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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 Tuesday,
July 22, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Most Americans Side with Israel in Gaza Fighting (CNN)
    57% of Americans said the Israeli actions against Hamas in Gaza are justified, while 37% said they are unjustified, according to a CNN poll conducted July 18-20.

U.S. Intelligence Claims Hamas Has Many More Tunnels - Ariel Ben Solomon (Jerusalem Post)
    According to a senior U.S. National Security Council official, American satellites equipped with special high resolution infrared detection technology have spotted around 60 tunnels on the Israel-Gaza border.
    See also View Footage of Tunnels Used by Hamas for Terror Attacks (MEMRI)
    A unit of Hamas' Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam brigades enters a tunnel on its way to carry out a military operation Israel. A member of the brigades said:
    "Even if the enemy takes all the necessary precautions, we will definitely reach it within its own home, no matter what it does. This is what the enemy must realize from now on."

Report: Israel Air Force Struck Sudan Weapons Stockpile Headed for Hamas - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    Israel recently blew up a weapons cache in Sudan that was destined for Hamas in Gaza, the London-based newspaper Al-Arab reported Monday.
    The bombing of a warehouse of weapons occurred just hours after Israel accused Sudan of providing long-range rockets to Hamas.

Aerial Photos Identify Rocket Launches from Civilian Areas - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    On Monday the IDF published photos displaying rocket launchers placed at a number of civilian sites, like playgrounds, schools, hospitals, and cemeteries.

IDF Foils Attempt to Smuggle Weapons from Jordan across Dead Sea - Stuart Winer (Times of Israel)
    Security forces thwarted an attempt to smuggle guns and drugs from Jordan into Israel on a boat that sailed across the Dead Sea overnight Monday, the army said.

Gaza Fighting Resembles Second Lebanon War - Amir Rapaport (Israel Defense)
    The IDF was dragged into the ground fighting in Gaza knowing the price might be heavy.
    In many ways, Operation Protective Edge resembles the Second Lebanon War much more than it does Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009 or Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
    What makes the fighting much more difficult is the strengthening of Hamas, which used the period in which the Muslim Brotherhood ruled Egypt to establish a real military industry in Gaza and to smuggle in a large amount of anti-tank missiles.

Why Didn't Hamas Build Bomb Shelters? - Abdulateef Al-Mulhim (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
    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?
    Is Hamas willing to sacrifice Palestinians to get more Arab and foreign financial aid?
    Is the attack from Gaza planned by the Iranians to take some of the pressure off Bashar Assad?

Tunnels Matter More than Rockets to Hamas - Michael B. Mukasey (Wall Street Journal)
    Hamas' tunnel network gave it the ability to launch a coordinated attack within Israel like the 2008 Islamist rampage in Mumbai that killed 164 people. The entire network is the jewel of Hamas' war-planning.
    The writer served as U.S. attorney general (2007-09).

Gaza's Ordeal Has Not Struck a Chord with Many Arabs - Diana Moukalled (Asharq al-Awsat-UK)
    For the most part, there is little noticeable outrage over the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza. At this point, we must admit that the ordeal of Gaza's residents has not struck a chord with many Arabs.
    The Palestinian cause has become a victim of the rhetoric of "resistance" adopted by the Syrian regime. The official stance of the Syrian regime boils down to the idea that they are killing their own people in order to liberate Palestine.
    Perhaps the difficulty is that the victims in Gaza have been crowded out by the many more in other places. Palestine is no longer the only tragedy of the Levant.

