A group of Philippine UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) peacekeepers that was captured by Syrian rebels has escaped to Israel. (The picture is from over a year ago).
Thirty-two UN peacekeepers were rescued from Islamist militants who had fired on their post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Saturday, the United Nations said.
Another group of UN soldiers - also from the Philippines - remained trapped by the Islamists who surrounded their positions on Thursday, and a gun battle was ongoing, the UN press office said.
A Reuters cameraman spotted 11 UN armored vehicles returning to their base in Israeli-controlled territory about 12 hours after the peacekeepers came under fire at around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday.
"All 32 Filipino personnel from this position have been extricated and are now safe," the United Nations press office said in a statement issued in New York.
The remaining troops, at a separate border post, were still under mortar and heavy machine gun fire, the statement said.
"The UN peacekeepers returned fire and prevented the attackers from entering the position," it said. Officials in the Philippines have said there were a total of 72 soldiers trapped in the area.
Another 44 UNDOF peacekeepers, from Fiji, were detained by militants 8 km (5 miles) away from the Philippine troops on Thursday and remain missing.
According to reports in Syria, dozens of UN peacekeepers from the
Philippines who had been holed up in two military positions in the
Syrian Golan escaped io Israel Saturday. The border gates were opened up
to let them in.
They had been surrounded by Syrian rebels from the Nusra Front.
Filipino UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights clashed with
Syrian rebels Saturday, Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin said in Manila.
He said in an SMS statement to reporters that the Filipino troops had
been "extricated" from one of their two positions but added that
another group of Filipino soldiers "is now under attack".
He was referring to two positions on the Golan Heights where more
than 70 Filipino troops had previously been surrounded by Syrian rebels.
The peacekeepers were besieged by rebels on Thursday but defied
demands that they give up their weapons. On Friday Syrian fighters took
43 Fijian soldiers hostage on the Golan Heights.
Asked if there was a fresh firefight Saturday, Gazmin replied: "Yes".
He said the clash took place at "6am, Syria time," but added that "morale is high" among the troops.
Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala later told AFP that "there is still an ongoing standoff but there was a firefight earlier today".
"All our troops are safe," he said, adding that the defense minister
and head of the military were monitoring developments. He declined to
elaborate further on the incident.
The Fijians are the ones who are really in trouble. They gave up their weapons.
British MP George Galloway - who recently tried to make his Bradford district an 'Israel free zone' (he failed) - had his jaw broken by an assailant on a London street on Friday.
Respect MP George Galloway was taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw on Friday night after being attacked in the street.
arrested a British man over the incident, which is believed to have
been prompted by comments Galloway has made about Israel in past weeks.
The 60-year-old was posing for pictures in Notting Hill, London,
on Friday evening when a man lashed out at him, his spokesman said.
Galloway gave a statement to police after a man aged 39 was arrested.
was posing for pictures with people and this guy just attacked him,
leapt on him and started punching him," his spokesman said.
appears to be connected with his comments about Israel because the guy
was shouting about the Holocaust. George is badly bruised but OK. He has
bruising to his head and face and is in pretty bad shape."
said Galloway was badly injured and was being treated in a London
hospital, but was in a stable condition. The arrested man remains in
Last week, the MP was interviewed by police under caution
after he was accused of inciting racial hatred by declaring his
constituency, Bradford West, an "Israel-free zone".
In a speech he
gave in Leeds on 2 August he said: "We don't want any Israeli goods; we
don't want any Israeli services; we don't want any Israeli academics
coming to the university or the college; we don't even want any Israeli
tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing
Galloway called the police investigation into him a "monumental – and monumentally expensive – waste of police time".
Galloway was released from the hospital on Saturday morning. 39-year old Neil Masterson was charged with assaulting Galloway. Doesn't sound Jewish to me.
Reporter poses as German, produces video proof of 'Palestinian' and leftist Holocaust deniers
Journalist Tuvia Tenenbaum is known throughout the 'Palestinian Authority' as 'Toby.' The 'Palestinians' and the Leftist internationals were convinced that Toby really was a German and they shared their real views with him.
The video below is Hebrew only - I'm hoping to get an English subtitled version within a couple of days. But I am translating the article from Israel's Channel 2's website into English for all of you. First the video, then the article.
Let's go to the videotape.
And the translation of the article, which summarizes the video.
"The Europeans aren't really familiar with the Middle East dispute and they did not do an investigation. They are coming out of every hole here. They don't want to help, but rather to catch the Jew doing something bad. It comes from hatred," claims Tuvia Tenenbaum. "I didn't lie in this case when I presented myself as a German journalist - I wanted to know what these people think. Even if there had been a conspiracy and it had been the only way to expose the truth, I would have done it, he added.
From the beginning, "Toby" joined a group of young Italians who learned about the dispute in Schchem (Nablus) and in Israel, with funding from the European Union. But the Israeli guide, Itamar Shapira - the brother of the pilot Jonathan Shapira who refused orders and became an extreme Leftist activist - presented himself to the group as "former Jew" and said harsh things against Israel.
During a tour of Yad Vashem, Shapira chose to focus specifically on stories of the massacre at Dir Yassin [the Jenin lie of the 1948 War of Independence. CiJ] and told the young Italians that it's necessary to impose a boycott and sanctions on Israel because "we have to stop an additional Holocaust." Shapira was fired in the past from Yad Vashem after he compared the Holocaust to the Naqba [the Palestinian characterization of the creation of the State of Israel as a catastrophe. CiJ], but today he leads private groups there.
The Palestinian guide who accompanied the group was Ataf Abu Rob, a Palestinian journalist and investigator for B'Tselem who is responsible for several stories published by the [extreme Leftist Haaretz] journalist Gideon Levy. Abu Rob told "Toby" that the Holocaust is "a lie. I don't believe it."
The senior Fatah commander Jibril Rajob also opened his door after he heard about the book that "Toby" planned to publish and told him: "Israel is racist and fascist, it will be isolated like South Africa." Rajoub's close confidantes whispered to Tenenbaum "We are all German, but the only problem is that that we know that General Rommel did not succeed in coming here."
Tenenbaum's book Catch the Jew will be published this week, and he will then not be accepted as a prodigal son in the Palestinian Authority once his cover is blown.
Yad Vashem reacted: "Yad Vashem is careful that the subject of the Holocaust will be presented in detachment from any political agenda. Itamar Shapira was employed in the past as a guide in Yad Vashem and was not careful about these norms, and therefore it was decided about five years ago to terminate him [after he had worked there for three and a half years! CiJ]. Today, we allow outside guides, but we are considering changing this policy."
