Saturday, August 02, 2014

UNRWA has become the mask that Hamas wears.

From FrontPage Mag, August 1, 2014 by Daniel Greenfield:

UNRWA bags of building material in Gaza tunnels

The UNRWA is on the front lines of the Hamas War in Gaza. In the headlines, its schools are forever being fired on or found to be stockpiling rockets. If individual Gazans are being used as human shields, the UNRWA often seems as if it is one big organizational human shield.

But the UNRWA isn’t Hamas’ human shield. 
The UNRWA is Hamas.

The “UN” part of the UNRWA, the blue logos and symbols, fool us into thinking of it as an international humanitarian organization. But the UNRWA in Gaza functions as a large Palestinian Arab organization with a smattering of foreign supervisory staff.

And those foreign staffers often tend to leave during a conflict.

The UNRWA is not an international organization operating in the Middle East. Effectively it’s a local Arab Muslim organization funded and regulated internationally. Since the UNRWA classifies 80% of Gazans as “refugees”, it administers the biggest welfare state in the world on their behalf.

The UNRWA is the biggest employer in the West Bank and Gaza after the Palestinian Authority and the vast majority of its employees are “locally recruited”. Varying figures place the share of local employees at between 90 and 99 percent.

Even though there are more Arab Muslims living in the West Bank than in Gaza, there are more “official” refugees in Gaza, which means that more UNRWA funding and efforts are directed there. The UNRWA only runs 96 schools in the West Bank, but it runs 245 schools in Gaza. It employs less than 3,000 education staffers in the West Bank, but over 10,000 in Gaza.

Why does Hamas, which is obsessed with brainwashing the next generation into martyrdom, allow a foreign organization to run an educational system for 232,000 pupils?

It’s because in Gaza, Hamas and the UNRWA are the same thing.

The UNRWA’s Gaza staff has its own union. In the 2012 election, a pro-Hamas bloc won the support of most of the union with 25 out of 27 seats on a union board.  

When there was talk of reforming the UNRWA by removing Hamas members from its ranks, the editor of a Hamas paper wrote that, 
“Laying off the agency employees because of their political affiliation means laying off all the employees of the aid agency, because…they are all members of the ‘resistance,’ in its various forms.”
The official word from Hamas was that it and the UNRWA are the same thing. The UNRWA’s vast majority of locally sourced Gazans are part of Hamas.

The UNRWA does not see that as a problem.
“I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll,” a former UNRWA Commissioner General said, “and I don’t see that as a crime.”
“Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant, and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another,” he added.
Also if the UNRWA fired Hamas members from its Gaza staff, it would have no one left.

Hamas control over the UNRWA in Gaza is reflected in the schools which promote Islamic terrorism. UNRWA schools have become flashpoints in conflicts between Israel and Hamas because the UNRWA schools are Hamas bases of recruitment and operation.

The current accusations and counter-accusations over attacks on and from UNRWA schools are a reenactment of the same set of events taking place in 2009. Only the locations and the names have changed. The same headlines, “Israeli shelling kills dozens at UN school in Gaza,” and “Massacre of Innocents as UN school is shelled” are repeating all over again.

Then, as now, Hamas launched attacks on Israeli forces from around a UNRWA school. Then it turned out that the attack had happened outside the school and no one had actually died inside the school. Nothing has changed since then. The “massacres” in which Hamas terrorists using UNRWA schools as a base are killed pop up in every paper. The UNRWA repeats the same lies.

Then it “discovers” Hamas rockets in three of its schools. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg because every UNRWA school is a Hamas school.

The UNRWA has admitted that Hamas uses its schools to store rockets. It admits that it has Hamas members in its ranks. It admits that rockets have been fired “into Israel from the vicinity of UN facilities and residential areas.”

What it refuses to admit is that it should in any way be held accountable for functioning as an arm of a terrorist organization.

If an organization consists largely of Hamas members who use it pursue Hamas goals, then the organization is Hamas.

The UNRWA is Hamas.

Hamas use of the UNRWA as its public face is a war crime, but terrorists commit war crimes without a second thought. The UN and the UNRWA however are complicit in the war crime by allowing Hamas to go on exploiting the UN brand.

Hamas is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It’s against the law for the United States to fund it. By funding the UNRWA, the United States is paying Hamas and participating in its war crimes. Using civilian and humanitarian facilities for military purposes is a war crime. Using them to stage attacks against civilians by attackers out of uniform adds further crimes to the total.

The United States provided $130 million to the UNRWA in 2013. The UNRWA’s operations in Gaza would not be viable without that money.

When Kerry visited Gaza in 2009, the UNRWA’s Gaza chief passed along a letter to him from Hamas. The incident showed that not only was the locally recruited staff working for Hamas, but the UNRWA leadership was clearly cooperating with the terrorist group.

The original “refugees” that the UNRWA was set up to cater to are for the most part dead. The UNRWA has become another UN boondoggle funding a welfare state for “refugee camps” that are older, bigger and more developed than many Middle Eastern cities.

