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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
July 16, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Blocked Qatari Funds Intended for Hamas Employees - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
    The U.S. blocked the transfer of Qatari funds earmarked for the salaries of civil servants hired by Hamas in Gaza, a diplomatic source in the Gulf state said.
    Qatar had transferred the funds to Arab Bank, but the money was never processed due to pressure from the Americans, though "funds from Qatar have never been blocked in the past."

Gaza Fatalities Mostly Combatant-Age Males (CAMERA)
    While media coverage often parrots the line fed by Gazan authorities that "most of the casualties are civilians" in hostilities between Hamas and Israel, according to a list published by Al Jazeera on July 14, fatalities in Gaza since July 7 are disproportionately young males.
    Males over 40 years old are also disproportionately represented, some of whom likely represent senior members of terrorist organizations.

Video: Israel's "Knock on the Roof" Early Warning Tactic - Damien Gayle (Daily Mail-UK)
    Israel has a policy of warning the occupants of buildings targeted for airstrikes, dubbed "knock on the roof," where aircraft first fire small projectiles on the tops of buildings to tell residents to get out.

Hamas Got Rich as Gaza Was Plunged into Poverty - Doron Peskin (Ynet News)
    Hamas leaders and their associates have benefitted financially from their takeover of Gaza. In 2010, the Egyptian magazine Rose al-Yusuf reported that former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh paid $4 million for a parcel of land in Rimal, a beachfront neighborhood of Gaza City.
    Since then, there have been reports that Haniyeh has purchased several homes in Gaza, registered in the names of his children. Not long ago Gaza's market for luxury villas was booming, most purchased by people associated with the Hamas establishment.
    Before Sisi came to power in Egypt, Khairat a-Shater, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who headed his own business empire, personally transferred tens of millions in cash to senior administration officials in Gaza as well as to commanders from the Hamas military wing.

Video: What Israelis Experience During a Rocket Attack (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has produced daily video clips (nine since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge). View them all here.

Gazan Rocket Hits Second Electricity Line to Gaza - Sharon Udasin (Jerusalem Post)
    Rocket fire from Gaza hit a second power line that feeds electricity to Gaza on Tuesday, following a similar incident on Sunday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Renews Gaza Bombing After Hamas Rejects Truce Plan - Calev Ben-David and Saud Abu Ramadan
    Israel renewed its air raids on Gaza after a Palestinian rocket bombardment left an Egyptian truce proposal the Israelis accepted in tatters. (Bloomberg)
        See also While Israel Held Its Fire, Hamas Did Not - William Booth
    It was a brief, one-sided lull. Hamas militants did not agree to the cease-fire and started lobbing mortar rounds at Israel within minutes after Israel's attacks stopped on Tuesday. Israel said that more than 140 rockets and mortars were launched at it from Gaza during the day.
        Shifa Hospital in Gaza City has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices. (Washington Post)
  • Kerry Condemns Continued Hamas Rocket Attacks - Laurence Norman
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned Hamas' continued rocket attacks on Israel on Tuesday, accusing the group of putting innocent lives in danger. Kerry said the U.S. strongly supported Egypt's cease-fire plan, which Israeli officials have said they would accept.
        "I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to operate a cease-fire," he said. Kerry called on the Arab League to press Hamas to "do the right thing."  (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Civilian Killed by Gaza Mortar Fire - Chaim Levinson
    Dror Khenin, 37, became the first Israeli to die from Hamas fire on Tuesday. Khanin, a resident of the central Israeli town of Beit Aryeh, traveled south to distribute food packages collected for soldiers on the Gaza border. He was hit by mortar shrapnel at the Erez border crossing. Khenin is survived by his wife Raheli, and their three children. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Four Rockets Intercepted over Tel Aviv on Wednesday (Ynet News)
        See also Iron Dome Intercepts Six Missiles Shot toward Beersheba on Wednesday (Ha'aretz)
  • Kerry Triggered the Short-Lived Cease-Fire - Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury
    On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, then in Vienna for talks with Iran about its nuclear program, launched a marathon of phone calls with Prime Minister Netanyahu, PA President Abbas, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and others. Senior Israeli officials said that in every phone call Kerry offered to fly immediately to Cairo and Jerusalem to try to advance a cease-fire. But Egyptians and Israelis both politely rejected that offer, telling Kerry they are already in direct contact and didn't need American mediation.
        Ironically, however, Kerry's pressure to fly in pushed Egypt and Israel to accelerate their own efforts to craft a cease-fire proposal. The final proposal was drafted by Egyptian intelligence in cooperation with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. A senior Israeli official said the Egyptian proposal essentially adopted ideas raised by Abbas, who had suggested that the Egyptians first declare an end to hostilities by both sides and then begin detailed negotiations over various issues related to Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Hardly Harmed - Aaron J. Klein and Mitch Ginsburg
    Israel's military campaign has failed to inflict serious damage on the Hamas war machine, several sources said Monday. "They still have almost 90 percent of their rockets," said Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser. Amidror said that Israel has not hit Hamas rocket stores, rocket development capacity, and senior personnel for two reasons: a lack of detailed intelligence, and an understanding that "the collateral damage would be enormous." He believes an invasion of Gaza would prove useful in the long term - sparing lives on both sides.
        A senior IDF intelligence officer in the Southern Command said Hamas has placed much of its rocket stores under tall, civilian buildings. "Even if we ordered all of the residents out of the buildings, the collateral damage would be massive." The secondary explosions would kill many innocent civilians. (Times of Israel)
        See also Digging In, Hamas Believes Time Is on Its Side - Avi Issacharoff
    Hamas' politicians are taking orders from the military wing these days, not the other way around. Hamas is still looking at many more days of conflict. It realizes that international opinion is against it, and that the world regards Hamas as having escalated the conflict, but believes that as reports of Gaza civilian casualties mount, world opinion will turn increasingly against Israel. It also believes that in a week or two, if Israeli soldiers start dying, Israeli public pressure will demand an end to the conflict - on better terms for Hamas. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hamas Is Playing a Dangerous Game with Gazan Lives - Editorial
    So far Hamas' military campaign against Israel has been a dismal failure. Some 1,200 rockets fired at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities have caused only one Israeli death and a few other casualties. Attempted commando attacks via the sea and a tunnel were stopped short, and a drone that ventured into Israel was quickly shot down.
        Yet Hamas on Tuesday rejected an Egyptian cease-fire proposal that was supported by Western governments and the Arab League and had been accepted by Israel. The cease-fire proposal was answered with a new barrage of missiles aimed at central Israel.
        Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win concessions by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks. Hamas probably calculates that more deaths will prompt Western governments to pressure Israel to grant Hamas' demands. The right response of the international community is not to surrender to Hamas' despicable tactics but to continue insisting that it unconditionally accept the cease-fire proposed by Egypt. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Media Campaign Fortifies Gaza Public - Noah Browning
    "Our rockets have struck Tel Aviv!" the loudspeaker of a Gaza mosque blared. The roars of men and boys arose from the windows of houses: "God is Great!" No rocket actually hit Tel Aviv. They were either shot down by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile interceptor or fell harmlessly on open ground. But that did not matter in Gaza where inhabitants mostly rely for news on Hamas-controlled media.
        Gaza families tune in for hours to local TV's pulse-quickening coverage, blending the gory aftermath of Israeli air strikes with bulletins of triumphs in battle. A flash appears: "Rockets of the resistance strike Ashkelon," and martial songs play. The Iron Dome interceptions are almost never mentioned. Muhammad Abu Asi, 19, says, "The resistance is striking more painful blows than ever before...(Israel) lies to cover their losses....We're sure we'll win."  (Reuters)
        See also Warning Sirens in Tel Aviv - Debra Kamin
    Hamas announced that in exactly one hour, they would destroy Tel Aviv. That was Saturday about 8 p.m. When Hamas threatened to flatten Tel Aviv on Saturday night, all I could do was sit on the sofa with my husband and wait for that wretched wailing siren to once again rise up and tell us to run.
        At 9:04 p.m., the sirens did wail, and once again we scooped up our dog and ran to the shelter. They say that 10 missiles were lobbed at Tel Aviv at once, but the Iron Dome knocked them all out of the sky. We stood underground with our neighbors, all of us jumping with each deafening "boom" of interception. (New York Daily News)
        See also Meeting Gratitude and Resilience in Southern Israel - Debra Kamin
    The van was packed with shampoo, deodorant, cotton underwear, snacks and toilet paper collected by employees of Nefesh B'Nefesh, destined for the IDF soldiers poised to enter Gaza. At a gas station in Kiryat Malachi, when we said we were delivering donated goods to soldiers, the two teenaged girls working the cash register came out and hugged us, and told us we could take anything we liked from their shelves to add to our pile. (Times of Israel)

The Bizarre Moral Criticism Against Israel - Eric H. Yoffie (TIME)

  • The reason that Hamas has not killed more Israelis is not because they haven't tried. In the seven years during which it has controlled Gaza, Hamas and its proxies have fired more than 5,000 rockets into Israel; almost 800 have been launched just this past week. Each one has been aimed at civilians and intended to murder and maim. The reason that more Israelis have not died is that Israel has prepared herself with shelters, warning sirens and an anti-missile system.
  • For Israel, the fundamental issue is the responsibility of its government to protect its citizens. As missiles have fallen on her cities over the years, the government has not succeeded in providing that protection. The reasons are many, including sensitivity to American wishes and a concern for world opinion; but the desire not to hurt the innocent is the most important. Now, however, as children in the south continue to live in terror and civilians throughout Israel flee to shelters several times daily, Israel's leaders have concluded that they must act.
  • There is something bizarre about the idea of "proportionality" being used as a moral criticism against Israel. A proportional response by Israel to the attacks of the last seven years would mean that every time a rocket is fired by Hamas at an Israeli civilian center, Israel would respond by firing a rocket at a civilian center in Gaza. Israel, of course, rejected that, then and now.
  • Imagine how we as Americans would respond if a terrorist group embedded in Mexico that the Mexican government refused to disarm is firing missiles into Houston night after night, endangering American lives. Our government would not wait a week or a month; indeed, it would not wait a single day before taking action.
  • We need only remember how American forces flew half way around the world to engage in a war in Afghanistan against terrorists who carried out an attack on American soil. The talk then was not of proportionality, but of providing security for our country and stopping those who wished to do us harm.
  • For any country, morality begins with a reasonable measure of security for her own citizens, and it is not right to say that Israel must protect Palestinian civilians at the cost of abandoning her own.

    Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie was President of the Union for Reform Judaism from 1996 to 2012.

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