Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Arab world is disintegrating all around Israel’s borders

From PJ Media, 10 July 2014, by David P. Goldman:

...Hamas is making a demonstration out of weakness. Money is tight, 44,000 Gaza civil servants haven’t been paid for weeks, and the IDF did significant damage to its infrastructure on the West Bank after the kidnapping-murder of the three yeshiva boys. 

Netanyahu will look indecisive and confused, because he has to deal with an openly hostile U.S. administration on one side and his nationalist camp on the other. 

Time, though, is on Israel’s side: economically, demographically, strategically. The proportion of Jewish births continues to soar. The fruits of a decade of venture capital investing are ripening into high-valuation companies. And the Arab world is disintegrating all around Israel’s borders.

I have no idea whether the IDF will go into Gaza on the ground, or what they will do if they do so: that’s a tricky cost-benefit calculation, and no-one outside the government has relevant information. But the broader point is that Israel will win a war of attrition. Hamas has shot off hundreds of rockets (including one that landed a few kilometers from me up north in Zichron Yaakov while I had lunch there yesterday) without causing a single injury. Iron Dome has worked brilliantly. Traffic was a bit lighter than normal last night, but there wasn’t a free table at any of the hundred or so cafe terraces on Dizengoff St., Tel Aviv’s main drag.

There will be no Intifada on the West Bank: the Palestinian Arabs are older, more resigned and less inclined to destroy their livelihoods than in 2000. Syria and Iraq continue to disintegrate, Lebanon is inundated with Syrian Sunni refugees (weakening Hezbollah’s relative position), and Jordan is looking to Israel to protect it against ISIS. Egypt is busy trying to survive economically.

Medium-term, the boycott and BDS threat become irrelevant. “Startup nation” is becoming market-cap nation as hundreds of Israeli firms exit the venture capital stage and become profitable, mature enterprises. There’s never been anything like this. India and China beckon with a combined market of 2.5 billion people. To the extent that the Europeans threaten Israel with sanctions, the term “Middle East” gradually will be replaced by “Western Asia.”

...In the short-term, to be sure, Israel must proceed with caution. It is still vulnerable to pressure from the U.S., which provides the bulk of its military hardware, and economic pressure from Europe, which accounts for a third of its trade. 

Nonetheless, Israel is winning and its adversaries are losing. B’ezrat Hashem Israel will prevail.

Enough already. Bibi, it’s up to you. Western civilization’s last stand.

From PJ Media, 10 July 2014, by Roger L Simon:

...finally someone may be standing up to America’s ultra-reactionary, fumbling, paleo-narcissistic and now hugely unpopular president — and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu. 

...Bibi should be the leader of the free world.  Arrivederci, Barry. Take your favorite nine iron and head off to Maui or the Vineyard or wherever you want to be with our blessings — as long as you stay there.

From the JPost:
The United States is prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, US President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu by phone today.
In the call, Obama “reiterated the United States’ strong condemnation of continuing rocket fire into Israel by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks,” the White House said in a readout of the conversation.
But Netanyahu has ruled out a ceasefire with Hamas in the short-term. On the contrary, the Israeli leader has vowed a series of additional stages to Operation Protective Edge—his government’s response to continued rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities, after Hamas, a terrorist organization, stockpiled tens of thousands of rockets in the coastal territory over the last several years.
A ceasefire is “not even on the agenda,” Netanyahu told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, just hours before his call with the US leader.
Let’s hope Netanyahu does not fall prey to pressure and keeps on keeping on because someone sometime has to stand up to Islamofacism or it will continue its unstopped march across the Middle East and beyond.  

It certainly won’t be Obama, who has allowed violent jihadists to flourish across Iraq, Syria and Iran — not to mention North Africa, Nigeria, the Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines and now the Islamic State (aka ISIS) installing their own caliphate.  Obama previously tried to help shore up Islamofascism in Egypt (Morsi) and Turkey (Erdogan). And all the while he  has been chasing a nuclear deal with the monstrous mullahs of Iran who want nothing more than the extinction of the West and a caliphate of their own to compete with the Sunnis of ISIS.

I’m confused. Weren’t “progressives” supposed to be for religious freedom and opposed to misogyny,  homophobia and theocracy? Oh, well.  Maybe I was misinformed.

Enough already.  Bibi, it’s up to you.  Western civilization’s last stand.

We should all be encouraging Netanyahu now, lining up behind him, no matter what our smaller biases. He needs friends at home and abroad.  So do the Israeli soldiers. Even though I am not religious, I will be praying for them.

I will also be applauding U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle who understand the gravity of the situation, how much is now at stake for the long term.  Further from the JPost:

“There is no moral equivalency between the self-defense actions of Israel and the barbaric actions of Hamas,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said on Thursday. Along with Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Graham is now proposing a resolution that would “reaffirm the United States’ support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens” and “ensure the survival” of the Israeli state.
The resolution also calls on the Palestinian Authority, funded in large part by Congress, to end its unity government with Hamas, and condemns the firing of hundreds of rockets at Israel as “unprovoked.”
“Israel is entitled to take the steps necessary to protect itself from destructive rocket attacks from Hamas that are aimed at all Israeli civilians, regardless of their religion,” said Schumer. “This resolution supports Israel as it protects itself in a manner that values the safety of Palestinian civilians even as its own civilians face indiscriminate attacks from terrorists.”

