Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Evening Update: Cabinet Mulls Gaza Expansion, Hamas Rules Out Ceasefire, UN To Launch Probe

Cabinet Mulls Expanded Gaza Op, Hamas Again Rules Out Ceasefire

The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Thursday, the 17th day of Operation Protective Edge. Late on Wednesday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal rejected a ceasefire unless the blockade of Gaza is lifted, and the Israeli cabinet met to discuss expanding the ground op against Hamas’s rockets, tunnels, and infrastructure. Earlier 30,000 attended the funeral of US-born soldier Max Steinberg in Jerusalem, as other funerals took place elsewhere in Israel. The IDF death toll rose to 32, with another soldier MIA presumed dead and claimed by Hamas to be in its hands. Only 27 of the 100-plus foreign airlines that use Ben-Gurion Airport are still flying in, and the FAA has extended its ban for another 24 hours after a rocket hit a home near the airport on Tuesday. IDF-Hamas fighting in Gaza remains intensive, Hamas is still trying to carry out attacks in Israel through tunnels — a major tunnel found Wednesday contained maps and weaponry for an imminent attack — and rockets are still being fired.(Wednesday’s liveblog is here.)

No sign of a ceasefire

Day 18 of Operation Protective Edge begins with Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) having followed Tzipi Livni’s lead from last Friday and declared that Israel might retake the Gaza Strip in order to completely root out the Hamas terrorist threat there, destroy its infrastructure and prevent kidnapping attempts.

“We won’t stand aside and watch Israeli citizens being hurt and tunnels being dug to kibbutzim, to children’s houses or dining rooms,” he told Channel 2 late Wednesday.

Earlier, the head of the Hamas political leader, Khaled Mashaal, speaking in Qatar, said Hamas insists on the blockade of Gaza being lifted for a ceasefire — something the Egyptian ceasefire proposal does not provide. He also claims the hundreds of rockets — over 2,200 now — fired by Hamas into towns and cities all over Israel, as well as the five attempted attacks through cross-border tunnels, are not aimed at civilian targets.
“Our fatalities are civilians. Israel’s fatalities are soldiers,” he says.
Channel 2′s Ehud Ya’ari snorted that the speech was designed to sound like a victory speech, but didn’t quite come across that way.

The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday launched a probe into the conflict in Gaza, backing calls by the Palestinians to hold Israel to account despite fierce opposition from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The decision came after a marathon seven-hour emergency session of the top UN human rights body, where the Israelis and the Palestinians traded accusations over war crimes.

The 46-member council backed a Palestinian-drafted resolution by 29 votes, with Arab and fellow Muslim countries joined by China and Russia, plus Latin American and African nations.

Netanyahu’s media office slammed the decision as a “travesty” that ignored human rights violations by Hamas terrorists.
“This investigation by a kangaroo court is a foregone conclusion,” his office said.
US ambassador Keith Harper warned that the vote would undermine ceasefire efforts.
“This resolution is not constructive, it is destructive,” Harper said, noting it lacked “any semblance of balance” because it made no mention of Hamas attacks.
Speaking for the European Union, Italian ambassador Maurizio Serra also criticized the failure to mention Hamas or recognize Israel’s right to self-defense, despite last-ditch efforts by his team to have such language included.
Israeli ambassador Eviator Manor lashed out at countries that piloted the vote.
“Their Pavlovian instinct demands they react against Israel, in order to divert attention from their own human rights violations,” he said.

“Hamas is committing war crimes when it fires rockets indiscriminately at Israel towns and villages. Hamas is protecting its launching sites with the civilian residents of Gaza. Another war crime,” he said.
“And this council sits in judgement of Israel? There can be no moral symmetry between a terrorist aggressor and a democracy defending itself,” he added.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki hit back.
“What Israel is doing is a crime against humanity,” he said.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay also said Israel’s military actions could amount to war crimes, while at the same time condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas.
“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Pillay told the council, citing attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians, including children.
She said Israelis also had a right to live without constant fear of rocket attacks.

