Israeli Rescue Operation Morphs into Strategic “Cleansing” of Hamas in West Bank – Barbara Opall-Rome
(dailyalert.org, Jun. 20, 2014)
Launched in response to the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, Operation Brother’s Keeper has morphed into a mission of “cleansing the stables” of the Hamas threat, a top IDF officer told reporters. Israel is targeting “all levels of Hamas, from tactical operatives to its institutions all the way up to its strategic leadership,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Wednesday. He said Israel is “confident” Hamas is responsible for the attack.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel wouldn’t relent until it “puts its hands on the kidnappers” and returns the missing teens. But in parallel, Ya’alon said Israel aims to damage Hamas’ infrastructure in the West Bank.
Gerald Steinberg, professor of international relations at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, noted it’s been 12 years since the IDF’s last major ground operation in the West Bank. During that time, Hamas has been able to solidify its standing among the Palestinian population. “Israel has a long list of suspects, and this operation allows the IDF to conduct a very detailed sweep of operatives, weaponry, tunnels and other things that can sow instability,” Steinberg said. “When Israeli security forces conclude their mission, it will be tremendously more difficult for Hamas to take control of the West Bank through elections or violence, as they did in Gaza back in 2007.” (Defense News)
Israel Bans UK-Based Muslim Charity Accused of Funding Hamas – Dan Williams
Israel on Thursday banned the British-based charity Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) from operating in the West Bank, accusing it of being a source of funding for the Islamist Palestinian Hamas movement. “The IRW is one of the sources of Hamas’ funding,” he said. “We do not intend to allow it to function and abet terrorist activity against Israel.” Hamas is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the U.S. and EU. (Reuters)