Operation Protective Edge News Roundup, As Israel Withdraws from Gaza Completely


idf-tankThe Israel Defense Forces withdrew its ground troops from Gaza today.

“We have no forces within Gaza,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

Israel is implementing the Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect this morning, from “defensive positions” outside Gaza, the IDF said.

IDF Withdraws from Gaza as Rockets Are Fired at Israel

Up until the very last moment today, , Palestinians in Gaza fired rockets at southern and central Israel, as well as the Jerusalem area. Rockets were fired at the Gaza border communities, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Gan Yavne, Ma’ale Adumim, the Shfela area, Rishon LeZion and Rehovot. Shrapnel from an intercepted rocket fell in a main street in Jerusalem. (

Gaza Rocket Hits Arab Home near Bethlehem

A rocket fired at Israel from Gaza struck the home of the Attoun family in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem on Tuesday morning. The rocket caused damage to the building and to the electricity network in the area.

Iran Says It Gave Missile Technology to Hamas

Hamas is able to fire missiles into Israel because Tehran provided the weapons technology, senior Iranian official Mohsen Rezaei said Monday.

“Palestinian resistance missiles are the blessings of Iran’s transfer of technology,” he said.

Netanyahu: Link Rehabilitation of Gaza to Its Demilitarization

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday: “The campaign in Gaza is continuing. What is about to conclude is the IDF action to deal with the tunnels, but this operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period. We struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations….We are demanding that the rehabilitation of Gaza be linked to its demilitarization.”

Reporting the Gaza Death Toll

How many people have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began in early July? And who are the dead? Supporters of Israel say the raw casualty numbers coming from Gaza are suspect, both in size and in composition. They assert that the Hamas-controlled health ministry and pro-Palestinian NGOs inflate and distort the figures to poison world opinion about Israel. Unlike conflicts in Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, Israel’s military campaign is taking place amid intense Western media coverage.

As of Monday, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that 1,888 Palestinians had died in Gaza since July 8. But how many of those killed are Hamas fighters? And how many people have died from errant rocket fire from within Gaza by Hamas itself. An Israeli government official said about half of those killed have been Hamas combatants, and the number could rise once Israeli intelligence sources vet all the names of those killed. This is consistent with what Israeli officials found in investigations after Israel’s operations in Gaza in 2008-2009 and 2012.

IDF: 900 Terrorists Killed in Gaza Campaign

Some 900 operatives from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror groups were killed in Gaza since July 8, a senior Israeli military source said Tuesday. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the army had completed its mission of destroying 32 Hamas attack tunnels that crossed into Israeli territory. The war in Gaza has claimed the lives of 64 soldiers, 11 of whom were killed by Hamas gunmen emerging from the tunnels. Over 3,000 rockets were launched at Israeli cities.

IDF: Gaza Operation May Improve Security in the South

“Operation Protective Edge will lead to fundamental changes to the situation in the south,” a senior IDF officer said. “The arrangement won’t be like those reached after previous operations [in Gaza]. This one will put an end to the reality that southern communities have lived in from 2005 to 2014.”

“The task of keeping Hamas from rearming is possible, because that involves just Israel and Egypt.” “They want to arm themselves, and we assume they will dig tunnels. The security situation in Gaza is now better than it was, as the tunnels have been destroyed, at least the ones we know about. I believe the security for the residents of the border area will be much better in the near future.”

IDF: Gaza 2014 Is Worse Off than Lebanon 2006

More than 60% of Hamas’ rocket manufacturing system has been taken out by Israeli strikes during Operation Protective Edge, a senior IDF officer said on Sunday. “Gaza begins its reconstruction process in a much worse place than Lebanon was in 2006 [after the Second Lebanon War].” The IDF estimates that Hamas now has only one-third of the 9,000 rockets it possessed before the operation began.

