I have read more tweets than I can count that say the root of the Israeli/Palestinian problem is the Occupation of Gaza. But Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza! Hamas does.
Hamas is on a new offensive. This one is not fought with rockets and missiles, but words. With the gruesome murder of reporter James Foley last week, people are making the connection between the ideology of Hamas and that of ISIS. I posted this blog just before Foley’s execution. Benjamin Netanyahu minced no words when he made the obvious comparison:
“Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas, they’re the enemies of peace, they’re the enemies of Israel, [and of] of all civilized countries, and I believe they’re the enemies of the Palestinians themselves.” He added that Israel faces the “same savagery” that befell Foley, noting that Hamas is known to “wantonly rocket our cities and conduct mass killings, and when they can, they murder children, teenagers, shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor, their own people, and use their people as human shields.”[i]
A Hamas official took issue with the comparison on twitter: “This is a cheap and deplorable attempt from Netanyahu to compare between the organizations. They aren’t fooling anybody.”[ii]
Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal went even further to explain the differences between ISIS and Hamas.
Mashaal stressed that Hamas differed from ISIS — which he called a “religious, violent group” that is a “totally different phenomenon” from Hamas — in that [Hamas] does not target civilians, aiming its rockets “most of the time” at military targets and IDF bases.
“This is an opportunity for me to say we are against the killing of any civilians, any journalists,”… Mashaal vowed that Hamas would, in the future, take measures to warn Israeli civilians of impending attacks, just as Israel does in the Gaza Strip.[iii]
And it was reported that Mashaal said all that with a straight face… Impressive!
Hamas is on a rebranding PR offensive to convince you that “Hamas is a national movement and its members are freedom fighters who are trying to liberate Palestine along with its citizens and their rights.”[iv]
Let’s examine these claims one by one.
Hamas is not the PLO. And the PLO was not created to liberate Gaza or the West Bank, as they were in the hands of Egypt and Jordan (not Israel) when the PLO formed in 1964. They wanted to liberate Tel Aviv and Haifa—not Gaza! Hamas is a branch of the now-outlawed-in-Egypt Muslim Brotherhood—a radical Islamic terror group.
Mashall claims that Hamas is not seeking a caliphate (one large Islamic State) like ISIS, but is merely resisting the occupation. Zvi Mazel, former Israeli ambassador to Egypt and expert on foreign affairs, disagrees:
Hamas is a radical Islamic movement founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the express purpose of destroying Israel and establishing on the ruins of the Jewish state an Islamic state, which will go on fighting until it has restored a caliphate in the entire Middle East.[v]
This is laughable. Just yesterday, as we were worshiping at the end of our service, sirens began to sound. We stopped the music and prayed. Then we heard several booms, indicating that the Iron Dome had taken out the Hamas rockets.
So, Hamas, that doesn’t target civilians, aimed its rockets at Tel Aviv, a city full of civilians, and shot. In fact, Hamas has not killed or injured even one soldier on duty[vi] with its rockets—only civilians including four-year-old Daniel Tragerman on Friday.
Hamas released a music video in Hebrew at the beginning of this war, meant to strike fear in all Israel. It has had the opposite effect and has become a summer hit and a favorite tune of Israeli soldiers. All laughs aside, the song calls on Palestinians to “eliminate all Zionists”—not just soldiers. It goes on to encourage Palestinians to “attack, carry out terror strikes.” By definition, terror acts target civilians. So again, Hamas is lying.
Was Hamas concerned about the rights of the 18 suspected collaborators it executed on Friday? A witness said Hamas lined up seven men on a street and opened fire. Six were grabbed from a mosque. Eleven more were gunned down earlier in the day. Dozens of Muslim Arabs have been executed in the last month by Hamas.
But they were collaborators. Really? Without a trial? Without evidence? What about the dozens of tunnel diggers Hamas executed out of fear they may reveal tunnel locations to the “Zionist enemy”?
