Gaza's rich Jewish history

Gaza's rich Jewish history

By VICTOR SHARPE— The nearly four thousand year old association of Jewish life in Gaza is little remembered in today’s world. Of course people know of the biblical story of Samson being blinded by the now extinct Philistines and how he brought down the temple to their gods in Gaza. But very few have any idea of the rich Jewish history in the following millennia. In the Second millennium BC, Gaza served as an administrative city and residence of the Egyptian governor of Canaan. The bible tells us that the Jewish patriarch, Isaac, dug wells in Gerar, an ancient site between Beer Sheba and Gaza, and in the 13th century BC the Philistines or Caphorites (Cretans) annihilated the Avite inhabitants of Gaza and made the city the largest of their five centers. After the Israelite Exodus from Egypt and entry into the Promised Land, the tribe of Judah was given Gaza as a possession but did not include it fully in their territory. The bible reports in Joshua 15.47 and Judges 1:18 how the city of Gaza, and those of Ekron, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Gat became a possession of Israel but how some of them were among those places ‘lying in the remaining country,’ i.e., not fully possessed by the Israelites. Down the centuries, Gaza was captured by Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, followed by Persians and later still by Alexander the Great who incorporated it into his growing empire in the 5th century BC. The strategic territory, lying as it does at the crossroads of two continents, Africa and Asia, has repeatedly fallen since earliest times to invading armies. In...
PM: We're ready to take a harsher stance if truce fails

PM: We're ready to take a harsher stance if truce fails

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel is prepared to act if Hamas breaks the Egypt-mediated truce. “The operation’s goals were met,” Netanyahu said. “I know there are citizens that expect a harsher stand in Gaza – and we are prepared to make one. We choose when to act, against who to act and how to act,” Netanyahu added. “Right now we’re giving the cease-fire a chance,” the prime minister said. Senior IDF officials on Thursday said they believe Hamas and Islamic Jihad are intending to implement the cease-fire with Israel and prevent other terror factions from firing into Israel, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak clarified that the truce was merely an understanding and not an actual agreement. Mediated by Egypt, the cease-fire reached Wednesday night brought an end to eight days of airstrikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, and thousands of rockets and shells fired at Israel from Gaza. Terrorist factions are due to hold damage evaluations across Gaza and discover the considerable damage incurred to them during the week-long operation to repress rocket fire on southern Israel, a senior defense source said. Barak clarified that the cease-fire was not an agreement with Hamas but rather a document of understandings between Israel and Egypt, and between Egypt and Hamas. A document detailing the understandings was published by Hamas in order to boast its achievements, he said. “There is no agreement. I am holding the paper in my hands,” Barak told Israel Radio. Quiet will be met by quiet, he explained. The IDF believes that contrary to the triumphalist public stance of Hamas, the...
Hamas leaves Israel no choice

Hamas leaves Israel no choice

By DANNY AYALON, THE GUARDIAN— Hamas’s charter includes the aspiration that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)”. While many concentrate on its death-cult worship, its bloodthirsty killing of adversaries, or its contempt for women, Christians and homosexuals, it is this aspiration for genocide that is at the root of Hamas activities. This is the primary reason why Hamas, the governing regime in Gaza, will never recognize or accept a peace accord with Israel in any form. Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, thousands of rockets have rained down on Israeli cities and towns in deliberate contravention not just of international law, but all humanity and morality. While some might suggest the so-called blockade is the cause of the attacks, it is actually a consequence. The restrictions were only implemented two years after Israel left Gaza, when it was clear that instead of building a “Singapore of the Middle East”, Hamas was interested in importing stockpiles of weapons from places like Iran. Instead of building a future for its people, Hamas built an open-air prison for the million and a half inhabitants who fell into its grasp. However, Gaza was never enough for an organisation whose raison d’etre is the annihilation of Israel, and whose charter begins with the ominous warning that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”. Every rocket from Gaza is a double war crime. First, the rockets are aimed at civilians; second, they are fired from built-up civilian areas, often close to schools,...
Back to the future in Gaza

