January 23, 2020

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05/02 Links Pt1: Israel to come to standstill in somber remembrance of Holocaust victims; The Arab Chapter of the Holocaust; Trump Consigning Russia-PLO Collusion to Dustbin of History


From Ian:

Israel to come to standstill in somber remembrance of Holocaust victims
Israel came to a standstill at 10 a.m. Thursday as sirens wailed throughout the country in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.

The annual remembrance is one of the most solemn days on Israel’s national calendar, with much of the country all but shutting down to honor those who suffered under the Nazi killing machine.

The sirens will be followed by ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in schools, public institutions, and army bases, including a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem’s memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the Knesset’s annual recitation of victims’ names. The March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland will begin at 1 p.m.

Events will officially come to a close in ceremonies at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot (Ghetto Fighters) and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, named after those who resisted the Nazis in Warsaw and the leader of the uprising, Mordechai Anielewicz.

The national day began Wednesday evening at sundown, as ceremonies were held throughout the country, with solemn songs, candle-lightings and remembrances from survivors and their descendants. TV channels and radio stations switched to exclusive programming about the Holocaust and stores and restaurants shuttered early in deference to the commemorations.

At Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum, an official state event featured six torch lightings from those who lived through the genocide.

With Shoah speech attacking Iran and NY Times, Netanyahu displays post-election resolve

In a fiery, spellbinding performance of less than 20 minutes on Wednesday night, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showcased the oratorial mastery that helped him win reelection just three weeks ago, and showcased, too, his personal conviction that he is uniquely qualified to lead the Jewish state.

Addressing the nation at the start of the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu delivered an address that built from astonishing stories of Holocaust suffering and heroism, as told to him by a group of survivors with whom he had met on Tuesday, to a resounding assertion of Israel’s legitimacy and denunciation of its critics.

Speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem to a large audience that heard him in absolute silence, and to a nation watching on TV, the prime minister hailed survivors such as Fanny Ben-Ami, who as a 13-year-old led a group of children to safety in Switzerland from France but who turned back when she realized that a three-year-old girl in their group had been left behind in the demilitarized zone. “Fanny went back to get her,” the prime minister marveled; she “zig-zagged under gunfire” to bring the toddler to safety: “An angel of salvation, aged 13.”

He went on to detail visits he has made in recent years to European countries “whose land is soaked with the blood of our brothers and sisters, and where we were turned into human dust,” but that have today become some of Israel’s greatest admirers and supporters. In these lands, he said, “I felt terrible pain at the disaster that befell us,” but simultaneously “immense pride to represent our people, that rose from the ashes in our independent state.”

Unable to protect themselves, millions of Jews in the Diaspora were condemned to their deaths, he recalled bitterly. “In exile, our abysmal weakness doomed us to our fate.” But now, restored to their homeland, the Jews have achieved “a miracle of revival” and their country has become a rising world power.

For all of Israel’s achievements, Netanyahu said, it dare not be complacent in the face of its enemies. This assertion, he insisted, preempting critics who accuse him of whipping up fear among Israelis, was not a case of “artificial scaremongering.” Even the greatest world powers must always be aware of the dangers they face, he noted. Indeed, “awareness of danger is a condition for living.”

The “paradox” of Israel’s revival, he said, was that it has been accompanied by an ongoing rise in anti-Semitism. “The extreme right, the extreme left and extremist Islam,” he said, “agree on only one thing: hatred of the Jews.”

‘Every person has a name’: Knesset reads names of Holocaust victims

The Knesset held its annual “Every Person Has a Name” ceremony for Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, with MKs and dignitaries reading the names of those who perished.

The ceremony, named for a poem by Zelda inspired by the atrocities of the Holocaust, was instituted in 1989 by then-Knesset speaker Dov Shilansky, a Holocaust survivor and partisan fighter against the Nazis.

The memorial began with the lighting of six candles in honor of the six million Jews who perished.

Among the candle-lighters was leading religious-Zionist Rabbi Chaim Druckman, a Holocaust survivor born in what was then Poland. Today, Druckman has 10 children, 80 grandchildren and 70 great-grandchildren.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, also lit a candle, as did new Yisrael Beytenu MK Evgeny Sova, in honor of his relatives and the many thousands of other Jews who fought in the Red Army against the Nazis.

After the candle lighting, the ceremony consisted of officials reading names of their family members or others who perished in the Holocaust.

