Friday, July 25, 2014

Qatar is a key Hamas terror sponsor

From Times of Israel, July 23, 2014, by Elhanan Miller:

Gulf emirate is branded the villain behind Hamas belligerence ... it funds tunnel diggers and rocket launchers
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, shakes hands with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, right, as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, center, looks on, after signing an agreement in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Feb 6, 2012 (photo credit: AP/Osama Faisal) 

...Qatar recently attempted to transfer funds for the salaries of Hamas civil servants in Gaza, following the formation of a Palestinian unity government, but was blocked by the United States, which pressured the Arab Bank not to process them.

But former national security adviser Maj. Gen. (res) Yaakov Amidror told The Times of Israel that the emirate’s funding for the organization’s terror apparatus, including tunnel diggers and rocket launchers, has continued unabated.
“Hamas currently has two ‘true friends’ in the world: Qatar and Turkey...” ...
 The small Gulf state is currently Hamas’s closest ally in the Arab world, after the movement’s relations with Egypt soured following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in June 2013. Qatar, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in reconstruction and infrastructure projects in Gaza, is also home to the movement’s political leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha.
“The one supporting this organization financially, almost alone, is Qatar...” ...
Qatar isn’t only being accused of funneling funds to Hamas. Israel and Egypt are also blaming it for blocking Egypt’s efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza. On July 17, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said that Qatar and Turkey were undermining Egypt’s quiet-for-quiet ceasefire initiative, a position echoed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

... the [alternative] ceasefire draft presented to Abbas in Qatar over the weekend “had Hamas’s handwriting all over it...Qatar is clearly biased toward Hamas over Fatah.”

...Another aspect of Qatar’s destructive influence... is state-backed news channel Al-Jazeera.

[Israel's] Communications Minister Gilad Erdan requested of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council this week that it stop broadcasting Al-Jazeera due to its “extremely severe incitement against the State of Israel as well as enthusiastic support for Hamas and its terrorist actions.” Liberman said his ministry was examining the possibility of shutting Al-Jazeera’s offices in Israel, Israeli news site Walla reported.

...Meanwhile, a diplomatic tug of war has been underway in the Arab Gulf between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — both staunch supporters of the new Egyptian regime —  on the one side and Qatar on the other. On Tuesday, Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad arrived in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the Palestinian situation with Saudi King Abdullah. No details of the meeting were immediately available.

Israel faced the greatest danger to its existence since the War of Independence.

by Guy Alony (Translated from the Hebrew)

The three kidnapped and murdered Israeli youths, in their deaths, saved Israel.

Dozens of offensive tunnels that end inside cities in the south of Israel, are not tunnels of terror, they are an infrastructure for land occupation. If we had not surprised ourselves by our sharp response to the abduction of the youths, then Hamas, at a time suitable to them, would have sent in thousands of terrorists via the tunnels to conquer cities and military posts, and thousands of terrorists dressed up as Israeli soldiers, would have slaughtered, captured and kidnapped civilians, while the IDF would not have time to organize and respond. At the same time they would have fired hundreds or thousands of missiles into the center of the country, paralyzing any possible organization against the invasion.

Why did they wait?
Maybe for a rainy day, but apparently for the recovery of Hizballah, in order to organize a combined military and missile offensive with Hizbullah from the north...and maybe they were also waiting for Hizbullah to dig  tunnels from Lebanon to reach Israel’s northern cities…

In Israel in such a scenario, there would be tens of thousands of fatalities, the paralysis of transport and communications systems and a need to establish local defenses for protection in neighborhoods and in the streets. And this is assuming that the Arabs in the Yehuda and Shomron regions, and a part of the Israeli Arabs, did not join in the battle. The counteroffensives of our Air Force would not help of course, when all the terrorists are in the tunnels underground laughing all the way to Jerusalem. In the best scenario, International forces would enter in order to demilitarize the country. Every dream of the Jewish state would disintegrate for another thousand years.

We were saved by two things which the enemy did not believe would happen, because even we did not believe it...they did not believe that the abduction of the three youths would unite the people of Israel in a such a way that it would lead to the return of the terrorist prisoners to jail, and a willingness for our land forces to enter the hornets’ nest that the enemy built. And they did not believe that Iron Dome actually works.

In the other words all Israelis from the political Left and the Right, underestimated the psychopathic-Islamic rhetoric that calls to conquer Jerusalem, we ignored the resolution of these psychopaths in Iraq and in Syria, and we did not want to understand that they had built a smart military system, strong and in fact perfect and almost errorless, for the crushing of the state of Israel.

We all saw how ten terrorists came out from a tunnel in a matter of minutes.

What prevents two hundred terrorists from coming out of tunnel when ordered, and many thousands from all the tunnels together, including hundreds of commando terrorists landing simultaneously on the beaches, and missiles landing in the center of Israel? The truth is that if we did not have tens of thousands of soldiers in the south at present, nothing could have prevented the next step in the materialization of the Islamic dream to annihilate Israel and march to Jerusalem.

Eyal, Naftali and Gil-ad - in your death you saved the country for us, our freedom and our lives.

Danny Gold, the inventor of the Iron Dome – we wish you long life.

And to all the soldiers – we love and embrace you endlessly.

Have courage and be brave! The entire Jewish nation, the whole world, and more than everyone, most of the Arab states and the sane Moslems, pray for the crushing of these maniacs. Yes, also Abu Mazen. Thanks to the three youths, we caught them with their pants down, at the time and under conditions that are not suitable to them. The country was saved, and now is the time to settle accounts with the murderers, until we have dealt with the last of them.

And one word to the citizens on the home front: when you hear an alarm, go into the shelter and smile. When you hear "booms"- laugh. These noises are the screams of frustration of the psychopaths in Gaza, as their ingenious plan to crush Israel was exposed prematurely. Any damage that happens to us now, is nothing compared to what was planned.

For Hamas, endless warfare with the Jews is preferable to reconciling and living together with them in peace

From Gatestone Institute, July 24, 2014, by Salim Mansur:

When a few years ago I travelled to Israel, I had the specific purpose in mind of making my own pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Looking back on that summer of 2010, Israel was enjoying an interlude of uncertain peace. More than a year earlier, in December 2008-January 2009, the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] had been sent into Gaza to disarm Hamas because of their launching rockets into Israel; then two years later, in November 2012, the IDF went back into Gaza again for similar reasons.

As I watch with people across the world, the IDF has once more been reluctantly forced into military action to stop Hamas from firing hundreds of rockets capable of reaching deep inside Israel, I shall try to go beyond simple and easy condemnations of the brutality of wars and ritualistic sympathy for its victims.

What we are witnessing – as perhaps Albert Camus would have expressed it – is Israel engaged in a Sisyphean struggle against Hamas, against Palestinians, against Arabs, against Muslims, and against an expanding body of opinion in the West that is less and less inhibited from displaying the rancid anti-Semitism behind its support for those who openly call for another Holocaust for the Jews.

The critics of Israel's military action against Hamas have erased from their memory what the government of Israel in 2005, then led by Ariel Sharon, unilaterally did in withdrawing from Gaza and handing it over to representatives of the Palestinian people. The IDF was authorized by Sharon and his government to remove by force those Jewish settlers in Gaza who had insisted on remaining there.
The forceful eviction was necessary because there was no indication given by Palestinians that they were prepared to live side by side with Jews in peace. Any indication – even if symbolic in nature – that at least some Jews be made welcome, or even allowed, to live there in peace and security, would have sent out a signal that Palestinians are reconciled with the idea of peaceful coexistence with Jews. Such a gesture would have signaled a shift in Palestinian thinking consistent with the promise that the Oslo Accords represented when it was signed in 1993 by Yitzhak Rabin, then Israel's prime minister, and Yasser Arafat, then chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO].

The Oslo Accords were, of course, the fork in the road – one leading to reconciliation with the Jews – which was not taken by the Palestinians.

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was a test that Ariel Sharon set for the Palestinians. It came some four years after Arab terrorists connected with al Qaeda hijacked American jetliners and ploughed them into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, as well as an attempt, presumably on the Capitol, that forced down by the plane's passengers onto a field in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While much of the world recoiled in horror, seeing pictures of death and devastation wrought by the hijackers that morning of September 11, 2001, there were those in the Muslim world who celebrated. The Palestinians were among them, distributing sweets as if a great victory had been won. The Israelis were nevertheless willing to go forward on a path that promised an eventual settlement between Jews and Arabs [Palestinians] on the principle of two states in Palestine – the original intent of the UN partition plan for the territory, which the Arabs had rejected, in November 1947.

However, before such a plan was consummated, a period of trust was needed – so Israel's prime minister at the time, Ariel Sharon, reasoned – in which Palestinians would demonstrate, in both words and deeds, their desire to build a flourishing "Singapore on the Mediterranean," and acceptance of the Jews and Israel after over half-century of rejectionism and war.

Gaza was handed over to Palestinians as a test for building trust between the two peoples, and of turning the page that had come to stain a history that could have been so different.

Nothing is foreordained, or carved in stone, that cannot be altered, for ultimately all that matter in human history is mediated through and negotiated by men. It is well to remember what William James, an American philosopher, wrote, "Everything we know and are is through men. We have no revelation but through men."

Jews, many of whom had never left the land, had sought the return of more of their people to Palestine after two millennia of exile; that such a return could be realized after the catastrophe of World War I, which had brought Britain and France as allies to take possession of lands that had been part of the Ottoman Empire until its defeat in 1918 was, perhaps, a fluke of history.

Jews had ancestral claims that anyone familiar with the Bible could not deny. Similarly, anyone familiar with the Quran also could not deny the history of Jews in Palestine. The land between the Mediterranean and the two rivers of Mesopotamia -- including the Arabian Peninsula -- that was ruled as a Caliphate by Ottoman Sultans until 1918, was vast enough to accommodate the nationalist demands and destiny of both Arabs and Jews.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire, however, and the accompanying political realignment in the region was required to fulfill the Zionist goal, or the Jewish aspiration, for statehood – an aspiration that was neither unique nor to be faulted

Even before this time, Jews had sought reconciliation with Arabs. In 1917 Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader, travelled to northernmost point of the Red Sea, Aqaba, which had been taken from the Turks by the Arab warriors loyal to Prince Feisal, and led by T.E. Lawrence, in a campaign that was part of the "Arab revolt" against Ottoman rule.

Chaim Weizmann, a Zionist leader and future President of Israel (L), meets with Emir Feisal in 1918.

Weizmann came to meet with Prince Feisal, son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca and the putative leader of Arabs, who was nurturing his own aspiration for a revived Arab kingdom. Weizmann and Prince Feisal would meet again in London in December 1918 ahead of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. These meetings were an effort to find good will on both sides so that what Britain had committed to both the Arabs and Jews in documents – the McMahon-Hussein correspondence of 1915-16 and the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 – might be amicably settled.

It was not to be. The Arabs were not prepared then, as they are not prepared even now, to recognize the Jews – the "other" – as being equal. The Jews also thought they had their own legitimate rights to statehood, which could not be denied on either a religious and political or a moral basis.

It is this denial of the "other," the refusal to recognize that the "other" also has equally legitimate rights and claims in history, which has made the history of Arabs and Muslims in dealing with "others" – regardless of whether the "others" are ethnically or religiously different – a hideous travesty right into our time. 

This history, with its ancient tribal roots, is unfolding right before our eyes as Islamist warriors or "jihadis" rampage across the lands of the Fertile Crescent, and as tribal wars with modern weaponry consume Arabs and Muslims. Ancient animosities of Sunni-Shi'a sectarianism are revived and minorities, such as the Christians in Iraq and Syria with their history going back to the time of the Apostles, appear doomed in the face of the whirlwind of Islamist bigotry sweeping across the region.

This denial of the "other" also makes any claim of moral righteousness, or historical justice by Arabs and Muslims sound specious and self-serving. When Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, goes public in stating that the actions of the Israeli government, in dealing with the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza by Hamas, exceed Hitler in barbarism, what we have is a demonstration of how unhinged Muslim leaders have become – or have been for a very long time – when it comes to understanding the history of the "other."

In the instance of the Turkish leader, the unhinged nature of his remarks directed against Israel is compounded by the knowledge of how the Turks at the beginning of the last century carried out the destruction of the Armenian minority within the Ottoman Empire, now known as the "Armenian genocide," and which the Turkish republic refuses to acknowledge despite irrefutable evidence and the passage of time.

The same cannot be said about the Jews.

The Jews – as a people with a history that might be described as the "mother of history of the Semitic people" – have consistently recognized the "other" as they sought recognition from "others" of their own rights.

Arabs and Muslims need only to read sincerely the Quran, which they believe is God's Word, to find for themselves how clearly the history of Jews has been laid forth in their sacred text. Sincerity of reading, however, requires as a prerequisite a cleansing of the heart. The Quran states, "Not blind are the eyes, but blind are the hearts within the breasts" [22:46]. In other words, without a heart illuminated by sincerity, any strivings for peace and justice – as Arabs and Muslims claim their struggle against Jews amount to – is not only a futile exercise but also making a mockery of what is sought by denying the same respect to the "other."

In his recent column for the National Post under the heading "The unlikely Jewish Goliath," George Jonas concluded, "Jews were People of the Book, and Arabs were Desert Warriors." Circumstances of modern times turned Jews into warriors defending their rights, even as their right to defend themselves is scorned by Arabs and Muslims while they raze towns and villages of "others" whom they denounce as infidels or worse.

In the broader perspective of culture and history, George Jonas's observation sums up the problem and the dilemma of the Jews embattled by Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims on all sides. The Quran itself states repeatedly that Jews are the original "people of the Book" (ahl al kitab) among the people described as Semite by race or language. What might this mean from our perspective looking back from the perch of the twenty-first century?

I would offer that to be a "people of the Book" means to be a people striving towards freedom and justice by the means of intellect, through reasoning, reflection, introspection, questioning – indeed, always questioning – never acquiescing to authority merely because authority is claimed, but with no reason. This questioning would include even with God, as with Jacob wrestling (metaphorically) with God, and without abandoning human dignity.

The reverse of the "people of the Book" would then mean to remain unquestioningly tied to one's tribe, to be driven by instinct instead of intellect, to inflate the warrior code and prohibit reasoning as "treasonous" to the culture of the tribe.

Across the Arab-Muslim world there is the stultifying absence of what it means to be a "people of the Book," of a culture that progresses through criticism and self-examination. The Quran came to be worshipped by Muslims instead of being read, examined, reflected upon, contextualized, and discussed openly with the understanding that God's Word is infinite in meaning.

The Quran states, "If all the trees of the earth were pens and the oceans ink, with many more oceans replenishing them, the colloquy of God would never come to an end." [31:27] This verse means –almost as a warning for Muslims – that no one Muslim should absurdly claim he has a monopoly over its reading, for that would amount to reducing the majesty of God to the smallness of man.

The Quran was, nevertheless, turned by a significant number of Muslims into a weapon by which to kill, maim, destroy, enslave others and, most ironically, effectively to prevent the development of a culture of books or, in other words, a culture of enlightenment. Absent this culture of enlightenment, what the world finds among Arabs and Muslims is a culture of envy, of denial, of resentment, of bigotry that keeps bubbling into intermittent warfare for settling, if only temporarily, disputes that are readily rekindled into an endless round of maiming and killing while blaming "others" for the continued travesty.

Under these circumstances there is just about nothing that Jews, as "people of the Book," can do to assuage Arabs and Muslims, to make peace with Palestinians, except defend themselves as effectively as they must from the absurdity and malice of a people who have turned God's Word into a cult of death.

For Muslims, or enough of them, have sealed their hearts, plugged their ears, blinded their eyes so that they may continue heedlessly in the path of ruin they have chosen; and those Muslims who question the sheer imbecility of such conduct are then threatened as apostates and heretics.

And then there are those in the West who cheer the Palestinians on in their destructive path, with false arguments of morality, victimhood, human rights, and heedless of historical rights of Jews – and insisting that Jews should not do what they themselves would do in a similar situation, faced with never-ending abuse and violence.

Yet behind the supposed "cycle of violence" that darkens the land where prophets walked and preached God's Word, the promise of peace through reconciliation is ever-present. This was evident when Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt, in November 1977 visited Jerusalem with a sincerity of purpose in his quest for peace. All of Israel came to a stop to welcome Sadat as Menachem Begin, Israel's prime minister, received him. There was the return of Sinai by Israel in exchange for durable peace with Egypt, and which Cairo has maintained to this day.

But with Yasser Arafat there was the dearth of sincerity in his professions of peace, and it also remains missing with Palestinians refusing to recognize the Jews, as the "other," with rights of their own, the denial of which only means the unwillingness of Palestinians to make peace.

For myself, despite the pain and the fury of the battle across Gaza, I treasure the sweet memory of visiting Jerusalem. It was a Saturday evening, just before the ending of the Jewish Shabbat, when I walked down Jaffa Street to the Old City quarters to say my evening prayers at the Dome of the Rock. Later, under a bright moon I headed for the Western Wall, and there among my Jewish brothers absorbed in their own prayers I stood beside the Wall, recited a few verses from the Quran and prayed for peace for all of God's children. I then spent the better part of the evening sitting in the plaza of the Western Wall absorbing the sound all around me of a people joyously celebrating the rituals of their faith. I remember earlier that evening when I sought to enter the Temple Mount and head for the Dome of the Rock, I was stopped by Palestinian security guards and required to prove to them that I am a Muslim by reciting some verses from the Quran, which I did.

But in making my way to the Western Wall, I went through the Israeli security at the entrance into the plaza without any questioning or anyone taking any suspicious notice of me. This came as a relief and a sign, I felt, that at a place of prayers as sacred as the Western Wall, any pilgrim sincere in seeking reconciliation with the "other" should also be sincere in striving for God's Word to illuminate his heart. The rest then follows as easily as breathing.

If only the Arabs and Muslims would turn away from being Desert Warriors and learn to be a People of the Book, praying at the Western Wall would be as easy and uplifting for them as praying in Dome of the Rock -- while setting aside yesterdays' quarrels in celebrating the peace that comes through reconciliation with the "other." 

As I walked away from the Western Wall I recognized, almost as a certainty, the Jews still waiting for the Palestinians, and Arabs and Muslims to recognize them as the "other," with fears and hopes in their hearts not different from ours. With such a recognition there would be reconciliation, and an end to so many absurd quarrels.

That these quarrels persist, that the sound of battle is louder than the call to prayer, mean – in the impenetrable logic and animus of Hamas and their supporters among Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims – that endless warfare with the Jews is still taken as preferable to reconciling and living together with them in peace.

"Moderate" Abbas chooses radicalism

From Gatestone Institute, July 24, 2014, by Khaled Abu Toameh:

Until recently, Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas was very critical of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their refusal to accept the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel.
But now Abbas appears to have made a 180-degree turn and has even endorsed the conditions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a cease-fire.

The shift in Abbas's position became evident after he visited Doha, Qatar, where he held separate talks with Emir Tamim bin Thani al-Hamad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

Prior to his visit to Doha, Abbas was in Cairo, where he met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and discussed with him ways of ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

During his visit to Cairo, Abbas repeated his call for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to accept the Egyptian cease-fire plan. However, the visit to Qatar appears to have changed Abbas, who has now openly endorsed the conditions of the two groups and is no longer talking about the Egyptian proposal as the only plan on the table.

Mahmoud Abbas (r) meets with the Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar, July 20, 2014. (Image source: Handout from the Palestinian Authority President's Office/Thaer Ghanem)

...So what brought about the sudden shift in Abbas's stance toward the war in the Gaza Strip?

One reason could be growing resentment among Palestinians of Abbas and his top officials in the West Bank for their failure to "side with their people" against the Israeli "aggression."

For the first time since the eruption of the war, Palestinians in the West Bank have taken to the streets to condemn Abbas strongly as a "traitor" and demand his removal from power. In some Palestinian cities, Palestinian policemen used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse Palestinians demonstrating against both Israel and the PA leadership.

Evidently, Abbas has reached the conclusion that unless he hurries up and declares his support for the Palestinian "resistance" groups in the Gaza Strip, his people will march on his office and force him to quit.

That prospect is probably why Abbas decided this week to send his wife and grandchildren to stay at the family's residence in Amman, Jordan. According to various reports, members of Abbas's families left Ramallah "secretly" and headed for Jordan amid increased criticism of the Palestinian Authority president.

Witnesses said that security has been intensified around the home and office of Abbas in Ramallah out of concern for his safety.

Abbas's fear of a Palestinian revolt against his regime has driven him into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Another reason for the unexpected change in Abbas's policy could be related to a promise he received from Qatar [the largest funder of Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas] to provide the Palestinian Authority with financial aid. 

If true, this would strain relations between Abbas and al-Sisi, who is despised by Qatar...

Abbas has chosen to be on the side of the Palestinian "resistance" against Israel....  if he wants to survive, he will have to be on the side of the radicals. Moderate statements and policies have only gotten him into trouble.

Stage three looms: systematic destruction of Hamas’s military assets across Gaza

From JPost, 25 July 2014, by YAAKOV LAPPIN:

Following the entry of ground forces, next up in the IDF's campaign in Gaza, if the military should launch it, will be the systematic destruction of Hamas’s military assets across the Strip. Gaza

Givati brigade in Gaza Photo: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE

From the moment it was launched, Operation Protective Edge has been a gradual effort, designed to extinguish Palestinian mass rocket attacks through a carefully planned deterioration of Hamas’s strategic position.

The first phase – intensive air strikes on rocket launchers, weapons-production centers and command-and-control centers – was followed by the second stage, the entry of ground forces and their highly complex and challenging task of destroying Hamas’s tunnel network.

But Hamas’s leadership structure – Khaled Mashaal in Qatar and Ismail Haniyeh (head of the political wing) and Muhammad Deif (commander of the military wing) in Gaza have taken the decision to continue to confront Israel.

By doing so, the leaders are inviting Israel to launch the third phase of the offensive, and to lose any control of when Israel ceases its large-scale military offensive against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. 

Hamas has lost more than half of its rocket arsenal through Israeli air strikes and depletion from its own use. Should Israel launch its third phase, deterrence will become a secondary goal, and the IDF will be instructed to attack and destroy Hamas’s military assets all over Gaza.

Although the targets of such a phase are unknown, it would not be unreasonable to assume they would include Hamas’s senior military leadership structure, the remainder of its weapons factories and rocket stockpiles, regime buildings, Hamas posts, and large swaths of its territorial divisions and battalions.

That would necessitate a deeper presence of ground forces inside Gaza, and a further, controlled escalation of the conflict.

Hamas could hope to stay on its feet and be able to fire rockets until the last day of the war, thereby claiming a hollow “victory.” But that assumption ignores the very real possibility that Hamas’s military wing may be dismembered by the end of the conflict.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The attack on Hamas comes by Saudi Royal Appointment.

From Huffington Post, 20 July 2014, by David Hearst:

There are many hands behind the Israeli army's onslaught on [Hamas]. 

America is not unhappy that Hamas is getting such a beating. ...

Nor is Egypt overcome with grief. Its foreign minister Sameh Shoukry held Hamas responsible for civilian deaths after their rejection of the ceasefire.

Neither matter to Netanyahu as much as the third undeclared partner in this unholy alliance, for neither on their own could give him the cover he needs for a military operation of this ferocity. And that can come not from a handwringing but impotent parent like the US. Such permission can only come from a brother Arab.

The attack on Gaza comes by Saudi Royal Appointment. 
This royal warrant is nothing less than an open secret in Israel, and both former and serving defense officials are relaxed when they talk about it. Former Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz surprised the presenter on Channel 10 by saying Israel had to specify a role for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the demilitarization of Hamas. Asked what he meant by that, he added that Saudi and Emirati funds should be used to rebuild Gaza after Hamas had been defanged.

Amos Gilad, the Israeli defense establishment's point man with Mubarak's Egypt and now director of the Israeli defense ministry's policy and political-military relations department told the academic James Dorsey recently : 
"Everything is underground, nothing is public. But our security cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states is unique. This is the best period of security and diplomatic relations with the Arab."
The celebration is mutual. King Abdullah let it be known that he had phoned President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to approve of an Egyptian ceasefire initiative which had not been put to Hamas...

Mossad and Saudi intelligence officials meet regularly: The two sides conferred when the former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was about to be deposed in Egypt and they are hand in glove on Iran, both in preparing for an Israel strike over Saudi airspace and in sabotaging the existing nuclear program. There has even been a well sourced claim that the Saudis are financing most of Israel's very expensive campaign against Iran.

Why do Saudi Arabia and Israel make such comfortable bedfellows? For decades each country has had a similar feeling in their gut when they look around them: fear. Their reaction was similar. Each felt they could only insure themselves against their neighbors by invading them (Lebanon, Yemen) or by funding proxy wars and coups (Syria, Egypt, Libya).They have enemies or rivals in common - Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Hamas in Gaza, and the Muslim Brotherhood. And they have common allies, too - the US and British military industrial establishments, Fatah strongman and US asset Mohammed Dahlan who tried to take over Gaza once, and will probably be at hand when next required.

The difference today is that for the first time in their two countries' history, there is open co-ordination between the two military powers. Abdullah's nephew Prince Turki has been the public face of this rapprochement, which was first signaled by the Saudi publication of a book by an Israeli academic. The prince flew to Brussels in May to meet General Amos Yadlin, the former intelligence chief who has been indicted by a court in Turkey for his role in the storming of the Mavi Marmara.

It could be argued that there is nothing sinister about Prince Turki's wish to overcome ancient taboos that his motives are both peaceful and laudable. The prince is a staunch supporter of a ...peace initiative proposed by the Saudi King Abdullah. 
... Prince Turki's promotion of the Arab Peace Initiative comes at the cost of abandoning the kingdom's historical support of Palestinian resistance.

The well connected Saudi analyst Jamal Khashogji made this very point when he talked in coded language about the number of intellectuals who attack the notion of resistance:
... the number of such intellectuals here in Saudi Arabia is higher than average. If such a trend continues it will destroy the kingdom's ...claim to support and defend the Palestinian cause ...
Peace would indeed be welcome to everyone, not least Gaza at the moment...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Obama to the rescue – of the Islamists

From JPost, 23 July 2014, by Caroline Glick:

Operation Protective Edge is now two weeks old. Since the ground offensive began Thursday night, we have begun to get a better picture of just how dangerous Hamas has become in the nine years since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. And what we have learned is that the time has come to take care of this problem. It cannot be allowed to fester or grow anymore.

We have known for years that tunnels were a central component of Hamas’s logistical infrastructure.

What began as the primary means of smuggling weapons, trainers and other war material from Hamas’s sponsors abroad developed rapidly into a strategic tool of offensive warfare against Israel.

As we have seen from the heavily armed Hamas commando squads that have infiltrated into Israel from tunnels since the start of the current round of warfare, the first goal of these offensive tunnels is to deploy terrorists into Israel to massacre Israelis.

But the tunnels facilitate other terror missions as well.

Israel has found tunnels with shafts rigged with bombs located directly under Israeli kindergartens.

If the bombs had gone off, the buildings above would have been destroyed, taking the children down with them.

Other exposed shafts showed Hamas’s continued intense interest in hostage taking. In 2006 the terrorists who kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit entered Israel and returned to Gaza through such a tunnel.

Today the presence of sedatives and multiple sets of handcuffs for neutralizing hostages found in tunnel after tunnel indicate that Hamas intends to abduct several Israelis at once and spirit them back to Gaza.

In an interview with Channel 2 Monday evening, Minister Naftali Bennett spoke of a mother at Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara who told him that her children wake her in the middle of the night and tell her that they hear digging beneath their beds.

As Bennett said, this state of affairs simply cannot continue. People cannot live in fear that there are terrorists burrowing beneath their homes, digging tunnels to murder or kidnap them.

These tunnels must be found and destroyed not merely because they constitute a physical danger to thousands of Israelis. They must be located and destroyed, and Hamas’s capacity to rebuild them must be eliminated because the very idea that they exist makes a normal life impossible for those immediately threatened.

Hamas’s tunnels are also the key component of their command and control infrastructure inside Gaza.

Hamas’s political and military commanders are hiding in them. The reinforced bunkers and tunnel complexes enable Hamas’s senior leadership to move with relative freedom and continue planning and ordering attacks.

The sophistication of the tunnels and the malign intentions of Hamas are not in the least surprising.

But Hamas’s rapid advances in both tunnel and missile technology are deeply worrisome. At a minimum, they indicate that if it is allowed to end the current round of fighting as a coherent, relatively well-armed terrorist army, Hamas will be able to rapidly rebuild and expand its capabilities.

As a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is not a stand-alone terror group. It is part of a much larger web of Islamic jihadist terror groups including al-Qaida and its affiliates as well as the Shi’ite Hezbollah. Like Hamas, all of these threaten several major Sunni Arab states.

Due to their recognition of the threat Hamas and its allies pose to the survivability of their regimes, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken the unprecedented step of supporting Israel’s efforts to defeat Hamas.

They understand that a decisive Israeli blow against Hamas in Gaza will directly benefit them. Not only will Hamas be weakened, but its state sponsors and terrorist comrades will be weakened as well.

