Posts tagged tel aviv
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding 15 people in what Israeli officials said was a terrorist attack that could complicate efforts to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
Celebratory gunfire rang out across Gaza as the news spread and the territory’s Islamist rulers Hamas praised the bombing, but no one claimed immediate responsibility.
The blast shattered windows on the bus as it drove along a tree-lined street next to Israel’s huge defense ministry headquarters. Israel’s ambulance service said four people suffered moderate-to-severe injuries and 11 were lightly hurt.
Police said it was not a suicide attack and suggested that someone might have left the device on the number 142 bus.
The driver, who escaped largely unscathed, told reporters he had not seen anyone suspicious get on board.
“I felt the explosion … Smoke was everywhere, you couldn’t see a thing,” he said. The blue and white vehicle was not torn apart by the blast, indicating it was a relatively small device.
The bombing happened on the eighth day of an Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip and coincided with intensive diplomatic efforts to secure a lasting truce.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri hailed the explosion.
“Hamas blesses the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres…in Gaza,” he told Reuters. “Palestinian factions will resort to all means in order to protect our Palestinian civilians in the absence of a world effort to stop the Israeli aggression.” source – Reuters
GAZA CITY — The top leader of Hamas dared Israel on Monday to launch a ground invasion of Gaza and dismissed diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire in the six-day-old conflict, as the Israeli military conducted a new wave of deadly airstrikes on the besieged Palestinian enclave, including a second hit on a 15-story building that houses media outlets. A volley of rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel included one that hit a vacant school.
Speaking at a news conference in Cairo, where the diplomatic efforts were under way, the Hamas leader,Khaled Meshal, suggested that the Israeli infantry mobilization on the border with Gaza was a bluff on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
“If you wanted to launch it, you would have done it,” Mr. Meshal told reporters. He accused Israel of using the invasion threat as an attempt to “dictate its own terms and force us into silence.”
Rejecting Israel’s contention that Hamas had precipitated the conflict, Mr. Meshal said the burden was on the Israelis. “The demand of the people of Gaza is meeting their legimitate demands — for Israel to be restrained from its aggression, assassinations and invasions, and for the siege over Gaza to be ended,” he said.
Mr. Netanyahu met with top ministers Monday evening and Israeli media said they discussed the next steps in the Gaza conflict, including the possibility of a truce. Israeli officials declined to comment on those reports.
The Hamas Health Ministry said Monday evening that a total of 107 people had been killed since Wednesday morning, when Israeli airstrikes began, following months of Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said she believed that a majority of these were militants, though it is difficult to know because Hamas’s own fighting brigade and the other factional groups are secretive.
The Hamas ministry said that the dead included at least 26 children, 10 women and 12 men over 50, who were presumably not involved in combat. Of the remainder, at least 36 are known militants. Hamas officials said more than 860 have been wounded, 260 of them children, 140 of them women and 55 men over 50.
Three people have been killed so far in Israel, all civilians, in a rocket strike that hit an apartment house in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi on Thursday morning. The Israelis have said that at least 79 Israelis have been wounded and that Gaza rockets have reached as far north as Tel Aviv.
The latest Gaza casualties — 22 people reported killed since midnight local time — included Palestinians killed in strikes by warplanes, a drone attack on two men on a motorcycle, and a father and two toddler sons in their bombed northern Gaza home, witnesses and medical sources said. Another Israeli drone attack killed the driver of a taxi hired by journalists and displaying “Press” signs, although it was not clear which journalists had hired it, Palestinian officials said.
On Sunday, Israeli forces attacked two buildings housing local broadcasters and production companies used by foreign outlets. Israeli officials denied targeting journalists, but on Monday Israeli forces again blasted the Al Sharouk block, a multiuse building where many local broadcasters, as well as Sky News of Britain and the channel Al Arabiya, had offices.
That attack, which struck a computer shop on the third floor, sparked a blaze that sent plumes of dark smoke creeping up the sides of the building. Video footage showed clouds of smoke billowing.
