· Command responsibility: All four IDF reports of alleged war crimes investigations have assumed that general targeting policy was legal and only individual soldiers could have gone beyond the rules of engagement. The report wants investigations of top military and civilian leaders who set targeting policy. This is a major fault line, but Israel has support from a range of foreign military and top academics for its targeting policy.
· Comptroller got more relevant: The UNHRC probe‘s chairperson Mary McGowan-Davis is following the State Comptroller report on war policy-making to see if it addresses her concerns, not addressed in the IDF reports. That report just got a lot more important.
· Turkel Commission: The report and McGowan-Davis hone in on the lack of implementing ‘Recommendation 2′ of Israel’s quasi-government February 2013 Turkel Report on whether its self-investigating satisfies international law. She totally skipped over its conclusion that Israel’s apparatus meets international law requirements and zoned in on only which of the 18 recommendations made by Turkel to improve investigations have not been implemented. The state has been very slow with addressing some of these and this could be an issue since it was an Israel-sponsored group.
· Gaza blockade: The report repeatedly takes Israel to task for the blockade, though the previous UN Palmer Report said that the blockade did not violate international law. Serious blame for lack of Gaza reconstruction was placed on Israel due to the blockade, seemingly ignoring the blame that many UN officials have placed on donor countries for failing to send most of the funds they promised for reconstruction.
· Accepting ICC jurisdiction: The report demands Israel accede to the Rome Statute and accept International Criminal Court jurisdiction. A non-starter from the Israeli point of view.
· Explosive weapons: Judge McGowan-Davis makes a huge point of attacking Israel for use of explosive weapons in those parts of Gaza which are densely populated. But most of Gaza is densely populated and the IDF has said that Hamas intentionally and systematically abused civilian locations to fire rockets, hide weapons and undertake other attacks. The report does not seem to consider how else the IDF could fight Hamas under these circumstances.
· Defining military objectives – targeting residential buildings: There is a debate about whether the IDF had an overly wide definition of military objective, especially in targeting residential buildings. The report then recognizes that Hamas fought from civilian areas which can convert those areas into military objectives, but perplexingly seemed to say that Hamas’ actions do not modify the legal analysis or obligations for the IDF.
· Warnings: The report unequivocally declares “roof-knocking,” firing a missile without a warhead onto a roof so it will not explode, but will make a loud bang and scare civilians into evacuating before attacking with an armed missile, as ineffective. The Goldstone Report made the same declaration, but whereas there are many international critics of the policy, many foreign military figures and top military law academics have declared the tactic effective, or even cutting-edge and worthy of emulation.
· Israeli investigations of alleged war crimes: McGowan-Davis is highly specific demanding not only investigations, but essentially also indictments, convictions and even sufficiently serious punishments.
· Palestinian investigations of alleged war crimes: McGowan-Davis only demands that there be criminal proceedings with nowhere near the same specificity. This could be a more lenient hand and double-standard, or, in light of her harsh condemnation of Gazan indiscriminate rocket fire, it could be she realizes they have done nothing and nuanced demands only have a chance with Israel.
· IDF release of classified information: The IDF has been complimented by supporters for releasing unprecedented information in its four reports about the military situation on the ground. The report said that too little information has been released and while realizing the IDF may jeopardize its intelligence sources, essentially demands the IDF release far more information. This is a major fault line for judging borderline cases where civilians were killed.
· Proportionality: McGowan-Davis seems to imply that IDF was obligated to completely change targeting policy, including possibly refraining from using missiles and artillery mid-war, after initial casualty reports. This is another major fault line and whereas, she cites one case from an international war crimes tribunal supporting that idea, but there are counter-cases.
· Was Israel’s report of last week referenced: It was unclear whether the report would take into account Israel’s major report released last week. The report did add references to that report, though the reports disagree on a myriad of issues.
By Yaakov Levi//A group that is operating in Gaza and which says it is associated with ISIS has claimed that it killed a top Hamas commander. According to the group, which calls itself the Army of the Islamic State, Saber Siam was killed when ISIS operatives placed a bomb on his car, blowing it up with him inside.
Siam was killed, the group said, because he was “a partner in a declared war against religion and against Muslims, working for the heretical government in Gaza.” ISIS warned Hamas to immediately “end its war against religion in Gaza” or “face the consequences.”
The group also sent out warnings on social media to Gaza residents to stay away from Hamas offices and buildings, lest they find themselves swept up in attacks against the group.
It was not possible to verify whether the group was associated with ISIS, or whether it even actually exists. However, Israeli sources confirmed that Hamas has been conducting actions against a group of Salafist rebels it accuses of trying to take over Gaza.
Islamic State’s (ISIS) threats to declare war on Hamas in Gaza after the latter began a crackdown on local Salafist groups appears to be edging to fruition, after an ISIS-affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday claimed launching two “bombs” – reportedly 82 mm mortar shells – at Hamas posts in Gaza.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which earlier this year swore loyalty to ISIS and changed its name to Sinai Province, claimed credit for the attack on a military post of Hamas’s “military wing,” the Al-Qassam Brigades in Khan Younis, located in southern Gaza.