India Refuses to Censure Israel - Walter Russell Mead (American Interest)
    India's parliament rejected a resolution Monday that condemned the Israeli military campaign in Gaza - a conspicuous change for the country, which has historically been supportive of Palestinian claims.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas: No Cease-Fire with Israel until Demands Are Met - William Booth, Sudarsan Raghavan and Ruth Eglash
    Hamas said Monday that it would not agree to a cease-fire with Israel until its demands were met, offering little hope for quick progress toward ending the conflict that has inflicted heavy costs on each side. Seven more Israeli soldiers were killed in fierce fighting Monday, bringing the Israeli military toll to 27 dead. More than 560 people in Gaza have been reported killed. Palestinians fired more than 100 rockets at Israel on Monday, including three at Tel Aviv. (Washington Post)
        See also Kerry Intent on Gaza Truce - Herb Keinon
    While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Monday to broker a cease-fire, he is likely to find that the urgency he feels is not shared by the main protagonists. As former National Security Council head Giora Eiland pointed out on Monday, the three main sides to a cease-fire - Israel, Hamas and Egypt - don't at this point have an overwhelming sense of urgency.
        Israel, having made the decision to launch a ground incursion - and now paying a heavy price as a result - will not want to stop until it has significantly degraded Hamas' operational capabilities. Hamas, too, is not in any great rush to stop the firing. In Hamas' thinking, by continuing the fighting they have little to lose: Israel will come under increasing pressure as the Palestinian civilian casualty rate rises, and one of their "spectacular" attacks may succeed.
        Egypt is definitely not shedding any tears over the beating Hamas is taking. Nor is Egypt necessarily sad to see Israel bleed. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Egypt: No Amendments to Gaza Truce Proposal
    Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in Cairo Monday that a truce between Palestinians and Israelis proposed by Egypt and rejected by Hamas last week will not be amended. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • U.S. Sharpens Criticism of Hamas, Urges Cease-Fire - Lara Jakes
    The U.S. on Sunday sharpened its criticism of Hamas and urged the militant Palestinian group to accept a cease-fire agreement. "It's ugly. War is ugly," Secretary of State John Kerry said. "And bad things are going to happen. But they (Hamas) need to recognize their own responsibility."
        U.S. officials made clear that Hamas could bring relief to the Palestinian people if it agrees to a cease-fire proposed by Egypt - a view that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing as well. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Soldier Missing, Presumed Dead in Gaza
    An IDF soldier killed in Sunday's Hamas attack on an Israeli APC on the Gaza border is missing and presumed dead, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. The IDF on Tuesday said that it had identified six of the seven IDF soldiers killed in the attack. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also 20,000 Israelis Attend Funeral of IDF Soldier from U.S. - Ahiya Raved
    More than 20,000 people on Monday attended the funeral of Sgt. Sean Carmeli from the U.S., a Golani Brigade soldier who was killed in Gaza this week. Carmeli had been a fan of the Maccabi Haifa soccer club, and the team's Internet forums issued an emotional call to all fans to attend the funeral. "We don't want his funeral to be empty. Come and pay your last respects to a hero who was killed so that we could live. This is the least we can do for him and for our nation." There are about 2,000 soldiers who came from overseas currently serving in the IDF. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Sees Itself as the Victor - Avi Issacharoff
    Due to the high death toll among IDF soldiers and the devastating blow to the Palestinian civilian population, Hamas sees itself as the victor. The perpetuated myth of a massacre in Sejaiya has brought the organization an unprecedented degree of support among the Palestinians, especially in the West Bank. However, the myth of that "massacre" has also created panic among the Gazan public.
        The driving emotion among the residents of Gaza is one of mass hysteria. This means that during the next operation in Sejaiya, or in any other neighborhood, the IDF will likely encounter far fewer civilians. The majority of Gaza residents in combat zones will from now on flee for their lives - heeding the IDF's warnings and not Hamas' calls to stay. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Shot by Terrorist Gunman in West Bank
    An Israel man was shot while standing at the Rechalim junction in the West Bank on Tuesday by a gunman in a passing vehicle, the IDF said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel in a Situation of Kill or Be Killed - Shimon Shiffer
    People are looking for a legal justification for the IDF's offensive moves, and I answer them with one sentence: Kill or be killed. A nation cannot base its citizens' defense on interception systems. The IDF must attack. Hamas left us with no other choice. We have to convey an unequivocal message to all our enemies that they should not mess with us and that we don't need international legitimacy in order to defend ourselves. We must prove that in the violent neighborhood we live in, we are the only ones setting the rules of the game. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • A Gaza Solution: Demilitarization - Michael B. Oren
    The key to ending the current battle between Hamas and Israel - and preventing more fighting in the future - is the demilitarization of Gaza. Simply put, Hamas without rockets is not the same Hamas. The Obama administration supports the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state. President Obama provided the most recent precedent for demilitarizing Gaza: the removal of chemical weapons from Syria. The U.S. must unite with international and regional governments to convince Hamas that it has no choice but to demilitarize.