Redeployment Serves Israel Well

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror writes in Yisrael Hayom that to demilitarize Gaza by seizing weapon systems and arm-production facilities, as well as a crackdown on terrorists, would take months. Israel can afford to hold off on an occupation of Gaza because Hamas has not been able to inflict significant damage on the home front – thanks to the Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Palestine and Double Standards

Bret Stephens writes: Over the weekend there was saturation coverage of an Israeli strike near a UN-run school that killed 10 people, three of them members of Islamic Jihad. The State Department pronounced itself “appalled.” At the same time, more than 1,500 Pakistani civilians have been reported killed and more than a half-million residents were displaced since the government’s offensive began in mid June. If there was a similar outcry with respect to the conduct of Pakistan’s army, I must have missed it.

In Iraq, some 1,600 people were killed in the month of July. In Syria, more than 1,800 people have been killed in just the last 10 days. In Libya, roughly 200 people were killed last month in artillery and rocket clashes between rival militias. In Nigeria, nearly 3,000 people have been killed so far this year, and another 500,000 have been made refugees.

People often point out how peculiar it is that the Jewish state seems to arouse a level of condemnation that never seems to apply equally elsewhere. But perhaps the real racism is the indifference to Muslim suffering around the world when the person dropping the bomb or pulling the trigger is another Muslim. (Wall Street Journal)

Hamas Has Committed Six Types of War Crimes

Bar-Ilan University law professor Avi Bell, an expert on international law, told a conference in the Knesset Wednesday that Hamas has committed six types of war crimes according to International Criminal Court (ICC) regulations. The first is that they attacked soldiers and civilians indiscriminately and any attack on civilians is a war crime. Second, they used weapons that cannot be aimed at a specific target, namely rockets, which is a crime even if there are no victims. The third war crime is using human shields. The fourth offense was the camouflaging of terrorist activities via protected symbols, such as the transport of Hamas fighters and weapons in Red Crescent ambulances. The use of children aged 15 and under as fighters, which is expressly prohibited, is the fifth war crime. The sixth is attempting to take hostages. (Jerusalem Post)

An Unavoidable War, Unfinished

David Horovitz writes: We can begin to draw some interim conclusions from the Israel-Hamas war. Hamas fired more rockets, further into Israel, than in the two previous rounds of conflict. It has further battered the traumatized south, where a generation has grown up knowing that it might have to dash for shelter any second. And it has brought Tel Aviv and places even further north into the line of fire. And it’s still firing.

Its leadership has survived intact, hidden safely away in underground bunkers deep in the heart of Gaza. Most of its thousands of death-cult fighters have survived too. Much of their weaponry is intact.

However, Israel can claim significant achievements of its own. The Hamas attack tunnels, a central part of the Hamas strategy, have been largely defanged, for the time being. The Iron Dome rocket defense system has performed miracles. Hundreds of rockets, whose impact could have caused immense loss of life and widespread devastation, were blown out of the sky.

Israeli troops killed hundreds of Hamas gunmen, proving capable of overcoming the enemy on its home territory, despite its years of planning and preparation, bomb-planting, tunneling and booby-trapping. And Israel’s population showed impressive resilience under rocket fire, and unity behind the IDF and the political leadership. (Times of Israel)

Do You Understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Asaf Zilberfarb writes:  I wonder how many of those citing the blockade on Gaza as the reason for the increasing violence ever realized that rocket attacks began years before the blockade was ever imposed. How many people know that more than 30 terror tunnels were unearthed in Gaza by Israel in just a couple of days; tunnels over a mile long, leading to Israeli dining rooms and kindergartens.

How many of the people who so vigorously justify rocket attacks on my home, who dare undermine my suffering because such rockets are “just fireworks” and I am “lucky” to have a shelter, would have agreed to be as “lucky” as me, to take my place, and have rockets fired at their homes.

