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

HAMAS NOT INTERESTED IN RETURN TO FULL BLOWN GAZA CONFLICT, EVEN IF CAIRO TALKS FAIL

August 18th, 2014

HAMAS NOT INTERESTED IN FULL-BLOWN GAZA CONFLICT, EVEN IF CAIRO TALKS FAIL
By JPOST.COM STAFF

Diplomatic source tells ‘Maariv Hashavua’ that Hamas is facing heavy pressure from Egypt not to provoke Israel into wide confrontation.

Israel pessimistic agreement will be reached by expiration of cease-fire at midnight

Egypt and Norway to host donor conference for Gaza reconstruction

The five-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is set to expire at midnight on Monday, and as of now, there are no signs of a breakthrough to reach a long-term deal between the sides in Cairo negotiations.

As the sides returned to Cairo for further talks on Monday, members of the Palestinian delegation expressed pessimism and estimated that efforts to reach a deal were not likely to succeed.

An Israeli diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew-language sister publication, Maariv Hashavua, that “it is very unlikely that a full-blown military conflict between Hamas and us will reignite, even if no deal is reached in Cairo.”

The source added that “Hamas has not shown signs that it is interested in returning to a wide-scale confrontation. We are hearing reports from Cairo that Hamas is facing heavy pressure from Egypt and others.”

Hamas is also facing economic pressure that is likely to prevent it from provoking Israel to carry out further attacks in Gaza, according to the source.

The source said reports that the leadership of Hamas is willing to delay negotiations on its demand for a seaport for a month also are a sign that the organization is not interested in a renewal of hostilities.

Palestinian media reported on Monday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would be traveling to Qatar in the near future for talks with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and later visiting Cairo to discuss cease-fire efforts with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi.

ISRAEL THREATENS HAMAS WITH MASSIVE RETALIATION AS CEASE-FIRE ENTERS FINAL DAY

August 17th, 2014

ISRAEL THREATENS HAMAS WITH MASSIVE RETALIATION AS CEASE-FIRE ENTERS FINAL DAY!
By Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh (Arutz Sheva News)

Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers that Hamas was mistaken if it thought that it could cover its military defeat over the last month with a diplomatic achievement.

Netanyahu: Hamas will not be able to cover its military defeat with a diplomatic victory

Bennett calls on Israel to immediately halt negotiations with Hamas

A day before the midnight expiration of a five-day ceasefire, Israel sent out clear messages on Sunday that it will respond massively to any type of fire from Gaza and not tolerate a long-term “war of attrition.”

“It is not clear whether there will be an agreement,” a senior diplomatic official said as the Israeli and Palestinian delegations held indirect talks in Cairo.

If no agreement is agreed upon, the official said, there are two possibilities. The first is that no cease-fire extension or agreement is reached by Monday at midnight, and Hamas renews its firing. “If that happens,” he said, “Israel’s response will be strong.”

He said an example of Israel’s likely reaction was last weekend’s breakdown of the cease-fire, when Hamas fired mortars at Israel and the IAF responded by hitting 170 terrorist targets inside Gaza.

The other possibility is that the cease-fire lapses, but the firing does not resume, in which case efforts would continue to find a longer-term arrangement, the official said.

But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers at the opening of the weekly Sunday cabinet meeting that Hamas is mistaken if it thinks it can cover its military defeat over the last month with a diplomatic achievement.

In an apparent response to Hamas’s threats to engage Israel in a long war of attrition if its demands were not met, Netanyahu said further that “if Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.”

“In the turbulent and unstable Middle East in which we live, it is not enough just to have more strength, you also need determination and patience,” he said. “Hamas knows that we are very strong, but perhaps it thinks we do not have enough determination and patience. And here it is making a big mistake as well.”

Netanyahu said that Israel is a “strong and determined” nation, whose citizens and soldiers showed “amazing resilience and fortitude” during the Gaza operation and which will stand “steadfast and united” until “quiet and security” are returned to the country’s citizens.

Netanyahu said that Hamas suffered a harsh military blow, which included the destruction of the attack-tunnel network it spent years building, the killing of “hundreds of terrorists,” the interception of thousands of rockets, and the prevention of terrorist attacks from the “land, sea, and air.”

“If Hamas thinks that by a continuation of a drizzle of rocket fire we will make concessions, it is mistaken,” Netanyahu said. “As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very hard blows.”

Netanyahu stressed that the Israeli delegation to the indirect talks in Cairo is working under “very clear directives” to insist on Israel’s security demands. “Only if there will be a clear answer to our security needs will we agree to any understandings,” he said.

Diplomatic sources said that one of the key messages Netanyahu conveyed during the cabinet meeting, and which he will repeat in the upcoming days, is the need for patience in the war of nerves Hamas is waging with the Israeli public.

A subtext of this message is that the Gaza operation is not yet completed, that more time is needed, and that the greater the patience and resolve of the country, the greater the chance that Israel will be able to achieve its goal of long-term security for the South.

Netanyahu briefed his ministers on the situation in Gaza, as did Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen.

One of the problems in the negotiations, it has emerged, is that the Palestinian delegation to Cairo – made up of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad representatives – is not a united group. For instance, while the Palestinian Authority under Fatah accepted the Egyptian proposals weeks ago, this was not binding on Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

And even among Hamas, there are differences of opinion between its leader Khaled Mashaal, who sits in Qatar, and the leadership in Gaza, which is more eager to come to an agreement. According to Israel, meanwhile, Qatar should be viewed as a state sponsor of terrorism, since it is Hamas’s main financial backer.

Before the cabinet meeting, disparities between some of the key ministers became apparent, with Finance Minister Yair Lapid promoting his idea for an international conference, and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett saying that Israel should halt the talks in Cairo.

Lapid, who is to travel to Germany for two days on Wednesday and promote the idea of an international conference as a vehicle for a long-term resolution to the Gaza crisis, said the outline of any agreement needed to be that there would not be a rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip without its disarmament, and there would not be a cease-fire agreement without quiet for the residents of the South.

Bennett called for an immediate end to the indirect negotiations with Hamas, saying that a situation where Israel is “biting its nails waiting for the answer of a murderous terrorist organizations must end.”

He said that Israel should immediately cease the talks, and adopt the following formula: “Yes to humanitarian aid to Gaza, no to terrorism.”

Under this formula, Israel would allow the passage of food and medicine to Gaza’s residents “without limit,” but would act “without limits” as well toward any weapons factory or terrorist tunnels found, or against any Hamas leaders.

Israel must extract a heavy price from Hamas for firing on its citizens, he said, adding that “any other arrangement that will tie our hands will bring the next war closer.”

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the most important element Israel must insist on is the demilitarization of Gaza. He said that Israel must not accede to Hamas’s demands for a seaport or airport, saying that this would be nothing more than “duty free for rockets and missiles. This would mean that if up until now we suffered from Grad and Fajr missiles from Gaza, in the future it would be Scuds.”

One official said that Hamas is pushing for a seaport because this would allow Iranian ships to dock and unload weaponry. Likewise, he said, Iran is very keen on securing access to a Mediterranean port.

In a related development, Israel agreed to lift the fishing ban it clamped on Gaza during the military operation, and will now allow fishing up to three miles from the coast.

Meanwhile, the head of the Palestinian delegation to the cease-fire talks in Cairo expressed hope that an agreement over a permanent truce with Israel would be reached in the coming hours.

Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official and head of the delegation, was speaking shortly after holding talks in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence officials and other members of the Palestinian team from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

“We won’t accept any weak agreement,” al-Ahmed said. “Any deal should meet the demands and goals of the Palestinian people, first and foremost halting the aggression, lifting the siege, and launching work to rebuild the Gaza Strip.”

He added that the Palestinian delegation would hold a meeting late Sunday with Egyptian intelligence officials to hear about the Israeli reply to the demands.

Meanwhile, Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials reiterated their refusal to make concessions on their demands.

Izzat al-Risheq, a Hamas member of the delegation, said the Palestinians would not give up the rights of their people “who made sacrifices for the resistance.”

He said that the Palestinian delegation’s goal is to “solidify the victory of the resistance with a political victory at the indirect talks in Cairo.”

USA CONFIRMS AIRSTRIKES ON ISIS TARGETS IN IRAQ

August 17th, 2014

USA CONFIRMS AIRSTRIKES ON ISIS TARGETS IN IRAQ
by Arutz Sheva Staff

The United States military confirms it conducted nine airstrikes in an effort to help Kurdish forces retake areas in Iraq from IS jihadists.

