Hamas Planned to Send Hundreds of Terrorists Through the Tunnels to Attack Israel on Rosh Hashanah - Ariel Kahana (NRG-Hebrew)
Israeli security sources unearthed evidence that Hamas was preparing to dispatch 200 terrorists in one action via tens of tunnels towards six Israeli communities in the western Negev, with a goal of killing and kidnapping tens of Israelis on the Jewish New Year (Sept. 24).
See also Map: Gaza Terror Tunnels Aimed at Israeli Towns (Israel Defense Force)
See also Photos: Inside a Tunnel Dug from Gaza into Israel - Itay Blumenthal (Ynet News)
43rd IDF Soldier Dies from Mortar Fire in Gaza - Lazar Berman (Times of Israel)
Sgt. (res.) Barak Refael Degorker was killed when he was struck by a mortar near the Gaza border, the 43rd IDF soldier to fall in the Gaza war.
Over 100 soldiers have been injured since the fighting began on July 8, several of them seriously.
Hamas and North Korea in Secret Arms Deal - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
Hamas militants are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for hundreds of missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to maintain their offensive against Israel, according to Western security sources.
The relationship between Hamas and North Korea first became public in 2009 when 35 tons of arms, including surface-to-surface rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, were seized after a cargo plane carrying the equipment was forced to make an emergency landing at Bangkok airport.
Israel believes North Korean experts have given Hamas advice on building the extensive network of tunnels in Gaza. The North Koreans have one of the world's most sophisticated networks of tunnels running beneath the demilitarized zone with South Korea.
Hamas Killed 160 Palestinian Children to Build Terror Tunnels - Myer Freimann (Tablet)
Hamas uses child laborers to build their terror tunnels. The Institute for Palestine Studies published a detailed report on Gaza's tunnel phenomenon in the summer of 2012, noting: "At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials."
IDF Determines Missing Soldier Is Dead - Gili Cohen (Ha'aretz)
A special committee led by the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz,
determined on Friday that Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul, previously designated as missing, had died in battle and was "a soldier killed in action whose burial site is unknown."
Hamas had claimed it had captured Shaul after citing his identity tag number.
Hamas Is the Islamic State - Ben Caspit (Al-Monitor)
Throughout my journalistic career, I supported, and continue to support, all of the peace plans.
But this is a war between good and evil, between a culture of life and a cult of death.
Hamas is the Islamic State, IS. Hamas is Jabhat al-Nusra. Hamas is Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. They are all products of the same school: the oppression of women, the expulsion of Christians, a war of annihilation against the Jews.
Some of these groups even slaughter Shiite Muslims, solely because they are not Sunnis.
Heroes on the Mend - Arale Weisberg (Israel Hayom)
Capt. Ran Ben-Attia, 27, an officer in the Nahal Brigade, was leading troops on a mission to search out tunnels and destroy them when a Palestinian sniper's bullet went through the palm of his hand, entered his thigh and reached his back.
"I found myself alone, exposed," he says. "I realized that if I didn't move, I would die, and that if they came to me, I would be putting other troops in danger. I pulled myself together somehow and crawled 20 meters backward, and the paramedics swooped down on me."
Behind the Lines, Israelis Help Out with the War Effort - Jessica Steinberg (Times of Israel)
A crew of parents headed down south where they set up grills and cooked kebabs, stuffing them into fresh rolls for the troops.
A plumber set up a mobile shower for soldiers on a break from the fighting.
Shops all over the country have been offering free falafel, coffee and drinks to soldiers.
A maternity store in Modiin offers shiatsu massages and cheap mini-manicures for local women whose husbands have been called up for reserve duty.
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- Hamas Rejects Israeli Offer to Extend Cease-Fire - Ben Hubbard
Hamas resumed rocket attacks on Israel on Saturday after rejecting Israel's offer to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire by a day. As Israel's security cabinet met to consider a UN request for the broader extension, sirens signaling incoming rockets sounded over central and southern Israeli cities.
(New York Times)
See also After Hamas Rockets Break Cease-Fire, Israel Resumes Gaza Offensive - Isabel Kershner
After barrages of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Sunday morning, the Israeli military announced that a humanitarian lull in its Gaza offensive, which was meant to last through midnight, was over, "following Hamas' incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window." (New York Times)
- In Gaza, Palestinians See Ruin During Cease-Fire - Nicholas Casey
During Saturday's day-long cease-fire, Palestinians stepped from their shelters and saw the destruction.
On Al Nazzaz Street in Gaza City's Sejaiya neighborhood, buildings were leveled as far as anyone could see. Mohammed Sukkar, 36, said he and his brothers owned seven houses and a factory on the street. All of them had been destroyed.
He said his family had once been rich. Now they lived in UN shelters.
"Look what we brought onto ourselves," he said.
(Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Car Bomb Discovered at West Bank Checkpoint
Israeli border police discovered a vehicle rigged with a powerful explosive device at the Beitar Junction checkpoint in the West Bank on Sunday morning.
- Elite IDF Unit Operates Behind Enemy Lines - Yaakov Lappin
Operating behind enemy lines in Gaza, the IDF's elite Maglan unit has attacked dozens of terrorist cells in the last few days, targeting Hamas gunmen waiting in ambush for the IDF's ground forces. A senior source from the unit revealed that in recent days a recognizable wave of demoralization has washed over Hamas combat battalions. "They simply escape, leaving behind weapons and suicide bomb vests that were laid out for battle. This morning we stormed a position, and they just weren't there. I don't see a determined enemy."
"If you talk to members of our unit, it is clear to all of us that if we don't take care of this, if we don't destroy these threats and thwart them, they will reach us in a much more aggressive way, and they will harm Israeli civilians and soldiers." (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel Chose Not to Intercept the Rocket that Landed Outside Ben-Gurion Airport - Amir Oren
Giora Romm, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority in Israel, wrote to foreign carriers and aviation regulation bodies to explain the incident involving a Hamas rocket which landed a mile from Ben-Gurion Airport's outer perimeter fence. The IDF officer at the Iron Dome battery decided not to intercept the rocket in keeping with aerial defense policy drawn up by the Air Force.
In the wake of the incident, the Air Force changed the Iron Dome interception orders to prevent future disruptions in the airport's activities. The Iron Dome system has the remarkable ability to predict an incoming rocket's trajectory and pinpoint its projected point of impact.
Romm dismissed concerns of threats to incoming flights, which were raised following the downing of the Malaysian jet over Ukraine, which was shot down by a surface-to-air missile battery designed expressly for the purpose of shooting airplanes out of the sky. The kind of threat Israel faces is from unguided rockets, which are entirely different from missiles.
- Meet the Hamas Billionaires - Ella Levy-Weinrib
How did Hamas leaders, who were born and raised in refugee camps, become so wealthy?
Col. (res.) Dr. Moshe Elad, a lecturer in the Middle East Department at Western Galilee Academic College,
explained that the money came from "legacies from the deceased, money from charity funds...and donations from various countries. It started with Syria and Saudi Arabia, with Iran added later and becoming one of Hamas' biggest supporters, and ended with Qatar, which has now taken Iran's place."
When fundraisers began operating in the U.S. to collect money for Hamas, "One of those fundraisers was Dr. Musa Abu Marzook, the number 2 man in Hamas. At the beginning of the 1990s, he began a fundraising campaign in the U.S. among wealthy Muslims, while at the same time founding several banking enterprises. He himself became a conglomerate of 10 financial enterprises giving loans and making financial investments." The U.S. arrested Marzook in 1995 and expelled him without trial in 1997. "In 2001, in the investigation of the September 11 events, it turned out that he had extensive financial connections with al-Qaeda, including the transfer of funds to the 21 al-Qaeda operatives accused of the attacks." Today, "Arab sources estimate his wealth at $2-3 billion," Elad says.
"Estimates around the world are that [Khaled] Mashaal is currently worth $2.6 billion."
