The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

IDF STRIKES 190 GAZA TERROR TARGETS OVER PAST 24 HOURS

July 22nd, 2014

IDF STRIKES 190 GAZA TERROR TARGETS OVER PAST 24 HOURS
By Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)

Golani unit kills 4 terrorists who opened fire on soldiers; Paratroopers direct air strike at detected terrorist cell.

The IDF struck some 190 terrorist targets over the past 24 hours in the Gaza Strip, including over 100 in the area of Shejaia, the army said Tuesday.

Targets included underground rocket launcher, homes of terrorists used as command and control centers, a site used to produce weapons, military structures, tunnels, and surface to surface missile launchers.

Two more soldiers killed in Gaza, bringing IDF fatalities up to 27

The IDF attacked over 1,715 terrorist targets since the beginning of its ground offensive on Thursday night.

Ground units have so far uncovered 66 tunnel shafts that are part of 23 underground passages. Six tunnels have been destroyed. The army took 28 terrorists into custody, the army added.

On Monday night, a Golani unit killed four terrorists who opened fire on it. Later, an IAF aircraft and a Paratroopers unit struck seven terrorists, including snipers, who fired on soldiers. During the exchange of fire, St.-Sgt. Ohad Shemesh was killed and 13 were injured.

Overnight between Monday and Tuesday, the army detected a Hamas control room, which served as a command and control center. The building was attacked by the air force and destroyed.

On Tuesday morning, Paratroopers detected a terrorist cell, and directed an air strike against it. Ten terrorists were killed in the attack, and additional members of the cell were seen escaping in an ambulance. The IDF did not bomb the ambulance in order to avoid harming noncombatants.

A few hours later, Paratroopers directed tank fire at a cell of three terrorists. The cell was hit in the attack, the army said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the IDF identified a cell that opened fire on the army. Soldiers fired at it, killing a terrorist, the army added.

Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the IDF is allowing the transfer of humanitarian equipment and goods into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

READERS’ QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT GAZA

July 22nd, 2014

READERS’ QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT GAZA
By Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post Article)

How will Israel deal with the latest developments in the Gaza Strip, and what are its plans for the day after fighting ends?

Herb Keinon, the diplomatic correspondent at The Jerusalem Post, moved to Israel from Denver some 30 years ago. He has been at the Post since 1985, and has covered a wide range of beats since then. He took over the diplomatic beat in August 2000. Keinon has a BA in political science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an MA in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He is the author of one book: Lone Soldiers: Israel’s Defenders from Around the World.

Herb recently took the time to answer questions submitted by Jpost readers on Israeli diplomacy in the face of the current operation in Gaza.

Q. Why is it so difficult for Israel to win the media war? We know Gaza has been independent for over 9 years, we know that Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization that uses children as human shields and hence the causalities. Why are we still not being able to get the world outraged at the Hamas?

A. The old platitude one picture is worth a thousand words holds very true here. Even with the most reasoned, cogent, sound arguments by the most eloquent Israeli spokesperson, it is difficult to compete with pictures of dead civilians. Television is not built for context.

Q. Can Israel go into Gaza, conquer it, and than call for the UN to control it until Palestinians are ready to rule. That was done in Kosovo, it can be done here.

A. Israel has the ability to conquer Gaza. The question is whether it wants to pay the price to do so, and – if so – then what?

Israel would be very wary of a UN administration of the Strip. Would the UN be willing and able to prevent Hamas from re-taking Gaza, or keep it from re-arming in Gaza?

The UN was supposed to ensure that southern Lebanon would be demilitarized, except for the Lebanese army, after the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The result: Hizbullah’s missile arsenal went from 6,000 missiles before the war, to more than 60,000 now. Israel is likely to look at other alternatives beyond the UN for the ‘day after” the guns fall silent in Gaza.

Q. Is there a connection between Israel’s war strategy and the ongoing nuclear power negotiations between the USA and Iran, Hamas’ sponsor?

Israel is keen on degrading Hamas’ capabilities irrespective of the negotiations with Iran.

However, Iran is a strong backer of the terror groups in Gaza – Hamas and Islamic Jihad – and Jerusalem will argue that if this is the way they act without an Iranian nuclear umbrella, imagine what they could do – or try to do – if their main backer had nuclear capabilities.

Iran sows instability and violence everywhere throughout the Mideast. Israel has tried to get the US to put it’s behavior throughout the region on the table in the nuclear negotiations, and that the issues should not be divorced. The US has opposed this approach up until now. The current situation will strengthen Israel’s argument.

Q. Can a permanent DMZ be instituted in northern Gaza to help protect against incoming Hamas missiles?

A. A DMZ in northern Gaza would not necessarily solve the problems of the rockets, since they could be moved further south and still easily reach Israel. The DMZ, however, could help deal with the tunnel problems, since the further Hamas is from the border, the more difficult it would be to burrow into Israel.

