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February 2, 2015 / 13 Shevat, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Operation Protective Edge’

Gaza’s Hamas Allows Israeli Imports After 5 Years

Monday, January 26th, 2015

In a move that highlights the contrast between the Ramallah government of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza, the ruling Hamas terror organization decided Sunday it would allow the entry of Israeli products into the enclave.

In Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, where the government is positioned as a “moderate” Arab force, merchants are punished by Abbas if they are found to be carrying Israeli items for sale.

This is also the first time in five years, however, that Hamas has allowed Israeli goods to enter Gaza. The reason is simple survival, economically and politically.

Imad al-Bad, assistant deputy of the Hamas ministry of economy, told the Ma’an news agency that soft drinks, clothes, coffee and other items would be allowed in. “The last war led to the destruction of thousands of factories which affected the production power [in Gaza], and to fill that gap we decided to allow Zionist products in,” he said.

“The war damaged the production ability of factories and the nature and quality of the product because some raw materials are not allowed in” due to the blockade,” he continued. “We decided to allow [the] products to enter so that the market is not hindered and products are available,” al-Baz added.

Israel has resumed its cautious stance on which items can cross the border into Gaza after having discovered during last summer’s war hundreds of kilometers of terror tunnels honeycombing the enclave and leading under the border into Israeli territory.

Despite its concerns, Israel has nevertheless allowed concrete and other construction materials into the region, albeit under “supervision,” for reconstruction purposes. Those materials have already been commandeered, sold or voluntarily offered to Hamas terrorists for the purpose of rebuilding its terror tunnels, an inevitable result Israeli officials had predicted.

The Jewish State was heavily pressured by international leaders into allowing the construction materials into Gaza that were used to build the underground tunnel city network also the first time around. At that time too, it was claimed that Gaza residents “desperately” needed the materials for construction and repair of their homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure.

Instead, the materials were used to build millions of dollars’ worth of tunnels for carrying out terror attacks against Israelis and kidnapping other captives to hold as hostages in Gaza. The tunnels became part of the Hamas arsenal employed most recently during Operation Protective Edge, but also as far back as 2006, in its unending war against Israel.

IDF to Honor Four Female Soldiers from Operation Protective Edge

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

The IDF will award 53 soldiers, among them 4 women, military decorations for their service during this past summer’s Operation “Protective Edge”. Among the women, one received a citation (tsalash), and three others received medals of appreciation from the Israeli Southern Command. Lieutenant Dr. Regina Pekman, a medical officer in the 188 Brigade, received a citation for her actions on July 31, 2014. Lieutenant Dr. Pekman arrived to a deployment area in Israel, which was bombarded by mortar shells. She commanded the evacuation of injured IDF soldiers, while providing medical treatment for many other Israeli soldiers which were wounded. All through the incident, “Color Red” alarms were heard, and the entire area was under rocket fire.

Sergeant Ronnie Jackson, an electronic observation handler, from the observation unit in the “Nesher” battalion, received an award for her actions on July 17, 2014. Sergeant Jackson identified a group of 13 Hamas terrorists which infiltrated Israel through a terror tunnel, near Kibutz “Sufa”, on the Israeli-Gaza border. Jackson reported her findings to her commanders, which led to a successful Israeli response that prevented the terrorists from killing Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Corporal Noa Teitel, an electronic observation handler from the Israeli Navy, was honored for her actions on July 8th, 2014. Corporal Teitel identified a group of Hamas terrorists which infiltrated Israel by sea, near Kibutz Zikim, in the “Hof Ashkelon Regional Council”. Corporal Teitel informed her commanders, and participated in the coordination between Navy and Infantry forces that arrived on the scene. Corporal Teitel’s actions enabled Israeli forces to stop the maritime terror attack.

Sergeant Lihi Meir, an electronic observation handler, from the observation unit in the “Nesher” battalion, was honored for her actions on July 21, 2014. Sergeant Meir identified five Hamas terrorists who infiltrated Israel and disguised themselves with IDF uniforms. Later on that day, another group of Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel in the same location. Again, Sergeant Meir identified the group and reported to her commanders. Infantry forces and tanks arrived at the scene and prevented them from murdering Israeli soldiers and civilians. Among all the soldiers receiving honors, the highest honor will be given to Lieutenant Eitan Pond from the Givati brigade. Lieutenant Pond will receive the “Medal of Distinguished Service” for his brave actions during the abduction of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who was taken into a terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip. Lieutenant Pond arrived at the scene of the abduction, and led a four man search force into the tunnel in order to find Lieutenant Goldin. Lieutenant Pond’s actions helped determine Lieutenant Goldin’s death.

