Tag Archives: Gaza

Gaza pauses in its ferocity and deadly clashes to bury its dead terrorists

Top stories of the day following Israel’s anniversary celebration:

1. Palestinians in Gaza spent the day burying their dead for now. Hamas’s calls for further marches on the border petered out as a mere 400 Palestinians showed up. Nevertheless, the IDF remained braced for Naqba Day violence to spread to the West Bank.

Shortly before this roundup was published, the IDF announced that 24 of the 60 Palestinians killed were terrorists from Hamas or Islamic Jihad. The army also released details about how it prevented a mass border breach.

2. Israel threatens to resume targeted killings of Hamas leaders if riots continue.

3. Palestinians managed to trash their side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing. It’s the third time they destroyed equipment and infrastructure at the crossing where Israel transfers food, fuel, medicine and humanitarian aid to the Strip. (Who gains? Hamas.)

By the way, Palestinians refused to allow 14 trucks carrying food and diapers to enter Gaza today, the Times of Israel reports. (Medical supplies were allowed through.) The Times notes, “It was not immediately clear why the border officials, who are employed by the Palestinian Authority, would not accept the shipments.”

4. Does the Media Really Understand the Gaza Violence? Thanks to the media, Gaza violence was always likely to be a win-win situation for Hamas. HonestReporting addressed a number of issues not raised in this roundup and the critique is must-read.

5. Your No-Hype Guide To The US Embassy Move To Jerusalem: Lost in the media hoopla over the US embassy move is a solid discussion of the law and history shaping this historic moment. HonestReporting’s Daniel Pomerantz explains in The Federalist.

6. Is the US Embassy Move Legal?: Israel must be treated according to the same legal standards as every other country on earth.

Israel and the Palestinians

• Israeli and US officials inaugurated the US embassy in Jerusalem. President Donald Trump addressed the gathering by a video link. Take your pick of Times of Israel or Haaretz coverage. Outside, police clashed with Israeli Arab MKs protesting the move.

• IDF called yesterday’s Palestinian violence unprecedented, as an estimated 35,000-50,000 Gazans clashed with soldiers and tried to breach the border. Military officials told Israeli media that “Hamas deployed 12 separate terror “cells” to try to breach the border at different spots,” and that they were unable to kidnap or kill any soldiers.

• Talk is cheap, but I wonder if sparking a new intifada in the West Bank was the Hamas end game all along.


• The New York Times and Washington Post both noted this point about the Hamas’ drive for casualties:

But the protests appeared to have a more violent edge than in previous weeks. Some young men brought knives and fence cutters. At a gathering point east of Gaza City, organizers urged protestors over loudspeakers to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them.

• The New York Times snippet on Palestinian injury figures made my antennae twitch:

A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus, cast doubt on the casualty numbers from the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry; he said a large number of those listed as injured had suffered only tear-gas inhalation.

That may be true. According to the Health Ministry, live fire accounted for 1,204 injuries, bullet fragments caused 133 injuries and 837 injuries were attributed to gas. The breakdown did not account for the remaining injuries.

• A Palestinian baby died of tear gas inhalation because, well, who doesn’t bring the little ones to violent clashes? [Update: Just after this roundup was published, a Gaza doctor said the baby, Layla Ghandour had a pre-existing medical condition and may not have died because of tear gas]. Associated Press quoted Hamas-affiliated Gaza health officials that six of the Palestinians killed by gunshots were minors. Indeed, this description from a New York Times dispatch says a lot about the gulf between Israeli and Palestinian society:

At the rear of the protest area, Aseel Nasser, a determined 12-year-old girl, stood her ground. Facing a video camera operated by her brother, she recited a poem that extolled the virtues of jihad against Zionists. She was undeterred by the risks, explained her father, Khalil Nassar, 46, an education ministry official, who had brought her along. “It would be a great honor to be martyred by the occupation,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times also noted one family’s unsuccessful efforts to keep their daughter from going to the clashes. But where did Shireen learn to talk like this?

Terrified for their daughter’s safety, Shireen Nusralla’s parents locked her in her room Monday so she would not go to the protests. But the 30-year-old woman said she sneaked out through a window.

