Today’s Top Stories
1. Hamas operatives caught by Israel are confirming to interrogators that mosques were used for military activity, tunnels were dug under kindergartens, and the organization’s leaders are hiding out in hospitals. The Shin Bet even posted on its web site (in Hebrew) the names of the prisoners and what they confirmed. Haaretz picked up on what the jailbirds had to say:
“Everyone knew” that senior Hamas officials were hiding in hospitals, Al-Kadra said, a statement echoed by captives from other parts of Gaza. Samir Abu Luli of Rafah said guards stationed by Hamas at the Al-Najar hospital barred access to certain areas of the institution.
See also Israel HaYom.
2. The UN Human Rights Council added Mary McGowan Davis to the Schabas commission investigating alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza. She’s a former justice on the Supreme Court of New York who also led the UN’s followup probe to the Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead. The inquiry is tasked with submitting its findings to the council in March. Details at UN Watch.
3. Ex-AP Correspondent Exposes the Media’s Israel Obsession: Matti Friedman blows the whistle on why Big Media is so dysfunctional about Israel.
4. Shocking Claim by BBC Journalist: BBC’s Orla Guerin insists there is “no evidence” that Hamas is using human shields. Oh really?
5. New York Times Publishes Uncorroborated Allegation from Son of Hamas Official: “Why would Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren put her name on this dreck, and how did it get past the Times’s editors?”
6. Success: Time Retracts IDF Organ-Harvesting Allegation: In response to your complaints, Time magazine retracted a blood libel.
7. Absurd Moments in Anonymous Sources: What does it say about both Time and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office that a “no-comment” on rumors can’t be attributed to anyone by name?
Operation Protective Edge
• Jerusalem Post: US-Qatari ties are deterring Israel from launching an all-out diplomatic campaign against the Hamas sponsor state.
• Judging from Haaretz, the delay in a shipment of US missiles to Israel is over.
• The IDF destroyed two Gaza high-rises linked to Hamas. AP explains the escalation:
Since Saturday, it has toppled or destroyed five towers and shopping complexes in an apparent new tactic aimed at increasing pressure on Hamas . . .
The Israeli military said it targeted sites linked to militants Tuesday, but made no specific reference to the two buildings. Israel alleges Hamas often operates from civilian locations. The military has not said why it has begun collapsing large buildings, rather than carrying out pinpointed strikes against suspected militant targets located there.
• Multiple choice question and spin time: Hamas is an obstacle to peace because:
A. Khaled Mashaal is too intransigent, gaining power every time his gunmen die in Gaza.
B. Its leadership structure is too disarrayed to agree on whether or how to negotiate a cease fire.
C. All of the above.
• “Tit-for-tat” is a great phrase for journalists too lazy to make judgments. This Daily Mail headline confers blameless victim status to everybody.
• Prominent British filmmaker Ken Loach calls for cultural and sporting boycott of Israel.
• Around the world: Manchester police restrict protesters outside Israeli cosmetics store. Why were Tacoma protesters unable to block an Israeli boat from unloading? Anti-Semitic flyers dropped in Sydney Jewish neighborhoods. Australia‘s Jewish community “palpably concerned” by a spike in anti-Semitism.
• The IDF released a video explaining what the UN’s maps of Gaza don’t show you about the placement of Hamas rocket launchers, weapons dumps, and tunnel entrances.
• A Hamas goon proudly showed off to an Al-Jazeera reporter some war booty: a wallet with some identification cards, a bus pass, and other personal items IDF soldiers left behind. I can’t imagine how satisfied Gazans will feel if that’s the best Hamas can boast of. More at YNet.
• Israeli officials continue their media offensive. Naftali Bennett got op-ed space in the Chicago Tribune.
• Zalman Shoval: Don’t let Israel advocacy falter
• How destructive is the IDF in Gaza? I’ll counter the Irish Times‘s Eamonn McCann’s take on the “Dahiya doctrine” with Victor Davis Hanson, who compares Operation Protective Edge to Gen. William Sherman’s misunderstood march to the sea during the US Civil War. Hanson’s conclusion is apropos to McCann:
Sherman got under our skin, and so does the IDF. Today we call not losing very many soldiers “disproportionate” warfare, and leaving an enemy’s territory a mess and yet without thousands of casualties “terrorism.” The lectures from the IDF about the cynical culpability of Hamas make the world as livid as did Sherman’s sermonizing about the cowardly pretensions of the plantationist class.
We tend to hate most deeply in war those who despoil us of our romance, especially when they humiliate rather than kill us — and teach us the lesson that the louder and more bellicose often prove the more craven and weak.
• Khaled Abu Toameh wonders if Hamas will be held accountable for the extrajudicial killings of alleged collaborators.
One of the myths about the Middle East is that there would be peace if only Israel courted Palestinian moderates. This might be possible if any Palestinian who harbored such a thought wasn’t summarily executed . . .
The practice goes back to the days of the British mandate when the mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini killed Palestinians open to a Jewish presence. During the anti-Israel uprisings in the 1980s, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction that still rules the West Bank murdered some 800 Palestinians for alleged collaboration. The Palestinians will never have peace as long as they keep murdering anyone who wants it.
See also a New York Daily News staff-ed.
• Why is Hezbollah only watching the Gaza crisis from afar?
• For more commentary/analysis, see David Horovitz (Much diplomatic ado about nothing), Yossi Beilin (Don’t hand out free gifts to Hamas), and Leo McKinstry (Why Israel has an absolute right to defend its people).
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Sorry to hear about the passing of Shira Herzog. She was a columnist, activist and philanthropist involved in many Israeli and Canadian projects. Her take on Israel was always worth reading. Obits in the Toronto Star and Canadian Jewish News say Herzog succumbed to a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 61.
• The good news: Alawites and other key supporters of Bashar Assad are furious that Syrian forces practically abandoned a major air force base without much of a fight. The bad news: The Taqba air force base was captured by the Islamic State, and was the last government outpost in the northeastern region otherwise dominated by the jihadis. More at the Wall St. Journal (via Google News) and the Daily Star.
Image: CC BY-NC flickr/Debabrata Ray