The Congress can start by superseding the reactionary Obama administration and defunding the Palestinian Authority until it breaks with Hamas.  In fact, they should defund it forever until the PA recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. This is the moment.  Enough appeasement of barbaric Islamic societies.  Let’s start believing in ourselves.

US Congress unanimously supports Israel's self defence

From PJ Media, 11 July 2014:

The House passed a bipartisan resolution by unanimous consent today to support Israel “as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.”

Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) introduced the resolution two days ago, and it was fast-tracked to the floor with more than 140 co-sponsors.
“I applaud the passage of this bipartisan resolution affirming U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself against violence,” said Israel, who is also chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “It demonstrates the strong and unwavering partnership between the U.S. and the State of Israel and sends a clear message to Hamas and other terrorist organizations that acts of terror against Israel will not be tolerated.”
Cole said the House “reinforced its support of our friends in Israel during times of great tension and unrest in the region.”
“Over the last several weeks, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, putting the lives of our Israeli friends in grave danger. As Israel combats these acts of terror, I am pleased that this resolution shows that America stands behind our friends,” he said. “I am also very proud that the Iron Dome, a joint Israeli-American project that intercepts missiles, has helped in the fight against terror and protected millions of lives. During these times of unrest, this technology is proving indispensable.”
The Iron Dome battery has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress since they went into action in 2011.

The resolution “reaffirms [House] support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel, condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel, and calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel.”

It included an amendment from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) noting that Iran is an enabler of Hamas.

“Hamas and their supporters remain committed to armed struggle against Israel’s right to exist–as they deliberately target Israeli population centers using many weapons provided by Iran,” Royce said. “With these threats arrayed against Israel, we will continue stand with the Israeli people.”
A similar resolution has been introduced in the upper chamber by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and is expected to come to the floor for a vote next week...

California Politician Blasts Al-Jazeera on Al-Jazeera: ‘The Owners of This Network Fund Hamas’

From PJ Media, 10 July

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) may not get an invitation to reappear on Al-Jazeera America, but he sure gave the network an earful in the segment he did get this week.
“Every one of those rockets is a war crime… every rocket that is not aimed at a military target but is aimed at a city,” Sherman said on a live feed from Capitol Hill. “The owners of this TV network help fund Hamas.”
He went on to call the Hamas offensive launched against Israel “open season on those of the Jewish faith.”

“The idea that you would have a TV clear effort to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible and then you on this TV station say, ‘well, maybe it’s not a war crime because it’s not successful — the rocket didn’t hit a kindergarten. It was aimed at a kindergarten but it didn’t hit a kindergarten. So then it’s not reprehensible.’”

Sherman defended Israel’s response to the Gaza rockets as “proportionate.”

“I don’t think there are always two sides to every story. Those who are trying to kill as many babies and children and women as possible, who rejoice in their death… no, you have one side in this conflict that is doing everything it possibly can to reduce and avoid civilian casualties and to prosecute those who engage in acts against civilians,” the congressman said.

“And then you have the Hamas side… which of course Qatar supports, which rejoices in how many babies they can kill, how many children they can kill. They name squares and provide subsidies to those who are able to kill civilians and they aim their rockets at civilian targets. That’s not two equal sides.”

How about just…winning ...this time?

From PJ Media, 9 July 2014, by Roger L. Simon:

...For years the bien pensant of the West (Europe, the U.S.) have urged, actually put strong pressure on, Israel to play the hudna game with Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the rest of the sociopathic Islamofascist crew.  

The Israelis, from a humanistic tradition and anxious to be thought well of, have acquiesced, even when they have the extreme whip hand. The results have been as one would predict: another war, another hudna and on and  on. This has been going on since the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, even before that really.  In other words, for a long while.

Maybe it’s time for a different approach.  How about just…winning?

As I write this, the Jerusalem Post live blog for 6:26 a.m. Israel time is announcing: “A Code Red rocket alert siren was heard a few minutes ago in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.” Hamas is evidently still at it.

Yesterday, the terror organization bragged that they had lobbed missiles (missing, thankfully) at the Israeli atomic reactor at Dimona.  That’s about as insane as it gets,  considering that a hit (were it possible) might generate nuclear fallout all over the Middle East, killing and injuring more Islamic people than Jews, simply because there are so many more of the former, not to mention contaminating the region.

Hamas doesn’t care.  And yet I suspect they have been surprised by what has happened to them in the last few days — and so does noted Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who Wednesday published “Stunned by Israel’s fierce response, Hamas sends distress signals.”

Let’s hope Toameh is right and that the terror organization has been so wounded that it is quietly looking for a way to save face and get out — for now.  But let’s further hope that Benjamin Netanyahu will resist that call for a hudna and finish the job.

Of course, the most powerful call for that hudna will not come from the Arabs — many of whom despise Hamas anyway and just have to make a show for home consumption — but from Barack Obama and his “progressive” administration. They are the ones who find moral equivalency between terrorists firing missiles randomly at civilians (and nuclear reactors) and an air force that notifies the enemy’s civilians, for the first time in human history, to vacate a building before it is bombed. 

(If you want an example of these exasperating reactionaries from the U.S. administration, have a look at the words of one Philip Gordon, who lectured Israelis on the peace process yesterday in Tel Aviv as the rockets were flying in.  This rude, fatuous creep deserves to be taken to the woodshed and left there. His hypocrisy is made all the more absurd by the fact that more people were killed over the weekend by violence in Obama’s beloved Chicago than in the first few days of the new Gaza war.)

Nevertheless, when I wrote yesterday my belief that Israel should “go to the mattress” this time, as Don Corleone might say, people justifiably asked what I meant.  

Should Israel exterminate the Arabs of Gaza?  Of course not.  But they should disarm them.  Completely.   And make an attempt to reeducate them.  They are taught to hate and kill  Jews, literally from nursery school. (If you haven’t seen the videos, go to   This cannot go on.    And Israel should enforce that.  This will take a long time.  But it is worth it.

The only way to effectuate change is to finish the job.  Otherwise you are just kicking the proverbial can down the proverbial road.  Our administration either has a destructive foreign policy or none at all — depending on how you want to look at it. Or maybe even both at the same time, if that’s possible.  The incredibly rapid rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) should have put paid to the notion that Obama has even a remote notion of what to do.  One of the most laughable things that the above mentioned Mr. Gordon said in his speech in Tel Aviv the other day was his assurance to the Israelis that “America has your back.”  Someone should have stood up and asked him if he was drawing a red line.

Which brings me to a last point.  I know some on the right are often frustrated by Benjamin Netanyahu.  I think you are making a mistake.  I think he has done an admirable job, considering he has to deal constantly with the administration of an American president whose fecklessness boggles the mind and who clearly hates him on top of it.  How’d you like to have to deal with that?

Friday, July 11, 2014

The solution is in the hand of the Palestinian Arabs

Dr Tawfik Hamid, 5 July 2014:

"The Jews do not hate the Arabs's us [Arabs]...we are causing the problem...."

Over 930 Terror Targets Hit in Gaza

From Arutz Sheva, 10 July 2014, By Ari Yashar:

Benny Gantz, Binyamin Netanyahu and Moshe Ya'alon at Security Cabinet - Flash 90

After a lengthy Security Cabinet meeting, Israel's military leaders spoke about the road ahead for Operation Protective Edge, which has already hit 930 terror targets in the Hamas enclave of Gaza.

"Hundreds of targets have been destroyed including the homes of militants, government institutions, launchers, rockets and other war materiel"  
...Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon after the meeting.
Thanking the IDF for its firm defense of Israel, Ya'alon remarked "the IDF has impressively succeeded in intercepting the rockets being launched at the State of Israel, and in thwarting the terrorist organizations' malicious intentions to perpetrate attacks, both by sea and in other ways."

"But this is also the opportunity to express appreciation to the residents of Israel. ...The stamina of the public is an important component in our ability to continue the operation," said Ya'alon, calling for the public to follow instructions from the IDF Homefront Command...

Offense and defense in the air
Up until now, the majority of the action in Gaza has been taken by the Israeli Air Force (IAF), which has conducted pinpoint airstrikes on the homes of terrorists, weapons storehouses and rocket launching sites, among others.
"We have dropped hundreds of tons of ordnance and bombs on terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, in a very complicated environment in which civilians are being used as human shields and we are trying to avoid hitting civilians as much as possible. Until now the results have been very good and we are continuing the effort"
...Commander in Chief of the IAF Amir Eshel...

Israel must achieve a victory as clear as the afternoon sun in July

From Arutz Sheva, 10 July 2014, by Dr Mordechai Kedar:

Hamas, for the last few days, has been continuing the war it lost in Judea and Samaria – from Gaza.

... Israel [has] hit hard at the organizaion’s infrastructure [in Judea and Samaria] and sent it several years back in its tracks, just when it was about to take over the area by means of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

However, the advantage of fighting on the ground is only the case in Judea and Samaria; in Gaza, Israel will find it vey difficult to act effectively on the ground for the following reasons:
1. Population size and density, especially in urban areas such as Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Rafiah and the refugee camps make it necessary for Israel to introduce large infantry forces to a considerable number of points.
2. A tank has no advantages in urban areas as it has limited maneuverability, cannot aim at upper floors and is a slow-moving, easily hit target for antitank weapons, such as RPGs and rockets.
3. An armored jeep is also an easy target for antitank weaponry in a built up area.
4. Soldiers making their way on foot in built up areas are sitting ducks for snipers. Hamas has laid mines, built tunnels underneath the houses, fortified sniper positions in strategically placed buildings.
5. Eliminating Hamas military and civilian infrastructure requires a large Israeli presence over a lengthy period of time, enabling Hamas to attack command posts and headquarters (that is what occurred in Tyre).
6.Total elimination of Hamas will not prevent its resurgence as soon as our soldiers leave.
These points lead to the conclusion that sending land forces deep into Gaza will cost many lives without much to show for it. The subsequent retreat will be presented as a victory for Hamas.

Air battles, on the other hand, give Israel a definite advantage over Hamas, even if spotty intelligence and the proximity of the targets to uninvolved civilians presents difficulties.
Hamas knows this well, and therefore will do all it can to drag Israel into a ground operation involving sending forces into Gaza itself, because on the ground Israel has almost no edge over Hamas.

These reasons also make it difficult for Israel to define the mission of a land operation in Gaza. Partial conquest will not break up Hamas, total conquest will not solve the long range problem, despite the high cost in human life that we will have to pay.

In order to drag Israel into Gaza, Hamas posted on its official website a picture of a missile – apparently a Grad missile – launched from a crowded urban site.
The release accompanying the picture has Hamas proudly telling how the missile was aimed at the “settlement of Ofakim”. Hamas delivers several messages in this way:
"We are launching rockets from urban areas and if Israel attempts to take out the launchers and operators it will hit women and children. We will bring all the media to show how Israel fights and murders uninvolved civilians, women and children. The civilian population supports our cause and is willing to suffer for it. Israel can only stop the rockets with a ground operation."
By launching rockets from built up areas, Hamas is transgressing international law which forbids involving civilians in battle, except that the Gazan jihadists – Hamas and the other organizations there – do not take international law into account. If they did, they would not be aiming at civilian communities.

The above leads to the following question: How should Israel respond in order to prevent continued rocket launching?

The answer is clear:
1. Israel must not enter Gaza and continue dealing with the problem from the air, where Israel has a significant advantage over Hamas and the other terror organization.

2. Israel must continue and expand its targeted assassinations against activists and leaders Israel must give Hamas political leaders clear warning that continued rocket launching will lead to their elimination.

3. Israel must announce publicly that two days after the aforesaid announcement, it will shut the supply of electricity, water, food and fuel to Gaza, and that this will continue until the rockets cease. Israel can also threaten to cut off all line-based communication to Gaza that goes through Israel. There has never been a situation in which a country continues to provide supplies and services to an area from which it is being shot at. This two days in advance warning is intended to deal with legal, public, political and media issues that might result from the cutoff.

As this article was being written, on Tuesday, July 8, the Palestinian Arabs launched more than 100 rockets and missiles at Israeli cities, from Sderot in the south to Hadera in the north., including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. On that very same day, Israel allowed 170 truckloads of food – I repeat, 170 truckloads! – filled with food and other supplies to enter Gaza. Is there a greater absurdity than that one??

Our side keeps saying: We differentiate between terrorists and civilians: we fight terror and send food to the civilians. There is noting more infuriating and incorrect, because think about it – who hands out the food to the people? Israel or Hamas? In other words, the people thank Hamas for succeeding in blackmailing Israel into transferring food even though Hamas is raining missiles on Israel.

We say that we are transferring food and fuel so that world media will report it. This, too, is a faulty approach, because it is based on a twisted scale of values, according to which Israeli lives are less important that Israel’s image.

Continuing to transfer food, water, fuel and electricity, is seen as a sign of weakness by  the other side, and weakness invites more pressure in the form of rockets and missiles. Stopping the supplies would cause the residents of Gaza to demand that Hamas cease to launch rockets. Clearly, continued transfer of supplies is the reason for the continued rockets.

Nevertheless, Israel has no need for or interest in destroying the Hamas government in Gaza, as that would lead to chaos and force Israel to take care of one and a half million Gaza citizens, of whom not even a minyan (quorum of 10 men) are pro Israel...

The Hamas movement, gallingly, sets conditions for a ceasefire: free those freed in the Schalit exchange, free the Hamas leaders that were arrested, remove the naval siege on  Gaza, remove the sea blockade and end the targeted assassinations.

Israel has to reject Hamas conditions, if only because an agreement with a terror organization lends it legitimacy and is a surrender to terror that that invites further pressure.

Operation “Defensive Edge” must create an Israeli -made sitution - aimed at Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, because there is a gut feeling that Hamas has no choice but to restore quiet and force the other organizations to do the same.  That means Islamic Jihad and the Comnittee for Popular Resisance. 

There is no escaping the conclusion that this is not just a struggle between the IDF and the Hamas military arm, but a struggle between two societies – the Israeli one and the Gazan one – and that the winner will be the stronger society, the more cohesive one and the one more prepared to sacrifice.

If this requires temporary evacuation of children, women or families from the south to other areas – that is what must be done in order to give our government the  possibility of acting as long as it must against the rocket terror without worrying about casualties.

If the government of Israel acts in such a way that she protects Israeli citizens, if our Prime Minister can appear before the public and explain the concept behind this operation, the vast majority of the public will cooperate and go along with government policy on this issue.

The Israeli public realizes that this is a war and that “in war, as in war”. Israel must achieve a victory, and it must be an unequivocal one, clear as the afternoon sun in July. If at the end of the current round of violence, the jihadists can claim that they have won, this will encourage them to try again.

I am not so naïve as to think that an Israeli victory can solve all our problems with Hamas forever, but the spaces between the rounds of violence will widen when our enemies realize that violence does not bring them the desired results...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fatah "peace partners" join the Hamas terrorist attack on civilians

From Times of Israel, 10 July 2014, by Elhanan Miller:

Armed groups linked to Fatah say they began launching rockets and mortar shells into Israel Wednesday evening, in the first indication of Mahmoud Abbas’s movement actively taking part in violence emanating from Gaza.
The Nidal Al-Amody force of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for firing Grad and 107 millimeter rockets toward Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Sufa Crossing from Gaza, starting at 5 p.m Wednesday. Communiques specifying the attacks were published on Fatah’s official Facebook page.
Early Thursday morning, another armed force associated with Fatah, the Abdul Qader Husseini Battalions, claimed responsibility for launching two Grad rockets at Ashkelon and four mortar shells at Kibbutz Nir Oz near Khan Yunis shortly after one a.m....

A photo depicting two members of the Husseini Battalions preparing to launch a rocket at Israel was posted on Fatah’s Facebook page...
Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is considered a moderate Palestinian faction, which has gained international standing in recent years after forswearing terror.
So far, only Hamas and Islamic Jihad were known to have launched rockets into Israel, though Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh stated on Tuesday that Palestinians had the right to oppose Israel “by all legitimate means.”...

Operation Protective Edge Hammers Hamas

From Arutz Sheva, 10 July 2014, by Ari Soffer and AFP:

Egypt eases its blockade on Hamas-ruled territory to let injured Gazans through; Israel hits more than 750 terror targets.

Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza
Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza
Flash 90

Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing to Gaza on Thursday to receive wounded Palestinians as Israel continued its air-offensive to stamp out rocket-fire on Israeli civilians, an official at the border said.
Hospitals in north Sinai, which borders Gaza and Israel, have been placed on standby to receive the injured...

The crossing is usually closed, as Egypt maintains a strict blockade on Gaza in order to isolate Hamas from Islamist insurgents in the Sinai. Relations between Hamas and Cairo deteriorated sharply after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, with Egyptian security forces accusing the terrorist group of aiding jihadis to carry out terrorist attacks inside Egypt in response.

Rafah is Gaza's only border crossing that bypasses Israel, which launched Operation Protective Edge in response to escalated rocket fire by Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The air strikes have killed at least 70 people since the operation began on Tuesday...

The IDF has blamed Hamas for civilian deaths in Gaza, citing the Islamist group's open use of human shields. In one instance, seven people were killed after locals responded to an Israeli warning flare by flocking to act as human shields at the site of the intended strike just moments before it was hit.

The Israeli air force overnight hit more than 300 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from Gaza, according to the IDF's spokesman.

"We aimed at 322 targets in Gaza overnight, taking to 750 the total number of Hamas targets hit by the army since the start (on Tuesday) of Operation Protective Edge," Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told journalists in a telephone conference. That number is higher than the number of targets hit in six days during the IDF's last counterterrorism operation in Gaza, Operation Pillar of Defense.

Among the targets hit were rocket-launching sites of Hamas's "military wing" the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, as well as tunnels used by the group and Hamas command posts, Lerner said.

The Israeli Air Force has also been upping the pressure on Hamas's leadership specifically, by targeting their homes in response to continued rocket fire. As a result, IDF sources say that the majority of Hamas's leaders are now homeless.

Lerner warned that a ground assault was still being considered.

"More than 20,000 reservists have been recruited but a ground assault would be the last option if we judge it necessary," he said.

Israel's cabinet has authorized the call-up of 40,000 reservists for such an operation, which looks increasingly likely as the conflict drags on, commentators say.

The army says Gaza terrorists have fired some 300 rockets at Israel since the Jewish state began Operation Protective Edge to stamp out the rocket fire.

Several of those have landed or been intercepted near Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the northern city of Hadera. Several rockets even landed as far as Haifa - some 165 kilometers (102 miles) away from Gaza.

Are U.S. Hands ‘Empty in Both Fields of Sanctions and Threats’?

From PJ Media, 7 July 2014, by Bridget Johnson:

As negotiators barrel toward July 20 deadline, administration insists they're working with "a series of easily achievable measures."

While the Obama administration is painting the ongoing Iran nuclear talks in Vienna as a fluid process with flexibility on the table, Tehran is stressing that non-negotiables remain yet the U.S. is in the palm of its hand.

In an address last week to mark Mining and Industry Day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the sanctions eased by President Obama are demolished for good and cannot be rebuilt even if a deal is not struck 13 days from now — confirming the warnings of the president’s harshest Democratic critics in the Senate.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested in a meeting with senior officials today that the U.S. is keeping Israel from striking at Iranian facilities....

The ayatollah added that the “enemy’s hand is empty in both fields of sanctions and threats.”

He stressed that uranium enrichment remains a sticking point in negotiations with the P5+1, saying that Iran’s bottom line is an enrichment capacity of at least 190,000 Separative Work Units (SWUs) while the U.S. wants to limit the Islamic Republic to 10,000 SWUs.

Khamenei also said it would be “laughable” to consider shutting down the Fordow nuclear facility.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters last week that she wouldn’t go into specifics about “where the biggest gaps remain,” but stressed that the main issues are centrifuges, enrichment, the Arak heavy water reactor,  and Fordow, an underground uranium enrichment facility near Qom.

A senior administration official said Thursday that the negotiations proceeding toward the July 20 deadline were “very intense” and centered around “a series of reasonable, verifiable, and we believe easily achievable measures that would ensure Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon and that its program is limited to exclusively peaceful purposes.”

Deputy Secretary William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman, and National Security Adviser to the Vice President Jacob J. Sullivan led the delegation to Vienna at the beginning of the month.

“Iran’s negotiators have been quite serious throughout this process. There does remain a significant discrepancy, however, between Iran’s seeming intent with respect to its nuclear program and the actual content of that program to date,” the official said. 
“Iranian officials have stated repeatedly and unambiguously that they have no intention of building a nuclear weapon, which is not a hard proposition to prove. All we’re asking is for Iran to commit to concrete and verifiable steps to show to the world what they’ve repeatedly said is indeed true.”
The official said all options would be entertained as “there are a number of different combinations that can give the international community the assurances we need that Iran’s program is for entirely peaceful purposes, and we are working very hard to find a combination that makes the most sense and helps us reach the objectives.”

...Though the administration official said they’re not eyeing an extension of the deadline, Congress is wary and prepared for that request.

“The July 20 deadline is for the talks to be finished by then. This is now the end of the six-month period,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Sunday on Fox. 
“It seems to me at this point Iran has gotten everything that they’ve wanted. The sanctions have been released. They’ve gotten the freeze of the $7 billion in assets lifted. And they’ve given nothing so far.”
Barrasso said he thinks Zarif is “setting up to either blame the United States if it doesn’t work, or try to take credit if it does work.”

“There’s a letter signed by 83 senators that says how we define success, which is no ability to enrich at all and significant inspections. A level of being able to see what they’re really doing and getting around,” the senator added. “And I think it’s going to be very difficult for Iran to comply with that.”

That letter, sent to Obama in March, was spearheaded by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).

The sheer number of senators on board served as a warning call to the administration that they have the support to override a presidential veto on tougher Iran sanctions.

“We believe that Congress has a continuing role to play to improve the prospects for success in the talks with Iran,” the senators wrote. “As these negotiations proceed, we will outline our views about the essential goals of a final agreement with Iran, continue oversight of the interim agreement and the existing sanctions regime, and signal the consequences that will follow if Iran rejects an agreement that brings to an end its nuclear weapons ambitions.”

The House prepared its own letter last month — led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) — stressing that any long-term sanctions relief for Iran requires congressional action.

“Our two branches of government have long been partners in working to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability,” they wrote. “However, as these hugely consequential national security decisions are made, greater cooperation between Congress and the Executive Branch is essential, given that any permanent sanctions relief demands congressional approval.”

At the beginning of the month, Reuters reported on a UN confidential report that concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons, concealed on the Klos C and seized by Israel in March, originated from Iran and could have been headed to Sudan as a transit point for Gaza or points in Northern Africa.

“Iran was caught red-handed — this shipment is likely the tip of the iceberg,” Royce said at the time. 
“Imagine an Iranian regime unrestrained by any international sanctions.”

This time, finish the job

From PJ Media, 8 July 2014, by Roger L Simon:

The problem with going to war is you really have to win it definitively.  If you don’t, it will come back and bite you in the leg — or worse.

The USA should have learned that from World War II when we, and our allies, completely annihilated the Nazis and the Japanese and Germany and Japan became decent modern democracies. We didn’t. Whether you supported them or not, whether they were the right ones or not, we ended up fighting all subsequent wars half-heartedly. The results  are obvious.

America has gotten away, so far, barely, with this ambivalent approach to war because it is so powerful and so far away from the field of battle. (The rapid metastasis across Syria and Iraq of the Islamic State — aka ISIS — not to mention our own porous borders, may change that.)

Israel is in a different position. It fights for its survival surrounded by societies that despise it and are, by contemporary standards, hugely primitive and bordering on the insane, misogynistic, homophobic and everything else liberals are supposed to abhor. (I guess supporters of #BDS movement can stop reading here.) Nevertheless, Israel has fought its wars — even the ’67 war — American-style, holding off from finishing the job, because of its own scruples and because it was urged to “exercise restraint”  by the U.S., Europe, Russia or the former Soviet Union.

Now things are different. We are in the Age of Obama when the thought of such an incompetent, failed president counseling anything, let alone restraint, is risible. And yet you can be sure he will within minutes of when Israel’s new operation against Hamas in Gaza shows even a glimmer of success.

I write this as sirens wail in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, so let me cut to the chase. 
This time Israel should finish the job. Forget anything said by Obama and his equally incompetent secretary of State.  Shine them on. Do anything you have to, but smash Hamas utterly.

Israel will be doing the world a favor, showing them how Islamic terrorists should be treated. The only horse they recognize, as Lee Smith pointed out a while ago, is the strong one. That’s the unfortunate truth. Anyone who sees it otherwise at this point is lying to himself or others. How many more years of this do we need? How many more Gaza wars, Iraq wars, Syrian civil wars, Iranian (potential) nuclear wars,  Sunni vs. Shiite wars, back-to-the-Middle Ages wars can civilization abide? Sooner or later, someone is going to have to yell “Ya, basta!”

Benjamin Netanyahu — over to you.

5 ways that Israel protects the West

From PJ Media, 8 July, by David Hornik:

... as a democratic, Western-aligned country and the Middle East’s preeminent military power, Israel has done much over the decades to keep the region from being worse than it is. Israel has used its might—sometimes openly, sometimes discreetly—not only to safeguard its own interests but also those of the West and the more moderate Arab states.

1. Preventing a nuclear Iraq.
When Iraq came to the verge of going nuclear, it was Israel that stopped it.

In the 1970s, France—heavily pro-Arab and dependent on Arab oil—started helping Iraq build the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad. By 1981, with Saddam Hussein in power, Israeli intelligence conveyed its grim findings to Jerusalem: Iraq, a sworn enemy of Israel, was aiming to build nuclear weapons at Osirak and was within a year of doing so.

Israel tried diplomacy with France and the U.S. With the former, it was no-go; Iraq was France’s main customer for weaponry, paying mainly in oil. As for the U.S., it agreed with Israel’s assessments but declined to act, possibly because Iraq was then fighting Iran.