“I’m not afraid,” she declared as she walked toward a camp east of Gaza City, carrying a large Palestinian flag. “My dream is to get martyred or to kidnap an Israeli soldier.”


• Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai weighs in on the embassy move, also insisting that Israel only has one capital, and it is Jerusalem.

In all my years as mayor, I have made it clear to every distinguished ambassador that we will provide him and his team with the best service to make them feel at home here, but that I am first and foremost an Israeli who is offended by the fact that his country refuses to recognize my country’s capital—Jerusalem—as Israel’s capital city.

What would the Italians say if the State of Israel decided that Milan rather than Rome was the capital of the boot-shaped country and placed its embassy there?

Ron Huldai, mayor of Tel Aviv
• The Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter) nailed the first paragraph of its staff-ed.

Violence marred the transfer of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv on Monday, but the ceremony was more excuse than cause. The Palestinians from Hamas who protested along the Gaza border with Israel were continuing their eternal war against the existence of the Jewish state more than they care about where America puts its diplomats.


[From an article published by HonestReporting.com]




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The winds of war are blowing on Israel’s borders

Winds of war surround Israel

On Sunday, an Israeli fighter jet entered Syrian airspace and reportedly bombed a vehicle traveling from Damascus to Quneitra, a town situated in the Golan Heights near the border with Israel. One person was killed.

According to Al-Mayadeen, a Lebanese news media service, the attack killed Yasser Hussein Asayeed, a member of a militia group allied with the Syrian government. Sunday’s air strike was the second military incursion into Syrian territory in three days and is evidence of the mounting tension between Israel and its northern neighbor.

On Friday, Israeli jets entered Syria and carried out an attack on a convoy transporting weapons to Hezbollah. During the attack, Syria launched surface-to-air rockets at the Israeli jets. Israel responded by firing its Arrow interceptor missile at the rockets.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Israel’s Air Force struck two separate Hamas strongholds in the Gaza Strip. The strikes were in response to a Hamas rocket attack on Ashkelon earlier in the day. Another rocket attack from Gaza occurred on Thursday.

These attacks have many in Israel worried that war is imminent. “The winds of war are blowing on Israel’s borders,” wrote Alex Fishman earlier this week. He continued:

The Israeli strike in Syria, the Russian and Syrian responses, and the flare-up in Gaza are bringing Israel one step closer to a military collision. The relative calm along the borders in recent years, which has become a symbol of security stability and deterrence, is gradually wearing out.

The recent attacks are a sign of two important developments. First, as Fishman noted, Israel is establishing red lines with Russia, which in recent years has significantly improved its strategic position in the region.

The weekend events in the north indicate that Israel is striking in Syria not only to curb the Iranian arms convoys to Hezbollah, but also to demonstrate its presence in Syria and make it clear, especially to the Russians, that there will be no agreement in Syria without Israel’s input.

Second, some believe this level of aggression from Israel is a sure sign that it is concerned about the presence of Iran in Syria and Lebanon, and that Tehran via its proxies might even be close to launching an attack. There is evidence, as this article from the Jewish Press explained, that Iran’s strategic and military position in Syria and Lebanon has improved in recent weeks and months.

First, the Iran-sponsored Shia fighters in Syria, who 10 days ago announced the formation of a “Golan Liberation Brigade,” have done more than merely talk. Additional Iraqi Shia fighters have reportedly been deployed to Damascus (never a haunt of the Iran-sponsored force; they’ve been in Aleppo and Idlib Province) and have made public shows of military power there.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, “Hezbollah has reportedly made a separate threat to begin raining ‘long-range missiles’ down on Israel from the Qalamoun Mountains north of Damascus.” There are also signs that cooperation is increasing between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces. On February 12, Lebanese President Michael Aoun implied during a visit to Egypt that Lebanon needs Hezbollah and its weapons as a “complement” to Lebanon’s military. “The resistance’s [Hezbollah] arms are not contrary to the state project; otherwise we could have not tolerated it. It is an essential part of Lebanon’s defense,” he stated (emphasis added).

This statement would not have come as a surprise to Israel. Nevertheless, together with the other developments, it was a timely reminder that Lebanon, like Syria, is essentially a hostile state with little interest in protecting the Jewish state from Iran and its terrorist proxies.

