Bringing Abbas Back to Gaza Is Not a Good Idea - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion.
Many seem to have forgotten that even while he was in control of Gaza, Abbas could not stop the rocket attacks or disarm any of the terrorist groups.
Even if the PA returned to Gaza, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear. Abbas and the PA cannot return to Gaza unless Hamas and its allies are completely disarmed.
Abbas would probably love to retake control over Gaza.
However, under the current circumstances, his return to Gaza would be seen by Hamas and other Palestinians as an act of treason.
The last thing he needs is to be accused of returning to Gaza "aboard an Israeli tank."
Abbas still does not trust Hamas in spite of the unity agreement he signed. After the Hamas coup
in 2007, Abbas revealed that Hamas had tried to kill him just before its militiamen seized control of the entire Strip.
Moreover, a plan by the Islamist movement to overthrow his regime in the West Bank was revealed this week.
Interim Report: 46 Percent of Gaza War Dead Were Terrorists (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center examined a third group of 150 Palestinians killed in the Gaza fighting to examine the ratio between terrorists and non-involved citizens.
Of the 448 dead who could be identified based on the three lists, 46% were terrorist operatives, while 54% were non-involved civilians. ITIC is continuing to examine the names of those killed.
See also Hamas' Illegal Use of Civilian Infrastructure during the Gaza War (Israel Defense Forces)
A new report released by the IDF utilizes intelligence maps, photographs and videos to mount a serious case against Hamas' illegal use of public infrastructure during the Gaza war.
Hamas Threat Against Ben-Gurion Airport Proves Hollow - Daniel Siryoti (Israel Hayom)
"We are warning international airlines and press them to stop flying into Ben-Gurion airport from 6 a.m. [Israel time] Thursday," Hamas military spokesman Abu Obeida said in a televised speech on Wednesday.
Despite the threat, no major disruptions to any flight schedules were reported. The 6 a.m. deadline came and went without any rocket fire at the airport.
Turkey Shelters Hamas Agents Who Tried to Topple Abbas' PA - Jonathan Schanzer and Michael Argosh (Foreign Policy)
Turkey-based Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri is believed by Israel's security services to be at the center of a coup plot in the West Bank designed to topple PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Turkey's unabashed embrace of Hamas is a decidedly awkward policy for a NATO member state and a long-standing U.S. ally to adopt.
With about a dozen Hamas figures on the loose in Turkey, including a top operative who may have tried to bring down the West Bank's government, the issue is growing increasingly difficult for the West to ignore.
Israeli Gas to Reach Global Market Via Pipelines to Egypt - Shoshanna Solomon (Bloomberg)
Egypt and Israel are negotiating deals that may mean the sale of $60 billion in Israeli natural gas to liquefaction plants in Egypt. Executives said this week they expect to finalize the agreements by year-end.
For Israel, shipping its gas to Egypt will be faster than building LNG plants.
"From these LNG plants in Egypt, Israeli gas can reach European and Asian markets," said David Shrem, a Tel Aviv-based portfolio manager. The deals "are the first significant ones for regional exports."
Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group expect to send gas to Egypt through pipelines under the Mediterranean Sea.
Why Israel Matters - Matt Strawn (Des Moines Register)
Imagine living under the threat that, at any moment, a terrorist rocket could be launched toward your community. Would you send your children to school? Would you go to work? Would life as you and your family know it grind to a halt?
During a visit to Israel earlier this month under the threat of terrorist-launched rockets from Gaza, that is exactly the scenario I began to contemplate.
I spoke with a woman whose family and community lives along the Gaza border. She described how families in her village have 15 seconds to seek shelter during rocket attacks, how an attack hit their community that very morning, and the psychological trauma to children brought on by these constant threats.
I heard the stories of children who go to bed fully clothed and literally sleep with one foot on the floor so as to not lose a precious second if the rocket sirens wail.
I spoke with an exasperated Palestinian human rights activist about the hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid confiscated by Hamas to build a vast infrastructure of terror.
When I commented on the resolute nature of the nation's citizens,
one Israeli responded: "It is easy to find moral clarity when rockets are falling on your kindergartens."
The writer is a founding board member of Iowans Supporting Israel.
