Friday, May 14, 2021

The myth of disproportionate Israeli response - Alan H. Perlman

 

​ by Alan H. Perlman

High civilian casualties are neither synonymous with, nor caused by, disproportionate response.

 

Scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in Yehud
Scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in Yehud                   Flash90

In the lexicon of false terms used to describe Israel’s rightful actions to defend itself, one of the most egregious is the term “disproportionate response”.

Though this term is a mantra for haters of Israel, it also unfortunately works its way into the consciousness of supporters of Israel.

Reasonable people can recognize that Israel, like any state, has a right and obligation to defend its people from attack, and to respond with force when needed. But reasonable people can also recognize that the civilian population of Gaza has a right to live without undo threat from Israeli military might.

So what happens when these two rights appear to be in conflict – what happens if there is a large number of civilian casualties in Gaza when Israel acts to eliminate the military threat from Hamas?


Unfortunately, the term “disproportionate response” has been intentionally used to negate Israel’s right to defend itself. Suddenly, Israel’s right of self-defense becomes contingent upon a low number of civilian casualties. If those casualties seem too high, Israel is called upon to show restraint and to cease eliminating the threat. Furthermore, the term also seems to ignore any Hamas responsibility for those civilian casualties.

But it is not axiomatic that a high civilian casualty rate points to a disproportionate use of force. It might or it might not. It is necessary to examine the facts.

And what are the facts?

First and foremost, the evidence indicates that Israel has no desire to inflict harm on Gazan civilians. Israel does not attack in Gaza without cause. The current battle is an Israeli response to Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets fired at Israeli cities and towns. It is not a cycle of violence; it is an Israeli response to a Hamas act of war.

Even when Hamas attacks Israel and forces it to respond, Israel does what it can get Gazan civilians out of harm’s way. It warns civilians to move away from Hamas military targets. In previous battles it made robo-calls and dropped leaflets warning people to leave areas that it planned to attack.

Second, and this is critical: Hamas deliberately houses its military equipment and personnel in densely populated civilian structures (homes, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, mosques.) Obviously, a Hamas weapons storage facility placed in a school or hospital will lead to civilian casualties when targeted.

If Hamas would house its military equipment and personnel in isolated areas away from civilian centers, there would be few or no civilian casualties when Israel hit Hamas military targets.

Israel’s detractors often claim that Gaza is so densely populated that there are no unpopulated areas far enough removed from population centers where Hamas can place its military equipment and personnel. But this is not so; Gaza contains many such unpopulated areas.

But more importantly, even within densely populated civilian neighborhoods, if Hamas would simply put its military equipment and personnel in buildings that did not house civilians, there would be few, if any, civilian casualties. And this highlights the great distinction between disproportionate response and high civilian casualties.

If Israel was to bomb a whole neighborhood block in order to eliminate a Hamas target, the case could be made for calling it a disproportionate response. But to the contrary, Israel’s responses are pinpoint, surgical, and minimalist – the opposite of disproportionate.

All the videos of Israeli strikes in Gaza (videos put out by both the Israeli military and by Gazan residents) show Israel targeting specific buildings or even specific floors of a building. Gazan civilians don’t flee; they stand nearby and watch. Nearby schools, mosques, hospitals, and residential buildings are generally left intact.

The bottom line is that Hamas deliberately places its military equipment and personnel in schools, hospitals, residences, etc. It strategically and cynically uses its own people as cannon fodder, either to rely on the Jewish conscience against hurting civilians, or to foment hatred against Israel and to bring international pressure on Israel to stop defending itself. Blame for civilian casualties in Gaza falls squarely on Hamas, not on Israel.

Israel ’s task, like any country’s, is to defend its people, and Israel does so through surgical strikes, not disproportionate response. Large numbers of civilian casualties in Gaza are the direct result of decisions and actions by Gazan leadership, and are likely to continue unless Gazan leadership stops using its people as human shields.

It is high time to stop conflating “disproportionate response” with a high number of civilian casualties. They are not synonymous.

 

Alan Perlman is a retired technical writer from Carmel in the Hevron hills region. His columns have appeared on IsraelInsider.com, as well as the web-sites of Yahoo! News, Aish HaTorah and radio personality Rush Limbaugh.

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/306133

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Biden’s Handlers Get the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict They Wanted - Robert Spencer

 

​ by Robert Spencer

Once again, the Dems embolden - and enable - evil.

 


On his new Save America website, former President Trump stated the obvious that the elites wish us to overlook: “When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency, because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked. Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies.”

Weakness and lack of support for Israel, and open support for the Palestinian jihad. The Washington Free Beacon reported last March that “the Biden administration privately confirmed to Congress last week that the Palestinian Authority has continued to use international aid money to reward terrorists but said the finding won’t impact its plans to restart funding.”

And it didn’t. Biden’s handlers gave $235 million to the Palestinians in April. So now you can see your taxpayer dollars at work, funding the bloody Palestinian jihad against Israel, thanks to Biden’s handlers. Meanwhile, in an example of a frequent leftist tactic, the complete inversion of reality, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Ramallah) tweeted: “American taxpayer money is being used to commit human rights violations. Congress must condition the aid we send to Israel, and end it altogether if those conditions are not followed. Statements aren’t working @SecBlinken. Enough is enough.” American taxpayer money is indeed being used to commit human rights violations, but not in the way Tlaib has in mind.

