Archive for the ‘Gaza’ category

Palestinians fire 17 rockets into Israel as IDF bombs tunnel, Hamas base in Gaza

July 14, 2018

Iron Dome intercepts 5 projectiles, one rocket falls in a kibbutz; no injuries reported in Israel or in Gaza; flare up comes after IDF officer wounded by grenade in border riot.


Illustrative: Flames from rockets fired by Palestinians are seen over Gaza Strip heading toward Israel, in the early morning of May 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

By TOI Staff July 13, 2018 Times of Israel

Source Link: Palestinians fire 17 rockets into Israel as IDF bombs tunnel, Hamas base in Gaza

{Meanwhile, back at the ranch.  – LS}

Israeli aircraft hit several sites in the Gaza Strip early Saturday including a terror tunnel and several Hamas bases after an IDF officer was wounded by a grenade during a riot on the border, the army said. Following the air raids, Palestinian terror groups launched a barrage of at least 17 rockets or mortars into Israel.

The army said five of the launches were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. There were no reports of injuries. However, one rocket landed inside a kibbutz in the Shar HaNegev Regional Council area.

The IDF said aircraft had attacked “an offensive terror tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip, in addition to several terror sites in military compounds throughout the Gaza Strip, among them complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror organization training facility.”

No injuries were reported in Gaza.

Following the airstrikes rocket warning sirens wailed repeatedly in Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip, including the Sdot HaNegev Regional Council area and the town of Sderot. Residents reported sounds of explosions, Israel Radio reported.

About 30 minutes after the first wave, sirens sounded again in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council area and in the Eshkol region. Residents were warned to spend the night in bomb shelters.

The army said it held Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza, which it has ruled since 2007.

“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for the events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and Israeli sovereignty,” the army said, adding that “the IDF views Hamas’ terror activity with great severity and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios.”

The violence came after an IDF officer was moderately wounded Friday afternoon when a grenade was hurled at him by assailants during clashes at the Gaza border fence, the army reported Friday night.

The military said soldiers fired back at the attackers and identified hitting them. The officer was rushed to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center and has family has been notified.

It was the most serious attack on Israeli forces in over three months of border protests, during which time soldiers have on several occasions been targeted with gunfire and bombs.

Israel has long accused Hamas of using the weekly border demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks against Israel.

Earlier the Hamas-run health ministry said a 15-year-old Palestinian was killed during the clashes with the Israeli army along the Gaza border.


A picture taken on July 13, 2018 shows tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces landing amidst protesters during a demonstration along the border with Israel east of Gaza City. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

It was not clear whether that incident was tied to the attack that wounded the officer.

The Israeli military said thousands took part in the demonstrations, and that soldiers were attacked with grenades, bombs, Molotov cocktails and rocks. Troops responded with less-lethal means and fired live rounds in certain cases, including at one person who tried to cut through the security fence.

Gaza officials said 220 others were hurt in the riots. Most were treated at the scene, while several dozen were taken to hospital. Friday’s violence was held under the banner of “Identifying with Khan al-Ahmar,” a West Bank Bedouin village whose planned demolition by Israel is being debated at the High Court.

Also Friday, two soldiers were lightly injured in a car crash near the Gaza border in the afternoon when a utility trailer connected to their vehicle overturned. The soldiers were taking part in efforts to put out a large fire caused by an incendiary kite at Kibbutz Or Haner.

Firefighters said they managed to get the blaze under control, with the help of several teams and four firefighting planes.


Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip, which was caused by incendiaries tied to kites flown by Palestinian protesters from across the border., May 14, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Officials said 15 separate fires had erupted in the Gaza periphery since the morning due to incendiary kites and balloons. All were brought under control.

Since March 30, weekly clashes have taken place on the Gaza border, with Israel accusing Hamas of using the demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks and attempt to breach the security fence. The “March of Return” protests have also seen Palestinians fly airborne incendiary devices toward Israeli territory, sparking hundreds of fires in southern Israel and causing millions of shekels in estimated damages.

The Israeli army has reportedly notified Hamas in recent days that if the incendiary kite and balloon attacks from the Gaza Strip don’t cease, Israel will respond with major military action.

