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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
August 5, 2014


In-Depth Issues:

Iran Says It Gave Missile Technology to Hamas - Ali Akbar Dareini (AP-ABC News)
    Hamas is able to fire missiles into Israel because Tehran provided the weapons technology, senior Iranian official Mohsen Rezaei said Monday.
    "Palestinian resistance missiles are the blessings of Iran's transfer of technology," he said.




IDF Soldier Chased Kidnappers into Tunnel - Melanie Lidman (Times of Israel)
    After Lt. Hadar Goldin was kidnapped on Friday in Gaza, Lt. Eitan dashed into the tunnel moments after the kidnapping to try to retrieve him.
    Against army regulations, and despite the great danger of the tunnel being booby-trapped, Lt. Eitan went in with his command team and chased them for hundreds of meters.
    During the chase, he and his men found remains that allowed the rabbinate to rule, according to Jewish law, on the death of Lt. Goldin. Ł




Poll: More Americans Sympathize with Israel - Mark Murray (NBC News)
    54% of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel, compared to 7% who sympathize with Hamas, a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist poll conducted July 28-31 finds.



Sign the Petition: Stop Hamas Now! (stophamasnow.com)
    Send a message that America stands with our ally Israel in this battle for her survival. Sign the petition to Stop Hamas Now.


Iran Revolutionary Guards Fight Islamic State in Iraq - Babak Dehghanpisheh (Reuters)
    At least three Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been killed in Iraq since mid-June, a clear sign that Iran has ramped up its military presence in Iraq to counter the threat from Islamic State fighters.
    "When the Islamic State reached Shi'ite areas in Iraq, the Revolutionary Guards had forces there who fought them," said Mohsen Sazegara, a founding member of the Revolutionary Guards who is now a U.S.-based dissident. "A number of them were killed."
    A high-level Iraqi security official said several thousand Iraqi fighters were brought back from Syria and deployed under the Iraqi military.
    In addition, there are dozens of members of Lebanon's Hizbullah in Iraq.




Syrians Left to Fend for Themselves as World Focuses on Gaza - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    July saw over 1,500 Syrians killed in a single week - higher than the Palestinian death toll. But Syria has been pushed to the bottom of the world's list of priorities. No new diplomatic endeavors were launched to solve the crisis there.
    American aid for the rebels is waiting for Congress' approval. There are over 3 million refugees. The fact that the Islamic State has taken over parts of Syria and Iraq is quickly becoming accepted as the new reality.




After Gaza Protests Cancel Performance, Israeli Theater Company in Scotland Stages Show Outdoors - Helen McArdle (Herald-Scotland)
    A performance by an Israeli theater group was cancelled last week after pro-Palestinian campaigners picketed the venue.
    Director Arik Eshet said the cancellation had eroded freedom of speech at the Edinburgh arts festival.
    After failing to find an alternative venue, the actors performed their hip hop opera outdoors for free in the Meadows area of Edinburgh.




UK Supermarket Chain Forced to Close Stores after Pro-Palestine Demonstrations - Dion Dassanayake (Daily Express-UK)
    Supermarket giant Sainsbury's was forced to close stores in Birmingham, Brighton, Whitechapel and Brixton after pro-Palestine demonstrations were held in response to the retailer stocking Israeli goods.
    The Barclays Bank main branch in Brighton was also occupied.




On Gaza Border, an Israeli Field Hospital Stands Empty - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
    Throughout Operation Protective Edge more than 400 Palestinians have passed through the Erez Crossing in local ambulances seeking medical treatment in Israeli and West Bank hospitals.
    On July 21, the IDF opened a military field hospital at the Erez border terminal, meant to provide emergency treatment for civilians injured in Gaza. But during a recent visit, the hospital was completely empty.
    Since its establishment, the hospital has treated some 50 Palestinians. The few patients who did arrive at Erez were either picked up by IDF fighting units, or referred by UNRWA or the Red Cross.
    "We encounter deep suspicion from patients," said Lt. Col. Sharon Biton of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the IDF branch entrusted with Palestinian civilian affairs. The primary force keeping Palestinians away was Hamas.



