Today’s Top Stories
1. The Shin Bet busted a Hamas plot to topple the Palestinian Authority. Jerusalem Post reports:
The plot was orchestrated by the Hamas overseas headquarters located in Turkey, and 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 . . .
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.
Building a seaport or an airport in Gaza without demilitarization is like getting a duty free for rockets and missiles.
3. In the last 24 hours, there’s been a lot of international fallout. See below for all the significant developments.
4. Ilan Pappe’s Sinister Supremacist Sperm Bank: Are Israeli women really obsessed with racial purity?
Israel and the Palestinians
• According to the Jerusalem Post, the IDF will respond to rocket fire tonight with a broader ground offensive against Hamas. How wide are we talking about?
A broader ground offensive can take multiple forms, and its scope can vary as well. On one end of the spectrum is a smaller operation that can last a few weeks, in which ground forces seize Gaza, deliver a powerful blow to Hamas’s military assets, and withdraw.
On the other end of the spectrum is an operation that would last at least about a year, in which ground units would spread out and go after all of Hamas’s guerrilla cells. Several intermediate options exist, too.
• The IDF destroyed the Hebron-area homes of the terrorists who murdered Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel. The home of a third person tied to the murders was sealed up. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• I’ve seen some sob stories about animals in Gaza’s Al-Bisan zoo killed or traumatized floating around the Internet and at The Mirror. But amid the destruction and emotionally manipulative scenes, AFP (article or video) found the debris of rocket launchers. Must have been part of the Monkey Martyrs Brigade:
But buckled rectangular metal rocket launch systems lay among the debris on the edge of the park, near a large building that was also hit by Israeli air strikes. Some appeared still to be loaded with rockets.
Hamad, the park’s director, was adamant that the rockets had not been fired from inside the park.
• Hamas placed hundreds of Fatah members under house arrest, the Times of Israel reports.
• Israeli media reports that Iran launched a massive cyber attack on Israel during Operation Protective Edge.
A defense source said that the attack caused no significant damage and reiterated that critical systems were well protected. Nonetheless, the source added, the scale of the attack was impressive.
• Norway and Egypt plan to host a Palestinian donor conference around the beginning of September — assuming a long-term truce can be agreed on first. The Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) writes:
Mr. Brende said the donors want President Mahmoud Abbas to receive the aid, with his Western-backed government of technocrats responsible for handling the reconstruction of Gaza.
• The Guardian: The US is putting pressure on the International Criminal Court in the Hague not to launch an investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
• A Fortune 500 company cancelled a six-day event in Glasgow in response to a Palestinian flag flown over city hall. The trip was a reward for 600 salepeople and their spouses, and would have brought hundreds of thousands of pounds to local businesses.
• An Irish mayor faces a no-confidence vote after requesting businesses to boycott Israeli goods.
• Sainsbury apologized for removing kosher products from the shelves of one its London supermarkets. The manager feared an attack by pro-Palestinian protesters like the one on Tesco, although few, if any, of the products were actually made in Israel. Brendan O’Neill nails the problem with this incident:
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.
So does this mean Sainsbury’s is anti-Semitic? No. It doesn’t even show that anyone at the Sainsbury’s in Holborn is anti-Semitic. But it does shine a light on the modern phenomenon of acquiescence to anti-Semitism, the rank unwillingness of influential people and institutions to face up to anti-Semitic sentiment and their preference for moulding the world around it rather than challenging it. Imagine if a Sainsbury’s manager suggested that the best way to deal with a racist in his store was to remove the black employees who were offending him. There would be outrage. Yet this weekend, in central, apparently civilised London, a manager decided that the best way to deal with people possessed of a possibly anti-Semitic outlook was to hide away the Jew stuff, lest they see it and feel disgusted by it.
• Port of Oakland dock workers are honoring a picket line set up by pro-Palestinian protesters trying to block an Israeli cargo ship from docking.
• Scotland’s Minister of Culture insists that a cancelled Israeli play has not damaged an Edinburgh festival’s reputation.
• Egyptian soccer star Mohamed Abou-Treika pulled out of a friendly inter-religious “match for peace” game initiated by Pope Francis. The official reason is that the 35-year-old retired player is “busy with personal affairs.” But Al-Ahram says the real reason is less-than-friendly.
But it’s believed that the reason why Abou-Treika – widely thought to be a supporter of the outlawed Egyptian Islamic group the Muslim Brotherhood – will not play is the presence of ex-Liverpool and Chelsea Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun.
A devout Muslim, Abou-Treika – who once displayed a shirt reading “Sympathise with Gaza” in an African Cup of Nations’ match – is not likely to welcome playing in a game featuring Israeli players due to the long-standing enmity between Arabs and Israel.
• Over in India, 20,000 people took to the streets of Kolkata to show solidarity with Israel.
• Worth reading: In a Washington Post op-ed, Natan Sharansky calls on the world not to set a double standard for Israel on the norms of war.
In view of the developing global war between the free world and terror, it is time that leading military experts from Israel, the United States, Britain and other countries, along with international lawyers and politicians, compare their experiences and agree about the standards according to which the free world can defend itself.
But once these standards are accepted, they should be applied to every free country. Otherwise, stop calling it a higher standard and call it by its real name: a double standard.
“Let’s say an Iranian ship docked at Gaza Port for a visit. We know that Iranian military vessels smuggle munitions nearly every time they hoist anchor. But, because this is a military craft, we can’t inspect it,” Vice Admiral (Ret.) Eliezer Marom, stressed.
• Worth a listen: Melanie Phillips discussed the Gaza crisis and anti-Semitism with the Voice of Israel.
• What’s behind Jordan’s mistreatment of Palestinians, and why does it matter? Khaled Abu Toameh explains:
A story is big only when it is Israel that arrests, kills, or deports.
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.
• For more commentary analysis, see Boaz Bismuth (Israel eyes Security Council as truce ends) Tariq Alhomayed (Nasrallah’s communication confusion), Yossi Beilin (No to a deal with Hamas), James Warren (On Twitter, a river of venom), and a New York Post staff-ed (Obama deserts an ally in war-time).
Image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/Claudio Riccio, Sharansky via YouTube/BBYO Insider, Jordanian soldiers via Flickr/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff