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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

by Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar (Arutz Sheva News)

Arutz Sheva recently got the chance to sit down with Bruce Blakeman, a candidate for the Fourth Congressional District of New York, to discuss the increasingly tense relations between the American Administration and Israel.

Blakeman appraised that US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry are on the “far-left of the political spectrum…they are pro-Palestinian.” The Congressman-hopeful said that regardless of that fact, Hamas “has to be rooted out and destroyed, or there will never be peace.”

An agreement with Hamas or the Palestinian Authority (PA) won’t bring peace and “is a mistake,” said Blakeman, noting the pressure the US is exerting on Israel to seal such an agreement.

Reports in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday night revealed that the pressure has gone as far as Obama’s Administration blocking a Hellfire missile shipment to Israel, and ordering closer scrutiny of future arms transfers to the Jewish state.

In contrast to Obama’s position, Blakeman noted “I’m a Republican; I’m proud to be a Republican. I’m a Jew; I’m proud to be a Jew. …If elected I will fight for Israel.” He added that his district has the highest Jewish population of any US Congressional district.

On his statement of candidacy, found on his website, Blakeman declared “I decided to run because I believe we need to elect a member of congress who will be a check and balance to President Obama and the Democrats in congress, not someone who will just rubber stamp everything the President does.”

“America should strike Iran’s nuclear program”

Speaking on another issue, Blakeman remarked that Iran’s nuclear weapons program “is the biggest problem right now.”

Noting that Iran has openly threatened to destroy Israel, the Congressional candidate added that stopping the Islamic regime in its pursuit of nuclear weapons is an American interest too, given that Iran’s nuclear program is “a danger to the world.”

Blakeman vowed to push for tougher sanctions on Iran if he is elected, and said that if the sanctions do not work within a given time, “I believe America should take military action…to take out their nuclear weapons program.”

Finally, Blakeman noted the challenge presented by the “far-left” control of global media; the inaccurate reporting on Operation Protective Edge has led global anti-Semitic incidents to spike by 383% last month, as compared to the same month last year.

“You would think, intellectually, that people who claim to care about human rights and civil rights, would be supporting Israel. But instead, they support a terror organization,” said Blakeman, reminding that Hamas aims to destroy Israel and impose its radical Islam on the entire world.


Thursday, August 14th, 2014

by Shlomo Pyotrkovsky, Ari Yashar (Arutz Sheva News)

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) on Thurdsay responded to reports in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday night, which revealed that US President Barack Obama’s Administration blocked a weapons transfer to Israel.

According to the US and Israeli officials cited in the report, Obama halted a batch of Hellfire missiles that were requested in military-to-military channels as common in such transfers, and ordered future Israeli requests to be carefully scrutinized.

Lending her support to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Hotovely remarked that he “is acting correctly by not compromising on the personal security interests of the state, even if that doesn’t find favor in the eyes of certain members of the American administration.”

“Despite the arguments, some of which even cross the lines of professionalism, the United States and Israel have shared interests, particularly in light of the instability of the Middle East,” added Hotovely.

While Hotovely spoke out in support of Netanyahu’s refusal to compromise, Israel on Wednesday night agreed to a further five-day extension of the ceasefire with Hamas amid US pressure to do so, and despite the terror organization’s breach of the ceasefire hours before and after the ceasefire went into effect.

Following the rocket attacks Wednesday night, Hotovely said “Israel cannot be a prisoner of Hamas. Operation Protective Edge must end with a mortal blow to Hamas’s capabilities, eliminating the leaders of Hamas and achieving deterrence.”

Further doubts were raised about Netanyahu’s willingness to stand firm on Israel’s security interests after he met with party chair coalition members on Tuesday, in what one minister term “softening talks” to gain support for Israeli concessions.

Obama called Netanyahu shortly before the current ceasefire went into effect to push for a “sustainable” ceasefire. According to US officials cited in the Wall Street Journal report, that Wednesday night phone call was “particularly combative.”


