Posted tagged ‘Binyamin Netanyahu’

‘Hamas a less threatening enemy than previously estimated,’ Nahal intelligence officer tells

August 25, 2014

Hamas a less threatening enemy than previously estimated,’ Nahal intelligence officer tells ‘Post’

By YAAKOV LAPPIN 08/25/2014 14:31

Hamas operates from heart of civilian population center, but melts away in face of ground offensive, Maj. S says: “We did not encounter a single enemy commander in combat the moment the ground maneuver began.”

via ‘Hamas a less threatening enemy than previously estimated,’ Nahal intelligence officer tells ‘Post’ | JPost | Israel News.

Read This ! it opens up a lot of questions for me !

 

Nahal brigade in Gaza Photo: IDF SPOKESMAN’S OFFICE
 

When directly confronted on the ground, Hamas became a less threatening enemy than previously estimated, the Nahal infantry brigade’s chief senior intelligence officer, Maj. S (full name withheld for security reasons) told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Nahal units remain deployed outside of Gaza together with other infantry divisions, as Israel currently fights a war of attrition with Hamas and limits itself to air power.

Maj. S recalled how Hamas “ran away from the battlefield” in northern Gaza after Nahal entered the Strip last month, as part of the army’s mission to destroy Hamas’s network of cross-border attack tunnels.

A small number of Hamas units in north Gaza did put up a serious fight, exhibited determination to engage the IDF, and killed a total of six Nahal soldiers during the ground offensive, Maj. S said. But “in comparison to what we expected, this was less. From the moment the ground offensive began in our sector of northern Gaza, the enemy ran away. Its commanders disappeared on the first day of the air campaign.

We did not encounter a single enemy commander in combat the moment the ground maneuver began.” Maj. S noted that this was a “complete antithesis” to the IDF’s tradition of placing commanders in forward positions in advancing units.

A few Hamas cells engaged in firefights with Nahal units, killing, among others, the commander of Nahal’s Gefen Battalion, 38-year-old Lt.-Col. Dolev Keidar, who Maj. S knew personally.

But on the whole, after Nahal entered Gaza and deployed significant firepower, Hamas failed to respond with an organized and prepared counter-strike against advancing IDF units, he said.

Hamas’s commanders remained in hideouts, while its regional battalion guerrillas hid in civilian population centers, from which they continued to direct projectile fire at Israel. “They fired from refugee camps, UNRWA schools, hospitals and mosques. All of these things are documented,” the intelligence officer said.

“The asymmetry between them and us is very large, not only in terms of operational techniques, but also in terms of values. We always try to deploy our forces far from Israeli communities to avoid exposing them to enemy fire. Hamas do the opposite, acting in the heart of their population center to use it as a human shield for their activities.

This creates many challenges,” Maj. S stated.

As the Nahal brigade’s intelligence officer, Maj. S holds daily situation evaluation meetings with field commanders, and acts as a bridge between Military Intelligence and the infantry brigade, ensuring that its officers are aware of the latest intelligence on Hamas.

“We have been in combat mode for almost 80 days. It began in Judea and Samaria, with Operation Brother’s Keeper [to search for the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered by Hamas near Hebron], and continued with Operation Protective Edge, which brought us to the Gaza sector,” he said. “Soldiers, commanders and reservists have seen very little of their homes during this period,” he added.

Maj. S carries out operational analyses of all aspects of combat. He makes use of a range of technological means to gain a picture of the challenges lying ahead.

“This includes evaluating the situation of the enemy before we enter combat, and while in combat, to understand its location, status, and plans,” Maj. S explained.

“These days, we can really track the enemy, and pass on alerts to units that are maneuvering in the field. We can then attack and destroy the threat with all the means at our disposal. We do all of this while tackling the challenge of directing our firepower at threats and seeking to avoid harming the Gazan civilian population, which is not tied to Hamas’s activity,” the officer said.

“We have dedicated a lot of energy and resources to try and prevent harm to noncombatants. We have been ordered to do this dozens of times, from the chief of staff to the brigade commander. Our orders are to seek out and confront our attackers, while avoiding harm to combatants,” he added.

