Human Shields in Gaza

Do the people around the world who complain about “civilian casualties” in Gaza understand that it is a war crime to target civilians with missile attacks (which Hamas does) and also to hide behind civilian shields (which Hamas also does)?  Or to shoot rockets from “protected” locations like schools, hospitals and mosques (which Hamas also does)?

Do they understand that civilians and protected institutions lose their protected status according to the rules of war when they are unlawfully used for war activities?

Gazan
Gazan “Missile Defence”

Do they realize that they are “useful idiots” playing into Hamas’ hands and encouraging Hamas leaders to continue to try to get their own people killed so they will get more sympathy?  Do they realize they are therefore insuring there will be more civilian casualties on both sides in the future?

Finally, does this say something, anything at all, about a group of people that voted Hamas into power and continues to play along with the Human shield game?  Anything?

Hat tip: Boldt Andreas

IDF Finds (Another) Sophisticated Terror Tunnel from Gaza

The IDF has discovered another terror tunnel from Gaza. This one is built to last, with concrete walls and ceiling, electricity and communication cables and energy-saving light bulbs:

Gaza Terror Tunnel Design
(Source: Ynet)

Unfortunately this shows the folly of “separation” and building walls to keep terrorists out. As was warned from the beginning, a wall can be passed, either under, over or through it. The separation barriers have slowed down terrorists but not stopped them. Stopping terrorists can only be accomplished by controlling fully the territories from which they originate and disrupting their infrastructure at all levels.

In the meantime, what does this say about Hamas, who is investing a tremendous amount of resources preparing for the “next round” of the conflict instead of helping their fellow Arabs?

You can see videos (in Hebrew) of the tunnels in the original Hebrew article here:

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4440001,00.html

Hat tip: HS

Israeli Politicians Who Promised There would be No Missiles From Gaza

Missiles from Gaza? Again?

Once again we are reminded of the willful naivete that is such a major part of life and politics.

Here’s is a nice Who’s Who of people who assured us that Israel would not be attacked from Gaza once it retreated from there:

Rockets had already been falling on Israel from Gaza for years before the Disengagement. It was obvious that handing a huge victory to the terrorists would embolden them and encourage others to join them. How anyone in Israel could say otherwise is a mystery, even taking ideology into account.

Unfortunately, it is absurd to expect much contrition from people were so spectacularly wrong, in fact so spectacularly stupid, even though they were caught on video.

Report: Hamas Used Civilians as Human Shields

We have long known that systemic use of civilians as human shields is one of the chief strategic and tactical weapons in the Islamic terrorist arsenal, be it Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida or Fatah. And Israel has finally released its first substantative response to the accusations of the Goldstone Report by showing, in detail, how Hamas uses civilians, including chidren, as human shields:

Hamas gunmen used Palestinian children as human shields, and established command centers and Kassam launch pads in and near more than 100 mosques and hospitals during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year, according to a new Israeli report being released on Monday that aims to counter criticism of the IDF.

The detailed 500-page report… was written by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam), a small research group led by Col. (res.) Reuven Erlich, a former Military Intelligence officer who works closely with the army.

The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cooperated with the report’s authors and declassified hundreds of photographs, videos, prisoner interrogations and Hamas-drawn sketches as part of an effort to counter the criticism leveled at Israel…

Work on the Malam report began immediately after former judge Richard Goldstone issued his… report of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip in September.

Which raises 2 questions:

1) Why did it take 6 months to issue this report? The damage from the Goldstone Report has been done and it is much too late to do damage control.

2) Better yet, why wasn’t work on the report started the day after Operation Cast Lead ended, or even before that? All the usual accusations were already being leveled against Israel during the fighting; it was a forgone conclusion that something like the Goldstone report would come along sooner or later. Why can’t Israel preempt in the diplomatic/political sphere like it does in the military sphere?

The article continues:

One example of the material revealed in the Malam report is an-until-now classified sketch of the village of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza discovered by IDF troops during the operation, that details the extensive deployment of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and snipers inside and adjacent to civilian homes.

The Malam report also provides an analysis of another sketch found during the offensive in the Atatra neighborhood in northern Gaza City that… proves Hamas’s culpability for the ensuing death and destruction.