The United States military confirmed on Saturday night it conducted nine airstrikes near Arbil and Iraq’s largest dam in an effort to help Kurdish forces retake it from violent extremists, AFP reported.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said fighter jets and drones had destroyed or damaged four armored personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armored vehicle.

CENTCOM “conducted these strikes under authority to support humanitarian efforts in Iraq, as well as to protect US personnel and facilities,” it added.

“All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.”

Kurdish forces attacked the Islamic State (IS) fighters who wrested the Mosul dam from them a week earlier, a general told AFP.

“Kurdish peshmerga, with U.S. air support, have seized control of the eastern side of the dam” complex, Major General Abdulrahman Korini told AFP, saying several IS men had been killed.

U.S. President Barack Obama recently authorized “limited airstrikes” following threats of an impending genocide committed by IS against the local Yazidi people.

The Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria it captured, forced tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians to flee their homes or face certain death.

Members of the group have also taken hundreds of Yazidi women captive and have been holding them in schools in Mosul.

BENNETT: “YES” TO HUMANITARIAN AID – “NO” TO TERROR!

August 17th, 2014

BENNETT: “YES” TO HUMANITARIAN AID – “NO” TO TERROR!
by Hezki Ezra (Arutz Sheva News)

Security Cabinet member, Economics Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett called on Israel to immediately halt negotiations in Cairo on Sunday, saying any truce agreement is bound to bring another war with Hamas.

“This situation, in which we are biting our nails in nervous anticipation of a reply from a murderous terrorist organization should be stopped,” Bennett urged. “We must immediately stop negotiations with Hamas, and take fate into our own hands, under a simple premise: humanitarianism – yes, terrorism – no.”

Bennett explained that instead of acquiescing to Hamas’s demands via international mediation, Israel should instead address civilian casualties in Gaza by increasing humanitarian aid – and then hitting Hamas hard in retaliation for future rocket attacks. Throughout the month-long conflict, Israel continued to provide humanitarian aid to Gazans despite the ongoing rocket fire on Israelis.

“Gazans face the decision of allowing passing humanitarian goods into Gaza, such as food and medicine, as we work against all the weapons or tunnels and the option of allowing senior Hamas officials to operate unrestricted,” he said. “Every other proposal binds our hands and brings the next war.”

Bennett has pushed for Israel to cease negotiations on multiple occasions, as a shaky temporary ceasefire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad continues despite the dubious reliability of such a pact.

Last week, Bennett slammed the idea of “calm for cash,” noting that the time and money afforded by the ceasefire is allowing terror organizations to re-arm.

“Over the last day, reports have surfaced that Israel has agreed to finance Hamas’s officials in Gaza,” Bennett fired. “This is a dangerous euphemism. This is political protection money: you pay us, then we’ll shoot you later; you don’t pay us, then we’ll shoot you right now.”

The money will inevitably go toward rebuilding terror tunnels, and manufacturing or importing missiles, Bennett said.

“This is a formula of calm for cash,” he continued. This way, he explained, “the State of Israel leaves Gaza with the continued strengthening of Hamas and damage to our deterrence. It is impossible to fight our enemy with one hand and to fund it with the other.”

THE NUMBERS GAME

August 16th, 2014

THE NUMBERS GAME
(Jerusalem Post Article)

Practically all “martyr statistics” depended on the word of one man – Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Ashraf al-Kudra. Shifa Hospital. The most effective weapon that Hamas wielded against Israel throughout Operation Protective Edge was its manipulation of civilian casualty numbers and images. The distorted information was used to provoke hate campaigns against Israel and/or Jews worldwide and to misrepresent Israel’s self-defense as a calculated massacre of helpless civilians.

Some of the ploys were cynical beyond belief.

Photos of dead bodies from the Syrian civil war were recycled as Gazan victims of Israeli malevolence. Even pictures of the Fogel family children, slaughtered inside their Itamar home in 2011 by Palestinian terrorists, were presented as Arabs murdered by Israeli troops.

Footage from the emergency room at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City was rerun continually as if chronicling new incidents. Patients brought in due to disease, accidents and domestic violence were exhibited as casualties of deliberate Israeli barbarity.

But none of this rivaled the numbers game.

Practically all “martyr statistics” depended on the word of one man – Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Ashraf al-Kudra. Unchallenged, he could raise numbers capriciously and exponentially.