“In order to achieve this, we have to have a grasp of the territory, on a variety of levels. To understand where the enemy is located, and to be equally aware of where it is not located. Then, we must direct our firepower precisely at the enemy and its infrastructure. We do this on the basis of intelligence gathered on threats, both before the conflict, and more recent intelligence, which is very dynamic. We get information from the bottom, sides, and from above,” Maj. S said, hinting at the sources of input at his disposal.

On the basis of the latest information, “We constantly evaluate the situation, and think about where it is better to focus our offensive efforts, and where we should be careful. Intelligence never rests,” he added.

Today, even the most junior field commanders receive relevant and valuable intelligence, Maj. S said.

DUNETZ: Obama’s Strategy For Fighting Terrorism: ‘Except When The Terrorists Are Targeting Jews’

August 23, 2014

DUNETZ: Obama’s Strategy For Fighting Terrorism: ‘Except When The Terrorists Are Targeting Jews

8.22.2014 Commentary Jeff Dunetz

via DUNETZ: Obama’s Strategy For Fighting Terrorism: ‘Except When The Terrorists Are Targeting Jews’ | Truth Revolt.

 

 

he pundits on both sides of the political spectrum are confused about President Obama’s strategy for fighting terrorism. He seems to say one thing and then a few days later orate something quite different. Ye his recent actions have made his strategy clear. As a service to readers of TruthRevolt and the political punditry of America, we will explain Obama’s terrorism-fighting strategy, which in his administration seems to be outspoken “except when the terrorists are targeting Jews.”

This is how it works.

While talking about ISIS and the murder of Jim Foley on Wednesday, President Obama said:

They have rampaged across cities and villages — killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims — both Sunni and Shia — by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people.

A few hours after Obama’s speech, Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu gave one of his own, accurately explaining that Hamas is guilty of the same horrific acts as ISIS.

Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas. They’re the enemies of peace, they’re the enemies of Israel, they’re the enemies of all civilized countries, and I believe they’re the enemies of the Palestinians themselves.

Netanyahu explained that the Foley beheading “shows you the barbarism, the savagery of these people,” He added:

We face the same savagery. People who wantonly rocket our cities and conduct mass killings, and when they can, they murder children, teenagers, shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor, their own people, and use their people as human shields.

During the daily State Department briefing that same day, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf was asked about Netanyahu’s comparison. Harf refused to concede that the two terrorist groups were similar.

I think by definition, they are two different groups. They have different leadership, and I’m not going to compare them in that way. I’ll let him [Netanyahu] speak for himself, but I’m not going to use that comparison.

Why would the Obama administration refuse to accept the Netanyahu comparison? There is one major difference between ISIS and Hamas. As the President said above, ISIS attacks people of all religions including their own. On the other hand, Hamas’ primary target is the Jewish people. Their stated objective is killing all of the Jews in Israel and once that is done, killing all of the Jews in the rest of the world.

Civilian casualties are another example of the “Except when the terrorists are targeting Jews” strategy.

Since the start of the Gaza war, President Obama has constantly attacked Israel for the tragedy of civilian casualties despite the fact that Israel goes even further than the U.S. to avoid civilian casualties and that Hamas uses its population as human shields.

During an interview with the New Yorker this past January, Obama told David Remnick that he “wrestle[s]” with civilian casualties. But he also said he has

“a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans — killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American blowing up American planes. That’s not speculation. It’s their explicit agenda.”

Why would Obama go out of his way to criticize this country’s number one ally in the Middle East about civilian casualties when he knows that Hamas puts non-combatants in the line of fire and the lengths Israel goes to avoid killing civilians? That’s because the President believes Netanyahu’s “solemn duty and responsibility” to keep his citizens safe is different than Obama’s. Each of the countries has pluralistic societies recognizing the freedom of its people, but only one of them is comprised mostly of Jews.

Obama believes the civilized world should weed out and fight terrorism wherever they may find it, except, of course, if the terrorists are targeting Jews.

During that same Wednesday speech the President said:

From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.

Since the start of the Gaza operation, Obama has allowed Israel to go only so far in trying to destroy Hamas before demanding a cease-fire. Contrary to America’s ally Israel, Obama’s strategy is to bring Hamas to the negotiating table as opposed to extracting “this cancer, so that it does not spread.”

Why is Obama’s goal to eradicate ISIS but only to bring Hamas to the bargaining table? There can be only one answer, as there is only one difference between the two terrorist groups: unlike ISIS which targets everyone, Hamas’ primary target is the Jews, not only in Israel, but in America, and indeed across the world.

Talking heads on both sides of the aisle have declared their consternation about President Obama’s strategy for fighting terrorism. It’s quite easy to understand when one realizes there is one rule for the terrorists who want to kill the Jews and a different rule for the terrorists who target a broader range of people.

Is it Israel vs Hamas, or Egypt vs Qatar?

August 20, 2014

Is it Israel vs Hamas, or Egypt vs Qatar?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | Ryan Jones

via Is it Israel vs Hamas, or Egypt vs Qatar? – Israel Today | Israel News.

 

he ongoing Gaza war is presumably a localized conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. But contentious truce talks in Cairo reveal that the violence that is costing so many their security and lives is rooted further afield.

When Hamas predictably broke the tenuous ceasefire on Tuesday, most assumed it was simply doing what terrorist organizations do. Palestinian Authority officials involved in the Cairo talks said that in reality, Hamas’ patrons in Qatar were pulling the strings.

A senior member of the ruling Palestinian faction Fatah told the pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat that Qatar had coerced Hamas into resuming the war so that the Gulf state could “teach a lesson” to its rivals in the Egyptian regime.

Qatar has long been a sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, and is currently playing host to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (Hamas is a direct descendant of the Muslim Brotherhood). Egypt recently ousted its own Muslim Brotherhood rulers, and has no love for the movement or anyone connected to it.

According to Al-Hayat, when Hamas demanded that Qatar be party to the truce talks, Egypt flatly refused, much to the satisfaction of Israel, which was flabbergasted late last month when US Secretary of State John Kerry consulted with Qatar in formulating his own Gaza ceasefire proposal.

 

 

Qatar, in turn, put the screws on Hamas, threatening to expel Mashaal if the group agreed to anything tabled by Egypt. An Israeli security source told Walla News that it was only hours later that Mashaal bypassed the local Hamas leadership in Gaza and ordered militant cells to resume fire on Israel.

The Muslim Brotherhood hijacking of the “Arab Spring” and the subsequent advance of the Islamic State have redrawn regional alliances, bringing some Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia much closer to Israel as they face down a common enemy with global aspirations.

In reality, the Gaza conflagration is merely a minor sideshow of a much wider and more serious struggle.

 


Veiled Palestinian women demonstrate in Gaza while holding the Qatari flag.

Under Rocket Fire, PA Calls for UN to Force Israeli Withdrawal from Judea, Samaria + Update

August 19, 2014

It appeared the Fatah faction had coordinated its diplomatic assault against Israel with the renewal of missile attacks by Hamas.

By: Hana Levi JulianPublished: August 19th, 2014

via The Jewish Press » » Under Rocket Fire, PA Calls for UN to Force Israeli Withdrawal from Judea, Samaria.

AND Livni calls for heavy blow to Hamas, cooperation with PA

 

The United Nations Security Council.
Photo Credit: Patrick Gruban / Wikimedia
 

A top official in the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority government launched a diplomatic assault as the Hamas terror organization renewed its military assault against Israel late Tuesday afternoon from Gaza.

The head of the negotiating team for the former Palestinian Authority, Saeb Erekat, issued a statement Tuesday calling on the United Nations to force Israel to withdraw from all areas in the country won during the defensive 1967 Six Day War.

“Today we demand officially from the international community and the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that would set a time frame for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from territories occupied in 1967,” Erekat told journalists at a news briefing in Moscow.

The Ramallah-based PA government represented by Erekat has been reborn as the ‘Palestinian Authority unity government’ since its reconciliation earlier this year with theHamas terrorist organization.

For the 11th time since the start of Operation Protective Edge, Gaza terrorists violated an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire more than eight hours prior to the deadline for its scheduled termination at midnight Tuesday.

Hamas claimed it had no connection to the violation and said it had “no idea” who fired the rocket attacks, which continued one after the other.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department announced it had decided to declare the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) as a foreign terrorist organization.

The MSC, which is an umbrella organization comprised of Gaza-based global jihad terror organizations, is linked to the Islamic State — also known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant).

The group has claimed responsibility for the August 2013 missile attack on the resort city of Eilat, and for a March 2013 attack on Sderot.

 

Update

 

Hamas radio says 1 killed, 10 injured in Gaza airstrike

Hamas’s Al Aqsa radio tweets that one died and ten were injured in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City. Roughly 20 Palestinians are reported injured in total thus far since Israel commenced airstrikes on Gaza following rocket fire that broke the ceasefire.

Multiple casualties in strike on Gaza

Palestinian media report a strike on a house in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City and multiple casualties on site.

There is no official statement about the toll, but multiple people are reported killed and injured.

Airstrike on Gaza hits Al Aqsa radio station

An Israeli airstrike reportedly hit Hamas’s Al Aqsa radio station in Gaza City.

The station appears to be broadcasting static.

Massive explosions reported in Gaza City

Journalists in Gaza City report massive explosions from Israeli airstrikes. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Rocket hits shopping center in southern Israel

A rocket hits a shopping center in the Ashkelon coastal region, causing damage but no injuries, Channel 2 reports.

Hamas: Israel is escalating the situation to influence Cairo truce talks

August 19, 2014

Hamas: Israel is escalating the situation to influence Cairo truce talks

By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA08/19/2014 18:50

Sami Abu Zuhri says Hamas not behind rockets that broke cease-fire and prompted IDF strikes;

Hamas warns: If Netanyahu doesn’t understand diplomatic language, we will force him to understand.

via Hamas: Israel is escalating the situation to influence Cairo truce talks | JPost | Israel News.

 

Sami Abu-Zuhri Photo: REUTERS

Hamas denied firing rockets at Israel on Tuesday afternoon in violation of a cease-fire that was supposed to have remained in place until midnight.

The IDF stated that three rockets were fired from the Strip despite the truce – two landing in the Beersheba area and one landing in Netivot.

The attacks, the first rocket strikes on Israel in some six days, prompted the IDF to respond with attacks on the Gaza Strip.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the military said caused no casualties or damage. Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said it had no knowledge of any rockets being fired.

Hamas accused Israel of escalating the situation in order to influence cease-fire negotiations in Cairo.

According to reports in Gaza, the IDF struck in Shejayia, in the Beit Lahiya area and in eastern Rafah. Two children were reported to have been moderately injured in the IAF strikes.

Prior to the firing of the rockets from Gaza toward Beersheba and Netivot, hundreds of Palestinian families vacated their homes in north and east Gaza and went to UNRWA facilities.

Hamas warned that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “doesn’t understand the message from the people of Gaza in diplomatic language in Cairo, we know the way that will force him to understand.”

Hamas spokesman Husam Badran accused Israel of sabotaging the talks, saying that the Jewish state was placing obstacles on every issue. “If we don’t reach an agreement that serves the interests of the Palestinians, all options are open.”

Senior Hamas official Izzat a-Rishek, a member of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo, said that “our people’s struggle will not stop with this truce or any other. The struggle will continue until we achieve the goals of the people and fulfill the dream of elections and national independence.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Stop Mowing the Lawn; Start Salting the Earth

August 19, 2014

Why Israel should not consider a ceasefire and should instead continue its incursion in Gaza.

By: Alex VanNess

Published: August 19th, 2014

via The Jewish Press » » Stop Mowing the Lawn; Start Salting the Earth.

 

Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
 

[Editor: This article is being published less than an hour after Hamas once again broke the ceasefire during negotiations with Israel]

A rickety ceasefire has been reached in Gaza and Egyptian officials are despairingly attempting to broker a long-term comprehensive truce between Israel and Hamas. Discussion regarding a truce centered on various security arrangements in exchange for trade access to the Gaza Strip. Israel hoped to ensure that Hamas would be unable to rebuild its rocket arsenal and military capabilities, while Hamas wants the Israeli blockade of goods and people into Gaza lifted.