In a Hospital under Fire from Gaza - Avi Benlolo (National Post-Canada)
Dr. Rabia Darawasha is an Israeli-Arab surgeon at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, where Hamas rockets land in the vicinity and "Code Red" alerts send staff and Israeli and Palestinian patients scrambling for cover.
I asked him if treating Israeli soldiers was difficult for him. He replied, "The Hamas do not represent me. The soldiers represent me." He added, "This is my country; my family is here."
Dr. Darawasha comes from Iksal in northern Israel. His father and uncle, he says, have always had positive interactions with the Jewish people - both socially and professionally.
As an Arab, he has never felt discriminated against or treated as a second-class citizen by Israel. In fact, when he graduated from medical school in Romania, Israel embraced him, gave him money to continue his studies and gave him job opportunities.
See also Arab Doctor Saves Jewish Soldier Hit by Arab Bullets - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)
Professor Ahmed Eid, 64, Hadassah Hospital's head of surgery, is from Daburiyya, east of Nazareth in northern Israel. He performed Israel's first successful liver transplant in 1991 and ran the Hadassah Transplant department for 10 years.
"I feel part of this state, and I get irritated with those who doubt it," he says. "I am Israeli and I don't need to prove it....Most Israeli Arabs want to be in the country in a partnership."
Israel Has Highest Birthrate in Developed World - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
Israel has the highest birthrate in the developed world, with three children per woman, versus an average of 1.7 children born to mothers from other developed nations.
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- Pentagon: Islamic State Threat "Beyond Anything We've Seen" - Missy Ryan
The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the U.S. that may surpass that once posed by al-Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said on Thursday.
"They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of...military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen." (Reuters)
See also U.S. Eyes Wider Action on Islamic State - Felicia Schwartz and
The beheading of journalist James Foley has prompted American officials to begin working to knit together a broader international campaign to combat the extremists of the Islamic State. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the Islamic State can't be defeated without choking off its operations in Syria. Asked whether the Islamic State can be contained, Gen. Dempsey replied: "Yes, the answer is they can be contained, not in perpetuity. This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated."
(Wall Street Journal)
- Europe, U.S. Mull UN Resolution on Gaza Truce
With Egyptian efforts to end the Gaza war collapsing, the U.S., Britain, France and Germany are discussing a possible Security Council resolution calling for a sustainable cease-fire and an international monitoring mission to ensure its implementation, UN diplomats said Thursday.
Diplomats said the resolution would include opening up Gaza's borders and a return of the Palestinian Authority to the territory. It would also include security assurances for the Israelis, including ways to prevent Hamas from acquiring more arms and building more tunnels. The resolution would incorporate an EU offer to take charge of Gaza's border crossings. Officials emphasized the discussions are in the early stages and there is no timeframe for introducing the resolution. (AP-Washington Post)
- Militants, Weapons Transit Gaza Tunnels Despite Egyptian Crackdown
A third of the houses on the main street of the Bedouin town of al-Sarsouriya in Egypt buzz with the activity of tunnel smugglers scrambling to survive a security crackdown by the Egyptian army. The guide who accompanied Reuters estimated the total number of functional tunnels in about 10 border villages at nearly 500 - down from about 1,500 before the Egyptian clampdown began. Most of the bigger tunnels - the kind that can accommodate cars - have been destroyed, but smaller ones 1-2 meters in diameter survive. As many as 200 new tunnels had been built in the past two years, with new ones coming onboard each week.
"Each day, about 3 or 4 people cross with weapons, and each one carries about 6 or 7 guns," the guide said. A senior Egyptian security officer confirmed that the smaller tunnels remain operational. At one tunnel people can pass for $50 each but the rate increases if they are armed. Most of the passengers are men, the owner said. "As long as they give me $50, I let them through." (Reuters)
- Iran Speaks More Softly But Keeps Building Bigger Sticks - Tony Capaccio
While Iran's military has toned down its rhetoric about military capabilities and exercises, it continues a low-profile buildup of weapons in and near the Strait of Hormuz, according to a classified Pentagon assessment. "Of note, Tehran's strategic messaging about its military capabilities through the mass media has been less strident since Rouhani took over," it said. "Widespread publicity of major military exercises, previously the norm, has been minimal."