Q. What will be Israel’s response, should the EU take at least the political arm of Hamas off its list of terrorist organizations?

A. There is no indication that this is in the offing.

Q. How will Israel handle a strong condemnation of its general policy in regard to occupation, settlements, peace-process, which is expected to come out next week from the meeting of the EU foreign ministers?

A. Israel is working on the diplomatic channel to fend off just such a condemnation.

It is clear that much of the world will, after the fighting stops, say that it illustrates the need for a comprehensive agreement.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said over the last couple of weeks – and will argue after the campaign is over – that the tunnels coming from Gaza show precisely why Israel cannot cede security control over territory, because when it it does, the terrorist organizations can use that territory to build terrorist tunnels into Israel.

The well-worn disagreements with the EU over the diplomatic process and the settlements will continue, and likely intensify, after the Gaza campaign.

ISIS IS OPERATING IN GAZA!

July 21st, 2014

ISIS IS OPERATING IN GAZA!
by Rachel Levy and Adi Kochavi

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot shows rockets being fired from the Gaza strip into Israel, on July 13, 2014.V A rocket fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights on July 13, 2014, falling on open ground and causing no casualties, an army spokeswoman told AFP.

ISIS: We Are Operating in Gaza

The extremist terror organization is establishing a toehold inside Gaza, despite Hamas’ claims to the contrary

Two-plus weeks into Gaza’s current battle with Israel, ceasefire negotiations are stalled, Israeli forces are mobilizing for a potential ground invasion from the north and east, and the Egyptian government to the south is indifferent. Gazans are finding themselves increasingly isolated.

But not, it seems, alone.

Vocal analysis of deep web chatter in ISIS forums suggests that the extremist Sunni organization, which has taken over roughly half of Iraq and threatens Assad in Syria, has ties with militant groups operating in Gaza.

While Hamas has dominated Gaza since 2005, dozens of rival Islamist factions operate in the strip. Over the past few weeks, two Salafist groups have pledged allegiance to ISIS and claimed responsibility for rocket fire into Israel. As Vocativ reported at the end of June, the group formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis changed its name to Al Dalwa Al-Islamia—which translates to “The Islamic State.” A few days ago, on July 10, the group claimed to have fired a battery of rockets at the Israeli town of Bnei Netzarim in a YouTube video.

A second Salafist terror group, Ansar Al-Dalwa al-Islamia (“Supporters of the Islamic State”), boasted of its own rocket barrage one day earlier, on June 9. Neither claim of responsibility can be independently verified, however ISIS has published details about both instances of rocket fire on their forums, which is tantamount to a welcome-to-the-network embrace.

Any ISIS presence in Gaza, fledgling as it may be, is a pterodactyl-sized feather in the cap of the radical Islamist group, which has threatened Israel from its inception. A recent series of tweets posted on July 9 reads: “Patience, Jews, our appointment is at Jerusalem tomorrow,” and “Jews, we have broken the border.”

ISIS may have broken another border as well: According to Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt’s security forces reportedly arrested 15 ISIS terrorists who tried to enter Sinai from the Gaza Strip. The report contends that a Gazan terrorist group helped ISIS carry out attacks on Egyptian civilians. Hamas spokesperson Eyad al-Bazam called the reports “lies and fabrications” and part of a campaign to “distort the image of the Gaza Strip.” He went on to flatly say, ”There is no presence of ISIS in Gaza.”

Beyond the claims and counter-claims, ISIS support among Gazans is growing—at least on on Twitter and YouTube, and in forums.

“From Gaza, our sheikh Baghdadi, we are your soldiers. [ISIS hashtag.]”

A group of young men from Gaza pledge allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a video that was uploaded last week.

Some Gazans are also active in ISIS forums, calling on the group to come to their aide in lieu of Hamas’ ineffectiveness.

“I am one of ISIS’ supporters in Gaza, and I ask the caliph [Al-Baghdadi] to intervene and stop the bloodshed, but I know that ISIS is busy and can’t intervene in Palestine now.”

“We ask the caliphate to support the Salafis jihadis groups in Gaza with money and weapons. We don’t have enough strong men. We want your help, we want your help, we want you help… Those with the wrong way [Hamas] have the support of Iran and the Shiite, and we sit in our houses as women, without weapons. Our situation is bad. …We cannot get out [of Gaza] because of Egypt and we cannot fight here in Gaza because lack of resources.”

HAMAS BANDITS

July 21st, 2014

HAMAS BANDITS
By Ted Poe (Jerusalem Post Article)

Lest there be any doubt, Hamas is a band of terrorists. Israel on the other hand is a sovereign nation, and, like every nation, has a natural right of self-defense.

