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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
July 17, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Public Support for Israel Near Record High (Pew Research Center)
    51% of Americans say that in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, they sympathize more with Israel. Just 14% sympathize more with the Palestinians, according to a national survey conducted July 8-14.

U.S. Firefighters Arrive in Israel to Help amid Rocket Fire - Eitan Glickman (Ynet News)
    A delegation of firefighters from across the U.S. has arrived in Israel to help deal with ongoing rocket fire.
    "We were all part of the massive tragedy that was 9/11....When we heard that hundreds of rockets are falling on Israel we decided to join forces and come and help," said Billy Hearst, 51, from Texas, part of the Emergency Volunteer Project.
    "We have distributed them across the stations facing the heaviest workload since the operation began and they are in the fire trucks and stations together with their Israeli counterparts, working side by side," said Tzvika Moyal, head of the Ashdod District Fire Services.

Media Death Count Encourages Hamas to Use Human Shields - Alan Dershowitz (Jerusalem Post)
    The media loves to count the dead bodies on each side of a conflict. It's much easier to count than to explain. That's why Hamas employs what has come to be known as "the dead baby strategy."
    And Hamas will continue to employ a strategy that causes many Palestinian civilians to die as long as the media keeps up its thoughtless body count.

Norway's Foreign Minister Attacked by Missiles in Israel (The Local-Norway)
    Norway's foreign minister Borg Brende had to take cover in an underground shelter after he came under two missile attacks from Gaza during his stay in Ashkelon in Israel on Wednesday. The rockets hit 300 meters away.

Video: IDF Postpones Strikes on Hamas Targets after Identifying Civilians in the Area (IDF Spokesperson)
    Watch this declassified footage of pilots as they postpone air strikes after identifying civilians in the area of the target.

Hamas "Killer Drone" Is a Fake - Dave Majumdar (Daily Beast)
    Hamas has released a new video on Monday that supposedly shows footage of its new killer drone.
    The video shows a small drone with perhaps a 10-foot wingspan, and with what appear to be four small rockets mounted under the wings.
    The drone and its weapons appear to be little more than crudely built toys. The rockets are tiny and appear to be fake.

New App Gives World a View into Hamas' Non-Stop Terror Campaign - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    English speakers across the globe are getting a real-time glimpse of what it is like to live under the constant threat of terrorist rocket attacks thanks to a hugely popular smartphone app that sends out a "red alert" whenever Israel is targeted.
    The Red Alert: Israel app provides real time alerts every time a terrorist fires rockets, mortars, or missiles into Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel and Hamas Cease-Fire Begins to Allow Aid into Gaza - Nicholas Casey, Joshua Mitnick, and Tamer el-Ghobashy
    A temporary, 5-hour cease-fire proposed by the UN began at 10 a.m. on Thursday to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, with Israel and Hamas trading fire until the last moment. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Palestinians Fire Rockets from Gaza Two Hours into Cease-Fire (Ha'aretz)
  • These West Bank Residents Got Bombed. They're Very Happy about It - Noga Tarnopolsky
    Ramzi Al-Natsheh, 30, expressed indifference bordering on pride about the Gaza-launched missile that hit a Hebron family home on Sunday. "It's Hamas showing what they can do," he says. Hebron is a West Bank city controlled by Hamas.
        On Sunday, an M75 missile hit the front yard of Taher Tameem, 32, leaving a crater in the ground. The bomb's blast blew out his living room windows, and pierced the entrance to the home and its interior with shrapnel. "You hear a bjjjjjjjj," Al-Natsheh says, delineating a huge arc in the air with his arm, "then "BOOM."
        Saleh Rabyeh, a teenage boy who was taking dozens of iPhone pictures of the wreckage the day after the hit, exclaimed, "This is great. It is great that Hamas is doing this. But not on us. It's not good here. It should be on the Jews. With just a little bit more flight this one would have hit the Jews." "This is so good," agreed Tameem, the homeowner. "I saw the missile as a blessing from the sky, because it comes from Hamas. Good for Hamas!"  (GlobalPost)
  • Israelis Adjust to Life under Rockets
    A striking photo of 20 young children lying on the floor of their Hod Hasharon kindergarten during a siren with their hands covering their heads was featured prominently Wednesday in Israeli media. Most Israelis say they are willing to stomach the abnormal reality a while longer to avoid repeating a similar situation again, having already faced three rounds of fierce rocket fire over the past five years.
        Yotam Dagan, the director of community outreach at Israel's Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, said, "We've learned to move from normalcy to emergency in minutes...but when a missile lands near you it takes something out of you."  (AP-Washington Post)
  • Obama Likely to Seek Additional Time for Nuclear Negotiations with Iran - David E. Sanger
    President Obama said on Wednesday that he believed the U.S. had "a credible way forward" in its nuclear negotiations with Iran, and strongly suggested that he would seek an extension of the talks beyond Sunday's deadline. Iran has already signaled that it wants more time to negotiate, but Mr. Obama is almost certain to run into opposition on Capitol Hill, where Republicans and even some Democrats have argued that Tehran is simply stalling. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Thwarts Palestinian Tunnel Attack Inside Israel - Mitch Ginsburg
    The Israeli army thwarted a large-scale infiltration attempt from Gaza in which 13 armed Palestinians emerged from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the border at dawn Thursday, an army spokesperson said. The gunmen emerged two kilometers from Kibbutz Sufa and were spotted by Israeli sensors. As they attempted to run back underground they were struck by Israeli aircraft. (Times of Israel)
        Video: Watch IDF Thwart Gaza Terrorists Who Infiltrated into Israel (IDF Spokesperson)
  • IDF Special Forces Operating in Gaza - Yoav Zitun
    Throughout Operation Protective Edge, IDF special units have been operating on the ground in Gaza. (Ynet News)
  • Ashkelon Teenager: There Were 30 Seconds between Me and Death - Tovah Lazaroff
    Anat Suisse, 17, was home alone in Ashkelon when she heard the warning siren. Immediately she raced to the small protected room in the basement. Suisse estimates that she made it to safety within 30 seconds before "I heard a huge explosion and the door of the shelter flew open." A rocket had fallen in the backyard, shattering most of the windows. Each room was filled with hundreds of pieces of jagged glass and trees were uprooted in the backyard.
        "It is not logical that children my age and children that are much younger, and older people, live in a situation where we regularly have only 30 seconds to save our lives," said Suisse. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Emergency Routine in Israel: 30 Seconds to Run for Cover - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • There Is No Moral Equivalency between Israel and Hamas - Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
    The notion that there is a moral equivalency between the defensive and targeted actions that the rule-of-law-based Israel is compelled to take, and the proactive and indiscriminate actions that hate-based organizations like Hamas takes, is completely unfair, unfounded and infuriating to supporters of Israel - with good reason. In fact, there is no moral equivalence between the actions and reactions of Israel and Hamas and the Palestinian community to the violence that has occurred.
        How did Hamas and too many diverse parts of the mainstream Palestinian community respond to the kidnap and murder of three young Israelis? They cheered. Compare that to the reaction of the Israeli people to the murder of the Palestinian teenager. Israelis were aghast. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately called the murderers "terrorists."
        Hamas, which has won elections with the support of the population of Gaza, is a terrorist group that remains bent on the destruction of Israel and its citizens. Without provocation, the Hamas governing authority flings rockets over the border, all over Israel, without regard to civilian lives or public safety. When Israel reacts, it does so defensively. It targets military capabilities or terrorist leaders. What other society gives advanced warnings to those shelling it, by dropping leaflets and making cellphone calls to warn the inhabitants of impending defensive strikes, to minimize the loss of innocent lives? These proportional steps clearly make it harder to eliminate the terrorists and rockets.
        To say that both sides are equally to blame simply lets Hamas and its leaders off the hook and encourages them to continue the violence. We can't have a double standard which fails to grant Israel the same understanding as any other country that finds itself under attack. (New York Post)
  • Palestinian 5th Column - Ahmed Al-Jarallah
    Hamas continues to trade in the blood of the innocent people in Gaza and it has rejected calls for a cease-fire. Do they think they will be able to defeat Israel with their primitive weapons? Whether we like it or not, Israel is there. No solution will go through without Israel being part of it.  Therefore, it is up to the Palestinians to get rid of their illusions and sincerely try to contemplate the benefits brought forth by Egypt's [cease-fire] initiative. (Arab Times-Kuwait)
        See also What Is Hamas Trying to Achieve? - Dr. Azeem Ibrahim
    Hamas is playing a cynical game by firing completely useless and militarily insignificant rockets into Israel. The purpose of these wanton attacks, that cannot hope to penetrate Israel's Iron Dome, cannot reasonably be other than to provoke Israeli retaliation. Their hope is that this will lead to significant sympathy around the Muslim world that might rescue Hamas financially. (Al Arabiya)
        See also Where Are Gaza's Bomb Shelters? - Abdulateef al-Mulhim
    Why was Hamas successful in spreading a sophisticated network of tunnels and failed to build simple bomb shelters if they knew there would be armed conflicts? If Hamas really wanted an armed conflict, then they should have at least built some bomb shelters for the poor innocent Palestinians. Most of them don't want this armed conflict. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • The Similarity between Hamas and ISIS - Jonathan D. Halevi
    Hamas has directed its massive and ongoing rocket attacks towards civilian targets to cause as much indiscriminate carnage as possible, similar to the notorious radical Islamic organization the "Islamic State" (ISIS). Organizations ideologically affiliated with ISIS, such as "the Islamic State in Bayt Al-Maqdis," have participated in the campaign against Israel. Hamas provides a safe haven for all Palestinian terrorist organizations and allows the al-Qaeda affiliates to operate freely. The writer is a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Toronto Sun-Canada)

What the West Can Learn from Israel's Tactics Against Hamas - Ed Fitch (Vancouver Sun-Canada)

  • Prior to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, I headed the Games Red Team, which was assigned the role of adversary to the Canadian Armed Forces security plan. We devised a fictional terrorist cell and attack plan to test Canada's defense of the Games and, in so doing, expose any flaws.
  • Counter-terrorism has reached a level of complexity, speed, and moral dilemmas the likes of which were unimaginable a century ago. Post-9/11, Western forces operate in highly complex environments, with plain-clothed terrorists embedding themselves among and exploiting their civilian populations.
  • Non-state actors enjoy tremendous home-field advantage. Extremist movements rather than a legitimate state, these groups aim to inflict maximum damage on Western forces while using high civilian casualties to wage a public relations war. The current battle between Israel and various terror groups in Gaza, foremost among them Hamas, reflects an extreme version of this new phase of asymmetric warfare.
  • Israel's strategic weakness has always been its small geography (in total, Israel is about two-thirds the size of Vancouver Island). Hamas has starkly exposed that vulnerability through its unprecedented barrages of long-range missiles. Those weapons, many of which are provided by Iran, now threaten the majority of Israelis - more than five million civilians.
  • The psychological impact can be likened to that experienced by Londoners in 1940, a 21st century blitz, albeit with iPhone apps to alert Israelis of incoming missiles. Were it not for the Iron Dome system, the country would be wracked with destruction.
  • The tactics used by Hamas are sure to be replicated by Islamist terror movements elsewhere. Western militaries would be wise to study Israel's tactics and ensure our forces are ready for a new evolution in asymmetric warfare.

    The writer is a retired Canadian Major-General.

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