        Still, Hamas is sure to cling bitterly to its rockets. And silencing the rocket fire may require reoccupying most of Gaza. That is why Israel must be allowed to maintain - and, if necessary, escalate - its pressure on Hamas. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Mowing the Grass in Gaza to Degrade Enemy Capabilities - Efraim Inbar and Eitan Shamir
    Hamas left Israel's government no choice but to order the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to start a land incursion. Israel's goal continues to be the establishment of a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety without constant indiscriminate terror.
        Calls for reaching a "political solution" are totally unrealistic. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Salafist groups see Israel as a theological aberration, and despite reluctant acceptance of temporary cease-fires, reject any diplomatic course of action intended to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fanatic commitment of these militias to a radical ideology and to a long-term strategy of violent resistance turn the situation into an intractable conflict.
        Nevertheless, employing military force is useful. Hamas needs to be punished for its aggressive behavior and reminded of the cost it must pay for continuing the violence against Israel. Important periods of quiet are attainable by military action, and this is what explains Israel's current offensive.
        Moreover, other actors in this Middle East neighborhood are watching, and they also need a clear reminder that aggression against Israel is costly. Inaction would be perceived as weakness, harming deterrence and inviting aggression. Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the BESA Center, is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University. Dr. Eitan Shamir is a research associate at the BESA Center. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • How Many Israelis Must Die Before We Are "Allowed" to Defend Them? - Hilik Bar
    Hamas rockets are aimed at Israel's civilian population, and are unprovoked, sent with murderous intent. Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has fired over 1,500 rockets into Israel. Israel's operation, meanwhile, is dedicated solely to removing the capacity of Hamas to fire missiles into Israeli population centers and dismantling its terror tunnels.
        To discuss the concept of proportionality, one must offset the number of deaths against the aims of the operation. In the context of putting a stop to intolerable, hourly murder attempts against an entire population, Israel's campaign is perfectly understandable. One wonders how the UK would react if a terror group overtook the Isle of Man and began raining missiles down on Britain.
        The coldhearted subtext is that Israelis must die in order for their military campaign to gain any sympathy. Yet no interviewer would dream of asking a British army general or politician why more Afghans died than British soldiers in the war there. As Israel's ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, said recently: "We don't have to apologize for Israelis not being killed." The writer, deputy speaker of the Knesset, is secretary general of the Israeli Labor party. (Guardian-UK)
  • A Bloody Conflict in Gaza, But Israel Is Not to Blame - Editorial
    The Israel Defense Forces Monday issued a mocked-up picture of the Houses of Parliament with missiles raining down on the building, alongside the words: "What would you do?" It is a good question. Indeed, as the IDF continues its offensive in Gaza, it is one that Israel's critics need to answer - but can't. In similar circumstances, what would we do to protect our families and territory? (Telegraph-UK)
  • Hamas' Civilian Death Strategy - Thane Rosenbaum
    The people of Gaza overwhelmingly elected Hamas, a terrorist outfit dedicated to the destruction of Israel, as their designated representatives. Gazans sheltered terrorists and their weapons in their homes. What did Gazans think was going to happen? On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands, and allow them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations.
        In the U.S. if a parent is found to have locked his or her child in a parked car on a summer day with the windows closed, a social worker takes the children away. In Gaza, parents who place their children in the direct line of fire are rewarded with an interview on MSNBC. The writer is a professor at the New York University School of Law. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
  • Are Israeli Actions in Gaza "Disproportionate"? - Alex Safian
    Myth: Because far more Gaza residents than Israelis have been killed, the Israeli actions are "disproportionate."
    Fact: In the Pacific Theatre in World War II, over 2.7 million Japanese were killed, including 580,000 civilians, as against 106,000 Americans. Does it follow that Japan was in the right and America was in the wrong? Just having more dead on your side does not make you right.
        Proportionality in the Law of War has nothing to do with the relative number of casualties on the two sides. If a target has high military value, then it can be attacked even if there will be some civilian casualties in doing so. By this measure, Israel's efforts to destroy missiles before they can be fired at Israeli civilians, even if that places Palestinian civilians at risk, seems to conform perfectly to the Laws of War. There is no requirement that Israel place the lives of its own citizens in danger to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians. (CAMERA)
  • Ban Ki-moon's Shameful Message in Israel's Hour of Need - Anne Bayefsky
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned Israeli military strikes in the Sejaiya neighborhood in Gaza: "I condemn this atrocious action. Israel must exercise maximum restraint and do far more to protect civilians." Yet he said nothing about any "atrocious action" by Hamas. He also made no demand that Hamas "restrain" itself from fulfilling its goal of obliterating Israel. For the UN, no move that Israel makes, short of surrender to the Palestinian mob, will ever be sufficient. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Iran

