Bibi, Bennett, Liberman, and Gaza

The West’s warmonger is not waging war. What fools they are. Source: WikiMedia

Be warned: I have no answers. I do have questions, and I do have thoughts. Consider this a stream of consciousness post, with a dash of analysis.

First off, the mission in Gaza that went wrong. Was it a mission of the highest priority that absolutely had to be carried out, regardless of the risk to the potential truce? Or was it less than that, but the army went for it, anyway? My gut tells me it’s the latter, but Bibi and co say it’s the former. I am skeptical. However, there might be a third possibility. It has been suggested to me that Israel regularly penetrates into Gaza, entirely unknown to Hamas. So successful have these penetrations been that they are not seen as risky, but routine. Then Murphy’s Law (or Moshe’s Law?) struck this one time, and all hell broke loose. For sure, I don’t think anyone in the IDF wanted to put a potential truce at risk, but they did. Continue reading


Guess who’s paying for Gaza’s electricity?

You cannot have failed to see the angst in the media about the poor Gazans due to have their electricity cut off because Hamas refused to pay for it, and the PA wasn’t going to either. You cannot have failed to notice that, with some honorable exceptions, Israel was blamed. If you ever wanted another fine example of how the West (in particular) treats the Palestinian people and their leadership as immature and unable to determine their own way in life, the electricity supply narrative is as good as any. Hamas isn’t responsible for the electricity supply. The PA isn’t responsible for the electricity supply. Neither of them has any obligation to look after their people, or pay for the electricity they consume. Or so they say. What nonsense. Would any other group of people be treated in such a manner? Of course not. It only works when you can blame the damn Jews Zionists.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the crisis. The electricity supply wasn’t turned off. Why? Because, as the Elder reports, Israel is paying for it.

Think about it for a moment: a people who hate us, who are incited daily to hate us more, and kill us at every opportunity, and yet we supply electricity to them when we have no obligation, moral or otherwise. And, since the situation does not fit the narrative, this is not reported. Arguably, that failure to report by bastions of anti-Israel hate like the Guardian, the BBC and – of course – Haaretz – is as much incitement against Israel as anything Hamas and the PA get up to. But it is a guilt and trouble free incitement with no downside. By their actions, these media outlets are complicit in stoking the fires of anti-Israel feeling. They are, indeed, the enemy.


Hamas tunnels are deadly – for Hamas!

Well, well, well. The Jerusalem Post reports as follows:

Hamas operatives are afraid to enter underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip, fearing that they will collapse, The Jerusalem Post has learned from Palestinian sources.

In addition, some of the operatives digging the tunnels believe that Israel was involved in at least some of the recent tunnel collapses that claimed the lives of several Hamas men.

The most recent collapse occurred on Thursday afternoon when a tunnel collapsed in Khan Younis, killing one Hamas operative. The collapse marked the sixth such tunnel collapse in recent months – the highest number of collapses to have occurred since summer 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

Now, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that some of the tunnel collapses have been due to weather, or other elements. But there are also persistent rumors here, of army units active on the Gaza border, and focusing on the tunnel threat. The report may be a bit of psychological warfare, too, but whichever way you look at it, all these collapses and casualties are the worst of news for Hamas. What worries me is how they react to having – apparently – one of their main terror threats snuffed out.

Read the complete JP report, here.



How not to improve the welfare of your citizens

Here’s what Ynet is reporting:

Red Cross in Gaza closes office due to violent protests

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday it is temporarily closing its Gaza office after protesters repeatedly tried to storm it.

Spokeswoman Suhair Zakkout said the office will operate remotely until “local authorities in Gaza provide assurances that our premises, work and staff are respected.” Gaza is ruled by Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seized power there in 2007. Dozens of Gazans have protested daily at the office in recent weeks in solidarity with a Palestinian hunger striker detained by Israel, demanding that the Red Cross help bring about his release. They tried to enter the building forcefully on Sunday, smashing garage windows and causing other damage.

Does anybody doubt that Hamas allowed this to happen? Perhaps they even instigated the assault.