It is impossible to know if Israel is about to go to war in Syria, Lebanon, or anywhere else. But in the larger sense, these events are troubling indicators of an approaching conflict of greater intensity.

Watch Jerusalem closely watches events in this part of the world because of the biblical prophecies describing how conflict here, especially in Jerusalem, will trigger a wider conflagration.


[From an article by Brad MacDonald for WATCH JERUSALEM]




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Hamas fires hundreds of rockets a day into Israel, yet has the audacity to accuse Israel of war crimes

Eighty rockets.

That’s one rocket explosion every 18 minutes.

That’s what Israel endured on Monday.

140 rockets.

That’s one earth-shattering blast every 10 minutes.

That’s what Israel endured the day before, on Sunday.

As Hamas launches these rockets at Israeli civilians – minute by minute, hour by hour – it has the audacity to accuse Israel of war crimes, to threaten to take Israel to the International Criminal Court.

Israel continues to do nothing more than (1) defend itself against this unprovoked onslaught against its citizens, and (2) make every attempt it can to force the onslaught to stop.


Rocket threat from Hamas

Continued rocket threat from Hamas

More rockets from Hamas

The ACLJ  continues to gear up for this fight. The American Center for Law and Justice will defend Israel’s right to self-defense. They have fought and won at the International Criminal Court before, and they will fight again.
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Journalists and reporters in Gaza are being severely restricted by Hamas. The truth is what Hamas says it is…

If you’ve been following the conflict in Gaza you’ve seen dramatic pictures of heavily armed Israeli soldiers, their tanks and helicopters. You’ve seen pictures of neighborhoods reduced to rubble, with Palestinian men, women and children in desperate circumstances. What you almost certainly have not seen are the combatants Israelis have been fighting. It’s as though they were fighting ghosts.

Also scarce in the major media: stories about Hamas deploying civilians as human shields, storing missiles in mosques and UN schools, setting up command posts in hospitals, using ambulances to ferry terrorists to battle, and children to dig tunnels — with at least 160 killed in the process. And how many stories have you seen about humanitarian supplies flowing from Israel to Gaza in the midst of this bloody conflict and the hundreds of Gazans treated in Israeli hospitals?

The explanation: Hamas restricts what journalists in Gaza may film, photograph and even write about. Hamas threatens and intimidates journalists who do not follow what might be called Hamas rules – rules designed to shape media coverage and influence perceptions around the world.

Let me say this as clearly as I know how: The journalists covering Gaza are brave. I’m not saying they should be braver – much less reckless. I do think they should be honest with their readers and viewers about the conditions under which they are operating:  conditions of coercion, manipulation, restriction and censorship.

A few have acknowledged their predicament, mostly on social media. For example, Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati on July 29 tweeted: “Out of #Gaza far from #Hamas retaliation: misfired rocket killed children [today] in Shati.” In other words: having left Gaza he can now say what he would not dare report while in the territory: that it was a Hamas rocket, not an Israeli rocket, that killed 10 people, 8 of them children, at the al Shati refugee camp along the northern Gaza seacoast.

Gaza body armor by HamasIsraeli filmmaker Michael Grynszpan wrote on Facebook that he had met with a Spanish journalist who had just left Gaza and asked him why TV viewers are not seeing Hamas fighters in action. Grynszpan said he was told: “It’s very simple, we did see Hamas people there launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dared pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us.”

An oped in The Australian noted that after TV reporter Peter Stefanovic tweeted that he had seen rockets fired into Israel from near his hotel, a pro-Hamas tweeter warned: “in WWII spies got shot.” French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagga was “detained and interrogated by members of Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigade at a room in Shifa hospital next to the emergency room.” He published an account of his treatment in the French newspaper Liberation – but that article has since been “unpublished” at Dagga’s request.” Why do you suppose?

John Reed of the Financial Times was threatened after he tweeted about rockets being fired from near that same hospital. The Wall Street Journal‘s Nick Casey posted a photo of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed from a room in the hospital along with this tweet: “You have to wonder (with) the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.”After “a flood of online threats,” the tweet was deleted. But Twitter accounts “continued to attack Casey, including him on lists of ‘journos in Gaza (who) lie/fabricate info for Israel’ and ‘must be sued for crimes.'”