“By placing all of their weaponry next to homes, by operating out of homes, mosques and hospitals, by firing rockets next to schools and by using human shields, Hamas is the one responsible for the civilian deaths during the operation,” Erlich said.

The Goldstone Report states that its authors “found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack.”

The Malam report, however, brings declassified videos that show how Hamas used civilians as human shields and deployed its weaponry and command centers inside civilian homes.

In one home, the IDF discovered a note, written in Arabic, that read: “We are your brothers, fighters in this holy war, and we used your home and some of your possessions. We are sorry”…

According to a previously undisclosed interrogation of a Hamas operative, one Hamas cell transported rockets on the back of a wagon in which children were also sitting. In other cases, the Hamas operative said, Hamas fighters disguised themselves as women carrying babies to ensure that they would not be hit by IDF troops.

…One declassified air force video from January 6, 2009, …shows a terrorist shooting at troops from the roof of a building. After spotting an Israeli aircraft, the terrorist goes to the building’s entrance and calls to nearby civilians to help him escape. A few moments later, a group of children arrive at the entrance to the home and the terrorist walks out.

Another video from January 13 shows a senior Hamas terrorist – spotted by an aircraft – walking by himself down a street. After spotting the aircraft, the senior terrorist runs over to an elderly woman walking nearby and continues walking next to her. Later, the IDF discovered that the “elderly woman” was really a Hamas operative in disguise.

The report points to four basic flaws in the Goldstone Report: It does not deal with the nature of Hamas – its terrorist aspects and ideology; it minimizes the gravity of the terrorist attacks against Israel, focusing on rocket fire during the six months before Operation Cast Lead while devoting little space to the rocket and mortar fire that began in 2001; it does not deal with the Hamas military buildup in the Gaza Strip in the year preceding Cast Lead that threatened Israel, but at the same time did provide extensive historical coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and it ignored the role Iran and Syria play in Gaza by aiding Hamas and supplying it with explosives and weaponry.

Note that using human shields and fighting from hospitals and mosques is not merely not nice; it is a war crime. But don’t expect the trendy leftists in England and elsewhere to go after Hamas leaders for war crimes like they are doing with Israeli leaders.

US State Dept Decries Goldstone Report, Palestinian Media

Pinch me — now even the U.S. State Department has criticized the Goldstone Report as well as rhetoric by the Palestinian media:

The Goldstone report was widely criticized for methodological failings, legal and factual errors, falsehoods, and for devoting insufficient attention to the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the fact that Hamas and other Palestinian militants were deliberately operating in heavily populated urban areas of Gaza. The government of Israel also sharply rejected the charge that it had a policy of deliberately targeting civilians.

In addition, the report said:

In both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank… Palestinian media frequently published and broadcast material that included anti-Israeli content. Rhetoric by Palestinian terrorist groups included expressions of anti-Semitism, as did sermons by some Muslim religious leaders. Some Palestinian religious leaders rejected the right of Israel to exist. Hamas’ al-Aqsa television station carried shows for preschoolers extolling hatred of Jews and suicide bombings.

Soldiers Speak Out Against Media Slander of IDF

An Op-Ed column in The Jerusalem Post reports about Israeli soldiers who are speaking out against media slander of the IDF during a tour of North America:

Conspicuously missing in the narrative of Israel’s recent battles against terrorists is the story of those who actually fought in them; the everyday soldier, with no political agenda, just a conviction in the morality of his army and the personal experience to back that up. But that is no longer the case. Groups of Israeli soldiers, young combat reservists are currently touring North America as part of the “Israeli Soldiers Speak Out’” campaign.

Those who have recently served see that the picture the media presents is skewed from the reality they know. They feel a deep sense of injustice when this happens, given that they have risked their own lives and lost friends while doing their utmost to protect Palestinian civilians….

Their personal battlefield experience challenges members of the audience to put themselves in their shoes and to question what they would do in similar scenarios.

Audiences will meet Inon, an officer who was fighting Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when his unit came across an elderly Lebanese woman in an area where the IDF had warned citizens to leave while they carried out their operation. Seeing the lady was crying out, apparently in pain, they approached her with an army medic. As they got closer, they realized she was wired with explosives… a human bomb.

