Operation Brother’s Keeper and other terrorism updates

#BringBackOurBoys – Left to right: Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shayer

#BringBackOurBoys – Left to right: Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shayer

As Operation Brother’s Keeper, the IDF’s operation to find the kidnapped teens, enters its 7th day, PM Binyamin Netanyahu reported that we now know a lot more about the kidnapping of the three teenagers, but sadly there is nothing really concrete to update.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that although the three teens kidnapped by Hamas terrorists last week have yet to be found, Israel is closer to discovering their whereabouts.

“Our first and most important task is to bring the boys home safely,” Netanyahu said Thursday at the IDF Judea Command Center. “All Israelis are united in their support of our efforts, and we will not shirk our duties. Security forces are working around the clock to find them, both in the intelligence area and in the field.

“We have rearrested more than 50 terrorists released in the deal to liberate Gilad Shalit. This is an important message to Hamas and all those who seek to do us harm: Hamas terrorists who have threatened to kidnap Israelis have themselves been arrested. I expect Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to remove Hamas from his government,” added Netanyahu.

Netanyahu discussed plans to move against the Islamist terrorist movement at a meeting Monday of the Security Cabinet, in which ministers discussed punitive steps against Hamas. Since then, over 250 Hamas terrorists have been arrested, and dozens of Hamas institutions in Judea and Samaria have been shuttered.

The most startling item hitting the headlines today comes from an IDF official who says that the teens’ kidnapping was most likely organized by a Hamas leader in Turkey of all places.

According to the unnamed official, Saleh al-Arouri — a former West Bank resident deported from the region after serving a prison sentence in Israel for several years, who is now a leading figure in Hamas overseas operations — is thought to have been a key figure for years in attempts to initiate terror attacks in the West Bank, funding and arranging the training of terror cells.

The official conceded that Israel had no “smoking gun” proving al-Arouri’s involvement in the kidnapping last Thursday night of Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, “but I have no doubt that al-Arouri was connected to the act.” There is an increasing belief in the Israeli security services that the kidnapping was directed by Hamas’s overseas hierarchy, he noted, adding that al-Arouri is answerable to Hamas’s political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal.

The Palestinians, as is their wont, have twisted the whole abduction into Israel’s fault, as they claim that Israel is using the kidnapping as an excuse for military action:

The following is an excerpt from the op-ed by the former editor, Hafez Al-Barghouti:

 

“The Israeli right doesn’t care about the lives of the kidnapped [teens]; all it cares about is the kidnapping itself, in order to market and exploit it. It [the Israeli right] is determined at all costs to resolve the problem using military means in order to prove its new policy: no freeing of prisoners, no negotiations with the PA and no halting of settlement [construction]. If the kidnappers of their own free will were to release the settlers (i.e., the three kidnapped teens) now, the Israeli right would panic, and the war carnival it is now staging would be ruined; for it is interested in escalation and entanglement, not in resolving the crisis.

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 16, 2014

The Palestinians can find a familiar echo in the British press, as monitored by CiFWatch, although it was more balanced than I would have expected:

  • With the exception of two reports in the Telegraph, and one in the Independent, every photo used to illustrate the teens’ abduction by terrorists focused on the Israeli military response to the incident, rather than on the boys, their families or reactions by the Israeli public.  In contrast, as we’ve noted in previous posts, the UK media almost uniformly focused on the families of Palestinian terrorists released over the past year by Israeli authorities, rather than on the families of the Israeli victims.
  • With the exception of Robert Tait’s story on June 16th and a report the same day by Peter Beaumont in the Guardian, no other UK media outlet quoted a family member of one of the teenage victims.  Alternately, several reports quoted Palestinians in the West Bank condemning the IDF’s military response to the terrorist abduction.

[…]

Honest Reporting has also been covering the international media’s reports on the kidnapping. Read how CNN shoehorns the settlements into an otherwise neutral report about the kidnapping. They also reported on an outrageously skewed article about the abduction on Sky News, aptly titled “It all started when Israel went looking for its boys”:

So according to this logic, it isn’t the kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel that has sparked this crisis but Israel’s response. It all started when Israel went looking for its boys.

But this is only the beginning. The rest of Tom Rayner’s article cynically accuses the government of Benjamin Netanyahu of using the kidnapping to further its own political ends vis-a-vis Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Of course the kidnapping cannot be separated from the wider political situation. Rayner, however, appears to whitewash the nature of Hamas.