The recipients will receive their awards from IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, and other generals.

Israeli Diamond Exports Sparkled Small But Bright in 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Export of polished and rough diamonds from Israel rose by more than $175 million in 2014 as compared with the previous year.

Exports in 2014 totaled approximately $9.324 billion, compared with $9.166 billion in 2013.

According to the Diamond, Gemstone and Jewelry Administration, a division of the Ministry of Economy, the American market remains Israel’s primary client, accounting for 38 percent of exports.

Hong Kong is second on the list, accounting for a total of 29.74 percent of the entire polished diamonds export market. Additional destinations for diamond exports include Belgium (8.5 percent), Switzerland (6.47 percent) and England (3.74 percent), among others.

The industry reported a very small gap in 2014 between prices for rough and polished diamonds. Traders reported very small profitability margins, and in some cases even losses over the year.

Net polished diamond exports for 2014 totaled $6.269 billion, a small increase of 0.6 percent over 2013. Net rough diamond exports totaled $3.061 billion, a net increase of 4.2 percent over 2013.

Net polished diamond import figures in 2014 totaled $4.514 billion, as against $4.309 billion in 2013, an increase of 4.8%. Net rough diamond import figures in 2014 totaled $4.022 billion, as against $3.990 billion in 2013, an increase of 0.8%.

Diamond Controller at the Ministry of Economy Shmuel Mordechai noted that 2014 was a very difficult year for the diamond industry. All the world’s diamond centers reported a significant drop in profitability, and for the first time the world’s sightholders did not purchase their allocations over a large part of the year.

According to Mordechai, the Israel diamond market was also hurt by Operation Protective Edge, and the International Diamond Week, which was scheduled to take place in Israel in September 2014, was canceled, causing a loss of several hundred million dollars in sales.

Nonetheless, several exhibitions are expected to be held in Israel during 2015, with sales of polished diamonds, and there will be at least one Israel Diamond Week in the USA, featuring the sale of polished diamonds from Israel.

Likewise, Israel Rough Diamond Week is also planned for 2015, as is a conference for all the world’s exchanges, which will perhaps get the industry moving, particularly in Israel.

President Erdogan Sends Hanukkah Greetings to Turkey’s Jews, Beats Obama to Holiday!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lost no time this year in publicly offering warm holiday wishes and Chanukah greetings to the nation’s Jewish community.

In fact, he issued that greeting via all media outlets an entire day ahead of the holiday, light years ahead of the annual holiday greeting to the Jews of America issued from the White House by President Barack Obama.

(By the way, there was no such delay in this year’s greeting from Obama to American Muslims for this year’s holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which began on Saturday evening, June 28. Obama’s holiday salutation came a full day ahead of time, on Friday June 27, 2014.)

“I congratulate our Jewish citizens on the advent of Hanukkah with my most sincere wishes. We see the diversity in our social, cultural and anthropological being as the greatest wealth that has made Turkey what it is today, and reinforced its unity and cooperation as well as enhanced our solidarity and fondness,” Erdogan said in a statement released Monday by Turkey’s Presidential Press Center.

“Turkey will continue to carefully protect this rich cultural and historical heritage carefully today, as it has done until now,” the statement continued, according to an article posted in the Daily Sabah.

The Turkish newspaper went on to explain that “Hanukkah Day, celebrated by the Jews worldwide for eight days and nights, is celebrated on the 25th day of Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November to late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, Hanukkah means “dedication”, as the holiday celebrates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory against Seleucid monarchy in 165 B.C.E.”

Absolutely correct.

Coming from the leader of nearly any other industrialized nation, this greeting to Jewish citizens would be prompt, timely for all time zones, and not at all out of place. But this is the president of Turkey we are talking about, the man with a track record of ambivalence, at best, in his relationship with Jews and the Jewish State.

