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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
August 27, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Assessing the UN's "Gaza Crisis Atlas 2014" - Dan Smith (Israellycool)
    Last week, the UN published a 100-page "Gaza Crisis Atlas" showing the location of 12,000 points representing damage caused between July 9 and August 5.
    Several patterns are discernible: The attacks are in no way "random" or "indiscriminate." 72% are within 3 km. of the border with Israel, the location of dozens of terror tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel.
    The IDF has published a map of known terrorist infrastructure. By overlaying the IDF's map with the UN's damage points, the correlation is uncanny.
    It now becomes clear that the rest of Gaza was, for the most part, undamaged. Less than 5% of the land was affected.
    See also Israel Vindicated by UN Damage Assessment in Gaza - J.E. Dyer (Liberty Unyielding)
    The writer is a retired U.S. Naval intelligence officer.
    See also Video: What You Can't See on the UN's Maps of Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
    UN maps showing the aftermath of the fighting in Gaza mark damaged buildings with red dots, but only tell half of the story.
    Hamas used many of these buildings - including houses, hospitals and schools - as sites to launch rockets.

Hamas Arrests 250 of Its Own Members - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    The extrajudicial executions will be added to the long list of crimes committed by Hamas against Palestinians.
    Hamas has banned publication of the names of the executed Palestinians, afraid that revealing their identities would spark outrage and calls for revenge, especially from the families of the victims.
    Sources in Gaza said the executed men were affiliated with Fatah.
    Sources in Gaza also said Hamas arrested more than 250 of its own members after Israel last week killed three of its top military commanders.

Poll: 89 Percent of Gaza Palestinians Support Firing Rockets at Israel - Nabil Kukali (Palestinian Center for Public Opinion)
    89% of Palestinians in Gaza support firing rockets at Israel, according to a poll conducted August 14-19, 2014 - up from 49% in a poll on Jan. 15, 2013.

The Killing of Daniel Tragerman, Age 4 - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)
    So Hamas has its victory picture now.
    Daniel Tragerman, aged 4, knew to dash to the protected room at his Kibbutz Nahal Oz home. Except on Friday he didn't make it.
    Hamas' defenders scoff at Israel's grief over the death of a single child and remind us that hundreds of children are dying in Gaza.
    They are dying because Hamas is trying to destroy Israel, because it built a war machine in Gaza's neighborhoods, because it fires and fires and fires some more at Israel.

