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Who Will Put an End to the Christian Killing Fields? Who Will Even Object?

Aug. 1….(Fox News) In wake of the ISIS invasion of Iraq, reports (long overdue) are emerging about the persecution of Christians and other minorities in the country. Yet ISIS is committing the same atrocities against non-Muslims in Syria, too. Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has been emptied of almost all Christians. Ten days ago, ISIS, who now call themselves the Islamic State (IS) distributed fliers to Christians that read: “Convert, Pay Jizya, Leave or Die.” Right now in Syria and Iraq, girls are being kidnapped, raped and killed. Young men have been beheaded in front of cameras because of their faith.

    Every day we get reports of atrocities. Our nation, our Christian legacy and our way of life are being eradicated. Assassinated. The prideful tone in which the perpetrators speak whenever I have interviewed them, both Al Qaeda and IS, is equally shocking. These are mostly disgruntled young men who were teetering on the edges of society in their own homelands, often in European suburbs, and now believe they have the power to do whatever they want in the name of Islam. They can claim any house in IS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria as their own, and tell the owners to either leave or risk being killed. They can take any woman as their wife. Why? Because no one is stopping them.

    At least 700, 000 non-Muslims, Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis and others have left Iraq by now. No one knows how many have left Syria. IS is also persecuting Muslims. They have killed Sunni Mullahs in Mosul to show that they do not tolerate any interpretation of the Koran other than their own hijacked and distorted version, and that they will accept no religious authority other than their own homemade version. In other words, everyone other than them is a target: especially the more immediate rivals to their religious and communal authority, other Muslim sects such as the Shia and the Alawites.

    They will cut off your tongue if they don’t like what you say, and sever your fingers if they catch you smoking. According to sources in Mosul yesterday, a man was brutally attacked and tortured because he was wearing jeans, which to the IS is tantamount to wearing an US Army uniform. So, what is the rest of the world doing about this?

    Well, world leaders are funding the opposition in Syria, including many of the same extremist groups that they claim America will combat in Iraq by supporting the Iraqi government. I am struggling to make any moral or human sense of it all. And here’s a good question: Why is the most powerful country in the world silent as Christianity is wrenched of its roots?

FOJ Note: These same scenes playing out in Syria and Iraq, are also happening in Sudan, Nigeria, Iran, North Korea, and many, many more places around the world. In lieu of the fact that America has abandoned its God, and closeted its Christian roots, it stands to reason that these atrocities will eventually wash ashore here in America too.

    Then again, who on the Muslim side is ever going to speak out against the atrocities being perpetrated in the name of their religion? If Islam is such a religion of peace, where are the voices inside its institution decrying and condemning these atrocities? Where are their financial donations to stop it? Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Iran, and others send billions to cause these evils in the name of Jihad, but never an alm for loveing thy neighbor as thyself!



Israel Hunting for Abducted Soldier Seized During Cease-fire in Gaza

Aug. 1….(Israel Today) Israeli forces launched a major manhunt in southern Gaza on Friday after it was reported that Hamas successfully exploited a humanitarian ceasefire to abduct an IDF soldier. On Friday morning, both Israel and Hamas agreed to enter a 72-hour ceasefire accompanied by long-term truce talks in Cairo. But just two hours later, Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel resumed, and the Israeli army returned fire and resumed ground operations in the Gaza Strip.

   Around the same time in the southern border town of Rafah, Hamas gunmen and a suicide bomber emerged from a tunnel behind Israeli lines and killed two soldiers. In the ensuing battle, it is believed an Israeli soldier was nabbed and forced into the terrorists' tunnel.

    Hamas confirmed that it had abducted an Israeli soldier, but claimed that it did so prior to the start of the ceasefire. Either way, if the reports are true, rescuing this soldier is likely to become the new overriding focus of Israel’s war against the Gaza terrorist infrastructure.



The God of the Armies of Israel

Aug. 1….(Israel Today/Tsvi Sadan) Operation Protective Edge is exposing a new phenomenon that may prove to be a source of strength for the IDF and for Israel. Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, recently wrote unprecedented words of encouragement to his soldiers: "History chose us to be the spearhead in the fight against the 'Gazan' terrorist enemy that defies, blasphemes, and curses the God of the armies of Israel." They were words that clearly echoed David's own words to Goliath. Winter added a brief prayer: "I lift up my eyes to heaven and call with you, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!'" The letter ended with a wish for the fulfillment of the verse "The Lord, your God, who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and gives you victory." The content of Winter's letter to his soldiers, as well as the courage it took to take this position, is yet another clear indication that the familiar secular discourse regarding Israel's security is not enough to boost motivation to win the battle.

    Some who are still captive to the idea that secular Zionism is the only adhesive that can unite all Israelis were horrified by Winter's bold pronouncement that framed the Israeli-Arab conflict in metaphysical terms. As a secular movement, however, Zionism sees Israel as a refuge for the Jewish people that must be protected at all costs. This was a strange idea to begin with, because the Zionist movement itself would have never come into being without the most profound hopes rooted in the Bible. Jews returned to the Land of Israel because they believed it was theirs; otherwise they would have never come. This means that secular as the Zionist movement is, it never lost sight of the fact that the Jews are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and thus entitled to the land God has given to their fathers.

    For many decades, however, Israelis have been led to believe that the Israeli-Arab conflict is no more than a national struggle over territory, and that it will be better for all if God remains in the background. Israel's existence, the argument goes, is justified on the basis of distant history and modern values. But over the past 10 years, a growing number of Israelis have begun coming to the conclusion that Israel and God are in fact inseparable, and that the existence of the former depends upon that of the latter.

    Israel's existential crisis is naturally most potent amongst the soldiers preparing for battle. They are the ones who are forced to decide whether or not security and secular values of democracy, freedom of speech and human rights are enough to fill them with the courage and determination to risk their lives for the sake of Israel.

    As the Second Lebanon War demonstrated, Israeli soldiers need deeper motivation than democracy and even national security to risk their lives in battle. If these are the only values Israel is fighting for, they reason, why not enjoy them in other countries without the need to go to war every couple of years?

    This relatively new discovery can explain why so many soldiers were greatly comforted by the sight of Rabbi David Grossman distributing half-shekel coins and tiny books of Psalms to the soldiers entering Lebanon. It also explains why during Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009) Golani soldiers wore tzitziyot (tassels or fringes on their garments Deut. 22:12), and why the Givati commander is now reassuring his soldiers by reminding them that the God of their fathers is their God, too. No doubt, many Israelis are still baffled by this new invitation for God to take the front seat. Many of us still believe that fighting in the name of an old book is the spark that will set fire to the region. These fears are fed by a failure to see that the Israeli-Arab conflict is a reenactment of ancient wars.

    Indeed, it is a wonder why we Israelis find it so difficult to understand that rockets are fired towards Ashkelon and Ashdod because the indigenous people of these cities want them back. Why it is so difficult for us to understand that the Philistines hated Joshua just as the Palestinians hated Ben Gurion?

    Then and now, wars between the indigenous people of the land and the invading armies of Israel have nothing to do with Israel's right to exist as a Jewish democracy. The existence of the Jewish state in this land and its right to exist can only be justified by divine mandate. Col. Ofer Winter and many others like him begin to realize that Israel's uniqueness is something worth fighting for.



Hamas Claims it Has 3,000 Elite Soldiers Ready to Die in Suicide Attacks on Israel

Aug. 1….(The Blaze) An Israeli analyst told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday morning that he received information from reliable sources that 3,000 Hamas elite soldiers told their families goodbye and appear ready to carry out suicide attacks on Israel. Middle East analyst Gershon Baskin said that all the fighters were equipped with suicide vests and that they had expected to die in terrorist attacks. Baskin spoke just hours after a Hamas suicide attack, believed to have been conducted by the group’s militant wing Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, killed two Israeli soldiers. During the surprise Hamas attack, which happened two hours into the 72-hour agreement for a cease fire, the militants captured an Israeli officer. “You say these elite fighting forces they’re all prepared– they all go in with suicided vests ready to kill themselves in order to kill Israelis?” Blitzer asked as Baskin nodded. “I was told by someone who had spoke to al-Qassam, the military wing of officer who said that before the ground operation began they were all instructed to go to their families and say goodbye to their families with the intent that they would not be returning alive from this battle,” Baskin told Blitzer in an news report airing live from Israel. “This is one of the very difficult things about fighting with an organization like Hamas, particularly these very dedicated soldiers, combatants who are not afraid to die.” “We will do what needs to be done to protect our people,” Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Blitzer after Baskin’s interview.



US calls on Hamas to 'Unconditionally' Release Kidnapped IDF Soldier

Aug. 1….(YNET) The United States on Friday strongly condemned the killing of two Israeli soldiers and kidnapping of another by Palestinian militants and blamed Hamas for violating a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release the missing Israeli soldier. He urged the international community to step up efforts to end the attacks against Israel. "I have been in close touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry and with other regional partners," Kerry said in a statement. "The international community must now redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life."

    Prime Minister Netanyahu told the US earlier Friday that Hamas broke the ceasefire in kidnapping an IDF soldier. The White House condemned Hamas' attack as a violation of the newly reached humanitarian ceasefire and called for the release of the abducted soldier. "That would be a rather barbaric violation of the ceasefire agreement," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on CNN. Earnest called on Hamas to release the abducted Israeli soldier and said US Secretary of State John Kerry had already spoken to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the next steps in the Gaza crisis. Netanyahu told Kerry that despite his joint statement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to which assurances had been received from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip regarding a ceasefire, the Palestinians had unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 9 pm. In a statement, Netanyahu claimed the kidnapping took place after the ceasefire had taken effect. Netanyahu further told Kerry that Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions and that Israel would take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens.

    The United States urged the international community to condemn the Hamas ceasefire violation in the "strongest possible terms," Earnest said. "And we would encourage those who have influence with Hamas to get them back on to the terms of the ceasefire and to get them to abide by the agreements that they struck just yesterday," he said. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer to the United Nations, told CNN it was not certain Hamas had carried out the attack or violated the ceasefire.

    Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev said Hamas militants had attacked Israeli soldiers 1-1/2 hours after the ceasefire, killing two and apparently taking one hostage. "This appears to be an absolutely outrageous action by Hamas, using the cover of a ceasefire to conduct a surprise attack through a tunnel, killing Israeli soldiers and perhaps taking one hostage," Tony Blinken, White House deputy national security adviser, said on MSNBC. "We strongly, strongly condemn it."

    Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah criticized international inaction on Friday over Israel's offensive in Gaza, which he described as involving mass slaughter and "war crimes against humanity", in a speech read out on his behalf on state television. "This (international) community which has observed silently what is happening in the whole region, was indifferent to what is happening, as if what is happening is not its concern. Silence that has no justification," he said in his speech. He also said terrorism was threatening strife across the Arab and Muslim world and called on the region's leaders and religious scholars to prevent Islam from being hijacked by militants.



Obama Thanks Muslims for ‘Building the Very Fabric of Our Nation’

July 31….(Washington Times) President Obama and his wife sent out a joint statement to Muslims in America for the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, thanking them for their contributions in “building the fabric” of the country. The statement, as posted on the White House website, reads in part: “As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. The holiday celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict and disease.” The Obamas then express appreciation to the Muslim community for helping forge America. “In the United States,” the statement continued, “Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.” The greeting “Eid Mubarak” means “blessed celebration.”

FOJ Note: Let me set the record and history of America straight. Muslims did not have one single iota of input or participation in the building of the fabric of the United States of America. It was Christians, virtually alone that built the fabric of our nation. They built it upon the Holy Bible, and Judeo-Christian principles, and not Islam. Sir William Blackstone’s “Commentaries on Natural Law” coupled with the Holy Bible forged the foundation of the American republic. It is doubtful that there was even one single Muslim in the whole country at the time of its founding. For this President to suggest that Muslims built the “fabric of our nation” is utter foolishness, except that it belies his evil strategy to undermine the Christian foundation of our country, because He went to a Muslim country (Turkey) when first elected and boasted to that country that America is not a Christian country! This President (I personally believe) is a joint conspirator in the ploy of the Satanic conspiracy to exalt the Antichrist.



Hamas Calls on Hezbollah to Help Fight Israel

July 31….(In The Days) Hamas has urged Hezbollah to join the fight against Israel after the conflict between the Islamic Resistance Movement and the Jewish state entered its third week. “We hope the Lebanese front will open and together we will fight against this formation [Israel],” deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk told Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “There’s no arguing that Lebanese resistance could mean a lot,” Abu Marzouk stressed.

    Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has vowed that his party will stand by the resistance in Gaza. “ Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance will stand by the Palestinian people’s uprising and resistance in our heart, willpower, hope and destiny,” Nasrallah said in a speech last week.

    South Lebanon has generally been calm since the end of the monthlong war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. However, since the start of Israel’s attack on Gaza, there have been several rocket attacks from Lebanon in solidarity with the Palestinians. Both the Army and UN peacekeeping troops have stepped up patrols along the Lebanese-Israeli border in order to prevent a reoccurrence of the attacks.




Want Build World Peace? ‘Build 3rd Temple’

(Organization launches campaign to raise funds for draft plans of site, which, if built, it says, would ‘usher in universal harmony’)

July 30….(Times of Israel) As Egypt, Qatar, the US and the UN write proposals for Israel-Hamas ceasefires, one organization based in Jerusalem’s Old City hopes to compose a peace plan of a different kind: a detailed architectural blueprint for the Third Jewish Temple on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. The Temple Institute, which has recreated 60 vessels to be used in a Third Temple and which sponsors educational programs about the temple worldwide, has created a $100,000 Indiegogo campaign to draft plans for a Third Temple. Building the temple, says the Indiegogo campaign statement, would “usher in a new era of universal harmony and peace,” as prophesied in the Bible. “It is not enough to wait and pray for the Third Temple,” the statement added. “It is a Biblical obligation to build it.”

    According to Rabbi Chaim Richman, the institute’s international director, the temple would stand in the present location of the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine. Muslims revere the mount as the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary. But Richman did not set a target date for breaking ground for the construction project. The temple will be built, he told JTA, when “the world will want us to build the temple.” “The Jewish people have a responsibility to all of humanity, including Islam,” Richman said. “I don’t expect it to come about through any sort of confrontation or any sort of military maneuver. The Jews have to represent good in the world, light in the world.”

    The Indiegogo campaign is tied to the upcoming fast of Tisha b’Av, which mourns the First and Second Temples’ destruction. Richman quoted the verse in Isaiah calling the temple “a house of prayer for all nations.” But recently, the Temple Mount has been the scene of confrontation. Palestinian groups have repeatedly protested Jewish groups visiting the mount in recent weeks. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told JTA that on Saturday, a group of Palestinian rioters burned and heavily damaged the police stand on the mount.

    Referring to these incidents, Richman said the mount “is overrun by terrorists. This is a tangible fact.” He said rebuilding the temple is the next step to Israel’s current military operation in the Gaza Strip. “We cannot be the people we’re supposed to be without the Holy Temple,” he said. “So what if we root out the Gaza tunnels and missiles? Then what are we doing with our lives? The redemption of humanity is dependent on the Jewish people.”

FOJ Note: The building of the 3rd Jewish Temple will not lead to world peace. Neither the temple, nor the Jewish people themselves can bring peace. Only Jesus Christ can do these things. Oh, yes, the Jews do aspire to a 3rd temple, and they will someday be allowed such a structure, but it will not bring them peace, but a whirlwind!



Son of Hamas Founder is a Christian Convert

(Says Islamic Militants do indeed Target Civilians)

July 30….(Christian Headlines) The son of one of founding members of Hamas has spoken out against the militant organization and the way the group targets civilians. Mosab Hassan Yousef is a Christian convert and author of Son of Hamas. In an interview with CNN, he said Hamas militants seek to take over the Middle East, and do not care how many lives are lost in order to do so. “Hamas does not care about the lives of Palestinians, and does not care about the lives of Israelis or Americans. They don’t care about their own lives. They consider dying for the sake of their ideology a way of worship,” Yousef said.

     Though groomed from a young age to become a Hamas militant, Yousef became disenchanted with the mission of the group and adopted Christianity, losing everything he had in the process. “In the mosques, Hamas taught us that without shedding innocent blood for the sake of the ideology, we wouldn’t be able to build an Islamic state. They were preparing us from the age as young as five years old. This is the ideology that Hamas was feeding us. And honestly it’s impossible almost for anybody to break through and see the truth and real face of Hamas and be able to leave at some point. As you see in my case, I had to lose everything just to say no to Hamas. And today when I look at the children of Gaza, and I know what they’re fed, I know that they have no choice,” Yousef said.



The Need for Moral Clarity on the Israel-Hamas War

July 30….(Algemeiner/Irwin Cotler) The latest Israeli-Hamas war, with its evocative images of human suffering, has engaged hearts and minds the world over, particularly in this digital age of social media and instant communication. Indeed, the death of any innocent, Israeli or Palestinian, is a tragedy, and no one can fail to be moved by the human suffering and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But, while Hamas has rejected cease-fires proposed by Egypt and the UN, including a humanitarian cease-fire, it has continued its relentless rocket assaults and tunnel invasions, the proximate triggers for this immediate conflict. If we want to prevent further tragedies, it is important to go beyond the “fog of war,” to go behind the daily headlines that cloud understanding and the clichés (the “cycle of violence”) that corrupt it, and ask some fundamental questions about root causes and the basis for its resolution.

1. Are you aware that the Hamas charter and declarations call for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews wherever they may be?

2. Are you aware that the Hamas charter and declarations refer to Jews as “inherently evil,” as a “cancer” as responsible for all evils in the world and as defilers of Islam?

3. Are you aware that Hamas, not only during the present hostilities, but before them, has propagated a state-sanctioned culture of hate in the mosques, in the schools, in the broadcasting system, in the summer camps and training camps?

4. Do you agree that such statements promote hatred and contempt for Jews and constitute an obstacle to peace?

5. Do you agree that Israel, like any other state, has the right to live in peace and security, free from any threats or acts of force?

6. Are you aware that since Israel withdrew all its citizens, uprooted all its settlements, and completely disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has deliberately, and indiscriminately, launched over 11,000 rockets and missiles, terrorizing Israeli cities, towns and villages?

7. Are you aware that Hamas’ deliberate strategy of targeting Israeli civilians constitutes an armed attack under the UN Charter in violation of customary international law?

8. Do you agree that Israel, like any other state, has both the right and obligation to protect its citizens, and a right to self-defense against such armed attack as set forth in Article 51 of the UN Charter? Indeed, in a recent joint statement, the European Union’s 28 foreign ministers called on Hamas to “immediately renounce violence,” while recognizing Israel’s “legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks.”

9. Do you agree that, while Israel has the right to self-defense, its exercise must comport with the principles of international humanitarian law, including the principle of proportionality and the prohibition against the infliction of unnecessary suffering?

10. Do you agree that Palestinians in Gaza have the same right as Israelis to live in peace and security? Are you aware of the domestic repression by Hamas of Palestinians in Gaza, of the use and abuse of Palestinian civilians as human shields and that Hamas has converted the civilian infrastructure to an underground terrorist city?

11. Are you aware that Hamas is designated a terrorist entity by Canada, the United States and the European Union, and that UN Security Council resolutions require Palestinian governing authorities to deny safe havens to terrorists?

12. Are you aware that Hamas squandered the opportunity offered by Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005 to divert resources from state building to the building of a terrorist infrastructure at the expense of its own people?

13. Do you agree that the cease-fire must be durable and sustainable to protect the peace and security of both Israelis and Palestinians?

14. Do you agree that a comprehensive and enduring cease-fire should include: the recognition of Israel’s right to live in peace and security; the cessation of all acts of terror and violence against Israeli civilians; the demilitarization of Gaza; the dismantling of its weapons infrastructure and the disbanding of its terrorist militias; the establishment of an international protection and stabilization force to enforce the cease-fire and to protect against the rebuilding of any terrorist infrastructure; the deployment of a massive humanitarian undertaking to ensure assistance reaches those in need; the initiation of a comprehensive program for the reconstruction of Gaza and the rehabilitation of its citizens; and the freeing of Palestinian society from the cynical and oppressive culture of hate and incitement fueled by Hamas.

    I close on a personal note. I write not only as a law professor and MP, but as one who has family in Israel and friends in Palestine, and who has lived and worked in the region and been engaged in the struggle for peace. The overriding truth of these past 40 years for me has always been clear and remains the same. I will stand with those who support the right of peoples in the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians alike, to live in peace and security, free from any threats or acts of force, a cornerstone of UN principle and Canadian foreign policy; and I will oppose all those, like Hamas and its patron Iran, who seek the destruction of any people or state in violation of the UN Charter and all civilized norms.



Obama Calls Netanyahu: Demands an Immediate Cease-fire


July 29….(Times of Israel) We are now entering Day 21 of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s effort to stop Hamas’s rocket fire, demolish its cross-border tunnels and degrade its military infrastructure. Late Sunday night, Israel time, President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu and urges an immediate ceasefire. He also condemned Hamas attacks and reaffirmed “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

    US President Barack Obama spoke as he hosts an Iftar dinner in the State Dinning Room at the White House in Washington on July 14, 2014. Obama said he hopes Egypt's ceasefire plan can restore calm in Gaza  Obama said he hopes Egypt’s ceasefire plan can restore calm in Gaza. The president told the prime minister that any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza.” The critical element of the conversation: He called for an “immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.”

     It’s not immediately clear how that demand is being received. Israeli military officials have said they’ve found most of Hamas’s cross-border tunnels but need more time to demolish them and find others. And some ministers have been pushing for a much-expanded ground offensive.



Hamas Still Firing Rockets, Indiscriminately

July 29….(Israel Today) Hamas and its terrorist allies managed to kill four Israeli soldiers and wound another six in a mortar attack on southern Israel Monday evening. Another soldier was killed during operations inside Gaza, bringing to 48 the total number of Israeli soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge. Around the same time, terrorist missiles were fired all the way to northern Israel, but landed in open areas.

    Israeli authorities also closed roads and ordered Israelis living in the vicinity of Gaza to stay in their homes following a warning that Hamas terrorists had infiltrated southern Israel. Less than an hour later, the all-clear was sounded and the IDF reported that it had engaged and eliminated at least one of the infiltrators, while the others managed to flee back into Gaza. A short time earlier, two rockets landed in Gaza City, killing 10 people, including a number of children. One of the rockets hit Shifa Hospital, which is being used by Hamas as a headquarters, and the other struck a nearby refugee camp.

    Israeli army officials said that none of their forces had fired toward that area at the time in question, but noted that Islamic Jihad had launched a number of rockets, two of which are believed to have fallen short and hit Gaza City.

    In response to the renewed Hamas and Islamic Jihad attacks, the IDF has sent messages and made phone calls to the residents of several Gaza neighborhoods warning them to evacuate ahead of fresh Israeli assaults on terrorist forces located there.



Sen. Lindsey Graham Accuses United Nations of Anti-Semitism

July 29….(Newsmax) The United Nations is becoming more "anti-Israel, anti-Semitic," insists Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who Sunday condemned the UN Human Rights Council for its decision to investigate allegations of abuses in Gaza.

    Graham, a member of the Armed Services Committee, would "condemn the UN Human Rights report that holds Israel responsible for the activity here," he told CNN "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley. "The UN Human Rights report is a joke. The UN is becoming anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic. I would push back. Congress will do this." Navi Pillay, the UN's top human rights official, has suggested that both Hamas militants and Israel have committed war crimes in attacks that have killed Gaza citizens, reports Politico. Last week, 29 countries voted for a resolution to launch an inquiry into violations in Gaza, with 17 states abstaining. The United States was the only country voting against the resolution. His strong words came just hours before an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council Sunday night that called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire." The UN statement was not a resolution and was not binding, but was the council's strongest statement yet on the conflict that has claimed the lives of 1,030 Palestinians, 43 Israeli soldiers, and three civilians on the Israeli side.

    Israel says it started its Gaza operation on July 8 to stop Hamas rocketfire from the coastal territory, and intensified it on July 17 to neutralize Hamas cross-border tunnels built to carry out attacks on Israeli territory.

    Also on Sunday, President Barack Obama telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express his concern over the mounting Palestinian casualties. However, Obama has reiterated that Israel has the right to defend itself and has condemned Hamas' rocket attacks.

    In recent years, the UN has been at the center of many anti-Israel actions, reports Breitbart News, including the Goldstone Report on trumped-up "war crimes" in Gaza in 2008-09, and the "Zionism equals racism" resolution of 1975, which the United States, represented by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, opposed.

     In Monday's edition of The Jerusalem Post, columnist Isi Leibler slammed the UN Human Rights Commission's investigation, and accused Obama of turning his back on Israel. "The obscene UN Human Rights Commission, dominated by dictatorships and rogue states, has launched an investigation of what it has already defined as Israeli war crimes," writes Leibler. "In what is clearly intended to be a repeat of the notorious Goldstone Commission, there is not even the pretense of objectivity and no call to investigate Hamas."

    Israel appreciates the United States' vote against the investigation, Leibler said, and for Congress' financial support to create the "Iron Dome," which has been credited for sparing Israel from much of Hamas' missile attacks. "Yet the diplomatic posturing of the Obama administration has been utterly deplorable at a time when we are entitled to rely on the US to fully support its only genuine democratic ally in the region," said Leibler. "Israel is confronting a genocidal organization, Hamas, the equivalent of al-Qaida, whose charter explicitly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, and enjoins its supporters to murder Jews whenever the opportunity arises," he continued. "This same terrorist organization condemned the United States for the murder of Osama bin Laden."



Obama Sees 'Legitimate' Claims for Hamas, Hezbollah

(Now president in furious attempt to broker cease-fire)

July 29….(WND) Amid the Obama administration’s repeated attempts to broker a cease-fire that will end Israel’s military operations against Hamas, it may be instructive to recall that prior to his presidency, Barack Obama made several remarks some have interpreted as expressions of sympathy for terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, arguing they have “legitimate” claims.

    In largely unnoticed remarks to the New York Times in May 2008, then-Sen. Obama argued the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations have “legitimate claims” that are being “weakened” by the violence they carry out. The remarks echo an assertion Obama made eight days after the Sept. 11 Islamic terrorist attacks. The politician contended the Sept. 11 attacks were carried out because al-Qaida lacked “empathy” for the suffering of others and embraces an ideology that “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”

    Obama made his remarks regarding Hamas and Hezbollah in a May 2008 interview with Times columnist David Brooks in which he contended the US needed a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.” The future president compared the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group to Hamas, stating they both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.”

     Brooks had contacted Obama for clarification of an earlier statement the Illinois senator had made implying Lebanese militias should be tempered with enticements. Regarding Hezbollah, Obama earlier had declared: “It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.” Brooks took issue with the statement, writing it has the “whiff” of “appeasement.” “Is Obama naïve enough to think that an extremist ideological organization like Hezbollah can be mollified with a less corrupt patronage system and some electoral reform?” asked Brooks, who wrote in his May 16, 2008, column he called Obama to clarify his remarks.

     Obama immediately stated Hezbollah is “not a legitimate political party.” Instead, it is “a destabilizing organization by any common-sense standard.” “This wouldn’t happen without the support of Iran and Syria,” he said. Obama continued, nevertheless, by stating Hamas and Hezbollah violence weakens the groups’ “legitimate claimss.” The official Hamas charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of the Jewish state. It also calls for Muslims to “pursue the cause of the Movement (Hamas), all over the globe.” The terror group has carried out scores of deadly suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks against Israelis.

    Hezbollah claims it is fighting to liberate its “lands.” The group regularly makes threats against Israel and has carried out numerous terror attacks targeting Israel and the West, including the US. Obama repeatedly has condemned Hamas as a terrorist organization that should be isolated until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel.

    In the interview with Brooks, Obama went on to defend his policy of engaging with Iran. Meanwhile, in his remark eight days after Sept. 11 that al-Qaida’s whose terrorist ideology “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair,” Obama went on to imply the attacks were, in part, a result of US policy.



Terror Group Threatens to 'Chop Off the Heads of the Jews''

(Jews who refuse to leave “Palestine” will be subject to beheading, a Gaza terror group said.)

July 29….(Israel National News) Jews who refuse to leave “Palestine” will be subject to beheading, a Palestinian group closely associated with Hamas threatened over the weekend. The “People's Resistance Committee, which is involved in the fighting in Gaza, made the threat as it announced that it was responsible for firing rockets at an IDF patrol east of Jebalya. The 107 millimeter rockets, which the group specializes in using, has been nicknamed “the whip of death” by PRC terrorists. The group has threatened to “murder the soldiers of the treacherous thieves,” who robbed them of “Palestine.” “We will get to you and chop off your heads,” the group threatened. “Leave our land, your army and leadership cannot protect you.” The PRC announced earlier that it was opposed to any cease-fires or truces with Israel, even those for “humanitarian” reasons.



Israel Shocked, Infuriated by Kerry Ceasefire Proposal

July 28….(Israel Today) Israeli government ministers who on Friday unanimously rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Gaza ceasefire proposal said a day later that the entire affair had clearly demonstrated either the incompetence or the anti-Israel bias of America’s top diplomat. “Kerry took the terms put forth by [Hamas leader Khaled] Mashal and then presented them as an American [ceasefire] proposal,” one Israeli government official was quoted as saying by Israel Hayom.

    According to some of the details of Kerry’s plan that were leaked to the Israeli press, the Americans wanted an immediate halt to all hostilities in Gaza, followed by negotiations between Israel and Hamas in Cairo. On the table would be vastly increased funding for Gaza’s Hamas regime and an opening of the border between Israel and the volatile coastal enclave. Kerry’s proposal apparently made no mention of the need to eliminate Hamas’ ability to militarily threaten the Jewish state.

    As Ha’aretz correspondent Barak Ravid, one of Israel’s premier left-wing reporters, put it: “The document recognized Hamas’ position in the Gaza Strip and it placed Israel and Hamas on the same level, as if the first is not a primary US ally and as if the second isn’t a terror group which overtook part of the Palestinian Authority in a military coup and fired thousands of rockets at Israel.” Ravid, like Israel’s government ministers, was forced to conclude that “if Kerry did anything, it was to thwart the possibility of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza. The American secretary of state will be responsible for every additional drop of blood that is spilled.”

    What really irked Israel was that an acceptable ceasefire had already been tabled by Egypt, and Kerry had initially backed that initiative and signaled that his proposal would be based on it. What Kerry ultimately put forward after consulting with Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey was a complete departure from the Egyptian proposal and a “prize for terror,” according to Israeli officials.

    When the Israeli cabinet met again on Saturday to discuss further action in Gaza, there were reportedly few kind words for Kerry. According to Channel 2, various ministers described the US secretary of state as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” what is happening on the ground, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.” As Israel draws ever closer to Arab neighbors who have a shared interest in seeing Hamas and similar groups defeated, the Obama Administration’s handling of the situation is likely to further drive a wedge between Jerusalem and Washington.



Kerry Told Hamas Many Demands Will be Met Under Ceasefire Deal’

July 28….(Times of Israel) US Secretary of State John Kerry informed Hamas via Qatar last week that under his proposal for a ceasefire with Israel, based on the original Egyptian initiative, the US would guarantee the fulfillment of many of Hamas’ demands for an end to the war, Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel on Saturday.

     Kerry’s handling of the ceasefire effort was castigated by Israeli sources on Friday and Saturday, and the Israeli security cabinet unanimously rejected his ceasefire proposal on Friday night. The guarantees promised to Hamas by Kerry under a ceasefire, as relayed to The Times of Israel by the Palestinian sources, pertain to the following issues: an easing of restrictions on the passage of goods from Israel to Gaza; an easing of restrictions on the passage of traders and businessmen from Gaza to Israel; expansion of the permitted Gaza fishing zone to 12 miles off the coast; the opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, to be manned by Palestinian Authority officials; and a promise to ensure the transfer of salaries to Gaza’s government employees. Kerry made no promises on the issue of the Hamas demand for the release of prisoners, other than a pledge to discuss the matter. There was also no mention of the establishment of a seaport in Gaza, as demanded by Hamas.

     Many of these demands relating to easing “the siege” of Gaza, the security blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt to prevent the smuggling in of weapons and other terrorist infrastructure, were being weighed in Israel over the past weeks and months, before the current conflict began. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, recently met with a group of businessmen from Gaza to discuss the option of issuing more entry permits to Israel in order to allow for an expansion of trade. Additionally, in the past two years Israel had been holding talks with the Palestinian Authority and the European Union over the possibility of significantly expanding activity at the Kerem Shalom goods crossing to Gaza, and the EU had already agreed to finance the upgrade. Palestinian sources said one of the reasons for the holdup in building the expanded crossing had been Hamas’s refusal to construct the expanded crossing on Gaza territory, west of the current crossing.

    On Friday the Times of Israel reported what Arab sources said were the details of Kerry’s ceasefire offer, which provides for an immediate halt to hostilities to be followed 48 hours later by the start of five-to-seven days of contacts between Israel, Palestinian and Egyptian delegations in Cairo. The Palestinian delegation, which would comprise representatives of various Palestinian factions including Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, would speak on behalf of Hamas.

     Israeli sources slammed Kerry over the weekend for “capitulating” to Hamas’s ceasefire demands, and also for continuing his ceasefire consultations in Paris on Saturday with representatives of Qatar and Turkey, but not Israel, the PA or Egypt.



US Ally Underwriting Jihadist Expansion into Africa

(Saudi aid funding conversion, recruitment of militants in war on Christianity)

July 28….(WND) Middle East and Africa analysts say there is a growing wave of militant Islamic activity in sub-Saharan Africa that is being funded by US ally Saudi Arabia. Hussein Solomon, University of the Free State professor and analyst for the Israel-based think tank Research on Islam and Muslims in Africa, said the expansion of jihad into sub-Saharan Africa is bad news for Christians and other groups who don’t embrace the radicalism. “We’re going to see more pastors and priests get killed and more churches being burned,” he said. “Because of this, there will be more attacks on churches. There will be more attacks on interfaith groups as well. The radicals are creating hard dichotomies between black and white, between ‘us’ and ‘them.’”

    Central African countries are particularly vulnerable, he said, because religious identities reinforce ethnic identities. Solomon said it’s not just Nigeria, pointing to increased activity in countries such as Tanzania. Mozambique will likely be the next target, he said. and Consultancy Africa Intelligence analyst Maha Hamdan said the Saudis are deeply involved in the growing jihad. They are using their vast oil wealth to pay for non-governmental groups to go head-to-head with Christian non-governmental groups. “Islamic development work among non-Muslims is performed as a form of Dawah (the Islamic act of inviting conversion) to gain more converts to Islam. These NGO’s have focused their work, first of all, on development and relief issues in Sub-Saharan Africa in the name of jihad and the cause of converting more people to Islam,” Hamdan said. Solomon said the Saudis are paying the tab for the radicalization.

   The Saudis’ Wahhabist-Salafist ideology can be seen in Nigeria’s Boko Haram group. “The founder of Boko Haram set up a group of schools that were being funded by Saudi charities. This network of schools continues to exist, and Boko Haram recruits directly from those schools,” Solomon explained. He pointed out that Ansar Dine in Mali is aligned with the group Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. It’s leader, Iyad ag-Ghaly, was a Malian consular official in Saudi Arabia. Solomon said al-Shabaab is also the product of Saudi funding and education.

     But Western governments have hesitated to address the source of the money. “No one has wanted to deal with these issues because of the widespread belief that they need Saudi Arabia to counter Iran or whatever the strategy of the day may be,” Solomon said. “The problem is that ordinary people on the ground are going to be suffering.” Hamdan agrees the Saudis are using their wealth to spread militant Islam. “The ever-growing conversion to Islam in Africa is due to the intensive activity of Islamic NGOs, such as the Muslim World League, based in Saudi Arabia, World Islamic Call, based in Libya, and other organizations, within the continent,” Hamden said. “The increase in the number of Islamic NGOs can be largely attributed to financial sponsorship from oil-rich Muslim states in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and North Africa.”

   It is not surprising to find the version of Islam that has been emphasized by these NGOs is Salafist or Wahhabist or other radical versions as propagated in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. Saudi Arabia, as well as some Salafi elements in other Gulf States, managed through the finance of relief projects, to turn a marginal Islamic trend of Salafism of the Wahhabi school into a worldwide network,” Hamdan said.

    Horowitz Freedom Center fellow, author and Middle East specialist Raymond Ibrahim confirmed Solomon’s concerns and said Christians are the targets of the growing jihadist movement. “Absolutely. It’s especially true in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Central African Republic and increasingly Tanzania,” Ibrahim said.

    Ibrahim said there is a familiar pattern of how Islamic movements operate. “If the Muslims are the majority, for example in Somalia, the Christians and other minorities are being hunted out of existence. Where the populations are split, it’s all-out jihad; Nigeria is a perfect example,” Ibrahim said.



 'Kerry is Seeking to Reward a Terrorist Group'

(Senior Israeli officials: US Secretary of State John Kerry accepted the preconditions of Hamas. He took Hamas' proposal, via the Qataris, and made it the US proposal. He is operating against the declared interests of the US in the Middle East.)

July 28….(Israel Hayom) While Israelis enjoyed a day of relative quiet on Saturday due to the humanitarian truce, the diplomatic arena remained active over the weekend. On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry presented a cease-fire proposal that prompted a vociferous response from the Israeli government. Kerry's proposal touched on three issues: border crossings, finances and the reconstruction of Gaza. Kerry proposed that the border crossings with Gaza be opened, with people and goods allowed to enter Gaza. On the issue of finances, Kerry proposed that money be transferred to Hamas to pay the salaries of civil servants in Gaza. And on reconstruction, Kerry proposed a budget that would "meet the welfare needs of Gaza." The proposal said Qatar would provide funding for the reconstruction of Gaza. Arab media outlets reported that the proposal called for an immediate cease-fire and a return to the understandings reached after Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

     And what about Israel's demands, such as the demilitarization of Gaza and the destruction of the tunnels? Kerry's proposal merely included a short and laconic reference to addressing "Israel's security needs." Senior Israeli political officials vehemently criticized Kerry's proposal. After Egypt proposed a cease-fire with no preconditions, "Kerry came and accepted the preconditions of Hamas," Israeli political officials said. "Kerry took [Hamas political bureau chief] Khaled Mashaal's proposal, via the Qataris, and made it the American proposal. Kerry is seeking to reward a terrorist group. Kerry is operating against the declared interests of the US in the Middle East, acting against America's allies, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, among others." The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet is insisting that any cease-fire agreement include two items, freedom for the Israel Defense Forces to act against the tunnels and a significant diplomatic achievement related to disarming Gaza of rockets.

    In any case, the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet unanimously rejected Kerry's proposal on Friday. In a briefing on Operation Protective Edge, Diplomatic-Security Cabinet members were told that the Hamas fighting force is in "great distress" and "[Hamas fighters] want to end the fighting." There is "internal tension within Hamas regarding the end of the campaign," the ministers were told. The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet did agree to a humanitarian truce requested by Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. The 12-hour truce was supposed to end at 8pm, but the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet extended it by four hours to midnight.

    On Saturday night, as the Diplomatic-Cabinet Cabinet was meeting to discuss extending the truce further, Hamas launched volleys of rockets into southern and central Israel. Nevertheless, the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet approved a one-day extension of the truce, to midnight between Sunday and Monday. During the truce, the IDF will continue to destroy tunnels in the Gaza border area. On Saturday, four tunnels were destroyed. Lieberman said there should be no more extensions of the humanitarian truce, as this would produce a "creeping cease-fire." During a visit to an Iron Dome battery on Friday, Ya'alon said, "Be prepared for the possibility that in the very near future we will order the IDF to significantly expand the ground operation in Gaza."







Iran Supreme Leader: Only Solution For Crisis Is Israel’s Destruction

July 25….(In The Days) Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Wednesday that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza. Meanwhile, revolutionary guards announced new missiles, which could destroy Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Fars News Agency, a media outlet run by the Iranian state, reported today that Khamenei addressed the conflict in Gaza in a meeting with Iranian college students. “These crimes which are beyond imagination and show the true nature of the wolfish and child killer regime, which the only solution is its destruction,” the ayatollah declared to his audience. “However, until that time, the expansion of the armed resistance of the Palestinians of the West Bank is the only way to confront this wild regime.”

    Khamenei then criticized America, claiming its defense of Israel is “shameful,” and suggested that its support affects Iran’s behavior towards America. “The anti-American and anti-West view in Iran is a logical view based on experience and a righteous calculation,” he said.

    Referring to Israel, Khamenei added, “This event is a sample of the ‘violent policies with iron fist’ which the fake and illegitimate regime [Israel] in its 66 years of existence has repeatedly and proudly conducted.” He then emphasized, “As said by Imam Khomeini [the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran] Israel must be destroyed. However, until that time with the help of God for this cruel and murderous regime to be destroyed, strong confrontation with steadfast armed resistance is the only solution against this destructive regime.” Khamenei then mocked Israel for looking for a ceasefire agreement, stating that Israel is powerless against the resistance of Hamas, and once again, strongly attacked America for supporting Israel. “We believe that the West Bank needs to be armed just like Gaza and those interested in the future of Palestine must become active in this field [guerrilla warfare] so that the suffering of the Palestinian people through their strength and their weakness due to the Zionist regime is reduced,” he said. “Some Western countries including America and filthy England defend with clarity the crimes that no ordinary person would. The President of America in the face of these child killings, destruction, torture and suffering of the people in Gaza, with a comical logic states that Israel has the right to defend itself! Don’t the Palestinians have the right to defend their lives and security?”

    The Islamic regime has long trained and armed Hezbollah and Palestinian forces for attacks against Israel. In reference to further arming Palestinians, the speaker of the regime’s Parliament, Ali Larijani, said in a statement Wednesday, “The clear need of Palestine is its need to weapons and basic necessities and Iran plays an important role in meeting the clear needs of the Palestinian people.” In related news, the revolutionary guard revealed that they have made missiles capable of penetrating Israel’s Iron Dome. The missile, named “Hormoz 1,” is claimed to be the first anti-radar ballistic missile to be able to penetrate and destroy missile defense systems such as the Iron Dome and America’s Patriot missile system. The missile has a speed of Mach 5 and can pinpoint a target from a very long-distance. The guards claim the missile can now destroy the Iron Dome, as well as any patriot missile defense system, and that the missile could be used to attack the radar systems of US vessels and carriers in the Persian Gulf.

    In continuation of negotiations in Geneva between the P5+1 and Iran, a four month extension to the original agreement was agreed upon to find a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear program. In return for the agreement on the extension, the Islamic regime will receive $2.8 Billion dollars in six installments. The Islamic regime had received $7 Billion after the negotiated agreement in November 2013 with a six month deadline to finalize the agreement, but has so far refused to back down from its demand to continue developing its nuclear program. A recent report suggests that the Islamic Republic has yet to address the concerns of the International Atomic Agency on work developing detonators used as an explosive device for atomic bombs. The regime, which originally denied such work, has stated the experiment as for civilian purposes.



Fears Grow other Groups May Join Hamas Fight vs. Israel after Kerry Peace Effort Fails

July 25….(In The Days) Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv today. Mr. Kerry reported progress in indirect negotiations, and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian relief into Gaza. A new jihadi media outlet called Al Fawaris released a video Wednesday calling on Gazans to endure the military operation. Its message said victory looms and that Muslims all over the world support them.

    While Hamas is using tactics favored by Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Islamist group has not shown signs of entering the conflict. Analysts say Hezbollah, which has offered words of support for Hamas, is fully occupied with Syria’s civil war. “Right now, Hezbollah has way too much invested in the Syrian conflict to provoke an unnecessarily destructive war with Israel,” said Daniel Nisman, president of the Levantine Group, a geopolitical risk and research group based in Tel Aviv. The Middle East Media Research Institute’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor published a report with a video featuring jihadi cleric Abu hareth Al-Maqdisi, who said he and his fighters in Syria want to join the battle in Gaza. “True, we are fighting in Syria, but our heart yearns to arrive and fight the sons and brothers of the apes and pigs [the Jews],” the institute reported Al-Maqdisi as saying. The jihadi cleric said Gazans must be patient and wait for either victory or martyrdom, and that Allah will soon send “extraordinary soldiers who will fight and defeat the Jews.”

    Kerry reported progress in indirect negotiations, and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian relief into Gaza. But Mr. Meshaal said his group would keep fighting Israel and would not agree to a more lasting cease-fire without a full negotiation of terms. “We need the calm for a few hours to evacuate the wounded and assist in the relief. This means a real truce backed by a real relief program offered to the people of Gaza,” Mr. Meshaal said at a news conference in Qatar. However, he said any permanent cease-fire could be reached only if Israel ends its siege and could be implemented only after full negotiations.

    Mr. Kerry landed at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, despite the flight bans, and met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a grim-faced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said indirect talks had made some progress but returned later to Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza and has mediated with Hamas. “We have certainly made some steps forward. There is still work to be done,” said Mr. Kerry, whose most recent efforts at peace negotiations between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas broke down in April.

   Mr. Kerry has been working through Mr. Abbas, Egypt and other regional proxies because the US, like Israel, shuns Hamas as a terrorist group. Hamas brushed off the US diplomat’s appeal, saying it would not hold fire without making gains.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said there was “a strong possibility” that Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza, where most Palestinian casualties have been civilians. The UN Human Rights Council said it would launch an international inquiry into suspected violations. Israel dismissed the threat. “Get lost,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said on her Facebook page in response to the investigation.

    On the ground, Israeli troops backed by tanks and aerial drones clashed with Hamas fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on the outskirts of Khan Younis, killing at least eight militants, a Palestinian health official said. Israel said three of its soldiers were killed by explosive devices Wednesday, raising the army death toll to 32. Three civilians, including a Thai laborer hit Wednesday, have died in rocket attacks launched from Gaza. The military said one of its soldiers is missing and believes he might be dead. Hamas said it has captured the soldier but has not released a picture of him in their control.



ISIS Leader Threatens America: 'We're Coming for You'

July 25….(Newsmax) The radical Islamist group terrorizing Iraq and ousting Christians there has threatened America, US sources revealed. "We're coming for you, Barack Obama," the group threatened, according to Elissa Slotkin, acting principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, in a story published by The Hill. The group's insurgence inside the country has drawn the attention of US officials who have called it "worse than al-Qaida." "It is al-Qaida in its doctrine, ambition and, increasingly, in its threat to US interests," Brett McGurk, a deputy assistant secretary of state, said in testimony during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday. McGurk was blunt in outlining the group's intent, calling it "no longer a terrorist organization. It is a full-blown army," the Hill reported.

    Former Homeland Security head Tom Ridge also signaled the strength of the group and its capacity to create terror, adding that ISIS's threats had been on the intelligence community's radar for a long time with the ability to enter the United States unnoticed. "They’ve got a lot of fighters who are from European countries that are visa waiver countries, which means all they have to do is shave their beards and look like normal, responsible civilians and walk into the United States of America without a visa," Ridge said. "It’s a real challenge for our intelligence community to identify them and get their names on a watch list."

    Known as ISIL or ISIS, short for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the group has powered throughout Iraq in recent weeks, commandeering the police force and entering homes where residents have gone missing at the hands of marauding posses. Whole towns are under siege by ISIS forces, and the group has suggested it will overtake Baghdad, a threat that led Obama to deploy about 750 troops to the war-torn nation, The Washington Times reported.

     Christians are under particular assault by the Sunni terrorists, being told to convert or die, Al Jazeera reported. They have also been pressured to pay a tax, and those who have fled have been robbed at checkpoints by insurgents. "There is not a single Christian family left in Mosul.



US is Supporting Terrorists in Gaza, Against Israel

July 24….(FOJ) The US, under the Obama Administration is actively supporting a terrorist organization in Gaza, albeit in that evil groups efforts to annihilate the state of Israel. There is no plainer way to say it. Why would any American president ever seek to keep Hamas in power in Gaza? Hamas needs to be eradicated from the scene. Hamas is shooting rockets at commercial airlines just like Russia supposedly did in Ukraine. Hamas is one of the main impediments to any peace overtures for the people living in the area. The poor Palestinians, unknowingly are nothing but pawns being used by a jihadist network of haters of Judeo-Christian roots. Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization on virtually all lists of evil. So, then why is Mr. Kerry seeking a cease-fire? Why is America sending in more millions to Hamas? Hamas is aligned with Iran and Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood, whom President Obama foolishly supported in the recent strife in Egypt.

    While Israel attempts to secure its southern border from Gaza rockets and tunnel terror attacks, our President permits our own southern border to be a leaking dam of infiltration for more radical extremists into our own backyard. Why? Why can’t our government identify right from wrong anymore? Where is the vision for moral clarity? One would have to think that an enemy is managing our own national policy in these matters. Perhaps we have become blinded to the truth about our realties because we have abandoned the God that establishes right. (Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!)



Iran: Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas to ‘Ink Defense Pact’ Against Israel

July 24….(Algemeiner) Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars on Tuesday cited Commander of Iran’s Basij Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, as calling on the “resistance groups in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon to sign a defense treaty to help and support each other” against Israel. “We ask the resistance forces in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon to endorse a defense pact so that an attack on any of them will be an attack on all of them and if the Zionist regime makes an aggression against any of them, all of them will grow united to confront it,” Naqdi said in Tehran on Monday night.

    Fars’s brazen headline, ‘Iran Urges Palestinian, Syrian, Lebanese Resistance Groups to Ink Defense Pact,’ was further confirmation of accusations made by US Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that Tehran’s foreign policy is “subversive, sectarian, and set on goals that would come at the expense of US interests in the region.” Pundits have long accused Iran of working through its proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, but Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza has brought what had been said in private out into the open, with Iranian leaders proudly announcing that they have been supplying Hamas with missiles and drones, even as Iranian diplomats try to convince the world they are a peaceful nation deserving of a nuclear program.

     In Tehran, Naqdi said, “The Islamic Republic has and will always be beside the Palestinian nation,” and, in the words of Fars, “warned the Zionist regime that Muslims will not sit idly by to witness aggression against their brothers in Gaza, ‘rather they will certainly show a firm and serious reaction.’” Iran’s Javan, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, wrote last week that “the Iranian regime also provides important aid to the Palestinian fighters, including military weaponry. This measure by the Islamic Republic, arming the Palestinian groups, is carried out publicly, and not in secret, and has even been publicly emphasized by the leader Khamenei,” according to a translation by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, published yesterday.

    On Tuesday, Fars reported that, in Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday spoke with exiled Hamas Chief Khaled Mashaal by phone, and said, in the words of Fars, that “Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance will support the Palestinian Intifada and resistance, with all their hearts, willpower, hope and destiny.”

Fars said that Nasrallah also phoned Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement, to discuss battle strategy in Gaza. In 2012, days after Hamas fired its Fajr-5 missiles at Tel Aviv, Hezbollah put the same weapon on display at a rally in the suburbs of Beirut. At the event, Nasrallah warned that, if provoked, it would rain those rockets on Israeli cities, indicated on a giant map to the right of the missile.



Israeli Christians Call for Solidarity With Brothers in Iraq, Syria

July 24….(Israel Today) Israeli Christians groups are growing frustrated over the world’s disproportionate focus on the current Gaza war, while all but ignoring the brutal slaughter and forced conversion of fellow Christians in Iraq and Syria. “We call on the local councils of all Christian communities to announce five days of mourning and to paint all doors with the (Arabic) letter ”nun“ in solidarity with our people in Mosul, Iraq, where Christians were expelled, slaughtered and churches were burned,” read a Facebook post by the Israeli Christian Lobby. There are widespread reports that the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) has begun painting the letter “nun” on the doors of all Christians homes and businesses ahead of a deadline given to Christians in Iraq to either convert to Islam, or face the sword.  Nowhere has this unchecked persecution been worse than in Mosul, the ancient city of Nineveh, which is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. In the face of the Islamist State’s threats, most chose to flee, but not before many paid for their faith with their lives. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” Patriarch Louis Sako, Iraq’s most senior Christian leader, said earlier this week.

    The Israeli Christian Lobby noted that while this was happening in Iraq and Syria, local Arab leaders who claim to represent both Muslims and Christians remained silent, but demonstrated their hypocrisy when they suddenly screamed with outrage over Israel responding to terrorist rocket fire from Gaza. The Arab leadership, the lobby insisted, “has demonstrated that it does not truly represent the Israeli Christians or even the Druze, but rather the Islamic agenda of the Arab public. We call on all Christians to wake up!”

    The Israeli Christian Lobby is organizing a rally to take place in Haifa next Sunday evening in solidarity with Christians under attack in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Middle East.



FAA, Europe Extend Bans on Flights to Israel

July 24….(Jerusalem Post) Lufthansa, Delta, US Airways extend flight bans to Israel along with US Federal Aviation Administration and most European airlines. The FAA on Tuesday said it told US carriers they were prohibited from flying to or from Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for up to 24 hours, citing "the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza."  The FAA later extended the ban by another 24 hours on Wednesday evening.

    Germany's Lufthansa on Wednesday suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv for an additional 24 hours. The decision also applies to Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines. On Tuesday, it suspended flights for 36 hours following the decision by America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to suspend travel to and from Israel. A rocket had fallen in a house in Yehud, a residential area near the airport, earlier in the day.

    Delta Air Lines will also extend its suspension of flights to Israel on Wednesday amid hostilities between Israel and the militant group Hamas, its chief executive said on CNBC. "Today, we are not flying to Israel," Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in an interview with CNBC. His comments come a day after air carriers in the United States and Europe halted flights to Tel Aviv as turmoil in Israel and the Gaza Strip intensified.

    US Airways canceled its flights to and from Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday night, saying it would resume air operations if the FAA removes its ban. The FAA on Tuesday said it told US carriers they were prohibited from flying to or from Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for up to 24 hours, citing "the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza." On Tuesday a Hamas rocket hit a house in the metropolitan Tel Aviv area for the first time during the current conflict.

    White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken on Wednesday said he had not heard from the FAA yet about whether it would lift the ban or any other details about its plan for flights in the region.

     Israel has rejected the decision to bar flights to its airport. "Our airport is safe. Our airport is secure. And we hope the American carriers will be flying to Israel soon," Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday.



Israel Singles out Qatar as key Hamas Terror Sponsor

July 24….(Times of Israel) Israeli President Shimon Peres accused Qatar on Wednesday of becoming “the world’s largest funder of terror” due to its financial support for Hamas in Gaza. “Qatar does not have the right to send money for rockets and tunnels which are fired at innocent civilians,” the outgoing statesman told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem. “Their funding of terror must stop. If they want to build then they should, but they must not be allowed to destroy.” A spokesman for Peres would not comment on the information on which the president was basing his accusation, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former security adviser said Qatar was relentlessly financing Hamas terror..

    Qatar’s recently attempted to transfer funds for the salaries of Hamas civil servants in Gaza, following the formation of a Palestinian unity government, but was blocked by the United States, which pressured the Arab Bank not to process them. But former national security adviser Maj. Gen. (res) Yaakov Amidror told The Times of Israel that the emirate’s funding for the organization’s terror apparatus, including tunnel diggers and rocket launchers, has continued unabated. “Hamas currently has two ‘true friends’ in the world: Qatar and Turkey,” Amidror said. The small Gulf state is currently Hamas’s closest ally in the Arab world, after the movement’s relations with Egypt soured following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in June 2013. Qatar, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in reconstruction and infrastructure projects in Gaza, is also home to the movement’s political leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha. “The one supporting this organization financially, almost alone, is Qatar,” Amidror said.

    Qatar isn’t only being accused of funneling funds to Hamas. Israel and Egypt are also blaming it for blocking Egypt’s efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza. On July 17, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said that Qatar and Turkey were undermining Egypt’s quiet-for-quiet ceasefire initiative, a position echoed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. Another aspect of Qatar’s destructive influence, Israel believes, is state-backed news channel Al-Jazeera. Communications Minister Gilad Erdan requested of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council this week that it stop broadcasting Al-Jazeera due to its “extremely severe incitement against the State of Israel as well as enthusiastic support for Hamas and its terrorist actions.” Liberman said his ministry was examining the possibility of shutting Al-Jazeera’s offices in Israel, Israeli news site Walla reported.

    On Tuesday, the channel evacuated staff from its Gaza bureau after coming under fire, allegedly from Israel. Speaking to Israel’s Army Radio, the channel’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Walid Al-Omari, accused the Israeli ministers of inciting against his channel and placing TV crews at physical risk. Meanwhile, a diplomatic tug of war has been underway in the Arab Gulf between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both staunch supporters of the new Egyptian regime, on the one side and Qatar on the other. On Tuesday, Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad arrived in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the Palestinian situation with Saudi King Abdullah.



Muslims Force Thousands of Christians from Homes in Iraq

('No Western government seems to be standing up for these Christians)(Where is Obama)

July 24….(WND) The rise of a self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq is already responsible for the eradication of Christianity in the historic city of Mosul, and this could be the first step toward much greater persecution in the weeks and months to come. Even before the rise of the radical Islamists calling themselves the Islamic State, or ISIS, Christianity was greatly endangered in Iraq. Open Doors USA listed it as the fourth worst persecutor of Christians in the world earlier in the year. “Iraq was already a very dangerous place for Christians because of the weakness of the central government and their inability or unwillingness to protect Christian churches and Christians who wanted to choose for themselves what their religious beliefs worse,” said Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry, who added that the latest developments in Iraq are making things exponentially worse. On July 19, ISIS announced every Christian in Mosul had a choice by noon Saturday to convert to Islam, pay a financially crippling tax or leave with no possessions but the clothes on their backs. “Since June 10, when ISIS came in and took over,it’s been incredibly difficult. Over 3,000 families, just from Mosul, are homeless, are on the run and have had to leave everything and it’s really unprecedented in this modern age to have a group call out this kind of segregation of a religious minority and force them out of their homes with impunity. No Western government seems to be standing up or protecting these folks,” Curry said. Not surprisingly, the persecution is leading to a significant humanitarian crisis. “Those that have the resources are heading out of the country entirely,” he said. “Most of them, of course, don’t have the resources to get on a plane and fly out, so they’re heading north into the Kurdistan regions, where there is more security.”

    Curry said those who choose to turn a blind eye to the treatment of Christians in Iraq are making a horrific mistake. “I think people underestimate how fast this kind of persecution spreads and to our detriment,” he said. “This sort of persecution in the Middle East could certainly spread to other religious groups, like Jewish minorities, certainly Buddhist minorities. When we let this kind of aggression stand, I think it’s a very bad sign for the rest of civilization.” That’s why, Curry said, Western nations need at least to publicly condemn ISIS for this persecution. “Governments need to stand up and send clear messages of support to the Christian minorities, to do what they can to put diplomatic pressure on these groups and to make this very difficult to happen anywhere else and to hopefully turn the tide in the coming weeks,” he said. The upheaval of the past 11 years is taking a severe toll on the Christian population in Iraq. Curry said there were a million believers in Iraq in 2003. Now he said some estimates are as low as 300,000.



FAA Suspends All US Flights to Israel for 24 Hours

July 23….(National Journal) The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended all US flights to Israel for at least 24 hours. The official advisory Thursday came not long after two major US airlines, Delta and American, decided to suspend their flights to Israel independent of FAA instructions. Earlier Tuesday, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed about one mile from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. According to the Associated Press, the rocket damaged a house and injured one in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb. The FAA advisory reads: The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning, and applies only to US operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport. After the rocket landed near the airport, Delta diverted a flight en route to Tel Aviv and landed the plane in Paris. The US State Department issued a travel advisory Monday for Americans in Israel. "The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to US citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip," the notice read.

     International airlines are now starting to ground flights to the country as well. According to CNN, Germany's Lufthansa has suspended flights to Tel Aviv. These cancellations are coming just several days after a passenger jetliner was shot down over Ukraine, increasing international tensions. That flight, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, was traveling through an area with no international restrictions, and its downing has raised questions about whether commercial airlines should fly over conflict zones. In a statement earlier Tuesday, before the FAA announced its suspension, Israel Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said keeping flights out of his country was an overreaction. "There is no reason for these companies to stop flights," he said. "They have given a prize to terror."



US Banning Flights to Press Israel into Cease-Fire?

(Diplomats question putting Jewish state on par with Third World)

July 23….(WND) Officials in Jerusalem are quietly wondering whether the Federal Aviation Administration’s prohibition on US flights to Tel Aviv is partially a tactic to pressure Israel into a cease-fire. The FAA’s decision will likely impact the Israeli economy. The action, while temporary, tarnishes Israel’s image around the world, putting the Jewish state, at least for one day, on par with Third World countries where US flights are banned, including Ethiopia, North Korea, Iraq, Somalia and Libya. “Due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza, all flight operations to/from Ben Gurion International Airport by US operators are prohibited until further advised,” reads an FAA notice to all US airlines.

    The FAA decision to ban US flights to Israel for at least 24 hours came after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Yehud, a densely populated neighborhood about one mile from Israel’s international airport, south of Tel Aviv. Besides the FAA ban, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines indefinitely suspended service to Israel while numerous European airlines also canceled flights, as did Canadian and Turkish airlines. Even if US flights resume after 24 hours, the FAA decision sets the precedent for more flight bans in the coming days in response to any rockets hitting near the airport. Aviation experts weighed in, explaining the FAA and airliners are likely taking necessary precautions after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down by a missile over Ukraine while at cruising altitude, killing all 298 people on board. Aviation consultant Robert Mann told that airlines may be taking a more proactive approach to avoid legal problems after the Malaysia Airlines disaster last week. “It’s really forcing every carrier, every business jet operator to do their own due diligence, do their own risk assessment, given the geopolitical situation,” Mann said. Aviation-accident lawyer Jonathan Reiter explained that flying into an airport after a rocket landed nearby could be utilized by passengers in lawsuits claiming negligence. “I’m sure it is human concern as well,” Reiter told, “but I think (the airlines) feel it is wise to err on the side of caution because it is their burden to prove they are doing everything possible to avoid injuries and deaths.”

    Israeli officials, for their part, are publicly calling for the US to reverse its decision, with Israel’s Transportation Ministry saying Ben Gurion International Airport is “safe for landings and departures.” “Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded, and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize,” the ministry said in a statement. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked US Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene to resume US flights to Israel.

    Political tactic? Behind the scenes, several Jerusalem diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity questioned whether the FAA flight-ban was in part a tactic to press Israel into a truce with Hamas. A cease-fire would tentatively stop Hamas’ rocketing of the Jewish state. Kerry is currently in Egypt in an attempt to negotiate a truce. State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf suggested to reporters Tuesday that Kerry may stay in the Middle East until progress is made toward a cease-fire. Earlier Tuesday, after the decision by Delta and United to cancel flights and before the FAA ban was announced, the White House issued a statement saying the airlines were not acting on orders from the US government.



Kerry Not Welcome in Israel’s Middle East Negotiations

July 23….(Daily Caller) As tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East, US Secretary of State John Kerry is heading back to the region to continue pursuing a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but he may not be welcome this time around. Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren believes that America’s presence isn’t welcome at all. During an interview with an Israel news network on Monday, Oren said that Kerry coming to the region is “to our chagrin.” Oren cited Kerry’s history of failed attempts at peace negotiations in the region, and strained US relations with Egypt, as well as the Obama administration’s poor relationship with both Israel and Palestine.

    Kerry left on Monday for Egypt, where he will continue to negotiate discussions of the continually failing cease-fire. The White House hopes to return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement, and also emphasized the need to protect civilian lives, both in Gaza and in Israel. Kerry spent nine months pursuing peace talks between Israel and Palestine from 2013 to 2014, but abandoned the effort recently after each attempt proved to be futile. Since violence has taken off between the Israelis and the Palestinians in recent weeks, Egypt has attempted to broker two separate cease-fires. While Israel complied with each request, Hamas has refused to agree and has repeatedly ignored Egypt’s requests.

     During an interview broadcast on “Fox News Sunday,” Kerry said that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas militants. But Kerry was caught making an aside comment to an aide over the phone during a commercial break, sarcastically calling Israel’s Operation Protective Edge a “helluva pinpoint operation.” Numerous networks and media outlets picked up on this comment and condemned America’s top diplomat for callously critiquing the Israeli operation.

    According to Oren, Kerry’s behavior and remarks during his Sunday interview make it clear that Kerry was not invited to the region, and rather, just forced his way in. The State Department said that Kerry’s main concern in the region is minimizing “risk of further escalation, and the loss of more innocent life.” President Obama reiterated that sentiment during a briefing from the White Hose lawn on Monday. The president expressed continued concerned about the violence, stating that both sides must continue working to “stop the deaths of innocent civilians.” The White House continues to look toward Kerry, the United Nations and Egypt to help broker a working cease-fire.



Who’s Who Inside the Hamas Terrorist Organization


July 22….(CNN) They call themselves "the resistance." Israel and the United States call them terrorists. What's unclear is who's calling the shots within the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The political and the military arms of Hamas appear to have contrasting mission statements, a push-and-pull that became apparent after Israel agreed to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire in Gaza.

    Mousa Abumarzook, a senior Hamas member, said the group was still "discussing" how to respond and "there is no official position yet from the movement on the Egyptian inititive." But the military wing, the Qassam Brigades, didn't mince words. "We in the Al-Qassam Brigades reject altogether the proposal, which for us is not worth the ink that it was written with." So who's in control? Analysts say it's hard to pin down precisely who has the final word on making decisions and guiding strategy. "It's very much believed that the political wing, the political leadership inside Gaza and externally, was counseling for restraint," said Neri Zilber of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "The military wing very much had other ideas. Here's an introduction to Hamas' key players:


    He's Hamas' top political leader and often its public face. He's had the role since 2004 after Hamas' then-leader, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, was killed in an Israeli airstrike. A former teacher, Meshaal operates mostly from Qatar and is known as Hamas's external deal-maker, raising money from supporters in the region. "Despite his George Clooney-type looks, he's very much a dangerous man because he aids and abets Hamas' very destructive policies and strategy," Zilber said. A bizarre assassination plot: In 1997, Meshaal was the target of a bizarre assassination attempt by the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service. Mossad's agents confronted Meshaal in Jordan and injected poison into his ear. It might have ended right there. But Jordan's King Hussein, who had a peace treaty with Israel, threatened to break off relations unless Mossad delivered the antidote to the poison. And they did. "Allah saved me. Then King Hussein," Meshaal told CNN in 2002.

     Meshaal owns a $70 million budget: In 2012, Meshaal left his previous base of operations in Syria as the country's civil war deepened. That decision is believed to have led to a breakdown in his relationship with Iran, Hamas' key backer, said Firas Abi Ali, head of Middle East and North Africa Country Risk and Forecasting at IHS. "The Qataris, who are backing him now, are not able to provide the military expertise and training on rockets and drones that the military wing needs to fight Israel," he said. "These are things that only the Iranians can provide." But there are other members who still enjoy the support of Iran. And, as Meshaal told CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Hamas enjoys the support of expatriate Palestinians, private donors in the Middle East and Muslim charities, enough to bankroll its $70 million annual budget.


     Hamas formed in 1987 at the start of the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, as an Islamic resistance movement against Israel. In 2006, Hamas won a majority in Palestinian legislative elections and formed a unity government with its rival Fatah. But the coalition collapsed into deadly violence in 2007, leaving Hamas in control of Gaza and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in power in the West Bank. During Hamas' short-lived coalition with Fatah, Haniyeh became Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. After their 2007 split, he retained the role for Hamas in Gaza. The group's second political leader is Mousa Abu Marzouk.

    In Iran's good books: Haniyeh is a former leader of the Hamas' student movement. He was considered to be a close associate of the group's founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Yassin was assassinated by an Israeli airstrike as he was leaving a Gaza City mosque in 2004. It still has good relations with Iran, given the increased sophistication of rockets used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad." Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk are believed to operate between Egypt and Gaza.

     But the new Egyptian government has made movement between Egypt and Gaza a lot harder for Hamas leaders. "The siege has led the Gaza-based factions to band together," Abi Ali said. "They're more coherent and cohesive." Goodwill among the people: Part of the pair's job is to ensure that Hamas continues to enjoy widespread backing from the general population in Gaza. The group does it through its many social welfare programs. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, "its efforts in this area, as well as a reputation for honesty, in contrast to the many Fatah officials accused of corruption, help to explain its broad popularity."


     Since Hamas took over Gaza, the armed wing, Qassam Brigades, have morphed into a military force aimed at protecting the territory. They have also continued to periodically fire rockets into Israel. The Israeli military estimated last week that Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have between them roughly 10,000 rockets of varying ranges. The military wing is led by Mohammed Dief, a shadowy, savvy figure who analysts say has survived multiple Israeli assassination attempts. Dief was wounded years ago and is believed to have handed some operational parts of his role to other top Hamas military leaders like Marwan Issa. "Over the years, it's lost a lot of military commanders during assassinations and military conflicts.



Gaza Battle In Shejaiya Proves Deadly

July22….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Another seven IDF officers and men died in combat with Hamas Monday, July 21 on the fourth day of Israel’s ground operation in the Gaza Strip, raising the total of Israeli fallen in this operation to 25. Four men were killed guarding the Israeli side of the Gaza border by terrorists who jumped out of a tunnel 200 meters from Kibbutz Nir Am, disguised in IDF uniforms and flak vests. Ten were killed in a counter-attack and helicopter strike averting a mega terrorist attack of kidnap attempt. This was the fourth tunnel terrorist attack in three days. Two more soldiers died in combat in the Shejaiya district of Gaza, and one by friendly fire. There was no let-up in Hamas rocket barrages, two of which were carried out during Monday against a wide range of Israeli targets including the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Iron Dome knocked out a large number. 

    The IDF’s Shejaiya operation in the Gaza Strip continues apace, carried forward by five task forces now heading for the center of Gaza City amid casualties on both sides. Sunday, July 20, Israel’s crack Golani Brigades lost 18 fighters, without slowing down, compared with 170 Palestinian fatalities. Debkafile’s military sources report that each task force, the size of half a division, is an integrated amalgam of air, armored, artillery and engineering forces, capable of operating almost autonomously in field combat. The buildup of the last 24 hours has expanded Israel's fighting strength in the Gaza Strip to a total of 75,000 men, the largest ever fielded in this territory. Because of its scale, Israeli leaders are referring to Defensive Edge as a war rather than an operation. The battle for Shejaiya waged Sunday burst into public prominence because of the heavy losses suffered by the Golani Brigades, but it is not the largest engagement underway at present. The other ongoing IDF battles, their progress, the units involved and their locations, are kept secret. We can only point to their general locations as being around Beit Hanoun in the north; Zeitun, south of Gaza City and the Shati refugee camp to the north. More arenas are scheduled to be added to the list of battle zones Monday.

    Rather than causing despondency, the high IDF casualty toll Sunday, the highest in a single engagement since the 2006 Lebanon War, has invigorated the fighting forces in the field, making them more determined than ever to get the better of Hamas with all possible speed. Whereas their orders on Sunday were to advance warily and slowly, meanwhile testing the strength of Hamas resistance and observing their tactics, the tempo went into high gear at dawn Monday, when the troops were told to speed their advance from the outer fringes of Gaza City into its center. Their performance in Shejaiya and other engagements Sunday deeply impressed Israel’s war leaders and made them confident enough to step up the rate of advance.

    This upbeat mood was evident in the comments made Sunday night by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and, from the field, by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. While condoling deeply with the bereaved families of the 18 soldiers who died in combat, they were full of praise for the troops’ performance “in defense of our home” which outdid all expectations. The following decisions were reached in consequence:

1. Gen. Gantz would stay in the field and lead the forces from there, rather than from staff headquarters in Tel Aviv.

2. The prime minister and defense minister would manage the war, without constant recourse to security cabinet sessions to obtain its approval of every stage of the plan of operation, the final goal of which debkafile has learned, is Israel’s military takeover of the Gaza Strip.

3. As the military operation unfolded, the three war leaders were convinced more than ever that demolishing Hamas’ terror tunnel complex was not optional, any more than wiping out the rocket menace hanging latterly over five million Israelis and, for nearly a decade over the million people living directly in the shadow of the Gaza border. Publicity guidelines were to be built around this conclusion. International statesmen are flitting busily around regional capitals, including Jerusalem, in search of an opening to broker a ceasefire in Gaza hostilities. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been holding meetings and US Secretary John Kerry will try and reach the Middle East in the coming days, according to a White House directive, unless he again cancels at the last minute.   

    According to debkafile’s sources, the requisite political and military conditions for a ceasefire are not yet in place because of a number of circumstances, not least of which is Hamas’ refusal to contemplate a halt. Israel, for its part, is fighting for the first time in its history with solid Arab backing from the Egyptian-Saudi-United Arab Emirates bloc. So determined are its members to obliterate the Muslim Brotherhood that they have virtually blacklisted Qatar for supporting the Brothers and for patronizing the Palestinian Hamas, regarded as the MB’s paramilitary arm. This rift has put a spoke in the diplomatic effort to set in motion effective mediation for a Gaza ceasefire predicated on co-opting Qatar. A bid to make Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas the bridge between the Egyptian-Saudi-UAE grouping and Qatar has likewise foundered. And there isn’t much Secretary Kerry can do if and when he comes over to try his hand.

    US President Barack Obama’s suggestion, when he called Netanyahu Sunday, to build a new Gaza ceasefire around the 2012 formula concocted by the US, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey, and accepted by Israel and Hamas, for ending Operation Pillar of Defense, shows him to be cut off from the fundamentally altered diplomatic and military realities of the current Gaza conflict. He declines to recognize the emergence of a powerful new Arab bloc. It will be necessary to twist the arms of each of its members, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE, to gain their consent for a bid to cut the Israeli offensive short to rescue Hamas from defeat. And even then, they will stall. And although anti-Israel demonstrations are being staged in some parts of the world, the most violent in Paris, hardly any world governments have openly condemned the Israeli operation, as yet.



Texas Under Seige: Governor Orders National Guard to Protect Border

July 22….(Breitbart) Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced he is deploying 1,000 Texas National Guard to the US border with Mexico, saying he can not idly sit by while "our citizens are under siege." Pointing out the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors only make up roughly 20 percent of those being apprehended illegally crossing the border, Perry said he can no longer wait for the president to act as gang members and drug cartels flood into Texas, causing crime to skyrocket. Perry pointed out Texas tax payers can not bear the expense of processing and housing the surge of illegal immigration caused by President Obama's 2012 executive action "Dream Act" which has given people in Central America the idea children will be allowed to stay once in the US. Perry has repeatedly called on President Obama to visit the border, calling his refusal Obama’s “Katrina,” moment.

    Perry, a vocal critic of the White House's response to the border crisis, and who is mulling a second presidential run in 2016, said the state has a responsibility to act after "lip service" from the Obama government. He rejected suggestions that Texas was militarizing local communities by putting National Guard troops on the ground or that crime data along the border doesn't justify additional resources.



US Sending More Aid to Gaza

July 22….(Arutz) The US is sending $47 million in humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip to help tens of thousands of Palestinians there who have been forced from their homes since war broke out two weeks ago. A State Department breakdown of the aid said nearly a third of the money, $15 million will go to the United Nations' refugee mission in Gaza. Since the Israeli operation began on July 8, huge numbers of Gazans have fled their homes, with more than 100,000 people taking shelter in 67 schools run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, a spokesman said.

    Meanwhile, As international figures were on their way to the Middle East in the hope of negotiating a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made the rounds of television news shows explaining Israel's position in the wake of the continuing ground war in Gaza. Netanyahu appeared on three TV news channels, Sky News Arabic, Fox and NBC, and discussed some of Israel's recent military activity in Gaza. "Hamas has taken billions of dollars,” he told Sky Arabic. "Instead of building kindergartens with it, they're building tunnels, concrete tunnels to blow up our kindergartens." "They are the enemies of the Palestinians,” the Prime Minister said. “I can tell you that we opened up a hospital, a field hospital, a humanitarian field hospital on the edge of Gaza, and Hamas doesn't let the people come there. They're hiding rockets in hospitals; they're hiding arms in hospitals; they're shooting from hospitals. So they just don't care.”



Moral Clarity in Gaza: Hamas Initiated this Conflict on its Own

July 20….(By Charles Krauthammer-Jewish World Review) Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking. "Here's the difference between us," explains the Israeli prime minister. "We're using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."

    Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d'etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

    Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza. And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce. The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel's desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution. This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.

    And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them, an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

    Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the UN announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

    Why? The rockets can't even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: "What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?" It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday's Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire. This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.



Israel Suffers 13 Lost in Gaza Urban Warfare

July 20….(DEBKA) The IDF Golani Brigades lost 13 soldiers in combat with Hamas early Sunday, July 20, in the Gaza Strip district of Shejayia, the military spokesman announced Sunday evening. The unit’s commander, Col. Rosan Aliyan, was seriously injured. The urban stage of the IDF’s Operation Defensive Edge has taken Israel into one of its most perilous wars, launched as Hamas’ rocket barrage against the Israeli population continued without pause. After accepting a brief truce, that was requested and then violated by Hamas, Israeli forces went back to the operation begun overnight in the Hamas Sheijaya stronghold, which bristles with large rocket stocks and arms factories and is the site of concealed openings of terrorist tunnels that snake under the border into Israel 2 km away to a point opposite Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Still ahead of the Israeli operation, after the troops finish cleansing Shejaiya are similar challenges to dismantle Hamas’ offensive capabilities in another three of their Gaza City strongholds: Shaati, Al Bureij and Nuseirat, before Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure can be said to have been disarmed.

    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz praised the Israeli units fighting in the Gaza Strip and pledged they will carry on for as long as necessary, until Israel is safe from Hamas terror. While regretting the loss of Palestinian civilian life, Gen. Gantz held Hamas responsible for the innocent casualties, by forcing them to stay in place in spite of Israel’s warnings to them to escape. Hamas could have provided the population with shelters, schools and hospitals, instead of investing in rockets and tunnels for Israel’s destruction, he said. On Sunday, Israeli commanders rejected, then accepted, a Hamas request relayed via the Red Cross for a three-hour truce for the removal of its dead and wounded from the embattled Shejaiya district. The Palestinians reported 60 dead and 200 injured in Sunday’s battles there. The truce was extended by two hours, despite attacks by armed Hamas bands on Israeli troops, in breach of the ceasefire, which was the third Israel had accepted in the 12 days of its Gaza operation.

    Hamas is not only bringing its deadly tunnels into play, but also planting small commando units heavily armed with anti-tank rockets across the paths of advancing Israeli armored forces. Saturday, those commandos fired 10 anti-tank rockets. Without their Windbreaker armor, many tanks would have been destroyed and the casualty toll much higher. However, most of all, Hamas is fighting to save its tunnel system from systematic destruction by IDF demolition teams. This system was designed to be the Palestinian Islamists’ highest strategic asset, comparable in importance to the IDF’s chain of fortifications along the Syrian border.

    Around 16,000 men, around 15 percent of Hamas’ fighting strength, were assigned to the tunnel project in the last five years and substantial funds. The IDF will not be permitted to demolish this flagship project without a savage fight. The most important conclusion for Israel’s war planners, from the first days of the ground phase of Israel’s Operation Defensive Edge, is that Hamas is standing firm and not cracking, even under the relentless pounding of their military infrastructure by Israeli artillery and air might, and appears determined to fight on. Its commanders believe they can keep going for another 4 to 6 weeks, while also maintaining a steady hail of rockets against the Israeli population.

    This estimate has spurred a major buildup of Israeli military strength for the Gaza operation. Another 50,000 reservists were called up Saturday night and a large number of infantry brigades started moving into the Gaza Strip overnight and will continue to arrive Sunday. The extra forces have made it possible to embark on the second, urban stage of the IDF operation, the breaching of the densely-populated towns. A different type of combat lies ahead from the project for destroying tunnels. It is tougher and more perilous. But there is no other way to reach Hamas’ command centers and its longest-range rockets.

    With this mission still unaccomplished, talk of a ceasefire sounds as though it comes from another planet. Hamas feels strong and confident enough to spurn the Egyptian-Israeli ceasefire proposal, which is firmly backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Every attempt to sway its political leader Khaled Meshaal, when he was buttonholed in Kuwait, ran into a blank wall. He summarily rejected invitations from Egypt and the Arab League to travel to Cairo and discuss the cessation of hostilities. The various international mediation efforts have therefore nowhere to go. As far as Hamas is concerned, no incentive has been offered tempting enough to persuade its leaders to give up their predestined war on Israel.

     US Secretary of State John Kerry changed his mind about visiting the region for the second time this month, when the Obama administration decided to stay out of it and let Egypt handle the crisis. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who scheduled a visit for Saturday, postponed it indefinitely. Israel has accordingly won a rare opportunity to deal with Hamas without being stopped short and the enemy saved by international intervention. But although it has wide popular support, this opportunity confronts Israelis with one of the cruelest, costly and drawn-out conflicts in their embattled history.



Major, Costly Ground Battle Erupts Near Gaza City

July 20….(AP) The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the offensive would continue "as long as necessary" to end attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians. But Hamas seems defiant, international cease-fire efforts are stalled, and international criticism is becoming more vocal as the death toll among Palestinian civilians rises.

    UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Israel's latest incursion "atrocious," and said it must do far more to protect civilians. Several diplomats said the UN Security Council would hold an emergency session Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. local time (0130 GMT) at the request of council member Jordan on the situation in Gaza.

    In Israel, public opinion will struggle to tolerate rising military losses in an open-ended campaign. Already, Sunday's deaths marked the highest number of soldiers killed on a single day since Israel's war in Lebanon in 2006. The ferocious battle in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood came on the third day of Israel's ground offensive, which had been preceded by a 10-day air campaign. The overall death toll on the Israeli side rose to 20, including 18 soldiers, along with dozens of wounded troops, during that period.

    On Sunday evening, Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri in Gaza claimed his group had captured an Israeli soldier. An announcement on Gaza TV of the soldier's capture set off celebration in the streets of Gaza City. Sunday's battle began when Israeli troops backed by tanks entered the densely populated Shijaiyah district just after midnight Sunday. They were met by a "huge" level of resistance by Hamas fighters who fired anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons from houses and buildings, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an army spokesman. The 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in several separate incidents in Shijaiya, including gun battles and rocket attacks. In the deadliest, Gaza fighters detonated a bomb near an armored personnel carrier, killing seven soldiers inside, the army said. In another incident, three soldiers were killed when they became trapped in a burning building, it said. Shijaiyah was targeted as a Hamas stronghold and because 8 percent of more than 1,700 rockets fired at Israel since July 8 were launched from there, said Lerner.

     The military said that since the beginning of ground operation late last week, it has killed 110 Gaza fighters and targeted more than 1,000 sites linked to militants. Soldiers also exposed 14 tunnels, all interconnected and leading toward Israel, and detonated six of them, including one with a length of 1.2 kilometers and an access point within a house, the army said. "It's like the Underground, the Metro or the subway," said Lerner, the army spokesman, referring to the tunnel system. The first days of the current ground offensive were in marked contrast to Israel's last major invasion of Gaza in January 2009, known in Israel as Cast Lead, when Hamas fighters rarely engaged Israeli forces. Now, Gaza's militants seem better armed, including with anti-tank rockets. "I see an escalation in weaponry," Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli military intelligence chief, told Israel TV's Channel 10. "This isn't the same weaponry as in Cast Lead."

    Netanyahu said in nationally televised comments Sunday that the ground campaign is vital to Israel's security because the tunnels could be used for "mega terror attacks and kidnappings," but acknowledged the operation is "full of risks."





Another Malaysian Plane Goes Down, This Time in Ukraine


July 18….(FOJ) A passenger plane with 295 people on board has been shot down as it flew above eastern Ukraine, according to aviation sources. The Malaysia Airlines plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was travelling at an altitude of 10km (6.2 miles) when it was shot down, Russia's Interfax reported. The Boeing 777 was brought down by a Buk (Russian made) ground-to-air missile, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry quoted by the news agency said.

    Obviously, this event has a red-faced Putin trying to explain away his personal involvement in the Ukrainian civil war. Another ironic twist is that the international news given to this serious event has taken away some of the international focus on Israel’s incursion into Gaza. Perhaps these two events falling in place simultaneously will enable Israel to destroy Hamas once and for all.

   Also, let prophecy watchers beware of one other possibility. The Ukraine situation is a testing ground for the burgeoning Greater European Union, and the prospects of the emergence of the Last days empire base of the eventual Antichrist. Russia is not at all pleased about the Wests expansionism into Western Asia.



Hamas Has Become a Millionaires' Club

July 18….(Israel Today) In 2006 legislative elections, the Palestinian street overwhelmingly voted Hamas to counter rampant financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority. Now, after years of war-profiteering, it seems Hamas itself has become the premier Palestinian millionaires’ club. Very soon after seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas and its allies began escalating rocket fire against the Jewish state. Given the severity of the Israeli reprisals, that wouldn't seem very good for business. But, in fact, it is.

    Over the past seven years, Hamas’ leadership has pulled in outrageous sums of money thanks to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Most of the profits were the result of exorbitant taxes on the goods smuggled from Egypt in tunnels running under the Gaza border, or grossly overcharging for subsidized Egyptian fuel. Neither of those revenue streams would be possible without violently provoking Israel to lay siege to Gaza. Similarly, Hamas profits are threatened by the enormous quantities of humanitarian aid and other goods that Israel and the international community pump into Gaza every month, which is why numerous reports suggest Hamas blocks that aid from ever reaching local residents.

    At the same time, Hamas leaders have proved wildly successful fund-raisers in their travels abroad. And, since Hamas’ raison d’etre is the destruction of Israel, it would be kind of hard to solicit financial backing without lobbing a few missiles at the Jews every once in a while. So, where does all this money go?

    In recent media interviews, Professor Ahmed Karima of Al-Azhar University in Egypt noted that in recent years Hamas has blossomed into a movement of millionaires. According to Karima, Hamas can boast no fewer than 1,200 millionaires among its leadership and mid-level officials. That assertion was backed up by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who in 2012 estimated the number of Gaza millionaires to be 800. In particular, overall Hamas leader Khaled Mashal has amassed a fortune of $2.6 billion, the Jordanian media reported. A year ago, when Hamas’ parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, was ruling Egypt, the group’s Gaza leadership was less wary of flaunting its wealth, and the luxury real estate market was booming as a result.

    All of this is happening as many Gazans wallow in poverty and struggle with a 40 percent unemployment rate. Imagine how many new jobs could be created by all that money Hamas collects. Instead, the terror group is well pleased to see the people of Gaza suffer, both economically and as a consequence of its violence against Israel, all in service to Hamas’ ultimate goal.



Israel Has Launched its Gaza Ground Operation


(Hamas terrorists runs to shelter in crowded towns)

July 18….(DEBKA) The first hours of Israel’s Operation Defensive Edge ground phase against Hamas were marked by heavy artillery and air pounding to soften up the terrain as the ground forces went in Thursday night, July 17. The troops advanced in two heads, one north to Jebalya and Beit Lahiya and the other south, where it went into action initially against Khan Younes and Rafah. The IDF took its first casualty before dawn Friday: Sgt. Eytan Barak, 20, from Herzliya, who served in the Nahal Division. In its current phase, the IDF ground operation is focusing on southern Gaza, with the potential for expanding into further areas, as and when the government decides, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told the special cabinet session Friday. The densely populated Gaza City has not been broached as yet. Debkafile’s military experts maintain that the first 48 hours of a war are often critical for determining its outcome. If a tactical gain is not achieved early on and a psychological blow not inflicted on the enemy, the operation tends to start losing traction by the third and fourth days. That is why it is so important to hit the teeming Gaza City without delay, because Hamas has buried its core infrastructure under the crowded town center: Housed in a fortified bunker complex are its command and control, its communications systems and its longest-range weapons, which are held ready to strike after an Israeli invasion. Bringing a small special operations force close enough to the Hamas stronghold would be useful for making the enemy feel threatened. But most importantly, it could gather the kind of intelligence which spy satellites and the air force were unable to reach. A small ground force trained in surveillance could pull this data from a point 200-300 meters away from target.

    So the IDF has not yet applied the full weight of its might against Hamas. The troop movements in the early hours of the ground operation appeared designed more as a signal to Hamas that the incursion would stop right there, if it accepted a ceasefire on Egyptian and Israeli terms. This sort of tactic, which was evidently dictated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, has never worked with Hamas. It has been useful to Israel diplomatically for heading off international and domestic critics, who routinely accuse Israel of the reckless use of its military might. But for a military offensive, this careful pace will cost the IDF the gains for shortening the war and allow the initiative to slip into the hands of Hamas, which has displayed surprising capabilities.

     Hamas leaders, whom Israel expected to be deterred from continuing their offensive by the sight of the colossal damage caused to the towns of Gaza, misread them. Hamas couldn’t care less about damage to buildings. A check of $25 m from Iran or Qatar would be enough to restore all those buildings in less than a year. For the Islamists, devastation, fatalities and the ruined lives of so many Palestinians are a cheap price to pay for the satisfaction of showing they can stand up to Israel’s armed forces, day after day, like the Lebanese Hizballah in the second Lebanon War of 2006. The same misreading applies to Israeli tacticians’ hopes that a slow-moving military campaign will give Hamas time to come to its senses and grasp that its aggression has achieved no more than to bring the IDF down on its head on its own soil, and that intransigence will bring full Israeli might into the heart of Gaza City. Hamas also misread Israel, when it calculated that the IDF would never send troops into the Gaza Strip.



Israel Begins Gaza Ground Invasion


July 18….(Jerusalem Post) Netanyahu's office says purpose of mission is to destroy terror tunnels and seriously harm the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. IDF ground forces began to move into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, the prime minister's office confirmed. The purpose of the operation is  to destroy the Gazan terror tunnels leading to Israel, according to a statement released by the prime minister's office. "Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens. The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations' infrastructure in the Gaza Strip," the statement read.

    Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night. The IDF said that the operation will involve infantry, engineering corps, and tank units combined with air force and naval support and intelligence. Palestinian sources said strikes occurred up and down the Strip, adding that one strike targeted a motorcycle apparently carrying members of a rocket launching cell on their way to an attack on Israel.

    At around 10:00pm rocket sirens sounded in the Tel Aviv area, and in the Shfela. Iron Dome made a number of interceptions in the Tel Aviv area. Hamas bombarded Israel on Thursday with rockets after the end of the humanitarian truce, firing over 100 projectiles after 3pm. Eighty one rockets landed in open areas, two fell inside villages, damaging two homes, and 20 were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. Also on Thursday, a drone from Gaza was detected in Israeli airspace, over the Ashkelon area. The IAF fired a patriot surface-to-air missile at the aircraft, shooting it down. It was the second Hamas drone to be shot down in recent days.

    The IDF on Thursday warned citizens of Gaza to evacuate their homes and make their way from less populated areas to the Strip's major cities. Close to 100,000 leaflets containing the message were dropped over the territory and hundreds of thousands of citizens from all over Gaza received recorded phone

    Air raid sirens sounded throughout southern and central Israeli areas during the day. Ashkelon and Ashdod were targeted by Hamas repeatedly in the evening, and were successfully defended by Iron Dome. Iron Dome intercepted two rockets over central Israel and the Sharon district in the evening, and one over the city of Ashdod. Several rockets landed in open areas. The Gaza-border region of Eshkol came under continuous rocket barrages. Some ten rockets in open areas, and one damaged a home. Between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Hamas fired 40 rockets at Israel, and Iron Dome shot three down Two rockets were fired at Beersheba, with one falling in an open area and a second intercepted over the Negev city. Within a minute of the ceasefire ending, rockets were fired from Gaza at the Ashkelon industrial area and Hof Ashkelon region. Most fell in open areas. The humanitarian ceasefire was violated when Hamas fired 3 projectiles at the Eshkol region. The rockets exploded in open areas. On Thursday morning, one rocket was intercepted over the greater Tel Aviv and Sharon district, and one rocket fell in an open area. In Beersheba, Iron Dome intercepted an incoming Gazan rocket.



Israel’s Army Ranked 11th in the World

July 18….(Algemeiner) As Israel prepares for a possible ground invasion of Gaza to liberate Hamas of its long-range rockets, the size and scope of Tzahal, the Hebrew acronym for Tzava Hagana L’Israel, or the Israel Defense Forces, ranks 11th in the world. An index created by Global Firepower was originally published in April, but has been referred to by Business Insider and Israel’s Globes business daily this week to give readers more background on the IDF’s capabilities.

    In terms of the global ranking, the top five armies in the world are in the US, Russia, China, India and the UK. The next five are France, Germany, Turkey, South Korea and Japan. Compared to its neighbors in the Middle East, Israel, at number 11, bests Egypt, at 13, Iran at 22, Syria at 26, Algeria at 31, UAE at 42, Yemen at 45, Morocco at 65, Tunisia at 66, Jordan at 67, and Iraq at 68. Hamas’s Qassam Brigade was not ranked in the study.

    For each country, Global Firepower created a profile that breaks down the number of soldiers, types of man, air and naval power, as well a country’s resources to sustain itself in battle. In Israel’s case, the army has manpower of 3.5 million, with 2.9 million fit for service, out of a population of 8 million. On land, the IDF has 3,870 tanks, 9,436 armored fighting vehicles, 706 self-propelled guns, 350 towered-artillery and 88 multiple-launch rocket systems. In the air, the IDF has 680 total aircraft, with 243 fighter jets, 48 attack helicopters and 98 transports. At sea, IDF has 3 frigates, 3 destroyers, 5 corvettes and 14 submarines, in addition to 66 coastal defense craft. Israel’s defense budget totals $15 billion compared to its GDP of about $250 billion.



IDF Stops Major Hamas Tunnel Terrorist Attack

(IDF ground operation widely predicted)

July 18….(DEBKA) Hamas tried sending a commando team through a tunnel snaking under the Gaza border for a large-scale terrorist attack or kidnap early Thursday, July 17.  As the group of 13-30 started coming to the surface inside Israel opposite the southern Gaza Strip, it ran into heavy IDF fire. Some were killed; the rest turned tail to escape through the tunnel and reach home. Israeli helicopters bombed the tunnel which exploded, and went on to scour the area around the Gaza Strip for more attempted incursions, through the honeycomb of secret tunnels Hamas has sunk for terrorist attacks and kidnaps. Debkafile quotes Israeli and Western military experts as estimating that the prospects of an Israeli ground incursion into the Gaza Strip are now more real than the chances of a ceasefire. There is little substance to the reports that Hamas and Israeli delegations are in Cairo to discuss various drafts of a ceasefire accord.

    Our sources stress that the only real talks revolve around an ultimatum Israel has slapped down for Hamas, via the various would-be peacemakers: It has only days to halt its rocket offensive before Israel launches a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. The question being asked now is why, after 10 days of trading Israeli air strikes for Palestinian rocket attacks, the IDF has not destroyed the Hamas war room, the seat of its command and control center for directing the war and launching rockets, instead of striking the vacant homes of Hamas high-ups. In the absence of a clear battlefield victory, headlines are appearing like this one: "Hamas Has Already Won Its Rocket War With Israel."

    Even IDF commanders are noting that the IDF, while hammering the Gaza Strip night after night, has not achieved a single tactical victory. Destroying the Hamas war room would serve this purpose. Debkafile's military and intelligence sources note that finding and destroying underground structures is a daunting challenge, which is why Hamas has sunk its resources for fighting Israel deep below the surface. The war room in particular is a whole town complex, which runs under the surface buildings at the center of Gaza City, including the Shifa Hospital. This labyrinth accommodates top Hamas military personnel, the local social elite made up of Hamas bigwigs, affluent Gazans, foreign citizens and professionals like doctors or engineers. It has a large and elaborate system of conference rooms, as well as control and command centers, outfitted with air conditioning, its own electricity and communications systems, security, and storerooms for food, drink and medicines to support the hundreds of top personnel operating and sheltering in the facility. The Hamas underground city can function for weeks without outside help.

    The various would-be European peace brokers, including foreign ministers and the Middle East Special Envoy Tony Blair, have been concerned to preserve the Hamas core stronghold, so as to leave the Islamist organization intact at the end of the current round of hostilities as a future negotiating partner and surviving government of the Gaza Strip. Our military sources say that this core stronghold is in fact Hamas’ sunken war room complex. The Obama administration has been careful to keep its head down and make sure not to be seen or heard until Washington sees where this process is going.

    Former Israel Air Force chief, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, who also led the planning team for a strike on Iran, hinted this week that if the air force and IDF had the capability for destroying the underground nuclear facilities at Fordo, they could also destroy the Hamas underground command center. When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saw Wednesday that the cross diplomacy in Cairo had little chance of gong anywhere, he ordered a call-up of 8,000 military reservists in anticipation of the week ahead. The IDF spokesman said: The forces are prepared for ground action. After the Hamas tunnel terror bid was foiled Thursday, a ground operation was seen to be close, as the only effective measure against tunnel warfare.



Obama Laughs, Fist Bumps Crossdresser Who Has Sex With Men


(FOJ) On the same day the President fist-bumped with his homo friend, the President refused to visit our nation’s border, saying that he disdained photo-ops. Yet this loathsome excuse for a President has the audacity to make pretty, and fist-bump with a pervert. The pervert, with prayer could be delivered from his sins, but I see no hope for Mr. Obama. This man is a disgrace to our nation, and he is taking our nation down the drain!

July 17….(Christian News) Barack Obama recently laughed and fist bumped a cashier who moonlights as a crossdresser after he joked with the president that he has sexual relations with men. The Austin Chronicle reports that Obama visited the Franklin Barbecue on Thursday during his visit to the Lone Star State, a popular restaurant in the city that was backed up with its characteristic long line upon his arrival.

    As Obama made his way to the front of the line to pay for his meal, he was met by cashier Daniel Rugg Webb, who also works as a comedian and musician, and at times dresses as a drag queen. Webb lamented to reporters that he had not donned his “sequins” the day that Obama visited the restaurant. “Equal rights for gay people!” he declared as he emphatically slapped the counter. “Are you gay?” Obama asked. “Only when I have sex,” Webb replied. He tells the Austin Chronicle that Obama then began laughing and offered his fist, saying, “Bump me.” The two exchanged a fist bump, which was caught on camera by New York Times reporter Doug Mills. The photograph shows both of the men smiling as Obama reaches over the counter to show his support for Webb. “I do stand-up, so it was nice to have some interaction based on, hopefully, something funny,” Webb stated. “If Rick Perry would’ve walked in, I would have lost my job. I would’ve taken that old queen to town.”

     But not everyone finds the exchange humorous, especially Obama’s reaction as the leader of the nation. “Obama never misses the opportunity to besmirch the office of president of these United States,” wrote Geoffrey Grider of Now the End Begins. “Fist-bumping with flaming homosexuals while making wildly inappropriate gay sex jokes? Sure! Obama has never met a low that he didn’t like.” Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality likewise told Christian News Network that he finds it sad that Obama thinks sex between two men is humorous while ignoring the health implications of the homosexual lifestyle. “Obama couldn’t care less what God and the Bible say about sodomy,” LaBarbera lamented. “But no matter how cool the Left and ‘gay’ activists try to make homosexual behavior, it will always be detestable in the eyes of our Creator. Thank God it’s also changeable as proven by the many men and women who have left homosexuality behind.”



US, EU Escalate Russia Sanctions

July 17….(Bloomberg) The Obama administration, acting in concert with the European Union, imposed sanctions on Russian banks, energy companies and defense firms in the latest attempt to punish the country over Ukraine. The US and EU, which say Russia is supporting the rebels in Ukraine, sought to squeeze the country’s $2 trillion economy by limiting access to financing. Among the companies hit by the US penalties were OAO Rosneft (ROSN), Russia’s largest oil company, natural gas producer OAO Novatek (NVTK), OAO Gazprombank, the country’s third-largest lender, and state economic development lender Vnesheconombank, the US Treasury Department said today. The EU said it would halt lending for new public-sector projects in Russia by the European Investment Bank, the bloc’s in-house lender, and will use its influence to stop new lending by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. “These sanctions are significant,” US President Barack Obama said today at the White House. “But they are also targeted, designed to have maximum impact on Russia while limiting any spillover effects on American companies or those who are allies.”

    At a news conference in Brasilia, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the US sanctions “aggressive policy” and will only end up hurting American companies. The sanctions will lead US-Russia relations to a dead end, he said. The moves were the latest response to what US and European leaders say is Putin’s refusal to end support for Ukrainian rebels who have been battling government forces in the east. Russian forces again were massing at the Ukraine border, according to the Pentagon, with about 10,000 to 12,000 Russian combat troops in place, up from a low of about 1,000. Russia has denied previous allegations that it’s responsible for fomenting turmoil in Ukraine. “The situation in the Ukraine is unacceptable,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said. “The territorial integrity of that country is not being properly respected by Russia.”



US Considering Extending Iranian Nuke Talks

July 17….(Jerusalem Post) The United States made “tangible progress” in direct negotiations with Iran, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday, before departing Vienna with no plans to return before next week’s deadline for the end of talks over Iran’s nuclear program. The talks are likely to be extended beyond the July 20 deadline, which is allowed under an international agreement that jump-started the diplomatic effort. But speaking to the press, Kerry alluded to a debate surely awaiting him in Washington: Over the merits of such an extension, based on what has thus far been achieved in the Austrian capital by diplomats from the world’s most powerful nations.

    In an interview with The New York Times on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested that Iran was still unwilling to dismantle any of the infrastructure in its nuclear program that had alarmed the international community. The most Iran is willing to do, Zarif said, is cap the program and its production, for up to roughly seven years.

    Canceling a trip to the Middle East to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Kerry instead returned to Washington for consultations on the Vienna negotiations, after meeting with Zarif three times in as many days. His briefings to US President Barack Obama and leadership in Congress will address “the prospects for a comprehensive agreement, as well as a path forward if we do not achieve one by the 20th of July,” he said, “including the question of whether or not more time is warranted, based on the progress we’ve made and how things are going.” America’s goal in the negotiations remains, he said, “not just to declare that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon, but to demonstrate in the actions they take beyond any reasonable doubt that any Iranian nuclear program, now and going forward, is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”

     Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) took to the floor of the Senate on Tuesday to discuss the matter. "Let’s be clear, this would leave 19,000 centrifuges spinning in Iran," Menendez said. "That is not an endgame. It’s a non-starter." “The Zarif proposal would extend the Joint Plan of Action, allowing Iran’s nuclear program to run in place subject to inspections, but make no concessions, none, not a single concession that would demonstrably setback Iran’s nuclear ambitions in the long-term," Menendez continued, calling a proposal built of such terms "unacceptable."

    The Iranian government had made clear that they were unwilling to dismantle its nuclear program, Royce said, calling on the Obama administration to “finally engage in robust discussions with Congress about preparing additional sanctions against Iran.” The committee chairman announced a series of hearings on Iran on Tuesday, not just on its nuclear program, but on its efforts to “destabilize the Middle East.” “Zarif appears to be saying that the Joint Plan of Action should be considered as a comprehensive deal, and that Iran should be free to produce unlimited amounts of enriched uranium after a relatively short period of time,” Engel said in a statement, adding that his proposal “doesn’t give negotiators much to work with.”

    The White House said Kerry’s purpose in Vienna was to gauge whether Iran is serious about pursuing a comprehensive nuclear deal that would bring Iran in line with its international obligations, as prescribed by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which world powers said Iran has violated for more than 10 years. “We have always said that if we can make some significant progress, that if we thought we needed some additional time, we thought the world would probably want us to take it, and to get to a final agreement,” one senior administration said from Vienna on Saturday. Delegations from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran expect to remain in Vienna for negotiations until next week’s deadline.

FOJ Note: In short……Iran is getting away with building nuclear bombs that they ultimately plan to send to Hamas and Hezbollah, and have them strap them on those missiles and rockets that they keep popping out of Gaza.


Top Marine to Obama: Get in the Fight

July 17….(Yahoo) It’s highly unusual for a high-ranking soldier, let alone a high-ranking Marine, to publicly question White House and Pentagon policy. Yet that’s exactly what four-star Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps did yesterday in Washington.

    Speaking at the Brookings Institute Tuesday, Amos said the Obama administration paved the way for the emergence of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) by completely withdrawing American troops in 2011. “I have a hard time believing that had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don't think we'd be in the same shape we're in today,” Amos said.

    Amos also blasted the White House for failing to live up to its obligations around the world. “We may think we're done with all of these nasty, thorny, tacky little things that are going on around the world, and I'd argue that if you're in that nation, it's not a tacky, little thing for you. We may think we're done with them, but they're not done with us," Amos said.

“We're probably the only country in the world that has the resources and the capability to be able to do some of this that others can't,” Amos added. Perhaps Amos felt free to voice opinions on White House policy because he is set to retire this fall. Now, his comments are likely to influence the debate within the defense community about how to handle the myriad of crises going on around the world. “It breaks our hearts,” Amos said, referring to the fall of the Anbar province in Iraq, which Marines won in 2010. He noted that 852 Marines were killed and another 8,500 injured in Iraq. “They believed that they'd made a difference there,” he said.



Gaza Ceasefire Already Over; War Resumes

July 16….(Israel Today) An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that Western and Israeli leaders hoped would bring an end to the current Gaza war had already collapsed by Tuesday afternoon, just hours after Israel's cabinet voted in favor of the truce. Around mid-morning, Israeli ministers voted 6-2 to accept the Egyptian proposal, and the Israeli army was ordered to halt all operations against terrorist forces in Gaza.

    But, the Gaza rockets just kept coming. Volley after volley targeted central and northern Israel. And though Israel's Iron Dome prevented any serious damage or injuries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel wouldn't accept the lopsided situation for very long. By mid-afternoon, Israel was against striking targets in Gaza, and the war appeared to be back in full swing. Hamas had officially rejected the proposed ceasefire from the beginning, while militants from Sinai, Syria and Lebanon joined the fray overnight. Egypt announced the ceasefire on Monday to great enthusiasm among Western leaders and most Israelis.

   But Hamas officials called the terms of the Egyptian ceasefire proposal “unacceptable,” and claimed it had never even been presented to them. According to media reports, the proposal called for an immediate halt to all hostilities, followed by talks in Cairo to hammer out further details of a long-term truce.

    Left-wing politicians and organizations in Israel urged the government to implement a one-sided ceasefire, even if Hamas continued to attack the Jewish State. They argued that Israel’s long-term interests must take precedence over a short-term victory, and that leaving Hamas strong and in control of Gaza was preferable to creating a situation where the coastal enclave descended into chaos and became a haven for even more dangerous terror groups. Gaza-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh boasted that Israel’s eagerness for a ceasefire was evidence that the “Zionists” were losing the war.

    In overnight attacks on Israel, the southern resort town of Eilat was hit for the first time in the current flare-up, presumably by terrorists operating in the Sinai Peninsula. Four Israelis were reported wounded by shrapnel as at least one of the rockets struck the center of Eilat’s popular resort area. Also overnight, two more rockets from Lebanon hit northern Israel, as did a missile fired from war-torn Syria. It marked the first time Israel had been simultaneously attacked on four fronts - Gaza, Sinai, Lebanon and Syria.



Iran: The Regional Power Behind the Hamas War Effort

July 16….(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Iran is an arsonist, inflaming the conflicts in the Middle East. Since the 2012 “Pillar of Defense Operation,” Iran has heavily invested in improving the quantity and quality of the rockets in the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) arsenals. Its endgame is to preserve its influence via its proxies and to use the Palestinian organizations as Iran’s first defense line.

    Iranian rockets include Grad, Fajr-3 and the longer ranged Fajr-5, M-75, and M302 rockets which have reached the Haifa region. Iran also provided Hamas with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) (Ababil) and drone technology. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force coordinates the smuggling, shipping and delivery of the weapons to Gaza, the training in Iran and in Lebanon, and the transfer of funds. The longstanding disregard of Iran’s export of revolution and terror has fostered a situation where Iran threatens vital US and Western interests.

    Since the calm that was achieved after Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Iran has been investing heavily in improving the quantity and quality of the rockets in the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) arsenals. The breaching of the land border between Gaza and Sinai during Mohamed Morsi’s one year rule in Egypt (2012-2013) made it relatively easy for Iran to transfer advanced rockets and other weapons to the Gaza terror organizations overland (through Sudan and Sinai), through the ramified tunnel enterprise, and by sea. One such delivery by Iran, which included long-range Syrian-made M-302 rockets, the kind fired at Hadera and Haifa during Operation Protective Edge, was intercepted by the Israeli navy last March on the Klos-C ship. The Victoria, captured on 15 March 2011, also carried advanced weapons including shore-to-sea missiles.  Advanced Kornet anti-tank missiles have been smuggled in, as well.

    Although the crisis in Syria indeed fostered tensions between Iran and Hamas, it did not end their contacts through various channels. In Iran’s view, the struggle against Israel transcends ongoing squabbles with Palestinian organizations. In the aftermath of the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, Turkey and Egypt took most of the credit for aiding the Palestinians; this left Iran frustrated, but still determined to keep assisting the Palestinians in its own way, via military assistance. The aim was to preserve Hamas’s tie to Iran even in a time of crisis.

    Iran made a critical and decisive contribution to Hamas’ technical knowledge by producing rockets of different kinds and sophisticated explosive charges. Iran also aided in the rehabilitation of the infrastructure damaged during Operations Cast Lead (2008) and Pillar of Defense, and they will most likely do the same following Operation Protective Edge. Unlike in the past, Iran did not try to hide the fact that it was helping Hamas and Islamic Jihad develop and advance their rocket arsenals and launching capabilities during the Pillar of Defense operation. The PIJ spokesmen indeed said, “The whole world knows that the main source of the weapons serving the resistance is Iran.


The Common Denominator: Destroying Israel

    Hamas has always tried to maintain its independence and not submit to Iranian dictates in return for aid. It suffers, however, from dissensions between its “interior” and its external leadership and between its military Ezz alDin alQassam Brigades and political wings; Iran is exploiting these dissensions to dictate a more belligerent, uncompromising policy while making the aid conditional on “results in the field.”  The PIJ is totally subjected to the dictates of Iran and will be unwilling to join a ceasefire under Tehran’s instructions.

    The Quds Force of the IRGC, headed by Qasem Suleimani, plays the lead role in coordinating the aid to the different terrorist organizations and handling its shipping and delivery. The Quds Force, mainly through Iran’s main proxy in Lebanon, Hizbullah, is also responsible for the clandestine contacts between Hamas and PIJ operatives who deal with smuggling and producing weapons, the coordination of training in Iran and Lebanon, and the transfer of funds. According to some reports, Hizbullah reopened a Lebanese operation room at Iran directive to coordinate with the Hamas command and control in the Gaza Strip. Within this framework, on 26 June 2014, Hamas Politburo Chief Khalid Mashal sent a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in which he reported on the situation in “Palestine” and on Israel’s arrests of Hamas members on the West Bank, and requested Tehran’s assistance in the struggle against Israel. A short time later Khalid al-Qoddumi, Hamas’s representative in Iran, sent a letter to the Majlis speaker Ali Larijani in which he asked for Iran’s help: “Misusing the situation, the Zionist enemy has intensified its attacks against the Palestinians under different pretexts and is attempting to take advantage of the regional situation to its interests in the best possible form.” In May, Mashal met in Qatar with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian and expressed support “for Tehran’s efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria.” That same month Iran’s new ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Fathali, met with representatives of the Palestinian organizations in the country including envoys of Hamas and the PIJ.

     In the course of Operation Protective Edge, Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of Hamas’s foreign relations, said Hamas was continuing to coordinate its positions with Hizbullah and Iran. Hamdan underlined that “the enemy Israel is the same enemy and the tactics of contending with it are the same tactics and therefore we are working to exchange expertise. There is on-the-ground cooperation and coordination.” Hamdan also asserted that “the relations with Iran are better than what people are prepared to believe and with Hizbullah, much better than what the enemy hopes and believes.”  He said the relations were based on the “struggle against Israel and the liberation of Palestine.”

    Nevertheless, the overwhelming successes of Iron Dome, despite Iranian propaganda’s efforts to belittle them, necessitate a comprehensive situation assessment by Iran’s top operational echelons. The use of rockets is a central component of Iran’s asymmetrical-war doctrine in other contexts as well. Iran fears that Israel’s great success in countering this threat could be replicated in other theaters where Iran is involved, such as the Persian Gulf, where US interests in the region are under a defensive configuration (including the Fifth Fleet’s base in Bahrain and other locations where US and other foreign forces are deployed).

    Iran and its proxies will defiantly use any new truce to learn from the failure of their asymmetric doctrine and to think of solutions and “surprises” such as the drone Hamas used during Operation Protective Edge and improvements to the vulnerability of the rockets. Iran will rebuild Hamas and PIJ arsenals and ן invest a great technical effort to overcome Israel’s great successes in intercepting its rockets and exposing the cracks in its asymmetric doctrine.

    On the political level, Iran has stepped up its activity. Rouhani has sent a request to the Muslim states to help the residents of Gaza, asserting that “unity of Muslim countries against the enemies is a vital matter at this stage.” Rouhani added that the resistance displayed by the residents of Gaza will undoubtedly lead to the “defeat of the Zionist regime.” Meanwhile, Iran keeps vigorously attacking the “fraudulent regime” in the social media and in periodic announcements that it publishes. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, and Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani asking them to intervene and stop what he called “the Israeli aggression in Palestine.”

     In nuclear talks since 2003, the United States and the West have been averting their gaze from Iran’s negative involvement in a long series of issues, opposing a peace process on the Palestinian track, opposing intra-Palestinian reconciliation (while equipping Hamas and the PIJ with missiles), aid to Bashar Assad in Syria, the involvement in Iraq, subversion in the Gulf states (which includes Hizbullah in Bahrain), and also Iran’s ongoing human rights violations, which have only increased since Rouhani was elected president. This willful blindness has caused, and continues to cause, enormous damage to the United States and its allies in the region. At this sensitive stage, Operation Protective Edge is diverting attention from Iran. As the nuclear agreement draws near it appears that some negotiators are reluctant to confront Iran’s assistance to terrorist organizations. When one connects the dots, however, it emerges clearly that Iran is an arsonist, inflaming the conflicts in the region as it develops its long-term strategy to dominate the region, from its own standpoint, successfully. The continued overlooking of this Iranian ongoing conduct, particularly just before the signing of a “historic” nuclear agreement with it, endangers Western long-term interests in the region, the West and especially the United States. 

     This year the last Friday of the month of Ramadan falls on 25 July.  Since 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini and his government decided to consecrate this day to the yearning of all Muslims for the “liberation of Jerusalem,” Iran has been marking it as “International (Quds) Jerusalem Day.” Khomeini’s outlook has continued to define and shape the goals of the revolution and the efforts to fulfill them, including the attitude toward Israel and the calls for its destruction. Each year Jerusalem Day is celebrated with mass processions organized by the regime, as the top leaders give harsh speeches including calls for Israel’s destruction and erasure from the map, along with condemnations of the United States (“Death to Israel,” “Death to America”). At the same time, the Iranian leadership emphasizes its contribution to the Palestinian struggle in the face of Arab weakness, and glorifies it role on the path to “the liberation of Palestine and the armed struggle.”

    Iran, along with its satellites Hizbullah and Syria, keeps working to fulfill Khomeini’s doctrine and that of his successor, Khamenei. Iran supplies weapons to the Palestinian terror organizations and heads what it calls the resistance front against Israel and the United States in the region. It also continues to undermine the United States’ status in the Middle East, with the aim of replacing it as the region’s most influential actor. So far Iran has not had to pay a price for its destructive involvement in the region, and the West has not forcefully raised these issues in the nuclear talks. Even during Operation Protective Edge, which has not yet ended, the Western negotiators are carefully refraining from mentioning Iran’s name as the party responsible for the quantity and quality of the rockets in the Gaza terror organizations’ hands and in those of Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. It appears that Iran is also capable of opening a northern front whenever it wants.

    Thus, while the international community, fearful of jostling the slowly progressing nuclear talks, keeps ignoring developments, Iran has managed to confront Israel on the southern front (Hamas and the PIJ) and the northern front (Hizbullah). Iran regards these fronts as part of its protective envelope and as suited to its concept of asymmetrical warfare, and as the first line of confrontation with Israel. As conflict escalates in Gaza and in Lebanon, Israel and the international community must put Iran’s role in the spotlight and not shy away from blaming it. As time passes, Iran moves closer to a nuclear weapon and at the same time tightens its grip on key regional events.



Gaza Ceasefire Collapses. Israeli Air Strikes Resume

July 16….(DEBKA) Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israeli Air Force to resume strikes over Gaza Tuesday afternoon, six hours after a ceasefire proposed by Egypt, accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas, was due to go into effect. During those hours, dozens of Hamas rockets raked town after town and village after village. debkafile: The White House called off US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Cairo visit upon finding Tehran’s hand behind the rockets. Netanyahu goes on the air at 8 p.m. to explain what went wrong. Straight after the ceasefire was due to go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m., Hamas fired 20 rockets from the Gaza Strip.The Israeli security cabinet had meanwhile endorsed Cairo’s proposal to mediate the conflict with the Palestinian extremists, but warned that if they continued to fire rockets, Israel would hit back with “all possible force.” 

    In Cairo, Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk took responsibility for eight of the post-“truce” rockets, most of which landed on Ashdod, slightly injuring one woman. Iron Dome intercepted four. The first rockets hit Eshkol before 9.30, soon to be followed by a steady stream at Sderot, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Shear Hanegev, Gan Yavneh and Eshkol. As the Hamas official spoke, a rocket hit Netivot and Israel TV reporters at Shear Hanegev interrupted their broadcast and scurried to safety in a shelter. At 12:30 p.m. Rehovot, Ness Ziona and Kibbutz Givat Brenner were targeted, then sirens blared on Mt. Carmel, in Haifa, Zichron Yaakov and Ain Hashofet and at 13.05 p.m. in the inland towns. And the day was still young.

    It was obvious from the first that the Egyptian bid to enforce a comprehensive truce before summoning the parties to Cairo to discuss a substantial deal, on the lines published Monday night in Cairo had no legs. It was artificially cobbled together by Israel and Egypt with no reference to the initial aggressor, Hamas and its pro-Iranian ally Jihad Islami. Had they been consulted, some sort of dialogue might have developed and led to a bilateral ceasefire, however fragile. But this did not happen and the rosy bubble filled with nothing but hot air was bound to burst.

    Early Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry was already heading to Cairo to take the lead in the Egyptian initiative when he was ordered by Washington to turn around and make tracks for home. President Barack Obama had no wish to stand in line with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu behind their highly speculative initiative. According to our sources in Washington, the real reason the White House pulled Kerry out of another certain fiasco in the nick of time was incoming intelligence that Tehran had ordered its Palestinian pawn Jihad Islami to ignore the ceasefire and keep on shooting from Gaza. This left Hamas no option but to follow suit.

    The Obama administration was also advised of that hand behind the trickle of rockets fired this week from Lebanon and Syria at Western Galilee and the Golan. It was the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, PFLP-General Command, whose chief Ahmed Jibril has made his organization an operational branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Al Qods Brigades.

    Israeli spokesmen have carefully refrained from putting these incidents together, all leading to Tehran, and inferring a well-orchestrated master plan afoot against the Jewish state that would not be put off by an unsustainable truce. Netanyahu also reported the Egyptian president was fully aware that Israel would insist on any deal with Hamas being contingent on the creation of an international mechanism to dismantle and remove Hamas’s rockets stocks and production facilities from the Gaza Strip. But all that has fallen by the way, for now.



Iran Celebrates Hamas Rocket Attacks on Israel

(‘All Zionists are within the range of the resistance's missiles')

July 15….(Washington Free Beacon) Iranian military leaders on Monday celebrated Hamas’ use of advanced long-range rockets that were supplied to the terror group by the Iranian regime. Iran’s role in arming Hamas militants with more sophisticated artillery capable of reaching deep into Israel has fueled concerns among lawmakers that US negotiators are not doing enough to address Iran’s support for terror during ongoing nuclear discussions.

    Israeli and United Nations officials have confirmed that Hamas is firing rockets on civilians provided to it by Iran. A Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) general praised Hamas’ rocket attacks on Monday and warned that between Hamas and other Iranian-backed terror groups, “all Zionists are within the range of the resistance’s missiles.” “The defense capacity and capabilities of the Islamic resistance and Hamas forces has left no safe place for the Zionists in the occupied territories,” General Ramezan Sharif, head of the IRGC’s public relations department, said in public remarks Monday. Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas and other Iranian-backed groups, are well armed and can strike Jewish civilians inside and outside of Israel, Sharif said. “The quality and trend of action of the Palestinian resistance movement in recent days indicates that the defensive and offensive power of Hamas, Ezzedin Al-Qassam, and Quds brigades forces have increased so much that one can dare say that all Zionists are within the range of the resistance’s missiles,” Sharif was quoted as saying by Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

    The Quds brigades are an elite Iranian force that trains terrorists, including Hezbollah, and is responsible for waging terror attacks across the Middle East against Western targets. Iran’s arming of Hamas is beginning to receive attention at the highest levels of the US government as the terror group continues to barrage Israel with more sophisticated rockets aimed at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and even the northern city of Haifa. House lawmakers explicitly referenced Iran’s role in the conflict in a recent resolution supporting Israel’s right to self-defense. “Iran has long provided material support to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including assistance that has enabled these terrorist organizations to produce longer-range rockets capable of striking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem,” the resolution stated.

    Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), the author of the resolution’s Iran-related language, said the regime’s proud support of Hamas should give US negotiators “pause” and indicates that Tehran cannot be trusted to abandon its nuclear program. “The failure of the government in Iran to adjust its behavior, gives us pause on how much seriousness they’re putting into these nuclear negotiations,” Royce was quoted as saying late Friday during a meeting with reporters.

    The State Department has said that it shares Congress’ concerns, but that the issue is not being broached during nuclear talks with Iran, which are set to expire on July 20. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed in a July 9 briefing that she is “not aware” of the issue of Iran’s support for Hamas being mentioned during talks. “The focus is on the nuclear issue,” she said. “There’s plenty to discuss on that particular issue.” “How do you discuss just nuclear issues with Iran when all this is going on, them supplying rockets to Hamas or Syria, and also possible destabilizing efforts in Iraq?” a reporter followed up, according to the official transcript. “Obviously resolving the nuclear issue and preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is not the only issue we have with Iran,” Psaki said. “But it’s such an important issue and it’s one that’s vital to our national security interests and to the security of the region that we feel a focus on that at these discussions is absolutely appropriate.”

    A State Department spokesman on Monday did not respond to further inquiries about conversations it may or may not have had with Iran about Hamas. House insiders working on the nuclear issue have expressed frustration over the administration’s hesitance to broach Iran’s larger support for terror groups such as Hamas. “As the administration continues nuclear negotiations with Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,ts proxy Hamas is firing hundreds of rockets at population centers in Israel,” one senior House aide told the Washington Free Beacon. “It’s becoming increasingly harder for the president to ignore the Iran-funded terrorism coming out of the Gaza Strip, which thus far he’s brazenly overlooked in order to preserve prospects for a final nuclear agreement with Iran.”



The Hidden Intelligence Agendas Behind Hamas’ Rocket Attacks

July 15….(DEBKA) 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 feret 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.



By Extending Interim Iran Deal, Obama is Insuring a Nuclear Iran

July 15….(Breitbart) With the controversial, six-month "interim" nuclear deal between Iran and the group of Western powers known as the P5+1 formally expiring a week from Sunday, western diplomats, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, are gathering in Vienna for what they call a final push to reach a lasting agreement that they promise would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.

    On one issue, both Iran and the West appear in complete agreement: they are nowhere near a final agreement. “We have some very significant gaps,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry upon his arrival in Vienna. To say the least. For his part, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi was less circumspect. He was quoted telling Al-Alam TV that the likelihood of a permanent deal being reached by next week is practically zero. “On practically all the important issues major differences persist, and we have not been able to narrow them.” Iran claims now, as it has always claimed, it will never negotiate away its "right" to enrich uranium as part of its national nuclear program. As the prospects of reaching agreement on a permanent deal by the deadline established last November fade, the question is quickly becoming, "What next?" If the agreement does expire, Iran could find itself again subject to a strict sanctions regime that was significantly relaxed as part of the interim deal.

    However, since so much political capital has already been invested, especially by the Obama administration, in negotiating with Iran, most analysts regard it as highly unlikely that President Obama would ever permit Secretary Kerry to leave Vienna without some kind of extension that keeps the current deal alive, if only to buy more time. One can already hear the arguments for such an extension being been road tested by administration surrogates and even Secretary Kerry himself now. "We have made such good progress," they may well argue, "What a shame it would be to let an arbitrary deadline get in the way of finding common ground."

    With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly warning that Israel would not tolerate any nuclear deal with Iran that leaves the Mullahs with the capability to domestically enrich uranium, the fuel for nuclear weapons, the pressure on President Obama to keep the “process” alive appears immense. So long as a negotiating process is in place, the likelihood of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, if not the regime itself, appears unlikely.

    The original deal reached last November was initially met with great consternation, not just by Israel and other US allies like Canada and Australia. It was also bitterly opposed by France, which threatened to bolt the talks in order to scuttle a deal President Hollande thought legitimized Iran’s right to develop nuclear weapons. The great concern was then what it remains now: that the Interim Agreement provided Iran with instant relief from crushing economic sanctions by allowing it to immediately access up to $7 billion in frozen assets, without requiring Iran to do dismantle so much as a single one of its estimated 19,000 centrifuges. If the current deal is extended it will only increase suspicions by Israel and other western partners that the US remains unserious about preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability and assurances that would all but be certain to come from Secretary Kerry justifying the extension will likely fall on deaf ears.

    One week before the current framework was signed last November, Secretary Kerry assured skeptics that the US would never support or acknowledge any deal that granted Iran the right to domestically enrich uranium. “That certainly will not be resolved in any first step, I can assure you,” he said. Yet just days later, Kerry signed a deal that granted Iran precisely that right. Today, six months later, the parties gathering in Vienna are openly promoting what they call a “comprehensive solution” that would permit Iran to maintain a domestic uranium enrichment program. Despite repeated binding UN resolutions demanding that Iran halt enrichment, the P5+1 has already agreed to let it continue enriching in perpetuity. This would be like Israel signing a deal to resettle five million Palestinian “refugees” in its territory and then claiming it didn’t agree to a “right of return” because those three words don’t appear in the text. And if America’s top diplomat can flat-out lie about the deal’s content even after the text has been published for all to see, why would anyone ever trust America’s word again?

    But as Walter Russell Mead observed on the eve of the Interim, “America’s problems with Iran are not limited to its quest for nuclear weapons.” Indeed they aren’t. Even without nuclear weapons, Iran has clearly emerged as the greatest national security threat not just to Israel and the United States but to key regional US allies like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Egypt. Iran is on the cusp of realizing nearly all its regional goals without a nuclear weapons capability. In the past six months alone, Iran has made significant strides in Syria, Lebanon, and the Shi’a portions of Iraq. Progress in that was made much easier by President Obama’s steadfast refusal to connect any element of Iran’s nefarious behavior to the nuclear talks. At no point has Iran’s increased sponsorship of global terrorism, its advanced ballistic missile program, and its atrocious human rights record even been discussed during the nuclear negotiations.



No Green Light Yet On Ground Invasion of Gaza

July 14….(Jerusalem Post) Israel Navy commandos raided a facility from which Hamas fired many long-range rocket at Israeli cities, the IDF said early Sunday. Earlier on Saturday night, two rockets were fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel and landed in open areas north of Nahariya. Rocket alert sirens sounded in the area of the attack in Nahariya and Shlomi. No injuries were reported in the attack. The IDF, in response, attacked the rocket launch zones in Lebanon with artillery fire.

    Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza targeted wide areas of the country with barrages of rockets throughout the weekend, firing more than 100 projectiles and wounding several civilians, one seriously, as well as causing extensive damage to several homes. On Friday evening, Beersheba was targeted with a salvo of rockets, one of which hit a builtup area.

    Meanwhile, the Israel Air Force struck more than 150 targets belonging to Hamas, and killed a series of its operational leaders in targeted strikes. Rockets were fired at Tel Aviv and were intercepted by Iron Dome over the area following Hamas warning of the attack on Saturday night. Iron Dome rockets intercepted three Gazan rockets over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Rocket sirens blared in Tel Aviv and the nearby cities of Ramat Gan, Ramat Hasharon, Bnei Brak and Givatayim. There were no reports of injuries in the attacks on the Tel Aviv area. Sirens also blared in Ramle, Rehovot, Modi’in, Jerusalem and other areas after 9 pm on Saturday. Izzadin Kassam, the military wing of Hamas, announced on its website before the attacks that it would fire long-range J-80 rockets at Tel Aviv for the first time.

    Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired some 100 rockets on Saturday, and Iron Dome intercepted at least 10 of them heading for built-up areas. The remainder struck open, uninhabited areas, with the exception of one rocket that slammed into Netivot, hitting between two buildings and causing one resident to go into shock. Since the start of the operation on Monday night, Gazans fired some 800 rockets at Israel, of which 582 hit Israel, the vast majority in open areas. Iron Dome intercepted some 150 rockets heading to built-up areas. The IAF has struck more than 1,300 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in that time, and is preparing to step up its campaign.

     For the third time since Operation Protective Edge began, air-raid sirens blared throughout the capital, forcing tens of thousands of Jerusalem residents into bomb shelters on Saturday evening. At approximately 7 pm, the city-wide siren could be heard as Jerusalemites rushed to find shelter. According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, two rockets hit seconds later in the Palestinian regions of Hebron and Bethlehem, missing the capital. “The rockets were fired in the general direction of Jerusalem, but none fell inside the city,” he said minutes after the attack. “We are cautioning city residents to continue to heed the sirens and take cover within 90 seconds.”

    The Israel Air Force struck 60 terrorist targets across Gaza between Friday and Saturday, bringing the total number of targets hit to 1,160 by Saturday morning. Ten terrorist operatives were killed by air strikes, including six involved in rocket fire on Israel, the IDF said. A launcher in south Gaza used to fire on Beersheba overnight was also destroyed. Navy ships struck several targets, including a Hamas observation post and a location used as a meeting point by Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees. Earlier in the day, the anti-rocket system intercepted dozens of Palestinian rockets fired at suburban Tel Aviv, the Shfela region, Beersheba, and the western Negev, which was the hardest hit. Meanwhile, the IDF is continuing to prepare a ground offensive option, but as yet it has not been given the green light. In any event, let’s state what is painfully obvious. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was a disaster.



Israel Cannot Survive a Multi-Front War

July 14….(Algemeiner) Gaza in 2005 was a catastrophe. As Israel stands poised to invade Gaza for a third time since that tragic mistake, it must accept that ceding land to those hell-bent on your destruction is a guarantee that your citizens will be murdered. Hamas has turned Gaza into a giant missile-launching factory. It will not rest until Israel is completely destroyed. And they have staying power. Hamas knows it will take many generations, at least, to finish off Israel. But its passion in this quest, fueled by religious fanaticism, remains unabated. And while Hamas fires rockets against Israeli cities, President Obama calls for restraint. If a single rocket fell on Corpus Cristi, Texas, from one of the powerful drug cartels on the Mexican borer it would precipitate a full-scale military response from the United States. Even as we speak President Obama is, rightly, firing missiles from drones at terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere intent on murdering Americans. Why is it only Israel that should show restraint, which in effect means allowing rockets to hit its cities?

    I watched Ringo Starr on CNN last night. On his 74th birthday, he called on everyone to lift the two fingers of peace to promote ‘peace and love’ as a global theme. It’s warm and fuzzy and it sounds nice, but will accomplish absolutely nothing. Peace does not come about when rock stars give moving speeches about love, important as those may be. Peace come about when just and righteous militaries, controlled by law-abiding democracies, dismantle the terror apparatus of those who wage war. Period. Peace came to Europe and the Far East only after the greatest generation totally destroyed Germany and Japan’s capacity to make war. There has been peace in both areas in the 70 years since. And peace will only come to Israel when it neutralizes the Islamic terror organizations on its borders committed to its destruction.

    Now in Gaza Israel has been reduced to “mowing operations,” as described in The New York Times, where it goes in every few years, losing soldiers, to partially dismantle the terror apparatus and rockets assembled in their tens of thousands of Hamas. This situation may be irreversible and speaks to the ruinous decision made by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, currently on his way to prison, to withdraw from Gaza without getting a single thing in return, surely one of the great foreign policy blunders of any government in modern times. But it’s a lesson to the current American pressure on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, which would only lead to a non-stop two-front terror war against the Jewish state.

    At the 40th anniversary of D-Day it’s worth remembering that Hitler’s generals, some of whom were the greatest military commanders of all time, like Rommel and Guderian, came to him with a single, emphatic request: whatever you do, do not give us a two-front war as we had in the First World War, after the failure of the von Schlieffen plan and the stalemate on the Western Front. Hitler of course, the megalomaniacal arch-murderer, always knew better and launched Operation Barbarossa and the invasion of the Soviet Union, ultimately bringing about the total destruction of his country. That, of course, was a good thing, as Germany had become the most evil entity in the history of the world. But we can learn from evil and turn it to good. What Hitler most wished was the utter annihilation of the Jewish people. He failed because he disregarded the advice of his generals and allowed himself to be invaded from two sides.

     Now, the inheritors of Hitler’s dreams of annihilating the Jews, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and their patron Iran, are seeking the same: a two-front war against Israel leading to its destruction. Israel cannot make the same mistake twice. This time it may not survive so catastrophic a second blunder. And what is certain is that the West Bank will turn into exactly what Gaza has become: a criminal Hamas version of NASA, a rocket-launching pad with the sole intention of killing as many Jews as possible.



Hamas's (and Iran's) Fail-Safe Strategy

July 14….(By Caroline Glick) What is Hamas doing? Hamas isn't going to defeat Israel. It isn't going to gain any territory. Israel isn't going to withdraw from Ashkelon or Sderot under a hail of rockets. So if Hamas can't win, why is it fighting? Why rain down destruction and misery on millions of Israelis with your Iranian missiles and your Syrian rockets and invite a counter-assault on your headquarters and weapons warehouses, which you have conveniently placed in the middle of the Palestinian people on whose behalf you are allegedly fighting? Hamas is in a precarious position.

    When the terror group took over Gaza seven years ago, things were different. It had a relatively friendly regime in Cairo that was willing to turn a blind eye to all the missiles Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were sending over to Gaza through Sinai. Hamas's leaders were comfortably ensconced in Damascus and enjoyed warm relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran. International funds flowed freely into Hamas bank accounts from Fatah's donor-financed Palestinian Authority budget, through the Arab Bank, headquartered in Jordan, through the UN, and when necessary through suitcases of cash transferred to Gaza by couriers from Egypt. Hamas used these conditions to build up the arsenal of a terror state, and to keep the trains running on time. Schools were open. Government employees were paid. Israel was bombed. All was good.