An Israeli bomb pummeled a home deep into the ground here on Sunday, killing 11 people, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike since the latest conflict began. Members of the family were buried Monday in a rite that turned into a gesture of defiance and became a rally supporting Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
A militant leader said Tel Aviv, in the Israeli heartland, would be hit “over and over” and warned Israelis that their leaders were misleading them and would “take them to hell.” source – NY Times
2 choices no options
Op-Ed article written by Daniel Greenfield
Seven years ago the Israeli government decided to forcibly evict the 8000 Jewish residents of Gaza and withdraw all bases and forces from the area. The experts, some with the government and some with the media, assured everyone that it would be for the best and that withdrawal would actually improve the security situation in the country.
It was put about that resources and lives were being wasted protecting Israelis living in Gaza, while those Israelis insisted that their presence in Gaza was protecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The experts laughed at them. Now the experts are keeping an ear open for air raid sirens because as it turned out, those farmers and teachers, those men and women growing lettuce in greenhouses and building homes on hilltops, from which rockets are being launched, were the ones protecting Tel Aviv.
“They are now being asked to relinquish these accomplishments for the greater good,” the government press release said of their houses and farms, of their synagogues and greenhouses. And the greater good was served. The greenhouses were turned into Hamas training camps and the synagogues were burnt to the ground. Rockets fly into the air from the ruins of broken houses.
No longer will your sons have to die in Gaza, the experts said. A month later rockets were falling on Sderot. A year later Gilad Shalit had been kidnapped and Israeli soldiers were back again, dying in a Gaza that was now run by Hamas.
Among the bundle of promises from the Sharon government, was that the Gaza withdrawal was part of an oral agreement with the United States limiting further withdrawals and concessions. That agreement lasted for another few years until Obama took office and no one in his administration could ever remember such an agreement or accept its validity.
“The moment of truth has arrived,” Netanyahu said, on resigning from the Sharon government. “At the moment of truth, a man – especially a leader – must ask himself: ‘What are you doing, what do you stand for, what are you fighting for?’”
These moments of truth come fast and furious in Israel, but hardly anyone waits around for an answer. Not even Netanyahu, who knows better.
Hamas’ objectives have always been straightforward. Its commanders and suicide bombers, its militia members, bomb experts, smugglers, launchers and embezzlers know what they are fighting for.
“Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave,” the Hamas charter says. “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.” It has the simplicity that you would expect from the Muslim Brotherhood, a fascist organization that drew equal inspiration from the Koran and Nazism.
What however is Israel fighting for? Since Oslo, the slogan of Israeli moderate conservatives has been “Peace with Security” even though it was quite clear that you could pursue peace and have neither peace nor security, or you could pursue security and have peace. Their slogan was muddled and their policies even more so.
Israel may have superior firepower, but like most Western countries, its policymakers are too muddled to be able to apply that firepower in a useful way. The limited scale warfare that has been adopted by America, including drone assassinations and extensive security measures, came out of Israel’s futile efforts to find a more humanitarian style of warfare that would limit civilian and military casualties. But all that these measures really did was make life with terror more manageable.
Withdrawals and a variety of defensive measures such as Iron Dome made it seem like Israel could maintain the status quo. Peace with Security meant no peace and no security, but enough of the illusion of both that it would seem as if the slogan had been fulfilled. Suicide bombings dropped and the terrorists were forced to resort to rocket attacks and drive-by shootings with much lower casualty rates. Rates so low that those who didn’t live in Sderot or Samaria could ignore them.
Instead of ending the threat, Israeli conservatives had found a way to live with the pain of terrorism while turning their focus to economic reforms. The left, with its emphasis on finding a permanent solution through appeasement and withdrawals, was discredited and collapsed. But the problem had not gone away.
While Israel slept, the makeup of the region changed. Hamas had formerly been strongly backed by Syria and Iran, with some support from more distant Islamist Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Egypt and Jordan were both wary of Hamas because their governments were concerned about being overthrown by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Arab Spring put Islamists into power in Egypt. Suddenly the Muslim Brotherhood was running things on both sides of the Rafah Crossing. Hamas switched its allegiance from the shaky Shiite axis of Iran, Syria and Iraq over to the rising Sunni Islamist axis of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Egypt. The Islamist terrorist group was no longer an isolated arm of Iranian foreign policy, it could count on the backing of Turkey, Qatar and Egypt.
Not long after Qatar’s leader paid a visit to Hamas, this latest war began. Like so many conflicts with terrorist groups, it isn’t about any specific domestic objective. The objectives are regional and now international. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime is looking shaky and the Gaza lifeline has come at a perfect time, allowing Morsi to turn the attention of Egyptians away from the shaky economy and some dubious proposals, including early store closings, over to familiar territory denouncing Israel.
Under Iran or Egypt, Hamas is not fighting for Palestinian nationalism, which was already a fiction manufactured by Soviet propagandists looking up to prop up a Greater Syria, but to support the aims of Iranian and Egyptian domestic policy. And suddenly those aims were uncomfortably close.
Terrorist militias serve an ideology, but function as a business. Al Qaeda, Hamas, Fatah or any other of the many groups blanketing the region, need money and weapons to be viable. They need state sponsors and the states that sponsor them want something in return. Terrorist groups find sponsors the way that Renaissance artists found patrons, they show off their skills and wait for someone to come calling with money and guns. And then they perform for their patrons.
Israel’s terrorist problem is unsolvable through any form of peace negotiations because there will always be sponsors. A terrorist group may sign a peace agreement, but then it quickly gets on the phone to its sponsors to assure them that it will go on committing acts of terror. Its militias are spun off into “separatist” or “splinter” groups that go on doing what they did before. And the group then asks its new friend American and Israeli friends for guns and money to fight these extremists. That way the terrorist groups get twice the money for terrorism and a farce of counter-terrorism.
Even if a terrorist leader is sincere, his movement is nothing but an umbrella group for terrorist militias. If the umbrella group stops funneling money from state sponsors to local militias, the militias go into business for themselves. And there is such a demand by sponsors for more and more “extreme” militias, that even the existing terrorist groups find themselves having to compete with newer and more violently Islamist militias.
Peace is useless and hopeless under these conditions. Fatah claimed that it could not control Hamas. Hamas claims it cannot control the men shooting rockets out of Gaza. The people shooting rockets out of Gaza will claim that they cannot control their fingers on the trigger. It’s plausible deniability all the way down when it’s convenient, but the real control is in the hands of regional regimes who feed coins into the slot and get out terrorism.
So what then is Israel fighting for? Peace with security. Which means slapping down Hamas hard enough that it will have to wait another 3-4 years before trying the same thing again, this time with bigger and better rockets. That was the policy six years ago and it’s the policy today.
Israel will bomb Hamas targets, kill some of its senior leaders and destroy some of its weapons stockpiles. Its soldiers will enter Gaza, arrest some more senior leaders, walk into traps that will kill some of its best and brightest, and then withdraw again while Hamas celebrates its victory in the Battle of XX or YY where five or six Israeli soldiers were killed, along with ten or fifteen Hamas terrorists. And then the Battle of XX will become the Massacre of XX and lead to a documentary that will be doing an extended tour of American and Canadian campuses during the next Israeli Apartheid Week.
This is the status quo and it cannot be maintained indefinitely. The air raid sirens going off in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem warn that the war is heading into unsustainable territory. As Iran goes nuclear, Hizbullah is trying to become another Iran and Hamas is trying to become another Hizbullah. It is not a nuisance that can be ignored. Israel has no answer to the growing threat except to try and contain it through the same old methods that have now put Jerusalem and Tel Aviv into the line of fire.
Since 1992, Israel has been retreating and those retreats have replaced secure borders with borders of terror. Rather than reversing those withdrawals, the right has been satisfied with trying to stabilize them. But that has only created safe spaces for terror while setting the stage for the next round of retreats by the left which will create even broader territories of terror. These territories are staging areas for the next invasion, which will come not from Hamas, but a Muslim Brotherhood Egypt and an Islamist Turkey, once Israel has been sufficiently softened up.
The only way to end the threat of Hamas in Gaza is by retaking Gaza, but no such policy is on the table. Like America, Israel responds to terrorism not with the aim of achieving decisive victories, but with a policy of intimidating the terrorists into scaling down their attacks. This is a political policy of political generals and leads to terror becoming a permanent institution.
Israel has tried negotiating its way out of the terrorist trap. It has not tried fighting its way out. Israel has tried to escape the occupation, but in a region where you are either the occupier or the occupied, it may have no choice.
Any moment of truth must begin and end with a realistic assessment of the realities that you face. Israel faces a proxy war by its neighbors and like most proxy wars, it is the opening round to a true war ending in true occupation and genocide.
Its neighbors know what they are fighting for. They are fighting Israel for the same reason that Shiites fight Sunnis and that Sunnis persecute Christians. They are fighting Israel because “by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population” it is different and must be crushed for the national and religious aims of any proper Islamist country.
But what is Israel fighting for? Like so many modern countries it is fighting so as not to fight. It is fighting for peace. It is fighting to escape from fighting. And so like many modern countries it cannot bring itself to fight hard enough to break the cycle. Instead it fights just hard enough to defer the fight by another few years and the cycle continues.
Israel can retake Gaza once. Or it can retake Gaza every few years. It can have soldiers patrol Gaza or it can have rockets falling on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The options are as unfortunate as they are clear. The only hope for peace lies in driving out the terrorist militias who have turned Gaza and the West Bank into their own Somalia and Afghanistan and reclaiming the territory. Because after this fight is through, the next generation of rockets will go on being built and smuggled. And they will not fall in empty fields.
There can be farms and greenhouses on the hilltops of Gaza. Or there can be rockets. source – Israeli National News
Iran sends hundreds of Fajr-5 Missiles To Gaza
An Iranian 150-ton freighter departed Bandar Abbas port Sunday, Nov. 18, with a cargo of 220 short-range missiles and 50 improved long-range Fajr-5 rockets for the Gaza Strip, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report. The ship turned toward the Bab al-Mandeb Straits and the Red Sea.
The new Fajr-5′s have a 200-kilo warhead, which packs a bigger punch than the 175 kilos of explosives delivered by the rockets in current use with the Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip. To extend their range to cover the 85 kilometers from Gaza to Tel Aviv, Hamas removed a part of their payloads to make them lighter.
Tehran is sending the fresh supply of disassembled rockets to replenish the stocks its allies, the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami, depleted in their round-the-clock attacks on Israel since Nov. 10.
To throw Israeli surveillance off the trail, the ship started its voyage called Vali-e Asr owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and was quickly renamed Cargo Star and hoisted the flag of Tuvalu. This South Pacific island nation, which lies between Hawaii and Australia, has a tiny population of 11,000, most of them Polynesians. Iran provides most of its revenue since earlier this year when Prime Minister Willy Telavi agreed to register Iran’s entire tanker fleet of 22 vessels to Tuvalu, to help Tehran dodge the US-EU oil embargo.
Our intelligence sources have learned that four big Sudanese shipping boats sailed out of Port Sudan early Monday and are waiting to rendezvous with the Cargo Star and offload its missile cargo in mid-sea.
The Sudanese will then be told by Tehran whether put into Port Sudan with the missiles, or turn north and sail up the Red Sea to the Straits of Tiran to link up with Egyptian fishing boats which regularly ply this waterway in the service of Palestinian-Iranian smuggling networks. They would unload the missile cargo in a quiet inlet on the Sinai coast. From there, it would be carried to the smuggling tunnels running from Sinai under the border into the Gaza Strip.\
Palestinian teams assisted by Iranian and Hizballah technicians in the Gaza Strip would then assemble the new rockets and make them operational.
Through most of the voyage, two Iranian warships, the Khark heliicopter carrier and Shahid Naqdi destroyer, which are posted permanently in the Red Sea, escorted the arms ship until the cargo changed hands.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources also disclose that the Jihad Islami leader Ramadan Abdullah Shelah was sharply remanded by Tehran for meeting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo Sunday to discuss terms for halting Israel’s counter-missile operation in Gaza now in its sixth day.
Iran bankrolls these Palestinian extremists and has no intention of letting Shelah bow to Cairo’s wishes which run counter to Tehran’s plans and interests.
While Egypt’s new Islamist leaders are intent on carving out for themselves a responsible role in the region by restoring order, solving crises and restraining radicals, radical Iran has its own fish to fry and is bent on escalating war tensions in the Middle East. source – DEBKA
Iron Dome gets the job done
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas government buildings in Gaza, and the “Iron Dome” defense system shot down a Tel Aviv-bound rocket on Saturday as Israel geared up for a possible ground invasion.
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, said Israeli missiles wrecked the office building of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh – where he had met on Friday with the Egyptian prime minister – and struck a police headquarters.
Along the Tel Aviv beachfront, volleyball games came to an abrupt halt and people crouched as sirens sounded. Two interceptor rockets streaked into the sky. A flash and an explosion followed as Iron Dome, deployed only hours earlier near the city, destroyed the incoming projectile in mid-air.
With Israeli tanks and artillery positioned along the Gaza border and no end in sight to hostilities now in their fourth day, Tunisia’s foreign minister traveled to the enclave in a show of Arab solidarity. source – Yahoo News
The threat from the South comes alive
Two major Israeli newspapers are reporting that rockets fired from Egypt have hit Israel.
“Terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula launched rockets into Israel Friday night,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “The rockets fell near an Israeli village on the southern border, causing some damage, but no injuries.”
The Israeli daily Haaretz reports, ”Rockets fired from direction of Egypt toward Eshkol Regional Council.”
It appears no damage was reported in connection with the rocket fire from Egypt. Earlier today, the Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinians there.
This new front comes a day after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv and on the same day Israel’s capital Jerusalem was the target of rocket fire. Those attacks were courtesy of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“After Tel Aviv metropolitan area, capital under fire too: An air raid siren was sounded in Jerusalem and surrounding communities early Friday evening. After residents reported hearing blast sounds, security forces confirmed that one rocket had landed in the Gush Etzion area near a Palestinian village,” Ynet reports.
“There were no reports of injuries or damage. This was the first air raid siren sounded in the area since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip. Air raid sirens were sounded in southern communities throughout the day and a barrage of missiles hit the area.” source – Weekly Standard
Israel started drafting 16,000 reserve troops on Friday as Egypt’s prime minister visited the Gaza Strip to show support for Palestinians amid a cross-border conflict with Hamas militants that risks spiraling into an all-out war.
But even as Prime Minister Hesham Kandil arrived for a three-hour visit in the coastal enclave, a temporary cease-fire declared by Israel at Egypt’s request collapsed after both sides accused the other of violating it.
Explosions were heard Friday in Tel Aviv, prompting the city to sound air raid sirens, NBC’s Lawahez Jabari reported.
A police spokesman said one rocket fired toward the coastal city fell into the sea. “The rocket landed off the shores of Tel Aviv,” the spokesman told Reuters.
Earlier, Hamas’ military wing also claimed it had struck a building in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin reported. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the military intercepted four rockets over Ashkelon, but that one exploded in an open area.
It was the second straight day that Gaza militants have targeted Tel Aviv. The attacks, which Israel considers to be a major escalation, could draw an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza closer.
Israeli troops have massed near the Palestinian territory and witnesses said they could see Israeli ships off Gaza’s coast, Mohyeldin reported. Israel’s army would be heavily dependent on reservists to fight any prolonged war. The military has received a green light to call in up to 30,000 reserve troops. source – NBC News