Israel "Did Everything We Could" to Avoid Bloodshed in Gaza
- Nicola Bartlett (Mirror-UK
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev told BBC Radio 4
that Israel "did everything we could" to avoid the bloodshed at the border with Gaza.
"We use live fire only in a very measured way, in a very surgical way, and only when there is no alternative. If we allow the Hamas terrorists to enter Israel, we will have dead Israelis. We must protect our border."
"Hamas is opposed to peace and reconciliation. Anyone who wants to see peace in the Middle East has to understand that Hamas is an enemy of that process."
Hamas Rioter: Women, Children "Tricked" to Enter Line of Fire
- Elior Levy and Yoav Zitun (Ynet News
A Hamas activist from Gaza who was arrested while attempting to infiltrate into Israel on Monday said Wednesday:
"Hamas organized the protests in order for people not to turn on them. They (Hamas) say: 'Instead of them harming us and turning on us, we'll send them to the border fence where they will be hit.'"
"They tell women to go forward. They say to a woman: 'Go ahead, you're a woman and the army doesn't shoot women.'"
"They tell small children: 'Go ahead, the army doesn't shoot small children.' They tell a child to go ahead and he goes. It's a small child. They trick him."
Machine-Gun Fire from Gaza Hits Israeli Homes
- Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post
Five homes in the Israeli city of Sderot were struck by Palestinian machine-gun fire on Wednesday evening.
The IDF responded with tank fire against two Hamas observation posts in Gaza.
Expelled Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Humiliated at Istanbul Airport
- Itamar Eichner (Ynet News
Israel's Ambassador to Ankara Eitan Na'eh, who was expelled at the order of Turkish President Erdogan in the wake of events in Gaza, was humiliated at Istanbul International Airport on Wednesday.
He was made to remove his jacket and shoes and was frisked by a Turkish security guard in front of Turkish journalists who were invited to the airport to film the event.
See also Israeli Intelligence Minister: Israel Helped Turkey Thwart ISIS Attacks
- Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post
As Ankara slams Israel over the Gaza border crisis, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told an intelligence conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that Israel has provided secret intelligence to help Turkey prevent ISIS terrorist attacks.
Hizbullah Leader Says 55 Missiles Were Fired at Israel
- George Martin (Daily Mail-UK
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday in a televised speech that 55 missiles were launched from Syrian territory in a missile attack
on the Golan Heights last week.
Israel said 20 missiles were fired in the attack.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- U.S. Sanctions Iran Central Bank Governor for Terrorist Support - Saleha Mohsin
The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions Tuesday on Iran's central bank governor Valiollah Seif for assisting Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force to support Hizbullah. "It is appalling, but not surprising, that Iran's senior-most banking official would conspire with the IRGC-QF to facilitate funding of terror groups like Hizbullah," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. (Bloomberg)
- Danish Oil Tanker Operator Stops Taking Orders in Iran Due to U.S. Sanctions
Danish oil tanker operator Torm on Tuesday said it has stopped taking new orders in Iran as a consequence of U.S. plans to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. Torm operates 79 oil product tankers worldwide. (Reuters)
See also European Container Carriers Pull Back from Iran
The top two European shipping container carriers, 2M partners MSC and Maersk Line, say they are reviewing their plans in Iran. Maersk Tankers says it is no longer making new agreements for loadings in Iran. (Maritime Executive)
See also France's Total Energy to End Involvement in Iran's South Pars Project due to Renewed U.S. Sanctions (Reuters)
- U.S. Ambassador Friedman: Hamas Breaching Gaza Border a "Suicide Bomb on a Large Scale" - Alex Traiman
Addressing the deaths of Palestinians killed while trying to breach the border fence between Gaza and Israel, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Tuesday: "We never have disputes with the Palestinian people. We only have disputes with Palestinian leaders. We have a problem with a Palestinian leader [Mahmoud Abbas] who says that the Jews were responsible for their own deaths in the Holocaust."
"And we have a problem with Palestinian leaders who tell 14-year-olds that the Gaza border has been breached, and they can go ahead and march on to Jerusalem, only to find that the Israel Defense Forces are waiting for them. That's a suicide bomb on a large scale." (JNS)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Hamas Reassesses Its Tactics on Gaza Border - Amos Harel
On orders from on high, Palestinian violence on the border with Gaza was substantially curbed on Tuesday. It is known that on Monday night, Hamas sent Israel a series of messages through Egyptian intelligence telling of its desire to rein in the level of violence. The sharp turn proves that the Hamas leadership has full control over what happens in Gaza. It has been made very clear that Gaza is quiet when that's what Hamas wants.
See also The Gaza Battle Isn't Over Yet - Alex Fishman
The Palestinian casualties in Gaza on Monday made the Hamas leadership stop and think. In social media, activists are talking about their shock, about needing time to recover. They are also talking angrily and with contempt about the PA, which they see as an Israel collaborator.
The Egyptians estimated that if Monday's events ended with a small number of casualties, the riots would continue on Tuesday. Hamas had to be hit hard enough to make it stop and think.