UNRWA staff act as terrorists when they use UNRWA facilities for military purposes, but then switch back to UNRWA when Israel fights back. 
  • Hamas carries out attacks. 
  • The UNRWA demands ceasefires. 
  • Hamas uses UNRWA schools and 
  • the UNRWA denounces Israel when an attack happens.
The UNRWA has become the mask that Hamas wears.

It’s a tactical asset for a terrorist group that empowers its human shield strategy. The UNRWA is not only endangering Israeli civilians, but it is also endangering Gazans who are exploited as human shields by members of a terrorist group masquerading as the staff of an international humanitarian organization.

This issue has come up before and the UNRWA’s long record of evasions and denials, admitting the substance of the claims about the Hamas takeover of the UNRWA, while insisting that its Hamas members are neutral and that all the rocket stores and rocket attacks around UNRWA facilities are unrelated to the Hamas members on its staff, are not good enough anymore.

The United States should not be in the business of funding the corruption of young minds. Money should not be taken from American schools to fund the spread of hatred and terrorism.

It’s time to defund the UNRWA.

Hamas violation of the truce sets the stage for a major escalation

From Times of Israel, 1 Aug 2014, by Ibrahim Barzak and Daniel Estrin:

GAZA CITY (AP) — Israeli forces, backed by heavy tank fire and airstrikes, moved deeper into southern Gaza late Friday in search of IDF soldier 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was apparently seized by Hamas gunmen during an attack earlier in the day. 

At least 62 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were killed in the fierce fighting that quickly shattered a US-brokered ceasefire.  

The truce collapsed less than two hours after it began. The security cabinet held a rare session after the start of the Sabbath on Friday evening to weigh options, including whether to expand the 25-day-old operation against Hamas.

In Gaza’s southern Rafah area, where Goldin was said to have been captured, the military urged residents in phone calls to stay indoors as troops advanced.

“We are under fire. Every minute or so, tanks fire shells,” said Ayman al-Arja, 45, a resident of the area.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon blamed Hamas for violating what was meant to be a three-day humanitarian ceasefire and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the missing soldier.

An hour after Friday’s ceasefire started, gunmen emerged from one or more Gaza tunnels and opened fire at soldiers from Goldin’s Givati Brigade, with at least one of the terrorists detonating an explosives vest, said Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

Goldin, a 23-year-old from the central Israeli town of Kfar Saba, was apparently captured during the ensuing mayhem and taken back into Gaza through a tunnel, while another two soldiers were killed.

A longtime friend of Goldin’s said he is engaged to get married and that he studied at a yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Eli. Goldin has a twin brother who is also in the military on the Gaza front-lines, said the friend.

The soldier’s father, Simha Goldin, is a Tel Aviv University professor specializing in Ashkenazi Jewry.

“We want to support the military in the fighting against Hamas in Gaza. We are sure the military will not stop before it turns over every stone in Gaza and returns Hadar home safe and sound,” the father said in a brief statement to media outside his home.

“We suspect that he has been kidnapped,” Lerner said.

The White House condemned the incident, describing it as an “absolutely outrageous” action by Hamas. Deputy National Security Adviser Josh Earnest said the soldier must be released immediately.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, told US Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone conversation that Palestinian militants had “unilaterally and grossly” violated the ceasefire and attacked Israeli soldiers after 9 a.m.

“Israel will take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens,” Netanyahu told Kerry, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.

...Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, said Hamas had “yet again thrown away a chance for a humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza, by deliberately violating this ceasefire.”

... the heavy shelling in Rafah that followed was part of operational and intelligence activity designed to locate Goldin.

The breakdown of the truce and the apparent kidnapping of Goldin set the stage for a major escalation....

If confirmed, Goldin’s capture could dramatically change the trajectory of the conflict. Any ceasefire efforts would likely be put on hold and Israel might instead expand its ground operation...

...Four brief humanitarian ceasefires had been announced since the conflict began, but each broke within a few hours. The military said Gaza militants had fired at least 23 rockets and mortars at Israel since the start of Friday’s ceasefire, one of which was intercepted.

The latest ceasefire had been intended to be the first step toward a lasting truce, with Egypt inviting Israeli and Palestinian delegations to Cairo for talks.

...Gaza’s police operations room said that by Friday afternoon, Israeli ground forces had moved deeper into the Rafah area from the east. There were also airstrikes along the nearby Egypt-Gaza border, as well as heavy shelling.

Will the abduction bring us back to our senses?

From Arutz Sheva, 1 July 2014, by Shalom Pollack:

Lieut. Hadar Goldin Abducted This Morning in Gaza.

A suicide  bomber appeared  from a tunnel and in the ensuing melee, Hadar was seen dragged  down into the abyss and two soldiers killed. His comrades  desperately followed him down into the tunnel but came up only  with a part of his shirt. The tunnel led to a mosque. No surprise there.

