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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

B'Tselem's methodology even worse than previously reported


The Jerusalem Post reports:
Two organizations in Israel have cautioned against accepting casualty figures coming out of Gaza.

Both the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center and NGO watchdog organization NGO Monitor this week criticized the verification methods of the left-wing human rights group B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories - for its claims of Gaza casualty numbers that were recently released for Operation Protective Edge.

...In an email to the Post on Sunday, Roy Yellin, a spokesman for B’Tselem, sharply rejected the findings of the NGO Monitor report.

”B’Tselem is dedicated to provide accurate information, and therefore investigates and verifies any data independently, never relying solely on official sources neither in Israel or on the Palestinian side,” he said.

“B’Tselem does have field researchers on the ground in Gaza and has the professional capacity and evidence to support its publications.

For example, the difference in the death toll figures between B’Tselem and Palestinian Ministry of Health report is due to our strict verification measures,” he added.
I've reported on how B'Tselem determines whether people are civilian or terrorist by asking their families and trusting their answers, making the absurd assumption that Gazans who have been specifically instructed to lie to Western officials are telling the truth to B'Tselem.

B'Tselem itself admits that usually these questions are usually answered on the phone!
With the current military campaign ongoing, B’Tselem is taking testimony from Gaza residents, mainly by telephone. B’Tselem verifies, to the best of its ability, the reliability and precision of the information reported; nevertheless, in these circumstances, reports may be incomplete or contain errors. Given the urgency of informing the public about events in Gaza, B’Tselem has decided to publish the information now available. When the military campaign ends, B’Tselem will supplement these reports as needed.
Even B'Tselem admits that its verification measures aren't "strict" as its spokesperson falsely claimed. At the same time, it admits that it would prefer to release terrorist propaganda about civilian casualties (after a perfunctory "verification") rather than wait and do the job right.

Because vilifying the IDF is an urgent matter that simply cannot wait.

If and when B'Tselem finds out that their error rate approaches, say, 50%, they will bury it in a report nine months from now that would get no coverage. Because the truth isn't as "urgent" as publicizing the lies today. After all, B'Tselem's funding is dependent on generating headlines, and no Western organizations will fund B'Tselem if it insisted on taking the time necessary to do a proper verification..

(h/t NGO Monitor)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

08/19 Links Pt2: Chloe Valdary: It is not enough; Forget ice: Take the Hamas vs. hummus challenge

From Ian:

Chloe Valdary: It is not enough
We may think that it is sufficient to sit with folded hands and silent lips on our college campuses and ignore groups that claim we have no right to live in our land.
But it is not enough.
We may think that it is sufficient to overlook the mainstream media’s invectives spewed at us — both their subtle biases and overt accusations hurled at us — that these will eventually pass, and that since there is nothing new under the sun, disregarding such things will make them go away.
But it is not enough.
We may think that it is sufficient to refrain from challenging our professors who claim our state is a racist one, and who claim that Jews are not entitled to self-determination; that Jews are not allowed to defend themselves; that Jews are not allowed to live anywhere we desire — especially not in our heartland, Judea & Samaria.
But it is not enough.
Fear (of global anti-Semitism) and loathing (of Obama) in New York
When pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the street in New York’s Diamond District on July 25, Kerri Lavine furiously ran outside the store where she works. She just couldn’t take it anymore.
Lavine wasn’t the only one to rush outside. Scores of people joined the spontaneous pro-Israel counterdemonstration, seeking to drown out chants of “Free Palestine” and “Free Gaza” with chants of “IDF.” Because the Diamond District, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, is home to many Jewish owned and operated stores, the pro-Palestinian march was seen as a march against them as much as against Israel.
“I am just so enraged about everything that’s going on. My heart is over there and I can’t stop watching the news,” Lavine said in a subsequent interview, speaking from behind a glass display case of twinkling diamond eternity bands and earrings. Fearing business repercussions, the 52-year-old asked the store not be named.
Across the city, from the Diamond District to the Upper West Side, from Murray Hill to the Lower East Side, New York Jews were quick to share their views on Israel, Operation Protective Edge and the Obama Administration’s handling of the crisis.
Palestinians: The Invented People.
“The history of the Palestinian people goes back as far as”… This is where Arab “historians” disagree.
Some say the “Palestinian people” have a proud 4000-year history; others say 10,000 years, 30,000 years, and even –don’t laugh- 200,000 years, which makes the Neanderthals pretty young people compared to the “mysterious Palestinians”. But although Arab historians do not agree on the “insignificant” details like the age of the “Palestinian people”, they do agree that this people is incredibly ancient-far more ancient than Jews, Romans or Greeks.
In the glorious history of the “Palestinian people”, there is only one “small” problem; nobody in history ever found them.

HRW's Ken Roth explicitly supports Hamas war crimes

Ken Roth, of Human Rights Watch, just tweeted this:



As I have pointed out before, the Geneva Conventions explicitly and without reservation considers hostage taking to be against international law. No distinction whatsoever between whether the victim is civilian or a soldier.

