IDF Successes in the Gaza War (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 28 Aug 2014)
800-1,000 terrorists killed. 603 dead terrorists positively identified.
At least 3 top military leaders targeted. 28 mosques containing terrorist infrastructure destroyed.
5,000 buildings used by terrorists attacked. 3,000 Hamas rockets destroyed on the ground. 1,050 command posts destroyed.
Attacks via tunnels and from the sea thwarted.
Beheadings in Syria Now Routine, UN Panel Says - Nick Cumming-Bruce (New York Times)
Public executions, often beheadings, are becoming a "common spectacle" in parts of Syria controlled by Islamic militants, and government forces there continue to massacre and torture civilians, a UN panel said in a report released on Wednesday.
"Government forces continued to perpetrate massacres and conduct widespread attacks on civilians, systematically committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance," the panel said.
Nongovernmental armed groups have also committed massacres and war crimes, the panel said.
The panel cited dozens of documented beheadings and described how ISIS encouraged residents to watch them. Some victims' bodies were displayed on crucifixes for days afterward as a warning to residents.
Among the most disturbing developments was the creation of large ISIS camps training children, mostly boys around the age of 14 but sometimes as young as 10, for armed conflict.
Sinai Militant Group Says It Beheaded Four Egyptians - Michael Georgy (Reuters)
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based militant group, said on Thursday it had beheaded four Egyptians, accusing them of providing Israel with intelligence for an airstrike that killed three of its fighters.
Four headless corpses were found in Sinai earlier this month, security sources said.
In a video reminiscent of images posted on the Internet by the Islamic State, armed men in black masks stood over the kneeling captives as one of the militants read out a statement.
In Islamist-Ruled Mosul, Iraq, Resentment of Militants Grows - Matt Bradley (Wall Street Journal)
In Islamist-held Mosul this week, Islamic State militants stoned to death a man accused of adultery.
They then repeatedly screened a video of the killing on several large digital monitors they erected in the city center.
Such displays of public brutality and humiliation have become part of a constant drumbeat of indignity endured by the population of Iraq's second-largest city.
Arab Bank Jurors Led through Terror Plots - Nick Divito (Courthouse News Service)
At the Arab Bank trial in Brooklyn on Tuesday, terrorism expert Ronni Shaked gave disturbing details of several Hamas-sponsored suicide attacks in the West Bank that killed hundreds of innocent civilians from 2000 to 2004.
Families representing 300 victims killed or injured in the attacks during the Second Intifada filed suit against the bank about a decade ago.
Attorneys say Arab Bank handled transactions totaling $35 million while acting as "paymaster" for the Saudi Committee for the Support of Intifada Al Quds, which paid families of suicide bombers.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Islamist Rebels Capture Border Crossing between Israel and Syria - Alan Cowell
Islamist opposition fighters in Syria, including members of the Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, took control of the Quneitra crossing point on the Golan Heights, activists said on Wednesday. The move could bring Islamist forces within 200 yards of territory controlled by Israel.
(New York Times)
See also Islamists in Syria Approaching Israel's Border - Amos Harel
Fighters of the Nusra Front recently arrived en masse in southern Syria, and some are nearing the Israeli border, where Nusra troops have been sweeping away members of the more moderate opposition groups, using tanks they plundered from the Syrian army.
According to officers of the Israeli army's Northern Command, the Islamic State is also knocking on the door of the Golan Heights. While only a few of its operatives have been spotted near the border, religious leaders in several villages have been making statements in support of the organization. "It has not been seen on our immediate front line yet," a senior officer said, "but a strong Islamic State presence is already being felt in the entire area." There is almost no Syrian army presence along the Israeli border.
See also Syrian Jets Bomb Border Post near Israel Captured by Nusra Front (Reuters-Daily Star-Lebanon)
See also Two Israelis Injured by Cross-Border Fire from Syria - Herb Keinon and Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
See also Amid Fierce Battles Inside Syria, IDF Orders Israeli Farmers, Civilians to Vacate Border Area - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
- Marwan Barghouti: Fatah, Which Fired the First Bullet Against the Zionist Enemy, Will Also Fire the Last
Jailed Fatah Central Committee member Marwan Barghouti, often mentioned as a possible successor to Mahmoud Abbas, issued a message from prison on Aug. 20, 2014, that the time has arrived for Fatah members to take part in comprehensive resistance against Israel.
"It was [Fatah] that had the honor of firing [the revolution's] first bullet and of leading the revolution, the PLO, and the two glorious intifadas. In recent decades, it has served as the Arab region's greatest school for struggle and resistance in all their forms. And just as it had the honor to fire the first bullet against the Zionist enemy, so the hands of the Fatah members - along with all the Palestinians - will fire the final bullet against this occupation."
The Gaza war "has proven that the option of resistance is proper and appropriate. We have always emphasized, and have repeatedly called for, a creative combination of political diplomatic action and general resistance with all its capabilities." "The time has come for Fatah to prepare for a new phase - a phase of growth, and a phase of an end to the illusion of achieving independence and freedom with futile negotiations." (MEMRI)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Defense Minister Ya'alon: Hamas Has Been Set Back by Years - Yaakov Lappin
Hamas and other Gazan terror organizations have absorbed severe blows and have been set back by years, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday.
"When the dust clears over the Gaza Strip, many difficult questions will be directed at Hamas' heads following the severe, unprecedented blow that Israel landed on it." He said Hamas leaders
"were forced to cease fire, via a route that they did not want." (Jerusalem Post)
See also below Observations: Prime Minister Netanyahu Outlines Israel's Achievements in the Gaza War (Prime Minister's Office)
- Hamas Trying to Sell "Victory" to Gazans - Amira Hass
During the first two or three weeks of the Gaza war, the Palestinian public supported the "resistance," despite the heavy civilian losses. Afterwards, however, it lost its belief in the political logic of extending the military campaign and in Hamas' negotiating skills. That message certainly got through to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists and their leaders. As expected, Hamas spokesmen were quick to sell the cease-fire as a victory over Israel.
