Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 3, 2014
Special Edition

In-Depth Issues:

IDF Determines that Captured Soldier Is Dead - Gili Cohen (Ha'aretz)
    The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday determined that 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, previously considered captured by Hamas, was killed in battle in Gaza on Friday.
    The conclusion was based on forensic evidence from the scene of the attack.

IDF Has Killed 800 Terrorists in Gaza - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF has killed 800 terrorists in its Gaza offensive, army sources said.
    84 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel on Saturday. Since the start of the operation, there have been 3,112 rockets and mortars fired into Israel from Gaza.
    560 have been shot down by the Iron Dome system.

Gaza's Civilian Casualties: The Truth Is Very Different - Col. Richard Kemp (Gatestone Institute)
    Western media unquestioningly accept the casualty statistics given by Gaza's Hamas-controlled medical authorities, who ascribe all deaths to the IDF.
    Is anyone in Gaza dying of natural causes? Mass executions of "collaborators," and civilians killed by malfunctioning Hamas rockets, are all attributed to IDF fire.
    Are the "overwhelming majority" of the dead really civilians? It would seem so. We see a great deal of grotesque and heart-rending footage of dead and bleeding women and children but never so much as a glimpse of killed or wounded fighters.
    There seems to be a complete absence of Gazan military casualties, an extraordinary phenomenon unique to this conflict.
    The IDF has developed the most comprehensive and sophisticated measures to minimize civilian casualties during attacks against legitimate military targets.
    Mandatory, multi-sensor intelligence and surveillance systems to confirm the presence or absence of civilians precede attacks on every target from the air.
    The writer was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan.

