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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Netanyahu: Hamas Mistaken to Think Israel Lacks Unity, Determination or Fortitude

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Hamas terrorists Sunday not to underestimate Israel’s ability to hold out under any ‘war of attrition’ the group might attempt.

“We are in the midst of a combined military and diplomatic campaign,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s government cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

“From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings,” he said.

The comment came in response to the rejection by Hamas of an 11-point tentative plan reached Thursday in Cairo, in connection which Palestinian Arab representatives had expressed optimism.

That was before Hamas leaders had made the requisite pilgrimage to see politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, who is based comfortably in Qatar – not with his suffering brethren in Gaza – and who over the weekend with his Qatari handlers immediately nixed the deal.

Israeli officials had maintained silence about the plan throughout the weekend, other than to say that any deal must meet the security needs of the Jewish State.

On Saturday night, Hamas leaders returned to Gaza with bluster and brazen attitude, demanding the inclusion of two points that were turned down by Israel: construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza. Both would create an instant express route for the import of weaponry into the enclave, totally impractical from Israel’s security standpoint since Hamas has proved itself to be without honor and incapable of sticking to agreements or cease-fires for any length of time.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed the White House placed a ‘hold’ on an imminent delivery of Hellfire missiles that was due to arrive in Israel and issued an order to the Pentagon that future military transactions must be scrutinized directly by the State Department and the Oval Office.

The move emboldened Hamas and its backers, who might otherwise have reached the point of understanding that it was in the best interest of Gazans for Hamas to reach an agreement for quiet, if not peace, with Israel. Instead, the terrorist group decided it would prefer to continue its campaign of terror.

Late Saturday night, Hamas officials announced that Israel should prepare for a “long war of attrition” if the Jewish State is not willing to “meet all our demands.”

But that’s a mistake, Netanyahu said, despite the sporadic demonstrations that terrorists have seen on television protesting against the government’s handling of the conflict.

“In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air,” Netanyahu said.

“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken,” he warned. “If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken.

“As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.

“In the stormy and unstable Middle East in which we live, it is not enough that there be more strength, determination and patience are also necessary. Hamas knows that we are very strong but maybe it thinks that we do not have enough determination and patience, and here it is making a big mistake.”

Arab Media, Israel’s Channel 2: Cease-Fire Deal Imminent

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Perhaps the “party” is over — but officials are not breaking out the colored balloons to celebrate just yet.

Hamas officials have gone to Qatar to consult with their handlers about the deal being discussed among the Palestinian Arab terror factions.

The draft of a detailed permanent cease-fire agreement was crafted in Cairo just before Israeli negotiators headed home for the Sabbath, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television and a report published in the Egyptian daily al-Shuruk newspaper, quoted by the Hebrew-language Ynet.

Meantime, both sides are maintaining a five-day cease-fire while indirect talks continue in Cairo, brokered by Egypt.

The bottom line is this:

Hamas, backed by Turkey and Qatar, is demanding that Israel lift the blockade imposed on the region after the terrorist group seized control over Gaza in 2007, and kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

It took more than five years and the release of more than 1,000 Arab terrorists in order to free Shalit, and Israel has seen two wars with Gaza since then — not including the present conflict.

According to the report, the centerpiece of the deal under discussion includes a total stop to construction of terrorist tunnels into Israel.

There will be no rocket, mortar and missile fire or any other terrorist attacks or activities against Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian Arab terror factions in Gaza.

In exchange, Israel has allegedly agreed to numerous concessions that will ease the blockade and assist with rebuilding the region.

To whit:

Israel will ease the blockade by opening the crossings with Gaza. People and goods will be permitted to enter Gaza in order to rebuild the region, and Gazans will be allowed to export goods to Judea and Samaria, pending the establishment of regulations to be determined by Israel and the Palestinian Authority unity government.

Funding for the reconstruction of Gaza will be coordinated between Israel and the PA unity government.

Israel will cease all military activity in the enclave by land, sea or air. No ground troops will enter Gaza.

Moreover, the buffer zones along the security fence in northern and eastern Gaza will be eliminated in graduated steps and PA unity government forces will be deployed, beginning January 1, 2015.

The fishing zone is to be extended a total of 22 kilometers (12 miles) — immediately to 6 miles and then eventually to a full 12 miles — in coordination between Israel and the PA unity government.

The PA unity government — in coordination with Israel and international aid groups — will provide the basic items needed to rebuild Gaza according to a pre-set schedule designed to help those whose homes were in the combat zone to make a new start.

Israel will assist the PA unity government in rebuilding infrastructure in the region, and will help provide basic necessities for Gazans who had to leave their homes.

Israel will provide medical aid to the wounded and expedite transfer of humanitarian aid and foodstuffs via the crossings. To that end, Egypt also requests that the international community join in to provide swift assistance at the humanitarian and monetary level for Gaza’s reconstruction in accordance with a pre-set schedule.

Both sides will conclude indirect negotiations in Cairo within a month after signing the agreement, upon stabilization of the cease-fire and return to normal life in Gaza. Exchange of prisoners and bodies are to be discussed in Cairo at that time.

The issue of construction of a seaport and/or airport in Gaza are to be considered in accordance with the Oslo Accords and prior agreements.

An Israeli source told Channel 2, “Israel insists that any understandings reached must clearly serve Israel’s security interests.”

Israel Won’t Return to Truce Talks if Rocket Fire Resumes

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Egyptian-mediated talks between Hamas and Israel for a long-term cease-fire are to begin Saturday night or Monday morning, half-way through the five-day extension of the previous 72-hour cease-fire that followed the previous humanitarian cease-fire, all of which were punctuated by rocket fire from Gaza.

You can’t keep up with this game without a scorecard, or make that two scorecards because of the extra innings. Every cease-fire, even the one that ended last night and was extended at the usual last minute, has been broken by rocket launches followed by IDF retaliation.

Remember that before the cease-fire before the last cease-fire, which was after the first cease-fire that wasn’t a cease-fire, Israel insisted it would not attend talks unless there are zero attacks from Gaza?

The Jewish Press asked Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, if that policy still is in effect.

“Definitely,” was his one-word answer. Copy, paste and save in “favorites.”

Gaza terrorists were not able to hold on to their rockets for 72 hours in this week’s cease-fire. Nearly three hours before its expiration midnight Wednesday, three rockets were launched at Israel, followed by another volley a couple of hours later.

Hamas claims it did not break the cease-fire. “They did it,” was their explanation, “they” meaning Islamic Jihad, or ISIS, or AL QAEDA, or PFLP, or the Popular Resistance Committees, or Mohammed what’s-his-name from Kahn Yunis who started up his own terrorist gang.

Hamas also has used the excuse of “they did it” to explain cease-fire failures. That also is an admission that Hamas does not have such a firm grip over Gaza, or simply is letting others do what it would like to do.

As reported here Wednesday, Hamas apparently is continuing to manufacture rockets, destined for Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport, during the halt in violence.

Hamas can hold on to rockets without firing them about as long as a child can keep chocolate in his pocket.

It would seem that Hamas has everything to lose if it breaks the cease-fire, or even if it claims a rival or cooperating terrorist group beaks it. But Hamas is not interested in a cease-fire, which is only one more tool for it to try to maneuver Israel into an indefensible corner.

The IDF managed to destroy almost all of the terror tunnels in the war. As for rockets, the good news is that it wiped out perhaps more than half of its arsenal. The bad news is that there are many more that were not destroyed, and, as noted, Hamas still is manufacturing them.

If Hamas can get thought Saturday night without even one little rocket, one that usually explodes in open area but also can kill a few people in one explosion, the next round of charades will begin.

That leaves about two days before the official end of the current cease-fire. Hamas has almost never been able to stop attacks before the end of truces, cease-fires, “calms,” “hundas” or whatever it wants to call them.

It always wants to show that it can have the last word.

If it tries that game again, will Israel walk out?

Remember Regev’s word.

“Definitely.”

Government May Have to Decide if Money Buys Peace or War with Hamas

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

An idea on the negotiating table in Cairo that tax money collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority would end up in the pockets of Hamas in exchange in exchange for a supposed truce was debunked Tuesday by key coalition government partner Naftali Bennett, who said the scheme is nothing short of extortion.

The Minister of the Economy and chairman of the Jewish Home Party, the third largest in the coalition, said the idea is one of “Pay us – we’ll shoot at your later; don’t pay us – we’ll shoot at you now.”

Israel previously has insisted that all money it transfers to the Palestinian Authority cannot reach Hamas, which is a fiction because the Palestinian Authority ends up paying for salaries of Hamas government “workers,” which includes “civil servants” with machine guns.

The government in the past also has used the tax money to pay off a huge debt owed to Israel Electric Corp.(IEC) by the electric company in the Palestinian Authority.

Most of the “news” on negotiations in Cairo between Hamas and Israel, mediated by Egypt in order to maintain the illusion that Israel and Hamas do not recognize each other, is based on the usual Hamas hyperbole and threats, and on more substantiated reports.

The guts of a proposed agreement reportedly would extend the 72-hour ceasefire due to expire on midnight Wednesday.

Israel would perform a very poor trick of magic by handing over the money to Hamas through a third party to fool itself that it is not paying Hamas directly.

That idea sent Bennett through the ceiling. “Extortion” and “dangerous” were only two of the unflattering adjectives he expressed. He warned that the money will be used by terrorists “who are digging under our feet… It’s a ‘calm for money to terrorists formula.’ You don’t pay Hamas, you defeat them.”

Bennett said he will fight the proposal if it comes to the Cabinet for a vote.

Israel reportedly is willing to ease the blockade without removing it completely, and Egypt would do the same at the border in the divided city of Rafah. Israel also is seriously considering extending the permitted fishing zone to six nautical miles and to allow, once again, construction materials to move into Gaza under supervision.

As with previous ceasefire agreements and concessions on the blockade, supervisory measures are questionable.

Hamas exploited Israel’s previous agreement to allow cement and other “dual-use” materials into Gaza and used them to build tunnels for terrorists, among other activities that were at the expense of building houses and schools. Even then, Hamas has used schools and homes, as well as mosques and hospitals, as rocket launching pads, so all “dual purpose” materials ultimately had only one purpose – terror.

Officially, “no progress” has been made in the talks. This is expected because Hamas always likes to keep everyone in suspense until the last minute, or even after the last minute.

For good measure, it has publicly threatened that any extended ceasefire would simply be a temporary measure until the next war. That can be dismissed as rhetoric in the short-term, but in the long-term, Hamas means what it says. Its existence depends on attacking Israel. If it does not, it risks losing its power to rival terrorist groups who would be happy to take over the task.

One of the most dangerous elements of a possible longer-term agreement for a truce is allowing security forces from the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, to supervise the “Philadlphi” smuggling route at and near Rafah.

Abbas and Hamas have accepted each other as peace partners in a new unity government, which has carefully placed “technocrats” in the government, a camouflage for the grip over Gaza by Hamas and its full-fledged army.

Israel-Gaza Cease Fire Talks Appear Deadlocked on Disarmament

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Cease fire talks in Cairo appear deadlocked on the issue of disarmament, according to sources close to the negotiations.

This is the same issue that created an inconclusive end to the Second Lebanon War with the Hezbollah terror organization in the summer of 2006. Despite an eventual resolution to the conflict, Hezbollah ultimately never disarmed, and has continued as a threat to Israel from the Lebanese side of the border.

“We are facing difficult negotiations,” Hamas spokesperson Moussa Abu Marzouk told the Palestinian Arab Ma’an news agency, based in Bethlehem, on Tuesday. “The first ‘pause’ passed without any significant achievements.

“This is the second and final cease fire,” he warned.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, predicted that another 72-hour cease fire would be needed to hammer out any type of real agreement with Hamas, according to a report broadcast on Voice of Israel public radio. That, in addition to the cease fire currently in place, due to end Wednesday at midnight.

The arsenal of Hamas rockets and missiles has yet to be de-fanged, and some 300,000 Israelis remain internally displaced due to the life-threatening situation in their residential areas as a result.

A second Palestinian Arab source in Cairo who is close to the talks told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that it would take another 24 hours before anyone could say whether an agreement could be reached.

“So far we can’t say that any breakthroughs have been achieved,” he said. “Twenty-four hours and we shall see whether we have an agreement.”

The Palestinian Arab delegation is demanding that Israel open all border crossings, allow a seaport and an airport, extend Gaza’s coastal fishing rights to 22 kilometers, increase the number and variety of materials allowed into the region and permit funds to flow into Gaza, ostensibly to pay the salaries of Hamas officials.

Israel is insisting that Hamas and all allied terrorist entities disarm, and that the region be demilitarized.

The issue of the seaport and the airport, as well as the influx of funds and free flow of materials into the region, all impact on the issue of disarmament. Hamas and its allies have misused funds and materials flowing into the region for humanitarian and civil purposes to build terrorist tunnels and purchase and create weapons with which to attack Israel instead.

Cabinet Meeting Cancelled as Ministers Kept in the Dark

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

The planned Israeli cabinet meeting to discuss the negotiations with Hamas has been cancelled to the dismay of many of the cabinet ministers.

The ministers are concerned that they are being kept in the dark about the ongoing negotiations with Hamas, in order to prevent them from being able to influence the outcome.

Their biggest fear is that they will presented with a done deal, and will then be expected to rubber stamp it, no matter how bad the deal is for Israel.

Since the deal is being brokered by Egypt, the cabinet may be told that rejecting the deal will be an affront to Egypt and negatively impact the diplomatic relationship between Jerusalem and Cairo.

Even Minister Tzipi Livni is reportedly upset, as the issue of the Gazan port is apparently seriously on the table, and Livni wanted to save the port for a final status agreement, to reward PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and not Hamas.

Hamas Huffs and Israel Bluffs towards New Ceasefire

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Rumors of another 72-hour ceasefire are flying along rockets from Gaza on southern Israel Sunday afternoon while Israel maintains it will not hold negotiations under fire.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorists, who are separated only by which group can scream louder that the Zionists must be destroyed, attacked Israel from the Gaza border to Ashkelon more than 30 times Sunday morning.

Israel retaliated with a limited number of targeted aerial strikes. Hamas claimed, as usual, that an innocent child –this time a teenager – C was killed.

Israeli negotiators left the so-called ceasefire talks, which Hamas has tried to turn into negotiations for its demands, because of the continued rocket fire that broke the last 72-hour truce Friday morning.

The Arab negotiators threatened on Sunday they would leave Egypt if the Israelis don’t return. The Netanyahu government has not commented and has not offered a clue if negotiators are ready to fly back to Cairo.

Everyone is threatening everyone, but Israel is unlikely to refuse a ceasefire and lose Brownie points on the diplomatic front.

Despite protestations from both sides, talks for a ceasefire are going on behind the scenes. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is part of the action he never loses an opportunity to play with fire. He has talked again with officials from Qatar, which feeds Hamas money and hosts a computer system programmed by which pressing “enter” will set off an underground rocket launcher in Gaza.

One sign of a new ceasefire by Sunday evening was a fresh barrage of rocket attacks on Gaza Belt communities and as far north as Ashkelon. There was minimal property damage and no injuries.

The attacks will give Hamas an opportunity to say that it has scared Israel into a ceasefire and subsequent negotiations. If the rocket fire magically ends one minute before a ceasefire, then Israel can claim as if it stood its ground and refused to talk about a ceasefire before Hamas ran out of breath.

If Hamas really were serious about digging for an extended round of attacks and counter-attacks, it would have fired a missile towards Tel Aviv. It still might launch just to impress itself

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is feeling pressure from a large segment of the population and even from center-left Knesset Members not to go back to another round of allowing Hamas to harass Gaza Belt communities and to retaliate for the rocket explosions as if they were on Tel Aviv.

The problem is that the world already is used to Israel playing the wimp when the rockets are aimed at rural areas and usually explode in open areas. Once in a while there are near-misses of a rocket hitting a classroom of children.

Israel is gaining some international sympathy as even the BBC and The New York Times are beginning to own up to the truth that the number of civilian casualties in Gaza is far less than Hamas claims.

But the momentum is in Hamas’ favor. By all accounts, Gaza has been devastated, and the pictures of the destruction that foreign media publish day after day have incited hundreds of thousands of anti-Zionists around the world to protest. In South Africa, an unprecedented anti-Israel rally drew approximately 50,000 demonstrators.

Western media and many political leaders know that Israel is in the right “but” – meaning, “Hamas is at fault, so let’s sit down and talk about making peace with Hamas.”

This is a dramatic change in reasoning with the same unreasonable conclusion, a change from the mantra that “Israel is at fault, so let’s sit down and talk about making peace with Hamas.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-huffs-and-israel-bluffs-towards-new-ceasefire/2014/08/10/

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