The kind of people that Tlaib and her colleagues in the American left are fronting for are epitomized by Hamas Political Bureau Member and former Minister of the Interior Fathi Hammad. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Hammad said on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV Friday: “People of Jerusalem, we want you to cut off the heads of the Jews with knives. With your hand, cut their artery from here. A knife costs five shekels. Buy a knife, sharpen it, put it there, and just cut off [their heads]. It costs just five shekels. With those five shekels, you will humiliate the Jewish state.”

Hammad continued with a quotation from the Qur’an: “‘You shall find the strongest in enmity towards the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists.’” That’s Qur’an 5:82. Hammad added: “The Jews have spread corruption and acted with arrogance, and their moment of reckoning has come. The moment of destruction at your hands has arrived.” Palestinian Arab leaders and their allies around the Islamic world routinely frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Islamic terms. Western Middle East “experts” just as routinely ignore or downplay the role of Islam in the conflict. This foredooms all their peace-processing to failure. The Palestinian Delusion explains why in detail.

But Biden’s handlers are not interested in learning the lessons of history or the clear evidence regarding the motivating ideology underlying the conflict that can be found in the texts and teachings of Islam. They are committed instead to adhering to the left’s claims to stand for the oppressed and downtrodden, no matter how much Palestinian jihad propaganda they have to swallow in order to enable themselves to see the Palestinian jihadis as innocent victims of the rapacious Israeli war machine. And ultimately, they’ve gotten Israel and the world into this mess by the overarching determination to undo everything Donald Trump did as president. John Kerry had said with the confidence of someone who is ignorant, arrogant and half-educated that no peace was possible between Israel and the Muslim countries of the region without first making peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump proved Kerry wrong, so now Kerry and the rest of the foreign policy establishment have to wipe the egg off their face by undoing Trump’s achievements and reasserting the status quo they created.

Now they have done so, and the Middle East is on the brink of all-out war.

In his message about this imbroglio, Trump enunciated more unwelcome truths as well: “America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself. Unbelievably, Democrats also continue to stand by crazed anti-American Rep. Ilhan Omar, and others, who savagely attack Israel while they are under terrorist assault.”

Needless to say, if he were still president, none of this would be happening. Strength engenders respect.

 

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins―Revised and Expanded Edition. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/05/bidens-handlers-get-israelipalestinian-conflict-robert-spencer/

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AOC criticizes Biden statement of support for Israel as siding with 'occupation' - Brie Stimson

 

​ by Brie Stimson

The president said Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas' attacks

Israel-Hamas conflict an early test for Biden, failure has 'severe consequences': Douglas Murray

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., criticized President Biden over his Wednesday statement of support for Israel amid escalating violence with Hamas, claiming he gave little context for what stoked the tensions and was consequently "siding with occupation."

Biden told reporters Israel has a right to defend itself "when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory."

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that Biden had failed to mention the pending evictions of dozens of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem in favor of Israelis and the Israeli police raid of the Al-Aqsa mosque that left hundreds of worshippers hurt as an instigator to Hamas’ rocket attacks.

She said statements that don’t recognize Israel’s role in the violence "dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations. It’s wrong."

BIDEN CALLS NETANYAHU, SAYS ISRAEL ‘HAS RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF’ AGAINST HAMAS ROCKETS 

"By only stepping in to name Hamas’ actions - which are condemnable - & refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence," she wrote. "This is not neutral language. It takes a side - the side of occupation."

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put out a similar statement Tuesday saying Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas’ "indiscriminate" attacks. 

State Department spokesman Ned Price responded to a tweet U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar sent Wednesday, in which she claimed the deputy mayor of Jerusalem was supporting "ethnic cleansing" in his defense of the evictions, according to The New York Times.

"This deputy mayor is describing ethnic cleansing here, yet everyone is the West is pretending that’s not what’s happening to Palestinians," Omar tweeted.

Prince told reporters Omar's claim was "not something that our analysis supports."

 

 

At least 67 people have been killed in Gaza and seven people in Israel since the violence started, including some women and children on both sides, Reuters reported. 

The current eruption of violence began a month ago in Jerusalem, where heavy-handed Israeli police tactics during Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers ignited protests and clashes with police. A focal point was the Al-Aqsa Mosque, built on a hilltop compound that is revered by Jews and Muslims, where police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters who threw chairs and stones at them.

Hamas, claiming to be defending Jerusalem, launched a barrage of rockets at the city late Monday, setting off days of fighting.

A representative for Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Brie Stimson

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/aoc-criticizes-biden-statement-of-support-for-israel-as-sideing-with-occupation

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Rashida Tlaib Falsely Charges ‘Settlers’ With Setting Fire to ‘Palestinian’ Land - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

​ by Hugh Fitzgerald

Once again Tlaib stokes the fires of Jew-hatred.

 


Rashida Tlaib (D-West Bank) has gone on a rampage again. She’s accused Israel of “apartheid” and “stealing Palestinian homes” – so far so predictable, but now she’s added a new charge – that Israel has deliberately been setting fires to Palestinian land. A report on her latest outburst is here: “Top US Jewish Group Calls for Rashida Tlaib to Remove ‘Falsehood’ About Israelis Setting Fire to Palestinian Fields,” Algemeiner, May 6, 2021

A leading US Jewish group called on Congressman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to remove a tweet that accused Israel of “apartheid” and “stealing Palestinian homes and burning their lands” as she shared an account of Israelis setting fires to Palestinian fields that was retracted by the Israeli NGO that originated it.

