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- Egyptian Troops Kill Terrorist Heading to Kerem Shalom
- Hamas Leader Rejects Ceasefire Efforts
- Secretary-General Outraged That Rockets are Missing
- War Crimes? Israel Ambassador Addresses UNHRC
- IDF’s Battle Against Terror in the Gaza
- Stop Vicious Incitement and Attempted Pogroms Against Jews
- How Gaza Became an Underground Monster
- Report: IAF Struck Sudan Weapons Stockpile Headed for Hamas
- Jews from Eastern Ukraine Weep for Homeland
- Mapping Missiles in Ashkelon
Egyptian Troops Kill Terrorist Heading to Kerem Shalom
Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Thursday [July 24] that Egyptian troops shot and killed a terrorist who was on his way to commit a massive suicide bombing at the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel.
Egyptian army sources said the terrorist was wearing an explosive vest and carried another explosive device. He tried to infiltrate the Israeli-Egyptian border in southern Rafah, heading towards the Kerem Shalom border crossing, but the Egyptian Border Police soldiers killed him before he had a chance to make it to the Israeli side.
This is not the first time the Egyptians have had to deal with the consequences of the conflict in Gaza. On Wednesday, it was reported that the Egyptian army stopped a vehicle loaded with grad rockets and launchers in Sinai that were meant to be fired at Israel and at Egyptian military bases.
Egyptian troops that noticed the vehicle in the al-Mukataa village of the city Sheikh Zowaiid in the northern Sinai Peninsula, fired artillery shells at the vehicle, killing the two terrorists inside. The Egyptians said this was the second time they thwarted rocket fire at Israel by Jihadists in Sinai.
Last week, two rockets fired from Sinai exploded in Eilat, one of them near a hotel. Ten people were wounded and 13 suffered from shock, among them children and teenagers.
- (By Roi Kais, Ynetnews, July 24, 2014)
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Almighty Father, Egypt blessed Israel by protecting the people of Kerem Shalom from this suicide bomber. We thank you for this blessing of life and protection that You gave to Israel, and we beseech You to continue upholding Your people and those who bless them during this difficult time of war.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.- Genesis 12:3
Hamas Leader Rejects Ceasefire Efforts
"We reject the cycle of ceasefire and negotiations," said Hamas' political chief Khaled Mashal on Wednesday night [July 23] at a press conference in Qatar. "We rejected it today and we will reject it in the future."
Mashal said the Gaza-based group "would not accept an initiative that does not include lifting the blockade. Today Israel is worried about what happened at Ben Gurion Airport. Do you want a blockade in return for the blockade? Today the resistance in Gaza can blockade you, in the future it will from the West Bank. You blockade our air space, we will blockade your air space," threatened Mashal.
Mashal stressed that Hamas will never agree to demilitarization as part of negotiations. "No one will break the resistance with Allah's help. Under the table they talk about disarming the resistance of its weapons. No one can disarm the resistance with Allah's help."
He said there were only two conditions for demilitarizing "the resistance—the first is the end of the occupation and the second is the disarming of Israel from its weapons."
He emphasized that Hamas was the victim in the conflict and reiterated that the IDF blockade of the Gaza Strip must be lifted. "We need fuel, food supplies, and electricity."
Mashal started his speech with a minute of silence in memory of the Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip. "From the beginning we said that this was an act of aggression not a war between equal sides, against Israeli deception and international hypocrisy."
The Hamas leader blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Helpless Netanyahu blamed Hamas in the kidnapping of three settlers and punished those in the West Bank and Jerusalem," he said, despite the Israeli announcement that two Hamas members were behind the kidnapping and murder. "No one knows, even now, who planned the kidnapping," claimed Mashal.
Elior Levy contributed to this report.
- (By Roi Kais, Ynetnews, July 23, 2014)
Lord, give the leaders of Israel discernment, strength and courage to lead Israel in Your will during this time of war. Help them to make decisions that will deny power to evil forces and forge a lasting peace in the region.
Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long.- Psalm 38:12
Secretary-General Outraged That Rockets are Missing
The Secretary-General is alarmed to hear that rockets were placed in [two] UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) school(s) in Gaza and that subsequently these have gone missing.
He expresses his outrage, and regret, at the placing of weapons in UN-administered schools. By doing so, those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children, UN employees working in such facilities, and anyone using the UN schools as shelter.
The Secretary-General notes that this is inconsistent with UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), which calls for the prevention of arms smuggling. He demands that militant groups, who are responsible, must stop such actions and should be held accountable for endangering the lives of civilians in this manner.
The Secretary-General has asked for a full review of such incidents and how the UN responds in such instances. The United Nations is taking concerted action to increase its vigilance in preventing such episodes from happening again.
To this end, the Secretary-General has directed the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to immediately develop and implement an effective security plan for the safe and secure handling of any weapons discovered in United Nations premises.
Further, he has directed UNMAS to immediately deploy personnel with expertise to deal with this situation. The Secretary-General calls on all of those who have any influence over militant groups to send an unmistakable message that this is unacceptable.
- (Press release by United Nations Secretary-generals Office, July 23, 2014)
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As Israel’s leaders have been saying for days, Hamas is hiding weapons in schools. You, O Lord, have revealed that it is truth. We praise you that this has come into the light. Continue Father, to show the world that Hamas is a terrorist organization determined to destroy Israel.
A wicked man displays a bold face, but as for the upright, he makes his way sure. There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord.- Proverbs 21: 29–30
War Crimes? Israel Ambassador Addresses UNHRC
Ambassador Eviatar Manor addressed the UN Human Rights Council Wednesday, July 23: “Some members demanding this Special Session [of UNHRC, United Nations Human Rights Council] are themselves no paragons of human rights.
“With 2000 rockets raining on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva from above and murderous terrorists squads tunneling into our villages from below, what can life-seeking Israelis do but defend themselves?
“Hamas is committing war crimes when it fires rockets and missiles indiscriminately at Israeli towns and villages. Hamas is protecting its launching sites with the civilian residents of Gaza. Hamas has built tunnels from Gaza into Israel, using them to try to attack [Israeli] villages; in ten days, Hamas fired 2000 rockets—that's 2000 war crimes. Hamas has cynically concealed munitions in UNRWA schools.
“A war crime: Hamas used tons of concrete provided as humanitarian aid to build a web of tunnels under hospitals, mosques, schools, homes extending into Israel to be used to abduct and murder Israelis. This, instead of building shelters for the residents of Gaza.
“And this Council sits in judgment of Israel? There can be no moral symmetry between a terrorist aggressor and a democracy defending itself…,this Council… [has] failed dismally.
“Israel agreed to an Egyptian brokered cease fire to begin July 15. Hamas rejected it outright. Israel agreed to a humanitarian cease fire July 17, but Hamas shot its way through it. It rejected Egyptian efforts on the 17th when Israel sent top negotiators to Cairo with a view yet again to conclude a cease fire. Hamas is determined to maximize murder and mayhem. In these conditions, Israel had no option but to start ground operations, confronting Hamas with a strong, unambiguous response.
“Israel will destroy Hamas' military infrastructure. However, the Gaza residents are not our enemies. Israel is fully committed to international law. Israeli commanders and soldiers are guided by international law in their actions. In line with the requirements of international law, IDF actions in Gaza are targeted solely against military targets. The IDF took all available precautionary measures and has warned residents to leave prospective combat areas but Hamas urged them to ignore Israeli warnings and remain in their homes, using civilians as human shields.
“Hamas bears the responsibility for the injuries sustained by Gaza residents. Israel deeply regrets civilian losses caused by its operation, and has already started investigating itself.
“This Special Session is misguided, ill-conceived and counter-productive to efforts made as we speak to end hostilities. The Resolution in front of you…pours gasoline on the fire. It rewards the terrorist aggressors and punishes the side which acts in order to protect its citizens.
“This Council…can regain its moral authority by unequivocally condemning Hamas. It cannot be supportive of an organization that is no different than al-Qa'ida, ISIS, Boko-Haram, Hezbollah, and other extreme radical Islamist organizations that negate the very essence of human rights as we know them and threaten democracy, the rule of law, security and stability of a country, an entire region, and the whole world.
“What this Council can do is reject outright and vote no on this absolutely one-sided Resolution.”
- (Excerpts of a Press release by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 23, 2014)
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- Israel Defense Forces
Our request, O God is that those who have filed a war crime resolution against Israel would be found guilty themselves in their deceit. Stand against those who are against your sheltered ones. We urge You to exonerate your people before the UNHRC and the world for Your Name’s sake.
And do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones.- Psalm 83:1–3
IDF’s Battle Against Terror in the Gaza
A report compiled from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israel Defense Force regarding Operation Protective Edge, July 18–24: “Operation Protective Edge will continue until its goals are reached—restoring sustained peace and quiet to the citizens of Israel, while striking hard at the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza. Hamas’ terrorist activities are:
1. Using residential areas as terrorist strongholds; 2. using Gaza citizens as human shields; 3. hiding weapons in schools and mosques; 4. hiding and attacking from ambulances and hospitals; 5. exploiting animals as explosive devices; 6. firing rockets at innocent citizens; 7. building tunnels into Israel to perpetrate terror attacks.
“With the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, to July 24, at least 2,270 rockets have been launched at Israel from Gaza terrorists, striking at the civilian population throughout the country, from north to south. Three civilians have been killed, two Israeli civilians and one Thai civilian, and 66 wounded. Serious property damage has been reported.
“Since the Ground operation began on Thursday, July 17, 31 tunnels have been uncovered which had over 60 access points and over 160 terror sites have been targeted.
In the conduct of the ground operation in Gaza, 32 IDF soldiers and officers have been killed. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a Memorial page in honor of these fallen heroes at: http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/Terrorism/Pages/IDF-soldiers-killed-in-Operation-Protective-Edge.aspx
- (Compiled by Bridges for Peace from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Israel Defense Forces July 18–24. 2014)
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Almighty Father, comforter of those who mourn, we pray that You will comfort the families and friends of the soldiers who have been killed defending the borders of Israel from terrorists. May your words give mercy, grace and comfort. Guide and protect those who are continuing the battle to defend Israel.
Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.- Psalm 119:49–50
Stop Vicious Incitement and Attempted Pogroms Against Jews
Attacks and incitement against Jews have reached an alarming level not seen in many countries since World War II, the head of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) said on Tuesday [July 22].
WJC President Ronald Lauder called it an outrage that Jews in a number of European countries had become the target of anti-Israel protests and urged government leaders to urgently clamp down on any expression of anti-Semitism,“Once again, the ugly specter of anti-Semitism is raising its head in Europe. It needs to be dealt with urgently. It needs to be fought, not explained away and placated. If this requires more police to protect Jewish sites, the authorities must provide it. If it means banning violent rallies, they should be banned, or disbanded
“We cannot accept that pogroms against Jews are being attempted again in Europe or anywhere else in the world…nobody has a right to insult, threaten or hurt people in the streets of Paris or Berlin, or call for the death of Jews just because he or she is unhappy about the Middle East conflict. Moreover, any head of state or government who fuels this debate by equating Israel’s defensive operation with genocide, or even the Holocaust, is acting disgracefully and putting the safety of Jews in his country at peril."
The WJC president said Europe’s leaders had a stark choice: “This is not a question of whether you agree or not with Israel. It’s about whether or not you are willing and able to do what it takes to prevent the renaissance of anti-Jewish pogroms in your countries.”
He welcomed a statement by three European foreign ministers, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Laurent Fabius of France and Federica Mogherini of Italy, in which they condemned the anti-Semitic protests and the recent violence. “Their words are important, but in order to fight this outbreak of anti-Semitism effectively, they need to be bolstered by further steps.”
- (Press release by the World Jewish Congress, July 22, 2014)
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Holy One, we appeal to You for the Jewish people worldwide who are attacked by violent words and actions. We pray that You deny power to anti-Israel mobs to harm Your people. They are in trouble, draw near them, deliver them from their enemies. Stir the consciences of righteous people to stand with and defend Your people.
Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. And do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble; hear me speedily. Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; deliver me because of my enemies.- Psalm 69:16–18
How Gaza Became an Underground Monster
The IDF is taking pride in the number of tunnels unearthed in the past two days [July 19-20] as part of the ground activity of Operation Protective Edge. Beyond the possible terror attacks which have been thwarted–Hamas has suffered a serious blow, both financially and morally.
In general, the tunnel issue is defined in Gaza as a national flagship project. It includes three types of tunnels: The smuggling tunnels, the offensive tunnels along the border fence with Israel, and the strategic tunnels inside the Gaza Strip which used mainly for mobilizing forces, but also for firing rockets, mine laying and kidnapping.
In the past few years, some of the tunnels have been turned into launching pits in which rocket launchers are hidden. The launchers operate from a hatch which opens, and return to the hidden area immediately after firing the rockets.
According to estimates, there are additional tunnels in Gaza which end under Israeli territory, and there are usually large gaps between them. The reason is the attempt to ensure–especially if the tunnels are also being used as launching pits–that even if one of them is destroyed in an IDF bombing, the rest will not be damaged.
The Gaza tunnel project is organized, calculated and does not leave any room for piracy. There is one person in charge of each district in coordination with the other districts, and only one person in charge of each tunnel. In order to maintain the secrecy, his name and the tunnel's route are kept confidential. The diggers and the person in charge of the district are the only ones familiar with the details.
Each military wing in the Strip is permitted to dig a tunnel only after coordinating the activity with the person in charge of the district. An average dig takes about four months. Most of the tunnels are dug by hand during the night, and each tunnel is accurately calculated.
In the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, the IDF attempted to destroy tunnels by attacking them from the air, but after 13 terrorists tried to infiltrate Kibbutz Sufa through a tunnel and carry out a major attack, it was decided to launch a ground operation in order to target the tunnel infrastructure.
A senior military source reported that "in a maneuver of a day and a half, we managed to significantly damage Hamas' tunnel system. In less than 24 hours, Hamas lost 13 tunnels. They are the apple of its eye. We are carefully talking about depriving it of its tunneling abilities."
- (Analysis by Elior Levy, Ynetnews, July 21, 2014)
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Send Your light, O Lord, that the tunnels in Gaza will continue to be exposed and destroyed. Let not one remain to be used for the destruction of Israel. Go before the IDF as they take on this dangerous task. Protect each and every soldier, Father.
The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; in the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.- Psalm 9:15
Report: IAF Struck Sudan Weapons Stockpile Headed for Hamas
Israel recently blew up a weapons cache in Sudan that was destined for Hamas in Gaza, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Arab reported Monday [July 21]. According to the report, Sudanese officials believe that Israel did carry out a recent bombardment in its territory, and have imposed a total blackout on the incident.
The newspaper also reported that the bombing of a warehouse of weapons occurred just hours after Israel accused Sudan of providing long-range rockets to Hamas.
A source in the Sudanese security and intelligence establishment is quoted in the report as saying that a loud explosion occurred last Friday in a weapons and equipment warehouse at a military base north of Khartoum. He said the explosion was caused by a fire at the site, and was not due to an attack by Israel Air Force [IAF] jets.
A spokesman for the Sudanese army also denied that there had been a deliberate attack from internal or external agents. While Al-Arab reported six casualties in the incident, the Sudanese defense establishment said that it had managed to bring under control a fire that had broken out in a warehouse, and there were no casualties. According to the Sudanese official, the warehouse contained training equipment.
The Sudanese authorities have more than once in recent years accused Israel of carrying out bombings inside its borders, both in the capital Khartoum and elsewhere. According to foreign reports, the Israeli bombings aimed to disrupt weapon-smuggling into the Gaza Strip and to Hamas.
Foreign reports also stated that Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti recently said his country had received an Iranian offer for anti-aircraft defense systems to deal with Israeli attacks. Sudan, however, refused the offer as Iran wanted to place its own experts on the ground in the African country.
According to Al-Arab, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met with Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal two weeks ago in Sudan. Sudanese officials claimed that the blackout on the Israeli attack was designed to conceal the relationship between Khartoum and Hamas. Witnesses who spoke to the newspaper said that they heard a loud explosion and saw columns of smoke and flames rising from the site.
- (By Roi Kais, Ynetnews, July 21, 2014)
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We praise You, O God of Israel, that You protect Your people by preventing additional weapons and rockets from reaching the Hamas extremists in Gaza. We pray that You will continue to be the strong right arm of Israel in this war.
Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds. O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people.- Psalm 68:34–35
Jews from Eastern Ukraine Weep for Homeland
DNEPROPETROVSK, Ukraine—The Lazaurenkos are among hundreds of Jews made refugees by the fighting in eastern Ukraine, part of a larger movement of tens of thousands of people who have fled since pro-Russian militias took up arms against government troops in March.
Jewish refugees are surviving on assistance from local and foreign Jewish groups that in recent weeks have launched major rescue and relief operations. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee [JDC] and community officials are helping to provide housing, monthly stipends, food and medicine in what they describe as one of largest mobilizations in the history of Ukrainian Jewry.
Elena Konigina, and her daughter Kseniya Konigina fled Lugansk, Ukraine in May. Their neighbors at Beit Baruch, an Orthodox family of seven from Donetsk who requested not to be named, said anti-Jewish graffiti began to appear in the city as the rule of law weakened. “We started seeing swastikas painted on park benches, buildings,” the family’s grandfather said.
Other refugees, including Elena Libina from Donetsk, are determined to leave permanently for Israel. Libina is staying in a community facility in Dnepropetrovsk only until her immigration application is approved. Meanwhile, the Jewish community is arranging for the rescue of her 91-year-old aunt, who remains trapped in Lugansk.
The community has made wide use of its facilities to help house the refugees. Elena Konigina and her 12-year-old daughter, Ksenia, have stayed near the Dnepropetrovsk suburb of Pavlograd since they fled Lugansk in May. Konigina would like to immigrate to Israel, but Ksenia is a minor and cannot exit the country without the consent of both parents. Konigina says she does not know how to reach Ksenia’s father, whom she divorced several years ago.
[Editor’s note: With the attention of the world focused on what is happening in Gaza, we must not forget that the Jewish community in Ukraine continues to face alarming and dangerous circumstances. Bridges for Peace remains committed to helping as many as possible flee the violence and make their way to Israel.]
- (Excerpts of an article by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 21, 2014)
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- Jewish Telegraph Agency/Cnaan Liphshiz
Lord God, thank you for refuge for Ukrainian Jews who have fled the fighting in their towns. Protect them and make the way straight for many to “return” to the land of Israel and find safety. We pray for those unable to make aliyah [immigrate] to Israel that you will care for them and give them peace.
Thus says the Lord God:- Ezekiel 11:17
I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
Mapping Missiles in Ashkelon
Dr. Alan Marcus, the Chief Resilience Officer for the city of Ashkelon, opens his laptop and pulls up a detailed plan of the city. Marcus has developed GEARS, (Geographic Emergency Analysis Response System). Within seconds, Marcus can tell which house has been hit by incoming rockets, and whether there are elderly inhabitants or anyone with special needs who might require emergency services.
“It means we can get the right people in the right time to the right place,” Marcus told The Media Line. “For example, if I see [that a rocket or missile] falls near a house with Ethiopian immigrants, we can make sure to send a translator who knows Amharic to help.”
During the present crisis, the Iron Dome anti-missile system has shot down at least 40 incoming rounds of the total of 70 that have been fired at the city. Five rockets have landed inside the municipal boundaries and the rest in open areas or the sea.
In a large bomb shelter in the Leonardo Ashkelon Hotel, a group of 25 children attend a summer camp. Most summer camps here have been cancelled for the summer,.
“At least for half a day the children don’t have to think about the sirens or the rockets,” Michal Ofri, a social worker who also has four of her own children at the camp, told The Media Line. The children stay inside the bomb shelter all day playing games and doing art projects. It is not ideal, says Ofri, but at least it is safe.
Back at the municipality’s safe room, Alan Marcus has discerned that [a] rocket hit an open area outside the Carlsberg factory and there is no need to send any emergency teams. As Chief Resilience Officer for the city, Marcus is especially proud that Ashkelon has been chosen as one of the first 33 cities for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities Project.
- (Excerpts of an article by Written by Linda Gradstein and Felice Friedson, July 15, 2014)
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We praise you Lord, for blessing the people of Ashkelon with speedy services and safe shelter as rockets and missiles rain down on their community. We lift up the young and the elderly, especially that their fears will be calmed and they will lean upon your goodness and mercy in these difficult times.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.- Psalm 23:5–6