Israel Warns of Iranian Sweet Talk; Says Nothing’s Changed

1065by Paul Alster
Special to IPT News
September 19, 2014

The international community is allowing the rise of ISIS to distract it from the far more dangerous prospect of a nuclear Iran, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz warned Wednesday. The comments followed his visit last week to the United States, where he met with senior State Department figures William Burns and Wendy Sherman.

“The Iranians are getting almost everything but giving almost nothing,” Steinitz told a Jerusalem news conference in which he expressed his belief that Iran is being far from truthful in its ongoing P5+1 nuclear talks. “Although it is important to defeat ISIS [Islamic State], if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it’s a different world for decades. This is the main threat to global security and should be the priority… I went [to Washington] concerned and I came back concerned,” Steinitz added. “I didn’t hear anything… that gave me hope.”

Senior Israeli military and intelligence figures have issued similar warnings in recent months, indicating that while Iran under President Hassan Rouhani offers the veneer of a more moderate regime, little has changed in Tehran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s firebrand supreme leader, still calls all the shots.

A recently published 80-point International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s compliance – or non-compliance – indicates that Steinitz has genuine grounds for concern. Among its key findings:

19. “Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended all of its enrichment related activities in the declared facilities…”

49. “Iran is conducting a number of activities at UCF, EUPP, FMP and the Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP) at Esfahan … which are in contravention of its obligations to suspend all enrichment related activities and heavy water related projects…”

62. “The Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

67. “[A]t a particular location at the Parchin site, the Agency has observed through satellite imagery ongoing construction activity that appears to show the removal/replacement or refurbishment of the site’s two main buildings’ external wall structures … These activities are likely to have further undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification. It remains important for Iran to provide answers to the Agency’s questions and access to the particular location in question.”

Of the main points in the report’s summary, the following is undoubtedly of significant concern:

75. “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Iranian failure to comply with the interim P5+1 deal struck last year by the U.S. and other leading nations should mark the end of negotiations, said Steinitz, one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest allies. Allowing the talks to stumble along gives Iran the benefit of continued relief from international sanctions that dealt a crippling blow to the Iranian economy.

“From our point of view, President Obama’s very important principle and statement that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal,’ is by no means a failure,” Steinitz said. “In a sense, it’s a kind of success… It means standing up for your principles and not sacrificing global security.”

Israeli military officials share concern that Iran is threatens that security through its astonishing subterfuge and double-dealing – presenting a benign face to the world while continuing to support terror organizations such as Hamas in Gaza and Hizballah in southern Lebanon.

In a recent exclusive interview, a senior Israeli naval officer (speaking to the IPT on condition of anonymity), outlined the extent to which Iran continues to try evading international efforts to stem its attempts to arm its proxy armies.

“It is a war against this axis [Iran, Hamas, and Hizballah], and this war on the seas is continuing at the same time as these [P5+1] talks are going on,” the navy official said. “I’m happy that these talks are going on because maybe, maybe, it’s a channel to stop this madness. But at the same time, I know that I will not go back home and rest because of the talks. I will keep working.”

“[Iran] not only uses every possible way to pass on weapons, but they are also passing on information and instructions on how to produce weapons in Gaza. We know for sure that even if rockets and weapons reached Gaza tunnels via the Sinai deserts, they weren’t produced in the Sinai desert. They probably arrived by the sea and came from Iran via the Red Sea ports, or Egypt – of course without the knowledge of Egypt itself.”

In recent years, the Israeli navy has intercepted huge Iranian arms shipments on vessels such as the Frankop (2009), the Victoria (2011), and earlier this year the Klos-C, whose cache of M-302 missiles, mortars, and masses of ammunition were hidden under its legitimate cement cargo.

“We know for sure that … weapons have passed through ports on ships that had no knowledge they were carrying this lethal cargo,” the officer explained. “We know they are using containers that are transported from one ship to another, some of which sometimes stand for days or weeks out in the blazing sun waiting for a ship to take it. If one of these [unstable] containers blows up a lot of innocent people will get hurt. All the time Iran uses innocent people and they don’t care how many of those innocent people get hurt, as long as they achieve their mission.”

“My men and ships are out there and we have been kept busy, not only with Iran, but with a lot of people who are not willing to accept the State of Israel. [Syrian dictator Bashar al-]Assad is a little more occupied now than in the past and I don’t believe he has aspirations about war with Israel, but he will do whatever he can by using proxies such as Hizballah that will keep Israel and its army occupied.”

Continuing concerns over Iranian deception, together with the new threat posed to Middle Eastern stability posed by the swift rise of ISIS, have brought about an apparent change – if not in public, then seemingly in private – in alliances of convenience between states which formerly would have balked at the thought of working together, the senior officer said.

“If someone in your neighborhood is slaughtering and torturing – like what happened to the American reporters – you understand that you will do everything for him not to be your neighbor,” he said. “You will join hands with a neighbor with whom you may never have been friendly before to make sure the crazy neighbor won’t do you any harm.”

“I won’t go into specific details on cooperation” he adds, “but I will say for sure that every sane human being that is living around here just wants to have a family, a peaceful life, and a place of work. I hope that one day we will see this happen and … I will go out with my flotilla and join hands with the Egyptian navy, Saudi Arabian navy, everyone around us, to make sure we will keep those people out of the Middle East.”

Paul Alster is an Israel-based contributor to FoxNews.com and The Jerusalem Report and blogs at paulalster.com. He can be followed on Twitter: @paul_alster

Tolerating Hate Is Not an Option

 

Frontpage, by Brigitte Gabriel:

Editor’s note: The keynote speech below was delivered by Brigitte Gabriel at the United Nations on September 8, 2014 during a symposium on Global Anti-Semitism: A Threat To International Peace And Security.

Ladies and Gentleman,

It is an honor and privilege to be here today speaking in defense of Jews worldwide and against the evils of anti-Semitism. As you notice, I am wearing a Star of David. This necklace was given to me during a book signing in Dallas, TX by a man who lost his beloved wife in a tragic crash. He said to me crying,

“This necklace was my wife’s favorite, she died wearing it. She considered you her hero for your stand for the Jewish people. I want you to have it. Promise me you’ll wear it.”

I couldn’t find a more befitting time to honor her, than now — wearing this Star of David as a Lebanese giving a keynote speech at the United Nation in defense of the Jewish people.

We are here to address the rise of global anti-Semitism.

Ten years ago, Natan Sharansky explained:

“[C]lassical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, ‘new anti-Semitism’ is aimed at the Jewish state.”