“.@RashidaTlaib, you shared a falsehood about Israeli Jews setting fire to Palestinian fields. This ugly claim has been retracted. You’re a member of Congress. Take down your tweet. Or is it okay to perpetuate untruths when they fit your policy agenda?” the American Jewish Committee (AJC) tweeted Thursday.

On Wednesday, Tlaib retweeted an article about fires near the Palestinian village of Burin, drawing from a Palestinian media sources and a May 4 tweet by the left-wing NGO B’Tselem, which shared a photo of the flames and blamed Israeli “settlers.”

Stealing Palestinian homes and burning their lands. The actions of an apartheid state. We cannot stand by and watch this happen,” Tlaib wrote, tagging the account of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Billions of US taxpayers dollars support Netanyahu’s government and this racist violence. We must condemn this swiftly.”

“The actions of an apartheid state”? Yet one more time, let’s review the evidence: Arabs in Israel serve in the Knesset, sit on the Supreme Court, go abroad as diplomats. An Arab judge, George Kara, presided over the trial of President Moshe Katsav and sentenced him to prison. The chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Jews and Arabs study together in universities, work together in factories and offices, are treated in the same hospitals, play on the same sports teams and in the same orchestras. Where is the apartheid in any of this?

What about Tlaib’s charge that Israelis are “burning their [Palestinian] lands”? There is no record of Israelis setting fire to the fields near the village of Burin, or indeed, anywhere else. There are no videos of Jews near the fields when they supposedly set alight. A Palestinian source sent a dramatic nighttime photo of Burin, with fields burning in the background, to the left-wing Israeli NGO B’Tselem. B’Tselem tweeted the photo with this caption, “settlers torched Palestinian fields in Burin.”…

At 8:10 am, B’Tselem also sent a release to the media about it, but within two hours, at 10:07, had taken it down. No explanation was given. But media reports emerged that the fires were in fact started by Palestinian arsonists, the Israeli NGO later said that the “The fires in Burin tonight are being re-examined. I will update with any new information I have,” according to the Jerusalem Post, which said that no further information followed. Several days later, B’Tselem has continued to remain silent. It is no doubt worried about the legal consequences of its original — false — charge, and doesn’t want to make matters worse for itself either by admitting to the falsity of its original tweet and subsequent release to the media, or by continuing to stick with that falsehood. It could have avoided its current woes simply by reporting on the fire, and providing the competing versions of Arabs and Israelis as to who was behind it. It’s not even clear from B’Tselem whether the burning fields belonged to Palestinians. Might they have belonged to Israelis? The NGO ought to have checked out the original charge, even sent an investigator to the area to interview both Jews and Arabs, and to weigh the evidence presented by both sides. It did nothing but repeat a Palestinian accusation as fact. B’Tselem clearly has a problem with due diligence.

The outrage of the Israelis is palpable; they are so certain that they have been wronged that they are now going to sue the NGO for slander. Perhaps the tort is libel, rather than slander, as it appears B’Tselem made its charge not orally, but in writing. This may cost B’Tselem dearly.

But what of Rashida Tlaib? There is Congressional immunity for all statements made in the Congress itself or, outside Congress, if those statements have already been published in the Congressional Record. But a tweet going out into the world for the first time has clearly not been published previously in the Congressional Record. Was Tlaib’s tweet made from her Congressional office, or was it made at her home, in a car, at a restaurant, on a plane? Surely there are many American lawyers who would be willing to take the case of the Samaria Regional Council v. Tlaib, to test the scope of Congressional immunity, and possibly, to make new and important law relevant to the age of the tweet. If I were Rashida Tlaib, I’d be concerned.

 

Hugh Fitzgerald

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/05/rashida-tlaib-falsely-charges-settlers-setting-hugh-fitzgerald/

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U.S. airlines cancel flights to Tel Aviv amid escalating conflict - Reuters

 

​ by Reuters

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines issue travel waivers for a host of flights to Ben Gurion Airport after Hamas claimed it had fired rockets at Israel's only port of entry; United spokeswoman says company will 'monitor the situation

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines have canceled flights between the United States and Tel Aviv, according to data by flight tracker FlightAware, amid an escalating conflict in Israel.
 
Israel said it killed 16 members of the Hamas armed wing in Gaza in a barrage on Wednesday and Palestinian militants rained rockets into Israel in one of their most intense hostilities in years.
עומסים בנתב"ג
People line up at Ben Gurion Airport
(Photo: Shmulik Dodfor)
United Airlines said it had canceled flights from Chicago and Newark to Tel Aviv on May 11 and flights from San Francisco and Newark on May 12.
 
"We have issued a travel waiver to allow customers to adjust their travel through May 25 and will continue to monitor the situation," a United spokeswoman said.
 
A spokesman for Delta, which flies to Tel Aviv from New York's John F. Kennedy International (JFK) airport, said it has issued a travel wavier for flights between May 11 and 13 and has "no determination about resumption at this juncture".
 
American Airlines, which also flies to Tel Aviv from JFK, did not immediately comment.
 