As Hamas rockets continue to rain down on Israeli civilians, Israel has once again begun to find itself being portrayed internationally as the villain for defending itself. Lest there be any doubt, Hamas is a band of terrorists. Israel on the other hand is a sovereign nation, and, like every nation, has a natural right of self-defense.

Unlike virtually every other nation, however, Israel pursues this natural right in arguably the most morally upright and forthright manner in the annals of history. Regrettably, the United States has not done nearly enough to stand with Israel and give the Israeli government a diplomatically protective “green light” to once and for all neutralize the Hamas terrorist threat.

Iranian-backed Hamas fires rockets into Israel from Gaza. Israel defends itself thanks to the Iron Dome, which eliminates many rockets. But Hamas reloads and keeps shooting rockets into Israel. Israel now wants to go after the Hamas bandits. Israel’s rules of engagement are designed to minimize civilian and non-combatant casualties, while still allowing for robust self-defense.

This protocol is at times a tactical handicap for Israel.

Israel goes to great lengths to do everything it can to protect civilian lives. When Israel targets a terrorists hiding in “civilian” buildings in Gaza, Israel often warns the local populace of an impending defensive strike, sometimes by dropping leaflets or making phone calls to individual Gazans in the zone. At times, before an actual attack, Israel uses the “knock on the roof” tactic (firing small, precise, non-explosive ordinance at a roof) to urge folks to vacate the premises.

Hamas, on the other hand, does not value any human life. By all accounts, Hamas urges, and sometimes forces Gazans back into targeted buildings.

Some reports say Hamas’ command and control operations are located underneath hospitals and schools. They are willing to cower behind women, children, the elderly and the sick. This is a continuation of longstanding Palestinian policy: provoke Israeli defensive counterattacks that will cause civilian casualties.

The Hamas propaganda slogan declares: “We love death more than the Jews love life.” This routinely forces Israel into the bizarre scenario of caring more about Palestinian Arab lives than their purported champions in the Palestinian Authority. To the international community, however, it appears none of this really matters.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council issued a unanimous statement calling for a cease-fire and “for respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.” The UN insists that Israelis and Palestinians return to the negotiating table “with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on the twostate solution.” This was followed by comments from the UN Human Rights Commissioner questioning the legality of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip. He even suggested that Israel deliberately killed civilians in Gaza.

Unfortunately, more often than not, this has become the response from the UN. History reveals that Hamas has used cease-fires as a “time out” to rearm itself with more Iranian rockets. Then at some “appropriate time,” it shoots them into Israel again. The US is following suit and backing off Israel’s right to defend herself. It, too, wants negotiations.

The self-righteous international community misses the heart of the matter.

To place a recognized terrorist organization like Hamas on the same level as the democratic, sovereign State of Israel is not only wrong, it’s nutty. The most important difference between Hamas (and by extension the PLO, since they have yet to revoke their Palestinian Authority unity government with Hamas), and Israel is that Hamas’s goal is the destruction of the Jewish state.

The international outsiders cry peace, peace, but there can be no peace as long as Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Israel exists because the Jews persist in surviving.

The United States’ legal, moral and sane response should be to support the Jewish state by encouraging Israel to, once and for all, end the terrorist threat to Israelis posed by Hamas. Hamas must be defeated. This will also protect Palestinian Arab civilian lives. The United States must stand with Israel in this effort. We must work to thwart diplomatic narratives that legitimize Hamas. We Americans must end our own political and financial support for the current Palestinian leadership that supports Hamas. We must make clear to the world that the Jewish State of Israel will, in fact, endure – whether Hamas and Iran like it or not.

And that’s just the way it is.

TRUCE EFFORTS INTENSIFY AS KERRY, BAN HEAD TO CAIRO

July 21st, 2014

TRUCE EFFORTS INTENSIFY AS KERRY, BAN HEAD TO CAIRO
by AFP

World efforts to end two weeks of deadly violence in and around Gaza stepped up a gear on Monday as the US top diplomat and the UN chief both headed to Cairo.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was flying to the region after President Barack Obama urged an “immediate ceasefire”, echoing a call by the UN Security Council.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon was already in the region on a whistlestop tour to build support for a truce and was to meet the ruler of Kuwait, current chair of the Arab League, before heading to the Egyptian capital.

The new momentum for a ceasefire came as the Palestinian Arab death toll in Gaza topped 500, many of them civilians, and the Israeli army said 18 of its soldiers had been killed, its heaviest losses in eight years.

Egypt has been a mediator in past Israel-Palestinian conflicts and has taken the lead in trying to broker a truce between Israel and its Islamist foe Hamas which dominates the Gaza Strip.

A first proposal Egypt made early last week was accepted by Israel but snubbed by Hamas, which said it was not consulted and demanded a raft of changes.