     Today, Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, faces an Egyptian regime that is locked into a life-and-death struggle with the Brotherhood. To harm Hamas, for the past year the Egyptians have been blocking Hamas's land-based weapons shipments and destroying its smuggling-dependent economy by sealing off the cross-border tunnels.

    Syria and Hamas parted ways at the outset of the Syrian civil war when Hamas, a Sunni jihadist group, was unable to openly support Bashar Assad's massacre of Sunnis. Fatah has lately been refusing to transfer payments to Hamas due to congressional pressure to cut off the now-illegal flow of aid to the joint Fatah-Hamas unity government. As for Hamas's banker, stung by terror victim lawsuits, the Arab Bank now refuses to transfer monies to Hamas from third parties. The UN is also hard-pressed to finance the terror group's bureaucracy.

    In Gaza itself, al-Qaida affiliates including ISIS (now renamed the Islamic State) have seeded themselves along with the Iranian proxy Islamic Jihad. These groups challenge Hamas's claim to power. Lacking the ability to pay government employee salaries, Hamas is hard-pressed to keep its rivals down. Given these circumstances, it was just a matter of time before Hamas opened a full-on assault against Israel.


     Jew-hatred is endemic in the Muslim world. Going to war against Israel is a tried and true method of garnering sympathy and support from the Muslim world. At a minimum it earns you the forbearance, if not the support of the US and Europe. And you get all of these things whether you win or lose. When Saddam Hussein shot 39 Scud missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, he didn't attack because he thought doing so would destroy Israel. He attacked Israel because he was trying to convince the Arab members of the US-led international coalition to abandon the war against him. Moreover, when Saddam launched the Scuds against Israel, he knew that Israel wouldn't be able to retaliate. He knew that the US would force Israel to stand down in order to maintain the support of his Jew-hating fellow Arabs in its coalition. So attacking Israel was a freebie that he only stood to gain from.

    Hezbollah's leaders also never deluded themselves into believing their group can conquer Israel. But by attacking the hated Jews, they were able to present themselves and their Iranian bosses as the guardians of the Muslims worldwide. Then there was the US's response. As it protected Saddam from Israel in 1991, so in 2006, the US gave Hezbollah the upper hand in the war. Then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice forced Israel to accept a cease-fire with Hezbollah that placed the illegal terror group on equal legal and moral footing with Israel. This US legitimization of Hezbollah enabled the Iranian proxy to intimidate its Sunni and Christian compatriots in Lebanon and coerce them into accepting effective Hezbollah control over the entire state.

    As for Hamas, from the outset of Hamas's previous missile campaigns in 2009 and 2012, the Obama administration made it clear to Israel that it would not tolerate Israeli strikes that were sufficiently comprehensive to wipe out Hamas's capacity to continue attacking Israel. In other words, President Barack Obama chose to protect Hamas, an illegal terrorist organization, waging a war of indiscriminate, criminal missile strikes against Israeli civilians - from Israel. Today, Hamas has every reason to take heart from the responses it has received from its current offensive.

    In the internal Palestinian arena, Fatah, Hamas's partner in the Palestinian Authority unity government, is standing shoulder to shoulder with Hamas. As The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh reported, Fatah militias in Gaza are actively participating in the Hamas-led missile campaign against Israel. Fatah terrorists have boasted shooting dozens of rockets and mortar shells at Ashkelon and Sderot. On Wednesday, Palestinian Media Watch reported that Fatah posted a placard proclaiming that the military wings of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are "brothers in arms" united by "one God, one homeland, one enemy and one goal." Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas is Hamas's diplomatic champion. Indeed, his wild accusations against Israel have moved from the realm of exaggeration to rank incitement that raises concern he is planning to open a second front against Israel from Judea and Samaria.

    Although Egypt has still not indicated any willingness to support Hamas, the longer Hamas continues attacking Israel, the more difficult it will become for Egypt to seal off the border between Gaza and Sinai. Hamas's war strengthens the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

    Then there is the Obama administration. Obama administration spokesmen have been issuing prepared statements blaming the hostilities on Hamas and mouthing support for Israel while praising its restraint. But at the same time, they have been transmitting messages which indicate that Obama is more intent than ever to give Hamas a victory even as it continues to rain down terror on Israel. As Tel Aviv, Hadera and Jerusalem absorbed their first missile salvos from Gaza on Tuesday, Obama's Middle East envoy Philip Gordon spoke at Haaretz's "peace" conference. It was a jaw dropping performance. Gordon blamed Israel for the failure for the administration's efforts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the PLO while effusively praising Fatah leader and Hamas partner Abbas. And it only went down from there.

    After insisting Israel is inadequately committed to peace, Gordon threatened to withdraw US support for Israel at the UN and open the door to the criminalization of Israel by the corrupt international body. "How will we prevent other states from supporting Palestinian efforts in international bodies, if Israel is not seen as committed to peace?" he asked rhetorically. Gordon's remarks were not disputed by the State Department. And State Department spokespersons themselves have continued to insist, absurdly, that Hamas is not a member of the Fatah-Hamas unity government.

    From Hamas's perspective, the Obama administration's response to its aggression is an invitation to keep going. Gordon's speech allayed any concerns they may have had how the US would respond. Hamas now knows that the US will coerce Israel into standing down while Hamas is still standing, and so enable the jihadists to claim victory and place Egypt in a bind. And as with Hamas, so with Hamas's Iranian sponsors.

    On July 20, the US and its partners are supposed to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran. Many Western experts and even some Israeli ones insist that Iran's nuclear weapon program is not a serious threat to Israel because Iran's primary aspirations have little to do with Israel. Iran, they say, wants nuclear weapons in order to dominate the Persian Gulf, and through it, the Muslim world as a whole. Iran's targets, it is argued, are Mecca and Medina, not Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. While this is probably true, it is certainly irrelevant for Israel's strategic assessment. The same dynamics that inform Hamas's decision to launch its offensives against Israel inform Iran's thinking about how it will use a nuclear arsenal. Iran would not attack Israel with nuclear weapons because it wishes to conquer Israel per se. Iran would attack Israel with nuclear weapons because doing so would give it a massive public relations boost in its campaign to dominate the Persian Gulf generally, and Saudi Arabia in particular. In other words, far from being a hindrance to accomplishing its central goal, Iran views attacking Israel as a means of advancing it.

    Unfortunately for Israel, just as the US has made clear that it opposes Israel taking any offensive steps to destroy Hamas's capacity to rain terror on its citizens, so the Obama administration, through word and deed, has made clear that it will defend Iran and Iran's nuclear weapons program from Israel. The talks that are set to conclude next week can only bring about bad or worse results for Israel. In recent days and weeks, Iranian leaders have said that the only deal they will sign is one that will facilitate their nuclear weapons program by giving international license to their massive uranium enrichment activities. So if a deal is concluded, it will give the imprimatur of the US, the UN and the EU to a nuclear-armed Iran. If no deal is concluded, the Obama administration will undoubtedly continue to protect Iran's nuclear installations from Israel in the hopes of concluding an agreement with Iran at a later date, perhaps after the congressional elections in November.

    In an op-ed in Haaretz published this week, Obama wrote, "While walls and missile defense systems can help protect against some threats, true safety will only come with a comprehensive negotiated settlement. Reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians would also help turn the tide of international sentiment and sideline violent extremists, further bolstering Israel's security." Unfortunately, Obama misses the point completely. As the dozen agreements Israel already signed with the Palestinians show, pieces of paper are meaningless if they don't reflect the underlying sentiments of the populations concerned.

     Peace can only come to Israel and its neighbors when the Muslim world liberates itself from its hatred of Jews. Until that happens, everyone from Hamas to Hezbollah to Fatah to al-Qaida to Iran and beyond will continue to view attacking Israel as the best way to make a name for themselves in the world, and the best way to get the attention, and support - of the West.






Rockets From Lebanon Join Hamas Bombardment of Israel

July 11….(Israel Today) Another half a million Israelis came under Hamas rocket attack before dawn Friday, July 11, as Hamas again expanded its rocket radius to the towns between Hadera and Haifa, 150 km north of the Gaza Strip. Terrorists operating out of southern Lebanon looked to join the Hamas bombardment of the Jewish state early Friday morning by firing two Katyusha missiles at the northern Israel town of Metulla. Military officials believe the rockets were fired by a small Palestinian group that identifies with Hamas, and that the attack does not, yet, represent a widening of the Gaza war by the Lebanese terrorist militia Hezbollah.

    Meanwhile, two Israeli soldiers were wounded, one seriously, by mortar shells fired from Gaza on Thursday evening. Another three people suffered injuries, one in serious condition, when a missile from Gaza struck a gas station in the southern port city of Ashdod on Friday morning. The first Israeli death resulting from the conflict occurred in Haifa, where an elderly woman collapsed and died while rushing to her bomb shelter as air raid sirens wailed over the city early Friday morning.

    Thus far, Hamas and its terrorist allies have this week fired 350 missiles and rockets at towns and cities across Israel. Ninety of those have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Israel has responded with 900 targeted aerial strikes and marine bombardments of terrorist positions and installations in Gaza. The Israeli strikes have resulted in an estimated 90 dead Palestinians, some of them civilians that were purposely placed in harm’s way by Hamas. As the rocket fire from Gaza escalates, Israel is still strongly considering a ground invasion of the coastal enclave, though America and other Western powers are feverishly working to convince Israel to avoid that scenario. Nevertheless, Israel has called upon the civilians of Gaza to move away from the area’s border fence in preparation for an incursion.



Hamas Targets Jerusalem’s Ben Gurion Airport

July 11….(Newsmax) Rocket fire continued in earnest from Gaza toward various locations in southern and central Israel, including toward Israel's international airport. The commercial center of Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion airport also heard warning sirens Friday but these rockets were intercepted and there was no disturbance to Israel's air traffic. Hamas says it intends to fire rockets at the airport and warned foreign airlines to stop flying to Israel. Israel has shot down at least 110 incoming rockets thus far with its "Iron Dome" defense system. Israel's military "uses its weapons to defend its civilians. Hamas uses its civilians to defend its weapons," one Israeli military leader said.

    In northern Israel, rocket fire struck near the Lebanese border and the military responded with artillery fire toward the source in southern Lebanon, military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. The Lebanese military said militants there fired three rockets toward Israel around 6 a.m. local time and the Israelis retaliated by firing about 25 artillery shells on the area. Lebanon's state-run National News Agency said that one of the militants firing the rockets was wounded and rushed to a hospital. The Lebanese military said troops found two rocket launchers and dismantled them.

    Southern Lebanon is a stronghold of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which has battled Israel numerous times. However, recent fire from Lebanon has been blamed on radical Palestinian factions in the area and Hezbollah has not been involved in the ongoing offensive. A pair of Lebanon-based al-Qaida-linked groups, the Battalions of Ziad Jarrah and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, has claimed responsibility in the past for similar rocket attacks on Israel.



ISIS Seizes Nuclear Materials in Iraq

(Iraq warns UN that Jihadist group captured uranium compounds; US and UN brush off threat of 'dirty bomb.')

July 11….(Arutz) Iraq warned the United Nations (UN) on Thursday that in capturing large portions of the country last month, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) also seized nuclear materials used in research at a university in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city. Iraqi Ambassador to the UN Mohammed Ali Alhakim wrote in a letter to the UN, which was seen by Reuters, that roughly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were captured by the radical Jihadist group. "These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separately or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts," said Alhakim. Citing fears of a "dirty bomb" or "pocket nuke," in which nuclear materials are combined with conventional explosives, Alhakim asked for international aid to "stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad."

    However, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) brushed off the plea, claiming the material was "low grade" and was not a significant threat. IAEA spokesperson Gil Tudor said Thursday the nuclear material "would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk," reports BBC. At the same time, Tudor added that "any loss of regulatory control over nuclear and other radioactive materials is a cause for concern." Meanwhile US officials also reportedly have dismissed the threat, saying the uranium was not thought to be enriched and that it would be difficult to weaponize the materials.



Baptist Church Ordains Transgender Woman


July 11….(ABP News) A transgender woman who attended George W. Truett Theological Seminary and pastored a church in Central Texas as a man has returned to the pulpit. Allyson Robinson, (formerly Daniel Robinson) began June 23 as transitions pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington. The calling is temporary, helping with preaching, mentoring and pastoral care duties along with the deacons until the church names a longer-term intentional interim pastor, probably this fall. Calvary Baptist reaffirmed Robinson’s ordination June 15, prior to Pastor Amy Butler’s departure to become senior minister of the historic and progressive Riverside Church in New York City. “Allyson Dylan Robinson is a minister of the gospel, trained for the task, and ordained to the gospel ministry by another community in which she has served as pastor,” Butler said in an ordination litany later posted on her blog. “I prayed for 25 years of my life, since I was old enough to know how to pray, that God would fix me,” Robinson told the Waco Tribune-Herald in 2011. “I did everything I thought God wanted me to do, that a good Christian man should do.” When things got to the point where she contemplated suicide, Robinson went into therapy. About halfway through her M.Div. studies she told loved ones about her desire to live as a woman. Danyelle Robinson, who married Daniel Robinson in 1994 and is the mother of their four children, stood by her spouse. Robinson postponed her “coming out” until her graduation from Truett in December 2007, because of Baylor University policies regarding homosexuality and gender identity. “Over the course of her journey, God has invited her to step into the faithful witness of a new identity, a true identity, and a new name,” she continued. “While we have always known her as Allyson, she was ordained with a different name.”

    Robinson, an LGBT-rights activist who has worked in the past for the Human Rights Campaign and as executive director of OutServe, a network for gays in the military, has previous experience in pastoral ministry including five years at Azorean Baptist Church in Portugal and as pastor of Meadow Oaks Baptist Church in Temple, Texas, while studying for her M. Div. at Truett Seminary between 2005 and 2007. A 1994 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Robinson was commissioned as an officer in the Army. Robinson’s ordination service came just weeks after a Time cover story headlined “The Transgender Tipping Point” forecasting the next big social movement to challenge prevailing cultural beliefs. Meeting June 10-11 just up the road from Calvary in Baltimore, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution opposing both attempts to alter “bodily identity” through cross-sex hormone therapy or gender-reassignment surgery and “all efforts by any governing official or body to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy.”

FOJ Note: My, my….We have come a long way baby! And we wonder why America, as a nation is going down the toilet. How can our nation have any spiritual sense when our churches are so far removed into foolishness.



IDF Tells 100,000 Civilians to Fall Back from Gaza Border


(an ominous sign of and im-  pending ground incursion)

July 11….(DEBKA) The IDF advised 100,000 Palestinian civilians to leave their homes in the northern Gaza villages of Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun, Greater Ibsen and Smaller Ibsen and head west to the coast or south to remove themselves from danger. This order, issued shortly after a special Israeli cabinet meeting, suggested that an Israel military incursion is impending. During the day, Hamas kept up its barrage. By firing 100 rockets, the Islamists demonstrated that their rocket capability had not been impaired by three days of massive Israeli air strikes.

    Debkafile reported earlier Thursday: Early Thursday, July 10, two more rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Tel Aviv. Iron Dome intercepted one. By 9 am, 10 more landed in Negev sites. Between Wednesday midnight and Thursday morning, the Israeli Air Force and Navy had carried out 108 strikes in the Gaza Strip, 322 in 24 hours. Targeted were a weapons store, 5 arms manufacturing plants, 5 military compounds, 58 tunnels, 2 surveillance posts, 217 buried rocket launching pads, one command and control base and 46 homes of Hamas and Jihad Islami commanders. In this time span, the Palestinians fired 234 rockets.

    On Wednesday July 9, the second day of Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he had ordered its expansion “until the Palestinian shooting stopped.” Debkafile's military sources say that the IDF high command replied that expansion would necessitate adding a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip to complement the air strikes. Enough equipment is present around the enclave but not enough troops. The call-up of 10,000 reservists did not meet requirements.

    Since the prime minister had not yet provided them with specific orders, the air force continued to bomb rocket-related targets in Gaza, tallying strikes and publishing video clips of exploding targets and pillars of smoke. But the facts in the field speak for themselves. Despite the smoke and thunder, no senior Hamas commander or key command center has been hit, for lack of a clear directive. The Hamas chain of command is therefore still functioning. This situation is fast developing into a standoff. Hamas leaders are perfectly aware of Israel’s dilemmas and quick to exploit them. They hear Netanyahu’s solemn words, but see for themselves that the concentration of IDF ground strength on the Gaza border is short of the numbers needed for an incursion and mobilizing them will take time. Hamas is also listening to President Shimon Peres, who assured CNN that if Hamas holds its rocket fire, the IDF won't go through with a ground incursion.

    The Hamas rocket blitz has so far caused no Israeli fatalities thanks to a highly effective home defense system. On the Palestinian side, they are mounting, which they are beginning to use as a propaganda tool accompanied by vivid footage. This situation decided Hamas Wednesday night to save its rockets, especially the more valuable ones with the longest range, and so confound Israeli predictions of another massive rocket blitz in store that would again widen out to reach Haifa. Israel’s indecision about the next stage of Operation Protective Edge has given Hamas the time and breathing space it needs. Meanwhile, its most effective rockets for longer distances can be reserved for major confrontations.

    And, meanwhile too, the perceived weakening of the government’s resolve and its reluctance to fix on a clear final objective have become fertile ground for self-doubts and unfounded rumors. The most damaging in circulation claimed that IDF and Air Force chiefs were complaining of a shortage of good intelligence for continuing their operations.

    Our military sources confirm, without going into details on how much Israel knows about Hamas’ field setup that the air force has all the intelligence it needs to carry on. What is lacking is not intelligence but a clear decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu about the operation’s ultimate goal and correlatively whether to go through with the ground operation necessary to complement the aerial operation. Until that is settled, Israel’s military operation against Hamas will continue to tread water.



Source: Iran Calling for A Mass Casualty Strike in Israel

(Pushing Gaza Strip surrogates to provoke Israel into ground operation)

July 11….(WND) Iran is attempting to use jihadist surrogates in the Gaza Strip to cause a mass casualty event in Israel that would provoke an Israeli ground operation, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials. The officials explained Hamas fears the damage a ground operation will cause to its terrorist apparatus and has been careful for now not to escalate the conflict with a game-changing attack that would leave Israel with no choice but to mount a ground offensive. As of now, diplomatic sources inside Israel say that despite the activation of a reported 40,000 reserve troops, the Israeli government is hopeful a ground operation won’t be necessary. A successful missile attack with mass casualties in central Israel would likely change that assumption.

     Hamas generally has only fired one or two missiles at a time at central Israeli population zones like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, working under the assumption that all rockets in those areas will be shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. While the terrorist organization has launched missiles further north than it did during the Gaza-Israel conflict of November 2012, it has so far mostly been sticking to the same “rules” that it utilized during that campaign.

    In 2012, Israel launched an eight-day aerial campaign against Hamas in Gaza in response to repeated missile attacks targeting nearby Israeli civilian population zones. No ground offensive was mounted despite periodic Hamas rocket fire into the vicinity of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Nearly all rockets fired into central Israel during that conflict were either shot down or landed in open areas. The Iron Dome system usually doesn’t deflect missiles it determines will land in open areas, such as the sea. The 2012 conflict ended with a cease-fire that, for a period at least, saw the Gaza borders reopen and the scaling back of Hamas’ international isolation.

    The Islamist terror group is attempting to achieve similar results from this campaign, say the Middle Eastern security officials. Hamas, which has been increasingly isolated lately, hopes to win concessions from Israel in a truce agreement following a period of sustained rocket attacks inside Israel and Israeli aerial bombardments targeting Hamas’s Gaza infrastructure. However, according to the officials, Iran has been attempting to pressure the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad and other Gaza-based organizations to carry out an event that would draw Israel into a ground war, such as with successful missile attacks on Tel Aviv. Iran has been trying to convince Islamic Jihad to defy Hamas’ command-and-control and launch an overwhelming number of missiles at once into central Israel. While Iron Dome’s missile defense capabilities are classified, it is widely assumed the missile batteries are not capable of downing a large salvo, such as a dozen incoming missiles aimed at the same area.

    An Israeli ground operation in Gaza could serve Iran’s purposes on several fronts. Iran would enhance its stature as a player in the Israeli-Palestinian arena if its jihadist operatives were able to defy Hamas and provoke a larger war. Also a Gaza conflict could help deflect attention from the enhanced insurgency. On Thursday, Islamic Jihad Spokesman Abu Ahmed said, “The Palestinian resistance is ready for IDF’s ground battle in Gaza and the possibility of expanding the circle of war.”



Obama Admin Blames Israel for Crisis

Top Obama Official Blasts Israel for Denying Palestinians Sovereignty

(‘How can Israel have peace if it’s unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation?’ asks White House Mideast chief, Phillip Gordon, in blistering Tel Aviv speech while rockets land all over Israel.)

July 9….(ISRAEL TODAY) Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank is wrong and leads to regional instability and dehumanization of Palestinians, a top American government official said Tuesday in Tel Aviv, hinting that the current Israeli government is not committed to peace.

    In an unusually harsh major foreign policy address, Philip Gordon, a special assistant to US President Barack Obama and the White House coordinator for the Middle East, appealed to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make the compromises needed to reach a permanent peace agreement. Jerusalem “should not take for granted the opportunity to negotiate” such a treaty with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has proven to be a reliable partner, (FOJ: you have to be kidding!) Gordon said. “Israel confronts an undeniable reality: It cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability,” Gordon said. “It will embolden extremists on both sides, tear at Israel’s democratic fabric and feed mutual dehumanization.”

     Gordon reiterated Obama’s position that a final-status agreement should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps. The administration is aware that Israel is facing threats on several fronts and Obama remains committed to Israel’s security, he said, speaking on the very same day that Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to counter rocket fire from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Indeed, mere hours before Gordon addressed the conference, hundreds of participants were forced to quickly evacuate the event hall and enter a safe room after an alert signaled a missile approaching Tel Aviv. After about 10 minutes, participants returned to the hall and the conference resumed.

    The administration was disappointed that the last round of US-brokered peace negotiations failed and that currently “we find ourselves in an uneasy pause,” Gordon said. “At the same time we have no interest in a blame game. The “past few weeks” show that the inability to resolve the Israeli-Palestinians conflict “inevitable means more tension, more resentment, more injustice, more insecurity, more tragedy and more grief,” he said. “And the sight of grieving families, Israeli and Palestinian alike, reminds us that the cost of this conflict remains unbearably high.”

    In his 25-minute speech, which marked the first time a senior White House official had directly addressed the Israeli people since Obama’s March 2013 speech in Jerusalem, Gordon rejected any alternatives to the two-state solution. He called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume peace talks with the PA, suggesting that Abbas is the best Palestinian leader Jerusalem could hope for. “Israel should not take for granted the opportunity to negotiate such a peace with Abbas, who has shown time and again that he’s committed to non-violence and co-existence and cooperation with Israel.”

FOJ Note: This administration is beyond being a joke! The Obama team, in my estimation is either in the pockets of America’s (and Israel’s) enemies or they are the biggest bunch of fools that ever lived. Everything Obama is doing, from healthcare, to the border crisis, to foreign policy, everything he does seems designed (by intent) to undermine America’s sovereignty and security. If America does not return to God in the very near future, then I see no hope for our country! This President will give our country to anybody, just for the taking.



Abbas Says He'll Turn to International Community Against Israel

(PA Chairman demands Tuesday night that Israel stop its aerial campaign in Gaza, threatens to turn to the international community.)

July 9….(Arutz) Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas demanded on Tuesday night that Israel "immediately stop" its aerial campaign in Gaza and threatened to turn to the international community on the issue. "The Palestinian Authority will go to all international organizations to seek protection for the Palestinian people," Abbas said in a televised statement late Tuesday night, according to AFP. The statement came as the IDF continued Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, and as Hamas terrorists continued to fire rockets towards southern Israel. A total of 120 rockets were fired towards Israel on Tuesday.

    Earlier Tuesday, Abbas spoke with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who reportedly expressed Egypt's willingness to continue its efforts to mediate a ceasefire in the region. The threat from Abbas is the latest in several verbal attacks he has launched against the Jewish state in recent days. On Monday night, Abbas demanded that Israel stop the airstrikes on Gaza and called them a “dangerous Israeli escalation”, but failed to condemn the rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel. A day earlier, he called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to form an international committee to monitor and investigate what he referred to as “crimes by Israeli settlers.” “We are preparing for a set of steps to deter the Israeli aggression and curb settlers’ crimes and the ongoing attacks against our people in the besieged Gaza strip,” stressed Abbas. “There are actions that we must take and we will take in the very near future as it is our duty to provide protection to our people,” he added.



Half of Israel Under Hamas Rocket Attack

(Hamas tries smuggling terrorists in by tunnels and sea)

July 9….(Israel Today) Air raid sirens sounded across central Israel on Tuesday night as Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired volleys of rockets at Israeli civilian population centers. These latest attacks mark the deepest Hamas and its allied terror groups have struck into Israel since the start of the current round of violence over a week ago. One of the rockets reportedly hit a house in Jerusalem, and another struck the nearby town of Beit Shemesh. No injuries were reported.

    Earlier in the day, Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system downed a Gaza missile over Tel Aviv. This escalation is expected to force Israel’s hand into launching a ground operation into Gaza. Hours earlier, Israel’s government approved the call-up of 40,000 reserve soldiers in preparation to do just that.

    In Gaza, Hamas officials said they welcome an Israeli incursion. The terror group has never cared much for the personal well being of Gaza’s residents, and relishes the opportunity, no matter how deadly it might be, of abducting additional Israeli soldiers.


    Air raid sirens rang out in Greater Tel Aviv, and in Jerusalem, Kfar Saba and the Binyamina area on Tuesday evening, marking an increase in the Gazan rockets’ range, on the first day of Operation Protective Edge. An Iron Dome battery intercepted the incoming rocket over Tel Aviv. Hamas announced it had fired four M-75 rockets at the capital. Two loud thuds were heard in downtown Jerusalem shortly after the rocket warning siren went off at 9:56 p.m. Thousands of residents entered bomb shelters, while others remained outside and in cafés.

    During the day, Netanyahu spoke to a number of world leaders to explain Israel’s position. The IDF had called up 1,500 reservists on Monday, many of them border police who replaced conscripted infantrymen in Judea and Samaria, and some Home Front Command officials. Other reserves called up are combat unit headquarters staff, tasked with managing vital logistics and communications needs.

    Operation Protective Edge saw the IAF strike some 100 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and came after more than 250 rockets and many mortar shells were fired at communities in southern Israel in recent weeks. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said that Hamas chose an escalation with Israel and that other terrorist organizations have joined it. “We will now activate all of our force and take all the time that is needed in various stages in order to reach victory,” Gantz said.



Netanyahu Expands Gaza Operation, Orders Ground Offensive

July 9….(Jerusalem Post) Prime minister says "Hamas chose to escalate the situation and it will pay a heavy price for doing so"; preparations underway for further call up of reservists. Following high level security deliberations Tuesday morning Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to expand the military operation in Gaza, including beginning preparations for a ground operation. The deliberations took place following a Monday night rocket barrage on Israel and the feeling in Jerusalem that Hamas is interested in escalation. No time limit was put on the operation but senior diplomatic officials said it could be "for a long time." Preparations are underway to further call up reservists and in a number of hours there will be announcements by the IDF Home Front Command on how citizens should behave.