"Most of the money that went into the pockets of people in the Gaza Strip was obtained through tunnel deals and the creation of a flourishing smuggling market, which it is believed has created several hundred millionaires in the Gaza Strip....The man pulling the strings from Egypt with the tunnels is none other than the number two man in the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat el-Shater." (Globes)
The Kerry Mission
- Kerry's Latest Cease-Fire Plan: What Was He Thinking? - Barak Ravid
The draft cease-fire plan that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry passed to Israel on Friday shocked the cabinet ministers not only because it was the opposite of what Kerry told them less than 24 hours earlier, but mostly because it might as well have been penned by Khaled Mashaal. It was everything Hamas could have hoped for. The Israeli security cabinet unanimously rejected Kerry's plan.
The document recognized Hamas' position in Gaza, promised it billions in donations, and demanded no dismantling of rockets or tunnels. The document placed Israel and Hamas on the same level, as if the first is not a primary U.S. ally and as if the second isn't a terror group which took over part of the Palestinian Authority in a military coup and fired thousands of rockets at Israel. The Kerry draft empowered the most radical elements in the region - Qatar, Turkey, and Hamas - and was a slap in the face to Egypt, Israel, the PA, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
Kerry isn't anti-Israeli; he's a true friend to Israel. But his conduct in recent days raises serious doubts over his judgment and perception of regional events. Instead of promoting a cease-fire, Kerry pushed it away.
See also Kerry's Cease-Fire Draft Revealed: U.S. Plan Would Let Hamas Keep Its Rockets - Barak Ravid
The cease-fire draft U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented to Israel on Friday contained practically no mention of Israel's security needs or of demilitarizing Gaza of rockets. The draft also forbade Israel from demolishing terror tunnels running from Gaza into Israeli territory.
- Israel: Kerry "Completely Capitulated" to Hamas in Cease-Fire Proposal
Israeli government sources on Saturday night accused U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry of "completely capitulating" to the demands of Hamas and its champion Qatar in drafting the Gaza war cease-fire proposal that Israeli ministers unanimously rejected on Friday. Israeli sources, quoted by Israel's Channel 2 TV, said Kerry "dug a tunnel under the Egyptian cease-fire proposal" - which Israel accepted and Hamas rejected last week - and presented the Israeli government with a text that accepted "most of the demands" raised by Hamas.
The Kerry proposal accepted Hamas demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza - where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry. Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 2: "We will not end this operation and leave Gaza until the tunnels are dealt with." Israel is also intent on drastically degrading Hamas' terrorist infrastructure, he said.
(Times of Israel)
See also Kerry Told Hamas Many of Its Demands Would Be Met under Cease-Fire Deal - Avi Issacharoff
Secretary of State John Kerry informed Hamas via Qatar last week that under his proposal for a cease-fire with Israel, the U.S. would guarantee the fulfillment of many of Hamas' demands, Palestinian sources said Saturday.
(Times of Israel)
- Kerry Disappoints PA with Cease-Fire Proposal
The PA expressed deep disappointment over Secretary Kerry's Paris cease-fire proposal, which was drafted with no consultation with Egypt or the PA. This proposal came out after Kerry had already agreed on a plan with Chairman Abbas, wherein a five-day-long cease-fire was to be declared, during which the two sides were to negotiate the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, with American guarantees.
Two days later, however, after his discussions in Qatar and Turkey, Secretary Kerry announced a different plan that annulled the Egyptian initiative. Palestinian officials stated that they were very close to reaching a comprehensive deal, but Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal attempted to thwart it, and then Secretary Kerry came out with his announcement.
The PLO's anger was well noticed in a short message released by its Ministry of Information, stating: The Palestinian people, whose blood is spilled in Gaza, were not represented by any means in the Paris discussions. Those who want Qatar or Turkey to represent them should go live there. The only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people is the PLO itself. (Asharq Al-Awsat-Arabic, 17July2014)
The Gaza War
- Israel Must Be Permitted to Crush Hamas - Michael Oren
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of Great Britain and France all are rushing to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Their motive - to end civilian suffering - is noble. The images of the wounded and dead are indeed agonizing. However, these senior statesmen can be most helpful now by doing nothing. To preserve the values they cherish and to send an unequivocal message to terrorist organizations and their state sponsors everywhere, Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas in Gaza.
This is the lesson of previous rounds of fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and terrorist strongholds. In Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008 and again in 2012, Israel responded to rocket attacks on its cities with fierce counteroffensives. Israel's best efforts to avoid civilian casualties invariably proved limited. Incensed world opinion compelled Israel to back down. And the terrorists, though badly mauled, won.
Under the protection of cease-fires and, in some cases, international peacekeepers, they vastly expanded their arsenals to include more lethal and longer-range missiles. They created a warren of bombproof bunkers and assault tunnels. Such measures enabled Hamas, as well as Hizbullah, to mount devastating attacks at the time of their choosing.
Responsible world leaders can give Israel the time it needs to create an outcome in which Hamas is defanged and deprived of its heavy arms. Of course, Hamas will resist demilitarization, and more civilians will suffer, but by ending the cycle once and for all, thousands of innocent lives will be saved.
And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza - with all the pain it entails - the U.S. and its allies will be safeguarding their own.
To ensure that the current fighting concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world's fundamental interest.
The writer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013, is a fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
- Gaza's Terror Economy - Editorial
Consider the network of Hamas tunnels, whose number and expanse are the big surprises of this latest Gaza war. These are large and sophisticated passageways that sometimes run for miles and are often more than 60-feet down to escape seismic detection. They are reinforced by concrete and some are large enough for vehicles. Their purpose is to hide and transport weapons, as well as to infiltrate men into Israel to grab hostages or murder civilians.
Building these tunnels and smuggling thousands of missiles takes money - lots of it. If Hamas cared about the well-being of its citizens, it would use that money to build schools and public works or invest in businesses. Instead, Hamas devotes its scarce resources to building a terror economy of tunnels and rockets and sending its young men to die in suicide raids. That is why Gaza is impoverished.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Both Egypt and Israel Want to Subdue Hamas - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
July 2014 found Egypt exasperated by Hamas and its regional sponsors, fuming against the U.S., and busy with stabilizing the domestic front against ongoing terrorist activities initiated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Jihadist factions trained in Gaza.
A defeat of Hamas is probably what President Sisi wishes for the most. A victorious or even partially weakened Hamas would have dire implications for the stability of the Egyptian regime, since it would be a model for all those who wish to see an end to the Sisi presidency in Egypt. It is in the national interest of both Egypt and Israel to subdue Hamas and strive for conditions for a permanent cease-fire. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
To Save Gaza, Destroy Hamas - Amos Yadlin (New York Times)
- Until now, Israel assumed Hamas was the "devil we know," capable of attacks that were mostly a nuisance; accepting its rule over Gaza was preferable to risking a vacuum of governance like what we see in Somalia and Libya. But Hamas' reckless violence in the current round of fighting severely undermined this thinking.
- The latest round of warfare showed that Hamas had become more dangerous, and its offensive capacity stronger, than we had known. Its ability to threaten Israeli towns through its tunnels and to rain rockets on Israeli cities raised what had been a nuisance to a challenge of strategic proportions. For these reasons, Hamas' rule over Gaza must be brought to an end, its military wing disarmed.
- Any cease-fire must carry the condition that Hamas cannot rearm. What led to this outbreak was a willingness, in previous cease-fire agreements, to let Hamas rebuild its offensive capabilities. This reality must not be repeated.
- Gazans know that Hamas is to blame for their staying in neighborhoods about to be bombarded, for hiding rocket depots in their children's schoolyards, for digging tunnels under mosques.
- A political solution is always better than a military one. But to achieve that political solution, Israel must first arrive at cease-fire negotiations from a position of strength. For that, a significant price must be extracted from Hamas.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, the chief of Israeli military intelligence from 2006 to 2010, is director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
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