I wonder how many of them realize that they are legitimizing and defending an al-Qaeda-like organization, whose leaders praised Osama Bin Laden as a “holy warrior?” The writer served for four years in the Israel Defense Forces before enrolling as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. (New Hampshire Union Leader)

For Hamas, War in Gaza Is a Step toward the West Bank

Hussein Ibish reports: A primary aim of Hamas has been to establish itself as the principal Palestinian diplomatic and political address for Gaza, placing it on a par with the PA in Ramallah. The inclusion of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in a Fatah-led delegation to Cairo for cease-fire talks could be seen as a step forward for the militants. So can the U.S. seeking to use the good offices of Turkey and Qatar as leverage with Hamas, at the expense of the PA and Egypt. The writer is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine. (National-UAE)

We Will Pay a Terrible Price for Supporting Hamas

Leo McKinstry writes in the Daily Express-UK: British Labour leader Ed Miliband called Israel’s incursion into Gaza “wrong and unjustifiable.” Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown described Israel’s approach as “very foolish” and “disproportionate.” But all this populist anti-Israeli posturing is dangerous. It shows not the slightest grasp of the reality of Islamist aggression in the Middle East and the depth of the challenge that Israel faces.

In practice, denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a suicidal disdain for the interests of Western civilization.

Israel is fighting a real war against a fanatical enemy – the Hamas terror network, dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. The present conflict was started by Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Britain would not tolerate an aerial assault without striking back, so why should Israel?

In this context the parrot cry for negotiations is fatuous. Hamas, an offshoot of the infamous Muslim Brotherhood, is not interested in a peace settlement, only in the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people. So on what aspect of anti-Semitic genocide is Israel supposed to negotiate with Hamas?

Israel has to break Hamas’ ability to wage war. Only by defeating terrorists can peace be achieved. Rather than carping from the sidelines, Western politicians should support that goal. Israel is a bulwark of civilization against Islamism. Ultimately we will pay a terrible price if we betray this heroic nation.

IDF Soldier Chased Kidnappers into Tunnel

After Lt. Hadar Goldin was kidnapped on Friday in Gaza, Lt. Eitan dashed into the tunnel moments after the kidnapping to try to retrieve him.

Against army regulations, and despite the great danger of the tunnel being booby-trapped, Lt. Eitan went in with his command team and chased them for hundreds of meters.

During the chase, he and his men found remains that allowed the rabbinate to rule, according to Jewish law, on the death of Lt. Goldin.

Poll: More Americans Sympathize with Israel

Mark Murray of NBC News reports: 54% of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel, compared to 7% who sympathize with Hamas, a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist poll conducted July 28-31 finds.

Syrians Left to Fend for Themselves as World Focuses on Gaza

July saw over 1,500 Syrians killed in a single week – higher than the Palestinian death toll. But Syria has been pushed to the bottom of the world’s list of priorities. No new diplomatic endeavors were launched to solve the crisis there.

American aid for the rebels is waiting for Congress’ approval. There are over 3 million refugees. The fact that the Islamic State has taken over parts of Syria and Iraq is quickly becoming accepted as the new reality.

UK Supermarket Chain Forced to Close Stores after Pro-Palestine Demonstrations

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s was forced to close stores in Birmingham, Brighton, Whitechapel and Brixton after pro-Palestine demonstrations were held in response to the retailer stocking Israeli goods.

The Barclays Bank main branch in Brighton was also occupied.

On Gaza Border, an Israeli Field Hospital Stands Empty

Throughout Operation Protective Edge more than 400 Palestinians have passed through the Erez Crossing in local ambulances seeking medical treatment in Israeli and West Bank hospitals.

On July 21, the IDF opened a military field hospital at the Erez border terminal, meant to provide emergency treatment for civilians injured in Gaza. But during a recent visit, the hospital was completely empty.

Since its establishment, the hospital has treated some 50 Palestinians. The few patients who did arrive at Erez were either picked up by IDF fighting units, or referred by UNRWA or the Red Cross.

“We encounter deep suspicion from patients,” said Lt. Col. Sharon Biton of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the IDF branch entrusted with Palestinian civilian affairs. The primary force keeping Palestinians away was Hamas.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}