Honest Reporting has produced a video summarizing the media’s reporting on the boys’ kidnapping and pointing out their errors:

Fatah’s Jibril Rajoub defiantly says that the only language Israel understands is kidnapping. If that is not a call for further abductions I don’t know what is. And these are supposed to be our “peace partners”.

Meanwhile, the police closed down 2 Hamas institutions in Jerusalem today.

Jerusalem police and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) forces closed the two institutions on [Police Commissioner] Danino’s orders.

One of the two is the “Namaa Association for Social Creativity,” whose offices in the Hamza Mosque in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa are to be closed for half a year.

The other Hamas institution is the “Sur Bahar Charity Council,” which has been active in a clubhouse in Sur Baher, a Jerusalem neighborhood located to the south of East Talpiyot in the southeast of the capital. The organization is to be closed for a year.

The clamping down on Hamas institutions is part of a wider effort against Hamas’s terror infrastructure, and comes the same Thursday that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon banned a front organization for Hamas, the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) group.

Similarly, security forces on Tuesday night raided the “Al-Aqsa Radio Station” offices of the Hamas movement, both in Ramallah, which is in Samaria, and in the Judean city of Hevron.

My questions are:

  • How come Israel has permitted any Hamas institutions to exist at all anywhere in Israel, let alone in Jerusalem!
  • Why did the police close only two institutions and not every single one?
  • If we knew they were there, why were they not closed down long ago?
Hamas infrastructure in Judea & Samaria

Hamas infrastructure in Judea & Samaria

The IDF Spokesman explains the necessity of targeting Hamas infrastructure, although this does not answer my questions above:

Hamas uses a vast civilian network to generate support for its violence. Terrorists refer to this system as ‘Dawa’, a term that literally means ‘calling’ or ‘preaching.’

The social apparatus includes mosques, schools and hospitals located in Judea and Samaria. Hamas exploits these institutions to recruit terrorists and implement its radical Islamic ideology.  The IDF must weaken the organization’s civilian resources, which serve as a lifeline for its daily terror.

Dawa institutions educate thousands of Palestinian children, introducing them to the virtue of martyrdom. The children are easy targets for manipulation, as Hamas easily convinces them to carry out terrorist attacks.

All of these programs serve the interest the Hamas leadership. As IDF Brigadier General Nizar Ammar said recently, “the difference between the [political, social, and military] wings of Hamas is often a fiction.”

Read it all. It’s enough to give you nightmares.

The IDF Spokesman has also produced a video depicting Hamas’ horrific history of kidnapping and violence:

Terrorism of course consists of a lot more than “just” kidnapping. The Islamic Jihad and/or Hamas in Gaza have been firing rockets non-stop into Israel and have upped the tempo in recent days, as if to remind us that they’re still around.

The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system shot down a rocket Thursday night as it was in the air from Gaza, on its way towards the coastal city of Ashkelon.

Right before the Iron Dome shot down the rocket, “Color Red” warning sirens were heard in the city.

The rocket attack comes after another missile was fired from Gaza earlier on Thursday, exploding in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council area in the northwestern Negev without causing any damage or injuries.

The IDF placed Iron Dome anti-missile defense units on the coastal region near Ashdod and Tel Aviv on Wednesday, in anticipation that terror activity from Gaza may flare up soon in order to support the Hamas kidnappers of the three Israeli teens abducted last Thursday.

There has been a steady trickle of rocket fire, with Gaza terrorists launching rockets at Israel on Wednesday, prompting an IAF airstrike on terror targets in retaliation. The rockets have beenregularly pouring in since the kidnapping last week.

After a home in southern Israel suffered a direct hit today, the Air Force struck back:

An “IAF aircraft targeted a terror activity site, a terror infrastructure site and a concealed rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip and two terror activity sites in the central Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement.

Three people were injured in the incident, according to Palestinian medical sources.

Direct hits were confirmed in the strikes which came in response to a rocket attack earlier Wednesday that struck a home in a kibbutz in the Sha’ar HaNegev region outside Gaza.

The projectile caused some damage, but no injuries were reported.

A second projectile also launched out of Gaza landed in an open area in the same region.

The attack is the most recent of a spate of fire directed at Israeli citizens, many of which drew Israeli retaliatory strikes from the air.

And again, I have similar questions to those I posed about Hamas institutions: if the IDF and Air Force know where these Gaza targets are, where the rocket launchers and weapons depots and terrorist leaders are, why are we not hitting them day and night? Why are they allowed to live in peace? Why are the weapons depots not blown up until not one bullet remains? Why are the rocket launchers not blown to smithereens?

