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August 25, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Ten Anti-Aircraft Missiles Fired at Israeli Aircraft in Gaza War - Gili Cohen (Ha'aretz)
    At least 10 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles have targeted Israel Air Force planes during the Gaza fighting, but none were hit.
    "To a certain extent, we were surprised by the advanced level of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles they have [in Gaza]," a senior IAF officer said.
    In recent days Hamas has been firing mainly mortar shells and short-range rockets at Israel.
    The Israeli military has identified mortar and rocket launch sites near schools, hospitals and buildings where displaced Gazans have found refuge.

Missile Strike Killed Hamas Official Handling Terror Funds - Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
    An Israeli missile strike that killed a man in a car in Gaza City on Sunday ripped open the vehicle, revealing bags of American dollars inside and scattering currency on the street, according to a witness.
    The Israeli military identified him as Muhammad al-Ghoul, responsible for Hamas' financial transactions and its "terror funds."

Three Israeli Arabs Wounded by Gaza Mortar Attack - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Hamas mortar fire on Sunday wounded three Israeli Arabs who work as taxi drivers taking a group of Gazans from the Erez crossing into Israel for medical care. Hamas said it fired 15 mortars at the crossing.
    See also 126 Rockets Fired at Israel on Sunday - Ilana Curiel (Ynet News)

Five Rockets Fired from Syria at Northern Golan Heights (Ynet News)
    At least five rockets were fired from Syria at the northern Golan Heights Saturday night, after a rocket fired from Lebanon hit an empty house in the Western Galilee earlier.
    Some 100 rockets were fired at Israel on Saturday from Gaza.

Off-Duty Soldier Critically Injured by Rocket on Friday (Times of Israel)
    Netanel Maman, 21, a soldier who fought in Gaza, was critically injured by shrapnel from a Palestinian rocket that struck his car on Friday in Gan Yavne, near Ashdod.
    See also Gaza Rocket Hits Ashdod Synagogue, Injuring 3 (Times of Israel)
    A rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza Friday made a direct hit on a synagogue in Ashdod, causing significant damage. Three people sustained shrapnel injuries.

Palestinian Who Fired at Jewish Homes in Jerusalem Shot by Police - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
    A Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem's Shuafat neighborhood who repeatedly fired at Jewish homes in neighboring Pisgat Ze'ev on Friday and Saturday was shot and seriously wounded by Israeli police.
    "Undercover officers in the area saw him fire more shots in the direction of the [Jewish] neighborhood and shot him immediately to prevent him from causing any more damage," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