Back to the future in Gaza

By MICHAEL FREUND, JPOST— Amid the extensive coverage of the latest flareup in Gaza, there is one critical issue that has been all but ignored by most of the mainstream press. For all the talk over the past few days regarding whether the IDF should return to Gaza, no one seems to be asking the most obvious of questions: Why did Israel leave in the first place? This is more than just a matter of historical curiosity. It goes to the very heart of the dilemma currently confronting Israel’s decision makers: is it better to have a physical military presence in Gaza or not? The experience of the past seven years, since then-prime minister Ariel Sharon ordered the forcible expulsion of Gaza’s Jews and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the area, demonstrates quite clearly that a permanent IDF presence is the most effective way to combat Palestinian terror in the Strip. Remember: prior to the 2005 Gaza withdrawal, a host of politicians, pundits and experts lined up to persuade the Israeli public that pulling back was really just a means of moving forward. At the time, the air was thick with promises of the new day that would dawn over the Middle East, and pledges that Sharon’s bold move would bring about an improvement in the security situation. How quickly those assurances proved empty! Consider the following: In the three years prior to the Israeli withdrawal, from 2002 to 2004, Palestinians in Gaza fired a total of 3,037 mortars and rockets at the Jewish state, according to data compiled by the IDF. But in the three years...
Israelis baffled by unilateral Gaza ceasefire

Israelis baffled by unilateral Gaza ceasefire

By RYAN JONES, ISRAEL TODAY— The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday baffled many Israelis by bringing a sudden end to the military campaign to end the Hamas missile threat against southern Israel. To demonstrate that Israel had not met that overriding goal, Hamas and its allied terror groups continued firing missiles into southern Israel long past the 9 PM start of the ceasefire. At least 20 missiles hit southern Israel overnight, though by morning a tense calm had settled over the region. Just two days earlier, Netanyahu had issued an ultimatum that Hamas either cease the rocket fire, or face a ground invasion. IDF soldiers told Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper that they were twice ordered to march on Gaza this week, only to be turned around at the last second both times. Despite the fact that this conflict saw many red lines crossed – including the targeting of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – Netanyahu insisted that Israel does not seek violence, and would therefore give the truce a chance. Netanyahu warned that if Hamas did not keep its end of the bargain, Israel would respond more harshly than before. (Despite Hamas continuing to fire after 9 PM, the ceasefire was purportedly bilateral, having been brokered by Egypt.) But with Netanyahu’s earlier ultimatum being so easily flaunted, most Israelis, and certainly all of Hamas, were unconvinced by the Israeli leader’s new threat. In fact, many Israelis were furious. Though Netanyahu and the IDF touted the number of terrorist missiles destroyed during the campaign, Israelis know the entire situation is going to repeat itself a few years down the...
IDF Summarizes Operation: 1,500 Gaza Targets Hit

IDF Summarizes Operation: 1,500 Gaza Targets Hit

By ELAD BENARI, ARUTZ 7— The IDF hit more than 1,500 targets in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense, according to a statement released Wednesday night. The statement was a summary of the counterterrorist operation, which came to an end after a ceasefire was announced on Wednesday evening. The IDF said it achieved the goals that were set prior to the operation and dealt a severe blow to Hamas and its military capabilities. As a result of the IDF’s strikes, said the statement, there was significant damage to Hamas’s command array, including the targeted killing of arch-terrorist Ahmed Jaabari, extensive damage to infrastructure, facilities and Hamas military bases, as well as the bombing of dozens of smuggling tunnels. The IDF said that its airstrikes destroyed and damaged Hamas’s strategic capabilities, including long-range rockets and hundreds of medium-range and short-range rockets. Consequently, Hamas’s launching capabilities were significantly disrupted. Over the course of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF targeted 19 senior command centers, operational control centers and Hamas’ senior-rank headquarters, 30 senior operatives, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 terror tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms and bases, and 26 weapon manufacturing and storage facilities. In total, 1,506 rockets were fired at Israel during Pillar of Defense, of which 875 exploded in open spaces and 58 exploded in populated areas. The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted 421 rockets, with a success rate of 84%. Five Israelis, including four civilians and one soldier, were killed during the days of the operation and 240 people were wounded. On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held a joint news conference announcing...
A vast moral difference

