Posted tagged ‘Gaza war’

Illuminating Gaza

June 18, 2017

Illuminating Gaza, The Jewish PressVic Rosenthal, June 18, 2017

An Arab family eats a Ramadan dinner by candlelight in the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, during a power outage on June 12, 2017.

I’m calling it the Watts for Weapons program. I’m sure they’ll go along with it. Only someone who prefers killing Jews to keeping his own people alive could possibly turn it down.

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{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

Gaza’s electricity shortage has recently become critical. Gaza gets its power from Israel and Egypt, and has a small power station of its own. But due to a decision of the Palestinian Authority to further reduce the amount it pays Israel  for electricity, the 3-4 hours a day during which Gaza is illuminated will be reduced by another 45 minutes or so – unless money is found somewhere.

Hamas is threatening that there will be an “explosion” unless something is done. It is a big problem for the population, because food is not being refrigerated, sewage is not being processed, water is not being pumped, and hospitals are unable to operate. And the weather is getting hotter.

Israel presently supplies Hamas with about 125 megawatt-hours (MWh) per day, and Egypt provides a smaller amount. Gaza’s own power station is presently not operating due to lack of fuel. It’s estimated that a 24-hour supply of electricity would require 400-500 MWh per day.

Negotiations are under way (Wednesday) for Western and Arab countries to pick up some of the slack. After all, think of the children. And nobody wants an “explosion.”

But there is a solution that nobody seems to have proposed yet. Let’s begin by asking a question: why doesn’t Hamas have money for electricity? After all, it levies heavy taxes on goods coming into the strip (both legally via the crossings from Israel and illegally via tunnels from Egypt) and on almost every other form of economic activity. It got money from Qatar until recently, and has now started receiving aid from Iran again. International donors pledged large sums for reconstruction after the 2014 war, although there was very little rebuilding done. Where did the money go?

The answer is simple: some of it enriched Hamas insiders, but most of it was used to dig tunnels, to manufacture rockets and for other weapons and military infrastructure. Hamas officials were ready to see their children (well, the children of other Gaza residents) hungry and wading in sewage if it advanced their project to destroy Israel.

In effect money was converted into weapons. And that provides a way to solve the problem: we can convert it back.

For example, what if Israel agreed to provide Hamas with 2 MWh for every stockpiled Qassam rocket turned over to us? They have thousands of these, which could keep the lights on for weeks. Not to mention longer-range rockets, which would be worth more. And tunnels – I’m sure we would be happy to give them a whole day’s worth of electricity for the precise location of a terror tunnel. Just give us the coordinates and we’ll do the rest! Anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons are valuable, too. A nice shoulder-fired SAM is probably worth 10 MWh. Even rifles and mortar shells could help keep the juice flowing.

You get the idea. From Israel’s point of view, it would be far cheaper than the tamir rockets used by Iron Dome to shoot down the Qassams ($50k -$100k each!), and the amount of effort needed to find the tunnels. Hamas would get its electricity – and we would get some peace and quiet for a change.

I’m calling it the Watts for Weapons program. I’m sure they’ll go along with it. Only someone who prefers killing Jews to keeping his own people alive could possibly turn it down.

Media Misfeasance Exposed in “Eyeless in Gaza” Documentary

March 4, 2017

Media Misfeasance Exposed in “Eyeless in Gaza” Documentary, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, March 3, 2017

2021

Hamas operatives burst into the Associated Press (AP) Gaza bureau during the 2014 war with Israel, angered by a picture shot by an AP photographer. Gunmen threatened the AP staff, which never reported the incident.

The incident shows that Hamas can control what journalists report, and what they don’t, former AP Middle East reporter Matti Friedman says in a new documentary, “Eyeless in Gaza.”

Producer Robert Magid’s 50-minute film, which is screening via pay-per-view online, examines the flaws and challenges in reporting on the 50-day war.

Magid said he wanted to “set the record straight and provide context,” after being appalled at news coverage that ignored Hamas’ practice of launching rockets from civilian areas. That omission allowed the media to push a false narrative that “Israel was callous in their bombing.”

The sullied moral image of Israel that emerged from the media’s biased coverage sparked public outrage and anti-Semitism. “Muslims will crush the Jews as they did in Khyber 14 centuries ago,” protestors in the film shout. Another says: “I see the Jews in Israel as total Nazis.”

Reporters routinely failed to show the history leading up to the conflict or how Hamas instigated it. Magid provides viewers with some brief historical context: Israel expelled 10,000 of its own citizens from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and offered the Palestinians their first chance at self-rule. But Hamas took over the territory and turned it into an Islamist terror state, rather than a model for responsible self-rule and peaceful coexistence with Israel.

Viewers see how attack tunnels exemplify Hamas’s policy of diverting public resources to pursue terrorism. Israel allows high-quality cement into Gaza in response to the humanitarian need to rebuild damaged buildings, only to discover the same cement being used to build massive underground tunnels whose only purpose is to target Israelis. Each tunnel costs about $3 million, and an Israeli military spokesman interviewed in the film estimates $100 million in resources were diverted.

Despite Israel’s unprecedented efforts to minimize Gaza’s civilian casualties, the film shows how Hamas works to maximize them.

“The Israeli army called me, they asked me to leave Al-Sajaeya,” says one Gazan. “We stayed at home because Al Aksa and Al Quds [Hamas] radio stations told us ‘Don’t leave your homes, it’s rumors.’ We remained in our homes, but when we saw the bombs pouring on us, we miraculously got out…Five of my brothers’ sons were killed, and the houses destroyed.”

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went to great lengths to spare civilians, issuing warnings by leaflets, SMS messages, the “roof knock” technique, and social media. Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, notes in the film “the immense efforts that the IDF took when fighting in this very challenging environment, to minimize the number of civilian deaths [even though] Hamas used human shields virtually constantly. They deliberately site their weapon systems, and their fighters among the civilian population.”

“Eyeless in Gaza” shows the underreported perspective of Israelis trying to survive Hamas rocket attacks, including a huge explosion on a populated beach, and people racing to shelters with just 15 seconds to reach them. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system is no silver bullet: “10 percent [of] rockets…could hit you,” notes Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya. “And…if the enemy is firing thousands of rockets…10 percent…is quite a lot.” Even intercepted rockets can still cause shock and injuries from falling shrapnel.

Kneejerk global condemnations of Israel triggered by a lopsided casualty count resulted, at least in part, from the media’s failure to cover the true nature of the mass casualty-threat facing Israel. Hamas launched thousands of rockets at schools, hospitals, and densely packed Israeli neighborhoods, demonstrating the group’s intent to kill many thousands of civilians. Hamas failed only because Israel had invested billions in a rocket defense system and Israelis regularly scurried to bomb shelters despite the disruption to their lives.

Former Russia Today correspondent Harry Fear, who calls himself “one of the most Palestinian-sympathizing journalists in the world,” notes that Palestinians “rejected cease fires, which could have saved…thousands of lives…”

Fearing violent retribution from Hamas, journalists engaged in collective self-censorship, he told Magid. Just about all foreign correspondents witnessed Palestinian war crimes without reporting them. “Rockets were being fired consistently from densely populated areas,” he said. He was expelled from Gaza after reporting on Twitter such fire.

An Indian television crew aired footage of Palestinian terrorists firing rockets from civilian areas only after it had left Gaza. Its report, shown in “Eyeless in Gaza,” notes that the rocket fire “will obviously have serious consequences… for those who live here, should Israel choose to retaliate.”

Hamas’ intimidation of journalists produces flawed, misleading coverage, as Friedman elaborates: “Most of the work of the international media in Gaza is done not by western journalists … but by local Palestinians from Gaza: fixers, translators, reporters, photographers … their families are in Gaza, and they’re not going to get Hamas angry. And because these people largely shape the coverage, that ends up having a very significant effect.”

Fear decries the limits to free speech in Gaza, citing a 2014 poll indicating that 80 percent of Palestinian journalists exercise self-censorship for fear of retribution.

Similarly, Friedman says in the film, “I understand why reporters censor themselves … in Gaza. What I don’t understand is why the news organizations haven’t made clear the restrictions under which they operate in Gaza, so that news consumers can understand that they are seeing a warped picture.”

The intimidation can be worse for Palestinian journalists. Ayman Al Aloul describes his imprisonment and torture by Hamas after he refused to stop writing about Gaza’s extreme poverty, and Hamas’ failed economic policies. “They started beating me and cursing at me. When I went back inside [my cell], I feared someone would be sent to end my life… I was scared they would say, ‘He died from cold or hunger.’ I was really scared.”

While the Western media and United Nations Human Rights Council obsessively harp on any alleged Israeli human rights violation, it completely ignored Al Aloul’s case.

Conflicts that receive far less media attention than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite being exponentially bloodier, also have been neglected, thanks to the media’s obsession with Israel. The film notes that, since 2011, nearly half a million people have been killed or wounded in Syria, compared to about 2,000 in Gaza. “160,000 Palestinians lived in Yarmouk prior to 2011. [Because of] Syrian…bombing and starvation policies, there are now 18,000.”

Thus, campus protesters who routinely accuse Israel of “genocide” and “massacre” are either grossly misinformed (at least in part because of media bias) or simply anti-Semitic.

UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesperson Chris Gunness acknowledges a double standard by the media and Arab governments’ in terms of attention given to the plight of Palestinians in Syria versus Gaza. But when asked why UNRWA failed to condemn Egypt’s security-motivated destruction of thousands of homes along the Gaza border, he says only, “we are not mandated to work in Egypt.”

Friedman notes, “If Israel did 1 percent of that, of course the international community would be in an uproar. I think people aren’t interested in Arabs in general, or what Arabs do to each other. I think they’re basically interested … in the actions of Jews. And that’s why Egypt can destroy entire neighborhoods [bordering] Gaza, as it did recently, and the world kind of yawns. That I think proves that … the story being told here by the international media is not a story about current events. It’s a story about something else. It’s a morality play starring a familiar villain [the Jews].”

This hostile paradigm explains the failure of Western media to report on the anti-Semitic nature of the Hamas charter, which blames all of the world’s woes – including every major war and revolution, and even the Holocaust – on the Jews, while calling for their annihilation, Friedman says in “Eyeless in Gaza.”

“If you say that Hamas is anti-Semitic, if you quote their charter, if you look too closely at exactly what their goals are, and who they are, then it would disrupt the narrative, according to which Israel is an aggressor, and the Palestinians are passive victims who have reasonable goals,” Friedman says.

Nevertheless, the media’s failure to include critical facts like those exposed in “Eyeless in Gaza” encourages terrorist groups like Hamas to embrace tactics intended to maximize civilian casualties. The resulting global condemnation of Israel for Gazan deaths only encourages Hamas to jeopardize civilians in the next round of violence.

As “Eyeless in Gaza” highlights, the kind of journalism that covered the 2014 war in Gaza distorted the truth, abetted a terrorist group, and strengthened the party most responsible for Gaza’s misery and ongoing hostilities with Israel. For more on the film, click here.

The Lessons of the Hamas War

March 3, 2017

The Lessons of the Hamas War, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, March 3, 2017

hamas-3

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Sunni regimes, led by Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Saudi regime and the United Arab Emirates, were shocked to discover that the Obama administration was siding with their enemies against them.

If Israel went into the war against Hamas thinking that the Obama administration would treat it differently than it treated the Sunni regimes, it quickly discovered that it was mistaken. From the outset of the battle between Hamas and Israel, the Obama administration supported Hamas against Israel.

America’s support for Hamas was expressed at the earliest stages of the war when then-secretary of state John Kerry demanded that Israel accept an immediate cease-fire based entirely on Hamas’s terms. This demand, in various forms, remained the administration’s position throughout the 50-day war.

Netanyahu asked Sisi for help in blunting the American campaign for Hamas. Sisi was quick to agree and brought the Saudis and the UAE into an all-but-declared operational alliance with Israel against Hamas.

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The State Comptroller’s Report on Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war with Hamas in the summer of 2014, is exceedingly detailed. The problem is that it addresses the wrong details.

Israel’s problem with Hamas wasn’t its tactics for destroying Hamas’s attack tunnels. Israel faced two challenges in its war with Hamas that summer. The first had to do with the regional and global context of the war. The second had to do with its understanding of its enemy on the ground.

War between Hamas and Israel took place as the Sunni Arab world was steeped a two-pronged existential struggle. On the one hand, Sunni regimes fought jihadist groups that emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood movement. On the other, they fought against Iran and its proxies in a bid to block Iran’s moves toward regional hegemony.

On both fronts, the Sunni regimes, led by Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Saudi regime and the United Arab Emirates, were shocked to discover that the Obama administration was siding with their enemies against them.

If Israel went into the war against Hamas thinking that the Obama administration would treat it differently than it treated the Sunni regimes, it quickly discovered that it was mistaken. From the outset of the battle between Hamas and Israel, the Obama administration supported Hamas against Israel.

America’s support for Hamas was expressed at the earliest stages of the war when then-secretary of state John Kerry demanded that Israel accept an immediate cease-fire based entirely on Hamas’s terms. This demand, in various forms, remained the administration’s position throughout the 50-day war.

Hamas’s terms were impossible for Israel. They included opening the jihadist regime’s land borders with Israel and Egypt, and providing it with open access to the sea. Hamas demanded to be reconnected to the international banking system in order to enable funds to enter Gaza freely from any spot on the globe. Hamas also demanded that Israel release its terrorists from its prisons.

If Israel had accepted any of Hamas’s cease-fire terms, its agreement would have constituted a strategic defeat for Israel and a historic victory for Hamas.

Open borders for Hamas means the free flow of armaments, recruits, trainers and money to Gaza. Were Hamas to be connected to the international banking system, the jihadist regime would have become the banking center of the global jihad.

The Obama administration’s support for Hamas was not passive.

Obama and Kerry threatened to join the Europeans in condemning Israel at the UN. Administration officials continuously railed against IDF operations in Gaza, insinuating that Israel was committing war crimes by insisting that Israel wasn’t doing enough to avoid civilian casualties.

As the war progressed, the administration’s actions against Israel became more aggressive. Washington placed a partial embargo on weapons shipments to Israel.

Then on July 23, 2014, the administration took the almost inconceivable step of having the Federal Aviation Administration ban flights of US carriers to Ben-Gurion Airport for 36 hours. The flight ban was instituted after a Hamas missile fell a mile from the airport.

The FAA did not ban flights to Pakistan or Afghanistan after jihadists on the ground successfully bombed airplanes out of the sky.

It took Sen. Ted Cruz’s threat to place a hold on all State Department appointments, and Canada’s Conservative Party government’s behind-the-scenes diplomatic revolt to get the flight ban rescinded.

The government and the IDF were shocked by the ferocity of the administration’s hostility. But to his great credit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surmounted it.

Netanyahu realized that Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood nexus of jihad and also supported by Iran. As a result the Egyptians, Saudis and UAE rightly view it as a major enemy. Indeed, Egypt was in a state of war with Hamas in 2014. Gaza serves as the logistical base of the Salafist forces warring against the Egyptian military.

Netanyahu asked Sisi for help in blunting the American campaign for Hamas. Sisi was quick to agree and brought the Saudis and the UAE into an all-but-declared operational alliance with Israel against Hamas.

Since the Egyptians were hosting the cease-fire talks, Egypt was well-positioned to blunt Obama’s demand that Israel accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms.

In a bid to undermine Egypt, Obama and Kerry colluded with Hamas’s state sponsors Turkey and Qatar to push Sisi out of the cease-fire discussions. But due to Saudi and UAE support for Sisi and Israel, the administration’s attempts to sideline the Egyptians failed.

The cease-fire terms that were adopted at the end of the war contained none of Hamas’s demands. Israel had won the diplomatic war.

It was a strange victory, however. Netanyahu was never able to let the public know what was happening.

Had he informed the public, the knowledge that the US was backing Hamas would have caused mass demoralization and panic. So Netanyahu had to fight the diplomatic fight of his life secretly.

The war on the ground was greatly influenced by the diplomatic war. But the war on the ground was first and foremost a product of the nature of Hamas and of the nature of Hamas’s relationship with the PLO.

Unfortunately, the Comptroller’s Report indicates that the IDF didn’t understand either. According to the report, in the weeks before the war began, the then-coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eitan Dangot, told the security cabinet that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was at a crisis point and that hostilities were likely to break out if Israel didn’t allow humanitarian aid into the Strip.

On Wednesday we learned that Dangot’s view continues to prevail in the army. The IDF’s intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel must send humanitarian aid to Gaza to avert a war.

There is truth to the IDF’s position. Hamas did in fact go to war against Israel in the summer of 2014 because it was short on supplies.

After Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt the previous summer, he shut Egypt’s border with Gaza because Gaza was the logistical base of the insurgency against his regime. The closed border cut off Hamas’s supply train of everything from antitank missiles to cigarettes and flour.

The problem with the IDF’s view of Hamas is that providing aid to Gaza means supplying Hamas first and foremost. Every shipment into Gaza strengthens Hamas far more than it serves the needs of Gaza’s civilian population. We got a good look at Hamas’s contempt for the suffering of its people during Protective Edge.

After seeing the vast dimensions of Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure, the then-OC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman, told reporters that Hamas had diverted enough concrete to its tunnel project to build 200 kindergartens, two hospitals, 20 clinics and 20 schools.

Moreover, the civilian institutions that are supposed to be assisted by humanitarian aid all serve Hamas. During the war, three soldiers from the IDF’s Maglan unit were killed in southern Gaza when they were buried in rubble of a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic.

The soldiers were in the clinic to seal off the entry shaft of a tunnel that was located in an exam room.

Hamas had booby trapped the walls of the clinic and detonated it when the soldiers walked through the door.

All of the civilian institutions in Gaza, including those run by the UN, as well as thousands of private homes, are used by Hamas as part of its war machine against Israel.

So any discussion of whether or not to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza is not a humanitarian discussion. It is a discussion about whether or not to strengthen Hamas and reinforce its control over the population of Gaza.

This brings us to the goals of the war in Gaza in 2014. At the time, the government debated two possible endgames.

The first was supported by then-justice minister Tzipi Livni. Livni, and the Left more generally, supported using the war with Hamas as a means of unseating Hamas and restoring the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority to power in the area.

There were four problems with this notion. First, it would require Israel to reconquer Gaza.

Second, the Obama administration would never have agreed to an Israeli conquest of Gaza.

Third, Israel doesn’t have the forces to deploy to Gaza to retake control of the area without rendering its other borders vulnerable.

The final problem with Livni’s idea is that the PLO is no better than Hamas. From the outset of the war, the PLO gave Hamas unqualified support. Fatah militias in Gaza manned the missile launchers side by side with Hamas fighters. PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas represented Hamas at the cease-fire talks in Cairo. He led the political war against Israel in the West. And he financed Hamas’s war effort. Throughout the war Abbas sent a steady stream of funds to Gaza.

If PLO forces were returned to Gaza, they would behave precisely as they behaved from 2000 until Hamas kicked them out in 2007. That is, they would have acted as Hamas’s full partners in their joint war against Israel.

The second possible endgame involved a long-term strategy of defeating Hamas through attrition. This was the goal the government ended up partially adopting. The government ordered the IDF to destroy as much of Hamas’s missile arsenal as possible and to destroy its offensive tunnels into Israel. When the goals had been achieved to the point where the cost of opposing Obama grew greater than the battle gains, Netanyahu agreed to a cease-fire.

For the attrition strategy to have succeeded, the cease-fire would have only been the first stage of a longer war. For the attrition strategy to work, Israel needed to refuse to resupply Hamas. With its missile arsenal depleted and its tunnels destroyed, had Israel maintained the ban on supplies to Gaza, the residents would have revolted and Hamas wouldn’t have had the option of deflecting their anger onto Israel by starting a new war.

The IDF unfortunately never accepted attrition as the goal. From the Comptroller’s Report and Halevi’s statement to the Knesset this week, it appears the General Staff rejected attrition because it refuses to accept either the nature of Hamas or the nature of the PLO. Immediately after the cease-fire went into force, the General Staff recommended rebuilding Gaza and allowing an almost free flow of building supplies, including concrete, into Hamas’s mini-state.