So on June 7, 1981, under orders from Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Israeli air force dispatched 14 F-15s and F-16s to Osirak. The planes flew low so that Iraq never detected them, and they reduced the reactor to ruins in a minute and 20 seconds.

The attack, of course, was universally condemned at the time. The U.S. suspended a shipment of planes to Israel. But in June 1991, visiting Israel after the Gulf War, then-Defense Secretary Richard Cheney gave General David Ivry, chief of the Israeli air force ten years earlier, his “thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job he did on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981, which made our job much easier in Desert Storm.”

Desert Storm was a success, pushing Iraq out of Kuwait and maintaining relative order in the Middle East. Although further U.S. measures in Iraq are more debatable, at least they didn’t have to be carried out against a nuclear Iraq.

2. Preventing a nuclear Syria.
Syria is another Middle Eastern country you wouldn’t want to see with nuclear bombs. That, too, came close to happening and was prevented by Israel.

In late 2006 and early 2007, Israeli intelligence found out that North Korea was building a plutonium reactor for the Assad regime in northern Syria. The aim: to put together a nuclear bomb.

In April, Israel conveyed that finding to Washington.  President Bush ordered an inquiry; U.S. intelligence said Israel was right.

The then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, tried to convince the U.S. to attack, but Washington—already embroiled in Iraq—declined. Olmert told Bush that, in that case, Israel would do it. Olmert interpreted Bush’s reaction as a green light.

Shortly after midnight on September 6, 2007, Israeli planes dropped 17 tons of bombs on the reactor, putting an end to it. This time Israel kept mum, not officially acknowledging the operation (it hasn’t to this day), and criticism was more muted. Considering that, a few years later, the Assad regime showed itself quite capable of using chemical weapons against civilians, Israel again did the world a great favor.

3. Protecting Jordan.
Israel’s neighbor to the east, Jordan, has long been one of the Middle East’s moderate, pro-Western states. That is not to say Israel’s experience with Jordan has always been good, particularly not when it attacked Israel in June 1967 as part of the Six Day War. But the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994, and Jordan’s security forces quietly cooperate with Israel in keeping the Israeli-Jordanian border quiet.

The relationship, though, goes beyond tacit cooperation; Israel has also been Jordan’s protector against threats from its north and east. It happened in 1970 during Black September, an all-out Jordanian attack on PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) forces that had come to roost in Jordan and were threatening to take it over. When Syria sent in forces from the north to help out the PLO, the threat of an Israeli intervention played a key role in getting those forces to withdraw.

Back then it was Syria; now it’s ISIS, the ferocious terror group that has taken over parts of Iraq and makes no secret of its ambition to take over Jordan—and eventually Israel, too. King Abdullah of Jordan knows that Israel wouldn’t want an ISIS takeover of his country much more than he would, and that Israel’s might is there beside him. A Jordanian diplomatic source told Israel’s Ynet that “there is a very good cooperation between us regarding ISIS’ growing presence in Iraq and Syria.” A Senate staff member told the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake that if attacked by ISIS, Jordan “will ask Israel and the United States for as much help as they can get.”

No wonder Jordan wants Israel to keep its forces in the Jordan Valley.

4. Keeping the Sinai quiet.
The 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty—for which Israel paid a heavy price of totally withdrawing from the Sinai and razing its civilian settlements there—has been a stabilizing factor in the region. Egypt did not turn into a friendly country, and the peace has always been cold. But particularly since Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood regime was overthrown a year ago, Israeli-Egyptian tacit cooperation has kept the Sinai from turning into yet another global-jihad statelet.

For Israel, that has involved another sacrifice—bending the terms of the peace treaty, which made the Sinai a demilitarized zone, and allowing Egypt to send forces there to fight the jihad groups. In late May Al-Monitor reported on “Israel-Egypt anti-terrorism cooperation at [its] zenith.” With Al-Qaeda setting up camp in the Sinai and forging ties with Israel’s arch-foe Hamas in Gaza, Israel and the anti-Islamist al-Sisi regime in Cairo know they have a common enemy.

An ISIS-style jihadist takeover of the Sinai would be dangerous for Israel, existentially dangerous for Egypt, and pose extreme peril to world commerce by threatening the Suez Canal. You may not hear about it, but along with Egypt, its tacit strategic ally, Israel has been quietly at work making sure none of that happens.

5. Preventing a nuclear Iran—or trying to.
Even more dangerous than nuclear Iraq or nuclear Syria would be nuclear Iran, considering the global-hegemony ambitions of the mullahs in Tehran. Although we can’t know the whole story, Israel has done much over the years to hinder that development.

That has involved a long history of covert operations that reportedly have included sabotage, assassinations of nuclear scientists, and—in cooperation with the U.S.—the Stuxnet virus. But even more important, Israel—and particularly Benjamin Netanyahu—has played a key role in getting the U.S. and other Western governments to take the Iranian nuclear threat seriously and impose sanctions.

It’s now reported that—even with the partial sanctions relief Iran has enjoyed since starting nuclear talks with the West—Iran could be nearing an economic meltdown that would spell the end of the Islamic Republic. What could still rescue Iran is a hasty, unwise nuclear deal by the July 20 deadline that would enable it to recover.

Israel, even with the distractions in Gaza, is watching carefully and hoping that doesn’t happen. If it does, Israel—with its history of containing the region’s most severe threats—reserves other options.