A possible answer to my rhetorical question is provided by Raphael Ahren in the Times of Israel who explains that Israel has to tread a fine line with their operation in order to retain the support of the West. This is no easy task:

Alongside the military operation currently underway to locate the three kidnapped youths and to weaken Hamas, Israel is also waging an international diplomatic campaign with two goals: delegitimizing the Palestinian unity government, and validating the IDF’s actions in the West Bank.

It is already apparent that the international community does not necessarily believe Israel’s claim that Hamas is behind the kidnapping. In their carefully crafted written condemnations, world leaders avoided mentioning who they think could be behind the crime. Even if Hamas’s involvement were to be proved incontrovertibly, it is unlikely they will pressure Abbas to break up the unity government, as they consider it a technocratic body.

While politicians and diplomats refrain from speculating about the kidnappers, in European media and civil society there is doubt about Hamas’s responsibility for the abduction.

Read the whole article to understand the vagaries of international opinion, their obsessive microscopic focus on the smallest details of Israel’s operations and their insistence on attributing the worst possible motivations to anything Israel does.

However, considering the lack of sympathy that Israel receives from the international community whenever we take action to defend ourselves, why do we try so hard to retain that support at all when it is so conditional? Why is Israel always on the defensive? It’s way beyond time that we went on the offence, going after the terrorist leaders and their pawns who are so eager to martyr themselves, and telling the world to mind their own business and practice what they preach in their own back yards.

———————

Please pray for the safe return of:

Yakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah  יעקב נפתל בן רחל דבורה
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim גלעד מיכאל בן בת-גלים
Eyal ben Iris Teshura  אייל בן איריס תשורה

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7 Responses to Operation Brother’s Keeper and other terrorism updates

  1. Reality says:

    I agree with you about forgetting to have to “tread a fine line to keep the west ‘s support”. Can you remember the last time we received their support? I can’t ,perhaps in 1948 ,certainly not much after that. I wish something would happen in all those countries who preach about Israels’ need for restraint,something like what we here in Israel live through. Until they suffer directly at Hamas’s hand they (& even then perhaps) will never support us. As you say:it all started “when we went looking for our boys”. That is such a sick headliner -unbelievable. We should raze Gaza,the whole world will scream but it can’t be unrazed. It’s also time Israel left the UN & all its appertaining agencies.The more we try to justify ourselves,the more we appease the worse it gets.

    • anneinpt says:

      We certainly did NOT receive support from the West in 1948. They either tried to sabotage us (e.g. UK) or just ignored our plight, with the exception of Czechoslovakia and one or 2 others.

      I davka don’t wish something terrible on the West. Firstly, just on the principle that we don’t support innocents getting hurt. Secondly, they DID get hit – remember 9/11, the 7/7 London bus bombings, the attacks in Madrid and Bombay and … I’ve forgotten, there’ve been so many. And did these change anyone’s attitudes? NO! Apparently they are all Israel’s fault too, because they think they were targeted because they support Israel. Pathetic.

      I agree that we need to ignore the world’s protests and just act in our own interests.

      Re the UN, see my next post.

  2. JudyPT says:

    Anne I have said many times exactly the same as you ,why dont we go on the offensive and destroy all the terrorist infrastructure we know about not waiting to react as usual.I remember when a van loaded with 600 kilo of explosives was apprehended at a checkpoint and Peres said if that had got through it would have changed the whole picture drastically.Why do we wait for a disaster to happen.?Every terrorist hiding place ,arms dump ,rocket launcher should be razed to the ground in one or two sorties without troops in the field,after all they shoot missiles willy nilly whenever they feel like it ,we can do the same.

  3. cba says:

    Here’s my question:
    Why is it Operation “Brother’s Keeper” in English, but “Shuvu Banim” in Hebrew?

    • anneinpt says:

      I think each name resonates better in its own language. Brother’s Keeper sounds very Biblical (it is) and reminds the world of our Biblical connection to Israel. Shuvu Banim is more emotional, hits us at the gut level in Israel. It reminds us of Rachel the Matriarch to whom G-d promises “her sons will return to their borders”. Calling the operation “Return, Oh brothers” sounds ridiculous in English.

      Same with Pillar of Defence which was Pillar of Cloud in Hebrwe. Though in that case they should have kept the “Cloud” version for English.

      But that’s just my opinion.

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