Hamas: No Calm without Ending Gaza Siege (Al-Qassam - Hamas)
The head of Hamas's foreign relations Osama Hamdan said that his movement will not accept any ceasefire in light of the continued siege on Gaza. Hamdan described the continued security coordination between the PA and the occupation [Israel] as a flagrant betrayal of national constants.
He pointed out that certain elements within the PA had supported the Israeli story about the recent events by holding the Palestinian resistance fully responsible for the escalation. Hamdan, however, ruled out the possibility of a large-scale Israeli aggression on Gaza.
Moslem Worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque Celebrating Hamas Rockets Falling Near Jerusalem (YouTube)
Published July 8, 2014
Turkey Condemns Israel's Military Operation in Gaza (Xinhua)
Turkey on Tuesday called for Israel to immediately cease its military operation in Gaza, condemning the "mass punishment" of people in the coastal strip.
"The military operation that Israel has launched against Gaza will result in extending the pain that the oppressed Gaza people, who have been struggling to continue their lives under difficult conditions for years," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Israeli High Tech Gets Aggressive - Adam Fisher (Tech Crunch)
The Israeli venture capital industry has steadily matured, reaching a turning point over the past year.
The return profile in Israeli high-tech investments is improving remarkably as entrepreneurs build stronger, more ambitious startups with eyes on a much bigger prize and a higher probability of success.
Maturity of the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem now gives emerging companies a better chance to deliver on big dreams and therefore a better chance of raising money to pursue them.
Assad’s ‘Machinery of Death’ Worst Since the Nazis - Josh Rogin (Daily Beast)
Tens of thousands of photographs showing the Syrian government’s torture, murder, and mass starvation are evidence of the kind of systematic atrocities not seen Hitler’s Nazi regime exterminated millions during World War II, according to the State Department’s top war crimes official, Stephen Rapp, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for War Crimes and director of the Office of Global Criminal Justice.
“This is solid evidence of the kind of machinery of cruel death that we haven’t seen frankly since the Nazis,” he said. “If it is as it appears thus far, we’re talking about more than 10,000 individuals being killed in custody over the period from 2011 to 2013.
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Palestinian Rockets Reach Further into Israel - Batsheva Sobelman (Los Angeles Times)A fresh round of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip sent Israelis scurrying for bomb shelters as far as Tel-Aviv, 40 miles away Wednesday morning, the second day of Israel’s military offensive on the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.
Hamas claimed responsibility for firing a volley of rockets intercepted before hitting Tel Aviv, as other rockets landed throughout central Israel, shutting down main traffic arteries and causing concern for air traffic.
Israel pounded Gaza overnight by dozens of airstrikes against 160 targets, including 120 concealed long-range rocket launchers, Hamas facilities and command positions, Israeli army officials said. The military offensive came as plans were made to deploy a third infantry brigade along the Gaza border and continued drafting of army reservists.
72 miles to Hadera
Increasingly, rockets fired from Gaza appear more advanced and with greater range, reaching further into Israel than ever before. One rocket Tuesday night struck the city of Hadera, about 72 miles into Israel. It landed on a residential street but caused no injuries. The area has been targeted in the past but by Hizballah rockets from the opposite direction.
Uzi Rubin, former director of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said that Hamas had improved its arsenal of rockets since Israel's previous military operation in the Gaza Strip in November 2012. "During the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in neighboring Egypt, relations between the two were good and allowed free use of smuggling tunnels for weaponry, machinery, components and raw materials," Rubin said. "Egypt has since shunned Hamas and shut down the smuggling tunnels."
According to Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner, the rocket that struck Hadera was an M-302, similar to those found on the Klos-C, a ship intercepted by the Israeli Navy in March in the Red Sea 621 miles from Israeli shores. Among the weaponry found on board were 40 rockets of this type with a range of up to nearly 100 miles.
Manufactured in Syria and shipped by Iran, the rockets were earmarked for the Gaza strip, according to Israel.
Although that particular shipment was intercepted, Hamas is believed to have several dozens of these rockets. Some versions of the M-302 have a range of up to 124 miles with a 385-pound warhead.
"Moderate" Fatah Also Firing Rockets - Khaled Abu Toameh
Fatah has several hundred militiamen in the Gaza Strip, some of whom are members of the Palestinian Authority security forces, who continue to receive their salaries from Western governments.
At least two Fatah armed groups announced that they had started firing rockets at the "settlements" of Ashkelon and Sderot, cities inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel, with another Fatah group claiming responsibility for firing 35 rockets into Israel since Sunday. (Gatestone Institute)
Israel Launches Operation Protective Edge - Ruth Eglash and William Booth
Israel’s military launched an offensive in Gaza called Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli army announced early Tuesday morning. Dore Gold, foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in an interview earlier that if Hamas stops attacking Israeli civilian centers, Israel will have no reason to act. “But at present that is not happening,” he said. “We are witnessing a massive escalation on their part.” (Washington Post)
State Department Condemns Hamas Targeting of Civilians
Jen Psaki, State Department Spokeswoman, July 8, 2014: We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza. No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we certainly support Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks. We appreciate – we’re concerned, of course, about the safety and security of civilians. I know there’s been a range of reported attacks that have gone directly on both sides, the residents of southern Israel who are forced to live under rocket fire in their homes, the civilians in Gaza who are subjected to the conflict because of Hamas’s action. (Department of State)
News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:
IDF Kills 5 Hamas Terrorists Attempting to Infiltrate from the Sea - Yaakov Lappin
IDF units intercepted a Hamas commando unit that sought to infiltrate Israel from the sea at Zikim Beach, just north of the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday. View video (Jerusalem Post)
Israel under Renewed Fire on Day Two of Gaza Operation - Yoav Zitun
According to the IDF, more than 225 rockets were fired at Israel since Operation Protective Edge began late Monday night. Some 40 of those rockets were intercepted by Israel's advanced Iron Dome missile interception system.
Early Wednesday morning, the silence was shattered when air sirens shrieked throughout central Israel, alerting citizens of incoming missile fire. The sirens, heard in the greater Tel Aviv area, were followed by a number of muffled blasts indicating that the Iron Dome missile defense system managed to intercept the rockets. The military confirmed five rockets were intercepted.
According to the military, missiles were intercepted above Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Long-Range Iranian-Made Missiles Used during “Operation Protective Edge” - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall
The rocket fire at major cities in Israel’s center and south re-emphasizes Iran’s supplying of missiles; training; and providing missile manufacturing technology to the terrorist organizations. Iran also plays a negative role in any attempt to reach regional diplomatic agreements.
The renewal of combat is clear proof that Iran and the terrorist organizations took advantage of periods of calm to smuggle large amounts of “balance-breaking” weaponry via the sea and the Sinai, and to train terrorist organization members in Lebanon. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also UN Experts Trace Recent Seized Arms to Iran, Violating Embargo - Louis Charbonneau (Reuters)
Iran's Hand in Gaza - Editorial
More than 200 Palestinian rockets have descended on Israel in recent days, triggering an Israeli counteroffensive. But as the drama plays out in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, it's worth noting the role Iran — now under new and allegedly moderate leadership — has played in this latest spasm of violence.
In March, Israeli naval commandos interdicted a Panamanian-flagged ship, the Klos C, off the Sudanese coast in the Red Sea. The ship's cargo contained 40 M-302 surface-to-surface rockets, 181 mortar shells and some 400,000 rounds of 7.62 caliber ammunition—all concealed under bags of Iranian cement. The weapons were almost certainly intended for Iran's terrorist clients in Gaza.
Tehran denies any role in the shipment. But a recent classified report from the U.N. Security Council's Sanctions Committee effectively confirms it. The panel found that Bandar Abbas, a southern Iranian port, "is established as the origin of the shipment of 100 containers of cement, including the 20 containing weapons and ammunition." (Wall Street Journal)
Why Are We Fighting with Gaza, Again? - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)We finished Day One of what the Israeli army has dubbed Operation Protective Edge, and the contours of international thinking are already predictably clear: Since people are dying in Gaza and, as of this writing, nobody has been killed in Israel, plainly Israel’s response is an aggressive overreaction.
It becomes wearying, conflict after conflict, but it is necessary, nonetheless, to urge policy-makers and opinion-shapers overseas to make just a modicum of effort, to look just a little closer. And to recognize the bottom line: If there was no rocket fire from this non-disputed enclave, there would be no Israeli response, and nobody would be dying.
That Israelis do not die in greater numbers has nothing to do with Hamas and the other terror groups. They’re doing their absolute best to kill us.
Gaza could have flourished after Israel wrenched its 8,000 civilians from the 20-plus settlements there in 2005. Gazans could have built an island of democracy.
But hostility to Israel was so profound that Gazans couldn’t even restrain themselves for long enough to fool us into trusting them. Recent days have seen the Israeli leadership clearly seeking not to get embroiled in another major offensive with Hamas — but its offer, its plea, of “quiet for quiet,” was ignored.
Why the need to “resist” an Israel that has no presence in Gaza, and that has long since internalized the imperative to seek an accommodation with the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank if this can only be achieved without imperiling Israel’s own existence? Why? Because, for Hamas, hostility to the very fact of Israel’s existence still far outweighs any and all other interests.
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