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Friday, July 25, 2014

Phase 3: The end of Hamas

The IDF may soon move into Phase 3 of Operation Protective Edge, which would mean the systematic destruction of all of Hamas' military assets.
But Hamas’s leadership structure – Khaled Mashaal in Qatar and Ismail Haniyeh (head of the political wing) and Muhammad Deif (commander of the military wing) in Gaza have taken the decision to continue to confront Israel.
By doing so, the leaders are inviting Israel to launch the third phase of the offensive, and to lose any control of when Israel ceases its large-scale military offensive against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hamas has lost more than half of its rocket arsenal through Israeli air strikes and depletion from its own use. Should Israel launch its third phase, deterrence will become a secondary goal, and the IDF will be instructed to attack and destroy Hamas’s military assets all over Gaza.
Although the targets of such a phase are unknown, it would not be unreasonable to assume they would include Hamas’s senior military leadership structure, the remainder of its weapons factories and rocket stockpiles, regime buildings, Hamas posts, and large swaths of its territorial divisions and battalions.
That would necessitate a deeper presence of ground forces inside Gaza, and a further, controlled escalation of the conflict.
Hamas could hope to stay on its feet and be able to fire rockets until the last day of the war, thereby claiming a hollow “victory.” But that assumption ignores the very real possibility that Hamas’s military wing may be dismembered by the end of the conflict.
Faster, faster.... 

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Maccabi Haifa soccer players attacked in Austria

Turkish 'protesters' stormed the soccer pitch and attacked Maccabi Haifa players during an exhibition match against a French team in Austria on Thursday night. The Maccabi players had to be escorted off the field by police in what was supposed to have been a 'friendly' match.
The protesters, who were holding up Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags and were reportedly of Turkish origin, stormed the field as the game against the French soccer team Lille was going on. They proceeded to spit at, curse and kick the Israeli players. Some of the players retaliated, leading to a brawl on the field.
No one was injured, and the Haifa players were taken off the field by police officers and instructed to remain in the locker room until things calm down.
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat reacted to the incident and said, “This is a dangerous and seemingly pre-planned incident, and we must not ignore it.”
Maccabi Haifa said in a statement following the incident, "We experienced an unpleasant experience of violence on the field and in the stands. We as a club call for co-existence and patience but this attack was planned and dangerous in light of the incitement in the Turkish media.”
“We deplore the violence against us, we came to play soccer and we are sorry that this how the game ended, but this did not happen because of the sport and because of soccer, but because we are a group representing Israel.”
 Unbelievable....

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'Palestinians' march on Jerusalem, riot ensues

For years we have been warned that one day the 'Palestinians' would 'peacefully' march to Jerusalem and there would be nothing the Israeli security forces could do to stop them. On Thursday night, they marched to Jerusalem. As anyone who is familiar with the situation here could tell you would happen, a riot ensued. One 'Palestinian' is dead, three are in critical condition and more than 200 were wounded.
Some 10,000 Palestinians protested near the checkpoint, throwing rocks, firebombs and fireworks at Israeli security forces, and setting tires ablaze. The IDF forces and Border Police were using crowd dispersal means on the masses.

Hospital officials in Ramallah earlier said three protesters had been killed, but revised that to one killed and three others in critical condition and on life support. Some 200 protesters were injured, a hospital doctor said. Thirteen Israeli police officers were lightly injured.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office did not immediately confirm the Palestinian casualties. The military was checking reports of live fire targeting Israeli forces at the checkpoint.

The protest erupted after allies of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement marched from the West Bank city of Ramallah to the edges of Jerusalem in protest against Israel's 17-day-old campaign against Hamas militants in Gaza.

Police so far arrested 39 Arab suspects during the protests.

Earlier on Thursday, Israel Police arrested nine suspects in east Jerusalem, for disrupting the peace and attacking police officers, near the Old City. The police said it used crowd dispersal methods to restore order.

At the same time, near the Temple Mount, dozens of east Jerusalem residents threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police forces. The police said said they have arrested 10 suspects, and that two police officers were lightly injured during the clash.

As police prepared for Friday prayers, they planed to heighten security in the Old City and throughout Jerusalem, as Operation Protective Edge enters its third week, fueling already heightened tensions between Arabs and Jews in the capital.
Read the whole thing. It explains the helicopters we've been hearing overhead every night this week all over Jerusalem.

I have been saying for many years that Hamas and Fatah differ only in methodology and not in goals. Perhaps this will wake up some people who waiver between the Right and the Left. Fatah (and the 'Palestinian Authority') is no better than Hamas. The delusion that there is a difference is one of the worst consequences of the Oslo fiasco.

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Why not Qatar?

Qatar and Turkey have been vying to replace Egypt as the intermediary between Israel and the 'Palestinians.' Jonathan Schanzer explains why that's not a great idea.
But using the good offices of Qatar is a huge mistake. The same goes for Turkey. In exchange for fleeting calm, the United States will have effectively given approval to these allies-cum-frenemies to continue their respective roles as sponsors of Hamas, which is a designated terrorist group in the United States.
Since a visit to Turkey by Qatar's ruler Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and amidst reports that Meshal has been shuttling between the two countries, Doha and Ankara have been floating terms of a joint cease-fire proposal that would reportedly grant Hamas significant benefits. Specifically, the deal would grant Hamas an open border in Gaza that would allow the group to continue to smuggle rockets and other advanced weaponry at an ever alarming pace.
The Israelis see this as a nonstarter. But the White House is nevertheless working the phones with Qatar and Turkey to see if a deal can be struck.
Since the war broke out in early July, Secretary of State John Kerry has reached out at least three times by phone to Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and six times to his Qatari counterpart, Khalid Al Attiyah (Kerry's Mideast chief boasted last month that the secretary of state "is in very constant contact" with FM Al-Attiyah and even "keeps his number on his own cell phone"). Kerry was also expected to visit Qatar before Egypt's aborted cease-fire proposal.
It is by now no secret that Qatar has emerged as Hamas' home away from home and ATM. Shaikh Tamim's father, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, visited Gaza in 2012 when he was still the ruler of Qatar, pledging $400 million in economic aid. Most recently, Doha tried to transfer millions of dollars via Jordan's Arab Bank to help pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants in Gaza, but the transfer was apparently blocked at Washington's request.
Since 2011, Qatar has been the home of the aforementioned Khaled Meshal, who runs Hamas's leadership. During a recent appearance on Qatar's media network Al Jazeera Arabic, Meshal blessed the individuals who kidnapped and ultimately murdered three Israeli teenagers. He boasted that Hamas was a unified movement and that its military wing reports to him and his associates in the political bureau. American officials have revealed that Qatar also hosts several other Hamas leaders. Israeli authorities reportedly intercepted an individual in April on his way back from meeting a member of Hamas's military wing in Qatar who gave him money and directives intended for Hamas cells in the West Bank.
Israeli and Egyptian officials report that Qatar is so eager for a political win at Cairo's expense that it actually urged Hamas to reject the Egyptian cease-fire initiative last week. Doha is also using its vast petroleum wealth to striking diplomatic effect: one UN official source suggests that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon would not have made it to Doha for cease-fire talks on Sunday if the Qataris hadn't chartered him a plane out of their own pocket.
Sounds like Obama's kind of people.... 