Mr. Sharansky devised what he called the “3D test.” The three Ds are “demonization,” “double standards” and “delegitimization.”

“Demonization” is making bizarre, ugly claims that have no basis in reality. Comparisons between Israel and the Nazis, or assertions that Israel has been committing “genocide” against the Palestinians are examples of “demonization.” Such claims are nonsense. If Israel has been committing “genocide” against the Palestinians, then why has the population of Palestinians increased more than 600% since 1948? Israel must be the most incompetent mass murderer in the history of the world.

When Israel is held to a standard that no other country in the world would be expected to meet, that double standard is itself anti-Semitism. For instance, Israel is a vibrant democracy where human rights are protected and respected. And yet the United Nations’ so-called Human Rights Commission spends most of its time and effort investigating and condemning Israel, while they gloss over or ignore the massive and continuing human rights violations that occur in Iran, Cuba, China and many other brutal repressive autocracies.

Delegitimization of Israel is to assert that, of all the peoples in the world, only the Jewish people do not have a right to statehood. In fact, Israel’s historical, legal and moral right to exist as a Jewish State is a codified principle of international law. This codification is explicitly based on the long, continuous and well-documented connection of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel. To deny the connection of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel is anti-Semitism in its purest form.

But why should anti-Semitism matter to the rest of the world? It should — not merely because it’s morally repugnant, which it most definitely is.

The world should care about anti-Semitism because of fundamental self-preservation.

The stark truth is that the world stands at the edge of a deep, dark precipice. At the bottom lurks another Holocaust that has already begun. This time the genocide is not only against the Jews. The so-called “Islamic State” has made it abundantly clear it can be committed against non Jews. ISIS is persecuting and killing members of every religious, ethnic and nationalist community it encounters.

ISIS is slaughtering Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Kurds, Druze, and Yazidis.

ISIS floods the Internet with stomach-churning images and videos of mass executions, severed heads and crucifixions. We see children slaughtered in front of their parents, and parents in front of their children. This viciousness is part of a calculated strategy explicitly intended to terrorize anyone and everyone who does not submit to their version of Islam.

ISIS has officially declared its intent to rule the world. Their founding document, the declaration of their caliphate, bears the modest title of [Arabic], “This Is The Promise of God.” They declare that God promised to Muslims, quote, “leadership of the world and mastership of the earth.” End quote.

Their declaration of a world-wide caliphate reveals their governing philosophy:

“By Allah, if you disbelieve in democracy, secularism, nationalism, as well as all the other garbage and ideas from the west, and rush to your religion and creed, then by Allah, you will own the earth, and the east and west will submit to you.”

Remember, ladies and gentlemen, savagery is not merely their strategy. It is an article of their faith. They commit genocide in the name of Allah.

Israel has been familiar with the concept, and the reality, of genocide in the name of Allah for a long time. The war that ISIS has declared on the world is the same as the war that Hamas has been waging against Israel for decades. The only difference, again, is focus. ISIS seeks a world-wide caliphate. Hamas is focused on the destruction of Israel.

However, their motivation, methods, and morals are the same.

In terms of brutal methods and lack of morals, ISIS has recently shot, hacked and killed its way to the top of the world’s terrorist organizations. Meanwhile Hamas has been committing mind-numbing mass atrocities for decades. They use to wrap their children in dynamite and nails, and send them to blow up Israeli buses and restaurants. They rejoiced at the death of Israeli children, and glorified the death of their own. Today they use them as human shields

I know something about children being used as human shields. In 1976 when I was 11 years old, Palestinians in South Lebanon used me and my family as human shields. They employed exactly the same technique that Hamas uses in Gaza today. They set up artillery or rocket launchers in front of my bomb shelter and fired a barrage towards Israel.   They would pack up and run as quickly as possible, leaving my family to the devastation of return fire.

Today, Hamas hides behind human shields on a much larger scale. Hamas routinely uses schools, mosques, hospitals and other civilian locations for weapons storage, missile launch sites, and other military purposes. They fire rockets and mortars from these places with the explicit intention of drawing return fire from the Israelis, hoping that will produce photogenic civilian corpses for display in the media.

Hamas and ISIS share a common motivation. They want to impose Islam. This is in the charter of Hamas as it is in ISIS’s declaration of the “caliphate.” The charter of Hamas declares that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.”

The most revealing words in the Charter of Hamas are a quotation from Islamic scripture:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” [Hadith of Sahih Muslim, BOOK 41].

But Hamas has a problem.

In Israel, Jews don’t hide behind stones or trees. They stand up and defend themselves. Israelis have learned from history that if someone repeatedly says they’re going to kill you, they mean it. A lesson the world is only now learning.

Seventy years ago the world stood by as the Jews of Europe went up the chimneys.   Today, the Jews of Israel aren’t going to go quietly to the slaughter as they sit on the front line of fighting for Western civilization. Those who seek to exterminate the Jews are not going to stop with the Jews. That should have been the lesson of the Holocaust. That must be the lesson of the rise of ISIS.

Once the intentional mass murder of innocent civilians was legitimized against Israel, it was legitimized everywhere, constrained by nothing more than the strong-held beliefs of those who would become the mass murderers.  Because the Palestinians were encouraged by most of the world to believe that the murder of innocent Israeli civilians is a legitimate tactic to advance the Palestinian nationalist cause, the Islamists believe that they may commit mass murder anywhere in the world to advance their holy cause. As a result, we suffer from a plague of Islamic terrorism, from Moscow to Madrid, from Bali to Beslan, from Nairobi to New York, authored and perfected by the Palestinians. Israel and the United States are not separate targets of Islamic terrorism. The whole world is their target.

Evil dwells when courageous men become bystanders. Lies spread when the informed become silent. Society deteriorates when apathy replaces activism. Tyranny comes when leaders become mediocre and haters become organized.

Today we are summoned to lead in our communities and our nations. We are summoned to wake up the apathetic and inspire the despaired, to silence the liars and educate the concerned, to speak tolerance instead of resentment, forgiveness instead of revenge, love instead of hate, and peace instead of war. We are here at the United Nations today because each one of us is a leader and an instrument of change with history as our final judge.

I, as the leader of ACT! for America.org, the largest national security organization in America with chapters in 11 countries around the world, am committed to do whatever possible to stand up with the Jewish people and defend them.

The civilized world must band together in solidarity to ensure that people of all faiths can live in peace and harmony and that Jews are never persecuted and victimized by barbaric, murderous ideologies ever again. That Jews can walk in any street in the world with their head held high and safe. That Israel, the Jewish state, the only democracy in the Middle East, continues to shine as a beacon of light in the darkest region in the world.