This occurred while a White House-imposed 72 hour "cease fire" was in effect; the sixth "humanitarian" truce broken by Hamas. The IDF reacted with the Hannibal Directive [The order allows commanders to take whatever action is necessary, including endangering the life of an abducted soldier, to foil the abduction, however it does not allow for a soldier to be killed in order to prevent his abduction, according to the IDF chief of staff].

When I  woke  up this morning hearing that  the truce was agreed to, it severely dampened my mood. Here we go again. We were going to  tolerate the terror den on our door step - until the  next round. I felt pain for the  families who might feel their loved ones died in vain, as some of the parents whose sons fell in the  first two"rounds" since we fled from terror in the disastrous 2005 "Disengagement" from Gaza have said.. 

Gaza has always been home to barbaric peoples.
The media  was already pontificating about  what kind of an agreement we would have  with Hamas to ensure "as much quiet as possible for as  long as possible".

Events occur so quickly and so unexpectedly here that one just senses that we can not really be in control. And so, once again God hardened the hearts of our enemies and they did  the one thing that could  possibly bring the Jews of Israel back to their senses - they abducted a soldier

It never ceases to amaze me how so very different we really are from them. For us, the torment of one Jewish boy and his family makes us all stop in our tracks and feel our hearts skip a beat. They  know it, and relish the  thought.

Gaza has always been home to barbaric peoples. King Saul fell on his sword so as to avoid falling into the hands of the Philistines, the sea-people who lived in Gaza during his reign and David's elegy for him keened - "Do not tell it in the daughters of the Philistines will not rejoice..".  Samson was blinded in Gaza.

We  captured scores of theirs. They don't seem to be too concerned. We are not shooting off fire works to gloat over a prisoner. 

 I expect that  tonight I will hear lots of fireworks from my Arab neighbors as  they celebrate this "great" accomplishment and glory in their hate lust. 

These will be the same  Arabs in line, on Sunday morning, to collect their welfare allotment from the Israeli taxpayer and happily stroll with their families in the  heart of Jewish Jerusalem. I expect they  will be savoring the wonderful Ramadan gift given them today.

This afternoon, as every Friday, the "Women in Black" staged their protest "against the occupation" at Jerusalem's Paris Square.

I once tried to actually discuss the issues with one of them .

How shall I describe that experience.  I can't.  They are the home crowd rooting for the opposing team or, just maybe, the  most  foolish useful idiots  in history. I do not think there is anything our enemies can do to change their mindset. Fascinating.

Speaking of useful idiots, Shimon  Peres, the high priest of national  delusion, had another brilliant piece of advice, "Call it quits in Gaza and give it  over to reliable Abbas. The  war has  run its course". 

When he popularized hand  shaking with our enemies, so as to get the Nobel Prize for Peace, he caused Israelis  to lose all direction, except the one, that if followed, led out  of their country. But that is fine with Peres. He  sees Israel as another Singapore, just too far away to be part of his "New Middle East".. How big is Singapore any way?

Maybe  just maybe, the abduction of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, engaged to be married in six weeks, please G-d,  will bring us back to ourselves. Maybe this  time.

May God help him and us.

Crush the monster while it's still small

From Ynet News, 32 July 2014, by Ben-Dror Yemini:

Israel will be committing a crime against itself and against the free world if it fails to forcibly demilitarize Gaza before it's too late.  

Difficult images of destruction are arriving from Gaza. They are being broadcast all over the world right now. When they are repeated again and again, they have a brainwashing effect. A sane person cannot remain indifferent to them. 

Those who protest against Israel are not only anti-Semites. They are human beings. It pains them. It pains most Israelis too. So how is it possible that despite these difficult images, despite the damage caused to innocent people, there is no other way but to deal Hamas' military force a critical blow? 

International Pressure  
The professional Israel haters, those who do it for a living and as a profession, like to compare Israel today to Germany in the 1930s. Let’s go down that same road. 

In those days too, an anti-Semitic movement developed inside Europe, spreading hatred. Then too, many people thought that if something bad was happening in Germany, there was a need for a dialogue, reconciliation, understanding. Others thought it was a monster that only wanted to eat Jews, not the free world. 

Between Chamberlain the appeaser and Churchill the aggressor – the majority supported reconciliation. We all know what happened next. 

Let’s skip the horrible war for a moment, which claimed the lives of 60 million people. Let's jump over to the horrific bombings of Dresden and Tokyo and to the two atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those were the incidents which concluded the war. Incidents which created havoc, destruction and horrors. 

Let’s just assume that in the early stage, in 1938, instead of the Munich Agreement with the Nazi regime, those who thought the Nazis should be attacked would have had the upper hand. Let's assume that France and Britain would have started bombing the Nazi regime's centers of power, in the stages when most of its force could have still been destroyed. 

It's safe to assume that a considerable number of the casualties would have been innocent people. Why in the NATO bombings of Belgrade in 1999 as well, most of the dead were innocent. 

What then? We know. Instead of great destruction, with tens of millions of casualties, there would have been a little destruction with tens of thousands of casualties. A little aggression against a little monster would have prevented huge destruction by a big monster. 

In the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the picture is much clearer. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis of the 1930s did not speak, at least not openly, about annihilating Jews. The Hamas charter and the Hamas leaders, on the other hand, speak openly about annihilating Jews. And not just Jews, but also "Christians and communists." And not just annihilation, but also "lebensraum," which includes "conquering Rome, London and the two Americas." 

Hamas' children's channel instills an alarming amount of hatred against Jews. Hamas' official channel asserts that 
"the Christians, the Jews and the communists must be destroyed to the very last one of them." 
They're not just talking. It's already happening in front of our eyes as we speak, in Musul in Iraq and in Raqqa in Syria. They are beheading their rivals, they are carrying out a mass slaughter. They are not hanging out in Musul's bars, as the Nazis did in Paris. They are bombing them and the people inside them. 

The US fought the Jihad's extensions in Afghanistan and in Iraq. It failed. The Taliban is growing stronger. ISIS is conquering. Israel cannot afford to lose. 

On this background, reconciliation can only take place, if at all, under the condition set by the European Union: A complete demilitarization of the Strip. Preferably in an agreement. The demilitarization must also include the incitement mechanisms. 

But as long as Hamas refuses – and Hamas refuses – it must be done forcibly. Now it's still possible. Tomorrow it may be too late. 

The killing and destruction are distressing. As long as Hamas not only talks about annihilation, not only refuses reconciliation, but also invests everything it has in huge terror mechanisms, tunnels and rockets, Israel will be committing a crime against itself and against the free world if it fails to take action to crush the monster. It should happen now, while the monster is small. If it doesn't happen, in five years the free world will reach a big Dresden. 

And one last thing. Sam Harris, an American philosopher, atheist and rationalist, published an article this week titled, "Why don't I criticize Israel?" He does have some criticism. But his concluding sentence was: 
"The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet." 
Hey free world, are you listening? 

Friday, August 01, 2014

The response to the officer kidnap will be harsh

From Jerusalem Online, 1 Aug 2014, by Rio Avitayler:

Government official: “The response to the officer kidnap will be harsh”

"At this point we can forget about a ceasefire", an official in the government clarifies that IDF will respond Harshly after 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin was abducted by Hamas. Ministers in the right wing are furious. Ariel: “Topple Hamas once and for all”. Katz: “It will not be over until Hamas is defeated.”

Israel is furious following the suspicion of the kidnap of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, following an engagement with terrorists in Rafah this morning. A state official clarified that: “The response will be harsh”

...Like the rest of Israel, the political sphere received the dire news with horror. Hour and half after the ceasefire began. Minister Uri Ariel (Bait Yehudi), opposed to the ceasefire. “I support IDF forces that are acting bravely to find the missing the soldier, the concept of ceasefire is blowing up in our faces again and again. I call the prime minister to assemble the government to take a clear decision to take down Hamas once and for all.”

The minister Israel Katz (Likud), believes that the end of the operation is still far away. “We are in the midst of a war that is far from over, and believe me, it will not be over until Hamas is defeated. There will be many more hard moments, and we all must be united and stand behind IDF and its brave soldiers. This is not the time for cleavages and conflicts among us.”

The leader of the opposition, MK Yitzhak "Buji" Herzog, tries to support the nation and the IDF. “We will not break and will be deterred, I support our soldiers in the field, that will do everything in order to bring back our kidnapped soldier and we hope for better news.”

MKs Carmel Shama Hacohen (Likud) supports those that objected the ceasefire. “Maybe now the nations of the world, and us as well, will finally understand who we are dealing with, we may argue whether we acted right or wrong, and whether it was a good idea to publicly object the ceasefire, but now it turns out they were right”.

White House Condemns 'Barbaric' Breach of Truce by Hamas

From Arutz Sheva, 1 August 2014, by Ari Soffer:

Netanyahu phones Kerry after US slams breach of Gaza truce IDF soldier feared abducted; talks over long-term ceasefire suspended.

The White House has condemned an attack by Hamas terrorists on IDF forces, in which two soldiers were killed and another feared abducted, as a "barbaric" violation of a humanitarian ceasefire which began just hours before.

Second Lieutenant (Platoon Leader) Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba went missing during a fierce firefight on the outskirts of Rafah in Gaza.

Following the attack, Israel announced that the truce was over.

"The Israelis of course are reporting this morning that that ceasefire was broken," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told CNN. "And that apparently Hamas individuals used the cover of a humanitarian ceasefire to attack Israeli soldiers and even to take one hostage. That would be a rather barbaric violation of the ceasefire."
And the White House's Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinked called on world leaders to join condemnations of Hamas's actions.
"This is an outrageous action and we look to the rest of the world to join us in condemning it," he told MSNBC television.
The ceasefire was a joint US-UN initiative aimed at giving civilians "a much needed reprieve", a top US diplomat had said.

The IDF warned residents of the city to remain in their homes, saying in voice messages to mobile phones it was "pursuing terrorist elements in Rafah".

Following the attack Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called US Secretary of State John Kerry to confirm that "despite his joint statement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to which assurances had been received from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip regarding a ceasefire from 08:00 this morning, the Palestinians had unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 09:00."

Kerry had said earlier that once the ceasefire was under way, Israeli and Palestinian representatives, including from Hamas, would begin talks in Cairo on a more durable truce.

Unsurprisingly, talks to discuss a long-term ceasefire have been suspended following the ceasefire breach. Egypt, which was to have act as a mediator in the talks, told the Islamic Jihad terrorist group Friday it is delaying talks.
"The Egyptians contacted the Islamic Jihad and said Israel told them that a soldier has been captured," the group's deputy leader Ziad al-Nakhale told AFP. "The talks have been postponed."

No Economic Aid to Hamas-Ruled Gaza

The developing international consensus to offer Gaza economic aid in exchange for a ceasefire is a moral and strategic mistake. As long as Hamas rules Gaza, funds sent to Gaza are likely to be used for aggression against Israel and the personal use of Hamas leaders. The world should not be rewarding the most extreme Palestinians for violence and terror.
The developing international consensus to offer Gaza an economic package in order to convince Hamas to agree to a ceasefire is immoral and a strategic folly. It is also unlikely to be effective.
One of the main reasons for Hamas harassing several million Israelis by launching thousands of rockets and sending terrorists into Israel by tunnels, apart from the desire to kill Jews, is to rock the boat in order to get out of its dire economic conditions. Getting paid for stopping to shoot at Israeli civilians looks like the “protection money” collected by the Mafia.

The morality of pouring money into Gaza so that their civilians can live better remains questionable for as long as Hamas does not stop its terrorism against Israel. Unfortunately, establishing a clear connection between economic aid and political compliance is not on the agenda of the “peacemakers”.

It is true that Gazans are suffering. Nevertheless, it is wrong to argue that the Gazans should not suffer the consequences of Hamas’ criminal actions. Unfortunately, Hamas was popular among the Gazans and continues to be so. Moreover, all polls show that Gazans support violence against Israel. What moral justification exists for helping people that support an organization intent on destroying the Jewish state and is actively engaged in killing innocent Israeli citizens?

Furthermore, we should not forget that the essence of war is a competition of inflicting pain in order to change patterns of behavior. Actually, pain may have a positive value in affecting the learning curve of the warring sides. Israel has tried to influence the learning curve of the Palestinians that aggression against Israel does not pay and that support for Hamas could be costly.

Exacting a high cost from Hamas and the Gazans may lead them to more peaceful behavior. It is true that it is difficult to influence the learning process of large collectives, but this has occurred before. For example, it took a lot of suffering in World War I and World War II to transform German society into becoming less militaristic and less belligerent. While not politically correct, such treatment might be the recipe for turning the Palestinians into peaceful neighbors in the long run.

Moreover, economic aid to Gaza, as long as Hamas stays in control, strengthens its power and its grip over the poor Gazans. Allowing the continued rule of Hamas, as the US plans, also undermines the rule of the more moderate Palestinian Authority (PA) leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Indeed the PA also criticized the Kerry cease fire proposal that favored Hamas.

However, this clear strategic rationale seems to be taken over by sentimentalist responses to Hamas media manipulation. Instead of using the depressing pictures coming out of Gaza to tell Gazans: “We told you all along that Hamas leadership would only make things worse” (just as it has in other places where radical Islamists gain power), Western leaders seem to have foolishly decided that Gaza should speedily be rebuilt! The US efforts to bribe Hamas into behaving (while suspending aid to Egypt), are probably against American laws dealing with terrorist organizations.

Promises of aid send the wrong signal. It tells Palestinians that their leadership can make grave, deadly mistakes, and nevertheless gullible Westerners and others will bail them out. It also signals to Hamas that it can continue seeking the destruction of Israel and shooting at the Jewish State; for if Israel repeats its military action, merciful donor states will repair the damage yet again.

Diplomats are looking for formulas that will enable channeling aid to the Gaza Strip bypassing Hamas. Realistically, there is no way to reconstruct Gaza without strengthening the Hamas. The reconstruction of Hamastan in Gaza — an Iranian base that threatens Israel and many moderate Arab regimes — makes no strategic sense.

More importantly, Hamas has used aid to enhance its military capabilities. It built an infrastructure to produce missiles and a network of tunnels. The home-made missiles are relatively cheap, but according to IDF estimates, the cost of each attack tunnel is approximately $3 million. All this adds up to millions of dollars.

America helped reconstruct Western Europe and Japan after World War II to make sure they would be ruled by friendly democratic regimes. Hamas is authoritarian and anti-Western. Moreover, its rule will doom the Gazans to continuous poverty and ignorance. It is simply senseless to facilitate the continuation of Hamas rule.

History of humanitarian aid in the last century shows that outside economic aid is only as good as the ability of a recipient’s economy and government to use it prudently and productively. Like many Third World countries, Gaza lacks the legal and institutional infrastructure needed for the effective dispersal of economic aid. Billions of euros transferred to the PA since the Oslo Accords have been squandered and misused by corruption and ineptitude. Very little aid has filtered down to the people. Therefore, it is not at all clear that sending more money to the dysfunctional Gaza will do any good.

From what we know of the fortunes of the humanitarian aid transferred to the Gazans in recent years, it is clear that external aid will be siphoned off to the corrupt Hamas leadership. Khaled Mashaal, and Musa Abu Marzook are evaluated to be billionaires, while Ismail Haniyeh, is only a millionaire.

Some will be directed to Hamas activists; and only what is left will go to the destitute. Those with arms always get the first and best cut from international aid sent to the suffering. This is what is happening everywhere international aid is dispensed. Gaza is not different.

Humanitarian aid should be dispensed judiciously, while making sure that it does not preserve poverty and dependence. Even the friends of the Palestinian national movement should realize that it is time for tough love for Gaza.

*Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, and a Shillman/Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Countering the malicious propaganda campaign against Israel

1 August 2014
To: members, associates and supporters of the Legal Forum for Israel 

I am writing to you in light of the intense and malicious propaganda campaign that is presently being waged against Israel in the international media, and by international organizations and leading international personalities.

This campaign consists inter alia of constant repetition of false and unfounded allegations that Israel's forces are committing war crimes. This is fueled by Hamas propaganda and tragic graphic images, all aimed at influencing international public opinion and decision makers, with the aim of isolating, delegitimizing and putting pressure on Israel.

As we can all see, and as anticipated, this campaign is indeed succeeding, and despite the inherent justification for Israel's actions against Hamas, international public opinion is once again increasingly hostile to Israel - even more hostile than it usually is at the best of times, - and needless to say, this is fueling the hatred and anti-semitism that has always existed.

The attached legal paper, prepared on the initiative of Moshe Eyal, co-director of the Legal Forum, and others, summarizes the pertinent legal issues, detailing the extent of the international crimes being committed by Hamas and the extraordinary lengths to which Israel's forces are going to strictly abide by the rules of international humanitarian law and norms.

As jurists, and even those supporters of the Legal Forum for Israel that are not jurists, you are urged to use this paper in your interactions with politicians, media, legislators, the general public, and Jewish and non-Jewish community leaders, and where relevant to write appropriate op-ed pieces and to give media interviews.

In addition to forwarding this  paper to you for your continued use, it also has been widely distributed by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and has been taken up by other bodies.


Alan Baker, Ambassador(ret'), Attorney
Director, International Action Division, Legal Forum for Israel 

Booby-Trapped Explosives Built into Walls of UNRWA Clinic

From Breitbart, 30 Jul 2014, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Three Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday when explosives detonated within a booby-trapped UN building in Khan Younis, Gaza.

An elite IDF tunnel unit was in the process of uncovering an opening to a Hamas tunnel located at an UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency For Palestine Refugees) health clinic when all of a sudden, the explosives detonated, causing the entirety of the building to fall on top of the soldiers.

On Tuesday, a Hamas rocket arsenal was found at a UN school in Gaza, marking the third instance of such an event since Operation Protective Edge began. The UN agency has been accused of continuing to hand the rocket caches back to the terror group Hamas.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi Hanegbi said Wednesday that UNRWA has continued to hand the missiles back to Hamas, “endangering and jeopardizing Israeli lives.” He continued, “Instead of blaming and condemning Israel, UNRWA should make a real effort to stop being manipulated and used by the terrorist organizations.”

Neither the UN nor UNRWA have yet to comment on the incident that resulted in the deaths of three Israeli soldiers. However, UNRWA was quick to place blame on Israel for a rocket strike on one of their schools in Gaza. The UN agency also immediately blamed Israel for a strike on Gaza’s Shifa hospital, resulting in the deaths of over a dozen Gazans. It was later revealed that in all likelihood, a misfired Hamas Fajr-5 Iranian-made 100kg warhead destined for Israel had struck the hospital....

From Arutz Sheva, 31 July 2014, by Uzi Baruch and Elad Benari:

Over 80 kilograms of explosive material built into rigged UN-funded clinic; no response from UNRWA.

New details have emerged about the booby-trapped clinic explosion that killed three IDF Maglan unit soldiers in Gaza earlier this week - Sergeant First Class Matan Gottlieb, 21, from Rishon LeZion; Sergeant First Class Omar Chai, 21, from Savion; and Sergeant First Class Guy Algranati, 20, of Tel Aviv, hy"d. 

Over eighty kilograms of explosives were built into the UN-funded hospital's walls themselves ...revealing that the clinic itself was built to mask, and perform, potential acts of terror on the IDF. 

Moreover, the clinic was built over tens of terror tunnels, according to the report. 

The UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) has yet to respond to the revelations, and has still not responded to the deaths of the Israeli soldiers Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad rocket arsenals were found in a UNRWA school for the third time this month.

After the first finding of rockets at an UNRWA school, it was reported that rather than destroying the rockets, UNRWA workers called Hamas to come remove them.