However, we have seen this same song and dance several times before. Every few years since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005, Israel is goaded into an incursion against Hamas, only to back off after a few weeks when international pressure mounts.

In 2006, Israel launched Operation Summer Rains in response to numerous rocket attacks and the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants. In both 2008 and 2012, Israel launched operations into Gaza to stop increases rocket attacks by Hamas and to eliminate smuggling routes used by Palestinian militants. Today, Operation Protective Edge was launched to quell Hamas’s rocket attacks and destroy its tunnel networks.

Once truces have been reached and Israel withdraws, Hamas uses the calm to rebuild its terrorist infrastructure and launches further attacks into Israel, forcing Israel to respond with more large-scale incursions. This routine has become so regular, Israeli officials have even come to refer to this practice as “mowing the grass.”

Many Israeli’s believe that they will never completely eliminate their enemies; so, the practice of mowing the grass is seen as a necessary act at degrading Hamas’ abilities to launch attacks and keep them off-balance. However, if we are judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than they were previously.

The blockade on Gaza was imposed after the openly anti-Semitic terrorist organization Hamas, – founded solely for the purpose of destroying Israel and killing Jews – was democratically elected to take over governance of the region in 2006. Hamas utilized tunnels to smuggle weapons, equipment, and information into the region, in order to attack Israelis. Interest in eliminating the smuggling tunnels led to the various incursions. However, each incursion became more difficult than the last. Tunnel systems have been growing more complex, weapons have become more advanced, and the Hamas militants are becoming more battle hardened.

When the 2012 cease-fire was brokered by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, one of the concessions in the cease-fire agreement involved the easing of a blockade on building materials and other dual-use goods that Israel had place on Gaza.

Clinton’s interest in a speedy cessation of the violence, as well as a quick ‘win’ for the administration led her to foolishly take Hamas leaders at their word as they pledged to use the building materials for schools and homes. Instead, Hamas lied and the materials were used to build a complex labyrinth of tunnels; including one just outside of the Kibbutz Nir Am were a terrorist plot on the Kibbutz was thwarted.

The administrations interest in a hasty end to the violence led to a situation that disregarded Israel’s security needs. This recent incursion has surprised Israel. The size, quantity, and complex nature of the tunnels; as well as the discovery of large stockpiles of rockets, explosive devices, and the equipment needed to kidnapping scores of Israeli’s was far beyond all of their intelligence estimates.

Hamas is not interested in helping the Palestinians better their lives. Hamas is a terrorist entity with absolutely no interest in anything other than fulfilling their goal of destroying Israel – a goal they will gladly pursue on the backs of dead Palestinians. With a new cease-fire agreement, especially one calling for lifted blockades; we will only see more terror tunnels and future incursions into Gaza.

The stated goal of Israel’s incursion is the elimination of Hamas’ terror infrastructure, allowing Israeli residents in the area to live in safety without constant indiscriminate terror. If Israel does not stop Hamas now, the next time Israel launches an incursion into Gaza it will most likely be as a response to a terror plot, like the one planned on Kibbutz Nir Am, which was successful.

Additionally, now is the best time to quash Hamas, as they are unlikely to get any help from their allies. The Egyptian government is no longer a friend to Hamas after the Egyptian military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government. ISIS has destabilized the Middle East and has left Hamas’ allies unable to come to their aid.

Operation Protective Edge has allowed Israel to eliminate a large portion of Hamas’s tunnels and seize scores of weaponry. Along with a lack of assistance from their allies, Hamas is now at its most vulnerable. It is imperative that Israel continues their incursion and rejects any long-term truce that does not involve the complete elimination of Hamas and its infrastructure.

Palestinian delegation: We are waiting on Israeli cabinet + Update

August 18, 2014

Palestinian delegation: We are waiting on Israeli cabinet

Delegation member says Palestinians accepted Egyptian proposal on permanent ceasefire.