Thursday, August 14th, 2014

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Obama, Palestinians irked by Romney remarks on Jerusalem
Israeli views of Obama increasingly unfavorable

Israeli officials responding to the latest pressure from US President Barack Obama said the American leader is weak and naive, suggesting that Washington, which today has little leverage anywhere else in the Middle East, is trying to strong-arm the Jewish state.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported that the Obama Administration had held up a delivery of missiles to Israel during its war against Gaza’s Hamas terrorist infrastructure.

In a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the same day, Obama reportedly repeated his demand that Israel implement an immediate, unilateral, unconditional and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

The frozen missile shipment would appear to be a pressure tactic to get Israel to acquiesce to Obama’s demands, which Israeli officials have said only serve the interests of Hamas and terrorists throughout the region.

The month-long Gaza war was rife with diplomatic confrontations between Israel and the United States.

When Secretary of State John Kerry proposed a ceasefire deal drawn up in coordination with Hamas allies Turkey and Qatar, Israelis from the highest levels of government to the average man on the street were left wondering if America was still their ally.

Officials on both sides have been frantically working to downplay the worsening relations.

“The allegations are unfounded,” said Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer. “Israel deeply appreciates the support we have received during the recent conflict in Gaza from…the Obama Administration.”

“We know nothing of this,” an Israeli government official told 0404 News in relation to the Journal report, claiming that “relations between Netanyahu and Obama are much improved.”

But the Israeli press was unimpressed by the denials, and news of the “deepening rift” between America and the Jewish state was the leading headline on nearly every Israeli media outlet Thursday morning.

Many speculated that Netanyahu knows well the workings of the American government, and is content to wait out a hostile Obama White House knowing that Congress will shield Israel from any truly severe measures.


Wednesday, August 13th, 2014


While Israel took its share of abuse in the world press, particularly in the early days of the conflict, Hamas’s behavior was so blatantly irresponsible and cruel to its civilians in Gaza that even mainstream media like CNN and the New York Times were forced to report the truth.

Virtually every major U.S. news outlet eventually reported on Hamas’s practice of launching rocket attacks from heavily populated urban centers, including mosques, schools, hospitals and residential areas.

Some reporters even were bold enough to confront Hamas and other Palestinian spokespeople about the terror group’s war crimes. Their responses of course inevitably came off as lame and uncredible.

The Times also noted that the Hamas-reported death toll in Gaza was not balanced among general population groups—in fact, some 34% of Gazans killed by Israeli attacks (and misfired Hamas rockets) were males 20-29 years old (of fighting age), though this group represents only 9% of the population. Israel reports that about half the Palestinian deaths (some 900) were militants.

Let’s note also that Israel’s spokespeople—U.S. Ambassador Ron Dermer, UN Ambassador Ron Prosser and former U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren—were everywhere on U.S. news programs articulately explaining Israel’s position and hammering home the facts on the battlefield. Those who rightfully lament the Jewish state’s often weak PR efforts had reason to be proud.

But PR aside, Israel won the first round of fighting with Hamas hands down and will undoubtedly win the rest of them. Thanks to Hamas’s fanaticism and political stupidity, Gaza lies in ruins. If they refuse to accept a lasting cease fire, let alone a peace treaty, Israel’s continuing retaliation could leave the territory in the Stone Age.

Israel will also likely emerge from the hostilities overall in a stronger position internationally, both in terms of military power and political leverage. However, many nations, including the Europeans, still cannot stomach a strong Israel defeating “poor” Arab aggressors.


Monday, August 11th, 2014

by Arutz Sheva Staff

In an attempt to protect their secrets from being revealed to the Israeli security forces, Hamas has executed tens of Gazan tunnel diggers in the last few weeks. The mass execution is said to have taken place after attempts from Hamas to make sure that the excavators knew nothing of the locations in which they were digging.

According to the Israeli website Mako, extreme precautions were used by Hamas.

“They would take the diggers, about a hundred men, in vans with blindfolds so that they wouldn’t know the location of the tunnels and at the end of the day would blindfold them again and return them to their homes,” claims a source in Gaza familiar with the tunnel industry. “They feared that maybe one of them was collaborating with Israel.”

The tunnels were guarded by Hamas, via its military wing and commando units which were created in the last two years, and citizens were prevented entry as the whole process was done in the utmost secrecy. It appears, however, that Hamas may have been correct in assuming that some of the experienced terror-tunnel diggers, mostly from the Rafah and Khan Younis areas, were double agents.

