Is There Ever A ‘Right Time’ To Assassinate A Head Of State?

Is There Ever A ‘Right Time’ To Assassinate A Head Of State?

Those of you who know me know that I am a person who wishes only peace and kindness in a world of absolutely no violence at all, for any reason. Now is the problem, in that violence is a very excepted form of our reality today. That first sentence was more like ‘fantasy land’ I know, I know that as long as there are humans in our current form, there will be hate and violence. Today I am asking you to consider the assassination of a Head of State (hopefully not your own), if you think there is ever such a thing as a case where you would give the order or even pull the trigger yourself? The on purpose taking of any life, even the life of a rabbit a cat or a dog should never be done carelessly, or thoughtlessly.  The taking of a human life is sometimes a necessity, at least in my mind. Have you heard the question (I didn’t create this question, nor do I know who did), “if you could go back in time and kill Adolf Hitler while he was still a baby, would you do it, could you yourself do it”?

 

For purpose of argument I want to take us back to pre-Iraq invasion in March of 2003. The people of Iraq hated their leader “Saddam” yet they themselves never struck him down, why? Were Saddam’s security forces that good? There is no doubt that Saddam was a very bad person and that his own people were scared of him, for good reasons. My question with this example is if the American Government (George W. Bush) wanted to bring Saddam to justice (end of a rope) why not have spread out a few of our well-trained snipers and find an opportunity to give Saddam a little gray pill between his ears? Wouldn’t one well placed bullet have been better than an open-ended war where hundreds of thousands have died?

 

Now let us go to the modern-day situation’s we find ourselves in. Today I am only going to concentrate (for an example) on the ‘living god’ President of North Korea. If you have paid any attention to the world going on around your/our little space, the very evil and obviously insane President of North Korea has been threatening to attack other nations (U.S., Japan, South Korea) with nukes. A Head of State who makes such statements is equivalent to declaring war on you! So, when, if ever, is it okay to give the ‘god king’ a splitting headache?

 

At what point will the government of China get tired of backing this man and get rid of him themselves? Is there such a point? If China’s President, Xi Jinping were to summon Kim Jung Un to China and once there give Kim personal guarantees of China keeping him in power in North Korea as long as Kim ‘plays ball’ with the U.S. and doesn’t start a war on the Korean Peninsula. There could easily have been offered the two edge sword, Xi could promise Kim that if Kim did not ‘play ball’ that either China would totally shut down all commerce in and out of North Korea and that China would back North Korean assassins to put in a Regime change.

 

For a moment let us consider Terrorist groups like Hamas who control the Gaza Strip in Israel, should their very top leaders be considered as untouchable Heads of State, or mass murdering wild dogs? Do you doubt that some of/all of, these terrorist groups would kill your country’s leader if they could get the chance to? How about ‘The Supreme Ruler’ in Iran, does he count as a Head of State? The taking of another life should never be done lightly, but my question is whom decides who the order is given to pull the trigger on someone by? Your President, CIA Director, NSA Director, a General at the Pentagon? How about the E-1 Army private who has one of these evil people in their cross-hairs? I did not say that I was giving any answers on this subject matter today, like always, I am just trying to get people to think for themselves. Folks, life is a conversation piece, live it.

Israel-You Must Stand On Higher Ground And Not Abuse It

Israel-You Must Stand On Higher Ground And Not Abuse It

 

As almost all of my regular readers probably know all ready, I am very much a ‘Pro-Israel’ believing type of person, but, this does not mean that I give the people of Israel nor the government of Israel carte Blanche status.

 

As the people of Israel know, a couple of years ago an IDF Soldier shot and killed a wounded unarmed Palestinian man laying in the street. About a month ago in the Times Of Israel Paper I read that the Soldier had been sentenced to 20 months in jail but that he was going to be getting out about 4 months early because of good behavior while in jail. So, the Government of Israel decided that for this crime (my total opinion is that this was a case of first degree murder) the punishment was about 16 months in prison. Would justice have been counted the same by the people of Israel and the Government of Israel if a Hamas Member or Hezbollah Member killed an Israeli Soldier in like manner? Since the Sentence has been handed down, and the Time has been served the Sergeant should face no further jail time. Israel, the world is watching you. If you are a “godly” people, you are under the obligation toward God to prove it by your righteous.

 

The failed Government of Hamas, they do what failing Governments have done for thousands of years, they create a war. I know that Hamas’s war is rather unique in the fact that they have been at war with Israel ever since they began as an Islamic Movement. There is also the fact that Hamas has never actually had anything approaching a quality infrastructure. This past month with Hamas’s sponsored “March Of Return” (which is destined to either total victory, or total defeat, no draws) there is no doubt that the Rulers of Hamas are desperate. Yet the IDF Soldiers at the Fence area must use restraint whenever possible. This is just a personal idea, but what do you think of it? Each IDF soldier be issued one ten round clip each day of rubber bullets, then all the rest of the clips with live rounds. If a Soldier fires any live rounds they must have video of why they had to fire 10 rubber rounds, and why they felt they had the right or the necessity to use any live rounds. Do not kill if it is not required that you have to kill. Israel, take the High Ground, always!

Islamic Jihad Sets Sniper Sights On Top IDF Commanders

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Islamic Jihad sets sniper sights on top IDF commanders in threatening new video

Iran-backed Gaza-based terror group shows footage of IDF’s head of Southern Command and top liaison to the Palestinians filmed on Gaza border

The Gaza-based, Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Thursday released a video showing IDF soldiers and senior officers in the crosshairs of a sniper, threatening the commanders on Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

In the video, the sniper appears to train his sights on Israeli troops and officers at the Gaza border fence. Among those seen is Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Defense Ministry’s outgoing head of liaison to the Palestinians, as well as Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir.

“You murder our people in cold blood and think you are protected, when the scopes of our snipers have been set on your senior commanders,” the terror group wrote in Hebrew and Arabic at the end of the video.

The video shows the sniper in a house in Gaza along with other Islamic Jihad members while observing the generals, who are seen alongside other IDF soldiers.

Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, is seen alongside other senior IDF commanders through the crosshairs of a sniper in a video released on April 19, 2018, by the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Mordechai, the Defense Ministry’s outgoing Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories, has toured Israel’s border with the Strip during the last few weeks along with Zamir to coordinate a response to widespread Palestinian protests that have led to bloody clashes.

He is defined by Israeli authorities as an individual under threat from Hamas, the terror organization which rules Gaza, and has had security forces guarding his house since the 2014 Gaza war.

The edited footage was apparently filmed during the Friday demonstrations in recent weeks dubbed the “March of Return,” according to the Ynet news site.

Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the border with Israel, east of Gaza city in the central Gaza strip, on April 13, 2018. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

The encampments set up as part of the protests will be moved 50 meters closer to the border with Israel on the fourth protest slated for this Friday, the organizers of the mass demonstrations announced on Wednesday.

The National Forum for the March of Return, one of several Palestinian groups behind the weekly demonstrations, said that the decision came to “affirm our right to return” — a reference to the Palestinian demand that Israel allow tens of thousands of refugees and their millions of descendants to “return” to homes and lands inside Israel which they left or were forced from during Israel’s 1948 Independence War.

Egypt has reportedly been exerting pressure on Hamas and other Palestinian groups to halt the mass protests. The Egyptians, according to reports, have expressed fear that the demonstrations could spin out of control and ignite another war between Hamas and Israel.

A Palestinian youth swings a sling shot during clashes after a demonstration near the border with Israel, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 1, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

According to the Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip, 35 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire since the beginning of the marches three weeks ago. Hamas has acknowledged that several of those killed were its members, and Israel has identified other fatalities as members of terrorist groups.

Last Friday, at least 10,000 Gazans took part in large-scale demonstrations, with the IDF saying some protesters hurled an explosive device and firebombs at Israeli troops deployed at the border, as well as making “several attempts” to damage the fence and cross over into Israeli territory. A week earlier, about 20,000 Palestinians took part in the demonstrations, and the week before an estimated 30,000.

Ahmed Abu Rtaimeh, a member of the National Forum for the March of Return, said on Wednesday that the demonstrations would continue “with full force” in the coming weeks.

He told the Hamas-affiliated Al Resalah news website that the March of Return had “imposed a new struggle reality that has vitalized the Palestinians and redefined the Palestinian cause as a cause of a people who want to return to their country.”

Israeli governments have rejected the notion of a mass “right of return” for Palestinians into the borders of the state of Israel, arguing that an influx of millions Palestinians would spell the end of the Jewish nation-state. Israel has called for Palestinian refugees to be absorbed into a future Palestinian state, just as Israel took in hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who left or were forced out of Israel when the country was established, a figure estimated in the low tens of thousands are still believed to be alive. But their descendants, considered refugees under the unique designation afforded by the UN to Palestinians, number in the millions.

At the Gaza border on successive Fridays in recent weeks, Gazans have been holding mass demonstrations, termed “March of Return,” which Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers say ultimately aim to see the removal of the border and the liberation of Palestine.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

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European Parliament condemns Hamas for use of human shields

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

In first, European Parliament condemns Hamas for terror, use of human shields

Resolution still slams IDF’s use of live fire against Gaza marches on border and calls for lifting of Gaza blockade, but Israel says ‘unprecedented anti-Israeli clauses were cut’

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session on February 6, 2018, in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session on February 6, 2018, in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

The European Parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution that denounces Hamas as a terrorist group that uses human shields, calls for Israel’s destruction and “seems to aim at escalating tensions” at the Gaza-Israel border.

The motion also calls for the release of Israeli citizens and the bodies of fallen soldiers held by the Palestinian terror group in the coastal enclave.

