(Times of Israel) A senior army official warned Thursday morning that Israel was nearing a full-blown military confrontation in the Gaza Strip after hundreds of rockets were launched overnight by Palestinian terror groups, adding that the government could begin evacuating communities near the coastal enclave in preparation.
“We are rapidly nearing a confrontation,” the IDF senior officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Hamas is making serious mistakes, and we may have to make it clear after four years that this path doesn’t yield any results for it and isn’t worth it.”
Earlier today, IDF fighter jets targeted a 5-story building in Rimal, northern Gaza. Hamas‘ interior security forces used the building for military purposes pic.twitter.com/bGbdzDczDy
(Yahoo) After seven chaotic and violent hours, quiet returned to the Gaza Strip overnight. Yet on Saturday, civilians in the Palestinian enclave and Israel remained fearful of the potential for a new war.
The fatal shooting by a Palestinian of an Israeli soldier during protests along the border Friday sparked a widespread wave of Israeli bombing, with three fighters from Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas killed and dozens of targets struck.
In response to the violent activity emanating from the Gaza Strip and the death of an IDF soldier, the IDF struck eight Hamas military targets and three Hamas battalion headquarters yesterday pic.twitter.com/XXmtA3YMqY
Marking a significant development in Mideast affairs, Salafists in the Gaza Strip plan to officially pledge allegiance to ISIS and openly fight under its banner, a senior Salafist militant in Gaza told WND in a phone interview.
The news immediately followed the release of a video from ISIS insurgents in Syria threatening to turn the Gaza Strip into another one of their Middle East territories and accusing Gaza’s Hamas rulers of selling out Islamic values.
Abu Mousub, an aide to Abu Al-Ayna al-Ansari, a leader of a Salafi group in the Gaza Strip, told WND by phone from Gaza that Al-Ansari’s group will officially announce it is representing ISIS in Gaza.
Until now, Al-Ansari’s jihadi group and other Gaza-based Salafist organizations have hesitated to officially declare themselves part of ISIS, instead preferring to say they were allied with ISIS ideology. This even though their written statements and videos brandished the ISIS flag.
A Hamas terror cell plotting to assassinate Israel’s hawkish right-wing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in a stated bid to “bring about the end to the war in Gaza” has been foiled by the country’s Shin Bet security service, it was announced on Thursday.
Four Palestinian men have been arrested in connection with the plan to attack Lieberman’s car with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) while he travelled with his ministerial convoy.
According to the Shin Bet statement all the terror plot suspects are from villages near to Bethlehem, close to Nokdim — a guarded Israeli settlement in West Bank where Lieberman owns a home.
The head of Iran’s Basij paramilitary force has claimed it is raising an army of “millions” to flood Gaza and Syria to support Tehran’s allies. Fars, Iran’s semi-official newspaper, reported that that Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander the Basij paramilitary force, as saying: “Millions of Basijis (volunteer forces) are ready in Iran to be dispatched to Syria and Gaza and they have come to us (for registration).” Iran’s Basij forces are much feared inside the country and known for their brutality in quashing anti-government dissent. They were highly utilized during Iran’s violent repression of the student protests in the wake of the Iranian elections of 2009. Thousands of Iranian volunteers – mostly tied with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards force – are already reportedly fighting alongside pro-regime forces in Syria, where Iran is attempting to forge a Syrian Hezbollah composed of Shia Islamist foot-soldiers.
Hamas’s true objective in Operation Protective Edge – and negotiations that may follow – is in “liberating” Jerusalem from the Jews, a Hamas spokesman stated earlier this week.
“The time has come for us to say that the true war is not aimed at opening border crossings,” Sami Abu Zuhri said. “Our true war is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem, Allah willing.” His words were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.
He then chanted “Khaybar, Khaybar al Yahood,” an Arabic phrase meaning that Allah will return to expel (or kill) the Jews. Khaybar was a Jewish village north of Medina, Saudi Arabia, which was conquered by Islamists in 629 CE. Crowds waving Hamas flags cheered him on.
“The army of Mohammed has begun its return,” he continued. “Resistance, resistance. . .we are all with the resistance.”
“The war will continue,” Abu Zuhri affirmed. “However, it is not only the blockade which is rejected by our people. Our people refuses to accept the defiling of the land by the occupier.”
Palestinian officials have said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is planning to ask the UN to set a timetable for the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, with its capital in East Jerusalem.
The official told the Associated Press that Abbas would present his proposal as part of a “day after” plan following the end of the current war in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Qatari News Agency, an agreement over the matter was reached in Abbas’ meeting with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Hamas’ political chief Khaled Meshal, in Doha on Friday.
Haaretz reported earlier Sunday that Abbas is planning to announce a major diplomatic initiative this week, which sources in Ramallah say will entail asking the world powers and United Nations — including the International Criminal Court — to take responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Tarek Fahmi, the head of the Israeli Unit at the Egyptian National Center for Middle East Studies, said that “the goal of the talks today is to neutralize the main crisis points, particularly [the question of] the Gaza airport and Israeli concessions regarding the sea, as well as the issue of the tunnels.” Fahmi said that the negotiating sessions that took place on Monday were “critical.”
“Israel insists on demilitarizing the Gaza Strip from rockets and missiles, and the declaration of a cease-fire that would last between five and seven years,” he said. “The Palestinian side has yet to compromise on any of the key questions.”
Fahmi added that there was an American proposal to bring the talks before UN mediation if the Cairo discussions fail to produce a deal.
Throughout Monday and over the weekend, Egypt pressured both Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement on a long-term cease-fire before the current truce expires at midnight local time.
In the 12-story apartment tower, the target was a fourth-floor apartment where Hamas ran an operations center, according to Israeli media. In the past, Israel has carried out pinpoint strikes, targeting apartments in high-rises with missiles, while leaving the buildings standing. However, this time a decision was made to bring down the entire tower, according to Channel 10, an Israeli TV station.
The military declined immediate comment when asked why it collapsed the entire building instead of striking a specific apartment.
Meanwhile, Gaza militants continued to fire rockets and mortar shells at Israel, including at least 10 on Sunday, the military said. That was in addition to more than 100 on Saturday, most aimed at southern Israel.
Elsewhere, five rockets were fired from Syria and fell in open areas in northern Israel. It was not immediately clear whether they were fired by pro-government forces or rebel groups.
Since the collapse of the cease-fire, Palestinians in Gaza have launched dozens of rockets and mortars at Israel, pounding the western Negev. Ashkelon, Ashdod, and the smaller communities within just a few kilometers of the Gaza border have absorbed the worst barrages since before dawn on Wednesday.
On Wednesday the IDF struck two terror operatives in Gaza who were responsible for earlier rocket fire on Ashkelon and Gaza frontier communities. The forces identified a successful hit on their targets.
Terror groups in Gaza have fired more than 30 rockets since midnight, and the air force struck more than 50 targets. Iron Dome intercepted several projectiles over southern cities and towns, including Ashdod and Kiryat Gat. Approximately 100 rockets have been fired in total since Hamas broke the cease-fire at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Gaza medical officials reported that 16 people have been killed in Gaza since the renewal of hostilities.
Hours after rockets shattered the cease-fire and hit Gaza frontier communities, three loud explosions were heard over Tel Aviv, shortly before 11 p.m., for the first time in over a week.
Israel pulled out of talks Tuesday and resumed its airstrikes in Gaza, accusing Hamas of violating terms of a temporary cease-fire by launching rockets aimed at the southern city of Beersheba.
Israel Defense Forces said three rockets originating from Gaza landed in open fields near the largest city in Israel’s south. In retaliation it says it has begun carrying out airstrikes across the Palestinian coastal enclave.
No injuries have been reported on either side.
“The IDF remains alert and maintains both defensive and striking capabilities in order to address the renewed aggression,” Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “The IDF is determined to defend the civilians of the state of Israel.”
A day before the midnight expiration of a five-day ceasefire, Israel sent out clear messages on Sunday that it will respond massively to any type of fire from Gaza and not tolerate a long-term “war of attrition.”
“It is not clear whether there will be an agreement,” a senior diplomatic official said as the Israeli and Palestinian delegations held indirect talks in Cairo.
If no agreement is agreed upon, the official said, there are two possibilities. The first is that no cease-fire extension or agreement is reached by Monday at midnight, and Hamas renews its firing. “If that happens,” he said, “Israel’s response will be strong.”
He said an example of Israel’s likely reaction was last weekend’s breakdown of the cease-fire, when Hamas fired mortars at Israel and the IAF responded by hitting 170 terrorist targets inside Gaza.
The other possibility is that the cease-fire lapses, but the firing does not resume, in which case efforts would continue to find a longer-term arrangement, the official said.
Israel and the Palestinians held their fire early on Monday at the start of a new 72-hour ceasefire proposed by Egypt that took effect at 2100 GMT.
There were no immediate reports of breaches of the ceasefire although Hamas claimed it fired rockets as far as the Tel Aviv area for the first time since a previous truce expired on Friday, just minutes before the new truce took hold.
The Israeli military had no comment but Israeli media said a rocket exploded in an open area in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and at least two other rockets were intercepted in a town just south of that region.
Withdrawing its ground forces from Gaza Tuesday for a three-day cease-fire with Hamas, Israel announced that its central goal was achieved.
“Mission accomplished,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Twitter. “We have dismantled the underground terror network built by Hamas to infiltrate and attack Israel.” The military said 32 tunnels were destroyed in the four-week conflict.
The declaration came amid suspicions on both sides over whether the 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire will hold.
Nearly 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza during the conflict, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. It’s unclear how many were militants. The United Nations estimates that about 70% of the dead were civilians. But the IDF says about 900 militants were killed. It did not provide a breakdown of the victims by age or gender.
Israeli officials have said 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have died.
Militants in the Gaza Strip were caught on camera Tuesday morning assembling a rocket launch site which they then used to fire a flurry of rockets into Israel on Wednesday minutes before a ceasefire came into effect in Gaza.
Sreenivasan Jain and NDTV filmed suspected Hamas members assembling the rocket launch site beneath a tent in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The launch site was placed within feet of hotels and apartment blocks in a crowded residential area.
“If Hamas does fire a rocket from here, it would have immediate consequences for everyone around here,” Jain said in the NDTV video segment. “The first night that we came here, we did see, or hear, a rocket go off exactly at that plot of land. The hotels opposite us were evacuated because the Israelis sent a warning that there might be a strike on them.”
“A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.
“We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.
“Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that…sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!’
“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”
Also last week, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered he and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light, after their nighttime raid was postponed.
Col. Winter labeled the covering as “clouds of glory.”
The IDF has destroyed Hamas’s flagship terrorism project; its network of cross-border tunnels that snuck under the border into Israel. The military also began to pull its forces out of the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening.
Hamas has spent five years preparing this strategic threat; the IDF wrecked 31 tunnels in two weeks. By Sunday, all of the tunnels the IDF knew about, or discovered during the offensive, will be destroyed. A few tunnels that Israel doesn’t know about may remain intact.
Many of the underground passages were designed to send heavily armed murder squads into Israeli villages for killing sprees, and attack army positions from behind. They were filled with weapons, explosives, and equipment, enabling terrorists dressed in civilian clothing to disappear into a shaft in Gaza, and emerge in Israel, disguised as IDF soldiers and fully equipped to carry out a mass casualty attack. The IDF has discovered motorcycles in some of the tunnels, which were earmarked by Hamas for rapid raids into Israel and subsequent retreats back into Gaza.
The Israeli military said one of its soldiers was captured by Palestinian militants during clashes in southern Gaza as a 72-hour ceasefire that began today quickly unravelled.
The Israeli military said that 90 minutes into the truce — as Palestinian families who had fled neighbourhoods that had been turned into battlefields began to trek home — militants attacked soldiers searching for infiltration tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip.
“Forces [from Israel] operating to decommission an [infiltration] tunnel were attacked. Initial indications are that a soldier has been abducted by terrorists during the operation,” Israel Defence Force spokesman Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner said in a conference call with journalists.
There was no immediate word from militant groups on whether any were holding the soldier, identified by the military as 23-year-old Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin.
After more than three weeks of fighting and a mounting death toll in Gaza, Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour unconditional ceasefire that will begin Friday morning, the United States and United Nations announced.
This is the longest cease-fire agreed to since the fighting began. Whether it will last is uncertain. Previous cease-fires have been for shorter periods and marked by violations.
The humanitarian ceasefire will give “innocent civilians a much needed reprieve from violence,” Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a joint statement.
As all this is going on, Israeli and Palestinian officials should be meeting in Cairo to try to reach “a durable cease-fire,” the U.N. and U.S. statement said. “The parties will be able to raise issues of concern in these negotiations.”
Will they be able to reach a breakthrough?
The past doesn’t suggest such is likely, at least anything that will lead to a solution to issues that Israelis and Palestinians have been grappling with for decades. And the animosity between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, runs especially deep, with both sides accusing each other of putting each others civilians at risk.