But how is it possible to describe as a victory an agreement that does not even include the "lifting of the blockade?"
- Hamas' Humiliation - Avi Issacharoff
Hamas has been humiliatingly defeated. There is no other way of describing the cease-fire terms. It kept firing rockets until the last moment and proved a capacity for resilience. At the same time it should be remembered that Israel did not seek at any point to bring Hamas down.
Time and again Hamas leaders made promises to the Gaza public that this conflict would continue until the siege was lifted, and that there would be no return to the understandings that ended the fighting in Gaza in 2012. Time after time, they rejected the Egyptian initiative, which included, almost clause for clause, the elements of the 2012 agreement. Then, on Tuesday, it became clear that Hamas had capitulated, retreated with its tail between its legs, and abandoned everything it had insisted upon. (Times of Israel)
- Take Away Their Guns - Then We'll Talk - Avigdor Lieberman
Hamas remains the biggest obstacle to any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hamas is not a legitimate political actor or interlocutor. The group has attained its power and control only through the barrel of a gun. Hamas seeks to achieve its long-stated goals of destroying the State of Israel and the genocide of the Jewish people through violent jihad and by disseminating fear, not just among Israelis, but also among Palestinians.
Israel fully supports a broad international effort to rebuild the civilian infrastructure and economy in Gaza, provided there is a concerted parallel effort to prevent Hamas from rearming itself with weapons systems and rebuilding its terrorist infrastructure. Ultimately, the best guarantee for rebuilding Gaza and developing its economy will be demilitarization. The writer is Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- Who Won the Gaza War? - Neri Zilber
If the reported terms of the Gaza cease-fire agreement reached Tuesday are accurate, Hamas just spent nearly two months and more than 2,000 Palestinian lives fighting for three more nautical miles of fishing waters and 200 meters of additional border land.
All the conflict did was invite death and destruction - and pave the way for the PA's return to Gaza.
The writer is a visiting scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- Iran's Threats to "Arm the West Bank" Must Be Taken Seriously - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall
Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizade, Iran's Revolutionary Guards' missiles and aerospace force commander, said on Aug. 24 that Iran will accelerate arming the Palestinians in the West Bank. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared last month that the "events in Gaza" lead Iran to believe that the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza, and action must be taken in this direction.
During the Gaza war, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched Iranian-made rockets against Israeli civilians (Fajr 3 and 5), and Iranian know-how enabled them to manufacture thousands of rockets and mortar rounds. Iran also supplied the terrorist organizations with Austrian and Iranian-made sniper rifles. Iran also supplied the Palestinians with UAV technology used during the first days of the war. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Military Implications of the Syrian Regime's Defeat in Raqqa - Jeffrey White
Over the past two months, jihadist fighters from the Islamic State have waged an increasingly successful campaign against Assad regime forces in Syria's northern Raqqa province, culminating in the capture of al-Tabqa Airfield on Aug. 24.
This stands as the most significant defeat of regime forces since the beginning of the rebellion.
Full control of Raqqa helps the group secure the heartland of its "caliphate," and serves as a base for potential follow-on operations and the fall of a second province - Deir al-Zour - where Assad's forces are largely isolated around the airfield near the provincial capital. The regime failure in Raqqa raises the question of who will stop IS in Syria. The writer, a defense fellow at The Washington Institute, is a former senior defense intelligence officer.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: The International Determination Deficit - Emily B. Landau
The Interim Deal of November 2013 between the P5+1 and Iran, although only meant to stop the clock and provide time for the real negotiation on a comprehensive deal, is now hailed as a "landmark deal." The P5+1 are no longer demanding that Iran back away from its military ambitions; they are not even pressing for the weaponization aspects to be confronted head-on and quickly.
Rather, they are demonstrating a relatively lax attitude on that front, while quietly shifting the goal of the negotiation from an Iranian strategic U-turn in the nuclear realm to an attempt to ensure that enough time - 6 months, a year, or maybe 18 months - remains between the current situation and the possibility for Iran to break out to a bomb. This assumes amazing verification capabilities that are far from given.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Prime Minister Netanyahu Outlines Israel's Achievements in the Gaza War (Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli public on Wednesday:
- "Upon the establishment of the ceasefire, I can say that there is a major military achievement here, as well as a major diplomatic achievement for the State of Israel. Hamas was hit hard and it did not receive even a single one of the conditions that it set for a cease-fire."
- "The goal was to strike hard at Hamas and the terrorist organizations and in so doing bring prolonged quiet to all Israeli citizens."
- "We agreed...to carry out the humanitarian rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, with supervisory mechanisms and oversight abilities in our hands. This is in order to prevent the entry of weapons or materials that could be used to produce weapons."
- "Hamas is also isolated diplomatically. We received international legitimacy from the global community. First of all, we received 50 days for very strong action against the terrorist organizations. This was substantial. I think that we also instilled in the international community the fact that Hamas, ISIS and al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamic terrorist organizations are members of the same family."
- "We also instilled the understanding that the long-term goal is the demilitarization of Hamas and the terrorist organizations, the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip."
- "Will we achieve our goal for prolonged calm? I think it is still too early to say, but I can say that the harsh blow that Hamas and the terrorist organizations have taken, as well as our ability, via border controls, to prevent their rearming, increase the chances that this goal will be achieved....If it resumes firing, we will not tolerate sporadic firing at any part of the State of Israel."
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