Top UK Anti-Terrorism Officer Says Syria-Related Arrests Soar - Michael Holden (Reuters)
    Britain's top counter-terrorism police officer, Mark Rowley, said on Tuesday arrests linked to fighting in Syria had risen dramatically this year.
    "High priority operations, especially against those involved in attack planning or on the cusp have increased greatly."
    The government estimates at least 500 Britons have traveled to Syria or Iraq, and has repeatedly warned that those who have gone posed a serious risk on their return.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • In Gaza, Cease-Fire Celebrated with Massive Gunfire - Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub
    Israel and Hamas announced Tuesday that they agreed to an open-ended cease-fire in the Gaza war after seven weeks of fighting. In Gaza, massive celebratory gunfire erupted after 7 p.m. Chants normally reserved for Muslim holidays could be heard from mosque loudspeakers.
        The details of the cease-fire would effectively mean Hamas and Islamic Jihad settled for terms that are similar to those that ended more than a week of fighting with Israel in 2012. Under those terms, Israel promised to ease restrictions gradually, while Hamas pledged to halt rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. Even though it apparently had little to show for it, Hamas declared victory. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Cease-Fire Extended, But Not on Hamas' Terms - Jodi Rudoren
    Israeli and Palestinian leaders reached an open-ended cease-fire agreement on Tuesday. Hamas declared victory even though it had abandoned most of its demands, ultimately accepting an Egyptian-brokered deal that differs little from one proffered on the battle's seventh day.
        "The human catastrophe is just very immense, it's getting worse and worse every day, and I think that's one of the reasons Hamas took into consideration in accepting the cease-fire," said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. "The mood is very critical of Israel, but they are also asking questions of Hamas: Why did we have to go through all this? Why is there no cease-fire? Why did we provoke Israel into this war? More and more questions are in the minds of the Palestinians, especially in this last week."  (New York Times)
        See also Hamas Calls to Extend Its "Victory" to the West Bank and Jerusalem - Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon
    Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar appeared on the streets of Gaza on Tuesday for the first time since the beginning of the fighting to declare celebrations for the "victory" against Israel. He called for copying the Gaza experience in the West Bank and Jerusalem in order to prepare for the "project of liberation."
        Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Palestinian achievement was in "paving the way for the next phase of liberating Jerusalem and the land of Palestine. Today, we are closer to Jerusalem."
        Israel Channel 2 TV reported that the cease-fire deal was foisted upon Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who lives in Qatar, by Hamas' leadership living amid the ruins of Hamas' victory. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Mobilizes Allies to Widen Assault on ISIS - Helene Cooper and Mark Landler
    The U.S. has begun to mobilize a broad coalition of allies behind potential American military action in Syria and is moving toward expanded airstrikes in northern Iraq, administration officials said on Tuesday. President Obama, the officials said, was broadening his campaign against the Islamic State and nearing a decision to authorize airstrikes and airdrops of food and water around the northern Iraqi town of Amerli, home to members of Iraq's Turkmen minority, which has been under siege for more than two months.
        Obama said in a speech on Tuesday that the U.S. was building a coalition to "take the fight to these barbaric terrorists." The White House began a diplomatic campaign to enlist allies and neighbors in the region such as Australia, Britain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE, officials said. They said they expected that Britain and Australia would be willing to join the U.S. in an air campaign. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Israelis Killed by Mortar Fire on Kibbutz Just Before Cease-Fire - Ilan Ben Zion
    Two Israelis died Tuesday evening in a mortar attack on Kibbutz Nirim, near Gaza, and four others were wounded, one seriously. Ze'ev Etzion, the security chief for the kibbutz, was killed on the spot as he worked to fix electricity lines damaged in an earlier mortar attack. Nirim resident Shahar Melamed, a 43-year-old father of 3, was also killed. Medical care was given to the wounded as rockets and mortars fell around the kibbutz.
        The Nirim attack came amid a fierce bombardment of the towns and communities of southern Israel in the hour before a cease-fire took effect. Earlier in the day, dozens were injured in Ashkelon when a rocket fired from Gaza struck a house. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Gave Us 50 Days to Destroy Its Capabilities - Interview with Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror
    Former Israeli National Security Advisor Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror told Israel Channel 2 TV on Tuesday: "Hamas, in its stupidity, gave us 50 days to destroy its capabilities, to strike its infrastructure, to destroy its network of attack tunnels, to reach a point where its ability to manufacture weapons is close to zero. The number of rockets it has left is very small, and to rebuild what it had will take a long time, if at all, because the government on the other side of the border, the Egyptian government, is not like the previous government....[Hamas] also has more than 1,000 dead."
        "This does not mean that Hamas will not open fire in another month if it comes to the conclusion that it has received nothing so far. This is more or less a cease-fire agreement. It didn't receive anything, and it may be that it will understand that it received nothing and will open fire."  (Israel Channel 2 TV-Hebrew)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hamas Blinked First - Ron Ben-Yishai
    After a war of attrition of just one week, Hamas blinked first and agreed to the outline of the initial cease-fire proposed by the Egyptians weeks ago. Israel has not ceded on anything. It was Hamas who sought the cease-fire, but the organization is known to be a serial violator of cease-fires, and the need to shed the blood of Israelis has often overcome its survival instinct. Even when the negotiations do begin, we should be prepared for Hamas trying to pressure us to accept its demands by renewing its attacks.
        In terms of the rehabilitation of Gaza, Israel has a simple equation: Gaza reconstruction for the demilitarization of heavy weapons - rockets, mortars, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, UAVs, and the dismantling of facilities used to produce rockets. Israel's demand for demilitarization is not off the table. The campaign is not over, it has just moved to the political, diplomatic and international judiciary arenas. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel: The Gaza Crossings Were Open in the Past - Calev Ben-David and Fadwa Hodali
    "We have no reason to block the reconstruction of Gaza or prevent the opening of crossings - they were open in the past - or to prevent fishing," Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio. At the same time, "our fundamental condition for a long-term accord is obviously demilitarization."  (Bloomberg)
        See also A Good Agreement for Israel - Ehud Ya'ari
    The Hamas leadership in Gaza decided that it was not prepared to accept more scenes of destroyed high-rise buildings and targeted killings. Hamas did not receive any of its demands except for a promise to discuss them, but at the same time the Israeli demand for the demilitarization of Gaza will also be discussed. (Israel Channel 2 TV-Hebrew)
  • The Keys to Gaza - Shmuel Even
    The terrorism emanating from Gaza is the root cause of Gaza's abject economic state, and until it is eradicated, the prospects for economic growth and development are slim. Even after the disengagement in 2005, Israel tried to allow normal economic relations between Gaza and its neighbors. This was manifested in the Agreement on Movement and Access of November 2005.
        However, the upsurge of terrorism in Gaza, including attacks on the border crossings, required heightened security measures. Moreover, Hamas forged military and political alliances with Israel's enemies, including Iran and Hizbullah, both of which, like Hamas, publicly declare their intention to destroy Israel. These circumstances necessarily preclude normal trade relations between Israel and Gaza.
        The security blockade Israel imposes on Gaza is not an economic siege. Despite the terrorism from Gaza, Israel still allows the movement of a range of goods and materials, while preventing or limiting the transit of dual-use goods, such as construction materials (which were, in fact, used to build the attack tunnels). The latest deterioration in Gaza's dire economic straits is mainly the result of Egyptian measures. Egypt closed the Rafah crossing and blocked most of the tunnels underneath its border.
        Recourse to the PA as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, particularly at the border crossings, will not solve Israel's security and political problems, and may even heighten them. Col. (ret.) Dr. Shmuel Even, a senior research fellow at INSS, served in the IDF's Intelligence Branch. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