Erdogan scored major points in the majority Muslim population in Turkey this summer for raising more than $20 million in aid to Gaza residents left homeless after Israel’s defensive war with Hamas and allied terrorists.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Authority Arab families were aided by Turkey, including many in Judea and Samaria as well. In addition, Turkish aircraft transferred a number of wounded to Ankara for medical treatment as well. But the aid was secured by an agreement with Israel, and the aircraft used an Israeli airport. Israel facilitated the movement of goods from the aircraft to their destinations, and patients were transported to the aircraft the same way.

All that, despite some rather vicious, anti-Israel rhetoric by the same Turkish president-elect who the day before Chanukah offered warm greetings to his Jewish citizens.

In July, Erdogan told the Daily Sabah, “Jews in Turkey are our citizens. We are responsible for the security of their lives and property… I talked with our Jewish citizens’ leaders… and stated that they should adopt a firm stance and release a statement against the Israeli government. I will contact them again, but whether or not they release a statement, we will never let Jewish people in Turkey get hurt.” Erdogan suggested that Turkish Jewish leaders criticize “Israeli aggression,” the newspaper said, and said Israel’s government “abuses all Jewish people around the world for its fraudulent policies.”

It was Erdogan who said that Israel had “committed acts of genocide and surpassed Hitler in barbarism” during the summer war forced on the Jewish State by incessant rocket fire launched by Hamas.

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, sent a letter to Erdogan in July, demanding he return the Profiles in Courage award he received in 2004. Rosen wrote that Erdogan was “spewing dangerous rhetoric for political gain and inciting the Turkish population to violence against the Jewish people… your attacks on Jews call into question everything we honored you for… However, should your views change in the future we hope to be able to return the Profile of Courage award.” Subsequently Erdogan returned the award.

UNRWA Spokesman Calls for Boycott of Israeli Paper

Friday, December 5th, 2014

In an amazing breach of sworn neutrality, to say nothing of civility, a UN spokesperson on social media attacked the Jerusalem Post and its editor and called for a boycott of the paper.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Arab refugees posted the following on his UNRWA Twitter account:


Gunness lost his cool over an op-ed written by a Palestinian Arab and published in the Jerusalem Post which blamed UNRWA for prolonging the suffering of his people in order to justify its existence and deepen its coffers.

Bassem Eid, the author of that op-ed, is the founder and director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. His piece in the Post criticized UNRWA:

UNRWA, to continue its operation, depends on death and the visual suffering of five million Palestinians who continue to wallow in and around UNRWA facilities.

The more Palestinians suffer, the more power goes to UNRWA, which allows it to raise unchecked humanitarian funds and purchase munitions. People ask: Why not abolish UNRWA? Well, this cannot be done.

The only agency that can abolish UNRWA is the UN General Assembly, which has never had the interests of the Palestinian people at heart. After all, the UN rakes in more than $1.2 billion a year as an “incentive” to continue our status as refugees.

Eid included in his opinion piece a series of conditions he believes the UN donor nations should put in place in order to reform UNRWA.

These conditions, Eid suggested, are essential to ensure that UNRWA ends its perpetuation of his people’s refugee status and instead help his “people strive for a better future.”  It is the responsibility of the Palestinian Arab people to insist on these conditions, to rebel against the “arbitrary administration of UNRWA.

Those recommended conditions included auditing all UNRWA funds, encouraging permanent refugee settlement, dismiss Hamas-affiliated UNRWA employees, and cancel what Eid described as “the UNRWA war curriculum, based on principles of jihad, martyrdom and right of return by force of arms.”

The editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, Steve Linde, gently responded to Gunness:


Perhaps Gunness does not understand the difference between an opinion piece and a news article. An opinion piece – which is what Eid’s is – is a column submitted by a non-employee, someone with expertise in a particular subject and which expresses that individual’s opinions or particular views on a subject.

Opinion pieces, in contrast to many news articles, are not intended to contain opposing views. An editor would never inject the comments of the subject being criticized into an opinion writer’s piece.

What Gunness could have done was submit his own op-ed for consideration to the Jerusalem Post.

But that isn’t what Gunness did.

Instead, the UNRWA spokesperson continued lobbing spitballs at Linde and the Jerusalem Post.


Gunness then sinks even deeper into the sludge of trash talk by repeatedly posting what he claimed was a picture of a Jerusalem Post reporter. In the photo a man wearing a college t-shirt with a gun slung over his shoulders stands in front of a “Kahane was right” poster.

Gunness seemed to believe that distributing this photo (which comes from the blog of an Israeli anti-Zionist Arab rights activist, Didi Remez), proved his attack on Linde and the Jerusalem Post was justified. Gunness is supportive and protective of Hamas, a currently active terrorist organization, but apparently that does not strike him as problematic.

Hamas Claims Victory, Says Elections are Proof

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Hamas claimed yesterday that Israel’s decision to hold early elections was proof that Hamas defeated Israel this past summer in Operation Protective Edge, according to Khaled Abu Toameh.

The Palestinian Authority last held elections in 2005, and have chosen to not hold elections since then.

Hamas violently took over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, despite Hamas’s strong showing in the 2005 elections.

After all, they believe elections are for losers.

Learning from Operation Protective Edge

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

For many, Operation Protective Edge served to highlight the security, the social resilience and the international media coverage issues Israel faces on a daily basis. This week (November 23, 2014) two conferences bravely took it on: Bar Ilan University’s School of Communication in conjunction with the Center for International Communication hosted “The Scholarly & Professional Convention on International Media Coverage of Operation Protective Edge” and The Institute for National Security Strategies (INSS) in conjunction with The Gush Katif Heritage Center hosted “Between Gush Katif and Operation Protective Edge.”

With an impressive array of high profile guest speakers and compelling topics of discussion, these conferences were well worth attending. The Bar Ilan convention focused on Israeli Public Diplomacy and the International Media during Operation Protective Edge. Since I’m convinced most of us consider Economy Minister Naftali Bennett to be the guy scoring the most points for Israel when it comes to the international media, it’s a pity he wasn’t one of the guest speakers. Bennett stands out so much because the international media coverage stinks so badly. However, as Prof. Eytan Gilboa rightly points out, this anti-Israel attitude has been going on for years. Gilboa’s solution is for Israel’s spokesmen to demand the journalists be professional and take responsibility for their utterances. Israel must continuously point out to the western world how biased their media coverage is.

We might all agree regarding the above issue, but there’s a variety of opinions when it comes to “Between Gush Katif and Operation Protective Edge.” In one interesting discussion, former Gush Katif Regional Council head Zvi Hendel pointed out that during Oslo, in the days of the armed Arab police force and the joint security training, the expectation had been for the Gush Katif population to dwindle; they thought people would leave. Instead, the population grew by 20% due to a happy combination of natural increase and new families coming to reside in Gush Katif. Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yellin responded that during Operation Protective Edge his region also continued to grow. The few families that left, he claimed, were those that had been renting for a year or two, and hadn’t become truly absorbed into the community. Additionally, Eshkol has received a major boost from the Gush Katif expellees who have founded new communities in the region.

Another fascinating discussion arose when an audience member asked the speakers their opinion about the Disengagement, and whether their opinion had changed following Operation Protective Edge. Earlier in the conference, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan had stated where he stood. This staunch Likudnik spoke feelingly of the door-to-door effort before the Likud referendum, and his disgust that PM Sharon had carried out a plan his party had voted against. Whereas, Haim Yellin’s didn’t like the Disengagement Plan due to its unilateral nature; he wished for an agreement, not to give away something and get nothing in return. Prefacing his answer by admitting that his views weren’t going to be very popular with the audience, Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council head Alon Shuster revealed that he’d been in favor of the Disengagement Plan and remained so today. He considers that Israel has the right to decide where to draw the borders, and that for moral reasons Israel shouldn’t be in Gaza.

And yet, if there’s no moral reason for Gush Katif, then there is no moral reason for the rest of Israel. Or as former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly put it, “the fate of Netzarim is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

Having destroyed Netzarim, we now need to work doubly hard to reclaim the Israeli narrative. I’m convinced we can do it, and the first step has already been achieved: realizing there’s a problem. Now let’s take steps to fix it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/learning-from-operation-protective-edge/2014/11/26/

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