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Buffoon Kerry asks fallen soldier's mother how her day is going

US Secretary of State John FN Kerry went to see the parents of US citizen and fallen lone soldier Max Steinberg HY"D (May God Avenge his blood). Kerry put his foot so deeply into his mouth as to make it crystal clear why our rabbis decreed that one who goes to console a mourner should not speak until spoken to.
According to the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, “Kerry entered and exited the room swiftly, surrounded by men in black and refusing to take any questions from press.”
“How’s your day?” Kerry asked as he sat down. “How’s your day?” Evie [Steinberg's mother] asked back. “My day’s going better than yours,” he said.
In the meantime, the Steinberg's are overwhelmed with the support that they have received here in Israel. 
Speaking to Arutz Sheva at Jerusalem's Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the family are observing the seven-day shiva mourning period, Max's mother expressed gratitude for "all the love" the family had received from complete strangers.
"I cannot believe that all of these people are here for our son, and all the people that are here are giving us strength to get through this horrible time for our family," she said.
She recalled how her son had been inspired to join the IDF after visiting the grave of another fallen lone soldier from America: Michael Levin, who died fighting with the IDF's Paratrooper Brigade during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Max's father told how the Israeli people had "done everything they can to help us live through this very trying time."
Addressing the family's decision to bury Max in Israel - and not in LA as originally planned - he said they felt their decision had been validated after visiting Israel.
"...Once we got here and once we've been embraced by so many wonderful people.. and the beauty of the country and what it all stands for, there is no other decision."
Some 30,000 people showed up at Steinberg's funeral on Wednesday night. 

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Surprise: Hamas gunmen were shooting from UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun

Earlier today, UNRWA claimed that the IDF had fired on one of its schools in Beit Hanoun, which was being used to shelter civilians. Later, the IDF said it was investigating the incident, and still later it was reported that it was Hamas that shot the shells. Now, the IDF has investigated and concluded that terrorists fired from around the school and that the IDF returned fire.
The IDF Spokesperson's Office said on Thursday night that an initial investigation into the shelling of a UN-run school in Gaza – which left at least fifteen dead, and dozens wounded – found that terrorists had opened fire from the vicinity of the school, and that the army returned fire.

At the same time, Hamas fired in the general direction of the school, the army said. Civilians in the school were asked to vacate the area, but refused, the army added.

...

The Secretary General’s spokesperson emphasized that the United Nations is still unsure which side committed the attack, but did confirm that UN workers were killed.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office said it was still looking into the matter; while IDF sources said the building may have been hit by an errant Gaza rocket and that that possibility was being examined.

"Such a massacre requires more than one hospital to deal with it," said Ayman Hamdan, director of the Beit Hanoun hospital. More than 140,000 Palestinians have fled 17 days of fighting during Israel's Operation Protective Edge, many of them seeking refuge in buildings run by the UN UNWRA agency.  

Chris Gunness, spokesman for the main UN agency in Gaza UNRWA, confirmed the strike and criticized Israel.

"Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army ... Over the course of the day UNRWA tried to coordinate with the Israeli Army a window for civilians to leave and it was never granted," Gunness said on his Twitter page.
In the end, you know that somehow Hamas did this. 

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

URGENT message!

Received by email from a reliable source:
URGENT! Please share with as much people as possible. The Rav hamekoubal Nissim Shalom declared that his grandfather ZT"L appeared to him in a dream and revealed to him that the Machiach is at his door, and ordered him to let as many jewish people as possible know about it as well as many people as possible.  The Rav insisted upon the fact that whoever will send this message will be saved from the suffering which are supposed to occur with the coming of Machiach and that whoever won't do it will sustain a substantial loss  of money. The Rav asked to send this message to at least 12 people, a number corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel.  It is a very favorable moment now in heaven , and to those who might be skeptical and not believe in the words of the Rav should know that the Rav would never make such a declaration without serious reasons to do so because it is forbidden to give false hopes to the Jewish people. From the Rav Yoel Benharoushe. Thank you to forward to all your contacts.

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Iron Dome - How ISRAEL intercepts air-to-ground rockets from GAZA STRIP

"Iron Dome", an Anti Missile system, developed by Reffael

This high-technology system can intercept an enemy missile targeted to hit a civilian city, or any other ground area

Let's go to the videotape.



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Meshaal brags to Gazans that his hotel costs more than a hospital and three tunnels

No, even Khaled Meshaal is not dumb enough to brag to Gazans about how much his hotel costs. Or is he?
In a video obtained by The Jerusalem Post, a speech by Mashaal is distorted to bring Gazans a message that the Hamas leader is a corrupt politician who lives a lavish life abroad, while benifitting  from the suffering of Palestinian civilians.
"In the name of Allah, most gracious, most compassionate," says Mashaal in the mock video. "I want to start by thanking the excellent staff of the kitchen at my hotel."
Later, the leader speaks about hearing about what is happening in Gaza and adds:  "The hotel cost me the same as the price of a hospital and three tunnels in Gaza."
Messages of this sort, according to reports on Palestinian social media, are an almost daily occurrence. Israel gains control of TV stations and broadcasts numerous videos mocking Hamas leaders. 
Hamas has also attempted to psychologically affect the citizens of Israel through hacking during the more than two weeks of hostilities.
The organization has released a series of threatening videos on Youtube, mocking the Israeli government in Hebrew and touting the strength of Hamas. Pro-Hamas hackers succeeded last week in interrupting a live Channel 10 news broadcast with their own propaganda.
And of course, let's go to the videotape... with English subtitles.



Heh.