The Islamist movement wants Israel to agree to an end to its blockade of Gaza and the release of scores of prisoners before it will agree to halt its attacks, the latest of which saw 10 terrorists infiltrate southern Israel early on Monday.

It has received support from Qatar and Turkey, both considered to be Western allies that also have close relations with radical Islamists.

Kerry will seek “an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement,” the White House said, stressing the need to protect civilian life both “in Gaza and in Israel.”

It was referring to the Egyptian-brokered truce that ended the last major bout of fighting in and around Gaza, during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense.

That ceasefire stipulated that Israel ease its blockade of Gaza’s border crossings and coast, something Hamas complains was never fulfilled.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian Authority head president Mahmud Abbas were to hold talks in Qatar on the truce negotiations on Monday, a day later than planned.

The 2012 truce was brokered when Egypt was ruled by now-ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who had close relations with Hamas.

His successor President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi – who as army chief deposed Morsi – has taken a hard line with Hamas, accusing it of helping Egyptian Islamist terrorists.

Kerry has publicly defended Israel but appeared to criticize the US ally in candid remarks caught on an open microphone between television interviews on Sunday.

Kerry was heard talking about Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza to a State Department official identified as Jonathan Finer just before appearing on the “Fox News Sunday” political talk show.

“I hope they don’t think that’s an invitation to go do more,” Kerry says. “That better be the warning to them.”

A frustrated Kerry then says: “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation, it’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” in apparent frustration over the civilian toll in the Israeli operation.

“We’ve got to get over there,” Kerry is heard saying on the Sunday recording. “I think it’s crazy to be sitting around. Let’s go.”

The UN Security Council held urgent talks on the conflict late Sunday, expressing “serious concern” about the rising death toll and demanding “an immediate cessation of hostilities.”

Ban urged Israel to “exercise maximum restraint” saying: “Too many innocent people are dying.”

Sunday was the deadliest day of the conflict so far with more than 150 Palestinians killed in a blistering bombardment that left bodies lying in the streets and sent thousands of civilians fleeing their homes.

The Israeli army said 13 soldiers were also killed, its heaviest single day losses since 2006.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT GAZA?

July 20th, 2014

WHAT TO DO ABOUT GAZA?
by Yitzhak Klein (Jerusalem Post Article)

These “open zones” are critical to enable Israel to detect threats approaching the border well in advance, and to provide a buffer.
Gaza border.

Operation Protective Edge is Israel’s third major assault against the Hamas regime in Gaza since the latter took power. In the previous operation, Pillar of Defense, Israel bombed Gaza from the air; ground forces were not used. In the operation before that, Cast Lead, Israeli ground forces entered Gaza and operated there for a few days. Neither operation put an end to the threat to Israeli civilians from Gaza.

Israel faces an apparent dilemma.

Public opinion is strongly opposed to a restoration of Israeli control over the hostile Arab population of Gaza. At the same time, it seems clear that no lasting solution to the problem of Gaza can be conceived unless the Hamas regime is disarmed, or at least put in a position where it can neither build up its inventory of rockets nor replace those it fires at Israel. Despite Egypt’s hostility to the Hamas regime, Egypt has proven incapable of preventing the seepage of rockets, explosives and the tools to produce weapons into Gaza.

There is a solution, however. Israel needs to isolate the Hamas regime hermetically from all its sources of supply in the outside world. At a minimum, Israel needs to take over and hold permanently a “sterile zone” along the border between Gaza and Egypt wide enough to fulfill two requirements: First, it must be too wide to tunnel under. Second, it must enable Israel to extend the security zone which currently almost surrounds Gaza so as to complete the encirclement of Gaza on three sides, southwest, southeast and northeast, the sea forming the northwest, fourth side of the box.

This security zone is not simply a fence. It is a multi-layered defense system which includes a strip of open, unobstructed land several hundred meters wide on Hamas’ side of the border fence and another on Israel’s side.

These open zones are critical to enable Israel to detect threats approaching the border well in advance, and to provide a buffer between the border fence and civilian as well as military targets (such as kibbutzim and army bases).

Put together these requirements and Israel’s new security perimeter has to be drawn no closer to the Egyptian border than north and east of the Gazan town of Rafiah, which is located on that border.

The IDF has just advised 100,000 Palestinians to leave the area along the Gaza perimeter, and they’d be very wise to do so posthaste. Israel is not required to let them back. According to international treaties, in a war situation Israel has the right to remove a hostile enemy population from areas where their presence constitutes a security threat, as long as it does not remove the population onto Israel’s territory. In other words, Israel can force the population of Rafiah and its environs to move further northeast into the Gaza strip, beyond the security zone Israel needs to create along Gaza’s border with Egypt, and to stay there.

That’s exactly what Israel should do. It is not a very nice thing to do, but firing rockets indiscriminately at five million Israeli civilians is not a nice thing to do either. And unlike the rocket fire, it would be legal under international law.