Israeli Security Officials Say Gaza Street Seething and Hamas in Disarray - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)

  • Senior Israeli security officials say there is growing skepticism among Hamas operatives about whether the fighting continues to be worthwhile, considering the number of Hamas fighters who have been killed, the destruction of key military installations, the hit on rocket manufacturing capabilities, and the destruction caused to the terror tunnels, which Hamas viewed as its ultimate weapon.
  • According to these assessments, the IDF attacks in Gaza have led in many instances to a breakdown in Hamas' chain of command. In some cases, mid-level commanders preferred to flee with their families from the areas of fighting. As a result, those fighters who remained often felt abandoned and lost the will to continue to fight
  • One instance was reported where 14 Hamas fighters were trapped for 20 days in a tunnel, surviving only on water and dates - with no effort by their commanders to rescue them. Some of the men starved to death.
  • The targeted killings and the intelligence information regarding the tunnels created a great deal of suspicion of people collaborating with Israel, and this often led to abandoning the use of advanced communication equipment, which made management of the fighting for Hamas' top brass even more difficult.
  • According to the assessments, the prevailing mood in the street is one of bitterness and anger toward Hamas, whose leaders were among the first to hide and left the civilians to fend for themselves.
  • Numerous interrogated Hamas activists described the degree to which mosques and hospitals were used as staging grounds and hiding places, and where areas near pre-schools were commonly used as starting points for tunnels and as hiding places for arms.

        See also Hamas Exploitation of Civilian and Medical Facilities for Terror (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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