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Will there be Peace in the Middle East?
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The Truth about Gaza

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity.

By Charles Krauthammer
National Review Online
July 17, 2014

ImageIsrael accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza ceasefire; 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’s proudly self-declared raison d’être: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

What is Hamas trying to achieve?

By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim
July 17, 2014

To an ignorant observer, the recent escalation between Israel and Gaza might seem like just the latest episode in a human drama that we have become accustomed to in the Holy Land. And, though perhaps not for quite the expected reasons, that observer would probably be right. Israelis would claim that this recent episode ostensibly arose out of the heinous murder of three Jewish teenage boys. On the other hand, Palestinian sources would trace it back even further to similar murders of Palestinian teenage boys, earlier in the year. But ultimately, and without meaning to diminish the human tragedy in any of these singular events, they are not the root causes of what is happening now. Instead, they seem to be just a convenient pretext to deeper local politics. And that is the real tragedy of this latest Gaza story.

Allow me to explain. On my recent trip to Israel, I met both senior Israeli and Palestinian officials including current and former members of their respective cabinets. I learnt from my Palestinian sources that Hamas is essentially bankrupt. They have been unable to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of their staff for a while now, according to my sources. They were heavily reliant on support from Syria, Iran along with the Rafah crossing and hundreds of smuggling tunnels from Egypt to sustain them all of which have diminished recently.

When the Hamas leadership reached their financial limit, the Palestinian Authority agreed to step in and pay all salaries of the civil administrators and social workers in Gaza, my sources said. In exchange, the Palestinian Authority (PA) asked Hamas to make many concessions, including modifying its charter towards a more moderate and functional position. For example, the PA asked Hamas to recognize the State of Israel, according to what I have been told, and also form a unity government with the PA .

Hypocrisy Most Foul

By Sarah Honig
The Jerusalem Post
July 18, 2014

ImageThe bamboozlers who gave us Oslo and its deformed derivative Disengagement have never expressed the slightest contrition and never begged the nation’s forgiveness – not even now when Gazan rockets threaten Israel’s heartland. The same goes for their craven accomplices, who ran with the pack and derided nonconformist compatriots who dared protest. But while the promoters of folly bask in self-proclaimed infallibility, they’re uncannily quick to blame others for their sins.

This is hypocrisy most foul and it’s not limited to territorial surrenders and the chimera of attaining peace and acceptance by rewarding belligerence.

Take, for example, the inflammatory issue of swap deals with terrorists and how it’s tied to the abduction and execution of three innocent boys on their way home from school. To hear our talking heads and swaggering former security chiefs, this heartrending saga started with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s 2011 decision to trade 1,027 duly convicted Hamas murderers and mass-murder masterminds for hostage Gilad Schalit, a.k.a. “the child of us all.”

Israel and Palestinians bury their dead:

Four children killed by an Israeli gunboat, as first Jewish casualty of Hamas rocket barrage is buried.

Missiles fired from Israeli gunboats killed four young boys who were playing in Gaza's seaport earlier this afternoon
Young boys were all members of the same extended family and were draped in Fatah flags during their funeral
Dror Khenin became first Israeli killed during the conflict when he was fatally wounded during Hamas strike yesterday
Earlier today Israel dropped leaflets over Gaza ordering thousands of Palestinian families to leave their homes
Shortly after 8am evacuation deadline passed, Israel started shelling Hamas targets in north and east of the region
Death toll in nine-day conflict is now more than 215 - the vast majority Palestinians - with thousands more wounded
Children represent a fifth of those killed in the conflict, according to leading human rights organization
Six-hour ceasefire to take place in the Gaza Strip on Thursday after Israel agrees to UN request

By John Hall and Stephanie Linning
Mail Online
July 16, 2014

ImageWeeping mourners clung to each other in grief as they gathered today in the Israeli city of Yehud for the funeral of Dror Khenin, a 37-year-old civilian who became the first Israeli to be killed during the nine-day conflict.

ImageHe was killed yesterday when a short-range rocket fired by Palestinian militants landed near the border with the Gaza Strip where he was delivering food to Israeli soldiers. He was fatally wounded when a mortar exploded near the vehicle he was traveling in, spraying him with shrapnel.

Just a few miles away, across the border in the Gaza Strip, a mother screamed in disbelief as she mourned the death of her young son, who was killed today while he played on a beach in the Gaza Strip with his three cousins.

The four boys, named tonight as Ahed and Zakaria Bakr, both aged ten, and two other boys from the Bakr family, both named Mohammad, aged 11 and nine, died in shelling from a nearby Israeli gunboat. Their bodies were draped in Fatah flags during their funerals this afternoon.

Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas

By Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute
July 16, 2014

ImageEgyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Sisi and urged him to intervene to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Abbas later admitted that his appeal to Sisi and (other Arab leaders) had fallen on deaf ears.

Sisi's decision not to intervene in the current crisis did not come as a surprise. In fact, Sisi and many Egyptians seem to be delighted that Hamas is being badly hurt.

An uncomfortable moment during an April 2014 meeting between PA President Abbas and Egyptian President Sisi. (Image source: Video from President Abbas' Office)

Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.”

Guest Column: The Double Standard of Proportionality

By Reuven Berko
Special to IPT News
July 15, 2014

ImageOnce again, Israel finds itself facing Hamas' rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip as the terrorists turn their civilians into human shields. Before the security fence was built on Israel's eastern border, suicide bombers were sent to kill Israelis by bearded sheikhs who sanctimoniously claimed they were innocent of any link to the military-terrorist wings of the Islamist organizations. With the security fence in position, the number of terrorist attacks from Judea and Samaria has decreased dramatically, even as the Palestinians point at the fence for the foreign media, throw rocks at it and whine "Apartheid."

After Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and turned it over to the Palestinian Authority, Islamist terrorists continued murdering Israelis. In 2007, two years after Israel's withdrawal, Hamas conducted a putsch and wrested the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority. Since then Gazan terrorism has steadily increased and Hamas fires its artillery into Israel with the stated purpose of murdering as many Jews (always Jews or Zionists, never Israelis) as possible. Instead of using the Israeli withdrawal to build a Middle Eastern Riviera and be a shining example of coexistence, the Palestinian terrorists chose to show the world that any area vacated by Israel would become an Islamic emirate worthy of the 8th century, from which Hamas, unfettered, would send it murderers and rockets into Israel.

Marine Jailed in Mexico: 'God has plans for me'

By Gina Loudon
July 14, 2014

Urges Americans 'to try to get a response' from Obama

OK for illegal's to cross border – why not this American?

Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, imprisoned in Mexico since March after taking a wrong turn that accidentally took him across the border, will once again be served bread and sugar water for dinner tonight.

President Obama will not.

If something about that doesn't seem right to you, the veteran of two tours in Afghanistan is asking you to do him a favor ...

SAN DIEGO – A decorated American Marine who accidentally crossed the Mexico border carrying guns that are legal in the U.S. but illegal south of the border says he trusts God for his future – but he’d also like an answer from President Obama.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, who has been held in Mexico’s prison system since March, had a court hearing on his case on Wednesday, and on Thursday the judge ruled that he must stay behind bars for a further time period – at least until another hearing expected later in the summer.

Netanyahu Finally Speaks His Mind

By David Horovitz
The Times of Israel
July 13, 2014

ImageAt his Friday press conference, the prime minister ruled out full Palestinian sovereignty, derided the US approach to Israeli security, and set out his Middle East overview with unprecedented candor. His remarks were not widely reported; they should be

Does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really support a two-state solution, or is his rhetoric to this effect disingenuous? Did he genuinely seek an accommodation with the Palestinians during the nine months of US-brokered negotiations that collapsed in April, or was he just stringing the Americans and the Palestinians along, while his heart is truly with the settlement enterprise?

These are fundamental questions — questions you’d think Israelis and the watching world would long since have been able to answer, especially given that Netanyahu is Israel’s second-longest serving prime minister ever. In fact, though, while many pundits claim to have definitive answers, most Israelis would acknowledge that they’ve never been entirely sure how Netanyahu sees a potential resolution of the Palestinian conflict, which concessions he’s truly ready to make, what his long-term vision looks like.

Eerily déjà vu

By Sarah Honig
The Jerusalem Post
July 13, 2014

ImageDirectly below is an op-ed I wrote in 1990, right after the murder in Rishon Lezion of seven Arab itinerant laborers by Ami Popper (who’s still doing life and who unlike homicidal Arabs hasn’t been released to ransom hostages or to win a presumed peace-partner’s goodwill).

Have a read:

Listening to the mournful tones and tunes on Israel Radio in the wake of the Rishon Lezion murder of Arab workers, I have a very heretical confession to make: I am not guilty! I feel no shame whatever! I’ve never taken the life of any creature larger than an insect.

I am not unlike millions of Americans who didn’t beat their personal breasts when a gunman recently mowed down diners at a hamburger joint or when another fired his weapon in a schoolyard. If my memory doesn’t fail me, those incidents made no waves in the U.N. Security Council. Neither did the Ras Burka massacre in Sinai and the slaughter only a few months back of Israeli tourists in Egypt.

They are all gone with the wind. Dead and forgotten – as are the bus passengers overturned into a ravine between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; Ofra Moses, her unborn baby and her five-year-old son, Tal; Rachel Weiss and her three tots; or the two oldsters stabbed on a Jerusalem bus stop bench by a hero of the glorious intifada.