His assertions became gospel, parroted religiously by most media organizations, and he could finagle the ratios of combatants versus noncombatants, of children versus adults, of men versus women. The “Israel disproportionality” canard, smacking of the medieval blood libel, was thus crucially underpinned.

The upshot was that Hamas provided the so-called “objective data” with which Israel was walloped. It was Hamas that told foreign onlookers that Israel targeted small children and elderly women.

Nevertheless, painstaking analysis of available figures is under way at the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center near Herzliya. Its in-depth breakdown of the data reveals that nearly half of the Gazan fatalities were terrorists killed in action. Whether or not they wore uniforms or something akin to them, it was clear Hamas had ordered that they not be identified as fighters.

In fact, the ratio of noncombatant to combatant casualties in Gaza (approximately 1:1) is uncommonly low in the history of urban warfare and attests to extreme caution by the IDF (especially given Hamas’s predilection for using noncombatants as human shields and firing from residential areas including schools. In addition, the terrorists’ fire often accidentally fire into their own population centers.

The dawning realization that the picture painted by Hamas is a bit too pat to withstand even sympathetic scrutiny has led some news outlets – and hardly ones that could by any criteria be regarded as sympathetic to Israel – to step back from the assumption that Gaza disseminates truth and that Israel merits automatic censure.

According to an exhaustive analysis by The New York Times, “the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll. They are 9% of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34% of those killed whose ages were provided.

“At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71% of the population and 33% of the known-age casualties.”

Here we must interject that Dr. Kudra doesn’t always provide information on ages, and his accuracy, when he does, is not readily verifiable.

Similarly, under the heading of “Caution needed with Gaza casualty figures,” the BBC admitted that “we do not yet know for sure how many of the dead in Gaza are civilians and how many were fighters. This is in no sense the fault of the UN employees collecting the figures – their statistics are accompanied by caveats and described as preliminary and subject to revision. But it does mean that some of the conclusions being drawn from them may be premature.”

To be sure, sifting through statistics lacks the dramatic immediacy of Hamas’s blood-and-gore propaganda.

Often corroboration comes too late. In Operation Cast lead, Hamas insisted that all but 50 fatalities were innocent civilians. Years later it owned up that it lost between 600 and 700 fighters (which was what the IDF maintained all along).

Unfortunately, the bigger and more blatant the lie, the harder it is to set the record straight. Still, Israel cannot neglect this seemingly Sisyphean quest for the truth.

SANCTIFIED THROUGH SACRIFICE – THE HOLINESS OF THE IDF UNIFORM

August 16th, 2014

SANCTIFIED THROUGH SACRIFICE – THE HOLINESS OF THE IDF UNIFORM
Fundamentally Freund (Jerusalem Post)

Seventy years ago, Jews were being gassed at Auschwitz and worked to death at Majdanek. Now, they put on the IDF uniform and proudly bear arms, fighting back against those who seek our destruction.

Looking at the hardy fabric, I picked it up and held it in my hand, assessing its texture like an expert jeweler scrutinizing a precious stone. But before I knew it, my thoughts had strayed, wandering from the material in my grasp to more cerebral matters of the mind. And a few poignant subjects of the heart.

This, I told myself, is what my son had worn during his foray into Hamastan, from where he and his unit had thankfully emerged unscathed.

This is the attire that he had slept and fought in, this is the garb that he was unable to change for weeks on end, as it absorbed his sweat along with his experiences.

His uniform, I suddenly realized, had an irrevocable bond with him – one that I could not, and will not, ever have.

This unassuming piece of clothing had been to war with him and back, while I, his father, could do little more than pray and worry from afar.

The simple fact that he was wearing this uniform, which identified him as an Israeli, was enough to prompt Palestinian gunmen and snipers to fire at him.

“What have I done?” I asked myself in an impulsive moment of guilt. My boy, the child whom I had brought to live in Israel when he was barely a year old, was performing military service and risking his life for cause and country, while young people his age back in America were partying their way through college.

This uniform, this collection of threads, more than anything else, symbolized the sacrifice he was making, giving three of the best years of his life to protect the Land of Israel and the People of Israel.

“Have I done the right thing?” I wondered, posing a question that parents down through the ages have used to torment themselves. I gripped the uniform ever more firmly, closing my hand in a fist, as if to punish it for my very own deeds.