According to M., a former tunnel digger and Israeli collaborator, the extent to which Hamas was willing to go to protect its secrets grew immensly due to the concern that information was being transferred to the Israeli Intelligence forces. Thus, the Hamas terrorists were always masked so that they could not be recognized by the excavators and the latter would go through daily strip searches to ensure that they were not wearing recording devices or hidden cameras. “They knew Israel was constantly tailing them and didn’t want to risk it,” he says.

Diggers worked on average between 8-12 hours with breaks and received a monthly wage of $150-$300. Most tunnels were built under civilian homes, chicken coops and pens which were located about two kilometers away from the border with the Gaza strip. Once they were done digging, Hamas executed dozens of the tunnel diggers who were suspected collaborators with Israel.

“They were very cruel,” the Gazan source added. “They annihilated some of the diggers because there was a rumor circulating that a few of them had worked with Israel or had been in touch with Israeli civilians. They feared that Israel would know the location of the tunnels and who was involved in their making”.

During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF along with the Israel Security Agency captured around 300 terrorists among whom were dozens of tunnel diggers.


Monday, August 11th, 2014

by Tova Dvorin Report (Arutz Sheva News)

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have played a significant role in returning Hamas to the negotiating table over a permanent ceasefire, a security official revealed Sunday on condition of anonymity, after pledging to contribute money to rebuild Gaza.

Hamas initially insisted on a financial plan backed by their longtime ally, Qatar, to recover from the conflict, the source stated to Walla!.

However, since Jerusalem and Cairo both aim to lessen Qatar’s stronghold on the terror regime – as well as the influence of Qatar-based Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal – Hamas then turned to Riyadh and contacts in the United Arab Emirates for assistance after Operation Protective Edge.

The Saudi funding is conditional on the promise that the funds will be used for legitimate civilian projects only – specifically barring the rebuilding of terror tunnels.

It is unclear what system of checks and balances exist to ensure that promise is kept will be in place, however, and the fact remains that Hamas routinely sets up headquarters in civilian buildings, and has stored rockets and booby traps in schools and hospitals.

Earlier Sunday, the Palestinian news agency Sawa revealed that Hamas was able to funnel millions of dollars into Gaza over the past two months despite the IDF crackdown – and that two months’ salary was paid in full to its terror “military wing,” the Al-Qassam Brigades, in the early hours of Sunday morning. Additional funds will also be paid to Hamas government officials.

Analysts suspect that the funds – which seemingly appeared out of nowhere – may have been procured, at least in part, from Saudi and UAE donors.

The revelation is surprising, considering both Riyadh and the UAE have also heavily backed Egypt’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been closely linked with Hamas. Hamas itself was blacklisted in Egypt earlier this year.

Saudi Arabia has not only donated billions of dollars to prevent Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi from regaining power in Egypt, but has also taken a strong stance internationally against his supporters – a move which, by extension, would also contradict support for Hamas terror.

The Rafah factor

Hamas has placed all its hopes on Egypt reopening the Rafah crossing to Sinai, the security official stated, after the Egyptians pledged to give Hamas renewed access to the passageway on the condition that it be monitored by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.

That access would have been revoked unless Hamas accepted another ceasefire, the official noted.

“Hamas insists on economic dividends,” he said. “Among them is the Rafah crossing and the second is the expansion of the permitted fishing area – a point Israel has apparently agreed to implement.”

Egypt’s consent to discuss the opening of the Rafah crossing, subject to some reservations, was made after demand for the establishment of a seaport in Gaza provoked strong opposition both from Israel and from Egypt, for both political and security reasons.

Israel and Egypt are united in their assessment that opening a seaport would allow a steady flow of foreign-backed weapons to enter the Hamas territory; in addition, its construction would be a major political victory for Hamas.

Turkey and Norway are reportedly behind the Hamas seaport initiative, and acquiescing to the demand would constitute a step up in Hamas’s international legitimacy.

Egypt, under recently-elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has moved to isolate Hamas, accusing it of backing the Muslim Brotherhood on its own territory.

