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The Middle East Problem — in a nutshell — video

July 22nd, 2014

PragerUniversity.com

The Middle East conflict is framed as one of the most complex problems in the world. But, in reality, it’s very simple. Israelis want to live in peace and are willing to accept a neighboring Palestinian state. And most Palestinians do not want Israel to exist. As Dennis Prager explains, this is really all you need to know. In 5 minutes, understand how Israel was founded, and how, since that auspicious day in 1948, its neighbors have tried to destroy it, again and again.

Editor’s Note: All Prager’s information in the following video is accurate EXCEPT for the map (at 1:01) of the UN’s proposed Jewish – Arab/Muslim division. The original 1947 map divided the region called Palestine by giving Jordan (called Transjordan at the time) to the Arabs/Muslims, and all the area on Prager’s map (i.e., the land west of the Jordan River) to the Jews. The original map looked like this:

map Palestine original division

Hypocricy of Hamas exposed in Palestinian videos

July 21st, 2014

The following video is a compilation of footage taken by Palestinians. An Arab narrates the action in English and points out the hypocrisy of Muslims, especially Hamas.

The video begins by showing a Palestinian wedding in which the men are singing and celebrating. Enter truckloads of machine-gun-toting Hamas who open fire and mow down the wedding guests, beat to death the groom, and destroy the venue — all because the men were singing, says the narrator.

The video then shows Hamas humiliating other Muslims before killing them. The narrator explains that killing other Muslims is sanctioned in the Koran, as is killing non-Muslims. There is footage of Muslims celebrating in Gaza and Jerusalem after the 9/11 massacre — laughing, dancing, happy about the deaths of 3,000 in the Twin Towers. However, the narrator points out, the “Palestinians” want the world to cry for the deaths of their people killed in Israel’s retaliatory bombings.

During footage of a child being armed for battle, the narrator explains that Hamas sends out children — 6-year-olds — with guns and then complains that the children are killed. They kill their own people, arm small children, even use their own babies to shield weapons, and celebrate the deaths of others that they have caused, yet they ask the world to mourn their loss. “Such hypocrites!” says the narrator.

The video below is narrated in English by an Arab who identifies with Christians.

You can help! — Israeli Soldiers Ask For Repeat Of Christian Blessing

July 18th, 2014

image

Ariel Schneider / IsraelToday.com

This morning (Friday), I received a call from my friend and former military comrade from the South, who inquired after pizzas and colas for the tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers operating in and around the Gaza Strip.

Two years ago, when Israeli troops massed on the Gaza border during Operation Pillar of Cloud, Israel Today was on the ground handing out pizzas and cola generously donated by our readers. The soldiers down in Gaza now remember that kindness, and our friend in the area has received several calls from officers and their troops wondering if they will again be blessed in this way.

There is a long-standing tradition in Israel whereby people will often go and buy cold drinks and snacks for the soldiers manning hot, dusty checkpoints. The gesture might be small, but the act of kindness has a major impact on these soldiers.

CLICK HERE to bless Israeli soldiers now!

This tradition kicks into high gear during a time of war.

As such, we are inviting our readers and all friends of Israel to repeat their past assistance to Israeli soldiers as they fight to defend our nation.

Both they and we fondly remember how two years ago the pizzas and drinks delivered offered not only physical sustenance, but emotional and even spiritual blessing when they learned it had all come from Christians around the world who love and stand with Israel.

Last, but not least, your participation in this effort greatly blesses the pizzerias in southern Israel where we purchase the pizzas, salads and drinks. As you can imagine, during a time of war they receive little other business.

Israeli military foils attack from Gaza tunnel–video

July 17th, 2014

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) releases footage showing how it thwarted an attempt by 13 Hamas militants to infiltrate Israel from a tunnel in Gaza

By Camilla Turner / Telegraph.co.uk

The Israeli military has released footage showing how it successfully foiled an attack by 13 Hamas militants attempting to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel from Gaza.

An Israeli aircraft struck the fighters at the mouth of the tunnel some 250 metres (820 feet) inside Israel, near a kibbutz.

The showdown took place just hours before the two sides halted fire for a five-hour humanitarian truce.

Peter Lerner, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman, said that the truce would go ahead despite the incident.

“The IDF intercepted 13 Hamas terrorists intercepting [infiltrating] Israel near kibbutz Sufa on the southern Gaza Strip,” said. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman.