The Comptroller’s Report is notable mainly because it shows that nearly three years after Protective Edge, official Israel still doesn’t understand what happened that summer. The problem with Hamas was never tactical. It was always strategic. Israel won the diplomatic battle because it understood the correlation of its strategic interests with those of the Sunni regimes.

It lost the military battle of attrition because it permitted Hamas to resupply.

War Crimes In GAZA

June 4, 2015

New documentary from Pierre Rehov, this is the trailer , soon the full version.

U.S. Generals: Israeli Military Restraint Bolstered Hamas

March 9, 2015

U.S. Generals: Israeli Military Restraint Bolstered Hamas

Report rejects American adoption of Israeli level of restraint

BY:
March 9, 2015 5:00 am

via U.S. Generals: Israeli Military Restraint Bolstered Hamas | Washington Free Beacon.

 

Israel’s military restraint during the conflict in Gaza last summer “unintentionally empowered Hamas” by allowing the terror group to distort international law and secure a public relations victory by exploiting the media, according a task force of retired U.S. generals.

The task force also warned that Hamas’ disinformation strategy could be replicated against the U.S. military and advised the U.S. government to institute a plan to combat similar media campaigns in the future.

“Hamas supported false claims against the [Israel Defense Forces] by distorting stories and images to serve the organization’s narrative, and by manipulating stories in the international media,” said the Gaza Conflict Task Force in a report commissioned by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and released on Monday.

The report, titled “The 2014 Gaza War: Observations and Implications for U.S. Military Operations,” concluded that Hamas was not aiming for a military victory but instead put Gaza’s civilians at risk in order to increase casualties and damage the global standing of the Israel Defense Forces.

The main goal, according to the report, was to build international pressure on Israel.

“Hamas proved very effective at exploiting images of civilian deaths, particularly children, to gain international sympathy to their cause and a high degree of international opposition to the Israeli cause,” said the report. “Further, Hamas was effective at not allowing access to their more brutal and illegal actions, beyond what they published themselves as part of their internal intimidation efforts.”

According to the task force, the techniques used by Hamas “represent an evolution in unconventional warfare, and will probably be imitated and improved upon by America’s enemies.”

The report recommended that the United States should institute a “whole-of government approach” to countering such efforts.

“The U.S. government and military must come to grips with the increased importance and use of the information domain in war,” said the task force. “They must develop effective countermeasures to this enemy advantage, as it threatens to exploit a strategic vulnerability for the United States and its allies.”

One issue that Hamas exploited in Gaza, according to the report, was the lack of clarity between international laws of war and military policy.

The task force argued that the IDF exceeded the Laws of Armed Conflict by using restraint during times when it was legally unnecessary. This created a precedent that could open Israeli civilians up to increased risk, according to the report.

“Unless there is a clear demarcation between law and policy-based restraints on the use of combat power, raising standards in one instance—even if done as a matter of national policy and not as the result of legal obligation—risks creating a precedent to which military forces will likely be expected to adhere in the future,” said the report.

“We do not believe the Israeli level of restraint should be considered the standard for U.S. armed forces in future conflicts,” the report concluded

The task force, which traveled to Israel while conducting the assessment, included General Charles Wald, Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, Lieutenant General Richard Natonski, Major General Rick Devereaux, and Major General Mike Jones.

Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes

September 25, 2014

Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes

by Mudar Zahran

September 19, 2014 at 5:00 am

via Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes.

If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you.” — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.

“Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar.” — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.

“They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did.” — D., Gazan journalist.

“Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield.” — K., graduate student

“The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas.” — E., first-aid volunteer.

“We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here.” — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.

While the world’s media has been blaming Israel for the death of Gazan civilians during Operation Protective Edge, this correspondent decided to speak with Gazans themselves to hear what they had to say.

They spoke of Hamas atrocities and war crimes implicating Hamas in the civilian deaths of its own people.

Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas’s revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of “communicating with the Mossad”. “Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists — or actually any journalists at all,” he said, continuing:

“Hamas does not want the truth about Gaza to come out. Hamas terrorizes and kills us just like Daesh [ISIS] terrorizes kills Iraqis. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us. The Gazans you see praising Hamas on TV are either Hamas members or too afraid to speak against Hamas. Few foreign [Western] journalists were probably able to report what Gazans think of Hamas.”

When asked what Gazans did think of Hamas, he said:

“The same as Iraqis thought of Saddam before he was toppled. He still won by 90-something percent in the presidential elections. If Hamas falls today in Gaza, people here will do what Iraqis did to Saddam’s statue after he fell. But even though Western journalists may not have been able to speak freely with Gazans, they still need a story to send to their editor by the end of the day. So it is just easier and safer for them to stick to the official line.”

“What was that,” I asked: “‘Blame Israel’?”

“I don’t know about that,” he said. “More like, ‘Never blame Hamas!’. Hamas was making a ‘statement’: Opposing Hamas Means Death. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us.”

M., a journalist, confirmed his view. “I do not believe any of the people Hamas killed in the last weeks were Israeli spies,” he said. “Hamas has killed many people for criticizing it, and claimed they were traitors working for Israel during the war.”

That conversation took place four weeks before Hamas killed 21 alleged “Israeli Mossad agents.”

D, a store owner, said:

“There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue.”