Israel's Operation Protective Edge entered its 16th day on Wednesday, marking the 6th day of the IDF's ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.
Three IDF soldiers were killed on Wednesday, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities since the operation commenced to 32.
At least 350 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its ground operation, raising the recent escalation's death toll in Gaza to 655, with some 4,220 wounded.
International efforts to stop the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip have resumed Tuesday, following Monday’s arrival in the region of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the expected arrival of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
On Tuesday, following a rocket attack on Yehud, near Ben-Gurion International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration placed a 24-hour ban on all U.S. flights to and from Israel. Many European airlines also suspended their Israel flights.

As Israel continues to deal with the threat of terrorist rockets flying through its skies, a recent newspaper headline trumpeted the possibility of supernatural protection.
“Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist,” was the headline in the July 18 edition of the Jewish Telegraph.
It was a partial quote from Barbara Ordman, who lives in Ma’ale Adumim on the West Bank.
Her exact quotation was: “As one of the terrorists from Gaza was reported to say when asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: “We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.”

It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city’s Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of “Gas the Jews” and “Kill the Jews”, as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as “little Jerusalem”…
Francois Pupponi, the mayor of Sarcelles, told BFMTV that the violent attacks were carried out by a “horde of savages.”…
Eighteen people were arrested for attacks on shops, including a kosher supermarket, a Jewish-owned chemist and a funeral home. Rioters, who carried batons and threw petrol bombs according to eyewitnesses, were yards from the synagogue when they were driven back by riot police who used tear gas.
“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”…
The government had banned a demonstration planned in Paris for Saturday, but posters were seen around the area which said “Come equipped with hammers, fire extinguishers and batons” and promised a “raid on the Jewish district”.
Last year, per the NYT, slightly less than 3,300 French Jews emigrated to Israel, a rate of not quite 10 a day. According to the HuffPo post quoted above, more than 1,000 French Jews have made aliyah in the last 10 days alone — at a moment when Israel is in a hot war with Hamas, with rockets being fired at Israeli cities and the FAA suspending flights to Tel Aviv due to a risk of attack. At a rate of more than 100 a day, Jews in France would rather take their chances with Hamas itself than with Hamas’s degenerate supporters on the continent. In Israel, at least, the IDF’s there to protect you; who’ll protect you in France from this, especially as demographics in Europe change?
The town held an interfaith service after the attacks attended by France’s chief rabbi and an imam, which is encouraging. Think it’ll stem the outflow of Jewish citizens, though, who’ve decided that they’ve seen this movie before and aren’t keen on a re-release?

UN Head Ban Ki-moon: 'Predictable, Uninformed, Dangerous Drivel'

This first review comes from the American Thinker and perfectly characterized 'the nations' reaction to the Gaza crisis:

What part of “death to Jews!” and all that goes with it do some people not understand?

On Tuesday, a UN delegation, lead by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli leaders. At the end of the day, the Secretary General and the Prime Minister offeredstatements (video embedded below).
Prime Minister Netanyahu made an opening statement that was strong and clear.

He spoke about Islamic terror and jihad. He equated Hamas with al Qaeda, Hezb’allah, ISIS, and the growing list of terror organizations.
He spoke about how Hamas initiated and is now prolonging this conflict. And he spoke of how Hamas is committing a double war crime by targeting innocent Israelis and using Palestinian civilians as human shields.

He spoke about the numerous cease-fire proposals that Israel has accepted and that Hamas has rejected.

He spoke about how, at the request of the international community, Israel provided cement so Palestinians could build schools and hospitals. And he spoke of how Hamas used that very cement to build terror tunnels that are embedded in mosques, hospitals, and schools and that extend into Israel with the purpose of kidnapping and killing as many Israelis as possible.

He spoke about how Israel opened field hospitals to treat injured Palestinians and how Hamas is preventing Palestinians from going to those hospitals.
He spoke about how Israel will do what it needs to do to keep Israeli safe. And he spoke of how no country would tolerate what Israel is subjected to.
Then Ban Ki-moon spoke.

Ban Ki-moon began talking about how “too many Palestinian and Israeli mothers are burying their children.” This struck me as his transitional statement. I knew things would rapidly go downhill and Ban Ki-moon did not disappoint my lowest possible expectations.

“My message to Israelis and Palestinians is the same. Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict.”

And things got even worse.

We must address the “underlying issues including mutual recognition, occupation, despair, and denial of dignity so people do not feel they have to resort to violence to as a means of expressing their grievances. Military actions will not increase Israel’s stability and security in the long run. I fully share and appreciate the legitimate security concern and right to defend your country and citizens. Israel is a democratic strong country and I urge to you to demonstrate fortitude by exercising maximum restraint.”

Hold it. Stop the presses. Did the UN Secretary General just validate terrorism? Did he just suggest that people must resort to violence as a way of expressing their grievances? (And what pathetic groups don’thave grievances these days?) Um, what special class of people did he have in mind? Hmm. Let me guess.

Israelis? No? That’s odd because they certainly seem like they could have an awful lot of grievances piled up at this point.

So, ok then. Palestinians. They have grievances and have no other option than to become violent. Interesting. I notice this rationale seems reserved for this group quite frequently.

And, dear readers, out of respect for your time, I’m not even getting into the Secretary General’s use of the word “occupation,” but do have a quick word about “military actions” as non-solutions.  Um, I’d say unless something dramatic changes for the better in the Middle East (which I don’t see happening anytime soon, or make that, ever), military actions most certainly will increase Israel’s security. A little help from the international community on that front would also be nice.

Anyway, as if not quite satisfied with having his dhimmitude on display, he piled more on as he droned on with the now familiar refrain: that Israel of course has a right to defend herself, but in light of the fact that she’s a strong democratic country, could she please take it easy?

Huh? Israel is supposed to be penalized for being a strong democratic nation? What’s up with that? It makes no sense. Unless at the heart of the matter, you wouldn’t mind seeing her go down.

And then the final bit of pure madness. Unless I misunderstood the Secretary General’s halting English, I do believe I heard him say that there must be one legitimate Palestinian government that adheres to “the PLO commitment to non-violence, the recognition of Israel, and respect for previous agreements.”

And finally: “No barrier can separate Palestinians and Israelis because they share a common future.”

Oh dear. I do believe the Secretary General really outdid himself.

Sir, there must be a barrier. A very large, strong, barrier that keeps the culture of darkness, death, hate, and evil at bay.  

But this is the UN, after all. A body that is useless. Worse than useless. So what should I have expected? Indulge me while I fantasize about something sane.

The UN Secretary General and all world leaders should be condemning Hamas and labeling it as the terror organization that it is. They should acknowledge the fierce battle we are in against jihad. They should be joining with Prime Minister Netanyahu in voicing zero tolerance for those who call for the death of all Jews and the complete destruction of the Jewish state. They should be declaring their commitment to stand with Israel with full support against the forces of evil that seek to destroy her. And they should announce to the world that the forces she is facing are the same forces threatening innocent people the world over as the caliphate grows and evil advances.

But of course no one is saying that. Except, of course, Prime Minister Netanyahu who had a brief response to the UN Secretary General before saying a few words in Hebrew to those in Israel who were listening

The UN's Human Rights Council (HRC) convened Wednesday afternoon in a special meeting to discuss Israel's Operation Protective Edge and its effects in the Gaza Strip where over 643 Palestinians have been killed according to Palestinian medical sources.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, opened the meeting with heavy criticism for the State of Israel saying that it is possibly committing war crimes against the civilian population in Gaza. 

Pillay cited the destruction of homes as a punishment and the killing of Palestinian children as creating the strong possibility that Israel is breaking international law in its military action against Hamas. "Every one of these incidents must be properly and independently investigated," said Pillay.

The Israeli representative, Evyatar Manor, was equally harsh in his reply to the accusations, calling the UN debate a "knee-jerk" reaction, and firmly stating that Hamas is committing war crimes whereas Israel is simply performing its duty to defend itself.

"Israel will destroy Hamas' military infrastructure," Manor told the debate. "However, the Gaza residents are not our enemy. Israel is fully committed to international law," he added.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki responded by urging world powers to end what he called Israel's impunity, adding: "Israel must be held accountable for its crimes." His speech was greeted by loud applause.

The French capital braced Wednesday for a fresh protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza after similar rallies ended in violence and looting, raising concerns in the Jewish community about anti-Semitism.
The government, whose ban on several weekend rallies failed spectacularly after they went ahead anyway and descended into chaos, decided to authorize Wednesday’s protest in Paris after discussions with organizers who gave “security guarantees”, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

The protests over the weekend in Paris and in the suburb town of Sarcelles were marred by clashes between demonstrators and the police that sent locals scurrying as tear gas permeated the air, and scores were arrested.

