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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Arab cartoon shows evil Jews replacing Al Aqsa mosque with Temple

Arabs sure spend a lot of effort to incite against Jews.



Ateret Cohanim called this "the feel good movie of the year!"

10/22 Links Pt2: Baby killed in Jerusalem terror attack; The Sick Logic of Jewish Met Opera Donors

From Ian:

Baby killed as car rams crowd in apparent Jerusalem terror attack
A three-month-old girl was killed Wednesday afternoon and eight others were injured when a car crashed into a crowd at a light rail station in Jerusalem in what officials said was a likely terrorist attack.
A suspect, identified by an Israeli official as a member of terror group Hamas, attempted to flee the scene on foot and was shot by police, a police spokesperson said.
“A private car which arrived from the direction of the French Hill junction hit a number of pedestrians who were on the pavement and injured nine of them,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
“Initial indications suggest this is a hit-and-run terror attack,” Samri said. (h/t Alexi)
Netanyahu blames Abbas incitement for Jerusalem attack
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leveled blame on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for an apparent terror attack in Jerusalem Wednesday, saying the Palestinian leader was inciting violence against Jews in the city.
At the same time Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called for a bolstered police presence in neighborhoods that have seen violent riots in recent months, as stone throwing protests broke out across East Jerusalem Wednesday night.
Isi Leibler: British vote epitomizes ignorance, opportunism and malice
Abbas continues to incite to violence and hate and his Fatah party still calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. In recent months, the official PA TV revived the medieval blood libel accusing Jews of using the blood of Palestinian children to make matzot for Passover, promoted The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and alleged that Israel was poisoning Palestinian water wells. Abbas continues to glorify mass murderers and insists that there will never be an agreement unless Israel accepts the right of return of the five million descendants of Arab refugees, which would entail the end of Israel as a Jewish state. He also reaffirmed his union with Hamas – the globally designated terrorist organization.
The UK parliamentary resolution effectively endorses a state in which the genocidal Hamas occupies a central role and which, according to polls, would emerge victorious in an election. To make matters worse, Abbas has publicly stated that should that occur, he would hand over control of the state to Hamas.
British socialists who voted for the resolution totally disregarded Israel’s security concerns by supporting the establishment of a state based on the 1949 armistice lines. The resolution does not even require Hamas to amend its charter calling for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews throughout the world – a charter that the Nazis would proudly have supported. Nor did it call for demilitarization and cessation of hostilities against Israeli civilians.
The implications of passing such a resolution are harrowing, exceeding the worst excesses of perfidious Albion when the anti-Semitic British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin displayed his hostility to the Jews during the last years of the mandate.
One cannot justify such behavior on the basis of ignorance. Clearly, the motivations represent a combination of electoral opportunism, leftist political correctness which transforms Israel the victim into the aggressor, cultural relativism which no longer distinguishes between good and evil and promotes moral equivalency; and above all, an indisputable odor of outright anti-Semitism.
Alan Dershowitz: Metropolitan Opera Stifles Free Exchange of Ideas about a Propaganda Opera
The Palestinian murderer is played by a talented ballet dancer, who is portrayed sympathetically. A chorus of Palestinian women asks the audience to understand why he would be driven to terrorism. "We are not criminals," the terrorists assures us.
One of the terrorists—played by the only Black lead singer—is portrayed as an overt anti-Semite, expressing hateful tropes against "the Jews". But he is not the killer. Nor, in this opera, is Klinghoffer selected for execution because he is a Jew. Instead, he is picked because he is a loudmouth who can't control his disdain for the Palestinian cause.
At bottom The Death of Klinghoffer—a title deliberately selected to sanitize his brutal murder—is more propaganda than art. It has some artistic moments but the dominant theme is to create a false moral equivalence between terrorism and its victims, between Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups, and between the Holocaust and the self-inflicted Nakba. It is a mediocre opera, by a good composer and very bad librettist. But you wouldn't know that from the raucous standing ovations received not only by the performers and chorus master, who deserved them, but also by the composer, who did not. The applause was not for the art. Indeed, during the intermission and on the way out, the word I heard most often was "boring." The over-the-top standing ovations were for the "courage" displayed by all those involved in the production. But it takes little courage to be anti-Israel these days, or to outrage Jews. There were, to be sure, a few brief expressions of negative opinion during the opera, one of which was briefly disruptive, as an audience member repeatedly shouted "Klinghoffer's murder will never be forgiven." He was arrested and removed.
What would require courage would be for the Met to produce an opera that portrayed Mohammad, or even Yassir Arafat, in a negative way. The protests against such portrayals would not be limited to a few shouts, some wheelchairs and a few hundred distant demonstrators. Remember the murderous reaction to a few cartoons several years ago.

Egyptian paper says the Rothschilds control half the world's money

Popular Egyptian daily Youm7 says that the Rothschild family controls half the world's wealth.

(That's about $120 trillion, with a "t." But I've seen articles on the Internet that claim that the family controls $500 trillion, which is double the amount of money in the world. Perhaps they own gold mines on Saturn.)

Also, the family blackmailed the British into issuing the Balfour Declaration because of severe war debts.

Today, we are told, the Rothschilds control the gold prices around the world, and the American media, and they own most of the banks in the world, and also CNN, and Hollywood.

Strangely, the article notes, the family members do not appear to the public often so people don't know about their evil designs.

Not a single Rothschild is on Forbes' billionaires list. (One of them, Nat, was on the list a couple of years ago and fell off after bad investments.)

Anyway, gotta go...have to pick up my monthly $275 million dollar check.

Elvis Presley To Play Israel In May 2015 (PreOccupied Territory)


More from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page.

Tel Aviv, October 22 - Music fans in Israel will be treated to four live shows by legendary rock musician Elvis Presley this coming spring, local promoters announced today.

King Promotions, a Tel-Aviv-based agency, announced that in May next year, the King of Rock 'n' Roll will perform in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, and Beer Sheva, with a possible fifth appearance in the southernmost city of Eilat.

Presley has yet to perform in Israel despite his popularity there. Sales of Presley's music have remained on par with those in most Western countries, but the rock superstar has seldom ventured beyond US shores. His last performance abroad was an appearance in Canada in 1957, and he served in the US Army in Germany from 1958 to 1960.

Perhaps as a nod to his Jewish roots, Presley will begin his first international tour with the Tel Aviv show. His maternal grandmother was Jewish, and since in Jewish law Jewish ancestry follows the mother, it follows that his own mother, and therefore he, was Jewish. The artist behind "Love Me Tender" and "Blue Suede Shoes" had a Star of David engraved on his mother's tombstone after her passing in 1959, and had a warm relationship with the Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee, though, like much of his extended family, his Judaism was otherwise seldom expressed.

The announcement represents a blow to the aspirations of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement against Israel, which has for years tried to prevent artists and performers from visiting the Jewish State. Presley's appearances follow a series of other high-profile musicians who have spurned BDS, most recently Lady Gaga. The King, however, carries even more cultural weight, and his performances constitute a reality check for the movement, which often harasses or threatens performers not to take their act to Israel. A small group of BDS activists made their way to Graceland in Memphis today to register their protest.

Specific dates have yet to be released, and tickets will not be offered for sale until next month. King Productions anticipates being able to charge a premium for attendance, in addition to the revenue from corporate entities interested in piggybacking on the unprecedented publicity potential.

After Israel, Presley is expected to perform in Germany in a gesture to his days as a US soldier there, though some fans suspect he chose Berlin after encountering reports that generic chocolate pudding with a whipped cream topping is available cheap at supermarkets there.

10/22 Links Pt1: Patrol comes under fire on Egypt border; Abbas’s Palestine Is the Real Apartheid State

From Ian:

IDF patrol comes under fire on Egypt border
Gunmen in the Sinai Peninsula opened fire on an IDF patrol near the Egyptian border on Wednesday afternoon, injuring two soldiers.
The army said that the soldiers were wounded and were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
Both the IDF and Egyptian army were sending troops to the area.
The Israeli soldiers reportedly returned fire and there were ongoing exchanges in the area.
Egyptian security sources told Arabic news site Masrawy that the radical Islamist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis was behind the attack. According to Egyptian officials quoted by Channel 2, three gunmen approached the border in a four-by-four and opened fire. The officials said Egyptian soldiers were injured in the incident, but it wasn’t clear from the report how many or by whom.
Abbas’s Palestine Is the Real Apartheid State
The purpose of such laws is to thwart the Zionist enterprise by which Jews have returned to their ancient homeland by legally purchasing land. But the motivating factor here is Jew hatred. Should Palestine ever become a reality, the neighborhoods where Jews have bought homes would be part of it. At that point these few Jews would be no threat to the Arab majority. But the Palestinian vision of statehood remains one in which Israel would be a country where Jews and Arabs live while Palestine will be a Judenrein—Jew-free—entity.
The point here is that peace is possible if both sides are prepared to compromise and recognize each other’s legitimacy. But the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority of Abbas, that both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry constantly praise as a true peace partner for Israel, is not only not interested in compromising. It is also promulgating and attempting to enforce laws that are based in anti-Semitic incitement. Were Israel to ban Arabs from moving into homes they owned in West Jerusalem, it would prompt an international outcry and condemnations from the United States. But instead America condemns Jews who move into Arab neighborhoods and stays silent when Abbas seeks to treat those who sell to Jews as criminals.
Instead of the Jewish home buying in Jerusalem being an obstacle to peace as Israel’s critics claim, it is the Arab attempt to criminalize selling to a Jew that best illustrates why peace is not yet possible.
Palestinian Statehood?
The Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
Michael Lumish: A Deeply Dishonest White House Denies that Kerry Said What Kerry Said.
If people need to understand the connection, or linkage, between the long Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East and the rise of political Islam, it means that John Kerry believes in the long discredited linkage theory that the administration sought to promote at Jewish expense.
This is not merely that others in the Middle East might blame the Jews for the rise of the Islamic State, but that Kerry, himself, is promoting the idea. Ultimately what this means, obviously, is that the US is prepared to blame Israel for pretty much everything unless it capitulates to Arab demands, whatever those demands might be. This despite the fact that it is the Arab majority that has always rejected yet another Arab state in Judea and Samaria.
Thus the Obama administration blames the Jews for pretty much everything going wrong throughout Arab political culture. Jews are blamed not only for Arab intransigence on a “Palestinian” state in the Jewish heartland, but are also blamed ultimately for Arab head-chopping by the Islamic State.
For Obama’s Department of State to turn around and deny that Kerry claimed what we have him directly on record claiming is a deeply dishonest act from what is a truly insidious and dangerous administration for the well-being of Jewish people throughout the world.
The next time Kerry shows his face in Jerusalem his auto procession should be pelted with shoes by Jews and Arabs alike.

How the West normalized Palestinian anti-semitism

Here's a followup to an earlier Spot the Bias post. From AFP:

Jewish settlers are notching up property gains in the heart of East Jerusalem through a series of shady deals involving frontmen or straw companies.

The process by which such properties are acquired is shrouded in mystery, with the new Jewish occupants often moving in under the cover of darkness to avoid a major confrontation with residents.

The latest controversial acquisitions took place in Silwan, a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood on a steep hillside flanking the southern walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

In the past three weeks, hardline settlers have moved into 35 apartments there, sparking anger and consternation among Palestinians who vehemently oppose such moves as a hostile attempt to Judaize Silwan.

Some were allegedly acquired fraudulently, and others legally.

One of the structures taken over in Silwan this week was a three-story building owned by the Rajabi family, which had been looking to sell the property and its adjoining land.

Because the neighborhood is very close to the Old City and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam, the family was looking for a Palestinian buyer.

One day, a man whose family is known for its commitment to the Palestinian cause approached them.

"He said he wanted to buy it for his cousin who lives in Dubai," Zuheir al-Rajabi said, explaining how they agreed to sell it for 450,000 Jordanian dinars ($635,000).

Today he realizes it was a mistake.

"I hate myself for selling, people are accusing us of knowingly selling" to the settlers, he said.

On Tuesday, his family paid for an advertisement in the main Palestinian newspaper showing the purchase agreement with the name of the buyer and insisting they had no knowledge of the true nature of the sale.

"We should have been more careful but we cannot take it back. The settlers are like a cancer which spreads through the body until it dies," Rajabi said.

Selling land to Israeli settlers is viewed as treason by the Palestinians and carries a penalty of life imprisonment with heavy labor. There have even been cases in which the perpetrators have been killed.
If black families wanted to move into a community that had a large number of Ku Klux Klan sympathizers - racists who would threaten the lives of those who sell their homes to blacks - would the story be written this way? Because the analogy is pretty good. (It would be exact if the racist KKK community was in Africa.)

If there is going to be a two-state solution, either Jews will be ethnically cleansed from "Palestine" or Jews must be allowed to continue to live in their homes without being discriminated against.

There is only one reason why the second option is never discussed: because Palestinian society is antisemitic - and everyone knows it.

Because Palestinian Arabs hate Jews - not Zionists, but Jews - the idea of Jews remaining in their homes as full citizens is not even floated. Palestinian Arabs from Mahmoud Abbas on down to the masses all agree that Jews cannot live in their hoped-for nation.

This bigotry is so entrenched and so well known that Western diplomats have accepted their bigotry as normal. And Western antipathy to insulting "moderate" Palestinians means that this obvious Jew-hatred must never be mentioned out loud. Therefore, the only option that is ever considered by the enlightened, liberal West is to enforce Palestinian Arab hate - to denounce Jews buying or building homes in their historic homeland, and to normalize the idea that in any "peace" agreement, hundreds of thousands of Jews will be forcibly removed from their homes.

Which is a war crime in any other context.

Ethnic cleansing is now a liberal goal. Palestinian Arab bigotry becomes normalized Western policy - all in the name of "peace."

It should not be considered controversial to say this simple statement: "Jews should be allowed to buy houses anywhere in the world." Any progressive would agree with that statement regarding any national, ethnic or religious group in any country on the planet - except for Jews in the historic Jewish homeland. And this bigotry is so institutionalized that articles like this can be written where Jews trying to assert their rights are demeaned, and Western leaders can openly denounce basic human rights for Jews.

It is truly remarkable that such ugly bias is mainstream. And it is all because of the combination of Palestinian hate and Western acquiescence to that hate.


The hate and bigotry of a B'Tselem volunteer worker (updated)

B'Tselem recently released a video filmed by a "B’Tselem volunteer Samih Da’na from his window" showing the IDF detaining a 12-year old boy who was throwing stones in Hebron.

Yesterday, soldiers briefly detained a developmentally disabled Palestinian boy, who is under the age of criminal responsibility, on suspicion that he had thrown stones. The boy, A. a-Rajbi, (full name withheld in interest of privacy) who will be 12 in a month, was detained after Palestinian children threw stones at soldiers on the main road of the Jabel Johar neighborhood in Hebron, close to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. A-Rajbi was handcuffed, blindfolded, and held on the floor of an army jeep for some 15 minutes until his father arrived and convinced the soldiers to release his son, who is mentally disabled and cannot speak....The footage also shows settlers from Kiryat Arba, watching the incident from behind the settlement’s fence. Some are seen calling out encouragement to the soldiers, including several racist remarks.
As usual, the video does not show the events immediately preceding the detention, so the audience has no easy to determining whether the actions of the soldiers were disproportionate. Even B'Tselem admits that the IDF released the stone-throwing boy as soon as the father told them that he was disabled. 

Part of the "racist remarks"the" settlers" are shouting include "They were throwing [stones] from above!" This Hebrew page gives some context, including showing how Arabs teach children to hate Jews.

But it is most interesting that the B'Tselem volunteer whose edited footage was so eagerly pushed is a terror-supporting Jew-hater.

Samih Da'na uses this photo in his Facebook profile:


He posted this photo referring to the religious Jews as "a herd of rats:"


Another of his timeline photos shows this lovely scene, helpfully written in English as well:


Da'na does not seem too keen on a two-state solution:



He proudly shows off photos of his son with his favorite toy:



It looks just like a bar-mitzvah photo, doesn't it?

UPDATE: He likes to give weapons to his younger son as well:



There are also other pro-terror photos in his timeline.

You get an inkling of how dedicated B'Tselem volunteers are to human rights, co-existence, fact-checking, pacifism and the fight against hate and bigotry.

(h/t Bob K)

Time to play "Spot the Bias!" - AFP edition (UPDATE: Video)

Time to play Spot the Bias, courtesy of AFP:

Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at an apartment building in a flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood just hours after it was taken over by Jewish settlers, police said Tuesday.

No one was injured in the incident in the Silwan neighbouhood late on Monday, which saw a group of Palestinians firing flares and throwing Molotovs at the building, a police statement said.

No serious damage was caused and no arrests were made.

The building was one of two structures housing 10 apartments that were taken over by Jewish settlers before dawn on Monday, sparking fierce local opposition. Such takeovers have also been strongly condemned by the international community, including the US.

Silwan is a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood that flanks the southern walls of Jerusalem's Old City and has been the scene of frequent clashes involving a small group of hardcore settlers, the Israeli police, and Palestinian residents.

Clashes erupted three weeks ago when settlers moved into more than 25 apartments in the area that they had reportedly purchased.

Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing Israeli organization aiming to increase the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, said the acquisitions would double the number of Jews living in that part of Silwan.

The group claims that particular area was inhabited by Jews from Yemen in the late 19th century.
Jews don't buy homes, they "take them over."

Arabs don't attack Jews, they are just in the area when clashes spontaneously "erupt."

Jews who want to live in an area that Jews have lived in since the 19th century are "hardcore settlers."

Photographic evidence of the Jewish homes from over a century ago are merely "claims."



For a more accurate description of the incident, see Arutz-7.

While I couldn't find video of this incident, I did find one from July showing Arabs hurling Molotov cocktails at another house owned by Jews in Jerusalem.



The people who live in these homes under constant attack - homes they purchased for far more than market value - are considered the evil aggressors by the world community!

UPDATE: VIdeo of the attacks from the victims' viewpoint. Don't expect to see this on the news.



(h/t Bob Knot)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Video: PalArab kids pretending to be terrorists

No subtitles, but the video is pretty clear.

The kids are seen pretending to kidnap an Israeli Jew, and holding him at gunpoint while making demands,  Another kidnap scene shows them hiding their Jewish prize in a tunnel.

In addition, there are fake "rocket" attacks.




10/21 Links Pt2: Barbarism Doesn’t Deserve to be Humanized at The Met; Giuliani: Why I Protested

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: ASA policy reversal delegitimizes BDS, but does not reverse past discrimination
THE ASA HAS RELEASED A RESPONSE to the charges of national origin discrimination. They astoundingly claim their policy has not changed; that the “boycott” was always limited to “on an institutional level will not engage in collaborative projects with Israeli research institutions.”
The claim is demonstrably false. Their written explanation of their policy clearly stated that scholars who are “representatives” of institutions would be barred based on their national origin. Now they say no one will be barred. If they do not understand the difference between someone and no one, it will be hard to explain.
It is also demonstrable that their policy changed – because they actually changed the text of their policy explanation, as evidenced through screen shots.
Finally, their “response” characterizes the American Center for Law and Justice as an anti-gay organization founded by Pat Robertson. This is doubtless an appeal to their base – they are under attack by the right. Ironically, they quote this characterization of ACLJ from the Electronic Intifada, which has been denounced even by ardent leftist critics of Israel as anti-Semitic, and would certainly be described as anti-Israel in the conventional senses of the phrase. But maybe this is a meant to rally the troops as well.
Brooke Goldstein: Barbarism Doesn’t Deserve to be Humanized at The Met
Why are we here today? Because we’re opera critics? No. It doesn’t take a professional critic to know that lyrics like “America is one big Jew” aren’t the least bit tasteful.
An opera that calls us “all kinds of filth” and accuses us Jews, of being greedy, sodomizing blasphemers with watches of solid gold and “getting fat wherever poor men are gathered.” Lyrics like that aren’t creative, they’re not even unique, and they’re shoddy plagiarism, recycled Islamist Nazi racist propaganda. It doesn’t take brains to put that kind of filth to music
Are we here because we don’t like free speech? The opposite. It’s the first amendment that gives us our right to assemble here, to protest, to express our disgust at how our taxpayer dollars are being used to fund terror apologism deceptively wrapped in the veneer of art.
The MET has no first amendment obligation to stage this bigotry. It’s their intentional choice! Perhaps it’s a choice influenced by the Wahhabi dollars feeding this mismanaged and bankrupt institution.
Perhaps Saudi minister Ibrahim Al-Naimi, one of the MET’s principle sponsors, can explain the hypocrisy of the Wahhabi Kingdom playing distinguished patron to the American arts, while at the same time beheading their own citizens for blasphemy, imprisoning and torturing atheists, and executing their own children for being gay like it’s a public sport.
Saudi Arabia’s ministers control the most censored media environment in the world.
Phyllis Chesler: Israel-Hatred 'Has Scaled the Wall of High Culture'
As we know, the most lethal propaganda against Israel and America has captured the American campuses and the left and liberal media. Now, it has scaled the wall of High Culture.
The Metropolitan Opera House—a place I have loved—will never again be the same for me. No, I will not boycott it as some speakers have sworn to do, but in some sense, the Emperor is Naked.
The Opera House is tainted, polluted by contemporary politics. Gelb has taken a dangerous stand against America, against Israel, and against Jews by insisting on his First Amendment and artistic right to do so. No one has questioned these rights. I bumped into Gelb’s lawyer, Martin Garbus, with whom I go way back. Garbus was watching the rally, and we greeted each other in a very friendly fashion.
In the past, the merely aesthetic minus morality=fascism. Think of Leni Reifenstal’s “brilliant” film about the Munich Olympics in 1936. This is what we saw at the Met: Form devoid of content; form covering for malicious content.
I left at the intermission. I was too angry and too sad to remain. And bored too.
I have no idea about whether further disruptions arose or not. I do know that this is a signal moment of a very long fight in the Culture Wars against America, Israel, and the Jews. People with credibility and some power stepped up tonight, well-groomed people who do not usually take to the streets did so.
God bless them.

The Hamas tunnel plots, in detail

Vanity Fair has a long article about Hamas terror tunnels based on extensive interviews with Israeli soldiers who interrogated Hamas members, as well as interviews with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.

Excerpts:

While seemingly low-tech, tunneling requires copious quantities of cash, cement, fuel, and rebar. Fortunately for Hamas, world events conspired to assist in this effort. During the Arab Spring, while Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was busy fighting for his political and personal survival, Hamas built a virtual underground super-highway to the Sinai through which it managed to import an ever-more-sophisticated arsenal, including longer-range rockets, anti-tank guided missiles, and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. By 2012, when Egypt elected Mohammed Morsi (the head of the Muslim Brotherhood—and a Hamas ally), Hamas was riding high. It had significantly expanded the scope and use of what has come to be known as “subterranean Gaza,” even creating a special engineering unit within its Al-Qassam Brigades to handle tunnel excavation.

In addition, Hamas created a secret commando unit, called Nukhba (the “selected ones”), and trained its men to fight and maneuver through the tunnels on foot and on small motorcycles. According to an official in the Shin Bet, which has been interrogating Hamas members who were captured during the fighting, “The offensive tunnels were top secret not only because [Hamas] had spent a fortune building them, but because they understood that once we found out about the project, there would be no turning back.” Hamas detainees have told their Israeli interrogators that they received $300 a month for excavation work and that there were two tiers of laborers. The master tunnelers were supposedly told where in Israel proper their excavation work would end up; such knowledge was not shared with the work-for-hire diggers. As for the Nukhba fighters, the Shin Bet official tells Vanity Fair, “They were an elite force . . . [trained] to execute strategic terrorist attacks. . . . [For the eventual operation, they would be] heavily armed: R.P.G.s, Kalashnikovs, M-16s, hand grenades, and night-vision equipment.” To maximize the element of surprise, they would wear—as can be seen from their own videos—I.D.F. uniforms, including mitznefet, the distinctive helmet covers worn by Israeli soldiers.

...By April, the Shin Bet tells Vanity Fair, Israeli officials firmly believed something big was in the works—and Hamas did nothing to assuage their fears. “The occupation is hysterical and confused in the face of the resistance army’s tunnels,” said Abu Obeida, spokesman for Al-Qassam Brigades. “[B]ut we’re ready for any scenario and we’ll teach the enemy a harsh lesson.”

...Last spring, Hamas was already sensing isolation. Egypt had begun curbing Hamas’s access to everything from cigarettes to guns. And a widely touted merger with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, according to analysts in the region and Israeli security sources, had brought Gazans limited economic benefit. Some observers—in Israel, the Arab world, and the West—perceived Hamas to be on the ropes. Around the same time, intelligence about a pending attack—electronic chatter and word from informants—began setting off alarm bells inside Israel’s stereotypically anxious security establishment.

“Hamas had a plan,” says Lt. Col. Lerner, summarizing on the record what six senior intelligence officials would describe on background. “A simultaneous, coordinated, surprise attack within Israel. They planned to send 200 terrorists armed to the teeth toward civilian populations. This was going to be a coordinated attack. The concept of operations involved 14 offensive tunnels into Israel. With at least 10 men in each tunnel, they would infiltrate and inflict mass casualties.”

As a senior military intelligence official later explained, the anticipated attack was designed with two purposes in mind. “First, get in and massacre people in a village. Pull off something they could show on television. Second, the ability to kidnap soldiers and civilians using the tunnels would give them a great bargaining chip.”

Mishal insists that “the tunnels may have been outwardly called ‘offensive tunnels,’ but in actual fact they are ‘defensive’ ones.’” When pressed to explain why most of the tunnels actually ended up under or near civilian communities or kibbutzim—not military bases—he concedes, “Yes, true. There are Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza. Have any of the tunnels been used to kill any civilian or any of the residents of such towns? No. Never! . . . [Hamas] used them either to strike beyond the back lines of the Israeli army or to raid some military sites . . . This proves that Hamas is only defending itself.”

Reports would later surface that Hamas’s main attack was planned to coincide with the Jewish New Year—Rosh Hashanah—in September 2014. “It may have been,” says a top intelligence official, in his office in the Kirya, Israel’s Pentagon. “But ultimately everything was moved up. Hamas’s grand plan for the tunnels failed because the kidnapping set things in motion before Hamas had everything ready.”

...On July 7, Israeli jets bombed a tunnel that began in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, and exited near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, killing seven members of Hamas, who were trapped inside. To outward observers, it looked as if the casualties may have been incidental. But highly placed government sources tell Vanity Fair they feared these operatives were the first wave. “When the operation started, we expected the mass attack in July,” a senior military intelligence official explains. “We suspected they would hurry up and do it during the air war, before the ground operation.”

Hamas considered the men who died in the tunnel bombing to be among its most elite, warning publicly, “The enemy will pay a tremendous price.” The next day, all hell broke loose, with Hamas firing some 150 rockets. Over the next 10 days, Hamas would send some 1,500 more, while the Israeli air force and navy would pound sites in Gaza with little letup.

...Once the I.D.F. entered Gaza, dodging R.P.G.s and fire from heavy machine guns, says Alian, they came to a harsh realization: “Entire houses were rigged to explode and collapse on our soldiers. There were all sorts of explosive devices. Some [were set to be] triggered by cell phones and other remote controls. Others were pressure activated and hidden under ordinary looking house tiles.” His cohort, Sergeant Rafi (whose last name has also been withheld for security reasons), concurs, “We went to many houses and found tunnels inside houses, outside houses, defensive tunnels, offensive tunnels. They spent years planning for this.”

Golani’s mission was to destroy what intelligence officials believed were four particularly lethal tunnels that began in the Gaza Strip town of Shejaiya and ended a stone’s throw from Israeli kibbutzim. Shejaiya had long been Hamas’s first line of defense and Israel’s efforts to warn its 100,000 residents to flee only reinforced its symbolic and strategic importance in Hamas’s eyes. “In this war,” claims Alian, “the biggest fight, the hardest battle, was for control of that neighborhood.”

I.D.F. soldiers in Shejaiya and elsewhere quickly came to understand that tactical tunnels presented as imminent a threat as the strategic cross-border variety they were sent to find. On August 1—two weeks into Israel’s ground campaign—Lieutenant Matan (who offers only his first name) was in the Gaza town of Rafah, when he and his fellow soldiers heard shots, he says in his first interview about the incident. Tracing those sounds to a nearby guard post, a tunnel opening was discovered. He and another soldier clambered down three meters, descending into the darkness. After firing some warning rounds, he stopped in the dank passageway, only to find portions of a bloodied uniform belonging to a 23-year-old lieutenant named Hadar Goldin, later determined to have been killed and his body kidnapped, according to the I.D.F. spokesperson’s office. (Goldin, unbeknownst to his abductors, turned out to have been a relative of Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon.) “The Hamas operatives were like ghosts—honestly, like ghosts,” recalls Golani’s Sgt. Rafi. “If they wanted to shoot, they came out of a tunnel, shot, and ducked back into the tunnel.”

Gilad Sha’er, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrah may have indirectly saved hundreds of Israeli lives.

(h/t YMedad)

US strikes kill a far higher percentage of civilians than Israel's

From The Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

As the number of US drone strikes in Pakistan hits 400, research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism finds that fewer than 4% of the people killed have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda. This calls in to question US Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim last year that only “confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level” were fired at.

The Bureau’s Naming the Dead project has gathered the names and, where possible, the details of people killed by CIA drones in Pakistan since June 2004. On October 11 an attack brought the total number of drone strikes in Pakistan up to 400.

The names of the dead have been collected over a year of research in and outside Pakistan, using a multitude of sources. These include both Pakistani government records leaked to the Bureau, and hundreds of open source reports in English, Pashtun and Urdu.

Naming the Dead has also drawn on field investigations conducted by the Bureau’s researchers in Pakistan and other organisations, including Amnesty International, Reprieve and the Centre for Civilians in Conflict.

Only 704 of the 2,379 dead have been identified, and only 295 of these were reported to be members of some kind of armed group. Few corroborating details were available for those who were just described as militants. More than a third of them were not designated a rank, and almost 30% are not even linked to a specific group. Only 84 are identified as members of al Qaeda – less than 4% of the total number of people killed.

These findings “demonstrate the continuing complete lack of transparency surrounding US drone operations,” said Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan researcher for Amnesty International.

Pakistan drone strike
deaths in numbers
Total killed2,379
Total named as militants295
Total named as al Qaeda84
Total named704


When asked for a comment on the Bureau’s investigation, US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that strikes were only carried out when there was “near-certainty” that no civilians would be killed.

“The death of innocent civilians is something that the U.S. Government seeks to avoid if at all possible. In those rare instances in which it appears non-combatants may have been killed or injured, after-action reviews have been conducted to determine why, and to ensure that we are taking the most effective steps to minimise such risk to non-combatants in the future,” said Hayden.

The Obama administration’s stated legal justification for such strikes is based partly on the right to self-defence in response to an imminent threat. This has proved controversial as leaked documents show the US believes determining if a terrorist is an imminent threat “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”
The article is clearly biased against the US, as the 4% figure in the headline cherry-picks only known Al Qaeda members against a large population of unknown victims. A more fair number based on these statistics is that 41% of those identified are militants of some sort - 295 out of 704.

The latest comparable numbers from the Gaza war show that 49.8% of those identified (435 out of  874) were militants.

I am not saying that the US is not justified in targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists with drones. They are. I am saying that given the much larger geographic area being targeted, the lack of the pressures of making split second decisions in an active war environment, and the lack of an imminent threat from most of these terrorists,  the US record of accidentally killing civilians is far worse than Israel's.

Which makes any American criticism of Israel's actions in Gaza more than hypocritical.

(h/t Jack)