TIME Retracts IDF Organ Harvesting Charge (JTA)
    On Sunday, TIME magazine retracted allegations in a video on its website that Israeli soldiers harvested and sold Palestinian organs, which had cited a 2009 Swedish newspaper report.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Former CIA Chief: Matter of Time Before ISIS Tries to Attack West - Joshua Berlinger
    Former CIA head Michael Hayden told CNN on Sunday that he expects ISIS to attempt an attack on targets in the U.S. or Europe. ISIS "has global ambitions - and it has the tools," he said. The beheading of American journalist James Foley "expressed the intent....There's no more powerful way to express their street credentials among the jihadist community than a successful attack against the West."  (CNN)
  • Islamic State Captures Major Air Base in Syria - Sam Dagher
    The Islamic State captured the Tabqa air base in the Syrian province of Raqqa on Sunday, gaining full control of the province. Islamic State fighters were seen parading in the town of Tabqa with the severed heads of soldiers killed at the air base. Opposition activists in the Raqqa area said Islamic State militants deployed at least three suicide bombers including a 13-year-old boy in an attempt to pierce the base's defenses, which they finally succeeded in doing on Saturday. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Hundreds Die in Battle for Syrian Air Base
    The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nearly 350 ISIS fighters were killed and several hundred wounded during the fighting at Tabqa, while more than 170 government troops were killed on Sunday and another 150 may have been captured. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Four-Year-Old Israeli Boy Killed by Palestinian Mortar while Running for Shelter - Matan Tzuri and Shahar Hai
    Four-year-old Daniel Tregerman was killed when a mortar fired by Palestinians in Gaza struck his kibbutz on Friday, the first child casualty in Israel since the beginning of the Gaza war. When the code red sirens sounded, the parents got their two youngest children into their shelter, but Daniel was still outside when the mortar struck. (Ynet News)
  • Netanyahu: Israel Stands with the Civilized World Against Extremist Islam
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet on Sunday: "I have seen the pictures of four-and-a-half-year-old Daniel, a sweet and innocent boy who was murdered by the firing of reprehensible Hamas terrorists. Hamas is paying and will yet pay a heavy price for the crimes that it has perpetrated."
        "Many states in the region and in the West are beginning to understand that this is a single front, that Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas. They act in the same way. They are branches of the same poisonous tree. They are two extremist Islamic terrorist movements that abduct and murder innocents, that execute their own people, that shrink at nothing including the willful murder of children. In recent days we heard from Hamas spokesmen that they admit to what we have been saying all along, that they murdered [the three Israeli teens] Eyal, Gilad and Naftali."
        "Both movements are, in effect, making an effort to establish Islamic rule, caliphates, without human rights, across wide areas, by slaughtering minorities....With every passing day the world understands more and more that Hamas operates like ISIS and that ISIS operates like Hamas. The State of Israel will continue to stand alongside the civilized world in its war against extremist and violent Islam."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israel Is in a War of Attrition - Ron Ben-Yishai
    We've been thrown into a war of attrition. As long as Hamas can launch rockets and mortars, it puts on a facade of a fighting force. It doesn't need to inflict much damage. One mortar that kills a 4-year-old boy is enough to deliver a hard emotional blow to Israelis.
        It's important to make it clear to the Gazans and to the world that Israel has taken off the gloves. Any place rockets are fired from will be attacked within minutes. The IDF has already started doing so, calling on Gazans to evacuate any area rockets are fired from or areas there's an intention to fire rockets from. This is possible within the confinements of the international law of war. This is a legitimate defensive act, especially after the IDF's warnings to the Palestinians. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Authority Condemns Hamas Executions
    The Palestinian Authority on Saturday blasted Hamas officials for executing more than 20 alleged collaborators with Israel on Thursday and Friday. Secretary-General of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office al-Tayyib Abd al-Rahim said that the executions had been conducted illegally outside of the Palestinian court system. He called the killings "random executions of those who Hamas called collaborators," adding that they were reminiscent of the summary executions carried out by Wahhabi militant groups in other parts of the Middle East.
        Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel is punishable by death. All death sentences, however, require President Abbas' approval, and Abbas issued a moratorium on death sentences in 2005. (Ma'an News-PA)
        See also Unlikely that Executed Palestinians Were Connected to Israel - Amos Harel
    Hamas has executed a large number of suspected collaborators. Yet it is highly unlikely that the murdered victims had any connections to Israeli intelligence agencies, particularly with regard to disclosing the whereabouts of the recently targeted Hamas commanders. It is more likely that they had publicly challenged Hamas policies in Gaza. That was the message: Anyone opposing us risks his life. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas on Executions: "We Decided to Create Deterrence, So People Would Not Try to Be Clever" - Smadar Perry