The ICRC elaborates:

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits the taking of hostages.[ It is also prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a grave breach thereof. ...[I]n addition to the provisions in the Geneva Conventions, practice since then shows that the prohibition of hostage-taking is now firmly entrenched in customary international law and is considered a war crime.

The prohibition of hostage-taking is recognized as a fundamental guarantee for civilians and persons hors de combat in Additional Protocols I and II. Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, the “taking of hostages” constitutes a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts. Hostage-taking is also listed as a war crime under the Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Numerous military manuals prohibit the taking of hostages. This prohibition is also set forth in the legislation of numerous States.

The International Convention against the Taking of Hostages defines the offence as the seizure or detention of a person (the hostage), combined with threatening to kill, to injure or to continue to detain the hostage, in order to compel a third party to do or to abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage. The Elements of Crimes for the International Criminal Court uses the same definition but adds that the required behaviour of the third party could be a condition not only for the release of the hostage but also for the safety of the hostage. It is the specific intent that characterizes hostage-taking and distinguishes it from the deprivation of someone’s liberty as an administrative or judicial measure.

Although the prohibition of hostage-taking is specified in the Fourth Geneva Convention and is typically associated with the holding of civilians as hostages, there is no indication that the offence is limited to taking civilians hostage. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages do not limit the offence to the taking of civilians, but apply it to the taking of any person. Indeed, in the Elements of Crimes for the International Criminal Court, the definition applies to the taking of any person protected by the Geneva Conventions.

This is as clear as international law gets.

The very thought of a supposed human rights defender publicly renouncing international humanitarian law, defending a war crime and denying the human rights of Israelis is scandalous.

Ken Roth has proven, irrevocably, that he is unqualified for this position. He is actively campaigning against human rights. His stated position is simply immoral. His bias is clear to all. He has singlehandedly turned Human Rights Watch into a punchline.


Terrorist listed as a 13-year old civilian by "human rights" orgs (UPDATE)

The Hams Interior Ministry reported (Al Jazeera link) that 13-year old Ibrahim Jamal Kamal Naser was killed on July 19.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported on July 19:
At approximately 01:55, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at a number of Palestinian civilians who were sitting near their houses in Khan Yunis refugee camp. As a result, 9 civilians, including 3 children, were killed: Yahia and Mohammed Bassam al-Sir, 20 and 17 respectively; Mohammed Mustafa Darwish Slahiya, 32; Mohammed, Mustafa and Wassim Rida Mustafa Salhiya, 22, 21 and 15 respectively; Ibrahim Jamal Kamal Nasser, 13; Mohammed ‘Awadh Fares Nasser, 25; and Rushdi Khaled Fares Nasser, 25.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights likewise reported that 13-year old Ibrahim Nasser was killed on that day.

Here is the shahid poster of "13-year old"  Ibrahim Nasser, killed on that same day in that same place, by the Abu Rish Battalions of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades:


Does he look 13 to you?

This is proof that despite the claims of the UN, of PCHR and of the Al Mezan Center, they do not investigate the actual deaths the way they pretend to - they often just take the Hamas data and republish it without checking.

And the UN reports this data as fact - and so does the rest of the world.

Hamas is telling reporters and NGOs that dead terrorists are children, both to hide the number of terrorists killed and to inflate the number of children killed. The ever-compliant Gaza NGOs are knowingly going along with the scam - if they had so much as visited the hospital and viewed the body they would have instantly known that Ibrahim was not 13. They simply repeated Hamas' lies to the world.

In other words, the NGOs that are trusted by the international community are as corrupt as the Hamas itself.

The Abu Rish Brigades made a similar poster about one other of their members killed in the same attack, Mohammed Slahiya (probably the 22-year old listed above):


Slahiya's 15-year old brother, Wassim, was killed in the same attack. Of course, the same "investigators" reported him as a civilian - after all, he was only 15!

But the Abu Rish Brigades published a martyr poster of their members killed - and guess who is on the upper right corner?



Yes, that is Wassim - 15 year old Fatah terrorist, but a "civilian" according to PCHR and Al Mezan. (Ibrahim Nasr is on the top left. The Terrorism Info center verified that Wassim was indeed 15.)

(Update): All nine people on this poster are Abu Rish Brigade terrorists, and all nine were counted as a "civilian" in the PCHR report above - including three "children."

Here is another case where terrorists are reported as civilian.

Wassim indeed is a child, but so-called "human rights" organizations are not going to say a word of condemnation for terror groups recruiting children. (!5 year olds are too young to be fighters according to international conventions.)

PCHR and Al Mezan are not human rights organizations - they are propagandists. The UN, by relying on these liars as their source for casualty figures, is complicit in these lies. And the many journalists who mindlessly parrot the UN figures should realize that their information sources are suspect.

These are hardly the first confirmed terrorists to be identified as "civilian" by these organizations. And we've already shown that B'Tselem's methods to determine the status of the dead is incredibly naive and inaccurate as well.

What will it take for the world to wake up and realize that political organizations with an agenda cannot be trusted to produce accurate information?

(h/t Josh K referring me to the latest Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center report.)

