Obama/Kerry trusted Hamas, but not Israel....
Latest news, at day's first light on the east coast, per the indispensable Times of Israel live blog reports:
Rocket fire renews during humanitarian window; 5 police hurt in Temple Mount riots; Islamic Jihad commander killed in airstrike; US, others issue harsh rebukes of Israel after UNRWA school hit; Israel pulls most troops from Gaza.
Hamas--surprise, surprise--has continued its pattern of blatantly violating truces, now secure in the knowledge that the West will condemn Israel for defending. Large numbers of people in the West--leaders, reporters, voters--are condemning Israel, even knowing that in doing so they are doing exactly what Hamas wants them to do. The vast majority do this unintentionally, but nonetheless they do it.
In another live blog story, we learn that protracted conflict is inflicting major psychological trauma on Israeli teens--news that will hardly be noticed in the world's media outlets--on a 14-year study:
The results emphasize that Israel’s violent environment puts its teens at risk for mental health problems, the researchers say. The fallout from the accumulated trauma goes well beyond post-traumatic stress disorder and may include a wide range of disorders, psychological symptoms, and developmental impairment, they say.
Because the Arab-Israeli conflict predates the state of Israel, the researchers were not able to assess the mental health of an unaffected group of Israelis. The study also did not measure whether the high levels of psychological symptoms found among the teen were associated with diagnosable disorders or dysfunction.
Note again that last sentence: the study lacked a control group of teens living in times of peace, because Israel has been in a constant state of war with its Arab neighbors during its 66 years of existence.
One glimmer of good news--IF, that is, the Obama administration means it: the Pentagon says it will NOT leverage the supplying of arms to Israel to pressure the Jewish state to accept a ceasefire.
The Times of Israel reported over the weekend that after an Israeli soldier was abducted as part of a terror tunnel raid--90 minutes into a ceasefire Hamas thereby violated--Israeli PM Netanyahu vented his anger at US officials in a phone call:
Netanyahu told Shapiro the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to people familiar with the conversation. Netanyahu added that he now “expected” the US and other countries to fully support Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to those familiar with the call. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name.
Team Obama condemned the abduction as "barbaric" but did not name Hamas as having carried it out:
Obama and other US officials did not directly blame Hamas for the abduction. But they made clear they hold Hamas responsible for, or having influence over, the actions of all factions in the Gaza Strip. The language was a distinct change from Thursday when Washington was focused on the deaths of Palestinian civilians.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia blamed Hamas entirely for the Gaza War, putting him to the right of Team Obama. Inside Israel, far lefty Amos Oz is on the same page as Bibi: stop Hamas. Lefty dove Tzipi Livni called for demilitarization of Gaza and replacement of Hamas with the Palestine Authority for Gaza governance.
David Horowitz, in another unusually persuasive column, sees a mixed outcome to date: Hamas knows it can survive because Israel will not go deep into urban areas to ferret out their fighters from underground; and Hamas rockets & tunnels have made Israelis feel more vulnerable than before:
Looking first at Hamas’s gains to date, it can claim to have profoundly shaken Israel’s sense of security. A month ago, most Israelis considered it to be a dangerous terrorist organization, capable of murderous attacks. They weren’t aware it had several thousand well-trained fighters. They weren’t aware of the sophistication of its war machine — its effective hierarchy, its weaponry, its terror tunnels. And those Israelis who did know about the tunnels underestimated the catastrophe they could have wrought. We may never be certain that all the tunnels have been found. It will take a long, long time for residents of Gaza-envelope communities to sleep soundly at night.
In addition, DH notes that Israel's premier airport was shut down, and tourism suffered; also, an unknown added portion of Israel's electorate will conclude that peace with Palestinians is not achievable. And Israel took a beating among international press & leaders, because the pictures of killed & wounded Gazan children trumped all reason--even knowing that Hamas wanted civilian casualties to mount.
DH cites victories Israel can claim: destruction of terror tunnels that it could not have initiated war to destroy without losing domestic support; killing hundreds of Hamas fighters; the IDF fought brilliantly under impossible conditions; Hamas, despite propaganda gains, did reap opprobrium, even if Israel reaped more.
Yet DH somberly concludes: "Israel was battered in a conflict it did not initiate by a terrorist government that told anybody who was listening of its goal to wipe us out. And yet Israel has received precious little empathy or support."
Der Speigel reports that Israel eavesdropped on SecState John Kerry. Such are the lamentable consequences when a close ally sows distrust by undermining its only enduring ally in the Mideast.
And back in America's capitol--in front of the White House--police evacuated pro-Israel demonstrators who were threatened by pro-Hamas demonstrators. Apparently, the concept that the constitutional free-speech rights of non-violent demonstrators entitle them to police protection from threats of violence by the unruly is one with which the local police are not familiar.
Bottom Line. Hamas jumped the shark in taking an IDF soldier hostage, breaking a humanitarian ceasefire almost instantly; when global reaction proved toxic--in perhaps the ultimate ironic commentary in today's media environment--Hamas cut its losses by killing the unlucky hostage. Obama & Kerry jumped a second shark with Bibi, demolishing what little credibility they claimed as friends of Israel. Israel gained crucial additional days to demolish the known Hamas terror-tunnel network.
But Israel has discovered that even when fighting a terrorist group out to obliterate the Jewish state & kill every Jew on the planet, even when that terror group uses children as human shields, Israel will lose the propaganda war, because for too many pictures of dead children trump all, including the idea of fixing blame for their deaths on those using kids as shields.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Foreign Policy, National Security, Conservative Politics