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Friday, November 16, 2012

"Belgium Will Become an Islamic State"

The statements of Mark Elchardus, author of a 426 page study, who linked Islam with anti-Semitism, earned him a lawsuit filed by a Muslim group, which said that his comments violated Belgium's anti-discrimination law of 2007, which forbids discrimination on the basis of "religious convictions," and Article 444 of the Belgian penal code as his statements appeared in a newspaper and were therefore repeated extensively in print. Belgian law, however, apparently did not prevent Muslims from resorting to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

Two Muslim politicians, who just won municipal elections in Belgium's capital, Brussels, on October 14, have vowed to implement Islamic Sharia law in Belgium.

The two candidates, Lhoucine Aït Jeddig and Redouane Ahrouch, both from the fledgling Islam Party, won seats in two heavily Islamized municipalities of Brussels, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean and Anderlecht, respectively.

During a post-election press conference in Brussels on October 25, the two future councilors, who will be officially sworn in on December 3, said they regard their election as key to the assertion of the Muslim community in Belgium.

"We are elected Islamists but above all we are Muslims," Ahrouch said. "Islam is compatible with the laws of the Belgian people. As elected Muslims, we embrace the Koran and the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed. We believe Islam is a universal religion. Our presence on the town council will give us the opportunity to express ourselves," said Ahrouch, who refuses to shake hands or make eye contact with females in public.

A one-hour video of the press conference in French has been posted on YouTube. At one point in the video (0:07:40) Ahrouch, 42, says he will strive to make sure that the town council's "motions and solutions are durable and definitive and will emanate from Islam."

Ahrouch, who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2003 for the assault and battery of his disabled wife, also spends considerable time talking about ethics in politics and "respect for the other."

Elsewhere in the video (0:25:40), Aït Jeddig, 50, commends Islam as having paved the way for "the emergence of European civilization." (He makes no mention of Europe's Judeo-Christian or Greek-Roman roots.) He also insists that Islam is compatible with freedom and democracy.

The video ends with an interview of a third Islam Party candidate, Abdelhay Bakkali Tahar, 51, who did not garner enough votes to secure a seat in the district of Bruxelles Ville.

The Islam Party, which plans to field candidates in European-level elections in 2014, campaigned on three core issues: ensuring that halal meals are served in public school cafeterias, securing the official recognition of Muslim religious holidays, and pushing for a law that would legalize the wearing of Islamic headscarves in public spaces.

Ahrouch has run for political office before. In 1999, he founded a political party called "Noor: Le Parti Islamique," which promotes a 40-point program based on Islamic Sharia law. These points include, among other items: 7) abolishing interest payments [riba] in the Belgian banking sector; 10) redesigning the Belgian judiciary to comply with Islamic law; 11) restoring capital punishment; 12) prohibiting alcohol and cigarettes; 15) promoting teenage marriage; 16) segregating males and females in public spaces; 20) outlaw gambling and the lottery; and 39) creating an official Islamic alms fund [Zakat].
Ahrouch says that his ultimate goal, creating an Islamic state in Belgium based on Islamic Sharia law, has not changed.

Speaking to a reporter from Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), the public broadcasting service of the French-speaking part of Belgium, Ahrouch said: "The agenda is still the same, but our approach is different now. I think we have to sensitize people, make them understand the advantages to having Islamic people and Islamic laws. And then it will be completely natural to have Islamic laws and we will become an Islamic state."

The reporter interjected: "An Islamic State in Belgium?" Ahrouch replied: "In Belgium, of course! I am for the Sharia. Islamic law, I am for it. It is a long-term struggle that will take decades or a century, but the movement has been launched."

The rise of the Islam Party comes amid a burgeoning Muslim population in the Belgian capital. Muslims now make up one-quarter of the population of Brussels, according to a book recently published by the Catholic University of Leuven, the top Dutch-language university in Belgium.

In real terms, the number of Muslims in Brussels -- where half of the number of Muslims in Belgium currently live --- has reached 300,000, which means that the self-styled "Capital of Europe" is now the most Islamic city in Europe.

In practical terms, Islam mobilizes more people in Brussels than do the Roman Catholic Church, political parties or even trade unions, according to "The Iris and the Crescent," a book that is the product of more than a year of field research.

The book's author, the sociologist Felice Dassetto, predicts that Muslims will comprise the majority of the population of Brussels by 2030. In Belgium as a whole, Muslims now comprise roughly 6% of the total population, one of the highest rates in Europe. This number is expected to rise to more than 10% by 2020.

Most of the Muslims in Brussels are from Morocco (70%) and Turkey (20%), with the other 10% from Albania, Egypt, Pakistan and North Africa. They began arriving in Belgium in the 1960s as guest workers. Although the guest-worker program was cancelled in 1974, many immigrants stayed and, using family-reunification laws, brought over their families.

Today the Muslim community continues to grow through both high birth rates and marriage migration. More than 60% of Moroccan and Turkish youths marry partners from their home countries.

As in the other European countries, the Muslim population in Belgium is young. Nearly 35% of the Moroccans and Turks in the country are below 18 years of age, compared to 18% of the native Belgians.

Since 2008, the most popular name in Brussels for baby boys has been Mohammed. It is also the most popular name for baby boys in Belgium's second-largest city, Antwerp, where an estimated 40% of elementary school children are Muslim.

The growth of the Muslim population has been accompanied by an increase in violent crime, which has made Brussels one of the most dangerous cities in Europe, according to an exposé produced by the ZDF German television in April 2012.

Much of the crime is being attributed to shiftless Muslim youth, especially in the Anderlecht and Molenbeek districts, where "the police have lost control."

In Molenbeek, where an estimated 25% of the population is Muslim, the growing insecurity has forced multinational companies to leave the municipality. In June 2011, for example, the American advertising agency BBDO abandoned Molenbeek after citing over 150 assaults on its staff by local youth.

In an open letter addressed to the then-mayor Philippe Moureaux, BBDO reported that each one of its employees had been the victim of crimes in Molenbeek. The letter states: "Youngsters who forcibly rob our bags. Youngsters who smash car windows. Youngsters who verbally corner us so that we become paralyzed with fear. Young people who are not afraid to even point a gun at one of our male colleagues." BBDO criticized Moureaux, a Socialist, of inaction due to his multicultural notions of political correctness.

On November 5, the Belgian Interior Ministry reported that gang rapes in the country have reached epidemic levels. It reported an average of five new cases of rapes each week involving two or more offenders, in addition to an average of 57 rapes per week involving single violators.

The rise in Muslim immigration has also contributed to an increase in anti-Semitism. Fully one-half of the Muslim students in Brussels are anti-Semitic, according to a 426-page study entitled, "Jong in Brussel" [Young in Brussels], produced by the Youth Research Platform.

In an interview with the Belgian newspaper De Morgan, Mark Elchardus, one of the authors of the report, said: "What is alarming is that you can describe half of the Muslim students as anti-Semitic, which is very high. What is worse is that those anti-Jewish feelings have nothing to do with a low educational level or social disadvantage, which is the case with racist Belgians. The anti-Semitism is theologically inspired and there is a direct link between being Muslim and having anti-Semitic feelings."

Elchardus's linking Islam of anti-Semitism earned him a lawsuit filed by Vigilance Musulmane [Muslim Vigilance], a Muslim activist group. Vigilance Musulmane said Elchardus' comments violated Belgium's anti-discrimination law of 2007, which forbids discrimination on the basis of "religious convictions." They also said his statements violated Article 444 of the Belgian penal code because they appeared in a newspaper and therefore were repeated extensively in print.

Belgian law, however, apparently did not prevent Muslims from resorting to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism during the municipal elections in October. Yves Goldstein, a Jewish candidate for the Socialist Party in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek was singled out by Turkish political activists as "an active Zionist and enemy of Islam." This smear was echoed by a Moroccan political party called the "Equality Party," which distributed an e-mail telling voters that casting their ballots for Goldstein would be like "stabbing Palestinians in the back." The Equality Party'splatform includes removing Hamas from the Belgian government's list of terrorist groups.

"The Iris and the Crescent" matter-of-factly sums it all up: "Islam is definitely part of the reality of Brussels."

Gatestone Institute

Petraeus Scandal Reveals Massive Islamic Infiltration In Obama Administration

Jill Khawam Kelley was the hand-picked lobbyist for Muslim nations and their agenda at Central Command

Kelley, who is part of the soap opera that the Petraeus scandal spawned, was in charge of hosting parties and social events to push the Islamic agenda of Middle Eastern countries. She was seen by Muslim Mid-East nations, especially Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, as the “go to” woman to push their agenda on top American generals. She was a lobbyist for their cause and, yet, wasn’t required to register as a lobbyist, like all others who host lavish parties for top American officials, like she did, in an attempt to influence U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Gen. David Petraeus with the Arab Nations’ Agent of Influence at Central Command, Jill Kelley

Kelley, a dhimmi Christian Arab of Lebanese descent, was well known in the Muslim Arab embassies of Washington for doing their bidding and hosting their parties at and near MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where our nation’s top generals are based. It’s where Central Command–the U.S. Armed Forces’ leadership over wars and military personnel Middle East–is headquartered.

When a friend of mine said that he thought the financially troubled Khawam sisters, Kelley and Natalie Khawam, were spies for Lebanon and the Arab world, I originally expressed skepticism. I believed that these twin sisters with obvious twin nose jobs were merely bimbo gold diggers in slutty outfits, who used their Delilah ways to first nab rich husbands, and then nab idiotic top American generals to participate in Lifetime-Channel-worthy bitter child custody disputes. But then I learned that Ms. Kelley, who was until this week under the radar, was quietly involved in pushing the agenda of Muslim Arab nations on our nation’s top generals with whom she’d grown close by design. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Ms. Kelley got her hooks into our two top generals in the Middle East, David Petraeus and John Allen. I’m now convinced that my friend, lawyer Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana, who has excellent instincts, was correct.

I’ve long written about the infiltration of Central Command at MacDill Air Base in Tampa by Islamic terrorists. Islamic Jihad founder and convicted Islamic terrorist, Sami Al-Arian, was an instructor on the Middle East to our top generals at MacDill Air Force Base AT THE VERY SAME TIME that he was planning mergers and terrorist attacks in Israel with “the brothers of HAMAS” and while he was bringing Muslim illegal alien Islamic terrorists to the U.S. Al-Arian’s friend and co-conspirator, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah (one of those Al-Arian brought here), who became the Secretary-General of the worldwide Islamic Jihad terrorist group, was also a lecturer at MacDill and also taught our top generals his poisonous views on the Middle East and Israel. FBI and INS agents who investigated Shallah and Al-Arian were alarmed at the influence these two top Islamic terrorists had over CentCom. They were also alarmed to find many books on the inner workings of MacDill in Shallah’s house when they raided it.

So when people ask me how I think these women were able to insert themselves into top generals’ lives and topple them (along with, apparently, the men they married), I think back to the fact that our top generals gladly allowed top terrorists to infiltrate Central Command as alleged “professors” on the Middle East. And when generals like Petraeus and Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. openly attack Israel and America’s relationship with Israel, people like Jill Khawam Kelley and Al-Arian and Shallah are the reason why. Khawam Kelley isn’t an innocent socialite. She’s an agent of influence for Arab Muslim nations.

The Washington Post reports:
A military officer who is a former member of Petraeus’s staff said Kelley was a “self-appointed” go-between for Central Command officers with Lebanese and other Middle Eastern officials. . . . At the parties Jill Kelley hosted at her Tampa mansion, guests were frequently treated to the indulgences of celebrity life: valet parking, string quartets on the lawn, premium cigars and champagne, and caviar-laden buffets.

The main recipients of the largess were military brass — including some of the nation’s most senior commanders — based at nearby MacDill Air Force Base.

Kelley flaunted her access to these military VIPs. . . . The investigations of Petraeus’s and Allen’s actions, nonetheless, have raised questions about how Kelley, a woman with no formal military role, cultivated such close ties to two of the nation’s most revered generals.

One former aide to Allen, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the case, suggested that Kelley had become a de facto social ambassador among high-ranking personnel at MacDill, home to the U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Middle Eastern diplomats in Washington also knew Ms. Kelley, who came from a Lebanese immigrant family and who helped arrange social activities when dignitaries from the region visited Tampa, diplomats said. She also sometimes attended parties at Washington embassies.

I guarantee you that Jill Khawam Kelley wasn’t hosting visits from dignitaries from Israel. And, other than those from Israel, every single “Middle Eastern diplomat” in Washington is a Muslim, most of them Muslim Arabs. And all of them Muslims with an agenda that is anti-Israel and anti-Western. And definitely not in America’s best interests. They come to Tampa for one reason and one reason only–to ingratiate themselves with the top military brass at CentCom at MacDill.

And Jill Khawam Kelley was their social director in that mission.

Kelley’s sister, Natalie Khawam, was married to a top Bush administration official, Grayson Wolfe, Director of Broader Middle East Initiatives and Iraqi Reconstruction at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and frequently accompanied him on trips to the Middle East, including to Pakistan. Before that position, Wolfe was the Bush-installed Manager of the Private Sector Development Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq. How many of the Khawam’s insider Arab Muslim friends did he give sweetheart contracts to? Before It’s News has more and asks more questions about the consulting and contracting firm that Wolfe now heads. Although they are now embroiled in a bitter custody fight over their son, you have to wonder what influence Khawam had on him and what was done in the Middle East. She recently sued her former employer, a Jewish lawyer, Barry Cohen, but gave up after her lawsuit was shown to be phony. Cohen struck back and found that Khawam engaged in bankruptcy fraud.

My friend wasn’t so far-fetched when he insisted the Khawam chicks are modern day Mata Haris for the Muslim Arabs.

Just look at what they’ve accomplished for the Muslim Mid-East, all of it under the radar . . . until Paula Broadwell had the stupidity to send her threatening e-mails and Jill Khawam Kelley had the stupidity of complaining about it to shirtless FBI agent Frederic Humphries. source – Debbie Schlussel

Now the end Begins

Pentagon Says 75,000 Troops Might Be Needed to Seize Syria Chemical Arms

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has told the Obama administration that any military effort to seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons would require upward of 75,000 troops, amid increasing concern that the militant group Hezbollah has set up small training camps close to some of the chemical weapons depots, according to senior American officials.

The estimated size of the potential effort, provided to the White House by the military’s Central Command and Joint Staff, called into question whether the United States would have the resources to act quickly if it detected the movement of chemical weapons and forced President Obama, as he said in August, to “change my calculus” about inserting American forces into Syria. So far Mr. Obama has avoided direct intervention into the most brutal civil conflict to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings, and the Pentagon assessment was seen as likely to reinforce that reluctance.

The White House on Thursday declined to comment on the Defense Department’s assessment.

The Pentagon has not yet been directed to draft detailed plans of how it could carry out such a mission, according to military officials. There are also contingency plans, officials say, for securing a more limited number of the Syrian chemical weapons depots, requiring fewer troops.

The discovery that Hezbollah has set up camps close to some of the depots, however, has renewed concern that as the chaos in Syria deepens, the country’s huge chemical weapons stockpiles could fall into the wrong hands. Hezbollah fighters have been training at “a limited number of these sites,” said one senior American official who has been briefed on the intelligence reports and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But the fear these weapons could fall into the wrong hands is our greatest concern.”

So far, there is no evidence that Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon but has become increasingly active in protecting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, is making any effort to gain control over the chemical weapons. Its decision to train fighters close to the major chemical sites, some officials speculate, could be rooted in a bet that their camps will not be bombed if the West believes there is a risk of hitting the stockpiles.

Mr. Assad has openly threatened to retaliate beyond his country’s borders if outside forces try to break the current stalemate to unseat him, and there is renewed concern about whether he or his proxies might use the chemical weapons as their last shield. Officials say that attacks along the borders with Turkey and Israel have forced the administration to consider the risks of Syria’s troubles spreading in the region.

Mr. Obama has been clear for more than a year that he would resist direct American intervention, but in August he said one circumstance would cause him to revisit that position. “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” he said at a news conference. “That would change my calculus.”

Mr. Obama brought those concerns up again in a news conference on Wednesday, saying that the United States was in close contact with Turkey and Jordan “and obviously Israel, which is having already grave concerns as we do about, for example, movements of chemical weapons that might occur in such a chaotic atmosphere and that could have an impact not just within Syria but on the region as a whole.”

The American concerns have been heightened by another sign that Mr. Assad may be arming himself to strike out — Syria’s continued imports of missile technology, even at a time when the Assad government is reeling under sanctions.

Syria already has a vast arsenal of missiles able to reach Turkey or strike Israel, and in the past it has provided Hezbollah with missiles. But American officials voice concern over even modest improvements in Syria’s missile stockpiles.

American intelligence and security officials, in interviews in recent days, said that the United States had picked up evidence that North Korea had resumed providing Syria with some missile technology, including assistance with Scud missiles.

The NY Times

Five EU countries call for new military 'structure'

BRUSSELS - Five leading EU countries, but not the UK, have said the Union needs a new military "structure" to manage overseas operations.

The foreign and defence ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain issued the call in a joint communique after a meeting in Paris on Thursday (15 November).

The paper says: "We are convinced that the EU must set up, within a framework yet to-be-defined, true civilian-military structures to plan and conduct missions and operations."

It adds: "We should show preparedness to hold available, train, deploy and sustain in theatre the necessary civilian and military means."

It lists a number of EU military priorities for the coming years: helping Somalia to fight Islamists and pirates; "a possible training mission to support the Malian armed forces" in reconquering north Mali; "assistance to support the new Libyan authorities" against Islamist militias; "normalisation" of the Western Balkans; "conflict resolution" in Georgia; and police training in Afghanistan.

The communique also calls for more "pooling and sharing" of EU defence hardware in the context of crisis-related budget cuts.

It identifies "space, ballistic-missile defence, drones, air-to-air refuelling, airlift capacities, medical support to operations [and] software defined radio" as pooling areas.

The reference to new "civilian-military structures" comes after the UK last year blocked the creation of a new operational headquarters (OHQ) in Brussels for EU military missions.

Britain's Telegraph newspaper earlier this week cited a "senior French source" as saying that EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton supports the idea of an OHQ, which will become a "ripe fruit" in the "long-term" as EU military operations multiply.

Ashton officials denied the report.

Meanwhile, the UK's role in future EU defence co-operation was a big topic at the Paris meeting.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said the UK can join the group-of-five at any time: "The text which we have developed is open to all of our colleagues, especially Great Britain."

French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the communique is designed to "create a movement" ahead of an EU summit on defence in 2013.

For his part, Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski said: "If the EU wants to become a superpower, and Poland supports this, then we must have the capability to exert influence in our neighbourhood ... Sometimes we must use force to back our diplomacy."

He called for an "ambitious" EU budget for 2014 to 2020 to help with defence co-ordination.

Speaking in a separate interview in UK newspaper The Times also on Thursday, Sikorski blamed British "nostalgia" for past greatness as a reason why it is pulling back from EU integration and why it wants to cut the EU budget.

He touched on historic sensitivities by describing EU spending as a kind of "Marshall plan."

He said Poland and other former-Soviet-controlled EU countries missed out on the plan - a massive injection of US money to rebuild Europe after World War II - because UK and US leaders at a summit in Yalta in 1945 gave the Soviet Union control of eastern Europe.

"We fought Hitler alone, giving you [the UK] valuable time to prepare for fighting. But we did not enjoy freedom after World War II ... Because of Yalta, we could not benefit [from the Marshall plan]. European cohesion funds are our Marshall plan for catching up with Europe," he noted.

EU Observer

Japan averts 'fiscal-cliff' as it passes financing bill

Japan's lawmakers have approved a crucial bill that will ensure that the government does not run out of money at the end of this month.

It will allow the government to borrow additional money by selling bonds to pay for a large chunk of its expenses.

The approval comes amid fears that Japan's economy may be heading towards a recession.

The opposition had previously delayed the bill, demanding that the government call for elections first.

On Friday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the parliament, paving the way for snap elections to be held next month.

'Signs of weakness'
In a separate move, Japan's government warned that the economy is showing "signs of weakness", adding to concerns about the health of the world's third-largest economy.

Concerning short-term prospects, weak movements would remain for the time being”Japan's Caninet Office

It said that industrial production is falling and exports continue to remain weak due to slowing global demand.

It added that private consumption and business investment also remain subdued.

Japan's economy shrunk 0.9% in the July to September quarter, from the previous three months, and there are fears it may contract further in the current quarter.

"Concerning short-term prospects, weak movements would remain for the time being," the Cabinet Office said in its monthly report.

This is the fourth successive month that Japan has lowered its assessment of the economy, the longest such streak since the 2008 - 2009 global financial crisis.

Stimulus hopes
One of the big concerns among policymakers in Japan has been continued deflation, or falling consumer prices, in the country.

That has hampered their efforts to boost domestic consumption as consumers tend to put off purchases in hopes of getting a better deal later on.
Consumer prices in Japan fell 0.1% in September, from a year earlier, the fifth straight month of decline.

The government said that it "strongly expects the Bank of Japan to continue powerful monetary easing" to help fight deflation.

Meanwhile, Shinzo Abe, the leader of the main opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, has said the central bank needed to set an inflation target of 3% instead of its current 1% goal to help revive growth in the economy.

Mr Abe, who's party is widely expected to win a snap election, has said that if elected, he will put pressure on the bank to ease its policies further and has called for it to print "unlimited yen" to help fight deflation.

His comments have had an impact on the financial markets.

The yen has fallen to its lowest level against the US dollar in six-and-half-months. It was trading close to 80.97 yen against the US dollar in Asian trade.

Israel Air Force hits 70 Gaza Strip targets in an hour

IAF strikes in Gaza

The Israeli Air Force struck some 70 targets in the Gaza Strip in one hour's time, the IDF Spokesman's Office said shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday. Among the targets, the IDF statement said, were underground medium-range rocket launching pads. The most recent blitz of air strikes brought the total number to well over 300.

Palestinians have fired over 275 rockets from Gaza into the South since the IDF launched its operation. Two rockets triggered an air raid siren in Tel Aviv, marking the first time that a real siren was sounded in Tel Aviv since the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

According to Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency, 16 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the operation. At least two children, including an 11-month-old baby were among the casualties.

The IDF shifted infantry brigades and tank columns to the Gaza border, and announced the call-up of 30,000 reservists, as it made preparations for a possible ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.

“The aim of the attacks is to disrupt the ability of the terrorist organizations to fire rockets,” the IDF said. “Terrorist cells involved in firing rockets have also been hit.”

The targets were chosen after intelligence reports on their locations were gathered over recent months.

“The IDF is landing painful blows against Hamas and against terrorist infrastructure,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. He said the rocket fire on greater Tel Aviv was “an escalation, and the other side will have to pay a price for this escalation.
Jerusalem Post

First three Gaza missiles hit Tel Aviv. Israel drafts 30,000 reservists

The first three Palestinian missiles reached the Tel Aviv conurbation, Gush Dan, Thursday night, Nov. 15. shortly after a long-range missile exploded in Rishon Lezion southeast of Tel Aviv and sirens sounded in outlying towns of Holon, Ness Ziona, Gan Raveh and Beer Yacov. None report casualties or damage. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered 30,000 army reservists drafted. The IDF spokesmen earlier reported units of the elite paratroop and Givati Brigades were mustering outside the Gaza Strip on the second day of Israel's counter-terror operation Pillar of Cloud.

From DEBKAfile's earlier report Thursday: As the rockets kept coming through Wednesday night – and the first three fatalities Thursday morning, Nov. 15 - the cautious lift in Israeli spirits generated by the death of Ahmed Jabari, who fashioned Hamas into a paramilitary machine of terror, and the destruction of dozens of missile sites in Gaza, gave way to resignation for a long haul before southern Israel is free of its decade-long rocket nightmare.
Thursday morning, a rocket from Gaza killed three Israelis in Kiryat Malachi. By then, some 120 rockets – mostly targeting the major towns of Beersheba and Ashdod, but also smaller locations – had followed Jabari's death. Iron Dome intercepted 27.The first reserve units had been mobilized for possible ground action in Gaza to supplement the air offensive against the Palestinian missile arsenal.
But Operation Pillar of Cloud’s first part showed a favorable balance: Palestinian missile fire was as erratic as ever, although intense; Iron Dome filtered out the rockets aimed at Israel’s major towns; Israeli casualties were relatively low though painful; and the enemy in Gaza was decapitated – for now.
But most of all, the Palestinians and their allies in Tehran and Hizballah suddenly discovered that the old IDF had come roaring back.
In the only former major Israeli operation in Gaza, Cast Lead (late 2008, early 2009), the IDF was slow, unwieldy and unfocused. Its counter-terror offensive was foreshortened by heavy diplomatic pressure before achieving anything, owing to the government’s lack of resolve. In the 2006 Lebanon War, the army was stalled before developing an effective tactical offensive.

The IDF of 2012 is in a different class, recalling its rapid-fire performance in the Six-Day War then fought on multiple fronts.
In just a few hours late Wednesday, Nov. 14, Pillar of Cloud achieved more than Cast Lead managed in weeks: It was driven by clockwork, integrated intelligence by the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, precise, surgical air force strikes and a command-and-control with fast reflexes which recalled Israel’s military skills of 45 years ago.
The rapid destruction of scores of Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets, whose respective ranges of 45 and 75 kilometers placed Israel’s heartland in line of Palestinian strikes, compared with the destruction of the Egyptian air force on the ground in the early hours of the 1967 war, rather than the bombardment of Hizballah’s long-range missiles in 2006 which failed to draw its sting.
In 1967, the Egyptian army had to fight in Sinai without air cover. In 2012, the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip were stripped of their key commander and terror strategist and lost substantial, though not all, its missile arsenal.
Wherever Operation Pillar of Cloud goes next – and the IDF is preparing for a long, hard haul – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz deserve kudos for their performance thus far.
It may be said that Israel’s Gaza operation did in fact start on Oct. 24 in Sudan with the attack on the Yarmouk complex manufacturing Iranian missiles near Khartoum. Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin Wednesday confirmed DEBKAfile’s exclusive report that the factory had housed the emergency reserve stocks of the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami in the Gaza Strip.
Its destruction contributed to their loss of infrastructure.
The tough part of the Israeli operation to eliminate the terrorist war peril hovering over southern Israel from the Gaza Strip is still to come. For now, Hamas is at a loss for a strategic answer to the IDF offensive – unless one is provided by Tehran or Hizballah coming to its rescue.


How Raising Taxes Will Not Balance the Budget