(h/t Ibn Boutros)


08/19 Links Pt1: Rockets resume, Israeli envoys leave Cairo; Britain’s anti-Semitic whiff of Weimar

From Ian:

Natan Sharansky: Don’t set a double standard for Israel on norms of war
The pictures of destruction and mourning in Gaza that have filled media around the world for the past several weeks have been very painful and sad to view. One would be hard-pressed to find an Israeli who does not sympathize with the suffering of Gaza’s victims.
Yet there are also few Israelis who feel we are responsible for this suffering. For us, the tragedy of Gaza is inseparable from the tragedy of the entire Middle East. Over the past three years, in countries around our tiny state, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed in the most horrific ways. This wave of terror recognizes no official borders. The only border at which the savagery stops is Israel’s.
Hamas and Hezbollah are doing their best to change this. So what protects us? The United Nations or human rights groups? No. Only the military power of the Israel Defense Forces. In response to our enemies’ relentless campaigns, the army is constantly developing new ways to defend us. One new weapon, Iron Dome, has in the past few weeks protected civilians from almost 3,000 missiles.
But while Israelis have developed missile shields to protect children, Hamas has been using children as shields to protect missiles. This perverse strategy is the brainchild of a society that hails death. For Hamas, using living shields serves the double function of increasing the number of martyrs and galvanizing a free world that values life to pressure Israel to stop fighting.
Decorated Army Chief Accuses Hamas of War Crimes, Praises Israeli Restraint
A highly respected and decorated Army chief, Col. Richard Kemp, has accused Hamas of multiple war crimes including the targeting of Israeli civilians and the use of Palestinian children as human shields and suicide bombers.
Speaking at the National Rally for Israel and Peace in Brighton yesterday, Col. Kemp gave a comprehensive account of the conflict in Gaza, drawing from first-hand experience to accuse Hamas of war crimes whilst praising Israeli restraint and desire for peace.
He said: “I’ve been there [in Israel and Gaza] for four weeks. I’ve watched closely what’s happening [in this conflict]. Hamas have used the two weapons at their disposal, and they have only two weapons. Those weapons are not rockets and are not attack tunnels ... they could not hope to defeat the might of the state of Israel with her allies around the world using rockets and attack tunnels. They did not intend to defeat the State of Israel, they know they couldn’t. So what were their weapons? Human shields – their own old men, women, babies and children to be sacrificed for their own purposes. And lies and propaganda. Those two weapons combined are what they used to try to exert international pressure on Israel to get concessions for them as part of their ongoing campaign to ultimately exterminate the state of Israel and to annihilate every Jew around the world as called for by their charter. … Their agenda is an agenda of genocide. That’s all it is.
UN Watch: Col. Richard Kemp on the 2014 Hamas-Israel War


Douglas Murray: Britain’s anti-Semitic whiff of Weimar
There is a whiff of Weimar in the air in Britain. Barely a week now passes without some further denigration caused by anti-Semitic, sorry, pro-Palestine demonstrators targeting businesses run by Jews/stores selling products produced by the Jewish state. You know, like Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Starbucks and so on. Most of this fairly random targeting of whatever business sounds a bit Jewish goes unnoticed. Sometimes protestors manage to get the business closed – as with the Ahava store in liberal, enlightened Brighton. Generally they just succeed in intimidating shoppers and making it easier for people to shop elsewhere in some non-Semitic store.
Sometimes the protestors, like this young man in Manchester, are open about their feelings and taunt any nearby Jews by telling them, for instance, how highly they think of Hitler (‘I love Hitler. I’m big on my boy Hitler’ says this nicely integrated young man):
The Letter From A Jewish Londoner That Went Viral
I work in an office. I go to football. I like eating out. I enjoy the arts. I am a proud family man. I give up time for charity work. I try to be a decent contributing member of society. I pay my taxes honestly. But there appears to be something that sets me and my kind apart.
At park gates in East London a friend of mine gets told to f**k off for photographing a flag. At a pub in Bath my wife gets called scum when she mentions her background. In a student hall in Manchester a friend’s son is asked to leave as the specially prepared food he chose to eat is not permitted because it carries a label written in a language used by a country that is “banned” by the student union.
In Belfast a historic blue plaque is removed to deny part of my history. In theatres in Edinburgh and London I am told to denounce my opinions or lose the right to perform. A sportsman in Ireland tweets if he sees my kind he’ll punch us in the face and recommends others follow suit.
Protesters across the country show no shame in shouting that my historical persecutors were right and social media is rife with vitriol towards me (even from so-called friends). And in Bradford I’m told that I am not even permitted to enter the city.
What is this? Racism. Where is this? Britain and Ireland. When is this? Now. Who am I? I am a Jew.
Never again, we say, never again.

"Yemen Economist" describes how Jews educate their children

The Yemen Economist has a scoop!

Apparently, they have infiltrated Jewish schools worldwide to find out their curricula!

All from a country that has only a handful of Jews remaining.