While it would not comment on the deaths of the three soldiers, UNRWA was quick to place blame on Israel for a rocket strike on one of their schools in Gaza.

The UN agency also immediately blamed Israel for a strike on Gaza’s Shifa hospital, resulting in the deaths of over a dozen Gazans. It was later revealed that in all likelihood, a misfired Hamas Fajr-5 Iranian-made 100 kg warhead destined for Israel had struck the hospital.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Militants ‘blow up tunnel mouth in an UNRWA clinic,’ killing 3 IDF soldiers

From Times of Israel, 30 July 2014, by Mitch Ginsberg:

Three IDF soldiers were killed Wednesday morning in Gaza in an explosion at a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic that housed a tunnel entry shaft, the IDF’s Gaza Division commander, Brig. Gen. Micky Edelstein, said in a briefing.

After describing certain precautionary measures, Edelstein said, “And then we enter with our people, and they [the militants], from the very same terror tunnel, they blow up half the clinic on our troops.”
...The three soldiers, members of the elite Maglan unit, were taking precautionary measures in efforts to limit damage to the structure before eliminating the tunnel, when the explosives detonated in the small building.
The soldiers had sent in sniffing dogs and a small tractor to minimize damage to the structure, but explosives rigged to the building detonated, toppling a section of the building on the soldiers.
Fifteen soldiers were injured. IDF soldiers evacuating the wounded came under fire from Palestinian fighters. All of the fatalities and injured were eventually brought back to Israeli territory.
The deaths brought the toll of IDF soldiers killed since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge to 56.
Edelstein used the alleged clinic as an illustration of the difficulty inherent in fighting an enemy willing to exploit both civilians and non-governmental organizations. 
“Once you enter such a clinic and you see the UNRWA sigh on it and you know there is a terror tunnel there, you know it’s a very very sensitive building, and you’re thinking of the not-terrorist Palestinians living there all around, and you’re trying not to harm this place...”
He said Hamas militants have used more than a thousand IEDs so far, destroying thousands of buildings in the Gaza Strip. As an example he noted that in sweeps of a single street of 28 buildings Tuesday night, 19 were found to be booby-trapped.
In a briefing about progress in the campaign, IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman said “many hundreds” of Hamas operatives have been killed and that the IDF has destroyed hundreds of weapons storage facilities, and significantly compromised Hamas’s “terror infrastructure.”
Turgeman said the IDF is “days away” from completing the military goal of destroying all of the tunnels, though the process is complex. Four tunnels have been destroyed in the past 24 hours, he added.
Turgeman revealed that the IDF expanded its operation on Tuesday night, targeting new sites in the north and center of the coastal enclave.
With the amount of concrete Hamas poured into the tunnel project, two hospitals, 20 schools, 20 healthcare centers, and 100 kindergartens could have been built, he said.

Only a decisive victory will prevent the next war. This is the moment.

From Arutz Sheve, 29 July 2014, by Gil Ronen and Yoni Kempinski:

Jewish Home Chairman, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, said Tuesday that the goal of the current campaign in Gaza must not be limited to elimination of the terror tunnels, and must include a clear military decision that leaves Hamas defeated and disarmed.
"Only a decisive victory will prevent the next war ... Radical Islam seeks to erase the Jewish state from the face of the earth... They do not seek a strip of land or a Palestinian state. Only our annihilation. [Ayatollah] Khamenei in Iran. Nasrallah in Lebanon. Haniyeh in Gaza. Meshaal in Qatar. All of the jihadist arms that are waiting to see how we respond.
The world watches from the sidelines, apathetic, even pointing its finger and moralizing, without understanding that this is all coming to them very soon. Providing theoretical justification for our right to self defense but denouncing, in practice, our realization of that right.”
The tunnels, Bennett opined, are not the root of the problem. The root is “our enemies' belief that they can win. That if they do not relent in their struggle, we will be worn out and run away from here. This hope must be uprooted. And it can be. By force.”

Applying a similar line of thought in his analysis of the Israeli side, Bennett determined that the central strategic surprise in Protective Edge has not been Iron Dome, but the awakening spirit and cohesiveness of the Israeli nation. 
“Something is happening in the Nation of Israel... 30,000 attend the funeral of a lone soldier. Wounded soldiers struggle to return to the field of battle. Reserve units reach 130% enlistment. The public throngs at the doors of the hospital wards, offering sweets and love to the wounded. The junctions are filled with flags and wonderful youth. The current generation of fighters and commanders is displaying its courageous and professional colors. Bereaved parents catch you by the arm and say: 'not in vain. Onward to decisive victory'.
The nation of Israel is united as it never was.
Bennett's prescription? Give the IDF clear instructions to turn Gaza into a place where there are no missiles, no tunnels. Like Judea and Samaria. "Do not let up, do not stop, until you reach this target – by force or by agreement. Hit Hamas mercilessly. Day and night. On weekdays and holidays. Without stopping or resting. Until the battle is decided.
"The state of Israel is at a peak moment... Hamas has been hit hard. Iron Dome works. The IDF's combat soldiers and commanders are at peak motivation and professionalism. Hamas is isolated. The home front is strong, the nation of Israel is united. This is the moment. 
The world “respects a nation that protects its citizens,” he added. If foreign leaders ask us to stop, advises Bennett, they should be asked politely if they are willing to fight Hamas in place of Israel, then told: “Oh, you aren't? Then please make way for us to do it, until we finish the job.”

The terror tunnels must be destroyed completely, Bennett stated, not just limited in scope, even if this means staying inside Gaza for another month, or receiving permanent freedom to operate inside Gaza when necessary. But most important for ending the tunnel threat, the reserve officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando stressed – is a clear victory against Hamas, which would prevent the next war.

Bennett finished by saying that he is lobbying with all his might to advance this line of thought in all possible forums, and that he believes that the Security-Diplomacy Cabinet, of which he is a part – and which is headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – will adopt this outlook.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kerry and Obama give both sides reason to keep fighting in Gaza.

From WSJ, 28 July 2014:

The question that routinely comes up regarding U.S. foreign policy these days is: What in the world were they thinking? 


The latest puzzlement is the weekend fiasco in which President Obama and John Kerry pressed a cease-fire that is likely to extend the war between Hamas and Israel.

As Israel's ground incursion into Gaza enters its third week, the goal of America's foremost ally in the region is clear. It must degrade Hamas as a military and political force to the greatest extent possible.

That means destroying the rockets the terror group hasn't yet fired at Israel and especially collapsing the network of tunnels used for smuggling weapons and infiltrating into Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must be mindful of Palestinian civilian casualties and maintaining domestic and international support, but a victory requires achieving these strategic goals.
The irony is that Israel's immediate Arab neighbors privately want it to succeed. Jordan wants no part of a Palestinian state run by Hamas, and neither do the Saudis or Egypt's military government. The Fatah Palestinian faction that runs the West Bank also wants Hamas to emerge weaker. Surely the White House knows this.
Yet over the weekend Secretary of State Kerry blundered into the conflict promoting a cease-fire floated by Turkey and Qatar that was close to the terms demanded by Hamas. The U.S. hasn't released the details, but Israel's press has published what it says is a one-page summary. The document called on Israel to negotiate with "Palestinian factions," meaning direct talks with Hamas, as well as an end to Israel's military campaign while giving Hamas concessions on border crossings and outside payments. In short, it would have ended the war while leaving Hamas in a position to rebuild its terror economy.
Mr. Obama didn't endorse the Kerry plan per se. But in a readout of his Sunday phone call to Mr. Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement that, "Building on Secretary Kerry's efforts, the President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now" and leads to a deal based on the cease-fire in November 2012. That's the one that let Hamas rearm.
The reaction in Israel was opposition bordering on contempt. Ari Shavit, a center-left columnist for Haaretz, wrote that 
Mr. Kerry's "decision to go hand in hand with Qatar and Turkey, and formulate a framework amazingly similar to the Hamas framework, was catastrophic. It put wind in the sails of Hamas' political leader Khaled Meshal, allowed the Hamas extremists to overcome the Hamas moderates, and gave renewed life to the weakened regional alliance of the Muslim Brotherhood."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a press conference following a crisis meeting on Middle-East at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris on July 26. European Pressphoto Agency
He added that "the Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends." 
And you should hear what Israel's hawks are saying. 
We're told Mr. Kerry is upset about being criticized so publicly by an ally, but Israel is a free society and the U.S. doesn't get to impose a gag order.
The upshot of the Kerry-Obama plan is that Hamas feels it has even less reason to agree to a cease-fire because sooner or later the Americans will force Israel to stand down. And Israel has every reason to press its offensive even more aggressively because it knows it can't trust the Obama Administration. U.S. diplomacy has achieved the opposite of its supposed intent.
We say "supposed" because it's hard to know what this Administration is trying to achieve beyond its perennial call to end the violence. From Iran to Syria to Iraq and now to Gaza, this Administration seems to believe that merely enunciating good intentions will yield good outcomes. No wonder it yields more war.
Real diplomatic leverage comes with trust and credibility. Trust comes from being a reliable partner, especially toward your closest allies. This Administration has spent five years expressing private and public distrust of Israel, which Israel has not surprisingly repaid in kind.
Credibility comes from following through on threats and promises, such as "red lines" in Syria or assertions that this or that leader "must go." This Administration has spent five years drawing lines in the Middle Eastern sand that are blown away with the next news cycle.
If the President and Mr. Kerry really want to roll back the tide of war, here's a suggestion: Forget the chatter about a cease-fire and both sides having an equal obligation to end hostilities. 
Issue statements that support Israel's right to defend itself and that make clear that the way Hamas can stop Israel's incursions is by stopping its terrorism against civilians in Israel and Gaza. 
That might also be the start—but only a start—of restoring U.S. influence in the Middle East.