John Kerry called the talks — to be mediated by Egypt — “a lull of opportunity … to try to find address ways to obtain a sustainable cease-fire,” while admitting there are “no guarantees.”
Israel vowed Thursday to press ahead with its offensive in Gaza, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country’s military would demolish Hamas’ network of tunnels “with or without a cease-fire.”
Netanyahu said he won’t accept any truce that will not allow Israel to achieve its goal of destroying the tunnel network it says is used to carry out attacks inside Israel. Hamas said it will only lay down arms once Israel and Egypt give guarantees that a seven-year Gaza border blockade will be lifted.
The firm tone from Israel comes as its military called up 16,000 more reservists Thursday, in a move that may signal a widening of its military operation in Gaza. It is not clear how many fighters militant groups in Gaza have at their disposal.
Israel has activated 86,000 reserves since the conflict began on July 8 in a bid to end rockets fired by Hamas into Israel. The operation expanded July 17 to include dismantling the network of tunnels. Israel said it is no more than a few days away from destroying the remainder of the 32 cross-border tunnels it has uncovered.
But there’s another source of Hamas’s durability: It has an enormous number of available fighters.
Because of Hamas’ status as a nonstate militant group, there is no definitive count of the number of fighters the organization actually has. It is possible that, because of the group’s sometimes loose cell-based structure, not even Hamas leaders have an exact idea of the number of militants they command.
However, most estimates of the manpower of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, lists the force’s manpower in the tens of thousands with somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In 2009, the International Crisis Group estimated that the Qassam Brigades had 7,000 to 10,000 full-time members with a reserve of 20,000 soldiers.
How can Israel have peace with Hamas when their leaders preach sermons that pledge the complete extermination of the Jews? The following is a partial translation of the video posted below…
“Our belief about fighting you [Jews] is that we will exterminate you, until the last one, and we will not leave of you, even one. For you are the usurpers of the land, foreigners, mercenaries of the present and of all times. Look at history, brothers: Wherever there were Jews, they spread corruption… (Quran): “They spread corruption in the land, and Allah does not like corrupters.” Their belief is destructive. Their belief fulfills the prophecy. Our belief is in obtaining our rights on our land, implementing Shari’ah (Islamic law) under Allah’s sky.”
Hamas and Israel blamed one another for the lack of a cease-fire in a conflict that has left more than 1,200 people dead, raising questions about just what it will take to end the fighting in Gaza.
The violence continued Wednesday morning, when Israeli forces shelled the Abu Hussein School in northern Gaza and killed at least 20 people, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The Israeli military said they are looking into the incident.
International efforts to broker a deal to end the violence failed again Tuesday, with Hamas rejecting a cease-fire proposal put forward by the Palestinian Authority that called for a 24-hour truce that could be extended to 72 hours. Hamas maintains that any deal must include an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said any truce must allow for its protection against tunnels used by Palestinian militants in Gaza to make their way into Israel.
One of the most-wanted terrorists by the IDF, Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif broke years of silence when he resurfaced on Tuesday to declare that, “There will be no ceasefire without [Israel’s] lifting of the siege” and stated, “Victory will be ours.”
Deif warned that Israel’s soldiers face fighters “craving to die,” referring to Hamas fighters looking to achieve martyrdom in the fight against Israel.
Something rather stunning according to the US State Department, and which according to BBC reporter Paul Danahar, constitutes “a severe violation of a private discussions” – Israel’s Channel 1 decided to publish a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone conversation which took place on Sunday, in which Obama was insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip. As is quite clear by now, Israel rejected, and the bloodshed continued.
The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
A new video that circulated Tuesday night shows Hamas militants emerging from a tunnel in Israeli territory and creeping up to an Israeli outpost, where they open fire on the soldiers within. The attack took place near the Nahal Oz kibbutz, southeast of central Gaza City, on the Israeli side of the border.
In the video, the militants attempt to capture an Israeli soldier, who can be heard calling out as the attackers grapple with him. Gunshots ring out and the voice then goes silent. The footage, in which the attack has been edited to a three-minute length, shows the militants fleeing the scene, heading back down into the tunnel, and finally cuts to masked men brandishing assault rifles with Hebrew text and Israeli markings.