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Israelis stuck in Turkey

Israelis who found themselves in Turkey when the FAA ban on flying to Israel was announced are stuck. Turkish Airlines is not flying to Israel before July 31, and the Turkish authorities refuse to let El Al in.
Israelis yelled at Turks in Ataturk airport today, after the US Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on flights to Tel Aviv, and Turkish Airlines responded by extending its ban until July 31.
Placing nearly four thousand stranded Israelis on outbound flights has been a challenge, no doubt aggravated by the fact that Turkey will not let El Al, Israel's national airline, land at its airports to airlift out its citizens.
One religious Israeli woman, on her third visit to the massive Turkish hub, said she was prepared to bear the wrath of her family and break Shabbat if she could just get a flight home on Saturday morning.
But those flights, too, were cancelled, as nearly all European airlines followed the Americans in lifting the ban.
Another Israeli man complained, quite loudly, that the airline was suggesting he spend hundreds of dollars to reroute through Amman. Yet another said she was prepared to travel by boat before remaining in Constantinople any longer.
Turkish Airlines offered passengers one night free in a four star hotel, within the city limits here in Istanbul, including food and transportation to and from the airport.
But with days more on the ground, Israelis - and foreign nationals planning travel to Israel - will accrue steep costs to extend their stays.
For those of you who thought you were saving money by flying Turkish, maybe you want to reconsider next trip?

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Getting worried in Gaza



BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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ITV News: IDF says Hamas rockets hit school in Beit Hanoun


Shocked. Just shocked. (Not).

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Oh my... Al-Qassam Brigades office next to Shifa hospital emergency room

Elder catches a whopper. The headquarters of Hamas' Izz-e-Dine-al-Qassam Brigades (their 'armed wing') is one room over from the emergency room in Gaza City's Shifa hospital.
After four blocked attempts to leave Gaza without explanation over weeks, the Palestinian journalist was summoned by the security services of Hamas on Sunday. "I received a call from a private number. They summoned me to Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza City center, " explains Radjaa. He carried with him his two phones, his press card and a small camera.

A few meters from the emergency room where the injured from bombings are constantly flowing, in the outpatient department, he was received in "a small section of the hospital used as administration" by a band of young fighters. They were all well dressed, which surprised Radjaa, "in civilian clothing with a gun under one's shirt and some had walkie-talkies " . He was ordered to empty his pockets, removing his shoes and his belt then was taken to a hospital room "which served that day as the command office of three people."

A man begins his interrogation: "Who are you? Who do you call? What are you doing?" "I was very surprised by the procedure," admits Radjaa, who showed him his press card in response. Questions came. They asked if he speaks Hebrew, he has relations with Ramallah. Young Hamas supporters insistently ask the question: "Are you a correspondent for Israel?" Radjaa repeated that only works for French media and a chain of Algerian radio.

It was then that the three men delivered this message: "This is yours to choose. We are an executive administration. We will carry the message of Qassams. You have to stay at home and give us your papers. " Stunned to be covered by the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, Radjaa tried to defend himself and especially to understand why such a decision was taken against him. In vain. "It is impossible to communicate with these people," laments the journalist.
Read the whole thing.

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IDF response to accusations of shelling UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun

The IDF has just released the following:

IDF SPOKESPERSON SMS. 44.7.2014
IDF: The IDF is currently in the midst of combat, with Hamas terrorists in the area of Beit Hanoun, who are using civilian infrastructure and international symbols as human shields. In the course of the afternoon, several rockets launched by Hamas from within the Gaza Strip landed in the Beit Hanoun area. The IDF is reviewing the incident.

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Harmless rockets?

Indeed (Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl).

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Here we go: Israeli shells allegedly hit UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun

Al-Jazeera is reporting that IDF shells hit a UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun in which people are taking refuge from IDF bombing. The IDF is checking the report. This is from the first link.
Al Jazeera's correspondent Nicole Johnston, reporting from Gaza, said the school in Beit Hanoun came under fire on Thursday. She said sources had told Al Jazeera that up to 30 people had been killed in the bombardment.
The Gaza health ministry later said that 15 were confirmed dead, and 200 injured.
The AFP reported a UN official as confirming "multiple dead and injured".
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Robert Turner, the director for UNRWA, the UN's humanitarian organisation in Gaza, said there was no warning from the Israelis before the shells landed. He confirmed there were casualties. 
He said the UNRWA were in contact with Israeli forces about a window to evacuate the school before the attack happened
"This is a designated emergency shelter," he said. "The location was conveyed to the Israelis.
"This is the fourth strike on our installations in three days."
Israel has attacked UN schools before, saying that they were safe havens for the armed Palestinians.
UN has criticised the Palestinian groups various times for using UN schools to hide fighters and weapons.
Turner said he had no information that there was military activity around the school.
"This was an installation we were managing, that monitored [to ensure] that our neutrality was maintained.
You mean like they monitored the other two schools? Or like they monitored the one in Jabalya during Operation Cast Lead?

The IDF has learned its lesson and is not taking responsibility. It's investigating.

Of course, the source for all the casualty numbers is the Gaza Ministry of Health, and as my friend Aussie Dave has shown, the ministry has a penchant for double counting casualties.
Following our previous Gazan casualties analysis - which was deliberately based on the Al Jazeera list (itself based on data from the Gaza Health Ministry) to prove a point – our reader noticed that the list itself is replete with duplicate names. In fact, there are at least 33, as I have attempted to show below. Note there could actually be way more.
...
I have no doubt this is a deliberate ploy on the part of the Gaza Health Ministry, to inflate the number of dead for propaganda purposes.
Which also begs the question. How many of these named people died from rockets launched by Hamas (which misfired and landed in Gaza), or in traffic accidents, honor killings or even natural causes?
 Gee, ya think?

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CAIR, National Lawyers' Guild: 'We are Hamas'

Danielle Avel documents an anti-Israel rally in Miami - whose sponsors included CAIR and the National Lawyers' Guild - this past Sunday.

Let's go to the videotape.



Many more details here. Danielle concludes:
These outrageous, vulgar, and violent sentiments provide insight into the real views of groups like CAIR, ICNA, and the others listed on the event flier.  “Peace” protestors sponsored by these groups are normally able to stay relatively polite and on message, however, the appearance of Israel supporters sent them into a revelatory frenzy of great importance.  Not all of the demonstrations these groups promote will contain such overtly hostile messaging, but as the video proves, peaceful-sounding chants are synonymous with calls to war.
Anti-Israel fanatics are predictable in that they utilize a constant theme of claiming to be victims while simultaneously inciting hatred and violence.  What isn’t predictable is what they will chant in public.  When similar protests take place, one should keep in mind the true motivation behind these “peace” mobs.
It doesn't take much to cause them to be uncivil, does it?

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Israeli High Tech's first casualty

Israel's high tech industry may have suffered its first casualty of the current operation in Gaza. A key backer in Israel of something called the Y Combinator has withdrawn his support in response to its founder's pro-Hamas tweets (Hat Tip: Sunlight). The founder - Paul Graham - is a major high tech figure in Silicon Valley.