Thank you.

Also see:

Caroline Glick: President Sisi’s Gift

Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah al-SissiBy Caroline Glick:

Something extraordinary has happened.

On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.

Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.

On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.

According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.

In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story.’” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”

In other words, Sisi offered Abbas a way to end the Palestinians’ suffering and grant them political independence. And Abbas said, “No, forget statehood. Let them suffer.”

Generations of Israeli leaders and strategists have insisted that Israel does not have the ability to satisfy the Palestinian demands by itself without signing its own death warrant. To satisfy the Palestinian demand for statehood, Israel’s neighbors in Egypt and Jordan would have to get involved.

Until Sisi made his proposal, no Arab leader ever seriously considered actually doing what must be done. Indeed, the rejection of this self-evident Israeli claim has been so overwhelming that in recent years, every Israeli suggestion to this effect was met with raised eyebrows and dismissal by Israelis and foreigners alike.

So what is driving Sisi? How do we account for this dramatic shift? In offering the Palestinians a large swathe of the Sinai, Sisi is not acting out of altruism. He is acting out of necessity. From his perspective, and from the perspective of his non-jihadist Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian campaign against Israel is dangerous.

Facing the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the rise of jihadist forces from al-Qaida to the Islamic State to the Muslim Brotherhood, the non-jihadist Sunnis no longer believe that the prolongation of the Palestinian jihad against Israel is in their interest.

Egypt and Jordan have already experienced the spillover of the Palestinian jihad. Hamas has carried out attacks in Egypt. The Palestinian jihad nearly destroyed Lebanon and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia now view Israel as a vital ally in their war against the Sunni jihadists and their struggle against Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. They recognize that Israeli action against Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran serves the interests of non-jihadi Sunnis. And, especially after the recent conflict in Gaza, they realize that the incessant Palestinian campaign against Israel ultimately strengthens the jihadist enemies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia like Hamas.

Apparently, Sisi’s offer to Abbas is an attempt to help the Palestinian people and take the Palestinian issue out of the hands of Palestinian jihadists.

Unfortunately for Sisi and his fellow non-jihadist Sunnis, Abbas is having none of this.

In rejecting Sisi’s offer Abbas stood true to his own record, to the legacies of every Palestinian leader since Nazi agent Haj Amin el-Husseini, and to the declared strategic goal of his own Fatah party and his coalition partners in Hamas. Since Husseini invented the Palestinians in the late 1920s, their leaders’ primary goals have never been the establishment of a Palestinian state or improving the lives of Palestinians. Their singular goal has always been the destruction of the Jewish state, (or state-in-themaking before 1948).

Sisi offered to end Palestinian suffering and provide the Palestinians with the land they require to establish a demilitarized state. Abbas rejected it because he is only interested hurting Israel. If Israel is not weakened by their good fortune, then the Palestinians should continue to suffer.

For Israel, Sisi’s proposal is a windfall.

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

UN houses, but does not sponsor, anti-Semitism conference with keynote by Brigitte Gabriel

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Times of Israel, by BY CATHRYN J. PRINCE, Sep. 9, 2014:

UNITED NATIONS, NY — On the third floor of the United Nations, just two doors down from the Security Council, more than 500 people gathered this week for a conference on the rise of anti-Semitism. For some, the location was a touch ironic

Because it wasn’t the UN that decided to address the threat global anti-Semitism posed to international peace and security. Rather, it was the UN Permanent Mission of Palau and the Aja Eze Foundation that sponsored the lunchtime conference.

“But why couldn’t the UN, founded on the ashes of the Jewish people, and presently witnessing a widespread resurgence in anti-Semitism, sponsor a conference on combating global anti-Semitism?” said Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. “The answer is clear: Because the United Nations itself is the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism.”

 

Bayefsky was one of eight panelists who urged the international community to recognize that as anti-Semitism rises, global security falls. They said failure to act against such bigotry enables ISIS and other fundamental Islamic groups.

The conference came after a summer that saw a sharp uptick in anti-Semitic incidents due to Israel’s war against Hamas, according to the Jerusalem-based World Zionist Organization. In July there were approximately 318 anti-Semitic incidents, compared to 66 over the same period in 2013. This represents a nearly 400 percent increase.

During July 2014, Europe saw a 436% increase, while the US saw a 130% rise. There was a 1,200% increase in anti-Semitic acts in South America and a 600% rise in South Africa, according to the organization.

“Where is the outrage? Where are the universal condemnations?” said Ambassador Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, Prosor said. “The silence is very similar to the silence of the 1930s and we all have a responsibility to stand up and fight.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor. ‘Will you stand with those who fire rockets, kidnap girls out of classrooms, and cut off the heads of journalists?’ he asked at a Global Anti-Semitism conference in the UN this week.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor. ‘Will you stand with those who fire rockets, kidnap girls out of classrooms, and cut off the heads of journalists?’ he asked at a Global Anti-Semitism conference in the UN this week.

“Will you stand with those who fire rockets, kidnap girls out of classrooms, and cut off the heads of journalists? Or will you stand up for freedom?” said Prosor.

Thousands in the United Kingdom and Germany recently demonstrated against a wave of anti-Semitic incidents. And US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Jewish leaders to “reiterate the US government’s deep concern about the prevalence and pervasiveness of anti-Semitic threats and attacks against Jewish individuals, houses of worship, and businesses during the past few months,” according to the US State Department.

Still more must be done, said panelists. To start, the UN must change its stance regarding Israel.

“Every nation has a right to protect themselves, yet most condemn Israel’s right to protect itself. Many condemn genocide yet do not do anything against those who seek to annihilate Israel,” said Dr. Caleb Otto, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations.

However, the UN disproportionally singles Israel out among its 193 members, Bayefsky said.

For example, the UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel in 50 resolutions between 2006 and 2014, more than the rest of the entire world. Of all the 2013 General Assembly resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights abuses, 70% were about Israel.

This kind of institutionalized anti-Semitism not only threatens Israel, it threatens regional stability, said Mark Langfan, Arutz Sheva UN Correspondent/Security Analyst.

To make his case, Langfan presented a graphic analysis of the strategic dangers to Israel and the world. The New York-based attorney said Israel is of critical strategic importance. It is a bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalism threatening to sweep across the Middle East and into southern Europe.

“Israel’s fight today will be the world’s fight tomorrow,” Langfan said.

He said a strong Israel protects Lebanon, Jordan and moderate Muslim nations from falling to groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS.