The ISIS forces said they conducted the attack due to Hamas’s actions towards Salafists in Gaza, reports Walla!.
They warned in a message to Gaza residents: “distance yourself from military and security posts and guard your lives.” To the Salafists currently jailed by Hamas, who reportedly have been tortured, they wrote, “we will not give up on saving you.”
Corroborating the claimed attack, witnesses told AFP they heard explosions close to Khan Younis.
But Hamas was in denial, with the spokesperson of its interior ministry Iyad al-Bozum denying to AFP any mortar fire and saying the claim of an attack is “baseless.”
On Wednesday clashes were reported after Hamas demolished a Salafist mosque, arresting 40 members of the Salafist organization “Islamic State Supporters in Bayt Al-Maqdis.”
The Hamas move was said to be a response to ISIS’s assault on the Palestinian Arab Yarmouk neighborhood in Damascus, during which a senior Hamas official and other members of the group were beheaded.
In response to the demolition and arrests, ISIS in Gaza warned Hamas it had 72 hours to release them or else it would kill all of Hamas’s personnel one by one.
The latest escalation comes after an explosion hit the Hamas general security headquarters in Gaza on Monday, with Salafists claiming credit and saying it was a response to the arrests and torture of Salafists in the Hamas stronghold.
[To learn about the Freedom Center’s ‘Jew Hatred on Campus’ Campaign,’ click here.]
Americans are shocked when a news report reveals that an American has turned up in Syria fighting for the terrorists. If the jihadist is then identified as a Somali immigrant who settled in Minnesota but never assimilated to the American way of life, there is a sigh of relief, perhaps accompanied by concern that so many immigrants are currently coming from regions plagued by religious hatreds and terrorist wars. The concern is real but the relief is a false one, based on a misunderstanding of the many dimensions of the “grand jihad” being waged by terrorist parties like the Muslim Brotherhood.
This week I traveled to the Midwest to speak at Ohio State, home of the Buckeyes, to an audience of 130 students. My subject was the campus war being waged against Israel by two student fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood – the Muslim Students Association and the Committee for Justice in Palestine. These groups are not themselves terrorists. But they are carrying out a propaganda war crafted by terrorists that is designed to help Hamas “obliterate” the Jewish state by portraying it as a criminal occupier of Palestinian land.
More than half the students attending were members of the two organizations and supporters of the Hamas terror campaign. I attempted to refute the lies they were spreading at Ohio State (Israel is an occupier of Palestinian land; Israel is an apartheid state). Their Jewish targets, I explained, were just the canaries in the mine. Already there were far more Christians slaughtered by the soldiers of Mohammed, and Muslims too. But those numbers I said will be dwarfed should the day come when the Islamic Republic of Iran drops a nuclear bomb on Tel Aviv.
The Muslim Students Association, which is a presence on more than a hundred campuses, is supported by college funds and accorded campus privileges. It is a recruitment organization for the Muslim Brotherhood. Many members of the MSA, as I also said, are innocent of the true agendas organization. Those with political potential are selected for training seminars taught by Brotherhood leaders. Nine former presidents of MSA have gone on to high-level careers with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The most famous is Anwar al-Awlaki, formerly the head of al-Qaeda in the Yemen, killed in a U.S. drone strike. Before that, Awlaki was the president of the Muslim Students Association at Colorado State.
The centerpiece of the pro-terrorist propaganda campaigns conducted by these groups on American campuses is a Hamas-created 4-panel map. The map purports to show that a Muslim state called Palestine (colored in green) existed in 1946 and was then infiltrated by Jews (represented by the color white) until a point is reached at which Palestine is completely occupied. The map, like the other Hamas propaganda points placed by the students on their “Apartheid Walls” is a lie. There was no Palestinian state in 1946. There was no self-identified “Palestinian” cause until 1964 when the Arabs dropped their stated goal to “push the Jews into the sea,” and formed the “Palestine Liberation Organization” to protest Jewish occupation of their alleged homeland.
The sixty or so student supporters of these Hamas agendas remained civil during my talk. No doubt the presence of eight armed police the university assigned had something to do with that. When I finished, about 20 of them lined up at the microphone. From the moment the first one began to speak it was clear that this was going to be an orchestrated protest. Instead of asking questions they read speeches off their cell phones. Because the speeches had been written before I spoke they were not responses to anything I actually said, but more Hamas propaganda: “You said that all Muslims are terrorists.” In fact I had said exactly the opposite – that most Muslims were law-abiding people who only wanted peace and that many Muslims were in fact being slaughtered and oppressed by Islamic terrorists including the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.
However, my words fell on deaf ears, as they had all evening. Not only the comments but the cheers for the pro-Hamas speakers made this abundantly clear. These were thoroughly indoctrinated young Americans, committed to a genocidal cause. Among them was an elected member of the student government at Ohio State, who volunteered that he had prepared a proposal in behalf of the Committee for Justice in Palestine requesting student funds to finance its pro-terrorist propaganda campaign.
This worries me even more than the Somali volunteer from Minnesota.
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