The Jewish Daily reports that five soldiers were killed in the assault, bringing the total number of Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict to 53 at that time. The military tower attacked in the video is located here on Google Maps, but largely obscured. A linked Panoramio photo shows the tower in much sharper relief and matches the one in the video exactly. A piece from the Israeli news outlet Mako cites a military source, saying the video has been edited, but “is reliable.”
Israel has reached “only a fraction” of Hamas’s tunnels, Mushir al-Masri , a spokesman for the organization stated in an interview translated by MEMRI and made public on Monday.
Masri was referring to the network of tunnels which Hamas has dug under the Gaza-Israel border in order to infiltrate Jewish communities and perpetuate terrorist attacks.
“We are convinced that our people are on the brink of liberation,” Masri said.
He continued by saying, “The Zionist enemy declared its ground war to destroy the tunnels but [we], the thousands of mujahideen from the al-Kassam Brigades (Hamas military wing) who dug these tunnels with their fingernails say that the Zionist enemy has reached only a fraction of these tunnels – [and we] will dig many more God willing.”
Israel’s aerial assaults on targets in Gaza broadened on Tuesday, with barrages that destroyed Hamas’s media offices, the home of a top leader and what Palestinians said was a devastating hit on the only electricity plant, plunging the enclave of 1.7 million into deeper deprivation with no power, running water or sewage treatment.
The intensified assaults on the battle’s 22nd day came as diplomacy toward a cease-fire sputtered forward despite apparent confusion and mixed signals.
Israel’s military made clear it had widened the scope of the bombing campaign in Gaza to hit the political structures of Hamas and another militant group, Islamic Jihad, including the home of Ismael Haniya, the No. 2 Hamas official behind Khaled Meshal, its leader-in-exile in Qatar.
Despite three weeks of relentless attacks by Israeli forces to destroy their arsenal of weapons, Hamas militants in Gaza may still have nearly 5,000 rockets, enough to keep firing at Israeli cities for weeks.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Hamas started the conflict on July 8 with about 10,000 rockets. Since then, the militants have fired more than 2,600 rockets and mortars toward Israel and Israeli forces have destroyed about 3,000, estimated Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF’s spokesman.
Israel has struggled to destroy Hamas’ arsenal because Hamas had built an extensive underground network of tunnels and bunkers designed to conceal weapons caches and firing positions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday dismissed international calls for an immediate cease-fire in the country’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
“We need to be prepared for a long operation until our mission is accomplished,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks.
He defined that mission the same way Israeli officials have since launching a ground offensive in Gaza: taking out the tunnels Hamas uses to infiltrate Israel.
“Israeli citizens cannot live with the threat from rockets and from death tunnels — death from above and from below,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israelis would not “end this operation without neutralizing the tunnels, whose sole purpose is killing our citizens.”
After a brief lull in fighting to mark a Muslim holiday — and following adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an “immediate and unconditional” cease-fire — intense shelling resumed in Gaza on Monday night.
The opening was so small that CNN’s Wolf Blitzer — no physical giant — had to bend down to climb inside one of 30 or so Palestinian tunnels from Gaza to southern Israel.
“I guess the tunnel was built for relatively short people, because if you stand up you’re going to hit your head,” Blitzer said of the almost two-mile concrete corridor about 45 feet underground where he reported from Monday.
His visit, accompanied by the Israeli military, revealed conditions in the network of tunnels below Gaza that are a key issue in the current violent spasm between Hamas militants in Gaza and Israel.
Originally built to avoid Israeli and Egyptian checkpoints into Gaza, the tunnels have been vital supply lines for Palestinians in Gaza. Now the snaking underground routes increasingly get used for attacks in Israel.
Israeli government sources on Saturday night accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of “completely capitulating” to the demands of Hamas and its champion Qatar in drafting the Gaza war ceasefire proposal that Israeli ministers unanimously rejected on Friday.
The unnamed sources, quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 TV, said Kerry “dug a tunnel under the Egyptian ceasefire proposal” — which Israel accepted and Hamas rejected last week — and presented the Israeli government with a text that accepted “most of the demands” raised by Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Strip.
To the “horror” of the Israeli ministers, the Kerry proposal accepted Hamas’s demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza — where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry; the construction of a seaport; and the creation of a post-conflict funding channel for Hamas from Qatar and other countries, according to the sources. The proposal, meanwhile, did not even provide for Israel to continue demolishing the Hamas network of “terror tunnels” dug under the Israeli border.