But the Zionist within me would have none of it, swatting away the fleeting dose of self-imposed guilt, bringing me back firmly to a much better reality.

For God’s sake, it berated me, don’t you realize what you hold in your hands? It is a piece of Jewish history, an item that countless Jews for the past 2,000 years could only dream of: A Jewish uniform that belongs to a Jewish army tasked with defending Jews in their own land.

What could possibly be more holy? Seventy years ago, Jews were being gassed at Auschwitz and worked to death at Majdanek. Now, they put on the IDF uniform and proudly bear arms, fighting back against those who seek our destruction.

These garments, which represented the revolution in Jewish existence that had taken place when we regained our sovereignty in 1948, the ones that only a moment ago had caused me to question some of my major life decisions, began to take on a new importance.

The IDF uniform, such as the one I held in my hand, had restored our national pride and reinvigorated our collective sense of destiny. It symbolized the return of the Jewish people to the world stage, and the end of our dependence on the mercy of others, a tangible precursor to the Messianic era.

My grip began to loosen.

And then I remembered two very special stories about rabbinical giants from two very different worlds, both of which underline how essential it is to appreciate what a special generation we are privileged to live in.

Once, a student approached the late haredi leader Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach to seek permission to travel to the Galilee while yeshiva was in session, in order to pray at the graves of the righteous.

After listening to the query, he replied, “To pray at the graves of the righteous, you don’t need to go to the Galilee. You can go instead to Mount Herzl, to the graves of the soldiers who died in sanctification of God’s name.”

And then there is an incident involving the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, head of the RIETS rabbinical school at New York’s Yeshiva University. Known as “the Rav,” he was a pivotal figure in American Orthodoxy.

Once he was visited by a student who served in the IDF and whose job was cleaning and maintaining the tanks. Often his uniform would get dirty and he wanted to know if he needed to change his clothing before reciting the afternoon Minha prayer. The student explained that while it would be possible for him to do so, it would be difficult and very inconvenient.

Astonished, the Rav looked at the student and said, “Why would you need to change? You are wearing bigdei kodesh, holy clothes.”

Indeed, it may be hard for the modern mind to conceive of a piece of clothing as bearing holiness, particularly in our day and age, when the fashion industry has taught us to see the wardrobe as an enhancement of physical beauty.

But the IDF uniform is truly unique. It has been elevated to a special status by centuries of Jewish yearning, and sanctified through the sacrifice of countless young Israeli men and women who have fought to defend this country.

It is not merely a shirt and a pair of pants, but a badge of honor for all who wear it, one that provides our society with a sense of existential cohesion and purpose.

What parent would not be proud to see his child adorn this set of clothes? Normally, it is sons who look up to their fathers as larger than life, flesh-and-blood heroes.

But as I carefully laid the uniform back down on the chair, tenderly flattening its creases and crinkles, I realized that when your son comes home from a war in defense of the Jewish people, the opposite is no less true.

EGYPT’S 11 POINT CEASEFIRE PLAN REVEALED

August 15th, 2014

EGYPT’S 11 POINT CEASEFIRE PLAN REVEALED
By Elad Benari, Canada

The Egyptian newspaper Al-Shourouq published on Friday afternoon what it said was an 11-point plan proposed by Egypt to Israel and Hamas in order to bring about a long-term ceasefire in Gaza.

According to the report, the 11 points are as follows:

1. Israel will stop the attacks in Gaza, from sea, land and air. There will be no ground entries of Israeli troops into Gaza.

2. All the factions in Gaza will stop the attacks on Israel by land, sea and air. The construction of the terror tunnels will be stopped as well.

3. Movement of people and goods for the purpose of rebuilding Gaza will be permitted, as well as trade of goods from Judea and Samaria and Gaza, and vice versa, in accordance with the principles to be agreed upon between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

4. Israeli authorities will coordinate with the Palestinian Authority any matters related to finances and the reconstruction of Gaza.

5. Elimination of the buffer zone in northern and eastern Gaza and deployment of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces starting January 1, 2015.

6. Freedom of fishing and movement in the territorial waters of Gaza within six miles. The range will be gradually increased to no less than 12 miles, in coordination between the PA and Israel.

