November 13, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Gaza Rocket Kills Palestinian Man in Ashkelon (Ynet News)
    A 40-year-old Palestinian from Hebron in the West Bank was killed and two women were wounded on Monday when a rocket fired from Gaza landed on a four-story residential building in the Israeli city of Ashkelon. One of the injured was his wife.

Hamas Risk-Taking Fuels Gaza Escalation - Yaakov Lappin (i24News)
    An increasingly emboldened appetite for risk-taking and a belief that Israel is too busy elsewhere has led Hamas to initiate a mass rocket assault on Israel.
    The purpose of the current Israeli air campaign in Gaza is to counter Hamas' concept.
    The first stage of Israel's response involves the demolition of a growing number of strategic Hamas assets that are also symbolic of its rule in Gaza.
    Hizbullah and Iran are closely watching Gaza. If Israel fails to restore a basic level of deterrence in Gaza, the lessons drawn by Israel's more powerful adversaries could embolden their own appetite to take risks against Israel.
    The writer is an associate researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

Israel Air Force Strikes Multi-Story Buildings in Response to Gaza Rocket Fire - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The Israel Air Force "struck four multi-story buildings that Hamas uses for terror activity. We attacked the buildings in an orderly manner after the inhabitants have been evacuated," IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said.
    The IDF attacked the Gaza City headquarters of Hamas' Al Aqsa TV station on Monday. Israel had fired warning shots ahead of the airstrike, prompting the station to halt programming. Minutes later, an airstrike flattened the three-story building.
    "The station broadcasts violent propaganda against the State of Israel and its citizens, as well as operational messaging to militants, which include methods for carrying out attacks against civilians and soldiers and ways to obtain weapons," the IDF said.
    Israel also hit Hamas' internal security headquarters at the Al-Amal Hotel and Hamas' military intelligence force for research and development, located in a high-rise structure.
    The air force also hit a terror cell launching rockets in northern Gaza.