Of course, litigation is the least of the perils weighing on the minds of journalists in Gaza. On any day, any foreign reporter could be abducted, handcuffed and hooded, while their captors reviewed their dispatches. If not satisfied with what they see, that could be all she wrote – literally.

Most reporters know that in 2006 Fox reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig were kidnapped in Gaza by a group calling themselves the Holy Jihad Brigades. Both were eventually released but not before, as Mr. Centanni stated, they were “forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint.”

Some reporters slant for other reasons. Last month, NBC News pulled correspondent Ayman Mohyeldi out of Gaza. Many inferred that his bosses found his coverage unbalanced. A few days later, after an outcry from Hamas sympathizers, NBC reinstated him.

Mohyeldi tweeted: “I’m returning to #Gaza to report. Proud of NBC’s continued commitment to cover the #Palestinian side of the story.” How to interpret that except as an admission that he covers only one side of the story? Can you imagine a reporter saying he was proud his media outlet was committed to covering “the Israeli side of the story”?

I would argue, too, that never questioning Hamas’ “facts” and casualty figures is not tantamount to telling the Palestinian side of the story. I would further argue that Hamas is not on the side of Palestinians – at least not those who want normal lives for their children and whose highest priority is not exterminating the Jewish state next door.

Finally, a few words on more subtle forms of journalistic bias: Early in the current round of fighting, reporters for The New York Times asked an Israeli military spokesman “about the repercussions of carrying out” operations against Hamas “during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.”

If it occurred to these reporters to ask Hamas spokesmen about the “repercussions” of firing missiles at Jerusalem during Ramadan, I missed it.

I know: It would be foolhardy to pose such questions to a Hamas spokesman. I would just ask that principled journalists, once they are safely out of Gaza, tell the truth — not just on Twitter — about the pressures they faced and the way it influenced their reporting.

[by Clifford D. May, who is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a policy institute focusing on national security.  This piece was published by CNS News.]

NORM ‘n’ AL Note: The illustration in this piece was inserted by us.


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How Mr. Obama views the Hamas vs. Israel conflict is “appalling” …

“Appalling” and “disgraceful” correctly defined:

Hamas terrorists fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians.

Hamas  uses Palestinian children as human shields.

How did President Obama respond?

He said, “Hamas acts extraordinarily irresponsibly.”

NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Mr. O should know very well what “extraordinary irresponsibility” looks like, shouldn’t he? (He should, but he doesn’t.) US citizens certainly know what it looks like.


Kids act “irresponsibly” when they drive too fast or stay out too late. Hamas wasn’t “irresponsible;” it was evil. It has been committing war crimes, pure and simple. Evil is having no concern for lives on either side of the conflict.

But while the Obama Administration gently chastises Hamas for its barbaric and demonic lack of concern for human life, it goes after Israel by calling one of its precision attacks “appalling” and “disgraceful.” Israel’s precision responses are designed to minimize loss of life to civilians, and they do just that. The entire world knows by now that the only reason the losses in Gaza are so much higher than the losses in Israel is simply that the Hamas combatants think nothing of firing their rockets from schools and public areas, in order to draw Israeli fire in response. More casualties mean more sympathy for Hamas, at least in perverted Hamas thinking.

THAT is what is appalling and disgraceful.

In reality, Hamas is disgraceful while Israel is heroic.

[from a letter received from Jay Sekulow, director of the American Center for Law and Justice]


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Lincoln could teach Obama a lot about war…

Abraham Lincoln hated war as much as Barack Obama does. He saw so much more of it firsthand, lost friends in it and waged it on an immensely vaster scale than Obama has. And yet, almost exactly 150 years ago (Aug. 17, 1864, to be precise), he wrote this to the squat, stolid general besieging the town of Petersburg, south of Richmond: “I have seen your dispatch expressing your unwillingness to break your hold where you are. Neither am I willing. Hold on with a bull-dog gripe, and chew & choke, as much as possible.” And so Ulysses S. Grant persevered.

Therein lies the difference between Lincoln and Obama, which explains much of the wreckage that is U.S. foreign policy in Gaza and elsewhere today. Lincoln accepted war for what it is; Obama does not. The Gaza war is a humanitarian tragedy for Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire. It is also a barbaric conflict, as leaders of Hamas hide their fighters behind children while baiting their enemy to kill innocents. But first and foremost, it is a war, a mortal contest of wills between two governments and two societies.

By 1864, Lincoln, Grant and Grant’s no-less-grim lieutenants William Tecumseh Sherman and Philip Sheridan had concluded that their conflict had shifted to what historians call “the hard war.” They knew not only that they would have to destroy the armies of the Confederacy but also that they would have to break the will of the people of the South to wage war. That is precisely what they did — in the siege of Petersburg, the devastation of the Shenandoah Valley, the march through Georgia and North Carolina, a close blockade and cavalry raids deep into the South.

Lincoln understood how to fight a war...And the gentle, humane and often grief-stricken president pushed them hard to do it. When, earlier in August, Grant ordered Sheridan to drive the Confederates from the Shenandoah — which he burned out thoroughly as he went — Lincoln commented, “I repeat to you it will neither be done nor attempted unless you watch it every day, and hour, and force it.”

 The Israelis, having left Gaza only to be showered by rockets and harried by border raiders, have concluded that they are waging that kind of war. In a rare spirit of unity, they seem determined to break Hamas in Gaza. A more sensible U.S. administration would understand that and stand with our tough little ally, rather than attempt to stop its destruction of this Islamist partner of Iran and enemy not only of Israel but of Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well.

The problem is not the reported antipathy between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is that the Obama administration simply cannot accept that war is war. This explains, among other things, the debacle of our Libya policy, in which the administration studiously insisted that its bombing to help overthrow Moammar Gaddafi was not a war and left in its wake chaos that roils to the present day. It explains the administration’s declarations that drone strikes in Pakistan and the assassination of Osama bin Laden had brought al-Qaeda to the edge of strategic defeat — even as the ideology of the group and similar ones has metastasized and Islamist movements have extended their sway in the Middle East and Africa.

It explains our hand-wringing over the slaughter of some 200,000 people in Syria as if it were a massive Ebola outbreak, when what is going on is, in fact, a war pitting Iran and its allies in Syria and Lebanon against an increasingly Islamized foe. It explains the long, disgraceful appeasement of Vladimir Putin and the administration’s continuing reluctance to say, simply, that Russia is waging war against a sovereign neighbor.

The president famously said in 2011 that “the tide of war is receding” in Iraq and Afghanistan, when in fact all that was happening was that we were (temporarily, perhaps) withdrawing from our wars, which entered new and more violent phases among the people we were leaving behind.

The most curious thing about this president is that he was elected in the midst of three open wars — the struggle against al-Qaeda and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan — and several more covert conflicts, including Iran’s long and bloody effort to drive the United States from the Middle East, and yet he could not conceive of himself as a war president. He cannot give the speeches that explain these wars, that call for sacrifice, that bring his domestic opponents along to confront a foreign foe, that rally foreign friends and strike fear in the hearts of common enemies. And he appears to have little capacity for empathy with an ally whose population must seek shelter when sirens wail.

War is war. We may wish that it could be waged like an 18th-century duel, with exquisite protocols and rules, and scrupulously circumscribed uses of violence, but it stubbornly remains what it became in the 19th and 20th centuries: a ferocious struggle among nations. That does not mean discarding the constraints of decency and civilization, but it is a dark truth to be faced. Lincoln understood it; our president today does not.

[by Eliot A. Cohen, writing for The Washington Post]


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Here and abroad: US and Israeli writers focus on the conflict…

From the US:

The Obama Administration just can’t stop appeasing terrorists.

Would you believe that Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged $47 million – your tax dollars – in so-called “humanitarian” aid to the Gaza Strip?

Yet we know that Hamas diverts at least 40% of its budget to build terror tunnels into Israel.

Why would the United States give humanitarian aid to Gaza when the Obama Administration knows that Hamas uses humanitarian aid to build tunnels, bombs, and rockets?

Israeli soldiers lost their lives to destroy Hamas’ terror infrastructure. Let’s not use American tax dollars to rebuild it.

We’re mobilizing our resources on Capitol Hill to stop this outrageous abuse. The Obama Administration should not rebuild what Israel had to destroy. Say no to appeasement. Say no to U.S. tax dollars to rebuild Hamas.

[by Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice]


From Israel:

The U.S. is Israel’s most important ally. It has provided us with arms and only last week Congress granted us additional funds to further develop the Iron Dome. It has also used its political clout to deflect hostile resolutions and sanctions at the international level. But we should be under no illusions — the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is currently under great strain.

 Notwithstanding cryptic statements by both the Israeli and U.S. governments, denying the veracity of a recently publicized transcript of a toxic telephone conversation between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, Israeli public television’s highly respected foreign news editor Oren Nahari adamantly stands by his story, stressing that the source who gave him the transcript was a reliable senior U.S. official, not the Prime Minister’s Office.

The president is alleged to have harshly demanded that Netanyahu accept an immediate unilateral cease-fire and informed him that the U.S. was committed to ending the blockade of Gaza. Netanyahu pointed out that the U.S. administration was undermining the cease-fire by substituting Egyptian mediation with Qatar and Turkey, reminding Obama that the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Qatar finances and provides arms to Hamas and other terrorist groups including the Islamic State group. He also could have pointed out that Turkey’s demagogic prime minister has been stoking hysterical anti-Israeli sentiment and vile anti-Semitism, even demanding that his own Jewish community condemn Israel.

Obama allegedly responded by telling Netanyahu that he was not in a position to advise America who should act as mediators. Lending credence to this exchange was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who, a few days later, told CNN that the U.S. must cooperate with the Qataris, “who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” It is mind-boggling that a Democratic congressional leader can describe as “humanitarian” a genocidal organization with similar objectives to al-Qaida, whose charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews.

There were also tense exchanges between the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretary of State John Kerry, now notorious for his inappropriate comments and contradictory statements.

There have been efforts by both parties to calm the waters. U.S. officials have reiterated their commitment to Israel and re-endorsed Israel’s right to defend itself. Obama has now, belatedly, followed the European’s lead and included the demilitarization of Gaza as an issue to be negotiated in conjunction with the lifting of the blockade after cessation of hostilities.

But there is no disputing that Obama has, consciously or otherwise, shielded Hamas. This is not a conflict in which the U.S. should act as a mediator or even hint at moral equivalency. This conflict was thrust upon us by a terrorist group promoting a culture of death and martyrdom reflected in the oft-quoted Hamas slogan: “Jews wish for life and we wish for a martyr’s death.” We are not confronting an entity seeking independence. It is a conflict between good and evil.

We would have expected our ally to allocate the blame for the casualties to the death merchants of Hamas who target Israeli civilians and propagate casualties among their own people, whom they employ as human shields and then gleefully present to the world as victims of Israeli tyranny.

Instead, Obama has led the pack in hypocritically supporting our right to defend ourselves while blaming us for a disproportionate response when we retaliate against the source of the rocket fire whose command posts and missile launching sites are deliberately embedded in U.N. buildings, schools, hospitals and mosques. The gory scenes of Palestinian casualties highlighted by the global media should have been presented in the context of Hamas responsibility for deliberately orchestrating this nightmare. Instead, Obama’s behavior has merely encouraged Hamas to continue its barbaric strategy in the belief that the U.S. will rescue it from the jaws of defeat and reward it for its commitment to terrorism.

In this context, the clearly synchronized outbursts from the White House, State Department and even the Pentagon, just prior to the announcement of the stillborn 72-hour cease-fire on Friday, condemning Israel for civilian casualties, including the shelling of a U.N. Relief and Works Agency school in Gaza as “indefensible” and “totally unacceptable,” were clearly designed to garner the support of Qatar and Turkey.

The U.S. is aware of the extraordinary measures, unmatched in any military conflict, which Israel employs to minimize civilian casualties. But innocent civilians die in a war– and obviously more so in a situation in which women and children are employed as human shields and deliberately housed in locations together with missiles launchers and command posts. When under fire from terrorists — even if they operate out of schools — Israeli soldiers must return fire or be killed. Beyond that, accidents are inevitable. Just recall the thousands of innocent French civilians who were killed by the allies during the invasion in 1944.