To verify those reports, I spoke to a second Gazan academic, who holds a PhD. from a Western university, who stated:

“Hamas did kill protesters, no doubt about that. But we could not confirm how many were actually killed. If I have to guess, the number was more than reported. I am confident that not all of the 21 men Hamas killed on August 22 were collaborating with Israel. Hamas killed those men because it was weakened by Israel’s attacks and felt endangered. So it went on a ‘Salem Witch-Hunt.’ They arrested everyone who opposed them and had to make a few examples to scare people from standing against Hamas. Hamas’s tactic worked. Now Gazans are afraid to talk against Hamas even in front of their own family members. Gazans are probably afraid to criticize Hamas even in their sleep!”

As already reported by the award-winning journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, Hamas killed one of its leaders, Ayman Taha, and blamed Israel for it.

Asked about Abu Toameh’s report, S., a Gazan political activist said:

“Taha was already in Hamas’s jail before Israeli operations started. Hamas imprisoned him and tortured him because he was critical of its radical policies. He had warned Hamas not to cooperate with Qatar and Iran. Eye-witnesses said they saw Hamas militants bring him alive into the yard of Shifa hospital in Gaza and shoot him dead. They kept mutilating his body in front of viewers and little children and left it on the hospital’s yard for a few hours before allowing the staff to take it to the morgue.”

A., a Fatah member in Gaza, spoke over Skype — fearful that Hamas was intercepting phone lines:

“Even before the Israeli operation began, Hamas rounded up 400 of our members and other political-opposition figures. I would not be surprised if Hamas kills them all and then claims they were killed in an Israeli bombing. Hamas already beheaded a man known for opposing its views on the 22nd day of the war, then reported on its Facebook page that he was caught sending intelligence information to Israel. If Hamas does not like you for any reason, all they have to do now is claim you are a Mossad agent and kill you.”

S. a medical worker, said:

“The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack. The Israelis either call or send a text message. Sometimes they call several times to make sure everyone has been evacuated. Hamas’s strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas’s official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate. In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed.”

Another Gazan journalist, D., said:

“Hamas fired rockets from next to homes. Hamas was running from one home to another. Hamas lied when it claimed it was shooting from non-populated areas. To make things even worse for us, Hamas would fire from the balconies of homes and try to drag the Israelis into door-to-door battles and street-to-street fights — a death sentence for all the civilians here. They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did. They are cowards. If Hamas militants are not afraid of dying, why do they run after they fire rockets from our homes? Why don’t they stay and die with us? Are they afraid to die and go to heaven? Isn’t that what they claim they wish?”

 

Hamas boasted that Palestinian civilians were killed while Hamas’s terrorists remained alive, hiding in their underground bunkers and tunnels. (Image source: Hamas video screenshot)
 

K, another graduate student at an Egyptian university who had gone to Gaza to see his family but was unable to leave after the war started, said on July 22:

“When people stopped listening to Hamas orders not to evacuate and began leaving their homes anyway, Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot without being asked any questions. That way Hamas made sure people had to stay in their homes even if they were about to get bombed. God will ask Hamas on judgment day for those killers’ blood.”

I asked him if Hamas used people as “human shields.” He said: “Hamas held the entire Gazan population as a human shield. My answer to you is yes.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the press on September 6 that Hamas had killed 120 Fatah members who broke the curfew.

T., a former Hamas Ministry officer, said: “Hamas fires from civilian areas for a good reason: The Israelis call the civilians and give them ten minutes to evacuate. This gives Hamas time to fire another rocket and run away.”

Why, I asked, did Hamas not allow people to evacuate?

“Some people say Hamas wants civilians killed in order to gain global sympathy, but I believe this is not the main reason. I think the reason is that if all the people were allowed to evacuate their homes, they all would have ended up in a certain area in Gaza. If that happened, it would have made the rest of Gaza empty of civilians, and the Israelis would have been able to hit Hamas without worrying about civilians in all those empty areas. Hamas wanted civilians all over the place to confuse the Israelis and make their operations more difficult.”

S., a Gazan businessman, said:

“The cease-fire Hamas agreed to carried the same conditions the Egyptians and the Israelis offered during the second week of the war — after only 160 Gazans had been killed. Why did Hamas have to wait until 2,200 were killed, and then accept the very same offer? Hamas has blackmailed the world with the killed Gazan civilians to make itself look like a freedom fighter against an evil Israel. Hamas showed Gazans that it could not care less for their blood and their children. And why should Hamas care? Its leaders are either in mansions in Qatar or villas in Jordan. Mashaal [Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas] is in Qatar, Mohammad Nazzal is in Jordan and Abu Marzouk is in Cairo: why should they want a ceasefire? Everyone here in Gaza is wondering why Hamas rejected so many ceasefires. Hamas knows it will not defeat Israel’s army, so why did it continue fighting? The answer is simple: Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel by showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar.”

I asked S. if other Gazans shared his view. He said,

“Gazans are not stupid. We are now telling Hamas: Either you bring victory and liberate Palestine as you claim, or simply leave Gaza and maybe give it back to the Palestinian Authority or even Israel — or even Egypt! We have had enough of Hamas’s hallucinations and promises that never come true.”