According to the article:

  • Jewish teachers instill a hate of every non-Jew in their children.
  • Jews teach children that there is no choice but to always use violence.
  • Scandalously, Jews teach they they have the right to live in Israel.
  • Teaching that Jews are superior, the Chosen People.
  • Teaching fanatical concepts of Zionism based on the Talmud and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
  • Falsifying history to achieve their goals.
  • Teaching kids to hate Arabs, saying that they are "savage and cutthroat and bloodthirsty and terrorist and aggressive by nature."

Good thing they ethnically cleansed those disgusting, lying Jews, isn't it?

The article goes on to berate (I think) Israel's curriculum for Arab students that teaches the Arabs that they are second-class citizens and that downplays how terrible Jews are.

The same newspaper has an article saying that Israel is worse than ebola. 

Corrupt, pro-Hamas UN offers to "monitor" cement imports into Gaza

AFP reports:
UNRWA aid bag found in tunnel
The United Nations is ready to check imports of construction material sent to Gaza in order to ease Israel's concerns that supplies could be used to rebuild cross-border tunnels, a UN envoy said Monday.

UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry told the UN Security Council that reconstruction of Gaza remained the main priority once a durable ceasefire is agreed between Palestinian factions and Israel.

"Construction material must be allowed into Gaza to this effect -- aggregate, bar, and cement. And their access to Gaza must be facilitated in such a way that fulfills Israel's security concerns," Serry said.

"The United Nations stands ready to lend its support in this regard."
That's really funny.

Because UNRWA couldn't even monitor its own cement being imported into Gaza that was earmarked for only their projects.

UNRWA praised illegal smuggling of cement into Gaza back in 2011, after Hamas had already made it clear that it was prioritizing terrorism over building Gaza, a fact that UNRWA officials could not have been ignorant of.

UNRWA refused to condemn Hamas using scarce building materials, quite openly, for its own propaganda. In fact, UNRWA refuses to condemn Hamas even for putting Gazans' lives directly at risk.

UNRWA doesn't have its own drivers to bring cement from Kerem Shalom; it hires Gaza truck drivers who happily divert part of their cement to Hamas or the black market.

Hamas' redirecting cement donated by international aid was known back in 2010.

Most importantly, the union leaders representing UNRWA workers in Gaza are overwhelmingly associated with Hamas.

In Gaza, Hamas controls UNRWA.

The UN offer to keep track of the building materials entering Gaza is a complete joke. 

Good luck finding a reporter who is willing to actually do research on the ignoble history of the UN empowering Hamas and helping enable its terror infrastructure, though.

Why is paralyzed Maha still in a Gaza hospital?

We have been following the story of Maha Sheikh Khalil, the paralyzed 7-year old girl in Gaza who has been the subject of many articles.

The last we heard (see update), Israel had approved her being transferred out of Gaza for treatment overseas on July 26, but for some reason her family and the hospital administration were unaware of the approval. Israeli authorities urged the hospital to resubmit the paperwork and said that she would be approved immediately.

That was on August 12.

On August 15, in a Facebook post, it was reported that Maha was on her way to treatment in Turkey.

That is clearly not true.

Yesterday, Maha celebrated her eighth birthday at the same Gaza hospital, room 526:


The stories about Israeli cruelty at preventing her from leaving Gaza have dried up now that Israel showed that it approved her traveling once and was quite ready to do it again. We don't know if that second request was ever sent. even if the first one disappeared in a bureaucratic snafu; it seems unlikely that the hospital administrators wouldn't be making hourly phone calls to ensure that a new request would be approved quickly.

Yet she is still in Gaza.

Perhaps her condition deteriorated making it harder to safely move her. Perhaps there wasn't any hospital in Turkey willing to take her and that story was made up to avoid her being treated in Israel. Perhaps the PA lost her paperwork again.

Or just maybe, she is worth more to Hamas leaders, who are holed up in the basement of that same hospital, as a living martyr who attracts headlines than she would be if she wasn't in Gaza.

While this may be a cultural thing, it sure seems strange that a hospital, with oxygen equipment, would allow a birthday cake with sparklers, let alone candles.

(h/t Bob Knot)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hamas leader said in 2009 that terror infrastructure was higher priority than houses

The Meir Amit Terrorism Info Center has documented over the years a statement that Hamas leader Khaled Meshal gave in 2009:

On November 12, 2009, Khaled Mashaal met with several senior figures at a meeting of Arab parties in Damascus. One of his main themes was that Hamas would continue the path of "resistance" [i.e., terrorism], and therefore most of Hamas' money and efforts in the Gaza Strip were invested in military preparations. His main talking points were the following (Paltimes.net):
Most of Hamas’ efforts in the Gaza Strip are invested in military preparations: “On the surface, [statements in the Gaza Strip] refer to reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah] and rebuilding, however, what is not revealed is that most of Hamas’ funds and efforts are invested in the resistance and military preparations... We are intent on the resistance.

This was after almost a year of international aid to rebuild Gaza after Cast Lead. It is now apparent that Hamas diverted much of the aid meant to rebuild houses and instead used it to build a terror infrastructure. 

If all the protesters truly cared about the lives of Gazans, such news should prompt them to have mass rallies against Hamas, which is clearly the enemy of ordinary Gaza civilians.