This is yet another dreadful episode that will go unremarked, unnoticed, and unpunished. So what lessons will Hamas an company learn? It’s OK to act in this manner, because there are no consequences, no down side. (You can just imagine what the uproar would be – and all those front page stories of censure and condemnation – if Israel allowed a similar incident. But Hamas are held to a lower standard. In fact, on reflection, Hamas are not held to any standards.

When will somebody out there, wake up and smell the coffee?


When two trains collide

According to this Ynet piece, there is going to be another Gaza war in the coming months.

Israel and Hamas both in a race against time

Analysis: An injection of US cash into Israel’s anti-tunnel technology will speed up its development. But the increased activity on the Israeli side is liable to provoke Hamas into jumping the gun and launching an early surprise attack.

What we know with reasonable certainty is that Hamas have put tremendous resources into their tunneling project. Some unknown number of these tunnels are for attacks into Israeli territory. Hamas needs these tunnels. Why?

During the last Gaza conflict, Hamas (largely) took a beating. More significantly, there was nothing gained by the conflict. The ordinary Palestinian on the Gaza street is worse off, if anything, than before the last war. So, with an electorate – OK, that’s sarcasm – that are becoming more and more restless, Hamas must deliver something, or face the consequences.

What does ‘something’ mean? An attack on Israeli territory that kills Israelis.

What might the consequences be for not delivering something? In theory, Hamas might be replaced by a ruling group that is more willing to talk business and peace, instead of terror and killing. But, it’s more likely Hamas might be replaced by a ruling group that wants more sacrifices from the Palestinian people – more blood – in repeated attempts to kill Israelis. In short, things might get worse for the people of Gaza and for the prospects of peace.

The Ynet article suggests that Hamas’ paranoia that Israel might detect the tunnels – which I do not see as paranoia – would push any timetable up, so that an attack will come sooner rather than later.

Hamas is preparing a surprise attack. If they are led to believe for a moment that Israel has a solution that will bring its tunnels out into the open, it will push them to bring their attack forward. And therein lies the bad news: Two trains are speeding towards each other, and the collision is likely to take place within a few months. The IDF is already making estimates around this possibility.

I’m inclined to believe there will be another Gaza war, and soon, primarily because there does not appear to be any reasonable way of cooling the atmosphere down. I don’t think it matters if Israeli politicians tour the border, or make daft pronouncements. Hamas will attack because it needs to, and it will fashion an excuse out of thin air if necessary.

However, for the sake of the border communities, I hope that the IDF is far better prepared at dealing with these tunnels. Of course, it would be preferable to find the tunnels and destroy them before they are used. In that connection, if there’s a chance of that happening, notwithstanding the suggestion in the article that matters have awaited the release of funds, I wouldn’t expect to read about it beforehand. So, maybe the IDF and the rest of the security infrastructure (and therefore, Israel and its people) are in a better position than is generally felt.

The other loose thread here is Bibi. He has not done enough to try and make peace. He has not done enough to get the world on our side. These two statements are connected. Yes, I hae my doots – as my former countrymen would say – that you can make peace with Hamas. And, yes, I hae my doots about the honesty, integrity, and capability of Abbas. But that should not prevent Bibi (were he a real statesman) of putting together a comprehensive peace proposal (and never mind the coalition) and selling it to Obama. Bibi needs to mend fences with the USA, of course, but being proactive and serious about the peace process could absolutely do that.

At this point, attentive readers will ask how that helps with Hamas. It doesn’t. It isolates them further. It may even increase the chances of them starting something. But, with the best will in the world, that is precisely the point. For all that Bibi has been criticized for not doing enough for peace, the Palestinian leadership should be in the same boat. By pushing forward a real peace proposal, even if it is rejected, that is to Israel’s betterment. We want peace. But if we cannot have peace, let’s be clear about who is responsible. And Heaven help them when the dogs of war are let loose.

Incidentally and finally, I wonder if the bizarre incident of the Hamas ‘tank’ being put on display has any relevance here? Did they panic and feel they had to present something military, while not being ready for an assault? Bizarre.


