CAIRO – An Egyptian military spokesman says troops have killed seven suspected militants and arrested five as part of an ongoing offensive in the volatile Sinai Peninsula where the military has been trying to quell a spreading insurgency by Islamic militants.
A statement late Monday on Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir’s official Facebook page says troops killed three militants in an exchange of fire while four others died when a group tried to attack a house of in the border town of Rafah.
He says five militants were arrested and five were wounded. It’s unclear if those were the same people.
Binyamin Netanyahu and Saudi King Abdullah on the same side in Gaza
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entangled himself Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27, in the net he had cast to blur the effect of the unanimous decision by the security-political cabinet of Friday to turn down the ceasefire proposals proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The two diplomats and their partners, a brace of European ministers and Qatar and Turkey, who met in Paris to concoct a peace framework for Gaza, were privately dubbed by wags in Jerusalem the “Save Hamas Squad.”
Netanyahu tried to present the flat cabinet “no” to the ceasefire as a “no, maybe.”
His purpose was to leave an opening for the US and UN to ginger up their pro-Hamas framework for ending hostilities in the Gaza Strip by incorporating elements that Israel’s security needs half way. If that was done, Israel, he indicated, would be amenable to joining lengthy ceasefire accords with Hamas, or even making unilateral halts in violence.
He explained to his close circle that he was performing these maneuvers to gain international legitimacy for Israel’s large-scale counter-terror operation against the Palestinian extremist organization in the Gaza Strip, now it its 20th day. This would be especially timely ahead of the UN Security Council session on the issue due to take place in New York Monday.
The trouble with this pretext is that the large measure of international sympathy Israel enjoyed in the early days of its Operation Defense Edge against Hamas’ rocket barrage collapsed the moment President Obama sent Kerry to the Middle East last week, for a bid to save Hamas before it was mown down by the IDF.
The Palestinian Authority was much more open and blunt than Netanyahu in its disapproval of the game that was being played out in Paris. Walid Assad, one of the spokesmen of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas protested what he called Kerry’s “appeasement” of Qatar and Turkey at the expense of Egypt and the PA, and his failure to invite either to the meeting for discussing a ceasefire in Gaza hostilities.
Senior Palestinian officials warned against attempts to “bypass the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”
In the legitimacy stakes, Netanyahu has three solid allies for crushing Hamas: Saudi King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi and the UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sunday, Mahmoud Abbas attached a Palestinian voice to this group.
This regional coalition has enormous clout, derived, on the one hand, from the Israeli military and its fight against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian army’s containment of Hamas efforts to break out into Sinai for strategic depth; and, on the other, from the financial might of Saudi Arabia and the oil emirates and the world prestige they enjoy.
So why is the Obama administration shoving this powerful coalition out of his way and building a rival alliance to counter it?
Its primary motive is fear that if this group is allowed to make the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip a success, it will become the springboard for its next move, a victorious assault on Iran.
This sequence of events would totally derail current US Middle East policy, which hinges on détente with Tehran, Obama’s advisers warn him, and even jeopardize his strategy for bringing the nuclear negotiations between the six world powers and Iran to a successful conclusion.
Netanyahu’s shilly-shallying between approval and rejection of Gaza ceasefires is the outcome of his dilemma: Sticking with the first solid alliance Israel has ever acquired in the region would cost him a deep rift with Washington. But going along with Kerry’s plan would cost Israel more in security against one of the most dangerous Islamist terrorist organizations on earth.
Vacillation by a war leader increases the dangers to his troops and the risk of missing its goals. A wishy-washy formula was thrown up in Jerusalem to cover this period of uncertainty: “Quiet will be met with quiet and fire will be met with fire!
This slogan was used at the start of the operation against Hamas. Its response was the contemptuous ramping up of rocket fire against Israeli population centers to 100 a day – which in turn, triggered Israel’s ground operation eight days ago.
