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I came across a few very nice videos about Israel and the IDF in its defense of Israel. I just wanted to share them. Enjoy!

Israel – Amazing Little Country:

The Faces and Places of Israel in the 21st Century:

IDF: One of the Most Humaine Armies in the World:

Support the IDF:

If Your Heart is Crying:

As we near the end of the 18th day of fighting in the Gaza strip Hamas is seriously damaged but certainly not destroyed. Israel’s intent in this offensive was to go into Gaza and destroy Hamas’ capability to launch rockets into southern Israel. While the Isreal Defense Forces (IDF) have made progress in that area — the daily count of rockets landing in communities in southern Isreal has dropped from 70 to 80 per day down to 20 to 30 today alone (Slackman, Michael and Steven Erlanger, “Israel Says Hamas is Damaged, Not Destroyed“, The New York Times, January 13, 2009)(a still non-trivial number) — they are still far from the goal of knocking Hamas completely out of the picture. One question that must be addressed however is “What happens afterwards?” This is the same question that the U.S. military and government had to face after toppling the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.

Israel has clearly stated they do not wish reoccupy Gaza. By all accounts it would be a case of “been there, done that.” The question remains how can Israel achieve its goal of destroying Hamas’ ability to launch rockets (and more than likely destroy Hamas as a military organization) and extricate itself from the morass which is Gaza? Clearly an immediate withdrawl by Isreali troops before Hamas has been sufficiently destroyed would result in the eventual reconstitution of the terrorist organization and its rearming for another fight. Perhaps the solution would be to hand over the territory to the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas. Unfortunately the PA has already shown itself unable to control Gaza — even in a “unity” government with Hamas. Israel may well find itself in a serious quandry when they achieve their goal. They want to leave — but they may not be able to leave as it would result in a power vacuum that could allow other terrorist organizations like Islamic Jihad or a resurgent Hamas or perhaps an offshoot of Hezbollah to gain control.

Israel needs to have a solid exit strategy if it wants Operation Cast Lead to result in real and substantive changes on the ground in Gaza. Otherwise it may find itself trapped once more with the Gaza albatross around its neck.

Of all the unlikely stories I thought I would ever read in the New York Times this was one of them. Normally I expect the Times to take the most left-leaning perspective and just slam Israel for anything that it does especially when it comes to Palestinians. It makes me wonder why I even bother to read the New York Times anymore (or the Washington Post for that matter). But this story just had my jaw dropping. Here was a semi-balanced piece that somehow slipped through the Times’ editor’s fingers. Here’s just a sample:

Hamas, with training from Iran and Hezbollah, has used the last two years to turn Gaza into a deadly maze of tunnels, booby traps and sophisticated roadside bombs. Weapons are hidden in mosques, schoolyards and civilian houses, and the leadership’s war room is a bunker beneath Gaza’s largest hospital

(Erlanger, Steven, “A Gaza War Full of Traps and Trickery“, The New York Times, January 10, 2009)

Who would have thought that Hamas would hide their weapons inside of mosques, schoolyards and civilian houses. And on top of that, running their war from a bunker underneath a hospital! Isn’t this what Israel has been saying all along…and said about Hezbollah’s conduct of their operations during the war in the north of Israel 2 and 1/2 years ago? But it didn’t matter to the New York Times that that was the case…in their editor’s minds Israel was still in the wrong for even daring to fight. But it gets better,

Unwilling to take Israel’s bait and come into the open, Hamas militants are fighting in civilian clothes; even the police have been ordered to take off their uniforms. The militants emerge from tunnels to shoot automatic weapons or antitank missiles, then disappear back inside, hoping to lure the Israeli soldiers with their fire.

In one apartment building in Zeitoun, in northern Gaza, Hamas set an inventive, deadly trap. According to an Israeli journalist embedded with Israeli troops, the militants placed a mannequin in a hallway off the building’s main entrance. They hoped to draw fire from Israeli soldiers who might, through the blur of night vision goggles and split-second decisions, mistake the figure for a fighter. The mannequin was rigged to explode and bring down the building.

In an interview, the reporter, Ron Ben-Yishai, a senior military correspondent for the newspaper Yediot Aharonot, said soldiers also found a pile of weapons with a grenade launcher on top. When they moved the launcher, “they saw a detonator light up, but somehow it didn’t go off.”

(Erlanger, Steven, “A Gaza War Full of Traps and Trickery“, The New York Times, January 10, 2009)

Here is how Hamas really works. And if it’s not enough for the world to read it in the New York Times (as the saying goes “you can’t believe everything you read”) then here’s a video showing how Hamas booby trapped a school and a zoo to blow it up when Israeli soldiers entered it…a school where children learn

While I’m saddened by the tragedy that the everyday Palestinian suffers in Gaza, the Israelis are not the ones who are fighting dirty. It’s the Hamas terrorists who feel that civilian shields, booby trapped houses and schools and launching rockets and mortars from civilian areas are legitimate fighting techniques. They’re the ones who violate international law and perpetrate war crimes against humanity. Israel cannot tolerate rockets being rained down upon its citizenry — not on a sporadic basis and certainly not on a continual basis.

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