Israel Blames Hamas for Gaza Children's Deaths (Sky News-UK)
Israel has accused Hamas of misfiring two rockets - one of which struck the outpatient clinic at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and the other the Shati refugee camp, killing nine children.
The IDF spokesman said: "Both of those locations were struck by terrorist rockets that were launched towards Israel and fell short."
"Since the beginning of the operation the IDF has documented approximately 200 rockets and mortars that landed short within Gaza."
"The Israel Defense Forces did not carry out any strikes in that area. Shifa Hospital was not a target, nor was the Shati Beach camp."
IDF Shows How Palestinian Rockets Struck Gaza - Isabel Kershner and Ben Hubbard (New York Times)
The Israeli military said its radars and sensors had detected the paths of four terrorist rockets fired at that time and distributed an aerial photograph tracing their routes.
See also View Aerial Photographs Showing How Palestinian Terrorists Hit Shifa Hospital and Shati Camp (Israel Defense Forces)
The 53 IDF Soldiers Who Gave Their Lives to Protect Israel (Jerusalem Post)
To Argue the Palestinian Side in the Gaza War Is to Make the Case for Barbarism - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes told CNN that Israel needs to do more to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza. "The U.S. military does that in Afghanistan," he said.
How inapt is this comparison? The list of Afghan civilians accidentally killed by U.S. or NATO strikes is not short.
The last time the U.S. fought a Gaza-style battle - in Fallujah in 2004 - 800 civilians perished and at least 9,000 homes were destroyed.
Hamas Threatens Journalists in Gaza (Times of Israel)
Several Western journalists working in Gaza have been harassed and threatened by Hamas.
An Israeli official said that in Gaza's Shifa Hospital, "We know that downstairs there is a Hamas command and control center and that Hamas leaders are hiding there."
A correspondent for the local Ouest France daily newspaper told Liberation
he "was received in a small section of the hospital used as an office by a group of young combatants. Surprisingly, they were all well-dressed, in civilian clothing, with a gun under the shirt, and some had walkie-talkies."
The article was later removed from Liberation's website at the request of the reporter.
ISIS Militants in Iraq Destroy Everything that Isn't Islamic (news.com-Australia)
In Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, ISIS jihadists blew up the Mosque of the Prophet Younis - or Jonah, the prophet who in both the Bible and Koran was swallowed by a whale.
The next day, it was the turn of the Mosque of Sheeth, or Seth, said to be the burial site of the third son of Adam and Eve. Then they reduced to rubble the Mosque of the Prophet Jirjis.
They also removed the crosses on the domes and brick walls of the 1,800-year-old Mar Behnam monastery, then stormed it, forcing the monks and priest to flee or face death.
Mosul had a Christian population of around 100,000 a decade ago.
Before last month's militant takeover the city's Christian population was estimated to be around 5,000.
Days after ISIS proclaimed over loudspeakers from mosques that Christians must convert to Islam, pay an exorbitant tax or "die by the sword," Christians all over the city were forced to flee, leaving some 200 in the city.
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- Kerry: Hamas Disarmament Needed to Resolve Gaza Conflict
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday:
"We...believe that any process to resolve the crisis in Gaza in a lasting and meaningful way must lead to the disarmament of Hamas and all terrorist groups. And we will work closely with Israel and regional partners and the international community in support of this goal." (State Department)
See also U.S.: Hamas Is Responsible for This Conflict
U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice told Jewish leaders in Washington on Monday:
"Israel has the same, unequivocal right to self-defense as every other nation. No nation can accept terrorists tunneling into its territory or rockets crashing down on its people."
"President Obama has been equally clear about who has been responsible for the violence. Hamas fired the rockets. Hamas deliberately targeted Israeli citizens, particularly civilians. Hamas refused an early plan for a cease-fire. Hamas, in a time of glaring human need, instead of investing in the future of Gaza's children, built tunnels to kidnap and kill Israelis. So Hamas initiated this conflict. And, Hamas has dragged it on." (White House)
- U.S. Lawmakers Rally Behind Israel - Felicia Schwartz
U.S. lawmakers from both parties voiced strong support of Israel and its right to defend itself against Hamas on Monday. "We will not equate professional militaries with terrorist organizations that use human shields as they seek maximum civilian casualties," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. "America must send this clear, public and united message: Israel is our friend, and Israel's enemies are our enemies."
