Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Iran Pledges To Speed Up Arming Palestinian Terror Group Hamas

Rocket Barrage Targets Gaza-Area Towns

The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Tuesday, August 26, the 50th day of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas pounded southern Israel with over 100 rockets on Monday, and Israel struck at targets in Gaza, amid reports of progress toward a new Egyptian-proposed truce. Late Monday also saw new rocket fire on Israel from Lebanon. A poll showed a drastic fall in support for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s performance in recent days.

‘Gaza is disarming — by firing at us’

Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yellin offers some bitter sarcasm today over the continued rocket fire on his rural region.
“Gaza’s disarmament continues — through the massive fire on the Eshkol Council that is emptying the arsenals of Hamas,” he says, mocking the government’s demands that Gaza be disarmed even as over a dozen rockets hit the Eshkol region this morning.
“Since the start of the escalation [on July 8], more than 1,300 rockets have fallen in Eshkol,” Yellin says. “Operation Protective Edge has now ended and the war of attrition continues,” he adds, a reference to years of rocket fire from Gaza, including during times of ceasefire.
“The government of Israel should wake up, stop talking and start doing. Hamas’s leaders are in bunkers and you are in Jerusalem,” he adds, addressing cabinet ministers.
Yellin calls on the cabinet to hold its weekly meeting in a community on the Gaza border. “I’m sure the decisions that will be made [in such a meeting] will be correct, fast and connected to reality.”

Ashkelon rocket said to be larger, possibly new type

Security officials say the rocket that struck a home in Ashkelon this morning carried an exceptionally large warhead. Twenty-one people were wounded, eight of them children, from the explosion’s shock wave and flying shrapnel and broken glass.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the rocket may have been a new type to be launched from Gaza, and intended for central Israel.

Tehran said it would “accelerate” its support for Hamas with weapons and missile-building technology after Israel allegedly deployed a spy drone over Iran.
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said: “We will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response.”
Iran has confirmed it supplied fighters from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with the technology for the rockets being fired relentlessly into Israel from Gaza since July 8.
It looks like we will not return to Nahal Oz, no way
Grief-stricken mother Gila Tragerman
Hundreds of Israelis living in communities near the coastal strip fled their homes following a deadly mortar attack over the weekend. At least seven Palestinians were reported killed yesterday as the Israeli military launched 16 airstrikes. At least 60 rockets were fired from Gaza onto Israel.

While the Israeli public has widely supported Israel’s campaign to halt rocket attacks, the government has come under criticism for its inability to stop the fire.

Anger has risen following the death of four-year-old Daniel Tragerman who was killed on Friday when a Palestinian mortar landed in Nahal Oz, a kibbutz near the Gaza border.
Grief-stricken mother Gila Tragerman, speaking before his funeral on Sunday, said: “It looks like we will not return to Nahal Oz, no way.”

The US has begun surveillance flights over Syria after President Barack Obama gave the OK, a move that could pave the way for airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets there, US officials said.

The US had already stepped up its air surveillance of the Islamic State inside Iraq earlier this year as Obama began considering the prospect of airstrikes there. And the administration has run some surveillance missions over Syria, including ahead of an attempted mission to rescue Foley and other US hostages earlier this summer.

The White House on Monday tried to tamp down the notion that action against the Islamic State could bolster Assad, with Earnest saying, “We’re not interested in trying to help the Assad regime.” However, he acknowledged that “there are a lot of cross pressures here.”

Syria said today it's willing to cooperate with the United States to put down the Sunni Muslim terrorist group known as ISIS. But the foreign minister warned against any attacks against ISIS targets in Syria -- without Syrian permission.
President Obama has made no decision on that, but as CBS News correspondent David Martin reports, the U.S. military will be ready.
The Pentagon has begun planning for air strikes using both manned and unmanned aircraft to attack ISIS targets inside Syria. The strikes would be designed to disrupt ISIS operations and kill its senior leaders.
Current air strikes have been limited to ISIS forces in Iraq that threaten either American facilities in the cities of Baghdad and Erbil, or large segments of the Iraqi population such as the Yazidi religious minority. Those strikes have stalled the ISIS advance across northern Iraq, but left its center of power in Syria untouched.

Rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel are not only killing Israelis. Not only injuringIsraelis. Not only killing livestock. Not only destroyinghomes and property. But they are driving people out of southern Israel. Abandoned towns along the border are a dream come true for Hamas.
It is estimated that 70% of families within a region in Israel called the “Gaza envelope” are relocating to communities away from the border. The Gaza envelope is a strip of land within two kilometers of the border. That puts residents within mortar range. The Iron Dome is ineffective against mortars. And there are no warning sirens, either.
What a way to live. 

But if Jewish communities are abandoned, Hamas will step into the vacuum, as they did when the Jewish communities of Gaza were expelled (the government doesn't like me using that word, but that's the reality) nine years ago.

There has been a lot of talk recently about Gaza developing into a 'war of attrition.' There was a war of attrition along Israel's border with Egypt 45 years ago.  That war - which lasted from 1968-69 - saw hundreds of casualties. But it was conducted along the Suez Canal. There were few civilians involved.

Given this situation, I don't understand why we're even discussing a cease fire. Hamas must be destroyed.

The PA and Hamas are inextricably linked. By funding the PA, we are funding Hamas. The United States funding of terror must end.
UNWRA serves as an arm of Hamas allowing Hamas to store missiles and munitions in UNWRA facilities, fire rockets from UNWRA facilities, and set up headquarters in the basement of an UNWRA hospital.

Caroline Glick writes:

…UNWRA is subservient to Hamas. All UNWRA installations and personnel are controlled by Hamas. As a result, UNWRA is a subsidiary – willing or unwilling – of Hamas and all funds to UNWRA must be suspended until Hamas is no longer in control of Gaza. 

A rocket hit the playground of a kindergarten in Ashdod early Tuesday afternoon. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

So far on Tuesday, 69 rockets were fired at Israel since midnight. 61 of them fell inside Israel, 6 were intercepted by the Iron Dome and 2 fell inside the Gaza Strip.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in Ashkelon early Tuesday morning, opening a gaping hole in the roof and leaving two rooms completely destroyed. Some 50 neighboring apartments also suffered damage.

The family members inside the home, parents and two children aged 14 and 17, were on their way to the protected space when the rocket hit, and were unharmed.

Signs the United States may strike Islamic State militants in their Syrian stronghold reveal a shift in the politics of foreign war in Washington, after the trauma of the post-Iraq era.

A year ago, President Barack Obama was set to bomb Syria — but balked at the last minute after sizing up beckoning political isolation in his war-weary nation.

But a serious attempt to crush IS, across the dissolved borders of Iraq and Syria, threatens to evolve into the kind of open-ended commitment in the Middle East that Obama’s presidency was built on avoiding.
Nevertheless, the Pentagon is preparing options for possible US action on the group’s strongholds in Syria.
Obama has long resisted the temptation to get sucked into the vicious civil war, and last year ordered a last-minute halt to US air strikes to punish the use of chemical weapons.
He also set a narrow mandate for new US air strikes targeting IS in Iraq —- to protect American diplomats and prevent a genocide of ethnic Yazidis.
Yet the killing of Foley, highlighting a direct threat to Americans, may make military action in Syria an easier sell this time around.

A former senior administration official said the rhetorical shift may signal a White House “tipping point.”
“It does seem to me, they have stepped up a gear —- from second, to fourth, on how to deal with (IS).”
Drums of war are beating anew on Capitol Hill.
“This administration has thus far only dealt with containment,” Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee told ABC News.
“We need to expand these air strikes so that we can ultimately defeat and eliminate (IS).”

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