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Israel Kills Hamas Leaders
By Micah Halpern

Friday August 22, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Israel has successfully targeted several Hamas leaders. Targeting is a euphemism for assassinate.

Two of the Hamas leaders were central field commanders, responsible for the operational planning and execution of Hamas' attacks against Israel. Their names are Raed al Attar and Mohammed Abu Shamala.
These men were not just responsible for the shooting of rockets from Gaza into Israel, they also coordinated, planned and trained hundreds of terror raids into Israel. Together they were responsible for hundreds of Israeli casualties.

A third person assassinated by Israel is Mohammed Barhoum. He was in charge of Hamas logistics. Over the past 10 years Barhoum’s main role was facilitating and building the tunnels of Gaza.

Up until now Israel has been unable to locate and target Hamas military leaders. Something changed. My guess is that Israel was able to crack the Hamas communication network.

But does killing the leaders have an impact? Yes.

It send the rest of Hamas' followers into disarray. Cutting off the head of the beast means that it will take time for new leadership - with charisma, experience and the creativity to launch bold new operations, to emerge.

This is what the United States did with al Qaeda and the Taliban and what it should be doing with ISIS.

This successful strike by Israel may not totally destroy Hamas, but it will have a huge impact on the ability of Hamas to plan attacks against and to strike Israel.

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Hamas Shoots Record Number of Rockets
By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 21, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

It is a new and very sad and dubious record.

Last night 168 rockets were launched from Gaza into target Israel. The previous record was 150. Hamas is making an important point. And Israel responded in kind.

Hamas' point is that Israel did not defeat them and they still have the capability to strike Israel. With no intel to validate the observation, it seems clear that Hamas still has plenty of firepower and plenty of underground silos to launch them from.

Hamas hosted a Rueters camera crew and still photographer earlier this week. The journalists were taken on a tour of a tunnel system. The purpose of that tour was identical to Hamas launching these rockets.

Hamas is declaring that Israel is lying. Hamas is proving that they can still strike at the heart of Israel.

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Status Quo Agreement w/ Hamas
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday August 20, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

The ceasefire between Hamas in Gaza and Israel was broken. It was also timed out. No surprise.

Now, again, Hamas is launching rockets and Israel is countering with airstrikes. Israelis were told to stay in their bomb shelters.
Hamas is claiming that Israel dragged their feet in this stage of the negotiations. They were probably correct.

At this point there is no doubt that, from Israel's perspective, Israel would be giving way too many concessions to Hamas in a long term status accord. So it is in Israel's interests to just create a new status quo and live by it.

Hamas was not budging. Israel was giving in to more and more demands. At a certain point Israel simply said enough.

That is where the talks are now. In many ways this kind of status quo is better than an agreement that is neither applicable nor enforceable. In the new status quo Israel will have to use its own power of deterrence to make certain that Hamas does not step out of line.

At the beginning it will be very important that Israel clearly send that message and set down the cost of violating the status quo to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If Israel does not respond quickly and strongly, Hamas will not understand the high price of firing at Israel and disturbing the peace and quiet of the Israeli citizens that live near Gaza and in all parts of Israel.

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Hamas Agents Plot to Overthrow Abbas
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday August 19, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Israeli Intelligence, known as the Shin Bet, arrested 93 Hamas members in the West Bank. Israel also confiscated hundreds of thousands of dollars and numerous weapons and ammo.

The arrested are charged with plotting a third intifada. But the intifada was actually simply a terrorist's tool. The objective was to sow the seeds of great antagonism and cause huge resentment by way of an intifada that would cause Israel to clamp down on Palestinians living in the West Bank and force the Palestinian Authority to break down and, finally, implode.

Think of it as a game of dominos.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority would either have to clamp down on the intifada - or let it happen. Either way, either decision that they made, the Palestinian Authority would come crumbling down and Hamas would take over.

Interestingly, Turkey was also included in this Hamas move. The Hamas organizer has been in Turkey and much of the money and many of the players came to the region via Turkey.

There's more. On Tuesday Abbas went to Qatar to meet with the head of Hamas, Khaled Mashal. Abbas went to meet Hamas knowing of this plan.

For months I have said that the objective of Hamas is to oust the PA and Abbas. That is why Israel so diligently kept Abbas in the loop.

The irony is that Israel Is actually protecting Abbas and the PA against Hamas. And PA security forces are helping Israel and briefing the Shin Bet.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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New Old Anti Semitism in Europe
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 18, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

People are blaming the rise of anti-Semitic violence in Europe on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

They are wrong.

The idea that Israel's conflict with Hamas is connected to Europe is a disconnect with reality.

The hatred has been presented as anti Israel, but it is clear that the real tone of hatred in Europe is, in fact, anti-Semitic - not anti Israel. When we review the protests, the posters and the shouts and slogans we are reminded of Europe in the 1930's.

European protesters in 2014 are shouting "Gas the Jews" and "Hitler was right." Their placards read "Child Murderers." The protesters publicly declare that Israel is murdering Palestinian children as a policy.

This is a clear reenactment of the blood libel.

This is not about being anti Israel. There is no evidence for these canards. It is an exact replay of medieval Jew hatred. Only it's 2014.

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With Hamas - No Agreement Works
By Micah Halpern

Sunday August 17, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

The good news and the productive tone that came out of the Cairo talks on Thursday and Friday has disappeared.

It looks like there is no way for any ceasefire to emerge. Hamas has totally rejected the Egyptian proposal.

The main reason for their rejection is that Hamas gained nothing from the Egyptian brokered deal. There is no real success that Hamas can point to as an accomplishment from the entire operation.

But this is not a sign of total despair. The probable outcome of the breakdown of the talks will be the creation of a status quo without an agreement.

In the absence of a signed agreement, Israel will need to monitor and make certain that quiet reigns in the south. That means that things return to what they were before operation Preventive Edge and if Hamas once again begins to launch rockets at Israel, Israel must immediately respond and re-institute a system of deterrence by quickly and forcefully retaliating.

The system of deterrence forcing Hamas not to attack Israel will be based on Hamas' fear of retaliation by Israel.

If that system is in place a de facto ceasefire will work - and quiet will be returned to the south of Israel, at least, for the short term.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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Hezbollah Lashes Out at ISIS
By Micah Halpern

Saturday August 16, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Hassan Nasrallah is the head of Hezbollah.

Nasrallah lashed out at ISIS in part two of a rare six hour interview.

Nasrallah called ISIS an "uncontrollable monster conducting horrible massacres," and then he said "They have no reservations: Not ideological, not moral, not religious and not human."
Nasrallah said that ISIS is a "monster that has come to devour the region's people."

Hezbollah challenged ISIS in Syria. Had Hezbollah not stopped ISIS in Syria, ISIS would now be in Beirut.

Nasrallah asks:"If someone steps up to fight this monster ... should they be thanked or condemned?"

That was not the most biting of Nasrallah's critique. His most biting critique of ISIS came in the form of an explanation of their true character. "The danger in ISIS is that they don't differentiate between Shiite, Sunni, Christian, Druze, Yazid or Arab. The monster is growing and everyone should be concerned."

Nasrallah is saying that ISIS will gain access to places where one group claims that others are non-believers and heretics, what is known in Islam as "takfiri." He said "Wherever there is support of takfiri there is a basis (for support) for ISIS. This is in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Gulf states. Any country that thinks it can use this group for its advantage will find out it has no mercy when their turn comes."

And as you look at the map it looks clear that ISIS is on the way.

Never did I think that I would see eye-to-eye with Hassan Nasrallah on anything. On the subject of ISIS, I do.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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