Egypt’s foreign ministry has condemned Israel’s ground offensive but also lashed out at Hamas, saying the Islamist movement could have saved dozens of lives had it accepted Cairo’s proposal.

Hamas has, for its part, expressed deep enmity for Egypt, and has reportedly demanded it be replaced as intermediary.


Sunday, August 10th, 2014

by Yoni Kempinski, Tova Dvorin (Arutz Sheva News)

“Operation Protective Edge is continuing,” the premier stated. “No one announced its termination.”

“The campaign will continue until the mission is completed: an extended period of quiet in the South,” he added, referring to Hamas escalation. “We said when the operation began and throughout the process: it will take time and patience.”

Israel will also not acquiesce to international pressure, he said.

“Israel will not negotiate under fire,” Netanyahu stressed. “Israel will continue to act in any way [necessary] to change the current situation and bring peace to all its citizens. We stand together in unity and determination, until we’re finished [with the campaign].”

Earlier, the Security Cabinet met to discuss the future of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, which is now in its thirty-fourth day. During the meeting, Interior Minister Gidon Sa’ar (Likud) stressed the importance of breaking Hamas’s military power.

“It was the right thing to do then, and it’s the right thing to do now,” Sa’ar stated, demanding strong deterrence against the Hamas terrorist organization.

Sa’ar also stressed that the State of Israel needs to finish the operation to allow residents of the Gaza Belt area to return to their homes.

Earlier this week, Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Yair Farjun noted that 60% of residents in communities close to Gaza have fled their homes.

In addition, polls in several Israeli media outlets estimated that up to 80% of Gaza Belt residents have expressed reluctance to return home following the rocket fire, and indicate diminished trust in the IDF after it withdrew guards from the communities earlier this year.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) also pushed for greater involvement in the operation.

“This situation cannot continue,” Liberman said. “If only you had listened to what I suggested on the first day of the operation, [but] we were already past that stage.”

Liberman campaigned early on in the operation, as well as for several months beforehand, to retake Gaza. Now, he said, “what is left is to defeat Hamas, clean the area and leave as quickly as possible.”

“We are approaching a point where we will have to make a decision,” Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said. “Even if it is the reoccupation of Gaza and toppling of Hamas, with all the factors involved, there will be no choice but to make a decision – a decision which is not that simple.”

“We cannot continue to tolerate the situation for a long time or even a short time,” he added.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has demanded Hamas’s cooperation with a full cease-fire.

“If Hamas thinks it could exhaust us, it is wrong – we will return to negotiations only after the cease-fire,” he said. “We will not compromise on a cease-fire and [an end to] terrorism.”

The meeting, which is still in session, will discuss whether or not to define Gaza as enemy territory – a move which would see Israel stripped of responsibility for damage to civilian areas and casualties.

The security cabinet will also discuss the security situation in the south and nationwide, as well as two proposals – one to establish a funding and assistance program for veterans of Protective Edge, and one to launch a special rebuilding project for Gaza belt communities under heavy fire.

As of Sunday afternoon, officials announced that the latter program – which would see 13.5 million shekel allocated to rebuild Gaza belt communities by 2016 – had been approved.


Sunday, August 10th, 2014

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

When violence flares between Israel and the Palestinians, it always becomes a game of numbers, the facts and root causes of the confrontation be damned.

And so, Israel always ends up being the loser, given that it actually tries to protect the lives of civilians, and far more effectively uses its military might to slay the enemy.

In other words, Israel will always suffer less casualties, and will therefore always be blamed.

The Palestinians, and in particular Hamas, know this well, and work to further game the system by artificially inflating casualty figures and manipulating their interpretation.

This is to be expected. What really gets Israelis frustrated is that the world happily plays along with what couldn’t be a more transparent deception.

Mid-way through the latest Gaza war, US President Barack Obama was rumored to have told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that 1,000 dead Gazans was the limit before Israel would start to face heavy international pressure.

But upon whom would the world rely for those casualty figures? And who would differentiate between the number of civilians and combatants killed in the action?

Why, the United Nations, of course! But wait, from whom did the UN get those numbers? From none other than Hamas itself, the very entity busily engaged in a global public relations war against Israel.