Meyer Shwartz: a Story of Survival

Haim Noy: A Survivor’s Story

March of the Living: Auschwitz to Birkenau walk honors Holocaust victims

More than 10,000 people from 52 countries and regions around the world , including Israel, the USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, South Africa, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Austria, and Poland are currently marching through the streets of Poland.

The marchers are walking a three-kilometer path from Auschwitz to Birkenau.

This year’s motto is “No to antisemitism,” and the march will include discussions on that topic giving the increase in antisemitism worldwide.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, Israel envoy David Friedman, an international delegation of ambassadors led by Danny Danon, among other US ambassadors are participating in the march.

Established in 1988, the March of the Living gathered more than 260,000 participants from 52 countries, who together marched in memory of the horrors of the Holocaust.

In the first march, renowned figures such as Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and Yitzah Navon took part as well as Benjamin Netanyahu, who then served as the Israeli ambassador to the UN.

U.S. Ambassador Friedman at March of the Living: Antisemitism plagues mankind

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman spoke at the March of the Living on Thursday afternoon in memory of the horrors of the Holocaust, stating that “antisemitism is not going to be eradicated or cured with slogans or easy steps.”

“So, of course, we condemn all acts of antisemitism,” Friedman stated before the march began. “We condemn all acts of any hostilities to anyone based upon religion, or race, or ethnicity.”

The March of the Living chose “No to Antisemitism” as the subject for this year’s march following the steep rise in antisemitism in the past year.

As Friedman prepared for the march in memory of the savagery of the Holocaust, he said that “we can never forgive those who murdered six million Jews.”

“We have to always honor their memory,” Friedman said of the murdered Jews. “It’s the most important lesson to mankind, the lesson of the Holocaust.”

“This is much bigger than any single event,” he continued. “This is about how we are as human beings and the tolerance that we have to bring to our lives.”

Youth Activists Release Declaration Against Antisemitism: ‘Stand Tall’

Hundreds of youth activists who have gathered in Poland for the 31st annual March of the Living ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust released a declaration against antisemitism Thursday morning.

The activists gathered Wednesday to fine-tune the draft and offer comments and suggestions before it was finalized overnight. It will be read onstage at the formal Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Thursday afternoon, following the three-kilometer march from the concentration camp of Auschwitz to the death camp of Birtkenau.

The text reads as follows:

First Emerging Leaders International Declaration Against Antisemitism, Racism and Intolerance

We are the Jewish people.

We have always been a small nation with a resonating voice. Our 4000-year story is rich with love and triumph, though rife with hatred and tragedy. In places near and far, innumerable, uncountable, there … and here, we have known antisemitism. Targeted, chased, expelled, isolated, killed, and nearly exterminated.

We are the Jewish people.

We knew antisemitism then and we know it today. Acts of antisemitism and all types of hatred are further spreading the destructive impact of intolerance. Standing here today together, Jews and non-Jews alike, we must not remain idle in the face of evil, no matter its form or expression.

It has been said, “The path to Auschwitz was built by hatred, but paved by indifference.”

Mordechai Kedar: The Arab Chapter of the Holocaust

The Holocaust is naturally perceived as a fundamentally European event. It’s customary to approach it as the “Holocaust of European Jewry,” whose perpetrators were European nations — the Germans and their allies. But we should not ignore the aspects of the Holocaust that pertain to the Arab world.

One of the more striking of these aspects was the role of the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Even before the Holocaust, when he held various public positions in the Land of Israel (1920-1937), his sermons incited the murder of Jews in the riots in 1920, 1921, and 1929, and again in the Arab Revolt of 1936. It isn’t surprising that he was later involved in the genocide of Europe’s Jews.

According to testimonies provided by Nazi officers at the Nuremberg trials after the war, the mufti is one of the figures who pushed Hitler to annihilate the Jews of Europe from the moment the mufti arrived in Germany in late 1941. While it’s reasonable to assume Hitler didn’t need much encouragement from the mufti, al-Husseini’s role in promoting the idea of destroying the Jews, and its implementation, was prominent.

The mufti also played an important role for the Nazis between the years 1942-1944, when he initiated the creation of Muslim units in the German military and the SS. The soldiers for these units were drafted in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. In 1944, when the majority of Hungary’s Jews were rounded up — more than half a million people — in the Budapest area, the Germans intended to transport them by train to the Auschwitz extermination camp, but worried that partisan fighters would blow up the bridges to disrupt the shipments. The mufti sent the Muslim units to protect the bridges and make sure the Jews were sent to their deaths.

Senior Islamic leader to visit Auschwitz in January

A senior Islamic leader will visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland as part of an agreement signed between the Muslim World League and the American Jewish Committee to enhance cooperation and understanding between the two communities.

Dr. Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League will accompany American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris to Auschwitz in January to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous death camp — where 1.5 million Jews perished during the Holocaust.

The visit will come as part of a memorandum of understanding between their two institutions signed Tuesday “to further Muslim-Jewish understanding and cooperate against racism and extremism in all its forms,” the AJC said in a statement.

As part of their agreement, Al-Issa will also address the AJC Global Forum in Berlin in June 2020 and Harris will reciprocate by leading an AJC delegation to Saudi Arabia where the Muslim World League is based.

“I believe that by paying my respects to the victims of Auschwitz, I will encourage Muslims and non-Muslims to embrace mutual respect, understanding and diversity,” Al-Issa said in the statement, adding that recent attacks against places of worship in Pittsburgh​, Christchurch, and Sri Lanka “compel us all to unite and stand up against those who want to divide us.”

Edward Mosberg | Honored with the polish medal of honor

Edward Mosberg, The 93-year-old Holocaust survivor, will be honored with the medal of honor, awarded by the President of Poland. Throughout his life, Mosberg has worked with various organizations, helping to commemorate the memory of the Holocaust. We will never forget!

MEMRI: Op-Ed In Saudi Daily ‘Arab News’: The Lessons Of The Holocaust Must Be Learned By Everyone, So That Such Atrocities Will Never Recur

On April 30, 2019, one day before Israel’s Holocaust Day, the Saudi English-language daily Arab News published an op-ed titled “Remember the Holocaust So Its Horrors Are Not Repeated,” by Dr. Ellen R. Wald, a historian and consultant on geopolitics and the energy industry who writes for the paper on a regular basis. In the article, Wald writes that it is important to commemorate the various horrific acts of genocide and savagery that occurred throughout the 20th century, including the Armenian genocide, the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the slaughter of the Tutsi by the Hutu in Rwanda, and many others. However, she says, amid the atrocities of that century, there is one genocide that must never be forgotten, namely the Holocaust, which stands out for its scope and the character of its perpetrators. Presenting many details about the unfolding of the Holocaust, she notes that this genocide was different from the others not only because of the number of people slaughtered, but because it was planned, organized and implemented by a supposedly civilized, modern society. She adds that antisemitism is one of the most ancient hatreds in the world, for Jews have been the object of persecution and bigotry for millennia, in many parts of the world. She concludes that the Holocaust should be studied by everyone, not only by those who have a personal connection to it, because antisemitism and all other forms of irrational hatred can lead to terrible horrors. “The fight against bigotry, hate and persecution is constant, and we must learn and remember what was done in the past so that we never repeat it,” she writes.

The following is the article, as it appeared in Arab News.

“Sometimes it appears as though hate and bigotry are overwhelming societies across the globe. This past weekend, there was another deadly shooting at a synagogue in the US and an anti-Semitic cartoon printed in the international edition of the New York Times. Last week, terrorists killed 250 people in attacks largely targeting Christians in Sri Lanka. In March, 50 Muslims were killed during Friday prayers in New Zealand. At about the same time, 280 Nigerians were murdered because they were Christian.

“We recently marked 104 years since the Ottomans began the Armenian genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed. In Cambodia in the 1970s, up to 2.5 million people died and most of the population was enslaved by the Khmer Rouge, a government that particularly despised intellectuals and professionals. In just three months in 1994, Hutu Rwandans slaughtered up to 1 million of their Tutsi neighbors and raped as many as half a million Tutsi women in an unprecedented explosion of ethnic rage. In the 1990s, when Yugoslavia was dividing into independent countries, thousands of Bosnian, Croat and other civilians were murdered or forcibly relocated.

“It is important that we commemorate and acknowledge all of these periods of savagery. However, there is one particular 20th century genocide, the lessons of which we can never forget. This Thursday is designated for Holocaust remembrance. In Israel, they call the day Yom Hashoah. In the 20th century, when the world was often overwhelmed by hate and violence, the Holocaust stood out because of its scope and the character of its perpetrators.

Senior Israeli, Polish leaders to skip March of the Living amid diplomatic tensions

No senior Israeli and Polish officials are expected to participate in the annual International March of the Living, set to begin on Thursday, amid tensions between Jerusalem and Warsaw.

More than 10,000 Jewish and non-Jewish youth from 40 countries along with dozens of Holocaust survivors and dignitaries from around the globe were expected to participate in the the almost-2-mile march from Auschwitz to Birkenau to pay tribute to Holocaust victims and call for an end to anti-Semitism.

For the first time, the event’s main ceremony will recall Greek Jewry, which was almost completely annihilated by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Greece will send a distinguished delegation to the march, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome; Ecumenical Patriarch, the leader of tens of millions of Orthodox Christians around the globe; and Nikos Voutsis, the speaker of the Greek Parliament.

U.S. officials expected to attend include U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr.

However, the most senior Israelis on the trip will be Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon and Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog, The Times of Israel reported on Tuesday.

No Polish officials are expected to attend.

Most Austrians don’t know 6 million Jews were killed in Holocaust, survey finds

A majority of Austrians are unaware of the magnitude of the Holocaust and the number of Jews murdered, while concurrently downplaying their country’s role in the genocide, found a study released on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The study, conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), surveyed 1,000 adult Austrians who answered a series of questions about Holocaust and World War II history, either by phone or online.

According to the poll, 56 percent of Austrians did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and 36% believed that 2 million Jews or fewer were killed. Twenty-five percent believed fewer than 1 million Jews were killed, and 12% put the number of Jewish deaths in the Holocaust at less than 100,000.

The numbers were higher among younger respondents: Fifty-eight percent of millennial or Gen Z respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were killed. Significantly, 30% believed that less than 1 million were killed and 17% believed 100,000 Jews were murdered.

Notably, 42% of respondents were unfamiliar with the Mauthausen concentration camp, located 146 kilometers (90 miles) from Vienna. According to Israel’s national Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, 119,000 people were killed or died from the harsh conditions at Mauthausen, among them 38,000 Jews. (h/t steelraptor from Saturn)

JPost Editorial: Palestinian shortsightedness

One goal envisioned by the parties involved in formulating and signing the Oslo Accords in Washington in 1993 was that the newly created Palestinian Authority would henceforth use its powerful mandate to advance the interests of the Palestinian people.

Since then, billions of international dollars have been poured into the Palestinian territories with the hope that as negotiations between Israel and the PA advanced, the groundwork would be laid for a robust Palestinian state to be established alongside Israel. More than 25 years later that likelihood seems dimmer than ever, and all eyes need to turn to the Palestinians.

Granted, the last 10 years of Israeli governments led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have not been conducive to diplomatic progress. Netanyahu’s coalition partners and his own indecisiveness about whether he favors a two-state solution have helped paralyze any process.

But the major obstacle throughout the last quarter century has remained Ramallah, which continues to bite off its nose to spite the Palestinian people’s faces.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has already made it clear, before even knowing what it contains, that he rejects the forthcoming “deal of the century” formulated by the Trump administration. That error in judgment can be rationalized by Abbas’s fracture with Trump over the president’s blatantly pro-Israel moves – from relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem to officially recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights – that have in Abbas’s view removed the US from its role as an honest broker.

Abbas believes that time is on the Palestinians’ side. He told a government meeting in Ramallah this week, “We’ve been patient for 70 years, and we are ready to wait another 10 and 20 years.”

However, he may not have that long. As Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff reported in The Jerusalem Post this week, the PA is on the verge of financial collapse.

David Singer: Trump Consigning Russia-PLO Collusion to Dustbin of History

President Trump’s inexorable march towards releasing his “deal of the century” has seen his decisions on Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the PLO undermining 55 years of Russia-PLO collusion aimed at eliminating the State of Israel and establishing Russian supremacy in the Middle East.

Russia-PLO collusion has caused the deaths of millions of Jews and Arabs, leaving millions more with permanent and debilitating injuries deeply impacting their lives and the lives of their families.
Frontline states seeking Israel’s elimination – Lebanon, Egypt, Syria Jordan, Libya and Iraq – have seen their societies and public assets adversely affected by war and civil insurrection.
Claire Berlinski has detailed how Russia-PLO collusion began:

“Following the defeat of the Egyptians in the Six Day War, the Soviets came to a second realization: A conventional military confrontation with Israel, and by extension the West, carried too great a risk of escalating into nuclear war. A change of tactics was required. Gen. Alexander Sakharovsky, then head of the KGB’s intelligence arm, explained this to his East European colleagues: “Terrorism should become our main weapon.” Sakharovsky boasted that airplane hijackings were his own invention; he decorated his office with a world map, covered in flags, each marking a successful hijacking. Though the PLO managed to unite various terrorist organizations, “the supreme headquarters of the whole network was, of course, the Kremlin,” Stroilov writes, and “the evidence accumulated at this point leaves no doubt that the whole system was invented by Moscow as a weapon against the West, and the PLO was a jewel in their crown.”

The PLO – born in 1964 – expressly disavowed any separate claims to sovereignty in Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem and Gaza. In 1968 the PLO reversed its position – claiming statehood in these very same areas that had been unified with TransJordan in 1950 and renamed Jordan – remaining part of Jordan until their loss to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
Jordan and Israel were identified by the PLO in 1964 as one indivisible territorial unit to be liberated by the PLO. The PLO unsuccessfully tried to take over Jordan in September 1970.

Israel to Name Jerusalem Train Stop After Trump

Plans will be announced on Israel’s Independence Day next week for a train stop in Jerusalem to be named after US President Donald Trump, who officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state in December 2017 and relocated the US embassy in Israel there five months later.

“Here, in the Old City of Jerusalem, we will build the Western Wall & Temple Mount train station,” tweeted Acting Foreign Minister and Transportation Minister Israel Katz. “It will be named after @realDonaldTrump, who made history and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Mitt Romney Is Dead Wrong To Claim There Is No Alternative To Failed ‘Two-State Solution’

Most of those who blithely cite the “two-state solution” shibboleth mean something closely akin to the co-called “1967 borders” — which are really not borders at all, but are a mere armistice line reached after Israel miraculously withstood a full-frontal transnational Arab assault to existentially eviscerate it. Those borders, furthermore, which would make Israel nine miles wide at its narrowest point, are often referred to as “Auschwitz Borders” by Israeli Jews. There is simply no way that any sane Israeli leader would ever make such a sacrifice with such a corrupt and murderous enemy — especially not in the aftermath of the Second Intifada and Ariel Sharon’s calamitous unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

But many, like Romney, continue to promulgate the canard that Israel is doomed — that Zionism itself may be doomed — if Israel does not offer up 20% of its New Jersey-sized land area to terrorist groups who not only refuse to recognize Israel’s existence, but actively seek to destroy it.

This is nonsense. There are many competing ideas. Here are just a few.

One idea, long promoted by American-Israeli columnist, speaker, and activist Caroline Glick, is full Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria. In her book, “The Israeli Solution,” Glick disputes the generally accepted demographic calculations that Romney cites, noting that Israeli Jews have among the highest fertility rates of any Western demographic or ethnic group. In her recent failed Knesset bid, under the partisan label of the “New Right” party formed by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, Glick helped promote the idea of immediate annexation of what Oslo deems “Area C” of Judea and Samaria — which constitutes roughly 61 percent of the geographic territory of Judea and Samaria and wherein Israeli Jews already outnumber Palestinian-Arabs.

Trump Admin, Congress Ready to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terror Group

The Trump administration and its allies in Congress are working to finalize an effort to designate the international Muslim Brotherhood organization as a terrorist group, the culmination of a years-long effort to strangle the radical organization and choke off its resources, according to multiple U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

Senior Trump administration officials confirmed to the Free Beacon this week that President Donald Trump views the Muslim Brotherhood as a key national security threat and has ordered his White House to forward efforts aimed at designating the group as a terrorist organization, which critics of the Islamist group have been pushing for years.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who has long pursued efforts to realize this designation, is already working on a series of legislative packages that would initiate an investigation into the Brotherhood’s activities and its leadership. These pieces of legislation would set the stage for the Trump administration and Congress to formally designate the organization in the near future, sources said.

The designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group jibes with ongoing efforts by the Trump administration to crackdown on international terror supporters, including the Iranian regime and its proxy organizations such as Hezbollah. The administration recently took the unprecedented step of designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, as a terrorist outfit. Now, officials are turning their attention to the Brotherhood, sources confirmed.

On 40th Anniversary of Signing, Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty Celebrated as ‘Courageous Diplomatic Achievement’

A ceremony was held at the US State Department headquarters in Washington, DC, on Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the historic signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

The event — hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — was attended by the ambassadors of Israel and Egypt to the US, Ron Dermer and Yasser Reda.

Pompeo, a State Department statement said, praised Israel and Egypt for the “courageous diplomatic achievement, which took will and sacrifice,” and acknowledged the two countries’ “strong commitment to an enduring peace.”

In a tweet later on Tuesday, the secretary of state called the treaty — the first peace agreement reached between Israel and an Arab country — a “shining example of the possibilities that can result from dialogue, compromise, and cooperation.”

The treaty — the result of a year and a half of negotiations brokered by then-US President Jimmy Carter — was inked at a White House by then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on March 26, 1979.

Under the terms of the deal, Israel ceded to Egypt the Sinai Peninsula — which the Jewish state had taken control of during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli Air Force strikes Gaza in response to incendiary balloons, rockets

The Israeli Air Force carried out a series of strikes north of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night, according to the IDF. The strikes were in response to hundreds of incendiary balloons that Hamas launched at Israel on Wednesday.

In retaliation, two rockets were launched at Israel, according to the IDF. There were no injuries are damages, the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council reported.

In a statement to the press, the IDF spokesperson said that “Hamas bears full responsibility for all that is taking place in the Gaza Strip, as well as all things coming out of it.”

The balloons caused fires in the Eshkol region south of the country.

Earlier this week, Israel reduced the fishing zone allocated to the fishermen of Gaza after an Islamic Jihad rocket landed in southern Israel, causing no casualties.

Israel is marking Holocaust Memorial Day on Thursday. Commemoration events began Wednesday evening, including the country’s official ceremony. At that event, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel must learn from the past and “will not extend its neck for slaughter.”

Two rockets fired into Israel from Gaza after IAF strikes Hamas targets

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched at least two rockets into southern Israel early Thursday, the military said. The projectiles fell in an open area, and no injuries were reported.

The rocket fire came after Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas base in the northern Gaza Strip around 3:30 a.m. Thursday in retaliation for a wave of balloon-borne incendiary devices that were launched into Israel from the Strip the day before, which sparked at least two fires.

“Earlier today, explosive and arson balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip,” the army said. “In response, overnight, an IDF fighter jet and an IDF aircraft struck a number of terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip.”

The Israel Defense Forces said it held Hamas, the de facto ruler of Gaza, responsible for all violence emanating from the Strip.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.

At 5:37 a.m., warning sirens sounded in the communities of Alumim and Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. The IDF said it had detected at least two launches into Israel. A spokesperson for the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council said the rockets apparently landed in open fields and caused no injuries.

Islamic Jihad vows to hit major cities if Israel harms members of terror groups

Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhaleh has warned that should Israel harm or kill members of armed Palestinian factions, Islamic Jihad will respond with force and target major cities in the Jewish state.

Nakhaleh, who was named the new Islamic Jihad chief in September 2018, made the comments after the Israel Defense Forces accused operatives in the terror group of firing a rocket that landed off the Israeli coast Monday evening.

Asked by Dar al-Hayat, an Arabic-language news site, whether Islamic Jihad feared Israel carrying out assassinations against its members, Nakhaleh stated: “If you intend by your question to [refer] to the threats in recent days connected to rocket-fire, I clearly state that we will respond with force and attack major cities, if any harm is done to [members of] the resistance or premeditated assassinations are carried out against them, regardless of their organizational roles.”

Islamic Jihad, which is backed by Iran, is considered the second-most powerful terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, the coastal enclave’s de facto rulers; it has an arsenal of rockets that can reach deep into Israel.

The IDF said on Tuesday that the group had “intentionally fired” the rocket from northern Gaza in an effort to derail ongoing efforts to maintain a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and other terror groups.

Senior Hamas, Islamic Jihad members summoned to Cairo after attacks – report

Egypt has summoned senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad members to Cairo for talks following a flare-up in tensions between the IDF and Hamas in the Gaza strip, according to a report from Ynet News on Thursday.

The delegation from both groups crossed into Egypt via the Rafah border crossing.

Egyptian intelligence officials will meet with members of the delegation in an effort to calm the situation and prevent further incidents.

The latest tensions began on Wednesday when Hamas launched incendiary balloons over the Eshkol region in Israel’s south, causing fires. The Israeli Air Force responded with air strikes on a series of targets in the Gaza Strip.

Early on Thursday morning two rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel in retaliation for the strikes. The rockets landed in open areas.

Detroit-Based Shiite Imam: ISIS Run by Israel, Zionists In Order to Kill Muslims, Defame Islam

Iraqi-born Shiite Imam Hassan Qazwini said in a November 22, 2015 video of an address at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Center in Detroit, Michigan that ISIS is motivated by an agenda and is being run by the enemies of Islam. He said that almost every country in the Middle East except for Israel has been targeted by ISIS and that this “speaks volumes” about a possible connection between ISIS and Israel. Qazwini said that ISIS is the arm of the Zionists in the Muslim world that serves to kill Muslims, defame Islam, and alienate people from Islam. He said that the Zionists and the Zionist regime benefit more than anybody else from the atrocities perpetrated by ISIS and from the fact that ISIS jeopardizes the fate and wellbeing of Muslims throughout the West. For more from Imam Hassan Qazwini, see MEMRI TV Clips No. 5710 and No. 5644. Imam Hassan Qazwini served as the imam of Az-Zahraa Islamic Center until 2015, and Imam Bassem Al-Sheraa (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7002) is the Center’s current imam.

Lebanese Min. of National Defense: Israel’s Airport, Oil Plants Will Be Targeted If It Targets Ours

Elias Bou Saab, Lebanon’s Minister of National Defense, said in an April 24, 2019 press conference that aired on Al-Manar TV: “I do not think Israel is prepared for war. The balance of power has changed… If they target our airport, their airport will be targeted. If they target our oil plants, their oil plants will be targeted.”

Former IRGC Navy Commander: Our Plans State That the Americans Must Leave the Persian Gulf

On April 19, 2019, Ofogh TV (Iran) aired a documentary titled “Face to Face with Satan.” In the documentary, former IRGC Navy commander General Ali Fadavi said: “Our plans state that the Americans must leave the Persian Gulf.” The documentary also featured an interview with current the IRGC Navy commander, General Alireza Tangsiri, who said that the Americans have bolstered their presence in the Persian Gulf since 1985. He also said that Iran has “smacked [the Americans] on the mouth” six times, but that he cannot disclose details for security reasons.

MEMRI: Jordanian Journalist: Israel’s Leaders Are Implementing ‘The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion’ In Full

In a February 7, 2019 article in the Jordanian t daily Al-Dustour, ‘Awwad Al-Saqr wrote that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, written by the leaders of the Zionist Movement, set out strategic plans for taking over the world which Israel has been implementing by spreading chaos, wars and corruption and presenting any criticism it as antisemitism. He added that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and what is unknown about the Protocols is even graver and more dangerous.

The following are excerpts from his article:
“Israel was founded on the soil of historic Palestine at a time when we were unmindful of our interests. The leaders of the Zionist Movement planned to attain this goal in full ever since they held their first World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, presided over by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the abominable Zionist Movement. The ideologues [of this movement] formulated strategic plans for taking over the world politically, economically, ideologically and by means of the media, and called this plan The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Since then, the leaders of Israel have been following [these Protocols] and implementing them in full. I saw a need to present these satanic Protocols so that we, [both] leaders and citizens, draw lessons and realize the depth of our Zionist enemies’ cunning and hostility and [the scope of] their plots.

“The plan comprises 23 Protocols focusing on the spreading of chaos, war and internal unrest in the world, and justify every kind of crime against non-Jews, whom they call goyim, meaning ‘the nations.'[1] They have rulings by rabbis [permitting them] to commit every kind of crime, abomination and sin in order to attain these goals… The Protocols also deal with the takeover of education and the media, because education instills certain perceptions and values in future generations, and the press shapes and directs [public] opinion. In addition, these abominable Protocols focus on spreading bribery and corruption in society, just as they strive to spread religious, tribal and sectarian fanaticism and sow hostility and enmity between neighboring countries, so that hostility will persist and unity will not prevail. Another [goal] on which the Protocols focus is corrupting morals, [planting] agents, presenting the Jews as persecuted, and presenting any resistance or even criticism of Israel as stemming from antisemitism. They also focus on distracting people using every form of worldly pleasure, entertainment and sport so as to occupy the masses in their free time with matters that are far from politics. One of the important goals [set out] in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is drowning countries in foreign debt so they will not be able to recover and will remain shackled to international funds until their citizens lose faith in their governments.

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