“This was an attempted attack to kill, murder, and maim — perhaps abduct — Israelis on the southern border.

“This is the type of threat we have been talking about over the last 10 days that can emerge from this area. We were successful in intercepting them.

“Our surveillance capabilities picked up on them and then we engaged and prevented this attack against Israel.”

The military footage showed a number of individuals creeping around what appeared to be a hole in the ground. Another shot showed an explosion from an airstrike at the entrance to the tunnel.

Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the infiltration, saying in a statement that “during the withdrawal after the completion of its mission”, the militants were struck by “jet fighters”. It said the group returned safely, however, and that no one was killed.

Mr Lerner said the IDF believed that at least one militant was killed in the strike and that the remaining fighters appeared to have returned to Gaza through the tunnel.

This is the second time militants have attempted to infiltrate Israeli territory during the recent exchange of hostilities. Last week, four fighters were killed when they attempted to gain entry to Israel from the sea.

Special Report: The Deadly Rocket Arsenal of Hamas

July 16th, 2014

IDFblog.com / July 2014

Hamas marching

In response to the continued rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, the IDF has launched Operation Protective Edge. This is an analysis of the deadly weapons Hamas has in its possession that are responsible for the unbearable situation in Israel.

Hamas, the ruling entity of the Gaza Strip, is responsible for most of the attacks on Israeli population centers. Since Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, the terrorist organization has increased the size and strength of its rocket arsenal. Terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip currently possess around 10,000 rockets including long-range missiles such as the M-302. Hamas is in control of 6,000 of these rockets.

The following is a report from IDF intelligence on terrorist organizations rocket arsenals.

Hamas’s Rocket Arsenal

Short range (15-20 km)

    Over 1,000 units of self-produced rockets (15 km)
    Over 2,500 units of smuggled rockets (15 km)
    Approx. 200 units of self-produced Grad rockets (20 km)
    Approx. 200 units of smuggled Grad rockets (20 km)

Medium range (up to 45 km)

    Approx. 200 units of self-produced improved Grad rockets (45 km)
    Approx. 1,000 units of smuggled improved Grad rockets (45 km)

Medium-Long range (up to 80 km)

    Over 400 units of self-produced medium-range rockets
    Several dozens of rockets (80 km)

Long range (100-200 km)

    Tens of long-range rockets (100-200 km)

In Total: Approximately 6,000 rockets

rocket threat to Israel population

The other main terrorist group in the Gaza Strip is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who also have a formidable weapons arsenal.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Rocket Arsenal

Short range (15-20 km)

    Approx. 1,000 units of self-produced rockets (15 km)
    Approx. 1,000 units of smuggled rockets (15 km)
    Approx. 300 units of self-produced Grad rockets (20 km)
    Approx. 100 units of smuggled Grad rockets (20 km)

Medium range (up to 45 km)

    Approx. 200 units of self-produced improved Grad rockets (45 km)
    Approx. 600 units of smuggled improved Grad rockets (45 km)

Medium-Long range (up to 80 km)

    Over 100 units of self-produced medium-range rockets
    Several medium-long range rockets (80 km)

In Total: Approximately 5,500 rockets

Other Terrorist Organizations

Short range (15-20 km)

    Hundreds of self-produced and smuggled rockets including Grad rockets (15 km)

Medium range (up to 45 km)

    Dozens of self-produced and smuggled improved Grad rockets (45 km)

Total number of rockets in the hands of Gaza terrorists: Approximately 10,000

Hamas Exploits Civilians

Hamas uses civilian infrastructure to store and hide these weapons. The terrorist group uses the densely packed civilian areas of the Gaza Strip to embed its weapons arsenal and command centers. (See video below.) In order to target these terror sites and limit civilian casualties, the IDF uses precision attacks and provides warnings of strikes in advance.

Hamas Spokesman: “We Are Leading Palestinians to Death”

July 15th, 2014

www.IDFblog.com

The Hamas Spokesman has been very vocal during Operation Protective Edge, which Israel launched to bring about a cessation of rocket fire from Gaza. His words reveal the sinister way in which Hamas abuses its citizens by intentionally putting them in harm’s way.

The spokesperson for Hamas in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, said on July 13 in an interview on Al Aqsa TV (Hamas’s TV network), “We aren’t leading our people today to destruction. We are leading them to death.”