Elior Levy Published: 08.18.14, 22:26 / Israel News

via Palestinian delegation: We are waiting on Israeli cabinet – Israel News, Ynetnews.

A permanent ceasefire, but not a peace treaty, who believe this ??

 

A member of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo confirmed Monday night that the Palestinians told Egypt they were prepared to sign the Egyptian agreement on a permanent ceasefire.

“As of now, we are waiting on the Israeli cabinet to announce that it approved the agreement,” said the delegation member. He claimed the second stage of the accord includes deliberations on the establishment of a seaport and airport.

Arab sources added that an announcement regarding the permanent truce would be made in Cairo by the end of the night. They claimed that six border crossings between Israeli and the Strip would be opened, as would the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

The sources said a comprehensive lifting of the blockade was included in the agreement, as well as the extension of the permitted fishing zone (up to 12 miles) and the release of Palestinian detainees from the West Bank.

“The two sides also agreed to postpone – for a month – discussions on a seaport and airport.”

Throughout Monday night, conflicting reports emerged from Cairo regarding the forthcoming agreement and its contents.

While Palestinian sources expressed optimism that the fighting would not resume at midnight, Israeli officials continued to emphasize that the IDF was prepared to resume its operations.

“We are prepared for every scenario. The IDF has made arrangements for a forceful response if the fighting resumes. In the Middle East you need a combination of force and resilience. The IDF has the necessary force, and the ‘eternal people’ have proved they are not afraid of a winding road,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the night.

He emphasized: “The combination of perseverance and fortitude will help us reach the aim of the operation – security and safety for all Israelis.”

Attila Somfalvi and Roi Kais contributed to this report.

 

UPDATE

Israeli official denies reports of ceasefire

Channel 2′s Udi Segal tweets that an Israeli official has denied reports of a ceasefire in Cairo.

He adds that, contrary to the Palestinian report, the Israeli cabinet will not meet tonight to discuss the Egyptian proposal.

An Egyptian official is expected to make a statement at 11 p.m.

 

‘If Hamas renews fire, Israel will respond with full force’

August 18, 2014

If Hamas renews fire, Israel will respond with full force’

Israel is prepared for potential resumption of Gaza fighting, with five-day cease-fire set to expire at midnight on Monday

Israeli officials: If fire at Israel is not renewed, it is possible we will enter a state of calm without an agreement.

Mati Tuchfeld, Daniel Siryoti and Israel Hayom Staff

via Israel Hayom | ‘If Hamas renews fire, Israel will respond with full force’.

 

IDF troops on the Gaza border are prepared for the potential renewal of fighting
 

With the five-day cease-fire set to expire at midnight on Monday, Israel is preparing for the possibility Hamas will renew rocket fire.

“If the fire [from Gaza] resumes, Israel will respond with full force,” a senior Israeli official said. “If fire at Israel is not renewed, it is possible we will enter a state of calm without an agreement. Patience is necessary. The operation is not over and it could take more time. The greater the resilience of the public, the more we will be able to achieve.”

Egypt is trying to prevent a collapse of the indirect cease-fire talks being held in Cairo. Egyptian and Palestinian media outlets reported that Egypt has proposed that the sides declare a permanent cease-fire and that talks on a long-term arrangement resume next month. These talks would reportedly deal with all matters on the table, including Hamas’ demand for an airport and seaport in Gaza and Israel’s demand for the return of the remains of fallen soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

Meanwhile, Israel has lifted some the restrictions that were put in place in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. On Sunday, Israel permitted Gaza fishermen to go back to work and fish up to three nautical miles from the Gaza coastline.

At the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We are in the midst of a combined military and diplomatic campaign. From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings.

“In the past month, Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli homefront. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians — by land, sea and air.

“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken. As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri issued a quick response, saying, “Netanyahu is throwing dust in the eyes of the Israeli public, because he is afraid Israelis will be furious when they find out the real results of the campaign. The Palestinian resistance forces caused hundreds of deaths and injuries in the Israeli army.”