But we aren't seeing that. On the contrary, we are seeing the supposed leaders of the "pro-Gaza" movement doing everything they can to strengthen Hamas and to allow Hamas to continue to steal aid from Gazans.

Many of the supposed pro-Gaza leaders, in fact, actively work against the PA and for Hamas - so that the next round of aid will go once again to build rockets and tunnels instead of schools and hospitals and apartments.

It is almost as if those who donate money to Gaza want to fund Hamas' terrorist infrastructure.


08/18 Links Pt2: Sainsbury's acquiescence to anti-Semitism; UK Consul Wears anti-Israel Keffiyeh

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Jordan Doesn't Want More Palestinians
When Arab countries such as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon move against Palestinians, however, foreign journalists choose to bury their heads in the sand. Such has been the case with Jordan and its mistreatment of the kingdom's Palestinian majority.
Jordan's dilemma is that if it allows more Palestinians into the country, the kingdom, which already has a Palestinian majority, would be transformed into a Palestinian state. But by mistreating the Palestinians and depriving them of basic rights, Jordan and other Arab countries are driving them into the open arms of extremists, especially Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
The Jordanians have clearly chosen to follow the second option, which means keeping as many Palestinians as possible out of the kingdom. As far as King Abdullah is concerned, it is better to have radicalized Palestinians outside the kingdom than to let them into the kingdom, where they would cause him more trouble. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Brendan O'Neill: The kosher controversy at Sainsbury's speaks to a profound problem: acquiescence to anti-Semitism
Were you outraged by a Sainsbury's store's decision over the weekend to hide away its kosher foods in an attempt to placate anti-Israel protesters? You should have been. For this incident, though seemingly a one-off, speaks to a profound problem in Europe today – the respectable classes' acquiescence to anti-Semitism; their willingness to accept anti-Semitic sentiment as a fact of life and to shrug it off or, worse, kowtow to it.
The kosher incident took place at the Sainsbury's in Holborn in London. When a mob of anti-Israel protesters gathered outside the store, the manager took the extraordinary decision to take all kosher products off the shelves lest the protesters target them and smash them up. Kosher foods, of course, are Jewish not Israeli; they are part of the Jewish dietary requirement, not part of any kind of Israeli food corporatism. To shamefacedly hide away such foodstuffs in order to appease a gang of hot-headed Israel-haters is an attack on a religious people and their rights, not on the Israeli state. That in Britain in 2014 we have store managers taking kosher foods off public display should be of concern to anyone who hates prejudice and racism.
UK Consul General Wears Arab Keffiyeh Branding Israel as 'Free Palestine', MP Calls for Heads to Roll
A picture has emerged of the British Consul General to Jerusalem wearing an Arab Keffiyeh (scarf) with the Palestinian flag draped over the entirety of the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories. The image depicted on the scarf is the one used by protesters and belligerents in the region who wish to see the State of Israel wiped off the map.
The picture of Dr Alastair McPhail is from the Islamic Relief Palestine website, and depicts the inauguration of the Health Professions Lab at Al-Azhar University, a facility which was co-funded by Islamic Relief and the British Consulate.
Member of Parliament Bob Blackman implied that McPhail's position was untenable. He told Breitbart London: "Someone who is expressing such views has no place in supporting the government or civil service of the day. The whole purpose behind the peaceful solution is to promote two states side by side. Wiping one state off the face of the map hardly fits with this aspiration".


Zionist Muslim doctor, and others, spank Lancet for publishing anti-Israel article

 A few weeks ago a bunch of anti-Israel doctors - people who are already involved in anti-Israel activism, like Mads Gilbert - published an article in The Lancet that had little to do with medicine and a lot to do with politics.

To give you an idea of how offensive and unbalanced the article was, here is the last paragraph:
We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza. We also see the complicity of our countries in Europe and North America in this massacre and the impotence once again of the international institutions and organisations to stop this massacre.
There have been lots of responses, from the reasoned to the slightly hysterical. But this response published on Friday is well-written, comprehensive, and has just the right amount of anger beneath the surface.

And one of the writers is a Zionist Muslim physician Qanta Ahmed.
We, like you, are doctors and scientists who have devoted our lives to serving others, restoring health, and protecting the vulnerable. We are also informed, and also safeguard ethics in every sphere of our influence. Among us are those who have long collaborated in the advancement of medicine, science, and health with our colleagues, including those in Gaza. Many of us writing today are either members of Israeli academia, or formally or informally engaged with Israeli academia.

As ethical, apolitical, and professional members of the academic community,we find the open letter for the people in Gaza an outrageous diatribe lacking context and a deliberate vilification of the sovereign state of Israel and, by extension, every Israeli. In publishing such invective, The Lancet has allowed itself to become a platform for distorted political activism, as has been previously noted by others. Because we are scientists and physicians who are accustomed to incorporating all data into the formation of educated opinions (even public commentary), we are obliged to redress the imbalance.

