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July 25, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

IDF Says UN Lying about Gaza Civilian Casualties - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    Israel says the UN aid agency UNRWA is falsely claiming that the Israel Defense Forces did not permit civilians to evacuate a Gaza school where 15 people were killed Thursday.
    "For two days we were trying to move people out of that school in particular and the Beit Hanoun area in general," said an IDF official who was involved in the interactions between the IDF, UNRWA, and the International Red Cross leading up to the incident.
    "This morning we sought a cease-fire in the area and a humanitarian evacuation of civilians, but Hamas refused - because they wanted to keep civilians in the area to protect their fighters who were firing on the IDF," the source said.
    The claim by UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness that the IDF did not respond to their request to evacuate civilians is "a flat-out, complete and total lie."
    See also Video: Israeli Ambassador Blames Hamas for School Hit - Erin Burnett (CNN)
    Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer speaks about a strike on a UN shelter in Gaza.

Hizbullah's Plan for Underground War on Israel - Lee Smith (Weekly Standard)
    "The spiritual father of Hamas' tunnel system is Imad Mughniyeh," says Shimon Shapira, a Hizbullah expert and senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
    Mughniyeh, assassinated in 2008 in an operation believed to have been conducted by the Israelis, is credited with directing Hizbullah's 2006 war. He was the head of the organization's external operations unit and responsible for countless terrorist attacks.
    He also served as liaison to the top Iranian leadership as well as other Iranian allies and assets, including Hamas. "Mughniyeh sent instructors to Gaza and took Hamas members to Iran," Shapira explains.
    "Hassan Nasrallah says Hizbullah has a two-part operational plan," says Shapira. "One is rocket fire on Tel Aviv and two is conquest of the Galilee. I wondered what he meant by that?"
    "How is Hizbullah going to invade the Galilee, take hostages, capture villages, and overrun military installations? But we're learning from what is happening now [in Gaza]. Nasrallah means Hizbullah is going to penetrate Israel through tunnels."

Rocket Fired at Eilat Thursday Night - Yoav Zitun and Gilad Morag (Ynet News)
    Israel's Iron Dome intercepted a rocket above Eilat on Thursday night, for the second time since the Palestinian rocket attacks began.
    Gaza rocket fire at Israel continued throughout the day.

Egypt Destroys Rockets Smuggled from Gaza (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
    Egyptian troops in the North Sinai town of Rafah destroyed a vehicle laden with Grad rockets being smuggled from Gaza through a tunnel, a security source in the army told Aswat Masriya. Militants were planning to use the weaponry to fire at Israel.
    Egypt's government accuses Hamas of aiding Islamist militants in Egypt.
    See also Egypt Kills Suicide Bomber Approaching Israeli Border near Kerem Shalom (Ma'an News-PA)
    Egyptian troops killed a suicide bomber who tried to approach the Israeli border near Kerem Shalom on Wednesday.
    The bomber carried an explosive device in addition to an explosive belt on his body. He was shot dead while running towards the border with Israel.

Video: What Israeli Schoolchildren Sing to Deal with Rockets (YouTube)
    Illana Madmoni, a second-grade teacher at Kibbutz Sa'ad, said that it used to break her heart to have nothing to say to comfort the children during the silence between the Color Red alarm and the impact.
    "Now they are not only less afraid, but the actions and movement empower them and they feel they have overcome the attack and are moving forward."

Israel Defense Forces on Facebook (IDF Spokesperson)
    View the IDF's latest infographics on Facebook. This page has more than one million followers.

    See also Daily Report on Civilian Assistance to Gaza (Israel Ministry of Defense)

Iran Rallies Against Israel on "Jerusalem Day" (AFP-Samaa-Pakistan)
    Iranians rallied nationwide on Friday in a show of support for Palestinians and to protest against Israel as demonstrations were staged in Tehran and more than 700 towns and cities across the country.
    TV footage showed demonstrators carrying placards saying "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."
    "Quds Day"  (Jerusalem Day) is staged annually on the last Friday of Ramadan.
    On Thursday, the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, told state television's Arabic service that Tehran had provided Hamas with the technology it has used to rain down rockets on Israel.