This is from the first link.
A heated exchange on Twitter between venture capitalist giant Paul Graham and supporters of Israel, could delay plans by Graham’s Y Combinator’s accelerator to recruit in Israel. 
Tweets posted by Graham that described the destruction wrought by the IDF in Gaza, but without any citations of Hamas attacks on Israel. That led heavyweight Israeli venture capital figure Roi Carthy to announce he was withdrawing an offer to help Y Combinator (YC) recruit potential participants in Israel.
Y Combinator is considered one of the most prestigious accelerator and start-up venture capital funds in the world. With over 700 start-ups funded since 2005, valued at over $30 billion, acceptance into the program is as close to a guarantee of commercial and funding success as a start-up can hope for. According to Graham, one of the group’s four founders, the average valuation of Y Combinator-backed companies is $45.2 million.
All of the group’s programs take place in Silicon Valley, and Y Combinator generally focuses on American start-ups. Cognizant of the start-up scenes elsewhere, however, the group announced several months ago that it was planning to step up its recruiting elsewhere. Israel was in Y Combinator’s sightsl, and Carthy, a managing partner at Tel Aviv-Sao Paolo investment firm Initial Capital — as well as former Israeli correspondent for the TechCrunch website, which carries stories about Israeli start-ups and tech firms — promised to help get the word out about Y Combinator’s programs to Israeli start-ups.
“A couple of months ago though, I was connected to a YC partner who is planning to be in Israel early August to spread the YC gospel,” Carthy wrote in a blog post. “I was happy to lend a hand by organizing a meet-up at a local bar and getting the word out. “But I am now rescinding my offer,” Carthy wrote. “I will not lend my hand to an organization that is comfortable with its founder criticizing a nation, while at the same time, pitching to incubate its best and brightest.”
Graham, said Carthy, makes no secret of his sympathy for the Palestinian position, while ignoring the context of Israeli responsive actions, such as Israel’s decision to hit Gaza terrorist targets after facing thousands of rockets fired by Hamas terrorists before Operation Protective Edge. “Paul has been making his views known via tweets over the past few years,” wrote Carthy. “Nothing new under the sun in this respect,” he noted.
“It’s not uncommon to accept that an individual’s views do not reflect that of his employer. However, much as it would be unacceptable to separate misogynistic views of a founder from reflecting upon his company, I cannot separate Paul’s continued views about Israel from YC,” Carthy added.
Read the whole thing. I just hope Roi is able to come up with something equivalent either on his own or with someone else.

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Pass the popcorn: Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev PWN's Joy Reid

Pro Hamas Reid confronts Mark Regev Spokesman for Israeli PM Netanyahu. This is really good. Sit back and enjoy.

Let's go to the videotape.



Jeff Dunetz has running commentary here.

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Video: Hillel Neuer speaks out at the 'human rights council's emergency session on Gaza

Dictatorships attempt to silence UN Watch's Hillel Neuer at the July 23, 2014 UNHRC emergency session on Gaza. Interruptions came from Iran, Syria, Egypt, the "State of Palestine," Cuba and Venezuela. The U.S. and Canada defended Neuer's right to speak.

Let's go to the videotape.




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Video: Who is responsible for the suffering in Gaza?

Even the Clinton's seem to get it.

Let's go to the videotape.





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Video and more: Hamas terrorists at Al-Wafa hospital (Gaza City)

This write up came from the IDF spokesperson's office and was posted here.
Background Information – Al-Wafa Hospital

Al-Wafa hospital, located near Shajuayia in Gaza City, is a Hamas military compound.

The hospital housed a Hamas command and control center, and was utilized to direct and supervise the ongoing battles in the area. Among the hospital grounds, there was a lookout post, used to gather intelligence and monitor IDF forces activities in order to carry out attacks.
In addition, there were several access shafts to the Hamas tunnel network from within the hospital. 
On July 22, 2014, at the request of the IDF, the hospital was evacuated from patients and staff, and continued to be occupied by Hamas gunmen, that continued to fire at the IDF forces.

On July 21, 2014, the head of the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) with Gaza confirmed with the Head of the WHO (World Health Organization) in Gaza that he has informed the hospital manager three times, that the premises should be vacated. The head of the WHO stated that the hospital manager declared there were no patients or staff in the hospital, and that the building is empty. This was confirmed by the Gaza CLA on July 23, 2014.

Attached is footage of the IAF strike carried out earlier today [July 23] at terror targets in the site. Secondary explosions are visible in the footage, indicating an extensive amount of weaponry stored.
Let's go to the videotape.

video

Pretty impressive secondary explosions, no?

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Sad, but true

Hat Tip: NR (Daughter # 2, Child # 4)

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What you write on social media can get you into trouble

Three soldiers and a civilian have been arrested for disclosing on WhatsApp the identities of Israeli casualties in Operation Protective Edge before the families had been informed.
The soldiers, who come from the Medical Corps, the Human Resources Directorate, and the Military Rabbinate, are accused of sending information about the identities of soldiers killed in action before the names had been made public. The messages that made their way around Israel included photos of the coffins of soldiers being prepared.

In a number of cases, relatives who received the messages learned of their loved ones’ deaths before they had received an official notification from the IDF. In other cases, false information reporting that soldiers had been killed had made it to their relatives. Those relatives spent hours thinking that tragedy had befallen them before the mistake could be clarified by the IDF.

“Notifying a family of a soldier or an officer who was killed in action is one of the most sensitive and well-planned procedures that exist in the military, as befits such a serious moment,” the military said.

The IDF said that the arrests followed an investigation that it described has having employed “both open-source and undercover means.”

“The unauthorized WhatsApp messages were irresponsible and spread quickly across social networks,” it said.

The issue of information passing via WhatsApp has been a serious one as of late for the army. A commercial played in recent weeks on Army Radio has instructed soldiers not to talk about operational information on the application for fear it could fall into the wrong hands.
While these arrests will certainly have a deterrent effect, I don't think they will change anything in the long run. We live in a global village and foreign media report things that the Israeli media tries to keep secret for far too long. While I agree in principle that families of casualties ought to hear about it from the IDF (where there are units that are trained in how to inform families) and not from the media, I also believe that the government and the IDF are not realistic about how quickly stories spread in this country. This is a small country, nearly everyone in the work place has been involved in the military at some point, and what you hear at a water cooler during your coffee break at the average high tech company is probably far more informative - and tempting to spread - than anything you might read on Israel Matzav. In fact, many people argue that with the rise of Twitter and WhatsApp and other instantaneous methods of disseminating information, blogging may soon be (or may already be) passe.

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What's a disproportionate response?

Heh (Hat Tip: Debbie R).