Sounds reasonable.

Belatedly, a number of major media players are calling into question the veracity of the figures provided by the Hamas Ministry of Health and the UN’s presentation thereof.

An analysis by The New York Times revealed what Israeli bloggers had been pointing out for weeks: that a disproportionate percentage of the casualties were men of fighting age.

According to the article:
“The Times analysis, looking at 1,431 names, shows that the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll: They are 9 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent 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 percent of the population and 33 percent of the known-age casualties.”

Why were only 1,431 names examined? Didn’t over 2,000 die in Gaza? Well, maybe. Hamas was also caught duplicating names on the list of casualties provided to the media and the UN, which themselves didn’t bother to check for such inconsistencies.

Not wanting to be left looking the fool, the BBC also quickly changed its tune, admitting that “if the Israeli attacks have been ‘indiscriminate’, as the UN Human Rights Council says, it is hard to work out why they have killed so many more civilian men than women….In conclusion, we do not yet know for sure how many of the dead in Gaza are civilians and how many were fighters.”

The Washington Post had already noticed that something was awry much earlier, with one of its lead bloggers lamenting that “the media has engaged in journalistic malpractice by reporting casualty figures for civilians coming from Gaza as gospel.”

Much closer to reality is a detailed analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center, which found that there was a rough 1:1 ration of combatants to civilian casualties in Gaza. If accurate, such a ratio would be unprecedented for modern urban warfare, and would speak highly of Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties.


Friday, August 8th, 2014

by Tova Dvorin (Arutz Sheva News)

US President Barack Obama has authorized “limited airstrikes” against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Iraq, he announced during a Thursday night press conference.

The announcement, which surfaced hours after White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Washington was “very concerned” over the “humanitarian catastrophe” developing there.

“When many thousands of innocent civilians are in danger of being wiped out, and we have the capacity to help, we will take action,” Obama said. “When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.”

Obama dismissed fears of the US entering into another direct conflict in the region, however.

“As Commander in Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” he said. “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.”

According to TIME, the White House spent much of Thursday evening notifying lawmakers of the decision, but did not secure specific Congressional authorization for the move.

The White House has also authorized a series of humanitarian airdrops, and an anonymous Administration official stated to the daily that US forces stand at the ready to provide more.

“We will continue to provide airdrops, should we see a need, and we expect that need to continue,” the official said.

Humanitarian aid is aimed for the ethnic Yazidis, who were protected by Kurdish forces until earlier this week. Over 200,000 Yazidi have been exiled from Iraq so far, forced to flee due to the ISIS’s campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Approximately 50,000 Yazidi are estimated to have been left stranded in the Sinjar Mountains with no food, water or medical supplies, after Kurdish forces retreated in the face of Islamist advances.

The revelation prompted the Kurds to call on Washington to help, after experiencing difficulty getting in touch with the refugees.


Thursday, August 7th, 2014

(Arutz Sheva News)

Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson warns Hamas will restart rocket when 72-hour truce ends if its demands aren’t met.

A spokesman for Hamas’s “military wing”, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, warned Thursday of renewed fighting with Israel if talks in Cairo to extend a 72-truce in Gaza collapsed.

“We appeal to the Palestinian delegation to not accept a ceasefire, unless it satisfies the demands of our people,” a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address, adding that Hamas fighters were “ready to return to battle.”

The three-day truce ending four weeks of bloodshed between Israel and Hamas is due to end at 0500 GMT Friday.

The sides have so far failed to negotiate an agreement to extend the truce, with the Palestinians accusing Israel of “procrastinating”. But Israel has insisted it will not give up on its key demand for the demilitarization of Gaza in order to end any future threats against the Jewish state.

Abu Obeida said the main demand of Hamas was the opening of a sea port for the blockaded enclave.

“We will not agree to stop the battle without a real end to the (Israeli) aggression and a real lifting of the siege,” he said.

“If there is an agreement, it will be possible to extend the truce, but if there is not, we will ask the delegation to withdraw from the talks.”

Speaking from Cairo, senior Hamas political official and delegation member Ezzat al-Rishq, said: “The resistance in Gaza and the delegation in Cairo are in one trench.”

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