From B'Tselem the following reaction was received: "B'Tselem condemns any expression of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. The matter will be clarified with the investigator with the full necessary seriousness." Journalist Gideon Levy added: "I traveled to the territories a number of times over the course of the years with Atef Abu Rob. I never conducted political discussions with him and I am not aware of his views. I very much hope that Holocaust denial is not one of them.
Anyone still want to argue that anti-Zionism isn't anti-Semitism? Think about that, Leftist American and European Jews.
Now he doesn't have to find the 'real killers,' he can call it an honor killing
Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.
O.J. Simpson can stop looking for the 'real killers' of his wife. He's converting to Islam and that means that all his sins are forgiven (Hat Tip: Jack W).
The disgraced 67-year-old star has become interested in the religion
through his friendship with former world heavyweight boxing champion
Mike Tyson, who was imprisoned in the early 1990s and is a devout
Simpson has been studying the Koran but failed to successfully fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
An inside said: ”O.J. didn’t quite make it through the entire fasting process.
”He cheated during the day, and bought snacks from the prison
canteen. But he’s really serious about converting to Islam. O.J. even
made himself a prayer rug for his prison cell. He really likes the idea
that upon converting to Islam, all of his previous sins are forgiven.
O.J. has a lot to be forgiven for.”
A new revelation suggests that the tragic murder of four-year-old Daniel Tragerman hy''d, who was killed by terrorist mortar fire last Friday in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, may have been completely avoidable - if only the IDF was given a free hand against Hamas terrorists.
Israeli TV's Channel 10 on Monday reported that residents of Kibbutz Nahal Oz have said five mortar barrels have been aimed directly at their community by Gaza terrorists since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8.
The residents claim the IDF told them that three of the barrels are embedded adjacent to schools where displaced Gaza residents are taking shelter, and therefore the IDF did not strike them to eliminate the threat.
They add that the IDF said the two other barrels are located adjacent to the houses of residents that the IDF was unable to contact during the course of the 50 day operation so as to ask them to leave and avoid harming them. As a result, the IDF likewise decided not to strike.
Appraising the effect of such decisions not to strike, the commander of the IAF special reconnaissance Flying Camel Squadron said recently that aborting airstrikes due to Hamas's tactics of embedding among civilians "sabotages" the operation.
Tragerman's parents said they had less than three seconds to take cover, and that their young son did not have time to avoid the mortar shrapnel. They added that they, like many residents in the Gaza Belt, will not be returning to Nahal Oz at the end of the seven-day mourning period.
The IDF doesn't set that kind of policy. The government does. Think about that over Shabbat.
High Noon on the Golan Heights: IDF troops 400 meters from Nusra Front terrorists on the Golan
Israeli troops are now 400 meters from ISIS terrorists in a showdown on the Golan Heights after 43 UN troops were kidnapped and 81 more have had their movements restricted.
UN officials shuttled along the rocky frontier between Syria and the Golan Heights on Friday, trying to establish the whereabouts of 43 United Nations peacekeepers seized by Al-Qaida-linked militants inside Syria.
Israeli forces took up positions at Quneitra, a fortified crossing between Syria and the Golan, barely 400 meters from Nusra Front militants, who attacked a UN base on the Syrian side of the border on Wednesday and seized the 43 Fijians.
About 80 UN soldiers from the Philippines, all of whom serve with UNDOF, a UN force that has monitored the disengagement zone between Israel and Syria since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, remain locked down in two camps on the Syrian side of the frontier, military officers in the Philippines said.
Officials from UNDOF, which has about 1,200 peacekeepers from six countries operating in the zone, declined to comment as they left one of their compounds on Friday.
It is the third time in two years that UNDOF troops have been seized on the Syrian side of the demarcation zone, a measure of the instability since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began. Until then, UNDOF had been one of the quietest UN peacekeeping posts anywhere in the world.
In both previous cases those seized were released within days, UN officials said. But the situation appears to be more precarious this time. A militant close to the Nusra Front said the Fijians had been taken because they had been providing medical treatment to wounded soldiers from Assad's army.
More Americans want a more engaged foreign policy, but...
In the run-up to the US Presidential election, Hillary Clinton has been arguing for a more engaged foreign policy while Rand Paul has been arguing for isolationism. The American people would like a more engaged foreign policy. That would seem to favor Clinton, but in fact it may ensure that neither candidate is his or her party's nominee.
The percentage of the public saying the country does too little has
almost doubled since November, from 17 to 31 percent. Thirty-nine
percent say the U.S. does too much.
Democratic former Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton has been arguing for a more engaged in U.S.
presence in the world ahead of a possible presidential run, in contrast
to possible opponent Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and, to some extent,
Despite the overall increase in those saying
they want the U.S. to do more, however only 24 percent of Clinton's own
party say the U.S. does too little, compared to 36 percent who say too
much. For Republicans, the numbers are reversed, with 46 percent saying
too much and 37 percent too little.
Okay, that last sentence doesn't sound right, does it? So I went to the source:
Republicans, Democrats and independents all are more likely to say the
U.S. does too little to solve world problems, but the shift among
Republicans has been striking. Last fall, 52% of Republicans said the
U.S. does too much to help solve global problems, while just 18% said it
does too little. Today, 46% of Republicans think the U.S. does too
little to solve global problems, while 37% say it does too much.
Oh yeah, and then there's this:
Obama gets his best rating for handling race relations; nearly half
approve of how he is handling race relations (48%) compared with 42% who
disapprove. His ratings for handling other issues – including policy
toward Israel (37% approve), the situation involving Russia and Ukraine
(35%) and the situation in Iraq (35%) – are more negative than positive.
But The Hill doesn't mention that.
Oh, and by the way, Pew says that a majority of Americans thinks Obama isn't tough enough on foreign policy. What a surprise....
Obama’s approach to foreign policy continues to be viewed as not tough
enough: 54% say Obama is not tough enough in his approach on foreign
policy and national security issues, while 36% say his approach is about
right and just 3% say he is too tough.
Are Americans waking up to the disaster Obama has wrought? We can only hope.
Flashback: [Then] Defense Minister Ehud Barak: 'Restraint is strength'
DM Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that restraint is strength and those
wanting absolute quiet should move to Finland. DM Barak said Israel
would act to bring down the Hamas regime in Gaza and when necessary and
such action would require retaking the Gaza Strip.
Let's go to the videotape.
Orwellian. How many Israelis do you think would prefer to retake Gaza over living under rocket fire? Sounds like an interesting poll question.
One of Holland's largest pension funds has refused a demand that it divest from three Israeli banks because they finance construction in the disputed territories. The divestment demand came from teflon-coated anti-Semite Desmond Tutu.