O., a researcher who lives in Gaza Strip’s second largest city, Khan Younis, said:

“Most of us see Hamas as too radical and too stubborn, especially the way it was refusing ceasefires offered from Israel. They even refused a 24-hour ceasefire during the third week of the war. They denied us even 24 hours of quiet to bury the dead. Even some Hamas loyalists here are asking why Hamas refused several ceasefires and made us suffer. Hamas did this on purpose because Hamas is a slave to Qatar. Qatar wants the war to go on because it is a terrorist Islamist country, and Hamas wants more of us dead to appease its masters in Qatar. Let’s be realistic, Hamas is in a bad shape now. Israel destroyed most tunnels; that is why Hamas had to join the ceasefire talks in Cairo. Were the Israelis’ hits to Hamas not so painful, Hamas would not be negotiating in the first place. At the same time, Hamas is asking Israel for the impossible, like an open seaport and an airport. Israel would never allow that, and Hamas knows this, but Hamas might just be buying time by throwing out these demands. You have to keep in mind that Hamas is not concerned with our conditions as Gazans. After all it is our children who are dying, not the children of Hamas’s leaders. Hamas is weak now, and I believe it lost most of its tunnels. Israel’s Iron Dome destroyed so many of their rockets before they landed in Israel; that is why Hamas is being ruthless with Gazans. When Hamas locks people inside homes about to be bombed, when it kills people protesting against it and when it executes alleged traitors without even a trail, these are war crimes.”

A report by the Washington Institute, released in July, also reports that most Gazans are not happy with Hamas’s governance.

“It is true,” said A., a teacher. “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll. Hamas maintains its control here through a military dictatorship, just like North Korea. People will be killed if they protest. Even Gazans living abroad fear to criticize Hamas because Hamas will take revenge on their relatives who are here.”

M., a Gazan television producer, stated:

“Of course I am against Israel and I want it out of Gaza and out of the West Bank, but I still believe Hamas is more of a threat to the Palestinian people. Hamas took over Gaza by killing us [Palestinians] and throwing our young men from high buildings. That is what Hamas is about: murder and power. Hamas is also delusional. Its leaders refused the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, they got hit hard by the Israelis, and then when the war stopped, they declared victory. Even the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, admitted it when he lost Ohoud war [A war in which pagan Arabs defeated Muhammad’s army and in which Muhammad was almost killed]. Hamas lives in its own fantasy world. Hamas wanted the dead bodies to make Israel look ugly. The media has exerted a huge pressure on Israel for every dead Gazan. In that sense, Hamas’s tactic has worked, and we have seen more Western tolerance of Hamas, especially in Europe. Of course Hamas doesn’t care if we all die so long as it achieves its goals. We are not going to accept living under Hamas any longer. Even if there is calm, and the firing stops, we are going to still be under Hamas’s mercy, where all basic living standards are considered luxuries. Hamas is just buying time by going to the ceasefire talks. Hamas does not want a ceasefire.”

When asked why that was, he said, “Ask Qatar’s Sheikh, not me. He is Hamas’s god who gives them billions and tells them what to do. May God curse Qatar!”

A first-aid volunteer, E., said that Hamas militants had confiscated 150 truckloads of humanitarian supplies the day before. He said the supplies were donated by charities in the West Bank and that their delivery was facilitated by the IDF. He commented: “This theft angers all of us [Gazans]. The Israeli army allows supplies to come in, and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas.”

Another aid worker, A., confirmed that Hamas steals the humanitarian supplies given to Gaza. “They [Hamas] take most of it, sell it to us, and just give us the stuff they do not want.”

A Gazan mosque’s imam said that the most precious aid item Hamas stole was water. “Gazans are thirsty and Hamas is stealing the water bottles provided to us for free and selling them at 20 Israeli shekels [approximately $5] for the big bottle and 10 Israeli shekels for the small one.”

H., who did not want his profession to be mentioned, lost one of his legs in an Israeli raid. I asked him who he thought was responsible for his injury. He stated:

“Hamas was. My father received a text-message from the Israeli army warning him that our area was going to be bombed, and Hamas prevented us from leaving. They said there was a curfew. A curfew, can you believe that? I swear to God, we will take revenge on Hamas. I swear to God I will stand on my other foot and fight against Hamas. Even if Israel leaves them alone, we will not. What had my two-year-old nephew done to be killed under the rubble of our home so Khaled Mashaal [Hamas leader based in Qatar] could be happy? We want change at any cost. I am not claiming the Israelis are innocent, but I know Hamas has fired rockets from every residential spot in Gaza. If that was not hiding behind civilians, then it was stupidity and recklessness. Nobody who is normal, in his right mind, in Gaza supports Hamas. People have lost parents, children and friends, and have nothing more to lose. I believe if given the chance and the weapons, they will stand against Hamas.”