The new assessment says, "Tehran is quietly fielding" increasing numbers of anti-ship ballistic missiles, "small but capable submarines," coastal missile batteries and attack craft. Separately, Iran possesses "a substantial inventory of missiles capable of reaching targets throughout the region, including Israel."
In addition, "Iran's covert activities appear to be continuing unabated in countries such as Syria and Iraq. Despite Iran's public denials, for example, other information suggests Iran is increasingly involved, along with Lebanese Hizbullah, in the Syria conflict." "The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) remains a key tool of Iran's foreign policy and power projection, in Syria and beyond," it continues. "IRGC-QF has continued efforts to improve its access within foreign countries and its ability to conduct terrorist attacks." (Bloomberg)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Killing of Hamas Chiefs Shows Gaza Regime Penetrated by Israeli Intelligence - Avi Issacharoff
The killing of three of its most senior commanders in southern Gaza was the harshest blow - militarily and in terms of morale - that Hamas has sustained since the start of the Gaza war, demonstrating that Hamas has been penetrated by Israeli intelligence. Given that the fighting had re-escalated since Tuesday, and that Israel was known to be trying to hit the Hamas military leadership, the three had taken every possible precaution to evade Israeli intelligence. Those precautions simply were not good enough.
Two of the three were not mere senior commanders of the al-Qassam Brigades. Muhammad Abu Shamala and Raed al-Attar were part of the founding generation of the Hamas military wing - long-term veterans with experience and knowledge that cannot be easily replaced.
The two were also tied to the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers on the Gaza-Sinai-Israel border two years ago, and Egypt knew of their ties to terrorist organizations in the Sinai. (Times of Israel)
A Military Blow for Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh
The killing of three of Hamas' most important military commanders is the most painful blow dealt to the movement in recent years. It is already clear that the killings have shattered the self-confidence of Hamas leaders. The slain commanders are among the most protected Hamas military figures in Gaza. Only a small number of people know where they hang out.
A sign of the panic that has engulfed Hamas following the air strikes was provided by the summary execution of three Palestinian "collaborators" on Thursday.
See also Hamas Executes 18 Gaza Palestinians on Friday for "Collaboration" with Israel
Hamas executed 18 Palestinians on Friday for allegedly collaborating with Israel during the Gaza war, Gaza sources said. Hamas killed seven Palestinians in a public execution in a central Gaza square. The victims, their heads covered and hands tied, were shot dead by masked gunmen dressed in black outside a mosque after prayers, witnesses and al-Majd, a pro-Hamas website, said. Hamas security officials said 11 others were killed by firing squad at an abandoned police station in Gaza earlier on Friday.
- Targeted Killings an Attempt to Compel Hamas to Accept a Cease-Fire - Amos Harel
The campaign of targeted killings launched by Israel this week reflects an attempt to break out of a military standstill and compel Hamas to accept a cease-fire. Civilians are killed in these operations, but many more will die if the IDF returns in a massive ground operation in the event that Hamas continues firing rockets.
Remaining Hamas leaders understand very well the message embedded in Israel's moves: If you don't stop now, this will continue and your families may be hurt as well.
See also Targeted Hits Signal Israel Won't Tolerate a War of Attrition - Herb Keinon
Israel's targeted killings of senior Hamas military leaders signals Hamas that Jerusalem will not tolerate a low-intensity war of attrition, Israeli officials said Thursday. "When we said we won't agree to a war of attrition...we meant it," one government official said. "At a certain point Hamas will understand one way or another that we will not tolerate rocket fire."
An official said that even though the Egyptian cease-fire proposal was currently inactive, it remains at this time the only diplomatic channel that Israel would consider. Prime Minister Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry speak about it every day, the official said.
- Father Wounded by Mortar Shrapnel Saving Children at Son's Party - Tovah Lazaroff
A 33-year-old Israeli father celebrating his son's birthday in a daycare center was hit in the back by shrapnel as he pushed the small children in the room away from the window on Thursday as seven mortar shells struck inside a kibbutz near the Gaza border.
The father instinctively pushed the children away and helped them lie on the floor. As he did that, he was wounded, said Asaf Artal, a kibbutz administrator.
