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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’

Will Hamas Be Next?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The problem is that many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip still do not see Fatah as a better alternative to Hamas.

These are tough days for Hamas. After losing the military and financial support of Iran and Syria, Hamas has now lost its main allies in Egypt.

The downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt is a severe blow to Hamas, whose leaders are now studying ways of avoiding a “revolution” that could end their rule in the Gaza Strip.

But although Hamas has suffered a major setback in wake of the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, it is premature to talk about the beginning of the countdown for the collapse of the Hamas regime.

The Gaza Strip has neither an organized opposition nor an army that could assist in removing Hamas from power.

One of the biggest fears is that if Hamas is toppled, those who would replace it would not be any better. This is particularly true in light of the growing popularity of various Islamist groups operating inside the Gaza Strip, some of which are affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Hamas supporters were the first to celebrate the toppling of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and the first to take to the streets in jubilation over the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Morsi, in the general elections a year ago.

Morsi’s rise to power had been seen by Hamas and other Muslims as a “divine victory”: Allah’s gift to his believers.

Contrary to Mubarak, Morsi’s regime adopted a completely different policy toward Hamas.

While Mubarak dealt with Hamas and the Gaza Strip as a “security” issue, Morsi sought to legitimize the Palestinian Islamist movement in the eyes of the whole world.

For the first time ever, and much to the dismay of the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority leaders, under Morsi, Hamas leaders became regular and welcome guests in the Egyptian presidential palace.

Morsi’s rise to power emboldened Hamas in a way that allowed it further to tighten its grip on the Gaza Strip.

For Hamas, there was nothing better than having the full political backing of Egypt, the largest and most important country in the region.

During the last war between Israel and Hamas, “Operation Pillar of Defense,” and much to the dismay of Fatah’s Palestinian Authority leaders in the West Bank, Morsi dispatched Egyptian prime minister Hesham Qandil to the Gaza Strip, in an unprecedented show of solidarity with the Hamas regime.

Qandil’s visit was followed by a series of mutual visits to the Gaza Strip and Egypt by Hamas and Egyptian cabinet ministers and top officials.

Although Hamas leaders have publicly played down the significance of the Egyptian coup, reports from the Gaza Strip suggest that some leaders of the Islamist movement are already nervous.

According to one report, the new rulers of Egypt have issued an order banning all Hamas leaders from entering their country.

Another report said that Egyptian security authorities have arrested several Hamas members based in Cairo and Sinai on charges of involvement in terror attacks against Egyptians.

Hamas leaders who tried to contact senior Egyptian government officials over the past few days said their phone calls were being totally ignored.

The crisis in Egypt also seems to be have had a negative impact on the day-to-day lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: there seems to be a severe shortage of petrol, natural gas and basic goods as a result of severe restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities along their shared border.

Palestinian Authority officials and other Palestinians are now hoping that the latest revolution in Egypt will accelerate or facilitate the overthrow of the Hamas regime. Some Palestinian Authority representatives have even called on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to learn from the Egyptian model and rise up against Hamas.

The new rulers of Egypt may even turn out to be extremely hostile to Hamas, especially in light of claims that Hamas members had been dispatched to Cairo and other Egyptian cities to help Morsi supporters crush the opposition.

But does all this mean that the countdown for Hamas’s collapse has begun? Not necessarily.

Unlike Egypt, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip do not have an army that could come to the rescue. Also, Fatah’s supporters in the Gaza Strip do not have enough weapons to launch an Egyptian-style coup against Hamas.

The Israeli General and His New Mercedes

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Now, if that title doesn’t hit high on the spam charts, I don’t know what will…but stay with me.

Last week, a representative from a very large company came to our offices to discuss potential new business. As with most meetings in Israel, it was a blend of personal and professional. The contract was signed, but the discussions veered off into so many things that are Israel, including the army and the recent Operation Pillar of Defense.