Presently, Hamas’s most outspoken state sponsors are Qatar and Turkey.

As Israel’s Calcalist newspaper reported earlier this week, Qatar is Hamas’s biggest and most important financier, a role it plays as well for ISIS, al Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood and various jihadist groups in Libya.

Turkey for its part is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Like Qatar, Turkey has also been a major supporter of ISIS and al Nusra, as well as Hamas. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s slander against Israel has grown so hysterical in recent weeks that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been trying to downplay Turkey’s animosity, called him out on his open anti-Semitism.

By Tuesday morning, IDF forces in Gaza had destroyed 23 tunnels. The number of additional tunnels is still unknown.

While Israel had killed 183 terrorists, it appeared that most of the terrorists killed were in the low to middle ranks of Hamas’s leadership hierarchy.

Hamas’s senior commanders, as well as its political leadership have hunkered down in hidden tunnel complexes.

In other words, Israel is making good progress.

But it hasn’t completed its missions. It needs several more days of hard fighting.

Recognizing this, Israel’s newfound Muslim allies have not been pushing for a cease-fire.

In contrast, the Obama administration is insisting on concluding a cease-fire immediately.

As Israel has uncovered the scope of Hamas’s infrastructure of murder and terror, the US has acted with the UN, Turkey and Qatar to pressure Israel (and Egypt) to agree to a cease-fire and so end IDF operations against Hamas before the mission is completed.

To advance this goal, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Monday night with an aggressive plan to force on Israel a cease-fire Hamas and its state sponsors will accept.

As former ambassador to the US Michael Oren told the media, it is clear that neither Israel nor Egypt invited Kerry to come over. Their avoidance of Kerry signals clearly that the US’s two most important allies in the Middle East do not trust US President Barack Obama’s intentions.

And their distrust is entirely reasonable.

The State Department has openly applauded Turkey and Qatar for their involvement in attempts to achieve a cease-fire. Last week Israeli officials alleged that the US was responsible for Hamas’s rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. By attempting to coerce Egypt to accept Qatar and Turkey as its partners in mediation, Obama signaled to Hamas’s leaders that they should hold out for a better deal.

Due to Turkey’s membership in NATO and the glamour of the Qatari royal family, many Westerners find it hard to believe that they are major sponsors of terrorism. But it is true. Turkey and Qatar are playing a double game.

While sending his ambassador to Brussels for NATO meetings, Erdogan has been transforming Turkey from an open, pro-Western society allied with Israel into a closed, anti-Semitic and anti-American society that sponsors Hamas, ISIL, al Nusra and other terrorists groups.

As for Qatar, the tiny natural gas superpower presents itself to Americans as their greatest ally in the Muslim world. The emirate gives hundreds of millions of dollars to US universities to open campuses in Doha and pretends it is a progressive, open society, replete with debating societies.

Qatar hosts three major US military bases on its territory. And it is becoming one of the most important clients for US military contractors. Earlier this year Qatar signed an $11.4 billion dollar arms agreement with the US.

At the same time, according to the Calacalist report, Qatar is the major bankroller of ISIS and al Nusra in Syria and Iraq. It gives $50 million a month to jihadists in Libya. It gives Hamas $100m. in annual aid. And in the past two years Doha has provided Hamas with an additional $620m. dollars, including $250m. it transferred to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s personal bank account, and $350m. in military aid to Hamas, transferred after the Egyptian military forced the Muslim Brotherhood government from power last July.

Add to that the $100m. per year that Qatar pours into Al Jazeera’s satellite network – which has dedicated itself to undermining pro-Western Arab regimes while popularizing the likes of al-Qaida and Hamas, and Qatar is the largest financier of international jihad in the world.

Rather than notice that Qatar and Turkey are playing a double game, and treat them with suspicion, the Obama administration has embraced them.

Chances that Kerry will secure a cease-fire in the near future are small. In all likelihood, the government will be able to buy the time necessary to complete the mission in whole or large part. But the fact that the US has chosen at this juncture in the operation – with Israel enjoying unprecedented support from the most important Sunni states in the region – to side with Hamas and its state sponsors in their demand for an immediate cease-fire speaks volumes about the transformation of US foreign policy under Obama’s leadership.

The Truth about Gaza is blindingly clear

From, 23 July 2014, by Charles Krauthammer:

Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

'Here's the difference between us," explains the Israeli prime minister.
'We're using missile defense to protect our civilians and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."
Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. 

Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows Hamas' proudly self-declared raison d'etre: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the bloodlust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? There is not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli in Gaza. Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling diehard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted it settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians.

There was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel's desire to leave the West Bank too and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them – an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Why? The rockets can't even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: "What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?"

It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as a Washington Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world's treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.'s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel's legitimacy and right to self-defense.

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, Hamas' depravity begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera – both deeply sympathetic to the killers.

This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity's worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years which nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.

It's to the Israelis' credit that amid all this madness they haven't lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.

Hamas has ended the prospects for a two state solution

Hamas's decision to fire rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport may well have ended any real prospect of a two-state solution. Whether the regulators and airlines that have stopped flights to and from Israel are right or wrong, this stoppage cannot possibly be tolerated by a democratic country that relies so heavily on tourism and international travel. 

