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

LIVNI SURPRISES: NO CEASE-FIRE WITH HAMAS

July 24th, 2014

LIVNI SURPRISES: NO CEASE-FIRE WITH HAMAS
by Tova Dvorin (IsraelNationalNews)

The end of Operation Protective Edge depends on Hamas, not Israel, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (HaTnua) made clear Thursday.

“I never thought about how to reach an agreement with terrorist organizations,” Livni said in an interview with Walla! News. “We must hit terrorist organizations.”

She added that a ceasefire agreement, while brokered by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, would not solve much. Livni’s hard-line stance will be surprising to some given the criticism she faced during her former role as chief negotiator with the PA, when she was accused of being too willing to compromise.

“Hamas is the problem,” she said. “Some people seem to think every military activity should be brought to an end in imagined agreements, and that an agreement should be made with Hamas.”

“I say no – it’s not truly strategic to talk to Hamas, to pay for quiet,” she stated, “I’m not ready to give extremist elements in the region what they want to see.”

“We do not need their (Hamas’s) approval for a cease-fire,” Livni clarified. “I am in favor of deterrence, of executing military operations against Hamas until it is deterred.”

Livni also, surprisingly, rejected the assumption that – despite the IDF’s progress in destroying terror tunnels – the time for a cease-fire is now.

“It’s too early to tell whether we have reached [that deterrence],” she said. “We are currently working hard on the ground to pause the operation to check [our status].”

Livni did stress that Israel “should” work with the international community and the PA to broker a ceasefire – even if it becomes a matter of Israel, the international community, and the PA on the one side, and Hamas, Turkey, or Qatar on the other, in her words.

“Our arrangements should be made with the world, and with the PA, who wants to talk to us,” she insisted, adding that even if a one-sided truce was reached, the IAF should respond.

“We live in a tough neighborhood,” Livni said, “Hamas is an Islamist extremist, and they are not going to change tomorrow morning after this operation.”

“I don’t promise that, tomorrow morning, we will wake up to being like Europe,” she said. “The question is: how do we deal with it?”

Livni, who has been a staunch supporter of peace talks despite Fatah’s unity pact with Hamas earlier this year, has surprisingly advocated an operation in Gaza to counter the terror since the early hours of the offensive.

NETANYAHU: WE CANNOT GIVE OUR ATTACKERS IMMUNITY

July 24th, 2014

Netanyahu: WE CANNOT GIVE OUR ATTACKERS IMMUNITY
by Hezki Ezra, Tova Dvorin (Arutz Sheva News)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Thursday, thanking Britain for its support and stressing the need to understand Israel’s struggle to defend itself in light of the UK’s own history.

“You, as a representative of the UK, of Britain, have a special understanding – at least, a historical understanding – of what we’re undergoing,” Netanyahu began. “There’s only been one other instance when a democracy was rocketed and pelleted by projectiles of death, and that’s Britain during World War Two.”

“Israel is undergoing a similar bombardment now,” he noted. “We are responding, in our own way, by targeting the rocketeers and seeking to ferret out these terrorists, who are firing behind civilians at our civilians.”

“This is a double war crime,” he continued. “And naturally, it’s made more difficult for us to fight this criminality. As I’ve just shown you, the terrorists are firing rockets from schools, from mosques, from hospitals, heavily at civilian populations.”

“We have to try, and are doing our best, to minimize civilian casualties, but we cannot give our attackers immunity,” he added. “We seek, as best as we can, to target them – but all the civilian deaths that are there – and we regret each one of them – are the responsibility of Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad terrorists that are in league with them.”

Netanyahu then took a stab at the United Nations Human Right’s Council (UNHRC)’s condemnations of Israel. The decision to launch an inquiry was made shortly after UNHRC chief Navi Pillay said that there is a “strong possibility” that Israel was violating international law through Operation Protective Edge.

“This use of human shields is extraordinarily cynical, grotesque, it’s inhumane – but what is equally grotesque is that Israel was condemned in the Human Rights Council,” he noted. “It’s a travesty of justice, it’s a travesty of fairness, it’s a travesty of common sense, it’s a travesty of truth.”

“It will not prevent us from continuing to act to defend our people, to protect against rocket attacks, and to dismantle the vast terror tunnel network that we have seen that is geared to penetrate our territory,” he added.

Netanyahu also thanked the UK for its support of Israel over the past several days, as well as the fact that British Airways, the UK’s national carrier, continued to fly to Israel despite a bandwagon of bans.

“I thank you for keeping your moral focus and your moral clarity – we shall need it in the days ahead,” he concluded.

‘Israel has the right to defend itself’

Hammond responded by clarifying the UK’s unwavering support for Israel’s need to defend itself.

“Britain has been very clear, I’ve been very clear, Prime Minister [David] Cameron has been very clear that this current cycle of violence was triggered by Hamas firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli towns and cities, indiscriminately and in breach of international humanitarian law,” he began.

“Britain has also been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens.”

Hammond then expressed, however, “grave concern” for the “level of civilian casualties” and said that Britain wants to see a ceasefire “quickly agreed.”

“We welcomed the earlier cease-fire proposal by Egypt, and we are grateful to you, Prime Minister, for your immediate agreement to it,” he added, “and we are disappointed that Hamas has apparently, once again, rejected ceasefire proposals.”

IDF RETURNS FIRE AFTER TERRORISTS ATTACK FROM GAZA HOSPITAL

July 23rd, 2014

IDF RETURNS FIRE AFTER TERRORISTS ATTACK FROM GAZA HOSPITAL
by Ido Ben-Porat and Ari Soffer (Arutz Sheva News)

The IDF has struck a terrorist position in Gaza’s Al Wafa hospital, illustrating the highly sensitive and illegal use of civilian targets as human shields by Hamas and other Gazan terrorist groups.

IDF sources say that the controversial decision to attack the position was taken after several days in which ground forces came under heavy fire from gunmen positioned inside the hospital grounds. The fire reportedly included both light weaponry and heavy anti-tank missiles directed towards IDF armored vehicles.

“The hospital premises were being used as war rooms and command centers by the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” said an IDF spokesperson.

The military added that it had repeatedly warned international agencies and the Palestinian head of the hospital directly about the gunfire from the hospital, as well as several other senior Palestinian officials – but to no avail. Instead, in the past several hours the intensity of the attacks has only increased, posing a real and imminent danger to the lives of soldiers operating in the area, forcing the IDF to respond with fire of its own.

In the past day the IDF has killed approximately 30 terrorists, and overnight the Israeli Air Force struck 120 targets in the flashpoint Gaza neighborhood of Shajaia where heavy battles are still raging.

Since Operation Protective Edge began 16 days ago, some 3,200 terrorist positions have been hit in Gaza and 28 terrorists were arrested by IDF forces. Some 80 tunnels and concealed rocket launchers have also been exposed by IDF ground forces.

According to the military in the last day or so terrorists have upped their efforts to attack ground forces searching for the tunnels, which are used to store and transport rockets and also to plan infiltration attacks into southern Israel.

An IDF spokesman added that the decrease in rocket attacks on Israeli population centers in the past few days is not indicative of terrorists “running low” on rockets, and urged Israeli citizens not to become complacent and to continue taking the necessary precautions and following the instructions of the Home Front Command.

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.


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