    The objective of the operation, according to the officials, is to return quiet to the South, but the equation that "quiet would be met with quiet" was no longer the operative principle. During the day Netanyahu expected to talk to a number of world leaders to explain Israel's position and another security cabinet meeting will be held later in the afternoon if necessary. Netanyahu said Tuesday that the time had come to "take off the gloves" against Hamas. "Hamas chose to escalate the situation and it will pay a heavy price for doing so," the prime minister said.

    Following the launching of Operation Protective Edge to extinguish Hamas rocket fire, Israel declared a "special situation" in all areas of the South within 40 kilometers of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning. A special situation is a legal decree that allows various authorities to safeguard public safety through a variety of means reserved for times of conflict. The decision came after Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon completed a security evaluation meeting with the Home Front Commander, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg, as well as other civil defense chiefs, in which they examined the latest developments in the clash with Hamas. "We are prepared for a campaign against Hamas, which will not end within days. Hamas is leading the current confrontation to a place in which it seeks to exact a heavy price from our home front. There is a need for patience," Ya'alon said at the end of the meeting.

    The defense minister called on the public to behave in accordance with Home Front Command safety instructions, adding that it is vital that the Israeli home front not sustain casualties. "In recent hours, we have struck with force and hit dozens of Hamas assets. The IDF is continuing with the offensive effort, in a manner that will exact a very heavy price from Hamas. We will not tolerate missile and rocket fire on Israel, and we are prepared to expand the campaign through all of the means available to us, to continue striking Hamas," he continued. "I'd like to send my support to residents of the South and to local government leaders there, who are displaying leadership and responsibility, and are allowing us to continue with the offensive efforts," Ya'alon added.



Israel Prepares For War Against Hamas/Gaza


July 9….(DEBKA) The IDF called up another 40,000 reservists Tuesday, July 8, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered Operation Solid Rock expanded against mounting Palestinian rocket assaults, 100 by mid-afternoon. This was after Israel carried out dozens of air strikes Monday night, culminating during the day in raids that killed five leading Hamas operatives: Hamas Naval Commando chief Mahmoud Shaaban, 24, and three passengers were killed when their car was hit from the air. Another airborne raid bombed the Rafah home of Abdul Rahman Juda which served as a command and control center. Thirty Palestinians were injured. Magen David Adom has treated nine people for minor injuries and anxiety attacks from emergency call centers in the southern and central Israeli regions under rocket attack.

    The high-intensity rocket offensive from Gaza, now in its fourth week, has seriously disrupted normal life for millions of Israelis in the rocket-blasted regions, especially within a 40km radius from Gaza. Ashdod port has stopped working, major transport routes like the Ashkelon-Sderot railway halted, end-of-term exams in colleges postponed, children sent home from summer camps and social events called off.

    Debkafile reported earlier Tuesday: Israeli finally launched its military operation Solid Rock against Hamas Monday night, July 7, after the Palestinians directed a steady stream of 100 rockets from Gaza to expanded targets as far as Rehovot, 50 km away. Most of the 50 IDF strikes were conducted from the air and two from the sea. Ten destroyed Hamas infrastructure facilities plus 4 private buildings which, according to the Palestinians, included the homes of the Hamas commander and a Democratic Front operative in Khan Younes, after Israel gave them advance warning. Hamas reported 17 injured, but kept on shooting rockets through the night and early Tuesday, threatening to further expand the range of their rocket fire.

    The government and the IDF have billed the operation as a long-term, staged offensive to destroy Hamas’ logistical and strategic infrastructure, to be escalated stage by stage as needed, up to a limited ground incursion, which would require additional reserve call-ups, as well targeted assassinations. This progression will be adjusted to the enemy’s response and how quickly “quiet is restored to the South.” The population has been forewarned that the contest may be protracted and asked to refrain from public events within a 40km radius from Gaza.

     Israel’s security cabinet and the IDF command are counting on the prospect of losing its infrastructure deterring Hamas and persuading it to halt its rocket war on Israel. But Hamas has its own game book and is unlikely to play by the rules dictated by Israel. Both sides have therefore entered a dark corridor in which the two adversaries will try and outdo each other in damage. Israel began by limiting itself to air strikes. Hamas hit back with a mighty barrage of 100 missiles and expanding its range of targets. The rules of Operation Solid Rock now require Israel to scale its response up to the next stage, in response to which Hamas will no doubt go for Tel Aviv. No one seems to know how this tit-for-tat duel will end.

    The IDF’s campaign against its facilities on the West Bank pursuing the killers of the 3 teens left Hamas more confident than ever. In the space of a month, the Palestinian Islamists have maneuvered Israel into launching not one but two major operations, Brother’s Keeper to find the kidnapped boys and their abductors (who are still at large) and now Solid Rock, and they still hold the initiative against Israel, as well as the whip hand in the Palestinian movement. They certainly owe their advantage in part to the atrocious murder by a handful of Israelis of the Palestinian boy Muhammad Abu Khdeir from Shuafat, Jerusalem. This was a gift which Hamas had never dreamed of. The Islamists have been able to assert control over and calibrate Palestinian fury across the board, in Gaza, the West Bank and the Israeli Arab community, a second front against Israel. With all these cards stacked against Solid Rock, the IDF will have its work cut out to repair the damage and bring its operation to a successful conclusion.

    On the diplomatic front, Israel suffered another letdown when Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi disappointed the hopes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had vested in him to intercede powerfully with Hamas for a ceasefire. El-Sisi decided that the Israeli-Hamas conflict was a minor episode in regional terms and no real threat to Egypt’s national interests and dropped his role as peace broker. This was a bitter disappointment to Jerusalem. It left Israel facing the Palestinian aggressor alone, but for the Europeans. They are willing to assume this role, but they are seeking the restoration of the short-lived Palestinian reconciliation and a unity government, which is the direct opposite of Netanyahu’s most fervent objective.



Hamas Continues Its Barrage of Rockets on South Israel

July 8….(Israel Today) Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip on Monday fired into southern Israel upwards of a dozen rockets, one of which struck the city of Beersheva. There were no reports of serious damage, and Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system managed to intercept a number of rockets that threatened to hit residential areas.

    On Sunday, Gaza-based terrorists fired at least 25 rockets at Israel. An Israeli soldier was lightly wounded by shrapnel from one of the strikes. Last week, at least five Israeli homes were damaged by rocket fire, and a factory in the area burned to the ground after sustaining a direct hit.

    Israeli officials have been warning to Gaza’s Hamas rulers to curb the rocket fire, or face a strong and determined Israeli military response. However, Israel has thus far confined itself to limited, pinpoint aerial strikes against Hamas operatives. While the current Israeli approach is aimed at avoiding further escalation in the region, many fear that such a kid-glove response will only encourage Hamas and its allies to continue attacking. And, indeed, they are doing just that.

    In fact, Hamas this week published a video taunting the residents of Beersheva and suggesting that they run for their lives “before it’s too late.” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the IDF both also published videos to YouTube showing what it’s like for the residents of southern Israel to live under siege.

    Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday announced the end of his Israel Beiteinu party’s alliance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud faction, at least in part over differences of opinion on how to deal with the Gaza rocket fire. Lieberman advocates a strong military response, possibly including the reconquering of Gaza, and accuses Netanyahu of only putting Israel at greater risk by taking a more moderate approach.




FOJ Note: The map shows where Gaza fired rockets have hit in Southern Israel. What country could possibly stand for this kind of barrage? (Maybe the Palestinians should just start immigrating into Israel enmasse, ala Mexico, and take over that way, but then, Israel has leaders that aren’t as dumb as America’s leaders.)



IDF Launches Gaza Operation 'Against Hamas'

(Move comes after more than 70 rockets were reportedly fired at south; Iron Dome intercepts 12 rockets; Israel instructs southern residents to remain near shelters, as Hamas takes responsibility for rocket fire.) Hamas broadened its massive rocket blitz Monday night, July 7 - edging further north and east to locales hitherto unscathed, after warning that its response to the deaths of seven operatives in Israeli air strikes would be “unprecedented.”

July 8….(YNET) The IDF on Monday night announced the start of a military operation in Gaza aimed at halting the rocket fire that has increasingly plagued Israel's southern communities in recent days. The "IDF has commenced Operation Protective Edge in Gaza against Hamas, in order to stop the terror Israel's citizens face on a daily basis," said the IDF Spokesman's office in a tweet posted after 1am.

    More than 30 rockets were fired towards communities in southern Israel in the span of 30 minutes on Monday, and more than 70 were reportedly fired throughout the day. One Israeli was injured by shrapnel in Ashdod. The heavy barrage was launched from Gaza, at the same time as the funeral procession for the six Hamas members killed in a tunnel explosion Sunday night. Hamas claimed responsibility for the heavy rocket fire, as Code Red sirens blared across the south, in towns and cities including Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Ashdod, Netivot, and Be'er Sheva. The Iron Dome missile defense system shot down a total of 12 rockets over Netivot and Ashdod.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior ministers held a three-hour Security Cabinet meeting Monday afternoon to discuss the option of an escalation with Gaza. As tensions continued to escalate throughout the day, a senior military source said that the IDF had called up "some 1,500 reservists who will arrive in waves. Most of them are commanders and part of the home front command." The heavy rocket barrage led to a suspension of rail service in southern Israel. Residents of towns in southern Israel close to the Gaza Strip were also warned to stay 15 seconds from bomb shelters at all times.

America’s porous southern border and the recent surge in illegal immigration is more than just a “humanitarian crisis,” claims the top US general in charge of Central and South America, it’s a threat to the United States’ very existence.



Top General: Border Crisis Threatens US Existence

July 8….(WND) Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is commander of the US Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM, charged with responsibility for the Caribbean Sea and all lands south of Mexico. Particularly in regards to the drug trade, murder rates and terrorist activity brewing in Central America, Kelly says, the waves of Latin Americans sweeping through Mexico and illegally into Texas presents a threat to the US every bit as serious as Iran or North Korea. “In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in this hemisphere with the associated drug and illegal immigrant flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly said in an interview with Defense One. “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”

    SOUTHCOM’s intelligence assets reveal the possibility is far more than just crying wolf. “Supporters and sympathizers of Lebanese Hezbollah are involved in both licit and illicit activities in the region,” Kelly told Congress. “Members, supporters, and adherents of Islamic extremist groups are present in Latin America. Islamic extremists visit the region to proselytize, recruit, establish business venues to generate funds, and expand their radical networks. Some Muslim communities in the Caribbean and South America are exhibiting increasingly extremist ideology and activities, mostly as a result from ideologues’ activities and external influence from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.

    Kelly concluded his appeal before the House Armed Services Committee by arguing the US needs to call upon and equip the military to protect our southern border, now more than ever.



US Southern Command Chief: 'Crime-Terror Convergence' on Our Southern Border

(Convergence Is 'Existential Threat' to Nation)

July 7….(Newsmax) The United States' neglect of its southern border has created a threat that challenges the country's national security, says the general in charge of overseeing the region, and he is concerned that terrorists and others can exploit the vulnerabilities that have been created. "In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in the hemisphere with the associated drug and [undocumented immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance," Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, told Defense One. "Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree." Kelly has asked Congress to allocate more money and equipment to help him and his command fight the steady flow of drugs, weapons, and migrants from Central America, but the budget has already been cut when it comes to border security.

    More than 100,000 migrants have come from Central America to the US border, mostly children who have traveled thousands of miles from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. But it's not only children coming north. Kelly said that last year, his task force was not able to act on almost 75 percent of illegal trafficking incidents. "Last year, we had to cancel more than 200 very effective engagement activities and numerous multilateral exercises," Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, his command's website reports. "I simply sit and watch it go by. And because of service cuts, I don't expect to get any immediate relief, in terms of assets, to work with in this region of the world.”

    Kelly told Defense One that the area has turned into a "crime-terror convergence," that is only becoming worse. "All this corruption and violence is directly or indirectly due to the insatiable US demand for drugs, particularly cocaine, heroin and now methamphetamines,” Kelly told Defense One, "all of which are produced in Latin America and smuggled into the US along an incredibly efficient network along which anything, hundreds of tons of drugs, people, terrorists, potentially weapons of mass destruction or children, can travel, so long as they can pay the fare."

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., pointed out in June that Kelly's SOUTHCOM forces are only sourced at "five percent of the capacity" they need. "This is a humanitarian and refugee crisis. It’s being caused in large measure by thousands in Central America who believe it is better to run for their lives and risk dying, than stay and die for sure,” Menendez said. "The bottom line is that we must attack this problem from a foreign policy perspective, a humanitarian perspective, a criminal perspective, immigration perspective, and a national security perspective.”

    Last Monday, President Barack Obama said he plans to request $2 billion for additional border security personnel, immigration judges, and detention and processing resources. However, Kelly said the poverty and violence that is pushing migration are what is creating the threat to national security, as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have the first, fourth and fifth-highest homicide rates, respectively, in the world. Kelly said that the United States needs the military more now than ever to protect its border. "This region does not ask for much," said Kelly. "Some of my counterparts perceive that the United States is disengaging from the region and from the world in general. We should remember that our friends and allies are not the only ones watching our actions closely, and in the meantime, drug traffickers, criminal networks, and other actors, unburdened by budget cuts, cancelled activities, and employee furloughs, will have the opportunity to exploit the partnership vacuum left by reduced US military engagement."



Ben Carson: America Now in 'pre-Fascist' Era

(Noted surgeon turned author says it's not too late to turn back)

July 7….(WND) Saul Alinsky or Alexander Solzhenitsyn? Whose path will America follow? Dr. Ben Carson, a noted author, brain surgeon and possible Republican candidate for president, says the country has already gone far down the path of Alinsky, but it’s not too late to pull back from the brink of authoritarian socialism.

    As Americans prepared to celebrate their freedom this Independence Day, Carson sat down with WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah and offered a sobering view of the current state of the country. In the light of NSA spying, government taking over health care and the IRS intimidating tea-party activists, Farah asked if there were any lessons that could be drawn from Solzhenitsyn’s experience living under Soviet communism during the Cold War. “I remember back in the day, Solzhenitsyn was asked ‘what went wrong in the Soviet Union’ and what made it the nightmare police state that it was?” Farah said. “And he said, ‘We forgot about God.’”

    Carson agreed with that assessment. He said he encourages people to read the works of not just Solzhenitsyn, but those of his historic adversaries, Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx and Alinsky. “They asked themselves what it would take to bring America into alignment, to achieve their one-world vision and their utopian society,” Carson said. The answer became obvious. Attack, attack, attack, at the nation’s soul, and stir up divisions at every level of American society, women against men, old against young, race against race, rich against poor. “They said, you know, the problem with America is that they’re too strong. They have a couple of very strong pillars. The family, the traditional family, and their Judeo-Christian values,” Carson said. “You need to attack those things constantly, bring them down, and you will level the United States. You see the constant attacks in our country now.”

    A pre-fascist or pre-revolutionary society typically breaks down into warring factions that stop talking to each other. That seems to be the place America has fallen into, and Carson addresses those divisions in his new book “One Nation: What We Need to Do to Save America’s Future.”

    Carson seemed most impassioned when he was talking about how conservatives can stay engaged, stay informed and win back the country from those who would seek to “fundamentally change” its system of representative democracy under limited government. “I emphasize in that book the importance of people using their sphere of influence. That’s how you get around the liberal media. You need to talk to your uncle, who hasn’t voted in 20 years, about what’s going on. You need to start talking to your neighbors, even if they’re liberals, talk to them,” Carson said. “Because, what happens is, a lot of people who are liberals really haven’t thought their positions through. And they listen to their leaders who try to demonize people. They listen to those people who believe in the Saul Alinsky philosophy. One of his rules: Never have a conversation with your adversary, because that humanizes them. And your job is to demonize them. They don’t want you to talk.”

    Carson said that philosophy is on full display in the halls of American universities, which were once bastions of open dialogue and free thought. Now, they’re more like intellectual prisons ruled by thought police. “That’s why, at your universities now, they say, ‘we don’t want to hear this person, we don’t want anybody to hear them,’” Carson said. “If they have a business we want to tear it down, if they have a reputation we want to get rid of it. “This is pre-fascist thinking. A lot of the liberals don’t realize that. They don’t know that they’re being used. As Lenin said, you know, useful idiots. We can use these people to actually change America and they won’t even know that they are our puppets and we are using them.”

     Carson likened the pre-fascist state to a married couple heading toward divorce. First they stop talking to each other, “then the next thing you know their partner is the devil incarnate.” Separation and divorce follows. When it’s a nation involved, this pre-fascist condition can lead to chaos and lawlessness. But when people begin to have conversations, and actually talk about the kind of America they would like to pass on to their children, walls break down. “And a lot of people will begin to realize, hey, you know, you are not my enemy. My enemy is this person, who is trying to fundamentally change America and change it for my children and my grandchildren,” Carson said.

    He cited “The Naked Communist,” a book written in 1958 by Cleon Skousen, as laying out the strategy of those who want to usher in this new America. “It lays out the whole agenda including getting people in important positions in the mainstream media so they could drive the agenda and that’s what’s happening now,” Carson said. “The media does not have the answers. We need to just move around them.”

    Carson said most people who hold fast to traditional Judeo-Christian values tend to fold their tents too quickly and bow to the forces of political correctness. “Part of the problem is we back down too easily,” he said. “I remember some years ago the lawyers came to my wife and me and said ‘you can’t put your ‘Think BIG’ banners up in public school because each of the letters means something and the G stood for God and there can be no government support for religious expression.’ I said ‘the Constitution also says there can be no government suppression of religious expression.’ So we had a vigorous discussion.” He was later allowed to put up his banner.

A lack of leadership

    Carson also cited a vacuum of spiritual leadership in the land. He called out American clergy, many of whom he said tend to shrink from their duty to preach the word of God. He said it’s easy to avoid the issue of decaying morals that are eating away at the American family. “The clergy in our nation has largely adopted a go-along to get-along attitude,” he said. “We don’t want anyone to see us as bad guys, so you know, what the word of God says, eh, that’s old stuff. We want to talk about the modern era, without really looking at the consequences.”

    People with Judeo-Christian values, “have to be willing to stand up for what they believe, because the secular progressives will keep pushing until they meet resistance,” Carson said. “They will never stop. So, if you have adopted a go-along to get along attitude, then they win by default. You continue to lose ground, forever. That’s what’s happening to the values in our country right now.” He said many cultural conservatives feel beaten, but in his travels across the states he is seeing signs that people who had given up are starting to reawaken. “Basically, if you look in our public schools and in our universities, they teach, well, there’s not really any right, there’s not any wrong. It’s all relative. It’s a matter of how you look at it. Those were the exact things that happened to the Roman Empire. They lost their identity, they lost their value system. They lost their vision. They lost their nation.” So while those with traditional values may still make up the silent majority, silence won’t get the job done, he said. Fear seems to be paralyzing a lot of hard-working Americans who know something’s not right in the country. “They’ve been beaten down. They’ve been beaten into submission, (wondering) am I going to lose my job? Am I going to get an IRS audit? This is not America when that’s going on,” Carson said. “I can’t tell you how many people I run into from Eastern bloc countries who say, they’re terrified. Because they came here to escape that. Now the same thing is happening here.”

    So the key is to defy the Alinsky divide-and-conquer strategy and resist the loud voices on the mainstream media. “There are elements that don’t like our system. They want to change us into the, quote, utopian society, and in order to do that they have to make what we’re doing now seem as though it doesn’t work. So, they drive wedges into every little crack to create a war,” Carson said. “There’s a war on women, race wars, age wars, income wars, religion wars. You name it, there is a war on it. All of which is straight out of the pages of ‘Rules for Radicals’ by Saul Alinsky. “What we have to do is rise above it. Stop allowing ourselves to be so easily manipulated. “And one of the best ways not to be easily manipulated is to be educated. You have to actually know stuff.”

    Speaking from a position of knowledge is always more effective, and that takes time and effort. “The founders of our nation said our system of government and our freedom is dependent on a well-informed and educated populace,” Carson said. “They knew if we weren’t like that the nature of the country would drastically change quite quickly. Along would come slick politicians, dishonest media and people who don’t have a good base of knowledge could be easily manipulated.” What’s lacking is the desire to inform one’s self, he said. “Go on the street and ask who sings the appy song, and most of them will know,” Carson said. “But you ask about Benghazi and they won’t know about that. Is that a singer? It sounds like it could be a singer.”

    Most people go into the voting booth looking for a “D” or an “R” or a recognizable name, he said. “So a country that doesn’t have a vision, that is kind of forgetting who it is, will naturally kind of deteriorate into a bunch of factions. When we throw away those values that made our country great, you’re going to see a concomitant deterioration.” Yet, the media focuses on the distractions of the day.

    Instead of Benghazi, Americans are subjected to chatter about the merits of the Washington “Redskins” and whether the team’s name might “offend” someone.






HAPPY JULY 4th AMERICA (238th birthday)



July 4….(FOJ) Let us remember the famous and most eloquent quote from former President Ronald Reagan; “a nation that forgets that it is one nation under God, will soon be a nation gone under.

If our God-given freedoms are removed from us, it is because God allowed it – even commanded it.


Palestinian Jihadists Seek Unity with ISIS

(Flag of Iraq invaders seen at terrorists' funeral in Gaza)

July 4....(WND) There is an attempt by jihadist organizations in the Gaza Strip to unite under the common banner of the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials. Contacted by WND, Abu Saqer, one of the top leaders of Jihadiya Salafiya, which represents al-Qaida ideology in the Gaza Strip, confirmed the attempt to organize various jihad groups to fight Israel under the ISIS umbrella. Saqer claimed there is also an effort to recruit jihadists to ISIS from inside the West Bank, particularly in the Hebron region.

    While the exact nature of the ISIS presence in Gaza remains unclear, the group’s flags were seen flying at a funeral this past Sunday for two terrorists eliminated in an Israel Air Force strike last Friday, Israel’s daily Maariv newspaper reported. The terrorists’ coffins were reportedly also draped in ISIS flags.

    The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement the two targeted terrorists, Osama Hassumi, 29, and Mohammad Fatzih, 24, were responsible for rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip aimed at Israeli civilian population zones. The IDF said the two terrorists belonged to the Salah e-Din Brigades of the Popular Front group.

    Further highlighting the possible presence of ISIS-aligned fighters in Gaza, Maariv reported Saturday that Egyptian Special Forces arrested a terrorist cell that had used tunnels to cross from Gaza into the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The newspaper quoted sources saying that Egypt’s interrogation of cell revealed the group was planning to set up ISIS cells inside the Sinai to target the Egyptian government.

    Hamas, however, denied the Egyptian claim of ISIS terrorists originating in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas. Iyad Bazam, a Hamas spokesman, called the claims “blatant lies” that are “part of the ongoing Egyptian smear campaign against the Gaza Strip.



Israel Moves Troops Toward Gaza as Tensions Soar

July 4….(My Way) Israel began moving troop reinforcements to its border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, defense officials said, raising the possibility of an expanded military operation in the Palestinian territory in response to intensifying rocket barrages. The movement of tanks and artillery forces came after another night of heavy rocket fire, including barrages that struck two homes in the southern border town of Sderot. Israel's last major operation in Gaza, a territory controlled by the Hamas militant group, took place in late 2012.

    The rocket fire comes at a time of heightened tensions following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank. Israel has accused Hamas of being behind the deaths, and arrested hundreds of Hamas operatives in the West Bank as part of a broad manhunt in the largest ground operation in the West Bank in nearly a decade. The Palestinians have meanwhile accused Israeli extremists of abducting and killing a teenage boy in east Jerusalem in a revenge attack, and stone-throwing youths clashed with Israeli police throughout the day Wednesday.

    The weeks since the Israeli teens disappeared have seen militants in Gaza fire scores of rockets at Israel, which has responded with airstrikes against alleged militant targets. Two Palestinian militants were killed in an airstrike last week, and a young Palestinian girl was killed by an errant rocket attack. There have been no serious casualties on the Israeli side. More than a dozen rockets struck Israel on Thursday, including the attacks on Sderot. The strikes knocked out electricity in part of the town but caused no injuries. Israel said it responded with overnight airstrikes on 15 Hamas targets.

    Hamas seized Gaza in 2007 from forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas recently formed a unity government backed by Hamas meant to end the seven-year rift, but Hamas, which possesses thousands of rockets, remains in firm control of the coastal strip. Israel threatened tough action against Hamas in response to the killing of the three teens. Hamas praised their suspected abduction but denied responsibility.

    On Thursday, buses carrying Israeli troops could be seen heading to the Gaza border area, where soldiers milled about organizing their equipment. A senior Israeli military official described the troop movements as "defensive." "If Hamas keeps things quiet, we will keep things quiet," he said. He and other officials spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines.

    In east Jerusalem, tensions remained high as police continued to investigate the disappearance of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose family says he was abducted Wednesday shortly before a charred body was found in a Jerusalem forest. The family accused extremist Jews of killing him in revenge for the deaths of the three Israeli teens, who went missing on June 12 and whose bodies were found in a field in the West Bank on Monday. Hundreds of right-wing Jewish youths marched through downtown Jerusalem on Tuesday, vowing revenge. The suspected killing ignited clashes in east Jerusalem between rock-throwing Palestinians and Israeli forces, who responded with stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets. The rioters set tires ablaze and torched three light-rail train shelters, leaving city streets covered in stones and debris. Police were still trying to identify the body, but Abu Khdeir's family set up a mourning tent near a mosque in east Jerusalem. Some 100 people crowded into the tent on Thursday to pay their condolences. East Jerusalem was quiet Thursday morning but police said units were still patrolling the area. An Associated Press cameraman filmed Hebrew graffiti reading "death to Israel" and "death to Jews." Police said they were trying to pinpoint the motive behind the killing.

    The incident elicited international condemnation and prompted calls for calm from Israeli leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded a swift probe of the "reprehensible murder." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was clear extremist Jewish settlers were responsible for the death and called on Israel to bring the killers to justice.



ISIS puts Bull's-eye on Mecca, Medina

July 4….(WND) Now that the Islamic State has issued a declaration that Muslims around the world must adhere to its recently announced caliphate, jihadist fighters say Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia will be the next targets after Jordan. Sources say the Islamic State, former the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (or Greater Syria), is a rival to Saudi Arabia, even though both are Sunni. However, like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State abhors monarchies. The Islamic State is hoping that the Saudi army will revolt against the King and join its caliphate. The area between Iraq and Jordan, into Saudi Arabia, is mostly desert, allowing the Islamic State to make major inroads into the kingdom before meeting resistance.

    Saudi Arabia is aware that it could be the target of the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the recently announced caliph or leader with the title of Khalifah Ibrahim. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz recently met with newly elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to obtain counter-terrorism assistance if there is an attack on the kingdom. Mecca and Medina are revered by all Muslims as two of the three most holy sites in Islam, with Jerusalem being the third. Islam’s founder, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah, was born in Mecca and buried in Medina.