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Foreign reporters threatened on Twitter for reporting on Hamas rocket fire

On Wednesday night, I reported that foreign journalists have begun to quietly acknowledge that Hamas is using hospitals and mosques to store and fire rockets and is using the civilian population generally as human shields for its activities. Unsurprisingly, we now have word that some foreign journalists have been threatened for their reporting.
On Wednesday, Peter Stefanovic of Australia’s Channel Nine News tweeted: “Hamas rockets just launched over our hotel from a site about two hundred metres away. So a missile launch site is basically next door.”

An account called @ThisIsGaza said this was Stefanovic’s fourth time “passing and fabricating information to Israel... from GAZA” and threatened to sue him.

Another account, @longitude0 wrote: “You are a cretin. Are you working for the IDF” and “in WWII spies got shot.”

Financial Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief John Reed reported seeing “two rockets fired toward Israel from near al-Shifa hospital, even as more bombing victims were brought in.”

Shifa, in Gaza City, is the main medical facility in the Strip [and is where the Hamas leadership is hiding out. CiJ].

In response, @Saritah_91 tweeted: “We’ll hold you responsible if Israel uses your tweet to bomb the hospital & then justify it.”

Another twitter user, @ Faysal_FreeGaza, said he’s “subtly justifying and encouraging IDF attacks on hospitals,” and @Maysara_ ara wrote: “Get out of Gaza u informant.”

...

Harry Fear, a journalist from the UK reporting from Gaza for RT (formerly Russia Today) television, tweeted last week: “Early morning Gaza rockets were fired into Israel. A well-known site in W. Gaza City, near my hotel, was among the origins, confirm locals.”

Fear then took on the critics, tweeting soon after that he rejects “loaded complaints that I ‘informed’ Israel about the specifics of Gaza military sites... These sites are well-known among locals and internationals here.”

“Should a journalist only report the noise and ferocity of Israel’s attacks & not the sounds of Gaza’s rockets? Both terrify people,” he tweeted.

Later that day, Fear tweeted: “Al-Wafa hospital has been hit in the last while; injuries reported – this is the hospital with human shields.” 
While a Goldstone 2 is unlikely to be any less biased than the Goldstone Commission after Operation Cast Lead, these tweets should be filed away for future reference. If a future inquiry (there's already one in the making - more on that later) is biased against Israel, these tweets can be used to show that Israel acted justifiably. 

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FAA lifts flight ban

The US Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on flights to Israel in response to 'increased security measures' undertaken by the IDF.
The decision to cancel the flight restrictions came after "working with its US government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewing both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation," the FAA said in a statement released Thursday morning.
With the exception of British Airways, which continued flying to and from Israel, most major European carriers, including Lufthansa and Air France, also suspended their flights Tuesday. On Wednesday Lufthansa said it would suspend flights – including its affiliates Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines – for another 24 hours as well.
Prime Minister Netanyahu had raised the ban with US Secretary of State John FN Kerry on Wednesday after Kerry's arrival in Israel was derided on social media as proof that the airport is safe.

But Arutz Sheva reports that the lifting of the ban came with a warning
The US national aviation authority has lifted a ban on American flights to Israel, but warned of a "very fluid situation" amid intense fighting with Palestinians in nearby Gaza, AFP reports Thursday.
"The FAA has lifted its restrictions on US airline flights into and out of Israel's Ben Gurion Airport by canceling a Notice to Airmen it renewed earlier today," the Federal Administration Agency said in a statement.
...
Before making its decision, the FAA said it worked with US government officials to evaluate the security situation in Israel and "carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation."
It did not, however, indicate what the new information might entail.
I suspect strongly that the 'new information' is that on Wednesday, Israel destroyed the rocket launchers that were being used to target Ben Gurion Airport. I didn't hear or read that anywhere and I have no source for it. It's just my speculation.

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This was Gaza

In two weeks, we will observe the 9th anniversary of the expulsion of Gush Katif and the destruction of several thriving communities in Gaza.

Here's what it looked like before the communities were destroyed. Very different from today, isn't it?

A pity that we ruined what we had accomplished with our own hands....

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FAA extends flight ban, most European airlines join

The Federal Aviation Administration has extended its ban on American carriers flying to Ben Gurion Airport for another 24 hours until 7:15 pm Israel time on Thursday, and most European carriers (with the notable exception of British Airways) have joined.
Delta, United and US Airways all cancelled their scheduled flights for Wednesday, as did a raft of European carriers including Germany's Lufthansa, Air France, Poland's LOT and others.
"We will continue to suspend flying to and from Tel Aviv ... and will continue to coordinate with the FAA to ensure the safety of our customers and employees," a United spokeswoman said.
"We plan these things conservatively," added US carrier Delta's chief executive Richard Anderson, speaking on the CNBC business news cable channel. "But we will need concrete information from our government that lets us draw an independent conclusion ... that it's going to be safe for our passengers and our employees."
Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, Lufthansa, Air Berlin, Aegean and SAS cancelled services to Tel Aviv, as did Turkish Air. British Airways flights continued.
"At the moment there is no reliable new information that would justify a resumption of flight service," said Lufthansa in a statement.
Austrian, which carries up to 700 passengers between Vienna and Tel Aviv every day, and SAS said they would review the situation for Thursday.
Aeroflot and Romanian carrier TAROM, on the other hand, said they would resume flights Wednesday after cancelling Tuesday. Air Canada cancelled one flight on Wednesday and another Thursday.
I don't see Alitalia on the list. Hmmm.

This is a huge incentive for the IDF to take care of business ASAP. 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Meshaal: 'There will be no compromise'

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal gave a speech tonight. Not from Gaza of course.

Much of the speech is a disgusting mix of anti-Semitism and rage. But here are the parts that matter:

Resistance proved to be more moral than Netanyahu's army. We will never disarm. Resistance is a right

Resistance will only disarm on 2 conditions. 1) Israel to end all its occupation of Palestine 2) Israel has to disarm too.

People were displaced inside Gaza. No one will leave Gaza. Refugees will be coming back, and this war makes it sooner.

We don't use our people as human shields. Contrary is true. Israel failed to break the resistance and thus Netanyahu punishes civilians.

During this humanitarian disaster, I'm calling all the Human rights organizations to put pressure on Israel to stop its genocides.

We care for a humanitarian ceasefire we support like this week. But it should be real and give aid to people and not trick us.

Our main demand is to end the Israeli offensives against our people and to completely lift the siege.

My conclusion from Meshaal there is no eminent ceasefire because the Palestinian resistance conditions are not met.

Our demands are legitimate and we have provided them to everyone, we will not stop the fire before agreeing to our demands.

We have 6 conditions and you consider them too much? After so much blood? And after so much resilience?

We want the aggression to end now, but if you bet on our patience we can take it as long as it take to end the siege.