Also taking part in the tour is Avi, who cut his honeymoon short to rejoin his paratroopers brigade in the military operation against Hamas in Gaza last year. As he fought intense, pitched battles against Hamas gunmen, he saw the streets covered with leaflets. The terrorists had been warned by the IDF that they were coming, thus denying Avi and his colleagues the element of surprise. But a prerequisite for a moral army is wanting to give civilians a chance to flee the battle zone.

THESE STORIES are not documented in the many recent anti-Israel reports, which have ranged from the libelous to the ludicrous. Israel was being bombarded by rockets for the better part of a decade before acting against the Hamas rocket-launchers in Gaza. Yet, before the dust had cleared from the battlefield, the frenzied media – fuelled by politically motivated NGOs – was full of reports and allegations: of reckless bombardment by the IDF, misuse of weapons, organ harvesting.. the list goes on.

And these slanders have been re-reported as fact in much of the Arab (and Western) media…. Web-based technology gives hideous anti-Israel lies a platform that has no borders. Israel’s enemies know this, as Spanish politician Pilar Rahola recently commented… “they [Islamic terrorists] seek to kill us with cellphones connected to the Middle Ages”.

These reports mention Israel in the same breath as Hamas, who fight in civilian clothing, take their own people as human shields and have used every trick in the book to blur and subvert the rules of war. Radical sympathizers are quick to turn a blind eye to this and explain away their rockets as “crude”, when in reality these terrorist forces are better armed than the majority of the armies of… the UN.

Review of Hamas Media: Hamas Targeted Israeli Population Centers

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy has issued a review showing that Hamas targeted Israeli population centers:

Hamas has gone to extraordinary lengths to prove that it did not attack civilian targets in Israel during the December 2008 to January 2009 Gaza conflict. But a review of the organization’s own media… shows that Hamas knowingly and repeatedly fired on Israeli population centers in southern Israel.

They [Hamas’ targeting of Israeli civilians] are approved and applauded within Hamas’ internal publications and its propaganda aimed at Arab audiences. For example, in one Arabic article on the Kassam Brigades website, the group discusses rocket operations during the al-Furqan battle and cites the heroism of the Kassam Brigades personnel who conducted the attacks…

During the Gaza conflict, Hamas launched some 600 rockets against… a broad swath of southern Israel. Targets included the major cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Beersheba (combined population 850,000), as well as numerous smaller towns and settlements.

In addition, an estimated 400 Kassam-type rockets were fired at Israeli targets closer to Gaza, including “usurped” Sderot. On the same page on its website, Hamas claims to have fired a total of 213 Grads during the conflict; in other words, nearly 70 percent were aimed at civilian population centers… The highest number of Grad strikes claimed against a military target was 26 at the “Ofakim military base.”

Hamas boasted that more than one million Israelis live within range of its rockets.

Hamas Founder’s Son Worked for Shin Bet

A large part of Israel’s spectacular success in war and counter-terrorism is HUMINT — the Human Intelligence provided by people on the ground, as opposed to by technical means such as spy satellites. Only HUMINT can make possible an operation like the recent one where Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was eliminated. The West, which has recently found itself in serious trouble for over-reliance on technical sources of intelligence and failing to develop HUMINT resources in Muslim lands would be well-advised to follow Israel’s example.

Here is a breaking example of Israel’s almost unbelievable penetration into the very heart of the enemy camp: Haaretz reports that the son of a Hamas founder worked for Israel’s Shin Bet security service for over a decade.

The report notes:

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.

Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007 and going public with his conversion.

Yousef was considered the Shin Bet’s most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname “the Green Prince” – using the color of the Islamist group’s flag, and “prince” because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement’s founders.

Intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker).

His memoir, Son of Hamas, will be released next week in the U.S.

His former handler, who no longer serves with the security service, says Yousef collaborated with Israel because he wanted to save lives.

“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” said the handler, named in Yousef’s book as Captain Loai…

“Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis,” he said. “Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does.”

British Officer: ‘UK Combat Doctrine Influenced by IDF’

The BBC reports that Colonel Richard Kemp, a top British military officer, noted that the ‘UK combat doctrine has been Influenced by IDF.’ The BBC report stated:

Col. Kemp said the advice he received from the Israeli armed forces on how to tackle Afghan suicide bombers had been invaluable, and formed the basis of official army guidelines used by soldiers on the ground there.

He added that UK soldiers did not have to deal with the same amount of criticism from the international community as does the IDF.

“When we go into battle we do not get the same knee-jerk, almost Pavlovian response from many, many elements of the international media and international groups, humanitarian groups and other international groups such as the United Nations which should know better… of utter automatic condemnation. We don’t have to put up with that.”

Col. Kemp, previously cited on the IRIS blog here and here, was reported to have spoken the above comments cited by the BBC while speaking out yet again for the Israel Defense Forces, this time at a UK Zionist Federation dinner on Sunday in London according to this report from The Jerusalem Post:

“I was a professional soldier for 30 years in the British army and it was my honor and privilege to work alongside the IDF on a number of occasions during that time,” he said.

“I found in my time that the British forces and British government had no stronger ally than Israel and the IDF.”

The former commander… said he wrote the British army’s doctrine on suicide bombing based on help he received from an Israeli army expert on the issue.

“I went to Afghanistan to take over the British forces in 2003 and it was the first time I found myself in a situation where we faced suicide bomb attacks.

“I found that no one in the British forces had worked out a means to try to tackle suicide bomb attacks and how to train our soldiers to handle that situation,” Kemp said.

“…I spoke to a friend at the Israeli embassy and asked if he could help. I thought he would have me meet the defense attache’ at the embassy, but within days a brigadier-general, the top expert the IDF had on suicide bombing, came from his base in the Golan to London specifically to spend about four hours giving me a full briefing on the subject.

“As a result I devised a policy that subsequently became the British forces’ doctrine for dealing with suicide bombing,” he said…

The colonel said that some of the challenges British forces face in Iraq and Afghanistan are comparable to the challenges Israel faces in Gaza and Lebanon…

Comparing the predicament of British forces currently fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan to what Israel is up against, he said, “They fight among the people, they use their own population as weapons of war and that was certainly true of Hamas in the Gaza conflict. They deliberately sacrificed their own people, deliberately did their best to lure Israeli forces to attack their civilian population, and the same thing happens in Afghanistan.

“Taliban forces use the same tactics of trying to draw our forces onto their civilian population that they pretend to protect.”

The colonel repeated his opinion that the IDF went to considerable lengths to protect human life during Operation Cast Lead.

During the Gaza conflict Kemp said… that the IDF was going out of its way to save Palestinian lives, while Hamas were deliberately using civilians as human shields. He also said the IDF was a world leader in humane warfare that seeks to protect civilian lives as much as possible.

“Israeli forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare,” Kemp told the UN Human Rights Council last year.

Eternal Arab Rule of Engagement: Blood Begets Blood

The Jerusalem Post’s columnist Sarah Honig discusses the Arab rule of engagement: blood begets blood contrasting it with Arab and world condemnation of Israeli self-defense:

Terrorist arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s son, Abdel-Rauf, stood teary-eyed before TV interviewers and lavished praise on his deceased father. He bragged that the late lamented, who was discovered dead in Dubai, “fought the Jews, hit the Jews, kidnapped and killed Israelis. He outfitted and dispatched suicide bombers.” That evidently made him an object for admiration, a source of honor and a claim to fame. Killing Jews is a noble objective, one to take pride in, to revere.

So when we Israelis point to Mabhouh’s gory record, it isn’t just our biased say-so…. His own son concedes this, indeed he crows about it as the paramount tribute he can pay his father.

And it isn’t a mournful son’s subjective or self-serving aggrandizement either. Hamas issued an official statement celebrating its latest shahid (martyr). Prominent in the Hamas-compiled catalog of Mabhouh glories are the 1989 abduction- murders of IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon.

By the boastful admission of both his kin and organization, Mabhouh’s hands were bloodstained. Hence, by the Arabs’ own rules of engagement, he was liable for reprisal. The principal code governing these rules is dam butlab dam (blood begets blood).

Because of this core premise Hamas now vows to wreak the most horrific vengeance on Israel, actual proof of Israeli culpability for Mabhouh’s demise being entirely immaterial. All Israelis are therefore fair game. This is the elementary protocol of the blood feud.

But here’s where we encounter our enemies’ cynical lopsided logic. By their own rules – assuming for argument’s sake that we submit ourselves to them – we should be perceived just as entitled as they to hunt down and kill whoever killed our own. Yet our retribution is condemned a priori as illegitimate. The right to avenge Mabhouh’s death is unchallenged, whereas the right to avenge Mabhouh’s victims is categorically denied. What is valid, in fact a sacred duty for one side, is intolerable and entirely villainous for the other.

…All Muslims… remember that “the Jews are the Jews! The Jews are the Jews! Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims. The Prophet said that if two Jews would be alone with a Muslim, they would think only of killing him… The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them…’” There is a whole loathsome lot more, but the basis is clear: the murder of Jews is divinely decreed.

In other words, Mabhouh acted morally. Those who opposed him are immoral. By this precept Jews must die and have no right to resist. That is their lot. Not only do they possess no right to avenge, they possess no right to self-defense, to fight at all. Their very existence is a provocation, a casus belli.

THIS IS key to understanding today’s Mideast. As in yesteryear, so in the 21st century it’s axiomatic that Arabs have the right to inflict incalculable harm on Jews – and to do so in the most sadistically inventive ways – but the Jews’ attempts to deflect such blows are evil, outrageous and deserving of merciless punishment.

Failure to admit how selective Arab rules of warfare are precludes making sense of anything in our region

Report: New Israel Fund Gives Money to Anti-Zionist NGOs

The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick provides background behind student movement Im Tirzu’s much-publicized report showing that a number of anti-Zionist NGOs were funded by the leftist New Israel Fund. The report, together with a petition of support for the report from a host of senior military reserve generals has prompted announcement of an investigation of NIF by a Knesset sub-committee.

Glick notes:

Im Tirzu published a detailed report demonstrating that 16 anti-Zionist NGOs funded by the post-Zionist New Israel Fund worked hand in glove with the UN Human Rights Council and Richard Goldstone to bring about the establishment of the Goldstone committee and give credibility to its allegations that Israel committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. According to the Im Tirtzu report, 92 percent of Israeli allegations that Israel committed war crimes in its campaign against Hamas came from these 16 NIF-funded organizations.

Im Tirtzu’s report was prominently covered by Ma’ariv last weekend. The media coverage provoked calls in the Knesset this week to investigate the NIF and its operational arms in Israel, both through regular committee hearings and perhaps through a parliamentary investigative panel.

These calls are extraordinary because they represent the first time in a decade that the legitimacy of these NGOs has been seriously scrutinized.

Israel National News reports that leading the reserve general signatores on the petition are:

former Head of the National Security Council, Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland; former Head of Southern Command, Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog; former Head of Ground Forces Command, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yiftach Ron-Tal; former Head of the National Security Council and Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan…

Glick continues:

What is most encouraging about the aftershocks of the Im Tirtzu report is that the Left’s attempts to demonize it have so far failed. Indeed, the loudest voices calling for an investigation of NIF and its sponsored organizations have been MKs from Kadima.

THE HARSH truth is that the main cause of Israel’s poor performance in Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War was the Olmert government’s ideological dependence on the far left and its central contention that it is Israel’s presence in contested areas rather than our enemies’ commitment to Israel’s destruction that causes wars. Owing to their allegiance to this falsehood, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni were unable to prosecute the wars to victory militarily, justify the limited steps they did take to defend Israel diplomatically, or discredit the rising chorus of Israeli NGOs arguing that Israel had no right to defend itself politically.

Since Cast Lead, however, two important things have happened. First Kadima was replaced by the Likud. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rightly recognized the Goldstone Report as a strategic attack against Israel. If Israel has no right to defend itself; if its moves to do constitute war crimes, then Israel cannot fight, cannot win and will be destroyed. Rather than give credence to the report, Netanyahu has made discrediting it one his primary aims in office. And to counteract its force, among other things, for the first time since the start of the Oslo peace process with the PLO, Israel’s government is asserting the Jewish people’s right to Judea and Samaria.

If the government seizes the opportunity to weaken these subversive groups, not only will it be making it clear that the political open season on Israel is over. It will be clearing the way for any future war to end not only in military victory, but in political victory for Israel as well.