Although the letter implies that we are devoid of feeling, let us first assert that each of us shares the sorrow at the loss of human life in the present Israel–Hamas war in Gaza. Our loss is equal, whether lives lost are Israeli or Palestinian. For some of us, these losses are deeply personal, realised as direct bereavements; for others, this loss represents the loss of ideals, the interruption, and perhaps even the termination of long struggled for collaboration or the pain in realising a deep assault to our private ideals.But the portrait the authors paint of wanton “Israeli aggression” by the mythically identified “largest and most sophisticated modern military machines” triggered by “perverse propaganda” fuelling “a ruthless assault of unlimited duration” is not only inaccurate, but outright histrionic, a dramatisation that can only serve unethical, non-scientific motives.

Exaggerations aside, we are further surprised to see the above assessments without any reference whatsoever to the well documented actions of Hamas, which speak to its militant intentions in no uncertain terms, realities that our colleagues obscure for reasons unknown. Allow us to rectify the deficit.

Since this particular conflict, Israel has been subject to thousands of rockets—at the time of writing, exceeding 2927 individual strikes—launched indiscriminately at its entire population, imperilling more than 7·9 million Israelis, among whom 19% are Muslim. Israelis as far away as 120 km north of Gaza have been targeted not with makeshift primitive weaponry but Syrian-made M-302 Khaibar missiles armed with 175 kg warheads that were first used in Haifa in the 2006 Israel–Lebanon war, courtesy of Hezbollah. Since Israel’s independence, the Israeli aggression the authors so readily condemn is in fact the exercise of the right of a legitimate state to protect its citizens and residents—many of whom identify themselves as Palestinians—from assault, an assault that Hamas has demonstrated itself to be deeply committed to irrespective of the sequelae befalling either its targets or its own host community.

Absent also from mention is the extraordinary network of tunnels Hamas has developed—presently numbered at 66 with more than 23 points of egress—from which attacks are launched and within which weapons are transported. These are concrete tunnels of remarkable sophistication, often electrified with illumination and telephone wires, and certainly constructed at the expense of the direct needs to repair the schools, homes, or hospitals of Gaza’s citizens. Lest anyone be mistaken, these tunnels are not perverse propaganda as Manduca and colleagues would claim, but verified by international media, identified by neighbouring Egypt as a menace to security, and forming an established route for Islamist terrorism assaults in Egyptian Sinai.

Certainly, we agree that a blockade has been imposed upon Gaza since 2006, but it is important to record why. The blockade, deliberately described falsely by Manduca and colleagues as a siege, is in response to the declared positions and explicit actions of Hamas, and positions and actions that Hamas refuses to relinquish because they are in line with their founding charter.

We accept that Manduca and colleagues, like us, aspire to regional peace. Hamas has no such aspirations. Seeing itself as the spearhead in the war against World Zionism—article 32 of Hamas’ founding charter—Hamas expressly seeks the extinction of the Jewish state, the Jewish people, and also of the Muslims among us who would dare collaborate or engage with any Jewish entity. The Hamas charter expressly outlaws all Muslim actions to ease tensions, let alone make peace with Israel, condemning any efforts to work towards peaceful resolution of the conflict as violation of sharia law. Muslims refusing to desist from peaceful collaboration or interaction with Israeli people are accused of “Khiyana Uzma”—a great treason. This would encompass the Muslim coauthor of this document.

Although Hamas certainly marries Palestinian nationalism with Islamism and we agree that Palestinians, including those in Gaza, seek statehood, Hamas seeks to claim all land, Israel included, for Palestine. It is with these sentiments that Hamas has launched this war on Israel, commencing with an unending barrage of rockets and missiles, now engaging the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in intense ground combat. Under assault in this theatre of war, the IDF established a sophisticated field hospital for the Palestinians of Gaza at one of the entry points into Gaza, equipped with delivery rooms, an outpatient clinic, and operating theatres—Hamas promptly banned Palestinians in Gaza from accessing it.

Hamas’ actions are explicitly manifest with Islamist anti-semitism, which demands denial of the right of Jews to exist, let alone to a nationhood, and is an anti-semitism, political scientists agree, that is far more virulent than Nazi anti-semitism, which lacked the added and very compelling appeal of impostor religious legitimacy.

Embracing religionist war as a sacrament, Hamas has no dilemmas even as the Palestinians of Gaza bear extraordinary loss of life. Denying them access to the aforementioned fiel hospital underlines both Hamas’ identication of Jews as the cosmic enemy and the source of all evil (article 22 of the Hamas charter) and that a wounded or martyred Palestinian has more value to the Hamas mission.

Islamist jihad has been central to Hamas’ mission since its 1987 inception, a mission many liberal democracies are currently confronting. Although the post-9-11 era has escalated the Islamist assault on secular democracies, engaging the USA, UK, and western Europe in military confrontation with Islamist terrorism as well as many Muslim nations (some of which, such as Pakistan, are currently pursuing domestic military operations to counter these attacks), Israel remains the only country denied the right to defend itself from Islamist assault. Manduca and colleagues would do well to recall that Hamas explicitly rejects western intellectual ideas—citing them to be “an intellectual invasion”—and thereby rejects the humanist agenda of the 21st century, among which one of the pillars is the commitment to never again repeat the European Holocaust. In abandoning humanism, the gateway to genocidal thinking is once more flung open.

