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May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

1 Dead as Gaza Terror Tunnel Collapses

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Gazan sources are reporting that a Hamas terrorist died after the terror tunnel he was in collapsed on top of him.

The tunnel was located in northern Gaza.

Hamas Launches Rocket into the Sea

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Hamas once again launched a rocket into the Mediterranean Sea. This rocket was launched from northern Gaza.

Until now, it’s been assumed that Hamas has been simply testing the their rockets, but a new theory has been put forward that Hamas is testing their capabilities, in order to eventually hit Israel’s offshore gas platforms.

Large Explosion in Hamas Training Base

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Arab sources in Gaza are reporting a large explosion at a Hamas training base associated with Iz a-din al-Qasam, the military wing of Hamas. The explosion was heard as far as Sderot.

The terrorist base is located near Beit Lehia, in northern Gaza. The Arab sources report at least 15 wounded and 1 dead.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown, but may be related to unexploded ordinances from Operation Protective Edge.

IDF Gaza Front Commander Turns “Palestinian” Hero over Misquote

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Reading the headlines various Middle East editors have slapped on a recent AFP/Reuters story, one would believe a top-ranking IDF officer switched sides, God forbid:

“Israeli General: ‘Israel and Hamas have common interests.'”

“A top Israeli general thinks Hamas is crucial to peace in Israel”

“No obvious alternative to Hamas in Gaza, says top Israeli general”

“Israeli general says Hamas needed for Gaza stability”

These headlines display a remarkable level of wishful thinking on the part of Arab, European and Israeli editors, gleaning confirmation for their political views from a factual—and frank—discussion of realities in the Gaza strip by said officer.

It began with a meeting this week, between soon-retiring southern command chief Major General Sami Turgeman and local southern mayors, in which the commander addressed the situation in Gaza, eight months after last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, and what to expect from the next round of fighting against Hamas.

Here is what Turgeman actually thinks about Israel’s options in Gaza, speaking to the top concern of the mayors—the fact that Hamas continues its relentless project of digging terror tunnels that reach under Israeli settlements on Gaza’ border.

“There are four options for Gaza,” the southern command chief believes:

“One is constant war without periods of quiet, and then there are no tunnels, but it also ensures that we will live in a perpetual state of emergency.

“A second option is to say we understand that the period of quiet is being utilized to rebuild [the other side’s] capacity, in which case we’ll know that every few years there will be another confrontation.

“A third option is the occupation of the Gaza Strip, in which case we will be responsible for 1.8 million people with all that this implies.

“The fourth option is a political solution, which is a complex thing. We’ll have to inquire with whom we reach it and on what terms, and to consider what it does to our relationship with the PA and with Egypt.”

Having stated those options, Turgeman concluded, “You have to choose between these alternatives,” and only at this point he added his view:

“I think we must find as many periods of quiet as possible, with the knowledge that every so often there will be a battle. And then we shouldn’t be surprised every few years [when a war breaks out]. I hope that after Protective Edge the quiet will last a long time.”

Major General Turgeman said many other things during that meeting, but the above statements reflect what he actually believes regarding the Gaza situation, and none of it suggests anything about “Hamas is crucial to peace in Israel.”

In fact, when he spoke directly about Hamas, Turgeman said:

“Every such battle is over our stamina. Hamas is doing everything to exhaust our society, it’s part of their mission. The damage it inflicts on the area surrounding Gaza is its most significant accomplishment. It’s not the IDF that’s being tested, it’s our entire society doing the fighting. When Channel 2 runs a story of how the settlements near Gaza are feeling abandoned, that’s a victory for Hamas. Hamas gets no greater success than this kind of headline.”

Now, here is where the authors of those semi-messianic headlines got their ideas:

Referring indirectly to calls in Israel to destroy Hamas during and after Protective Edge, Turgeman said that Israel has an interest in Hamas remaining in power for now.

“Inside Gaza, Hamas is the sovereign, and it is highly effective in exercising its sovereignty. As of now, there is no alternative sovereign in Gaza. The only alternative would be the IDF, and authoritarian chaos. The Palestinian Authority can’t govern there. Most Gaza residents see only Hamas as able to solve their problems. The prospect of a popular uprising—before or after Protective Edge—is not high.”