The carefully calibrated text, which was the result of intense negotiations between the parliament’s various factions but was eventually jointly submitted by all major political groups, also backs calls for probes into Israel’s use of live ammunition to fend off protesters at the border and calls on Israel to exercise restraint.

It passed with 524 “yes” votes, 30 “no” votes, and 92 abstentions.

Pro-Israel advocacy groups welcomed the resolution, stressing the unusual fact that a European Union body found strong words of condemnation not only for Israel but also for Hamas.

Islamist Hamas terror movement leader Yahya Sinwar (C) shouts slogans as he takes part in a protest near the border with Israel east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / Mohammed ABED)

Idit Rosenzweig-Abu, spokesperson of Israel’s mission to the EU, said “the resolution adopted today is far from being pro-Israeli, however we are satisfied that unprecedented anti-Israeli clauses were cut out of the resolution and, most importantly, we are happy to hear a strong, clear call for the immediate release of the Israeli citizens and the return of the bodies of our soldiers held in Gaza.”

Idit Rosenzweig-Abu (twitter)

The resolution began as starkly anti-Israel, even urging an arms embargo against the Jewish state in its earliest drafts.

The final three-page motion starts off by noting that the now-weekly “March of Return” at the Gaza border was organized by civil society groups, that Hamas asked people to join the marches, and that Israelis reported that stones and firebombs were thrown against troops and that some protesters tried to damage the border fence and infiltrate into Israel.

The text goes on to note that the IDF used live ammunition, killing “close to 30 Palestinians” and wounding thousands.

It then recalls the fact that Hamas is listed by the EU as a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction and continues to launch rockets from Gaza into Israeli territory.

It also states that “Hamas continues to keep the population under control and pressure in the Gaza Strip, which remains a hub of internationally recognized terrorist organizations,” and heavily curtails “basic freedoms, including of association and expression.”

“The European Parliament… Calls for utmost restraint and underlines that the priority must be to avoid any further escalation of violence and loss of life; expresses its regret of the loss of lives; condemns the killings and injuries of innocent Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip over the past three weeks and urges IDF to refrain from using lethal force against unarmed protesters,” the resolution reads.

It goes on to acknowledge “Israel’s security challenges and the need to protect its territory and borders while using proportionate means” and “condemns the terror attacks of Hamas and other militant groups against Israel from the Gaza Strip, including the firing of rockets, infiltrations into Israeli territory, and the building of tunnels.”

The lawmakers then express concern that “Hamas seems to aim at escalating tensions” and “strongly condemns the continuous tactic of Hamas to use civilians for the purpose of shielding terrorist activities.”

Stressing the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest and calling on Israel to respect this right, the motion calls on protest leaders to “avoid any incitement to violence, as well as to ensure that any protests, demonstrations, and assemblies remain strictly non-violent and cannot be exploited for other means.”

While the resolution takes note of the Israeli army’s fact-finding missions into past protests, it supports the calls for “independent and transparent investigations into these violent events,” which had been made by the EU, the United Nations, and many individual states.

“Intentional use of lethal force against protesters who do not pose an imminent threat to life or serious injury violates international human rights law and in the context of occupation is a serious breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” it states.

It also calls for an “immediate and unconditional end to the blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip,” which, it argues, results in “a deteriorating unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the area.”

Oron Shaul, Hadar Goldin and Avraham Mengistu. (Flash90/The Times of Israel)

The resolution demands the “freeing and the return to Israel” of Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israeli citizens held by Hamas in Gaza against their will, and calls for the return of the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two IDF soldiers who fell in the last war between Israel and Hamas. The EU lawmakers also offer “condolences to their families.”

“The above points are extremely important in any discussion regarding the Gaza Strip and I am pleased they were successfully pushed for by the ECR [European Conservatives and Reformists] Group to be included in the EP resolution,” said MEP Anders Vistisen, the vice chair of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, who played a significant role in the negotiations that led to the resolution’s passing.

“Though the resolution is far from perfect and the left continuously seeks to blur reality, the ECR will continue to be the voice of reason,” he added. “I take the opportunity to stand with Israel over its recent mourning of all its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, and I extend my warmest congratulations to Israel for its 70th birthday which is celebrated today.”

The American Jewish Committee’s Europe branch had partial praise for resolution.

“The AJC Transatlantic Institute today praised the European Parliament for condemning Hamas for the war crimes it committed during the recent violent protests, but criticized the EU legislature for urging in its resolution on the situation in the Gaza Strip an ‘unconditional’ end to Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory,” the organization said in a statement.

“We all want to see Gaza become the next Singapore. But calling for the ‘unconditional’ end to Israel’s targeted blockade is at this time – unfortunately – neither realistic nor an even remotely reasonable proposal,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, director of AJC’s EU office.

“The European Parliament deserves praise for its clear-eyed assessment of Hamas’s responsibility for escalating the violent protests. By also spelling out and condemning Hamas’s war crimes – such as using its own people as human shields and firing rockets on Israeli cities – Parliament has taken a principled stand,” said Schwammenthal.

At the same time, “Publicly urging a sister democracy and close friend to investigate in a ‘transparent’ manner seems – at the very least – somewhat out-of-place,” he said.

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Islamic Terrorism Is It Just Murderers For Profit: Or Murderers For Allah?

Islamic Terrorism Is It Just Murderers For Profit: Or Murderers For Allah?

 

In the title I gave you only two options to think about but I would now like to introduce you to a third line of thought, reality is though that there may be many more lines of thought/reality on this issue. What if, it is simply both number one and number two above? What if the teachings of Allah not only gives his followers permission to butcher all non-believers and or believers whom they feel do not ‘believe’ correctly enough, or like Sunni killing Shiite and vise versa, but what if Allah commanded it of his ‘true followers’? What if Allah through his prophet Mohammad teaches and commands these type of actions that we see and hear of daily in our wired world?

 

On February 10th of 2016 a young woman blew her self up killing at least 58 and permanently scaring many more. What is worse is that this blast happened in a “safe haven” area of Nigeria that had been set up to help protect the people who had been chased out of their home areas by murderers such as the Islamic hate group Boko Haram. I brought this attack to your attention because of it being a woman ‘bomber’. It is sickening but hate groups like Boko Haram even strap bombs onto young children, send them into crowds and detonate them. This evening I will close this article to you with a couple of questions, is it possible that the Islamic religion condones groups like Boko Haram, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban and their actions? If you are a free-thinker (have a mind of your own) whether you believe that Allah is God, or whether you don’t, we all are going to be effected by the beliefs of those who do? So, just what is Islam if it teaches that groups like Boko Haram and ISIS are justified in their actions? Believers and non-believers need to search our own souls and ask, is ‘this’, the things we see from them, these groups, “the will of Allah”? If so, what makes you think He is a God and not the Devil Himself? I’m just saying, think for yourself, think!

PA official: Egypt asked Hamas to stop Gaza protests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

PA official: Egypt asked Hamas to stop Gaza protests

Envoys from Cairo said to worry about potential for ‘serious deterioration’; official in the Strip vows to continue demonstrations

A Palestinian man tries to cut through a section of barbed wire at the border fence with Israel, east of Jabalia in the central Gaza city, during a protest on April 13, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

A Palestinian man tries to cut through a section of barbed wire at the border fence with Israel, east of Jabalia in the central Gaza city, during a protest on April 13, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

Senior Egyptian intelligence officials who visited the Gaza Strip on Saturday reportedly asked Hamas leaders to halt the weekly mass demonstrations along the border with Israel.

The Egyptian delegation, headed by Sameh Nabil, who is in charge of the Palestinian portfolio in Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing with Israel.

A Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah said that the Egyptian officials demanded during their talks with Hamas leaders in Gaza City that the terror group end the protests, which began three weeks ago as part of the so-called March of Return.

“The Egyptians are worried that the confrontations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel could lead to a serious deterioration,” the official told The Times of Israel. “The Egyptians are also concerned that the clashes could move to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.”

Egypt has refused to open the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on a permanent basis, a decision that has drawn sharp criticism from Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

Unconfirmed reports in a number of Arab media outlets in the past few days said that Egypt has been pressuring Hamas to halt the “March of Return” in exchange for easing travel restrictions at the Rafah crossing.

Adel Abed Al Rahman, spokesperson for the Egyptian delegation that visited the Gaza Strip, said that the talks with the Hamas leaders focused on the issue of “reconciliation” between the terror group and Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

Israeli soldiers are seen as Palestinian demonstrators protest at the Israel-Gaza border, Friday, April 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo in October 2017 in which they pledged to end their differences and pave the way for achieving Palestinian unity. However, the two rival parties have since failed to reach understandings on the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered deal, and continue to hold each other responsible for its failure.

Abbas has accused Hamas of failing to hand full control of the Gaza Strip over to his Ramallah-based government. He has also threatened to impose new sanctions on Hamas unless it complies with his demands.

Hamas, for its part, has accused Abbas of failing to lift sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip last year, including suspending payments to thousands of civil servants. Hamas has also rejected Abbas’s demand to allow his security forces to deploy in the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian intelligence officials who were trying to mediate between Hamas and Fatah left the Gaza Strip shortly after last month’s attempt on the life of Rami Hamdallah, the PA prime minister. Hamdallah’s convoy was targeted by a roadside bomb as he was on his way to inaugurate a water waste plant in the northern Gaza Strip. Neither he nor PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was also in the convoy, were hurt.

Hamas officials refused to comment on the claim that the Egyptians were pressuring them to halt the “March of Return.”

