amas has lost. The Islamist terrorist entity that governs the impoverished Gaza Strip has run out of military and political options. Following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas began a systematic campaign to harry and harass Israeli border communities by showering them with thousands of rockets. Soon, Hamas managed to increase the range, accuracy and payload of its rockets placing Ashqelon, Ashdod and even Tel Aviv in peril. But Israel answered the challenge by introducing its Iron Dome wonder weapon which effectively neutralized the rocket threat.
So Hamas turned to its Plan B – terror tunnels. Hamas began digging tunnels into Israel with the aim of carrying out mega attacks. In 2014, a plan was in the works to launch a massive attack on the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah in which Hamas would deploy hundreds of fighters who would emerge from tunnels and engage in a kidnapping-murder spree. As it would turn out, the plan never materialized. A series of Hamas provocations prior to Rosh Hashanah triggered a massive Israeli counter-insurgency operation against Hamas in the summer of 2014.
During the course of the 50-day campaign, the Israel Defense Forces uncovered some three-dozen tunnels, many of which penetrated into Israel. They were destroyed but the revelation prompted Israel’s military planners to invest in technologies capable of detecting terror tunnels. The investment bore fruit. Israel is in the midst of constructing a massive underground barrier aimed at thwarting infiltrations. In addition, the IDF has devised methods and technologies specifically geared to detecting underground anomalies.
In the past few months, the IDF has destroyed or caused the collapse of no less than five tunnels. Just days ago, a tunnel collapsed near the border in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza killing a member of the so-called Al-Qassam Brigades. On April 15, the IDF destroyed a tunnel that it described as the “longest and deepest” yet uncovered. And in October 2017, the IDF destroyed a tunnel killing 14 terrorists – 12 belonging to Islamic Jihad and two from Hamas. Israel has transformed terror tunnels into giant burial chambers for terrorists.
Its rocket and tunnel threats neutralized, Hamas turned to a new tactic, one aimed at cynically employing civilians and garnering world sympathy. Three weeks ago, it began to stage mass protests along the border. These protests were anything but peaceful but the IDF was ready for all contingencies. In the first week of protests, 30,000 demonstrators, some of whom were armed, took part. That number whittled down to 20,000 in the second week and to about 5,000 in the third week.
The downward trend is expected to continue as Gazans recognize the futility of their actions and exploitation by their government. Noteworthy is the fact that 80% of “peaceful demonstrators” killed thus far along the border actually belonged to one of three terrorist groups, the Al Qassam Brigades, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Islamic Jihad. Photos of some of them can be viewed here.
Armchair elitists who sit within confines of the Hollywood bubble have the luxury of second-guessing Israeli military decisions but those living in the Israeli community of Nir Oz, just a few hundred meters from the border, have no such luxury. For them it is a matter of life and death and they are under no illusions about what would happen to them if their genocidal neighbors just across the border breached the border, from above or below.
Having failed with rockets, terror tunnels and mass demonstrations, Hamas’s options have been severely curtailed. Hamas has invested heavily in Unmanned Aerial Drone technology but here too, Israel has stymied their efforts.
Last Saturday, 35-year-old Fadi Muhammad al-Batsh, was liquidated as he was walking from his house to a nearby mosque in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The assassins pumped 10 to 14 bullets into his body to ensure death. Al-Batsh, an electrical engineer, was a lecturer at the British Malaysian Institute at the University of Kuala Lumpur. But al-Batsh had a more sinister side. He was a high ranking member of Hamas and was responsible for advancing the group’s militarized UAV program. Hamas described him as its “engineer commander.” According to a New York Times report, Batsh may have also been secretly negotiating with North Korean agents, on Malaysian soil, for arms transfers to Hamas. He thus became a legitimate target for liquidation.
In December 2016, Mohammad Zawari, another Hamas operative and an engineer who was also central to Hamas’s UAV program met a similar fate in Tunisia. In both cases, Israel remained tight-lipped but there is little doubt that Israel’s long arm of justice reached out and touched both of these menaces.
In the air and subterranean theaters, Israel has outmaneuvered Hamas and its affiliates. The Islamist group has plainly run out of options and is under extreme distress. Its negotiations to forge unity with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (the other corrupt Palestinian entity that governs 40% of Judea and Samaria) have run into a brick wall. Graft and mismanagement are rampant in the Strip and unemployment for those between the ages of 15 to 29 hovers at an astonishing 60%. Drug addiction is prevalent as many have resorted to opioids to escape their abysmal, Hamas-created reality. Electricity and water shortages are commonplace and raw sewage remains untreated.
Left with no viable military options to deflect Gazans’ attentions away from their hellish predicament, we can expect Hamas to resort to yet greater internal repression to maintain its vice-like hold on power.