A vast moral difference

By JEFF JACOBY, BOSTON GLOBE— Palestinians have a fierce new song to accompany their intensified conflict with Israel. “Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv,” recorded by Shadi al-Bourini and Qassem al-Najjar, was posted last week on various Palestinian websites, including the Facebook page of the TV show Fenjan Al-Balad, which describes its mission as “trying to influence young Palestinian society for the better.” The video, which features images of wounded Israelis and massed Qassam artillery rockets, opens with these lines: Strike a blow at Tel Aviv. Strike a blow at Tel Aviv. Strike a blow at Tel Aviv and frighten the Zionists. The more you build it, the more we will destroy it. Strike a blow at Tel Aviv. Over a driving beat, the lyrics (translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute) grow increasingly bellicose. “We don’t want no truce or bargain,” they proclaim. They exhort the missiles to “explode in the Knesset” and “terrorize Tel Aviv,” while mocking the Israelis in bomb shelters who “cower with fear.” There have been many Israeli war songs over the years. Indeed, the endless conflict with the Arabs has engendered some of Israel’s most enduring music. But most of it revolves around a longing for peace and the desire for normality. An Israeli equivalent of “Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv,” ecstatic at the prospect of killing the enemy, is virtually unthinkable. Other Palestinian videos have also been getting attention this week. Al-Aqsa TV, the official Hamas-run television channel, has been airing messages that extol suicide bombings and advise Israelis to get ready for more of them. “We’ve missed the suicide...
Dozens wounded in Tel Aviv bus bombing

Dozens wounded in Tel Aviv bus bombing

By ISRAEL HAYOM— Police were conducting a massive manhunt in Tel Aviv after an explosive device was detonated inside a bus on Tel Aviv’s Shaul Hamelech Street at noon on Wednesday in what police said was a terror attack. Magen David Adom medical services said 20 people were wounded in the attack. The bomb blew out the windows on the vehicle, a 76 line bus belonging to the Dan company, causing extensive damage but no fatalities. Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center officials said one person was seriously wounded, one person moderately wounded, and one person was listed in light-to-moderate condition. The official said that the three people were being operated on for blast, burn and shrapnel injuries, mostly from nuts and bolts lodged in their bodies. All the others were lightly hurt and some were being treated for shock. The attack, in central Tel Aviv, took place near the IDF Kirya military headquarters, Sourasky Medical Center, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The military headquarters was placed on high alert after the attack. Police said that a person had thrown a bag into the bus on Shaul Hamelech Street and ran away. The bus was not especially full of passengers at the time. Police were conducting searches around the area and ordered people off the streets. Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino confirmed it was a terror attack. “One of the scenarios we have been preparing for is more than just rockets but also terror attacks in our cities. There is high motivation by the terror groups to hit our cities. We are massively deployed throughout the entire country with...
How Hamas Manipulates the International Media

How Hamas Manipulates the International Media

By VICTOR SHARPE, AMERICAN THINKER— There is nothing more nauseating than watching Palestinian Muslims in the Palestinian Authority and in Hamas occupied Gaza celebrate as rockets are being fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip. These same Palestinians took to their roofs and joyously celebrated when America was attacked on 9/11 by Saudi Arabian Muslim terrorists. This is what is happening while Hamas and fellow Muslims in Hamas occupied Gaza fire rockets at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the towns and villages in southern Israel. To quote, Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli Arab, “this hostility is the direct result of years of anti-Israel and anti-Western incitement in the Arab and Muslim world — not only toward Israel but also toward the United States. In today’s world of the Palestinians, anyone who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor and a collaborator; but anyone who calls for the destruction of Israel and fires rockets at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is a hero.” Almost predictably, the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza is winning international sympathy as a result of its manipulation of the international media with alleged civilian deaths; many caused by its own misfired rockets. Pallywood is the name given to the sinister Palestinian version of Hollywood make believe. The footage from Reuters of a beige jacketed Palestinian man appearing to be badly wounded in an alleged Israeli airstrike was broadcast not only on the BBC but also on CNN. What the footage did not show was the man soon after getting up from his stretcher unscathed and walking away. This was anti-Israel media manipulation of the worst kind and has...