The threat comes amid a period of increased tension between Israel and the Gaza-ruling terror group. On Monday, Israel announced it was shutting down the Kerem Shalom border crossing — the Strip’s main crossing for commercial goods — in response to the endless stream of incendiary and explosive kites and balloons that have been flown into southern Israel, sparking fires that have burned thousands of acres of land and caused millions of shekels in damages. Humanitarian and essential supplies continue to enter Gaza.

The IDF has sought to avoid an escalation of hostilities on the southern front despite the attacks, but according to the Haaretz daily, the political pressure to act has been building as the economic and psychological harm caused by the fires takes its toll.


Palestinians prepare a kite with flammable materials that they will fly into southern Israel from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 22, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israeli officials have conveyed this to Hamas through an intermediary, and said a significant Israeli response was inevitable if the current situation continued, the paper reported.

The army is now examining options for a significant and painful military response against Hamas that would be pinpoint enough not to spark a full-fledged war, the report said.

Friday’s report came a day after an Israeli drone fired two missiles toward a group of Palestinians flying incendiary balloons into southern Israel from the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian media.

This was the second such airstrike in less than 24 hours.

The IDF confirmed that one of its aircraft fired at a cell that had launched balloons toward Israel from northern Gaza. No injuries were reported in the airstrike, which the official Palestinian Wafa news outlet said occurred near the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.

Multiple Palestinian news outlets, including Wafa, reported that Israel conducted two strikes on Thursday, one near Beit Hanoun and a second east of the city of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip.

An IDF spokesperson denied the Palestinian reports, saying he was “only familiar with one airstrike.”

The southern Israeli Eshkol regional council reported that a number of incendiary and booby-trapped balloons had been flown into the area throughout Thursday morning.


A banana field that was damaged by a fire sparked by an incendiary balloon from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israel Eshkol region on July 12, 2018. (Eshkol Security)

On Wednesday, incendiary kites and balloons sparked 19 fires of varying sizes in Israel, according to local government officials. Fifteen of them occurred in the Eshkol region, which abuts the southern Gaza Strip. The other four occurred in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, which lies to the northeast of the coastal enclave.

In response, the Israeli military conducted an airstrike against a group of Palestinians it said was launching incendiary balloons toward Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, east of the city of Rafah. There, too, no injuries were reported.

After shuttering Kerem Shalom, the army said humanitarian aid, notably food and medicine, would still be allowed into Gaza, but would require special permission from the military liaison, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, to the Palestinians.

The military said the closure would continue so long as Palestinians persist in launching incendiary kites and balloons into Israel.

 

UN condemns Israel for Gaza violence, but not Hamas

June 14, 2018

General Assembly passes resolution calling for “protection” for Palestinians but overrides U.S.-backed amendment censuring Hamas for rocket fire, diverting aid to terrorism • Israeli envoy Danny Danon: U.N. “colluding with a terrorist organization.”

By Yoni Hersch, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff June 14, 2018

Source Link: UN condemns Israel for Gaza violence, but not Hamas

{So, what is it this time? …disproportionate use of force, genocide, islamophobia, not enough Israeli casualties, bad hair day? Honestly, it just gets old, folks. – LS}

The U.N. General Assembly voted on Wednesday in favor of a Palestinian-backed resolution condemning Israel for excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, overriding an amendment proposed by the United States to censure Hamas for rocket attacks against Israel and for diverting aid resources for terrorist purposes.

The U.S. amendment initially passed by a vote of 62-58, with 42 abstentions, but it was ultimately rejected when General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak declared that under a General Assembly rule, a two-thirds majority was needed.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley appealed the decision, citing another rule that only a majority vote is required to pass an amendment.

After a short break, Lajcak put the U.S. appeal to a vote. The U.S. narrowly lost that vote 66-73, with 26 abstentions.

The General Assembly adopted the original version of the resolution with 120 votes in favor, eight against, and 45 abstentions. It had been put forward by Algeria, Turkey and the Palestinians after the United States vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member U.N. Security Council earlier this month.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza border riots since March 30. The largest number of deaths occurred on May 14, and Hamas confirmed that most of the casualties were Hamas operatives.

While the General Assembly text condemned the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli civilian areas, it did not mention Hamas, which rules Gaza and is responsible for the rocket fire, nor did it mention the Palestinian riots on the Gaza border.

“The nature of this resolution clearly demonstrates that politics is driving the day,” Haley told the General Assembly before the vote.

“It is totally one-sided. It makes not one mention of the Hamas terrorists who routinely initiate the violence in Gaza.”

