Articles about

1. Historic Background of Israeli Occupation and its Terrorism
2. From Gaza, an Array of Makeshift Rockets Packs a Counterpunch (NYT Article)
3. Inability of Israel to face Tunnel War of Hamas (NYT Article)

In Tunnel War, Israeli Playbook Offers Few Ideas

   Israeli soldiers near the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza on Friday. A retired Israeli general said Hamas had “changed its doctrine” in attacking from tunnels. Credit Amir Cohen/Reuters
JERUSALEM — Israel entered its latest conflict with Hamas armed with a high-tech arsenal, real-time battlefield intelligence and strong domestic support for dealing a heavy blow to Hamas.
But again on Friday, Israeli forces were taken by surprise, this time with two soldiers killed and one taken prisoner when militants once again attacked from a tunnel in Gaza.
As frustration grows in Israel over the military’s limited success so far in trying to neutralize Hamas, the militant Islamic group that governs Gaza, some military experts say it is increasingly evident that the Israel Defense Forces have been operating from an old playbook and are not fully prepared for a more sophisticated, battle-ready adversary. The issue is not specifically the tunnels — which Israel knew about — but the way Hamas fighters trained to use them to create what experts in Israel are calling a “360-degree front.”
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Related Coverage

“Hamas has changed its doctrine and is using the tunnels as a main method of operation,” said Israel Ziv, a retired general who headed the military’s Gaza division and its operations directorate. “This is something we learned amid the fighting.”
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Play Video|2:20

Hamas’s Tunnels to Israel

An underground look at Hamas’s tunnels into Israel.
Video Credit By Carrie Halperin and Sofia Perpetua on Publish Date July 22, 2014. Image CreditJim Hollander/European Pressphoto Agency
Of the 32 fortified tunnels that the Israeli military has exposed so far, at least 11 run deep beneath the border into Israeli territory. Others are part of an underground labyrinth inside Gaza connecting buildings, weapons stores and concealed rocket launchers.
Israeli troops in Gaza described Hamas gunmen who vanished from one house, like magicians, and suddenly popped up to fire at them from another. And while Hamas fighters are able to use the tunnels to surprise the forces from behind and to attack those in the rear, Israeli soldiers find themselves having to improvise.
In the Gaza war that began in late 2008, 10 Israeli soldiers were killed, four of them from friendly fire. This time, 63 soldiers have been killed, mostly in combat, and one is now a prisoner.
“The military has been playing it by ear,” said Amos Harel, a military affairs analyst for the newspaper Haaretz, who added that despite the Israeli military’s knowledge of the tunnels, its planners did not draft a new doctrine for prosecuting a land invasion. “But it is pretty good at doing that, and has done it many times.”
In this latest asymmetrical war with Hamas, the third in five years, Israel thought it was prepared. It had built up an integrated communications systems able to transfer intelligence in real time to air and ground forces, an advancement that military officials called a “force multiplier.”
Precision-guided missiles have destroyed up to a third of Hamas’s rocket stocks, according to Israeli officials, as well as hundreds of houses or apartments that the military described as militant command-and-control centers and many other weapons production sites and stores. In 24 days of intense bombing, 4,300 targets have been hit.
   Israeli soldiers prepare to enter Gaza. Credit Uriel Sinai for The New York Times
Hamas still has up to 4,000 rockets, beyond the more than 3,000 that it has fired into Israel. More than 1,600 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians, according to Gaza officials, stirring international outrage and raising demands for a cease-fire.
And while Israel says it has killed hundreds of militants and arrested scores more, Hamas’s senior military command and political leadership remain intact.
“The leadership hides underground, like under Shifa Hospital,” said Eado Hecht, a military analyst who teaches at the Israeli military’s Command and General Staff College and at Bar-Ilan and Haifa Universities.
What Israel was apparently less ready for was Hamas fighters who are willing to engage and are trained to use tunnels, a tool of war whose roots go back to antiquity. During Israel’s last ground incursion in the winter of 2008-9, Hamas fighters largely avoided clashes, melting into the crowded urban landscape. This time, they were prepared for combat.
“What surprised me was the operational plans they built,” said Atai Shelach, a former commander of the military’s combat engineering unit.
The tunnels themselves, while well known, have also presented a challenge. After years of research there is still no technological solution for detecting and destroying them from afar, officials said. The shafts leading to Hamas’s labyrinth are “inside houses, so we won’t see them from the air,” said Mr. Hecht, the military analyst.
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In Gaza, a Pattern of Conflict

Similarities and differences in the last three major conflicts between Israel and Hamas.
 OPEN Graphic
“You have to go house to house and check,” he added.
On Thursday, the military distributed video footage of two tunnel shafts discovered under a prayer room in a mosque.
As Israel’s forces have slowly advanced, they have pummeled neighborhoods with heavy artillery, which analysts said was militarily necessary to safeguard soldiers. Those tactics have also drawn international condemnation for devastating civilian homes and infrastructure, and taking so many lives. “In a dense urban environment, you need to use aggressive force to save soldiers’ lives,” Mr. Harel, the military affairs analyst, said.
Special forces are equipped with portable Israeli-made Spike antitank guided missiles with ranges of 1.5 to 15 miles. Yiftah Shapir, a weapons expert at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said they could be used for almost anything, and were so accurate that they could pinpoint a window on a building.
Hamas has also upgraded its weaponry. Aside from its rockets, some of which can reach almost to the northern Israeli port city of Haifa, its arsenal includes antiaircraft and antitank missiles.
The number of Palestinian casualties in Gaza is comparable to that in the 2008-9 conflict, when about 1,400 were killed, according to Palestinian figures. Israel put the figure at closer to 1,120.
   Tanks near the border. Frustration is growing in Israel over the military’s limited success so far in trying to neutralize Hamas. Credit Uriel Sinai for The New York Times
Still, a decisive Israeli victory over Hamas remains elusive.
“The question is not military; the question is what does Israel want,” said Yaakov Amidror, a retired general who served as Israel’s national security adviser until November. To bring complete quiet to Gaza would require a takeover and occupation of the territory for six months to a year, he said. Israel, which unilaterally withdrew its forces and settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005, has little appetite to return.
What is left, military officials say, is to create deterrence. In recent years, Israeli strategists have spoken of the “Dahiya doctrine,” referring to Israel’s flattening of the Dahiya district in Beirut, a Shiite neighborhood that housed the command-and-control headquarters of Hezbollah, during its 34-day war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. The idea was to inflict such damage that the other side would decide confrontation was not worthwhile.
While many Israelis deemed that war a failure, it has restored quiet to Israel’s northern border for the last eight years.
But experts say the Dahiya doctrine does not apply to Gaza. The Hamas command is not concentrated in one area, and the leader of the movement, Khaled Meshal, lives in exile, “in a five-star hotel in Qatar,” as Mr. Amidror put it, where the impact of the destruction is less immediate.
Gabi Siboni, who runs the military and strategic affairs program at the Institute for National Security Studies, said another reason was that Hamas “is not accountable, not to the world and not to its citizens.” By embedding its forces and fighting from within the population centers, he said, Hamas has raised its willingness “to sacrifice” its civilians “to an art form.”
Hamas has said it is fighting to lift the economic blockade from Gaza and wants an opening of the passages controlled by Israel and Egypt, among other things — demands that would be addressed if substantive cease-fire talks were to take place in Cairo. Israel wants blocks on Hamas’s ability to rearm and, eventually, to see Gaza demilitarized.



From: Hameed Abdul Kareem

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Ceylon Today

Monday 28th July 2014




Hameed Abdul Karim


‘The big question is if I live in Gaza would I fire a rocket? – Probably yes’

David Ward British MP


Going by reports in the western press and listening to Israel’s spin doctors like Mark Regev on BBC and CNN you might get the impression that history of the Middle East conflict began just a few days ago when Hamas fired rockets deep into Israel. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Palestinian catastrophe began about a hundred years ago when Zionist Jews backed by western powers began to transfer hundreds of thousands of European Jews to Palestine.


At first the Palestinians Arabs, both Muslims and Christians, welcomed their ‘Semitic cousins’ with open arms out of sympathy because they were fleeing the enormous and horrible  butchery committed on them (the Jews) by white European Christians.


Taken for a ride


As time went by the Palestinians realised they were being taken for a ride and their homes and hearths and their very lives were at stake. But it was too late. By that time the Zionist Jews had already entrenched themselves in the land of their ‘cousins’ and were now preparing to drive them (Palestinians) out of the land that had been theirs for centuries. In 1948 the Zionist Jews destroyed hundreds of villages and expelled 750,000 Palestinians from their land and reduced these once proud people to poverty and impoverishment. They packed off the surviving Palestinians to refugee camps in neighbouring countries where, to this day, they wallow in the filth and squalor that such tragedies create. Today Gaza is referred to as the largest open concentration camp and in this most densely populated area you find refugee camps within refugee camps as Israel’s latest act of genocide shows no sign of let up. Schools, hospitals and United Nations safe havens are bombed relentlessly. As we speak, reports of a deliberate and heinous Israeli attack on a UN ‘school’ camp are making the headlines in non –western news agencies and social media. And yet the absurdly pro west media is complaining about a comment a British MP made saying he would fire rockets into Israel if he were living in Gaza whilst remaining subservient to Israel with muted and slanted comments about the Zionist state’s latest act of horror.  No sign of remorse is ever shown, not even a word of sympathy on the west’s media (excluding Channel 4) for the miserable Palestinians. Imagine the outcry if a rocket fired from Gaza had had the same horrifying result in Israel!


Jewish terrorism


But slaughters such as this latest atrocity is nothing new to the ‘chosen people’, it’s history is soaked in the blood of the Palestinians and goes back to 1948 when the Zionist Jews (I make a distinction between Jews and Zionist Jews because all Jews are not Zionist racists and all Zionist racists are not Jews) had slaughtered thousands of Palestinians in their bid for an exclusive Jewish supremacist state in Palestine on the lines of former apartheid South Africa. The Jewish terror gangs that figured prominently in these genocidal slaughters were the Hagganah, Stern Gang, and Lehi. Together they razed more than 500 villages and expelled 750,000 poor Palestinians from their land in one of the largest ethnic cleansing ‘projects’ ever. This terror is described in minute details by Prof Illan Pappe, himself a Jew, in his ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’.


Deir Yassin comes to mind when the brutality of these terrorist groups are mentioned. In this village alone 280 unarmed men, women and children were lined up against the walls of their humble abodes and shot dead in cold blood for no reason other than being Palestinians. Deir Yassin was a Christian village but no mention of this fact is ever made in the west’s media for obvious reasons. Not even Churches or graveyards were spared. Today the destroyed churches bear mute testimony to that act of horror that forever will haunt the annals of history.


The leader of this extremist Jewish terrorist organisation was none other than Menachem Begin, who later went on to become Prime Minister of Israel and also bagged the Nobel Peace Prize of all things. It was the same Begin that was wanted by the British for bombing the King David Hotel in Jerusalem killing over 70 British soldiers. For this act of terrorism the British offered a reward of 35,000 pound sterling for Menachem Begin dead or alive! Of course a few Arabs also died in that attack, but that wouldn’t matter for the likes of Israeli worshipers we see in the media today.  Palestinian lives were cheap then as they are today. Will the Palestinians ever get justice? Unlikely, as long as that great champion of human rights, democracy and death, the United States of America keeps supporting one Israeli act of genocide after another.