It is of course a war crime to target an international civilian airport, as Hamas has clearly done. Israel has every right to keep that airport open, employing all reasonable military means at its disposal. Since Hamas fires its rockets from densely populated civilian areas, there will be more Palestinian civilian deaths.
This of course is part of Hamas' grand strategy: by targeting Israeli civilians and international air travel from its own civilian areas, Hamas leaves Israel no choice but to take military actions that risk the lives of innocent Palestinians. There will be even more innocent Palestinian deaths now, as Hamas has raised the stakes considerably for Israel. Every country in the world would do everything in its power to keep open the airports, which are the lifelines to its economic viability. Hamas knows this and welcomes Israeli military action that produces more dead Palestinian civilians and hence more international criticism of Israel.
Even more importantly, Hamas' actions in essentially closing down international air traffic into Israel, considerably reduces the prospect of any two-state solution. Israel will now be more reluctant than ever to give up military control over the West Bank, which is even closer to Ben Gurion Airport than is Gaza.
Were Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank—as distinguished from its civilian settlements deep in the West Bank—it would risk the possibility of a Hamas takeover. That is precisely what happened when Israel removed both its civilian settlements and its military presence in Gaza. Hamas took control, fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian targets and have now succeeded in stopping international air traffic into and out of Israel.
Israel could not accept the risk of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank and the resulting Hamas rocket attacks at the nearby Ben Gurion Airport. ... Israel will have to retain military control over its security borders, which extend to the Jordan River. It will also have to maintain a sufficient military presence to assure that what happened in Gaza does not happen in the West Bank....

The new reality caused by Hamas' shutting down of international air travel to and from Israel would plainly justify an Israeli demand that it maintain military control over the West Bank...
It was precisely one of the goals of the Hamas rocket and tunnel assaults to scuttle any two-state agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The Hamas Charter categorically rejects the two-state solution, as does the military wing of Hamas. In this tragic respect, Hamas has already succeeded. By aiming its rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport, Hamas may well have scuttled any realistic prospects for a two-state solution. It cannot be allowed to succeed.

The international community, which has a significant stake in protecting international air traffic from terrorist rocket attacks, must support Israel's efforts to stop these attacks—permanently. If Hamas is allowed to shut down Israel's major airport, every terrorist group in the world will begin to target airports throughout the world. The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over the Ukraine will be but one of many such tragedies, if Hamas is allowed to succeed. 

An attack on the safety on Israel's airport is an attack on the safety of all international aviation. Israel is the canary in the mine. What Hamas has done to Israeli aviation is a warning to the world. In its efforts to prevent Hamas from firing rockets at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel is fighting for the entire civilized world against those who would shoot down civilian airliners. The world should support Israel in this noble fight.

Canada Demands Probe into Rockets at UNRWA Schools

From Times of Israel, 23 July 2014, by Elad Benari and AFP:

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says he is "appalled" to hear of rockets being found in UN run schools in Gaza.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

Canada's Foreign Minister on Tuesday called for a United Nations (UN) investigation of the discoveries of weapons caches at schools it operates in Gaza.
"I was appalled to hear reports, one as recent as today, of stockpiles of rockets in a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza..." 
"Even more alarming were reports that in the first case, officials with the United Nations returned these weapons to Hamas (which Canada lists as aterrorist organization), once Israeli officials discovered their location..." 
..."Canada unequivocally calls on the United Nations to launch an immediate independent investigation to determine the facts surrounding these reports. Canada also calls on the United Nations to ensure that in the second case, no rockets are returned to Hamas...” ..."Anything less than an independent investigation would be absolutely unacceptable..." ....
UN officials had earlier announced the discovery of weapons in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip, the second time in a week.
The UN agency for Palestinian Arab refugees UNRWA last Thursday said it had launched an investigation after finding 20 rockets hidden in another of its vacant schools in the Gaza Strip.
It condemned the incident -- the first of its kind -- as a "flagrant violation" of international law, and said the rockets had been removed and the "relative parties" informed.
However, it was later reported that rather than destroying the rockets, UNRWA workers called Hamas to come remove them.
While UNRWA confirmed the existence of rockets in one of its schools last week, the organization refused an Israeli request to provide a picture of the weapons. A picture could have helped Israel show that Hamas uses civilian institutions to store weapons and launch attacks.
Hamas has openly used human shields in its latest conflict with Israel. The terrorist group has also issued a statement urging Gaza residents to ignore IDF warnings to evacuate their homes.

For second time, rockets found at UN school in Gaza

‘How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene?’ ...
For the second time in less than a week, rockets have been found in a school in Gaza operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the body said.
 “Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”
As it did the last time around when missiles were found in a school it operates, UNRWA said it “strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.” [I wonder who those groups might be? - SL]
UNRWA, the UN agency charged with overseeing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, said it immediately “informed the relevant parties and is pursuing all possible measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school.” [WHO are the "relevant parties? And WHO removed the objects? - SL] The organization again pledged to launch a “comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.”
Israeli officials reacted furiously to the discovery. “How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “How many times can it turn its head the other way and pretend that it just doesn’t see?”
Last Wednesday, UNRWA found some 20 rockets in a school under its auspices, also during a standard inspection. A spokesperson for UNRWA said the organization gave the rockets to “local authorities,” which answer to the Hamas-backed unity government led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 

“According to longstanding UN practice in UN humanitarian operations worldwide, incidents involving unexploded ordnance that could endanger beneficiaries and staff are referred to the local authorities,” UNRWA’s director of advocacy and strategic communications, Christopher Gunness, told The Times of Israel Sunday.[ the UN handed rockets to Hamas - to attack Israeli civilians.]

In Jerusalem, such assertions are rejected, even ridiculed, with officials charging that the weaponry was returned to Hamas. “The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.

Another senior official pointed out that UNRWA has a history of letting Hamas use its facilities for its terrorist activities. “Time and again, over the years, UNRWA has been abused by gunmen from different terrorist factions who are using UN facilities to stockpile weapons, to fire rockets from, to steal UNRWA humanitarian equipment and to cause damage and fire in UNRWA’s hangars,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told The Times of Israel.

“Against all evidence, UNRWA refuses to acknowledge reality and pathetically attempts to ingratiate itself with Hamas, pretending that nothing serious has happened,” the senior official said. “This is a classic case of beaten-wife syndrome, which we have been witnessing for years from UNRWA. The people of Gaza, and indeed taxpayers from countries who contribute to UNRWA’s budget — including Israel — deserve better.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spare Us Your Irrelevant Liberal Critique of Israel

From Commentary Magazine, 21 July 2014, by Jonathan S. Tobin:

... After being forced into a war that the overwhelming majority of people here understand is one about their survival and not the political issues that divide Jews, it’s little wonder that most Israelis pay little attention to their country’s foreign detractors who seek to save them from themselves. People who claim to care about the Jewish state need to draw similar conclusions.

The contrast between the support for the efforts of the Israel Defense Forces to attack Hamas’s rocket launchers and terrorist tunnel network in Gaza that is exhibited by most Israelis and the outrage that these efforts at self-defense have generated elsewhere is hard to ignore. 

Israelis understand the current conflict has nothing to do with arguments about settlements or borders. You don’t have to be a supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or those of pro-settlement critics on the right here to understand that Hamas and its sympathizers don’t care where Israel’s borders should be drawn.

Nor is there any real debate about the impact of a Palestinian political culture in which even the supposed moderates applaud terrorism and treat those who slaughter Jews as heroes. The point of the terrorist fortress in Gaza that the Israel Defense Forces is trying to disarm if not dismantle is to serve as the base for an ongoing war against the existence of the Jewish state. The choice of Hamas’s leaders to deliberately sacrifice as many of their own people as possible in order to protect their terrorist infrastructure has not been lost on Israelis.

Nor has it escaped their notice that the whole point of the massive investment in rockets and infiltration tunnels by the government of a district mired in poverty is to produce as many Jewish casualties as possible regardless of the impact such actions may have on the safety or the quality of life of Palestinians.

Just as important is the ugly anti-Semitic tone of much of the protests that have been mounted against Israel’s counter-attacks against Hamas in Gaza. Simply put, much of the world seems to think that Hamas has a “right” to shoot thousands of rockets at Israeli cities or to launch cross-border terror raids aimed at kidnapping or killing as many Jews as possible and that the Jewish state has no right to defend itself against these actions–even if they go to great lengths (as the Israel Defense Forces do as a matter of course) to avoid hurting the civilians that the Islamists use as human shields.

The general invective against Zionism being heard on the streets of Europe’s cities and even in the U.S. protests against Israel is of a piece with the tone of Hamas’s talking points. The solidarity these demonstrators are expressing for the “resistance” against the “occupation”–a term by which they mean all of Israel and not just the West Bank or the Hamas-run independent Palestinian state in all but name in Gaza–also makes plain the nature of the struggle.

Even those who support a two-state solution that would entail an Israeli withdrawal from most or all of the West Bank must now comprehend that their dislike of the settlements or the desire to satisfy the Palestinian ambition for sovereignty can’t ignore the fact that the debate about these ideas is entirely moot while the rockets are flying and terrorists are tunneling beneath the border in hope of emerging inside Israel to slaughter innocents. In this context of hate and violence, the only real points of contention are whether you support the survival of the Jewish state or not.

That is why the energy expended by so many American liberals on behalf of projects designed to pressure Israel’s government to make more concessions to the Palestinians is not merely wrongheaded. It’s utterly irrelevant to the realities of both the Middle East and the global resurgence of anti-Semitism. Groups such as J Street that are predicated on the notion that Israel must be saved from itself by principled liberal critics are treated as both serious and representative of Jewish opinion by the mainstream media. But that group has little to say about the current conflict that requires our notice. Nor are its efforts to distinguish itself from far more radical anti-Zionist groups that openly support efforts to isolate Israel economically and support protests against its right of self defense of any importance any longer.

At this moment it is no longer possible to pretend that the conflict can be wished away by Israeli concessions that would, if implemented, create another 20 Gazas in the West Bank. Nor can one rationally argue that more Israeli forbearance toward Hamas in Gaza and a less vigorous effort to take out its vast system of tunnels shielding its rocket arsenal and terror shock troops would bring the region closer to peace when the only way to give that cause a chance is predicated on the elimination of Hamas.

If, at some point in the indefinite future, the Palestinians turn on Hamas and its less radical allies and embrace a national identity that is not inextricably linked to Israel’s elimination, perhaps then we can resume the debate about settlements and borders that J Street craves. But until that unlikely event happens, it is imperative that Americans realize that the J Street critique of Israel that is often echoed by some in the Obama administration and throughout the left is over.

The only question to be asked today is whether you stand with Israel’s right to defend itself or not. Jews and others who consider themselves friends of the Jewish state must find the courage to speak up for the justice of Israel’s cause in the current crisis against the forces of hate. Viewed from the perspective of the last week’s events here in Israel, anything else is a waste of time.

Best friends of Hamas: Qatar and Turkey

From, Sunday 20 July 2014:

[Synopsis: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are hostile to Hamas and are probably very happy to see Israel destroy the organisation; while Qatar and Turkey are Hamas's best friends in the region.]

International efforts to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip are focusing on the Gulf state of Qatar, whose close links to Hamas make it uniquely placed to try to mediate in a conflict that has highlighted Arab divisions...

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, was flying to Doha at the start of a round of emergency talks ... Ban was due to meet the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani [friend and financier to Hamas leader Khakled Mishal; and owner of Al-Jazeera], and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and head of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

It was unclear whether Ban would also see the Hamas leader, Khaled Mishal, who lives in Doha.

Mishal and Abbas were due to meet separately.

Ban is also due in Cairo on Monday to see President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, author of a rival ceasefire plan that has already been rejected by Hamas...

Khaled al-Attiyeh, Qatar's foreign minister, has emerged as a key figure in the ceasefire effort, not least because he is close to John Kerry, the US secretary of state....

Qatar's role as mediator is being enhanced because of the deep hostility of the Egyptian government to Hamas, which has close links to the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood....

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia – a staunch backer of Sisi, and another sworn enemy of Hamas and other Islamist movements -– said at the weekend that he supported Cairo's proposals.

Qatar's efforts are being supported by Turkey, which is also close to Hamas. Qatar is said to be calling for an international conference to promote the ceasefire effort and to raise funds for reconstruction in Gaza.

Ban is also scheduled to visit Kuwait, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman. Jordan [also] hostile to Hamas....