Brigitte Gabriel, founder, CEO and president of ACT! For America

Brigitte Gabriel, founder, CEO and president of ACT! For America

Wearing a Star of David, Brigitte Gabriel, founder, CEO and president of ACT! For America, decried those who questioned Israel’s right to defend itself during Operation Protective Edge. She said she found that appalling given that Hamas’ charter calls for Israel’s destruction.

“But Hamas has a problem because in Israel Jews don’t hide behind stones and trees. In Israel Jews have learned that when someone says they are going to kill you they mean it,” Gabriel said.

The twice-published author said standing against this “institutionalized” anti-Semitism is to oppose terrorist groups such as Hamas and ISIS.

 

 

Pastor Mario Bramnick, Chief Liaison for Israel and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership, said visitors to the UN “will see Israel falsely portrayed as a murderer, an illegitimate occupier and a baby killer.” They see a nation charged with apartheid and genocide.

Regardless of faith, race or creed, people must not be silent in the face of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel vitriol, Bramnick said to a standing ovation.

And so, Bramnick said, three days before the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 and just over two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, it’s time to act, and do what was done in Biblical times to signal danger.

“If there ever was a time to sound the shofar,” Bramnick said, “it is now.”

**********

Published on Sep 3, 2014 by apeacet

As global anti-Semitism is gaining momentum, Jewish leadership is failing. The new anti-Semitism masquerades as anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism. It is fueled by hatred of Jews and Judeo-Christian humanism. It is promoted by violent mobs of Muslim immigrants in the West. It has the full support of Leftist infrastructure in the media, the universities, NGOs and certain Christian churches. When you see Americans turning on fellow Americans, how would you respond?

United Nations Relief Agency in Gaza Strip is a ‘branch of Hamas’

Religious Freedom Coalition, by Andrew Harrod (Exclusive)

In the Gaza Strip “UNRWA is effectively a branch of Hamas,” the Middle East Forum’s Alexander H. Joffe and Asaf Romirowskyrecently concluded concerning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.  Weapons caches in UNRWA schools and other forms of UNRWA support for Hamas, though, are no surprise given documentation of how Palestinians abetted by the UN misuse refugees to attack Israel.

Rockets found in a UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip

Rockets found in a UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip

Founder of the Israel Resource News Agency, David Bedein has recently authored Roadblock to Peace:  How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict—UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, describing the uniquely dysfunctional treatment of Palestinian refugees throughout history.  Anywhere from 540,000 to over 750,000 Arabs lost their homes in what became Israel during its 1948 independence war.  For these people UNRWA originated as the “only UN organization dedicated to handling exactly one ethnic group of refugees” while theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) handles all others.

Begun as a short-term mission on May 1, 1950, UNRWA’s existence has continued with successive three-year mandate renewals, the latest being last June 30.  UNRWA’s longevity derives from evolving definitions of “refugee,” never defined in UNRWA’s founding 1949 UN resolution, that count descendants through a refugee’s male line.  This includes some whose ancestors were nomadic Bedouins or who simply became indigent after losing their jobs in the new state of Israel.  The 1951 UN Refugee Convention’s definition, by contrast, is not inheritable, nor does it encompass individuals who obtain new citizenships, like the 2 million Palestinian “refugees” in Jordan who may attend both UNRWA and Jordanian schools.

Additionally, UNRWA’s 59 camps serve 1.1 million beneficiaries in the Gaza Strip, 688,700 in the “West Bank” territories of Judea and Samaria, including East Jerusalem, 496,000 in Syria, and 425,000 in Lebanon.  These 4.7 million UNRWA clients compare with 15.4 million refugees in UNHCR’s definition and 12 million stateless individuals.  Yet UNHCR counts 7,200 staff and a $3.32 billion budget compared to UNWRA’s 29,000 (99% local Palestinians) and $1.0037 billion budget.

Only an estimated one-third of 100 million 20th century refugees received any assistance, yet international aid helped encourage 962,000 people to register as refugees with UNRWA at its founding.  UNHCR usually expects host countries to provide refugee services, in contrast to UNWRA’s agencies, such that non-refugee Palestinians avail themselves of services in Gaza and Jerusalem camps largely indistinguishable from the surrounding cities.  Although overcrowded, UNWRA camps consist largely of stone-block buildings with modern utilities such as phone lines, sewage, water, and electricity.  Some camps even have luxury dwellings, such as those in Jenin with Italian marble and Spanish tiles.

Bedein condemns, though, that UNRWA “mandates the perpetuity of refugee squalor.”  Traditional refugee policy practiced by UNHCR focuses on refugee resettlement where return to lost homes is not possible or even permitted.  The 1949 Geneva Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War, meanwhile, do not recognize any refugee “right of return.”

Read more

‘Moderate Islamists’ Turn on MI Gov. for pro-Israel Comment

Clockwise: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Hatem Bazian,Omar Suleiman and Zahra Billoo.

Clockwise: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Hatem Bazian,Omar Suleiman and Zahra Billoo.

Mich. Gov. Snyder is getting an up-close look at the extremism of the Islamic Society of North America, an group that purports to be moderate

BY RYAN MAURO:

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is getting an up-close look at the extremism of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). AfterClarion Project brought attention to his speaking engagement at ISNA’s conference, his spokesperson defended ISNA. Now, he is facing an Islamist backlash merely for stating his support of Israel’s right to exist.

ISNA has a moderate presentation but an extremist history. ISNA was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in 2007 during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation. The Justice Department said ISNA is an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, a determination supported by the Brotherhood’s own documents.

Our article mentioned these facts and reviewed the speaker lineup for ISNA’s conference, which consists largely of Islamist radicals. Significant media coverage followed our report. We provided this information to Governor Snyder’s office and asked for a response.

Press Secretary Sara Wurfel responded by defending ISNA as a moderate organization. The official statement read in part:

“ISNA has been consistent in rejecting all acts of terrorism and violence, and Congressional investigations and inquiries have resulted in no ties to terrorism, and the organization has as its mission ‘to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.

“ISNA has advocated for a ‘just and fair settlement of disputes between Israel, the Palestinians, and their neighbors through diplomacy and other peaceful means.’ ”

Snyder personally complimented ISNA during his remarks.  He said,“Thank you for your interfaith efforts with Christian and Jewish organizations.” He even endorsed ISNA’s Islamist-filled schedule,stating, “The tracks of your program are well-selected and meaningful to all of us.”

But then he uttered one line that has raised the ire of Islamists who also spoke at the event: “I’m a strong supporter of Israel and believe in its right to exist.”