However, shortly after the Egyptian officials left the Gaza Strip, Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, announced that the mass demonstrations would continue “until they achieve their real goals.”

The protests, Hayya said, will continue until May 15, when Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the Gregorian calendar date for Israel Independence Day.

“Our Palestinian people will continue the marches and the intifada against the Israeli occupation until they achieve the right of return,” Hayya said, referring to the demand that Israel allow Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes inside Israel.

Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the border with Israel, east of Gaza city in the central Gaza strip, on April 13, 2018. (/ AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS )

“The burning of the Israeli flag [during the third Friday of the demonstrations] is proof that we don’t recognize this flag and its owners.”

On Friday, at least 10,000 Gazans took part in large-scale demonstrations, with the Israeli military saying protesters hurled an explosive device and firebombs at Israeli troops deployed at the border, as well as making “several attempts” to damage the fence between Israel and Gaza and cross over into Israeli territory.

Protesters torched tires and burned large Israeli flags, as well as posters of Israel’s prime minister and defense minister. Large plumes of black smoke from burning tires rose into the sky. They also burned pictures of US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Last Friday, about 20,000 Palestinians took part in the demonstrations, with the previous week attracting an estimated 30,000.

More than 30 Palestinians have been killed in the clashes over the part three weeks, according to Hamas-run health authorities. Hamas has acknowledged that several of those killed were its members, and Israel has identified other fatalities as members of terrorist groups.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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COMMENTS

Israel: Liberman calls on Gazans to live peacefully alongside Israel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Liberman calls on Gazan’s to live peacefully alongside Israel

In Holocaust Remembrance Day address, defense minister says it is time for our ‘neighbors from the south’ to ‘change direction’

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a Holocaust memorial ceremony in the Southern Israeli kibbutz of Yad Mordechai, on April 12, 2018. (Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a Holocaust memorial ceremony in the Southern Israeli kibbutz of Yad Mordechai, on April 12, 2018. (Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called on Gazans Thursday to “change direction” and focus on how to live peacefully alongside Israel instead of trying to destroy the country.

Speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event in the Yad Mordechai kibbutz some 5 kilometers (3.5 miles) from the Gaza border, Liberman said that Israel always extends its hand to peace, but will not stand idly by in the face of threats.

“My message to our neighbors from the south — you will never succeed in breaking us. Change direction and start to think, not about how to destroy the State of Israel, but how to exist alongside the State of Israel,” he said.

Although Israel left Gaza over a decade ago, the Hamas terror group still seeks to uproot the Jewish state, Liberman lamented.

“Unfortunately, the battle over our very right to exist as a Jewish and free state continues to this day, even though the State of Israel extended a hand of peace to all its neighbors. We have signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and have left the Gaza Strip up to the last millimeter of the 1967 lines,” he said.

“Today, the leaders of the Gaza Strip threaten to destroy the State of Israel, to return the refugees to Tel Aviv, Haifa and Safed, and sirens blare as a result of their rocket fire at the communities in the south,” he continued.

Liberman defended Israel’s right to protect itself and urged Gaza to change its ways.

“We have the capability to stand and the capability and the right to defend ourselves,” he said. “Therefore, my message to our neighbors in the south is that you will never succeed in breaking us. The spirit, the hope and the faith that accompanied us during the Holocaust and during the War of Independence, is stronger than all our enemies and all who hate us, with all their prejudices — you have no chance.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (center right) and Supreme Court President Esther Hayut (center left) attend a memorial ceremony in the southern Israeli kibbutz of Yad Mordechai, on April 12, 2018, as Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Flash90)

Palestinians have been taking part in mass protests dubbed the “March of Return” on the Gaza border since March 30.

Thirty-four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during the border clashes, according to the Hamas-run Gazan Health Ministry. Israel says it opens fire when necessary to stop damage to the border fence, infiltrations and attempted attacks. It alleges that Hamas, whose leaders have said the demonstrations are ultimately aimed at erasing the border and liberating Palestine, is seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

Last Friday, during the second week of a series of events set to culminate on May 15, about 20,000 Palestinians demonstrated along the Gaza border in what Israel has described as a riot orchestrated by Hamas, and what Palestinians say was supposed to be a peaceful protest.

Israel’s army spokesman Ronen Manelis specified the same evening that eight explosive devices and numerous petrol bombs were thrown during the day and that the IDF faced several attempts “to cut through the fence…. There were attempts to carry out acts of terrorism … using the smoke [from burning tires] for cover,” Manelis said.

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Why Hamas is protesting in Gaza

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Monkey Cage

Why Hamas is protesting in Gaza — and why it will continue

 April 8 at 6:00 AM

Palestinians wave flags as smoke billows from burning tires at the Israeli-Gazan border Friday. (Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

Large protests rocked the border between Gaza and Israel for the second consecutive Friday this past week.
A March 31 rally resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Palestinians, with hundreds injured, as Israeli forces used live ammunition and tear gas to push back protesters. On Friday, nine more people were fatally shot, including a journalist.
While much of the international attention has focused on the actions of the Israel Defense Forces, from inside Gaza, a different set of issues has taken priority. Hamas organized the protests, centered on the right of return for Gazan refugees and their descendants. This represents a new strategic initiative for Hamas, which has been attempting to fuel popular protest since 2015, but until recently had largely failed to generate much interest outside its own constituency.
Hamas is a socio-political and militant movement founded in 1987 to confront the Israeli occupation, periodically exchanging attacks with Israeli forces, and it is considered a terrorist organization by both Israel and the United States. It has been in control of Gaza since 2007.
The Friday protests were part of a season of weekly rallies organized by Hamas under the slogan the “Great March of Return.” Protests are scheduled to continue until May 15, a day traditionally commemorated by Palestinians for their displacement in 1948 and by Israel to celebrate its independence. Significantly, this is also the date the United States plans to officially move its embassy to Jerusalem.
How did Hamas manage to organize broad support for its protests, and why did it choose this form of collective action? Can Hamas sustain protests in the face of severe Israeli reprisals and international indifference? Its ability to do so will depend not only upon the Israeli and American response, but also upon whether its internal organizational structure provides sufficient support to ongoing mobilization and adherence to nonviolent action

What sparked the Gaza protests?

President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem generated widespread anger among Palestinians, many of whom were already disillusioned with the Oslo peace process. Gaza in particular has suffered for years from seemingly endless economic blockade, political isolation and cyclical violence. The Trump administration’s talk of “the deal of the century” did nothing to ease uncertainty among Palestinians, who have been largely left out of the discussions and have been unsettled by leaked details of the deal.
The economic toll of years of blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt because of Hamas’s militant actions have put the Gazan population on edge, and popular discontent with Hamas’s authoritarian rule has been growing for years.
Rapidly shifting regional politics and ongoing political battles with the rival Palestinian Authority have also left Hamas with few sources of external support.
Hamas has frequently sought to generate protest focused on lifting the siege on Gaza, with little real success, but with this protest movement, Hamas has skillfully rechanneled popular grievances toward the Israeli occupation.

Can Hamas sustain nonviolent protest?

Protest demands coordination, discipline and broad participation, which in turn requires a strong level of organization. Last week’s rallies showed that Hamas was able to act as the organizational backbone of an entire season of protest. Yet the question remains as to whether Hamas can continue to function in a cohesive and organized manner in the face of potentially severe repression.
Israel’s forceful response to the recent rallies and the seemingly indiscriminate killings led to international outrage, generating unusual levels of critical attention to Israel and galvanizing greater Palestinian enthusiasm for confrontation. Further Israeli escalationagainst protesters will likely have similar effects, strengthening support and fueling conflict.
What if Israel targeted Hamas’s leadership in Gaza? My research in Gaza suggests that the distinctive organizational structure of Hamas would probably allow it absorb such a response and to sustain protest. Two organizational and mobilizational forms in particular distinguish Hamas from other Palestinian factions and allow it to thrive in conditions of extreme adversity. Inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, Hamas organizes itself in small groups referred to as “families.” These are its cadre incubators, where the education and training of its budding members take place.
These activities feed into channels of upward mobility within the movement. To rise through Hamas’s hierarchy, candidates go through exams and evaluations to prove their mobilizing qualifications and loyalty to the movement over stages. This means that the death or arrest of a high-ranking member does not necessarily create a leadership vacuum that throws the organization into disarray. The removal of a leader simply activates a process at the horizontal level that rapidly elevates a proven member to the suddenly vacant position.
On one hand, Hamas depends on local activism to form potential leaders and maintain the integrity of its structure. But on the other, this resilience is precisely what allows Hamas to continue to play a consequential role in sustaining popular mobilization. Hamas’s muqawama is a type of resistance that is formed from unarmed protests, virtually empowered with and by the civilian population. According to my findings, muqawma — as opposed to militancy — is the strategy that best corresponds to Hamas’s internal organizational structure.

Looking ahead to May 15

Each week of protest leading up to May 15 holds out the prospect for the escalation of violence. Will Hamas be able to sustain a nonviolent campaign despite the primacy of militants in its leadership? Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza who has organized and led the popular protests, hails from the military wing. Israel has justified the killing of protesters in part by identifying several participants as members of its armed wing.
Given the strong presence of Hamas’s military wing in Gaza, will the “success” of the wave of protest develop into a kind of internal referendum on Hamas’s choices of popular muqawama at the expense of its militancy?