Algerian Ambassador Sabri Boukadoum, representing Arab nations, sought to block a vote on the U.S. amendment, saying it was not relevant to the resolution and also undermined reconciliation efforts between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah as well as the “remote prospects” of reviving peace negotiations with Israel.

Before the vote, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, told the assembly, “By supporting this resolution you are colluding with a terrorist organization; by supporting this resolution you are empowering Hamas.”

Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo joined Israel and the United States in voting against the resolution.

The resolution also calls on U.N. chief Antonio Guterres to recommend an “international protection mechanism” for the Palestinian territories.

“We need protection of our civilian population,” Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour told the General Assembly before the vote.

He said the resolution was “intended to contribute to a de-escalation of the volatile situation.”

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people,” Mansour said.

The resolution calls on Guterres to report back within 60 days on proposals “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, including … recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

 

Living in the Gaza Strip isn’t so bad, despite what Gazan protesters say

May 18, 2018

by Michael Rubin | May 14, 2018 03:57 PM Washington Examiner

Source Link: Living in the Gaza Strip isn’t so bad, despite what Gazan protesters say

{Something you’ll never hear about in the mainstream media. If you really want to blow your mind about life in Gaza, check out the following BONUS link from our friends in the ‘Down Under’. – LS}

Bonus Link: Luxury in the world’s largest prison

Israeli forces reportedly killed 52 Gazan protesters along the border fence amid violent protests. The Palestinian Authority called the killings a “terrible massacre” and the United National Human Rights Council called for the Israelis responsible to face justice. South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel until the occupation of Gaza ends (seemingly unaware that happened 13 years ago).

Let’s put aside the fact that the same activists condemning Israel for defending itself against Hamas were largely silent when the Syrian government destroyed a Palestinian refugee camp last month. And let’s also ignore that while the world blames Israel for the Gaza siege, Egypt also shares a border with the Gaza Strip and allows far less humanitarian transit.

Eight years ago, against the backdrop of a Turkish-sponsored flotilla to bust Israel’s blockade of Gaza, Washington Post columnist George Will noted the irony that Turkey was sponsoring the Gaza flotilla at a time when Gazans enjoyed higher life expectancy and had better health than Turks. While the situation in Gaza is far from ideal, some perspective is necessary: In terms of health and welfare, the plight of Gazans today is far better than those living in many other countries.

Take, for example, life expectancy at birth. According to the CIA’s World Fact Book, Gazans born today can expect to live 74.2 years. That’s higher than Peru, Iran, Brazil, Jamaica, Ukraine, Russia, India, and more than 90 other countries.

The pattern is more the rule than the exception. Consider infant mortality. In Gaza, it is 16.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. That’s better than Pakistan, Ethiopia, Senegal, India, South Africa, and several dozen other countries.

Youth unemployment in the Gaza Strip is bad, but young Gazans are still more likely to find jobs than young South Africans, Bosnians, or Greeks.

The economy is still a problem. The Gaza Strip leads the world in gross domestic product decline, but then again, its decline is inversely proportional to the money which Hamas spends on rockets and other systems of terror. It can be hard to make ends meet anywhere in the world, but consumer price inflation is less in the Gaza Strip than in Egypt, Argentina, Turkey, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Cell phone penetration in Gaza is greater than in much of Africa, and more Gazans use the Internet than Lithuanians. If the Gazan leadership wanted, they could transform their territory into a regional Singapore. That they choose not to is no one’s responsibility but their own.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, leaving behind intact infrastructure capable of supporting a number of industries and to employ thousands. Rather than accept Israeli largesse, the Palestinians in Gaza destroyed greenhouses and tens of millions of dollars in other structures. Simultaneously, the international community has donated more to the Palestinians on a per capita basis than to any other people on earth. Palestinians may seek to ascribe current suffering to Israeli actions, but Palestinians have agency and, for more than a decade, have emphasized terror over welfare.

The situation in Gaza is tragic, but it’s important to keep perspective: Life for the average Gazan is far better than for the average South African, Egyptian, or Russian. That may not be the story told by press and self-described human rights activists, but World Bank and U.N. statistics do not lie.

If the international community truly wanted to help Gazans, perhaps the best way would be to hold their own government to account rather than a neighboring democracy which no longer occupies the Gaza Strip and which has allowed sufficient aid and assistance through to give Gazans far better opportunities than many Turks, Russians, and Egyptians enjoy. Let’s hope journalists and diplomats fact-check protesters, because to buy into Hamas propaganda is to endorse the tactics Hamas embraces in the Gaza Strip and to ensure terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere replicate them.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.

 

As Gaza hospitals suffer shortages, Hamas refuses Israeli medical aid

May 16, 2018


The Israeli army prepares a shipment of medical supplies for the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2018. The Hamas terrorist group, which rules the coastal enclave, later refused to accept the equipment and sent it back.

Two trucks of supplies from the IDF entered the Strip but were returned after ruling terror group saw they were from Israel

By Judah Ari Gross and AP Times of Israel

Source Link: As Gaza hospitals suffer shortages, Hamas refuses Israeli medical aid

{Question: How many Palestinians does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Answer: None….they would rather sit in the dark and blame Israel. – LS}

The Hamas terrorist group on Wednesday refused to accept two shipments of medical supplies for Gaza hospitals, which are struggling with shortages, after seeing they were sent by Israel, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians said.

On Tuesday, Israel facilitated the entrance of eight trucks full of medical equipment into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which reopened earlier that day after it was burned by Palestinian rioters last Friday.

Four of the shipments were from the Palestinian Authority, two from the United Nations Children’s Fund and two were provided by the Israel Defense Forces’ Technological and Logistics Directorate.

According to Israel, the IDF shipments included IV fluids, bandages, pediatric equipment and disinfectants, as well as fuel for hospital generators.

However, on Wednesday morning, after the trucks passed through the crossing, Hamas officials saw that the two shipments from Israel had labels identifying them as coming from the IDF and sent them back, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories liaison unit.

“Hamas officials checked the trucks, saw that there were IDF stickers on the medications and said they were not prepared to accept medicine with IDF labels on it,” said a COGAT spokesperson.

The six shipments from the PA and UNICEF were accepted.

The Hamas-led organizers of the Palestinian protests along the Gaza border confirmed that they would not accept medicine “from the murderers of our people,” despite the widespread shortages of medical supplies in the coastal enclave.

The terrorist group accused Israel of “trying to improve its black image” by sending the humanitarian aid.

In the wake of mass riots Monday on the Gaza border, already strained hospitals in the beleaguered coastal enclave have struggled to provide treatment to the more than 1,500 patients that the Hamas-run health ministry says were injured in the clashes.

According to the Hamas ministry, 60 Palestinians were killed along the border on Monday, including several Hamas members who were shot dead in direct clashes with IDF soldiers.

In total, Israeli security forces have identified at least 24 of the people killed as known members of terrorist groups, mainly Hamas and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israel has not put out its own official death toll, but some have questioned the accuracy of the Hamas-provided figure. For instance, a Gazan doctor told the Associated Press that an 8-month-old baby, who the Gaza ministry said died after inhaling Israeli tear gas on Monday, had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas.

Even before the latest round of bloodshed, Gaza’s health system of 13 public hospitals and 14 clinics run by NGOs had been buckling under persistent blockade-linked shortages of medicines and surgical supplies.

According to the IDF, the two trucks that were turned away contained thousands of units of IV fluid, beds, hospital gowns, IV fluid stands, thousands of bandages and thousands of units of antiseptic chemicals.

“Hamas basically said it would rather get no equipment than get aid from Israel,” the COGAT official said.

On Tuesday, Palestinian officials also refused to allow trucks loaded with goods into the Gaza Strip through the newly reopened Kerem Shalom Crossing.

Shipments of medical supplies, food and diapers arrived at the crossing on Tuesday morning. But officials on the Palestinian side said they could only allow through the medical supplies and sent back 14 trucks full of food and diapers, The Times of Israel learned.

It was not immediately clear why the border officials, who are employed by the Palestinian Authority, would not accept the shipments.

Israel had closed the crossing late last week in order to assess and repair significant damage caused by rioters there last Friday evening.

On Monday night — hours after Gazans again ransacked the facility — the army announced that Israel would be reopening Kerem Shalom on Tuesday.

“Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved the recommendation of the Israel Defense Forces and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to reopen the Kerem Shalom Crossing tomorrow,” the army said in a statement.

The crossing, near the Egyptian border, serves as the main entry point for commercial goods and humanitarian aid into the coastal enclave, which has been subject to a strict blockade by both Israel and Egypt for the past 11 years that is meant to prevent terrorist groups from bringing weapons into the Strip.

