The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
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WHAT TO DO ABOUT GAZA?

Sunday, 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

Sunday, 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

Saturday, 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

Friday, 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

Friday, 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.

MY OUTLINE FOR A SOLUTION IN GAZA

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

MY OUTLINE FOR A SOLUTION IN GAZA
by Moshe Feiglin (Arutz Sheva News)

Moshe Feiglin is head of the Manhigut Yehudit [Jewish Leadership] faction…

ULTIMATUM – One warning from the Prime Minister of Israel to the enemy population, in which he announces that Israel is about to attack military targets in their area and urges those who are not involved and do not wish to be harmed to leave immediately. Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts. Hamas may unconditionally surrender and prevent the attack.

ATTACK – Attack the entire ‘target bank’ throughout Gaza with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning.

SIEGE – Parallel to the above, a total siege on Gaza. Nothing will enter the area. Israel, however, will allow exit from Gaza. (Civilians may go to Sinai, fighters may surrender to IDF forces).

DEFENSE – Any place from which Israel or Israel’s forces were attacked will be immediately attacked with full force and no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’.

CONQUER – After the IDF completes the “softening” of the targets with its fire-power, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.

ELIMINATION – The GSS and IDF will thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrong-doing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave.

SOVEREIGNTY – Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.

According to polls, most of the Arabs in Gaza wish to leave. Those who were not involved in anti-Israel activity will be offered a generous international emigration package. Those who choose to remain will receive permanent resident status. After a number of years of living in Israel and becoming accustomed to it, contingent on appropriate legislation in the Knesset and the authorization of the Minister of Interior, those who personally accept upon themselves Israel’s rule, substance and way of life of the Jewish State in its Land, will be offered Israeli citizenship.

ISRAEL SAYS NO TO GAZA CEASEFIRE DEAL

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

ISRAEL SAYS NO TO GAZA CEASEFIRE DEAL
by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Fear is Driving Hamas to Further Radicalize
Hamas Insists Gazans Remain at Home as Human Shields
Hamas: We Must Slaughter the Jews

Foreign media reports that Egypt has successfully brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas are untrue, government officials told Israeli media Thursday afternoon.

Israel had agreed to a five-hour humanitarian truce beginning Thursday morning. During that time, senior Israeli officials traveled to Cairo to take part in ceasefire talks. Jerusalem had already accepted an Egyptian truce proposal earlier in the week, but Hamas rejected the motion.

Gaza’s terrorist rulers insist that they have won this war, and that Israel must pay a price if it wants the rocket and missile attacks to cease. A 10-year truce proposal reportedly put forward by Hamas on Wednesday demanded that Israel pull its forces far back from the Gaza border, release all terrorists recently rounded up following the abduction and execution of three Jewish boys, end the blockade of Gaza and build an airport and sea port in Gaza.

With such terms on the table, many found it hard to believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had given a green light to the kind of ceasefire deal Hamas would accept.

Earlier in the week, senior Israeli officials had signaled they were no longer interested in a ceasefire, and that the Gaza conflict could only end with Hamas’ surrender.

Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz went a step further, and put forward a proposal for the terror group’s demilitarization, assuming it is truly interested first and foremost in nation-building, as some of Israel’s detractors claim.

Mofaz’s plan, in short, offers Hamas $50 billion in foreign investment in Gaza in exchange for giving up its arsenal of rockets and missiles, which at any rate represent a gross violation of Israel’s signed peace agreements with the Palestinians.

When Israel agreed to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal on Tuesday, Netanyahu suggested that it was in line with Mofaz’s thinking: “We agreed to the Egyptian proposal in order to give an opportunity for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip — from missiles, from rockets and from tunnels — through diplomatic means.”

ISRAEL HITS 100 TARGETS IN 24 HOURS

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

ISRAEL HITS 100 TARGETS IN 24 HOURS INCLUDED 47 BURIED LAUNCHERS
by Arutz Sheva Staff

The IDF Spokesman said Wednesday morning that the military attacked 39 terror targets in Hamas-run Gaza overnight. Over 1,750 terror targets have been hit since Operation Protective Edge began, on July 7.

In particular, last night the IDF carried out targeted attacks on four prominent terrorist leaders, and additional attacks on operational infrastructures that serve as part of Hamas’s base for terror activity against Israel.

In addition, the Navy carried out an attack on a terrorist position on the coast, from which operations were launched against Israel. Tank fire was also directed towards a terrorist position in Khan Yunis, killing one terrorist.

The IDF attacked about 100 targets in the last 24 hours, including 47 buried rocket launchers; “terror tunnels” used to store and transport weapons and facilitate infiltrations into Israel; sites for production and storage of weapons; and military compounds.

Among the targets struck overnight was the operational infrastructure of Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar, the operational infrastructure of Ismail al-Ashkar, a senior Hamas leader, and the operational infrastructure of Nasser Abu Nasser, a senior member of Hamas in central Gaza, which serves for the drawing up of wide ranging operational plans.