ABP, the Netherlands’ €325bn civil service pension fund, has said it
will not divest from three Israeli banks due to their alleged
involvement in the so-called occupied territories of the West Bank.
a statement, the board responded to an open letter from Desmond Tutu,
the former Anglican archbishop for South Africa, who recently waded into
the debate over whether the Dutch pension fund should remain invested
in the banks.
The board said it would stick with its existing
policy for responsible investment and that, “based on objective and
rational criteria, the investments are not in violation of national or
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner,
argued that ABP had in effect contributed to human rights violations
through its €68m investment in Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi and Bank
The ABP board discussed Tutu’s letter today, together with a petition calling for divestment signed by more than 1.7m people.
The petition was organised by Avaaz, an online civic organisation promoting activism.
former archbishop’s letter comes as a report commissioned by Avaaz
claimed that roughly 50% of the Dutch public believes ABP’s commitment
to the banks is “irresponsible”.
Of the 1,000 respondents to the
survey, 10% said ABP’s stakes in the banks were of no concern, while
approximately 40% said they had no opinion on the matter.
survey asked: “If the directors keep ABP’s investments in Israeli banks
that support the settlement of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers,
would you view their decision as responsible or irresponsible?”
Earlier this year, the €152bn healthcare scheme PFZW made the controversial decision to divest from five Israeli banks, including those in which ABP is invested.
William Schabas on why William Schabas should be disqualified from heading Gaza inquiry
Daniel Edelman, the brother of one of my childhood friends, uses William Schabas' own words to explain why William Schabas should be disqualified from chairing the United Nations fact-finding committee on Gaza.
Whether Professor Schabas thinks he can adjudicate the accusations
against Israel fairly and independently has no bearing on the question
of impartiality. Judicial disqualification is not dependent on the
judge’s subjective assessment of impartiality but is based on an
objective test of whether the reasonable person aware of the facts and
circumstances might consider the judge to be biased. For example, the
Rome Statute authorizing the International Criminal Court provides: “A
judge shall not participate in any case in which his impartiality might
reasonably be doubted on any ground.” Even more directly, the Rules of
Procedure and Evidence applicable to the Rome Statute establishes as a
“ground for disqualification of a judge” the “[e]xpression of
opinions, through the communications media in writing or in public
actions, that objectively, could adversely affect the required
impartiality of the person concerned.”
Moreover, Professor Schabas himself instructs that war crimes’ tribunal
judges should be disqualified where there is even the appearance of
bias under the objective test. In his book on the UN War Crime
Tribunals, Professor Schabas wrote: “A judge may be disqualified in any
case in which he or she has a personal interest, or some other
association which might affect his or her impartiality. The test is one
of ‘reasonable apprehension of bias.’”
Professor Schabas must concede that UN fact-finding commissions are
subject to these same standards of judicial impartiality. In various
interviews, Professor Schabas has emphasized that he and others
conducting the fact-finding are obliged to be as impartial as any
judge. Professor Schabas is also likely aware of Professor Thomas
Franck’s seminal article relevant to UN fact-finding entitled Procedural Due Process in Human Rights Fact-Finding By International Agencies in
which “choice of fact-finders” is one of the “key indicators of
procedural probity.” As Professor Franck wrote: “impartiality. . .
certainly implies that persons conducting an investigation should be,
and should be seen to be, free of commitment to a preconceived outcome.”
Perhaps Professor Schabas considers there to be only a few expert
scholars with the necessary knowledge and skills to function as UN
fact-finders investigating Israel. Such elitism, however, should never
be rationalized as an excuse for suppressing the fundamental due process
protections safeguarding judicial impartiality. If Professor Schabas
genuinely cares about the integrity and fairness of UN fact-finding, he
should immediately recuse himself from the commission. Otherwise,
Professor Schabas and the Human Rights Council have only themselves to
blame for discrediting this commission as legally invalid.
Something tells me that there won't be much enthusiasm for what happened in Gaza among the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. While they hate Israel just as much as their Gaza brethren, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria tend to be less Islamist and less supportive of Hamas than of the 'Palestinian Authority.'
On the other hand, I could see Hamas taking over Judea and Samaria and creating another Gaza-like enclave if Israel lets them (the 'Palestinian Authority' is not strong enough to stop them - Abu Bluff's protests to the contrary).
And that is Hamas 'foreign minister' Mahmoud al-Zahar's dream.
Poll: IDF won Operation Protective Edge, Israel lost, Right would overwhelmingly win election
A poll by the Jerusalem Post and Maariv has found that 61% of Israelis agree with the proposition that the IDF won Operation Protective Edge... but Israel lost.
Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the IDF had won while Israel had lost, while 32% percent disagreed and 7% did not have an opinion.
Respondents expressed frustration with the cease-fire that ended the operation with Hamas still in power in the Gaza Strip. Fifty-eight percent said the IDF should have been allowed to continue the operation in order to degrade the terrorist organization’s military abilities and called the truce a mistake that wastes the achievements of the Israeli armed forces.
Thirty-three percent said the cease-fire was a correct step that could lead toward a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian conflict via PA President Mahmoud Abbas and moderate Arab states like Egypt, and 9% had no opinion.
While a Channel 2 poll broadcasted on Wednesday found that only 32% of Israelis were satisfied with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, he fared better in the Post’s survey.
Nearly half of the respondents, 49%, said they were satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance, 26% said it was mediocre, 20% called it bad, and 5% had no opinion.
When asked which party they would vote for if an election were held now, respondents went overwhelmingly with the Right. According to the poll, the Right would win 84 of the 120 Knesset seats, up from its current 61.
The Likud would win 32 mandates, Bayit Yehudi 18, Yisrael Beytenu 17, Labor 12, United Torah Judaism 10, Yesh Atid nine, Shas seven, Meretz six and Arab parties nine.
Notice that the Tzippi Livni party - which Netanyahu fawned over in the aftermath of the last elections - disappeared.
Unless there's enough discontent in the Likud to make the coalition uncontrollable, there won't be new elections now. There is no way Netanyahu wants to head a coalition of the Right like that. Yes, I know, just yesterday I wrote that there would be new elections within six months. Those two assessments don't contradict each other. I believe that there is enough discontent in the Likud and people like Danny Dannon and Moshe Feiglin will rock the boat.
'In a neighborhood featuring Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, just to name a few of the actors, President Obama was “enraged” at … Israel'
Peter Wehner picks up on this quote from the Foreign Policy interview with Martin Indyk that I blogged on Wednesday. First the quote, then Wehner.