    11 people, including two women, were brought on Friday morning to the busy intersection in front of Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. Their hands were tied behind their backs, their mouths gagged. The executioners waited until the curious masses had gathered - the children were not kept away - and put bullets into each of the 11 heads. That afternoon, a Hamas firing squad assembled in the Great Mosque complex. There was a short salvo, and the waiting ambulance was loaded up with seven victims. And there was no rest for these executioners on Saturday, when they killed another four.
        Hamas deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk was asked what pushed them to firing squads: "Because of the pressure put on us by the residents of Gaza, because of the cries of despair and so that there would not be further chaos. We decided to create deterrence, so that people would not try to be clever," he replied. (Ynet News)
        See also After Widespread Criticism, Hamas to Curb Public Executions - Roi Kais
    Asharq Al-Awsat reported Sunday that after receiving an outpouring of criticism regarding the public executions of "collaborators," the Hamas political echelon decided not to conduct such executions in front of the public. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hamas, ISIS and the Nature of Terrorism - Naftali Bennett
    Hamas, we are told, simply wants freedom, that it is a political organization that we should sit down with and negotiate a peaceful resolution. In Syria and Iraq, though, leaders from across the free world are united in their decision that the Islamic State, ISIS, needs to be crushed and destroyed. No one has recommended a cease-fire and no one recommends meeting ISIS leaders in a third country for negotiations. When it comes to ISIS, war is war, evil is evil and ISIS needs to be eliminated.
        What the free world fails unfortunately to understand is that Israel's conflict with Hamas and the current battle to stop ISIS are one and the same. Both are radical Islamic organizations. ISIS wants to establish a caliphate throughout the world. Hamas wants to do the same in Israel.
        These are organizations motivated by religion, not by nationalistic aspirations, and they do not hesitate to use extreme violence to advance and achieve their goals. While ISIS beheads journalists and adversaries, Hamas kidnaps and slaughters teenage yeshiva students. For both, the only option is complete acceptance of Sharia. Anything else means you are an apostate or an infidel.
        As long as Hamas and ISIS remain in power, there will not be a chance to create long-lasting stability or peace in the Middle East. If we in the free world, however, unite, recognize the global threat and take action, we have a chance to defeat these terror groups and send a message to all others that might be on their way. The writer is Israel's minister of economy. (Chicago Tribune)
  • What Happens to Palestinian Moderates - Editorial
    One of the myths about the Middle East is that there would be peace if only Israel courted Palestinian moderates. This might be possible if any Palestinian who harbored such a thought wasn't summarily executed.
        The practice goes back to the days of the British Mandate when the mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini killed Palestinians open to a Jewish presence. During the anti-Israel uprisings in the 1980s, Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction murdered some 800 Palestinians for alleged collaboration. The Palestinians will never have peace as long as they keep murdering anyone who wants it. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Europe's Slow Surrender to Intolerance - Jeffrey Goldberg
    We have learned a number of unfortunate truths about the nature of the global anti-Israel movement this summer. One is that the war in Gaza is understood by many to be a continuation of Israel's 1948 War of Independence. Many protesters are challenging Israel's very right to exist, not its policies in the territories it came to occupy in 1967 (or in Gaza's case, territory it turned over to Palestinians in 2005). A second is that the line separating anti-Zionism - the belief that Jews have no right to an independent state in at least part of their ancestral homeland - and anti-Judaism has pretty much vanished. (Bloomberg)

Qatar: Club Med for Terrorists - Ron Prosor (New York Times)

  • As the diplomatic war at the UN over the hostilities in Gaza continues, discussion of the most obvious solution is strikingly absent - the need to disarm and isolate Hamas, the radical Palestinian Islamist group. Since Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has dragged us into three rounds of major assaults, and more than 14,800 rockets have been fired into Israel by the group or its proxies.
  • The discovery of dozens of tunnels packed with explosives, tranquilizers and handcuffs that end at the doorsteps of Israeli communities should be enough to convince anyone that Hamas has no interest in bringing quiet to Gaza or residing alongside Israel in peace.
  • In recent years, the sheikhs of Qatar have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza. Every one of Hamas' tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that read "Made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar."
  • Qatar has provided financial aid and light weapons to Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, and a base for leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban. Indeed, it serves as a Club Med for terrorists. It harbors leading Islamist radicals like the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and professor Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi, whom the U.S. named as a "terrorist financier" for al-Qaeda. Qatar also funds Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas.
  • Western nations must recognize that Qatar is not a part of the solution but a significant part of the problem. To bring about a sustained calm, the message to Qatar should be clear: Stop financing Hamas.

    The writer is Israel's ambassador to the UN.

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