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For now, at least, turning its armed wing into nonviolent protesters serves Hamas’s strategy. Hamas is redirecting part of its human capital to serve its political objectives and find a way out of its Gaza straitjacket, while gaining a popular stance as defenders of the Palestinian national interest. It is aware that its major rivals — Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) — are vulnerable to popular muqawama. It believes Israel’s repressive measures will serve only to bolster Hamas’s internal popularity and will invite international support for Palestinians. The PA seems to agree because it has rushed to gain legitimacy from the protests, announcing mourning days for the dead.
Israel and the PA will work to prevent further protests, while Hamas aims to expand them to the West Bank. There is a key precedent; the First Intifada originated in Gaza but expanded to the West Bank in 1987. If muqawama indeed takes on larger proportions, Israel will push hard to militarize it. What remains to be seen with Hamas’s turn toward popular muqawama, however, is whether Hamas will be able and willing to sustain nonviolent protest as tensions and conflicts mount.
Imad Alsoos is a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. His research focuses on a comparative study of Hamas and an-Nahda’s forms of internal and external mobilization.

Hamas leader vows to ‘breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Gaza Hamas leader vows to ‘breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa’

As 4 Gazans killed in violence at fence, Yahya Sinwar tells protesters Strip is ready to explode in Israel’s face, claims the ‘conspiracy of besieging Gaza has failed’

Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, speaks during a protest east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip on April 6, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, speaks during a protest east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip on April 6, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

As thousands of Palestinians demonstrated along the Gaza border on Friday, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, speaking before protesters, warned that the Strip was ready to “explode in the face of the occupation.”

He said the world should “wait for our great move, when we breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa,” referring to the major Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.

Arriving at one of the demonstration sites, Sinwar received a hero’s welcome. He was surrounded by hundreds of supporters who chanted, “We are going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs.”

Friday’s violent demonstration was the second of what Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group said would be several weeks of “March of Return” protests which Hamas leaders say ultimately aim to see the removal of the border and the liberation of Palestine.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered along the Gaza border, burning tires and throwing firebombs and rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and live fire, the army and witnesses said.

Hamas said four Gazans were killed by Israeli fire as of 7 p.m. The IDF said it thwarted multiple efforts to breach the border fence — and that it used live fire to do so in some instances — as well as attempts to activate bombs against the troops under the cover of smoke.

“Rioters have attempted to damage and cross the security fence under the cover of smoke from their burning tires. They also attempted to carry out terror attacks and hurl explosive devices and firebombs,” the IDF said on Friday evening. “Our forces prevented breaches” of the fence.

Sinwar said his terror group was “following in the path of martyr Yasser Arafat in resisting the enemy” and that the “conspiracy of besieging the Gaza Strip, with the hope that its residents would revolt against Hamas, has failed.

Palestinian protestors burn tires during clashes with Israeli security forces during clashes on the Gaza-Israel border in the southern Gaza Strip on April 6, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

“They thought that by putting pressure on the Gaza Strip, the masses would revolt against the Palestinian resistance,” he said.

“They thought the people would launch an uprising against the tunnels and the rockets and the commandos [belonging to Hamas’s military wing]. They thought that if the Gaza Strip is starved, it would give up its principles and would abandon the project of liberation and return.”

Sinwar said that Friday’s demonstrators along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the second of their kind in the past week, “have come out to say that this is the enemy that is besieging us, and that if we explode we will explode in its face.”

The Gaza Strip, he continued, will not starve and will not give up its principles. “If Gaza explodes, it will explode in the face of the occupation,” he added, referring to Israel.

Another senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, said during a similar visit to the protest sites that the demonstrations would continue until the Palestinians return to “all of Palestine.”

“We will not make any concessions even if the whole world conspires against us,” Zahar said.

Gaza leaders have planned a series of marches culminating in a planned million-strong march in mid-May, to coincide with Israel’s 70th Independence Day, the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and Nakba Day — when the Palestinians mark what they call the “catastrophe” that befell them with Israel’s creation.

Israel has accused Hamas of trying to carry out border attacks under the cover of large protests and said it will prevent a breach of the fence at all costs.

On Friday around 20,000 people took part in the demonstrations. Palestinians were burning tires, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air, and others threw Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli soldiers over the border fence, who responded with tear gas and live fire, witnesses said.

Israeli security forces are deployed near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom on the Israeli border with the southern Gaza Strip as smoke billows from tires burnt by Palestinians on April 6, 2018. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said on Friday afternoon that three men were killed and 200 people were injured, five of them in serious condition. The figures could not be independently confirmed.

“Our forces are using riot disposal means and live fire in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the army said.

Israel and Hamas had geared up for another showdown on the border with the IDF deploying snipers and tanks ahead of the expected mass protest, and Palestinians stockpiling thousands of tires which they burned in late morning and through the afternoon. The IDF was using smoke dispersal measures, Army Radio said.

Last Friday, over 30,000 Gaza residents participated in mass demonstrations, many gathering in five tent encampments that had been set up from north to south along the narrow coastal strip’s border with Israel, each at a distance of about several hundred meters from the fence. Smaller groups, mostly young men, rushed forward, throwing stones, hurling firebombs or burning tires and drawing Israeli fire. Two were killed after opening fire on Israeli troops, Israel said, while others tried to breach or bomb the border fence.

In all, 23 Palestinians were killed in Gaza over the past week, most of them last Friday, according to Gaza health officials. This includes a 30-year-old and an 18-year-old who died on Friday of injuries sustained last week, the officials said. Israel has no official death toll figures.

Palestinian men collect tires and burn them at the Israel-Gaza border during a protest east of Gaza City, on April 6, 2018. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said that all those killed last Friday were engaged in violence. He said the army had faced “a violent, terrorist demonstration at six points” along the fence, and that Israeli soldiers had used “pinpoint fire” wherever there were attempts to breach or damage the security fence.

The IDF named and detailed 10 of the dead as members of terror groups including Hamas. (Hamas had earlier acknowledged five of them were its members.) Islamic Jihad later claimed an 11th.

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said on Thursday that the Palestinians will continue their “struggle until they achieve their freedom and restore all their lands.” He said that the Palestinians’ “right to all of the soil of Palestine was absolute and clear.”

An Islamist terror group, Hamas violently took control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew its military and civilian presence from the Strip. Israel and Egypt maintain a security blockade of Gaza. Israel says this is vital to prevent Hamas — which has fought three rounds of conflict against Israel since seizing Gaza, firing thousands of rockets into Israel and digging dozens of attack tunnels under the border — from importing weaponry.

AP contributed to this report.

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Hamas: Protests mark the beginning of our return to ‘all of Palestine’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Hamas leader: Protests mark the beginning of our return to ‘all of Palestine’

Palestinians ‘will not agree to keep the right of return only as a slogan,’ Haniyeh says at ‘March of Return’ event in Gaza

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya flashes the victory gesture during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza City to commemorate Land Day on March 30, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya flashes the victory gesture during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza City to commemorate Land Day on March 30, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

Demonstrations Friday along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip mark the beginning of the Palestinians’ return to “all of Palestine,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a speech at the scene.

“We are here to declare today that our people will not agree to keep the ‘right of return’ only as a slogan,” he said. Haniyeh added that the so-called “March of Return” was also aimed at sending a message to US President Donald Trump to the effect that the Palestinians will not give up their right to Jerusalem.

His comments came as several Palestinians were reported killed and hundreds were wounded by Israeli live and rubber bullet fire in border clashes as a series of massive protests kicked off along the security fence surrounding Gaza, according to Palestinian sources.

Thousands of Palestinians massed at the Gaza border to take part in the “March of Return” protests, the Israel Defense Forces said, with more expected to participate throughout the day. The army said it fired on “instigators” of protests at the border fence. An Israeli TV report said one of the Palestinians killed was suspected of trying to plant an explosive device at the fence.

Organizers of the protest had claimed it would be peaceful, but Israeli officials and the IDF had braced for the anticipated flare-up along the border of the Hamas-run enclave.

The main sites for protests at or close to the Gaza border were at Rafah and Khan Younis in the south, el-Bureij and Gaza City in the center, and Jabalya in the northern portion of the coastal enclave.

The military said protesters were burning tires and throwing rocks at the soldiers on the other side of the security fence.

Israeli officials repeatedly warned Palestinians not to approach the security fence during the protests through social media, leaflets dropped from airplanes and statements to news outlets.

Hamas leaders had said in the past few days that the protests would be “peaceful” and “non-violent.” However, they also warned that Palestinians will not sit idly by if Israel used force to disperse the protesters.

A statement issued by Hamas, a terror group that seeks to destroy Israel, on Thursday called on Palestinians “to effectively take part in the Great March of Return and remain peaceful to achieve the objective of this event.”

Khalil al Haya, a senior Hamas official, said that the Palestinians were not afraid of Israel’s threats to stop the demonstrators from approaching the border.

Palestinian protesters fly kites during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel, in eastern Gaza City, March 29, 2018. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

The Palestinians are determined to return to their lands and homeland, Haya said, during a tour of tents set up by the protesters near the border with Israel. The Palestinians refer to the tents as the “Tents of Return.”

“Our people will not be intimidated by the Israeli threats,” he said. “We have waited for too long to return to the lands from which our grandparents were expelled 70 years ago.”

At previous peace talks, the Palestinians have always demanded, along with sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Old City, a “right of return” to Israel for Palestinian refugees who left or were forced out of Israel when it was established. The Palestinians demand this right not only for those of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are still alive — a figure estimated in the low tens of thousands — but also for their descendants, who number in the millions.

No Israeli government would ever be likely to accept this demand, since it would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state. Israel’s position is that Palestinian refugees and their descendants would become citizens of a Palestinian state at the culmination of the peace process, just as Jews who fled or were forced out of Middle Eastern countries by hostile governments became citizens of Israel.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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