7 injured, including 2 infants, in Gaza rocket attack on central Israel
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a residential building in central Israel early Monday morning, injuring seven people, including two small children, and leveling the structure, officials said.
The attack triggered air raid sirens at approximately 5:20 a.m. throughout the Sharon and Emek Hefer regions north of Tel Aviv, the army said.
According to the military, the rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip, where earlier this month two rockets were also fired at Tel Aviv, in what was described at the time as an apparent “mistake” by the Hamas terror group.
The Iron Dome missile defense system did not appear to have been activated by the rocket attack. The military said it was still investigating the matter.
An infant’s swing outside the home of the Wolf family in the central Israeli village of Mishmeret, which was destroyed in the early morning hours of March 25, 2019 by a rocket fired from Gaza. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Police said the projectile early Monday struck a residential building in the community of Mishmeret, on the Sharon plain, causing it to catch fire. The shrapnel from the rocket attack also caused significant damage to the surrounding area, as fragments hit a gas tank outside the building.
Drone footage of the site showed that the majority of the structure, which contained two housing units, had been flattened by the strike.
Home in Central Israel Hit by Hamas Rocket
Luck and miracles saved the seven members of the Wolf family from certain death, when a rocket destroyed their home in Moshav Mishmeret just before 6 a.m.
“I nearly lost my family,” said Robert Wolf, as he stood outside the shell of his house, on a tree-lined street with single family homes in the middle of the country, close to Kfar Saba.
“If we had not gotten to the bomb shelter in time, I would now be burying all my family,” said Wolf, who immigrated to Israel from England with his wife Susan. “That is two grandchildren, one 5 months old, one 2 years old. That would be my third child, with his wife, my wife, myself and my youngest daughter. They would all have been dead if we didn’t do what we had been supposed to do.”
Owner of home hit by rocket blames ‘games of politicians’, March 25, 2019 (Tovah Lazaroff)
At Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba where most of the family was treated for light injuries, his son Daniel spoke with reporters about those fatal moments.
By chance, Daniel said, he had slept in the living room and heard the siren. He woke up his parents and younger sister, who were able to find shelter.
🔴🎥 FOOTAGE FROM THE SCENE where a rocket fired from #Gaza this morning hit a residential building in central Israel, north of Tel aviv. Several Israelis were injured.
🎥Dan Asulin pic.twitter.com/OCkXps9jOe
— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) March 25, 2019
#BREAKING Latest #Gaza long-range rocket & destruction SUGGESTS the rocket was of M-302 variety with a range of 160 km & 144 kg warhead.
Rocket comes from the #Iran–#Syria-Hizbullah industries.
In 2014 the IDF intercepted a shipload of M-302s on the Klos-C ship heading to Gaza pic.twitter.com/wy6jUrf6b5
— Lenny Ben-David (@lennybendavid) March 25, 2019
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) March 25, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to the United States on Monday and the military said it dispatched reinforcements to the Gaza border after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv wounded seven people.
Netanyahu threatened a forceful response to the long-range strike amid accusations from opponents in a closely contested Israeli election, two weeks away, that he had been showing weakness in the face of security challenges from Gaza terrorists.
Netanyahu, who arrived in Washington on Sunday for a four-day visit, said he would fly home immediately after meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, as planned, later on Monday.
“This was a heinous attack on the State of Israel and we will respond strongly,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
“In light of the security events, I have decided to cut short my visit to the United States. In a few hours, I will meet President Trump and immediately after that I will return to Israel to direct our actions close-hand.”
The Israeli military said Hamas, which rules Gaza, fired the rocket that destroyed a house in Mishmeret, a moshav north of Tel Aviv.
There was no claim of responsibility for the early morning strike. The military said Hamas launched the rocket from about 120 kilometers (75 miles) away, making it the longest-range attack from Gaza causing casualties since a 2014 war.
The Israeli military deployed two additional brigades to the Gaza region and called up reservists for air defense units following a rocket attack that struck a home in central Israel, injuring seven people, including two infants.
IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said the rocket was fired from a Hamas launchpad in the southern Gaza town of Rafah. He did not respond to reports that the projectile had been launched by Hamas accidentally.
“We are not commenting on our intelligence assessments at this time,” another IDF spokesperson said.
Following the rocket attack, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi conducted a situational assessment with the head of the Shin Bet security service and other senior defense officials.
After the meeting, Kohavi ordered the two reinforcement brigades be sent to the Gaza Division, representing over 1,000 additional soldiers deployed to the area, a significant troop increase.
The two brigades — the Golani Infantry Brigade and the 7th Armored Brigade — had been conducting training exercises, which were cut short in light of the rocket attack.
A Hamas official denied Israel’s accusation that it was behind Monday’s rocket strike north of Tel Aviv, which wounded seven Israelis and led Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to vow a strong response.
“No one from the resistance movements, including Hamas, has an interest in firing rockets from the Gaza Strip toward the enemy,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, noting the possibility that it was caused by “bad weather.”
The Hamas-run Interior Ministry on Monday launched an investigation to determine who fired the rocket, a senior official with the Hamas terror group told The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity.
As of Monday afternoon, Hamas had not issued an official statement on the rocket launch and no terror group in Gaza had taken responsibility for it.
A rocket was fired at Mishmeret, a town in central Israel, early Monday from the Gaza Strip. It struck a residential building and left seven injured including two small children.
IDF spokesman Ronen Manelis said, “The launch was carried out by Hamas from one of the group’s launchpads. We see Hamas as responsible for everything that happens in Gaza.” The rocket came from Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, he said.
Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ziad al-Nakhala said Monday that the Palestinian terror group will respond to any Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip with force.
Nakhala, from the Iran-backed group, made the statement after a rocket struck a residential building in central Israel early Monday morning.
“We warn the Zionist enemy against perpetrating any aggression against the Gaza Strip. Its leaders should know that we will respond with force to their aggression,” said Nakhala, a Gaza native who has been based in Syria and Lebanon since 1988, in a statement published on the Islamic Jihad-linked Palestine Today website.
The Israeli military has deployed two additional brigades to the Gaza region and called up reservists for air defense units following the attack, according to the IDF.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond “forcefully” to the “criminal attack” and has cut short his trip to the US so he can return to Israel to oversee the response.
The rocket fire, which emanated from the Gaza Strip, triggered air raid sirens at approximately 5:20 a.m. throughout the Sharon and Emek Hefer regions north of Tel Aviv, the army said. Seven people were injured in the attack, including two infants.
As of Monday morning, no terror groups in Gaza had taken responsibility for the rocket fire.
Palestinian terror groups evacuated their positions in the Gaza Strip on Monday morning ahead of expected Israeli counter-strikes following a rocket attack on a town in central Israel earlier in the day that destroyed several homes and injured seven people, including two infants.
In light of the rocket strike, which hit an apartment complex in the central Israeli town of Mishmeret, Israel closed its two Gaza crossings — Kerem Shalom, which is used for goods, and the pedestrian Erez Crossing.
Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, also announced Monday that Israel would be restricting the permitted fishing zone around the coastal Gaza Strip until further notice.
Government ministers and lawmakers from across the political spectrum called Monday morning for stern action against the Hamas terror group after a rocket fired from Gaza during the night hit a house in Israel’s central region, injuring seven people, including two infants.
As several ministers urged a return to the policy of targeted assassinations of terror leaders, both rivals and allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu railed against what they described as a weak and ineffective response to ongoing provocations from the Gaza Strip. In a blistering attack on the premier he hopes to replace in April’s election, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said that Netanyahu had “lost his grip on security.”
Economy Minister Eli Cohen, a member of the Kulanu party, said that Israel must utilize targeted assassinations against both Hamas leaders and those of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Gaza terror group capable of launching rockets into Israel’s heartland.
“Restoring the deterrence will be done by again sending the Hamas and Jihad chiefs underground,” he said in a statement criticizing previous Israeli responses to rocket fire which have focused on Hamas infrastructure, rather than its leadership.
“Not [hitting] rocket factories, abandoned buildings, or sand dunes — only preemptive assassinations which make it clear that anyone who gives an order to fire at Israel is dead. That is the policy that I will support when the cabinet meets,” Cohen said.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, a close ally of Netanyahu, appeared to suggest Israel’s response will target Hamas terror group leaders.
The international community on Monday condemned rocket fire from Gaza into central Israel, expressing concerns over an escalation following an attack that struck a home in central Israel, injuring seven people including two small children.
“Again an attack on Israel from Gaza. Again a rocket fired at a major metro area in Israel, which hit a home causing its collapse and injuring 6,” tweeted Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, apparently using an earlier estimation of the casualty figures.
“We condemn this violence from Gaza and affirm Israel’s right to defend itself,” he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond “forcefully” to the “criminal attack” and has cut short his trip to the US so he can return to Israel to oversee the response.
The Israeli military began closing off the public areas around the Gaza Strip, called up some reservist units, and deployed two additional brigades to the Gaza region. The IDF said the rocket that struck the home in the central Israeli town of Mishmeret was a variety produced by Hamas, known as a J80, which has a range of 120 kilometers (75 miles).
“Outraged to hear of another Hamas rocket attack aimed at Israeli civilians,” tweeted US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. “Seven people were wounded, including a 3 year old and a 6 month old. We condemn this act of violence and hope for a speedy recovery for the injured.”
New Right representative, Caroline Glick said during Sunday night’s Jerusalem Post debate on the upcoming elections that she “thinks Israel needs to change its policies over last 26 years,” adding that it’s “time to abandon a two-state” solution.
She said that it is time to work towards applying Israeli law to Area C. “We need to protect our country – to protect the western half of Israel, and prevent a terrorist state from developing next to Highway 6.”
Glick said that this is why she joined The New Right.
In 2010, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria asked President Barack Obama in a private letter to sponsor new peace talks between Syria and Israel, a diplomatic chimera for a string of American presidents.
The major sticking point was control of the Golan Heights, a rocky, strategic plateau at the flammable juncture between the modern states of Syria, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, which Israel had seized in the Six-Day War of 1967.
The talks never took off, and in 2011 a civil war erupted in Syria that would destroy the country and reshape the regional order to such an extent that when President Trump on Thursday called for the United States to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, the shift was met across much of the Arab world with a shrug.
Today, the Gulf countries are more interested in partnering with Israel against Iran than in standing up for abstract notions of Arab dignity, and unrest and economic troubles have left other Arab countries more concerned with their own affairs.
As for Syria, its own war has left the country so weak and ostracized that few care what it wants.
“The Golan was always seen as the carrot that Israel would cede for peace with Syria, and now peace doesn’t matter, Syria doesn’t matter and maybe Syria doesn’t exist at the table as the legitimate owner of the land,” said Kareem Sakka, editor in chief of Raseef22, an Arabic news site.
U.S. President Donald Trump was expected to officially sign off on U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday.
Netanyahu’s advisers as well as Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, in addition to senior Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman were also set to attend the meeting.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “After 52 years, it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability!”
The two leaders are also set to discuss Iranian aggression in the Middle East, including Tehran’s attempts to establish a military foothold in Syria as well as ways of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The two are also slated to discuss other security and intelligence matters.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Sky News on Saturday: “What the President did with the Golan Heights is recognize the reality on the ground and the security situation necessary for the protection of the Israeli state. It’s that simple.”
Q: Isn’t this a violation of Security Council resolutions?
Pompeo: “No, this is deeply consistent with the reality on the ground, the facts on the ground….The decision the President made will increase the opportunity for there to be stability throughout the region.”
“Everywhere we find malign activity by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States is going to pursue it, whether that’s in South America, whether that’s in the Middle East. Wherever we find it, we are going to give it a push back.”
“The Golan Heights were taken in 1967 during a defensive war where #Israel was attacked…No one in their right mind would want to see the Golan Heights go to Bashar al-Assad, go to Syria, or go to Iranian proxies, or the Russians. It’s legitimately part of Israel.” pic.twitter.com/UW3Fv2eg0J
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 24, 2019
All three of the BBC News website’s March 21st and March 22nd reports concerning the US president’s announcement of the intention to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights included links to the BBC’s profile of that area which was last updated on March 14th.
In that profile BBC audiences are told that:
“The area [Golan Heights] is also a key source of water for an arid region. Rainwater from the Golan’s catchment feeds into the Jordan River. The area provides a third of Israel’s water supply.”
While that may have been the case in the past, does the Golan Heights really currently provide “a third of Israel’s water supply”?
A document produced by the Knesset Research and Information Center last year shows that three main natural sources – one of which is the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) basin – currently together provide just 40% of Israel’s water.
“The Israeli water sector has natural and artificial sources of water. The main natural sources are the Kinneret Basin, which includes aquifers and rivers that flow into the Sea of Galilee, the Coastal Aquifer, and the Mountain Aquifer. Natural fresh water makes up some 40% of water consumption. In addition to the sources of natural water, two sources of artificial water play a vital role in the water sector: desalinated water (mostly seawater), which in 2016 provided 25% of water consumption, and reclaimed wastewater, used mostly for agriculture, which in 2016 provided 25% of the water consumed across all sectors.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey will take the issue of the Golan Heights to the United Nations.
In an interview with broadcaster TGRT Haber, Erdogan said US President Donald Trump’s statement on Golan Heights was a “gift” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of elections there.
Trump moved on Thursday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory seized in war, marking a dramatic shift in US policy.
In a speech at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Friday, Erdogan said the legitimization of the “occupation” of the Golan Heights could not be allowed.
Iraqi criminal, family, religious, labor & inheritance laws discriminate against women, who can’t get passport without consent of male guardian. pic.twitter.com/pZrtKlpAsi
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) March 23, 2019
Iohannis, who in the past has pushed back against politicians seeking to move the embassy, said the final decision on whether to move the mission in Israel “rests with me.”
Dăncilă’s comments were hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked “my friend, the prime minister of Romania, Viorica Dăncilă,” for her plan to move the embassy, minutes before Iohannis released his statement.
The move would make Romania just the third country to put its embassy in Jerusalem, after the US and Guatemala.
Last year, the Romanian government, supported by the speaker of its parliament, adopted a draft proposal to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But Iohannis, who has frequently clashed with the government, opposed the Romanian move in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and called for Dăncilă’s resignation.
Dăncilă earlier on Sunday also pledged to work to improve Israel-European Union ties, which have seen a downturn in recent years.
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat on Sunday urged Romania and Honduras to backtrack on their intention to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“These moves are unilateral and illegal,” Erekat said. “They contribute to igniting the region to satisfy the Trump administration and the rising Right in the world and encourage the Israeli extreme Right to continue violations of the law and international legitimacy.”
Erekat said that the moves were part of attempts to impose solutions and dictates on the Palestinians and a “consecration of the language of the jungle and extremism at the expense of the rule of law.”
He warned that such decisions would destroy what’s left of the prospects of peace and stability in the region.
Commenting on Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă’s speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, which began in Washington, on Sunday, in which she announced that her country would move its embassy to Jerusalem, Erekat said, “This is a blatant violation of Palestinian rights, international law and United Nations resolutions.” The announcement, he added, “only contributes to eliminating the two-state solution, the only way towards peace and stability in the region.”
Erekat called on the EU to take action on this decision which, he added, “is a violation of Europe’s long-standing policy.” The Palestinians will also raise the matter with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, he said.
Security is the top concern of Israeli voters ahead of the April 9 general election, according to a comprehensive poll on attitudes to the vote whose results were released hours after Monday’s rocket attack from the Gaza Strip.
The 80-question survey was answered in Hebrew or Arabic by 1,000 respondents representing a statistical sample of the country’s Israeli population. It was taken by respected international pollster Mitchell Barak of Keevoon Strategies for the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and had a ±2.25% margin of error.
When given eight choices on what issues are of most concern to them and their family, security received the most responses, followed by employment, education, corruption, health care, democracy, the lack of a peace process and regional cooperation.
Arabic-speaking respondents were more likely to value democracy and the lack of a peace process. Those living in settlements were more likely to prioritize education, and were least concerned about corruption.
Asked about specific strategic threats, Israelis cited corruption of their politicians more than Palestinian terror, the nuclear threat from Iran, the international BDS campaign, and social gaps between rich and poor. Nearly half of respondents rated corruption as a serious issue.
“Corruption registers as a strategic threat, but I am not convinced that it leads to action, like voting,” Barak told reporters at a press conference at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s office in Jerusalem.
The poll found that 73% of Israelis view US President Donald Trump favorably, much more than the 29% who viewed him favorably when he was a candidate for president three years ago. Trump received better ratings from residents of settlements and Russian speakers and poorer grades from Israeli Arabs.
A poll commissioned by the Washington Post indicates that a large majority of Arab Israelis intend to vote in the upcoming elections — and most favor joining a government coalition.
The results of the poll conducted last week by the University of Maryland showed that Israel’s Arab minority — some 20 percent of the population — is increasingly participating in national elections, and can significantly impact the right-left political balance in the Knesset and the makeup of the next Israeli government.
The phone poll was conducted in Arabic in conjunction with Israel’s Statnet Research Institute on March 10-12, and surveyed 713 Arab Israeli adults. The response rate was 58 percent, and its margin of error was 3.9 percentage points.
According to the results, 73.1 percent of Arab Israelis said they intended to vote in the April 9 elections, while 23.4% said they would not. Some 77.5% respondents said it was important to vote, even in light of the nation-state law, the controversial legislation passed by the Knesset last year that enshrined Israel as the Jewish homeland and angered the country’s non-Jewish minorities.
Actor Lior Ashkenazi has joined a new campaign of the Israeli NGO Peace Now.
Ashkenazi, one of Israel’s most famous actors, stars in a video clip that was released Sunday by the left-wing activist organization.
The seven-minute film was released to mark the 40th anniversary of Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt, and is titled Why I Am Still Alive. Within three hours of the video going live on Facebook, it had been viewed close to 30,000 times.
Nine MKs sent a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit asking him to open an investigation into Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence (BTS) and how it operates against the IDF.
BTS is made up of former IDF soldiers who report about their negative experiences serving over the Green Line.
In the letter, the MKs wrote, “Breaking the Silence holds classified military intelligence and that information could be exposed to the detriment of Israel’s security.”
The MKs include Miki Zohar, Tzipi Hotovely, Sharren Haskel and Yoav Kisch from Likud; Oded Forer and Robert Ilatov from Yisrael Beytenu; Shuli Moalem-Refaeli from New Right; Moti Yogev from Bayit Yehudi; and Yinon Azoulay from Shas.
In the letter, the nine said that during the interviews, soldiers were questioned in depth about “their military training, troop deployments, military guidelines and plans, classified weaponry and operations” they were involved in including information about operations related to Syria and the Gaza Strip.
“From reviewing the testimony, it appears that the organization gathers operational information in a purposeful manner, while manipulating the soldiers and convincing them to provide classified information in serious violation of the law,” the MKs said.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court this week heard a precedent-setting claim by a Jewish visitor to the Temple Mount, who had been beaten by a Waqf guard, Makor Rishon reported. The guard kicked the Jewish visitor as he kneeling down to bow.
Judge Ofir Yehezkel ruled that the assailant must compensate his victim, Ro’i Ephraim Schindler, in the amount of 8,000 shekel ($2,205.56).
The claim is unique: it is the first time that Jews visiting the Temple Mount filed a civil claim against a specific Waqf employee. In addition to the compensation, he was order to pay Schindler’s legal expenses in the amount of 1,800 shekel ($450).
For reasons of its own, the Jerusalem Police decided to close the criminal case against the Waqf man.
According to Schindler’s lawsuit, which was filed in 2017 and demanded 30,000 shekel ($8,270), the plaintiff went up to the Temple Mount with a group of about 40 Jews. At one point, he bowed down, which violated the rules of the site that permit only Muslims to bow down. A policeman on the scene picked up Schindler from the ground and cuffed him.
Hamas warned Israel on Monday against “continuing policies of suppression” against inmates in the Ketziot prison in the Negev, hours after prisoners who were members of the terror group stabbed two guards and sparked a riot.
“Our struggling Palestinian people, its forces and resistance stand behind [the prisoners] and will not give up on their duty in defending them and supporting them until they are liberated,” the terror group said in a statement on its official website.
“The movement calls on our people, its factions, and elites to immediately support [our prisoners] in a large way with all means and tools and to quickly take action with all parties and institutions to protect them,” the statement added.
The statement came after a rocket was fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip at central Israel, injuring seven; it made no mention of the projectile.
Hamas prisoners stabbed two guards at the Ketziot prison in southern Israel on Sunday evening, injuring one of them seriously, according to prison services. The attack sparked a riot in which 11 inmates were also reported hurt.
.@UNRWA I just checked your Twitter feed.
Over the past week, Palestinian protesters against Hamas oppression in Gaza were arrested, beaten, shot at, bones fractured.
Yet you said not a word about this.
You’re not pro-Palestinian, you’re just anti-Israel.
You’re a fraud. pic.twitter.com/XJPCixJJX5
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) March 24, 2019
They just don’t quit https://t.co/0ib1GxYksq
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) March 25, 2019
“An estimated 3,100 Yazidis were killed [in Iraq], with nearly half of them… either shot, beheaded, or burned alive… The estimated number kidnapped is 6,800… All Yazidis were targeted… but children were disproportionately affected.” — PLOS Medicine, 2017.
By contrast, Shamima Begum said that she had been fully aware of the beheadings and other atrocities committed by ISIS before going to Syria. “I knew about those things and I was okay with it,” she said. “Because, you know, I started becoming religious just before I left. From what I heard, Islamically, that is all allowed.” When asked whether she had questioned any of that, Begum replied, “No, not at all.”
“[W]e recently learned of the 50 [Yazidi women and children]… who were beheaded. Meanwhile, those people who raped and killed our women are free to go back to their countries and live normal lives. This makes us feel that we have no value as human beings…” — Salim Shingaly, a Yazidi activist from Iraq, to Gatestone Institute.
The plight of the Palestinian women in Syria is an issue that does not seem bother Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These leaders are too busy fighting and inciting violence against each other, against Israel and the US. They have completely forgotten about the suffering of their people in an Arab country such as Syria.
These women, who are being subjected to rape and various forms of torture in Syrian prisons, are the victims of failed Palestinian leaders who seem to only care about holding on to their bank accounts and their jobs.
Not a single Fatah or Hamas official — or the United Nations or Western so-called human-rights groups — has spoken out against the plight of Palestinian women in Syria. Why should they, when all they do most of their time is throw mud at each other while at the same time continuing to incite their people against Israel and the US?
The war that has ravaged Syria over the last half-decade is coming to an end. The caliphate declared by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State organization on June 29, 2014, at the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul now consists of a few ravaged square meters in Baghouz, in Syria’s Lower Euphrates River Valley, that are on the verge of falling to Kurdish forces. The mainly Sunni Arab rebellion against the Bashar al-Assad regime, meanwhile, is already over. What remains of it is now the military component of a Turkish project to turn a corner of northwest Syria into a Turkish client entity.
In place of the old wars, however, three new ones have started. They are taking place in the three de facto independent areas whose boundaries are becoming apparent as the smoke from the previous battle clears: the regime-controlled area, guaranteed by Russia; the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are primarily composed of Kurdish fighters protected by the United States and Western air power; and finally the area controlled by the Turks and their Sunni Islamist allies in Idlib province. The regime area consists of about 60 percent of the territory of the country, the SDF has around 30 percent, and the Turkish-Sunni Islamist area is around 10 percent. Each of these areas is now hosting a civil war of its own, supported by neighboring enclaves.
The most fragile of the three entities, both in terms of internal arrangements and relationships to external powers, is the Turkish-Sunni Islamist area. The southern part of this area is today ruled in its entirety by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an outgrowth of the Syrian al Qaeda franchise. The area is protected from a ground incursion by the Assad regime by the precarious Sochi agreement, reached between Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in September 2018. But while a ground incursion does not appear imminent, Idlib and Hama provinces are subjected to regime artillery bombardment daily.
“Hezbollah themselves have laughed off the suggestion there is a difference. I’ve carefully considered the evidence and I’m satisfied they are one and the same with the entire organisation linked to terrorism.” — UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Hezbollah itself, in fact, does not acknowledge having separate political and military ‘wings’.
A female lawyer who courageously defended Iranian women who removed their hijabs to protest the Iranian regime’s misogynistic treatment, was sentenced recently to 33 years in prison and a flogging of 150 lashes.
On the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent a telegram to Iran’s regime, carrying “congratulations”. The Germany Director of Human Rights Watch, Wenzel Michalski, called Steinmeier’s congratulations “shocking”.
The Argentinian Security Minister Patricia Bullrich disclosed on Monday more details on the two Iranian citizens who entered the country with fraudulent Israeli passports earlier in March.
Sajjad Samiel Naseran, 27, and Mashoreh Sabzali, 30, entered through the Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires on March 12. In their passports, they were named Netanel and Rivka Toledano. They had in their possession four fake passports, two of which they used to leave Spain on an Air Europa flight and the other two they used to enter Argentina.
Although they were allowed to enter the country, the Argentinian authorities gave notice of an irregularity in the papers and the two were followed closely. These Iranian citizens were arrested in a hotel in the capital, after the confirmation by Interpol that these documents had been stolen from Israelis.
The man and woman are still in custody and federal judge Luis Rodríguez, who is in charge of the case, tried them with preventive detention. Bullrich spoke with Radio Con Vos and gave more details about the state of this case.
“The subject is under investigation. Although the prosecution deals with their entry using fake passports, these people have had frequent use of these passports in the past and have a prior case in Portugal also for the use of fake passports. They had used other passports in other countries as well,” Bullrich said.
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