Well, it started with Defense Minister Moshe
Ya'alon attacking [Kerry] publicly during the peace process, which I attribute
to two things. One, the defense minister had a very clear sense of what
Israel's security needs are and they do not include withdrawing the Israeli
army from the Jordan River, which would have to be addressed in the peace
negotiations if there was to be a deal. So I think there was a substantive
disagreement, but the lack of respect was truly disturbing, specifically given
the importance of American security assistance for the well-being of Israel's
defense, for which the defense minister is responsible.
But it got
completely out of control during the Gaza crisis, where the secretary was
assailed for supposedly betraying Israel because he was trying to work with the
prime minister on a cease-fire, and he engaged with Qatar and Turkey to test
whether they could influence Hamas to stop firing the rockets. And that
criticism came not just from the right but from pundits on the left as well -- Haaretz published three articles by
their journalists attacking Kerry. I think that's a product of a particular
circumstance in which Israelis felt very much isolated, on their own -- that
the world didn't understand them. In that defensive crouch, I think they were
waiting for a betrayal by the United States even though the secretary and the president
repeatedly supported their right to defend themselves. So they interpreted the secretary's
actions as being designed to undermine Israel in favor of Hamas and undermine
its burgeoning alignment with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
nothing could have been further from the truth but that was the perception and,
unfortunately, it was a line fed by some unnamed Israeli officials, one of whom
described Kerry as launching "a strategic terror attack." That was
just outrageous and it enraged the president.
Think about this for a moment. In a neighborhood featuring Hamas,
ISIS, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, just to name a few of the actors,
President Obama was “enraged” at … Israel. That’s right, Israel–our
stalwart ally, a lighthouse of liberty, lawfulness, and human rights in a
region characterized by despotism, and a nation filled with people who
long for peace and have done so much for so long to sacrifice for it
(including repeatedly returning and offering to return its land in
exchange for peace).
Yet Mr. Obama–a man renowned for his lack of strong feelings, his
emotional equanimity, his disengagement and distance from events, who New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd refers to as “Spock” for his Vulcan-like detachment–is not just upset but “enraged” at Israel.
Add to this the fact that the conflict with Hamas in Gaza–a conflict
started and escalated by Hamas, and in which Hamas used innocent
Palestinians as human shields–had a very negative impact on America’s
relationship with Israel. To show you just how absurd this has
become, other Arab nations were siding with Israel in its conflict with
Hamas. But not America under Obama. He was constantly applying pressure
on Israel. Apparently if you’re a nation defending yourself and, in
doing so, you wage a war with exquisite care in order to prevent
civilian death, it is reason to earn the fury of Mr. Obama.
It’s clear to me, and by now it should be to others, that there is
something sinister in Barack Obama’s constant anger aimed at Israel.
Most pro-Israel President evah? Don't believe it for a minute.
A body was found around 5:00 this afternoon in the Jerusalem Forest near Yad Vashem. While they have not completed the identification yet, police believe it is the body of Aharon Soffer, the yeshiva student who has been missing since last Friday.
According to Yisrael Erlich, a United Hatzalah worker who was among the first on the scene, the body, found using a GPS program, closely matched the description of the 23-year-old, red-headed yeshiva student, who has spent the last year studying in Jerusalem.
“Soon after beginning our search we came across a man’s body among the shrubbery that seemed to match the missing student’s description,” said Erlich. “We immediately notified the police via our phone app, and a large group of police and rapid-responders quickly appeared on the scene.”
“I was not expecting the incident to end in such a horrific tragedy,” he continued.
The discovery was announced at approximately 5 p.m., less than five hours before a planned press conference and prayer vigil at the Western Wall arranged by Sofer’s parents was set to take place. Moshe and Chulda Sofer had previously flown in to Israel from Lakewood, New Jersey, to aid in the search.
If this is true, May God Comfort the family among all mourners for Zion and Jerusalem, and may they know of no more sorrow.
UPDATE FRIDAY 12:31 AM
DNA tests have now confirmed Sofer's identity. The funeral is Friday morning in Beit Shemesh. Hashem Yerachem (May God Have mercy).
In comments likely to irritate Washington, Lavrov said the United
States had made the same mistake with Islamic State as it had with
al-Qaida, which emerged in the 1980s when U.S.-backed Islamist
insurgents were fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
"I think Western politicians are already realizing the growing
and fast-spreading threat of terrorism," Lavrov said, referring
to Islamic State advances in Syria and Iraq.
"And they will soon have to choose what is more important: a (Syrian)
regime change to satisfy personal antipathies, risking deterioration
of the situation beyond any control, or finding pragmatic ways to unite
efforts against the common threat."
Russia has been Assad's most prominent international backer in the
civil war that broke out in early 2011 and in which the U.S. and the
West, as well as many Gulf and Arab states, backed the rebels seeking
to oust him.
Islamic State has now emerged as the strongest rebel faction,
capturing large areas of both Syria and Iraq and declaring a caliphate
on the territory it controls.
"At the start the Americans and some Europeans rather welcomed
(Islamic State) on the basis it was fighting against Bashar al-Assad.
They welcomed it as they welcomed the mujahideen who later created
al-Qaida, and then al-Qaida struck like a boomerang on Sept. 11, 2001,"
"The same thing is happening now," he said, adding that the U.S. had
only started fighting the group after it began rampaging across Iraq
and approaching the capital Baghdad.
The U.S. has conducted more than 90 air strikes against Islamic State
in Iraq, and Washington is considering taking its fight against
the militants to neighboring Syria.
Damascus said on Monday it must be involved in coordinating any air strikes on its territory.
Backing this stance, Lavrov said: "If... there are plans to combat
Islamic State on the territory of Syria and other countries, it is
indispensable that it is done in cooperation with legitimate authorities
Having long been denounced by Washington and others for protecting Assad, Lavrov made clear that Russia now feels vindicated.
"At one time we were accused of supporting Bashar al-Assad
and preventing his overthrow.... Now no one is talking about that," he
The Americans and Europeans were now starting to acknowledge "the
truth they have long recognized in private conversations: namely that
for the region and for the interests of the West, the main threat is not
the regime of Bashar al-Assad but the possible threat of seizure
of power by terrorists in Syria and other states of the region."
Lavrov doesn't deserve to say 'I told you so.'
The answer to this was not to keep Bashar in power. It was to back the rebels before they became Islamist. Unfortunately, that possibility is long since gone, and there may be no choice but to back Bashar.
Unlike the Gaza leader and former Hamas Prime Minister
Ismail Haniyeh, Mashaal has not welcomed the cease-fire and according to
some reports he has been telling his associates that the cease-fire
underscored a colossal failure on the part of Hamas. Mashaal's deputy,
Moussa Abu Marzouk, who is close to the Egyptian regime, has sided with
Haniyeh in the ongoing internal feud.