Beyond Hamas‘s provocation of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] by firing over 1,000 missiles into Israel since the start of Operation Protective Edge, Abu Zuhri may have been referring to Hamas’s policy of using civilians as human shields. In the following video, Abu Zuhri admits clearly Hamas’s policy of human shields.

In the following video, Hamas’s spokesman is referring to the fact that the IDF avoids civilian casualties by aborting airstrikes.

An example of an aborted strike is depicted in the video below. In it, you can see the IDF practicing the “roof knocking” technique—when IDF aircraft targets a building with a loud but non-lethal bomb that warns civilians that they are in the vicinity of a weapons cache or other target.


In the above video, the residents flee the home after the roof knocking, but then many others come and ascend to the roof and act as human shields. [The IDF avoided striking the building.]

This callous practice of Hamas of telling Gazans to stay in their homes has already led to many Palestinian deaths, for which the terrorist organization bears the responsibility.

Five Myths About the Gaza Crisis

July 15th, 2014

By Aaron David Miller / Washington Post News Service with Bloomberg News

Yes, Israelis and Palestinians have entered yet another violent round in their seemingly interminable conflict. How did they get into this mess? And, more important, how are they going to get out of it? As we watch the fighting escalate, here are five myths that need correcting.

1. John Kerry’s failed peace process led to the crisis.

There are many downsides to spending nine months trying to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian agreement when one was never possible. But the notion, as some maintain, that the secretary of state’s bid for an agreement made America the “arsonist of the Middle East” isn’t one of them. The horrific murders of three Israeli teens by Palestinian extremists, and the torture and murder of a young Palestinian by Israeli Jewish extremists, had nothing to do with Kerry or the ups and downs of the peace process.

Kerry failed in April because Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas couldn’t or wouldn’t find common ground on the big sticking points, such as how to divide Jerusalem and how to handle Palestinian refugees. The kidnappings of the Israeli teens occurred in June, and — if undertaken by a Hamas cell independent or tied to Gaza — had a logic unrelated to Kerry’s effort. As did the revenge killing of the Palestinian teen by Israeli Jews. Even if Kerry had succeeded, extremists might have sought to derail the deal. In the spring of 1996, for example, Hamas conducted four suicide attacks in nine days, killing about 60 Israelis, in an effort to ensure that the Oslo peace process would not continue after an Israeli extremist assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

2. The Gaza crisis has a military solution.

Several of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition partners think the Israeli army should reoccupy Gaza and destroy Hamas. But most Israelis and Palestinians know that isn’t the answer; they’ve lived through two tragic prequels to this movie. For three weeks in 2008-2009 and one week in 2012, Israel and Hamas confronted each other. And each time, the aftermath was predictable: No Israel-Hamas problem can be solved through force of arms — only managed. In the first case, Israeli declared a unilateral cease-fire; in the second, the Egyptians brokered one. Israel achieved a measure of deterrence that lasted until the next round; Hamas, beaten up badly, survived politically and restocked its arsenal of long-range weapons.

Israel isn’t prepared to pay the political, economic or psychological price that would come with occupying Gaza or launching a massive military intervention to destroy Hamas as an organization. Indeed, there are no solutions, only another outcome that may buy Israel a temporary quiet but won’t eliminate Hamas’s rockets.

3. We’re on the verge of a third intifada.

The violence in the West Bank and Gaza clearly could escalate, particularly if civilian deaths in Gaza rise dramatically. And the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been preternaturally quiet during the past several years makes the current violence seem more severe. But that doesn’t necessarily suggest, as some commentators have, that we’re facing another intifada. Or that it would be similar to the first, from 1987 to 1991, which was a broad popular uprising organized at the grass-roots level; or to the second, from 2000 to 2004, a suicide terror campaign led by Hamas, Fatah-affiliated groups and others that culminated in a sustained military confrontation with the Israel Defense Forces.

The Palestinian public suffered immensely from the latter, which produced nothing but political and economic disaster, and it doesn’t want to go there again. Polls in early June indicated that Palestinians were far more focused on economic concerns than on launching a massive uprising. And unlike Yasser Arafat, who never really gave up the gun and died during the second intifada, President Abbas is neither willing nor able to direct a war against Israel. A sustained confrontation would also require serious cooperation between Hamas and Fatah, and neither side — despite their so-called unity agreement — seems interested in that.