Other demonstrations were to be held Wednesday in the cities of Lyon, Toulouse, Lille and Reims.
They have been called by far-left groups, pro-Palestinian organisations and some unions.
Another demonstration is due to be held in Paris on Saturday, and it is as yet unclear whether authorities will decide to ban it over fears of unrest.

Senior IDF commanders said Wednesday July 23 that the time had come for a decisive war move. Breaking up the Hamas’ subterranean tunnels would take weeks, they said, but the critical encounter for completing their military mission and bringing the war to a close was still to be fought after three key IDF victories: The battle for Shejaiya grabbed the headlines, but the confrontations in eastern Rafah and eastern Khan Younes in the south were just as important.

The commanders are now urging a large-scale assault on the bunker complex housing Hamas’ top military command and infrastructure. They say it is up to national leaders, i.e., the security cabinet, to determine the military’s next move and the disposition of the forces present on the battlefields of the Gaza Strip.
The tank units could undertake the opening moves for the next, critical stage of the Israeli operation at no more than hours’ notice.

Political circles in Israel agree that after Hamas rejected all the ceasefire proposals floated, the next stage is the war’s expansion for its closing shots. There is no word yet on how they are to be conducted.

The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Wednesday, the 16th day of Operation Protective Edge. The IDF death toll is at 29, with another soldier MIA presumed dead and claimed by Hamas to be in their hands (dead or alive). US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are in the region, but a ceasefire does not appear close. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the operation will continue until sustained quiet is achieved for Israel and Hamas’s terrorist capabilities greatly degraded. Some foreign airlines are suspending flights to Israel after a rocket hit a home near the airport. IDF-Hamas fighting in Gaza remains intensive, Hamas is still trying to carry out attacks in Israel through tunnels, and rockets are still being fired. (Tuesday’s liveblog is here.)

The IDF has struck a terrorist position in Gaza's Al Wafa hospital, illustrating the highly sensitive and illegal use of civilian targets as human shields by Hamas and other Gazan terrorist groups.
IDF sources say that the controversial decision to attack the position was taken after several days in which ground forces came under heavy fire from gunmen positioned inside the hospital grounds. The fire reportedly included both light weaponry and heavy anti-tank missiles directed towards IDF armored vehicles.
"The hospital premises were being used as war rooms and command centers by the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad," said an IDF spokesperson.
The military added that it had repeatedly warned international agenciesand the Palestinian head of the hospital directly about the gunfire from thehospital, as well as several other senior Palestinian officials - but to no avail. Instead, in the past several hours the intensity of the attacks has only increased, posing a real and imminent danger to the lives of soldiersoperating in the area, forcing the IDF to respond with fire of its own.

Also see:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More On MH17

It is becoming more and more apparent that Russia/Putin is being 'punished' and marginalized for not going along with the globalist agenda - Putin addresses this below (second article). It seems to be working. As a result of the downed flight 17 the EU is already threatening to withdraw further from Russia by imposing additional sanctions, as is the U.S. The fix seems to be in. 

As usual - look at who has the most to gain from any 'action' or any such 'incident'. One thing is clear - it sure isn't Russia. The very end of this article is very thought-provoking and worthy of some thought.

Zero Hedge has an interesting review (the question asked at the very end of the article may be the most germane question yet):

U.S. State Department 'Confident' MH17 'Mistakenly' Downed By Separatists, Finds No Direct Link To Russia

UPDATE: Having failed absymally with their earlier release of "information," US intelligence officials have tried to give more information... sadly this does not include any actual evidence, just statements and confirmation of YouTube clips...

Senior U.S. intelligence officials cited sensors that traced the path of the missile, shrapnel markings on the downed aircraft, voiceprint analysis of separatists claiming credit for the strike, and a flood of photos and other data from social media sites.

The officials also for the first time identified a sprawling Russian military installation near the city of Rostov as the main conduit of Russian support to separatists in Ukraine, describing it as a hub of training and weapons that has expanded dramatically over the past month. The officials said that tanks, rocket launchers and other arms have continued to flow into Ukraine


Senior U.S. intelligence officials said they have ruled out the possibility that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the attack.