Digging ever deeper

Here’s an AP article as headlined in the Guardian today:


Put to one side whether the report is accurate. Assume you are responsible for the people of Gaza, and that it truly is the case that:

“…Gaza could be “uninhabitable” in less than five years if current economic trends continue.”

What do you do?

If you are Hamas, you dig deeper. You keep preparing for war. Because everyone knows that the best way to achieve safety, security, peace, prosperity, and quiet for your people, is to launch missiles and encourage terrorism.

And condemnation came there none.


Storm brewing

No, not the weather type of storm such as we have had in Israel for the last couple of days.

No, not the political type of storm such as we have had in Israel for the last couple of, er, decades.

The storm I am referring to is the one brewing in Gaza.

Hamas fought (in my opinion) a badly judged war. Their propaganda efforts got them some sympathy, a modest extension of their fishing zone, much publicity, and nothing more apart from promises. Many of the promises featured rebuilding Gaza. Many of those making the promises overlooked – deliberately or otherwise – the challenge of rebuilding Gaza without rebuilding terror tunnels.

Fats forward several months, and progress has been almost non-existent. If you are a resident of Gaza, what do you think Hamas got for you with the blood of your people? And the immediate prospects for improvement are not good. There’s now better recognition of the challenges of rebuilding only civilian infrastructure. There’s now an awareness – or, perhaps, more awareness now being openly stated – that Hamas is a corrupt, kleptocracy of a regime. And there are two elephants in the room.

Elephant number one is the Israeli election. Hamas know that any terrorist act by them may cause a voting swing to the right. If that’s what they want, there will be such an act or acts.

Elephant number two is the illusion of unity, and the actual stance of Fatah. According to this report, the Palestinian Authority has said there will be no reconstruction until the PA get control of Gaza… In response, Hamas claims – in a less than peaceful manner – that Palestinian unity (ahem) is being ruined by the PA. Further, they warn Abbas they ‘will not await your mercy.’

My interpretation (aka ‘guess’) is that trouble is brewing in Gaza. Militarily I hope we are prepared. Politically, we are stuck till after the election. And if Bibi gets in again, I fear we will still be stuck.

I have no sympathy for Hamas, but the people of Gaza are paying a terrible price for the real crimes of their leaders. The even more terrible aspect is that Hamas want Israel to pay a price as well.


Hamas in Wonderland

With apologies to Lewis Carroll…

  1. At the end of the last war with Hamas (August 2014) the parties agree a cease-fire.
  2. On Friday night (31 October 2014) a rocket was fired from Gaza, landing in Eshkol Regional Council territory. (It’s the second example of rocket fire since the cease-fire.)
  3. By way of response, Israel closed the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings.

And Hamas says:

Israel’s closing of the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings is a violation of the of the cease-fire reached at the end of August to end the fifty day war between Hamas and Israel, Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzouk said on Sunday.

Eh? What about the rocket fire Mr Terrorist Leader?

Abu Marzouk said the Israeli move was “childish and irresponsible” and he said the excuse that Israel gave for the closures – the rocket fired into Israel on Friday – was illegitimate, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.

There does not appear to be any explanation of how the rocket fire is illegitimate. Maybe it only counts as a breach if it kills somebody? It’s truly an upside down world for Hamas in Gaza.

What do you think the chances are, that come any future Gaza war, the world media will forget all the rocket fire and blame Israel for starting the war?


Turnabout of the week

Remember the 2010 Gaza flotilla?

Remember those “human rights activists” from IHH? Like this guy:


Well, now check this out from the Times of Israel:


Turkish media say police have carried out raids in six Turkish cities, detaining several people allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, including an employee of a prominent Islamic charity behind a flotilla that tried to bust the Gaza blockade in 2010.

The aid organization, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, confirmed Tuesday that its storage facility near the Syrian border was searched and an employee was detained. It, however, denied any ties to al-Qaeda and denounced the police raid as an attempt to discredit the organization.

