Monday, July 14, 2014

[Updated] Egypt Pushes Ceasefire, But Sides Aren't Close, Nationalists Outraged, Bennett Expected To Vote Against

There is an article below that ("What are the hidden intelligence agendas behind the Israel-Gaza War?) that makes a lot of sense, and could explain much of what we have been observing in this latest conflict.


Rockets Hit Eilat Ahead Of Ceasefire Talks

Egypt intensified its ceasefire efforts Monday night, a week into Operation Protective Edge. As Israel and Hamas weigh its terms, rocket fire has continued, as have Israeli air strikes on Hamas. Two rockets hit the city of Eilat at Israel’s southernmost tip on Monday night, lightly injuring five people in the first attack on the city from Gaza since the campaign began. The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Tuesday. (Monday’s liveblog is here.)

The number of people injured in the rocket attack on Eilat tonight has risen to five, according to media reports. All suffer light injuries only.
Ten other people are said to be in a state of shock after two rockets hit the city.
Israel radio reported that four cars were damaged by the rockets, with two being destroyed completely.
Photos posted to twitter in the wake of the attack show a small fire at the scene of one of the rocket impact sites

Israel wants Hamas to demilitarize the Strip, shutter tunnels; terror group demands Shalit prisoners be freed, employee salaries be paid

In the past few days, Egypt has increased its efforts to secure a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, but large gaps remain between the two sides in light of Gaza and Jerusalem’s irreconcilable demands, sources involved in the proceedings told The Times of Israel.
The demands Israel is presenting as part of truce negotiations, at least since Friday, are that Hamas accept the terms of the 2012 agreement that came after Operation Pillar of Defense, empty the Gaza Strip of rockets, and close down the tunnels that run between the coastal enclave and Israel.

Hamas is demanding that 56 prisoners who were released as part of the 2011 prisoner swap for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and were rearrested in the West Bank following the June 12 abduction of the three Israeli teenagers, be freed. The terror organization is also asking that the Rafah crossing to Egypt be opened, and that the salaries of 40,000 former Hamas employees be transferred to the Gaza Strip.
At this point, it seems both sides’ demands are not realistic. Hamas will not agree to part with its rocket arsenal and will most likely not dismantle its tunnels. Egypt said it will not allow the Rafah crossing to open without the presence, surveillance, and security coordination of the Palestinian Authority, as well as PA forces’ deployment on the Philadelphi Route, on the border of Gaza and Egypt.

Israel also rejects the condition of paying the Hamas salaries. The PA cannot do it through its banks due to the laws governing the sponsoring of terror, and Egypt does not allow cash transfers for salaries.
A Hamas legislator told AFP that his organization would not bend on its demands. “Talk of a ceasefire requires real and serious efforts, which we haven’t seen so far,” Hamas legislative member Mushir al-Masri said in Gaza City. “Any ceasefire must be based on the conditions we have outlined; nothing less than that will be accepted.”

What Are The Hidden Intelligence Agendas Behind The Israel-Gaza War?

Speculation has been rife about the motivations behind Hamas’ more than 100-rocket-a-day barrage against the Israeli population, week after week. The most popular theory is that the Palestinian Islamists are aiming for a spectacular victory over Israel by hitting an important strategic target and/or causing a high number of fatalities. Until one or both those objectives is achieved, the Palestinian Islamists won’t stop shooting.

But, as the Israeli Operation Defends Edge ended its first week on July 14, another explanation was finding acceptance among well-informed military and intelligence observers: They don’t believe Hamas tacticians have squandered 1,000 rockets thus far on a whim or at random. They are most likely motivated by three goals, which are also important to Hamas’ future plans – and not just Hamas:

1. Why would Hamas keep on shooting when so many of its rockets miss their targets or are destined to be downed by Israel’s Iron Dome interception batteries? The answer is that its tacticians have a hidden agenda. The rocket crews and their masters are testing the strengths and weaknesses of Israel’s wonder weapon for future reference.

Hamas knew in advance of the massive rocket blitz it launched against Israel in the last week of June that the Iron Dome defensive shield was if not impermeable then a major impediment.

At the same time, by battering the very areas where this shield was deployed, Hamas planners sought to expose its weak points and provide the Palestinians terrorists and their allies, Iran and Hizballah, with valuable data about the linchpin of Israel’s defenses.

This explanation would account for the changing focus of the rocket barrage:  After three days of concentrated fire on Israel’s three main cities, the Tel Aviv conurbation, Jerusalem and Haifa, Hamas turned Monday, July 14, to its familiar victims around the Gaza Strip’s borders. In those three days, data had been collected on Iron Dome’s performance and handed over to the analysts.

2. When the distribution of Hamas targets is examined, a premeditated program becomes visible: They were not randomly aimed at Dimona, Tel Aviv, Modiin and Hadera, but sought out the nuclear reactor (Dimona), Israel’s national and business heartland (Tel Aviv), the national power center (Hadera), Ben Gurion airport (Modiin), Israeli air bases near Negev towns, and military and port installations in Haifa, Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Hamas strategists noted that when the rocket fire intensified, so too did the Iron Dome interceptions.

While not averse to hitting Israel’s prime strategic sites directly, the Palestinians were their missed launches to develop data for guidance systems that would make their rockets and mortars more accurate in future conflicts.The first Hamas drone from Gaza over Ashdod coast, shot down by a Patriot anti-missile early Monday, served this strategy,

The drone appears to have spent some time over the Mediterranean without approaching the Israeli coast before it was detected and downed. It may have been gathering information on the Israel coast and the strategic facilities located there.

Hamas later boasted that it had lofted not one but six unmanned aerial vehicles, whose range was 60 km and which were claimed capable of both surveillance and attack.

The IDF responded fast by declaring the southern coastal area a closed military zone.Israel’s armed forces have been engaged in rocket-air combat for seven days, conducting a total of 1,470 air strikes, compared with more than 1,000 rockets fired by Hamas and its partner Jihad Islami.

Hamas still retains the bulk of its rocket stockpile. Some observers suggest that the Israeli Air Force will soon run out of worthwhile targets. The air force’s target bank is renewed almost hourly by incoming data. To replenish the dwindling stock, the military would have to expand its intelligence assets and resources, including surveillance and other means of monitoring the sites used by the enemy for control and command, as welll as informers.

Inserting a variety of sensitive intelligence resources at key points in the Gaza Strip is an essential requisite – not just for the current conflict, but for the long term. They would be there to have quality intelligence ready and available in real time, so providing a key factor for tipping the scales in the current and future rounds of violence.

Special forces working under cover to “label” targets for dedicated payloads to be delivered by air or “smart artillery” would provide such intelligence, just as Hamas uses rocket attacks and drones to suss out the secrets of Israel’s advanced defenses.

Above all, the clandestine insertion of special forces into the Gaza Strip could break the standoff between Israel and Hamas by cracking the control and surveillance communications systems linking commanders with the ranks and the politicians running the territory.Ironically, the primitive nature of those communications makes them invulnerable to the IDF’s sophisticated Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) methods.

The United States on Monday warned against any Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, saying it would put even more civilians at risk than are currently in the crossfire of attacks on Hamas.

"Nobody wants to see a ground invasion because that would put more civilians at risk," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during his daily press briefing. 

Earnest said that Washington remained concerned about civilian casualties and called on both sides to minimize them.

On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated that Washington supports Israel’s right for self-defense and pointed out that Hamas was responsible for the death of civilians.
“Civilians have been killed, and certainly that’s of concern to us, and that’s one of the reasons that we have been certainly calling for all sides to de-escalate tensions on the ground,” she said, when asked by a reporter if she thought that “the utility of an F-16 to bomb a home and kill five civilians was appropriately done.”

Psaki continued, “It’s tragic and our condolences go out to the families, but I would remind you who is at fault here, and that is Hamas and the indiscriminate attacks that they have launched against Israel.”

Nationalist Knesset Members expressed outrage on Monday night over Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza, which the Cabinet is to vote onearly Tuesday morning.
Diplomatic officials said that the Egyptian proposal would return the situation on the ground to the state it was before Operation Protective Edge, but with a Hamas that is much weaker than before.
Officials close to Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett said he would vote against the ceasefire.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) told Channel 2 News that theceasefire proposal is “very bad. I hope the reports are not correct and if they are, this is a disaster.”
Minister Ariel stressed that the ceasefire would endanger Israeli citizens. "It won’t be long before Hamas will grow stronger, smuggle more elaborate rockets and open fire again,” he warned.
Asked how he believes Israel should act now, he responded that the operation must continue, “including ground entry. We need to finish the job. Doing half a job is worse than doing nothing.”
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) said that a ceasefire at this point would be a "slap in the face" to the residents of the south, who were willing to pay a heavy price in return for Israel dealing a significant blow to Hamas.
“No cosmetics will be able to beautify this serious mistake,” he said.
Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home) said that aceasefire would portray Israel as weak.
“I call on the Cabinet ministers not to support this mistake. Under these conditions we have to oppose this ceasefire, which is good for Hamas and bad for Israel,” said Wortzman.
"We, the residents of the south, can be patient until Hamas is defeated,” he added. “A ceasefire now will produce a larger campaign against the south and the country as a whole and more missiles within a year.”
MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) also expressed her opposition to theceasefire and said, "A ceasefire without seriously harming the tunnels and missile systems means capitulation. The people of Israel are strong; the IDF is primed and ready; Hamas is on the ropes.”
"Otherwise," emphasized Shaked, “we will allow Hamas to intensify again and we will get another confrontation soon.”
MK Miri Regev (Likud) said she was against a ceasefire and called on Netanyahu not to agree to it.
“I call on the Prime Minister not to agree to a ceasefire and to weaken Hamas by operating in the air, in the sea and by land,” she said.
"This is a window of opportunity that will not be repeated, and a ceasefirewith Hamas would allow it to return to power," added Regev.
MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) also said he was opposed to aceasefire

A rocket fired from Lebanon landed on Monday night in an open area near Rosh Hanikra and the border between the two countries.

IDF artillery forces fired a salvo of shells and flares at source of recent rocket attack from Lebanon on Monday night, the military said.

It was the fourth time rockets have been fired from Lebanon since the start of a week-old Israeli offensive against Palestinian terrorists firing rockets at Israel from Gaza.


AudioOutlaw said...

"09:01 Israel approves ceasefire

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Israeli cabinet approves the terms of the Egyptian-backed ceasefire. Details to follow."

Hamas apparently rejected it without even reading the terms but, Israel, come on...

Scott said...

I'm with you audio...Maybe Israel knew Hamas would object and wanted to appear to be the peacemakers...who knows.