It took a long time in coming, but it’s very serious now. The military action, called Operation Protective Edge, was announced in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
As I write, well over 140 sites in Gaza have been hit by the Israeli Air Force and some 14 people have died, including an Hamas official, and some 80 have been injured.
But Hamas has apparently decided to go for broke and says it has no interest in a ceasefire. The barrage of rockets has continued with some 70 launched today: Rocket alerts sounded in Tel Aviv, Givatayim, Gedera, Be’ersheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ofakim, Merhavim, Ramat HaNegev, Eshkol and elsewhere. In some instances, notably in the Tel Aviv area, the Iron Dome intercepted the rockets. But the fact that rockets are now being aimed at Tel Aviv, a major population center at the heart of the country, is a mark of escalation by Hamas.
Forty-thousand reserve troops have now been called up for the Southern and Central Command. They will replace regular army in places such as Judea and Samaria, allowing these troops to move to Gaza.
The ground operation has not yet begun, but barring some incredible change in circumstances, it will start before long.
Reports are that Netanyahu has told the army, which says it’s ready for anything, to “take off its gloves.”
According to Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, “The IDF has a free hand to operate, within a set of predefined steps. The political echelon has given the IDF everything it has requested.” (Emphasis added)
The nation has been advised by several officials, including Netanyahu and Ya’alon, that this will not be a short operation of days. They are asking us for patience. Guidelines have been provided on how to act if a rocket warning sounds. Hamas has rockets that can reach across the country, and cautions apply to all of the country.
There is the question now of what the final goals of this operation will be. I am not certain if they are clearly defined within the top political and military echelon.
Netanyahu today said:
“…we must stand together as one — united and sure of the justice of our cause. We are acting with determination and assertively to return the quiet, and we will continue to do so until the quiet is restored.”
But this is not sufficient. It would allow Hamas, as has been pointed out here often enough, to continue to build its arsenal and to hit us again at a time of its choosing.
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz has said something quite different (emphasis added):
“We will now activate all of our force and take all the time that is needed in various stages in order to reach victory.
“There may be surprises; there might be rocket fire here or a terror attack and difficulties there. We must be prepared for all possibilities…We must continue the mission, for as long as necessary… the public is resilient and stable. It trusts the military and expects it to act.
“We will accomplish goals against Hamas, hurt it badly, remove its capabilities, defend our civilians and our country, and we will exact from Hamas the full price for the strategic mistake that it has made.”
There are those – notably Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (head of Yisrael Beitenu) and MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee – who are recommending we retake Gaza.
That it was a terrible error to have pulled out as PM Sharon did in 2005 is clear, and there is a great longing on the part of many to correct that painful mistake. It would solve the problem of having rockets launched at our civilians by jihadists of any stripe, and it would prevent other radicals from assuming power if Hamas is brought down.
There are two downsides to this that immediately spring to mind, however. First, that it would require a protracted military campaign with a large number of casualties among our troops. And then that Abbas would demand of the international community that it force us to turn Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority (which had it before the Hamas coup of 2006).
I doubt we will move that far, but who knows???
NOTE: I just had to take a break from this posting. A rocket alert sounded here in western Jerusalem! I have not yet accessed any information about anything landing here although I heard explosions, as did a friend I checked with.
They are showering the country with rockets. I hope we bomb the heads off of Hamas leaders.
What I am gleaning from the various reports shines a somewhat different light on the apparent reluctance of our government to start an action against Hamas sooner. All that talk about quiet. The readiness to stop attacking on Friday even as rockets continues to be launched What is being said now is that this gives Netanyahu an edge within the international community. For it will demand – as it always does once civilians are hit (as inevitably they will be) – that we stop our operation.
The fact is that Obama is already doing this: He has defended our right to defend ourselves (isn’t that nice?), but that defense is qualified. We should practice “restraint.”
I will not dignify this with a comment, which is about as much restraint as Obama is going to see.
The idea, now, is that Netanyahu will be able to say that we tried everything to bring quiet – that the war is on the heads of Hamas.
It may work for a while, and it may well be that this was intended from the start. But what is most important is that we resist that international pressure because we have a right to do what we are doing now.
