We have sent a delegation to Egypt, where a ceasefire is being discussed. But Netanyahu says ceasefire or no ceasefire, we will not stop our work. He will not accept any ceasefire proposal that does not allow us to complete our work on the tunnels.
In fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s words spoken before this morning’s Security Cabinet meeting suggesting that we are now aiming for the full demilitarization of Gaza (emphasis added):
”We have struck hard at thousands of terrorist targets: Command centers, rocket arsenals, production facilities, launch areas and hundreds of terrorists have been killed. These achievements and the neutralization of the tunnels are only the first stage in the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip…
”We are working around the clock, shoulder to shoulder, sagaciously and responsibly, for the people of Israel. Naturally, we cannot share with the public all of the information and all of the considerations at our disposal. We have an orderly plan and we are acting accordingly.”
But he also said this, with regard to the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip:
“The US, the EU and other important elements in the international community have accepted our position and I must say that this was not an easy thing to achieve but we did it together, with hard work.”
I read it and thought, “Nah… no way.” Then I thought that maybe it’s true but perhaps in order to bring the international community on board, Netanyahu promised who-knows- what with regard to “negotiations.”
But my checking – and I have two very solid sources here, one with PA connections and Arabic-speaking – indicates that this is real, or may yet be, and that Netanyahu promised nothing in terms of a negotiating position, or what we would give to Abbas with regard to “two states” or his position in Judea and Samaria.
What may be the case is that the international community would hope to see Abbas involved in a demilitarized Gaza at some level – at a bare minimum, regarding supervision of crossings.
But this isn’t about the community’s desire to enhance Abbas’s position. This is about fear and hatred of Hamas, and thus an eagerness to see it taken out.
One of my sources spoke specifically about growing fear of radical jihadists in Europe, which has motivated the EU to completely support Israel’s bid to undo Hamas. “One-hundred percent,” he said.
And then this same source said, without blinking an eye, “But not the United States. Obama is for the Muslim Brotherhood.” It was his speculation that Netanyahu mentioned the US too so as to present a solid front, but that in the end the US, because of its position, would be frozen out.
Netanyahu also spoke about “other important elements in the international community who have accepted our position.” Why wouldn’t he name these elements? Because they are elements who prefer not to be publicly allied with Israel, even as they support Israel’s position against Hamas.
The first of those elements would, quite clearly, be Egypt: Egypt’s president, al-Sisi, despises the Brotherhood.
But we can look further than this:
Khaled Abu Toameh has just written an article about the alarm expressed in certain Arab quarters with the current pro-Brotherhood position being taken by the US, which ultimately might even bring Iran into the picture.
Wrote Abu Toameh (emphasis added):
“According to a senior Abbas advisor, the Palestinian Authority president urged the Saudi monarch to exert pressure on the Obama Administration to keep Qatar and Turkey out of the picture.
“The advisor said that Saudi Arabia voiced support for demands to demilitarize the Gaza Strip as part of any cease-fire agreement. ‘Demilitarizing the Gaza Strip would mean the end of Hamas,’ the advisor said. ‘The Egyptians, Saudis and other Arab countries also share this view.”
And so, my friends, we have to sit tight and see how this plays out now. I do not say it metaphorically, but rather in very real terms: Please pray.
The PR war may have taken a turn for the better as well, because the lethal antics of Hamas and its partner-in-terrorism, UNRWA, are being exposed at a new level.
What I wish to focus on here is one specific incident, with more to follow soon. I ask that you note it and share it absolutely as broadly as possible. Please!.
You know the routine: Tell people, write letters to the editor and op-eds in local papers, put out information in Internet discussion groups and post it on your FB pages. Do talkbacks on the Internet and call in to radio shows. Send information (with the URL) to editors and demand that they cover this. Israel is being libeled daily. Help turn the tide. Working together you can.
The news that has been released today is a mind-boggler.
Two days ago, we lost three soldiers because an UNRWA clinic was booby-trapped, while some additional 17 soldiers were wounded. The soldiers were in the vicinity of the clinic because they were working on dismantling tunnels.
Today this information has been released (emphasis added):
“Over eighty kilograms of explosives were built into the UN-funded hospital’s walls themselves, it was cleared for publication Thursday – revealing that the clinic itself was built to mask, and perform, potential acts of terror on the IDF.
“Moreover, the clinic was built over tens of terror tunnels, according to the report.”
Three times in this war alone (yes, it’s happened before), rockets have been discovered in an UNRWA facility and UNRWA staff don’t know how it got there.
But eighty kilograms of explosives built into the walls of an UNRWA clinic? Tens of tunnels built under an UNRWA clinic? So far UNRWA has had no response, likely because there is nothing they can say without further implicating themselves.