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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Troops Withdraw from Gaza for Cease-Fire - Jethro Mullen
    The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday withdrew its ground troops from Gaza. "We have no forces within Gaza," said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. Israel is implementing the Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect Tuesday morning, from "defensive positions" outside Gaza, the IDF said. (CNN)
        See also Netanyahu: Link Rehabilitation of Gaza to Its Demilitarization
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday: "The campaign in Gaza is continuing. What is about to conclude is the IDF action to deal with the tunnels, but this operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period. We struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations....We are demanding that the rehabilitation of Gaza be linked to its demilitarization."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Reporting the Gaza Death Toll - Paul Farhi
    How many people have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began in early July? And who are the dead? Supporters of Israel say the raw casualty numbers coming from Gaza are suspect, both in size and in composition. They assert that the Hamas-controlled health ministry and pro-Palestinian NGOs inflate and distort the figures to poison world opinion about Israel. Unlike conflicts in Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, Israel's military campaign is taking place amid intense Western media coverage.
        As of Monday, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that 1,888 Palestinians had died in Gaza since July 8. But how many of those killed are Hamas fighters? And how many people have died from errant rocket fire from within Gaza by Hamas itself. An Israeli government official said about half of those killed have been Hamas combatants, and the number could rise once Israeli intelligence sources vet all the names of those killed. This is consistent with what Israeli officials found in investigations after Israel's operations in Gaza in 2008-2009 and 2012. (Washington Post)
        See also IDF: 900 Terrorists Killed in Gaza Campaign - Adiv Sterman
    Some 900 operatives from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror groups were killed in Gaza since July 8, a senior Israeli military source said Tuesday. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the army had completed its mission of destroying 32 Hamas attack tunnels that crossed into Israeli territory. The war in Gaza has claimed the lives of 64 soldiers, 11 of whom were killed by Hamas gunmen emerging from the tunnels. Over 3,000 rockets were launched at Israeli cities. (Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Withdraws from Gaza as Rockets Are Fired at Israel - Yoav Zitun and Itay Blumental
    Up until the very last moment on Tuesday, Palestinians in Gaza fired rockets at southern and central Israel, as well as the Jerusalem area. Rockets were fired at the Gaza border communities, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Gan Yavne, Ma'ale Adumim, the Shfela area, Rishon LeZion and Rehovot. Shrapnel from an intercepted rocket fell in a main street in Jerusalem. (Ynet News)
        See also View Photos: Gaza Rocket Hits Arab Home near Bethlehem
    A rocket fired at Israel from Gaza struck the home of the Attoun family in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem on Tuesday morning. The rocket caused damage to the building and to the electricity network in the area. (Maan News-PA)
        See also Palestinians Fire 86 Rockets and Mortars into Israel from Gaza on Monday - Ben Hartman (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF: Gaza Operation May Improve Security in the South - Lilach Shoval
    "Operation Protective Edge will lead to fundamental changes to the situation in the south," a senior IDF officer said Sunday. "The arrangement won't be like those reached after previous operations [in Gaza]. This one will put an end to the reality that southern communities have lived in from 2005 to 2014."
        "The task of keeping Hamas from rearming is possible, because that involves just Israel and Egypt." "They want to arm themselves, and we assume they will dig tunnels. The security situation in Gaza is now better than it was, as the tunnels have been destroyed, at least the ones we know about. I believe the security for the residents of the border area will be much better in the near future."  (Israel Hayom)
        See also IDF: Gaza 2014 Is Worse Off than Lebanon 2006 - Lilach Shoval
    More than 60% of Hamas' rocket manufacturing system has been taken out by Israeli strikes during Operation Protective Edge, a senior IDF officer said on Sunday. "Gaza begins its reconstruction process in a much worse place than Lebanon was in 2006 [after the Second Lebanon War]." The IDF estimates that Hamas now has only one-third of the 9,000 rockets it possessed before the operation began. (Israel Hayom)
  • Redeployment Serves Israel Well - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror
    To demilitarize Gaza by seizing weapon systems and arm-production facilities, as well as a crackdown on terrorists, would take months. Israel can afford to hold off on an occupation of Gaza because Hamas has not been able to inflict significant damage on the home front - thanks to the Iron Dome aerial defense system. (Israel Hayom)
  • Gunman Shoots Israeli Soldier in Jerusalem - Adiv Sterman
    A gunman on a motorcycle shot and seriously injured a soldier in Jerusalem on Monday near the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Palestine and Double Standards - Bret Stephens
    Over the weekend there was saturation coverage of an Israeli strike near a UN-run school that killed 10 people, three of them members of Islamic Jihad. The State Department pronounced itself "appalled." At the same time, more than 1,500 Pakistani civilians have been reported killed and more than a half-million residents were displaced since the government's offensive began in mid June. If there was a similar outcry with respect to the conduct of Pakistan's army, I must have missed it.
        In Iraq, some 1,600 people were killed in the month of July. In Syria, more than 1,800 people have been killed in just the last 10 days. In Libya, roughly 200 people were killed last month in artillery and rocket clashes between rival militias. In Nigeria, nearly 3,000 people have been killed so far this year, and another 500,000 have been made refugees.
        People often point out how peculiar it is that the Jewish state seems to arouse a level of condemnation that never seems to apply equally elsewhere. But perhaps the real racism is the indifference to Muslim suffering around the world when the person dropping the bomb or pulling the trigger is another Muslim. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas Has Committed Six Types of War Crimes - Lahav Harkov
    Bar-Ilan University law professor Avi Bell, an expert on international law, told a conference in the Knesset Wednesday that Hamas has committed six types of war crimes according to International Criminal Court (ICC) regulations. The first is that they attacked soldiers and civilians indiscriminately and any attack on civilians is a war crime. Second, they used weapons that cannot be aimed at a specific target, namely rockets, which is a crime even if there are no victims. The third war crime is using human shields. The fourth offense was the camouflaging of terrorist activities via protected symbols, such as the transport of Hamas fighters and weapons in Red Crescent ambulances. The use of children aged 15 and under as fighters, which is expressly prohibited, is the fifth war crime. The sixth is attempting to take hostages. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Is Iran Behind Hamas Launching Rockets at Israel? - Raghida Dergham
    All this anger directed at Israel has not exempted Hamas from the responsibility of hiding rockets among Palestinian civilians, launching rockets on Israelis, and building tunnels to receive sophisticated weapons from Iran. All this occurred while Hamas was joining a government led by the Palestinian Authority, which is committed to peaceful negotiations rather than armed struggle.
        Who was behind the abduction and murder of three young Israelis? Who is pushing Hamas to launch rockets and reject the Egyptian initiative for a cease-fire? I believe it is Iran whose name is linked in more than one forum to the incitement to ignite a confrontation with Israel.
        Iran wants to tell the Obama administration that it possesses the keys not only to the Middle East, but also to Israel's backyard. It can either stop the flow of rockets or double the number of rockets sent to Hamas. Tehran believes it can drag the U.S. to give Iran what it wants - the nuclear deal and pledging not to attempt to overthrow its regime. (Al-Hayat-Al-Arabiya)
  • The Hamas Threat to the West Is No Different from the Islamic State - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
    Hamas' modes of warfare in the current conflict reveal the ideological and operational likeness between Hamas and the Islamic State (IS). From the start, Hamas directed its massive and ongoing missile offensive at civilian targets. Hamas hardly appears different from IS, which decrees a policy of the genocide of infidels without any moral constraints.
        Hamas in Gaza provides a comfortable haven to all the Palestinian terror organizations and allows al-Qaeda and IS groups to operate freely so long as they do not defy its rule. On the ideological level, there is no difference between how Hamas and IS view the West and the worldwide Islamic revolution. Hamas, too, calls for the founding of the Islamic caliphate with its capital in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • How Gaza Became One Big Suicide Bomb - Gregory Rose
    Gaza is a suicide bomb. It is rigged by its leaders to explode. This is not a metaphor. It is a war crime. It makes the calculus of proportionality in the use of armed force by the Israel Defense Forces complex and uncertain.
        The Hamas use of suicide bombings is well-developed. A decade ago, it involved the leadership preparing vulnerable Arab individuals to end their lives by blowing up Jews in Israeli cities. The use of Hamas towns and local populations in their entirety as huge suicide bombs to kill Israeli soldiers drawn into them by repeated Hamas provocations is an innovation. There is clear and abundant evidence of this in the use of civilian shields, booby traps, and lack of civilian protections.
        Hamas rocket and mortar fire from the shelter of local schools, hospitals and markets has been photographed. About 5% of Hamas rockets misfire and land on Gazan targets, such as one in a hospital and another in a market last week.
        A mass suicide bomb strategy is made possible by jihadist fervor, righteous absolutism and the promise of paradise in its Islamist conception. The West European-derived legal concepts of proportionality, distinction, civilian protection and war crimes are as relevant as disc brakes to a camel. Professor Gregory Rose is a specialist in international law at the University of Wollongong. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
  • An Unavoidable War, Unfinished - David Horovitz
    We can begin to draw some interim conclusions from the Israel-Hamas war. Hamas fired more rockets, further into Israel, than in the two previous rounds of conflict. It has further battered the traumatized south, where a generation has grown up knowing that it might have to dash for shelter any second. And it has brought Tel Aviv and places even further north into the line of fire. And it's still firing.
        Its leadership has survived intact, hidden safely away in underground bunkers deep in the heart of Gaza. Most of its thousands of death-cult fighters have survived too. Much of their weaponry is intact.
        However, Israel can claim significant achievements of its own. The Hamas attack tunnels, a central part of the Hamas strategy, have been largely defanged, for the time being. The Iron Dome rocket defense system has performed miracles. Hundreds of rockets, whose impact could have caused immense loss of life and widespread devastation, were blown out of the sky.
        Israeli troops killed hundreds of Hamas gunmen, proving capable of overcoming the enemy on its home territory, despite its years of planning and preparation, bomb-planting, tunneling and booby-trapping. And Israel's population showed impressive resilience under rocket fire, and unity behind the IDF and the political leadership. (Times of Israel)
  • Do You Understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? - Asaf Zilberfarb
    I wonder how many of those citing the blockade on Gaza as the reason for the increasing violence ever realized that rocket attacks began years before the blockade was ever imposed. How many people know that more than 30 terror tunnels were unearthed in Gaza by Israel in just a couple of days; tunnels over a mile long, leading to Israeli dining rooms and kindergartens.
        How many of the people who so vigorously justify rocket attacks on my home, who dare undermine my suffering because such rockets are "just fireworks" and I am "lucky" to have a shelter, would have agreed to be as "lucky" as me, to take my place, and have rockets fired at their homes.
        I wonder how many of them realize that they are legitimizing and defending an al-Qaeda-like organization, whose leaders praised Osama Bin Laden as a "holy warrior?" The writer served for four years in the Israel Defense Forces before enrolling as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. (New Hampshire Union Leader)
  • For Hamas, War in Gaza Is a Step toward the West Bank - Hussein Ibish
    A primary aim of Hamas has been to establish itself as the principal Palestinian diplomatic and political address for Gaza, placing it on a par with the PA in Ramallah. The inclusion of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in a Fatah-led delegation to Cairo for cease-fire talks could be seen as a step forward for the militants. So can the U.S. seeking to use the good offices of Turkey and Qatar as leverage with Hamas, at the expense of theáPA and Egypt. The writer is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine. (National-UAE)
Observations:

We Will Pay a Terrible Price for Supporting Hamas - Leo McKinstry (Daily Express-UK)

  • British Labour leader Ed Miliband called Israel's incursion into Gaza "wrong and unjustifiable." Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown described Israel's approach as "very foolish" and "disproportionate." But all this populist anti-Israeli posturing is dangerous. It shows not the slightest grasp of the reality of Islamist aggression in the Middle East and the depth of the challenge that Israel faces.
  • In practice, denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a suicidal disdain for the interests of Western civilization.
  • Israel is fighting a real war against a fanatical enemy - the Hamas terror network, dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. The present conflict was started by Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Britain would not tolerate an aerial assault without striking back, so why should Israel?
  • In this context the parrot cry for negotiations is fatuous. Hamas, an offshoot of the infamous Muslim Brotherhood, is not interested in a peace settlement, only in the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people. So on what aspect of anti-Semitic genocide is Israel supposed to negotiate with Hamas?
  • Israel has to break Hamas' ability to wage war. Only by defeating terrorists can peace be achieved. Rather than carping from the sidelines, Western politicians should support that goal. Israel is a bulwark of civilization against Islamism. Ultimately we will pay a terrible price if we betray this heroic nation.

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