טילים בשמי נתב"ג
Rockets seen above Ben Gurion Airport

 

Reuters

Source: https://www.ynetnews.com/travel/article/HkYrynK00u

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IDF: 750 Gaza targets hit, including 160 rocket launchers, 60 terrorists - Yoav Zitun

 

​ by Yoav Zitun

Israeli Air Force spokesman describes attack was 'special target' that included dropping 170 bombs in urban area within 18 minutes, without harming any civilians; 1,700 projectiles fired at Israel, with Iron Dome maintaining 90% success rate

The IDF has struck 750 different targets in the Gaza Strip using more than 1,000 explosives since fighting began, the military said Thursday as it summed up its actions since the start of Operation Guardian of the Walls on Monday. 
 
The targets included 33 terror tunnels, 160 embedded rocket launchers, four high-rise buildings and 60 terrorist operatives, among them senior Hamas officials who were hit from the air.
תקיפת חיל האוויר בעזה
The IAF strikes an urban area in Gaza on Thursday
(Photo: AFP)
On Thursday alone, the army struck four apartments used by Hamas for operational purposes, a spokesperson for the Israeli Air Force told reporters at an afternoon press briefing.
 
One of the apartments was used by a commander of the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza to direct attacks against Israel, while another was used by a commander in the central Gaza city of Deir al-Balah. A separate attack on the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza left at least two people dead. 
 
The spokesperson said one attack was on what he called a "special target," and included dropping 170 bombs inside an urban area within a space of 18 minutes, without harming any innocent civilians. 
 
הריסות בעזה
An apartment building destroyed in an Israeli strike on Gaza
(Photo: AFP)
 
The army said that the high-rise apartment buildings that were brought down to some international criticism were used by the terror groups and that civilians inside were given advance warning to leave the scene.
 
The IDF believes that despite destroying some of the Gaza terror groups' ability to produce rockets, they will continue to target Israeli cities in the short term, but the damage to the long-term abilities will be considerable, the spokesperson said.
 
He added that Military Intelligence has not yet been able to locate the long-range rocket launchers in order to prevent Hamas and other groups from targeting the center of the country.
ירי מעזה
Rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel on Thursday
(Photo:: AFP)
According to the military, there are increasing signs that Hamas wants a ceasefire. Even so, the IDF is calling up thousands of reservist troops to bolster artillery units and to help man the Iron Dome missile defense batteries. Troops will also be assigned to operational command units while all furlough for combat troops has been canceled.
 
In a message to his troops on Thursday, Gaza Division commander Brig.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano said that IDF forces had bombed an attack tunnel, killing 20 Hamas fighters before they were able to infiltrate into Israel to carry out a terror attack.
"We turned that tunnel into a death trap," he said.
A Hamas drone shot down by IDF on Thursday near Gaza border
A Hamas drone shot down by IDF on Thursday near the Gaza border
(Photo: Courtesy)
The military also said that a drone launched from Gaza into Israel's Eshkol Regional Council near the border was intercepted and destroyed Thursday.
 
This was the fourth drone brought down by the military since the morning hours and forces along the border remained on alert for more unmanned aircraft to be sent by the Gaza-based terror groups.
 
At least two of the drones carried explosive devices meant to cause injuries and damage inside Israeli communities close to the Gaza border. The terror groups were apparently able to direct the unmanned aircrafts to specific pre-determined locations.
 
One of the drones was shot down by a fighter jet, another was intercepted using the Iron Dome missile defense system while the two were targeted using undisclosed means. 
 
Hamas asked Gaza residents not to post videos of drones in flight on social media platforms so as not to provide the IDF with information that would help disrupt the flights.
 
The military said that 1,700 projectiles had been fired from Gaza since the hostilities began, but the Iron Dome had maintained a 90% success rate and intercepted 700 rockets before they could land in populated areas.
יירוט מעל שדרות
The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepts a rocket fired from Gaza as Sderot on Thursday
(Photo: Reuters)
Hamas has been targeting the Iron Dome batteries in the south and center of the country in an effort to interfere with this level of success, the army said. 
 
"Due to the missile defense system's success, Ben -Gurion International Airport was able to remain open and only specific flights were diverted to prevent harm," the IDF spokesperson said. 
 
He added a representative of the Air Force was on hand at the airport's control tower to assist operations from there.
 
The spokesperson said that Hamas was also trying to instigate violence in the West Bank, which has so far been relatively quiet. 
 
"Hamas continues its combative and provocative rhetoric," he said, "and has been trying to provoke residents of the West Bank to begin protests."
שינוע כלים לגבות רצועת עזה
IDF hardware being delivered to the Gaza border on Thursday
(Photo: AFP)
The spokesman for the Hamas military wing Abu Ubaida on Thursday did issue a call to arms to Palestinians in the West Bank. 
 
"Jerusalem is our symbol," he said. "We are fighting to defend the al-Aqsa Mosque and the residents of Sheikh Jarrah and any price we pay is for the benefit of al-Aqsa. Our weapons are meant for the defense of our holy sites." 
 