Half measures will not go down well with the Israeli public, which, even after losing 43 servicemen in action in the Gaza Strip, is still solidly behind the operation. A poll conducted by TV Channel 10 Sunday found 87 percent of those canvassed demanding that Israel press on, and 69 percent urging the government to go al the way and overthrow Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip.
With the US, Europe, Iran, Qatar and Turkey at its back and a wavering Israeli government putting the IDF Gaza operation on stop-go, Hamas can afford to carry on shooting rockets at Israel when it chooses before, after and in the middle of its own ceasefires.
There might a slowdown for the three-day Eid al-Fitr which starts Sunday night. But not necessarily. The Palestinian extremists may use an outburst of violence during the Muslim festival to rally their coreligionists across the Muslim world for huge marches of solidarity behind them. This could present Egypt and Saudi Arabia with a predicament.
Netanyahu will meanwhile have to resolve which way to jump, one of the hardest decisions any Israeli prime minister has ever faced.
Hamas won’t give him the peace to make up his mind. It has plenty of firepower and rockets left to keep Gaza violence and attacks on Israel on the boil, while making good use of the rising toll of Palestinian deaths in the fighting to place all the estimated 1,060 deaths squarely at Israel’s door.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, the Palestinian extremists received another shot in the arm from Iran, a phone call to politburo chief Khaled Meshaal from Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, with a promise to make up Hamas’ losses of weapons in the war with Israel.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossen Amir Abdolahian traveled to Beirut to discuss with Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, how they could help Hamas.
It has become clear that the issue mainly revolves around disarming the Palestinian Resistance at any cost, everything else is just for show. According to new information, efforts towards this goal have been led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in coordination with the United States (US) and Israel.
Someone asked one of the Palestinian officials about the reason for cancelling Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to Saudi Arabia to meet King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. He replied, “it’s the cold.” The person inquiring commented laughing, “it must be a political cold.”
Cancelling a meeting with the Saudi king can always be attributed to health reasons. The diseases that the king suffers from are enough to end speculations about reasons for the cancellation.
Riyadh has decided to shut the door completely in Hamas’ face for being an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. It did not want to open a direct communication channel with the leaders of the movement. It so happens that this time the relationship between the parties involved in the Palestinian cause in the moderate camp, particularly, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Qatar, is not only bad, it is actually the worst it has ever been. There is no communication between Riyadh on one hand, and Doha and Ankara on the other. Ankara is not on good terms with Cairo and Hamas is not welcomed in either Cairo or Riyadh. Not to mention the relationship between this camp and the Resistance axis. There is no longer an opportunity for a rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran. Even the thin thread that connected them has been cut off after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) entered the regional and international fray by seizing control of Mosul and other parts of Iraq.
Information indicates that Riyadh was putting together a shocking proposition for Abbas, namely, sending his soldiers to the Rafah crossing to pave the way for a new phase characterized by disarming Hamas and Islamic Jihad while Saudi Arabia and the UAE will pay whatever it takes to accomplish this goal. It should be noted that the Palestinian factions themselves had suggested to Abbas sending soldiers to the Rafah crossing to demonstrate their willingness to cooperate and reach a reconciliation agreement as long as that fulfils the needs of the people of Gaza.Abbas felt that the Saudi proposal represents political suicide for him and the Palestinian people and that it is intended, ultimately, to undermine national reconciliation and ignite a Palestinian civil war, especially after sensing the efficacy of the Resistance even in negotiations with Israel. Abbas cancelled his trip from Amman to Jeddah after receiving information about the Saudi offer and returned to Ramallah having decided to address his people directly. He said the main reason behind the Israeli aggression is to“abort the national reconciliation process.” He spoke of the need to “take the Palestinian cause out of the political crossfire,” and stressed “the Palestinian leadership’s insistence on national unity and ending internal divisions.” He also embraced the conditions of the Resistance even though he did say the priority is to end the Israeli assault on Gaza.
All the Palestinian Resistance factions received Abbas’ message with a sense of relief. Some went as far as to describe it as a state of Abbas’ transfiguration when he is liberated from the pressures of his allies and friends.
There was also the surprise visit that the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, made to Jeddah to meet King Abdullah on July 23. The visit did not last for more than two hours during which the Saudis told Sheikh Tamim that there is no alternative or parallel initiative to the Egyptian initiative. The Qataris understood that there is a new condition before the Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini ambassadors return to Doha, namely, accepting the Egyptian initiative as is and ending support for Hamas.
The optimism of the Qatari leadership waned. The Qataris had hoped to turn a new page with Saudi Arabia, but Sheikh Tamim left the meeting with King Abdullah convinced that the “brothers in Riyadh” have not changed. They act as though the other Gulf countries are nothing but satellite states of the Kingdom of the House of Saud.
Information made available to the emir of Qatar indicates that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are trying to disarm Hamas and the Palestinian Resistance movements through the Egyptian initiative as part of a plan hatched with the Israelis and the Americans. The Saudis were trying to impose the plan on Abbas during a meeting that was planned with King Abdullah before Abbas received information about the Saudi proposal. This proposal is in total contradiction with what Saeb Erekat said about the summary of the meeting between Abbas and Khaled Mishaal in Doha on July 12, namely, “stopping the Israeli aggression and lifting the siege off of the Gaza Strip,” as well as taking the changes to the Egyptian initiative proposed by Hamas into consideration.
Saudi Arabia refused to make any changes to the Egyptian initiative and asked all parties to support it even though the initiative treats the victims and perpetrators as though they are equal despite the sharp discrepancy in the balance of power between both sides. The Egyptian initiative also fails to even condemn Israeli crimes against Gaza or to reference the rights of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the rest of occupied Palestine.In any case, the secrets that the Egyptian initiative conceals are revealed by the US and Israeli statements. It appears that the objective behind the Israeli war on Gaza has become known, namely, to disarm the Resistance. Anything else that might be said beyond that is meant to conceal a plan that was prepared at an earlier stage.
There are Israeli positions that match almost entirely the Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian approach. The former Israeli defense establishment official and the current director of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at Israel’s Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, said recently: “Our security cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states is unique,” and “This is the best period of security and diplomatic relations with the Arabs.” Was that a leap in the dark? It does not seem so. There is other information that confirms more than that.
An article by David Hearst in the World Post on July 20 titled Attack on Gaza by Saudi Royal Appointment might seem like incitement against the kingdom. But when considered alongside statements by major officials in Israel, it becomes reality and not fabrications. The article offers commentary on statements by Israel’s former defense minister, Shaul Mofaz and his successor David Ayalon. This royal warrant is “nothing less than an open secret in Israel, and both former and serving defense officials are relaxed when they talk about it,” according to Hearst.
On July 20, Mofaz issued a surprising statement calling for a role to be allocated for Saudi Arabia and the UAE “to disarm Hamas and other Resistance groups.” Mofaz told Israel’s Channel 10 that it would be impossible for the Israeli army to demilitarize the Gaza Strip by force even if they decide to re-occupy it completely. That is why, this issue requires a comprehensive, diplomatic, political and economic plan to achieve such an objective. He added that Saudi Arabia and the UAE can, under current circumstances, play an important role in providing the necessary funds to carry out this plan.
On July 14, Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported from government sources news of Israel’s intention to put forward a proposal to the United Nations (UN) Security Council to provide $50 billion to rebuild Gaza in return for pacification and disarming Hamas and the Palestinian factions. The newspaper quoted these sources saying: “Israel wants to obtain international guarantees, such as those that have been agreed upon in the Syrian chemical weapons disarmament deal.”Palestinian sources close to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are talking about generous offers by Gulf states to Abbas to do what it takes to disarm the Resistance in return for rebuilding the Gaza Strip, lifting the economic siege and devising a comprehensive development plan in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are trying to mobilize support for the Egyptian initiative regionally and internationally despite the international community’s inaction in supporting the ceasefire initiative. Even the US secretary of state, John Kerry, seemed less enthusiastic than before in supporting a ceasefire after Israel’s intransigence. Saudi Arabia was not included in his schedule of visits to discuss Gaza. This raises questions about the seriousness of the US effort, or does a division of roles require that?
In the end, Palestinian Resistance movements in Gaza are not willing to concede one iota of their conditions, despite the fact that this round of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip is the fiercest compared to earlier rounds. The military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian Resistance factions are now stronger, and they will decide the fate of the battle and the course it will take on the ground. Palestinian Resistance sources speak optimistically about Abbas’ positions in his message to to the Palestinian people. For the first time, he makes the Resistance rockets part of the struggle against the Israeli occupation.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
The war on Gaza is planned and orchestrated by Israel, Saudi and Egypt, a report by DEBKA-Net-Weekly said yesterday.
According to DEBKA the three-way cooperation has set up the following guidelines for the operation in Gaza:
Israel and the IDF will fight to smash Hamas’ military might and downgrade its political influence.
The military operation will come to a close only when all its objectives are achieved.
The three leaders will not permit any outside party, including the US, to interfere in their direction of the war.
The oil-rich Saudi kingdom will cover a portion of the war costs incurred by Israel.
When the war is over, Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf emirates, led by the UAE and Kuwait, will pay for repairing the damage caused by the fighting in the Gaza Strip.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel are of the same mind about the absolute necessity to dismantle Hamas’ military strength, including its arsenal of rockets and network of assault bunkers.
Once the IDF has destroyed Hamas as a terrorist power, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority will get down to installing a new government and security mechanisms in Gaza City to fill the void left by Hamas’ defeat.
”Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Fatah Al-Sisi and Netanyahu… [are] in constant communication on the war’s progress and confers on its next steps. Our sources reveal daily conferences, and sometimes more, between King Abdullah and President Sisi over a secure phone line,” the newsletter said.
DEBKA, thought to have close ties with Israeli intelligence agencies, said the world leaders go to great lengths to ensure their alliance remains undiscovered ”given the political and religious sensitivities of their relationship”. Fearful of having even their secure lines intercepted, they prefer to send secret missions to visit each other and discuss the ongoing conflict.
”Israel keeps a special plane parked at Cairo’s military airport ready to lift off whenever top-secret messages between Sisi and Netanyahu need to be delivered by hand. The distance between Cairo and Tel Aviv is covered in less than an hour and a half,” DEBKA explained.
Since the beginning of the Israeli operation which they have dubbed ”Protective Edge” Israel has killed 808 Palestinians, and wounded over 5,000, mostly women, children and elderly, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Israeli sources said that the operation has resulted in the killing of 32 Israeli soldiers and three civilians, while 435 people were wounded, mostly suffering from panic attacks, in addition to 90 soldiers.
A “joint high command” of Arab states is advising the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu how to press home his ground operation in Gaza, the Debka Net Weeky, a publication of a website close to Israel’s foreign intelligence service Mossad has confirmed.
The website said that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are in “constant communication” running daily conferences and sometimes more, according to the website’s sources.
That communication is done over secure telephone lines, but such is the political sensitivity of their close co-operation that for really important messages human couriers are used. A special Israeli plane is parked permanently at Cairo’s military airport, ready to lift off whenever top-secret messages between the Egyptian president and the Israeli Prime Minister need to be delivered by hand. The flight takes less than 90 minutes.
King Abdullah’s point man in this daily dialogue is the man he dismissed as intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, but who has now been re-hired as the King’s special adviser on the Islamic State in Iraq. Bandar maintains ”direct contacts” with the Mossad chief Tamir Pardo.