I mentioned my blog and how Elie had been part of the call-up. He mentioned his brother – in the Military Police – being sent there and told me how he had never seen his mother so devastated, so paralyzed, so terrified, as during those days.

And then he told us what his brother was doing – basically guarding an entry point to the “closed military zone” where the fighting would take place…if the government had chosen to send in the ground forces. Elie told the man about his mad drive with the artillery vehicles. And the man told us two stories  from his brother.

The first was of a young man who drove up and demanded entry. The representative’s brother explained that it was a closed area and he couldn’t let him in.

“I’m a pilot,” said the young driver rather arrogantly.

A bit sheepishly, the rep’s brother explained that he needed to see identification, which was quickly produced and the pilot was allowed to enter. The next day, a general showed up in full uniform driving a brand new, sparkling clean Mercedes. I can’t tell you what model, but it was enough to impress the young soldier. This time, without asking, the general pulled out papers to prove he should be allowed in, though I wonder if it even crossed the mind of the young soldier to deny the general in the first place. But deny him he did.

“You can’t go in there!” he told the general.

The general hesitated for a moment and then asked the soldier, “why NOT?”

“Your car,” said the young man. “It’s new. The mud. Look. You can’t,” he stumbled as he turned to point behind him to the tanks tearing up the wet, muddy ground.

And then the general did the most extraordinary thing. He laughed and told the soldier, “I have that car because of everything this country did for me. I’ll give it all back if I have to – including the car.”

With that, he got in the Mercedes – the brand new, sparkling Mercedes, and drove it into the thick mud, covering the tires and splattering the side within seconds.

All that we have, we have been given because we are here – our safety, our lives, our freedom, our blessings.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

IDF and Corporal Lolly Reveal New Year’s Resolutions

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Posting on Twitter, the IDF spokesperson outlined its five central resolutions for 2013, describing 2012 as a challenging year for Israel’s security. “Our soldiers faced many threats, from terrorist agents on Israel’s borders to rocket fire targeting civilians,” related the official IDF blog.

One of those soldiers was Captain Ziv Shilon, who lost a hand after a Hamas-planted bomb exploded on him during a routine patrol of the Gaza border. The bomb mangled the IDF company commander’s right hand. Despite the horrific injury, Captain Shilon stated that, while rehabilitation “was a long journey,” he was staying optimistic and planning to return to his soldiers once he recovered.

The first IDF resolution was, naturally, to provide security for the people of Israel.

In another resolution, the IDF firmly declared that it would stand ready for every possible threat.

That statement was recently tested during the rocket fire escalation during last November’s Operation Pillar of Defense, when the Iron Dome system became a huge asset in preventing Gaza rockets from striking heavily populated cities in Israel. The IDF soldiers behind the Iron Dome’s operation were the key to its success. One of them, a French-born Corporal Lolly, was defending Tel Aviv from incoming rockets. The Iron Dome system intercepted incoming rockets threatening Tel Aviv, helping to protect more than 1.5 million citizens.

Lolly is a lone soldier who says she knew early on that she wanted to work with the Iron Dome system. “From the minute I heard about the Iron Dome system, it was clear to me that is where I would serve, taking an active part in protecting the lives of Israeli citizens,” she stated on the official IDF blog.

In addition to protecting Israel’s borders and civilian population, the IDF also promised this New Year to carry out and prepare rescue missions for countries struck by natural disasters. The IDF’s Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit (SAR) has been providing aid to people suffering from natural disasters across the world for more than 20 years.

Created in February 1992, the Search and Rescue Unit has assisted with disaster zones in 14 countries, including Japan, Turkey, Haiti and Armenia. In total, the IDF has sent 15 aid delegations, providing direct medical care to more than 2,300 people and saving a total of 220 lives. Made up of reserve soldiers and physicians from the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit, the unit is renowned across the world for its effective emergency response assistance.

The last two IDF resolutions include strengthening cooperation with allies and developing cutting-edge technology.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-and-corporal-lolly-reveal-new-years-resolution/2013/01/03/

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