After just finishing writing down a vision of Jesus following a prayer, I found this article that had been published at the same time - only 17 minutes before.
Because I am not there I do not know the truth. There are people who understand more of what is happening politically and who is who. This is a report by The Untied Jerusalem Foundation.
A war with no illusions (ISRAEL HAYOM) Shlomo Cesana 08/29/14)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=19733Israel Hayom
With the end of Operation Protective Edge, questions begin to arise over its true gains and losses • Hamas was dealt a massive blow, but the operation has brought the murky relationships in the cabinet to light.
As the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas took effect on Tuesday evening, a proverbial glass was set before Israel, and a battle has begun over whether it should be seen as half full or half empty. It is a battle that is first and foremost internal.
The full half of the glass is easy to recognize: Hamas has suffered a massive blow that has debilitated it, peace and quiet have been restored to the south, and Iron Dome is a proven success and has become a strategic asset, providing Israel´s relative advantage in the region. The homefront´s resilience proved to be the true protective edge, Egypt has regained its position as a significant regional power whose interests are aligned with Israel´s, and a moderate alliance has been formed between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, as its president, Mahmoud Abbas, has once again become relevant.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set modest, realistic objectives for Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip: The campaign was meant to achieve prolonged calm in the south, while significantly undermining the terror infrastructure in Gaza.
While it has become clear that Hamas´ rocket and tunnel infrastructures have been crippled, Netanyahu admitted on Wednesday that it was still too early to say whether long-term peace and quiet have been restored to southern Israel.
Hamas ended up agreeing to the same cease-fire deal proposed in the early days of the fighting, the same deal it could have had before 1,000 of its operatives were killed, including three regional commanders and its chief treasurer, who were eliminated in the last leg of the military campaign.
The fate of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades´ commander Mohammed Deif, which was rumored to be in a Khan Younis building targeted by the Israeli Air Force, remains unknown.
Hamas´ magnificent failure
Throughout the fighting in Gaza, Hamas attempted to ensure that Qatar and Turkey would be the ones to head the cease-fire talks. For a moment, it seemed as if the United States was seriously considering it, given its diplomatic relations with Doha and Ankara, but Israel stood its ground and demanded that Egypt lead the negotiations. Netanyahu´s insistence on the matter proved to be correct.
Egypt all but ensured that Hamas could not mark any diplomatic achievement in the cease-fire agreement. Hamas arrived at the finish line without any assurances that its employees would receive their wages, and its demands for an airport and seaport have been shelved, as was its demand that Israel release Hamas operatives who were arrested in the West Bank in June following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
Hamas further demanded a time limit on the cease-fire in favor of negotiations, but eventually had no choice but to agree to a long-term truce. It also had to agree to Egypt´s serving as the sole mediator in its indirect negotiations with Israel.
Operationally speaking, Hamas sought to achieve four images of victory, although it would have been happy had it been able to realize even one of them: devastation in Israeli cities as a result of the massive rocket fire, carrying out a major tunnel attack, the abduction of Israeli soldiers, and an attempt to carry out a terror attack from the air or by sea.
Hamas fired some 4,000 rockets at Israel and the potential massive damage and loss of life was thwarted thanks to Iron Dome; the military´s counter-tunnel operation neutralized the underground threat by destroying 32 tunnels; and Hamas repeatedly failed in its attempts to carry out any major attack against Israeli targets. Israel´s strikes are believed to have destroyed two-thirds of Hamas´ infrastructure, equipment and munitions.
Rehabilitation in exchange for demilitarization?
In the future negotiations, where each side will list its demands, Israel is set to demand that alongside future donations afforded to the Palestinian Authority -- the annual conference of Palestinian Authority donor countries is held in September, around the same time that the U.N. General Assembly meets in New York -- an international mechanism would be put in place, on top of Israel´s existing mechanism, to supervise the use of the funds. Jerusalem is also set to demand that the rehabilitation of Gaza be subject to the supervision of international organizations.
Israel will present its demand for the demilitarization of the Strip in the U.N. Security Council meeting scheduled for September, and the U.S. and EU have already stated that Gaza Strip and Hamas as its rulers must be demilitarized.
Hamas´ demand that Israel lift the naval blockage placed on Gaza´s waters, which the Palestinians call "a siege," will not be met. Israel sees securing the maritime border against the transportation of weapons and munitions into Gaza as crucial, and maintains that while allowing goods into the Strip is one thing, allowing the independent entry of unknown and unsupervised shipments into Gaza is another thing altogether.
Israel´s policies allow for the free entry of goods to Gaza Strip through several crossings, while individuals are referred to the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
Hamas marked up an achievement against Egypt, which has agreed to open the Rafah crossing. Other achievements were made against the Palestinian Authority, which has agreed to transfer the funds Hamas needs to pay its employees.
Israel, for its part, has also been able to mark a significant achievement in the global arena, as the international community has come to understand that Hamas is an illegitimate terrorist organization and that Netanyahu´s demands from Abbas on the issues of demilitarization and severing ties with Hamas -- demands which have routinely fallen on deaf ears in the past -- have been justified.
Israel still has to ward off the various international investigations the Palestinians have been promoting over the Gaza campaign. The key to Israel´s defense lies in its ability to prove that the toll of civilian casualties was unavoidable and not disproportionate.
Finance Minister Yair Laid is currently promoting a regional conference, with the aim of ensuring that the foreign donations given to the Palestinian Authority would not be used to finance terrorism.
"We don´t want rehabilitation in exchange for nothing, but rehabilitation in exchange for demilitarization," he said this week. According to Lapid, he seeks to avoid a situation in which the rebuilding of Gaza Strip would take place without assurances to Israel that Hamas would be unable to rearm itself.
The empty half of the glass has to do with the operation itself, and more notably with the fact that Hamas was able to initiate and run a war for 50 days -- and survive.
The public has had enough of "rounds of violence" and the trickle of rocket fire from Gaza on the south. Israel had a chance to topple Hamas´ regime in the Strip and the public afforded the government the leeway necessary to reach a different outcome, to find a solution that would both restore peace and quiet and restrain the other side.
The operation also enjoyed international legitimacy, and despite the disagreements with the U.S. and several European powers, there was no actual pressure on Israel to halt the campaign. The international community´s grievances focused on civilian casualties caused during the targeting of terrorists, or firing on civilian facilities like schools or clinics that were used by Hamas for cover.
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya´alon made the decision to avoid a large incursion into the Gaza Strip, as well as refrain from toppling Hamas´ regime -- including not targeting its leaders, Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh.
The 50-day military offensive resulted in 70 Israeli fatalities and hundreds of casualties. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Ben-Gurion International Airport came under fire, and Israelis nationwide found themselves running for cover as the sirens wailed.
This list can be compounded by the blow to Israel´s tourism industry, the fact that our children were deprived of their summer vacation, and the financial toll the operation has taken on the economy, which will require a lateral budget cut to all government ministries to overcome.
While the rebuilding of Gaza gets underway, Jerusalem will have to find a way to rehabilitate its relations with Washington. It is likely that the Prime Minister´s Office has already begun trying to coordinate a meeting between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama in September, ahead of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
One fact remains undisputed: in both the theoretical debate and in reality Israel has won. The blows dealt to Hamas and the Palestinians were far stronger and far more painful than the ones Israel, as a nation, had to endure.
The internal discourse, however, is riddled with questions. This was the first significant military operation since Netanyahu took office, and once the dust settles, his critics are going to try to depict him in a negative light.
The criticism is likely to focus on two issues: The first will center around Netanyahu and Ya´alon´s relations with the military, as well as on the question of who was being led by whom; and the second is the practice noted in the cabinet meetings, where everyone could have their say, but the final decision was reserved to only a few and was ultimately made solely by the prime minister.
Netanyahu has shown restraint and prudence throughout the operation, as well as when it came time to rule on a cease-fire. There is no doubt that he sought to ensure that the new school year could begin on time, and that the public´s sense of normalcy was restored.
Still, one of the main questions that has yet to be answered is why Netanyahu decided to exclude the toppling of Hamas´ regime in Gaza and the targeting of its leaders from the objectives outlined for Operation Protective Edge.
From a strategic standpoint, Israel sought to keep Hamas in power, and this preference has lent itself to the formulation of the operational objectives, namely restoring peace and quiet to the south and undermining Hamas.
But was this an informed decision by Netanyahu and Ya´alon, made with the cabinet´s backing, or were they manipulated to arrive at those conclusions by the military?
Senior political sources said this week that anyone suggesting Israel should topple Hamas is fostering a fantasy -- Hamas is not going anywhere, seizing control of Gaza would have exacted a heavy price from Israel, and Hamas would have continued firing rockets.
It is very obvious that we are living in an era when one country cannot simply invade another country in an effort to oust a terrorist regime, as the U.S. has learned firsthand in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The one to benefit most from the operation is, without a doubt, Abbas. Several weeks ago, Israel was unable to decide whether the PA president was part of the problem or part of the solution, but now it is clear that Israel wants Abbas in the mix.
Politically speaking, it is better for Israel that he remains in power, and that he be the one to transfer wages to Hamas employees, as well as supervise the funds used for Gaza´s rehabilitation, including the donations given by the Arab League and Saudi Arabia.
Preparing for the aftermath
From a public diplomacy standpoint, the prime minister made sure to hold regular press briefings every three days, with Ya´alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz by his side. The media, however, is dynamic, and an ocean of information separated the briefings from the nightly news editions, as well as Facebook discussions and a succession comments and commentaries that were relevant to the public agenda.
There is no denying that Netanyahu had lost the battle of social media. Nevertheless, the prime minister did his best to speak directly to the viewers. We are dealing with a complex reality and with a long and complicated campaign, he said.
The reality experienced by the average Israeli, however, is very simple: we cannot live under the constant threat of rocket fire, and the government was elected precisely so it could deal with complex situations.
A poll conducted by Channel 2 earlier in the week found that Netanyahu´s approval ratings had dropped from 82 percent to 32 percent, and the numbers speak for themselves. Source close to Netanyahu said that the public needs time, and that support for the prime minister will grow as time passes and normalcy is restored.
It is likely that Netanyahu also has a few political surprises up his sleeve. One indication of that could have been seen earlier this week, when the Knesset´s faction heads complained that Netanyahu did not share sensitive information with them, and that he made the decision to agree to a cease-fire without bringing the matter to a cabinet vote.
As far as Netanyahu is concerned, the cabinet meetings are rife with distrust. He respects the rules of the democratic game and lets everyone have their says, for the record, but at the end of the day, he is the one to make the decisions -- after consulting with the defense minister and the IDF chief of staff.
National Security Director Yossi Cohen said this week that any issue, no matter how trivial, concerning the Gaza campaign, the homefront or the diplomatic arena, was presented to the cabinet for debate.
Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, however, felt differently. They opposed the cease-fire agreement, but Netanyahu stopped them from taking their objections to the next level.
"The prime minister had two options: striving for a decisive result or reaching a [cease-fire] agreement. Since it was decided that we wouldn´t seek the former, we struck an agreement, and that agreement is a reasonable one," Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, said this week.
Both parties may have held their fire, but the war is not over yet. Big question marks are clouding the situation in the Gaza sector, and only time will tell whether the truce holds. One of the biggest questions is what effect the Gaza campaign will have on the Lebanon and Syria sectors, and how Damascus and Beirut will interpret its outcome.
The government will also have to address the issue of how to stop the residents of the communities adjacent to the Israel-Gaza border from leaving the area.
Here too, the real test will be whether or not the hundreds of millions of shekels in aid the government has appropriated for the area eases the residents and business owners´ fears and alleviates their trauma.'
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My Message to you all. Please quote this and share = NO MORE WAR NO MORE HATE, PLEASE STOP THE WAR BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. LIFE IS A GIFT. Pauline Maria
Peace be with you