and you see the clothes hanging outside…And behind all of this is a terrorist holding an AK-47, shooting at you.”
Monday, August 25th, 2014 at 3:42 PM | Stand For Israel
Even as the world stands up against the Islamic State for the recent swath of terror and destruction – and it should – much the same it did against al-Qaeda after the attacks of 9/11, many still doubt the evil behind Hamas. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin says that there is no difference between the Gaza-based terror organization targeting Israel and other Islamist groups who have targeted Iraq, Syria, and the West:
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Though much of the Western media seems intent on sanitizing Hamas and ignoring its use of human shields, it needs no lessons in brutality from either al-Qaeda or ISIS, as the deaths of the Palestinians who have been killed for dissenting from their tyrannical rule of Gaza could attest.
As is the case with ISIS, there is no compromising with Hamas. Just as the Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Syria will not be bribed or cajoled into giving up their goal of imposing their religiously inspired nightmare vision on the world, neither will Hamas be satisfied with anything less than the eradication of Israel and the genocide of its Jewish population.
As with ISIS, there is no “political solution” to a conflict with Hamas, only a military one. So long as Hamas is allowed to remain in power in Gaza, there is no hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Like Osama bin Laden and those who seek to kill Americans today, Hamas operatives are fair game for targeted assassinations. While the aim of Israeli Defense Force strikes on Hamas targets may not be any more perfect than those of their American counterparts elsewhere, they provide the only answer to an ideology that can’t be appeased.
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 at 8:33 AM | Stand for Israel
As we reported in today’s Daily Dispatch, the IDF killed three senior Hamas officials last night in an airstrike on the terror organization. Hamas retaliated with rocket attacks on Israel. Now The Jerusalem Post reports that 10,000 IDF reservists are being called up:
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The IDF has called up 10,000 reservists, who will replace other reserve forces that are being sent home for rest.
The cabinet approved the measure after the air force carried out an overnight targeted assassination of two senior Hamas terrorists and a lower ranking terrorist in the Gaza Strip.
A total of 86,000 reserves have been called up since the beginning of the conflict this summer, and many of them replaced conscripted ground forces in the West Bank, who were rotated to the Gaza border. Some reserve units have also taken up positions around Gaza.
Meanwhile, the IAF bombed 40 terrorist targets since midnight on Thursday. Half of the targets were struck after being detected in real time by a range of electronic sensors and intelligence gathering capabilities …
The IDF stated on Thursday evening that more than 300 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since Hamas broke the cease-fire on Tuesday afternoon.
Thursday, August 21st, 2014 at 9:58 AM | Stand For Israel