Israel and Hamas Are Plunging into an All-Out War that Neither Side Wants - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    Hamas' leadership had invested tremendous efforts in reaching a ceasefire with Israel, in which Gaza's economy was to improve, the supply of electricity was to increase, and Hamas officials were to receive payments using suitcases of cash transferred by Qatar with Israel's approval.
    Israel's government had similarly gone to great lengths to clarify that it wasn't interested in escalation.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire 400 Rockets at Israel - Noga Tarnopolsky
    Four hundred rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel on Monday and Tuesday. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues Tuesday - Judah Ari Gross
    Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza on Israel continued on Tuesday. Most Israelis in the region near Gaza spent the night in bomb shelters. About 100 rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. More than 50 Israelis were treated for injuries. (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Says Israel "Forced into Military Action" - Jason D. Greenblatt
    U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason D. Greenblatt tweeted Monday: "Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war. These rocket & mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks."
        "Hamas' activities continue to prove they don't really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas. The world has grown tired of Hamas' violence and the violence of other bad actors in Gaza. This violence prevents any real help for the people of Gaza."  (Twitter)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Spokesman Reports on Gaza Fighting - Judah Ari Gross
    The Israel Defense Forces have struck more than 150 military targets in Gaza in response to Hamas rocket fire. "There is ample room for additional targets," said Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesperson. "We have signaled to Hamas over the course of this night that we have the intelligence and ability to strike a variety of military targets that belong to Hamas." Only small numbers of reserve personnel, mostly from air defense units, have been called up to army service.
        Conricus warned that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have "in excess of 20,000 rockets and mortar shells of different calibers and ranges" in their arsenals, almost twice the number that they had in the 2014 war. "Unfortunately they are not near the end of their capabilities."
        "The Iron Dome so far has been phenomenal, but even the Iron Dome is not hermetic and we cannot expect it to intercept everything, especially when it’s dealing with this amount of rockets," Conricus said. "It is unfortunate that of the dozens of rockets fired at Ashhkelon, one was able to get through our defenses and hit a building in a populated area."
        Conricus said the Hamas leadership and fighters have mostly stayed underground throughout the fighting, launching their rockets with timers and other remote-controlled devices in order to avoid being hit by Israeli airstrikes. "They fire rockets from within the Gaza civilian population at our civilian population, and they do so while hiding beneath their civilian population," he said. (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: Israel's Iron Dome Defense System in Action (The Sun-UK)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire Anti-Tank Missile at Bus, Israeli Soldier Gravely Wounded - Yaniv Kubovich
    Palestinians launched an anti-tank missile at a bus near the Gaza border on Monday, seriously wounding an Israeli soldier. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Bus Hit by Missile Minutes after Soldiers Disembarked
    An Israeli civilian bus hit by an anti-tank missile had been transporting dozens of soldiers who had disembarked just moments before. The soldier who was injured was standing outside the bus when it was hit. (Times of Israel)
        See also Hamas Video Captures Missile Attack on Israeli Bus (Ha'aretz)
  • "The Rocket Fell through the Living Room" - Judah Ari Gross
    Palestinians in Gaza fired rockets at Israel on Monday that struck homes and buildings in Israeli cities including Ashkelon, Sderot and Netivot, causing injuries and severe damage. "I was sitting and watching television, there was a siren and I went into the fortified room," said Ruti Mozgorshvili, whose Ashkelon home was hit. "The rocket fell through the living room....I heard a strong boom, which was unforgettable."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S. Jewish Groups Stand in Solidarity with Israel amid Gaza Rocket Assault
    U.S. Jewish groups have reacted with concern to the massive Gaza rocket attack on Israel on Monday. "We condemn in the strongest terms the attack by Hamas, firing rockets, mortars, and anti-tank missiles from Gaza against the towns and residents of the south of Israel," Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said. "Hundreds of rockets have been fired indiscriminately towards population centers in the last hours. These attacks specifically target civilians."
        "No country can or should have to tolerate such attacks across an internationally recognized border. Israel must do whatever it deems appropriate to safeguard its citizens and borders....We support the government of Israel taking the measures necessary to end these countless assaults....Israel has demonstrated patience and restraint far beyond any expectations to avoid an expanding conflict. We understand that now it must act to defend its citizens."  (Algemeiner)
  • Gaza's Islamist Rulers Will Not Allow Quiet to Prevail - David Horovitz
    Israel has sought to avoid a deeper conflict in Gaza. It even allowed the transfer to Gaza of $15 million in Qatari cash to relieve the economic pressure there. Israel withdrew its army and uprooted the 8,000 Jewish civilians who lived in Gaza in 2005. But Hamas wants all the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
        The riots and the tunneling and the rocket fire amount to extortion. But a murderous extortionist cannot be bought off. Sooner or later, Hamas must be faced down. And in the battle between a sovereign state that is obligated to ensure security for its citizens, and a ruthless, cynical terrorist organization, backed by Iran and committed to Israel's destruction, there can and must be only one winner. (Times of Israel)

  • On Oct. 12, 1958, a nitroglycerine bomb equal to 50 sticks of dynamite tore apart the Temple, the oldest Reform Jewish congregation in Atlanta. The Confederate Underground claimed credit for the attack, but in the end, two Georgia juries failed to convict anyone.
  • "In the twelve months before the bombing of the Temple in Atlanta," author Melissa Fay Greene recounts, "eleven sticks of dynamite were found at a temple in Charlotte; a synagogue in Miami and the Nashville Jewish Center were bombed on the same day; undetonated dynamite was found at a temple in Gastonia, North Carolina; a Jacksonville, Florida, synagogue was dynamited; and dynamite with a burnt-out fuse was found at Temple Beth-El in Birmingham, Alabama."
  • In the mid-1960s, violent attacks against Jewish institutions resumed. On Dec. 20, 1965, in Yonkers, New York, 12 people, including 9 children and 3 adults, died in a suspicious fire that swept the Yonkers Jewish Community Center. In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1967, white supremacists bombed Temple Beth Israel and two months later returned to bomb the home of the temple's rabbi, Perry Nussbaum.
  • Yet critical factors still distinguish America from other diaspora countries where Jews have lived. In America, Jews have always been able to fight back against anti-Semitism freely. American anti-Semitism has always had to compete with other forms of hatred of various groups that have periodically swept over the American landscape. To reach epidemic proportions, it must first crowd out a vast number of contending hatreds.
  • Anti-Semitism is more foreign to American ideals than to European ones. George Washington, America's first president, conferred his blessing upon the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, in his famous letter to them in 1790. America's religious tradition is inhospitable to anti-Semitism and American politics resists anti-Semitism.

    The writer is Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he directs the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.