Arutz Sheva has put up on its site the prayer for the IDF soldiers that was written by Shlomo Goren who was IDF Chief Rabbi:
Please, bookmark this or print it out, and say it every day. A portion of the prayer:
“May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.
“May he lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.”
I have other information that I will share in my next posting – including information about proportionality, which is poorly understood.
Here I want to present a few videos, to provide a clearer, more potent picture of what Israel has been dealing with. These videos reflect previous bombing experiences, not just the current one. But it’s the same thing. We’ve been dealing with it off and on (between times of “quiet”) for some time now. The south of Israel, and especially Sderot and communities close to the border with Gaza, have suffered the most. But now the reach of Hamas rockets is greater.
The term is “tzeva adom,” which means “color red,” but less literally, “code red,” the warning that a rocket is coming. In the communities near the Gaza border, the time between the sounding of the warning and the arrival of the rocket is 15 seconds.
Save these and share them. When the world starts to complain about what Israel is doing to the poor people of Gaza, show them how Israel has suffered – in a way no other country would tolerate, while everyone has ignored our situation.
Hat Tip: BB
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Over the last couple of weeks, Hillary Clinton has excited the press with gaffe after gaffe about money and influence. In fact, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza credits her with having had the “worst week” of anyone in Washington, D.C. last week. Campaign metaphors are ripe in the press when it comes to Clinton these days. “Actually, maybe the book tour is a perfect encapsulation of what a Clinton campaign might look like,” comments Cillizza. “And for that, Hillary Clinton, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.”
Even Politico acknowledges that Clinton has had a “rough couple of weeks” and that the “majority of attention has been paid to Clinton’s gaffes.”
Politico’s Maggie Haberman writes, in the assessment of Clinton’s qualifications as a candidate, that this is only early in the game and she is “subsisting on a tiny infrastructure.” This, directly after she calls for more “authenticity” from the potential candidate. Which is it? Does the staff speak for candidate Clinton, or does the candidate’s past reputation and words speak for her well enough?
Haberman also comments that “One recurring question reporters and donors have had is whether Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide, has resumed her central spot in Clinton’s orbit after the messiness surrounding her husband, Anthony Weiner, during the 2013 mayoral race.” We would say probably yes. After all, in what Politico has called a book “written so carefully not to offend that it will fuel the notion that politics infuses every part of her life,” Clinton takes 400 words to defend Abedin. She describes Abedin in Hard Choices as a “trusted aide,” an “American patriot” with “generosity of spirit” who has been falsely accused of “being a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Abedin was pictured last year sitting with Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Mohamed Magid, who didn’t make it onto the guest list for President Obama’s annual iftar dinner while other less controversial Muslims did. (ISNA is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.) Andrew McCarthy—who successfully prosecuted the “Blind Sheikh” for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and the author of several books, including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad—has discussed Abedin’s Brotherhood ties at length.
And this is a real media scandal: Ties to the Muslim Brotherhood aren’t even considered controversial by our press, instead they are outright ignored. Former congressman Allen West, a retired Army colonel and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, has detailed in a new column how the Obama administration, and the Hillary Clinton-led State Department, have embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, including having some in official advisory positions in the administration—including in Homeland Security. Incredible.
One of the latest Clinton gaffes, which takes the cake, originated with her husband, Bill Clinton, who naturally came to his wife’s defense about the family finances. According to The Hill, “He said Hillary Clinton had in the past offered legal assistance for poor people and fought for paid leave for pregnant mothers in the 1970s. And he explained that he and the former secretary of State go to their local grocery store on the weekends and talk to regular people.”
Indeed, Hillary Clinton went to work for “one of America’s most radical law firms,” Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein, in 1971. Since when do you get credit for being in touch because you talk to “regular people” at the grocery store and pay your income taxes?
While on the book tour for her latest work, Hard Choices, Clinton first made the comment on ABC that she was “dead broke” when she left the White House in 2001. This provoked widespread criticism, given that she had signed a book deal with an advance of $8 million, even before leaving the White House, and she commands $200,000 and up for most of her speaking engagements. Hillary and Bill’s adjusted gross income exceeded $100 million between the time they left the White House and when she ran for president in 2008. We now know that Bill Clinton has earned $104.9 million in speeches. “He’s a stud…there was nobody at the Bellagio cabana sunning himself when President Clinton was in the ballroom speaking,” said one person interviewed by The Washington Post.And Hillary Clinton has trumpeted that she pays income tax just like everyone else, with the insinuation that this makes her more like the average working person.
Chelsea Clinton, their daughter, has said she doesn’t care about money—even though her wedding cost about $3 million, and her apartment $10 million, according to the New York Daily News. Does Chelsea really have such a tin ear, as well, or is it just the same PR people spinning? After all, NBC News is working on a month-to-month contract with Chelsea, who has “done just a smattering of reporting” for them, in case her mother decides to run for president—yet she earns $600,000 annually, according to the Associated Press.
The Washington Post entered the fray by noting that “some Democrats fear” Clinton has an “imperial image that could be damaging in 2016.” The Post notes the disconnect between Hillary’s words and her appearance. “When Hillary Rodham Clinton said [in June] that she was once ‘dead broke,’ it was during an interview in which she led ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer through her $5 million Washington home, appointed like an ambassador’s mansion,” wrote Philip Rucker. “Mahogany antiques, vibrant paintings and Oriental rugs fill the rooms.”
The Post has issued wall-to-wall coverage of this subject, but most of it is about ensuring Hillary’s chances.
While “Obama campaign advisors” express concerns about Hillary’s image in this article, the Post is sure to set Democrat readers’ minds at ease: Hillary is, and will always be, the working person’s friend. “Clinton’s allies, however, strongly dispute suggestions that she is disconnected from the concerns and values of middle-class Americans,” wrote Rucker. “They note she grew up in a middle-class suburb of Chicago and said she has committed her adult life to lifting up the downtrodden—from her early work at the Children’s Defense Fund to initiatives at her family’s charitable foundation.” Note that The New York Times’ lengthy exposé last year on the mismanagement of the Clinton Foundation year receives no mention.
What also receives no mention are the steps that the Clintons have taken to shield themselves from the estate tax, which they themselves recently championed. “Bill and Hillary Clinton have long supported an estate tax to prevent the U.S. from being dominated by inherited wealth,” reported Richard Rubin for Bloomberg. “That doesn’t meant they want to pay for it.” While this inherent hypocrisy was glossed over, it did receive a nod in a later Washington Post piece.
And therein lies a political problem for Clinton. While President Obama was the media darling from the outset and immune from all challenges—especially from the media—Hillary Clinton has too much political baggage to be immune to salvos from the right, or even the center. And the media are taking notice.
For example, the Post published a story noting that Clinton can’t remake her image because her record is too well known to the public. Notably, her record on Benghazi is not mentioned. Dan Balz filled this Post story with breathlessness, writing “Experience is her greatest asset but she [Clinton] is constrained by her longevity in the public arena. She knows plenty—but perhaps too much to become an aspirational presidential candidate offering unlimited possibilities. She can evoke realism but can she seize the future?”
Politico told a different story. “She’s faced some criticism of her explanation of the Benghazi attacks, but that, too, has barely been discussed since her Fox News interview with Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren,” Haberman writes. “If her critics hoped to discredit her self-drafted version of her record, they barely laid a glove on the book’s contents.”
And therein lies another problem. What the press should be asking is a) what were Hillary’s real achievements as Secretary of State, b) do the scandals she’s been part of undercut her ability to become president, and c) what difference at this point does Benghazi really make?
By: Arlen Williams
We did a net-radio program last night. We covered what this title describes. Plus I asked listeners what is wrong with the American public, that they’re not catching on more quickly to what is really going on in the soft warfare of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” That quotes Barack Obama. He just didn’t finish the sentence by saying… into a colony of subjects again, this time of a global, collectivist empire.
Here is the widget for listening to it (please slide the slider over to 4 minutes, 30 seconds to start; sorry, “technical difficulties”).
Here are important items that we mentioned, along with a few more comments.
And for those catching this in Gulag Bound instead of Storify, here is a special treat, featured once before in Gulag, in keeping with that question I asked.
It’s Not About The Nail from Republic Content on Vimeo.