“That is not a plausible scenario,” said one senior U.S. official, who noted that American intelligence agencies have confirmed that Ukraine had no anti-aircraft missile system within range of the Malaysian flight at the time it was struck.


The official was one of three senior U.S. intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity during a briefing arranged for reporters in Washington


“We are seeing a full-court press by the Russian government to instruct affiliated or friendly elements to manipulate the media environment to spread Russia’s version of the story,” the official said. “What this looks like again is a classic case of blaming the victims.”


The officials also declined to provide more details on the satellites and other sophisticated sensors that enabled them to trace the path of the missile, citing concerns about compromising secret U.S. capabilities.


The U.S. officials said they have confirmed the authenticity of some of those recordings, including one in which the self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Strelkov, claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane at the time the Malaysian aircraft was struck.

Analysis comparing that audio clip to other confirmed recordings of Strelkov’s voice “confirmed these were authentic conversations,” one of the officials said.


“If you listen to Youtube you get that: ‘we’re finding civilians,’” a senior U.S. intelligence official said. Partly for that reason, the official said, “the most plausible explanation to me is [it was] a mistake.”

So once again no actual evidence... conjecture on 'unknown' recordings provided by Ukraine (ignoring for a moment the fact that the ones that have been released publicly have been proved false). Illustrations of a large Russian military base near the border of Ukraine... well is anyone surprised by that?

With a somewhat shocking lack of evidence, AP reports that US officials (on condition of anonymity) have stated that intelligence suggests Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was mistakenly shot down by separatists and can find no link to Russia.
However, the unnamed non-proof-providing officials believed Russia "created the conditions" for the downing of MH17. For now there is not even a YouTube clip to confirm this... as officials do not make the new technical evidence public...

As opposed to Russia's detailed 30-minute press conference,


Senior U.S. intelligence officials say they have no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

They say the passenger jet was likely felled by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and that Russia "created the conditions" for the downing by arming the separatists.

The officials briefed reporters Tuesday under ground rules that their names not be used in discussing intelligence related to last week's air disaster, which killed 298 people.

They said they did not know if any Russians were present at the missile launch, and they wouldn't say that the missile crew was trained in Russia.

A senior official said the most likely explanation was the plane was shot down by mistake.

So - to sum up - having told the world that they would release details surrounding intelligence about the MH17 disaster, US officials have pulled a "trust us" moment... blamed the "terrorists" and given themselves an out with Putin... all with absolutely no public proof whatsoever...
*  *  *

Which leaves us with one question - What happened between The White House and Putin (and perhaps Merkel) that ended with this lowering the tone of the debate?

In the article below - we see Putin addressing the globalist movement and his feelings about that, which is very interesting and unexpected:

'We Will react To NATO Build-Up' - Key Putin Quotes From Defense Policy Address

Moscow will respond to NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at the emergency Security Council meeting in Moscow. Here are his key quotes on Russia’s defense, Western sanctions, and violence in eastern Ukraine.

We shall provide an adequate and well-measured response to NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, and we shall take note of [the West] setting up a global missile defense architecture and building up its arsenals of precision-guided weapons,” Putin said on Tuesday.
No matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what’s going on. As it stands, NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas. Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale.”

On sanctions and sovereignty

Putin has criticized the rounds of sanctions that the US and EU have imposed on Russia, which began during Crimea's accession to Russia and continued after the MH17 plane crash in Ukraine.

The very concept of the state sovereignty is becoming diluted. Unwanted regimes and countries that are trying to exercise independent policy or simply stand in the way of someone’s interests are getting destabilized,” Putin said.
Attempts aimed at destabilizing the social and political situation, throwing off Russia and striking at its vulnerable and soft spots have been and will be made,” he added.
According to Putin, Western states are trying to “make Russia agreeable so that certain matters at the international arena are resolved in favor of other countries.”
The so-called competitive struggle at the international arena will imply the use of tools in both economic and political fields. This will include the potential of security services, modern information and communication technologies, and connections of dependent, puppet NGOs – the so-called soft power,” Putin pointed out. “Apparently, some countries regard it as democracy.”