Anti-Israel Protesters Trap Hundreds in Paris Synagogue

Group allowed to leave after being attacked by demonstrators as rally in support of Gaza turns violent

ImageBy AFP and Times of Israel staff
July 13, 2014

Clashes erupted in Paris on Sunday as thousands of people protested against Israel and in support of residents in the Gaza Strip, where a six-day conflict has left 166 Palestinians dead.

Several thousand demonstrators walked calmly through the streets of Paris behind a large banner that read “Total Support for the Struggle of the Palestinian People”.

But clashes erupted at the end of the march on Bastille Square, with people throwing projectiles onto a cordon of police who responded with tear gas. The unrest was continuing early Sunday evening.

Islamic State (IS) map of the world: Militants outline chilling five-year plan

for global domination as they declare formation of caliphate

By John Hall
Atlas Shrugs
July 9, 2014

ISIS has formally declared the establishment of a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the vast stretches of the Middle East that have fallen under its control, and has outlined a vision to expand into Europe.

The announcement was described as the ‘most significant development in international jihadism since 9/11′.

Upon declaring a caliphate, the Sunni militants – whose brutality in attempting to establish control in Iraq and Syria has been branded too extreme even by Al Qaeda – demanded allegiance from Muslims around the world.

With brutal efficiency, ISIS has carved out a large chunk of territory that has effectively erased the border between Iraq and Syria and laid the foundations of its proto-state.

Caliphate: A map purportedly showing the areas ISIS plans to have under its control within five years has been widely shared online. As well as the Middle East, North Africa and large areas of Asia, it also reveals ISIS’ ambition to extend into Europe. Spain, which was Muslim-ruled until the late 15th Century, would form part of the caliphate, as would the Balkan states and eastern Europe, up to and including Austria.

Israel:The Ultimate Guarantor of Jordan's Security

By Yossi Melman
July 8, 2014

ImageThe growing Islamist threat to its stability and integrity are a source of concern for not only the Hashemite House of Jordan and its elites but also for Israel, the US and the UK. Jordan has always been a loyal ally of the British and the Americans, and even more so since 9/11 and the war on global terrorism.

The CIA, for example, kept detention (black prisons) centers on Jordanian soil and benefited from its strong cooperation with Jordanian intelligence to interrogate terrorists and foil their attacks.

Israel, directly or indirectly via the US and the UK is, de facto, the ultimate guarantor of Jordanian sovereignty. Israeli intelligence has played a major role in protecting the Hashemite rulers from terrorist plots throughout the years.

In Sderot, a painful feeling of deja vu

By Ilene Prusher
July 8, 2014

ImageWith the start of the IDF’s operation against Hamas in Gaza, in which 40,000 troops have been called up, life in one of Israel’s most missile-battered cities becomes increasingly unsettling.

It’s been a disappointing day for Prosper Hazan. He would normally be selling his vegetables in Sderot’s open-air market until at least 6 in the evening. But given the sparse foot traffic – the twice-weekly market sets up shop in a central parking lot from which it’s impossible to get to a shelter in the seconds one has to race to safety – he’s selling his stock to a restaurant supplier for less than a third of its normal price at 1:45 P.M.

“It’s just going to rot otherwise,” says Hazan, 50, wiry and weary-eyed from stress. His two teenagers, now on summer vacation, would normally have come here today to help him, but he told them to stay at home, fearing for their safety. A 20-year-old son is serving in the IDF's Golani Brigade, and was called overnight to be moved into Gaza.

Israel on high alert after more than 85 rockets fired in 24 hours

By Haaretz
July 7, 2014

ImageHamas claims responsibility for some of the launches; for the first time in the current fighting, alarms go off in central Israel and Jerusalem.

Palestinians in Gaza fired more than 85 rockets at Israel on Monday, with Hamas openly claiming responsibility for some of the launches for the first time since the current escalation began.

The rockets hit several major cities in the south and, also for the first time in the current fighting, caused alarms to go off in central Israel and Jerusalem. The barrages lightly wounded two Israelis and caused property damage.

Nine Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip were killed overnight on Sunday, seven from Hamas and two from Islamic Jihad. Hamas said all were killed in Israeli airstrikes, but Israel said at least six died when a smuggling tunnel collapsed.

How Abbas Duped Kerry and Indyk

By Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute
July 1, 2014

ImageKerry and Indyk failed to understand that no Palestinian leader has a mandate to make concessions to Israel as part of a peace agreement. Concessions would be tantamount to signing his own death warrant. Abbas is being denounced as a "traitor" for merely opposing the abduction of three Israeli teenagers.

The release of 78 prisoners, some with "blood on their hands," is seen as a major achievement for Abbas, who was never even asked to pay anything in return.

U.S. envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk announced on June 28 that he was quitting his job "battered and unbowed."

But Indyk forgot to mention that he is also leaving his job after Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas succeeded in tricking him and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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