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.
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Sep 30, 2019 0Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign secretary, has recently commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians, most acutely occurring in the Muslim World, and especially in the Arab/Muslim...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.