Caroline Glick: Why Israel let Hamas win latest round of Gaza violence
Israel’s security cabinet’s decision Tuesday afternoon to walk away from the war Hamas initiated Monday and to accept a “ceasefire” is frustrating and infuriating. Hamas shot nearly 500 projectiles into Israel in under 24 hours. It blew up a bus with a Kornet anti-tank missile. Sixty Israelis were wounded, several critically. One civilian was killed. Numerous homes were destroyed.
Israel has never experienced any rocket onslaught from Gaza remotely as intense as what Hamas and Islamic Jihad shot off on Monday and Tuesday. And yet, rather than respond with equal – or better yet – far greater force and teach Hamas and Islamic Jihad a lesson they would long remember, the security cabinet sufficed with a couple hundred pinpoint air attacks, and then accepted the IDF’s advice and opted for the ceasefire. In so doing, they left the residents of southern Israel virtual hostages of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who have retained the capacity to attack them at will.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s sudden resignation on Wednesday may help his little party Yisrael Beitenu get reelected to Knesset in the next elections. But if it does, then Liberman will have won his political survival at Israel’s expense. Hamas is entirely justified in presenting Liberman’s resignation as proof that it defeated Israel this week.
Winners don’t quit. Losers do.
But beyond being frustrating and infuriating, the cabinet’s decision is a cause for deep concern. Why did the cabinet opt to stand down in the face of Hamas’s unprecedented onslaught?
JPost Editorial: Golan, Israel
Anyone remotely familiar with Israel’s geographical and political landscape knows that the notion of giving up the Golan Heights is laughable.
Never mind the natural beauty, ruggedness and open spaces the region offers –qualities which have helped turn it into one of the country’s main getaways and outdoor recreational destinations.
The northern area was captured by the IDF from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967, after Israel was attacked simultaneously by Egypt, Jordan and the regime of Hafez Assad, father of the current leader. The area is a vital strategic asset.
Imagine the strife and danger that northern Israel would be facing due to the long, bloody civil war in Syria if the Golan was still in the hands of brutal Syrian dictator Basher Assad.
Former prime minister Menachem Begin’s surprise measure to annex the Golan Heights – which he pushed through the Knesset in 1981 by a vote of 63 to 21 – has proven to be a far-sighted move that probably has more consensus approval inside Israel than almost any other issue.
Begin’s decision was based on the belligerent Syrian declaration that even if Israel and the Palestinians would have reached a peace agreement, Syria would never make peace with Israel.
The reactions to the annexation were predictable. Then-Syrian president Assad called it a “declaration of war,” and the Reagan administration said that the annexation was inconsistent with the Camp David accords, complaining that the United States had been given no prior warning of the move.
That’s why Friday’s vote by the US to oppose for the first time the UN General Assembly’s annual call on Israel to return the Golan to Syria is so welcome, even though it’s been so long in coming.
In Gaza, the NGO network is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and the European “Red-Green” alliance, comprised of the European Left and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The NGO network in Ramallah, however, belongs to the historical Palestinian Left – the former Communists and the Marxist terror organizations such as the Popular Front and the Democratic Front.
The NGOs in Ramallah are very radical, marked by hatred of Israel and the U.S., and they foment tension between Europe and the U.S.
In the last Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006, the leftist parties won only meager percentages and barely qualified for the Palestinian parliament. They maintain their political power thanks only to the NGO frameworks, which are buttressed by European money.
Mustafa Barghouti is the spokesman of the Ramallah NGOs. He was the leader of the Communist Party in the West Bank. In the 2006 presidential elections, he ran against Abbas and won 20% of the vote.
When former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Barghouti instigated a demonstration against him.
Ending the mandate of the international observers in Hebron would be a quick way for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to boost his rating with right-wing voters.
Whether Netanyahu heads to early elections or holds onto his coalition, he will have lost points among right-wing voters both for his Gaza restraint and his delay in the demolition of the illegal West Bank Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar.
Last week in Paris, Netanyahu said he was would weigh the growing calls among right-wing politicians and settlers to evict the Temporary International Force in Hebron after 21 years.
“With regard to the continuation of TIPH, we will take a decision in December,” Netanyahu said.
The 64-member observer force is financed and staffed by five countries – Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey – and has operated in the section of Hebron under Israeli military rule since 1997.