Contact with Egypt is maintained through Shin Bet’s chief Yoram Cohen, who is described as a “frequent visitor” to Cairo. Sisi’s mentor and sponsor, the head of of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate Ahmed Fareed al-Tohami, is described by the website as keeping an “open door” to Amos Gilad, the political coordinator of the Israeli Defense Ministry and Yitzhak Molcho, Netanyahu’s top adviser.
The war aims of the troika are described by Debka as smashing Hamas’ military wing, downgrading its political influence, preventing the US from interfering in their policy, and installing a new government in Gaza once Hamas has been crushed. Debka says that in order to get Saudi and Egyptian consent, Netanyahu had to sacrifice one of the central tenets of Israeli policy – to keep Gaza and the West Bank separate. He consented instead to the rise of a unified Palestinian Authority.
But in return, Debka asserts, Netanyahu has obtained precious political coverage:”His reward has been allies who have gone to great lengths to insulate Israel and the IDF from the usual extreme international pressures for halting their mission in mid-stream.“
The troika has repulsed pressure from many quarters to curtail the offensive without delay and had even crafted a ceasefire proposal which, Debka says, they knew Hamas would never accept but which would give Israel the moral high ground.
The Gaza operation is described as the baptism of fire for the Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian alliance, who envisage working with each other on other targets like Iran and Islamists.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in the UK has slammed Middle East Eye editor David Hearst for a comment piece in which he accused the Gulf State of colluding with Egypt and Israel to crush Hamas.
In the letter, which the ambassador Prince Nawaf al-Saud made public via the embassy website on Friday, Saudi Arabia accused Hearst of publishing “utter rubbish” and “baseless lies” regarding the partnership, which has seen Israeli officials publicly confirm that Saudi funds will be relied upon to rebuild Gaza once Hamas has been rooted out.
“Is it your intention to insult? Or are you just completely ignorant of the history or politics of the Middle East?” ran the first line of the acerbic letter, which has also been published in Arabic.
Directing harsh words towards Israel, too, the Saudi ambassador accused it of committing “genocide”, warning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will answer for his crimes “before a higher authority than here on earth.”
Hearst’s original commentary, published on 20 July, detailed the links between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, who according to the piece have the joint enemy of Hamas in their sights.
Saudi Arabia’s refutation of Hearst’s commentary came hours after the publication of similar reports by a source close to Israel’s primary intelligence agency.
Debkafile, a news site known to be close to the intelligence agency Mossad, published a report on Friday substantiating many of Hearst’s assertions regarding the emergence of a Saudi-Israeli alliance to crush Hamas in Gaza.
The report, circulated days after Hearst’s piece appeared, describes the ongoing bombardment of Gaza as a “baptism of fire” for an emerging three-way alliance between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.
According to the Mossad-informed site, former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan maintains “direct contacts” with Tamir Pardo, who heads up Israel’s intelligence agency.
A plane is reportedly parked permanently at Cairo’s military airport, ready to relay top-secret messages between Israel and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Saudi Arabia is a key source of funding for newly-elected President Sisi, whose role in closing the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has been a key flashpoint of the conflict.
Egypt’s failure to open the border crossing and allow wounded Gazan civilians to seek medical treatment across the frontier has sparked criticism from Gazan officials and activists, who say the refusal to open the crossing proves Egypt’s “support for Israel and inaction towards Palestinians.”
The full text of the letter is available here (page 1) and here (page 2).
Former defense minister, Iron Dome champion, Peretz says Netanyahu’s calm under pressure should be lauded
It is high time for Gazan moderates to take over the reins from the Islamist militants of Hamas, Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection and former Defense Minister Amir Peretz told i24news Sunday evening.
”I do not want to go into the question of who precisely should rule over Gaza, that’s for the Palestinians to decide,” the former leader of the Israeli Labor Party further added.
