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August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

IDF Retaliates for Ashkelon’s Morning Rocket Fire

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Israeli forces fired at the Beit Lahiyah area Monday morning in the wake of a missile attack on the northern outskirts of the coastal city of Ashkelon.

The launch by Hamas terrorists was – again – another in a series of violations of a humanitarian cease fire being observed by the Israel Defense Forces following a request by the United Nations.

The missile exploded in an open area in the city, according to IDF officials. No one was physically injured, and no property damage was reported.

But the issue of never knowing where the next missile will come from, or when, regardless of whether a so-called ‘cease fire’ has been agreed upon is one that must be addressed.

The IDF attacked 40 terror targets on Sunday, and two terrorist tunnels in the past 24 hours.

The issue of the tunnels is especially important, as that is a threat that cannot be addressed by the air force. Yet terrorists can launch missile attacks as well as other serious, mass casualty attacks against Israel from such tunnels, thereby making the destruction of that threat a primary mission for the IDF.

Nevertheless, President Barack Obama on Sunday strongly urged Israel to cooperate with an immediate humanitarian cease fire agreement cobbled together in Paris by Qatar and Turkey — both of whom clearly were there for Hamas — and Kerry, who may have had Israel’s interests in mind but whose interests were questionable at best, given the fact that in every phrase, the concerns of Palestinian Arabs are noted before those of Israelis.

The United Nations Security Council agreed on a draft statement calling for a cease fire between the terrorists in Gaza and Israel. The Council was to meet again in an emergency session at midnight, Sunday evening, July 27, east coast U.S. time — 7 am, Israel time.

Wanted: Ally for Israel in Cairo Talks

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Israel needs an ally as it faces an array of representatives who hope to bring about a premature cease fire with Hamas terrorists intent on wiping out the Jewish State.

Hamas has no qualms about using any form of human or other innnocent creature as a shield for its weapons in attacking Israeli civilians and soldiers. Nor has its ability to launch a constant barrage of short and medium-range rocket and missile fire been significantly impaired thus far — a lethal threat to the millions of Israeli men, women and children who are spending more time in their bomb shelters than outside of them this summer.

Nevertheless, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Monday in Cairo with the announced intent to help world leaders re-establish the November 2012 truce between Israel and Hamas terrorists.

Noah Pollack’s Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) explained the issue: “Israel does not need a mediator. Israel needs an ally. Pressuring Israel to agree to a cease fire that rescues Hamas from defeat and leaves it in possession of its missiles, tunnels, and terror infrastructure is foolish and wrong. If President [Barack] Obama and Secretary [John} Kerry want to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, they should support Israel and its campaign to end the terror threat from Gaza.”

But instead, shortly after heading into a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Kerry announced the U.S. will send $47 million in ‘humanitarian aid’ to Gaza, of which $15 million is earmarked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) there.

UNRWA, incidentally, which purports to be scrupulously neutral in its dealings in Gaza, “discovered” 20 missiles at one of its schools in the town of Rafah, located on the border of Gaza and Egypt a few days ago during a routine inspection by international staff. The missiles were quietly handed over to the Hamas terrorist organization.

Kerry’s aides added a statement warning that it would be “difficult” to achieve an immediate and lasting cease fire – but that he hopes to make progress in the next few days to reach a temporary pause.

Israel agreed to two humanitarian cease fires since the start of Operation Protective Edge, including one requested by the International Committee for the Red Cross on behalf of Hamas itself. Hamas violated them both, firing mortar shells and rockets at Israeli civilians during the “pause” each time. Israel held its fire nevertheless; but should it now?

What kind of ally aids an enemy to reach a cease fire in which it can attack a friend?

Meanwhile, Hamas is insisting that Qatar and Turkey be allowed at the table to represent its interests in talks with Egypt, which is mediating the negotiations.

Qatar – a generous fiscal patron of Hamas — recently purchased $11 billion in military weapons and hardware from the Obama administration. In whose hands will those weapons eventually land?

In the first week of June, Qatar pledged $60 million to help pay the salaries of Gaza workers in the Palestinian Authority unity government. The money was to be transferred to the PUG offices in Ramallah in three monthly payments of $20 million each, according to Qatari government spokesperson Ihab Bseiso. The Qatari government has sent funds to Hamas before, even via charitable organizations in the United States. The Al Jazeera television network has also been described in a February 2006 State Department cable leaked by Wiki Leaks as a “big friend of Hamas.” Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal maintains an office in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Turkey is also no friend of Israel at this point and appears to be coordinating its moves with Qatar, and possibly with Iran as well, with whom it has strong ties.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, himself a sympathizer with radical Islamists, is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and a longtime supporter of Hamas in Gaza. He has brought Turkey much closer to Tehran and successfully sabotaged diplomatic ties with Israel in the years he has served as prime minister, but now faces a fight to stay in his job. Turkey goes to the polls on August 10 to elect a president who will lead the nation alone, instead of the current dual ‘prime minister-president’ system. Erdogan needs a reason to ‘wow’ his constituents and firm up his AKP electoral base, comprised of Islamist voters. There are two competitors for the presidency; one a secularist, the other a moderate Muslim.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/obama-passes-the-buck-dumps-pollard-problem-onto-ag-eric-holder/2014/06/26/

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