- Egypt Rebukes Hamas Leader over Deaths in Gaza Border Riots - Daniel Siryoti
A senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was summoned to Egyptian intelligence service headquarters in Cairo on Monday, where General Intelligence Service head Maj.-Gen. Abbas Kamel leveled scathing criticism at him over Hamas' "riot policy."
The official said Egyptian officials were stunned by the high number of casualties and angered by information provided by Israel that proved Hamas was paying civilians, including children, to place themselves in harm's way to allow Hamas operatives to blend into the crowd and try to carry out terrorist attacks.
The official said, "Haniyeh was told, in no uncertain terms, that the blood of the dead was on his and [Hamas military leader Yahya] Sinwar's hands." Egyptian intelligence officers "made it clear to him [Haniyeh] that the Hamas leadership will be held responsible for any more deaths in border riots. They told him history won't forgive the Hamas leadership for such senseless deaths....Kamel demanded that Haniyeh order his people to cease the border riot campaign immediately."
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Who's to Blame for the Gaza Violence? - Editorial
According to the New York Times, "loudspeakers on minarets urged Palestinians to rush the fence bordering Israel, where they were met by army snipers." The Washington Post reports that "organizers urged demonstrators to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them."
This suggests that Hamas incited protesters to dash toward Israeli military positions, likely knowing that many would be killed. If Palestinian leaders want to know who is responsible for the deaths in Gaza on Monday, they should glance in the mirror.
Leaders of the Palestinians have a choice: They can keep sending their young people to their deaths. Or they can turn from violent confrontation to constructive negotiation. The reality on the ground is that nothing will change until Palestinian leaders stop inciting violence and start telling their people the truth: Palestinians can have a state. But not until they accept that the Israel they loathe is in the neighborhood to stay.
- Gaza's Miseries Have Palestinian Authors - Bret Stephens
For the third time in two weeks, Palestinians in Gaza have set fire to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which they get medicine, fuel and other humanitarian essentials from Israel. There's a pattern here - harm yourself, blame the other - and it deserves to be highlighted amid the torrent of morally blind, historically illiterate criticism to which Israelis are subjected every time they defend themselves against violent Palestinian attack.
Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven? No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by the Gaza protests. (New York Times)
- Falling for Hamas' Split-Screen Fallacy - Matti Friedman
The attempts to breach the Gaza fence with Israel, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to "tear out the hearts" of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.
Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often ineffective, and if that doesn't work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow thousands of people to surge into Israel, some of whom will be armed fighters. And Hamas' tactic would likely be repeated by Israel's enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.
(New York Times)
- Why Is Hamas So Interested in Palestinian Deaths? - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
Hamas defined the day of violent clashes at Israel's border with Gaza on May 14 as proof of a victory for jihad and the armed struggle against Israel. It openly admitted these were not spontaneous demonstrations but a campaign orchestrated by Hamas.
Hamas explained the goals of the "Great Return March," which are the elimination of the State of Israel and ethnically cleansing any Jewish presence from the land: "Our people set out today to react to the new American Zionist aggression and to tell the world with its blood and limbs that it is the one that will draw the map of return and the map of victories....The blood that has been spilled in resisting this crime will arouse a revolution until the occupation is removed, and the embassy is removed from Palestine forever."
If, in the past, Hamas counted its victories according to the number of Israeli casualties, today it measures victory according to the number of Palestinian casualties. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Did the Israeli army act carelessly in Gaza, shooting hastily into crowds of helpless civilian protestors?
Are Israel's critics suggesting that if there were a lot more Israeli dead, and a hundred Jewish bodies were strewn across the desert in southern Israel, then Israel's action would be acceptable?
- Such a thing could happen easily enough. If the fence were breached and a single terrorist were to reach one of the civilian towns that have long been the intended targets of Hamas rockets and tunnels, the Israeli and Hamas death tolls might quickly "balance out."
- But Israel will not sacrifice a single life in these long-suffering towns without a fight. Neither will Israelis permit an Israeli soldier or civilian to be kidnapped without doing their utmost to stop it. That is why Israel will do what it must to repel these mobs, and it is a moral obscenity to propose that it should do otherwise.
- Multiple commentators have argued that Israel's military had alternative, non-lethal methods of restraint to contain the demonstrators. But this argument seems to me more a wish than a reality. 40,000 determined protestors cannot be contained with water hoses or conventional crowd control.
- Israel's training of its soldiers was intense, instructions were detailed, and experienced officers were in command. Shoot-to-kill was not a first resort but an absolute last resort. If resorting to deadly force had been ruled out, a breach of the fence by thousands of demonstrators was likely inevitable.
- In 2007, the Quartet set out the conditions for normalizing the political status of Hamas. They included a Hamas commitment to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and support of past international treaties and obligations. Hamas refused then, and refuses now, to meet these conditions. It is this refusal, and not the actions of Israel, that isolates Hamas and makes it a terrorist group and an international outlaw.
The writer is a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism.