Espionage Files: Elite Hamas Commander Reportedly Defects to Israel

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A senior member of the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, is believed to have defected to Israel. News of the rumored defection first appeared on the website of Al-Hayat al-Jadida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank. On Tuesday, Al-Hayat said that the man, a member of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, had not been seen for several days.

The alleged defector was later named as Bassam Mahmoud Baraka, and reportedly comes from a well-known family in Kahn Younis, on the southern sector of the Gaza Strip. Baraka’s father is believed to be a religious judge that serves in Gaza under Hamas’ jurisdiction. According to Al-Hayat, the missing man is an elite member of the al-Qassam Brigades and specializes in operating inside the numerous underground tunnels that are said to span the entirety of the Palestinian enclave. The tunnels are of strategic importance to Hamas, as they secretly connect it with the outside world, despite Israeli efforts to prevent the trafficking of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip. Some Israeli military officials believe that Hamas operatives are able to travel from one end of the Strip to the other without having to emerge from the ground. Since the 2014 Israeli invasion of Gaza, Tel Aviv has said that it views the elimination of Hamas’ vast underground tunnel network as a national security priority.

According to Palestinian websites, Baraka told members of his family that he was stepping out for a brief hike but never returned. He is believed to have voluntarily approached the border fence that separates Gaza from Israel and surrendered himself to a group of Israeli soldiers. Al-Hayat reports that Baraka’s family has already been informed from representatives of the Red Cross that he is in Israeli hands. Palestinian sources suggest that the Israeli soldiers that took in Baraka were aware of his pending defection and were waiting for him at the border. He was also reportedly carrying a laptop computer with him.

Israel is known to aggressively recruit informants in the Gaza Strip, many of them affiliated with Hamas. In 2010 it was revealed that Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father is a senior Hamas official, was a secret informant for Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency. Yousef defected to Israel and is now believed to be living in the United States.

Read the Original Article at Intel News 

Israel Watch: IDF Confiscates Antique Weapon During Raid in West Bank

Times are hard for everybody right now…even terrorist in the West Bank who are so hard up for weapons they have resorted to using a 17th Century Black Powder Blunderbuss.-SF

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Israeli troops arrested 16 Palestinian suspects, including two senior Hamas members, in raids around the West Bank Tuesday night and seized what appears to be an antique muzzle-loaded blunderbuss from a house in Hebron, the army said.

Waspi Kabaha and Rafat Nasif were picked up for the affiliation with the Hamas terror organization, while the rest are suspected of so-called popular terrorism, a catch-all term used by the Israel Defense Forces for rock throwing, violent demonstrations and other minor offenses.

Kabaha, a former Hamas minister of prisoners, was arrested from his home in Jenin, according to the Ynet news site. Nasif, a senior member of the organization, has been in and out of Israeli prisons for decades. He was picked up in Nablus.

While on a raid in Hebron, soldiers from the Nahal Infantry Brigade uncovered the vintage flintlock musket and confiscated it. The dragon, which is the technical term for a blunderbuss pistol, was “handed over to security forces,” the army said in a statement.

It was not clear if the dragon seized by Nahal soldiers was still in working condition, an IDF spokesperson said.

 Blunderbusses, which were used primarily in the 18th century, feature a smooth bore, making them highly inaccurate, and can only be loaded with one round at a time. In order to reload the weapon, a shooter needs to clean the rifle, reload it with gunpowder by hand and then a new cotton-wrapped bullet is pushed down the barrel with a ramrod.

Its slow reloading and inaccuracy forced the blunderbuss out of use by the mid-19th century.

The 16 Palestinians arrested overnight came from villages and cities around the West Bank, including Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Abu Dis, Beit Fajjar, Beit Umar and the Palestinian village of Tekoa, which is adjacent to a Jewish settlement of the same name.

Read the Original Article at Times of Israel

What About the Protectors?