Its staff members, with their gray and blue uniforms, have the freedom to move about the city to observe the conditions under which the Palestinians live and to report on incidents of conflict, but it has no power to intervene.
According to its website, it has written more than 20,000 confidential reports on life in Hebron.
Several Palestinians took to social media to express extreme consternation over the arrest of Jbara, and described her imprisonment as “disgraceful.” They also launched several hashtags demanding her release and calling on the International community to exert pressure on the Palestinian Authority to stop targeting women.
These appeals, however, have thus far fallen on deaf ears. The Palestinian media in the West Bank, which is directly and indirectly controlled by Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, has ignored the arrest of the two women. As far as Abbas’s media outlets are concerned, there is no need to report about the plight of Palestinian women arrested by the PA. The only women whose stories are published in the Palestinian Authority media are those who are arrested by Israel for security-related offenses. Abbas does not want his people and the rest of the world to know that his security forces are arresting women for criticizing a social security law or providing financial aid to Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip.
One can understand why the Palestinian media has deliberately chosen to ignore the Palestinian Authority’s crackdown on Palestinian women. But it is hard to understand why the international media and human rights organizations continue to turn a blind eye to such practices. The two women would have won the attention of the Western media and human rights groups had they been arrested by Israel. Then, Western journalists based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv would have visited the families of the two women a long time ago and published several articles on their ordeal.
Take, for example, the case of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who was arrested and sentenced to prison for slapping an Israeli soldier last year. She has since become the darling of the Western media, whose representatives have turned her into an icon and “symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation.”
Unlike Jbara and Marab’eh, Tamimi was lucky to be arrested by Israel. Had she been arrested by the Palestinian Authority, no one would ever have known.
This attitude is another example of the anti-Israel bias of the international media and community. It is yet another example of how the West gives the Palestinians a pass to violate human rights and crack down on dissent, while remaining obsessed with Israel. Moreover, it is another example of the hypocrisy of Abbas, who condemns Israel for combating terrorism and incitement, while he throws Palestinian women in jail.
Sitting in his living room in the Kfar Adumim settlement, Arieli summarized the doctrine: “It’s about preventing terrorism before it even grows.”
To illustrate what he meant, Arieli described a scenario in which a soldier sees an armed terrorist charging at him from the other side of a border fence.
“At this point, there are only two ways in which the incident can unfold: either the soldier shoots the terrorist or the terrorist shoots the soldier,” he said.
“But the prevention I’m talking about takes place well before the terrorist reaches that fence. My goal is to steer him from gaining the motivation to carry out the attack in the first place.”
In order to achieve this, Arieli argues that it all boils down to one factor: education. “Education brings security,” he asserted.
In the case of the soccer game, the former Shin Bet official explained that his entry onto the field provided an opportunity for him to teach an informal lesson of sorts.
“After playing for a bit, we naturally get to talking. I hear about their struggles, and in between, I’m able to caution them against offenses such as stone throwing,” he said, adding that these conversations allow the teens to see him as a human being rather than “the enemy.”
While Arieli acknowledged that exposing himself as a Shin Bet agent in the middle of a Palestinian village put him at risk, he explains that it was done “in the hope that my presence might positively influence at least one person there.”
With his cleanly shaved head, calm but forceful tone and the remarkable ability to make it through a four-hour conversation without breaking a single smile, Arieli carries the demeanor of your stereotypical Israeli security official. But his background is anything but.
It was over for Benjamin Netanyahu.
He’d agreed on an informal truce with Hamas after 500 rockets had been fired at Israel, and his defense minister, the volatile Avigdor Liberman, had resigned in a seething firestorm of anger and recrimination. Two of his more quiescent coalition partners, Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu and Aryeh Deri’s Shas, had concluded that the coalition, now reduced to 61 of the 120 Knesset seats, could no longer function effectively and were calling for elections. And his most irritating rival, the Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, was threatening to pull his eight-member party out of the government unless he was appointed defense minister, making elections in the spring — six months or more ahead of schedule — unavoidable.
Many politicians might have caved to the seemingly inevitable. Netanyahu did not.
First, he moved to reframe the public debate.
Liberman was looking to resurrect his political fortunes by running in elections this spring as the one political leader with the guts to give up his prominent ministerial position for the cause of smashing Hamas, and to portray himself as the lawmaker who had put an end to Netanyahu’s ostensible hesitancy and abandonment of the rocket-battered residents of Israel’s South.
Bennett thought he was onto a win-win. Either he elevated himself to the front rank of politicians by finally compelling Netanyahu to give him the Defense Ministry post, or he ran against Netanyahu in the elections he’d be triggering as the true champion of the hardline right.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday avoided an early election for now after a coalition partner backed away from toppling a government hanging on to power with a razor-thin parliamentary majority.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s U-turn surprised many pundits who had predicted the leader of the HaBayit HaYehudi party would quit in protest after Netanyahu rejected his demand to be named defense minister and assumed the post himself.
Netanyahu, head of the Likud party, has been making last-ditch efforts to prevent the collapse of the government, which has a majority of just one seat in parliament since Avigdor Lieberman resigned as defense chief last week.
Outflanking Netanyahu on the right, Lieberman lashed out in his resignation announcement at the government’s acceptance of a ceasefire with Gaza’s dominant armed group, Hamas, amid a surge in cross-border violence
“You win some, you lose some,” Bennett said in a televised address, shrugging off Netanyahu’s rejection of his bid for the defense post, long regarded in Israel as its second most important cabinet portfolio.
Had Bennett pulled his party out of the weakened coalition, as HaBayit HaYehudi officials had threatened, Netanyahu would have been left with a minority government, making an election likely ahead of a national ballot that is not due until November 2019.
Senior Israeli officials rebutted Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s claim that IDF soldiers fear legal action more than Hamas officials, stressing the army should be kept out of political debates, as politicians, legal officers and the army weighed in on the comments..
“Our soldiers are more afraid of the military advocate general than they are of Yahya Sinwar,” Bennett posited at a press conference on Monday, a claim he doubled down on in a statement released later in the day. During the press conference, announced he would resign from his post, which would have plunged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition into further crisis.
Bennett took to Twitter later in the day to “unequivocally” assert, “the excess of legalization ties the hands of IDF soldiers and endangers the lives of Israeli citizens.”
Sinwar, the commander of Hamas’s military wing Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, said last week Israel should “not test us again,” warning the group’s next round of rockets could strike Tel Aviv.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu curtly responded to the statement, writing on Twitter, “IDF soldiers are not afraid of anything.”
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot both quickly pushed back at the statement, stressing the IDF’s immeasurable role in the safety of Israel.
PreOccupiedTerritory: In Next Gov’t, Netanyahu To Cut To Chase And Hold All Portfolios (satire)
Coalition troubles that led to the impending collapse of the current Likud-led government has the prime minister considering a policy that upon reelection will see him retaining every ministry to forestall the instability that brought about the present collapse, instead of the mere five he now holds.
Sources close to Binyamin Netanyahu disclosed today (Monday) that in the likely event of elections before the government’s term ends in late 2019, he intends to keep every single portfolio to himself, in light of what aides called the “mess” that resulted from giving the Ministry of Defense to Avigdor Lieberman, who resigned last week over the government’s policy regarding attacks from the Gaza Strip. Holding all the portfolios will prevent such moves from toppling the government, Netanyahu hopes.
Aides and advisers told reporters that in addition to the current ministries for which Netanyahu has not appointed a dedicated minister – Communications, Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation, Economy, and now Defense – he will, if reelected, refrain from assigning to others the ministries of the Interior, Justice, Health, Religious Services, Labor, Social Affairs, Tourism, Education, Culture and Sport, Science and Technology, Immigrant Absorption, Public Security, Agriculture, Housing, Finance, Development of the Periphery, Environmental Protection, and Transport. Instead, they explained, the prime minister will retain ultimate authority in all those offices. Polls indicate Netanyahu’s reelection the most likely outcome of elections.
Experts expressed diverse opinions on the wisdom of such a move. “It’s creative, I’ll give him that,” allowed Israel Radio political commentator Hanan Krystal. “And considering how little the ministries actually do when there’s a discrete minister in charge of each one, I can’t see them functioning any worse than they do now. In fact an administrative bottleneck might be just the ticket to keep them from implementing anything as destructive and stupid as they tend to.”
The Arab world has so far been indifferent to the political crisis currently plaguing Israel. This may indicate that the Arabs simply expect the next Israeli elections to bring about more of the same with respect to the makeup and balance of power in the government, but it also seems that many Arab rulers are in no rush to see a change in the nature of the Israeli government.
The messiah may not be coming anytime soon, but we are in the midst of a golden age in term of Israel’s relations with the Arab world. From the Persian Gulf states to North Africa, many in the Arab world no longer regard Israel as a hostile or foreign element in the Middle East, but rather as a solid regional player – one they can cooperate with and even rely on when necessary.
Gulf states have a clear reason to prefer political stability and governmental continuity in Israel: They are concerned about the regional threats, primarily those posed by Iran, and know that Israel and the United States are collaborating on this issue.
Arab states have never taken a special interest in Israeli politics, as they struggle to understand its internal dynamics. As ties with Gulf states began to warm up, Arab rulers have sought to work with Israeli leaders they perceive as reliable and focused, those who wield domestic and international clout.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) November 19, 2018
.@HillelNeuer on the UN Human Rights Council: I think one has to be strategic. Pulling out will cede the room to the worst human rights abusers.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) November 19, 2018
UN Wwatch: U.S. pulls out of UN postal union
Palestinian President Abbas’ announced intention to join the Universal Postal Union could force the U.S. to pull out of the body, except that it has already served notice a month ago.
U.S. laws dating to the early 1990s require the American government to cut off funding to any UN organization that grants the Palestinians full membership
However, notice was already filed last month when on October 17, 2018 the UN specialized agency received a letter from Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo: “This letter constitutes notification by the Government of the United States of America that it hereby denounces the UPU Constitution and, thereby, withdraws from the Universal Postal Union.” Withdrawal “shall be effective one year after the day on which you receive this notice…”
UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein said he “regrets the decision and will seek to meet representatives of the Government of the United States of America to further discuss the matter.”
However, the UPU’s Hussein struck a more proactive tone the next week when he stated in an interview that the UPU commissioned a report on reforming rates and expressed optimism that a negotiated agreement could be reached by April 2019. “Whether the UPU can reach an agreement that will satisfy the Trump administration will depend on how China and other UPU member states benefiting from the current system approach these negotiations,” writes the Lawfare blog.
The appointment of a Jewish businessman, Rene Trabelsi, as Tunisia’s tourism minister is causing a firestorm in the country, Hadashot TV reported on Sunday.
The Tunisian parliament last week approved Trabelsi’s appointment as part of a cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.
Trabelsi, in becoming minister of tourism in the Muslim Arab country, became only the third member of the small minority of 2,000 Jews to enter a cabinet since Tunisia’s independence in 1956.
Trabelsi is considered pro-Israel. Over the past few years he has visited Israel several times and even believes that Tunisia should maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.
This fact, according to Hadashot TV, has resulted in many demanding his dismissal.
“The appointment of Tunisian Jew Rene Trabelsi as minister of tourism is one of the main issues that sparked controversy and debate among public opinion,” said Ziad al-Hani, an expert on Tunisian politics who resides in Tunis who was quoted in the report.
“Many claim that he is unable to head the ministry because of conflicts of interest. He was the owner of tourism agencies and airlines. This contradicts his role as minister. He is also accused of supporting normalization with Israel. He makes repeated visits to Israel and brings from there Tunisian Jews to visit the synagogue in Ghriba,” he added.
The rage that I witnessed in the Sderot protests on Tuesday smelled different, and it wasn’t the thick smoke from the burning tires, that a few teenagers burned in the middle of the road. This wasn’t a spontaneous blowing off of steam, after another round of fighting, sirens, direct hits and explosions.
Yossi Geldati, a long-time Sderot resident, said that the photos of Gazans giving away sweets in the streets in joy of victory drove people crazy. He told me I have to speak to his friend Aryeh Hen, who voted Likud all his life and declared, after last week’s ceasefire agreement, that’s he’s done with them forever. Aryeh told me that he intends to punish the Likud in the next elections, and that “He wouldn’t recommend them going to elections now, since the south is highly disappointed in them.”
This may not be a revolution, but it does signify a new wind. In Sderot right-wing voters protested against the prime minister, of the Likud party, who heads a right-wing government. In the 2015 elections, the Likud took Sderot effortlessly, with 42.85 percent of the votes. The second largest party here came in way behind, with 11.84% of the vote. That was Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu. All other parties settled for scraps.
Before my visit to Sderot I went through Ashkelon, to see the building that took a direct hit. There, too, resident were complaining about Netanyahu, that he is responsible for Hamas “beating us.” Like in Sderot, Ashkelonians also voted for the Likud, which garnered 39.88% of the votes. The Likud won big in all southern cities, including Netivot and Ofakim, whoseresidents ran in and out of shelters throughout last week.
When is a protest not a protest? What is free speech, really?
When the media say “protest” that means picket signs and free speech, right? But what if the “protesters” are throwing grenades, launching airborne firebombs and firing high caliber machine guns? What if children are living in fear? Should the media still call it a “protest?”
Jewish tours of the Temple Mount are part of an Israeli scheme to ignite a religious war, the Palestinian Authority said on Sunday.
The allegation came in response to a visit to the Mount by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.
In recent years, the PA has been regularly condemning visits by Jewish groups and individuals to the Temple Mount, claiming they were “storming the Aqsa Mosque.”
“The aggression on al-Aqsa Mosque by storming it is a hellish crime perpetrated by and initiated by an extremist terror ideology,” said Yusef al-Mahmoud, spokesman of the Ramallah-based PA government.
He claimed that the Israeli minister’s visit to the Temple Mount was carried out on instructions from the Israeli government to “storm the Aqsa Mosque on a daily basis.”
Debate about Normalization of Ties between Gulf States and Israel: Iran Is the Real Enemy; Israel Should be Part of the Anti-Iranian Alliance pic.twitter.com/1R3Qy2wsuh
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) November 19, 2018
Iran will continue to export oil despite U.S. sanctions, which are part of a psychological war doomed to failure, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday.
By reimposing sanctions on OPEC’s third biggest crude producer, Washington wants to force Tehran to drop its ballistic missile programs, further curb its nuclear work and limit its support for proxy militias from Syria to Lebanon and Yemen.
“We will not yield to this pressure, which is part of the psychological war launched against Iran,” Rouhani said in a speech in the city of Khoy, broadcast live on state television.
“They have failed to stop our oil exports. We will keep exporting it … Your regional policies have failed and you blame Iran for that failure from Afghanistan to Yemen and Syria,” he added, to chants of “Death to America!.”
Rouhani said Washington lacked the necessary international support for its sanctions, and noted that it had granted temporary waivers to eight major buyers of Iranian oil.
“America is isolated now. Iran is supported by many countries. Except for the Zionist regime (Israel) and some countries in the region, no other country backs America’s pressure on Iran,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Monday highlighted his concern for the Palestinians in an annual televised speech that noticeably made no direct mention of the murder of dissident Saudi journalist that has tipped the country into one of its worst international crises.
In his first public remarks since Jamal Khashoggi’s killing by Saudi agents last month, the king expressed support for his son, the crown prince, who as been accused of ordering the murder at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
Instead, Salman’s annual remarks to the Shura Council — outlining the kingdom’s priorities for the coming year — focused on the war in Yemen, security for Palestinians, stability in the oil market and countering rival Iran.
The king said the Palestinian issue would remain a “top priority for the kingdom,” until they “get their rights,” according to Saudi news outlets.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is thought to be a key piece to US attempts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, though the scandal surrounding Khashoggi’s killing has thrown a shadow over those efforts.
Salman also accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism in the region, and called on the international community to counter Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.
With the CIA concluding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the crown prince now claims he had taken Ambien before sending a team to Istanbul to kill the reporter.
“I am not a murderer, just an idiot,” bin Salman told The Mideast Beast. “I took an Ambien to fall asleep, and it seemed like a good idea to send a 15-man team to Turkey to assassinate and dismember a Washington Post columnist who had written some mean things about me.”
The crown prince added, “I tend to do silly things when I take Ambien.”
Bin Salman is the latest figure to blame Ambien for their misdeeds, following sitcom star Roseanne Barr and the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
While many officials were skeptical of the Saudi’s explanation, US President Donald Trump said that it is time for the allies to put the matter behind them. In fact, as of press time, Trump had reportedly sent bin Salman a bottle of Ambien and a picture of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
1000s of Syrians treated
2 words that conclude the official closing ceremony of the Good Neighbor Administration that took place this evening in the Golan Heights:
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/WpaWP5RP1h
— רונן מנליס – Ronen Manelis (@Ronen_Manelis) November 18, 2018
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