Syria's Allies Are Stretched by Widening War - Sam Dagher (Wall Street Journal)
    Hizbullah, facing a heavy strain on its resources, is recruiting more fighters in Syria and bringing in fresh but inexperienced forces from Lebanon to shore up Bashar al-Assad's regime.
    A Sunni rebellion against the Shiite-dominated government in Iraq is drawing home Iraqi Shiites who have been fighting alongside Hizbullah in Syria.
    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based opposition group, estimated last week that 509 Hizbullah fighters have been killed in Syria since March 2011. Many are among Hizbullah's most elite fighters.
    Near a Shiite shrine on the outskirts of Damascus, hanging from lampposts and plastered on walls, posters commemorating the Lebanese, Iraqi and Syrian Shiite fighters who have been killed in recent battles were evidence of the costs to Hizbullah.
    See also Losses for Syrian Regime Rise Sharply - Marlin Dick (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    Syrian regime forces and allied groups have suffered more than 800 casualties in the last week, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday.
    In the city of Tartous, military police have told thousands who have completed compulsory military service to present themselves for reserve duty, "which indicates a large shortfall in regime [military] personnel."
    See also Hizbullah Talks Big But Bows Out of Gaza War - Jamie Dettmer (Daily Beast)
    As Hizbullah was ratcheting up its military assistance to Syrian President Assad, Hamas, which is part of the international Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, is committed to Assad's overthrow.
    Moreover, Hizbullah's forces are stretched thin defending its allies - and Tehran's - in Damascus and Baghdad.

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Video: The IDF's Challenges in Fighting Hamas - Lt. Col. Peter Lerner (Israel Defense Forces)
    See also 8 Videos: On the Ground with IDF Troops in Gaza - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)

Time to Delegitimize Hamas - Michael Rubin (National Interest)
    Much Islamist terror - whether that of Hamas, Hizbullah, al-Qaeda or the Islamic State - is rooted more in ideology than grievance.
    The Hamas charter calls not only for the end of Israel, but also for the elimination of all Jews.
    Hamas can no more moderate than al-Qaeda. Rather than compromise with Hamas, the international community must humiliate it and delegitimize it so it fades away into the dust heap of history.
    The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Israel Abandoned - Melanie Phillips (Spectator-UK)
    Just imagine if the Scots had for years been firing at England volleys of rockets that were now putting 40-50 million people within range. No country would tolerate it. But that's the equivalent situation in which tiny Israel has found itself.
    The West insists on moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians, as if the century-old conflict between the Arabs and the Jews were simply a squabble over the equitable division of land. It is not.
    It is a war to destroy the Jewish national homeland by people driven into frenzy by forces immune to reason.

Israel Must Grit Its Teeth and Keep Going in Gaza - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
    Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to end the clear and present danger to the lives of Israelis posed by Hamas' subterranean terrorist mechanism.
    This infrastructure was planned and built for one purpose only - to kill indiscriminately, kidnap hostages and bring the State of Israel to its knees (like with Gilad Shalit) and worse.
    Even the threat of rocket fire is not negligible, despite the fact that Iron Dome has created an illusion of security.
    So we have to grit our teeth, and keep blowing up every last tunnel and shaft we can find, until we can reach a durable, long-term ceasefire.

The Spirit of the Nation - Boaz Bismuth (Israel Hayom)
    Throughout the years the enemies have come and gone, and the wars have changed, yet one thing has remained the same: the spirit of our soldiers and the nation.
    Show me another army in which so many commanders are wounded first.
    Show me an army in which the medical staff must tie the wounded to the beds so they do not escape the hospital to return to the front.
    Show me another army that is an integral part of a nation. And show me another army that warns the other side and takes so many precautions, to the point of putting its own soldiers' lives at risk.
    For us, every fallen soldier is a father or son, a brother or a friend. Every one bears a name we will remember for eternity.