Stopping two dangerous Middle Eastern countries—and hopefully a third, even more dangerous one—from going nuclear; protecting a moderate, pro-Western Middle Eastern country from predators; keeping Sinai from turning into a deadly jihad zone—those are some ways Israel keeps the Middle East from boiling over.

To those can be added, among other things, Israel’s assassinations of deadly terrorist leaders over the years; renowned intelligence capabilities that steadily transmit vital information to the U.S. and other Western governments; and extensive strategic alliance with the U.S. that endures despite the frictions with the Obama administration.

Not bad for a country that still has a pariah status in the region, exists on a tiny sliver of its territory, and, thanks to the mainstream media, has become linked in many people’s minds to strife with the Palestinians and not much else.

Israel under attack

Post Mortem of the Oslo Fantasy

From Arutz Sheva, 9 July 2014: Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Dr. Michael Widlanski:

“The Orient House – Beit al-Sharq (The House of the East) in Arabic – was the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s strategic and political base in Jerusalem. 

This compound of buildings was owned by Faisal Husseini and other members of the leading Arab family in Jerusalem. Turning this complex into a political, strategic and logistical center in the heart of Israel's capital was a blatant violation of the agreements between Israel and the PLO collectively known as ‘The Oslo Accords.’

“Following the Oslo agreements, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were prohibited from operating inside Jerusalem. However, they immediately began to violate these provisions. Husseini, a member of the 13-member PLO Executive Committee, used the Orient House compound as a personal power base and put the buildings at the disposal of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.”

“Activities in the Orient House became a thorn in the side of several Israeli governments. Israel refrained from acting against the Orient House, partly due to diplomatic pressure from the European Union and the United States.

“After the failed talks between Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in mid-2000, Arafat began a terror war against Israel which he called ‘The Al-Aqsa Intifada.’ Ariel Sharon defeated Barak in the February 2001 elections. 

Sharon had the Israeli police seize the Orient House only after the  August 2001 suicide bombing attack at a Jerusalem restaurant in which 14 people were murdered. More than 500,000 documents, tapes, hard drives, posters and films were confiscated from the complex.

“Public Security Minister Uzi Landau then took the initiative to study and reveal what had actually taken place in the Orient House compound. I was appointed head of the team which dealt with this. 

The seized documents painted a grim picture. They included signed messages from Arafat and Husseini ordering or paying for murder - all of this taking place years after the PLO had sworn to disavow violence against Israel.

“The papers showed that Arafat planned the so-called ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada’ many months in advance. They also revealed that Fatah – the main component of the PLO – and Hamas shared strategic goals, particularly the destruction of Israel, differing only on tactical issues.
“We only had four translators working on 500,000 items which filled more than a huge caravan trailer. Despite the time and budget limits, we quickly found that the Orient House material was incredibly important, showing Arafat's past pattern of behavior and future intentions. Some documents showed that Arafat worked hand in hand with Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, sending personal letters to the Hamas leader about coordinating attacks on Israel. 

“Due to the fact that the documents were so politically explosive, Ariel Sharon did not provide much support to Minister Uzi Landau, most probably for political reasons. Sharon realized that the material found presented a devastating case against the Oslo Accords and the fundamental thinking guiding them. These documents showed that the PLO never had a real interest in peace with Israel. They also demonstrated that the PLO was much closer to Hamas regarding how to deal with Israel than Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin – architects of the Oslo Accords – would ever be willing to admit. However, this message, though never fully expressed in the Israeli press and certainly not in the American or European press, reached the Israeli electorate to some extent.

“It is impossible to sum up ten years of operations and 500,000 documents in a few words. Yet some examples from them will illustrate the true intentions of the Palestinians. For instance, an internal Palestinian General Intelligence document from 1996 urges all Palestinian officers to find the weapons wherever and whenever possible for use in final battle with Israel. This text was mass-produced for dissemination to Palestinian forces. Dated December 1996, it is a call for arms against Israel – five years before the start of the Palestinian-Israeli war of attrition known as the ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada.’

“Another document found was Arafat’s hand-signed confirmation and introduction to a speech by his secretary Taeb Abdel-Rahim in September 1999, endorsing violence as a way to defeat Israel.

“Several signed documents from 2001 show that Husseini – who was Arafat’s personal representative in Jerusalem – drilled his employees and prepared his lawyers carefully for the ‘Intifada’ with Israel that erupted in September of that year. Furthermore, a list of payments to Palestinian terrorists and assassins signed by Arafat was found. It included his hand-written changes as to the amounts to be paid to each murderer.

“We could not even cover half the documents because of lack of time and budget. Yet they created a serious indictment against many so-called Paelstinian ‘moderates’ like Faisal Husseini and Bassam Abu-Sharif. Husseini was a terror planner and paymaster, and Abu-Sharif in one document plans to cajole or extort reporters in Jerusalem the same way the PLO successfully did in Beirut in the 1970's and 1980's.

“Finally: It is no accident that The New York Times declined to publish the documents, even though I, a former reporter of theirs, offered them an exclusive scoop. Simply put, the documents would have undermined The New York Timesreputation and editorial positions.”

*Dr. Michael Widlanski is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat.[1] He teaches at Bar Ilan University and was Strategic Affairs Advisor in Israel’s Ministry of Public Security editing the Orient House Archives of the PLO.