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July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

US Secy Kerry in Cairo to Push Israel for Ceasefire w/ Hamas

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State arrived Monday in Cairo, where he hit the ground running to begin efforts to press for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

But for the first time in the history of the past several mini-wars with Gaza, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has the backing of nearly the entire country for Operation Protective Shield. In fact, most Israelis are determined to see the operation continue until it is clear that Israel has secured an unambiguous victory and that the rocket fire is completely silenced for a long time, if not “for good.”

Seven IDF soldiers died in battle just this morning (Monday) after two terrorist cells emerged from tunnels whose entrances opened into an area between the Erez and Nir Am kibbutzim along the Gaza border. They were spotted by Israeli air force pilots and ground forces, but pilots held their fire because the terrorists were dressed as IDF soldiers, right down to their shoes — presenting a new and extremely dangerous new security breach. A later search of their bodies discovered they were carrying injectable tranquilizers and handcuffs with which to subdue kidnap victims captured during their intended infiltration that day. Israel’s ground forces engaged the terrorists instead, killing all ten. But four IDF soldiers paid the ultimate price in the firefight, when the terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the patrol jeep in which they were riding.

Hamas terrorists have demonstrated a level of professionalism and posession of highly sophisticated equipment and lethal ordnance not previously stocked in their arsenals of the past. Moreover, the number and complexity of terrorist tunnels, not to mention the sheer reach of their infrastucture, which has been discovered deep into Israeli territory, makes it clear there is much work to do to dismantle the deadly Hamas threat to Israel’s existence.

A few days ago, a cache of 20 missiles was discovered in a vacant school owned and run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza. The agency, which has underscored its ‘neutral’ status numerous times, posted a statement of regret on its website and saying it had removed the missiles.

What the statement was careful to avoid saying was the fact that UNRWA handed the missiles over to the Hamas terrorist government in Gaza. The U.N. agency is now itself very possibly guilty of two war crimes: storing missiles on behalf of a terror organization in its own civilian building used to educate children in a neutral, international zone, one funded with taxpayer dollars worldwide; and handing over the missiles that it “found” to the terrorists who are known to place them among civilians in the first place.

When questioned about the incident, Kerry’s spokesperson adroitly sidestepped the issue and avoided providing any details to reporters, even though the United States generously funds UNRWA. The United Nations spokesperson did the same thing.

Meanwhile, Kerry is expected to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi between Monday night and Wednesday.

Kerry is also expected to carry on talks with Israeli officials, as he will with those from Qatar and Turkey – both of whom have slipped into the process as mediators for Hamas despite objections from Israel, who agreed only to Egypt. Turkey, which has been a vociferous critic of Israel and a major supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, abandoned its ambassadorial ties with Israel several years ago and has threatened to several lower-level ties as well.

President Barack Obama expressed deep concern over civilian casualties in Gaza during a phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday. He later said bluntly that despite the fact that Israel ‘had a right to defend itself from rocket fire emanating from Gaza, it was time for a cease fire to be put into place to end the conflict.

US Support Wavering? Obama Has ‘Serious Concern’ Over Gaza Casualties

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Israel’s ‘strongest supporter’ is already wavering. Doubts about the wisdom of continuing Operation Protective Edge are being expressed from the White House as soon as the IDF struck a decisive blow in a Gaza neighborhood where Hamas terrorists stored some of their most deadly missiles. The ordnance was, of course, stashed under civilian buildings — a mosque, a hospital, a children’s playround, and more.

For three days the IDF dropped flyers, called homes and sent SMS text messages warning residents to leave the area so they would not be harmed when the attack began. Hamas pressured its people not to. Some had the sense to flee the area, and others chose to remain as human shields. The brutal, bloody firefight in Seijaiya cost a lot of lives on both sides and panicked leaders around the world — including officials in the White House.

In his second call to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed “serious concern about the growing number of casualties” in Gaza.

Israel’s prime minister was also notified during the call that Obama was sending Secretary of State John Kerry back to the region. Kerry was boarding a plane to head for Cairo, where he would pressure Israel and Hamas to negotiate another cease fire.

According to a statement issued by the White House, the move was aimed at helping ‘protect civilians in both Gaza and Israel.’ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, has called on Israel to “exercise maximum restraint and do far more to protect civilians” without specifying exactly how the IDF should accomplish that task. He also called on Hamas to end its rocket fire from Gaza.

The IDF drops flyers warning civilians in every target neighborhood prior to an attack, calls homes and sends SMS text messages asking residents to leave the area hours and sometimes days before carrying out operations – all of which puts its own forces in danger and of course alerts the enemy to its plans. Not one armed force of any other nation in the world does the same.

Kerry Issues Statement Mourning Murder of Our Boys

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded with respect and compassion to news of the murders of the three Israeli kidnapped teenagers in a statement issued late Monday afternoon, June 30.

Although short, the statement was noticeably more emotionally engaged than was the one issued by President Barack Obama.

In particular, Kerry’s statement refrained from Obama’s implied threat to Israel not to take any action that might “further destabilize” the situation. How the president’s speechwriters were so tone deaf as to insert in a two short paragraphs statement a rebuke to the Israelis at such an intensely painful and emotional moment is hard to understand.

Kerry also did not take the opportunity to commend the Palestinian Authority for allegedly working together with Israel in securing the boys’ bodies, as did President Obama.

The secretary of state’s statements were focused on the pain of the Israeli people, the compassion felt by a fellow human being and father, and the need to bring to justice the perpetrators of the heinous deed.

This is Kerry’s statement:

The news of the murder of these three Israeli teenagers — Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach — is simply devastating. We all had so much hope that this story would not end this way. As a father, there are no words to express such a horrific loss that shakes all people of conscience. We pray for these three boys and their families, and together we grieve with all the people of Israel. Knowing that Naftali was also an American citizen makes this an especially heavy blow not just to Israel, but to the United States.

We condemn this despicable terrorist act in the strongest possible terms. The killing of innocent youths is an outrage beyond any understanding or rationale, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. This is a time for all to work towards that goal without destabilizing the situation.

President Obama’s Statement About the Murder of Our Boys

Monday, June 30th, 2014

The following is the statement issued by U.S. President Barack Obama in response to the murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. Frenkel was not only Israeli, as were the other two boys, but also an American.

On behalf of the American people I extend my deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel – who held Israeli and American citizenship. As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth. From the outset, I have offered our full support to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice, and I encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue working together in that effort. I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation. As the Israeli people deal with this tragedy, they have the full support and friendship of the United States.

“This senseless act of terror against innocent youth” is the strongest he could muster. Nothing about brutal murder or heinous slaughter or savagery.

And does the U.S. president really think that Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be “working together in that effort” to bring the perpetrators to justice?

Obama Passes the Buck, Dumps Pollard Problem onto AG Eric Holder

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama doesn’t want to disappoint an old friend, nor does he want to end his presidency on a sour note with Israel, and he certainly wants to sidestep a political minefield.

What’s a president to do?

Faced with the eternal American dilemma over how to deal with the Jonathan Pollard debacle, it could be that Obama believed he had finally figured out a win-win solution to evade responsibility for the endless nightmare.

Let Eric make the call.

If Attorney-General Eric Holder recommends to let him go for whatever reason, Obama will be hailed as a hero by the Jews, and by the now-countless political and community leaders who have said for years Pollard should be freed. Justice will prevail and Israel will be grateful. Israeli and Jewish gratitude is a precious gift, because neither tends to forget their friends. Or their enemies.

If Holder recommends to keep him in jail for whatever reason, Obama will have someone else to blame.

He’ll also join the list of presidents before him who rejected a request from the State of Israel and ignored the Jews again. Pollard will likely die in prison, and Obama will go down in history as having been the president on whose watch justice was not served – along with all the others. He will be vindicated by the anti-Semites within the U.S. State Department and justice system, and vilified by a host of others. And life will go on.

So that’s the answer he gave his good friend Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday during a visit at the White House. Peres, who just turned 90 and who is ending his own term in office next month, is in Washington on a final state visit in that capacity.

By the way, it was Peres who was Israel’s prime minister when he handed over documents with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate the Israeli agent and jail him for life, after being initially charged on a single count of passing classified information to America’s ally, Israel.

On Wednesday, he and Obama – the only two current heads of state to both have won the Nobel Peace Prize – met in the White House to discuss the matter. Peres had promised Pollard’s wife he would make one more try to convince Obama to grant her husband clemency – a presidential privilege used for humanitarian purposes.

Speaking with with uncharacteristic realism to Israeli media in Washington after his meeting with Obama, Peres briefed reporters on his attempt to secure freedom for Pollard, now entering his 29th year of incarceration in a U.S. prison.

But Obama ducked, apparently – and passed the buck to his attorney general.

Speaking with obvious reluctance, Peres told reporters in a briefing following the meeting, “I cannot say that he answered me on the spot. I don’t want to go with more than what he said,” Peres began. “He said the attorney general would [get involved.]

“His answer was, ‘The attorney general, it belongs to him. He will decide,’” Peres continued.

“There is a problem if I am optimistic, if I would say more than what he [actually] said,” Peres continued. “We have to cautious, and not to inflate or exaggerate … I asked specifically to be given the wording of what I could and could not say — and I have used precisely [the wording] that I was told I could say,” he concluded.

But it is very important to realize that the privilege of clemency — moderating the severity of a sentence in an act of mercy or leniency — is one unique to a president. Not an attorney general.

Obama Promises Peres A-G Will ‘Check Into’ Pollard

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama assured Israel’s outgoing President Shimon Peres on Wednesday he would ask Attorney-General Eric Holder to “check into” an offer that Peres made regarding the case of former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Peres’s office submitted his request to the White House prior to arriving for what will be his last official state visit as Israel’s president.

“I made an offer but won’t go into details about it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. However, he did discuss the specifics with members of the Pollard family, he said, before presenting the plan to Obama.

“If I share too many details it will just ruin things,” he said at the briefing. “I cannot say that [the president] responded positively on the spot. I don’t want to add to what he said, which was that the U.S. Attorney-General would decide.”

Pollard is entering his 29th year of incarceration in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation, Israel. The crime usually carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in jail. But although Pollard’s attorneys worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution, during the sentencing a note was passed to the judge. Suddenly Pollard was charged with and convicted of treason without recourse to a new trial. His attorney had no access to the evidence that had apparently led to the new charges, which was locked due to “national security” — and instead Pollard found himself sentenced to life in prison. All attempts at appeal have since failed.

Since Peres was serving as Israel’s prime minister at the time of Pollard’s arrest, and since it was he who submitted the documents to the U.S. with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him, it is Peres who is most likely to persuade Obama now to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons.

He and Obama also share a unique status as being the only two current heads of state in the world who are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Pollard’s health has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, and the request by Peres is reportedly to be based on the issues of Pollard’s extremely poor health, the impact on his wife, and the length of his time already served — in short, humanitarian reasons. At age 90, Peres this year retires from politics and made a promise to Pollard’s wife and the people of Israel prior to his departure that he would try to win her husband’s release during his visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet again with Obama Thursday.

Iraq’s Leader Besieged by Obama

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

We’ve seen this scenario before.

Iraq is falling apart, with a major terrorist organization threatening the stability of the nation and murdering civilians and soldiers right and left. The current government, which once was “firmly” supported by its “friend” in Washington is wobbling, its military force unable to cope with the threat it faces.

And now the United States is calling on Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to “rise above” the country’s sectarian divisions and step down or form a national unity government.

Secretary of State John Kerry is attending a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels after spending two days in Baghdad and Irbil, trying to re-shape the Iraqi government.

The besieged Iraqi prime minister, meanwhile, on Wednesday fought back, issuing a statement warning that calls for him to step down or form a national government really mean a “coup against the constitution and an attempt to end the democratic experience.”

Hm. Now, where have we seen this scenario before?

Let’s see. . . was it . . . Egypt? Libya? Syria? Yemen?

Gee. Nearly every single Arab nation for which the United States has professed unswerving assistance and support, and has in the past provided strong foreign aid. And which has crashed in the wake of the Arab Spring, launched courtesy of President Barack Obama’s oh-so-helpful “Let there be change” Speech From Cairo.

Could there be an emerging pattern here?

And now Washington has set its sights on Iraq.

Al Qaeda has already swallowed a fair amount of territory in Libya, Syria and Yemen, and the Muslim Brotherhood is giving the government a good run for its money in Egypt.

And at last we return to Iraq, a situation which has even given the Iranians pause, believe it or not. Now that’s something, a situation that could make even the Saudi Arabians fear God.

Because when Al Qaeda is finished with Iraq, the horde will probably invade Jordan next, and after that, perhaps the Sinai Peninsula and/or Gaza.

Eventually, maybe even Israel. Yet the Pentagon is upset because Israel will not agree to U.S. General John Allen’s plan to replace Israel’s army in the Jordan Valley with an international force.

Since Saudi Arabia is directly south of Iraq, however, it is entirely possible they may instead move to take Mecca first, the holiest city in Islam. As wealthy as the Saudis are, they are unlikely to be able to ward off that kind of attack on their own.

With the holy Islamic month of Ramadan almost here, will Saudi Arabia be able to rely on its “friend and ally,” U.S. President Barack Obama?

Maybe – as did those who led Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/iraqs-leader-besieged-by-obama/2014/06/25/

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