Turkey's Trade with Israel Hits $5B (Zaman-Turkey)
    Turkey's mutual trade volume with Israel is expected to reached over $5 billion this year, representing a 50% rise over trade of $3.4 billion in 2009, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Tuesday.
    Turkey sold goods worth $2.65 billion to Israel in 2013, while imports from Israel reached $2.4 billion.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Prepares to Escalate Gaza Offensive - David Blair and David Millward
    Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's defense minister, visited troops near Gaza on Wednesday and warned of a further expansion of the offensive, designed to protect Israel's cities from rocket attacks and destroy a network of attack tunnels dug by Hamas. "We are preparing the next stages of the fighting after dealing with the tunnels and you need to be ready for any mission," Ya'alon told the soldiers. "You need to be ready for more important steps in Gaza and the units that are now on standby need to prepare to go in." Ya'alon said the offensive had been "very successful so far."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Pentagon Supports Emergency $225M for Israel's Iron Dome - Paul McLeary
    In response to a recent Israeli request, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a letter to congressional leadership on Tuesday asking for $225 million in additional U.S. funding to accelerate production of Iron Dome missile-defense components to ensure Israel will have adequate stockpiles to protect itself from rockets launched by Hamas militants in Gaza.
        Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday in a statement that "the only thing that stands between Israel and a barrage of Hamas rockets is the Iron Dome. We should ensure that Israel has the ability to utilize the Iron Dome and protect innocent civilians from rocket attacks during this crisis and into the future."
        In Hagel's letter, he told congressional leaders that while the agreement between the two countries stipulates that some production be done in the U.S., "Israel assesses that it will take another two to three years to reach full production capacity in the United States, which would not address Israel's current shortfall."  (Defense News)
  • Iran's Supreme Leader Calls for End to Israeli Regime
    Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday called for a referendum canvassing the Arabs and Jews that live in Israel in order to end the "Zionist state," but said until such a vote could be held, armed resistance was necessary. Khamenei and his predecessor, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, have called repeatedly over the years for an end to the Jewish state. "While waiting for an end to this cold-blooded murderous regime, mighty armed resistance is the only way to deal with it," Khamenei said. "Israel's annihilation is the only real cure."  (Reuters)
  • In Gaza War, Egypt Taking Hard Line over Border - Lee Keath and Maggie Michael
    Hamas is demanding Egypt open its border with Gaza, but Egypt is taking a hard line, refusing any opening that would strengthen Hamas. The vilification of Hamas in Egypt has only increased since the Gaza war erupted. Egyptian TV stations and newspapers have issued a stream of commentary that sounds a lot like what is coming out of Israel: Hamas is to blame for the fighting and is exploiting Palestinian civilian deaths for its own gain.
        "The whole issue here is that Hamas wants to be recognized as the legitimate ruler of the Gaza Strip," said Samir Ghattas, head of the Maqdis Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo. "Egypt will not agree on this and will not permit the establishment of a Brotherhood state on its eastern borders."  (AP-ABC News)
  • Israeli Border Towns Empty, Adjust to New Threats - Aron Heller
    Newly discovered tunnels dug by Islamic militants nearby have residents of southern Israeli towns along the border spooked. "It's changed our viewpoint entirely. The rockets we somehow got used to. This is something else. They are under our homes," said Ofra Benudiz, a 52-year-old mother of four in Nir Am, a kibbutz near Sderot. "Our greatest fear is that they will infiltrate." Earlier this week 10 Gaza militants dressed in Israeli army uniforms popped out of the ground less than a mile away.
        Most of Nir Am's residents had already been relocated to safer areas in central and northern Israel. The local regional council covering about a dozen communities says more than 50% of its residents are now elsewhere, with the numbers as high as 80% in those that straddle the border with Gaza. (AP)
  • In West Bank, Hamas Is Hailed for Its Fight Against Israel - Isabel Kershner
    In the West Bank, daily life has continued more or less as normal, punctuated by nighttime clashes at friction points between stone-throwing youths and Israeli forces. Hamas is being hailed in the West Bank as the champion of armed resistance. Maher al-Naden, a street cleaner, noted with pride that Hamas had managed to force foreign airlines to cancel flights to Tel Aviv after a rocket from Gaza struck near the airport on Tuesday. "My son, who is 10, is asking how he can join these people."
        In Ramallah, storeowner Elias Saa said he had sold 300 CDs of Hamas songs since the beginning of the war, with lyrics like "Attack Jews in every piece of the land," the music punctuated by the sound of automatic gunfire. A nearby toy shop said its most popular items were plastic guns and grenades. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF: Hamas Rockets May Have Hit UNRWA School, Killing 15 - Gili Cohen
    The source of an attack on a UN-run school in Gaza on Thursday remains unclear and the IDF is investigating the matter. An IDF source said that army representatives made contact with UNRWA and the Red Cross over the past few days to inform them that troops were shot at from near the school, and that the IDF would return fire toward the source of the shooting, which was located near the school.
        The IDF stated that Hamas rockets had landed in the Beit Hanoun area during fighting with its forces, and that those rockets may be responsible for the deaths. Likewise, despite repeated warnings and appeals to international authorities to remove civilians from these areas of fighting, they were not evacuated. (Ha'aretz)
  • Kerry Proposes One-Week Cease-Fire in Gaza - Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury
    A senior Israeli official said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has drafted a new cease-fire proposal. It would include a one-week, temporary cease-fire, during which Israel Defense Forces troops will not leave Gaza and will continue to locate and destroy Hamas tunnels. Kerry held marathon phone conversations with every international actor who might be able to exert pressure on Hamas. (Ha'aretz)
        See also U.S.: Kerry Won't Remain in Region Indefinitely - Elior Levy
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will not stay in the Middle East indefinitely trying to broker a cease-fire to halt the Gaza conflict, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. (Ynet News)
  • No Signs of Imminent Truce, as Netanyahu Signals Hamas Demands Are Unrealistic - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is saying publicly that Operation Protective Edge is continuing in full force, and privately that Hamas' conditions for a cease-fire are a non-starter. "As long as Hamas has closed the door to the cease-fire, the other [military] option will be pursued vigorously," one Israeli official said. He noted that compared to Israel's previous military operations over the past decade, there is much less pressure on Israel from abroad - especially from the Arab world. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Next Stage in the Gaza War - Yaakov Lappin
    Israel's Operation Protective Edge has been a gradual effort designed to extinguish Palestinian mass rocket attacks through a carefully planned deterioration of Hamas' strategic position. Hamas has had opportunities before each stage to opt for a truce and signal that it is serious about enforcing a calm border. But Hamas' leadership has taken the decision to continue to confront Israel. In the next phase, the IDF will be instructed to attack and destroy Hamas' military assets all over Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Minister: Israel Needs Gaza Demilitarized
    Israeli communications minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the security cabinet, said Thursday that Israel is not seeking a cease-fire with Hamas at present, and that the IDF first needs to complete its ground offensive, with its focus on finding and destroying Hamas' network of cross-border tunnels.
        Dealing with the tunnels "will take another week or two," said Erdan. After that, if Hamas was still firing rockets, Israel would have to decide whether to send the army deeper into Gaza to find the Hamas leadership "hiding in its holes." He said Israel's key goal was to have Gaza demilitarized at the end of the conflict, "otherwise what would have been the point."  (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Is Not About to Fold; It's Sure It's Winning - Avi Issacharoff
    Hamas is adamant that it will continue to fight until Egypt and Israel accept its demands. Hamas has not been sufficiently damaged and does not feel its future is existentially threatened, and therefore is not seeking compromise, much less surrender. Its military and political command echelons are unharmed, its gunmen are killing IDF soldiers, and its rocket capabilities have been slightly weakened but not destroyed. (Times of Israel)
  • Reuven Rivlin Sworn In as Israel's 10th President - Jonathan Lis
    Israel's 10th president, Reuven Rivlin, took the oath of office in a small ceremony at the Knesset on Thursday. Due to the ongoing Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, the traditional party in the Chagall State Hall following the swearing-in was cancelled. Rivlin will begin his term on Monday. He told Ha'aretz on Wednesday, "Passing the baton from the outgoing to the incoming president should not be a major event - it pales in comparison to the ongoing (military) campaign....The campaign in Gaza is a war by any definition. A difficult war."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The Gaza War