In addition, a compound that serves Hamas’s Interior Ministry was struck. The Interior Ministry is in charge of all of Hamas’s security mechanisms, except its “military wing” the Ezzadine al-Qassam Brigade. These mechanisms are deeply involved in the organization’s military activity and many of the structures serve for storage of weapons, launching of rockets at Israel, coordinating combat in times of emergency and more.

Hamas enlists a sizable portion of its assets and members to its “military” terror operations, blurring the distinction between civilian employees and members of the military. This makes many Hamas activists and assets legitimate targets, in terms of international law.

Israeli air raids were halted for several hours Tuesday, after Israel agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to end the fighting. Hamas, however, rejected the truce, and responded to the offer by firing more than 50 rockets at civilian targets in southern and central Israel. In response, the IDF was ordered to restart its military campaign by the Prime Minister and defense minister, who vowed to ramp-up military strikes as long as Hamas and other terrorist groups continued to target Israeli civilians.

The fresh raids hit Gaza City, southern Khan Yunis, Rafah and central Johr al-Deeq, and killed five people, most or all of whom appear to have been Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.

Also on Tuesday an Israeli man, 38-year-old Dror Hanin from Beit Aryeh, became the first Israeli fatality after terrorists launched a barrage of mortar fire as civilians were visiting soldiers at the border with Gaza.

THE GAZA QUESTION THAT MUST BE ANSWERED

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

THE GAZA QUESTION THAT MUST BE ANSWERED
By Michael Freund (Jerusalem Post Article)

The surest way to minimize the number of Palestinian rockets is to maximize Israeli control over Gaza. Allowing Hamas to command territory enables it to rearm, rebuild, reorganize for next round of fighting.

With Israel poised to launch a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the country finds itself at an important crossroads, one that could determine the strategic environment for many years to come.

The daily barrage of rocket fire, coupled with the ability of Hamas missiles to reach as far as Haifa, has once again brought to the fore a critical question, one that Israeli society and its leaders have wrestled with for much of the past decade but never really answered.

Simply put, it boils down to this: what price are we willing to pay to stamp out the threat from Hamas once and for all? For as previous experience has shown, limited military operations against Hamas in Gaza have had limited and largely lackluster results.

Operation Cast Lead, launched in December 2008, was aimed at halting Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel and putting an end to its smuggling of weapons. Needless to say, in the long run it achieved neither objective, although there was a short-term drop in the number of rockets and projectiles fired by Hamas in the two years following the three-week-long operation.

The same holds true for the November 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, during which Israeli air power delivered punishing blows to Hamas’ military infrastructure throughout the strip. In the eight-day long operation, the IDF struck some 1,500 targets, including launching pads, rocket manufacturing facilities and storehouses of weapons.

Once a cease-fire was reached, the government insisted that its goals had been fulfilled and that security and calm were in the offing. Nonetheless, in an ominous sign of what was yet to come, Palestinian terrorists fired 12 rockets at Israel from Gaza during the first hour after the cease-fire had taken effect.

True, as a result of Operation Pillar of Defense, 2013 saw the lowest number of Gaza rockets launched against Israel in over a decade, with a total of just 36 for the entire year.

But the relative quiet of last year proved to be short-lived, as we have all come to see in recent weeks. In effect, whatever damage was done in 2012 to Hamas’ capability to strike Israel bought us a mere 18 months of occasional quiet and failed to forestall the present wave of attacks.

In light of this experience, it is imperative that Israel consider carefully just what it aims to achieve with the current campaign, Operation Protective Edge, both in the short and long term.

Last Wednesday, in a revealing interview on Channel 10 news, former Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror, a retired major-general, spoke candidly about Israel’s past failings and the challenge that it currently faces.

“We’ve never landed a crushing blow that hurt the other side’s ability to launch missiles,” he said.

Stating that Israel could retake Gaza in under two weeks, Amidror added that the only way to ensure a complete end to rocket attacks would be “to retake Gaza and be there for six months to a year to clean it out.”

“Only then,” he said, “will we be in a situation where they won’t fire at Israel.”

Although such an approach would undoubtedly result in large numbers of Israeli casualties and enormous international pressure on the Jewish state, Amidror said he believes that “eventually there will be no choice.”

It all comes down, he pointed out, to “how much we are willing to pay for quiet in the south.”

Few of us, myself included, have the military knowledge, access to intelligence or acquaintance with the diplomatic moves going on behind the scenes to offer much in the way of an informed opinion about whether Israeli ground forces should now enter the strip.

But one thing is certainly clear: the surest way to minimize the number of Palestinian rockets is to maximize Israeli control over Gaza. Allowing a terrorist organization such as Hamas to command territory enables it to rearm, rebuild and reorganize for the next round of fighting.

As of this writing, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over 940 rockets at Israel since last week.

If the government agrees to an end to hostilities now, there might be quiet for a year or two, but we will simply find ourselves in a similar situation once again, as soon as Hamas decides that it is ready for another confrontation.

And that means that much of Israel, especially the south, will continue to live in the shadow of Hamas’ rocket arsenal.