I wish I were in Gaza now.

6 demands. then unite to free Palestine, bring back the refugees, use all sorts of resistance, to free JErsalem. End collaboration.

Somea re talking about ending the siege AFTER the ceasefire. We tried that. We do not accept it now.

If Kerry wants to reach an agreement, I invite him to go to Gaza where decision making takes place and final word is not Ramallah.

Ban Ki-Moon should go to Gaza and see the crimes there!
It doesn't look like this is ending anytime soon. There is NO chance that Israel will lift the blockade as part of a cease fire arrangement, especially after what's been discovered in the last week.

As to him wishing he could be in Gaza... where does he wish to be? In the bunker under Shifa? Surely not fighting. That's for the small people. 

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Quietly, foreign journalists acknowledge Hamas is using human shields

Honest Reporting has posted a group of three tweets (one since removed) and four article excerpts in which foreign journalists acknowledge that Hamas is using human shields.

Here are two of the stories they published.
4. Another report by Washington Post correspondents from 17 July recounts:
During the lull, a group of men at a mosque in northern Gaza said they had returned to clean up the green glass from windows shattered in the previous day’s bombardment. But they could be seen moving small rockets into the mosque.

6. The Japanese daily Mainichi’s correspondent in Gaza reported on 21 July:
Hamas criticizes that “Israel massacres civilians”. On the other hand, it tries to use evacuating civilians and journalists by stopping them and turning them into “human shields”, counteracting thoroughly with its guerrilla tactics…

Hamas’s “Human Shield” strategy is also aimed at foreign journalists…During the current battle, Hamas’s checkpoint was bombarded, and there was temporary checkpoint at another location. To some 20 journalists who wished to leave, Hamas staff member suddenly told, “Israel closed the checkpoint… However, when I called IDF personnel at the checkpoint, he said that “We haven’t got attacked and we are open as usual…”.  While were discussing what to do, the same Hamas staff member shouted, “in 5 minutes Israel seems to conduct an airstrike on here. Return immediately to Gaza!” All the journalists returned to Gaza by car. But we remembered that Hamas, during the conflict with Israel in November 2012, also closed checkpoints to block outflow.

Read the whole thing.

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Video: Givati brigade discovers terror tunnel

Here's a video of the IDF's Givat brigade going into a terror tunnel. The video is in Hebrew, but I'll have more after the video.

Let's go to the videotape.



Two terror tunnels were uncovered during the footage shown, and Givati soldiers stated that at least one of them was crucial to transporting Hamas terrorist cells covertly. 
So far, Givati has uncovered 17 separate shafts since the ground offensive began.
Givati has also arrested dozens of Hamas terrorists over the past week, including 16 in a 24-hour period. 
However, this is only start of a long mission ahead for the IDF, as Givati Brigade commander, Colonel Gen. Ofer Vinter noted, "we still have a lot to do."
Many more pictures here

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Zany Zehava calls for investigating Rabbi Lior for stating Jewish law in time of war

Zany Zehava Gal-On of the Meretz Sheretz party has called on the Attorney General to 'investigate' Rabbi Dov Lior for 'incitement' for stating that Jewish law permits punishing and crushing the enemy, including the civilians among whom Hamas embeds itself.
Lior said that he had received questions about whether it is permitted according to Jewish law to harm a civilian population not directly involved with the combatants. 
“At a time of war it is permitted for the people who are attacked to punish the enemy population with measures such as blocking supplies or electricity and to shell the entire area according to the considerations of the minister of the army and not to needlessly endanger soldiers but rather to take crushing warning steps to exterminate the enemy,” Lior wrote.
Addressing the current hostilities with Hamas, the rabbi continued “In the case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the Minister of Defense to even order the destruction of all of Gaza so that the south will no longer suffer  and to prevent injury to our people who have been suffering for so long from the enemies surrounding us.”
Lior added that “talk of humanism and consideration are as nothing when weighed against saving our brothers in the south and across the country and the restoration of quiet to our land.”
You might recall that the IDF's previous chief rabbi, Avichai Ronsky, was forced out for a similar 'offense' to Lior's.

And perhaps this is the place to include a video that many people have sent me over the past week, and which I was holding because I thought it included music and we don't listen to music now - the three week mourning period over the destruction of the Temples. But this isn't music - it's only singing.

Moments before these Israeli soldiers enter Gaza and place their lives at risk for the sake of the Land of Israel, they prepare themselves by singing and dancing songs of faith in the G-d of Israel. They are singing: 1) "The whole world is a narrow bridge and the main thing is not to be afraid" - a famous rabbinical phrase 2) Serve G-d with joy and come before Him with song 3) "We Have No one Rely Upon Except Our Father In Heaven"

Let's go to the videotape.



I'm sure that the soldiers' reliance on God rubs Zany Zehava the wrong way.....

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Hamas continues to launch rockets from Shifa Hospital



The only chance there is to clean out Hamas is to clean out Shifa. One goes with the other.

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Delta, Lufthansa extend flight ban

The FAA isn't due to weigh in until around 7:00 tonight Israel time, but Delta and Lufthansa have already decided to extend the ban on flights to Israel.
Germany's Lufthansa on Wednesday suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv for an additional 24 hours. The decision also applies to Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.
"At the present time no adequate authoritative new information is available that would justify a resumption of flights. In close coordination with the responsible authorities Lufthansa is continually evaluating the safety situation for its total flight network," the company said.
On Tuesday, it suspended flights for 36 hours following a decision by America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to suspend travel to and from Israel. A rocket had fallen in a house in Yehud, a residential area near the airport, earlier in the day.
Delta Air Lines will also extend its suspension of flights to Israel on Wednesday amid hostilities between Israel and the militant group Hamas, its chief executive said on CNBC.
"Today ... we are not flying to Israel," Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in an interview with CNBC.
His comments come a day after air carriers in the United States and Europe halted flights to Tel Aviv as turmoil in Israel and the Gaza Strip intensified.
The FAA on Tuesday said it told US carriers they were prohibited from flying to or from Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for up to 24 hours, citing "the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza."
At least Delta is consistent.
"We will not allow a flight to be dispatched over Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan or North Korea," he told CNBC. "We make this decision wholly independent of any geopolitical or regulatory mandate."
But it really is safe to fly here. 

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IDF discovers maps, IDF uniforms in terror tunnel

I'm shocked. Just shocked. (Not). The IDF discovered maps, IDF uniforms and weapons (of course) in yet another terror tunnel uncovered by the Givati brigade on Wednesday.
Operation Protective Edge's ground offensive has uncovered the full extent of tunnel terror into Israel Wednesday, after a shaft uncovered by the Givati Brigade was revealed to be holding IDF uniforms, maps, and a full weapons cache.
I would not bet that they uncovered the full extent yet. Let's see what's under Shifa Hospital.

