With the “March of Return,” Hamas Finds a New Way to Use Human Shields

April 3 2018

On Friday March 30, Hamas gathered thousands of its subjects at the border fence separating Gaza from Israel to inaugurate the “March of Return.” The protests are planned to continue until May, culminating in a massive attempt to storm the border. Oded Granot explains:

[Hamas’s] calculation is simple. Israel has enough military might to repel any military threat to its borders and sovereignty. But it won’t dare slaughter civilians en masse—women and children who are trying to “return to their homes in Haifa, Acre, and Ashkelon.” And if, heaven forbid, it did, it would be immediately condemned by the international community and accused of harming innocent civilians and of crimes against humanity. . . .

About 250 buses brought some 30,000 people to the border area [on Friday]. Some are relatives of Hamas operatives and public officials. Not everyone participated willingly. Some were forced.

This was no peaceful, popular demonstration, as the organizers promised it would be. This was incitement. Rocks were thrown. Attempts were made to vandalize the border fence, and demonstrators were used as cover for an attempted attack against IDF forces. When these attempts failed, and seventeen people had been killed—including ten known terrorists—Israel was accused of perpetrating a mass slaughter. In this sense, Hamas’s tactics during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, in which it located terrorist headquarters and weapons caches in civilian homes, didn’t differ much from the events on Friday. In both cases, civilians were forced to serve as human shields.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism

UN Troops in Lebanon Don’t Just Ignore Hizballah. They Protect It

Dec. 18 2018

Two weeks ago, IDF officers showed the commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) the tunnels that Hizballah has dug into Israeli territory. UNIFIL, whose primary mission is to keep Iran-backed jihadist group from using southern Lebanon to attack Israel, responded with a statement that failed even to name Hizballah. Not only is UNIFIL useless at doing its job, writes Evelyn Gordon, but its very presence helps Hizballah, since countries that contribute troops are afraid to put them in harm’s way by aggravating the terrorists they’re meant to contain.

It’s no coincidence that the major contributors to UNIFIL . . . oppose listing Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. The only EU country that does blacklist the entire organization is Holland, which has exactly one soldier in UNIFIL.

The EU and its other member states blacklist only the [organization’s] military wing, not the political wing. And that’s fine with Hizballah because, as the organization itself admits, any distinction between its political and military wings is purely fictitious. Thus, so long as the political wing is legal, Hizballah can still fundraise and recruit freely in Europe.

A complete ban, however, would genuinely hurt Hizballah. According to a 2017 German intelligence report, Germany alone has [on its soil] some 950 Hizballah operatives actively fundraising and recruiting for the organization. Much of that money is raised through charitable donations, but another significant source is organized crime. An EU report published in August described “a large network of Lebanese nationals offering money-laundering services to organized crime groups in the EU and using a share of the profits to finance terrorism-related activities. . . . An EU ban on Hizballah would thus put a serious crimp in its operations.

UNIFIL, by contrast, hasn’t put the slightest crimp in them. . . . To be fair, expecting UNIFIL to stop Hizballah was never realistic. As a senior Israeli official acknowledged this week, few countries would be willing to contribute troops to a mission that actually involved fighting Hizballah. . . . [Yet] UNIFIL has no problem making accusations against Israel. [A] November report that couldn’t “substantiate” Hizballah’s [illegal] arms transfers declared that UNIFIL had recorded 550 Israeli violations of Lebanon’s airspace and demanded their “immediate cessation.”

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Lebanon