We begin today’s posting with citations from the Covenant of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement (emphasis added):
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (Preamble)
“The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood… (Article 2)
“The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it. (Article 11)
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors… (Article 13)
“The day the enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In the face of the Jews’ usurpation, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.” (Article 15)
“The HAMAS regards itself the spearhead and the vanguard of the circle of struggle against World Zionism… Islamic groups all over the Arab world should also do the same, since they are best equipped for their future role in the fight against the warmongering Jews.” (Article 32)
Why do I share this now?
We know our enemy.
But so must the world know.
There should be no illusions about the possibililty of a genuine settlement between Israel and Hamas. Jihad is a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty that is incumbent upon Muslims. Its goal is the seizure of all of Israel, and it is imperative that this essential truth be reinforced.
I am not suggesting that Hamas started this war with the intention of doing us in – they know this is not remotely possible. But it is important to remember their mindset. Ruthless and vicious, they have zero concern for the lives even of their own civilians in Gaza – on the contrary, they use those civilians.
In direct contrast, there is Israel, the most humanitarian of nations. We have offered emergency assistance to countries that hate us. We take their critically ill children into our country for heart surgery via Save a Child’s Heart.
Most importantly in this context, we pay exquisite attention to the lives of those same Gazan civilians that Hamas would gladly sacrifice. I have written already about techniques Israel has for warning civilians to leave before hitting a terrorist site.
Yet what we are seeing in many places are anti-Israel demonstrations: In the UK, Austria, Germany, France, India, and elsewhere. The picture below was taken in Montreal, Canada.
Many of the anti-Israel protests occur in places where there are large Muslim populations. But they also happen because of Jew-hatred, the hatred that never goes away. What is more, the anti-Israel attitude (often promoting modern day blood libels) is fostered by a left-leaning mainstream media, abetted by certain social media sites.
These days we see it in Congress, as well – a worrisome phenomenon. Writes Emily Schrader:
“…Extremism against Israel has been legitimized with representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush.
“Over the last few years, ‘the Squad’ has made a name for itself in its bashing of Israel, with Omar and Tlaib leading the propaganda campaign…
“At a time when Israel is facing a barrage of rockets, each one a war crime, these members of Congress chose to bash Israel on the House floor in an appalling display of ignorance.”
Justice for Jews is rarely found in this world. But we must hold our heads high and continue to tell our story. We know who we are.
I share here one refreshing exception to what I’ve written above. Rowan Dean, of Sky News in Australia, whom I have just learned about today, tells it like it is, unabashedly:
The Biden administration was less than supportive in its first comments about the Hamas rocket attack. After the rockets were launched at Jerusalem, White House spokesperson Jan Psaki declared:
“We are continuing to closely monitor the violence in Jerusalem. We have serious concerns about the situation, as the national security advisor condemns the expulsion of Muslims from their homes, and we also condemn the launching of rockets into Israel.”
As Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi has observed, “Aside from the statement leading with condemnation of Israel, the very comparison between legal proceedings and shooting at civilians is outrageous and morally repugnant…” (Emphasis added)
Then for a brief time after this, the US responded better on this issue than I had expected it would. The Americans have blocked multiple anti-Israel Security Council resolutions, which has been much appreciated. The message coming out of Washington was that “Israel has a right to defend itself.”
Yet there has been no mention by US officials of why we need to defend ourselves: No calling out of Hamas specifically. No fingering of the evil they do.
And now American support for Israel is rapidly diminishing. On Sunday, Secretary of State Blinken tweeted that “all parties need to deescalate tensions – the violence must end immediately.”
While Biden said, in a taped message, that his administration was working “toward sustained calm.”
So, we have a right to defend ourselves as long as our defense does not require taking out the rockets that are launched towards us, or destroying the tunnels, or hitting the leaders who plan the attacks. We should defend ourselves from “a state of sustained calm.”
Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told Biden by phone that he “was determined to complete the operation’s goal of restoring security to Israeli citizens.” Last night he declared that “the directive is to continue striking at the terrorist targets. The IDF is doing this very well. We will continue to take whatever action necessary to restore quiet and security to all residents of Israel.”
I receive this with relief and continue to pray that we can hold out as long as we need to. Over time, as had been expected, the pressure on Israel to stop is being ramped up. United Nations envoy Tor Wennesland (pictured) has been leading “intensive” talks with Israeli, Hamas and Egyptian officials. Wennesland, a Norwegian diplomat with a degree in theology, replaced Nickolai Mladenov at the beginning of 2021.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr, no friend to Israel, has been doing much the same.
We have endured one sustained attack from Hamas after another. At this point over 3,000 rockets have been launched towards Israel, although some 450 fell short and landed in Gaza. The Iron Dome has intercepted some 1,200 rockets, which represent 90% of those headed towards built-up areas.
We have lost 12 Israelis, and today two Thai workers in Israel were killed.
With it all, we have been doing exceedingly well: We have taken out a number of significant Hamas installations – most recently the main operations center of the Hamas internal security forces in the upscale Rimal neighborhood in the north of Gaza City.
Last night we took out another 15 kilometers (9.4 miles) of the network of terror tunnels, although there are tunnels in Khan Yunis and Rafiah that still must be destroyed.
The IDF estimates that 160 terrorists have been taken out – some 120 from Hamas, but I consider this figure fairly meaningless. What we need to know is how many terrorist commanders have been eliminated, as indeed some have.
I had written in my last posting about Israel’s bombing of the al Jala Tower in Gaza City because of Hamas military intelligence assets that were housed there. Much was made of the fact that offices of civil media – notably the Associated Press (AP) and Al Jazeera – were also housed there and Israel was interfering with the press’s freedom of operation. Prime Minister Netanyahu made it very clear that no media personnel were injured, as there was sufficient warning. What is more, said the prime minister, the intelligence on what Hamas housed there was very clear, and classified information had been turned over to the US.
Secretary of State Blinken insisted that he had seen no Israeli intelligence confirming this. We can perhaps give him the benefit of the doubt and speculate that perhaps the information was relayed to the Pentagon and never made it to him. Now Bliken says Israel had provided intelligence.
The key factor to be examined here, however, is the question of what the Associated Press was doing in a building that housed Hamas intelligence assets. AP had operated from that site for 15 years, from the top floor and roof terrace. An Associated Press release cited AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt as saying: “We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building.”
We might say that Pruitt was a useful idiot on this matter, but I think not. Journalists in the building with Hamas for 15 years and completely unaware?
Pruitt says, “This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.”
To this David Harsanyi replied in National Review, “This is nonsense. Pruitt (pictured here) knowingly puts journalists at risk every day he sends them to places such as Gaza… But how did Pruitt ‘actively’ check? Did he ask Hamas? Did he call the landlord? ”
AP suggests that Israel is interferring with its abililty to report on Gaza. I would suggest that just possibly the AP presence in that building says something about lack of journalistic objectivity.
Two questions remain for this posting (I’m already thinking about content for the next):
The first is the matter of what motivated Hamas’s attack on Israel at this point in time. The key motivation, as I am reading it, was a desire to be “the” leader of Palestinian Arabs – the address they looked to, rather than to the PLO (or Palestinian Authority). The fact that the PA is imploring Israel to take out Hamas completely helps to confirm this scenario.
That Hamas goal – to make the PA irrelevant and to be the agency that speaks for all Palestianian Arabs – is what spurred Hamas incitement with regard to the Sheik Jarrah housing and control of Al Aksa. What Hamas found was that they were able to score on these issues, Because of the rioting regarding Sheik Jarrah, for example, Israel asked the Supreme Court to delay on a ruling about eviction of Arab squatters in buildings owned by Jews.
As Israel was being read as weak at that point, it seemed to Hamas an opportune time to push a bit more. Thus the rockets aimed towards Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day. Demands were made by Hamas – leave the Arabs in the houses, for example. They expected a victory in a matter of days – as Israel made concessions, they would be the winners and would stop launching rockets.
Hamas, however, miscalculated very, very badly. Never did they anticipate the Israeli response that ensued.
Why did Israel suddenly show great resolve? First, because it was understood that it was time to draw a line in the sand with Hamas – to finally refuse to make concessions in the face of violence. We must hope that this is a lesson that has been learned once and for all.
But there was another related and more significant reason: Israel knew that Hezbollah and Iran – the patron of both Hamas and Hezbollah – were watching closely. Any show of weakness would be a disaster and have critical repercussions down the road. It was essential to be tough, and that is precisely how we are playing it.
There are predictions that this conflict will wind down in a matter of days. But I am reading other sources that indicate there is yet a long way to go.
Israel’s resolve is with regard to accomplishing some very specific objectives. They involve, notably, taking out leadership – with Dief and Sinwar still in Israel’s crosshairs according to an IDF general; eliminating the major part of the tunnel network; hitting on rocket stockpiles, notably those containing the more sophisticated rockets; and bombing installations that house major communications, operational and intelligence centers. The IDF, which has accomplished much, believes there is still much more to be done.
“The IDF and Shin Bet today (Tuesday) asked the political echelon for more time to carry out the military campaign against terrorists in the Gaza Strip, since, according to them, there is an opportunity to reach ‘quality goals’ in Gaza in the near future – chief of which is senior Hamas figure Mohammad Deif, the head of Hamas’ military wing and the leader of the current terrorist war against Israel.
“According to a report by journalist Dana Weiss, the defense establishment has asked for more time for Guardian of the Walls, in order to realize the potential that has opened up in the Gaza Strip.”
The goal is not to take down Hamas completely, but to so weaken it that it will not be in a position to present a threat for a very long time. The question is when has enough been done. I very much fear that it is not enough yet.
For it is clear that Hamas, which is still making demands, is not near a breaking point. It is feeling victorious because it just incited a “day of rage” in Judea & Samaria (see picture), and promoted a general strike of Arabs within Israel.
During the “day of rage,” two IDF soldiers in the Binyamin region were shot and wounded, and there was shooting at Judea & Samaria headquarters of IDF forces.
Reports are that Egypt has come forward with a ceasefire proposal that would begin on Thursday. This was inevitable, and Hamas is said to be ready. (Ready to stop fighting? Or ready to make demands in exchange for stopping?) It now depends on the grit and backbone of our leaders.
I will be returning to this entire matter when next I write.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.