Even before Operation Protective Edge started, Gaza was not a pleasant place to live. It will be an even more unpleasant place after the operation ends. Thousands of residential buildings will have been destroyed and a lot of infrastructure. Israel will have to cut off the supply of significant products: concrete for construction, because it can be used to build fortifications; most kinds of fertilizer, because they can be turned into bombs; pipes and most kinds of unfinished metals, because they can be used to make rockets; and most machine tools. Of course, the population of the southwestern end of Gaza will have been turned out of their homes, and there is not exactly an abundance of available housing in Gaza.

Israel cannot use force to expel people from the Gaza Strip, but it can make things easier for those who want to leave. It could offer, say, 5,000 euros per person and airfare to any family that wants to start life over somewhere else.

They don’t have to emigrate to wealthy Western countries; there are plenty of places in the world that look better than how Gaza will look in a couple of weeks.

Israel should encourage as many Gazans as possible to leave and do everything it can to facilitate their absorption in distant lands. Even if Israel were to spend up to a billion euros a year on this project, less than one percent of our GDP, the contribution it would make to our security is worth more than any alternative use of the money.

Who knows? Perhaps in 10 years the leaders of Hamas, surveying their remaining rockets and the wreckage of their ghost towns, may themselves decide to take advantage of Israel’s aid in emigrating. Bon voyage!

HAMAS BREAKS HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE

July 20th, 2014

HAMAS BREAKS HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE
by Tova Dvorin (Arutz Sheva News)

Over 30 IDF soldiers have reportedly been injured in Sheijaya, Walla! News reports Sunday, after the IDF carried out heavy shelling in the city east of Gaza City.

The strike reportedly involved huge forces in tanks and artillery.

Since starting the ground phase of the operation on Thursday night, the IDF has killed 130 terrorists and wounded 800, a senior official updated Sunday morning.

Palestinian Arab networks claim that “dozens” have been killed in the shelling, which extended from Saturday night to Sunday morning.

Among the dead are the family members of senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya, according to multiple sources, after their house was shelled in Gaza City itself.

According to Yediot Aharonot, Hamas has reportedly submitted a request for another “humanitarian ceasefire” after the shelling, handing the request through the International Red Crescent.

“The ICRC contacted (us) and offered to broker a three-hour humanitarian truce to enable ambulances to evacuate the dead and wounded and Hamas accepted it,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

Contacted by AFP, an ICRC spokesman refused to confirm or deny the report, saying only: “We have been making every effort to ensure ways to evacuate the dead and the wounded.”

Earlier, reports from respectable sources indicated that Israel has rejected the request, as Hamas continued to attack Israel during last week’s attempt at such a move.

However, in a sudden reversal, Israel agreed to a two-hour humanitarian ceasefire on Sunday afternoon, pledging to stop the airstrikes from 1:30-3:30 pm IST. The IDF has asked all Gazans to evacuate Sheijaya, as well as Saladin near Gaza City, in advance of airstrikes resuming later Sunday.

But the ceasefire did not last long, however – as Hamas broke the truce just 40 minutes in.

“Once more, Hamas breaches ceasefire, this time brokered by the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) for a humanitarian hiatus. IDF responding accordingly,” army spokesman Peter Lerner said on his official Twitter account in a posting just 40 minutes into the truce.

HOW TO WIN IN GAZA

July 19th, 2014

HOW TO WIN IN GAZA
By Caroline B. Glick (Jerusalem Post article)

In fighting Hamas today, Israel finds itself in a better position than it has faced in past fights with Hamas.

Israel deployed ground forces in Gaza Thursday night both because Hamas’s terror tunnels into Israel have become an unacceptable threat, and because it had to break the deadlock that had developed between it and Hamas.

Until the ground invasion, Israel and Hamas were in a holding pattern. Hamas would not accept a ceasefire deal because Egypt’s offers provided the Iranian sponsored, Muslim Brotherhood terror army with no discernible achievements. And absent such achievements, Hamas prefers to keep fighting. Israel for its part is unwilling to make any concessions to Hamas in exchange for its cessation of its criminal terror war that targets innocent civilians in Israel as a matter of course.

As Hamas sees things, it has three ways of winning.

First, if Israel had agreed to ceasefire terms that left Hamas better off than it was when it started its newest round of indiscriminate missile attacks against Israeli civilian targets, then it could have declared victory.

Hamas’s terms for a ceasefire included, among other things, an open border with Egypt, egress to the sea, open access to the border zone with Israel, an airport, a sea port, and the release of terrorists from Israeli prisons. Obviously, if Israel agreed to even a few of these terms, its agreement would have constituted a strategic victory for Hamas.