More on the day's events in Gaza here

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What Hamas planned to do with the terror tunnels

The IDF has not yet located and destroyed all of Hamas' terror tunnels, but the consensus about the intent behind them is quite clear. This is Jonathan Dahoah HeLevi of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, delivered a revealing speech on March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of power with Israel, when taken together with his organization’s military build-up. In the meantime, the IDF’s war against the tunnels continues. On Monday IDF forces thwarted another terror attack after two groups of Hamas operatives (numbering about ten) infiltrated from Gaza to Israel through a tunnel, apparently on their way to carry out a mass casualty attack at Kibbutz Erez and/or Kibbutz Nir Am.
Since Operation Protective Edge began, IDF forces have foiled several other attempted attacks by Hamas near Kibbutz Sufa and Kibbutz Nirim that also made use of attack tunnels, while uncovering and blowing up dozens of tunnels in Gaza along its border with Israel. These tunnels penetrate deep into Israeli territory, sometimes reaching a length of 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles).
...
The attack tunnels create a new equation in the power balance between Israel and Hamas. They give Hamas an ability to infiltrate Israel and carry out strategic attacks involving mass killing, along with an ability to launch missiles from locations concealed within civilian population centers that serve, in effect, as human shields. Should Hamas retain in the future 20 tunnels, and dispatch 50 operatives in each, they could deploy 1,000 men behind Israeli lines. The tunnels would allow Hamas to wreak havoc if they are left in place.
Hizbullah’s tactics, learned from Iran, have been replicated in Gaza, particularly the use of the tunnels to provide “breathing space” in waging the military campaign. The Hamas-Hizbullah-Iranian aim is to cause as much harm as possible to the civilian population and weaken Israel by damaging its economy. Like Hizbullah, Hamas in the current round has tried to strike strategic targets in Israel and inflict mass casualties, including the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the chemical plants in Haifa, and Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Despite the reconciliation agreement with Fatah and the establishment of the unity government, one of Hamas’s objectives in the war is to ignite another intifada on the West Bank aimed ultimately at the toppling of Palestinian Authority rule and instituting a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian national movement. This current round of fighting highlights the importance of continued Israeli security control of key areas of the West Bank to prevent a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority, and the maintenance of minimal defensible borders should a Palestinian state be established.
Then there's this assessment from Times of Israel's David Horovitz.
The prime danger, the second half of the terror strategy that has required us to send our troops into Gaza, has turned out to be Hamas’s cross-border tunneling, the scale of which was not publicly known until the last few days. Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog spoke Tuesday of the “unimaginable” mega-terror attack Hamas is believed to have been planning — sending hundreds of terrorists swarming through those tunnels to massacre Israelis in the Gaza-envelope kibbutzim and moshavim. Netanyahu said Sunday that the intended Hamas attacks on kibbutz kindergartens, homes and dining halls would have been “catastrophic.”
Five times in recent days, trying to use those tunnels before the army finds them, well-armed terror gangs have made their way through — entering them from beneath homes in the Gaza neighborhoods a few hundred yards from the border, and emerging inside Israel. An estimated 20 Hamas gunmen have been killed in the subsequent confrontations; so have six IDF soldiers. Kibbutzim and moshavim close to Gaza have been placed on shutdown for long hours while the army made sure there were no more killers on the loose. Troop deployments on the Israeli side have been significantly bolstered.
But those are defensive measures. The real battle is taking place in those Gaza border neighborhoods — Shejaiya, Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun and others — where thousands of Israeli solders are searching, house to house, for the tunnel entrances. Dozens of openings have been found — multiple entrances to the underground passages that also have multiple exits on the Israeli side. Time after time, Hamas gunmen have sought to surprise the Israeli soldiers by rising out of the earth from these openings, and firing. They’ve been largely unsuccessful. Ten Hamas gunmen were shot dead attempting the feat from one tunnel opening inside a mosque on Sunday, military sources said — just one of numerous such incidents.
Israel says some 210 Hamas fighters have been killed; more than 20 have been captured and are providing intelligence on the tunnels.
And finally there's this - long on details that I have been unable to confirm and short on verification or even a source (the person who posted it on Facebook did so without a link and has refused repeated entreaties to post one). Even if the details are all wrong (and they're probably not - lots of information that the army doesn't release gets disclosed around the water coolers at Israeli workplaces), it is a concrete example of what HaLevi and Horovitz are discussing above.
From the 48 Hamas prisoners that have been captured, the intelligence have been interrogating them and the most terrifying, and horrific picture is being built.
They are being investigated about the many tunnels that have been found and dug under many kibbutzim that surround Gaza. The most terrifying detail is being uncovered that Hamas had a plan to attack all the settlements and kibbutzim in the area this year on Rosh Hashanah with an invasion of over 200 terrorists into almost all the settlements in the area. The tunnels went under the kibbutzim under the kindergartens and dining rooms and other areas within the kibbutz perimeters. They planned to occupy the whole area and kill as many Israeli as possible.
This could have been the worst terror attack in the history of terrorism. Thousands of people, including women and children would have been slaughtered in this planned attack.
I think now we start to understand how dangerous these tunnels really are. They all have to be destroyed and we cannot leave even one undetected or unattended to. These tunnels are more dangerous than any rocket or any other weapon .
 Sounds to me like Mumbai....

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Slate: 'Birthright killed Max Steinberg'