"He helped save them, but he himself was hurt," said Artal.
On Thursday, mortar shells struck in five of the seven communities directly on the Gaza border, said Ronit Minaker, a spokeswoman for the Eshkol Regional Council. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Palestinian Rocket Barrage on Israel Continues Friday, Israeli Injured - Ilana Curiel
Over 50 rockets were fired by Palestinians in Gaza at Israel by midday Friday, with one landing near a preschool in Beersheba, wounding an Israeli man. Another landed meters from another preschool in the south. The renewed fighting has seen a record number of rockets slam into Israel.
A rocket was fired at Tel Aviv in the early afternoon, but fell in an open area, failing to cause damage. Palestinians in Gaza fired more than 100 rockets and mortars into Israel Thursday. (Ynet News)
- Airstrike Kills Senior Islamic Jihad Commander - Yoav Zitun and Roi Kais
As Gaza militants ceaselessly fired rockets at Israel Thursday,
the Israeli Air Force killed an Islamic Jihad brigade commander in Rafah as he was leaving a structure from which rockets were fired on Israel.
The Gaza War
- So How Is Hamas Different from Islamic State, Israel Wonders? - Daniel Gordis
Israelis have taken great interest in Obama calling Islamic State a "cancer" after the gruesome beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. When Islamic State executes an innocent American - befuddled Israelis noticed - Obama has the capacity for outrage and moral clarity. But in Israel's conflict, even though Hamas is sworn on Israel's destruction and has been killing innocent Israelis for years, the best that Obama has been able to utter is the standard "Israel has a right to defend itself."
Israelis still remember when then-senator and presidential candidate Obama sounded different. In 2008, Obama said in Sderot, Israel: "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if...somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
That is exactly what Israelis have been doing, for weeks now. But U.S. diplomats and politicians have tried, for the most part, to calm the waters by treating Israel and Hamas as two morally equivalent opponents.
Why is Islamic State a "cancer" while Hamas is a legitimate partner in a Palestinian unity government? The writer is senior vice president at Shalem College in Jerusalem.
- ISIS Is to America as Hamas Is to Israel - Alan M. Dershowitz
While President Obama has called for an all-out war against the "cancer" of ISIS, he has regarded Hamas as having an easily curable disease, urging Israel to accept that terrorist group, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, as part of a Palestinian unity government.
Like ISIS, the Hamas Charter calls for a worldwide "caliphate," brought about by violent Jihad. Everything we rightly fear and despise from ISIS we should fear and despise from Hamas. Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.
Another similarity between ISIS and Hamas: if these terrorist groups were to lay down their arms, there might be peace, whereas if their enemies were to lay down their arms, there would be genocide.
Just as ISIS must be defeated militarily and destroyed as a terrorist army, so too must Hamas be responded to militarily and its rockets and tunnels destroyed. ISIS and Hamas must first be defeated militarily and only then might they consider accepting reasonable diplomatic and political compromises. (Gatestone Institute)
- Pseudo-Investigations in Gaza
Media reports indicate that officials from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have attempted to enter Gaza in order to conduct "independent investigations" into the July 2014 conflict, claiming that they possess "the requisite professional military knowledge to independently evaluate claims being made by both the Palestinians and Israelis."
In contrast, the evidence clearly demonstrates that neither Amnesty International nor HRW is capable of conducting independent, unbiased, and credible investigations, particularly in the context of intense conflict, and environments where information is strictly controlled and manipulated by groups like Hamas. Neither NGO abides by international fact-finding standards such as the Lund-London Guidelines adopted by the International Bar Association. In addition to the lack of objectivity, their research processes are entirely non-transparent and not subject to accountability or independent verification.
Officials from Amnesty and HRW are not trained professionals in criminal and military investigations and forensics, do not possess the requisite expertise, and do not produce findings that would be admissible in legal proceedings.
Indeed, Amnesty's head of field investigations, Donatella Rovera, acknowledges the unreliability and limitations of NGO investigations in conflict zones: "In Gaza, I received partial or inaccurate information by relatives of civilians accidentally killed in accidental explosions or by rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups towards Israel that had malfunctioned and of civilians killed by Israeli strikes on nearby Palestinian armed groups' positions. When confronted with other evidence obtained separately, some said they feared reprisals by the armed groups" (April 2014).
- The Big Lie of Gaza - Daniel Mandel
The idea of Gaza being the most densely populated place in the world is a propaganda fabrication.
Gaza had in 2010 11,542 people per square mile, less densely populated than Hong Kong (17,422), Singapore (17,723), Monaco (39,609), and Macau (52,163).
No one calls these places teeming, open-air prisons - with reason.
Hong Kong has the world's third largest financial center. Singapore has the third highest per capita income in the world. Monaco has the world's highest GDP per capita. And Macau is one of the world's richest cities - testimony to what hard work, solid industries and responsible government can achieve in small, resource-poor territories.
Gaza could be the Singapore of the Middle East. But it isn't - it's governed by Hamas, whose Charter calling for war with the Jews until their obliteration is well-known to those who elected it.
Gaza, along with the West Bank, has been the recipient of the highest levels of per capita aid in the world. Investment not siphoned off by Hamas has produced results: Gaza boasts shopping malls, five theme parks and 12 tourist resorts.
In the last two years, Hamas has spent an estimated $1.5 billion on an underground infrastructure of terror tunnels deep into Israel for the purpose of mounting Mumbai-like mass-casualty terror assaults. (Washington Times)
- Essential Conditions for the Successful Reconstruction of Gaza - Kobi Michael and Udi Dekel
The reconstruction of Gaza is an important lever for strengthening the Palestinian Authority and renewing the peace process. It is also a fundamental test of the PA's willingness, resolve, and executive ability. Problematic or inadequate performance by the PA in Gaza would be a warning as to the functional capabilities of the PA in state governance in the West Bank once an agreement is signed.
Israel's demand for Gaza's demilitarization, despite the difficulties of implementation within Gaza, is vital for preventing Hamas' strengthening and force buildup through outside assistance.
A precondition for successful reconstruction is neutralizing Hamas' negative impact and denying it veto power by means of serious damage to its terror infrastructures and its military capabilities.
Dr. Kobi Michael served as the deputy director and head of the Palestinian desk at the Ministry for Strategic Affairs. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Udi Dekel was head of the negotiations team with the Palestinians in the Annapolis process under the Olmert government.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
See also Broad Consensus to Rebuild Gaza Without Rearming Hamas - Harry Reis (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
The Islamic State
- Islamic State Poses a Direct and Deadly Threat to Britain - Prime Minister David Cameron
The creation of an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and extending into Syria is not a problem miles away from home. It is our concern here and now. Because if we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain.
We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology, which I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime. The Islamic State already controls not just thousands of minds, but thousands of square miles of territory, sweeping aside much of the boundary between Iraq and Syria to carve out its so-called caliphate. It makes no secret of its expansionist aims. If it succeeds, we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member.
This is a clear danger to Europe and to our security. It is a daunting challenge. But it is not an invincible one, as long as we are now ready and able to summon up the political will to defend our own values and way of life with the same determination, courage and tenacity as we have faced danger before in our history. That is how much is at stake here: we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.
See also We Must Confront the Enemy in Our Midst - Editorial
The chilling internet video of Mr. Foley's final moments on Earth serves as an affront to this country, for his killer speaks with an unmistakable British accent. (Telegraph-UK)
- The Islamic State's Campaign of Terror Will Take More than Words to Stop - Editorial
With each day, the barbarism of the Islamist extremists terrorizing Syria and Iraq becomes more evident - as does the need for the U.S. and its allies to act more vigorously to block their rise. "People like this ultimately fail," Mr. Obama said Wednesday. "They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy." That may be so. But history provides too many examples of destroyers who hold power for long stretches of time and do not lose it until they are dislodged.
The Islamist extremists are training hundreds of foreign terrorists, including from Europe and the U.S., who could easily slip back into their home countries with malign intent. They proudly proclaim their enmity to America. America needs a genuine strategy in response.
- Stopping the Worst People on Earth - Charles Krauthammer
The Islamic State is overstretched. It's a thin force of perhaps 15,000 trying to control a territory four times the size of Israel. Its supply lines, operating in open country, are not just extended but exposed and highly vulnerable to air power. Stopping the Islamic State's momentum creates a major shift in psychology. Guerrilla armies thrive on a sense of inevitability. The Islamic State has grown in size, demoralized its enemies and attracted recruits from all over the world because it seemed unstoppable, a real caliphate in the making. People follow the strong horse over the weak horse, taught Osama bin Laden.
We simply cannot abide a growing jihadist state in the heart of the Middle East, fueled by oil, advanced weaponry and a deranged fanaticism. These are the worst people on earth. They openly, proudly crucify enemies, enslave women and murder men en masse. These are not the usual bad guys out for land, plunder or power. These are primitive cultists who celebrate slaughter, glory in bloodlust and slit the throats of innocents as a kind of sacrament.
- ISIS: The Real Threat - Yoram Schweitzer
In recent months the Islamic State has made itself the de facto replacement of al-Qaeda as the jihadist terror organization endangering world peace.
Without minimizing the achievements of IS, the secret of its power rests primarily on the weakness of its enemies. So far, IS has made territorial gains only in Iraq and in limited areas of Syria, two failed states whose central governments suffer from a lack of legitimacy among their citizens and ineffective control of large parts of their territory.
Should IS try to extend its conquests to areas of Iraq where there is an established Shiite population, it may well encounter a fighting population protected by an Iranian military force and deeper involvement of Western countries, as happened when it threatened to penetrate the heart of the Kurdish region of Iraq. A similar response is expected if IS dares to confront Jordan or Turkey. For that reason, its threats to make similar advances against other countries of the region are weak.
The main danger posed by IS concerns its ability both to channel money and advanced weapons to terror organizations active in the region, and to make the territory it controls an impervious haven.
An area of this sort controlled by an extremist, messianic organization such as IS will enable jihadist Salafist terror groups from all over the world to find refuge, and use it as their base for further terror activity. It will turn the al-Qaeda dream of two decades ago into the nightmare reality of this decade.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
- Destroy the Islamic State - John R. Bolton
We must seek to destroy the Islamic State. It is simply not enough to block the group's threat to the Kurds or other vulnerable minorities in the region. The risks of even a relatively small "state" (or "caliphate") are chilling. Leaving the Islamic State in place and in control only of its current turf in Iraq and Syria (including northern-Iraqi hydrocarbon deposits and associated infrastructure) would make it viable economically and a fearsome refuge for terrorists of all sorts, just as Afghanistan's Taliban gave al-Qaeda a base of operations to launch terrorist attacks culminating in 9/11. The writer, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is a former U.S. ambassador to the UN.
Dear Secretary General: Blaming Israel While Ignoring Hamas Aggression Discredits the UN - Alan Baker and Nachi Eyal (Legal Forum for Israel)
Dear UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
- We heard and read with amazement and incredulity your recent statements accusing Israeli forces of violating international humanitarian law, and especially your statement of 12 August 2014 questioning Israel's respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality.
- We know that you have been fully briefed, and are well aware of the circumstances that have given rise to the hostilities between Israel and the Hamas terror organization, including the mass barrage of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel's civilian centers, and the extensive offensive tunnels under Israel's sovereign territory.
- We also know that you are fully aware of the extraordinary lengths to which the Israeli forces have gone in order to ensure that all targets are legitimate military targets, and to fully observe the principles of distinction and proportionality - to the extent of suffering casualties because of this.
- We know that you are fully aware of the repeated warnings given to civilians to distance themselves from those structures used by Hamas for purposes of combat.
- We know that you are fully aware of the fact that Hamas, as a matter of its basic operational procedure, deliberately and willfully uses its civilians and its civilian structures, whether schools, hospitals, mosques or private homes, in order to shield its rocket emplacements, weapons manufacturing facilities, tactical planning and operation centers, and its stocks of rockets and other weapons.
- To lay the blame so blatantly and falsely on Israel, while totally ignoring the continued, willful and indiscriminate aggression by Hamas against Israel's citizens, its utter disregard of humanitarian norms, and Hamas' cynical violation of the basic rights to life of its own civilian population, undermines the guiding principles set out in the UN Charter and discredits the organization.
Amb. Alan Baker served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel's ambassador to Canada.
Nachi Eyal is CEO of the Legal Forum for Israel.
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