The second way for Hamas to win is if it is able to accuse Israel of killing a large number of Palestinians at one time In that case, Hamas can expect for the US to join with the EU and the UN in forcing Israel to accept ceasefire terms that require it to make significant concessions to the Palestinians in Gaza as well as in Judea and Samaria.

This is what happened in Hizbullah’s war with Israel in 2006. During the fighting, Hizbullah alleged that Israel killed a great number of Lebanese civilians in Kfar Kana. Those allegations caused then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to effectively end US support for Israel’s war effort. Rice quickly coerced Israel into accepting ceasefire terms that paved the way for Hizbullah’s takeover of the Lebanese government.

If Hamas is able to create a similar situation in Gaza, it will likely achieve the same sort of strategic victory over Israel.

Finally, if Hamas is able to produce a picture of victory that can burnish its reputation as the leader of the jihad against the Jews throughout the Islamic world, then it will be able to declare victory. Operations such as Hamas’s repeated attempts to launch mass casualty attacks in Israeli communities along the border with Gaza by infiltrating Israeli territory through its underground tunnel networks, have been geared towards achieving such an end.

Since Hamas initiated the current round of warfare against Israel, Israelis have been split in their assessments of how best to win the war. Still now, with ground forces deployed in Gaza, the dispute over the proper goal of the operation remains significant.

Although everyone supports the troops, politicians on the Left, led, most openly by Labor party leader Isaac Herzog say that Israel should limit its goals to the maximum extent and seek a ceasefire because “there is no military solution” to the conflict with Hamas.

Israel’s best bet, they say, is to do everything it can to end the Hamas missile strikes as quickly as possible through negotiations. At the same time, Herzog argues, since there is only a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian conflict with Israel, Israel needs to send negotiators to Ramallah to beg Palestinian Authority President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.

There are several basic problems with the Left’s position.

First, Hamas and its partners in Gaza from Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda affiliated jihadist militia and Fatah have no interest whatsoever in peaceful coexistence with Israel. They exist to fight Israel. This means that the only way that Israel can get them to stop fighting is by using its military force to convince them that it is not in their interest to continue shooting.

In other words, the only “solution” to Hamas’s aggression is a military solution.

Then there is the bizarre notion that a deal with Fatah is somehow the silver bullet that will end the military threat to Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

A deal between Israel and Fatah in Judea and Samaria would have no effect whatsoever on the situation on the ground in Gaza. Given Hamas’s absolute rejection of peace with Israel, and widespread support for Israel’s destruction throughout Palestinian society, a peace deal between Israel and Fatah in Judea and Samaria would in all likelihood increase Hamas’s prestige among Palestinians and throughout the Muslim world. In other words a peace deal with Fatah would enhance Hamas’s prestige and power and ultimately bring about an expansion of its military capabilities.

Beyond that, Abbas has ruled the PA for the past decade. Throughout this period, he consistently demonstrated through deed and word that he will never, ever sign a peace treaty with Israel. Abbas has twice rejected offers of peace and statehood from Israel. Just three months ago he rejected another offer from US President Barack Obama. During the same period, he has signed three peace deals with Hamas. The most recent one is now in force, on the ground.

Since Hamas initiated its newest round of criminal projectile assaults on Israel, Abbas has acted as a full partner in the war. He has represented Hamas internationally. He has negotiated on its behalf – and continues to do so in Cairo.

Abbas has slandered Israel in the most obscene terms. His Fatah group has actively participated in the missile offensive, on the ground in Gaza. It has also proclaimed its absolute unity of purpose with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the war against Israel in daily official pronouncements.

Given all of this, the notion that Israel can pin a diplomatic strategy for ending Hamas’s war against it on Fatah is not merely ridiculous. It is inexcusably irresponsible for would-be national leaders to maintain faith with it. The only purpose such behavior serves is to reinforce the Americans and Europeans in their delusional faith that the chimerical two-state solution is a recipe for utopian peace rather than war, bloodshed and radicalization.

On the other hand, the Right, led most outspokenly by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman insists that the role of IDF ground forces in Gaza should be to reconquer the area with the aim of destroying Hamas’s capacity to continue shooting rockets and missiles. Only such a ground-based operation, they claim will eliminate the threat of Hamas’s projectiles.

There are several problems with this position.

First, it makes assumptions about Hamas that are not necessarily correct.

It is far from clear that the only way to destroy Hamas and end its capacity to harm Israel is to reconquer Gaza.

The main reason that Hamas began the current war is because the terror group is in distress.

The Egyptians have cut off the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood’s financial and military supply lines through the Sinai. Hamas of the summer of 2014 is not Hizbullah from the summer of 2006. Hizbullah had open supply lines from Iran through Syria and Turkey. Hamas is locked in between Israel and Egypt.

