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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

President 'Lead from Behind' leads from the front for Hamas

President 'Lead from Behind' is finally leading from the front. Unfortunately, he's leading on behalf of Hamas against Israel by ordering the FAA to ban flights to Israel. This is from Jennifer Dyer.
Pundits and other advocates have been swift to condemn this U.S. action, a serious measure of economic isolation which will deny Israel millions of dollars in commercial revenues even if it lasts only 24 hours.  Eugene Kontorovich points out that the message is prejudicial and the timing is suspicious, with John Kerry heading for Israel to try to broker a ceasefire.
The subtext here is that Israel has a sword at its neck: face a private-sector no-fly zone or agree to a cease-fire that lets Hamas keep its rockets, and thus close Ben Gurion Airport again at the time of its choosing. It is a lose-lose proposition. …
Moreover, the timing of the FAA’s absurd and unjustified warning seems to have more to do with Kerry’s visit to the region to impose a cease-fire on Israel. Until his administration’s flight ban, that effort seemed entirely futile.
The message is unsubtle.  “Nice commercial hub you got, there, Bibi.  Be a shame if anything happened to it.”
Kontorovich observes further that the FAA would have been more consistent with its policies elsewhere if it had issued a warning rather than imposing a ban.  He cites the example of Afghanistan.
I would cite the example of Pakistan, where there have been multiple, very serious attacks on commercial airports in recent months, including an attack on an airliner in Peshawar, this one on the airport in Karachi, and an earlier one involving Taliban rocket fire in Peshawar.  In terms of the type of threat posed, the Pakistan Taliban is a fairly exact analogy to what Hamas can threaten Ben Gurion in Lod, Israel with – except that Israel does a much better job of securing Ben Gurion against the Hamas threat.  In none of the instances in Pakistan has the FAA banned U.S. carriers from flying in and out of the Pakistani airports.  At most, it has issued safety warnings.
Meanwhile, the implication many will propose, about an abundance of caution after the MH17 shootdown over Ukraine, falls apart on inspection.  The potential for a Hamas rocket to fall near the airport isn’t the same threat as the one posed by the fully militarized pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.  The pro-Russian separatists have the weaponry to shoot an airplane out of the sky at altitude – and they had actually done it before the MH17 shootdown.  That game-changing condition is not present in Israeli air space.
Ordinarily – as with Pakistan – the U.S. would take such things into account and avoid issuing flight bans against an ally’s airport.  As an “abundance of caution,” the flight ban on Ben Gurion is a psychotic one in comparison with the FAA’s use of its judgment elsewhere.  See the Special Notices here for the FAA’s ongoing warnings for U.S. carriers about air space in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea.  And note that in spite of the much greater potential threat to commercial aircraft in Syria and Iraq (for example) than in Israel, the prohibitions for U.S. carriers are not absolute in either nation.
The prohibition on Ben Gurion is uniquely stringent, and inconsistent with FAA practices elsewhere.  It also had to be approved by Obama.  Israel is an ally, one of America’s closest partners in the world.  Cutting off her commercial airport from U.S. carriers is inherently a presidential-level decision, and Obama is responsible whether he made it or not.
Caroline Glick also sees Obama's actions as fronting for Hamas
While Israel had killed 183 terrorists, it appeared that most of the terrorists killed were in the low to middle ranks of Hamas’s leadership hierarchy.

Hamas’s senior commanders, as well as its political leadership have hunkered down in hidden tunnel complexes.



In other words, Israel is making good progress.


But it hasn’t completed its missions. It needs several more days of hard fighting.


Recognizing this, Israel’s newfound Muslim allies [Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates] have not been pushing for a cease-fire.


In contrast, the Obama administration is insisting on concluding a cease-fire immediately.

As Israel has uncovered the scope of Hamas’s infrastructure of murder and terror, the US has acted with the UN, Turkey and Qatar to pressure Israel (and Egypt) to agree to a cease-fire and so end IDF operations against Hamas before the mission is completed.


To advance this goal, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Monday night with an aggressive plan to force on Israel a cease-fire Hamas and its state sponsors will accept.



As former ambassador to the US Michael Oren told the media, it is clear that neither Israel nor Egypt invited Kerry to come over. Their avoidance of Kerry signals clearly that the US’s two most important allies in the Middle East do not trust US President Barack Obama’s intentions.


And their distrust is entirely reasonable.



The State Department has openly applauded Turkey and Qatar for their involvement in attempts to achieve a cease-fire. Last week Israeli officials alleged that the US was responsible for Hamas’s rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. By attempting to coerce Egypt to accept Qatar and Turkey as its partners in mediation, Obama signaled to Hamas’s leaders that they should hold out for a better deal.


Due to Turkey’s membership in NATO and the glamour of the Qatari royal family, many Westerners find it hard to believe that they are major sponsors of terrorism. But it is true. Turkey and Qatar are playing a double game.


While sending his ambassador to Brussels for NATO meetings, Erdogan has been transforming Turkey from an open, pro-Western society allied with Israel into a closed, anti-Semitic and anti-American society that sponsors Hamas, ISIL, al Nusra and other terrorists groups.



As for Qatar, the tiny natural gas superpower presents itself to Americans as their greatest ally in the Muslim world. The emirate gives hundreds of millions of dollars to US universities to open campuses in Doha and pretends it is a progressive, open society, replete with debating societies.



Qatar hosts three major US military bases on its territory. And it is becoming one of the most important clients for US military contractors. Earlier this year Qatar signed an $11.4 billion dollar arms agreement with the US.


At the same time, according to the Calacalist report, Qatar is the major bankroller of ISIS and al Nusra in Syria and Iraq. It gives $50 million a month to jihadists in Libya. It gives Hamas $100m. in annual aid. And in the past two years Doha has provided Hamas with an additional $620m. dollars, including $250m. it transferred to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s personal bank account, and $350m. in military aid to Hamas, transferred after the Egyptian military forced the Muslim Brotherhood government from power last July.


Add to that the $100m. per year that Qatar pours into Al Jazeera’s satellite network – which has dedicated itself to undermining pro-Western Arab regimes while popularizing the likes of al-Qaida and Hamas, and Qatar is the largest financier of international jihad in the world.


Rather than notice that Qatar and Turkey are playing a double game, and treat them with suspicion, the Obama administration has embraced them.
Caroline also fills in a few facts about the tunnels that you might have missed.
As we have seen from the heavily armed Hamas commando squads that have infiltrated into Israel from tunnels since the start of the current round of warfare, the first goal of these offensive tunnels is to deploy terrorists into Israel to massacre Israelis.


But the tunnels facilitate other terror missions as well.


Israel has found tunnels with shafts rigged with bombs located directly under Israeli kindergartens.


If the bombs had gone off, the buildings above would have been destroyed, taking the children down with them.


Other exposed shafts showed Hamas’s continued intense interest in hostage taking. In 2006 the terrorists who kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit entered Israel and returned to Gaza through such a tunnel.


Today the presence of sedatives and multiple sets of handcuffs for neutralizing hostages found in tunnel after tunnel indicate that Hamas intends to abduct several Israelis at once and spirit them back to Gaza.


In an interview with Channel 2 Monday evening, Minister Naftali Bennett spoke of a mother at Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara who told him that her children wake her in the middle of the night and tell her that they hear digging beneath their beds.


As Bennett said, this state of affairs simply cannot continue. People cannot live in fear that there are terrorists burrowing beneath their homes, digging tunnels to murder or kidnap them.
Indeed, they can't. And at least from the perspective of this Israeli, even if Obama is determined to hurt us and damage our economy now if we continue to pursue Hamas and its tunnels, that's still less of a price than we would have to pay to deal with the tunnels (and the rockets) later.

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