Trump hails ‘big week’ for historic move; ‘Congratulations to all,’ he tweets ahead of May 14 opening
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gives a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 11, 2018, ahead of its opening on May 14 (Screenshot)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Friday gave a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, showing off workers erecting the official seal on the building and preparing for the opening ceremony.
“We are so excited,” Friedman said in a video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page. “We have the official seal of the United States embassy. We have the dedication plaque. They are covered right now, but on Monday they are going to be unveiled.”
‘Next time in Jerusalem,’ jubilant Barzilai yells after victory; ‘Toy’ marks Israel’s 4th win; hundreds jump in Rabin Square fountain to celebrate; PM calls her ‘best ambassador’
Netta Barzilai after winning the final of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, on May 12, 2018. (AFP/ Francisco LEONG)
Israel won the Eurovision song contest for the first time in two decades Saturday as singer Netta Barzilai clucked and bucked her way to the top of the international song contest with women’s empowerment anthem “Toy.”
Backed up by three dancers, her trademark side buns featuring stripes of pink dyed hair to match her pink-and-black outfit, Barzilai busted her way through “Toy” on stage in Lisbon, Portugal, punctuating her singing with her trademark eye rolls and chicken dance moves
Quoted by US president one day, hosted by Russia’s president the next, PM is on a high, including in the polls. But will this encourage his more divisive tendencies?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the Victory Parade marking the 73th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
JTA — On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu began his week by meeting his Cypriot and Greek counterparts to finalize the commercial export to Europe of Israeli gas that he has pushed to exploit for about a decade.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from nuclear deal with Iran was widely seen as a coup for Israel’s prime minister, a fierce opponent of the deal.
The same day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel seized Iran’s archive of its military nuclear program in Tehran and spirited it to Israel, a video was posted of IDF soldiers singing Soltane Ghalbha, a traditional Persian love song – in Persian.
Taken together, the two events demonstrate the purpose of Netanyahu’s presentation.
Netanyahu’s detractors in the US and Israel called his presentation as a dog and pony show. “He didn’t tell us anything we haven’t known for years,” they sniffed.
Moreover, they insisted, Netanyahu’s presentation was actually counterproductive because he couldn’t show evidence that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal it concluded in 2015 and so did nothing to persuade the Europeans to abandon the deal.
While US policy-makers are trying desperately to stabilize Afghanistan, a shift is being orchestrated by China.
The Chinese evidently see their role in Afghanistan as the “good cop” versus the U.S. role as “bad cop.” Like Pakistan, China seems to view the Taliban as the political opposition, not as a terrorist organization, and has offered itself as an intermediary to negotiate the departure of the U.S. and, thereby, be in a position to reap the economic and geopolitical benefits of Afghanistan as a client state of the China-Pakistan alliance.
Reuters/Ipsos set a new standard this week when it condemned its own polling as unreliably favorable to the president.
“This week’s Reuters/Ipsos Core Political release presents something of an outlier of our trend,” stated a paragraph that appeared before the press release on its latest polling even began.
“Every series of polls has the occasional outlier, and in our opinion, this is one. So, while we are reporting the findings in the interest of transparency, we will not be announcing the start of a new trend until we have more data to validate this pattern.”
For the sixth Friday in a row, protestors from Gaza came to Israel’s border with intentions to penetrate it. They come with scissors to cut through the fence, with burning tires, Molotov cocktails, slingshots with rocks, and kites with firebombs attached to them to destroy Israeli farmlands and villages.
This is not some peaceful demonstration akin to Selma in the 1960s when blacks were simply trying to sit together with whites at a lunch counter. The usage of the word “demonstrators” is a misnomer; these are “rioters.”
What would happen if the world took Pope Francis’ advice (via a tweet)? “Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war,” said the pontiff.
While on the surface, the disappearance of all weapons might suggest the inability to do violence, in reality, it would mean the certain annihilation of the West as a civilization.
When a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called the police after two black men refused to leave, the chain of events ended with the burnt taste of the overpriced coffee chain colluding with anti-Semitism.
Starbucks reacted to the brief arrest by blaming the police, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is African-American, initially said that his officers, “did absolutely nothing wrong”. But then he was forced to offer a bewildering apology to the arrested men, the officers and the entire city.
“It is me who in large part made most of the situation worse than it was,” he announced.
“Your threshing season will last until your grape harvest, and your grape harvest will last until the time you plant. You will have your fill of food, and you will dwell securely in your land” (Vayikra 26:5).
This blessing is promised to the People of Israel on condition that, as a unified nation, they observe the laws of the Torah and live by its spirit. Its promise is quite surprising. Not only will the Israelites have plenty to eat but, as the verse clearly indicates, the Jews will experience an overflow of food. The first season, when produce is brought to the threshing floor, will last until the days of the grape harvest, which in turn will continue into the planting season.