4. The hawkish Netanyahu is eager to pound Gaza.

Some believe that the Israeli prime minister’s antagonism toward Palestinians provoked the current crisis. Having dealt with Bibi during his first stint as prime minister in the 1990s, I am convinced that he has no intention of being the father of a Palestinian state. Nevertheless, he remains the only Likud prime minister to cede territory in the West Bank. He has struck hard at Hamas previously, but his record is one of restraint when compared with predecessors such as Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon.

Today, Netanyahu is a man stuck in the middle: His advisers on the right want a more expansive military approach. His critics on the left believe he will always opt for military strength. But, from what I hear, Netanyahu does not want an escalation, even though he wants to deal Hamas a severe blow. So far, as terrible as the Israeli strikes on Hamas have been for Gazan civilians, this remains a limited operation, not the type of large-scale military sweep seen in Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon or 2009′s Operation Cast Lead. Long-range Hamas missiles directed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem might still trigger a much broader conflict, but not because Netanyahu wants one.

5. Washington can and should end this crisis.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has criticized the Obama administration for not leaping into the middle of the Gaza crisis. But right now, Washington lacks the key ingredients for successful mediation. The last thing the United States needs is to strengthen Hamas, and thereby weaken Abbas, by engaging directly with the Islamist organization. As long as the Egyptians or the Turks aren’t prepared to try to get Hamas to stand down, and Hamas isn’t ready to do so, neither the president nor the secretary of state will have much leverage with the Israelis. And right now Hamas, and perhaps even Israel, does not seem all that desperate to end this. American phones may be ringing soon enough.

If that moment comes, there may be a useful role for the Obama administration to play. But America does not need to get in the middle of a fight that neither side is prepared to end just yet.

—————
Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has served as a Middle East adviser for Republican and Democratic secretaries of state. He is the author of the forthcoming The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President.

Is Hamas Trying to Get Gazans Killed?

July 13th, 2014
There is no doubt that Hamas could protect Gazan lives by ceasing its current campaign to end Israeli lives. Photographer: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

There is no doubt that Hamas could protect Gazan lives by ceasing its current campaign to end Israeli lives. Photographer: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

By Jeffrey Goldberg / BloombergView.com

Mahmoud Abbas, the sometimes moderate, often ineffectual leader of the Palestinian Authority, just asked his rivals in Hamas a question that other bewildered people are also asking: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

The Gaza-based Hamas has recently fired more than 500 rockets at Israeli towns and cities. This has terrorized the citizenry, though caused few casualties, in large part because Israel is protected by the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.

In reaction to these indiscriminately fired missiles, Israel has bombarded targets across Gaza, killing roughly 100 people so far. Compared with violent death rates in other parts of the Middle East, the number is small. (More than 170,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war to date.) But it is large enough to suggest an answer to Abbas’s question: Hamas is trying to get Israel to kill as many Palestinians as possible.

Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.

The men who run Hamas, engineers and doctors and lawyers by training, are smart enough to understand that though they wish to bring about the annihilation of the Jewish state and to replace it with a Muslim Brotherhood state (Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood), they are in no position to do so. Hamas is a militarily weak group, mostly friendless, that is firing rockets at the civilians of a powerful neighboring state.

The Israeli military has the operational capability to level the entire Gaza Strip in a day, if it so chooses. It is constrained by international pressure, by its own morality and by the understanding that the deaths of innocent Palestinians are not in its best political interest. The men who run Hamas — the ones hiding in bunkers deep underground, the ones who send other people’s children to their deaths as suicide bombers — also understand that their current campaign will not bring the end of Israel’s legitimacy as a state.

I’ve been struck, over the last few days, by the world’s indifference to Gaza’s fate. Perhaps this conflict has been demoted to the status of a Middle East sideshow by the cataclysms in Iraq and Syria. Perhaps even the most accommodationist European governments know that Israel is within its right to hunt down the people trying to kill its citizens. Regardless of the cause, Israel seems under less pressure than usual to curb its campaign.

There is no doubt that Hamas could protect Palestinian lives by ceasing its current campaign to end Israeli lives. The decision is Hamas’s. As the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said yesterday, “We face the risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza, with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable — and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing.”

I understand that this latest round in the never-ending Israel-Gaza war was, in many ways, a mistake. Israel was uninterested in an all-out confrontation with Hamas at the moment, and Hamas, which is trying to manage a threat to its control of Gaza from — believe it or not — groups even more radical and nihilistic than it is, is particularly ill-prepared to confront Israel.

