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August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
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Posts Tagged ‘talks’

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.”

London Threatens Israel’s Arms Supply if Cease-fire Talks Fail

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

This time, if Jerusalem does not give in to the demands of Hamas, Britain will cancel 12 export licenses for components for radar systems, combat aircraft and tanks, British media report.

British Business Secretary Vince Cable explained in a statement late Tuesday, “We welcome the current cease-fire in Gaza and hope that it will lead to a peaceful resolution.

“However, the UK government has not been able to clarify if the export licence criteria are being met. In light of that uncertainty, we have taken the decision to suspend these existing export licences in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.”

Cable, a Liberal Democratic minister, did not say whether the announcement came as the result of discussions with Conservatives who were pushing for an arms embargo regardless.

According to a report in the British-based Daily Mail newspaper, a review of the licenses to be revoked showed they were not for items being used by IDF forces currently in Gaza in any case, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) said.

But Israel is still apparently to be punished for the intractable behavior of Hamas.

“What is clear now is that we [the government coalition] have agreement that if the current cease-fire ends in Gaza, which we all hope it doesn’t, and there was a resumption of significant hostilities, then there would be an immediate suspension of those arms export licences to Israel that give cause for concern.”

What is not included in the embargo is the license granted for the export of cryptographic equipment, or for any components that form part of the Iron Dome system that protects Israeli civilians from the missile attacks fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

The military deals set to be affected are worth less than $17 million. Years ago, Israel realized that the UK is a fickle and unreliable arms supplier, so the IDF only buys minor parts from the UK that it can easily acquire elsewhere if needed.

What won’t be affected are Britain’s military purchases from Israel, including an Elbit drone system that the British army needs.

Meanwhile, it is not at all clear whether a cease-fire will be reached by the Wednesday deadline.

A source on the Palestinian Arab side told the A-Sharq al-Awsat Arabic-language daily newspaper there is still a wide gap on the issues of returning the remains of Israeli soldiers in exchange for a Gaza seaport and airport and creating a land bridge between the enclave and the regions of Judea and Samaria. “There is slow progress, but no big breakthrough,” the source told the paper.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Hamas announced in more blunt terms, “This is the last cease-fire.”

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.

Israel Govt: ‘Operation Continues Until Quiet and Security Restored’

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Palestinian Arab factions are growing impatient waiting in Cairo but Israel says truce talks are over until the rocket fire stops.

After a weekend in which Gaza terrorists fire more than 100 rockets at Israel, representatives of the Palestinian Arab factions in Cairo say they will leave on Sunday, because Israel refuses to negotiate under fire.

At 12:44 pm Sunday afternoon, a Code Red alert was flashed to residents of the Kerem Shalom community and surrounds, giving them 15 seconds to find shelter. It was the seventh such attack since midnight.

“Operation Protective Edge continues,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated as he opened Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting at the offices of the defense ministry in Tel Aviv.

“We have not, at any point, said that it ended, and it will continue until it has achieved its goals. This will take time,” he said. “Israel will not conduct negotiations under fire and will work to change the reality to return security to its citizens.”

Because Hamas flatly refused to extend the cease fire, and Gaza terrorists began shelling southern Israeli communities four hours before the truce officially was set to end Friday morning, the Israeli delegation left Cairo. Representatives of the various Palestinian Arab factions – and those of Hamas as well, apparently – remained in Cairo, believing Egypt could persuade the Israelis to return.

But Jerusalem and Israel’s citizens have had enough of the incessant rocket attacks raining down upon civilian families, and no one is willing any longer to live their lives under fire. By Sunday morning, those factions were “threatening” to leave Cairo if the Israelis “don’t return to the table in the next 24 hours.”

The threat has moved no one in Israel, especially since Gaza terrorists had already fired six rocket attacks at Israeli civilians early Sunday morning.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said bluntly that he expected little, if anything, to result from such talks. “From the beginning I said that our goal should be to defeat Hamas… their minimal demands are beyond Israel’s maximal position. This situation cannot continue. If my recommendations had been accepted we would not be in this situation.”