These people just live on a different planet.
What else happens on those 10-day trips? There is a lot of hooking up  and plenty of, as Feldman writes, “reinforcing the Zionist claim to the land” (Feldman’s tour guide identified everything they saw out of the bus window as “in the Bible,” and her group was given maps that identified the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria”). And, “at some point during their all-expenses-paid ten-day trip to a land where, as they are constantly reminded, every mountain and valley is inscribed with 5,000 years of their people’s history,” there is “the moment”— the moment when participants realize just how important Israel is to them, to their fundamental identity, and how important they are to Israel.
According to Steinberg’s parents, that is exactly what happened to Max. His mother told the Washington Post that, initially, he didn’t want to go on the Birthright trip, but once he did, it changed him. It was on his group’s visit to Israel’s national cemetery at Mount Herzl that Steinberg saw the grave of an American “lone soldier” who died fighting for Israel and “decided that Israel was where he wanted to be.” He joined the IDF, his father said, because he saw it as an obligation were he to stay in Israel.
Birthright says that aliyah—the immigration of diaspora Jews to Israel—is not one of its goals, but like Steinberg, many participants come away with the feeling that Israel is where they belong. Birthright estimates that 20,000­–30,000 of its participants have acted on that feeling by moving to Israel. I have known many young American Jews who have made the same decision—who at 18 decided that they belonged in Israel and, though they’d never considered joining the American military, moved across the ocean to join the IDF right after high school. People say Birthright is “just like camp,” and it sure sounds like a very condensed version of the Jewish camp I attended as a kid, whose purpose was, at the very least, to foster a connection to Israel in young Jews—and at best, to get us to move to the country and fight for it. My camp, filled with the children of liberal American Jews, did this by presenting a very simplistic picture of the political situation in Israel and the threat to Jews worldwide, all within the context of helping to fix the world while having the time of your life. Birthright does a form of the same.
On Tuesday, Birthright issued a statement from its CEO, Gidi Mark. “We are deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic loss of one our Taglit Birthright Israel alumni Max Steinberg,” Mark wrote. “His life—a life filled with promise cut short far too soon—will live in our hearts forever as a reminder of the sacrifices he and so many before him have made to keep Israel safe.”
What makes an American kid with shaky Hebrew and no ties to the state of Israel suddenly decide he is ready to make this sacrifice? Maybe Max was especially lost, or especially susceptible, or maybe he was just looking to do some good and became convinced by his Birthright experience that putting on an IDF uniform and grabbing a gun was the way to do it. That serving and protecting the Jewish people was the moral thing to do, and that the best way to accomplish it was to go fight for the Jewish state. It turns out that it’s not that hard to persuade young people to see the world a certain way and that Birthright is very good at doing it. You spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convince young Jews that they are deeply connected to a country that desperately needs their support? This is what you get. 
Maybe this explains why 78% of American Jewry voted for Barack Obama - his non-support of Israel notwithstanding. Because to them, being Jewish isn't about joining their lives and fate to that of the Jewish people, including by supporting Israel. It's about liberalism and liberal values and not seeing the basic goodness and morality embodied in the Jewish state. Max Steinber saw it and that's why he came here. His death is a tragedy, but it should not be used as a club with which to destroy Birthright. He was not brainwashed. He chose to realize his identity with the Jewish people.

By the way, 30,000 people attended Max Steinberg's funeral in Jerusalem last night.  Even John Kerry was moved (check out the link). And another 6,000 attended the funeral of French lone soldier Jordan Simon in Ashkelon, where the biggest concern was that too many people would show up and there would ba rocket attack during the funeral.

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Kerry violates FAA ban, flies into Israel

Are we to assume that the United States believes that Air Force 2 could shoot down shrapnel from a Hamas rocket, like the shrapnel (no, it wasn't a rocket - link in Hebrew) that hit a home five kilometers from Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday leading to an FAA ban on flying here?

Let's go to the videotape.



Kerry - Israel's unwanted guest - is looking for a cease fire.
"We have certainly made some steps forward. There is still work to be done," Kerry said shortly after arriving in Jerusalem for a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He declined to give any details.
Kerry arrived in Tel Aviv earlier on Wednesday " to meet with officials to discuss the ongoing cease-fire efforts," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"He will also travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank, and will be meeting with Palestinian Authority President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu," she added.
On Tuesday, Kerry held talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo, while  Ban  met with leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah. As of Tuesday night, there was no sign that a cease-fire was imminent.
 What could go wrong?

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Breaking: IDF orders Shifa Hospital evacuated (with live broadcast embedded) - UPDATED

Well, here we go. The IDF has just asked the 'Palestinians' to evacuate Shifa Hospital, which is being used as a military command and control center, and where the Hamas leadership is hiding in a bunker (link in Hebrew).

I'm embedding a live broadcast from Israel's Channel 2 below, and then I will go back and update with a summary in English on the post linked above.



The article is about the fighting at the neighboring al-Wafa Hospital (see previous post which went up two minutes before this one). The report says that over the past few days, the patients were removed from the hospital, and that it had become completely a military installation.

According to the article, the takeover of Shejaiya is nearly complete. More than 120 military targets embedded among the civilian population have been destroyed.

The last part of the story is about John Kerry's arrival (covered in a post that's queued for a little while from now).

I invite you to continue watching the broadcast above. If it stops, an arrow should pop up and just click on the arrow to continue. 

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IDF: Hamas shooting from inside al-Wafa hospital

The IDF reports that Hamas has been using the al-Wafa Hospital in eastern Gaza City to fire on IDF troops within the last hour.
Hamas has used positions in the Al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza to fire automatic weapons and anti-tank missiles on soldiers, and the IDF fired back in recent minutes, the army said Wednesday.

"The hospital was used for activating war rooms and command and control centers by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad," the army said.

The IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has issued repeated and direct warnings to the hospital's manager, and to other Palestinians involved in running the hospital, the army said.

"Firing on our soldiers has grown in recent hours and endangered forces. As a result, the IDF has decided to strike terrorists operating in the hospital complex," it added.
Earlier, the IDF announced the results of an investigation into firing that destroyed part of the hospital last week. 
But a deeper initial investigation by the IDF, reported here by the Post for the first time indicates that there was no firing directly on the hospital, but only on a group of military targets, including combatants firing rockets on Israel in real-time.

Also, the military official said that an initial deeper review of the incident indicates that the hospital was not told to evacuate, as has been reported.

Rather, said the official, the warning was that rockets were being shot directly from the hospital area, that Israel intended to hit those firing the rockets and that at the very least, if the hospital could not be evacuated, patients should move away from the windows.

In this narrative, the damage to the hospital was the unintentional indirect result of attacking the nearby rocket launchers.

IDF Maj. Gen Noam Tibon will be investigating all such incidents even more fully and may even eventually report other conclusions, but this is by far the most in-depth and specific version of events that the IDF has given on this incident to date.

The damage to the hospital and the idea that the IDF was warning all of its patients to evacuate was seen as particularly controversial because the B'Tselem human rights group has said that the hospital has 17 patients, between the ages of 14 and 95, all suffering from different degrees of paralysis.

B'Tselem had also added that "there is no other rehabilitative institute in the area where patients can be transferred. These patients require special conditions that cannot be recreated," implying that a transfer not to a special rehabilitative hospital could be life-threatening.

The military official's version that there were rocket launchers in the hospital's vicinity receives some support from UNRWA's recent confirmation that terror groups had secretly hidden rockets in one of their Gaza facilities, breaking rules of neutrality.

Several attempts to receive an updated response from Hospital Director Basman al-‘Ashi before press time were unsuccessful.
Funny - I haven't heard of them using Shifa Hospital that way. Maybe because they don't want to endanger the Hamas leadership. But they couldn't give a damn about endangering sick and wounded civilians. Typical terrorists.

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