  • Hamas May Be Alienating Other Arabs, But It's Making New Friends in the West - Dore Gold
    Hamas has seen a strange turnabout in its international status. Today, while Hamas is being shunned by its traditional Arab backers, many Western countries and especially their foreign policy elites have begun talking more seriously about the benefits of reducing the isolation to which the group has been subjected by Europe and the U.S.
        Almost all of the Arab states, save Qatar, have made strong moves to curtail Hamas' funding, influence and power. Yet, at the same time, the status of Hamas in the West has beenrising. Since 2007, there has been a steady drumbeat of calls in the international community to acknowledge a role for Hamas as a legitimate diplomatic player, even though it has been formally designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., Canada, the EU and others.
        When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas concluded a "reconciliation agreement" with Hamas last month, many Western voices suggested that Hamas would become more moderate and responsible as a result. Ten days later, Hamas operatives in the West Bank abducted and murdered three Israeli teenagers. This was followed by a massive escalation of Hamas rocket fire on Israel.
        As an Israeli who keeps in touch with our Middle Eastern neighbors, it is bizarre to now see more eye to eye with our Arab interlocutors than with Westerners who insist on engagement with Hamas.
        Any diplomatic resolution to the war mustdemilitarize Gaza so that Hamas cannot carry out rocket attacks on Israel. Its underground network of attack tunnels that run deep into Israeli territory must be eliminated. It would be a tragic irony that just as nearly the whole Arab world was confrontingone of the main terrorist organizations undermining its security, there were those in the West thinking about courting it.
        Ambassador Dore Gold, Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN in 1997-1999, is today an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Washington Post)
  • Decision Time Approaching - Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
    Should Israel view the Hamas threat as one does a chronic disease, which has unpleasant yet tolerable daily effects and which requires a difficult treatment every few years; or should Israel risk a complex, difficult and risky operation that, even if it could alleviate many of the symptoms completely, would require lengthy aftercare.
        It is not impossible to create a reality in which there is no rocket fire from Gaza, just as there is no rocket fire from Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. This, however, requires a complex ground maneuver to seize control of Gaza. The process of demilitarizing Gaza and arresting Hamas operatives could take between six months and a year, and it is likely to see fierce fighting and multiple casualties.
        Unfortunately, those are the only two realistic options: a lengthy, difficult operation to end the rocket fire on Israel, or a cease-fire that would lead to another round of violence in the future. I believe that given the extent of the damage Hamas has sustained, along with the Egypt-imposed constraints and international isolation, it would have to undergo a long and difficult rehabilitation process, and therefore a cease-fire - even without an IDF operation that would extend beyond the destruction of the tunnels - would be longer. The writer is a former national security adviser and a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Israel Hayom)
  • Why I Flew to Israel - Michael R. Bloomberg
    Just hours after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prohibited domestic airlines from flying to Israel this week, I boarded an El Al flight to Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv to express solidarity with the Israeli people and show the world that Israel's airports remain open and safe. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived at Ben-Gurion just before I did.
        As a pilot, I've always had enormous respect for the outstanding job that the FAA's dedicated professionals do each day. But on this issue, the agency failed to consider the full implications of its action. It was a well-intentioned but poorly thought-out decision. Ben-Gurion is the best protected airport in the world, and Israel would not keep Ben-Gurion open if it were not secure.
        By prohibiting U.S. carriers from flying into Ben-Gurion, the FAA handed Hamas a significant victory - one that the group will undoubtedly attempt to repeat. The FAA has, regrettably, succeeded only in emboldening Hamas.
        Israel was entirely justified in crossing into Gaza to destroy the tunnels and rockets that threaten its sovereignty. I know what I would want my government to do if the U.S. was attacked by a rocket from above or via a tunnel from below. The writer is a former mayor of New York City. (Bloomberg)
  • Hamas Human Shields Are to Blame, Not Israel - Richard Kemp
    Gaza is not Northern Ireland and Hamas is not the IRA. In Gaza the government are the terrorists. Hamas is a heavily armed militia, fighting from territory it controls. The IRA, for the most part, was more like a highly dangerous criminal gang that could be dealt with by soldiers acting as policemen.
        In 1943 Britain launched a 600-bomber raid to destroy the V1 rocket assembly shops in Peenemunde. The presence of civilians at the V1 sites was not a significant consideration for Britain, which had to stop the rockets at any cost: 732 innocent civilians died in the raid on Peenemunde.
