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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
August 12, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Video: Islamic Jihad Missile-Launching Pads in Gaza Tunnels (MEMRI)
    On Aug. 8, Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) aired a report on the military tunnels of Islamic Jihad in Gaza:
    Beneath Gaza City is another complete, sprawling city whose roads, corridors, and rooms are known to the resistance fighters only.
    This is a strategic tunnel used for launching long-range missiles. The missiles are stored within the tunnel.
    This is one of the strategic launching pads. This missile is on the pad, ready to be launched. All we need to do is open the hatch from underneath and the missile, which is aimed in advance, will be launched.
    As you have seen, there are more missiles. After this missile is launched, another is loaded to the same pad.

NPR Reports: 14 Hamas Terrorists Died in Thwarted Tunnel Ambush - Emily Harris (NPR)
    Ahmed Abu Thoraya, a member of Hamas' Al-Kassam brigades, died July 19 in a tunnel ambush thwarted by Israeli troops. Thirteen other Hamas militants died in the same operation.

Gaza Cleric: "We Are Willing to Sacrifice Two Million Martyrs" (MEMRI)
    In a Friday sermon delivered among the ruins of the Al-Sousi Mosque in Gaza on August 8 and broadcast by Al-Jazeera, the Muslim cleric proclaimed:
    "We will not let go of our weapons, even if the number of martyrs exceeds two million, not just 2,000. The Palestinian nation is ready to sacrifice two million martyrs."
    "Oh Allah, destroy the Jews, those who support the Jews, those who side with the Jews, cooperate with the Jews, trade with the Jews, or open a gateway for them into the land of Islam."
    See also Hamas Spokesman Calls for Terror Attacks in Israel and the West Bank (MEMRI)
    In a July 30 interview with the Lebanese Al-Quds TV channel, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said:
    "Let me say, loud and clear, to our people in the West Bank:...Anyone who has a knife, a club, a weapon, or a car, yet does not use it to run over a Jew or a settler, and does not use it to kill dozens of Zionists, does not belong to Palestine."
    See also Iran Calls on West Bank Palestinians to Take Up Arms Against Israel (Algemeiner)