Ironically, even though Hamas denies the Holocaust, it revels in describing Israel’s actions on Gaza (including in this theatre of war) as Nazi and themselves as the new Jews, a hypocrisy rarely exposed. Furthermore, Hamas has been, in this particular conflict, little short of masterful at engendering extraordinary displays of anti-semitism around the world in its support.

We unequivocally agree that children and women most often sustain the greatest losses, and in this conflict, the losses have been extremely high for the Gazans, but it still remains legitimate to identify the civilians in Gaza as captive to Hamas policy, a captivity that is imposed independently of physical and political barriers imposed by Israel and Egypt. Under Hamas’ leadership in the past 8 years, religious and personal freedoms in Gaza continue to shrink, and the movement and activity of women is becoming increasingly confined. According to the International Religious Freedom Report for 2012 published by the US Department of State, the de-facto Hamas authorities in Gaza have continued to restrict religious freedom in both law and
practice.

 Children in Gaza, like those surrounded by other Islamist ideologies, are regularly recruited and enmeshed in the Hamas apparatus from the earliest years of their education. Congressional briefings, in which some of us have taken part, have documented the diversion of aid to service child radicalisation. Evidence of radicalisation in the school curricula is widely available, as is the social value placed on jihadist martyrdom imposed on Palestinians in early life. All this is the work of Hamas, the political leadership that Manduca and colleagues claims seeks normality for its people while persistently ensuring quite the opposite. To claim that the Hamas leadership have moved to resolve their conflict with Israel “without arms and harm” via the short-lived Unity Government is extremely naive. While paying such lip-service, Hamas was in fact shoring up armaments, fortifying subterranean positions, and amassing militant operatives in the service of radical Islamist ideology, as the present conflict has revealed. Hamas’ commitment to subterranean networks above the sanctity of its people is self-evident and speaks louder than calculated diplomatic words.

Over and above all of these observations that were deliberately excluded, what shakes us to our core is the dehumanisation and bigotry exercised by Manduca and colleagues, who stand in accusation, claiming each Israeli Arab and Israeli Jew among us as bloody-handed genocidaires “complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza”.Furthermore, we find the authors’ call for sanctions of the severest kind on Israel, a state that enshrines the religious, academic, and political freedoms of its citizens irrespective of faith, ethnicity, gender, or race, morally bankrupt. This, in the era of an unfolding Syrian genocide that has triggered nothing in the way of an international response, and 3·5 years later has yet to yield penalties for perpetrators of the 21st century’s most egregious warmongering to date. This is absolutely not to equate Israel with Syria, but to reveal the depth of prejudice in the sentiments levelled wholesale at an academic community to satisfy extreme bias.

We fear The Lancet has crossed the line and lost credibility among its readership.

For The Lancet and its editors to avoid any further embarrassment in associating this prestigious journal with such a vituperative betrayal of its scientific mission, we recommend The Lancet retract the authors’ letter on the basis of favouritism for anti-Israeli political positions, the victimisation of Israeli academia, and the competing interests of a lead author known to be a political activist with anti-Israeli stances. At the very least, the letter, such as it is, should have been balanced by an article offering a rebuttal, or an editorial providing context, but should never have been allowed to be published in this fashion, which explicitly empowers polemicist politics above measured academic discourse. We believe it prudent for The Lancet, as a valued and still-respected academic authority, to reassess its practice of biased publishing in the service of polarising political interests of one group.

In closing, we note Manduca and colleagues’ “disgust” at the events in Gaza, the “wounds to the body and soul” of the Gazan people, and their “temptation to conclude” that, “with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics” bear responsibility for the death, displacement, and deliberate dismemberment of Palestinians in Gaza. We too wish to register our own feelings, reach the conclusions we are now tempted to make, and identify the wounds that have resulted.

We find abhorrent that academic authors would, without evidence or data, accuse an entire academic community of crimes against humanity by association of national identity or professional affiliation, an accusation that is not only a rank dehumanisation of an entire state, but explicitly seditious in propagating virulent anti-semitic sentiments to the detriment of whole academies. Although our feelings will undoubtedly recover, the authors, through their reckless words, have inflicted a deep wound to the body and soul of global scientific and medical academia at the very moment opportunities for apolitical engagement, collaboration, and bridge-building are most needed. This is a victory only for Hamas, and a shameful one at that, emerging as it does from among our distinguished ranks.

We declare no competing interests.
*Qanta Ahmed, Alon Y Avidan, Aaron Ciechanover, Daniel Shechtman, Daniel Zajfman, Uriel Reichman, Roger Kornberg, Avram Hershko, Peretz Lavie

Hamas was planning mega-attacks from both Gaza and the West Bank

JPost reports:
A large-scale Hamas terrorist formation in the West Bank and Jerusalem planned to destabilize the region through a series of deadly terror attacks in Israel and then topple the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority, the Shin Bet said Monday.