    Establishment of the caliphate with the elimination in its title of Iraq and al-Sham, or Levant, means that Khalifah Ibrahim has designs on all lands where Sunni Muslims reside. “Now that the Islamic caliphate is a fait accompli,” one source said, “all eyes will be on Mecca and Medina next.”

    US President Barack Obama discussed Iraq and the violent rise of a Sunni insurgent group there in a telephone call on Wednesday with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah. Abdullah, leader of the world's top oil exporter, vowed last week to act against potential "terrorist threats" that have torn Iraq apart in recent weeks. Three days after ISIL declared itself a caliphate encompassing the entire Muslim world, Obama and Abdullah agreed to consult closely on regional developments. Saudi Arabia shares a 500-mile (800-km) border with Iraq. Iraq has split along sectarian lines between the majority Shi'ite Muslims and the Sunni Muslim and Kurdish minorities.



The Time Has Come For America to Stand Up

July 3….(Jerusalem Post/By Caroline Glick) The time has come for our friends to also take action and stop funding and supporting our enemy and his efforts to destroy us. Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel were teenagers. They were abducted and brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists from Hamas, a partner in the Palestinian Authority’s unity government, and a terrorist organization dedicated to the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people. The teens’ abduction and murder was supported by Palestinian society as a whole. While Israelis were united as never before in worry and prayer for the missing boys, Palestinian society was united in its expressed delight at the abduction and murder of the boys.

    The government’s response to this war crime, and to the support Palestinian society as a whole provides war criminals while reveling in their atrocities, will be significant. The vast majority of Israelis recognizes that maintaining faith with the mordant peace process can no longer be justified. Fatah and Hamas are equally dedicated to our destruction. By continuing to empower and legitimize the PA, Israel is facilitating its debilitation and victimization.

    By legitimizing the PA, Israel has enabled the PA to conduct a massive campaign throughout the world to destroy Israel’s moral, legal and diplomatic standing. The international community’s indifferent response to the Palestinian abduction of the boys demonstrated how far the Palestinian campaign to deny the legitimacy of Israel and to dehumanize Israelis has advanced.

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton took five days to issue a milquetoast condemnation of their abduction. But as execrable as Ashton’s silence was, US President Barack Obama’s response was even worse. Obama waited for the boys’ bodies to be found before ever mentioning them. And when he finally spoke, he made no distinction between Israel, the victim of this war crime, and the Palestinians who facilitated, perpetrated and celebrated this war crime. In Obama’s words, “From the outset, I have offered our full support to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice, and I encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue working together in that effort. I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s reaction to the Israel’s discovery of the boys’ bodies was even more offensive than the president’s refusal to draw a distinction between the victim and the perpetrator.

    Diminishing the cold-blooded murder of the boys by Palestinian savages to the level of a mere “tragedy,” Psaki said that the cooperation must continue between Israeli security forces and Palestinian terrorists “despite the pain on the ground.” Not the pain inflicted on Israelis by the Palestinians who kidnapped and murdered and who overwhelmingly supported and celebrated the teens’ abduction and murder. Rather, in Psaki’s world, a general, amorphous “pain on the ground.” Under questioning by AP reporter Matt Lee, Psaki defended the PA’s Fatah- Hamas government and claimed that its members “are making every effort” to abide by US requirements, including the rejection of violence.

    Now it is true that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did once condemn the kidnapping of the teens, and called for his Hamas governing partners to free them. But after he was attacked from all corners of the PA and Palestinian society, he quickly backtracked. Abbas blamed Israel for the abduction, and accused it of killing “Palestinian teenagers in cold blood.” It is also true that the media and the Obama administration have repeatedly claimed that PA security forces assisted Israel in locating the teenagers. But if such assistance was provided, it was not helpful. The bodies were found by Israelis, based on intelligence gleaned by Israeli forces in Israeli operations. So why is the administration pretending otherwise? Obama and Psaki are not motivated primarily by their increasingly apparent antipathy for the Jewish state. They are trying to avoid having to abide by US law.

    Standing legislation prohibits the US government from funding foreign terror organizations. Hamas is an officially designated foreign terror organization. If Fatah were ever treated on the basis of its actions, it would also be labeled a foreign terror organization because according to US law, it meets all the criteria for such a designation. And at any rate, Hamas’s participation in the Palestinian government makes it illegal for the US to transfer any funds or grant any political recognition to the Palestinian government.

    Since Obama and Psaki and their colleagues are aware of this fact, they have chosen to lie in order to protect the Hamas-Fatah government from the letter of US law. This situation is simply unacceptable. The facts are incontrovertible. Thorough the actions of Fatah terrorists and Hamas terrorists, PA is a terrorist organization. Even if Abbas were sincere in his devotion to peace with Israel, and clearly he is not, he would be nothing more than a figurehead at the top of a governing apparatus, and of a society as a whole that is dedicated to the eradication of Israel and the genocide of the Jewish people.

    Every year the US gives the PA up to $500 million in aid. At this point, it is impossible to rationally argue that aid to the PA advances the cause of peace, which is supposed to be the point of the aid. The PA, including Abbas, refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The PA denies Jewish nationhood. It fabricates Jewish history. And the PA, led by Abbas, supports, facilitates and engages in terrorism against Israel. US assistance to the PA is instrumental to Palestinian efforts. The PA uses the legitimacy afforded it by US political and economic support to advance its campaign to delegitimize Israel and legitimize its destruction and the murder of its citizens. In other words, every dollar the US gives the PA advances the goal of destroying Israel. By continuing to support the PA despite its actions, the US is making a singular contribution to the dehumanization of Jews and the destruction of our state.

    Obama’s silence during the 18 days the teens were missing, and his hostile and duplicitous statement after their mutilated bodies were found makes clear that he remains committed to continuing this contribution. In acting in this way, Obama stands in opposition to the will of the American people, who do not wish to contribute to the destruction of Israel. Consequently, the time has come for the people’s representatives in Congress to take action to remedy this unacceptable state of affairs.

    To some extent, Congress already has stepped in. Last week the House of Representatives Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, which is responsible for allocating aid to the PA, did not include aid to the PA in the appropriations bill for 2015. The sub-committee’s counterpart in the Senate took a similar, if less forceful step. Yet despite these actions, both the House and Senate bills assume that the aid will be restored and so they include stipulations for what Obama must do to waive Congressional limits on aid. This is very problematic. By assuming that aid will be allocated, US lawmakers take for granted that US law will be broken, and indeed, they green-light such unlawful and repugnant actions.

    Immediately after the boys were taken, Reps. Michele Bachmann and Trent Franks co-authored a House resolution defining the PA as a foreign terrorist organization. As Rep. Franks said on June 12, “All US assistance to the Palestinian Authority should have been be suspended years ago, but openly joining a terrorist organization that kills women and children simply because they are Jewish should convince even the Obama administration to wake up and defund this madness.”

    Obviously, the Obama administration remains unconvinced, and undaunted by the resolution, despite the fact that it now enjoys more than a score of co-sponsors, including two Democrats. Obama may continue to fund the PA no matter what Congress does. But only Congress can take action that has a chance of ending US support for the destruction of Israel. If Congress were to transform the language of the Bachmann-Franks resolution into a bill and pass it as a rider on an appropriations bill, then like the Boland Amendment of the 1980s, it could force the executive branch to heel.

    The cold-blooded murder of Fraenkel, Shaer and Yifrah requires Israel to stop playing a sucker’s game. The PA is not our partner. It is our enemy. The US is not our enemy. It is our friend. The American people are our friends. The time has come for our friends to also take action and stop funding and supporting our enemy and his efforts to destroy us.



Syria-Iraq 'Caliph' Incites Muslims to Holy War

July 3….(Reuters) The leader of the al Qaeda offshoot now calling itself the Islamic State has called on Muslims worldwide to take up arms and flock to the "caliphate" it has declared on captured Syrian and Iraqi soil. Proclaiming a "new era" in which Muslims will ultimately triumph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issued the call to jihad, holy war, in an audio message lasting nearly 20 minutes that was posted online on Tuesday. It was his first purported message since the group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) proclaimed the caliphate on Sunday and declared him its leader, in an audacious bid to sweep away state borders and redraw the map of the Middle East.

    Baghdadi, who has assumed the mediaeval title of caliph, used the message to seek to assert authority over Muslims everywhere. He called on them to rise up and avenge the alleged wrongs committed against their religion, from Central African Republic to Myanmar (Burma). "Terrify the enemies of Allah and seek death in the places where you expect to find it," he said. "Your brothers, on every piece of this earth, are waiting for you to rescue them." The audio message, titled "A Message to the Mujahideen and the Muslim Ummah in the Month of Ramadan," was posted online through the group's media arm. Another account affiliated to the group posted translations in English, Russian, French, German and Albanian. "By Allah, we will take revenge, by Allah we will take revenge, even if after a while," Baghdadi said.

    While ISIL's power grab may appeal to many militants, there have already been signs of dissent. Some Islamist groups fighting in Syria have rejected the announcement of the caliphate, saying its terms had not "been realised at present", and urged Muslims to avoid siding with the Islamic State.Iraq's Association of Muslim Scholars, which was formed to represent minority Sunnis, said in a statement: "Any group that announces a state or an Islamic emirate, under these conditions is not in the interest of Iraq and its unity." The audio message's authenticity could not be immediately verified, but it was carried by SITE, an authoritative US-based organization that monitors jihadist statements. Fighters should "embrace the chance and champion Allah's religion through jihad", Baghdadi said. He called on Muslims to immigrate to the self-styled caliphate, saying it was their duty. In a direct, confident message, he urged them to "listen, realize and stand and free yourself from the shackles of weakness, and stand in the face of tyranny".

    The declaration of the caliphate followed a three-week drive for territory by ISIL militants and their allies among Iraqi's Sunni Muslim minority. Dominating swathes of territory in an arc from Aleppo in Syria to near the western edge of Baghdad, the caliphate aims to erase colonial-era borders and defy the US and Iranian-backed government of Iraq's Shi'ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.



'Israel's Looking at the Big End Game'

(Middle East scholar says region imploding due to failed US leadership)

July 2….(WND) A prominent Middle East scholar with close ties to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says three Israeli teens were captured and murdered just for being Jews, that Israel is looking at a much bigger threat than a resurgent Hamas and the region is imploding due to failed US leadership.

    The bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel were discovered Monday, more than two weeks after they were abducted. Fraenkel also held US citizenship. “Hamas planned the target and murder of them. They didn’t know them. They just wanted to kill Jews,” author and award-winning journalist Mike Evans told WND. “Hamas is part of the Palestinian government. As a matter of fact, the PLO website had a picture of three rats depicting these three children. In Ramallah and in Gaza, they were singing songs. They were passing out candy. They were celebrating the deaths of these three teenagers,” said Evans. He says one simple step Israel can take to retaliate is to demand the US stop foreign aid to the Palestinians, particularly since Hamas is still listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department. Currently, the US provides $1 billion dollars in “aid” annually to the Palestinian Authority, which just recently reunited with Hamas.

    Netanyahu has not indicated what the scope of the immediate response would be, but Evans says his friend needs to think bigger than Hamas. “This is really a declaration of war in many ways. Iran is behind Hamas. Iran funds it and fuels it. Al-Qaida is also there,” said Evans. “This is a very serious existential dilemma and here’s why: we pulled out of Iraq. We pulled out of Afghanistan. We told jihadists of the Middle East, ‘It’s yours.’ They’re taking us very serious. Now we’ve got a brand new caliphate in Iraq. They’re taking over the country. Israel just told the Kurds they should proclaim statehood.

So Israel’s looking at the big end game and I think the prime minister’s going to have to look at this more serious than just Gaza. He’s going to have to look at this entire octopus and decide is it time to deal with the head of the octopus as opposed to the tail,” said Evans, referring to Iran.

  Evans, who has served as a confidant to multiple Israeli prime ministers and leaders in the Middle East for more than two decades, blames the Obama administration’s policies for much of the recent upheaval in the Middle East and says the recent coziness between the U.S. and Iran over the ISIS threat in Iraq is reason for even more concern. “Obama has invited Iran to partner with him in fighting this new Sunni state, this new Islamist jihadist state. The quid pro quo, I’m sure, is an atomic Iran in exchange for that. So Netanyahu is looking at that and they realize the state of Israel is on their own,” said Evans.



Netanyahu Vows 'Hamas Will Pay'

(After bodies of 3 kidnapped Israeli teens found)

July 1….(Fox News) Israel weighed its options Monday following the discovery of the bodies of three teens kidnapped June 12 in the West Bank, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing, "Hamas will pay." The bodies of the youths, including one with US citizenship, were found just north of Hebron. "They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals," Haaretz quoted Netanyahu as saying at a hastily arranged security cabinet meeting. "In the name of the whole of Israel, I ask to tell the dear families, to the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers and the grandfathers, the brothers and sisters, our hearts are bleeding, the whole nation is crying with them."

    The leader's angry words came hours after the search for Eyal Yifrach, 19; Gilad Shaar, 16; and Naftali Frenkel, also 16, who were snatched while hitchhiking, ended in the West Bank, where Hamas operates. Sources said the bodies were found in a shallow grave in an open field in the West Bank village of Halhul, just north of Hebron. "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay," Netanyahu vowed.

    The abductions outraged the Jewish state as well as the international community, and several vigils and rallies were held around the US during the intensive hunt. Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the search, dubbed "Brother's Keeper." The three youths disappeared as they were heading home from a West Bank religious school. Israeli officials said at the time that one of the teens called a police emergency line around 10:25 p.m. local time and said: "We've been kidnapped." They were not heard from again. Frenkel holds dual US-Israeli citizenship.

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the kidnapping, and pledged help in the search but denied there was evidence linking Hamas to the crime. Hamas, which governs the Palestinian territories jointly with the PA, praised the kidnapping without claiming responsibility. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of using the murders as a pretext for aggression. "Only the Israeli version of the events has been published. Israel is attempting to make way for aggression against us, against the Hamas," Zuhri said. "We reject all Israeli allegations and threats against us. We are already used to it and will know how to defend ourselves. No Palestinian group, Hamas or any other group, has taken responsibility for the action, and thus the Israeli version can't be trusted."



Elton John: Jesus Christ Would Support Same-sex Marriage

July 1….(CBS) Elton John says if Jesus Christ were around today, he believes he would support same-sex marriage. In a new interview with Sky News, John said, "Times have changed. We live in a different time. If Jesus Christ was alive today I cannot see him as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was saying, 'This could not happen.' He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together. And that's what the church should be about."

    With that, the 67-year-old singer said he thinks Pope Francis has done a "wonderful" job so far. Although the Catholic Church does not support same-sex marriage, John says does Pope Francis' approach to all groups of people is encouraging. "He says it's all basically about love and taking everybody in inclusiveness," said John. Still, John thinks the Catholic Church has more strides to make. "I don't see why Catholic priests have to be celibate. It's crazy. These are old and stupid things," he said.

    Meanwhile, the singer plans to marry longtime partner David Furnish, 51, next year. The couple, who share two children, already had a civil ceremony, but with same-sex marriage now legal in England, they plan to officially wed. "It's a great opportunity to take advantage of the new laws and to celebrate it," said John, who noted that next year's nuptials will likely be "very quiet and off-the-cuff." "We had our big shebang when we had our civil union," he said.



Terrifying ISIS Map Showing Its 5-Year Expansion Plan


July 1….(ABC News) The Islamic militant group currently marching across Iraq trying to seize territory in order to create an Islamic state has purportedly published a map showing their plans for the next five years. The maps were widely shared on Twitter this weekend. They show parts of Africa, the Middle East, and even Europe shaded in black, to represent the territories that ISIS hopes will be part of its Sunni-run state.



Al-Qaida Breakaway Formally Declares Islamic State

(The leaders of an Al Qaeda splinter group that has seized vast portions of northern and western Iraq have declared the establishment of an Islamic state and demanded allegiance from other Muslim groups.)

June 30….(AP) The al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of northern Syria and huge tracks of neighboring Iraq formally declared the creation of an Islamic state on Sunday in the territory under its control. The spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, made the announcement in an audio statement posted online. Islamic extremists have long dreamed of recreating the Islamic state, or caliphate, that ruled over the Middle East for hundreds of years.

    Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said the group's chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is the new leader, or caliph, of the Islamic state. He called on those living in the areas under the organization's control to swear allegiance to al-Baghdadi and support him. "The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph's authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas," al-Adnani said. He said that with the creation of the caliphate, the group was changing its name to just the Islamic State, dropping the mention of Iraq and the Levant. It was unclear what immediate practical impact the declaration would have on the ground in Syria and Iraq, or among the wider global jihadi community.

    Muslim extremists have long dreamed of recreating the Islamic state, or caliphate, that ruled over the Middle East, much of North Africa and beyond in various forms over the course of Islam's 1,400-year history. Al-Baghdadi, an ambitious Iraqi militant who has a $10 million US bounty on his head, took the reins of the Islamic State in 2010 when it was still an Al Qaeda affiliate based in Iraq.

    Al-Baghdadi has long been at odds with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, and the two had a very public falling out after al-Baghdadi ignored al-Zawahri's demands that the Islamic State leave Syria. Fed up with al-Baghdadi and unable to control him, al-Zawahri formally disavowed the Islamic State in February. But al-Baghdadi's stature has only grown since then, as the Islamic State's fighters have strengthened their grip on much of Syria, and now overrun large swathes of Iraq.

    In Washington, the Obama administration called on the international community to unite in the face of the threat posed by the Sunni extremists. "ISIS's strategy to develop a caliphate across the region has been clear for some time now. That is why this is a critical moment for the international community to stand together against ISIS and the advances it has made," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The Islamic State's declaration comes as the Iraqi government tries to wrest back some of the territory it has lost to the jihadi group and its allies in recent weeks.



Russian Advisers Ready Iraq to Use New Combat Aircraft

(As Iraq received its first shipment of Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia on Saturday to combat a radical insurgency seizing major cities, Moscow took a swipe at the West for "playing into the hands of terrorists" in the region. Russia's delivery of the jets seems to be the latest sign of its growing influence in the Middle East.)

June 30….(Bloomberg) Russian military advisers helped to prepare Iraq’s air force to use five newly delivered combat planes in its campaign to recapture areas of the country’s north that fell to an al-Qaeda breakaway. The used Russian Sukhoi combat aircraft arrived in Iraq as government ground forces, backed by helicopter gunships, pressed their offensive to drive Sunni fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant from the northern city of Tikrit. Al-Mada Press reported late yesterday that government forces recaptured Ouja village, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, south of Tikrit.

    The Iraqi government turned to Russia to bolster its air capabilities, saying US fighter jets were taking too long to be delivered. Russian advisers who arrived in Iraq are helping to put the “logistical procedures in place,” and the aircraft will enter service within three to four days, air force commander General Anwar Ameen said yesterday on state-run Iraqiya TV. “One day after the Russian deputy foreign minister said that Moscow would not stand by idly, the Kremlin delivered the first of 25 Sukhoi fighter jets to Iraq,” said Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. “The delivery is to illustrate the Kremlin’s quick action to help the Iraqi government fight the opposition,” Karasik said. “The move is also part of guaranteeing that any future government in Baghdad will be tied to Moscow for military equipment. Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime that ISIL seeks to oust, also benefits by coming to Iraq’s aid quickly and contrasting its deliveries’ with the U.S., he said.

    The region’s stock markets and global energy markets have been roiled by the possibility that ISIL’s gains may reignite a sectarian civil war in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-largest producer. Governments critical of the Shiite-led regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, including the US, say its sidelining of the Sunni minority fueled alienation that helped ISIL press its advance. They’ve urged Iraqi leaders to form a more inclusive government, saying military might by itself won’t resolve the crisis.



Anti-Assad Rebels Seize 95% of Syrian Golan Heights

June 30….(Times of Israel) Almost the entire Syrian side of the Golan Heights is now under the control of rebel forces, including radical Islamist groups, a senior Israeli military commander in the area said Friday. Only the Quneitra border area is still in the hands of forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, Lt.-Col. Anan Abbas, deputy commander of the Golan Brigade, told Israel’s Channel 10. About 95 percent of the Syrian side of the Golan is in the hands of anti-Assad rebels, including radical Islamic groups such as the Al-Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaeda, a rival of the burgeoning Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, better known as ISIL or ISIS.

     One of two Syrian army brigades that used to control the area has completely disappeared, the officer said. At present, the Islamist groups in the area are focused on the war against Assad, he said, “but we know their goal is to harm Israel; we’ve seen their propaganda material.” The Israeli officer said that the dramatic gains made by the rebel forces in the area appeared to explain why Syrian troops fired a missile on Sunday that killed a 15-year-old boy on the Israeli side of the border. Apparently forces loyal to Assad, stationed some five kilometers inside Syrian territory, erroneously calculated that a civilian truck, delivering water to Israeli contractors who were working on the border fence, was actually a rebel truck on the Syrian side of the border, and opened fire on it with an anti-tank missile. The attack killed 15-year-old Mohammad Karkara, who had accompanied his father, a civilian contractor, to work that day.

    In response to the attack, Israel that night launched a series of retaliatory air strikes that killed a reported 10 Syrian soldiers, though Damascus put the number at four. Subsequently, the TV report said, Syria conveyed the message to Israel, via UN liaison personnel stationed on the Golan, that the anti-tank missile was fired in error. Israel “is inclined to accept the explanation,” the report said.

     The Golan Heights is a strategic plateau on the Israeli-Syrian border. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 war, having been attacked from the Golan over the previous 20 years, and extended Israeli law to the area in 1981. Unsuccessful peace efforts over the years have seen Israel ready to trade most of the Golan for a permanent accord with Damascus, but the notion of Israeli-Syrian peace has all but disappeared as Syria collapsed into anarchy over the past three years of civil war.



Jordanian Bedouin Terrorists Hoist Al Qaeda Flag in Ma’an

June 30….(DEBKA) “Ma’an is the Falluja of Jordan!” shouted thousands of Bedouin Saturday, June 28, in the southern Jordanian town of Ma’an. This legend was inscribed on the placards and flags they bore aloft with one hand in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In the other, they waved automatic rifles. Ma’an (pop: 50,000) is in a sensitive location:  218 km south of Amman, it also lies 104 km from the Israeli port town of Eilat and some 60 km from the main artery cutting south from northern Israel to the south. But although pro-Al Qaeda riots have been going on for days in Ma’an, capital of the southern province of the Kingdom of Jordan, military and security personnel have not been seen in its vicinity. The town has a history of violent unrest. It has in the past suffered curfew and was even, when the rioting got out of hand, stormed by soldiers firing live rounds and leaving dozens dead.

     For now, King Abdullah is conferring urgently with his army and intelligence chiefs on how to suppress the Islamist revolt in Ma’an without it spilling over into other Jordanian towns, especially Salt, Irbid and Zerka, which have large clusters of Al Qaeda followers. There was anxious talk in Washington Sunday about the prospect of Abdullah’s throne being rocked by an Islamist revolt, in which case the Obama administration would have no option but to approve the intervention of American and Israeli special operations forces to defend the king,  and push back against an Al Qaeda-ISIS invasion. However the domestic Islamist peril may be more immediate and acute than the external one. A US military source consulted by Debkafile revealed that the Jordanian army is now concentrated in three sectors: The Syrian border in the north, the Iraqi border in the east and the capital.

    In the first case, Jordanian troops are ranged to head off a possible incursion by ISIS forces concentrated in eastern Syria. They are also prepared to withstand a possible Syrian army assault to dampen Jordan’s military support for the Syrian rebels operating in southern Syria in defense of the Jordanian and Israeli borders.

    In the second case, the Jordanian army is deployed directly opposite the ISIS forces which have seized control of most of Iraq’s Anbar province adjacent to the Jordanian border. The army’s third sector is the capital, Amman, where it acts as the guardian of the royal regime. Should the Islamist conflagration spread from Ma’an to other corners of the kingdom, its army will be short of fighting manpower for simultaneous defense against internal and external threats.

    Our Washington sources report that Brig. Gen. Dennis McKean, commander of the joint US-Jordanian-Israeli underground Centcom-Forward war room established near Amman, has already received instructions to place the 12,000 US soldiers and USAF F-16 fighter squadron positioned in Jordan on the ready. They also disclose that Brig. McKean is in direct communication with Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the commander of Israel’s Deep Operations command, Maj. Gen. Shay Avital and Israel Air Force chief Maj. Gen. .Amir Eshel.

The Deep Operations command was established in case it was necessary to launch operations against Iran or the Lebanese Hizballah in alien territory. This unit may find itself operating against Al Qaeda’s ISIS in Jordan instead

    Washington, Jerusalem and Amman are mulling over whether to wait for the trouble in Jordan to escalate further before intervening, or to act preemptively before matters get out of hand by punching hard at ISIS forces concentrated along the Iraqi-Jordanian border. In the latter case, there would have to be a second decision as to which army would inflict the punch, its location and a forward estimate of the potential repercussions on Jordan’s internal security.



Obama Adviser Reasserts US is 'Islamic Country'

(Homeland Security senior fellow also touts rise of 'Caliphate')

June 30….(WND) An Obama adviser who ruffled feathers last year claiming the US is “an Islamic country with and Islamically compliant constitution” is reportedly at it again. Mohamed Elibiary is a senior fellow of Obama’s Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council. According to a report from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, or IPT, Elibiary revisited his October 2013 tweet in which he claimed the US was an “Islamic country,” explaining in another tweet Saturday (reportedly since deleted), “I said America was an Islamic country not a Muslim country.

     IPT reports a source close to Elibiary explained the Homeland Security adviser meant to say that he feels there is nothing in the US Constitution and the American system that runs contrary to Islam. IPT, however, also quoted Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who rejected Elibiary’s claims. “His entire attempt to repeatedly say that ‘American is Islamic’ is pure deception,” Jasser said. “In fact it is not.” “Islamism is incompatible with liberty and is a supremacist doctrine,” Jasser continued. “In all of Elibiary's work, you will not find any critique of Islamism, the Islamic state, or government imposed shariah in his opinions or any admission of the deep reforms necessary for American ideals to be compatible with Islam.”

     The IPT report was also noticed by former Florida Republican Congressman Allen West, who wrote a blog piece in which he also opposed Elibiary’s assessment of America’s Islamic compliance. “I hate to disagree with this fella, but he fails to understand that America is a Constitutional Republic,” West wrote. “And how he comes up with the conclusion that our US Constitution is ‘Islamically compliant’ is beyond comprehension, considering Islamic law is rooted in the practice called Sharia rooted in the Koran. That is clearly a violation of our establishment of religion clause.”

     Indeed, in nations where Islamic Shariah law has been implemented, Christians, Jews and women in particular have suffered discrimination, violence and court-supported persecution, a legal system in clear contradiction not only of America’s religious freedoms, but also of several other constitutional rights. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is how it begins. Islamists infiltrate our governing systems and deceive us with lies, making us believe there is no true delineation in our fundamental beliefs,” West continued. “What I find disturbing, but not surprising is this man is allowed to have a position in the most important domestic security government agency, our Department of Homeland Security.”





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