        The tragedy of so many civilian casualties is to a large extent due to Hamas' policy of compelling men, women and children to stay in the path of danger. (The Times-UK)
        See also Can the BBC Really Report from Gaza When Their Staff Are Threatened by Hamas Enforcers? - Stephen Games
    Unlike reporters working in Israel, those in Gaza are hampered by lack of access and by the dangers, not so much to BBC staff, but to potential interviewees, of being targeted if they talk openly.
        There are, however, occasional cracks where light gets through. In an interview on the BBC, the former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp did what BBC reporters are not free to do, and distinguished between the legitimacy of IDF actions and the illegitimacy of Hamas.
        Kemp made clear that the laws of armed conflict do not permit military forces to embed their weapon systems and fighters inside the civilian population, and that if they do then their enemies are permitted under international law to carry out attacks. "In every case I've observed or been briefed on, Israel has carried out an attack against a legitimate military objective," Kemp said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas, the First Palestinian Army - Shlomi Eldar
    After Israel's disengagement from Gaza in August 2005, Hamas underwent a strategic change: From small terror cells, it developed into a real army. Hamas uniform wearers underwent weapons training and developed excellent military skills, together with religious indoctrination to strengthen their faith and adherence to the jihadist cause. Thus, in effect, Hamas created the first Palestinian army.
        Special units were trained to infiltrate Israeli territory through underground tunnels and attack army bases or civilian population centers. Each unit numbers between 10 and 15 fighters who know that their chances of surviving are very small. In effect, these are suicide missions. Hundreds of Hamas soldiers were trained according to this combat doctrine during recent years as part of the preparations for the next round.
        A Hamas unit that infiltrated Israeli territory on July 21 near Kibbutz Nir Am fired an anti-tank missile at a jeep that killed Lt. Col. Dolev Keidar and three other soldiers. The assault was documented by cameras: 10 armed terrorists wearing uniforms similar to IDF uniforms, including helmets and camouflage gear, were seen before they attacked the IDF jeep that approached them.
        Any cease-fire that will be declared between Israel and Hamas will be viewed as a victory by the Palestinians. Hamas will view it as a respite for reorganization, reconstruction and enlarging its recruited army for the next round of hostilities. (Al-Monitor)
  • The Gaza War: When Strategies Collide - Walter Russell Mead
    Israel continues to fight because it believes that with more time, it can destroy enough tunnels and inflict enough damage on Hamas to significantly degrade the organization's military strength and weaken it politically. Furthermore, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt are, perhaps for the first time, quietly rooting for Israel to crush the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas.
        Hamas, on the other hand, is elated by its success in temporarily hampering operations at Ben-Gurion Airport. In addition, its fighters have had unexpected success killing Israeli soldiers on the ground, and the Arab street is electrified by the conflict.
        For Israel, as a small country surrounded by enemies and facing hostile public opinion in the world at large, its security depends in large part on its reputation for military supremacy. That reputation is an advantage that Israel will not lightly give up; hostilities are unlikely to end until and unless the Israelis feel they have made their point.
        The attack on Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel's vital link with the rest of the world, is a military game-changer. Israeli defense officials likely feel that they must now eliminate the capacity of Hamas to repeat this attack, and make the consequences so wounding and expensive to Hamas as to reduce the attractiveness of repeat efforts. (American Interest)
  • The EU's Split Personality - Elliott Abrams
    In the course of the Gaza war, several key European leaders from Germany, France, and Britain have made tough, sensible statements supporting Israel's right to defend itself and demanding a cease-fire that does not give in to Hamas demands. But not one of those countries could bring itself to vote against a foul and vicious resolution in the UN Human Rights Council this week. Every single European country that is a Council member abstained.
        This is a biased, one-sided, mendacious resolution. The word "Hamas" is not mentioned. The firing of thousands of rockets into Israel is not mentioned. The massive system of attack tunnels through which Hamas terrorists have entered Israel is not mentioned. The fact that Hamas hides weapons in UN schools is not mentioned. So Western democracies should not have abstained. Having worked in those UN precincts for many years, it seems obvious to me that one reason the EU can so rarely persuade the Arab group to amend its drafts enough to be acceptable is that the Arabs know the EU will never oppose them. The writer was a deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration. (Council on Foreign Relations)

  • Palestinian Aggression - Israeli Perspectives

  • Hamas Chooses to Let Children Die for Its Own Crazy Ends - Yair Lapid
    Since the beginning of the last round of fighting, thousands of rockets have been launched at Israeli cities, armed terrorists have attempted to execute mass attacks in villages by the border and hundreds of mortars have been aimed at kindergartens and schools. While our children may not be dying, it is not for Hamas' lack of trying. Given a choice between sympathetic news coverage and the lives of our children, I choose life.
        Hamas chooses otherwise. It has no problem with Palestinian children dying, so long as it serves its political objectives. Islamic terror's greatest specialty is taking advantage of every democracy's main weakness - the fact that we sanctify life. I have spent my entire life in the Middle East and I still cannot understand how people can sacrifice their children. The writer is the Israeli Minister of Finance. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Yom Kippur War Hero Avigdor Kahalani: "There Is a Moment When a Nation Must Protect Itself, and that Moment Is Now" - Daniel K. Eisenbud
    "It's a war about our survival," said retired IDF brigadier general and Yom Kippur War hero Avigdor Kahalani Sunday, as he discussed why the IDF must ignore international pressure and stay in Gaza until Hamas is "demilitarized." "Can you imagine Russia or the U.S. accepting missiles launched into their countries and not reacting?," he asked. "There is a moment when a nation must protect itself, and that moment is now."
        "We're living in a jungle, and only the strong survive. If you are weak, they will eat you." "They need to understand that we can't and won't move from here. We don't have a spare country."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • "I Am Ashamed of Those Who Seek Out War Crimes of Israel" - Shlomo Gazit
    At some point we simply did not have a choice, and we rightly gave the IDF command to enter [Gaza]. Once the war began - I became a different person. My people and my country are at war. All claims and criticisms I set aside until after the war. Today I stand absolutely in support of our fighting forces.
        I am ashamed of those who seek out war crimes of Israel in these circumstances. We are fighting an enemy attacking us with countless mortars and rockets, all of which - without exception - are aimed to kill us, the citizens of Israel. Their weapons are aimed at our towns and cities. No one is trying to convince me that these missile launchers in Gaza are trying not to commit war crimes. Gen. (ret.) Shlomo Gazit is a former head of Military Intelligence. (On the Left Side-Hebrew-24July2014-IMRA)
  • The Most Dangerous Weapon in Gaza - Ido Aharoni
    There is nowhere left for us to go. Israelis from Eilat to Haifa have heard the red alerts blast as Hamas has indiscriminately launched more than one thousand rockets at our cities. Israelis throughout the entire country have had to stop, run and hide, as the threat of terrorism has become a part of our daily lives.
        The most dangerous weapon in Gaza is the vicious ideology of Hamas that is focused on Israel's destruction and a culture that has been entrenched in Palestinian society for generations. The stranglehold that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror organizations have over the Palestinian people prevents peace from being attained. The writer is the Consul General of Israel in New York. (Washington Times)
        See also Why Israel Cannot Relent in This Fight - Ido Aharoni
    Enough is enough. For the third time in five years, Israel is being forced to combat a barrage of rockets from the terrorist group Hamas. Today, Israel's response must ensure the dismantling of Hamas' megastructure of terror. (New York Daily News)
  • Unseen Scars of War: Psychological Consequences of the Hamas Attacks on the Israeli Civilian Population - Irwin J. Mansdorf
    The violence of war can lead to significant stress and personal, social and occupational impairment, including longer-lasting post-traumatic effects (PTSD). Missile attacks against Israeli residents of Sderot have resulted in major PTSD symptoms and significant disruption to lives and functioning to large percentages of the population. The relative physical protection offered by effective shelters and the "Iron Dome" may not prevent longer-term consequences.
        Sderot serves as a model for what can be expected psychologically when attacks are sustained and the adjustments required become part of one's forced routine. The writer, a licensed psychologist, is founder of The Leadership Program in Arab-Israel Studies at the Jerusalem Center. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Palestinian Rocket Fire on Israel - World Responses