There was recently an incident in Israel that has really sparked controversy. Two pieceful palestinian Arab terrorists approached and pounced on a young 20 year old soldier at the guard post adjacent to the Tel Rumeida neighborhood and both stabbed him. They were “neutralized”, not killed, but “neutralized”. One of them was wearing a heavy coat despite the warm weather. And what, oh what, dear sheepdogs would that make one think? Well, if this isn’t the first thing that goes across your radar, pieceful palestinians are known to enjoy detonating bombs and themselves. Heavy coats cover such things. The pieceful palestinian terrorist that had just stabbed a young soldier began moving and several bystanders began saying “watch out, he has a bomb”. In fact the military WAS worried he had a bomb and had already placed a call for the sappers who had not yet arrived.

Now, how did this get to be such a big deal? There are LOTS of terrorist stabbing attacks in Israel these days. Well, this one was filmed by the anti-Israel, anti-semitic leftist NGO B’TselemInterestingly, without sound. Equally interesting to me, is how B’Tselem has been reported to be at the site of several of these attacks to film them. But that’s just me. But since it was filmed without sound, you don’t hear the bystanders warning he’s moving and might have a bomb. A soldier shoots the terrorist in the head. There is another video,

Politicians, and very sadly to me, the upper echelon of the IDF were quick to pounce on the young soldier. B’Tselem had released their video and version of events to the media and rather than investigating, politicians do what politicians shouldn’t do before investigating, they open their mouths and crap pours out. The young soldier was initially charged with murder, that has been downgraded to manslaughter. And he is still in custody.

Would you like to know who is siding with the soldier? Magen David Adom , emergency medical services in Israel, has said their rules were followed by their personnel on the scene. Their rules state that their medical crew does NOT approach a wounded terrorist until it has been cleared by security forces. Originally someone in the IDF had said the terrorist had been checked and there was no bomb. If that is the case, no one seemed to know it. Not MDA, not the bystanders and not the soldiers or the young soldiers commander who has also said there were concerns. Who else? Ramle Mayor Yoel Lavi

“The strategic security establishment of the state of Israel is dealing with a large number of stabbings and car ramming attacks, and instead of giving the response they are passing off the judgement and responses to a lone soldier,” said Lavi. In his comments he noted how the government has not put down the Arab terror wave, and instead left soldiers to deal with the threat on an individual basis.Lavi told Arutz Sheva, “when you pass along the judgement from the Chief of Staff to a soldier, mishaps are liable to occur. They aren’t succeeding in dealing with the terror, and instead pounce on an outstanding soldier and place him in handcuffs.””Instead of embracing the soldiers they put them in handcuffs, that isn’t how an establishment that loves its soldiers acts. The soldiers are acting in a complicated reality and the commanders aren’t giving any response.”

Who else? A whole lot o’ ticked off Israelis that are very tired of going to the market and seeing 60 year old women stabbed, or young fathers trying to stop a stabber being killed. Some of these attackers are young girls and boys.

So why am I, here in America writing about it? I’ve been thinking about Sally’s story in A Walk On The Dark Side. How Sally felt so vulnerable walking to her car and the group that started smashing car windows just as she got there. There is a thin blue line here in America that is suppose to separate and protect the innocent in society. That line of protectors is something that is world wide. Well, mostly. In civilized countries anyway. But it seems that the protectors are under attack. In Israel where the IDF and innocent civilians are the target daily of pieceful palestinians the soldiers are tasked with protecting themselves, each other and civilians. In America the Police, Sheriffs office and Highway Patrol the same.

But it seems the world has lost sight of values and what is important. Just in the last few years we’ve seen more than once politicians open their yap with things like “The Police acted stupidly”. Really? Report of a burglary? The rush to condemn the officer in Ferguson who shot a thug who was charging him? Gov. Jay Nixon opening his yap with “Justice for __________”. The young thugs family went to the UN to demand justice. The UN is quick to condemn Israel when she defends herself and her citizens. Even senile old communist Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders lied in his lament about Israel killing 10,000 pieceful palestinians. Apparently “The Bern” is unaware they use schools and hospitals to launch rockets. I guess anyone who has heard his speeches promising free goodies to everyone is aware he can’t do math. In case you don’t know it, the IDF has a “Purity of Arms” code they have to abide by. This article does a really good job of explaining what that has got them at this point.

The UN and the politicians are so concerned about the rights of terrorists and thugs. I want to know who is concerned about the innocent people affected by these criminals? Who is concerned about the Fogel family asleep in their beds and slaughtered? Who is concerned about the baby who had it’s head smashed in with a rifle butt? The family out shopping or standing at a bus stop? Who is concerned about the people that go to work, take care of their lawn and their families and just want to live out their lives? Apparently not the politicians, the upper echelons of law enforcement or military or the UN. Why aren’t they?

There was already a lack of law enforcement available in Sally’s part of town, how will this work out when the continued focus is on protecting the criminal and good people don’t want any part of making law enforcement or the military a career? Why do the job when every day in addition to the dangers you face, you face the danger of becoming a scapegoat in some politically correct blame game when some ignorant politician opens it’s yap. Will there be a fatal hesitation introduced into the response by law enforcement or the military because of political correctness at the expense of their lives or the lives of the civilians they are charged with protecting?

In Israel there has been a public outcry in defense of the soldier. In America I haven’t seen so much of that in defense of our law enforcement. Perhaps we are now going to be in a position where we need to defend our protectors.

But what I really sorrow over? Is when and why did the focus leave the innocent to favor the guilty.

Read the Original Article at Zelman Partisans

Studies in Terrorism: Hamas The “Merchants of War” Who Seek to Destroy Israel

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  • In the words of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the tunnels are being dug not only to “defend the Gaza Strip, but to serve as a launching pad to reach all of Palestine.” As one can see from any map of Palestine, “all of Palestine” does not mean living in peace alongside Israel; it means supplanting Israel.
  • To its credit, Hamas has been refreshingly transparent about its ambition, the elimination of Israel. Hamas wants the Palestinians to continue living in misery and bitterness. It is fertile soil for jihad recruitment.
  • A Palestinian Authority-Hamas unity government would mean tunnels not only along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, but also from the West Bank into Israel.
  • Forever looming, of course, is the illusion that Abbas will be able to persuade Hamas to abandon its aim to destroy Israel.

The myth that Hamas uses tunnels to smuggle food and other necessities to the “besieged” Gaza Strip has been buried under the rubble of the tunnel that collapsed last week east of Gaza City.

The incident, in which seven members of Hamas’s armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, were killed when the tunnel they were working in collapsed, provides further proof that the Islamist movement has stayed true to its charter, which calls for the total destruction of Israel.

The Hamas men who were killed in the tunnel collapse belonged to the movement’s elite “Tunnel Unit.” According to Ezaddin Al-Qassam, the men were busy repairing one of the tunnels (damaged during the 2014 war with Israel) when it collapsed due to severe weather conditions.

Contrary to popular belief, the tunnel was not being renovated to allow Palestinians to smuggle basic goods from Egypt to the Gaza Strip. This was one of many tunnels that Hamas has dug over the past few years to infiltrate Israel and carry out terror attacks.

Hamas makes no secret of the goal of its renovations. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar readilyadmits that the tunnels are being rebuilt to target Israel.

Indeed, clarity seems to be the name of the game with Hamas. Senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayeh explained that his organization would continue to dig tunnels for use in future confrontations with Israel. “We have enough mujahideen [jihad warriors] to replace their brothers who were martyred [in the tunnel collapse],” he said during the funeral of the seven Hamas members.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh went a step further: the tunnels were not only designed to launch terror attacks against Israelis, but to “liberate all of Palestine.” In the words of Haniyeh, the tunnels are being dug not only to “defend the Gaza Strip, but to serve as a launching pad to reach all of Palestine.” As one can see from any map of Palestine, “all of Palestine” does not mean living in peace alongside Israel; it means supplanting Israel.

or Haniyeh, the tunnels are a “strategic weapon” in Hamas’s jihad to destroy Israel. Hamas’s military wing dug the tunnels around the Gaza Strip “to defend our people and liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem,” the Hamas leader stated.

Hamas, it is argued, has changed it colors. It is now ready, the theory goes, to reject its own charter and accept a two-state solution.

So much for a Hamas change of heart.

To its credit, Hamas has been refreshingly transparent about its ambition, the elimination of Israel. Yet Hamas has few ambitions for those now clasped in its grip. Nearly a decade after its violent seizure of Gaza, the movement and its leaders have offered the 1.9 million Palestinians stranded there precious little but destruction and death.

Oh, and tunnels. Hamas has tunnels — two types. The tunnels running under the border with Egypt are designed as conduits for weapons. The tunnels running under the border with Israel are reserved for Israel’s destruction.

Hamas’s Palestinian political rivals have pointed out in the past few days that the tunnels have turned the leaders of the Islamist movement into “merchants of war.” These “merchants,” according to the Palestinians, have long been using the smuggling tunnels to increase their personal wealth at the expense of dozens of underpaid workers who work as diggers around the clock.

As Al-Hayeh has made evident, Hamas is prepared to sacrifice as many Palestinians as it takes to advance its deadly goals. Between 2006 and 2011, 188 Palestinians were killed while working in Hamas’s tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip, according to figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Moreover, child-labor legislation seems not to have made many inroads in Hamas-run Gaza. Children under the age of 18 constitute at least 10% of the dead in the tunnel-digging industry.

And while the economy of Gaza is in tatters, Hamas has invested millions of dollars into its tunnel-building projects.

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip during the year 2015 topped 40%, while more than 65% of the population live under the poverty line. More than half of its population is now almost entirely dependent on aid from different relief and humanitarian organizations. Economic experts predict a gloomier scenario for the Gaza Strip during 2016.

Despite its claims to the contrary, however, the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In fact, Hamas wants the Palestinians to continue living in misery and bitterness. It is fertile soil for jihad recruitment.

The collapse of the tunnel last week and renewed Hamas threats to pursue the fight against Israel coincide with reports that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to resume his efforts to achieve “national reconciliation” and “unity” with the Islamist movement.

According to the reports, representatives of the two sides are scheduled to meet in Qatar next week in yet another bid to end their dispute and pave the way for a new Palestinian unity government and elections.

Forever looming, of course, is the illusion that Abbas will be able to persuade Hamas to abandon its aim to destroy Israel.

Hamas will never exchange its attack tunnels for PA cabinet portfolios. Abbas recently announced an interest in resuming peace talks with Israel. His interest, however, has been for some time taken up by reaching out to Hamas. A PA-Hamas unity government would mean tunnels not only along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, but also from the West Bank into Israel.

It was not only seven men, then, who were buried beneath the rubble of the collapsed attack tunnel last week. Along with them was buried the persistent but utterly naïve hope that Hamas will somehow transform itself into a “peace partner” for Israel, the Palestinian Authority or even the Palestinian people.

Read the Original Article at GateStone Institute

Inspirational: How a US-born amputee fought his way back into the Israeli army

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Floridian Izzy Ezagui, gravely injured in Gaza in 2008, wasn’t going to let the loss of his left arm stop him from heading back to combat duty

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The hardest part was loading the assault rifle.
That’s not because he was a newbie, unaccustomed to the workings of a Tavor rifle. Rather, 1st Sgt. Izzy Ezagui had lost an arm in combat.

He’d overcome seemingly insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles and got a posting on a base in the Negev. And so his next challenge began: He had to prove he could still fight.

Ezagui is the only combat soldier with an amputation to serve as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces reserves. For him, returning to the army meant proving to himself that his life could still be the same — even with a single arm.

“It’s a weird thing to send a guy with one arm into combat,” he told JTA. “I was so excited to go back and erase the damage that was done.”

Today, seven years after his injury, Ezagui travels around the United States, advocating for Israel’s moral standing and giving motivational speeches about overcoming injury.

But the most challenging element of his recovery wasn’t physical. It was convincing the army to let a one-armed soldier go back to war.

“When I woke up, everything was difficult,” Ezagui said. “Whether by force or innovation, there was always a solution waiting for me. I imagined that would translate to combat as well.”

Ezagui, now 27, grew up in a Chabad community in central Florida. He moved to Israel with his family in 2007 and enlisted in the IDF in 2008. He was stationed on the southern border that December, about to take part in Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, when a mortar shell hit him, knocking him out and ripping off his dominant left arm.

Read the Remainder at Times of Israel