Numerous cabinet ministers are calling for Israel to show no flexibility toward Hamas. International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said Israel must insist on the demilitarization of Gaza. Steinitz said a seaport or airport in Gaza would be nothing more than “duty free for rockets.” Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) called for an end to the talks in Cairo.

“The situation in which we bite our nails while we wait for an answer from a murderous terrorist organization must stop,” Bennett said. “We must immediately stop the negotiations with Hamas and take our own destiny in our hands with a simple formula: humanitarian — yes, terror — no.”

As usual, the various Palestinian groups were not on the same wavelength on Sunday, and divisions were also evident within Hamas itself. Arab media outlets reported that chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat met in Doha over the weekend with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and urged him to accept the Egyptian cease-fire proposal.

The Al-Hayat newspaper reported that the U.S. has agreed to serve as a guarantor that Israel will uphold what has been agreed to in Cairo. The report also said the Egyptian cease-fire proposal has won the support of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials are saying that the demilitarization of Gaza is not in the cards.

“We will not agree to give up weapons which we use for self-defense,” Islamic Jihad official Khaled al-Batesh said. “It would be preferable to return from Cairo without an agreement than with a humiliating agreement that in effect represents a surrender agreement.”

A Hamas official threatened, “The next campaign against the Zionist enemy will be held inside the Zionist entity, on the lands of Ashkelon.”

Report: US exerting pressure on ICC not to open war crimes probe against Israel

August 18, 2014

Report: US exerting pressure on ICC not to open war crimes probe against Israel

By JPOST.COM STAFF08/18/2014 15:09

The Guardian’ quotes lawyers and former court officials as saying that western pressure has influenced decision not to open probe;

ICC probe reportedly among issues being discussed at Cairo cease-fire talks.

via Report: US exerting pressure on ICC not to open war crimes probe against Israel | JPost | Israel News.

 

International criminal court Photo: REUTERS
 

The US and other western powers have exerted pressure on the International Criminal Court at the Hague to prevent a war crimes probe of Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip, The Guardian reported on Monday, quoting former court officials.

During Operation Protective Edge, the Palestinian Authority has threatened to request that the court look into allegations that the civilian deaths in Gaza during the IDF’s operation constitute a war crime.

According to the report, the issue is among the matters being discussed at cease-fire talks in Cairo.

Palestinians requested that the court probe Israel for war crimes in 2009 , following Operation Cast Lead, however that request came before the Palestinians were recognized as a non-member observer state at the United Nations in 2012.

The ICC itself is divided on whether or not it has jurisdiction to probe the matter based on the 2009 request, or whether a new request would have to be submitted, according to The Guardian. The Palestinian factions would have to agree on submitting a new request, a difficult task, as Hamas would also be opening itself up to a war crimes inquiry.

The Guardian reported that western pressure has prevented the ICC from taking the view that the 2009 request gives the court jurisdiction to open a war crimes investigation into Israel’s actions.

Both current ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was prosecutor at the time of the 2009 Palestinian declaration, argue that a new Palestinian request would have to be made to allow the court to open an investigation. However, The Guardian quoted another former official of the court as saying, “They are trying to hide behind legal jargon to disguise what is a political decision, to rule out competence and not get involved.”

The French lawyer representing the Palestinians, Gilles Devers, was quoted by The Guardian as saying that “there is enormous pressure not to proceed with an investigation. This pressure has been exerted on Fatah and Hamas, but also on the office of the prosecutor.

“In both cases, it takes the form of threats to the financial subsidies, to Palestine and to the International Criminal Court,” he added.

Hamas lashes back at Netanyahu, say ‘he’s compensating for failure’

August 17, 2014

Hamas lashes back at Netanyahu, say ‘he’s compensating for failure’

After Netanyahu said Hamas lost and was trying to cover up its military defeat through ceasefire talks, Hamas officials hit back; meanwhile Cairo talks underway, but chances of deal seem slim.

Roi KaisPublished: 08.17.14, 15:03 / Israel News

via Hamas lashes back at Netanyahu, say ‘he’s compensating for failure’ – Israel News, Ynetnews.

 

A perfect play from BIBI

 

Hamas has responded to comments made earlier by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said Hamas lost the conflict and is now attempting to make a political win in compensate for their loss.