His message appeared to be an attempt to incite violence ahead of Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and Nakba (Catastrophe) Day on Saturday, when Palestinians mourn the creation of at the State of Israel.
First published: 19:31 , 05.13.21

 

Yoav Zitun

Source: https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HJGHeCquu

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Hamas losing its upper hand - Oded Granot

 

​ by Oded Granot
Hamas would sign a ceasefire deal in a heartbeat if it were offered the opportunity. Its members understand the balance of force in this latest round of fighting has begun to clearly lean in Israel's favor, and their situation is getting worse by the minute.

 

Hamas leaders at odds over prisoner swap with Israel
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwa | File photo: AFP

Abu Hamza, Islamic Jihad's spokesman in the Gaza Strip, stood before the cameras, Wednesday, and said his organization was willing to fight Israel as long as necessary. "Our struggle will not cease," he said. Despite Hamza's boasting, there is no chance of that happening. Had Israel responded to attempts to mediate a ceasefire, and it's a good thing it didn't, Gaza's terror groups would have signed a ceasefire deal yesterday.

There are two main reasons for this. The first is that according to those in the joint Hamas-Islamic Jihad command center in Gaza, the organizations have already achieved their public relations victory against Israel: They took the Jewish state by surprise, fired rockets at Jerusalem and succeeding in changing the path of the traditional Jerusalem Day Flag Dance that normally sees attendees march through the Arab Quarter of the Old City, and sending Knesset members running from the Knesset plenum at the sound of sirens. They have proven they have the impressive ability of launching over 1,000 rockets, hundreds of which targeted the center of the country and "bombed Tel Aviv." They've killed several Israelis and wounded dozens, and they succeeded in achieving a direct hit on a military jeep in Netiv Haasara with an anti-tank missile.

Just as importantly, they believe they have succeeded in establishing the perception among Palestinians that it is Hamas and not the Palestinian Authority that is now defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque, leading the struggle for Jerusalem and efforts to "liberate Palestinians from the yoke of Israeli occupation," and that they are the only ones capable of enlisting radical Arab Israelis to their efforts.

Another, no less important, reason Hamas would now quickly sign a ceasefire deal if it were offered the opportunity has to with the increasing understanding in Gaza that over the past day, the balance of force has begun to clearly lean in Israel's favor. The perception of a Hamas victory is slowly dissipating, and their situation is getting worse every minute.

It's not just the precise intelligence that allows for the targeted killings of senior Islamic Jihad and Hamas officials, including Bassem Issa, commander of Hamas's Gaza City, those responsible for the launching of rockets into Israel, their cyber teams, and the direct hits on at least four cars with terrorists inside that have struck a nerve.

Alongside the terrorist organization's institutions, buildings, and facilities that were destroyed, the Israel Defense Forces toppled multi-story apartment buildings that house, among other things, Hamas headquarters, offices, and weapons caches. This was the case with the Hanadi tower, which collapsed, and later the al-Jawhara tower, which housed, among other things, the offices of Hamas' media outlet and its cyberwarfare unit. The same is true of the collapse of the Al Shorouk tower.

Gaza appears to be in a state of shock over the forcefulness of the Israeli response and the incessant airstrikes by the Israeli Air Force. Hamas would have liked to end this round for reasons mentioned above, but in the meanwhile, it has been forced to respond with massive rocket barrages at Israel's center in the hope of incurring mass casualties.

Israel acted correctly when it rejected offers for a ceasefire and has succeeded in tipping the balance in its favor. Nevertheless, we cannot be confident the air strikes and assassinations of senior figures from the air will be enough to restore confidence among Israel's residents or deterrence against Gaza's terrorist groups in the long term.

For one thing, the heads of the terrorist organizations in Gaza are still largely hiding in command centers dug deep into the earth and situated directly under residential buildings in what is known as "Underground Gaza." The same is true of their ammunition and weapons stockpiles. Assuming Israel has the necessary information, a strike on these targets would lead to mass casualties, something Israel has been trying to avoid. Ms. Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has already warned Israel against "the possible commission of crimes."

However, Israeli decision-makers are themselves still on the fence, and rightfully so, as to whether to issue the order for a ground operation, without which it won't be possible to completely collapse the Hamas regime.

As a result, this current round of fighting may not be the last, and the next round of fighting will await the next Israeli government, which may succeed in consolidating a clear strategy that answers the question: What do we do about Gaza?

 

Oded Granot

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/05/13/hamas-losing-its-upper-hand/

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CNN's Desperation to Rewrite the ‘Biden Vaccine’ History - Brad Slager

 

​ by Brad Slager

Inoculating a country from the truth.

 


After President Biden gave his historic speech before (some of) Congress last Wednesday evening CNN hosted a panel of leftist sycophants to analyze the night. The blatantly slobbering affair was full with fulsome praise for the man, but then Gloria Borger took things to a new level. The expert analyst was being critical of some comments made by Donald Trump, where she was perturbed that the former President was not giving the current President proper credit on his pandemic response.

Borger made the astounding announcement that, "everybody understands that Operation Warp Speed happened under Joe Biden." It is something to behold.

Note here not only her fractured view of the facts, but that nobody on the panel made anything close to a correction to her statement. Later, Gloria did circle back and made a correction on her statement -- sort of. She tries to have it both ways, saying Trump gets credit for Operation Warp Speed, but it is Joe Biden who is responsible for people actually becoming vaccinated.