7. Israeli authorities will assist the Palestinian Authority in rebuilding the damaged infrastructure in Gaza, and will help meet the needs of those who were forced to flee their homes because of the fighting. In addition, Israel will provide urgent medical assistance to the wounded, and bring in food and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

8. The Palestinian Authority in coordination with the Israeli authorities and international organizations will provide the basic products needed to rehabilitate Gaza, according to a defined schedule that will allow for the rapid return of displaced persons to their homes as soon as possible.

9. Egypt urges the international community to provide urgent humanitarian assistance and raise the funds needed to rebuild Gaza, according to a defined schedule.

10. After the ceasefire is stabilized and normal life resumes in Gaza, the two sides will complete the indirect talks in Cairo, within one month from the date of the agreement which has not yet been signed.

11. Ways to set up and operate an airport and a seaport in Gaza, in accordance with the Oslo Accords and other previous agreements, will be discussed.

According to Channel 2 News, Israel and the PA have not yet submitted their response to the Egyptian proposal. Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem told the channel that Israel has not yet agreed to any proposal.

“Israel insists that any agreements clearly express Israel’s security needs,” they stressed.

Earlier Friday, an Islamic Jihad spokesperson claimed that a truce deal with Israel will be signed as soon the current five-day ceasefire ends next Monday at midnight.

The statements come after Islamic Jihad second-in-command Ziad Nahala said Friday the war with Israel is “behind us,” adding “we have no choice but to reach a truce agreement.”

However, another senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, Halad al-Batash, said Thursday night that his organization may embark on a long-term ceasefire even if a long-term truce deal is not reached with Israel.

The statement roughly mirrors that of Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), who on Friday pushed for a unilateral end of the Gaza operation without an agreement with Hamas, accompanied by several Israeli concessions and an essential return to the status quo.

BENNETT CALLS TO UNILATERALLY END GAZA OPERATION

August 15th, 2014

BENNETT CALLS TO UNILATERALLY END GAZA OPERATION
by Ari Yashar (IsraelNationalNews)

As the Security Cabinet meeting in the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem ended Friday morning, Cabinet member and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) called for Israel to unilaterally end Operation Protective Edge.

The minister said Israel should stop the operation without an agreement with Hamas, allowing the IDF to continue actions against the terror tunnels in Gaza while easing the blockade of the Hamas terror enclave.

Bennett claimed that the unilateral opening of border crossings between Israel and Gaza, as well as the expansion of the Gaza naval fishing zone, could give Israel international legitimization. He argued that such concessions made unilaterally would not be as damaging to Israel politically and militarily as if they were made in a truce deal with Hamas.

“If Hamas will understand that we have durability, it will end in days,” Bennett said, according to Walla!. “The situation between Israel and Hamas is completely asymmetrical – they lost most of their tunnels and rockets, but the IDF can continue and increase its response power.”

Bennett added “we won’t make an agreement that harms our right to damage the terror tunnels,” noting on the extensive web of tunnels exposed during Operation Protective Edge that were lethally employed by the terrorists against the IDF.

Those tunnels were reportedly intended to be used in a plan to launch a massacre on communities near Gaza on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. While over 30 tunnels were destroyed in the operation, those include only the tunnels found by the IDF up till now.

The call for unilateral action comes after Bennett on Thursday likewise called to “open up the crossings into Gaza for humanitarian equipment, and respond with disproportionate force to any fire on the southern communities.”

While Bennett’s call appears to basically signify a return to the status quo before the operation, aside from the concessions and continued ability to attack terror tunnels, around 10,000 Israelis poured into downtown Tel Aviv late Thursday, calling for the government to end the attacks from Gaza once and for all by taking decisive action.

The war is over?

Bennett’s comments come the same Friday that Islamic Jihad second-in-command Ziad Nahala said the war with Israel is “behind us.” The night before, Nahala said Egypt talked Israel out of its security demands to disarm Gaza, end the smuggling into the Hamas enclave and the local weapons production, as well as have the terror tunnels disclosed.

An Israeli proposal presented to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas and Islamic Jihad delegation in Cairo was reported by the Palestinian Arab Ma’an News Agency on Friday.

According to it, Israel stipulated that border crossings between it and Gaza would be opened, but only with a detailed agreement with the PA. The move apparently echoes an Egyptian offer to have the PA monitor the Rafah Crossing to Sinai.

