As a member of Cobra, the UK national crisis management committee, I was involved in British efforts to rescue our citizens kidnapped by Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. No modern-day military action is so fraught: the odds are stacked against the captives, the whip hand is with the captors, it is a race against time, and it becomes extremely personal.
So the admirable Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, writes at Gatestone.
The world has undergone gut-churning revulsion this week at the videos of rows of kneeling young Iraqi men callously gunned down by Al Qaida terrorists in Mosul. But time and again, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Hamas has shown itself to be just as capable of such brutal cold-blooded killing. That knowledge has galvanized Israel’s desperate hunt for those who abducted teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach as they hitchhiked home from their school in Gush Etzion a week ago. …
Nothing – nothing – stands in the way of our efforts to bring them back. Although we hope for the best, we prepare for the worst.
From the outside, it is difficult to read the realities of a kidnapping. Those with the responsibility of saving lives are forced into a cat and mouse game in which they must both reassure the public and sow seeds of disinformation among the captors. So far, for Naftali, Gilad and Eyal, the signs are not encouraging. As far as we know a week later, there is no proof of life, no demands, no negotiations.
Yesterday, June 19, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency apparently reported that Hamas leader Salah Bardawil said that the “Palestinian resistance” (Hamas — the acronym for the “Islamic Resistance Movement”) had carried out the kidnapping.
The first priority is always to establish the identity and the motive of the captors. Early on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that Hamas was guilty. [Even] US Secretary of State Kerry agreed, and this seems to be the view throughout Gaza and the West Bank.
Hamas leader Mohammad Nazzal, for his part, described the kidnapping of three teenage civilians as “a heroic capture”, and “a milestone” for the Palestinian people. He said that every passing day in which the Israelis failed to find the teenagers was “a tremendous achievement”.
The sheer sadism of the Palestinian Arab leadership, though bloodily demonstrated over and over again for nearly 100 years now – and so is fully expected – still shocks and revolts, and shows no sign of abating.
Nazzal’s comments reflect long-standing views on the abduction and butchering of Israelis by the leadership of Hamas, the internationally proscribed terrorist group responsible for firing thousands of lethal rockets indiscriminately against the civilian population of Israel from the Gaza Strip, the latest salvoes only this week.
It is the same terrorist group that the United Nations, the United States and the European Union – in a display of moral bankruptcy and betrayal – have all endorsed as a legitimate partner in a unity government for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Just the day before the three boys were kidnapped, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Hamas into the PA government while lambasting Israel for detaining terrorists and taking action to prevent Hamas terrorist attacks from Gaza and the West Bank.
Ashton, though never slow to condemn Israel, took five days to denounce this kidnapping. Both her words and actions have legitimized and encouraged Hamas. Her inaction in the face of repeated terrorist assaults has bolstered Hamas’s convictions.
The kidnapping will find favor with Ashton’s new best friends in Iran. Also desperate to appease the ayatollahs, British Foreign Secretary William Hague this week announced the re-opening in Tehran of a British embassy, closed in 2011 after being ransacked on the orders of the Iranian government. There are even reports of US military intelligence-sharing with Iran over the crisis in Iraq – where only a few short years ago, large numbers of American and British soldiers were being slaughtered — using Iranian-supplied munitions by terrorists trained, directed and equipped by Tehran and its terrorist proxy, Lebanese Hizballah.
As Ashton and the West cozy up to the ayatollahs, the ayatollahs are again cozying up to Hamas. A few weeks ago, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizballah, met with Hamas leaders to resolve the differences between Iran and Hamas that arose over the Syrian conflict. Hamas – isolated from Egypt following the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood regime – seems desperate to restore full relations with the Iranian tyrant. Iran is equally enthusiastic to bring Hamas back into the fold: Hamas remains an important instrument of the ayatollahs’ overriding, stated goal of destroying the State of Israel.
In these circumstances it is certainly not beyond probability that the three boys’ kidnapping was a goodwill gesture from Hamas to the ayatollahs.
It is hard to not be chilled to the bone by the thought of three teenage boys – who might easily be our own sons or brothers – spending night after night in the hands of ruthless terrorists… or worse. The anguish of the boys’ parents must be unimaginable.
Yet among the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza, including children, a new symbol has emerged – the three-fingered salute, signifying joy at the kidnapping …
Such celebration, including the handing out of sweets in the street, has been widespread. …
Both the US and the EU have paid the salaries of Palestinian terrorists by means of grants to the PA; they also fund this propaganda and incitement, no doubt including some of the imagery applauding the boys’ kidnapping.
The Israeli security operation has so far focused on finding the three boys. Over 330 Hamas suspects have been arrested, and illicit weapons and ammunition seized. Echoing the code-name of the rescue operation, “Brother’s Keeper,” the IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, has encouraged his troops to apply the same vigour to their task as if they were searching for their own brothers or members of their own platoon. He has also reminded them that most people in the areas they are searching are not connected to the kidnapping, and to treat them with care and humanity.
Concurrently, the IDF is taking steps to weaken and dismantle Hamas in the West Bank. In some quarters these have been criticized as an unnecessary and opportunistic widening of the operation. It is nothing of the sort. With this latest kidnapping, Hamas has confirmed its continued intent to abduct, attack and murder Israeli civilians in the West Bank. Like every government, Israel has an absolute duty to protect its citizens, and undermining this terrorist threat is an essential part of that responsibility.
All military operations are unpredictable; it is possible that Operation Brother’s Keeper could lead to an escalation of violence. Incidents have already occurred. It is unlikely that Israel will expand the current operation into Gaza, unless there is a serious upsurge in violence from there or a connection between Gaza terrorists and the kidnapping comes to light.
Whichever way this operation develops, the international community should avoid the same response to the current defensive actions that they have so often displayed whenever Israel has sought to defend itself from missile attacks from Gaza. The international community usually ignores repeated volleys of rockets fired at Israeli civilians, and then condemns Israel for taking defensive action to prevent further attacks. It is these responses from the international community that have encouraged Hamas, and amounted to nothing less than support for terrorism. And it is these responses, along with the endorsement of Hamas’s inclusion in a Palestinian unity government, that have led to the kidnapping of the boys in the West Bank.
We could not put it better ourselves.
Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. – Valerie Jarrett?
This is from Investor’s Business Daily:
Reports resurface of Obama aide Valerie Jarrett forging a secret deal with Tehran as Saudi Arabia reportedly mulls helping Israel destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. Unlike the U.S., the Saudis recognize the threat.
Israeli television reported Sunday night that Iranian-born White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett negotiated a one-year-in-the-making deal with the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi. That would render the Geneva talks now taking place between the so-called P5-plus-one group ( the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, plus Germany) and Tehran a meaningless facade.
The White House denies the report, made by anonymous senior Israeli officials who claim Jarrett has traveled to a number of Persian Gulf states to meet with Salehi, and describes the U.S. as making concessions to Tehran as “confidence-building measures.”
But everyone knows that this White House lies by reflex.
Valerie Jarrett is the one-who-decides, not Obama.
Whether fact or rumor, it aggravates the fears not only of Israel but of the Mideast’s saner Islamic regimes.
For years, the Israelis, the Saudis and the Egyptians have seen a U.S. president conduct an Iran policy based on applying economic sanctions to fanatics who care little about the well-being of their countrymen, and on the notion that Islamofascists who await the coming of the 12th imam to lead an apocalyptic war against Israel can be reasoned with.
So it isn’t tremendously surprising to read the London Sunday Times report that Riyadh would let Israel fly over its airspace to bomb Iran, plus help out on rescue helicopters, tanker planes and drones.
No sooner had the Sunday Times published this information than Saudi Arabia denied it – of course. And perhaps the Saudis will now disallow Israel to use its airspace. The chances of the strange co-operation between these enemy states continuing are, however, quite good.
A diplomatic contact told the British newspaper, “The Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs.” The Saudis indicated several weeks ago that their relations with the U.S. had been breached by President Obama’s overture to Iran.
According to the Times, “Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is working with Saudi officials on contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran” if a deal in Geneva doesn’t do enough to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.
Both Israel and the Sunni royal rulers of Saudi Arabia believe the Geneva talks with Shiite Iran “amount to appeasement and will do little to slow its development of a nuclear warhead”, the paper said. … But it should be appreciated what a risk it is for the regime to assist Israel. …
The Saudis and the Israelis understand that Iran cannot be appeased out of becoming nuclear-armed. Unfortunately, we have a president intent on doing just that.
And this is from Front Page, by Noah Beck:
According to a recent news report, President Barack Obama has for over a year secretly conducted negotiations with Iran (through his adviser Valerie Jarrett) and the Geneva talks on Iranian nukes now appear to be just a facade providing international legitimacy for Obama’s secret deal with Iran.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s contradictory criticism of Israeli objections to that deal only suggests more bad faith by the Obama administration.
Kerry claims that Israel has been kept fully apprised of the negotiations with Iran but then argues that Israel has never seen the terms of the proposed deal with Iran and therefore shouldn’t question it. The Obama administration apparently wants to present the nuclear deal as a fait accompli that Israel must simply accept as is. …
On the issue of Iranian nukes, France has effectively replaced the U.S. as Israel’s strongest ally and as the most sober-minded advocate of caution when negotiating over the single greatest threat to global security. Incredibly, Saudi Arabia is reportedly replacing the US in providing logistical support for an Israeli strike on Iranian nukes.
Now comes some really good news – or at least some promising information:
Yaakov Amidror, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former national security adviser, recently indicated that the Israeli Air Force has been preparing for a potential strike on Iran. According to Amidror, such a strike could set back Iran’s nuclear program “for a very long time.” So Israel can go it alone, if it must, although the results will be far messier than those produced by a stronger U.S. approach.
While the Obama administration has suggested that critics of the current Geneva deal are “on a march to war,” it is that very deal — which gives Iran a nuclear breakout capacity — that will force the states most threatened by Iran to take preemptive military action. …
If they do not …
An Iranian nuclear weapons breakout capability will produce catastrophic consequences …
1) The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will effectively be finished. The world’s most volatile region will become even more explosive as other regional players scramble to establish their own nuclear arsenals to counter Iran’s. And rogue nations will realize that by following Iran’s deceptive playbook, they too can develop a nuclear capability.
2) The force of U.N. Security Council Resolutions will be further diluted, as Iran will continue flouting six of them with impunity.
3) Iran-backed terrorist organizations — including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah — will grow emboldened by the nuclear umbrella of their patron.
4) Terrorism could go nuclear, should Iran share some of its nuclear materials with the terrorist groups that it supports.
5) U.S. influence in the Middle East will erode even more, as Obama further damages U.S. relationships and influence in the region.
6) U.S. credibility throughout the world will plummet. If the U.S. cannot be trusted to provide strong leadership on the national security issue of greatest concern to the free world, where U.S. interests are directly at stake, what does that mean for U.S. credibility more generally?
7) Global instability and oil prices will skyrocket. If Israel, with Saudi assistance, strikes Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian retaliation that follows could spark World War III. Will Iran attack Saudi oil fields or otherwise pour more fuel onto the Sunni-Shia fire in Syria? Will Iran and Iran-backed Hezbollah (estimated to have at least 45,000 missiles) launch a massive attack killing thousands of Israeli civilians? Will some of the Syrian chemical weapons held by Assad (another Iranian ally) end up hitting Israel? How would Israel respond?
Is this how Armageddon happens?
8) U.S. interests will be attacked. Obama may think that his policy of appeasement will shield the U.S. from Iranian reprisals, but the opposite is true. When the U.S. appears so weak and ready to abandon allies (as with Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia), Iran has less fear of attacking the U.S. and more reasons to do so, as a way to exacerbate U.S. tensions with Israel.
Will attacking U.S. interests be yet another Obama “red line” that gets crossed with impunity? If so, then whatever is left of U.S. deterrence and credibility will have been destroyed. If not, then the U.S. will get sucked into another Mideast war but on terms dictated by the adversary, and without any first-strike advantage.
The catastrophic consequences outlined above would all directly result from Obama’s disastrously weak policies on the Iranian nuclear threat. …
Obama should know by now that if he forces Israel’s hand, then Israel alone will neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat, regardless of how messy the aftermath may be.
We wish we knew that!
What we perceive is that if “Armageddon” develops from this chain of events, its mastermind is one Valerie Jarrett. And religious doom-predictors should note that nobody ever prophesied a 57-year-old woman, elected by nobody and representing no constituency, will launch the destruction of the world.
In Islam, to be raped is to commit a crime punishable by death. Similarly, if a nation is subjected to an act of war by an Islamic state, the victim nation must be forced to apologize and pay the aggressor compensation.
The West’s idea of justice is different. Or has been until very recently.
This is from Front Page, by Andrew C. McCarthy:
To keep the tepid support of his country’s essential but icy ally, Israel’s prime minister would have to do what he’d spent nearly three years steadfastly refusing to do. Netanyahu would have to apologize to a state sponsor of terrorism that openly, notoriously, and enthusiastically supports Hamas.
ThHe would have to apologize to Turkey — to its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama’s close friend and confidant.
He would have to apologize for military action taken in his country’s righteous defense against violent jihadists with close connections to Erdogan’s ruling party and, seamlessly, to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as al-Qaeda. …
The violent jihadists in question were from the grotesquely named “Humanitarian Relief Foundation” or IHH (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı). The IHH is an Islamic “charity” based and basted in the Islamic supremacism of Erdogan’s Turkey. It is part of the Union of Good (sometimes referred to as the “Union for Good”), a jihadist umbrella enterprise that was designated by the United States government, during the Bush administration, as an international terrorist organization. Under the direction of a top Muslim Brotherhood honcho, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Union of Good’s main purpose is to transfer funds to Hamas, another designated terrorist organization. Besides being the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradaw boasts Turkey, our NATO “ally,” as its chief benefactor.
In late May 2010, IHH terrorists attempted to break Israel’s lawful naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The blockade is necessary to stem the flow of weapons to Hamas, Gaza’s rulers having responded to Israel’s painful peace offering — its withdrawal in 2005 from territory it had captured in a war of Arab aggression — by stepping up their terror campaign against the Jewish state. In seeking to break the blockade, an act of war, the IHH was willfully abetted by the Turkish government.
Israeli officials had pleaded with their Turkish counterparts to prevent the terrorists from embarking on their “peace flotilla.” Members of Erdogan’s government and party not only turned a deaf ear; they sold the jihadists the offending vessel, the Mavi Marmara. They allowed the jihadists — armed with flares, night-vision goggles, 150 bulletproof vests, 200 gas masks, several dozen slingshots, 200 knives, 20 axes, 50 wooden clubs, 100 assorted iron bars, etc. — to board the ship without inspection. When the inevitable high-seas confrontation occurred, the Israeli Defense Forces tried to subdue the terrorists with paintball guns. The IDF resorted to lethal force only after being premeditatedly and savagely attacked — with several of its sailors seriously wounded. In that response, nine of the terrorists were killed.
Squeezed by Obama, Netanyahu would have to apologize for the killing of those terrorists.
More often than not these last five years, Israel’s prime minister has felt President Obama’s heel on the back of his neck. In stark contrast, Turkey’s prime minister has enjoyed Obama’s warm embrace. In Ankara, Erdogan hosts the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah as foreign dignitaries. He accuses Israel of turning Gaza into a “concentration camp.” Only days before Netanyahu’s coerced apology, Erdogan — whose history of anti-Semitism is infamous — publicly pronounced that Zionism is a “crime against humanity.”
This heinous accusation, “crime against humanity,” has become something of a verbal tic with Erdogan. He cavalierly applies it to Israel’s self-defense from thousands of jihadist rockets fired into its territory, and to the suggestion by European governments that the millions of Muslims who’ve immigrated to the West ought to assimilate into their new societies.
Nevertheless, Obama openly regards Erdogan as one of his most trusted partners on the world stage. …
With Obama on the phone egging him on, Netanyahu abased himself. Not only did he apologize to Turkey, he further capitulated to Erdogan’s demand that Israel pay compensation to the Mavi Marmara “victims.” After the apology, Erdogan briefed his Hamas confederates and announced he would be visiting them in Gaza next month. Predictably, he has since announced that Netanyahu’s humiliating act of contrition will not be sufficient to restore diplomatic relations between the two nations. Just as predictably, other Islamic states are now preparing demands for apologies and compensation for sundry exercises of Israeli self-defense against jihadist terror.
There has been no shortage of speculation about why Israel caved. Perhaps it was anxiety over Iranian nukes and Syrian tumult — the hope that rapprochement with Turkey would give Washington more maneuvering room to protect Israel’s interests. Perhaps there were financial considerations, including billions potentially to be made in the exportation of natural gas. None of these explanations is very satisfying.
They are not satisfying at all. None of them is sufficient reason for Netanyahu to apologize to the despicable aggressor Erdogan. Netanyahu should not have done it no matter what the threat or what the bribe. His apology was a submission to a lie. Making it, he abased and betrayed his people.
For Andrew McCarthy, however, that is not the worst thing about the disgusting affair. It is even “beside the point”.
For Americans, what matters is not what this episode says about shifts in Israeli policy. It is the sea-change in U.S. counterterrorism that most concerns us. …
The Obama administration is actively engaged in the financial support of Hamas — sluicing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Gaza, fully aware that it is under Hamas’s totalitarian control. In this, too, Obama is in concord with Erdogan, whose regime has similarly backed Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars — news that comes to us courtesy of Turkey’s grateful friends at the Union of Good.
Until 2009, U.S. policy was straightforward: Hamas was a terrorist organization and America would not deal with it unless and until it acknowledged Israel’s right to exist and convincingly renounced violence. All that has changed, though.
Under Obama’s governance, Islamic-supremacists are bankrolled even as they act on their pledge to destroy Israel. Israel, in turn, is expected to apologize.
Our military’s killing of Osama bin Laden, complemented by the controversial drone campaign, has given President Obama cover. The occasional terrorist is taken out, the administration beats its chest, and few notice that al-Qaeda is resurgent, that the administration spends far more time appeasing Islamists than killing terrorists, and that Hamas has won.
Hamas has won. Erdogan has won. IHH has won. Islam has won. Obama has won.
Netanyahu has handed victory to the enemies of his nation and of America, and trampled on human dignity, truth, and justice.
To befriend a creep like Erdogan, and make Americans pay billions to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is moral perversion. Obama is a moral pervert.
And Netanyahu – what is he?
What is a person who lets a pervert have his way with him in return for cash or an IOU?