The Islamists say the comment is offensive and anti-Muslim. Of course, nowhere did he actually attack Muslims or Palestinians. All Snyder did was state his opposition to the Islamist goal of destroying Israel.

Now some of ISNA’s top speakers are vowing to punish him politically.

Hatem Bazian, the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, is the loudest voice. He spoke twice at the ISNA conference, once on “Islamophobia” and once on the Muslim-American identity. He is also a founder of the Islamist-led Zaytuna College, which led another ISNA session.

Read more at Clarion Project

Man Threatens to Murder Children Due to Israel-Hamas Conflict

A Palestinian girl looks at masked militants of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas, celebrate at a victory rally at the debris of destroyed houses in Shijaiyah, neighborhood of Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday / AP

A Palestinian girl looks at masked militants of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas, celebrate at a victory rally at the debris of destroyed houses in Shijaiyah, neighborhood of Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday / AP

Washington Free Beacon, By Adam Kredo:

An Ohio school was placed on lockdown Wednesday after a man with a “heavy accent” phoned the school and threatened to murder children with an AK-47 due to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to local police.

All schools in Pickerington, Ohio, were placed on lockdown after an unknown man made a threatening call to the Pickerington North High School, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon.

The man, who claimed to have an AK-47, said he planned to launch an attack on the school and kill students over his apparent anger at the Middle East conflict, Phalen said.

“The school received a call [at around 11:15 a.m.] from a male with a heavy accent and he indicated that he was going to attack Pickerington North due to attacks on Israel and was going to kill the kids and that he had an AK-47 gun,” Phalen recounted.

“He identified himself as ‘Mohammed Shehad,’” or something similar to that, and claimed to live in the area, Phalen said, explaining that those who fielded the call were unsure precisely what last name the man provided.

“My sense is that due to the way he identified himself it sounds like he was upset at Israel,” though the individual’s exact motivations remain unclear, Phalen said. At this point, authorities “really don’t know what his frame of mind was or what he was thinking.”

All area schools were placed on “exterior lockdown” as a precautionary measure, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

School will resume on Thursday and an officer will be assigned to Pickerington North. Additional deputies will also be in the area, Phalen said.

Fairfield County detectives also are beginning to investigate the matter to determine the individual’s identity.

“We have detectives assigned to that; they’re working on trying to trace the phone number and identify the suspect,” Phalen said.

Patrick Poole, a terrorism analyst who lives in the area, said he believed the threat was made by a person upset with Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip.

“We have had a growing problem here in the Columbus area for years that local law enforcement and the media want to continue to sweep under the carpet,” Poole said. “Not only has Central Ohio been the home of the largest known al-Qaeda cell since 9/11—with several members currently in prison on terrorism charges and at least two deported—we’ve had a number of cases of homegrown jihadists come through town, including al-Shabaab rapper Omar al-Hammami and Little Rock Army recruiting station killer Carlos Bledsoe.”

“An al-Shabaab recruiter and fundraiser from the area was killed in a firefight in Mogadishu in 2010, and we know of several cases of young men who have left from Columbus to join the Somali terrorist group,” Poole said. “One of the original online jihadist forum operators, Sarfaraz Jamal, grew up in the area and initially ran his operation from his Worthington home.”

Additionally, “we just had a pro-Hamas rally at the statehouse a week and a half ago, a regular feature here in central Ohio whenever there is conflict in that part of the world,” Poole noted. “In fact, two of our local Hamas activists are currently in prison in Egypt. Now that the threat is targeting area school children, hopefully it will begin to wake people up to the scope of the problem.”

SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: TIME FOR ISLAMIC WORLD TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL

israeli-flag-worn-apBreitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said that now is the time to recognize Israel as a legitimate entity in the Middle East, stressing that the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, terror group Hamas, is responsible for fanning the flames of war between Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking at the world assembly of Islamic scholars in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Saud bin Faisal Al Saud reiterated that the Arab world must also reject Hamas as the representatives of the Palestinian movement, AWD news reports.

Saudi media has consistently been against Hamas in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. “[Meshaal], we are tired of defending the [Palestinian] cause that you have sold for cheap to an MB (Muslim Brotherhood) gang whose way you followed even though they have lost their [own] way,” Saudi commentator Abdul Hamdi Razaq recently wrote in a scathing rebuke of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

In March, Saudi Arabia designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Some insist the designation had more to do with differing views on Sunni Islam than with the actual threat level posed by the Muslim Brotherhood.

This week, Saudi King Abdullah blamed Hamas for the 50-day war between the terror entity and the State of Israel. Abdullah said: “It is shameful and disgraceful that these terrorists [Hamas] are doing this in the name of religion, killing the people, whose killing Allah has forbidden, and mutilating their bodies, and feeling proud in publishing this. They have distorted the image of Islam with its purity and humanity and smeared it with all sorts of bad qualities by their actions, injustice, and crimes.”

Israel Security Summit – Boston Area – Sept 9, 2014

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http://www.IsraelSecuritySummit.com

ISIS, HAMAS, AND THE SURGING THREAT OF RADICAL ISLAMISM

hamas-flag-soldier-Reuters (3)Breitbart, by NOAH BECK:

The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley has raised concerns in the West about Islamist threats. But Israel has been facing this specter for decades and – given Israel’s proximity to the Islamist threat – the Jewish state is the West’s canary in the coal mine. But Gaza seems to be the Western blind spot, even though the Hamas-ISIS parallels are glaringly obvious.

Since beheadings are the current media focus, and ISIS has beheaded infants, it’s worth noting that Hamas praised the 2011 Itamar murders, which involved the decapitation of a baby. Islamist beheadings should surprise no one, given that they’ve been happening for much of (and despite) modernity – perhaps because “Islam is the only major world religion today that is cited…to legitimize beheadings,” according to this study.

While there have been no reported Hamas beheadings of journalists, the similarities between Hamas and ISIS are more important than their differences.

Both would like to establish a Caliphate. Hamas Interior Minister declared as much in this 2013 speech. Both gain and keep power through savagery and fear. Hamas rose to power in Gaza thanks to its violent, 2007 coup, and recently planned a second putsch (in the West Bank). Hamas famously threw its political opponents off rooftops.

Like ISIS, Hamas uses clinics, schools, mosques, and charities to gain legitimacy, and inculcates children with the values of jihadi terror. A Vice documentary exposed how ISIS indoctrinates children for war, but Hamas has been doing so for years, educating children to worship death and using child soldiers.

Hamas’ use of human shields has been widely documented (and proven very effective in turning public opinion against Israel by exponentially increasing Gazan civilian casualties). ISIS used 500 Yazidi captives and 39 abducted Indians as human shields.

ISIS is known for its expulsion of Christians from Mosul and its genocidal murder of Yazidis and Christians who refuse to convert to Islam or pay the jizyah, and Hamas would undoubtedly behave the same way if Israeli Jews didn’t have the protection of a superior military, and if Hamas didn’t depend on international donations to Gaza that might dry up after a wholesale slaughter of the tiny Christian community there. But even with these checks on Hamas’ brutality, Hamas regularly practices and preaches religious hatred. For years, Hamas has attacked Christians, including defiling Christian graves, abducting and murdering Christians, and more recently using a Gazan church to launch rockets at Israel. Hamas preaches hateful incitement against Jews, has desecrated Jewish holy sites, and has murdered hundreds of Jews in terrorist attacks.

ISIS uses Sharia to justify its barbaric treatment of women. Also enamored with Sharia, Hamas treats women as second-class citizens and endorses honor killings.

Hamas advocates the death penalty for homosexuals, and (like ISIS) lets Islamic morality police govern economic activity and punishes crime with lashings, amputations, and executions. There have been no broadcast beheadings of homosexuals by ISIS yet, but such horrors can’t be far off, given that ISIS fighters include gay-hating Westerners.

Hamas condemned the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and ISIS aspires to surpass him.

Yet, astonishingly, President Obama and liberals have continually called for restraint when Israel’s military has confronted Hamas (after Hamas’ countless attacks against Israeli civilians) and Obama has pressed Israel to negotiate with Hamas (as if the U.S. would ever negotiate with ISIS). Worse still, the Obama administration tried to advance Hamas’ negotiating position and recently pressured Israel into letting Hamas keep its military capabilities. Given the opportunity to obliterate ISIS’ terrorist infrastructure, would the U.S. ever spare any part of it?

Even more troubling – in terms of the perils involved – is Obama’s feckless strategy towards the Iranian regime, which is the world’s chief sponsor of Islamist terrorism (including by Hamas and Hezbollah). Like so many Islamist terrorist organizations, Iran executes homosexualsmistreats womenpersecutes religious minorities; employs barbaric, Sharia-law punishments (like amputation and stoning); and brutalizes political dissenters (among myriad other human rights violations). But unlike the terrorist organizations, Iran could theoretically acquire a nuclear capability in under two months. Imagine an Islamist state, which openly supports Islamist terrorists, possessing nukes. Alarmingly, Obama’s approach and over-eagerness to negotiate any deal he can get, have signaled weakness in a region that respects only strength and have improved Iran’s nuclear position.

Islamist groups like Hamas, ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram all seek the destruction of Western values and civilization. The West ignores this fact at its peril, and should therefore support Israel’s war against Hamas, as the U.S. has rightly (albeit tardily and minimally) supported the Kurds in their fight against ISIS.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, a doomsday thriller about the Iranian nuclear threat and current geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance

partners-300x191By Caroline Glick:

Hamas’s war with Israel is not a stand-alone event. It is happening in the context of the vast changes that are casting asunder old patterns of behavior and strategic understandings as actors in the region begin to reassess the threats they face.

Hamas was once funded by Saudi Arabia and enabled by Egypt. Now the regimes of these countries view it as part of a larger axis of Sunni jihad that threatens not only Israel, but them.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and its state sponsors Qatar and Turkey, are the key members of this alliance structure. Without their support Hamas would have gone down with the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt last summer. As it stands, all view Hamas’s war with Israel as a means of reinstating the Brotherhood to power in that country.

To achieve a Hamas victory, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood are using Western support for Hamas against Israel. If the US and the EU are able to coerce Egypt and Israel to open their borders with Gaza, then the Western powers will hand the jihadist axis a strategic victory.

The implications of such a victory would be dire.

Hamas is ideologically indistinguishable from Islamic State. Like Islamic State, Hamas has developed mass slaughter and psychological terrorization as the primary tools in its military doctrine. If the US and the EU force Israel and Egypt to open Gaza’s borders, they will enable Hamas to achieve strategic and political stability in Gaza. As a consequence, a post-war Gaza will quickly become a local version of Islamic State-controlled Mosul.

In the first instance, such a development will render life in southern Israel too imperiled to sustain. The Western Negev, and perhaps Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod, will become uninhabitable.

Then there is Judea and Samaria. If, as the US demands, Israel allows Gaza to reconnect with Judea and Samaria, in short order Hamas will dominate the areas. Militarily, the transfer of even a few of the thousands of rocket-propelled grenades Hamas has in Gaza will imperil military forces and civilians alike.

IDF armored vehicles and armored civilian buses will be blown to smithereens.

Whereas operating from Gaza, Hamas needed the assistance of the Obama administration and the Federal Aviation Administration to shut down Ben-Gurion Airport, from Judea and Samaria, all Hamas would require are a couple of hand-held mortars.

Jordan will also be directly threatened.

From Egypt’s perspective, a Hamas victory in the war with Israel that connects Gaza to Sinai will strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamic State and other allies. Such a development represents a critical threat to the regime.

And this brings us to Islamic State itself. It couldn’t have grown to its current monstrous proportions without the support of Qatar and Turkey.

Read more

IDF Scores Hits on Hamas Military Leaders in Gaza

Muhammad Abu Smalla, 39 and Ra'ad Atar, 39

Muhammad Abu Smalla, 39 and Ra’ad Atar, 39
Source: General Security Service of Israel

By Jerry Gordon:

The Hamas breach of the 12th cease fire unleashed a new phase by the IDF in Operation Protective Edge to take down Hamas military leaders. By going after Hamas military commanders via air assaults based on intelligence gathered by Shin Bet, it has scored some important hits, including operatives involved in the 2006 kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Schalit was held in captivity for five years by Hamas until his release in October 2011 in exchange for 1037 Palestinian prisoners. The IDF announced the killing of Muhammad Abu Smalla, 39 and Ra’ad Atar, 39 and a third operative in an IAF air assault on a Rafah location in southern Gaza. The significance of the killing of both Smalla and Atar was their involvement in several operations, notably the 2004 tunnel attack in the Philadelphi corridor that sparked IDF tunnel detection developments and the recent cross border tunnel attacks in Operation Protective Edge. See our recent Iconoclast post, “How Israel’s Military Bureaucracy Bungled the Terror Tunnel Threat”.

Further, there are conflicting reports that the IAF may have taken down the head of the Hamas military wing, Mohammed Deif. However, Hamas only acknowledges that Deif’s wife and infant child were killed in the attack on their home in Gaza. Hamas is now concentrating its rocket barrages on Southern Israel and strategic launches against the Tel Aviv area in central Israel seeking to score another hit near Ben Gurion Airport. An earlier rocket hit in late July on a residence near Ben Gurion Airport brought about an order from the US FAA resulting in temporary suspension of flights to Israel by US and international carriers.

Read more at New English Review

Also see:

Edward Said: Oppressed Fraud

edward-saidBy Daniel Greenfield:

Edward Said was the world’s second most famous Palestinian. And much like Palestine, his biography was a fake and his culture was nothing more than the advocacy of a perpetual supremacist conflict against the indigenous Jewish inhabitants whom the colonial myth of Palestine was meant to displace.

The great genius of Arab and Islamic supremacism was their pretense that the Jewish story of an indigenous minority resisting their colonialism was really their own story. Having failed to destroy every culture that they had conquered, they instead appropriated their stories, painting their fallen empires as the tragic victims of the imperialism of the very people whom they had conquered and oppressed.

Arabs and Muslims still remained the dominant and domineering group in the Middle East repressing other cultures and religions from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, but they flipped the history books over so that the descendants of caliphs and conquerors who had ground the Jews and other indigenous peoples under their boots could reinvent themselves as the victims of Jewish oppression. The members of vast families and clans spanning the Middle East selectively embraced a Palestinian identity if they happened, at any point in their lives, to find themselves within the borders of the Jewish State.

That is both the larger theme of Joshua Muravchik’s Making David Into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel and of its chapter on Edward Said, who helped turn the history books upside down.

Like many of the professionally oppressed, Edward Said came from wealth and privilege. Like Arafat, the world’s most famous Palestinian, Said, the world’s second most famous Palestinian came out of Cairo.

His childhood in “Palestine” was as much of a fiction as Palestine itself. Instead his mother had traveled to give birth in Jerusalem to take advantage of Jewish medical expertise. From that tiny act of occupation came the vast cultural appropriation that the newly baptized “Palestinian” would go on to inflict on the indigenous inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Edward Said’s career trajectory took him deep within academia where he denounced rival scholars for constructing simplistic stereotypes of the Middle East by constructing a simplistic stereotype of them as “Orientalists” who were “othering” the east.

In a typically tribal display of hypocrisy, Edward Said was othering the very people he was accusing of othering his own people.

What Edward Said lacked in scholarship (he thought that the Islamic conquest of what is today Turkey had taken place before the conquest of North Africa) and honesty (he claimed that the PLO rejected terrorism) he more than made up for in manufactured outrage, as Joshua Muravchik documents.

Edward Said transformed the Muslim and Arab colonists into the oppressed indigenous peoples pitted against European colonizers. The complex nuanced realities of legitimate scholars who recognized that Europeans and Arabs had both been imperialists and colonizers in their time were swept aside by Said’s nationalistic polemics.

By damning legitimate scholars as racist colonialist Orientalists, Edward Said was able to impose his own racist and colonialist revisionist history on academia.

The New Left had made Third World nationalism into its new creed. Said’s support of the PLO made him a voice for justice no matter how many lies he told or how his botched scholarship perverted history. Third World nationalists could legitimately call on Western guilt and act as moral voices on campus at the behest of a left that glibly assumed that only political terror would end the cycle of oppression.

Read more at Front Page

War Leaves Hamas Battered as Israel Gives Diplomacy a Chance

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
August 19, 2014

1049The summer war that has raged between Hamas in Gaza and Israel has left the Islamist terrorist organization battered and bruised. Its offensive tunnel capabilities lie in ruins, while its rocket arsenal near depletion.

The war began when Hamas launched heavy rocket salvos at Israeli cities in July, and then rejected multiple Egyptian-media truce offers. Hamas’s decision to go to war proved to be very costly, and it is now attempting to salvage some gains through a round of indirect negotiations with Israel in Cairo.

Israeli intelligence agencies heard chatter in Gaza about an impending conflict several months before it began. The Israel Defense Force’s Southern Command quietly prepared for the clash, and senior army sources say the fruit of these diligent preparations are apparent today.

Despite its bravado, claims of victory, and public rhetoric, and irrespective of its long list of demands, many of which are unrealistic and will not be met – like Hamas’s demand for a seaport in Gaza – Hamas is negotiating from a position of weakness. Its posturing is aimed at domestic consumption, and is also an attempt to convince the Israeli public that the mere fact Hamas survived the war, and continued shooting projectiles, represents a defeat for Israel.

In fact, Israel deliberately refrained from seeking to destroy Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades. The defense establishment believes that it is in Israel’s interest to have a weakened, single address in Gaza, responsible for governing the Strip, and capable of enforcing a truce. Most importantly, any entity ruling Gaza must be responsive to Israeli deterrence.

If Hamas is toppled, the reasoning in the Israeli defense establishment goes, it may be replaced by an assortment of jihadist militias, creating an even more chaotic situation in which deterrence becomes impossible, and where Gaza would resemble Somalia.

The first two stages of the Israeli operation against Hamas – air strikes and a limited ground offensive – test the idea that Hamas can still be deterred. Should Hamas resume hostilities and prove that it is immune to deterrence, despite the wide-scale damage it has brought on itself and to the people of Gaza, the IDF has prepared operational plans for a full-scale ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, aimed at the destruction of Hamas’s military wing.

IDF ground forces continue to be positioned along the Gaza border, and await instructions from the security cabinet after completing preparations for the possibility of renewed fighting.

A damage assessment of Hamas’s military capabilities thus far reveals the true extent of the price it has paid for its aggression against Israeli civilians. During the war, the IDF destroyed nearly 5,000 targets, most of which were planted by Hamas deep inside Gaza civilian areas. The targets included 1,700 rocket launchers and sites used to store the projectiles. Hamas lost around 1,000 command and control centers – most of which were based in the homes of Hamas field commanders. Another 1,000 targets that threatened advancing IDF units on the ground were destroyed. Israel also struck 240 Hamas regime buildings that were used by its military wing in terrorist-guerilla operations, 200 rocket factories, and a myriad of additional targets.

Gaza terror factions began the war with an arsenal of about 9,000 rockets. Today, under a third of that arsenal remains, due to depletion or destruction by Israel Air Force strikes.

Rocket attacks proved highly ineffective in Hamas’s goal of sowing death and destruction in Israeli cities. Nevertheless, daily rocket attacks on millions of Israelis paralyzed ordinary life and spread fear among the public.