I wouldn’t call them an “aid organization” but suspect “front for terrorists” isn’t in the AP media book.

Of course, they blame Israel…

I wonder if we’ll get an apology from Turkey?


Another victory like that…

While Hamas was celebrating its ‘victory’ against Israel in Pillar of Defense, external commentators were taking it to task for its failures. And there are many of them, all to do with looking after the population they rule over.

The current issue of the Economist, for example, has this:

Miserable and weak again

The Palestinians’ coastal enclave is abandoned once more, in every way

IN THE vanguard of the Islamist surge across the region a few years ago, Gaza’s Islamists now feel like the last men standing. Trapped between the Mediterranean sea and the walls of two hostile neighbours, Egypt and Israel, they wonder how long they, too, can survive. “It’s hopeless,” cries a senior man from Hamas, the Palestinians’ Islamist movement. “We tried democracy and we failed. We tried to reach out to the Israelis, accepting two states, and failed. We tried the armed struggle, and we paid the price.”

What? Accepting two states? Since when? The only two states they accepted were Jordan and Egypt!

In olden times a crossroads between Africa and Asia, the tiny enclave of Gaza has rarely felt more isolated. Egypt’s generals, who took power last summer, have destroyed 90% of the tunnels through which Gaza got its fuel, shrouding the place in darkness. Mothers wake at midnight when the electricity briefly flickers on, to flush toilets and iron clothes. Lifts in high-rise buildings do not work. Sewage flows untreated. Farmers, unable to irrigate their fields, face ruin. “I should never have tried it,” says the owner of a hotel that opened last summer, overlooking Gaza’s picturesque port. Paying for his generators costs him more than he earns in a night.

And this is the fault of?

Much of the mess is of Hamas’s own making. Carried away by the Arab awakening, its politburo abandoned its old patrons in Syria and Iran and rushed to embrace the Islamists who had taken power in Egypt. But the fall of its president, Muhammad Morsi, has left Hamas friendless. It has been kept out of the current negotiations, under America’s aegis, between Palestine and Israel. The only time the world seems to notice Gaza is when violence erupts. Gazans say they have dropped off the map.

Yes, much of the mess is Hamas’ own making. Bonus points for the Economist.

Wait a minute. What’s it not responsible for? Why are its relations so bad with Egypt? Could it be that little terror thing? You know, killing folk and the like? Could that have anything to do with it?

This suits most Israelis. “The past year was a great one,” says the commander of Israel’s division that watches Gaza, Brigadier Michael Edelstein, celebrating the ceasefire that Israel agreed on with Hamas a year ago. Missiles lobbed at Israel from Gaza have fallen from 1,500 last year to about 50 so far this year, he says. Thanks to Hamas forces guarding the frontier against militants, he adds, children in Israel’s border towns can sleep in their beds, not in shelters, and no longer go to school in armoured buses.

But Israel’s reciprocal promise to help revive Gaza’s economy has not been kept. Egypt’s closure of the tunnels and its border crossing at Rafah has left Gaza’s 1.8m people dependent on Israel. Food is allowed in but not—for example—solar panels, which could provide Gazans with an independent source of electricity. Israel stops most Gazan goods from being exported. Last month it joined Egypt in preventing building material from being brought in, because Hamas’s military arm, it says, uses such supplies for building fortifications—and for digging tunnels, like a recently discovered one that stretched 200 yards into Israel. Cement prices have quadrupled in the past few months and tens of thousands of labourers have lost work. Collective punishment, say the Gazans.

What the hell is this: “But Israel’s reciprocal promise to help revive Gaza’s economy has not been kept.

I posted at the site asking for a source for this. Answer came there none. But the damage has been done – again – because, it’s Israel’s fault.

Notice also how the 50 missiles are treated as if they are of no significance. Can we send the journalist to Sderot, and then see what he writes?

And why should Israel supply cement for terror tunnels? Hello? Is the Logic Department of the publication on holiday? It’s almost as if the hectoring tendencies of the Economist have been put on hold, because they  have already gone too far by blaming Hamas!

If you want, you can read the whole thing here.