Israelis' Quandary: How to Aid Gazans But Not Hamas - Michele Chabin (USA Today)
    When the Rev. Raed Abusahliah, director of the Catholic humanitarian aid group Caritas Jerusalem, sought donations of food, clothing and other vital supplies for Gazans, he didn't anticipate the outpouring of support from Israeli Jews, who he said constituted about half of the 600-700 donors to the campaign.
    The Palestinian Catholic priest said, "Many Jews have also sent us messages of solidarity and offers of everything from baby clothes to blood donations."
    While polls in Israel show that a vast majority of Jews believe the Israel Defense Forces had no choice but to shell Gaza to stop nearly 3,500 Hamas rocket attacks over the past five weeks, "that doesn't mean we believe the civilians in Gaza are the enemy," said Angy Shavit, one of the Jews who promoted Cariatas' campaign through social media.
    Shavit surmised that most of the Jewish Israelis donating "don't feel guilty" about Israel's military operation against Hamas. "It's just that when a baby needs diapers, you donate diapers."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Official: "Gaps Very Wide" in Gaza Cease-Fire Talks
    Indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo to broker an end to the Gaza conflict have so far made no progress, a senior Israeli official said Tuesday. "The gaps are still very wide," he said. On Monday, a Palestinian official said the first day of talks had lasted nearly 10 hours. "The negotiations were serious," he said, adding that the Israelis were insisting on the demilitarization of Hamas, but that the Palestinians had refused. (AFP)
        See also Israelis, Palestinians Begin New Talks to End Gaza War - Nidal Al-Mughrabi and Ori Lewis
    Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio on Monday that disarming Gaza militants was crucial to a long-term truce. "I certainly hope that there will be a diplomatic solution. If there will not be a diplomatic solution, I am convinced that sooner or later we will have to opt for a military solution of taking temporary control of Gaza to demilitarize it again," he said. Another sticking point in the Cairo talks has been Israel's demand for guarantees that Hamas would not use any reconstruction supplies sent to Gaza to build tunnels of the sort Palestinian fighters have used to infiltrate Israel. (Reuters)
  • Gaza Construction Funding "Incorrectly" Handled, UN Report Finds - George Russell
    An internal UN audit report reveals that a UN Development Program office that funds and monitors spending on construction in Gaza allowed at least five non-staff contract employees to handle "core" procurement processes that only staffers are supposed to handle, including those for ordering up "significant" civil construction activities. Moreover, the report says the UNDP office: "was not monitoring and recording actual work" performed by these individuals.
        Moreover, the Palestinian program office was not properly keeping track of expenditures or receipts in the financial system. "This practice increases the risk of paying for goods that are not delivered." The findings point to a possible black hole in the supervision of civil construction, and perhaps other programs in Gaza. The report adds credibility to Israeli accusations that internationally-managed relief supplies to Gaza were diverted into construction of attack tunnels. (Fox News)
  • U.S. Intelligence Chief Warns: The Threat of Islamic Terrorism Is Spreading - James Kitfield
    The outgoing chief of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said in an interview: "In 2004, there were 21 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 18 countries. Today, there are 41 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 24 countries. A lot of these groups have the intention to attack Western interests, to include Western embassies and in some cases Western countries. Some have both the intention and some capability to attack the United States homeland."
        "Unfortunately the [al-Qaeda] core ideology and belief system [of perpetual jihad] is spreading, not shrinking. Look at the unbelievably violent videos [of beheadings, executions and the destruction of religious places] coming out of Iraq just in recent days."
        "When Bin Laden was killed there was a general sense that maybe this threat would go away. We all had those hopes, including me. But...we kept decapitating the leadership of these groups, and more leaders would just appear from the ranks to take their place. That's when I realized that decapitation alone was a failed strategy."  (Breaking Defense)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Foreign Reporters Condemn Hamas' Censorship Policy in Gaza - Yitzhak Benhorin
    The Foreign Press Association (FPA) released a statement Monday condemning censorship by Hamas in the Gaza war. "The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month." Hamas pressured and threatened reporters, preventing them from giving viewers and readers an "objective picture from the ground." After foreign reporters exited Gaza, several reports have surfaced showing footage that they had been afraid to show while in Gaza. (Ynet News)
        See also Gaza War Media Coverage Lacked Reporting on Hamas Fighters - Oren Kessler (New Republic)
        See also Why Everything Reported from Gaza Is Crazy Twisted - Mark Lavie (The Tower)
  • Head of New UN Gaza Inquiry Commission Called to Try Netanyahu at International Criminal Court - Yitzhak Benhorin
    The UN named William Schabas to chair an international commission of inquiry into possible human rights violations and war crimes during the Gaza War. Schabas, a Canadian professor of international criminal and human rights law, has previously stated he would like to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "within the dock of the International Criminal Court." In 2011, Schabas co-sponsored a "Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity" conference in Iran, which at the time was led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
        In response, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: "The appointment of the chairman of the panel, whose anti-Israel bias and opinions are known to all, proves beyond any doubt that Israel cannot expect justice from this body, whose report has already been written."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hamas Could Have Chosen Peace; Instead, It Made Gaza Suffer - Dennis Ross
    In 2005, I told an audience of 200 Gazans that Israel's upcoming withdrawal from the territory was a time of opportunity for Palestinians. I said this time they had the power to shape their future. But if Palestinians instead turn Gaza into a platform for attacks against Israel, they could not blame the Arabs, the Europeans, the Americans - or the Israelis.
        Unfortunately, we know the path Hamas chose. Some argue that Israel withdrew but imposed a siege on Gaza. In reality, Hamas produced the siege. Israel's tight embargo on Gaza came only after ongoing Hamas attacks.
        At times, I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built. They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right. Developing Gaza was not Hamas' goal. So long as Israel exists, Hamas will seek to fight it. The writer, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as President Bill Clinton's Middle East negotiator and was a special assistant to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. (Washington Post)
  • The Real "Siege" of Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Recent calls for lifting the "siege" on Gaza have ignored that Hamas' main demand is that Egypt reopen the Rafah border crossing, the Palestinians' only gateway to the Arab world. Even during the Gaza war, the Egyptians rejected demands to reopen the Rafah terminal indefinitely. The Egyptians want the world to blame only Israel for the "siege" on Gaza. According to Palestinian sources, the Egyptians are worried that the reopening of the Rafah terminal would facilitate terrorist attacks by radical Islamist groups against Egyptian targets, especially in Sinai. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Iran Ignores a Lucrative Deal over Its Nuclear Activities - Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz
    Why hasn't Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, agreed to the offer the West put on the table in Vienna last month in negotiations over the country's nuclear activities? If the Iranians moved toward the West, tens of billions of dollars would likely start flowing into Iranian banks. Concessions by Iran could easily lead rapidly to the lifting of the EU oil embargo.
        Nor is the West even trying arduously to deny Tehran the capacity to build nuclear weapons. Negotiators have recognized the regime's "right" to uranium enrichment; they appear ready to accept several thousand operational centrifuges and Iran's "right" to advanced centrifuge research and development at the buried-in-the-mountain Fordow site. And Iran won't have to agree to give IAEA inspectors unchallenged access to any suspicious location.
        All in all, the U.S. has offered a very good deal, yet Khamenei hasn't bitten. It's quite possible that he just expects to win more concessions from a U.S. president allergic to conflict in the Middle East. The more the West extends diplomacy, the more concessions it makes, and the smoother Iran's transition to a nuclear-armed state. Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He served in the CIA's Clandestine Service from 1985 to 1994, specializing in the Middle East. Mark Dubowitz is the foundation's executive director. (Washington Post)

IDF Details Hamas' Use of Civilian Areas as Missile Bases - Deroy Murdock (National Review)

  • Throughout the Gaza war, IDF maps, graphics, and videos have illustrated Hamas' consistent transformation of civilian areas into launch pads for some 3,000 rockets blasted wildly into Israel. The IDF also has informed the world about its leaflets, phone calls, and text messages that urge Gazans to seek shelter before Israel neutralizes Hamas' hostile-fire installations.
  • The IDF now has created an outstanding indictment of Hamas: "Hamas War Tactics: Attacks from Civilian Centers - Evidence of Hamas' Violations of International Law through Use of Civilian Facilities and Densely Populated Areas for Terror." The report detail Hamas rocket blasts from mosques, schools, power plants, and hospitals.
  • Beyond maps, photos, and text, it includes links to declassified footage from IDF drones and aircraft. Multiple IDF videos and broadcast-news stories show how these militant-Islamic murderers literally commit war crimes by firing from civilian areas in Gaza into civilian areas in Israel, all while refusing to wear uniforms. If Israel is held to Geneva Convention standards, why isn't Hamas?
  • In just one example, an IDF map shows how Hamas fired a rocket from inside El Azhar Islamic College on July 8 at 2:44 a.m. It exploded in the Israeli town of Ofakim.
  • "Hamas' tactics flagrantly violate international law and the most basic of moral precepts," the document concludes. "Given these tactics, the ultimate responsibility for the damage done to civilians as well as the civilian infrastructure of Gaza lies with Hamas."

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