Another massacre that comes to mind is the appalling attack on the village of Qibya by Ariel Sharon. In this ‘campaign’ the future Prime Minster of Israel butchered 69 Palestinians, two third of them women and children, as they slept in their homes. Forty five homes, a school and a mosque were destroyed. Even the US state department at that time condemned this act of terror unlike today where we have President Barack Obama (and Prime Minster David Cameron) supporting Israel’s reign of terror in Gaza and the rest of Occupied  Palestine with absolutely no qualms. And we haven’t talked about Shabra and Shatilla yet for which the same Sharon was held responsible.


Divide  and rule


To this day we do not know for sure who was responsible for the deaths of three Israeli youths that supposedly triggered this bout of Israeli brutality.  Maybe it was a rogue operation or maybe it were Israelis, after all. Who knows? One thing is for sure, Israel’s Shin Beth knew for three weeks that the youth were dead, but kept silent so as to give the Israeli authorities and the media sufficient time to create hype and prepare the ground for this latest act of genocide. Benjamin Netanyahu took this opportunity to blame the Hamas-PLO unity deal which he had opposed from the start. It’s the age old imperialist ploy of divide and rule. How dare the Palestinians unite to defend themselves against the aggressor! Maybe the situation was created (certainly it was abused). Again who knows? Only time will tell.


Palestinian lives less valuable


The deaths of the three Israelis became international news within a day or two but the willful murders by the Israelis of over 100 Palestinian teenagers since the beginning of this year alone did not merit a mention even in the corners of inside pages in newspapers anywhere in the world


Islamic Terrorists


It is now common to hear the constant and hackneyed use of the sound bite ‘Islamic Terrorists’ which was created by the west’s think tanks and propagated worldwide by their media like the BBC, CNN, Fox News, Sky News and newspapers like the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Wall Street Journal among scores of others who are notorious for their shameless slants and support for Israel. It is regrettable that media in other parts of the world use the same sound bite when reporting on the Middle East ‘conflict’.


Christian ‘terrorists’


But here’s news for those who blindly worship Israel. There have been and continue to be Palestinian Christians who have been in the forefront of Palestinian resistance. One such figure was George Habash of the PFLP.

Many are the Palestinian Christians who have taken on the world in defense of their rights. Edward Said that great Palestinian intellectual, Hanan Ashrawi and Rev. Father Elias Chacour come to mind. There are fundamentalist churches (Christian Zionists) who believe it is their duty to support Israel in its bid to purify and cleanse the ‘promised land’ of all Goyim (Gentiles) to prepare the ground  for the return of Jesus Christ (peace be on him). Strangely they don’t see the contradictions in their belief with the teaching of the Messiah whose message was of peace and not genocide. Why is it then that these Christian Zionists   (U.S Vice President Joe ‘I am a Zionist’ Biden is one of them) don’t call their co-religionists in Palestine Christian ‘terrorists’?  After all they are fighting for the same cause as their ‘Islamic terrorists’ brethren!


I have had the pleasure of meeting two representatives of a Palestinian Christian group called ‘KAIROS’ here in Sri Lanka on an invitation by Bishop Duleep Chickera of the Anglican Church. One was Rifat Kasis and the other was Michel (I can’t remember his second name). KAIROS’ mission is to call all Christians all over the world to help fight the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. In its proclamation it calls on all Christians to take note of the Palestinian suffering under the Israeli (Jewish) regime. More than 3000 Palestinian Christians have signed the proclamation. Will Christian Zionists listen to the call of their co-religionists in Palestine? The Presbyterians in the U.S. are listening, will other denominations follow suit?


My blog:- hameed247.blogspot.com  

From Gaza, an Array of Makeshift Rockets Packs a Counterpunch

JERUSALEM — The rockets are smuggled via ship and tunnel from Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria and, increasingly, manufactured from water pipes and household items in what a senior Israeli intelligence officer called Gaza’s “high-tech” sector — about 70 makeshift factories staffed by 250 men and overseen by a few dozen engineers and chemists.

And while these rockets rarely hit high-value targets and have not killed a single person — the vast majority are stopped by Israel’s Iron Dome system or explode in open fields — the sheer number fired by militants into Israel since July 8 has shaken Israeli society, offering a sobering counterpunch to its superior firepower. The rockets have reached far into the north, threatening the commercial center in Tel Aviv and beyond.

“They judge their achievement not just by the number of casualties, but also by the harassment and the disruption to life they cause,” Uzi Rubin, a retired Israeli general and pre-eminent weapons expert, said of the militants. “A lucky hit can cause a lot of damage and casualties, and that could happen at any time.”

Plumes of smoke above a neighborhood in Gaza City after militants fired rockets toward Israel on Thursday after a lull in fighting. Credit Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Israeli military estimates that Hamas — the Islamist movement that dominates Gaza — Islamic Jihad and other fighters had a combined arsenal of 10,000 imported and homemade rockets at the start of the latest conflagration, about double their cache at the end of the last battle, in 2012. Military officials said their intense bombing had destroyed a third to half of those weapons, which they said were mainly stored underground and fired from parking lots, apartment windows, mosque porches and schoolyards, or through trap doors that were quickly re-covered with soil or stones.

The rockets are code-named for Palestinian militant heroes, and for their range: The R-160 honors Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a founder of Hamas, with a 160-kilometer, or 100-mile, reach from the Gaza Strip to the Israeli port city of Haifa. The J-80, able to hit Tel Aviv, memorializes Ahmed al-Jabari, a militant commander assassinated at the start of the last big battle.

The lone Israeli casualty was felled by a simple mortar. Still, Israel says it is the rocket fire that has prompted a military bombing campaign that has killed more than 235 Gazans, most of them civilians.

But Osama Hamdan, a Lebanon-based Hamas leader, said on Israel Radio this week that the eradication effort was ultimately futile and that each spent or destroyed rocket could be easily replaced “within hours.”

The first crude Qassam rockets, fired in 2001, barely cleared Gaza’s border. On the first day of the current fighting, a Syrian-made M-302 hit near Hadera, 70 miles north.

Though Gaza militants have declined to discuss specifics about their armaments, interviews with three high-ranking Israeli military officials and several Israeli experts provided a detailed portrait of that progression. Israel meticulously analyzes every rocket piece that falls in its territory, has intercepted dozens of weapons shipments, and devotes copious intelligence resources to scoping out the operation on the ground.

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Gazans Told to Evacuate

Areas where the Israel Defense Forces dropped leaflets urging Gaza residents to leave their homes before the ground assault. Arrows indicate where they were told to go.

Tal as



















Beni Sahila
















Ely Karmon of Israel’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism said arms — and experts who trained the locals to use them — were imported from Hamas’s Shiite allies through the Mediterranean Sea and the Sinai Desert during the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s. Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza and Egypt’s subsequent closing of its Rafah border crossing spawned a network of underground tunnels, where, experts said, traffic reached its peak during the one-year presidency of Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Hamas ally who was ousted by the Egyptian military.

Though Egypt’s new government is hostile to Hamas and shut down hundreds of the tunnels, the Israelis say some smuggling continued, and local production picked up.

“Rocket production is one of the prosperous sectors of the Gaza Strip — there is a very organized array of research and development and production,” said the senior intelligence officer. “Technologically, we are speaking about very simple rockets. They are not accurate at all. They make them by using very simple raw materials, mostly.”

Materials like 6-, 9-, 10- and 12-inch water pipes. Filled with propellant mixed from fertilizer, oxidizer, ammonia perchlorate, aluminum powder and other ingredients. Capped by warheads shaped by ironworkers. Under the tutelage, in some cases, of moonlighting chemistry or physics professors. Instructions are also available on the Internet.

“You need to be an engineer, but it’s not too difficult to learn it,” said another military official. “After you have the basic design, after you have the specific plan, you can do it. You don’t need a huge factory to do it. You can do it in a garage, you can do it under a mosque.”

On Wednesday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency found 20 rockets stored at a vacant school.