Moreover, Hamas is challenged on the ground in Gaza by the same jihadist groups that now fight with it against Israel. If Hamas cannot produce a victory in this round of fighting then its friends from al Qaeda affiliates and from Islamic Jihad will renew their challenge to its authority. Add to the mix the response of a public angry at Hamas for forcing it to serve as human shields for missiles and terror masters who were unable to bring home the bacon so to speak by fighting, and there is a reasonable chance that Hamas will face a full-blown insurrection once a ceasefire with Israel goes into effect.

The only way for Hamas to avert this fate is by being able to point to significant gains from the fighting that will neutralize at least some of its opponents and rivals.

In other words, Israel doesn’t have to reconquer Gaza to destroy Hamas. We just have to humiliate Hamas and knock out capabilities like the tunnel networks that immediately threaten us. And then let the Gazans fight it out.

Finally, a full-scale ground invasion is a risky proposition. There is no assurance of success. Israel deployed ground forces in south Lebanon in 2006. But due to incompetent national and military leadership, the forces achieved little from a strategic perspective while absorbing painful losses.

Israel faces an acute operational challenge in Gaza. The nine year absence of IDF forces and Israeli civilians on the ground has wrecked Israel’s intelligence gathering capabilities and so limited the IDF’s operational effectiveness. If in 2004 Israel was able to defeat Hamas through targeted killing of its commanders, repeating that success today without good human intelligence assets on the ground is a much more difficult prospect.

This is why we are already beginning to see diminishing results from the air campaign. Without human assets on the ground, the IDF either cannot locate or cannot get to the remaining high value targets.

Unless Israel is able to change this situation fairly rapidly, it will not be able to sufficiently diminish Hamas’s capabilities to convince Hamas’s leadership that they are better off ending the current fight without achieving anything significant than maintaining it until they do.

This is why the government was finally compelled to order the ground campaign.

Ground forces are required to develop the information Israel needs to kill a large enough number of Hamas leaders and destroy the tunnel complexes and a large enough quantity of missiles and launchers to convince Hamas’s terror masters to cry, “Uncle.”

While the ground operations continue, Israeli negotiators should be avidly agreeing to every ceasefire offer that denies Hamas any achievements. The IDF must continue to exercise an abundance of caution to prevent Hamas from luring our forces into a situation where we will be accused of massacring Palestinians.

None of this is easy or simple. No result is guaranteed. But in fighting Hamas today, Israel finds itself in a better position than it has faced in past fights with Hamas. For the first time, we face an enemy with a limited shelf life. Without supply lines from Egypt, Hamas cannot fight forever. Its allies at the UN can feed its forces and protect Hamas from an insurrection from a starving population. But the UN cannot rearm Hamas. It cannot reopen the smuggling tunnels from Egypt to enable materiel, money and trainers to enter Gaza.

Hamas is desperate for anything it can call a victory. By denying it one on the one hand, while taking action to force its leaders to prefer organizational humiliation to personal destruction on the other, Israel can win a decisive victory.

WHY EVANGELICALS SUPPORT ISRAEL

July 18th, 2014

WHY EVANGELICALS SUPPORT ISRAEL
by David Hocking (Hope for Today Ministries)

There are many evangelicals who do not support Israel. They believe in “replacement theology” – that the church has replaced Israel in God’s prophetic program. Some call themselves by the Latin word “preterist” – which means “past.” They believe that God’s judgment fell on Israel in 70 AD by the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome.

Those “evangelicals” who do support Israel usually do so for the following reasons:

1. BECAUSE ISRAEL IS THE MOST FREQUENTLY-MENTIONED SUBJECT IN THE BIBLE NEXT TO THE LORD HIMSELF!
(2566 times)

2. BECAUSE GOD HAS CHOSEN HER OUT OF ALL NATIONS!
Deuteronomy 7:6-9

3. BECAUSE GOD HAS IDENTIFIED HIMSELF WITH HER!
He is called “the Holy One of Israel” – 31 times; the “God of Israel” 203 times and the “Lord G0d of Israel” 108 times.

4. BECAUSE GOD HAS A SPECIAL LOVE FOR HER!
Deuteronomy 7:8; Jeremiah 31:1-3

5. BECAUSE GOD HAS GIVEN HER LAND THAT HE CALLS HIS OWN!
Genesis 15:18; 17:7-8; Leviticus 25:23

6. BECAUSE GOD WILL NEVER FORSAKE HER!
Isaiah 41:17; 54:5-8; 62:11-12

7. BECAUSE GOD WILL RESTORE HER TO HER PROMISED LAND!
Deuteronomy 30:3-10; Isaiah 35:10;
Jeremiah 30:1-2; Ezekiel 36:24, 28;
37:13-14; Amos 9:13-15