Alternatively, Israel can push into Gaza with all its might, reassert control over the entire area and begin the messy and lengthy process of uprooting and cleaning out the Hamas presence. But that will neither be easy nor risk-free.

This is the quandary that Israel’s society and government now face. Either we learn to live with intermittent rocket fire, or we return to Gaza for a prolonged, and possibly open-ended, period.

It is a difficult dilemma, one that most of us have been avoiding for years. But we cannot and must not continue to do so. The time has come to confront this predicament, and to stop procrastinating along the way.

Whatever choice is ultimately made, let’s just hope it brings us all the security and peace of mind that we so richly deserve.

TRUCE TALKS ON HOLD AS IDF SEEKS TO CRUSH HAMAS

Monday, July 14th, 2014

TRUCE TALKS ON HOLD AS IDF SEEKS TO CRUSH HAMAS

Israel is hoping to cause long-term damage to Hamas’s military infrastructure before agreeing to ceasefire talks, officials say, as the deadly confrontation entered its seventh day Monday.

But it appeared to be in no hurry to launch a threatened ground operation as the air force continued to pound Gaza, bringing the Palestinian death toll to 172, and as terrorists fired barrages of rockets at central Israel, sending thousands running for cover in the country’s major cities.

“The Israeli government at this stage is not answering ceasefire efforts because we want to know first that we have taken away Hamas’s desire to do this again in another year or six months,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid told army radio on Sunday.

“That’s not happened yet. When it does, then we’ll talk.”

So far, the Israeli military campaign has been almost entirely from the air.

“The IDF (military) has hit Gaza very hard, but has not hit Hamas’s armed wing hard enough,” former military intelligence head Amos Yadlin told army radio, saying that so far, only around 50 of the victims were believed to belong to the Islamist movement. Others hit include Islamic Jihad terrorists and a small number of members of other terrorist groups.

Several civilians have also been killed as Hamas continues to enlist “human shields” to protect its positions from IAF strikes.

“Things are moving to another stage in which it will try to exact a very high price from Hamas’s armed wing and strengthen both our position in the ceasefire negotiations and our deterrence, as well as hitting Hamas’s ability to become stronger after the operation,” Yadlin added.

Despite the pressure, Hamas has also shown little appetite for a truce, and has rejected ceasefire proposals outright. The Islamist group insists that Israel give in to its conditions for a ceasefire, including a total end to the blockade on Gaza and the release of terrorists arrested in the IDF’s ongoing crackdown on Hamas in Judea and Samaria.

‘Hamas’s pain map’

According to a senior military official, the army is operating according to a so-called “pain map” drawn up after the last major confrontation with Hamas terrorists in November 2012, that sets out targets most valuable to the Islamist movement.

“This will impair its abilities and force it into a difficult process, as long as possible, of post-war rehabilitation,” he told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The harder we hit them, the longer and more difficult the (rehabilitation) process, and more effective the deterrence.”

Although Israel has massed tanks and troops along the border, confirming its readiness for a ground assault, ministers at a late-night cabinet meeting decided against putting boots on the ground – at least for now, media reports said.

“A good outcome would be damaging the Hamas infrastructure and its ability to produce rockets,” the military source said.

Following days of intensive air strikes, Israel had managed to hit Hamas sufficiently hard that any ceasefire agreement reached now would likely halt rocket fire for a “very long time,” Yadlin said, suggesting Israel had a longer-term goal in mind.

“If the aim is to achieve ‘quiet for quiet’ and to strengthen deterrence, I think those aims have been reached,” he said.

“If the aim is to deal a very heavy blow to Hamas’s armed wing and damage its future ability to recover and become strong again … there is no doubt that the army must continue this campaign.”

Truce in waiting

Meanwhile, Israel was holding mediation efforts at bay.

“We are not addressing any (truce) offer,” an Israeli official said.

“The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to return the quiet to Israel for a long period, while dealing a significant blow to Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

“This goal will be reached either militarily or diplomatically.”

Informed Israeli officials played down Egypt’s part in any attempts to bring about a ceasefire, despite Cairo’s traditional role as mediator in previous truce agreements between Israel and Hamas.

“Right now the Egyptians are in the picture but they are somewhat reluctant to play a practical role given their own internal challenges,” former peace negotiator Michael Herzog told reporters, noting the bitter relationship between the current Cairo government and Hamas.

Speaking to AFP, an Israeli official described Egyptian involvement until now as “lame”.

Although Israel appeared happy to keep truce efforts at arm’s length, it appeared in no hurry to launch a ground operation, commentators say.

So far, although over 750 rockets have struck Israel and another 200 shot down, no Israelis have been killed – although several have been badly injured and at least one elderly person reportedly died of a heart attack triggered by shock during a missile strike.

But a ground operation would likely change that, with terrorists also seeking to use the opportunity to capture soldiers to use as bargaining chips, as happened with Gilad Shalit – a soldier held in Gaza for five years whose freedom was bought with the release of over 1,000 jailed terrorists.

“We see (Hamas) as seeking ways to carry out an attack that would be a victory picture as well as a bargaining chip,” the military source said.


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