Please help make sure large numbers of people know about this (you will NOT find it in your mainstream media).
There is a great deal more to say about Hamas and how it is functioning, all of which needs to be put out broadly. I will following with more in coming posts.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The usually astute Jake Tapper of CNN aired a story on Tuesday about “global exasperation” with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine. The consensus was that Putin is in trouble, not the West.
Tapper played an old clip of George W. Bush, who once called Putin “straightforward” and “trustworthy,” saying that the rising price of oil had “changed” the old KGB spy. Still, journalist David Remnick was shown saying that Putin’s aggression had only succeeded in putting him in a “box.” He wondered how this “isolated” Russian leader would find “a way out of this.”
So there’s really no reason for Americans to be alarmed or afraid. And as President Obama says, “No, it’s not the new Cold War.”
Perhaps it would be advisable for the media to examine the views of those experts who had argued all along that Putin was an enemy of the United States. One of them was Robert Chandler, author of the 2008 book, Shadow World. Chandler, who was a good friend of this writer, passed away in 2010.
His monumental 600-page work, which is still available from Regnery, examines the Putin game plan, which he called a “geopolitical offensive” against the U.S. and its allies. A military strategist, intelligence officer, and professor, Chandler also wrote about how Obama’s domestic political agenda would undermine our ability to resist the assault on America. His 2009 special report for AIM, “How Obama Revolution Came to America,” is still a must-read.
“Russia’s prodigious oil and natural gas supplies presented a potential opportunity to make the country an energy superpower,” Chandler wrote. This is why Putin made his move on Ukraine, figuring that the West would fail to stop him.
However, Chandler noted that Putin realized he needed Western help to make this succeed. In the 1990s, the Russian economy began to look, in some ways, like capitalism, and capitalists were in fact investing in Russia. It was then that a decision was made by the KGB to manage the transformation of the new “democratic” Russia. A former KGB lieutenant colonel named Vladimir Putin was seemingly brought out of nowhere to lead the “new” Russia. Eventually, more than 6,000 former KGB officers followed Putin into office.
“Even before Putin was elected president on March 26, 2000, he ordered a monument and plaque commemorating Yuri Andropov [the former KGB chairman who became President] be returned to their former places of honor at the headquarters of the Federal Security Bureau (FSB),” the KGB’s successor, Chandler reported.
Chandler’s book was ignored by the liberal news media because he was not judged to be an academic expert working for a prominent think tank. But many in the media also looked the other way as the dead bodies piled up. These included Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in 2006 after warning about the KGB’s return to power, and KGB dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned to death in London after warning that Moscow was behind some acts of alleged Islamic terrorism in Russia itself.
In another part of the book that is coming true in dramatic fashion, Chandler described how Putin considered China, India and Iran as his “strategic partners.” Russia, China and India, with Brazil and South Africa, today make up the emerging and powerful BRICS alliance of nations. They have defended Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine.
Iran is a separate case, but is ruled by an Ayatollah who was trained in Russia by the KGB.
Some other key points from Chandler’s book on Russia:
- Putin in 2007 made a policy decision to build up the Russian military forces, including with new weapons.
- In January 2008 the Russian Navy held its first major maritime exercise in fifteen years.
- In February 2008 Putin openly declared that Russia would emerge on the world stage as “a state that can stand up for itself.”
- Putin signed multi-billion dollars arms contracts with China, India, and Iran.
- Putin “moved to increase foreign intelligence collection” about the intentions and secrets of Russia’s adversaries.
- Putin sent long-range bombers to Guam in August 2007, to challenge the U.S. naval base on the island.
- Russia and China conducted an eight-day military exercise, “Peace Mission 2007,” with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. (Iran is an observer state.)
- Russia staked a claim to the seabed under the North Pole, an area with potentially billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.
- Russia established a strategic partnership with Communist China, in order to counter the power and influence of the U.S.
- Putin accused the West of trying to replace the U.N. with NATO.
In retrospect, Chandler accurately described Putin’s game plan as it has dramatically materialized on the world scene.
For example, the fact that Putin “moved to increase foreign intelligence collection” is a development that clearly came to fruition with the defection to Russia of NSA analyst Edward Snowden. It also helps explain NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s statement that Russian agents have been working with the “green” movement to prevent Western nations from exploiting their own energy resources.
The Russia-China alliance moved forward in May of this year when Russia’s Gazprom signed a 30-year deal with China National Petroleum Corporation that is said to be worth over $400 billion.
Although Obama said on Tuesday that the U.S. and Europe had agreed on new economic sanctions against Russia, there are questions about how effective they will be. Germany, in particular, has been reluctant to confront its “partner” Russia, because the country is so dependent on Russian oil and gas.
This, too, was predicted by Chandler, when he wrote that the Europeans “do little more than wring their hands” when Russia uses economic warfare against them.
In his book, he wrote, “As the storm clouds rise again to the east of Europe, the capitalist West is floundering. The refusal by Americans and Europeans to recognize that the post-Cold War party is over and their failure to develop a common strategy, vis-à-vis an energy muscular Russia is self-defeating.”
Yet, Obama says there is no new Cold War. It’s almost as if he wants Americans to remain asleep.
Let me begin with a video of something I described last night from the Shloshim ceremonies at the Great Synagogue. This is Lt. Col. Shai Abramson, Chief Cantor of the IDF, singing with choir in prayer for the soldiers of the IDF:
For strength. (And with thanks to Linda O.)
I have joked about how I would have to put a posting out every two hours, in order to keep my readers abreast of events. But, in truth, it is no joke. At best, in a communication such as this one, I can only summarize. And so I ask, please, that you excuse any accidental omissions of significance.
Today the Security Cabinet met once again to discuss the issue – according to media reports – of whether the war should continue or be terminated. The decision, thank Heaven, was to continue:
“The IDF has been instructed to ‘continue to forcefully hit Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and to complete the job of neutralizing the terror tunnels,’ a senior diplomatic official said Wednesday. (Emphasis added)
“According to the official, speaking after a four-hour security cabinet meeting, the IDF operation has led to ‘significant achievements on the ground’ and is hitting at the ‘strategic apparatus’ that Hamas has invested in for years.”
Every time the Cabinet meets to debate the continuation of this important effort, I ask myself – with no little concern and agitation – why they think they have to have this discussion yet again, since it’s obvious that we must continue for the security of the people, and that the nation is fully behind the effort.
One reason – which I’m not claiming is necessarily a good reason – is because of the incredible international pressure being put on us.
This is a very difficult war to win, because we are dealing with an amoral and heartless enemy that is content to promote the death of its own civilians so that they might be used as PR fodder against Israel. And oh how the world – with the complicity of a great deal of the media – buys into this. The vast majority of you know precisely what I’m referring to.
We are in the right. We have the most moral of armed forces in the world. But it matters little to the world, and we must continue to operate while being accused of killing babies.
There are two specific issues I want to look at with regard to this. The first is UNRWA. UNRWA is blatantly complicit, no matter what mask they don as a humanitarian agency that only takes care of poor “Palestinian refugees.”
I have alluded before to my research on UNRWA and its relationship with Hamas, done for the Center for Near East Policy Research. What was crystal clear when I did that research was that UNRWA was in bed with Hamas. So much was this the case that Hamas controlled the UNRWA schools in Gaza – with recruitment for Hamas going on in the high schools, and ceremonies to mark the “martyrdom” of Hamas terrorists held on UNRWA school grounds.
Now UNRWA schools in Gaza are in the news. Three times in this war, UNRWA officials have found rockets hidden in their schools. Declaring themselves totally bewildered as to how they got there, UNRWA official then returned them to Hamas.
More pertinently, there have been a handful of incidents in which UNRWA schools were hit, or people using UNRWA schools were killed or wounded. It goes without saying that a cry goes up each time, charging that the IDF shoots at schools and kills innocent people inside those schools. In each instance the IDF has investigated. Once, it was found that Israel hit only an empty building, in another case that Hamas mortars were involved.
See here, for example:
Most recently, there has been the charge that 15 people sheltered in an UNRWA school were killed by Israeli shelling. The incident is still under investigation, but what the IDF says is that mortar bombs had been fired from the vicinity of the school and IDF troops shot back. Certainly they cannot – should not – sit still and allow themselves to be targeted without attempting to take out the source of the fire.
Just as certainly, Hamas “militants,” when lobbing mortar bombs at the IDF from next to a school know full well that by doing this they are putting the civilians inside the school at risk. Hey, a headline that says, “Israel kills civilians sheltered in a school,” is a big win for Hamas.
As a result of civilian injuries and deaths, there are demands daily from the international community that Israel call a halt to stop the heartbreaking damage. British Prime Minster Cameron, while speaking of Israel’s right to defend herself, warned that Israel was losing the support of the world.
It is because of this pressure that the Security Cabinet – urged on, I have no doubt, by Netanyahu – votes regularly for short ceasefires that are unilateral (Hamas keeps going even as we hold fire inside of Gaza). This is said to be to allow civilians a quiet time to go out and get supplies and such – and does not involve our work on destroying tunnels. The attitude of the government is that this does not really harm our efforts and buys some international good will because we show we care about the civilians.
We had a four hour ceasefire today, and have said that even as we continue, we will do this every do often.