Liberman’s view was supported by Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who agreed that Israel needs to “destroy Hamas’s military power in Gaza. It was true in the past, and it is true now, in order to allow residents of the south to return home.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon vowed to silence the rocket fire – as he has in the past – addressing the growing outrage from southern residents who were told just three days ago that it was now “safe to go home.”

“If Hamas thinks it will exhaust us, it is wrong,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said. “We will not negotiate under fire. We entered talks in Cairo in good faith, and Hamas decided to renew its rocket fire on Israel.” The IDF responded with air strikes that destroyed a number of terrorist targets in Gaza.

“We will not compromise until rocket fire and terror completely stop,” Ya’alon promised. “We see the greater political and military picture, and we will not end the operation until quiet and security are returned to Israel’s citizens.”

US President Obama Has ‘Sympathy for Gazans’

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Hamas plans to return to war on Friday, while US President Barack Obama says it’s time to “open Gaza.”

During cease fire talks in Cairo, Hamas terrorists told mediators in Cairo they will resume their battle against Israel on Friday promptly at 8 am local time.

U.S. President Barack Obama explained to reporters at a briefing Wednesday in Washington, meanwhile, that although he had “no sympathy for Hamas,” he had “great sympathy for ordinary people struggling within Gaza.”

“Long term, there has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently closed off from the world,” Obama said.

In that, the American president appears to be joining Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in calling for Israel to lift its counter terror blockade on the region. The blockade was implemented in an effort to prevent Gaza terrorists from importing the very items with which they waged war against Israel this time. Despite Iran’s vows to send Gaza “all the weapons it needs to annihilate Israel,” Erdogan has consistently scored Israel for not lifting the blockade.

Nevertheless, overland crossings between Israel and Gaza have in fact been open daily for years, until recently — and even throughout the war, the Erez Crossing was operating for passage of humanitarian supplies, international aid workers, medical patients and journalists.

While advocating for “an opening of Gaza so that they do not feel walled off,” the president offered no answers for the millions of Israelis who will be forced to race for bomb shelters at the whims of Gaza terrorist rocket launchers.

“The U.S. goal right now would be to make sure that the cease fire holds, that Gaza can begin the process of rebuilding,” he said – appearing to patently ignore the flat refusal by Hamas to extend the cease fire past Friday.

Israelis, he added, need to “feel confident that they’re not going to have a repeat of the kind of rocket launchers that we’ve seen over the last several weeks.”

But this Tuesday a 10-minute barrage that went on up to the last second before the start of the current cease fire, a 26-missile attack was fired at more than two dozen towns and cities in southern and central Israel. Neighborhoods were hit in Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, Ashdod, Ashkelon, the Gaza Belt, Kiryat Gat, Be’er Sheva and Gush Dan, among others. Even an Arab village near Bethlehem was hit. So how are Israelis supposed to “feel confident” with that display from Gaza? Obama didn’t say.

Israel Repairs Gaza Damage While Talks Continue

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

While representatives of various Palestinian Arab factions “talk” with Israeli negotiators — albeit indirectly — about how to extend a 72-hour cease fire into something more permanent, Israel is already starting to rehabilitate Gaza.

Employees of the Israel Electric Company began repairing the power grid for Gaza residents on Tuesday night.

Workers from the Be’er Sheva district – the same people repeatedly forced to race for shelter from rocket fire launched from Gaza – were ordered to repair the grids damaged by those same rockets fired by Hamas terrorists in the first place.

IDF soldiers have been assigned to guard the IEC technicians working on the lines. IEC provides 120 megwatts of electricity to Gaza on 10 high voltage lines, nine of which were damaged by the rocket fire.

The IEC employees are working on the lines from the Israeli side only, although a number of damaged lines are also located within Gaza.

“All of the IEC work is being carried out in coordination with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT),” according to IEC deputy spokesperson Iris Ben-Shahal.

Egypt Proposes Cease Fire Extension to 120 Hours

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Egypt has proposed that Israel and representatives of the various Palestinian Arab factions extend the current 72-hour cease fire to 120 hours.

The proposal, suggested to each side in indirect talks, was announced Wednesday on Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV.

There is no word on whether the Egyptian proposal was accepted by either side.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypt-proposes-cease-fire-extension-to-120-hours/2014/08/06/

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