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Today's News

August 20, 2014


IDF Hits Gaza Targets After Rockets Strike Near Be'er Sheva, Ending Cease-Fire

 By Combined Israel Faxx News Services


Israeli Air Force planes hit 10 Palestinian rocket sites and other targets in northern Gaza Tuesday afternoon, after terrorists reportedly fired five rockets at the Be'er Sheva and Netivot areas. The IDF Spokesman confirmed three of the rocket attacks to The Algemeiner, shortly before 4 p.m..


“Following renewed rocket attacks at Israel earlier this evening, amidst the ceasefire, the IDF is currently targeting terror sites across the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement. “Yet again, terrorists breach the ceasefire and renew fire at Israeli civilians from Hamas ruled Gaza Strip,” IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said. “This continued aggression will be addressed accordingly by the IDF; we will continue striking terror infrastructure, pursuing terrorists, and eliminating terror capabilities in the Gaza Strip, in order to restore security for the State of Israel."


An IDF strike at the non-functioning airport in southern Gaza injured two children, Palestinian sources told reporters. There are no initial reports of physical injury or damage in the Palestinian salvo into Israel, which hit open areas, according to the army.


Local analysts suggested the Palestinians fired longer-range Grad rockets instead of short-range Qassams or mortar shells, which might indicate an organized strike, and not an attack by splinter groups. The rocket fire breaks a 24-hour extension of a previous cease-fire, reached via indirect Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo between Israel and Hamas. “Today’s rocket attack on Be'er Sheva is a grave and direct violation of the cease-fire to which Hamas committed itself,” Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Mark Regev said in a tweet.


Israel’s negotiating team left cease-fire talks in Cairo, over the rocket attacks, Army radio said, and it was unclear when, or if, they will return.


Gaza based Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masry said in a statement in the wake of the rocket attack, “If Israel wants calm it must accede to the demands and rights of the Palestinians,” according to The Times of Israel.


No red alert sirens sounded in the attack, according to local media. Military sources said the lack of sirens was due to the rockets’ trajectory, which did not reach populated areas. Hamas officials, earlier in the day, complained of what they called “Israeli foot-dragging” in talks, and threatened to take unspecified measures, the radio reported.


It is unclear, at this point what group is behind the attack; local media said the barrage was fired from the northern Sajayeh area, the scene of intense fighting during Operation Protective Edge, although the IDF could not confirm the report to The Algemeiner.


Israel holds Hamas responsible for all hostile activity out of Gaza, and, as such, “this is the 11th ceasefire that Hamas has either rejected or violated,” Regev said.


Municipal authorities across southern and central Israel, including cities in the densely-populated Gush Dan area, including Tel Aviv, Holon, Bat Yam, Rehovot, Rishon Letzion, and adjacent areas have opened bomb shelters in expectation of renewed long-range rocket fire from Gaza. “The IDF Home Front Command has issued orders to open bomber shelters within the 40km range of the Gaza Strip,” a statement read. This range was later extended to 80 kilometers.


The U.S. State Department, long involved in trying to secure Middle East peace, said it is "very concerned" about the new fighting and blamed Hamas.


The five weeks of fighting have left more than 2,000 people dead, most of them Palestinians. It also has left Gaza neighborhoods in rubble from Israeli airstrikes. Sixty-seven Israelis have also been killed.  All but three were soldiers. Norway said if a lasting truce is reached, it will host a conference with Egypt to look for international donors to rebuild Gaza.


Hamas claims to have fired the rockets intercepted over Jerusalem Tuesday night, after claiming responsibility for the barrage against Greater Tel Aviv in steady, non-stop salvos across most parts of Israel from Tuesday afternoon..


The sirens were heard in the capital and its vicinity shortly before midnight. The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted a rocket over the region. There were no physical injuries or damages. Another rocket was aimed at Ben Gurion airport and was intercepted by Iron Dome over Modi'in. Hamas military wing claimed responsibility for firing Fajr 5 and M-75 missiles to central Israel. The last round was aimed at Kerem Shalom, site of the border crossing, through which trucks bearing essentials for the Gaza population pass every day. No casualties were reported.


Two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system over Sderot. Two more rockets were intercepted over Be'er Sheva. Two more rockets exploded in the Eshkol region of southern Israel shortly after 11:30 p.m. They exploded in open areas, causing no physical injuries or damages.


On Tuesday afternoon shortly before 4 p.m., hours before the third extension of a ceasefire in Gaza was supposed to have come to an end, rocket explosions were heard in Be'er Sheva.


The last rockets fired at Israel by Hamas came last Wednesday night when the ceasefire was extended. That night, Hamas fired eight rockets between the three hours before and up to an hour after the extension went into effect.


On Monday trains to Sderot were cancelled over fears that the rocket fire would imminent resume at midnight with the end of the ceasefire, a ceasefire that was extended by an additional 24 hours.