Peretz, whose tenure as defense minister was distinguished by the insistence on the implementation of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which has proved decisive in the present flaring of hostilities, said the man Israel should talk to is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
”All the Arab world must know that if you want to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians you must address Mahmoud Abbas. He wants peace,” he added, noting that the Egyptians want the Palestinian Authority to take control of the crossings between Gaza and its neighbors Egypt and Israel.
Regarding the international mediation of the truce between the warring parties, official called to steer clear of Qatar, Hamas’ ally and its main patron.
”We shall not have the Qataris stoke the engines of terror,” he said.
Finally, Peretz said that while he does not always see eye to eye with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier has his support during the present crisis.
”I don’t belong to Netanyahu’s party,” he said ”but he remains intransigent in the face of the extremists elements in his government coalition, and I am glad makes tough decisions firmly and calmly. He deserves all our support at this time.”
Netanyahu: ‘Hamas violating own ceasefire’
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused Hamas of violating a ceasefire that it had itself called for and vowed that Israeli operations in Gaza would continue.
”They are violating their own ceasefire. Under these circumstances, Israel will do what it must do to defend its people,” Netanyahu told the news network CNN.
In a separate interview with CBS, Netanyahu said Israel would not allow ”a ruthless terror organisation… to decide when it’s convenient for them to stop for a moment, rearm, and continue firing on our citizens and our people”.
Earlier, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas agreed to halt firing from 1100 GMT in response to a request from the United Nations. AFP reporters in Gaza, however, said explosions could still be heard.
Israel has endorsed a ceasefire plan promoted by Egypt that has not been accepted by Hamas, but Netanyahu was dismissive about Sunday’s latest UN truce call.
Netanyahu told CNN that Israeli forces would continue operations to attempt to dismantle Hamas’ cross-border tunnel network and to destroy its stocks of rockets.
”I’m not going to talk about specific military operation,” he said. ”Israel is doing what any other country would do and the US would do if any percent of your country were under fire and you have 60 or 90 seconds to get to a bomb shelter.”
”I would say we want to stop firing rockets for sure. We want to dismantle the tunnel, the terror tunnel network we uncovered. I don’t know if we’ll have 100 percent success,” he said. ”Our soldiers are dealing with it now.”
Netanyahu insisted Israel does not deliberately target Palestinian civilians, accusing Hamas of provoking conflict in residential areas, and said the long-term goal was to prevent attacks on Israel.
”I hope we achieve a sustainable quiet that will enable us to address the issue of demilitarizing Gaza,” he told CBS.
”And if Hamas is weak and discredited and demilitarized then we may have a chance to work something with the more moderate forces and get a better future for all of us.” Since July 8 more than 1,050 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza fighting, while another 6,000 have been injured. A total of 43 Israeli soldiers, two civilians and a Thai migrant worker have died.
http://www.Israelhasbeenrocketfreefor.com has a clock that restarts every time a rocket is fired at Israel Thousands of people are relying on a new website to know when the last time a rocket or missile was fired at Israel. The concept of http://www.Israelhasbeenrocketfreefor.com is simple; the website has a clock that restarts every time a rocket is fired on Israel. Upon writing this article, at 14:20 GMT, Israel has been rocket free for 8 seconds. The site was launched on Friday by Aaron Friedman, who came up with the idea, and Yehonatan Tsirolnik, the developer who helped create the site. According to The Times of Israel, Friedman wanted the world to know what it was like to be in Israel and constantly under rocket fire. Tsirolnik, who is only 18 years old, did the coding for the project in 48 hours; he told the Times of Israel that the coding was ”a bit of a challenge.” The website has been linked to on Twitter over 500 times and has been successful in spreading across other social media networks like Facebook. The website works by directly linking to the Israel Home Front Command, which alerts communities of incoming rocket fire. Friedman made Aliyah to Israel a year ago; he said that part of his motivation was that people back in America ”really don’t have a sense of what it is like here when sometimes only minutes go by before the next barrage. I want people to really understand what is going on here.” Friedman concluded by expressing hope that one day, the clock would run without stopping.