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High IDF Death Toll in Hamas Upsurge of Violence on "Cease-Fire" Day

By DEBKAfile.com

In the past 48 hours, Israel was pressured to accept its fifth "humanitarian" ceasefire in Gaza by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came close to folding, whereas Hamas saw the truce as applying only to Israel and therefore used it as a call to arms.

The slogan Israel broadcast: Quiet will be met with quiet and fire with fire, was seen by Hamas as a sign of Israel weakening. This impression was confirmed on Sunday when the order went out to Israel troops to exercise restraint in the face of sporadic Hamas rocket fire, so as to give the truce a chance. The Palestinian Islamists used it as a welcome respite for getting organized for the next stage of their onslaught.

Neither Israelis, Americans or Egyptians anticipated the radical Hamas launching an escalated assault on the first day of the Eid el-Fitr festival. In fact, by coordinating rocket, mortar and tunnel terror attacks, they inflicted on Israel one of the worst days of the three-week Operation Defensive Shield, claiming the lives of 10 servicemen.

A grim omen of the deadly attacks ahead came from a surge of rocket fire Monday afternoon, after a relatively quiet night. It targeted Gaza's closest neighbors as well as Ashkelon and was followed by a salvo against the Lachish District and the towns of Netivot and Ofakim.

At around 4:30 p.m. Israel time, Hamas thought to give Israel a nasty surprise by sending one of its heavy Iranian Fajr-5 missiles (range 75 km) smashing into Tel Aviv. Instead of taking to the air, the missile plummeted to the ground in the nearby Shifa Hospital compound and exploded. Ten people were killed in the blast.

Half an hour later, Hamas directed mortar fire at the Eshkol District, where a group of soldiers was meeting. One hit its mark, killing four men and injuring nine. The mortar attack was coordinated with another rocket barrage, this one directed at Ofakim and Mt. Carmel. At around 6 p.m., a band of five Hamas terrorists came out of a tunnel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz They shot dead five defenders and were killed themselves in a firefight with the soldiers. The tenth soldier was shot dead by Palestinian sniper in the Gaza Strip Monday morning. Their deaths raised to a total of 53 the IDF toll in the three-week counter-terror operation in the Gaza Strip.

Monday night, Israeli troops appeared to have started expanding the operation to the west. The inhabitants of Jebalya and Zeitun were told to leave their homes and, soon after, Israel artillery began shelling Ain Bureij.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz made a joint TV appearance Monday, offering a pledge to continue the campaign against Hamas until all goals were achieved, however long it takes. Netanyahu said: "Today we suffered terrorism from above and below." The destruction of terror tunnels, he said, was an essential step towards the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, which offered the only path to real peace.

Ya'alon said Israel would no longer a tolerate dialogue through terror tunnels and rockets. Hamas had been punished and would continue to be, he said, until it understood that Israel will never be brought to surrender. Gen. Gantz: "As a human being, it is hard for me to accept civilian deaths," he said, - unlike Hamas, which is solely responsible for 10 deaths at Shifa hospital, in whose grounds a missile aimed at Tel Aviv exploded prematurely.

The 24-hour "humanitarian ceasefire" was the stage for a major escalation in violence as Hamas strutted its stuff, fully confident of its ability to stand up to the next stage of the IDF operation. Will Israel's war planners finally show undivided resolve to win this momentous struggle against an expansionist Islamist terror movement?

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Rage in Jerusalem: 'Reject Obama's Cease-Fire Demands'

By Israel Hayom

Israeli officials were outraged on Monday after President Barack Obama urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to announce an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip. "Obama is stopping Israel just when we have Hamas against the wall," a senior official told an Israeli news media outlet.

Israel's ministers and MKs also voiced their extreme displeasure with the American pressure, with Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel directing his angry comments directly at the American president, saying, "Leave us alone; go focus on Syria." In an interview with Army Radio, Ariel said that Israel's military offensive in Gaza should have been more aggressive.

"It was obvious that international pressure would mount eventually," Ariel said. "We should have acted faster, harder and with more determination. The rocket threat needs to be tackled. The tunnel threat is being addressed, but it is not enough."

Likud deputy minister Tzipi Hotovely also criticized the American demand, saying, "Israel needs to reject Obama's call. The American proposal serves only the interests of Hamas. For the first time in years there is an overwhelming majority of Israelis who support the continuation of the operation. The Israeli government needs to change the rules of the game in Gaza and defeat Hamas."

In his conversation with Netanyahu on Sunday, Obama urged an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 cease-fire agreement."

In a statement about the phone call, the White House said, "The president stressed the U.S. view that, ultimately, any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza."

According to the White House, Obama "underscored the enduring importance of ensuring Israel's security, protecting civilians, alleviating Gaza's humanitarian crisis, and enacting a sustainable cease-fire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza's long-term development and economic needs, while strengthening the Palestinian Authority."