Hamas has a religious police. They have turned Gaza into a Taliban-like prison. One female reporter was arrested for not wearing a hijab while swimming and for laughing in public. A young man was kidnapped and blindfolded. His crime? Using hair gel!
“I could hear the screams of people being beaten in the rooms next to me,” he recalled. “Two men held my legs down and tied them together on a wooden board then they beat the soles of my feet with a plastic rod. They beat me for at least five minutes. I was crying and screaming with agony. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”
Afterwards, Hamas operatives shaved his head and dropped him off at home. He could not walk for three days.
Hamas seeks to impose a strict Sharia law on Gaza.
Jonathan Schanzer writes, that in the two years since the 2007 coup, the Gaza Strip has exhibited the characteristics of Talibanization, a process whereby the Hamas government has imposed strict rules on women, discouraged activities commonly associated with Western or Christian culture, oppressed non-Muslim minorities, imposed Sharia law, and deployed religious police to enforce these laws.[vii]
Two months ago, three teenage boys were kidnapped and shot by Hamas operatives, which Hamas now admits. Mashaal would have you think that they were legitimate targets because they live in the West Bank. But even if you could make the ridiculous case that adults who live in the West Bank are actually ‘militants,’ these were children who did not live there by their own choice.
Michael Grynszpan recently met with a Spanish journalist coming out of Gaza.
He was very friendly. I asked him how come we never see on television channels reporting from Gaza any Hamas people, no gunmen, no rocket launchers, no policemen. We only see civilians on these reports, mostly women and children. He answered me frankly: “It’s very simple, we did see Hamas people launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dare pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us.”[viii]
We already shared how Hamas executed dozens of tunnel diggers. Yesterday they fired upon their own border crossing, injuring several Arabs! The crossing is used to transport wounded Gazans to Israeli hospitals where we treat them for free (once again, showing that our war is not against Gaza, but Hamas). However, they would prefer these people die than get treated in Israel. When Palestinians get help from Israel it makes Hamas look weak and incapable, and reveals Israel’s compassion. So to prevent that they fire on their own wounded!
But this should not be news. In the twisted logic of Hamas and its leader Khalid Mashaal, they are doing their Arab brothers a favor! See last part of this Hamas tweets (Al Qassam is the name of Hamas’ military wing) from just a few days ago.
We are continuing our struggle. ALLAH IS OUR GOAL, THE PROPHET IS OUR LEADER, JIHAD IS OUR WAY, AND DEATH FOR ALLAH IS OUR MOST EXALTED WISH
— Al-Qassam Brigades (@Qassam_English) August 16, 2014
No, Hamas has not changed—they are simply rebranding. They are trying to distance themselves from ISIS for one reason and one reason only. ISIS dared to reveal to the world how evil they are and Hamas prefers to keep it quiet. Nevertheless, ISIS is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS.
[vi] An off duty soldier was critically wounded on Friday.
After a week of quiet, it is back on. Hamas is firing rockets (sometimes 10 at a time) all over Israel. But it’s all paradise in the Holy Land, because we have the #IronDome. Or is it? While the U.N. Humans Rights ‘cartel’ says we have unfair advantage over the terrorists who attacked us and even hinted that we should share our #IronDome technology with Hamas, there are some myths about its effectiveness.
While the #IronDome has been a miracle in so many ways, 10% of the missiles evade it. That means one out of every ten missiles the #IronDome targets will get through. While these are pretty good odds, we are talking about a living, functioning society. Imagine San Francisco being bombarded with rockets. I use San Francisco because of Nancy Pelosi’s absurd declaration that Hamas is a Humanitarian organization—or at least the Qataris assure her of this (by the way, the Qataris, those fine humanitarians told the leader of Hamas that if he signed the Egyptian ceasefire, he could be kicked out of the country).
Thank God for His intervention. Today a rocket slammed into an Ashkelon mall injuring no one! All my in-laws are from Ashkelon.
Another soldier reports targeting a Hamas missile with the #IronDome but missing three times. He said the rocket would’ve hit close to Tel Aviv’s tallest building, but at the last minute, a powerful gust of wind redirected it into the sea. Thank God, but still, we must live with these near misses.
My friend Yosi works as a cook at a beachside restaurant in Ashkelon. When we delivered a check to him and his wife to help with their expenses, he was going to work for the first time in three weeks. Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire. Of course, by the time we left, the #IronDome was taking on incoming fire. That was one of the eight ceasefires that Hamas has broken.
Yosi is back home.
Israel’s tourism industry has taken a hit. Who wants to come to a country that is being bombarded with Rockets? Families are not going out to eat. Jobs are being lost. Wages can’t be paid. Hamas knows this—the media doesn’t tell you.
Sure, it is easy to say that this is nothing compared to what Gazans are going through—and that is true. But Israel is taking on fire simply because we exist as a Jewish state. Gaza is taking fire for blatant, belligerent and illegal targeting of noncombatants by their Terrorist leaders. Israel has no choice.
I shot this video while seeking protection from an incoming rocket. When it was all over and I got back on my bike to ride home, I broke down in tears over the absurdity of living in a country where terrorists indiscriminately target civilians to murder them—and then other countries justify it.
I am a forty-nine-year-old man—and I was in tears. Imagine being a five-year-old boy or girl… Living in Ashkelon, not Tel Aviv… Where every night you have to run for your life—several times! It is traumatizing, illegal and inhumane. A country cannot be expected to live like this.
I was driving home from Ashkelon last week when I saw traffic stopped on the other side of route 4. On the other side, a car was engulfed in flames. While I am sure the there was no one inside, as we are told to leave our cars as soon as the siren sounds, it doesn’t lessen the emotional trauma on children seeing that image.
The aforementioned Yosi has been sleeping in a tiny protective room with no air conditioner in 90-degree heat, along with this wife, child, mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
My brother-in-law has an #IronDome battery almost next door to his home. I don’t have the exact stats, but of the over 3,400 rockets fired at Israel from Hamas, Ashkelon has been a favorite target. I would guess that about 15 to 20 rockets a day are launched towards the coastal city. Just a few hours ago, he called to tell us of several explosions this morning.
Each time, a siren sounds that is designed to wake you up quickly. Then, if the #IronDome believes the rocket is a threat to civilians, it targets the rocket. My brother in law told me, “Each time it is like a plane taking off.” – from his backyard! Try getting a good night’s sleep.
This is true, unless shrapnel falls from the sky and hits you. In the moments after I shot the video of the #IronDome taking out its target—a Hamas Rocket meant to kill innocent civilians—a huge piece of shrapnel fell to the ground at a murderous speed, landing in a public park where children were playing.
Just minutes ago, Hamas sent 13 Rockets to areas all over Israel.
According to Israel Police, pieces of rocket (shrapnel) fell on Jerusalem’s Hebron Road, a major thoroughfare in southern Jerusalem. A boom was heard over the capital minutes before, likely from the interception of the rocket. (TimesofIsrael.com)
Well, hopefully we can, but please understand, each Rocket costs $50,000. $50,000 is well beyond the average yearly income of Israelis.
I heard a legal advisor for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas state this. In reality, each Qassam Rocket has between 12 and 44 pounds of explosives in its warhead consisting of metal bearings. You must fact-check EVERYTHING that the Palestinian Authority or Hamas say. The same advisor said Hamas is absolutely not using children as Human Shields, despite the overwhelming proof to the contrary. (Then she claimed Santa was real!)
Understand that I missed most of this war because I was in the U.S. Since returning, I have only had to run from rockets four times. And still, every sound that I hear, whether it is a car speeding up, a washing machine on the spin cycle, or children playing, I think it is a siren announcing an incoming rocket.
If that is what I am going through, imagine what type of PTSD symptoms the children of S’derot, Ashkelon and Ashdod are experiencing. Fear of going to sleep, dreaming of incoming rockets, thinking that you will die before summer’s end or that you parents will be killed… this is a traumatic experience I would not wish on anyone.
Just today a woman was seriously injured in a traffic accident when the sirens began to blare. So despite the lack of direct success that Hamas rockets have achieved, there is an indirect success that can life altering and deadly.
In conclusion, I would to suggest that every talking head, like Jon Stewart, who assumes that living through a war like this is easy because we have the #IronDome, come to Israel and rent a hotel room in Ashkelon or S’derot. Let’s see how long you last. And maybe, just over your hotel, to be fair, we won’t use the #IronDome…as you say it is using disproportionate force. But what you will discover, is that when it is you and your family being attacked, disproportional force is exectly what you will want!
The world has finally admitted that that ISIS is a well-funded, thoroughly violent force that needs to be dealt with. Amazingly, this revelation came on the heels of this same world’s united condemnation of Israel, for defending herself forcefully. Some have even ignorantly and arrogantly called out Israel for Genocide. Genocide is usually planned—like in Hitler’s Final Solution (6,000,000), what we are seeing now with ISIS, Saddam Hussein’s gassing the Kurds on May 16th, 1988 (up to 5,000 dead in one day), or in Rwanda in the 90s (as many as 100,000 in 100 days—1,000 a day). That’s genocide.
Defending yourself against terrorists who are rocketing your civilian population from schools, hospitals, churches and mosques, is called self-defense.
If Israel was truly intent on such a heinous crime, we would have never sent one soldier into Gaza to destroy tunnels or hunt down terrorists (whereby 64 Israeli soldiers paid the ultimate price). Instead, we would have unleashed a bombing campaign that would have completely wiped out Gaza. But that is not who we. A true genocide could have been accomplished in a most devastating way, in about two hours—why waste a month?
The very fact that when Israel was being accused of the worst crime there is—genocide, there was actually a group of people in Iraq and Syria committing genocide, and the world was pretty much silent—until a few weeks ago. While Israel was defending herself against over 3,000 deadly terrorist rockets, ISIS was systematically going from village to village telling Christians to convert, leave or die. Arab Christians have been beheaded, crucified, raped, tortured, mutilated and shot at point blank range—and all the while, the world was obsessing over Israel acting in self-defense.
“Since Hamas’ 2007 takeover of Gaza, residents say it has imposed strict Taliban-style Islamic laws on the people.”[i] According to Archbishop Alexios, the most prominent Christian in Gaza:
“Islam is the rule of this place and whatever Hamas says we must obey or face consequences.”[ii]
Hamas is a ruthless, bloodthirsty terrorist group, and yet it is Israel who is being labeled evil for fighting them. The world is guilty of judging Israel with unequal weights and measures. In Syria, over 170,000 people have died and there are over 10,000,000 refugees—but Israel generated more condemnation over a self-defense operation that ended the day Hamas agreed to stop firing rockets. States like Cuba, Iran and most of the Arab nations trample on its citizens’ human rights, and the U.N. is silent (Cuba was actually on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in 2009!). Meanwhile, as Israel’s residents are running for their lives to bomb shelters at all hours of the night, we are accused of genocide when we finally say, “enough is enough!”
Critics cry, “But it was the Israeli blockade that caused this!”
Really? The blockade began only after Hamas violently took over Gaza, killing PLO leaders, throwing some off the tallest buildings in Gaza. Moreover, Egypt also closed her northern border to Gaza. Where is the outrage over the Egyptian blockade? Why is Hamas not firing rockets into Egypt?
Then they say, “It’s the occupation!”
Really? The occupation of Gaza ended in 2005, when Israeli soldiers unilaterally, with no cooperation from the Palestinians or peace agreement, forcibly removed 10,000 Israelis who lived there. How was that received by the Palestinians? Since we left Gaza, we have endured over 12,000 rocket attacks. Yes, that was since we turned Gaza over completely to the Palestinians. Instead of seeing our leaving as a gesture of peace, they saw it as their military victory and a sign of our weakness, so they stepped up the attacks.
Then they say, “It was the Six-Day-War, when you took over Gaza and the West Bank.”
Yes, that was the war whereby Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan were threatening Israel with…oh what is that word—oh yes, Genocide!
“Our basic objection will be the destruction of Israel.” President of Egypt on May 27, 1967[iii]
“This is our opportunity to wipe out the disgrace which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear—to wipe Israel off the map.” Iraqi President, May 31st 1967[iv]
Let me ask you, if you captured territory from enemy states that were sworn to your annihilation, would you give it back? Of course not! Not without guarantees of your security. When Egypt, after years of wars and threats of wars, did sign a peace agreement with Israel, Israel gave back the entire Sinai desert.
The world sympathizes with Hamas, as if its goals are noble. Here is what we know about Hamas:
Israel cares more for the people of Gaza than does Hamas. Hamas is not a freedom seeking organization—they are a Taliban-like, Islamic, radical regime, that seeks to see Islam rule over the world—just like ISIS. Hamas was born not out of the Palestinian struggle for a homeland, but out of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, bent on global Jihad. Here are just a few recent newspaper headlines:
Yes, while the world was condemning Israel and justifying Hamas, a group JUST LIKE HAMAS was murdering 80 Yazidi men and kidnapping 100 women for refusing to convert to Islam (that is just a sample of their crimes). What if those 80 men and 100 women or the thousands stranded on the Iraq’s Mt. Sinjar could have pushed a button that would have eliminated ISIS—men, women and children. Would you condemn them for pushing it? Yet, when Israel confronts similar aggression the world cries foul.
You say, “But Israel is not defenseless!” RIGHT! That is the only difference. If we e couldn’t defend ourselves, you would probably see the same rapes, mutilations, beheadings, forced conversions, etc. right here in the middle of Rabin Square in Tel Aviv or the at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
By Asher Intrater
The commando unit of Givati Division divided into two groups to check houses for terror tunnels in Gaza during the so-called “cease fire” last Thursday. One was led by Captain Benaya, and the other by his assistant, Lieutenant Eitan. Benaya’s unit entered one of the houses, and a group of Hamas terrorists came out of a 1.5 meter opening of a concealed shaft and shot to death Benaya’s lead team of three soldiers.
Eitan’s group was about 300 meters away resting. They heard the shots and came running. Two of the dead bodies were pulled to the side. Eitan realized that his immediate commander was dead, meaning that he was now in charge of the unit. Eitan (age 23!) called for “iron numbers” – a quick roll call to see if anyone is missing. Two minutes later it became clear that Hadar Golding was missing. Eitan called for the “Hannibal rule” – all forces to search for the kidnapped soldier.
Eitan saw blood marks leading up to the shaft entrance. It was clear that Golding was dragged into the tunnel. Eitan said, “I’m going after him.” By radio the next two levels of officers above him said it was too dangerous. He refused to yield. He got special permission from the Colonel over Givati Division. He started to go down, but realized it was too clumsy. He took off all his equipment, including helmet, and took only a pistol. He told two other soldiers on his team to follow after him.
They went down into the total darkness, with a flashlight, feeling their way along. They followed after signs of blood. They went on: 100 meters, 200, 300. Eitan said, “This is taking too long.” He started running deep into the tunnel. They got to a distance of 1,000 meters until they found the exit shaft – but it was sealed shut. They returned. They brought back enough evidence to confirm Golding’s death. Because of this evidence, these brave soldiers prevented an international hostage crisis and likely saved thousands of lives.
Lieutenant Eitan had been 50 days in continuous action. He was told by reporters, “You’ll receive a national medal of honor for this.” Eitan, thin, shy and delicate- featured, replied, “I don’t want a medal. I’m not a hero. I was just in the right place at the right time. Anyone would have done the same. This is the spirit of our unit; the spirit of the IDF, the spirit of the people of Israel.”
(Photo: Hadar Golding, the soldier’s whose death was confirmed by Lieutenant Eitan’s selfless actions)