As Gaza terrorists breached the cease-fire and renewed their rocket fire on Israeli civilian centers Tuesday, Arab terrorists in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem apparently didn't want to be left out of the action. Two Molotov cocktail attacks were launched in the eastern part of Jerusalem late Tuesday night.


In the first incident two firebombs were hurled at an Egged bus driving on Jericho Road towards Moti Gur St., which passes adjacent to the Old City to the east.


One of the two Molotov cocktails exploded on impact, setting the bus on fire. No injuries were caused, but the bus was damaged in the attack; police began a search for the terrorists.


In another attack that occurred shortly thereafter, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Jewish home in the Arab-majority Shiloach neighborhood, located just to the south-east of the Old City and known by Arabs as Silwan. The firebombs burst into flames, setting the roof of the building on fire. Firefighting crews arrived quickly to fight the blaze, while police forces started searching for the perpetrators.


The attacks come not long after Arab terrorists threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli car on Saturday night in the Gush Etzion area of Judea near Bethlehem. The 40-year-old Beitar Ilit driver suffered first- and second-degree burn wounds, as well as a cut to his head from a stone thrown in the attack.


It is worth noting that "moderate" Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, through it's "military wing" Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, recently declared it would be increasing terror attacks against Israel.


The terror group in Judea and Samaria has declared "open war" on Israel. That call was accompanied by a shooting attack south of Bethlehem last Sunday, after another shooting attack a week before in Neve Tzuf. A wanted Fatah terrorist was killed by IDF forces near Shechem last Monday, after he refused to turn himself in and opened fire on the soldiers.


DEBKAfile reports a flood of complaints have reached the IDF Home Command from the public about a new order against activating rocket alerts when open spaces inside towns – and not buildings - are threatened. In the last two weeks, Rosh Ha’ayin, Kiryat Gath, Jerusalem’s Har Homa suburb, Gush Etzion and, on Tuesday, Be'er Sheva, came under rocket attack, without their inhabitants receiving any warning. Furthermore, drivers are no longer alerted to incoming rockets targeting the roads or highways on which they are traveling.


This new practice should be abandoned without delay and the alarms reactivated in full.  Rocket fragments and large metal pieces from rockets intercepted by Iron Dome frequently drop over open ground in inhabited areas and busy streets. The public must be given due warning to seek shelter in time.


With the school year set to begin September 1, the Education Ministry has decided to dedicate the first two weeks to Operation Protective Edge and its aftermath.


Schools and kindergartens nationwide, especially in southern Israel, have been instructed to incorporate various activities aimed at addressing the students' emotional needs, in the hope of easing them back into the school year after a war-marred summer holiday.


Schools in the communities adjacent to the Israel-Gaza Strip border have been instructed to pay special attention to the psychological impact the fighting has had on the children, many of whom were essentially forced to leave their homes for the duration of the military campaign.


The Education Ministry said it would provide additional staff to kindergartens in the area, as needed. Meanwhile, Kibbutz Nahal Oz has decided to fortify the two kindergartens it operates by surrounding them with security walls. The two kindergartens already have fortified roofs, based on earlier security protocols that focused on roofs as the weak spots through which rockets could penetrate the buildings.


Hamas declared on Tuesday night that Israel had “opened the gates of hell.” In a statement, the group’s so-called “military wing” said that it had resumed the rocket fire on Israel because the Israeli Air Force had launched an airstrike on a home in Gaza. The group warned that “the price will be a heavy one”.


Senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq warned, according to AFP, "Israel will not enjoy security so long as the Palestinian people do not, and it started it."


Israel Leaders’ Stubborn Belief in Hamas' Desire for War's End Led the Country Back to War

 By DEBKAfile (Analysis)


Most Israelis were stunned Tuesday afternoon when rocket fire suddenly erupted from the Gaza Strip against Be'er Sheva and Netivot, after they had been lulled into a sense of false security by the suspension of Hamas attacks for 135 hours. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon sent the air force straight back into action to bomb “terror targets’ across the Gaza Strip, and recalled Israel’s negotiators from the indirect talks taking place with Hamas in Cairo through Egyptian intermediaries.


After a month of tough fighting and painful losses, Israelis were aghast to find themselves dumped back in the same old routine, which their leaders had vowed Operation Defensive Edge would end once and for all. By midnight Hamas had fired around 50 rockets in a steady stream across most of Israel, including Greater Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. So what went wrong?


DEBKAfile reports that, as recently as Monday, a senior intelligence source asserted that Netanyahu and Ya’alon were satisfied with the Cairo talks, because their outcome would refute their critics, ministers and security chiefs alike, by bringing Hamas to its knees. Asked how this would come about, the source repeated the mantra heard day after day during the fighting: Hamas is looking for a way out of the conflict and wants to end hostilities, he explained. That is what we are banking on.


AMAN chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi is believed by some cabinet sources to be the author of this prescription, to which the prime minister and defense minister have stubbornly adhered, against all the evidence to the contrary. They therefore held back from inflicting a final defeat on the Palestinian fundamentalists. Even the pro-diplomacy Justice Minister Tzipi Livni faulted them by warning repeatedly that negotiating with terrorists was a bad mistake. You have to fight them and beat them hollow, she said.


Yet each time Hamas violated a ceasefire – and it happened six times in all – there was the excuse that its leaders were divided against themselves, and the heads of the Gaza faction were reasonable and logical individuals who would prefer to stop firing rockets at the Israeli population - if only it was only up to them.


Even when the rockets started falling Tuesday around Be'er Sheba, Netivot, Ashkelon, Shear Hanegev and the Eshkol district, some knowledgeable Israelis were still saying that Hamas knew nothing about it. However, Netanyahu and Ya’alon are not about to change course, although it is obvious even to them that they have led the country into the blind alley of a war of attrition. They seem to be operating on a different level from Hamas – and even from the general Israeli population, which is sick and tired of the uncertainty and on the verge of kicking back at its leaders.


Last Saturday, 30,000 demonstrators from southern Israel and their many sympathizers turned out in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, to make sure the government understood that their tolerance for the same old routine was at an end and the military must be allowed to root out the Hamas peril once and for all.


Christian Zionists Worldwide Tell Israel: 'You're Not Alone'



A soulful country music video has been produced by members of the American Christian organization HaYovel, which declares resoundingly in line with its title: "Israel, You're Not Alone."


The song is written by Zac Waller, a leader of HaYovel who wanted to do something to help Israel. He put that desire into expression in a top-quality Nashville, Tennessee recording studio. "Israel, You're Not Alone" was filmed in downtown Nashville and rural Franklin, Tennessee in less than half a day.


HaYovel then reached out to Christians worldwide, enlisting them in the project by having them film themselves with signs showing their firm support for Israel. In just a short time, videos came in from the UK, America, Australia, South Africa and Canada.


The filming in Tennessee was conducted just two days before Waller and roughly 500 American Christian volunteers were scheduled to fly to Israel to support farmers in Judea and Samaria.






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This promotional film - in English for an American audience - shows Israel as it was three years after the War of Independence .

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 Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost

By Don Canaan (Commentary)

This year marked the 29th anniversary of the return of the Sinai by Israel to Egypt--a day of mourning by many of the 2,000 settlers who settled and later were forcibly evacuated by Israeli authorities under the command of Ariel Sharon, from the seaside city of Yamit on the Mediterranean.

Yamit was former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's dream--a projected seaport and city of 250,000 founded on the Sinai sand dunes overlooking date palm trees and the blue Mediterranean--a populated buffer between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the other side of the Suez Canal.

Some alternate historians say Moses and the children of Israel passed near the site of Yamit 3,500 years ago as they wandered for 40 years through the Sinai Desert on their way to the proverbial land of milk and honey.

Since April 25, 1982 only the whine of the desert wind weaves its currents through the crevices of destroyed homes, businesses and monument--a memorial to the young men who died during the 1967 Six Day war.

Christians, Jews and Muslims died during three Arab-Israeli wars and battles that took place in the Sinai in 1956, 1967 and 1973--Egyptian and Israeli--young people who fought and died in that desolate, forsaken desert wasteland.

The modern-day chariot carrying Egyptian President Mohammed Anwar al-Sadat hugged the intermittently green coastline of Sinai on its historic mission to Jerusalem. Israelis glancing upward into the clear night sky saw merely a jet banking gently to the northwest.

Official Israeli government policy was that the settlers had to be removed and the army came and forcibly removed the remaining diehard residents. The Jerusalem Post described the scene: Apocalypse had arrived in Yamit and in the dust and noise and destruction one could wander freely. Dozens of bulldozers and giant mobile air hammers were loose in the city like a pack of predatory beasts."

April 25, 20011 marked the 29th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Yamit and Sinai and a cold peace between long-term enemies.

That gift of peace silently glided overhead as the Sabbath disappeared and the stars appeared. At 8:01 p.m. Sadat's jetliner landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and the first minutes of a then potential peace came to the Middle East.

Old enemies became new friends. The crowds roared its approval when Sadat shook hands with Moshe Dayan. A person standing nearby, according to the Jerusalem Post, said Sadat told Dayan, "Don't worry Moshe, it will be all right."

The peace treaty between the two nations was signed on March 26, 1979 and on April 25, 1982; the events that had started on a November day at Camp David came to fruition. Sinai was returned to Egypt. Yamit was bulldozed to the ground. But Anwar Sadat did not live to see that day. He had been assassinated seven months before.



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