8. BECAUSE GOD WILL DESTROY ALL NATIONS WHO COME AGAINST HER!
Isaiah 41:11-12; Zechariah 12:9

9. BECAUSE GOD WILL COME AND DWELL IN HER MIDST!
Zechariah 2:10-13

10. BECAUSE GOD WILL BRING SALVATION TO THE WORLD THROUGH THE MESSIAH OF ISRAEL!
Isaiah 11:1-10; 45:22; 59:20-60:3; 62:11; Jeremiah 23:5-6

NETANYAHU DEFENDS ISRAEL’S ACTIONS

July 18th, 2014

NETANYAHU DEFENDS ISRAEL’S ACTIONS
by Hezki Ezra, Tova Dvorin (Arutz Sheva News)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at length about the ground offensive in Gaza on Friday, as Operation Protective Edge against Hamas enters its eleventh day.

“This is the tenth day that Israel has had to endure terrorism on its cities and its citizens,” he said. “The IDF is operating against Hamas in Gaza by sea, by air, and now by land.”

“Our forces began a ground operation to harm terror tunnels that extend from Gaza to penetrate Israeli territory,” he continued. “Hamas terrorists penetrated a terror tunnel like this yesterday morning in order to carry out a mass attack against Israeli civilians. The IDF worked hard to foil this terrorist operation successfully.”

Netanyahu reiterated that instances like these render an air operation ineffective in fully fighting Hamas.

“Because they cannot destroy the tunnels by air, our soldiers will work from the ground,” he said. “This does not guarantee a 100% success rate, but we are doing everything to eradicate the most tunnels possible.”

Netanyahu also expressed sorrow and condolences over the first fatality in the ground offensive, 20 year-old IDF soldier Sgt. Eitan Barak.

‘No other options’

Netanyahu also emphasized that Operation Protective Edge may yet extend even further into Gaza, something the Security Cabinet is prepared to execute for the sake of eradicating Hamas – whom has left Israel with few options to defend itself.

“The decision yesterday followed Israel’s agreement to Egypt’s proposal to a ceasefire, as well as the UN initiative for a humanitarian truce,” he noted. “In both cases Hamas continued to fire rockets.”

“We chose a ground offensive after we have exhausted other options, with the understanding that without the operation, the price to pay would be much higher.”

So far, 1,497 rockets were fired on Israeli civilians from Gaza. Of those, 1,093 hit Israel; 301 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Roughly 100 have been estimated to have struck Gaza itself, killing an untold number of Palestinian Arab civilians.

The IDF has eliminated 2,037 terror targets in Gaza.

Debunking criticism over civilian casualties

The Prime Minister also addressed Israel’s talks with the international community, after several countries called out Israel for ‘proportionality’ in the Gaza offensive.

Even before launching Operation Protective Edge last week, Netanyahu had spoken with world leaders about the escalation from Gaza, he said.

“Since then, we have worked tirelessly on the political and media fronts, so that the international community understands that we operate systematically and intensely against a murderous terrorist organization and its affiliates,” he said. “The IDF is a moral army that does not wish to harm even one innocent person; we only operate against terror targets and we regret any unintentional harm to civilians.”

Netanyahu noted, once again, what Hamas itself stated on multiple occasions: that it encourages civilians to become human shields.

“Anyone responsible for harming innocent bystanders are terrorist organizations that attack our citizens and use civilians as their shields,” he fired. “I know that global opinion always has a distorted picture of the campaign; it is inevitable – but unlike other times, there are many in the international community who understand that the persons responsible for these deaths is Hamas and only Hamas.”

Hamas’s PR war

Hamas has openly boasted about the “success” of its strategy of using civilians as human shields during Operation Protective Edge, which is now ending its tenth day, and the IDF has published extensive evidence of the practice.

Hamas has in the past urged Gazans to ignore warnings from the IDF about upcoming strikes, in remarks caught both on Hamas-sponsored television and on the radar of international media outlets. Hamas’s “Public Security Ministry” in Gaza even made official statements Thursday encouraging more civilians to refuse to heed IDF warnings ahead of a possible ground offensive.

In addition, several of the rockets fired from Gaza have never made it on to Israeli soil, and may be partially responsible for Palestinian Arab deaths from within Gaza itself.

By contrast, the IDF has dropped leaflets, sent phone messages, and issued general warnings to all civilians within range of upcoming airstrikes to prevent further harm.

While many in the international media have embraced the Gazan civilian casualty count as proof of Israeli “war crimes,” CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, claimed Monday that many of those reported dead are likely Hamas terrorists.

In a study analyzing Al-Jazeera’s list of Gazan casualties, it said, a close look at the data “shows that, as in past hostilities, the fatalities are disproportionately [compared to the overall population] among young males, which corresponds with the characteristics of combatants. Males over 40 years old are also disproportionately represented. Some of the fatalities in those over 40 years of age likely represent senior members of terrorist organizations.


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