The term “gaslighting” has become slightly overused these days, but Borger’s attempted realignment of facts here fits the term and it is hardly something isolated with her performance on Wednesday. CNN as a network has been hard at work over the past 100 days to recast the vaccine narrative and give full credit to Joe Biden for the three vaccines brought to market by Donald Trump -- the vaccines he was mocked over when he made his bold announcement of their rapid arrival.

Just one day earlier CNN gave a lengthy report on Biden’s supposedly heroic effort to get America vaccinated, calling it “a wartime effort” and echoing another entry the day prior, describing the administration as having instituted a concerted effort to fix the vaccine rollout. If this sounds suspiciously like ad copy penned by the DNC, and filtered through the White House Press Office you are correct in that feeling:

  • The effort, described to CNN during in-depth interviews with three of the administration's top Covid advisers and two other White House officials, has allowed the US to go from having one of the worst Covid responses in the world to being a global leader in getting shots in arms.

After giving some passing mention to the efforts put in place by Trump administration officials, writer Ashley Semler turns to the favorite authority of the press, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The perpetually contradicting doctor did not disappoint. “The nation's top infectious disease specialist -- who once disputed that the Biden team was starting from scratch -- now says that the Biden team deserves credit for the current state of the vaccine roll out.” That dispute mentioned was in reference to another ridiculous CNN report, one made on Biden’s first full day in office claiming that he had been left no plan whatsoever to distribute the three vaccines that magically appeared on the market.

In order for any of these empty claims to take root it is required that certain realities be thrown overboard first. To start, the man who had to allegedly build a nonexistent vaccine plan somehow had managed to get himself vaccinated before last Christmas, something CNN energetically reported on at the time. Then there is the small matter of the vaccines administered prior to the inaugural.

On January 20, when Joe Biden was sworn in as President, there were over 1.5 million vaccines administered that day, somehow taking that running total to around 20 million by that date. 

Not only is that an impressive figure to achieve without a distribution network in place, as the asinine claim goes, but it was already on pace to hit the 100 million vaccines in 100 days mark that Biden set as HIS supposed goal. Joe could have sat back and taken no action whatsoever, and he would have been able to make that goal -- and undoubtedly he would have been praised for the accomplishment.

We know this, because one of the other rave reviews bestowed upon Biden is that he saw fit that all adults would be eligible for vaccinations by April of this year. That is not just some gaudy cheerleading by the network but it flies directly in the face of another goal -- the one established by Donald Trump, last fall. 

With the arrival of not one but two vaccines impending President Trump last September stated that he would see fit that all adults would become eligible to be vaccinated by...the upcoming April. This is another remarkable milestone that Trump predicted AND achieved, yet not only is his accomplishment being whitewashed into a Joe Biden success story, it defies what CNN themselves said in response to this boast.

On September 18, in discussing the upcoming rollout of the vaccines, the President declared, "Millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April." CNN at the time, however, was far from impressed with this statement, instead looking very critically at the announced goal:

  • President Donald Trump claimed Friday there will be enough coronavirus vaccines for every American by April -- a claim that doesn't match any timeline given by the federal government's health agencies, private researchers or even the companies making the vaccines.

This is some remarkable narrative crafting taking place on a long range scale. This is not a case of one or two stories attempting to shift a focus, it is an orchestrated effort by the network to completely recast the historical record. The effort appears to be push out enough of these claims to dilute the actual record and reframe the accomplished goals as being a Joe Biden success story.

This becomes yet another case of Biden plagiarizing for his own edification. To see an entire news network, one that previously called to not politicize the pandemic, joining in to burnish his record is beyond disturbing. They are trying to inoculate the country from the truth.

 

Brad Slager

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/05/cnn-has-become-desperate-rewrite-biden-vaccine-brad-slager/

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Blinken's Non-Containment Policy Regarding China - Peter Schweizer

 

​ by Peter Schweizer

Where China is concerned, words and statements matter. Weakness displayed is weakness exploited.

  • "Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down. It is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we're going to stand up and defend it." — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 60 Minutes interview, May 2, 2021.

  • For American diplomacy, this is a significant admission that America no longer wants to lead the world, but instead gracefully back away as the world's reigning superpower.

  • The Chinese communists in Beijing, however, are not known for either subtlety or nuance in how they handle their affairs in their own backyard. Where China is concerned, words and statements matter. Weakness displayed is weakness exploited.

  • To win the Cold War in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan's genius was to go further than simple containment. Reagan believed a simple containment policy would always leave you on defense. He compared it to getting possession of the football and punting on first down.

  • So the leaders of the free world should not only be speaking – and acting – in opposition to China's human rights abuses and expansionist, aggressive movements internationally. They should be attacking the worst, most vicious exponent of Leninism – the Chinese Communist Party – as the cause of the human rights problems and global instability that we see in the world.

  • It is by design and for keeps.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that the goal of the Biden administration was not to "contain" China, but to protect a "rules-based order" in international relations. For American diplomacy, this is a significant admission that America no longer wants to lead the world, but gracefully back away as the world's reigning superpower. Pictured: Then US Deputy Secretary of State Blinken (right) meets with Liu Yandong, then Vice Premier of China, at the seventh US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington DC, June 24, 2015. (Photo by Chris Kleponis/AFP via Getty Images)

In various recent interviews, President Joe Biden and his top diplomat have tried to say they want China to follow "the rules" while it pushes past the United States as the dominant power in the world. That is the only way to see the signals they are sending to the Beijing regime.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Norah O'Donnell of CBS News' 60 Minutes last week that the goal of the Biden administration was not to "contain" China, but to protect a "rules-based order" in international relations:

"Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down. It is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we're going to stand up and defend it."

For American diplomacy, this is a significant admission that America no longer wants to lead the world, but gracefully back away as the world's reigning superpower. Perhaps these clear signals will be seen by some western allies as merely noblesse oblige, a gentlemanly way of responding to the shoves of a bully.

Interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN, President Biden sounded almost apologetic for even bringing up China's human rights abuses in his first phone call with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Cooper asked, "When you talk to him about human rights abuses, is that just — is that as far as it goes in terms of the U.S.? or is there any actual repercussions for China?"

Biden's response is telling. He replied:

"Well, there will be repercussions for China, and he knows that. What I'm doing is making clear that we, in fact, are going to continue to reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies that have an impact on their attitude. China is trying very hard to become the world leader, and goat that moniker and be able to do that, they have to gain the confidence of other countries. As long as they're engaged in activity that is contrary to basic human rights, it's going to be hard to do that. "

It is tempting to see a politician's words about diplomacy as simply tactical moves, not an honest statement of their true diplomatic intentions. President Donald Trump famously used softer words about Vladimir Putin and North Korean despot Kim Jong Un than he did about German prime minister Angela Merkel. But the Chinese communists in Beijing are not known for either subtlety or nuance in how they handle their affairs in their own backyard. Words and statements matter where China is concerned. Weakness displayed is weakness exploited. American policy towards emergent China has long been strong words matched with a policy of containment, which we should explain.

Containment means containing the geopolitical and influence advances around the world of the country in question. During the Cold War with the USSR, this not only meant that we wanted to stop Soviet tanks from going through the Fulda Gap into West Germany, but also that we wanted to limit or contain Soviet influence in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Regarding China, containment has meant supporting Hong Kong, India, Tibet, Chinese ethnic and religious minorities, Japan, and the other Asian Tigers as a bulwark against Chinese hegemony. It has meant opposing Chinese aggression and territorial claims both at the UN and with the presence of the Seventh Fleet.

To win the Cold War in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan's genius was to go further than simple containment. Reagan believed a simple containment policy would always leave you on defense. He compared it to getting possession of the football and punting on first down. This is why he not only built up American military capabilities but deployed his rhetorical arsenal against the rusting iron grip of Soviet totalitarianism. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" was his closing argument and meant more to the collapse of the Soviet Union than Pershing II missiles, as it turned out.

The fact that both Biden and Blinken tread so gingerly around Chinese expansionism and tyranny, forswearing even to use the word "containment," is because they don't want to provoke Beijing, which would take real offense at us saying it. But if they are acknowledging that Beijing wants to overtake us, and seeks to expand its model of authoritarianism around the world, how can they as putative leaders of the free world not call for containment and more? They appear to be straddling two positions while lacking the fortitude to come out and call for containment.

In the struggle against Marxism-Leninism, that second word is the most dangerous today. The Chinese communist regime is deeply Leninist in its nature and operation. Like its eponymous originator, the Leninists of China stress the dictatorial side of their "revolution," not its theoretical ideas about class or, most definitely, capital. This is the true nature of the Beijing regime and why its threats and challenges are so strong. The "Marxism" side has been somewhat cast off by the Leninist drive to punish and exploit their adversaries. Unless the nature of the Chinese system itself changes, we are going to face with this Leninist threat for decades to come.

So the leaders of the free world should not only be speaking – and acting – in opposition to China's human rights abuses and expansionist, aggressive movements internationally. They should be attacking the worst, most vicious exponent of Leninism – the Chinese Communist Party – as the cause of the human rights problems and global instability that we see in the world. Human rights in China are not a "Chinese" problem, per se, they are a "Leninist" problem. It is no coincidence that what is happening in China today is similar to the attempts at control that we saw in Romania, East Germany, Cambodia and elsewhere during the Cold War.

It is by design and for keeps.

Peter Schweizer, President of the Governmental Accountability Institute, is a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow and author of the best-selling books Profiles in Corruption, Secret Empires and Clinton Cash, among others.

 

Peter Schweizer

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17348/china-containment-policy

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Iran's Proxy War Against Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh

 

​ by Khaled Abu Toameh

Were it not for Iran's financial and military aid, the Palestinian terrorist groups would not have been able to attack Israel with thousands of rockets and missiles.

  • Last year, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei admitted for the first time that his country was supplying the Palestinian terrorist groups with weapons...."Iran realized Palestinian fighters' only problem was lack of access to weapons" — Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Reuters, May 22, 2020.

  • The [earlier] denial exposes the extent of Iran's scheme to deceive the international community not only regarding its supply of weapons to the Palestinian terrorist groups, but also concerning its plan to acquire a nuclear bomb and bolster its production of nuclear material.

  • Iran... repeatedly violated the terms of the [2015 JCPOA] nuclear deal, according to the UN's nuclear monitoring Atomic Energy Agency.

  • Were it not for Iran's financial and military aid, the Palestinian terrorist groups would not have been able to attack Israel with thousands of rockets and missiles.

  • In the past, Iran used its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, to attack Israel. Iran is now using its Palestinian proxies to achieve its goal of eliminating Israel and killing Jews. This is a war not only between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist groups. Rather, it is a war waged by Iran against Israel.

  • The Western powers that are currently negotiating with Iran about the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal are emboldening the mullahs and allowing them to continue their war of "kill[ing] all the Jews."

Were it not for Iran's financial and military aid, the Palestinian terrorist groups would not have been able to attack Israel with thousands of rockets and missiles. Pictured: A barrage of rockets launched toward towns in Israel by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations from the Gaza Strip early on May 12, 2021. (Photo by Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)

The Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organization announced on May 11 that its members fired a burst of "Badr-3" missiles into Israel, killing two women and injuring dozens others. The announcement was made by PIJ's military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, after the group and other terror factions in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, fired hundreds of rockets into Israel within 24 hours.

The "Badr-3" missile is an Iranian-made missile that appeared for the first time on the battlefields of the Middle East in April 2019, when the Iranian-backed Houthi militia used it during the fighting in war-torn Yemen.

The "Badr-3" missile carries an explosive warhead weighing 250 kg, and has a range of more than 160 km, according to Debka, an Israeli website that reports on military issues. "The missile explodes within 20m of target and releases a 1,400-piece shower of shrapnel fragments," the website reported.

PIJ was the first terrorist organization to use the Iranian missile against Israel in 2019.

Until a few years ago, PIJ, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups used to receive rockets and other weapons directly from Iran -- smuggled in by sea or across the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. For some years now, however, according to Israeli intelligence sources, these terrorist groups have used years of experience with Iranian and other rockets to develop their own versions.

Over the past 15 years, Iran became the most dominant weapon supplier to Hamas and PIJ. The major smuggling route was from Iran to Sudan, on to Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, and from there to the Gaza Strip. These weapons include long range rockets, mortar shells, anti-tank missiles, tons of standard explosives and raw materials for explosive production.

Last year, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei admitted for the first time that his country was supplying the Palestinian terrorist groups with weapons. "Iran realized Palestinian fighters' only problem was lack of access to weapons," Khamenei said in an online speech.

"With divine guidance and assistance, we planned, and the balance of power has been transformed in Palestine, and today the Gaza Strip can stand against the aggression of the Zionist enemy and defeat it."

Khamenei went on to offer the reason why Iran was sending rockets, missiles and tons of explosives to the Gaza Strip: "The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous tumor in the region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed."

Khamenei's admission shows how the mullahs in Tehran have been lying to the West for many years. In 2011, Mohammad Khazaee, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations, sent a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council in which he vehemently denied that Iran was smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip:

"The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically rejects the allegations concerning the so-called smuggling of advanced weapons into the Gaza Strip, which are based on false and misleading information provided by the Zionist regime. Iran's support for the peoples of Palestine has been of a moral, humanitarian and political nature."

The denial exposes the extent of Iran's scheme to deceive the international community not only regarding its supply of weapons to the Palestinian terrorist groups, but also concerning its plan to acquire nuclear weapons and bolster its production of nuclear material.

So while the Obama administration was sending $400 million of cash to Iran, the Iranians were continuing to supply rockets and missiles to their proxies in the Gaza Strip so that they could use them to destroy the "Zionist entity."

In 2015, the Obama administration, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany reached a deal with Iran, whereby it agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. Iran, however, repeatedly violated the terms of the nuclear deal, according to the UN's nuclear monitoring Atomic Energy Agency.

The same Iran that lied about the smuggling of the weapons into the Gaza Strip also managed to deceive the US and the world powers regarding its willingness to adhere to the nuclear deal.

Last month, a report published by the Israeli Walla news website revealed that in 2006, Iran opened a route to smuggle missiles and ammunition to the Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip through Yemen and Sudan. The smuggling operations were led by Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was assassinated by Israel in 2010.

On April 9, Mahmoud Mardawi, a Hamas leader and former member of the group's military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam Brigades, told the Al-Monitor news website:

"Hamas wants to explore all sources of military supplies from every country and movement, mainly from Iran. We will not stop knocking on doors to find parties to provide us with weapons."

An arms smuggler who deals with Hamas told Al-Monitor that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sent weapons to the Palestinian terrorist groups through the Suez Canal all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, where Iranian ships dock off the coast of the Gaza Strip in Egyptian territorial waters. When night sets, he revealed, Hamas frogmen transport the weapons in closed containers.

Earlier this year, the secretary-general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, disclosed that Qassem Soleimani, the slain commander of Iran's Quds Force, "personally" managed a complex operation to send weapons to the Gaza Strip. Nakhaleh said that Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone attack on January 3, 2020 near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq, traveled to several countries to supply weapons for the Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

Were it not for Iran's financial and military aid, the Palestinian terrorist groups would not have been able to attack Israel with thousands of rockets and missiles. Like their patrons in Tehran, Hamas and PIJ do not recognize Israel's right to exist and are committed to its destruction.

In the past, Iran used its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, to attack Israel. Iran is now using its Palestinian proxies to achieve its goal of eliminating Israel and killing Jews. This is a war not only between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist groups. Rather, it is a war waged by Iran against Israel.

The Western powers that are currently negotiating with Iran about the revival of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal are emboldening the mullahs and allowing them to continue their war of "kill[ing] all the Jews."

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Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17364/iran-proxy-war-israel

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