It was the performance of the Iron Dome air defense system that prevented mass casualties and large-scale wreckage in Israel. Nine Iron Dome batteries deployed across Israel intercepted 90 percent of all targeted rockets heading towards populated Israeli regions, while the remainder of rockets mostly fell in uninhabited areas.

Some 3,400 rockets were fired into Israel, and Israeli civilians were forced to deal with the psychological terror and daily disruption of air raid sirens, and the need to quickly take cover. In physical terms, however, Hamas’s rocket arsenal was rendered largely useless by Iron Dome. All of the rockets fired by Hamas were produced in Gaza’s flourishing arms industry, which rose up after Egypt blocked smuggling tunnels linking the Strip to the Sinai Peninsula. Previously, those tunnels were used by Iran to export weapons to Hamas.

Israeli villages and agricultural regions bordering the Gaza Strip fared worse than the rest of the country. These areas were exposed to constant mortar shells fired from Gaza and the threat of cross-border tunnels. Residents abandoned much of the area, becoming internally displaced persons during the war.

Hamas’s second disappointment came when its elaborate network of underground attack tunnels it dug from Gaza into Israel were destroyed before they could be used in grand terrorist attacks against Israeli border villages and army bases. Hamas spent tens of millions of dollars building the heavily fortified tunnels, which were supposed to be used to launch indiscriminate killing sprees and kidnap soldiers.

Although a few of the tunnels were used by Hamas cells to launch deadly raids on Israeli army units that protected villages in the south of the country, the majority of the tunnels had been mapped out by military intelligence, and were destroyed during the course of the ground offensive. During this stage of the fighting, Israeli infantry, armored, and combat engineering units reached tunnel shafts, and proceeded to destroy the underground structures using liquid explosive. Hamas’s regional battalions mounted a stiff defense of the tunnels, firing a very large number of RPGs, mortar shells, sniper rounds, and automatic fire from Palestinian civilian areas at the army. Hamas guerillas used an internal Gaza tunnel network to launch hit-and-run attacks. They also booby-trapped large numbers of Palestinian residential buildings.

Nevertheless, the IDF destroyed all of the attack tunnels – 32 it knew about – taking two weeks to complete the mission. It took Hamas five years and a great deal of treasure to build up its underground warfare capability, but this was ruined by the Israeli army in little time.

The tunnels, complete with telephone lines, electricity, and rail cars, were built with cement sent into Gaza for the purpose of civilian construction projects, such as schools and medical clinics.

Sixty four IDF soldiers and officers were killed in the battle to destroy the tunnels, and three Israeli civilians were killed by projectiles. But Hamas, and to a smaller extent, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, lost several hundred terrorists in combat with soldiers. Between 900 and 1,000 terrorists were killed by the army in Gaza clashes, according to Israeli intelligence evaluations. According to Hamas medical sources, nearly 2,000 Gazans were killed in the conflict. That would put the civilian/combatant casualty ratio at roughly 1:1, a rate IDF sources say is one of the lowest in recent wars by a Western military against an asymmetrical foe. By comparison, NATO’s operations in Afghanistan have resulted, according to reports, in a 3:1 civilian/combatant casualty ratio.

Hamas also spent years developing its own drone program, but when it tried to send these into Israel during the war, the IAF detected the threat and shot them down. Additionally, a Hamas naval commando unit attempted to infiltrate the country via a southern Israeli beach, but it too was detected by the military, and its members were swiftly killed.

Israel’s operations in Gaza included, for the first time, a fully integrated joint forces command and control network. This system allowed infantry units, navy missile ships, tanks, fighter jets, artillery units and drones to share real-time intelligence on targets, and to synchronize their firepower. All of these forces were also linked up to military intelligence, allowing for new and critical information on threats in the sectors of units in combat to be transmitted in seconds.

For example, when the army obtained vital information from Hamas detainees on booby- trapped homes in the vicinity of an infantry unit, information was immediately sent to the infantry commanders, enabling them to take evasive action.

The big question now is whether Israel’s military success will convince Hamas to end its belligerent course.

Tuesday afternoon brought reason for doubt. Three medium-range rockets were fired at the Negev city of Beersheba, prompting swift Israeli air strikes on targets in northern Gaza. Israel recalled its negotiators from Cairo in response, and the coming hours will be crucial in charting the course of future developments.

If Hamas chooses to resume attacks on Israel, it is likely that the IDF will be ordered to target the remaining components of Hamas’s terrorist-guerilla army. This time around, the goal will be to defeat Hamas, rather than deter it.

Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post’s military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.

Did a Hamas Plot to Seize the West Bank Really Cause the Gaza War?

fatah-hamas-450x252Front Page, By Daniel Greenfield:

If some of this information holds up, then the picture of the Gaza War changes significantly.

A large-scale Hamas terrorist formation in the West Bank and Jerusalem planned to destabilize the region through a series of deadly terror attacks in Israel and then topple the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority, the Shin Bet said Monday.

The Turkey-based Hamas overseas headquarters orchestrated the plot which centered on a string of mass casualty terror attacks on Israeli targets, the Shin Bet added.

The end goal was to destabilize the Palestinian territories and use the instability to carry out a military coup, overthrowing the government of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Hamas infrastructure relied on support from cells in neighboring Jordan, and on couriers who delivered terrorist finances, totaling at least two million shekels, which were used to purchase weapons and homes that were used as hideouts, according to the investigation.

Ninety three Hamas members are in Israeli custody, and the Shin Bet has questioned 46 so far. Security forces plan to indict some 70 suspects. The investigation began in May, and is ongoing, security sources said.

The earliest timeline of the arrests appears to predate the official onset of the fighting. Also the operation was orchestrated from Turkey, much like the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens.

What that may really mean is that Israel was caught in the middle of a power play between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. If Turkey’s tyrant Erdogan seemed even more hysterical during the war than usual, it was because he had helped set it off. And if Saudi Arabia seemed a bit suspiciously supportive, that was because it was using Israel in its proxy war with Qatar and Turkey.

Once it was clear that the operation was exposed, Hamas decided to go all in while counting on Turkey and Qatar to bring Obama to the rescue. The results have been mixed, but if Israel ends up making concessions then all the bad guys on both sides will get what they want.

The war as we saw it, was actually a semi-accidental result of a larger Hamas operation going off prematurely as part of an internal civil war within the Muslim world.

The twist in all this is that the Unity Government of Fatah and Hamas was only a prelude to Hamas stabbing Fatah in the back.