K., a Gazan school teacher agreed:

“When Hamas starts caring for our children we will start caring for Hamas. Hamas has one policy, to attack Israel; so Israel attacks back, and gets us killed and Hamas then gets more money from Arabs and Erdogan [Turkey’s president]. My son has autism; he cannot handle the sounds of rockets and bombs landing. Why would I support Hamas, which causes this suffering to him? Gazans have had enough of Hamas, any claims that we love Hamas is just propaganda. A recent poll indicates that most of us support Hamas; this is not true, except maybe in the West Bank where they have not yet lived under Hamas rule. I cannot accuse the polling center of fabricating the poll, but my safest explanation for the result is that Gazans polled are too afraid to give their true opinions of Hamas. Hamas watches everything here. Most Gazans now have to deal with the aftermath of the war. Almost 300,000 Gazans are now homeless and Hamas is not providing them with anything. So why would they or their extended families have any love for Hamas? Would there be any common sense to that? Most Gazans are angry at Hamas, and most of us would love to see them replaced by any other force.”

Despite all Hamas has done to Gazans, they do not seem to hold much love — or less hatred — for Israel.

S., a graduate of an American university and a former Hamas sympathizer, warned:

“Don’t get fooled. Gazans are not in love with Israel yet, but they do not want to fight Israel anymore. We do not want to embrace Israel; we just want to live normally without wars. We want to live and work in Israel like we used to. We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation, instead. I would welcome Netanyahu to rule Gaza so long as Hamas leaves, and I think most Gazans feel the same way. We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money, we miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here, but politically speaking, we just think of it as the better of two evils: Israel and Hamas.”

M., who lost his 11 year old daughter in an Israeli bombing said: “I will not forgive either Hamas or Israel for losing my daughter. If you ask me if I hate Israelis, my answer would be no, but do I love them? Of course not. There is too much blood between us, but I can only hope someday we both will move on and heal our wounds.”

When asked what he would do if he were in Israel’s place, being attacked non-stop by Hamas, he responded: “I do not care if both Israel and Gaza burn in hell.”

F., a Gazan physician, said:

“I wish Israel never existed, but as it does not seem to be going away, I would rather be working in Israel like I used to before the first Intifada, not fighting it. Hamas sympathizers, apologists and appeasers should be ashamed of themselves for supporting a terrorist organization that has butchered civilians, Israeli and Palestinian. Apparently a group of Israelis is working on bringing Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to trial in the International Criminal Court. But perhaps the world should consider putting all the Hamas leaders on trial for crimes against the Gazan people.”

This is What Happens When You Attack Israel

September 17, 2014

For too long the media and international community have been preaching that “Palestinians” bear no responsibility for the consequences of their decisions and they are passive victims of the conflict.

By: Shalom Bear
Published: September 17th, 2014

via The Jewish Press » » This is What Happens When You Attack Israel.

 

A Gaza building, reportedly used by Hamas, destroyed by the IDF on August 26, 2014.
Photo Credit: Emad Nassar/Flash90
 

Leftwing websites love to play up the photos of destruction of Gaza. The poor, suffering, innocent “Palestinians”, victims of Israeli aggression and collective punishment, are their front page stories.

Their bottom line is always the same, the Gazans (or the “Palestinians”) are not responsible for their actions and decisions; they’re passive victims of the conflict.

But it’s not true.

Even before their violent takeover of Gaza, Hamas received the largest block of votes in Gaza, giving them the majority, in fact Hamas secured 76 out of 132 seats – that’s 58% – in the Palestinian Authority’s parliament.

The people of Gaza, knowing full well the genocidal charter of Hamas, voted Hamas in. There’s no getting around that.

It’s both immoral and patronizing to say Gaza’s residents (or the Arabs in Judea and Samaria) voted Hamas in because Hamas’s social programs are more important to them than Hamas’s plans for genocide.

It is now well documented that the destruction in Gaza by the IDF was limited to areas that Hamas was using to attack Israel, whether it be for their command centers, missile silos, terror tunnels, or terrorist positions. For the most part, areas that were not involved in the fighting emerged from the war mostly unscathed.

Even within terror-infested neighborhoods, there are buildings that were hit, and buildings that weren’t.

Owners of many of the hit buildings were profiting from Hamas, charging them rent and receiving payment for letting Hamas store their weapons there, build terror tunnels entrances underneath their homes, or to set up rocket launchers in their orchards and backyards.

Unfortunately, there were also other civilian locations which Hamas illegally decided to use during the war, to attack Israel from.

The problem is that the international community refuses to report on the Arab civilian’s complicity and collusion with the terrorists, preferring to always portray them as the innocent victims, stuck in a situation out of their control.

Last week a Hamas official accidentally let it slip that Gazans are not letting Hamas back into their homes.

So much for the myth of the innocent and oppressed Gazans who can’t stand up to Hamas.

What was missing until now was any incentive for the Gazans to stand up to Hamas.

After all, the media and the UN teach them that there are absolutely no consequences to their actions – so why not let part of your house be converted into a missile silo to wipe out the Jews.

But now, the Gazans have learned an important life lesson. If you participate in any way in the genocidal attempt to destroy Israel, there are significant consequences to your actions.

The media should keep showing these photos of the destruction in Gaza.

Some day, the Gazans and the Arabs in Judea and Samaria will demand the right to vote from their leaders in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

They will once again need to decide whether they want the corrupt terrorists to take over, or if they want the ruthless terrorists to take over.

Unfortunately, a poll right after the war showed that Hamas was more popular than ever.

But perhaps, just perhaps, with a little retrospection, they’ll look at these pictures from Gaza and say, “We want a third option.”