The reported proposal also would have Israel gradually cancel the “periphery” no-entry zone on the Gaza side of the border, meant to prevent terrorist infiltration, and supply aid to the PA in rebuilding Gaza.

ISLAMIC JIHAD WEIGHING LONG-TERM CEASEFIRE WITHOUT TRUCE

August 15th, 2014

ISLAMIC JIHAD WEIGHING LONG-TERM CEASEFIRE WITHOUT TRUCE
by Ari Yashar (Arutz Sheva News)

Almost in parallel of Economics Minister Naftali Bennett’s (Jewish Home) plan to unilaterally end the Gaza operation without a truce agreement with Hamas, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad said his group is also considering a long-term ceasefire, even without a deal.

The senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, Halad al-Batash, said Thursday night that his organization may put down their arms for now and accept a long-term ceasefire even in the absence of a truce deal with Israel, reports Walla!.

In the interview with Al Mayadeen, al-Batash stated “we decided not to sign on an agreement that would be bad for the Palestinians. If our demands are not answered, we will examine the possibility of a long-term ceasefire, so as to defend the sons of our nation.”

Al-Batash revealed that Israel offered to concede to the demand for a sea and airport in Gaza in return for the demilitarization of the terror enclave, an offer which was refused.

Likewise, “any demand to leave any periphery area – even of one meter” was rejected according to al-Batash, referring to the no-entry area on the Gaza side of the border instituted to prevent terrorist infiltration. According to reports in the Palestinian Arab Ma’an News Agency of an Israeli proposal, the Jewish state agreed to gradually cancel the periphery area.

If needed, Islamic Jihad is ready for a long war of attrition against Israel according to al-Batash.

However, in contrast to his appraisal, Islamic Jihad second-in-command Ziad Nahala said Friday that the war with Israel “is behind us,” adding “we have no choice but to reach a truce agreement.”

“The great destruction caused by the war obligates us to leave this (war) status,” said Nahala, who added that the Gaza terror groups would get to keep their weapons in a proposed agreement, claiming “our achievements from the war are acceptable to the Palestinian people.”

Whether Hamas is thinking along the same lines as Islamic Jihad remains unclear.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday assessed that the Palestinian Arab delegation “is a delegation with five heads, which includes the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and various Hamas factions.”

OBAMA SAYS HUMANITARIAN CRISIS HAS BEEN AVERTED!

August 14th, 2014

OBAMA SAYS HUMANITARIAN CRISIS HAS BEEN AVERTED!

WASHINGTON – The humanitarian crisis facing religious minorities stranded on a mountaintop in northern Iraq has been averted, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday, after the US Air Force conducted strikes on terrorists at its base and delivered seven tranches of much-needed aid.

Obama said the US had broken the Islamic State’s attempted siege of Iraq’s Yazidi minority.

“We helped vulnerable people reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives,” Obama said at a press briefing in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

“Because of these efforts we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain and it’s unlikely we are going to need to continue humanitarian airdrops on the mountain.”

The US military had been strategizing how best to guide the Yazidis from their refuge atop Mount Sinjar, where American officials feared a genocide might occur without military action.

US special forces were sent to the site to gauge the needs of the refugees and the population trapped there.

Obama said the US military would continue to protect American assets in and around Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, where the US has a consulate.

More than a dozen air strikes targeted Islamic State near Arbil, the State Department said on Thursday afternoon.

“We said we would break the siege of Mount Sinjar, and indeed have,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said, calling the development “a little bit of good news.”

Earlier in the day, Islamic State gunmen were massing near the Iraqi town of Qara Tappa, 122 km. north of Baghdad, security sources and a local official said, in an apparent bid to engage with more Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

The Sunni insurgents have in the past few weeks made a dramatic push through the north to a position near Arbil.

The movement around Qara Tappa suggests they are getting more confident and seek to grab more territory closer to the city after stalling in that region.

“The Islamic State is massing its militants near Qara Tappa,” said one of the security sources. “It seems they are going to broaden their front with the Kurdish fighters.”

Islamic State has been using tunnels built by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s to secretly move fighters, weapons and supplies from strongholds in western Iraq to towns just south of Baghdad.

The Sunni terrorist group, made up of Iraqis, other Arabs and foreign fighters, has threatened to march on Baghdad, part of its ambition to redraw the map of the Middle East and impose its radical version of Islam.


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