  • Israel vs. Hamas Is a War between Good and Evil - S. Daniel Abraham
    For Israel to accept or declare a cease-fire at this time will achieve nothing other than guarantee another war with Hamas in a year or two or three. That is because nothing about Hamas will have changed. Before this war it was committed to the destruction of Israel and to murdering as many Israeli Jews as it could and this commitment remains paramount to Hamas. The only thing that will stop it is the total disarming of Hamas, a terrorist organization that has hijacked a country.
        The U.S. learned this lesson seventy years ago when it confronted equally implacable enemies - the Germans and the Japanese - toward whom only one strategy could be effective: complete demilitarization.
        A world that is largely indifferent to the fate of Jewish lives can protest against Israel all it wants. But no country would allow another country - one which repeatedly announces its desire to destroy her - to go on shooting missiles at her, and infiltrating terrorists past her borders. What Israel is doing now is an act of self-defense, and if innocent Gazans die it is by accident on Israel's part and by intention on Hamas' part. The writer is founder of the Center for Middle East Peace in Washington. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel's Operation in Gaza Is Morally Justified - Yishai Schwartz
    This is a war about the future of morality in armed conflicts. For if Israel declines to fight, we live in a world where terror groups use their own civilians to bind the hands of those who try to fight morally. Make no mistake: The eyes of the world are on Hamas, and terrorist groups worldwide will learn from the tactics of Gazan terrorists and the world's reaction. So if Israel allows Hamas' human shields to defeat it now, we will all reap the results in the years to come. (New Republic)
  • Hamas Is Trying to Violently Extort the International Community - Neri Zilber
    The continued rejection by Hamas of any peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the original reason for the Israeli blockade around Gaza after the 2007 Hamas coup. Hamas is now trying to violently extort the international community, Egypt, the PA, and Israel to give it what it wants - an easing of the blockade, payment to its people - without offering anything in return. Broke, desperate, and with few remaining friends in the world outside of Turkey and Qatar, the only real leverage Hamas has is the threat of continuing this disastrous war of choice, and heaping more devastation onto the people of Gaza. The writer is a visiting scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (New Republic)
  • The Israel-Haters Are a Problem for Europe - Douglas Murray
    Outside the Israeli Embassy in London, as in many capitals of Europe, demonstrators hold posters that say, "Stop the Holocaust in Gaza." There is no "Holocaust" in Gaza. Anybody can see there is no similarity between the organized and systematic murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and the precision targeting of Hamas rocket sites.
        You cannot have a country in which the Muslim population doubles each decade (as in Britain) and radical Islamist groups teach young Muslims to make the Israel-Palestine issue their prime concern, and expect the result to have no impact. Even if they have British citizenship, it is hard to say that they are British in any recognizable sense of the term. If they were, they might think that a simple sense of fair play ought to dictate that a country being bombarded with missiles on a daily basis should have the right to respond by hitting the sites from which those missiles are fired.
        Europe's Israel-haters are no real problem for Israel, but they are the greatest possible problem for Europe. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Anti-Semitism in Northern Ireland - Lindy McDowell
    Tens of thousands die in Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Sudan and while this makes headlines, there is nothing on a par with the outcry against Israel. That nation moves to defend itself against the terror regime relentlessly pounding its cities with hundreds of rockets and once again it is the world's Great Satan singled out for particular censure. Why? Israel is the world's only Jewish state.
        What is Israel supposed to do under Hamas attack? Just sit back and take constant, unceasing bombardment with only the Iron Dome anti-missile system and pure luck sparing countless lives? We wouldn't here. No other nation on earth would. (Belfast Telegraph-UK)
  • The India-Israel Axis - Sadanand Dhume
    New Delhi appears ready to suggest publicly what many officials already acknowledge privately: A burgeoning strategic partnership with Israel matters more to India than reflexive solidarity with the Palestinian cause. On Monday, the government of new Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to bow to pressure to censure Israel in Parliament.
        Most supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party see the Jewish state more like most Americans do - as a doughty democracy standing up to terrorism in a rough neighborhood. Both countries face a threat from Islamist terrorists. The writer is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Wall Street Journal Asia)