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said:
"If there is to be a political solution, it is imperative that Hamas is disarmed."
Incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, "We would never allow in this country two-thirds of the population to go into a bomb shelter. We would never allow tunnels to come into America without being destroyed. And we would never allow Hamas to have any military existence." (Wall Street Journal)
- Tunnels Lead Right to the Heart of Israel - Jodi Rudoren
Palestinian militants again penetrated underground into Israel on Monday evening, killing five IDF soldiers in a staging area. Far more than the rocket barrages that have sent Israelis scrambling for shelter throughout the bloody 21-day battle, the tunnel attacks have shaken the collective psyche and stiffened resolve to continue or even expand the fight.
"It's not a pleasant thought that you sit one day on the patio drinking coffee with your wife and a bunch of terrorists will rise from the ground," said Eyal Brandeis, 50, a political scientist who lives on Kibbutz Sufa, a mile from where 13 militants emerged from a tunnel at dawn on July 17.
Ma'ayan Barkai, 34, director of Kibbutz Be'eri, where one tunnel was found over the weekend, said: "We knew what to do with the missiles. The tunnels, it's game-changing. We can't do anything if the terrorists will come to our kindergarten."
(New York Times)
See also Inside a Hamas Tunnel - Tom Cohen
CNN's Wolf Blitzer reported on Monday from a two-mile concrete corridor about 45 feet underground.
The concrete came from Israel, as did the electric power Palestinians send down for lights in some parts, said Lt. Col. Oshik Azouli, deputy commander of Israel's Southern Gaza Brigade.
Hamas used a tunnel in 2006 to capture Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive for five years until he was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel wants to remove the tunnels from the equation before agreeing to a cease-fire with Hamas.
- Iranian General: "We Will Take Revenge on Israel for Our Martyrs in Palestine" - Reza Kahlili
Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said at last week's Friday prayer sermon:
"We will chase you [Israelis] house to house and will take revenge for every drop of blood of our martyrs in Palestine, and this is the beginning point of Islamic nations awakening for your defeat."
He cited a statement by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic regime, "that Israel must be wiped from the face of the Earth."
Salami said, "The end of the Zionist regime [Israel] has arrived. Islamic movements are armed, missiles are positioned, and today we witness how the arms of the resistance in a corner of the Islamic world are controlling the events."
"We are confident that Allah's promises will come true and in the end the Islamic world will be the graveyard of America and the Zionist regime's policies along with their allies in the region. The flag of Islam will be raised." (Daily Caller)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Five IDF Soldiers Killed in Tunnel Infiltration from Gaza - Yoav Zitun
Five IDF soldiers were killed Monday when Palestinian terrorists from Gaza infiltrated into Israel near the community of Nahal Oz through an underground tunnel. The terrorists attempted to kidnap a wounded soldier during the incident.
See also Four IDF Soldiers Killed in Mortar Attack on Israel - Itay Blumenthal and Yoav Zitun
Four IDF soldiers were killed and six other people were wounded by mortar fire in Israel near the Gaza border on Monday.
See also IDF Resumes Full Military Activity in Gaza - Attila Somfalvi and Yoav Zitun
After following a "return fire only" policy after Hamas had announced a cease-fire, the IDF resumed full military operations in Gaza on Monday.
- Netanyahu: Demilitarizing Gaza Must Be Part of Any Solution
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday: "The process of preventing the arming of the terrorist organizations and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip must be part of any solution. The international community needs to demand this explicitly. Instead of the international community allowing funds to enter the Gaza Strip, via Hamas, for concrete and cement to serve in the unlimited construction of tunnels, there must be monitoring and supervision. In the past, when we raised these demands and these concerns of ours, we were not taken seriously. This has to change." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Reports from the Gaza Front - Nahum Barnea
"In the last five years, Gaza has reinforced and armed itself," an IDF commander said. "We went to the hospital in Beit Hanoun and found 12 empty beds and underneath an ammunition warehouse. The yard of an agricultural school for girls in Beit Hanoun was being used for rocket launches. There was a pneumatic system that could raise 24 Grad launchers to the surface."
"The civilians want to leave, and Hamas pins them in their homes at gunpoint....The area around a school in Beit Hanoun had booby-trapped houses. Every house was suspicious. One soldier returned fire at a sniper in a window - and the whole house exploded in on its inhabitants. This has happened with several buildings." (Ynet News)
- Hamas Said to Kill over 30 Suspected Collaborators with Israel - Elhanan Miller
Hamas has executed more than 30 suspected collaborators in Gaza over the past few days, Palestinian security sources in Gaza told the Palestine Press News Agency on Monday. They said Hamas apprehended dozens of suspected spies in Sejaiya and summarily executed them following a short investigation. (Times of Israel)
- Operation Protective Edge: Recommendations - Amos Yadlin
The basic assumption that Hamas must be preserved as the entity responsible for Gaza must change. It makes Hamas think it can extend the fighting without paying for it with its own demise.
Attention must focus on dealing a severe blow to Hamas' military wing, which is preventing the cease-fire. Ending the campaign against Hamas with a strategic deadlock would project Israeli weakness and erode Israel's deterrence, leading to confrontations in other arenas.
It is important to ensure that Hamas force rehabilitation be very slow to nonexistent. Israel's right to act against the domestic manufacture of strategic weapons and rockets in Gaza must be part of any arrangement. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, the chief of Israeli military intelligence from 2006 to 2010, is director of INSS.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
- U.S. Lowers Israel's Diplomatic Shield at UN - Colum Lynch
For more than five years the Obama administration could largely be counted on to watch Israel's back in the UN Security Council.
That changed on July 28 when the council, with the backing of the U.S., issued a formal "presidential statement" demanding that Israel and Hamas implement an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire.
In response to the UN call for a cease-fire, Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor
protested the council's failure to condemn Hamas' battering of Israeli towns and cities with more than 2,500 rockets since the fighting began. (Foreign Policy)
- Kerry's Blunder in Seeking an Israel-Gaza Cease-Fire - David Ignatius
Secretary of State John Kerry made a significant mistake in how he's pursuing a Gaza cease-fire - and it's not surprising that he has upset both the Israelis and some moderate Palestinians. Kerry's error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the bloodshed that he has solidified the role of Hamas, along with the two hard-line Islamist nations that are its key supporters, Qatar and Turkey.
Any deal that reinforces Hamas' stranglehold - rather than building a path toward change of government and disarmament - is misconceived. In the name of stopping bloodshed, it all but guarantees it in the future. (Washington Post)
- With Israel, the World Is Blaming the Victims - Richard Cohen
Some accuse Israel of a hideous lack of proportionality without pausing to say what the proper proportion of death and destruction should be. Would Hamas have ceased firing rockets into Israel if Israel had bombed less? Would Hamas have blown up its own tunnels if Israel had ceased its attack? After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, did the U.S. go into Afghanistan to kill exactly 2,977 al-Qaeda and Taliban, an eye for every eye extinguished on that infamous day?
Israel is a small nation of only about 8 million people, more than a fifth of them Arabs. Proportionality is a luxury beyond its reach.
The Gaza Cease-Fire Fiasco - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
- As Israel's ground incursion into Gaza enters its third week, the goal of America's foremost ally in the region is clear. It must degrade Hamas as a military and political force to the greatest extent possible. That means destroying the rockets the terror group hasn't yet fired at Israel and especially collapsing the network of tunnels used for smuggling weapons and infiltrating into Israel.
- The irony is that Israel's immediate Arab neighbors privately want it to succeed. Jordan wants no part of a Palestinian state run by Hamas, and neither do the Saudis or Egypt's military government. The Fatah Palestinian faction that runs the West Bank also wants Hamas to emerge weaker. Surely the White House knows this.
- Yet over the weekend Secretary of State Kerry blundered into the conflict promoting a cease-fire floated by Turkey and Qatar that was close to the terms demanded by Hamas.
- We're told Mr. Kerry is upset about being criticized publicly by an ally, but Israel is a free society and the U.S. doesn't get to impose a gag order.
- The upshot of the Kerry-Obama plan is that Hamas feels it has even less reason to agree to a cease-fire because sooner or later the Americans will force Israel to stand down.
- If the President and Mr. Kerry really want to roll back the tide of war, here's a suggestion: Forget the chatter about a cease-fire. Issue statements that support Israel's right to defend itself and that make clear that the way Hamas can stop Israel's incursions is by stopping its terrorism against civilians in Israel and Gaza.
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