The Gaza War and the Feeble PA - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)
    Some say Israel should crush Hamas and then turn the place over to the PA. But it won't work, due to the feebleness of the PA.
    In the last few years the PA in the West Bank has been growing weaker, not stronger. The PA security forces are in decline, more and more politicized and inert. Corruption is rife.
    Islamic terrorism is a plague now throughout the region, and Hamas is the localized version of that plague.
    The struggle against it will be long and hard, with plenty of ugly and difficult scenes on television.
    It seems clear that Israelis have the stomach for that fight, because their existence is at stake.
    What they seek from their closest friends and allies is understanding and support, in place of distancing and unfair criticism.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Scales Back Forces in Gaza - Joshua Mitnick, Rory Jones and Nicholas Casey
    Israel began scaling back its forces in Gaza on Sunday and pulled out of cease-fire negotiations in Cairo. Israel has begun redeploying forces. In some urban areas of Gaza on Saturday, witnesses saw Israeli tanks pulling back toward the border. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the army would soon complete its goal of destroying more than 30 tunnels.
        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would demand that any reconstruction of Gaza and its future development be linked to a demilitarization of the territory. Israeli officials made it clear they were determined to deal with Hamas on their own terms, rather than becoming entangled in new cease-fire talks. "The diplomatic process is stalled," said Mike Herzog, a former Israeli negotiator who is close to the government. "Israel is unwilling to go for so-called humanitarian cease-fires, because they have been violated six times."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Obama: Hamas Did Not Honor Gaza Cease-Fire
    President Barack Obama said at a press conference on Friday: "I have unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third almost minutes after a cease-fire had been announced. And the UN has condemned them as well."
        "I have been very clear throughout this crisis that Israel has a right to defend itself. No country can tolerate missiles raining down on its cities and people having to rush to bomb shelters every 20 minutes or half hour. No country can or would tolerate tunnels being dug under their land that can be used to launch terrorist attacks."
        "I think it's going to be very hard to put a cease-fire back together again if Israelis and the international community can't feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a cease-fire commitment....When they sign onto a cease-fire they're claiming to speak for all the Palestinian factions. And if they don't have control of them, and just moments after a cease-fire is signed you have Israeli soldiers being killed and captured, then it's hard for the Israelis to feel confident that a cease-fire can actually be honored."  (White House)
  • Gaza Fighting Is "Proxy War" for Entire Mideast - Josh Levs
    "Most Arab states are actively supporting Israel against the Palestinians - and not even shy about it or doing it discreetly," says CNN analyst Ali Younes. It's a "joint Arab-Israeli war consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia against other Arabs - the Palestinians as represented by Hamas....From the perspective of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and some other Arab states, what the Israeli Prime Minister is doing is fighting this war against Hamas on their behalf so they can finish the last stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood."
        Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, says, "It's no longer the Muslims against the Jews. Now it's the extremists - the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbullah, and their backers Iran, Qatar and Turkey - against Israel and the more moderate Muslims including Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia."  (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Israel to Continue Gaza Operation
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening: "Operation Protective Edge is continuing. The IDF is continuing to operate with full strength in order to complete the goals of the operation: The restoration of quiet and the restoration of security for a lengthy period for the citizens of Israel while inflicting significant damage on the terrorist infrastructures."
        "Hamas is the same organization that, together with Qatar, assured U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding a cease-fire. It misled both of them. I welcome the clear and sharp statements by U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, who placed the direct responsibility for violating the cease-fire on Hamas."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza Poses a Dilemma for Hamas - Avi Issacharoff
    The IDF is redeploying along the Gaza border after neutralizing the Hamas tunnels extending toward Israel. The IDF will not withdraw entirely from Gaza, but it will leave the populated areas and keep troops deployed in a narrow area inside the Palestinian territory.
        If this round of hostilities concludes without Israel or Egypt agreeing to accept even one of its demands, Hamas will be humiliated. The Palestinian public will ask itself why Hamas drove Gaza to ruin for no reason, with no results to show for its efforts. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Eradicates Hamas' Crown Jewel - Yaakov Lappin
    The IDF has destroyed Hamas' flagship terrorism project: its network of tunnels that snuck into Israel. Many of the underground passages were filled with weapons and explosives, and enabled terrorists to emerge in Israel disguised as IDF soldiers. In some of the tunnels, the army discovered motorcycles earmarked for speedy raids into Israel and subsequent return to Gaza.
        The IDF is reorganizing its ground forces, which remain active in three areas across Gaza as the remaining tunnels are destroyed. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Unearths Tunnel that Stretched 2 Km. into Israel - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • America's "Allies" - Qatar and Turkey - Are Accessories to Hamas' War Crimes - Alan M. Dershowitz
    American allies, especially Qatar and Turkey, have been providing material support to Hamas, which the U.S. has listed as a foreign terrorist organization. This support includes financial, diplomatic, media and even the provision of weapons that deliberately target Israeli civilians. It also includes harboring war criminals, especially leaders of Hamas, who direct their followers from the safety of Doha. Without the support of Qatar and Turkey, Hamas would never have started this bloody war.
        If Hamas were ever to be convicted of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, as it may well be, any individual who was an accessory to such crimes would be guilty as well. It is entirely fair, therefore, to describe Qatar as a criminal regime, guilty of accessory to mass murder.
        The time has come for the U.S. to reassess the status of Qatar and Turkey. Both should be treated as pariahs until they stop being state sponsors, supporters and facilitators of terrorism. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Did Iran Scuttle the Cease-Fire in Gaza? - Lee Smith
    As Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explains in NOW Lebanon, Iran and Hamas have been clearly signaling each other during the Gaza conflict. "After the war broke out," Badran writes, "senior Iranian officials, including Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, expressed strong support....The rebirth of the Iranian-led axis provides the essential ingredient for a new explanation of Hamas' decision to go to war with Israel."
        As Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs research associate Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Shimon Shapira told me recently, Iran has gone over the heads of the Hamas politburo officials and reached out directly to the military commanders. (Weekly Standard)
  • Terrorist Armies Fight Smarter and Deadlier than Ever - Robert H. Scales and Douglas Ollivant
    Look carefully at media images of ground fighting across the Middle East, and you will notice that the bad guys are fighting differently than they have in the past. U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq used to say: "Thank God they can't shoot." Well, now they can.
        We see Islamist fighters becoming skilled soldiers. In Iraq the Islamic State fighters maneuver in reasonably disciplined formations. They employ mortars and rockets in deadly barrages. They continue to display an eager willingness for death.
        Hizbullah now is among the most skilled light infantry on the planet. In the case of Hamas in Gaza, they have been fighting in well-organized teams. Units stand and fight from hideouts and tunnel entrances. They wait for the Israelis to pass by before ambushing them from the rear. They are getting good with second-generation weapons such as the Russian RPG-29.
        Iranian advisers throughout the Middle East are getting better at their craft. As the Israelis have been painfully learning, terrorist groups are turning into armies, pairing their fanatical dedication with newly acquired tactical skills. Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College. Douglas A. Ollivant is a fellow at the New America Foundation's Future of War project. (Washington Post)

Elie Wiesel Condemns Hamas for Using Children as Human Shields, Calls on Gazans to Reject Hamas' Child Sacrifice - Joshua Levitt (Algemeiner)

  • Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on Friday published a full-page ad in U.S. newspapers condemning Hamas for using children as human shields. The ad was headlined, "Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it's Hamas' Turn."
  • In my own lifetime, I have seen Jewish children thrown into the fire. And now I have seen Muslim children used as human shields.
  • What we are suffering through today is not a battle of Jew versus Arab or Israeli versus Palestinian. Rather, it is a battle between those who celebrate life and those who champion death. It is a battle of civilization versus barbarism.
  • Before sleepless mothers in both Gaza City and Tel Aviv can rest, before diplomats can begin in earnest the crucial business of rebuilding dialogue, the Hamas death cult must be confronted for what it is.
  • Moderate men and women must shift their criticism from the Israeli soldiers - whose terrible choice is to fire and risk harming human shields, or hold their fire and risk the death of their loved ones - to the terrorists who have taken away all choice from the Palestinian children of Gaza.
  • I call upon the Palestinian people to find true Muslims to represent them, Muslims who would never voluntarily place a child in danger. I call upon President Obama and the leaders of the world to condemn Hamas' use of children as human shields.
  • And I enjoin the American public to stand firmly with the people of Israel who are in yet another struggle for survival, and with the suffering people of Gaza who reject terror and embrace peace.

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