The Turkey-based Hamas overseas headquarters orchestrated the plot which centered on a string of mass casualty terror attacks on Israeli targets, the Shin Bet added.

The end goal was to destabilize the Palestinian territories and use the instability to carry out a military coup, overthrowing the government of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Hamas infrastructure relied on support from cells in neighboring Jordan, and on couriers who delivered terrorist finances, totaling at least two million shekels, which were used to purchase weapons and homes that were used as hideouts, according to the investigation.

Ninety three Hamas members are in Israeli custody, and the Shin Bet has questioned 46 so far. Security forces plan to indict some 70 suspects. The investigation began in May, and is ongoing, security sources said.

The Shin Bet has seized some 600,000 shekels as well as 30 firearms, seven rocket launchers, and large amounts of ammunition. Security sources stressed that the plot was uncovered at an early stage.

The Shin Bet named senior Hamas leader Salah Al-Aruri, who is currently based in Turkey, as the mastermind behind the terrorist infrastructure.
...
"This infrastructure stretched from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south. It is one the biggest we've seen in Judea and Samaria since Hamas's formation in 1987," a senior Shin Bet source, responsible for securing the Jerusalem district, told reporters on Monday. "They planned to carry out a coup and topple the Palestinian Authority," he added.

A second Shin Bet source said the investigation serves as a warning over Hamas's designs to replace the Palestinian Authority.

The infrastructure's local nerve center was in Ramallah, where the PA is based, but cells branched out throughout 46 Palestinian cities, towns and villages.

Khaled Mashaal, Hamas's overseas wing leader in Qatar, was aware of the plot, the sources said, though there was no involvement from Hamas in Gaza.

"The terrorists planned to undermine security, and launch a third intifada. They planned disturbances in the Temple Mount to rile the Palestinian masses. They were waiting for talks between the Israel and PA to collapse," the source said.

During questioning, Riad Nasser allegedly said all of the operatives worked according to a plan devised by Al-Aruri designed to lead to a collapse of the PA's rule.

According to Al-Ariri's plan, a number of major terror attacks in Israel cause sufficient instability to facilitate a Hamas coup.

...
Additional suspects in custody include Majdi Mafarja, from the Palestinian town of Bet Likia , who holds a doctorate in computing. Security sources described Mafarja as representative of "a new generation of Hamas members," adding that he is "highly intelligent" and fluent in computer programming.

Hamas sent Mafarja to Malaysia, where he trained in message encryption and computer hacking, the Shin Bet said. He was arrested on May 22.

Saleh Brakat, an Israeli citizen from Bet Safafa in east Jerusalem, was arrested on July 1 for allegedly transferring operational messages from Hamas in Jerusalem to members of the terror organization who are overseas. Brakat is active in Hamas's Da'wa system, a civilian outreach network that offers social services to Palestinians.

Mahmoud Abu Daoud, of Hebron, was arrested on July 1 on suspicion of setting up terror cells that specialized in various attacks. He allegedly set up cells for for kidnappings, others for bombings, and shooting attack cells.

Muhammad Kafia, a resident of Beitunia, near Ramallah, heads a Hamas student cell at Abu Dis University. He was arrested on June 27, and turned over 19 automatic rifles and five handguns, security forces said.
It is unclear if the same network was responsible for the kidnappings and murders of the three Israeli teens, or if that was part of this initiative. My guess has been that it wss a botched kidnapping - that they only wanted one "settler"- and that if Hamas had succeeded, it would have increased Hamas' popularity in the West Bank tremendously.

Avi Issacharoff's investigation indicates that the kidnappings were planned and funded in Gaza, headed by Mahmoud Kawasme, who was released in the Shalit deal.

If Khaled Meshal was aware of the West Bank plan, it seems unlikely that he was unaware of Hamas plans in Gaza to perform its own mega-attack against Israeli civilians in the south.

Despite the idiotic bleatings of terror supporters at Mondoweiss, the extensive tunnel system across the Negev shows that a major series of terror attacks against civilians was being planned, either in coordination with or separate from the planned West Bank attacks. If the tunnels were merely to kidnap a single soldier, there is no explanation for how many there are, their size, how far they reach into Israel, or their proximity to kibbutzim. A massive, simultaneous attack involving killings plus kidnappings of civilians would make an Israeli military response very difficult.

In planning these multiple attacks, Hamas resembles Al Qaeda in the terror aspects and ISIS in its political calculations, to create an Islamist political entity and catapult itself back from its severe setback when Egyptians ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power. But Hamas doesn't behead its opponents - it just shoots them - so Western "experts" feel comfortable making artificial distinctions between Islamists who target Muslims and Westerners, and Islamists who target Jews.

Too many observers have been assuming that major Hamas terror attacks are a thing of the past, that they only shoot some rockets and attack soldiers.

While the Shin Bet says that it was working to dismantle the Hamas cells in May, it seems likely that the kidnapping of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali accelerated the operation to find and neutralize these cells. And similarly the events that happened afterwards allowed the IDF to find and neutralize the threat from the tunnels.

In a very real sense, their tragic deaths may have saved countless lives.