While the crossing reopened on Tuesday, it will only be able to function at a partial capacity in light of substantial damage caused to the facility, including to the fuel lines — the only way to bring diesel and gasoline into Gaza in significant quantities.

Palestinian rioters set fire to the Gaza Strip’s Kerem Shalom Crossing on May 14, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

On Sunday night, the United Nations said an alternative way of getting fuel to Gaza must be found urgently, warning of dwindling supplies needed to run hospitals, pick up garbage, pump water and treat sewage.

Palestinian rioters ransacked the crossing for the third time in two weeks on Monday, toward the end of the violent mass protests along the border, the army said.

The Israel Defense Forces said around 40,000 Gazans participated in “unprecedentedly” violent riots along the security fence on Monday. The protests, which Israel said were spurred by Hamas seeking to carry out terror attacks, saw multiple cases of shots fired at Israeli troops and several unsuccessful attempts to breach the border.

IDF soldiers responded with tear gas and, in some cases, live fire. Israel faced immediate international backlash and accusations of excessive force. The army maintains that its soldiers adhered to rigidly defined rules of engagement and only used live rounds as a last resort.

Rioters first attacked the crossing on May 4. They broke through the gates and, apparently believing they were in Israeli territory, set fire to the fuel lines, according to Israeli officials. In actuality, they were on the Palestinian side of the crossing.

One week later, another group of some 200 people broke into the Palestinian side of the crossing, following that day’s border protests.

However, according to Israeli officials, the Hamas terrorist group directed this attack on the crossing. Its operatives instructed rioters “what to do, where to go,” a senior COGAT officer told reporters on Sunday.

The rioters again set fire to the fuel terminal. They also torched a specially designed conveyor belt used to bring raw construction material into Gaza and wrecked two other conveyor belts used to transport animal feed.

Israeli and Palestinian officials estimate that it will take at least several weeks to bring the fuel lines and conveyor belts back online.

 

Israel deploys 100 sharpshooters on Gaza border for Palestinian protests

March 28, 2018

By REUTERS March 28, 2018 14:30 via Jerusalem Post

Source Link: Israel deploys 100 sharpshooters on Gaza border for Palestinian protests

{Just in case things to asunder, add a little Israeli thunder. – LS}

“We have deployed more than 100 sharpshooters who were called up from all of the military’s units, primarily from the special forces.”

JERUSALEM/GAZA – The Israeli military has deployed more than 100 sharpshooters on the Gaza border ahead of a planned mass Palestinian demonstration near the frontier, Israel’s top general said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Organizers hope thousands in Gaza will answer their call to flock, starting on Friday, to tent cities in five locations along the sensitive border in a six-week protest for a right of return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.

Citing security concerns, the Israeli military enforces a “no go” zone for Palestinians on land in Gaza adjacent to Israel’s border fence.

Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenkot, the military’s chief of staff, told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily that the military would not allow “mass infiltration” or tolerate damage to the barrier during the protests.

“We have deployed more than 100 sharpshooters who were called up from all of the military’s units, primarily from the special forces,” Eizenkot said in the interview. “If lives are in jeopardy, there is permission to open fire.”

Israeli soldiers are confronted by frequent violent Palestinian protests along the Gaza border and have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators whom the military said hurled rocks or petrol bombs at them.

Organizers said the protest is supported by several Palestinian factions, including Gaza’s dominant Islamist Hamas movement that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

RISING TENSION

Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi, speaking on Israel Radio, said Hamas had avoided direct conflict with Israel since the end of the 2014 Gaza war.

But he said that pressure Hamas was now feeling from Israel’s destruction of some of its network of attack tunnels near the border, coupled with harsh economic conditions in Gaza, were “a formula for rising tension.”

The start of the demonstration was symbolically linked to what Palestinians call “Land Day,” which commemorates the six Arab citizens of Israel killed by Israeli security forces in demonstrations in 1976 over land confiscations. The week-long Jewish holiday of Passover, when Israel heightens security, also begins on Friday.

The protest is due to end on May 15, the day Palestinians call the “Nakba” or “Catastrophe”, marking the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the conflict surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

Palestinians have long demanded that as many as five million of their compatriots be granted the right to return. Israel rules this out, fearing an influx of Arabs that would eliminate its Jewish majority. Israel argues the refugees should resettle in a future state that the Palestinians seek in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli jets strike third Palestinian terror tunnel

January 14, 2018

Israeli jets strike third Palestinian terror tunnel, DEBKAfile, January 14, 2018

The Israel air strike Saturday night, Jan. 13, in the southern Gaza Strip was aimed at a terror tunnel running 180m into Israel that Hamas was building under the Kerem Shalom crossing through which convoys of goods pass from Israel to the Gaza Strip. It also ran into Egyptian territory under the Rafah border between Gaza and Sinai. This was disclosed early Sunday by the IDF spokesman. He noted that Israeli fighters hit the tunnel at the Gaza end. Work to finish its demolition continued Sunday. The new tunnel ran under the gas and heavy oil pipelines through which Israel supplies the Gaza Strip population with fuel.

This was the third Palestinian terror tunnel Israel had discovered and destroyed in the Gaza Strip in recent months. Hamas and the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad were responsible for the first two.

DEBKAfile adds: Clearly the IDF has been able to develop the technology for detecting and destroying the terror tunnels, so robbing Palestinians of one of their prime weapons of terror against Israel. Hamas will also have understood that Israel gave Egypt prior warning of its air strike Saturday night. This prompted the night curfew Cairo imposed on northern Sinai including the Rafah region an hour earlier. The tunnel network is also Hamas’ main conduit for smuggling arms and combatants into and out of the Gaza Strip through Sinai. Now that the Gaza Strip is under total land blockade, the Palestinian terrorist group faces hard options: Accept Egyptian and Fatah terms for reconciliation, launch a massive rocket attack on Israel, or call on the help of its allies Iran and Hizballah for action to break the blockade and deliver funds and weapons that can overwhelm the IDF and its new anti-tunnel technology.

The end of an era

January 4, 2018

The end of an era, Israel Hayom, Dr. Reuven Berko, January 3, 2018

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.

*******************************

In the late 1990s, author and political commentator Fouad Ajami published his book “The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey,” in which he laid out the failures in the worldviews of Arab leaders and their self-criticism as the reason for their lack of achievement.

Two decades later, as 2017 was drawing to a close, the Palestinians’ dream palace sustained three serious blows in quick succession. First, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was followed by the Likud Central Committee’s decision to annex the settlements and the Jordan Valley. Finally, the Knesset passed a law that removes the teeth from any future peace deal involving Jerusalem (by requiring a special majority of 80 MKs to vote in favor of handing any part of the city over to any foreign government).

If the Palestinians were to look at them in a sober light, they would see that the U.N. resolutions that followed Trump’s announcement were meaningless. In light of the continuing historic drama that began with the landmark Balfour Declaration, the U.N. resolutions condemning Trump’s announcement carried no operative significance and merely served as a faint echo of the detached institution’s fading anti-Israelism.

The latest provocations from Hamas are not a lust for battle, but an expression of how desperate and lost – operatively, politically, and ideologically – the organization is. This beaten and battered group made an immense investment in missiles and attack tunnels, at a heavy cost to its people. These have become a pointless burden. Hamas is currently in a political situation in which the world is sick of Islamism, and the entities that aid and abet it (Qatar, Iran, and Turkey) are bogged down in their own domestic troubles.

The Palestinian Authority is at the end of an era. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying fruitlessly to use a diplomatic atmosphere that is hostile to Israel to wring concessions out of it, while simultaneously avoiding direct negotiations with Israel or recognizing it as a Jewish state. The PA is wasting time trying to paint Israel as an apartheid state through a South Africa-style boycott movement, while continuing to coordinate on security because it is afraid of Hamas.

The Israeli convoy is moving on while the PA is gritting its teeth over absurd demands (Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees), not realizing the effect the processes at work in the world are having on their delusional dreams. Indeed, Islamist terrorism, the Iranian threat, the breakdown of many countries in the region, the masses of Muslim refugees into sinking Europe, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East – these are the factors that have sidelined the Palestinian problem, which was never the cause of the regional unrest.

As these developments take place, Abbas is claiming that the U.S. is sponsoring an Israeli strategy to eradicate the Palestinians and their irrefutable right to kill off the peace process. A range of voices in Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas – responded to Trump’s declaration and Israel’s decision about Jerusalem and the settlements with the language of a declaration of war that demands that they revoke any recognition of Israel and the peace process and resume resistance (the armed struggle).

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.