That’s anything but a political statement about the legitimacy of Hamas in any shape or form. It’s an evaluation from the point of view of a military commander who must choose between letting a dangerous but effective enemy run the civil society in Gaza—or having to go in and run things himself (or letting things just go to hell or ISIS). Each option coming with a price.

As military commander, on a functional level, Major General Turgeman needs someone on the other side so he could shake carrots and sticks before their eyes, someone he could intimidate and reward—to get results.

“We are interested in having an addressee [on the other side], because without it there will be chaos,” he explained. “In Syria the addressees are weak, which is why there are so many dangerous weeds growing there; likewise in Iraq and the Sinai. If there is no addressee [in Gaza], our security situation will be much more problematic. So we have an interest to have an addressee the Gaza Strip.”

But suggesting that any of the above includes sanctioning Hamas as a legitimate ruler, or seeing a chance for peace with an extremist Islamic-terror movement is simply the opposite of what the major general believes.

UN Castigates Saudis for Bombing Houthis and Their Human Shields After 24-Hour Warning

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

We’ve seen this movie before.

A recent exchange between UN representatives in Yemen and Saudi Arabian officials sounded just like the ones that take place between the UN and Israel over Hamas in Gaza.

On Sunday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Johannes Van Der Klauuw said he was “deeply concerned” by the Saudi-led coalition strikes on northern Yemen. The UN warned that the “indiscriminate bombing of populated areas a violation of international law.”

The UN claims the airstrikes have killed at least 1,400 people and more than half of them were civilians.

Saudi’s military spokesperson, Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, responded to the UN criticism, saying Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are using hospitals and schools to store weapons, which is why they have been targeted by airstrikes.

On Sunday, the Saudis reportedly also targeted the home of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. Saleh is unharmed, according to a BBC report.

The Saudis have declared the northern province of Saada, located on the Saudi border, a “military zone”, and on Friday dropped leaflets warning local civilians to get out before the attacks began.

On Saturday, the Sunni coalition said it has conducted 130 airstrikes in 24-hours against Houthi targets in Saada.

Van Der Klauuw warned that the “indiscriminate bombing of populated areas, with or without prior warning, is in contravention of international humanitarian law. Many civilians are effectively trapped in Saada as they are unable to access transport because of the fuel shortage. The target of an entire governorate will put the countless civilians at risk.”

International law of warfare, as understood by the UN, seems to face an inescapable dilemma.

It calls on both sides to not put civilians in harms way. But when one side purposely does, it doesn’t allows the other side any reasonable means of defense or attack against the initial international law-breakers.

So instead we’re left with laughably ineffectual and meaningless statements such as Van der Klaauw’s suggestion, “all parties must avoid using populated areas as launching grounds for attacks.”

From experience, we all know statements like that really stop Iran’s clients and proxies from using their human shields as they attack their enemies.

It’s about time the international laws of war be updated to reflect how the bad guys are actually fighting.

A five-day, Saudi-initiated, humanitarian truce is set to begin today.

It all sounds so familiar.

Israeli Ex-Soldiers Angered over Breaking the Silence Claims Against IDF

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

By Matti Bernhardt

A group of former IDF soldiers, incensed over an Israeli NGO’s claims that they abused Palestinians during last summer’s fighting in Gaza, have taken to social media to fight the allegations.

Under the hashtag #my_truth in Hebrew, the soldiers, many of whom faced heavy fire from Hamas and other terrorist groups during the 50-day Operation Protective Edge, have begun posting stories of cases showing how they went to great lengths to avoid harming Palestinians. They also mentioned cases in which civilians took part in terrorist activity.

The goal of this initiative is to counter damning anonymous testimonies by other troops published by the NGO Breaking the Silence, which frequently publicizes claims that the IDF mistreats Palestinians.

Breaking the Silence touts itself as an organization of ex-soldiers who collect testimonies from troops who served in Palestinian areas since the start of the Second Intifada.

While claiming their goal is to “raise awareness over the everyday reality of serving in the occupied territories and to create a discussion about the cost of military control over a civilian population for so many years,” the NGO refuses to post the names of the soldiers who testify. They have also refused to pass along their accounts to the IDF’s Military Advocate General’s Corps for investigation, despite repeated requests by senior IDF officials.