  • Weekend Features

  • For the Brave, Age Is No Barrier to Army Service - Debra Kamin
    Maj. Amotz Greenberg, one of the first IDF soldiers to fall during Operation Protective Edge, did not have to be in combat. The married father of three - killed Saturday by Hamas gunmen who emerged from a tunnel - was 45, well past the age of mandatory reserve service in the IDF. But many choose, as Greenberg did, to continue to voluntarily serve.
        Y., 38, who was given an exemption when his infantry unit was disbanded, chose to join a new unit. "I'll continue to serve as long as I can physically handle it," he says. "It's a tremendous privilege. If you look at the history of the Jewish people, with all the anti-Semitism and pogroms and expulsions and eventually the Holocaust, what those Jews wouldn't have done to have an army that protects them. And we have the amazing fortune of living in a time period when that army exists. So why, as a Jew, would you not want to serve?"  (Times of Israel)
  • Rockets or Not, Birthright Still Going to Israel
    Despite rocket fire from terrorists in Gaza, Taglit-Birthright Israel is still sending thousands of young Jews to the famed summer Israel experiences. "There are seven trips arriving from North America tomorrow (July 24)," said Gail Hyman, vice president for communications at Birthright, which has sent about 400,000 Jews ages 18 to 26 on free, 10-day educational trips to Israel. "We've sent 6,000 in this period since the conflict began, and only had 10 people leave early," Hyman said.
        She said the Birthright program has made adjustments to ensure the safety of participants. Flights were switched to Israel's national airline, El Al, and itineraries are being adjusted based on consultations with Israeli security officials. About 30% of the people who had signed up for the trip have dropped out because of the fighting. (Religion News Service-Washington Post)

The Moral Chasm Between Israel and Hamas - James T. Conway (Wall Street Journal)

  • Americans are understandably concerned when they hear that the majority of Palestinian casualties in the fighting between Israel and Hamas have been civilians and when they see images of houses in Gaza reduced to rubble and women wailing.
  • Although American empathy for noncombatants is a critical component of who we are as a people, it should not blind us to reality: Israel's military exists to protect its civilian population and seeks to avoid harming noncombatants, while its adversary cynically uses Palestinian civilians as human shields while deliberately targeting Israeli civilians.
  • In May, I toured a tunnel discovered less than one km. from an Israeli kindergarten. This Hamas tunnel was designed for launching murder and kidnapping raids. The 3-mile-long tunnel was reinforced with concrete, lined with telephone wires, and included cabins unnecessary for infiltration operations but useful for holding hostages.
  • Hamas operatives have been intercepted emerging from such tunnels in Israel carrying tranquilizers and handcuffs, apparently hoping to replicate the successful 2006 kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, for whom Israel exchanged 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in 2011.
  • The tragic reality is that no matter how much the IDF tries to avoid collateral damage, its operations will kill some number of civilians. As one Israeli commander told me, "The world judges Israel differently," regardless of its efforts to minimize civilian casualties. I suspect that he may be right.

    Gen. Conway, who retired in 2010, was commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
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