  • U.S. Must Play Hardball in Nuclear Talks with Iran - Michael Singh
    As it prepares for four more months of nuclear talks with Iran, the U.S. faces a disadvantage: Even if there is ultimately no agreement, Tehran will pocket the considerable concessions Washington has already made. Iran will then argue that it has proven its reasonableness and that sanctions should no longer be respected. The challenge for U.S. negotiators, then, is not just to reach an agreement but also to change Iranians' minds about the consequences of not reaching an agreement.
        The Obama administration has made clear that it is more willing than its predecessors to accept a large Iranian nuclear program and engaging directly with Tehran to build trust. Meanwhile, it has failed to persuade Iran that rejecting a deal would have alarming consequences. From Iran's perspective the alternative to negotiations is just more negotiations. This diminishes its incentive to accept even a generous deal.
        Major concessions were made in the interim agreement, before the current round of talks even began. As a result, the U.S. began the most recent talks having largely already reached our bottom line. The writer, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, worked on Middle East issues at the U.S. National Security Council from 2005 to 2008. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran Can Afford to Say No to a Nuclear Deal - Patrick Clawson
    Just how crippling have the sanctions imposed on Iran been? The answer? No longer so much. The Iranian government has slashed spending drastically and permitted the rial to depreciate by about 60% within a few months. This depreciation caused imports to fall by $22 billion and exports to increase by $11 billion, making up for half the loss in oil export earnings caused by sanctions. In short, Iran has brought its economy into line with the resources available under the new sanctions regime.
        The IMF forecasts that growth in 2014/15 will be 1.5%, rising to 2.3% per year afterward if oil sales do not pick up and sanctions persist. Put another way, Iran's economy under sanctions is poised to grow at about the same pace as the U.S. economy. Sanctions brought Iran to the table, but the regime may be willing to pay the price rather than agreeing to the steps the P5+1 are demanding. The writer is director of research at the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

I'm Done Apologizing for Israel - Rabbi Menachem Creditor (Huffington Post)

  • I am a progressive American rabbi who leans left pretty hard. So, when it comes to Israel, many of those with whom I engage in social reform expect me to react to Israel's military actions in Gaza with scorn and criticism. To those who suggest that Prime Minister Netanyahu is over-reacting to the missiles, I offer this response:
  • Israel is risking Israeli lives in surgical strikes to destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels created with building materials Israel allowed into Gaza for infrastructure projects to benefit Palestinian society.
  • Israel has agreed to two humanitarian cease-fires. In the first hours of those ceasefires, Hamas rained down over 70 missiles onto Israel civilians. Israel is doing its best, sacrificing its own children to preserve the lives of Palestinians
  • I am done trying to apologetically explain Jewish morality. I am done apologizing for my own Jewish existence. Having watched in this last week anti-Semitic "die-ins" in Boston, violent assaults against Jews in Los Angeles and Antwerp, and an almost pogrom at a synagogue in Paris, I'm done mincing my own words.
  • We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies.

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