“Netanyahu’s comments about victory are farfetched,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, adding that Netanyahy was “compensating for his failure” and said the statements stemmed from “a need to feed media and avoid growing Israeli anger.”

During the Cabinet’s weekly meeting, Netanyahu said “If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken.”

Netanyahu reiterated that the goal of current talks, as well as the Gaza operation, was “the restoration of quiet and security for all Israelis,” and noted that “Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings.”

 

Netanyahu (Photo: Amil Salman, Haaretz)
 

Commenting on Netanyahu’s remarks, Abu Zuhri added that “The only way to achieve security is to afford security to the Palestinians first and to lift the blockade and to agree to their demands.”

Inacuratly, the Hamas spokesperson said that “hundreds of (IDF) soldiers were killed and the actions of the resistance and rocket fire managed to hit deep into Israel, creating an aerial blockade of Israel.”

 

Palestinian delegation (Photo: AFP)
 

On Saturday, Osama Hamdan, the head of Hamas’s foreign affairs, said on Facebook: “Israel must accept the demands of the Palestinian people or face a long war.”

Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq said Saturday that the organization has not agreed and will not agree to what was offered the Palestinian delegation before it left Cairo.

“We oppose any formulation that does not match the demands of the Palestinian people. There are many issues that the delegation did not agree to in what was offered,” said al-Risheq, who represented Hamas in Cairo.

Cabinet grows short with talks

According to the prime minister, “In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is also a member of the Security-Cabinet, said that “we must demand safety for Israel’s residents. We must make sure that they feel safe and we cannot complete this operation without them feeling secure again.”

Lapid further noted that “we must create an international mechanism to make sure they are safe.”

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that “the most important thing for Israel is the demand that Gaza be demilitarized.” When asked about the Palestinian demand that Gaza get a seaport, the minister said such a port would be a “duty-free for rockets – and in the future Scuds (missiles).

“We will continue talks in Cairo, but we cannot give up on the issue of demilitarization.”

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who is leading a group of ministers objecting to negotiations, called on Israel to leave talks, and implement the unilateral proposal he has been promoting for the last two weeks.

“The current situation in which we are biting our nails waiting for the response of a murderous terrorists group must end. We must stop the negotiations with Hamas and take our fate into our own hands: Humanitarian (aid) yes, terror no,” Bennett said.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, a rightist from the Yisrael Beitenu party, slammed the government from the right, and said “Hamas is managing us, we are being led,” he claimed,

“Israel is attempting to reach calm at any price. This is only a temporary calm. In all the previous rounds of fighting after calm was reached we got a more aggressive response. We are turning Hamas into an international player.”

Little optimism as talks start again

Talks in Cairo started again Sunday morning, with the Israeli delegation arriving while the Cabinet convened. The Egyptian government persuaded both sides late Wednesday to adhere to a new five-day ceasefire, extending an earlier three-day agreement in order to allow more time to thrash out a longer-term truce.

But to Egyptian dismay, Palestinians also seem to be playing down the chance a long-term agreement, as international efforts backing Egypt’s proposal have been rising, indicating powers like the US and UN could try to pressure the sides to reach an agreement. The US has already offered Israel assurances over its security, a report claimed.

A member of the Palestinian delegation told The Associated Press on Sunday that the gaps between the sides were still significant and that it was far from certain whether a deal could be reached before the cease-fire expires.

“We are less optimistic than we were earlier,” he said, his comments came after Hamas’ political chief Khaled Mashal said Saturday his group would not back down from a single demand.

Al-Risheq’s remarks joined earlier statements made by a senior Hamas official abroad, Ismail Radwan, who said Hamas refused to postpone deliberations on a seaport and airport – which according to the Egyptian proposal would not be discussed again until a month after an accord was signed.

Hamas’ foreign leadership said Saturday evening that significant progress had yet to be achieved in the Cairo talks. “The draft presented this week by Egypt is not acceptable to us in any way, and it will not be the final formulation,” Hamas said in a statement.

Reuters, Attila Somfalvi and Elior Levy contributed to this report