To appreciate the double standards and hypocrisy employed against us, the U.S. should take note of the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed by allied forces in the course of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the carnage in Serbia incurred by NATO’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Belgrade to force Slobodan Milosevic to step down.

The tragic casualties among Palestinian civilians sadden us all. But it is revolting when the U.S. president expresses more outrage over the deaths of 1,500 Palestinians, a large proportion of whom are bloody terrorists, than the deaths of 180,000 butchered Syrians in the ongoing civil war.

NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Our emphasis of above two paragraphs.

It is utterly unacceptable to condemn a long-standing ally. How can the U.S. justify its focus on the loss of innocent lives without regard to the context and avoid directing the blame to Hamas who exult in both killing Israelis and the killing of their own people, whose suffering they openly exploit to discredit Israel and divert attention from their terrorist activities? It brings to mind Golda Meir’s oft-quoted quip that peace will only be achieved when our adversaries love their children more than they hate us.

Israel must stand firm. The public shock over the discovery of the myriad of terror tunnels and the extent of the missile range capability — which now covers the entire country — has united the people in a manner reminiscent of the Six-Day War. Close to 90 percent are adamant that Israel must not stop until Gaza is demilitarized or Hamas completely smashed, despite the terrible toll in casualties. Even the dovish Labor Party-led opposition is demanding this of Netanyahu.

Although it is not reflected in the extraordinary tsunami of global anti-Semitism and the double standards formally adopted by Western countries, there is a clear consensus that this war was imposed on us and there is a greater appreciation of the terrorist nature of Hamas and its contempt for human life.

There is also the radical reversal in the approach of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and most of the Arab League who endorsed the Egyptian cease-fire proposal and whose fear and loathing of the Islamic fundamentalist extremists far exceeds their traditional hatred of Israel. The Egyptians and other moderate Arab states maintain that since his initial Cairo speech in 2009, Obama has emerged as a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood — the creator of Hamas — and which they regard, justifiably, as an Islamic fundamentalist terror organization.

They consider the undermining of the Egyptian cease-fire proposals and turning towards Qatar and Turkey — supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas — as another example of the U.S. betraying its allies and engaging with its enemies. This was reflected in Kerry’s initial Qatar/Turkey-sponsored cease-fire proposal, which could have been written by Hamas, and which was unanimously rejected by the Israeli cabinet.

As of now, Israel has largely achieved its principal objectives of destroying the tunnels and substantially neutralizing the missile capability. But Hamas remains intact and unless demilitarization is imposed, we face inveterate jihadists who will not relent from their openly expressed objective of destroying us or at least eroding our morale by ongoing terror attacks.

The prime responsibility of any government is to protect its citizens. This is a time for Israel to stand firm and take whatever steps are necessary to defang Hamas and demilitarize Gaza. The responsibility for the fallout on innocent Palestinians rests exclusively on Hamas.

The brazen Hamas breach of the 72-hour cease-fire has led to a temporary global backlash against Hamas. Having neutralized those tunnels which the IDF was able to detect, the ground forces are being redeployed. However, Netanyahu has made it clear that the operation is not over.

The cabinet must speedily decide on one of two options. It can expand the ground campaign and conquer Gaza, which the majority of the nation would probably initially endorse but which would likely entail massive casualties and provoke concerted international pressure that would probably force us to withdraw unilaterally or face sanctions. It would appear that without ruling out this option, Netanyahu — at least in the short term — intends to continue degrading the rocket launchers and attacking Hamas from the air, thereby limiting Israeli casualties and providing greater leverage to achieve demilitarization.

The outcome rests largely with the U.S. If it rewards Hamas for its aggression by seeking to “lift the blockade” or provide them with funds without demilitarization, it will be betraying us. The U.S. will thus have destroyed whatever little global credibility it retains and will be seen as abandoning its long-standing ally and groveling to those who support fanatical Islamic terrorism.

Will the U.S. support Israel’s just cause against genocidal terrorism or act as a shield to protect the barbarians at our gates, effectively paving the way for a far more brutal war in the near future?

[by Isi Leibler, writing for ISRAEL HAYOM]


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