Only several thousand Palestinians attended a
Hamas rally celebrating the cease-fire on Wednesday, a significant drop
compared to the celebration following other rounds of hostilities. "The
Palestinian resistance, its courage and determination surprised the
Zionist occupation forces," Haniyeh told the Gazan crowds. "No words can
truly capture the scope of the victory; it is beyond time and space,"
he continued. "This campaign is not like any war we have seen in this
conflict with our enemy," he said.
This was the first time Haniyeh appeared in
public in more than 50 days, having chosen to lay low during Operation
Protective Edge. According to unverified reports, Haniyeh was admitted
to a Gaza hospital on Wednesday.
A senior Gazan official told the Arab media outlets
Wednesday that in light of significant damage to schools, there was a
real possibility that the start of the school year would be delayed. He
said many schools had been damaged and those that have remained in tact
were now occupied by displaced Gazans. A senior Palestinian official
told Israel Hayom on Tuesday that it would take at least 10 to 15 years
to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
The rumor is that Haniyeh had a heart attack and is back in Shifa where he's been for the last seven weeks. Poetic justice.
The al-Arabiya network
reported that militants fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with
al-Qaeda, kidnapped soldiers of the UN Disengagement Observer Force
(UNDOF) in the Golan Heights. According to reports, those abducted
include 40 soldiers of Philippine origin.
Meanwhile, Irish forces in the same group are reported to be hunkered down, but safe.
Irish soldiers with #UNDOF on Golan Heights in 'Groundhog' over fierce clashes in their AO. All personnel safe, but it's clearly hairy.
— Michael O'Toole (@mickthehack) August 27, 2014
And this is really likely to convince other countries to send their troops to this area as 'peacekeeping forces'....
Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi is attacking a recent statement by US President Barack Obama to the New York Times as "dangerous" because in it According to Ashrawi, "speaking about the Jews' return to their land" is "extremist Zionist ideology."
Channel 2 reported that a three-person committee made up of Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will supervise the [reconstruction] process and determine what goods are allowed in.
So we're relying on the UN's Serry to control the 'Palestinians.' What could go wrong?
'Palestinians' to demand that Security Council set 'timetable' for Israel to abandon Judea and Samaria, Israel to rely on OUR friends the Saudis
On September 15, the 'Palestinians' plan to demand from the United States Security Council that it set a 'timetable' for Israel to abandon Judea and Samaria. The United States is to chair the Council in September, with King Barack himself to sit in the chairman's seat on September 24. This is from the first link.
[Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil] Sha'ath said that the PA expected the Security Council to comply with
its demands; if it does not do so, the Authority will seek help from
the International Court of Justice in The Hague. There, the PA will
demand that Israeli officials be charged as “war criminals” for the
damage caused to Gaza, as the IDF responded to incessant rocket attacks
by Hamas on Israeli civilian population centers.
It should be noted that if the PA does take its case to the Court, it
will have to become a full-fledged member of that organization. While
the PA has in the past sought membership in international organizations,
Israeli officials said that they were unlikely to seek membership in
the Court, because it would open them up to being charged with war
On Wednesday, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, submitted a
list of Hamas war crimes that took place during Operation Protective
Edge to the UN Security Council. In a message accompanying the list,
Prosor wrote that “despite the fact that the Council recognizes that
Hamas has committed war crimes, nothing has been done yet about them.”
Prosor submitted a lengthy, detailed list of all the rockets fired by
Hamas – their targets and the damage they caused – with nearly all of
them fired at civilian targets, which in itself is a war crime, as well
as many examples of Hamas using the Gaza civilian population as human
shields, launching attacks from homes, schools, and hospitals. “I expect
the Security Council to loudly condemn Hamas' activities. The Council
cannot remain silent over the use by Hamas of Gaza civilians as human
Good luck with that list. The world doesn't give a damn when Muslims kill other Muslims or get them killed. Ask the Syrians about that. And as to them shooting at the Jews... hey... that was 'self-defense' because Israel didn't give them Iron Dome.
JPost reports that the 'Palestinian Authority' also hopes to play a role in reconstructing Gaza, after Prime Minister Netanyahu's 'great victory.'
The Palestinians also intend to form a permanent unity government that has the complete backing of Hamas in hopes that such a government would expedite the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip.
“In cease-fire discussions, Israel was forced to give up on its demand that Hamas decommission its weapons, and this was due to American pressure,” Shaath told Ma’an.
And guess who Israel will rely on to ensure that money doesn't go to waste.... OUR friends, Saudis.
The PA will lead coordination of the reconstruction effort in Gaza with international donors, including the European Union, Qatar, Turkey and Norway. Saudi Arabia is also likely to be a major donor, with the expectation in Jerusalem being that unlike Qatar, it will take pains to ensure that its funds will not be directed to Hamas, but rather to build up the PA.
Caroline Glick writes about the necessity for Israel to cultivate non-Jewish supporters and then gives a shout-out to two of them: Jon Voight and Rick Santorum.
Consider the case of Jon Voight.
The celebrated Oscar-winning actor is an outspoken champion of
Israel. Earlier this month, Voight published an open letter to Penelope
Cruz and Javier Bardem in Variety where he harshly criticized the
Spanish performers for their public statement condemning Israel and
siding with Hamas in its war against the Jewish state.
In his words, “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and
Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are
oblivious to the damage they have caused.”
Last week, two UCLA professors, Mark LeVine and Gil Hochberg,
co-authored an article published in The Huffington Post assaulting him
for his views and his temerity to suggest that Israel is a moral,
embattled democracy fighting genocidal forces committed to its
The two Jewish academics are supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The principal aim of the BDS movement is to make it socially
unacceptable to support Israel. In 2010 LeVine and Hochberg signed a
petition calling for California state universities to divest from
companies that do business with Israel.
Online Hollywood commentators, such as Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva,
opined that Voight, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in
Showtime’s Ray Donovan series, was liable to lose his Emmy bid due to
his support for Israel.
Hochberg and LeVine’s assault on Voight was a long-winded voyage into
the post-Zionist and anti-Zionist literary moonscape. Their principal
criticism of Voight was that he refuses to accept this intellectual
wasteland’s rejection of the known facts of history.
Voight is not an academic, nor has he ever claimed to be an expert on
Middle Eastern history. He is a non-Jewish American concerned about the
future of America.
That is why he stands with Israel. Voight recognizes that when Israel
is under assault, and its right to defend itself is denied while
terrorists are supported, the US is endangered. And so he feels
compelled to speak out, regardless of the price.
Another non-Jewish champion of Israel is former US senator and
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. Both during his tenure in
the Senate and since, Santorum has spoken out strongly against Iran’s
nuclear program, insisting that it is a serious threat not only to
Israel, but to the US itself.
Like Voight, Santorum recognizes that the fate of the US is directly tied to the fate of Israel.
For his trenchant support for Israel, and his outspoken concern about
Iran’s nuclear program, as well as his support for domestic issues
where he has not shied away from taking controversial, inconvenient
position, Santorum’s critics have demonized him.
Last week, Santorum led a solidarity mission to Israel. The majority
of his colleagues were non-Jewish opinion shapers from Iowa, the first
state to hold Republican presidential contests. Santorum explained that
his goal in coming to Israel was not simply to show Israelis that the
American people support us. It was to build support among Republicans in
Iowa for a robust US engagement in foreign affairs based on supporting
Israel, fighting America’s enemies and preventing the forces of hatred,
like Hamas and Iran, from expanding their power.
Santorum’s chief concern is that weary of foreign policy failures,
more and more Republicans are embracing the isolationism most identified
with Senator Rand Paul. Paul is currently polling well in Iowa.
Santorum is convinced that if Iowans are educated about the nature of
the threats emanating from the region, and of Israel’s singular
contribution to the cause of freedom and stability, their position can
become the basis for a Republican foreign policy that rejects
isolationism and embraces US leadership in world affairs as the only way
to secure the US and strengthen its embattled allies.
In other words, like Voight, Santorum’s support for Israel is rooted
in his concern about America, and its future. Like Voight, Santorum
recognizes that the growing penchant among elite opinion shapers to
ignore truth in the pursuit of moral relativism and fake sophistication
or isolationism constitutes a danger to America.
Report: Israeli-made Hermes drone shot down over Baghdad
For the third time in a week, there is a report that an Israeli-made drone has been shot down. This time, the report comes out of Lebanon, the drone is a Hermes and the claim is that it was shot down over Baghdad.
According to a report on the Lebanese Al Mayadeen TV channel, considered a mouthpiece for the Hezbollah terror group, an Israeli drone exploded in mid-air
over Baghdad. The report claims that the drone was another Hermes-class
craft, the same type of drone that Iran claims fell over its airspace
earlier this week.
The report said that Iraqi army officials had gathered up what was
left of the drone, but were not commenting on the incident at this time.
A reporter on the ground in Baghdad said that staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad rushed to the scene of the crash in order to assess the situation.
On Monday, Iran claimed to have downed an Israeli drone as well. “A
spy drone of the Zionist regime (Israel) was brought down by a
missile... This stealth drone was trying to approach the Natanz nuclear
zone," the corps said in a statement on its official website
sepahnews.com. “This act demonstrates a new adventurism by
the Zionist regime... The Revolutionary Guard and the other armed forces
reserve the right to respond to this act," the statement added.
Iranian officials said that the drone was an Israeli-made "Hermes"
drone with a maximum flight range of 1,600 km (994 miles) and a 800-km
(500 mile) combat radius. The UAV's wings have a 5.5 meter (about 18
feet) wingspan, he added, and two high-quality cameras were mounted on
each end to capture precise images. The Al Mayadeen report said that the drone that fell over Baghdad was of the same type.
The drone that was shot down over Natanz is widely believed to belong to Azerbaijan. Hamas also claimed to have shot down an Israeli drone last week, but has yet to provide any evidence. The government and the IDF have had no comment about any of the drones supposedly shot down.
“Europe’s Last Stand” is a shocking and graphic documentary by PRB Films, in association with Christian Action Network, which examines the Islamic invasion of Western Europe and its threat to European democracy, freedoms, culture and history.
It is also a warning to the U.S: This Islamic invasion – which we are witnessing on its rampage through Europe and the Middle East – is headed to America!
Most Israelis don't think we won the war; Netanyahu's ratings plummet
A new poll indicates that most Israelis aren't buying the government line that Israel won the war. The poll also shows an additional drop in Prime Minister Netanyahu's popularity ratings.
The poll, which was conducted by Shiluv Millward Brown and iPanel for the Hebrew-language Channel 2 news
site, found that a full 59% of Israelis felt Israel did not win in
Operation Protective Edge. A paltry 29% said the operation was an
A decisive majority of the public, 54%, opposed the ceasefire which
Netanyahu unilaterally sealed with the terrorist organization Hamas,
using a technically to avoid putting the deal up for a Security Cabinet vote. Only 37% supported the ceasefire.
Clearly the disappointment is not directed at the IDF, which 83% of
the public said it was satisfied with - instead Israelis apparently are
severely dissatisfied with the political echelon, and Netanyahu at its
Netanyahu's approval rating nose-dived to a mere 32% in the poll, with a full 59% saying they were not satisfied with him.
Those figures signify an even further plummeting in Netanyahu's ratings; a similar poll two days earlier found that only 38% of Israelis were
satisfied with Netanyahu, as opposed to 55% four days prior to that
point. At the start of the operation with the ground entry to Gaza, that
figure was a whopping 82%.
Criticism has been pouring in from all corners over Netanyahu's apparent
unwillingness to take decisive action against Hamas and return security
to residents of the south.
The only impediment to new elections is whether the coalition is willing to protect itself and Netanyahu.
Hamas’s highly publicized executions
during the war, and in particular last week, of alleged traitors were
not aimed at unveiling and disrupting Israeli intelligence operations.
They were aimed at sending a clear message to the Gazans: We are Hamas
and we are here to stay. Don’t dare revolt against us.
But the locals have a long memory. They will remember who brought them the calamity.
In a sense, the Gaza war is reminiscent
of what happened during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Hezbollah was
defeated. Its secretary-general admitted it in public. But then he heard
Israeli defense commentators who criticized the war’s conduct by
then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s government. That made the Hezbollah
leader regain his self-confidence.
Hassan Nasrallah told himself that if
stupid Israel thought that it was defeated, so let it be – and he
declared his false victory.
Eight years later, it is quite clear
that “the Second Lebanon War” brought Israel significant gains at the
strategic level. Northern Israel has enjoyed peace and tranquility.
Hezbollah is deterred and doesn’t dare to initiate violent and
aggressive actions against the Jewish state. Nasrallah himself is in
hiding, fearing for his life.
As then, some of the veteran
commentators in the 2006 war coverage now express the same criticism
with the same weeping voices, claiming that Hamas defeated Israel.
Sooner or later it will emerge that as against Hezbollah, Israel will deter Hamas too.
I don't buy Melman's comments about the Second Lebanon War. The thing that is false about the results of that war is the quiet that followed it. We had six years of 'quiet' when Ehud Barak fled southern Lebanon in 2000 - would Melman also call that a victory? Hezbullah has rearmed to become a far more formidable force than they were in 2006, and when they find an opportune moment they will strike. The reason that moment didn't arrive last month may be because Hezbullah is preoccupied with serving the interests of its Iranian masters in Syria. But that moment is likely to arrive eventually.