As well, the latest report was itself published first in English and released to the foreign media. Breaking the Silence members routinely go abroad to share their testimonials on IDF activities, instead of taking their case directly to the IDF or civilian courts.

The latest counter-initiative to the NGO report began after Israeli left-wing Meretz MK Zehava Galon posted one such hostile testimony last Tuesday on her Facebook page.

In the allegation that she posted from Breaking the Silence, Galon quoted the following: “the unit identified two figures walking in an orchard around 900 meters from where we were posted. The figures were two girls. The observation post could not see them well, so the commander sent a UAV. The UAV marked them as dangerous. The unit directed an aircraft who fired on the girls, killing them. When the bodies were checked they had no weapons on them,” the allegation said.

Such accounts, which purport to show the IDF in a bad light, have prompted numerous counter claims from other IDF soldiers, who have attempted to portray a more positive view of IDF activities during the foray.

After reading the Breaking the Silence pamphlet, former IDF soldier Matan Katzman wrote on his Facebook page last Thursday that “during Operation Summer Rains in Beit Hanoun [in the northern Gaze Strip in 2006], we entered a house with a couple living in it. We asked them if they’re involved with Hamas, they said “no, not at all.” We asked them if they have weapons in the house, they said “no, not at all”. We stayed in the house for a couple of hours. When we left, we moved the couch and discovered an IED.”

The informal pro-IDF campaign by former Israeli soldiers also cited examples of humane and respectful behavior towards non-combatants during operations in the Judea and Samaria.

Avishai Shorsham recalled in a testimony that he wrote of his service on his Facebook page on Wednesday, that “During an operation in the Nablus Kasbah, while we are in the middle of a stakeout, an old man who lived in the house felt sharp pain in his chest. Without accordance with our orders, we evacuated him in the middle of the night while endangering ourselves.”

According to the organization’s website, the recent Breaking the Silence pamphlet was produced with the “generous support” of such foreign organizations as Christian Aid, Dan Church Aid, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, Secretariat and Open Society Foundations founded by George Soros.

Related story: IDF Officer Reports from the Gaza Front (Video)

ISIS Terror Cells Threaten Gaza, Sinai and Saudi Arabia [video]

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

The Palestinian Authority has warned that “hundreds” of Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists are setting up bases in Gaza for attacks on the Sinai Peninsula, and at least one of four recent attacks in Saudi Arabia has been linked the fanatic Islamic group.

The Palestinian Authority said that eight Salafist groups have set up bases in Gaza, and that many of its recruits are former Hamas members, Reshet Bet (Voice of Israel) radio reported Sunday morning. Hamas denies that the ISIS poses a threat to stability of its regime and said “only” a few dozen Salafists, supporting the ISIS, are in Gaza.

Hamas arrested a senior Salafist terrorist last month as well as dozens of the group’s terrorists in recent weeks.

A group that itself as the ISIS stated on Friday it launched mortar shells are a Hamas base in central Gaza.

Each radical Muslim group is competing to be more monstrous than the other, and Hamas last week even destroyed a tent that was turned into a mosque that ISIS supporters used.

Egypt is vulnerable to terror in the Sinai and has suffered the loss of dozens of soldiers and policemen in recent months at the hands of terrorists. If the ISIS can gain a foothold in the Sinai, it will be on the doorstep of both Israel and Egypt.

In Saudi Arabia, unknown terrorists shot and killed a policeman last week, the fourth shooting incident in the past two months. Saudi authorities have admitted that at least one of the attacks was carried out by an ISIS-linked group.

Saudi Arabia has arrested nearly 100 ISIS suspects since last December, including a cell that plotted to attack the U.S. Embassy with a car bomb.

The kingdom has become a clearer target for the Islamic State since Saudi Arabia joined the American-led coalition’s war against the terrorist organization that has take control of large areas in Syria and Iraq.

Following is a Saudi news report on the murder of the policemen.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/isis-terror-cells-threaten-gaza-sinai-and-saudi-arabia-video/2015/05/10/

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