However, I want to share the criticism of this policy voiced by MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud):
“All this walking towards humanitarian ceasefires…is a big mistake…Last weekend we were already in a state that Hamas was on the verge of breaking, we saw large groups of Hamas members who turned themselves in – and it happened because we attacked them without stopping.
“The rule against terrorism is that if you do not pursue terrorism, terrorists will pursue you…Therefore this method of ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ breaks…is problematic. Hamas exploits the interval to organize itself and to continue its attacks. (Emphasis added)
“We currently have two options. We can either take the initiative and increase pressure on Hamas – and beat it until it begs for a ceasefire – or continue this on-and-off process and slowly fight it out.”
Credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90
So what we’re doing, it seems, is continuing to fight while looking over our shoulder at the international community.
And I would guess that it is issues such as this that are what occupy the Security Council during those meeting and not “yes or no” decisions about fighting or not fighting. There are a host of nuances here.
Yet another major decision involves the question of when it really will be time to stop. Elkin says we have to fight until “they wave a white flag,” and we have to demilitarize, because no one else will.
Ze’ev Elkin does not fool around, and I rather like that. He is absolutely correct that no one but Israel would demilitarize.
I have shared with my readers many times the concerns voiced by analysts that Hamas is not the worst of what we might deal with, and that if Hamas is taken out some other jihadist group such as al-Qaeda would move in. This argues for leaving a severely weakened Hamas in place.
But I have been rethinking my opinion here, because I see that Hamas is better organized, more militarily prepared than had been expected. Allowing them to remain in a situation in which they might rebuild could be dangerous. What we’ve seen most recently is that Hamas, feeling beleaguered, is calling on Hezbollah to join the fight. Not going to happen tomorrow, as Hezbollah has enough trouble at the moment. But it does seem that eliminating Hamas from this equation might not be a bad move.
As Caroline Glick just wrote (source below): “The longer our soldiers fight, the more we learn about the vast dimensions of the Hamas’s terror arsenal, and about the Muslim Brotherhood group’s plans and strategy for using it to destabilize, demoralize and ultimately destroy Israeli society.”
In line with this are arguments that have taken place in the Security Cabinet regarding the need to assassinate the Hamas leaders, such as Ismail Haniyeh, so-called prime minister of Hamas. Presumably we know where he and other leaders are hiding. And the notion of doing this, which would bring Hamas to its knees, is indeed attractive.
Lately, Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), who leans to the left, has been pushing for such assassinations. Seemed pretty surprising, coming from him – until it came clear why he favors this: He would like to see Abbas and the PA take over Gaza (thus paving the way for that “two state solution”).
Uh oh. This is a remaining reason for not taking Hamas out completely. Paving the way for a PA presence in Gaza would bring us a great many headaches of the diplomatic sort, and is not something we necessarily want to be involved with at all. Believe me, this is being discussed in the Security Cabinet as well. (It should be mentioned that Netanyahu vetoed the idea of assassinating Hamas leaders – choosing instead to demolish their houses, which strikes me as silly.)
I keep tabling this discussion about the end of the war energizing discussion of “negotiations” – because it has to be considered very seriously indeed. When the time is right, I will look in some detail at what we likely have coming down the road. I see the signs in many quarters.
So, if we don’t take Hamas out all the way – when do we stop? Right now there are still tunnels to attend to, although it is being said (I’m not entirely convinced, but maybe) that more have been found and we will be finished in some days or a week or two. After that? Leaving rockets in place seems a bad idea. And what if we want to pull out and Hamas is still strong enough to keep launching rockets? There is no resolution on this yet.
I want to touch here only very briefly on something that made big press in Israel the last couple of days. Truth to tell, I’m a bit weary of it:
Oren Nahari, reporting on Channel 1 here in Israel, claimed that a senior American official had given him a transcript of Obama’s phone call to Netanyahu, in which he demanded an immediate ceasefire. It makes Obama look particularly bad. Both parties have since denied that it is an accurate transcript – although what caught my attention was that the denial from the prime minister’s office was verbatim the denial from the US. (One gets the feeling protocol demands a denial.) My feeling is that if it is not a precise transcript, word for word, it reflects a tone that comes close to the truth of the interaction. Nahari stands by his story and defended it again in the last day or so.
You can see some of the purported transcript here:
Then I recommend Caroline Glick’s article, that looks at the same situation – what we need to do with Hamas and how Obama is pressuring Netanyahu (emphasis added):
“Obama is as involved in the Middle East as all of his immediate predecessors were. He is personally leading US policy on every front. Kerry is not an independent actor.
“The problem is that in every war, in every conflict and in every contest of wills that has occurred in the Middle East since Obama took office, he has sided with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, against America’s allies.
“Under Obama, America has switched sides.”
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB