FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 5, 2014
Lexey Swall/Getty Images

Retired Major Gen. Giora Eiland thinks Israel is making a big mistake in its weeks-long Gaza offensive. In an opinion column in Israel's Ynet News, the former head of Israel's National Security Council argues Tuesday that his country should not "feel obligated to supply Gaza's residents with food, fuel, and electricity," because "in Gaza, there is no such thing as 'innocent civilians.'"

Purposefully punishing the entire population of Gaza, instead of targeting Hamas, may sound harsh, Eiland concedes, but the Gaza residents "are to blame for this situation just like Germany's residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so." He continues:

Hamas is not a terror organization which came from afar and forcibly occupied Gaza. It's the authentic representative of the population there. It rose to power following democratic elections and built an impressive military ability with the residents' support. Its power base has remained stable despite the suffering.... Because we want to be compassionate towards those cruel people, we are committing to act cruelly towards the really compassionate people — the residents of the State of Israel. [Ynet News]

Eiland's column isn't the first controversial opinion on Gaza published in Israel — on Friday, The Times of Israel posted, then pulled, an op-ed exploring the idea of "When Genocide is Permissible." But Israel, in fact, appears to be attempting to wind down its ground incursion into Gaza, with or without Hamas sticking with the new 72-hour ceasefire scheduled to start Tuesday morning.

Israel has faced some pretty strident criticism over its shelling of civilians, including from the U.S. "We struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, citing the destroyed network of Hamas tunnels into Israel. "We have no intention of attacking the residents of Gaza." Peter Weber

11:45 a.m. ET

President Trump has repeatedly expressed his intent to "get along well" with Russia, although some of his critics worry about exactly how friendly he means to be. Certainly this stunt will do nothing to lessen their concerns: At CPAC on Friday, someone passed out Russian flags emblazoned with the word "Trump" to the audience.

The optics apparently sparked some concern. Staffers quickly confiscated the flags:

Snap Inc.'s Peter Hamby reports that the flags weren't a rogue move by protesters — rather, they were passed out by "unwitting college kids," who, judging by their sense of humor, might want to pick up a copy of next week's New Yorker. Jeva Lange

11:36 a.m. ET

President Trump vowed Friday that his administration, with the help of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will be rounding up "the gang members, the drug dealers, and the criminal aliens and throwing them the hell out of our country." "And we will not let them back in," Trump assured the audience while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the largest annual gathering of conservatives. "They're not coming back in, folks. If they do, they're going to have bigger problems than they've ever dreamt of."

Trump touted his administration's "swift action" to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, and promised construction of a "great, great border wall" will begin very soon. He insisted these steps would allow the U.S. to stop the drugs from "pouring into our country and poisoning our youth." "We get the drugs, they get the money. We get the problems, they get the cash," Trump said. "No good, no good. Going to stop."

Trump's promise came a day after Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Mexico that there would be "no mass deportations."

Catch Trump's comments below, at the 25:45 mark. Becca Stanek

11:21 a.m. ET

You might say President Trump is a "glass half-full" kind of guy. While complaining about how slow his Cabinet nominees are being confirmed, Trump suggested that "the only good thing" about the Democrats' pushback is "I'm setting records. I love setting records."

Senate Democrats are on track to vote against more of Trump's nominees — and cast more total votes against them — than any other first-term president in American history, Newsday reports.

And if Trump can't get enough of those records, he might want to check out another one he's broken: the first-month disapproval rating. Jeva Lange

10:54 a.m. ET

President Trump slammed the media for protecting their confidential sources during his speech at CPAC on Friday morning. "They have no sources. They just make them up when there are none," Trump told the audience.

As evidence, Trump referred to a nine-source story written by The Washington Post that reported that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had discussed sanctions in phone calls with the Russian ambassador before President Trump's inauguration. Following the report, the White House confirmed Flynn's phone calls and his denial of them to Vice President Mike Pence, which resulted in his resignation:

"I know who they talked to," Trump told the audience. "There were no nine people."

Trump went on to say that journalists should not use anonymous sources in their reporting: "They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use a name," Trump said. "Let their name be put out there ... Let them say it to my face."

Journalists use anonymous sources to allow people with knowledge of certain situations to speak freely on topics that they might not otherwise be able to discuss. "Anonymous sources are sometimes the only key to unlocking that big story, throwing back the curtain on corruption, fulfilling the journalistic missions of watchdog on the government and informant to the citizens," the Society of Professional Journalists writes.

Even many Republicans agree with these source protections. When he was an Indiana representative, Vice President Mike Pence fought to protect journalists and their sources. Forcing reporters to reveal their anonymous sources, he argued, "chills reporting of the news and restricts the free flow of information to the public." Jeva Lange

10:38 a.m. ET
Carsten Koall/Getty Images

The Iraqi air force on Friday morning carried out its first airstrike against the Islamic State in Syria, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed. "We are determined to chase terrorism that tries to kill our sons and citizens wherever it is found, so we gave orders to the air force command to strike Islamic State positions in [the Iraqi towns of] Hosaiba and Albu Kamal inside Syrian territory as they were responsible for recent bombings in Baghdad," Abadi said in a statement. The Joint Operations Command said the strikes "destroyed Islamic State headquarters in Albu Kamal," Reuters reported.

The strike, which was reportedly carried out in "complete coordination" with the Syrian government, follows several ISIS-claimed car bombings in Iraq and comes amid Iraqi troops' final push into western Mosul, the terrorist group's last major stronghold in Iraq. Becca Stanek

10:38 a.m. ET

U.S.-supported Iraqi forces continue to retake territory from the Islamic State in Mosul, the last major Iraqi city under ISIS control. Among the survivors in newly rescued neighborhoods are one lion and one bear, the sole animal survivors of the Mosul zoo.

Simba the lion and Lula the bear are now receiving treatment from a "roving war zone veterinarian" named Dr. Amir Khalil, who is working with an animal charity called Four Paws. The zoo's other creatures all escaped or died during the two-year ISIS occupation. Some were killed by bombs; others ate each other; and some animals simply flew the coop.

Iraqi soldiers also retook Mosul's airport this week, Brig. Gen. Abbas al-Juburi confirmed Friday, which means ISIS fighters in Mosul are trapped in a shrinking circle of territory they still control. The airport is mostly destroyed, but it gives the Iraqis a strategically important foothold on the western side of the city. Bonnie Kristian

10:07 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A State Department memo leaked to The Washington Post warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of the dangers of leaks to the media, the Post reported Friday. The four-page document prepared by legal counsel concerned information labeled SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified), a category in which the memo itself was placed.

"When such information is leaked ... It chills the willingness of senior government officials to seek robust and candid advice, which ultimately is to the detriment of informed policymaking and the reputation of the institution from which the leak emanated," the memo says. "If the department is going to be able to influence policy deliberations, we need to have a reputation for engaging responsibly in those deliberations."

Instead of leaking information, the memo suggests State Department employees should use the internal Dissent Channel to express their concerns in a manner that can confidentially "facilitate open, creative, and uncensored dialogue." Shortly after President Trump took office, hundreds of State Department workers signed on to a Dissent Channel memo objecting to Trump's immigration executive order. The document was leaked to the Post before it was officially filed. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads