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Thursday, Jul. 31 '14, Av 4, 5774


by Arutz Sheva Staff

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened a special security cabinet session Thursday morning to address the IDF's ongoing Operation Protective Edge.

"The IDF will continue to operate in the Gaza Strip with full strength" until the job is done, the Prime Minister said - and not before.

In particular, Netanyahu said that IDF forces had succeeded in destroying dozens of "terror tunnels" dug by Hamas into Israel, noting that the terrorist group was likely planning to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.

He said that he was confident that the IDF could shut down Hamas's tunnel network and emphasized that even were a ceasefire to be reached Israel would continue to destroy the tunnels.

"Until now, we have destroyed dozens of terror tunnels and we are determined to complete the mission with or without a ceasefire. I will not agree to any proposal that does not allow for this."

The prime minister claimed Hamas had suffered serious damage in the fighting, with hundreds of fighters killed and hundreds more military positions, rocket launchers and weapons stockpiles destroyed. Several senior Hamas commanders have also been killed or captured.

The current military operation is "only the first phase in the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip," Netanyahu added, saying that he had communicated that message clearly to American, European and other international leaders.

He also praised the soldiers of the IDF, as well as Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon for their "extraordinary" efforts during the operation, and assured the Israeli public that the government was working "day and night" to secure the citizens of Israel.

"We have a plan and we are working in accordance with it," he said.

For its part, Netanyahu appealed to the Israeli public to maintain national unity. That unity, he said "allows us to conduct the campaign in a balanced and responsible way. Unity gives our soldiers strength," warning extremists "on both sides" not to sabotage it.

He went on to criticize ministers who had attacked the government's conduct of the operation, saying that "government ministers should be setting a personal example to the entire nation" by unconditionally standing behind the war effort.

"The more united we are, the stronger we are."

by Yaakov Levi

An additional 16,000 reserve soldiers are being called up for duty, joining some 70,000 reservist who had already been called for service, the IDF announced Thursday. With the call-up, a total of some 86,000 reservists will be on active duty.
The call-up indicates that the IDF may expand its operation, expanding its mission beyond the destruction of terror tunnels constructed by Hamas. IDF spokesmen over the past day have said that the army needs between two and three days to destroy all the Hamas tunnels that could be used to attack Israel.
Meanwhile, the air force continued attacking terror targets in Gaza, hitting 110 buildings and structures used by terrorists to fire rockets at Israel and to launch tunnel attacks. So far, the IDF has hit 4,200 such targets in Gaza. In a statement, the army said that it had destroyed several homes of Hamas commanders and buildings used to coordinate attacks on Israel. Four terror tunnels were destroyed as well, the army said,
IDF troops overnight Wednesday eliminated a Hamas terrorist who tried to fire an anti-tank missile at IDF soldiers in southern Gaza. On Wednesday, three soldiers were killed when an explosive went off in a booby-trapped house "while soldiers were uncovering an offensive tunnel shaft in a residence in the southern Gaza Strip. The house and the tunnel were booby trapped with two explosive devices that were detonated against the soldiers," the IDF said in a statement."
Meanwhile, Hamas continued firing rockets at Israeli cities and towns. Early Thursday, residents of Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi, and other towns in the south-central plain between Ashdod and Ashkelon were forced to run to shelters when Red Color siren warnings went off. No injuries were reported in those attacks.

by Ari Soffer

As the battle with terrorist groups in Gaza continues to rage, IDF forces have taken the fight to Hamas in its vast network of underground tunnels, many of which lead into Israeli territory for attacks against both military and civilian targets.

On Thursday, the military released footage from an underground gun battle, in which soldiers from the IDF's Givati Brigade killed at least one terrorist.



In the video - which is subtitled in Hebrew only - a commander can be heard alerting his men to a terrorist nearby: "There was a guy just here, that terrorist, who entered between us and you."

Soldiers open fire twice at the terrorist, injuring him first and then - as the commander alerts them that he is still alive - shooting him dead. They then emerge from the tunnel inside a building in Gaza, where another group of terrorists had been spotted.

Another video released by the IDF shows Nahal Brigade soldiers together with army engineers detonating another tunnel:


by Ari Soffer

Customs officials at southern Israel's Ashdod port discovered hundreds of ball-bearings and cement mixers in a Turkish shipment of "humanitarian aid" to Gaza on Wednesday, raising fears the cargo could have been used by Hamas to support its ongoing war against Israel, according to Channel Two.

While both items have civilian uses, both have played a central role building Hamas's rocket arsenal and its vast network of "terror tunnels" into Israel.

Terrorists in Gaza regularly use ball-bearings to maximize the lethality of locally-made, short-range Qassam rockets. Unlike other, more powerful long-range rockets and military-grade mortar shells smuggled into Gaza from state-sponsors such as Iran, Qassam rockets have a relatively small warhead. But while the explosion itself may be relatively "small", the rockets are also packed with shrapnel - including nails, razors and, most commonly, ball-bearings - which are scattered throughout a relatively wide radius upon impact, maiming or killing anyone in the vicinity.

The co-opting of hundreds of tons of concrete supplies by Hamas to build its underground tunnel network, used to store and transport weapons as well as carry out attacks inside Israel, has also been well-documented.

The timing of those specific items of "humanitarian aid" is particularly suspicious; Gaza's civilian population are hardly appealing for fresh supplies of ball-bearings, and rebuilding targets struck by the Israeli Air Force while it is still operating over Gaza's skies seems a rather unfruitful endeavor.

The suspicious cargo had been handed over to security services for inspection. Authorities are currently withholding the problematic cargo, fearing it could be easily used by Hamas authorities to help replenish dwindling rocket supplies and rebuild the network of "terror tunnels" which has largely been destroyed by Israeli forces.

For their part, the owners of the seized container claim that the mixers were not specifically meant for making cement, but for other, unspecified, uses. They added that the ball-bearings were meant for use in the mixers.

Turkey's Islamist leadership is one of Hamas's main backers, along with Qatar, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has modeled himself as a champion of the "Palestinian cause", upping his already hostile rhetoric towards Israel since the start of Operation Protective Edge, comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany.

Erdogan's government has form when it comes to funding armed Islamist groups apart from Hamas. Kurdish fighters in northern Syria have long accused the Turkish government of backing Islamist rebels - including Al Qaeda-linked factions - to fight against them.

Last December the Turkish foreign ministry admitted its government had given 47 tons of arms to Islamist rebels in Syria, even as it attempted to pass them off as "non-lethal" cargo.

Amusingly, the weaponry in question had been filed as "guns without military uses" - despite being shipped into a country gripped by a bloody civil war.

by Hillel Fendel

With war raging, soldiers dying, and new tunnels appearing, most Israelis are not now in the mood to play the blame-game. It is ironic, however, that the Disengagement/Expulsion from Gush Katif that enabled Hamas to build up its missiles arsenal and tunnels network marks its ninth anniversary this very week.
To commemorate the occasion, a public event will be held at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem this coming Sunday evening. It will also commemorate the 10th anniversary of the famous "Human Orange Chain" that stretched from Gush Katif in Gaza all the way to the Western Wall Jerusalem, 90 kilometers away. (Orange was the official color of the popular struggle against the Disengagement.)
The Chain featured at least 130,000 people, according to police estimates. They stood in a nearly unbroken, hand-to-hand line-up, sending a message of "No to disengagement and expulsion, Yes to the Land of Israel and Gush Katif."
That their message was not accepted by the Ariel Sharon-headed government is a source of great frustration today – not only for the nearly 9,000 uprooted residents, but for many others in Israel, as the nation fights a costly war to destroy the terrorist network that has since arisen in Gaza.
The Sunday evening event will feature talks by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Interior Minister Gideon Saar. Following the screening of a new film on the Human Chain by Mordy Kershner, a panel discussion will take place entitled, "Does the Chain Yet Continue?" MK Zevulun Kalfa, the only current Knesset Member who lived in Gush Katif, will take part.
The event will be MC'd by popular broadcaster Sivan Rahav-Meir, known for her ability to bring out the ambience of religiously-oriented events to the secular public. 

by Moshe Cohen

The High Court is set to consider whether or not to order the removal of caravans near the Gush Etzion town of Tekoa that had been set up to honor the memories of murdered Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha'ar.

Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Ze'ev Elkin appealed on Thursday to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon not to order the demolition of the caravans.
"I demand that the Defense Minister immediately put a halt to the process of demolition of these caravans," said Elkin, himself a resident of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. "Especially now, when so many residents are on the front lines fighting in Gaza, demolishing homes in Tekoa that were build on state land – and were built in memory of the three teens who were murdered by Hamas terrorists not far from the site – is a perversion of justice and common sense," he said.
Orders to demolish the caravans, which the government considers an "illegal outpost," were issued last week. The caravans were set up several weeks ago in response to the murder by Hamas terrorists of the three Israeli teens. Residents and legal groups are set to file a petition with the High Court to prevent the demolitions, at least temporarily. It should be noted that there are no pending cases by Palestinians claiming ownership of the site.
Police and army units arrived at the site Wednesday night to clear out the five families living in the caravans.
"I recommend that the security establishment invest its time and efforts in fighting Hamas in Gaza, and not against residents of Tekoa," Elkin added.
Besides attempting to remove families from the Tekoa site, soldiers and police on Wednesday destroyed several structures and a stone house on a hilltop next to the central Samaria town of Kfar Tapuach – at the same time as the residents of those homes were serving in the IDF, with at least one fighting in Gaza. The hilltop in question is on state land and is not owned by Arabs, but is considered an "unauthorized outpost" by the government.
In a statement, legal rights organization Honenu said that "It is sad that during a period when Israelis are unified in backing the IDF against terrorism from Gaza and other parts of the country, the army and police would use precious resources to act against residents. The absurdity is even greater when the houses being destroyed belong to soldiers who are fighting Israel's enemies. This is not the treatment they deserve," the group said.

by Giulio Meotti, Rome

Last night, it was a great night in Rome. My newspaper, Il Foglio, rallied for Israel, its right to exist and to defend itself.

More than 1,000 people came to the demonstration. We met along the Tiber river.

In a Europe where barbarians are burning the flags with the star of David again and are calling to "kill the Jews", some of the river's lights were for us.

There was lots of security, but courage ultimately prevailed and there was not one incident.

We invited the heads of many Jewish organizations and Israel’s ambassador in Rome, Naor Gilon, to speak. Ordinary citizens came to pay homage to Israel.

We chose the Hatikva anthem as our soundtrack. 

This is what I said in my speech at this dramatic time - a non-Jewish Zionist's words for the sake and future of the Jewish people.
"In these days of slogans such as 'Death to the Jews', perhaps Western public opinion would be satisfied if Israel would count more casualties, if Israel’s defense system would not intercept hundreds of missiles launched by Hamas.

"Perhaps, then, the hypocritical request of 'proportionality' and the absurd moral equivalence between Jews and terrorists would be satisfied. 

"I say this because it is as if 160 missiles fired every day against Israel during the last twenty days are not enough.

"I say this because it is as if more than 50 Israeli soldiers killed are not enough.

"I say this because it is as if Hamas had never killed 1,500 Israeli civilians in the Second Intifada - as if that were not enough.

"The Israeli victims are always declassified as footnotes on the pages of the conflict. As if they never existed. This is how anti-Semitism and Western hypocrisy have reversed the roles of the two sides, overshadowing everything, and turning Israel into the executioner and depicting the terrorists as the resisters.

"In short, they have made terrorism a human right.

"Meanwhile, violent and hateful anti-Israeli demonstrations are held in all the cities of Europe, where we are witnessing attacks on Jewish centers, parliamentary questions, titles and images on the front page of newspapers and news programs. It is a campaign to isolate the Jews and Israel, to denigrate them, to abandon them to their fate. Anti-Semitism is rampant.

"The truth is that in Gaza there have been a thousand deaths, tragic deaths, in a war begun by Gazans. Many kibbutzim along the border have become ghost towns. For a day, international flights to Tel Aviv were discontinued. It is the first time since the Gulf War, that time when Israel was targeted by the rockets of Saddam Hussein and the Jews wore gas masks.

"It has been almost a taste of what Hamas and Islamists mean when they evoke the throwing of Jews into the sea. Their threat of extermination is now a promise.

"The truth is that Israel, a country large as New Jersey and whose inhabitants amount to one-thousandth of the world’s population, is the only democracy in the world under a permanent terrorist siege.

"The truth is that Israel’s army is the only in the world which warns its enemies before hitting a target.

"But this has yet to find a place in the media. Because the purpose of media disinformation is to give the impression that Israel is unjust, immoral, cruel.

"A few days ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu, receiving  English ministers, rightly said that Israel is like England in 1940, when the German V2s destroyed large areas of London and the population went into the Underground to hide. Israel, like England then, is forced to defend itself. No other country would tolerate a terrorist entity, with such a racist ideology, which launches rockets every day on its civilian population.

"A movement that has promised not to leave "one Jew in Palestine". A movement that shoots missiles from UN schools, hospitals, mosques, cemeteries, kindergartens. A movement that uses the cement donated by Israel not to build schools, but to fortify the tunnels of death.

"Israel’s greatest success in seventy years of independence is survival, just being on the map. The Western world should be concerned about the fate of the little Israel, the most endangered member of our civilization.

"The flag with the Star of David is the pledge of our freedom.

"I hope, tonight, that the Jews no longer feel so alone.

"Viva Israel!"


The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He has just prblished a book about the Vatican and Israel titled "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books. He can be seen in the right hand photo above.

by Elad Benari

The three IDF soldiers who were killed on Wednesday in Gaza, were killed when explosives detonated within a booby-trapped UN building in Khan Younis, Breitbart reports.

An elite IDF tunnel unit was in the process of uncovering an opening to a Hamas tunnel located at an UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) health clinic when all of a sudden the explosives detonated, causing the entirety of the building to fall on top of the soldiers.

Neither the UN nor UNRWA have commented on the incident that resulted in the deaths of three Israeli soldiers, according to Breitbart.

The IDF has previously provided video evidence that Hamas fires rockets from inside schools and it is also known that Hamas has also been using UNRWA schools as storage sites for its rockets. For the third time in recent days, such a stockpile was discovered in a UN school Tuesday.

After the first finding of rockets at an UNRWA school, it was reported that rather than destroying the rockets, UNRWA workers called Hamas to come remove them.

While it would not comment on the deaths of the three soldiers, UNRWA was quick to place blame on Israel for a rocket strike on one of their schools in Gaza.

The UN agency also immediately blamed Israel for a strike on Gaza’s Shifa hospital, resulting in the deaths of over a dozen Gazans. It was later revealed that in all likelihood, a misfired Hamas Fajr-5 Iranian-made 100kg warhead destined for Israel had struck the hospital.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi Hanegbi said Wednesday that UNRWA has continued to hand the missiles back to Hamas, "endangering and jeopardizing Israeli lives."

"Instead of blaming and condemning Israel, UNRWA should make a real effort to stop being manipulated and used by the terrorist organizations," he said, according to Breitbart.

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