The politics of the moment are fascinating and dreadful, but what really interests me currently is a counterfactual: What if, nine years ago, when Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, the Palestinians had made a different choice. What if they chose to build the nucleus of a state, rather than a series of subterranean rocket factories?

This thought is prompted by something a pair of Iraqi Kurdish leaders once told me. Iraqi Kurdistan is today on the cusp of independence. Like the Palestinians, the Kurds deserve a state. Unlike most of the Palestinian leadership, the Kurds have played a long and clever game to bring them to freedom.

This is what Barham Salih, the former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told me years ago: “Compare us to other liberation movements around the world. We are very mature. We don’t engage in terror. We don’t condone extremist nationalist notions that can only burden our people. Please compare what we have achieved in the Kurdistan national-authority areas to the Palestinian national authority. … We have spent the last 10 years building a secular, democratic society, a civil society.” What, he asked, have the Palestinians built?

So too, Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, once told me this: “We had the opportunity to use terrorism against Baghdad. We chose not to.”

In 2005, the Palestinians of Gaza, free from their Israeli occupiers, could have taken a lesson from the Kurds — and from David Ben-Gurion, the principal Israeli state-builder — and created the necessary infrastructure for eventual freedom. Gaza is centrally located between two large economies, those of Israel and Egypt. Europe is just across the Mediterranean. Gaza could have easily attracted untold billions in economic aid.

The Israelis did not impose a blockade on Gaza right away. That came later, when it became clear that Palestinian groups were considering using their newly liberated territory as a launching pad for attacks. In the days after withdrawal, the Israelis encouraged Gaza’s development. A group of American Jewish donors paid $14 million for 3,000 greenhouses left behind by expelled Jewish settlers and donated them to the Palestinian Authority. The greenhouses were soon looted and destroyed, serving, until today, as a perfect metaphor for Gaza’s wasted opportunity.

If Gaza had, despite all the difficulties, despite all the handicaps imposed on it by Israel and Egypt, taken practical steps toward creating the nucleus of a state, I believe Israel would have soon moved to evacuate large sections of the West Bank as well. But what Hamas wants most is not a state in a part of Palestine. What it wants is the elimination of Israel. It will not achieve the latter, and it is actively thwarting the former.

Hamas Plays the Death Card

July 12th, 2014

New York Daily News editorial 7-12-2014

Playing the Death Card

This much we know: Israel lives under constant threat from terrorists who would like nothing better than to exterminate the Jewish state that they consider an outright abomination.

This much we have also come to understand: In polite society, it is increasingly fashionable to roll one’s eyes or outright indict Israel for daring to defend itself against those who aim to indiscriminately kill its people and undermine its right to exist.

The cycle continues as Hamas fires hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, and Israel responds with far more precise and effective salvos at terrorists. All too predictably, international condemnation is starting to come Israel’s way.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, warned Friday that Israel’s air campaign in Gaza, one of the most focused in the history of war, may violate international law.

Citing “deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes,” Pillay said “such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”

Nonsense. A nation has the right to defend itself from a fusillade of rockets. A nation has the right to attack those who war against it.

Some Israeli salvos have killed innocent Palestinians. This is a fact all should mourn — and that the vast majority of Israelis do mourn. A civilian casualty is a tragedy, no matter the victim’s religion, nationality or background.

Only the radical fringe that dominates Palestinian leadership does not mourn. Hamas purposely houses its operations in civilian neighborhoods and near mosques, launching rockets from there to batter Israeli cities.

These rockets are not an act of self-defense, nor are they a retaliatory answer to any violence. They are simply an attempt to force Israel to live in constant fear — one that even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has disavowed.

“What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?” asked Abbas in a televised address, signalling that, perhaps, the Palestinian terrorists have finally gone too far for their more moderate partner in government.

Israel’s good-faith efforts to make its necessary war more humane — and to stay within the rules of war — include warning Palestinians to vacate buildings that have been targeted as sites from which Hamas is warring.

Perversely, Hamas’s Interior Ministry reportedly ordered residents of the Gaza Strip to remain inside, preferring to boost the civilian body county in hope of turning world opinion against Israel and winning sympathy — sympathy for the devils.

Iran and the Bomb–video

July 10th, 2014

Prager University / PragerUniversity.com


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