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VIDEO: Life on the Gaza Border — Kibbutz Sa’ad

Join The United West (TUW) and Captain Dan Gordon as we give you a brief glimpse into what life is like living on a Israeli Kibbutz very close to the Gaza Strip and the HAMAS Jihad fighters.

In addition to the thousands of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza over the last two years, the residents of Saad have a new and equally deadly threat.

That threat is from the Hamas tunnels built from Gaza into Israel and recently found 1500 yards from Kibbutz Saad. Captain Dan Gordon informed us that not only were the Hamas terrorists discovered heavily armed but also had zip tie handcuffs with them. The significance of the handcuffs are these Hamas terrorists intended on taking Israeli hostages, which is a relatively new tactic of war used in conjunction with the tunnels.

When Hamas fires a rocket or mortar it takes only 7 seconds to reach Kibbutz Saad. Hamas has fired so many rockets and mortars towards Saad the children instinctively know to run to the nearest bomb shelter along with the adults – this is their normal.

Founded in 1947, Saad is a religious kibbutz in the Negev desert in southern Israel. Located near the Gaza Strip, and the cities of Sderot and Netivot, it falls under the jurisdiction of Sdot Negev Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 599.

We at The United West love Israel and work tirelessly educating elected officials, law enforcement, and counter terrorism officials on the nature of Israel’s existential threats. We do this because the Global Jihad Movement which seeks the destruction of Israel also vows to destroy America.

EDITORS NOTE: To learn more visit TUW’s website at TheUnitedWest.org or email me at Tom@TheUnitedWest.org. Please help us to continue our vital work educating America on the threat.

Iran Seizes Two U.S. Patrol Boats – Holds 10 Sailors Hostage

Two U.S. Navy riverine torpedo boats were on a training mission between Kuwait and Bahrain when one of the vessels became disabled ‘drifting’ into Iranian waters.  The boats were promptly detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval units on Farsi Island in Persian Gulf.  Ten U.S. sailors  (9 men and 1 woman) aboard the two boats were arrested Secretary Kerry called his opposite number in Tehran, Foreign Minister Zarif seeking the release of both the boats and crew. The response was that their release “might come with hours”. Don’t count on it.

US Navy Riverine Command Boat 802

U.S. Navy Riverine Command Boat 802. Source: US Navy

Note the comments in this NBC news report from retired Army Gen . Barry McCaffrey, GOP Presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio:

Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an NBC News military analyst, said the seizure of American boats is “very bad news” and highlights how the Navy may have failed to have surveillance on its vessels.

“We simply can’t allow ground, air or naval units to be seized by a foreign hostile power,” McCaffrey said on MSNBC. “I hope they’re back real quickly. This is an affront to our military presence in the Gulf and will unsettle our allies in the region.”

GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush was among the first to attack Obama for appearing weak in front of Iran, which has been at odds with the U.S. over a nuclear deal that was finally reached last year.

“No more bargaining. Obama’s humiliatingly weak Iran policy is exposed again,” Bush tweeted.

GOP rival Marco Rubio during an interview on Fox News called for Iran to release the sailors immediately, saying the nation is “testing the boundaries of our resolve.”

With less than 270 vessels in our Navy, we cannot project power in any of the world trouble spots, be it the volatile Persian Gulf with much of the world oil trade traffic flows or the South China Sea.

Last April 2015, the Iranian fired warning shot across a Marshall Islands flagged vessel, the Maersk Tigris forcing the container ship with 34 Eastern European and South Asian sailors aboard to anchor off the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. See our  NER/Iconoclast  Post, “What’s Behind Iran’s Piracy in the Persian Gulf over an Unresolved Cargo Claim?” Allegedly the seizure of the container ship was for alleged unpaid claims. The US did not provide naval intervention as required under a treaty with the Marshall Islands. When the alleged unpaid claims were paid, the vessel returned to its original voyage dropping off cargo in the UAE. Obviously the Administration didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of their Iranian nuclear deal  interlocutors.

In discussions this afternoon with Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center we commiserated about the seizure of six  British Royal Marines in June 2004 by the IRGC naval contingent. The Royal Marines were taken to land, blinded and demanded to apologize for entering Iranian waters. They were then taken out onto the desert and blindfolded while weapons were chambered in a mock execution. They were released three days later in what was billed as a “misunderstanding.”  The Royal Marines were operating in Iraqi waters when seized by Iran.

As noted in a Reuters report on today’s seizure of US patrol boats and arrest of US Navy personnel, , there was another seizure of  British naval  and marine personnel by Iranian Revolutionary guards  that created a diplomatic crisis in 2007:

In March 2007, Iranian forces seized 15 British servicemen – eight Royal Navy sailors and seven marines – in the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway that separates Iran and Iraq, triggering a diplomatic crisis at a time of heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. They were held for 13 days.

Look at Iran’s track record over the last several months since the JCOPA was endorsed by the UN Security Council. Iran fired off two ballistic missile tests in October and November 2015 in violation of UN Res. 1929. Last week. the IRGC  missile boats  hailed the USS Harry Truman giving it and an accompanying destroyer, the USS Bulkley and a nearby French frigate  a 23 minute warning before firing rockets in a live fire exercise 1,500 yards away. The Administration has been humiliated time and again by the Ayatollah and will continue to be held in contempt for being weak, even  after the, Administration releases $100 billion in sequestered funds in foreign banks , perhaps as early as this week.

The President is giving his last SOTUS tonight. Perhaps members of Congress might show their contempt for this latest action of Iran seizing our vessels arresting 10 sailors by not applauding him, or better yet, not showing up.  Meanwhile the spin at the White House is that the crews of the two patrol boats may be released by daylight to return to their base in Bahrain. Think, also,  of those other American hostages held by the Islamic Regime in Tehran, an ex-FBI agent, a former Marine, a Christian Pastor, two American Iranian Businessmen and a convicted Washington Post reporter.  We’ll believe the release of our sailors when that occurs and the patrol boats are also returned. The patrol boats are used to monitor freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf.

The fate of the American civilian prisoners held by the Ayatollah and his IRGC henchman are uncertain at best.

RELATED ARTICLE: Humiliated in Front of the Entire World

RELATED VIDEO: White House spokesman: Iran’s seizure of Navy boats “precisely” why Obama made the nuke deal:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Florida Legislature Unanimously Passes Resolution for Israel

Florida State Representative Mike Hill, Pensacola Stand for Israel Rally. Source: John Blackie, PNJ

The Pensacola Rally for Israel witnessed an outpouring of support in the Northwest Florida community for the Jewish nation exceeding organizers’ expectations. The rally, sponsored by the Pensacola Jewish Federation, was underwritten by anonymous donors from the Jewish community.

The Pensacola Police security detail estimated the crowd in excess of 500 attendees. The large polite crowd was composed of Jews from several denominations, Baptists, Pentecostals and other Christian groups. Mike Bates of Northwest Florida’s AM 1330 WEBY and this writer served as co-hosts for the rally.
A climactic event was the appearance of Florida House Representative Mike Hill. A Pensacola News Journal article on the rally, “Hundreds gather to support Israel,” reported: “He brought the crowd to their feet when he announced a Stand with Israel resolution to be voted on in a special session this week in Tallahassee.”

Hill said:

What is being done to Israel is evil. Israelis are our allies, and they need our support. Let’s show the nation that Florida is leading the way in support for Israel.

Rep. Hill texted both Bates and the author on the afternoon of August 11th that the House unanimously passed a resolution supporting Israel in Operation Protective Edge and condemning Hamas. Hill commented in a text message: “proud of the body, today.” Sen. Alan Hays texted a companion unanimous vote  in the Florida State Senate.

Mike Bates of 1330AM radio WEBY, Pensacola Stand for Israel host at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, March 2014.

Mike Bates set the agenda for the rally program saying:

We’re here to stand up for the good guys. To stand with the truth, to stand with what is right, to stand with justice. We are here today to stand with Israel.

There were several emotional moments during the rally. Mike Bates periodically would advise the crowd of the minutes since the last rocket was fired from Gaza headed towards Israel. He followed this with a request for a moment of silence to pray for Israelis threatened by terror from the skies. There were also moments of silence praying for the protection of Christians and other religious minorities confronting the barbarism of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.

ates drew attention to the irony that in the midst of this conflict, Israel continued to supply food, gas, water and electricity to Gazans living under the tyranny of Islamist extremist Hamas. He remarked to the audience he couldn’t conceive of the US doing that during WWII. Several speakers drew attention to Hamas’ launch of rockets near or from UNWRA schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, or residences using civilians as human shields.

This author was also interviewed by the PNJ following opening remarks. As cited in their report, I said:

Americans incorrectly perceive Israel to be the villains in the current fighting because the media doesn’t report the historic context of the conflict. While I hoped a resolution to the fighting could be found, certain conditions would have to be met. The only breakthrough would come if they negotiated a deal to demilitarize Gaza. However I said that the chances of that are really low, unfortunately. One never knows what may happen, but certainly there is a lot of regional sentiment for that.

The genesis for the rally had been sparked in early July with onset of Hamas’ rocket and terror tunnel war against Israel and Israel’s response in Operation Protective Edge. That led to a series of weekly one hour updates and discussions on WEBY‘s talk radio program, “Your Turn,” hosted by Bates. Public service announcements (PSA) followed in earnest after a city public park site was secured by the local Jewish Federation for a Stand for Israel rally. This was preceded by a series of pro-Gaza rallies by Palestinian activists in downtown Pensacola. The radio discussions and PSA’s at WEBY were materially assisted by distribution of flyers, announcements from synagogue, temple and church pulpits. Event and news releases were sent to media outlets in the combined Northwest Florida and adjacent Eastern Alabama.

The rally occurred on a hot and sultry day with a heat index in the high 90’s and a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms forecast. Ha Shem must have looked with favor on the event as thunderstorms held off. A minor miracle, not quite those cited by several speakers at the rally who drew attention to several that spared both Tel Aviv and IDF forces in combat from death and destruction. There was a Hamas rocket that failed to be intercepted by three Iron Dome missiles headed for Tel Aviv. Suddenly, a wind arose from the east blowing it to fall harmlessly into the Mediterranean. There was a contingent of IDF soldiers about to go on a daytime mission into Gaza that was cloaked in a fog. They successfully completed their mission without a casualty. There was a bird that alighted on a trip wire in a Hamas terror tunnel during a clearance operation by IDF troops, triggering an explosion of booby traps, sparing Israeli casualties.

Rabbi Joel Fleekop Temple Beth El Penscola, FL. Source: John Blackie, PNJ.

The rally organizers had lined up a broad array of local, regional, national and international speakers. Rabbi Joel Fleekop from Temple Beth El in Pensacola gave a thoughtful and spiritually uplifting invocation. Rabbi Steven Silberman, of Mobile Synagogue Ahavas Chesed, spoke of his eyewitness to Hamas’ rocket war in Israel noting it was his first exposure to the chilling red alert wailing sirens. He also had a chance meeting with two Polish Catholic women, surprised to find an American rabbi at their hotel during the conflict. Fred Zimmerman, a member of the National Jewish Federation campaign cabinet from Nashville, spoke via phone to the rally attendees about his experience in Israel during Operation Protective Edge and the Federation’s  Stop the Sirens campaign.

Jerry Barnett of Volunteers for Israel told of the group’s mission to enlist civilian volunteers to assist in the maintenance of IDF bases. He read an email requesting volunteers of all ages to sign and assist Tzahal at this time of need. Kenneth E. Lamb, a member of a local Pentecostal church spoke of the covenant relationship between Ha Shem and the Children of Abraham, the Jews and Israel. The international speaker at the rally was Dan Diker from Israel who called while on vacation with his family in northern California. Diker is a former secretary general of the World Jewish Council and a noted Middle East Affairs expert with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Diker has been on several AM 1330 WEBY International Middle East Round Table discussions. Diker spoke of Hamas and its intentions to obliterate the Jewish people and Israel and the difficulty of obtaining a truce in the face of implacable demands. He noted the dramatic turn of events of Israel receiving tacit support from Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and especially Egypt that has cooperated with Israel in closing off the Gaza frontier.

In the midst of Diker’s call there was a sudden outburst of calls of “Israel, Israel, Israel” endeavoring to call out a small contingent of pro-Gaza protesters waving a large Palestinian flag carrying placards accusing Israel of murdering civilians in Gaza.

Pro-Israel Supporters listen to Rabbi Steven Silberman of Cong. Ahavas Chesed, Mobile.

At the conclusion of the rally, Mike Bates quoted these verses from Psalm 122:

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper that love thee.
7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say: ‘Peace be within thee.’
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

My final comment used  the Hebrew words Goy Tzedek or righteous Gentiles to characterize the Christians who attended the rally; followed Am Yisrael Chai, “the people Israel live.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured photo is of Linda Wolfe praying for Israel at Pensacola, FL Rally. Source : John Blackie, PNJ.

“Jews Go Back in the Ovens”, “Nuke Israel”

Episode II: Operation Protective Edge – An Inside Look: Destroy HAMAS.

On today’s powerful show; Jew-Haters assemble all around the world to preach their “religion of peace,” and sing, “from the river to the sea,” as a marching song to destroy Israel.

We look back at past Jew-hatred and hear loving chants like “Jews go back in the ovens.” Barry Shaw runs into a bomb shelter in Netanya. Dr. Martin Sherman explains why the Israeli military policy is illogical and irresponsible. I have some sober words of advice for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The United West and Center for Security Policy present Operation Protective Edge An Inside Look: Destroy HAMAS. This will be a daily show providing analysis, commentary, opinion and activism designed to assist Israel in its’ effort to destroy HAMAS. We will feature leading subject-matter experts with live reporting from the war front in Israel.