And the same goes for Hamas. The real test of whether this war (or 'operation' as the government insists on calling it) was a success is what happens going forward. How much of Israel's stated objectives were achieved? It's not just a question of whether Hamas will shoot off 50 rockets next week. It's also a question of whether they will rebuild their rocket supply, rebuild their tunnels, and sit and wait like Hezbullah is doing for an opportune moment to strike us. That moment could even - God Forbid - be coordinated between the two terror organizations.
The concept of deterrence requires rational actors. Hamas is not a rational actor. Think of Iran sending young boys to blow up mines in its war with Iraq in the 1980's. Could Iran be deterred? No. Because they were convinced that it was their duty to kill themselves and to send their children to their deaths. The same is true of Hamas - and by the way the same is true of Hebzullah. There is no such thing as deterring these people. They regard death as a reward and they don't care what happens to them until death.
There's a new poll of 'Palestinians' out asking whom they believe was deterred by the results of Operation Protective Edge. Guess what? It's not Hamas.
Dr. Kukali: “The PA-President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) enjoys the
satisfaction of his people in Gaza Strip with his performance”.
The key poll results are:
(61.2%) of the Palestinians oppose the deployment of UN-multi-national
forces in Gaza Strip.
(54.0%) are satisfied with the performance of the PA-president “Abu Mazen”.
(64.7%) rated the stances of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as
“negative”. (88.9%) support the firing of rockets from Gaza at Israel.
(58.1%) are content with the ICRC performance, (71.2 %) with that of the
UNRWA. (75.4%) believe that the deterrence of the Palestinian Resistance has
HaZorfim wins tender to supply Hamas with silver platter
The venerable HaZorfim silver chain has won a government tender to supply the silver platter on which Hamas' victory in the recent war will be placed (Hat Tip: Danny S).
Proposed designs for the platter varied widely, but the winning
selection will be oval, with ornamental handles and a pattern in
bas-relief that spells out “Death to the Jews” in one direction and “In
blood and fire, we will free you, Palestine.” The size will exceed
twelve meters in diameter along the platter’s longest dimension, and
slightly more than eight meters across at its shortest.
The exact amount of the impending transaction was not disclosed, but
sources close to the Prime Minister’s Office placed it at about 10
million shekels (about $3M). Manufacture of the platter, which will be
handmade, is expected to take approximately two weeks, with delivery to
occur via the Kerem Shalom crossing along with several truckloads of
dual-use cement that can be incorporated into more tunnels into southern
Israeli communities for purposes of kidnapping or massacres.
Yosef Merdiger, a spokesman for HaZorfim and a descendant of its
founder, offered details of the platter’s design. “We have yet to
produce an item of this scale, but the principles of its production are
in line with our other products,” he explained, noting that the company
makes a large variety of silver trays, typically to hold Sabbath
candlesticks. “The platter will be of classic design, of the sort that
HaZorfim preserved from Romania in the 1940′s. That will drive home the
idea that what is happening now is a repeat of what happened to the Jews
of Romania and Eastern Europe at large during that fateful decade.”
He added that the packaging for the platter will also include
instructions on how to melt down the metal for use in various weapons
[I]f, under a long-term deal, Hamas is able to
replicate Hezbollah’s strategy in Lebanon — to retain full or
significant control of Gaza, to re-arm, to build a still more potent
killing mechanism — then its claims of victory, appallingly, will be
Only if a long-term mechanism can be fashioned
that denies Hamas the capacity to fight and kill another day will the
Israeli leadership be justified in asserting that its goal — ensuring
sustained calm and security for the people of Israel — has been met.
The early word is that Israel has made no
commitment to meeting any of the central, long-standing Hamas demands —
for a lifting of the security blockade, and for the opening of a seaport
and an airport. These are concessions that, if agreed in the absence of
an effective supervisory mechanism, would give Hamas the ready means to
strengthen itself militarily. But it is extremely hard to imagine how
such an effective supervisory mechanism could be constructed. And one
can only wonder whether Hamas, if it is denied concessions on those
issues in the coming weeks of negotiations, will refrain from renewing
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity
has nosedived in recent weeks as the war has continued, as the rockets
have pounded on, and as residents of the south have learned to their
bloody cost that the political and military leadership were wrong in
assuring them three weeks ago that it was safe for them to return to
their homes. Support for Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict will rise
again if time, and the long-term ceasefire terms, prove that Hamas has
been marginalized and de-fanged. Many Israelis, indeed, will come to
hail him for not having ordered a far more extensive ground offensive
into the treacherous heart of Gaza, where Hamas lay in wait, with the
consequent likely loss of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of soldiers’ lives.
But if Hamas is not marginalized, if it proves
capable of rebuilding its tunnels, restocking its rocket arsenals, and
plotting new strategies toward its goal of Israel’s annihilation, the
Israeli strategy for handling this conflict will have been a failure,
and the popularity of the prime minister will be far from the most
central of Israel’s concerns.
I would guess that Hamas will start shooting again when (not if, but when) they don't get what they want at the negotiating table. Of course, it's possible that Netanyahu will just give them what they want anyway.
The office of the soon-to-be-deposed Prime Minister declared 'victory' this morning.
"We were victorious in the negotiation phase,” said Liran Dan, Head
of the National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister's Office,
in an interview with IDF Radio Wednesday. “The military blow
that the IDF dealt Hamas – the hardest it has experienced since it was
founded – was heavy and meaningful. What we saw is that in a prolonged
and well executed campaign, Hamas suffered a harsh military blow and
damage to the most heavily constructed arrays it built.”
Idan said that Hamas built up networks of rockets, attack tunnels and
terror forces over years with the intent of using them against Israel,
and these have been smashed by the IDF.
"We should ask the opposite question,” Dan said. “What has Hamas
achieved with this campaign? It set out with a very clear goal and did
not achieve it.” Hamas wanted sea and air ports, it wanted funding
allowed into Gaza, it wanted the blockade of Gaza lifted, it wanted the
terrorists who were released in the Schalit deal and recently rearrested
released, it wanted Turkey and Qatar to mediate in the negotiations,
and received none of these things, he noted.
Hamas thought that the
Israeli public's spirit would break after one week's fighting, and was
proved wrong, he insisted.
Really? Guess what's on the agenda next week in Cairo.... Air and sea ports? Check. Funding? Check. Lifting blockade? Check. Terrorist release? Check. 12-mile fishing limit? Check. The only thing that might not be on the agenda is replacing Egypt with Turkey and Qatar. So just what did Israel achieve by agreeing to a cease fire when it had Hamas reeling?
The same Benjamin Netanyahu who ran for election five years
ago, after Operation Cast Lead, on the platform that the mission had
not been accomplished, that Hamas rule had to be destroyed and that he
was the only one who could do it.
during the 50 days of fighting in Gaza highlighted the gap between his
statements and promises and the reality. The prime minister, who was the
most strident in his statement against Hamas, ended the confrontation
with the organization in the weakest position. All he wanted was to
achieve a cease-fire at just about any price. When the opportunity came,
he simply grabbed it and ran.
The Egyptian cease-fire
proposal that Israel accepted on Tuesday did not deliver a single
achievement. The only thing that the prime minister's spokesmen could
boast about on Tuesday was the denial of achievements to Hamas, such as
the dissolution of its demands for a sea port, an airport and salary
payments. But all those demands will be raised during the negotiations
with Hamas that will resume in Cairo next week.
return for unlimited quiet, Israel agreed to immediately open the border
crossings with Gaza to humanitarian aid and to extend the fishing zone
to a distance of six nautical miles. Israel also agreed to the immediate
entry of construction materials for the rebuilding of Gaza, without any
guarantee from either Egypt or Hamas for the establishment of a
monitoring mechanism to ensure that the cement and concrete is not used
for the rehabilitation of the tunnels project.
Egyptian proposal didn't include any statement, not even a hint,
regarding Israel's security demands. There was nothing about the
demilitarization of the strip, the re-arming or the issue of the
tunnels. When reading the thin Egyptian document to which Benjamin
Netanyahu agreed, John Kerry's draft – which was rejected by the cabinet
with a disdain that bordered on humiliation of the secretary of state –
suddenly looks like the proposal of the year.
agreement that Netanyahu has signed with Hamas since he entered office
in 2009 does not even return Israel to the starting point with Gaza.
Netanyahu just wanted to return to the status quo that has become a
personal ideology, but the reality is that Israel has regressed.
So just what has Netanyahu achieved? An audience with King Barack after the November elections that will bring nothing but more demands?
Tamir Idan, who heads the Sdot Negev Regional Council, said that “if
the reports in the mdeia are right, and the agreement for a ceasefire is
for one month only, in which Hamas's demands for constructing ports
will be discussed, then this is a surrender to terror.”
He also refused to accept Israel's lack of response to a last minute
attack by Hamas that killed two men in Kibbutz Nirim Tuesday.
"Israel's tacit acceptance that it is alright [for Hamas] to fire
without limits, and without a response, before the ceasefire goes into
force, is a very grave matter. We demand that the Israeli government and
the IDF stand behind their commitment to respond in a meaningful way to
Itamar Shimoni, Mayor of Ashkelon, said that any conmpromise with
Hamas is a surrender to terror. “The residents of Israel and the south
wanted to see a decision in this campaign, but this will apparently not
happen,” he stated.
"We wanted to see Hamas defeated and begging for its life; instead we
see Israel running to the negotiating table at every opportunity,” he
added. “We did not lose 64 fighters and five civilians, including a
four-year-old boy, for this 'achievement'. We did not sit in the
shelters and protected spaces for almost two months for this
'achievement'. We did not take a harsh economic blow, in which
businesses collapsed, for this 'achievement'. We expected a lot more
"Hamas raised demands through violence, and it seems they can expect
to get what they wanted. The conclusion is that the path of terror pays
off, and therefore the next round of fighting is just a matter of time.
As far as I am concerned, a ceasefire agreement in this reality means
starting to prepare the systems in Ashkelon for the next round, and it
will be more grave and lethal than anything we have known up to now.”
The head of the Eshkol Council, Haim Yelin, said that he will not ask
the residents of his region to return to their homes. “In Jerusalem
there appears to be a ceasefire. I don't know what they are talking
about,” he told Channel 10 news. “In Jerusalem they feel safe, and in
some neighborhoods of Gaza they feel safe, but not us. We went into a
war of attrition in which we paid with the lives of families and deep
pain of the wounded. The government was unprepared for this war.”
Just as half of the cabinet ministers were opposed to the cease-fire, many in the coalition expressed similar opinions.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said “any agreement that doesn’t include eliminating the rocket threat on residents of Israel and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip is less than half of what is necessary.
“In this reality, the defense establishment will have no choice but to prepare for the next round, which will be soon,” Ariel added.
According to MK Danny Danon (Likud), in the Middle East, restraint is seen as weakness.
“Despite the heavy price Hamas paid, we did not defeat Hamas,” he said. “Fifty days of fighting, 64 soldiers killed, five civilians killed, 82,000 reservists called up, and in the end we’re back to the agreement from Operation Pillar of Defense.”
Danon said a defeat was necessary to broadcast to the whole Middle East, including Hezbollah, Islamic State and Iran, that “they should not mess with the people of Israel.”
“I am concerned we did not succeed enough. Now is the time for national introspection. The policy of restraint and hesitation hurt Israel’s deterrence,” he added.
MK Eli Yishai (Shas) said that a cease-fire without Gaza being demilitarized means Israel may as well pencil in the next round of fighting in its calendar.
“This will be time for Hamas to resupply itself with weaponry to use against Israel,” he said. “Not demilitarizing Gaza will bring Israel to another round of fighting that will be even worse.”
On the Left, lawmakers called for the government to take initiative and launch diplomatic negotiations.
Government ministers Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Yitzhak
Aharonovich and Gilad Erdan, who were against the deal, complained that
they had merely been informed of the details of the agreement and were
not given the opportunity to vote on it.
Economy Minister Bennett
demanded that a vote be held on Wednesday but was informed that Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had received a legal opinion that a vote was
A senior official in Jerusalem said on Tuesday
night that Israel had informed Egypt that it accepted the proposal for a
cease-fire without time limitation. The response was given only after
all the ministers in the cabinet had been updated, the source said.
to the official, the agreement does not meet Hamas' demands for a sea
port, an airport, the release of prisoners and a solution to the issue
of funding salaries for Gaza officials.
Each of the sides will
raise its demands during the negotiations following the cease-fire;
Israel will demand the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.
aid, including equipment and materials to repair the damage in the
Strip, will be allowed to enter Gaza through the crossings controlled by
Israel. Entrance of the materials will be controlled. It is also
possibly that the Gaza fishing zone will be extended.
Minister Tzipi Livni responded earlier to reports of the imminent
cease-fire in Gaza and says that the end of the operation should not
include "any significant political achievements for Hamas, which is a
terrorist organization which doesn't accept our existence here."
I'll have more on this later, but let's put it this way: It takes three months to hold elections in Israel. I predict we will have them and we will have a new Prime Minister within six months. Write it down.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 30 years and six grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com