Category Archives: Arab violence

Is Hamas Losing its Protective Edge?

Most media outlets across the world without any particular axe to grind, peg Hamas as the instigator for this latest round of violence in the Middle East.

It continues to hurl rockets at nearby Israeli civilian centres with the express purpose of causing solely civilian Jewish casualties. But why is it doing this? And is Hamas losing its ‘protective edge’ in the battle for the hearts and minds of the “Palestinian” street?

It is increasingly clear to many observers here in Australia, that Hamas has been stung by the Israeli operation in Judea and Samaria in the wake of the kidnapping of the three Jewish teenagers.

Their 5-year long wait for release of arab prisoners in the Shalit deal has come to naught because Israel has used the west bank initiative to re-imprison most of the top Hamas west bank-based operatives who were released back in 2011.

In the psychology of perceptions in mid-east politics, Hamas lost face.

Not only face, but Hamas is financially strapped now that Shia Iran has withdrawn its financial backing of the terror group because of its support of the rebel Sunni militias in Syria. Needless to add, Assad to has revoked backing the group.

Add to this PA refusal to pay Hamas salaries, the lukewarm support from PA chief Abu Mazen across the country and his reticence to further foment a second front there, and the near hermetically sealing off of the land/tunnel access to Egypt and the Sinai by al-Sisi, has meant that Hamas needed an event to justify its existence.

That leaves only the sea access, but Israel has recently reduced the perimeter blockade to its original distance of three nautical miles, further negating gains made by Hamas in the international arena.

Thus, the round-up of top Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria provided just such an excuse for Hamas to try and restore its flagging fortunes and relevance in the “Palestinian” street.

Until the two Hamas members who murdered Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Ifrach are located and brought back to Israel, it is not entirely clear or proven beyond reasonable doubt that Hamas itself was actually involved in the kidnap and murder.

This would have added to Hamas’ sense of “injustice” at the hand of the Israelis, and would have been a blow to their image as the only arabs taking the physical fight to the ‘Zionist entity’. In this regard, they might yet turn out to be entirely vindicated!….

For his part in the discomfiture of Hamas at the hands of the Israelis, Abu Mazen in Ramallah must be privately delighted that political rival Hamas is bleeding men, materiel and prestige in the current ill-advised debacle. He has further turned the screws by refusing a recent Hamas demand that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah take employees of the disbanded Gaza government onto its payroll.

This dispute over money is symptomatic of the wider malaise and schism afflicting a ‘unity’ government recently sworn in in a bid to end seven years of rival administrations in Gaza and Ramallah. Politically too the two groups are on different trajectories, and Hamas is incensed at the ongoing international recognition of Ramallah as representative of the “Palestinian” struggle at the expense of its violent sibling in Gaza.

Militarily, it is in a bind. Now that Egypt has closed off tunnel access to smuggled medium and long-range rockets from Iran, its need to replenish its stock will grow stronger the longer this conflagration drags on.

In addition, the longer the successful Israeli aerial assault continues on Arab rocket infrastructure in Gaza without any reciprocal success in taking Jewish lives, the more likely it is that a focused ground offensive by the Israeli army would destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and morale even further. This is because hitting the rocket launching system can be done in a far more systematic manner, in places where the rockets and their production facilities are hidden deep in the heart of their non-combatant population. And finally, an IDF ground assault would effectively signal a psychological blow to Hamas who may well believe that Israel is reluctant to initiate a ground operation. However, a ground assault could be exactly what Hamas wants so that anti-tank weapons can take out slow-moving Israeli tanks and army jeeps and other large slow-moving objects in the confines of Gaza’s warrens of streets.

On balance, this writer couldn’t care less what Hamas may or may not believeabout Israeli valour: sanctity of Israeli life in such an operation is paramount and though I hope that Israeli brass will eschew such an option, I will understand why it had to happen.

In the short to medium term then, with Hezbollah and Syria tied up in the north, with Egypt barricading them from the south, with Jordan increasingly turning to military cooperation with Israel against an ISIS threat in the east, Hamas is inexorably running out of options. Unquestionably, it will be dismayed by the heavy physical and strategic damage it has so far sustained. It now appears that al-Sisi’s ouster of the Brotherhood in Egypt was more than just an omen of what was in store for the Gaza-based affiliate……

And that is quite OK by Israel.

In the end, Operation ‘Protective Edge’ will have succeeded in its stated mandate of stopping the rockets.

2014: Why Israel is hitting Gaza

Propaganda value aside, why is Israel attacking Hamas in Gaza today?

Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) is considered a terrorist organization by much of the non-Arab international community including the the European Union, the U.S., Canada, Japan, the U.K., Australia and Israel.

Its declared goal is to destroy the Jewish state and replace it with an Islamic one. Indeed, its enmity is directed not only toward Israel but toward Jews in general.

Hamas has deliberately targets Israeli civilians and endangered the welfare of Palestinians.

It has made a mockery of Jimmy Carter’s now-infamous statement: “Hamas’ return to unified Palestinian governance can increase the likelihood of a two-state solution and a peaceful outcome.”

After the Hamas/PA “unity government” signing, Hamas deputy chief Musa Abu Marzouk, immediately insisted that despite the agreement with the American and Saudi funded PA, Hamas would not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Then Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal himself declared that “the only campaign we have is against Israel…Our common enemy is Israel. Israel must be fought through force and diplomacy.” All this in 2014…..

Israel is pressured by the European Union and America to make concessions and give up territory to a terror group whose very reason for existence is suspect.

While Hamas’ distaste for a legal Jewish state in the Middle East is palpable and on the record, there are excellent reasons, apart from their rocket attacks on a sovereign state, why Hamas in Gaza should be curbed.

1) Hamas completely rejects a Jewish state.
Hamas believes that Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. Hamas Charter, Article 28 states: “Israel with its Jewish identity and Jewish people is challenging Islam and the Muslims. May the cowardly know no sleep.”

2) Hamas’s ultimate mission–”no matter how long it takes”– is to “fight the Jews and kill them” and to replace the Jewish state with an Islamic caliphate.
Hamas Charter, Article 7 states: “The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’…”
Hamas Charter, Article 9 states: “[The goals] are to…defeat [the Jews] so that…the [Muslim] call for prayer will ring out announcing the rise of the rule of Islam, so that people and things shall all return to their proper place.

3) Hamas’ enmity is not directed against Israel alone but against the Jewish people as a whole. Jews are demonized repeatedly in Hamas’ governing document.

Hamas Charter, Article 22 states: “[Jews were] behind the French Revolution and the Communist Revolution and [they are behind] most of the revolutions about which we hear from time to time here and there. ….the Freemasons, the Rotary Clubs, the Lions, the Sons of the Covenant [i.e. B’nei B’rith], etc….are organizations of espionage and sabotage….They were behind World War I… They were [also] behind World War II, through which they reaped enormous profits …They [also] suggested the formation of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of the United Nations [sic] and to rule the world through this [new organization]…..”

4) Hamas (and the Palestinian Authority) regularly incite “Palestinians” to violence.
In Dec. 14, 2010, Interior Minister Fathi Hammad explained to “Palestinian” Arabs on Al Aqsa TV:
“The Jews have become abhorred and loathed outcasts, because they live off corruption and the plundering of the peoples…The entire world says: “Bravo, Hamas, for confronting these people pf corruption.” Whenever we score a goal, by achieving something against the Jews, the world applauds us…. the hatred for the Jews is on the rise, and people who hate the Jews…will support us.”
In a further televised rally in 20111, Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV told West Bank Palestinians that: “You [Allah] have made our killing of the Jews an act of worship through which we come closer to you…. Oh sons of Palestine, oh sons of the Gaza Strip, oh mujahedeen, wage jihad, wreak destruction, blow up and harvest the heads of the Zionists.”

5) The language of violent, racist confrontation and zero-sum rhetoric regularly inflame “Palestinian” passions.

” We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital – but without recognizing [Israel]. This is the key – without recognizing the Israeli enemy on a single inch of land…This is our plan for this … Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety. I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. This is unequivocal…”
“The Zionists – I swear to you, by God, by the world… We will not recognize Israel. If you want security or peace, you should go back to where you came from.” (Hamas “message” to the Israeli people: Broadcast Jan. 11, 2009).

“The day will come, within several years, when this world will change, submitting to the Arab Islamic will, Allah willing.” (Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, Al Jazeera TV, October 12, 2008).

“The approaching victory, about which we are talking, is not limited to Palestine…Why? Because Allah has chosen you to fight the people He hates most – the Jews. Allah said: “You shall find the worst enemies of the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists….Therefore, the reward of our martyrs is great, and your reward is also great.” (Hamas MP Fathi Hammad, Hamas Al Aqsa TV, Sept. 8, 2008).

“The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine. This will be followed by a greater blessing, Allah be praised, with the establishment of a Caliphate that will rule the land and will be pleasing to men and God.”  (Hamas cleric Muhsen Abu ‘Ita, Hamas Al-Aqsa TV, July 13, 2008).

And these are only the recordings we know about. Over time, words like these create a pervasive and deadly cultural poison and “national” narrative…..

6) Hamas’ targeting of Jewish civilians is deliberate policy. Today’s ongoing rocket attacks against random Jewish civillian population centres is proof enough of that.

Since September 2000, Hamas has carried out hundreds of attacks targeting civilians.

Even after Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in August 2005, Hamas has continued to use the Gaza Strip as a launching pad to escalate rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel’s sovereign territory:
• Port: Ashdod Port, March 14, 2004: Hamas double suicide bombing at Ashdod Port which killed 10 people and wounded 16.
• City buses: Hamas has carried out numerous attacks on Israeli commuters: more than 18 attacks on or near civilian buses, bus stops, train stations and taxis.
• suicide bombing of Bus 19 in the center of Jerusalem which took the lives of 11 civilians and wounded 50 more
• two suicide attacks targeting city buses on Be’ersheva’s main street, killing 16 and wounding over 100 people.
Abduction: Hamas claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder of Israeli businessman Sasson Nuriel.
• Shopping mall: Hamas claimed responsibility for suicide bombing at a shopping mall which killed one woman and critically wounded her husband, as well as 38 more people. A Hamas statement following the event urged more such attacks.
• Rocket and mortar attacks: Hamas consolidated its control over the Gaza Strip and enabled Palestinian terrorist organizations both to expand the facilities that manufacture rockets inside the Gaza Strip and to smuggle rockets into Gaza from Egypt. Rocket and mortar attacks soon became the main method of attack emanating from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Since 2005, 5,700 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel (more than 3,500 rockets and 2,200 mortars), killing 14 civilians and one soldier. In addition, hundreds of people were wounded, and thousands were treated for shock of minor injuries.

 

In 2008 alone, 3,500 rockets and mortar shells landed in Israeli territory (almost 2000 rockets and 1,642 mortar shells) and put almost 1 million Israelis (i.e. 15% population) into rocket range.

On 8th July 2014, more than 100 rockets hit Israeli civillian targets in urban population centres.

By 9th July, 2014, more than 3.5 million Israelis sleep in or near bomb shelters in event of ongoing Hamas rocket attacks in blatant breach of the 4th Geneva Convention.

7) Hamas rejects compromise, peace negotiations or a diplomatic end to the conflict.
[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement (see above).

Hamas Charter, Article 15 states: “…There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.”

8) No Hamas representative has ever renounced the charter calling for the killing of Jews and destruction of the State of Israel.

Quite the opposite. The incitement to violence and a further ethnic genocide continue:
On the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of Statehood, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh stated: “Palestinians mark ‘Naqba Day’ this year with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine.”

At an earlier Hamas/Fatah reconciliation agreement in Cairo, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal stated: “Our aim is to establish a free and completely sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any [Jews]. Israel must be fought both with force and through diplomacy.”

That mission is still being carried out today.

No sovereign nation should have to put up with that: Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader again:

“ Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. Allah willing, before they die, they will experience humiliation and degradation every day… Allah willing, we will make them lose their eyesight, we will make them lose their brains.” – Khaled Mashal, Hamas leader (Al-Jazeera TV)

Hamas rockets