In Ramallah, Palestinian Authority officials are furious that Kerry presented the cease-fire conditions of Hamas, Qatar and Turkey as an American proposal. The Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted senior Palestinian Authority officials as saying, "Kerry tried to bypass Abbas and sabotage the cease-fire initiative formulated by the Egyptians, which was accepted both by the Palestinian Authority and by Israel. The U.S. secretary of state repeatedly demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of diplomatic processes in the Middle East. Kerry formulated an alternative outline to appease Qatar and Turkey and did not consult at all with the relevant officials in Cairo, Ramallah and Israel."


Iran: Hizbullah Can Fire Rockets 'Nonstop' at Israel

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Iranian officials are closely studying the progress of Operation Protective Edge, in light of concern over Israel airstrikes on its nuclear facilities and its ongoing quest to destroy Israel.

Hossein Salami G'anshin, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, said in this context that the war in Gaza is an introduction prior to the collapse of Israel, noting that Hizbullah has become a very powerful factor that can launch missiles "non-stop" on all the cities of Israel.

The Naval commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Ali Fadawi, said at a meeting with senior officers that following the war, the Iranian army should place emphasis on strengthening deterrence and defense capabilities in order to bring down Israel.

According to Fadawi, the Iranian army closely monitors the IDF's activities and is engaged in the development of plans for the protection of Iranian assets in accordance with Israeli "threats" and the different possible scenarios. He added that the information gathered from the "enemy" for the Iranian army is one of the factors helping build Tehran's deterrence and towards realizing the capabilities of Iran.

Iran recently stated that it provided "rocket technology" to Hamas before the current conflict, denying that it provided the actual rockets but claiming it provided data and research. Iran has provided Hamas and Islamic Jihad with long-range missiles such as the Fajr-5 and M302.

Earlier this year, Israeli naval commandos seized the Klos C ship, and discovered weapons including long-range rockets destined for terrorist groups in Gaza. Despite its active role in providing the rockets raining down on Israeli population centers, Iran condemned the IDF operation aiming to stop the rockets as "savage aggression" earlier this month. Iran has also been explicitly linked with Hizbullah and has been accused of using the group to further its aims in war-torn Syria.


Gaza Operation Prompts Anti-Semitic Protests in Europe

By Israel Hayom

Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip has prompted a dire rise in anti-Semitism in Europe, according to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper. In a report titled "Anti-Semitic attacks scar British cities," the newspaper said that Britain's Jews were "suffering an anti-Semitic backlash against Israel's military action in Gaza with attacks, bomb threats, bricks thrown at a synagogue, and 'Hitler was right' banners."

The report said that over 100 hate crimes had been committed against Jews in the U.K. in July. Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust group that helps protect Jews across Britain, said the rise in violence was "well over double what we would normally expect to see, and most of the incidents are linked to what's going on in Israel and Gaza."

The report said that many of the attacks "have been carried out by young Muslim men and, in some cases, the attackers have invoked the Holocaust."

The more serious incidents currently being investigated across the U.K. include an assault on a rabbi outside a Jewish school in Gateshead, the vandalism of a synagogue in Belfast, a group of young men driving through a Jewish area of Greater Manchester shouting "Heil Hitler," and a man using Twitter to urge the bombing of a Jewish neighborhood in London so "Jews feel the pain of Palestinians," as well as the use by pro-Palestinian demonstrators of banners saying "Hitler, you were right."

According to the report, in the last few weeks have also seen the BBC reprimand a journalist who suggested that western politicians have refrained from intervening in the latest Gaza conflict because they had been "bought by the Jews." The piece further quoted Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky as saying, "We are seeing the beginning of the end of Jewish history in Europe."

The recent rise in anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe, and especially in France, where several pro-Palestinian protests turned violent, has prompted Paris to order a temporary ban on anti-Israeli demonstrations, which pro-Palestinian protesters have so far ignored.

In Germany, the Berlin Police sent 1,200 officers to monitor a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Friday after other protests against Israel in German cities in recent days featured anti-Semitic slogans. "The anti-Semitic backlash in Britain echoes even more violent scenes on the Continent. In France, Jewish businesses have been firebombed and ransacked by mobs, while in Germany an imam reportedly called on Muslims to murder 'Zionist Jews,'" the report said.


Woman Behind 'Auschwitz Selfie' Defends Her Actions

By YnetNews.com

An Alabama teenager has defended her actions this week, according to the Huffington Post, after she posted a "selfie" in the Auschwitz death camp. Eighteen year-old Breanna Mitchell posted the photo over a month ago, but it went viral weeks later.

Mitchell insists that the photo is not an anti-Semitic statement, but merely a tribute to her father, whom was supposed to have made the trip with her but died shortly before her senior year in high school.

The photo has nonetheless sparked a formidable backlash. "There were death threats. Somebody told me he would come over and poison me," Mitchell told AL.com. "[...] People have just taken it so far," she said. "They have photobombed my picture with the World Trade Center. I don't understand why."

Mitchell remains unfazed by the backlash, however; if anything, she seems to have reveled in the media attention the move brought her. In a tweet posted July 20, she posted an article on the controversy, with the phrase, "I'm famous, y'all."

"Honestly, I don't think I would do anything differently, because I didn't mean any harm," she said in a recent interview. "And, like, I told everybody my story behind it, so that's the only reason I don't regret taking it."


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