PMW: PA names square after mastermind of massacre of 22 children and 4 adults
The Palestinian Authority has named yet another square after a terrorist. The newly inaugurated “Martyr Khaled Nazzal Square,” is named after the terror leader who planned the attack that led to the murder of 22 children and 4 adults in the Ma’alot Massacre on May 15, 1974. This is just the latest example of the PA’s relentless glorification of terrorists.
This new square in Jenin is named after terrorist Khaled Nazzal, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and commander of its military branch. He was responsible for the Ma’alot Massacre, during which terrorists took school children and their teachers as hostages, and eventually murdered 22 children and 4 adults. Terrorist Nazzal also planned an attack which resulted in the murder of 4 hostages in an apartment in Beit Shean (Nov. 11, 1974), and a shooting and grenade attack in central Jerusalem in which 1 was murdered and 47 others were wounded (April 2, 1984).
The “Martyr Khaled Nazzal Square” was inaugurated at a rally with PA officials, “under the auspices of the Jenin District and the [Jenin] municipality.” Participants included the Deputy District Governor of the Jenin District, and the DFLP in Jenin.
From recent media reports, it is evident that the Palestinian campaign to delegitimize Israel, falsely adjust history, and abuse the international community by manipulating a respected international specialized agency is proceeding at an enhanced pace. The campaign has turned UNESCO into a partisan political tool beyond, exceeding, and ultra vires its own constitutional principles. This despite recent indications since the Abbas-Trump meetings of a relaxation on initiatives in the international community against Israel.
The latest example of this is the Palestinians’ request to register the Old City of Hebron – including its Tomb of the Patriarchs – to the “State of Palestine” at the upcoming meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, scheduled to take place in from July 2 to 12, 2017, in Krakow, Poland.1
Both these sites are being fast-tracked and listed for debate as “endangered” World Heritage Sites on the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the World Heritage.
This attempt by the Palestinian leadership runs counter to any claim by Palestinian representatives as well as by leaders in the international community, that the Palestinians come with clean hands to the international community and genuinely seek a peaceful solution with Israel.
Lawmakers from several Opposition parties in the Knesset voiced anger today at the Attorney General for not opening an inquiry into Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over possible involvement in the London blaze last week that left dozens of people dead.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has not initiated an investigation into Netanyahu’s guilt in the Grenfell Tower fire that claimed the lives of at least 79 people last Wednesday, with more still missing. Politicians from Meretz, Labor, HaTnua, and the Joint List alliance blasted the Attorney General’s inaction and called it yet another manifestation of his partisan refusal to take proper measures against the prime minister who appointed him.
“Everyone knows who ultimately carries blame for every problem, every misfortune,” declared an exasperated Ilan Gilon of Meretz. “It’s axiomatic. That is what makes Mandelblit’s refusal so mind-boggling. On top of the corruption he’s supposed to be investigating, but for some reason that eludes me has not recommended police action, he must now investigate Bibi for dozens of counts of criminally negligent homicide. What does he think he is, some objective personality? Those are no longer relevant in the postmodern world of the narrative. And our narrative deems Bibi a criminal. Act, Mandelblit!”
Labor leadership Hopeful Erel Margalit cast Mandelblit’s inaction in even starker terms. “Protests have been going on in front of the Attorney General’s house for months now,” he recalled. “And just the other day one of the protesters held up a sign calling him a traitor. I used to think such language was out of bounds, considering that in the popular consciousness – that is, in the consciousness of the left and the media, which is what counts – such rhetoric led to the assassination of Rabin. But now I’m not so sure we should be so restrained in our speech.” He cited the example of the gunman who shot Congressman Steve Scalise last week, and suggested that liberal activism might still legitimately include political violence. “It’s for the right cause,” he explained.
To be clear: the two terror groups are furious with ISIS for attempting to rob them of the “honor” of murdering a young policewoman on the streets of Jerusalem. This is the surreal reality in the Middle East today.
Not to be left behind in the promotion of Jew-killing, Palestinians across the political spectrum took to social media to applaud the latest terror attack and express their jubilation over the murder of the policewoman.
In innumerable postings on Facebook and Twitter, dozens, if not hundreds, of Palestinians praised the terrorists, describing them as “heroes” and “martyrs.” They particularly expressed excitement over the use of a homemade submachine gun (often referred to as a “Carl Gustav”). This type of weapon is often produced in workshops in various parts of the PA-controlled territories in the West Bank.
The Palestinians also expressed deep satisfaction that the terrorists chose to carry out their attack during the holy month of Ramadan. They pointed out that the three terrorists, who were fasting, had chosen to carry out their attack during Ramadan because this was the surest and fastest path to Paradise. “There is nothing more pure and sacred than killing the infidels and Jews than when one is fasting during Ramadan,” remarked some of the Palestinians.
There is documented, widespread jubilation in the Muslim world about this and other terror attacks perpetrated not only by Palestinians against Israelis, but — contrary to the statements of many in the West — by many Muslims against all “unbelievers”: if “infidels” are murdered during Ramadan, their killers expect to be “doubly rewarded in Paradise.”
In Israel, this joy over Jew-killing does not emerge from nothing. It can be traced directly to the Palestinian leadership, beginning with President Abbas and his Palestinian Authority friends. When he and the PA leadership next mouth their lies about a “culture of peace,” perhaps the world will pause for a moment, not just to think of a murdered young woman, Hadas Malka, but also of what the Palestinian leadership really wants.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Sunday visited the family of 23-year-old Hadas Malka, the Border Police officer who was killed in a terror attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday.
The prime minister praised Malka and her family.
“We saw just now a wonderful family, a very fine family with deep love for the land and the state,” he said after the visit. “These things are so apparent when we see Hadas’s story, and it is totally clear where she grew up and the values she brought with her from such a home.”
Netanyahu said that he would never forget the words of David Malka, who told him that his daughter Hadas would often say, “You need to understand that if we are not there, then we will have no capital.”
Netanyahu said he replied: “Without these young people, we have no country. I bow my head and salute you, Hadas, our hero.”
“This is the child of us all and the hero for us all,” said Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday thanked President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., for calling out the BBC over its shameful headline following Friday’s terror attack in Jerusalem.
“Thanks for standing up for Israel and the truth,” Netanyahu tweeted.
On Friday night, hours after the combined stabbing and shooting attack in which 23-year-old Border Police officer Hadas Malka was murdered, the BBC chose to use the headline “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem” for its story on the attack.
Trump Jr. fired back on Twitter, “You mean after they stabbed a female Israeli police officer to death… right? This is as close to being misleading as possible.”
“Need a new term for this nonsense. Sort of the opposite of victim blaming. How about Culprit Coddling? Maybe Criminal Cozying? Thoughts???” he added.
Although the replacement headline focusses on the policewoman it is ten sentences/paragraphs before they talk about her or even mention her name. The pyramid concept of journalistic prose says most people don’t read the whole article. The further down the article the less important is the information and the less likely to be read.
The pyramid concept says the most important part of the article after the headline is the leading paragraph. In this case that Israel shot three Palestinians AFTER a deadly KNIFE attack. This reinforces the Palestinian agenda that Israel is systematically targeting Palestinians for execution (the BBC would not never call them terrorists) and can be read that this was an extrajudicial killing.
BTW Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah organisation has already condemned the death of the three attackers as a war crime.
The facts are quite different. The armed attackers were shot while attacking not after but unfortunately not in time to save Hadas Malka, who died later of her wounds. In other words the attack was halted by shooting the attackers.
There was no issue of an assailant who had laid down weapons and surrendered or a disputed judgement call about the threat. A reader would need to reach halfway down the article to be informed that one of the attackers was armed with a gun.
David Singer: Deceiving Trump and Tillerson has consequences for Abbas
Arab propaganda has repeatedly and misleadingly claimed that the conflict only began in 1948.
Abbas is but the latest in a long line of failed leaders of the Palestinian Arabs who have rejected all attempts to resolve the conflict based on what was internationally agreed 95 years ago.
Jordan has been exculpated from playing any role in resolving this conflict it was part of from the very inception of the Mandate and which it substantially aggravated between 1948 and 1967.
Trump and Tillerson belong to the old school that uses language whose meaning cannot be misinterpreted.
Trifling with the truth in conversations with Trump and Tillerson must have political consequences for Abbas.
Hopefully the days of diplomatic doublespeak and ambiguous language are nearing their end.
Bringing Jordan into any new negotiations to finally determine the allocation of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – an area smaller than Delaware – is the key to Trump pulling off the deal of the century.
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner is to travel to the Middle East this week to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials in an effort to advance peace efforts pursued by his father-in-law US President Donald Trump.
Kushner will travel along with special envoy Jason Greenblatt to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas separately in the coming days, to discuss “their priorities and potential next steps,” a senior White House official told The Times of Israel.
“It is important to remember that forging a historic peace agreement will take time and to the extent that there is progress, there are likely to be many visits by both Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to the region and possibly many trips by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to Washington, DC, or other locations as they pursue substantive talks,” the senior official said.
Greenblatt is expected in the region on Monday, followed by Kushner on Wednesday.
A month after U.S. President Donald Trump visited the region, the American administration is determined to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A senior White House official told Israel Hayom on Sunday that Trump has been making continuous efforts to build on the momentum of his recent visit, sending two of his closest advisers to engage in talks with Israel and the Palestinians this week.
“President Trump has made it clear that working toward achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him. He strongly believes that peace is possible,” the official said ahead of U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt’s planned visit on Monday and the planned arrival of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, on Wednesday.
Greenblatt and Kushner will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah “to continue conversations and hear directly from Prime Minister Netanyahu and his senior advisers and President Abbas and his senior advisers about their priorities and potential next steps,” the official said.
Kushner and Greenblatt both accompanied Trump on his May 22-23 visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to discuss “a peace agreement’s potential far-reaching impact in the region and reaffirm the two sides’ commitment to work toward peace,” the official said.
If it moves rapidly, the US administration is exceptionally well-placed to achieve substantive progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said Monday.
Given the positive relations President Donald Trump has established with all the major players in the region, it will be difficult for them to turn down any request he and his emissaries make as they try to restart bilateral negotiations, Shapiro, who served as president Barack Obama’s ambassador here from August 2011 until January 2011, said hours after the White House announced it was sending two top officials to try to jump-start talks.
“I think they should move quickly. I believe the president is at the point of his maximum leverage right now,” Shapiro said during a conference call organized by The Israel Project. “It’s very difficult for any party in the region, after those early positive interactions, to say no to him. He has established friendly relations; each sides wants to do more to deepen those positive relations with him.”
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have visited Trump in the White House and subsequently hosted him during his May trip to the region. Trump, who said in Israel on May 23 that he was convinced both sides are “ready to reach for peace,” has also met with other key stakeholders, such as the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Palestinian Authority officials are cautioning Trump administration officials not to rush into direct, indirect or even “proximity” Middle East peace talks without a framework in mind that will govern where the effort is going, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
This comes as US President Donald Trump dispatched two of his top aides to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week in an effort to jumpstart negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians — a “top priority” for his administration, one White House official said on Monday.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Jason Greenblatt, his lead international negotiator, will meet with leaders from both sides after accompanying Trump on his visit to the region last month. Discussions have been ongoing since that May 22 trip, the official said.
“Forging an historic peace agreement will take time, and to the extent that there is progress, there are likely to be many visits,” the White House official said. “Even while working behind the scenes to advance direct, bilateral negotiations between the parties, we will continue to communicate with the relevant constituencies throughout the region to remind all that peace is possible and to demonstrate that many positive benefits would arise from successful negotiations.”
Secret documents in the Jerusalem city council show that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has frozen the construction of more than 6,000 apartments in the capital, Army Radio reported Sunday.
The report came despite repeated assertions from Netanyahu that there is no construction freeze.
Army Radio said that it had seen detailed documents, prepared by experts in the planning committees of the Jerusalem Municipality, showing that many projects in the past few years have been blocked by Netanyahu’s government for political reasons.
These include plans for 2,200 apartments in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, thousands of apartments planned for nearby Har Homa and hundreds of apartments in Pisgat Zeev to the north of the city, the radio station reported without giving exact numbers for the last two.
The report provided no further details and it was not clear if the orders to freeze construction followed the election of US President Donald Trump.
Israel is coordinating its settlement construction with the White House, including the approval for building the largest number of homes in the West Bank since 1992, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the crowd at a Times of Israel event in northern Tel Aviv on Thursday night.
Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “hold back on settlements” at a press conference in the White House. But this no longer seems to be the American position, Liberman indicated.
Giving a rare English-language interview, the defense minister said that while coordination is not happening on the level of “every 10 [houses],” there is general understanding between Jerusalem and Washington about acceptable levels of construction in the West Bank.
Even if Israel were to exceed the level that the US wants, Liberman added, the Trump administration still “respects our approach and our vision for the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria” — the biblical name for the West Bank. That comment was an apparent reference to the practice of the Obama administration to publicly condemn all Israeli construction over the pre-1967 lines.
A senior Israeli official said Thursday that contrary to media reports, the Palestinians have not officially relinquished their demand for a complete moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank prior to the resumption of the peace process.
Reports suggesting the Palestinian Authority (PA) was willing to relent on its demand, which has been a precondition to resuming peace talks since negotiations broke down in 2014, followed President Donald Trump’s Mideast visit last month.
But an official in Jerusalem told Israel Hayom the Palestinians have not confirmed the reports.
The official also denied a Channel 2 report that the government had approved construction in the West Bank Palestinian city of Qalqilya that would effectively double its size.
“What did happen is that the [Diplomatic-Security] Cabinet granted retroactive permits for homes built [illegally] over the years, pursuant to a decision made a year ago, during the previous American administration,” the official said.
“Every year, we raze some 1,500 illegal Palestinian structures in Area C, which is under full Israeli control. This move was meant to give them [the Palestinians] some breathing room.”
Israel and Saudi Arabia have reportedly been holding talks to establish economic ties, according to British newspaper The Times, which cited American and Arab sources in its report.
According to the report, the historic move, if implemented, could be the first step toward normalizing relations and would begin with Israeli businesses being allowed to operate in the Persian Gulf. The newspaper gave as one example the possibility of Israeli airline El Al being allowed to fly over Saudi airspace.
The British newspaper also estimated the possibility of tightening relations with Israel partly explains why Saudi Arabia and its allies have boycotted Qatar in an effort to force it to stop supporting Hamas, an effort that seems to be producing results.
However, a source close to the Saudi leadership dismissed the idea of rapprochement between the two countries, saying it only reflects the White House’s wish to show fast results, after US President Donald Trump visited the region last month, beginning with Saudi Arabia and stopping next in Israel.
The United States, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel have recently been conducting secret negotiations to coordinate the first flight of Palestinian pilgrims from Ben Gurion airport to Saudi Arabia, with a short layover on the way, probably in Jordan.
Yedioth Ahronoth, Ynet’s sister print publication, learned of the intention to organize a special plane in which only Palestinian passengers between Israel and Saudi Arabia will be able to fly. Since there are no open relations between the two countries, the plane will have to land briefly in Amman. The Americans initiated the matter as a result of President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
A senior Israeli source said the talks are already in advanced stages. He said the flight would be carried out through a foreign company that is neither Israeli nor Saudi. The Palestinians will be able to make pilgrimages to the holy places in Mecca and Medina. This is the closest to a direct flight that has yet to be offered.
Air Force One was actually the first plane to fly directly from Riyadh to Ben Gurion Airport, when President Donald Trump came on his first foreign trip.
A new investigative report reveals that hundreds of Saudi and Kuwaiti nationals residing in the United States — many of them students with dual citizenship and receiving government scholarships — have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq during the past three years.
Titled “From American Campuses to ISIS Camps: How Hundreds of Saudis Joined ISIS in the U.S.,” the report — released June 1 by the Washington-D.C.-based think tank the Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA) — provides details of the flow of students leaving American institutions of higher learning to fight in the Middle East.
According to a 2016 working paper produced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Saudi Arabia is the second largest source of ISIS fighters from Muslim-majority countries, with an estimated 2,500. If the IGA report is accurate, a whopping 16% of these fighters were in the U.S. when they joined ISIS.
An equally disturbing finding of the report is that the Saudi government, which has been monitoring its nationals in the U.S., is fully aware of the fact that many of them are joining ISIS and not only has done little to stop it, but has kept information about it from American authorities.
This completely contradicts the 2014 State Department assertion that “Saudi Arabia has continued to cooperate with the United States to prevent acts of terrorism … through information exchange agreements with the United States.”
Following a terrorist attack in Jerusalem on Friday, in which Border Police Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka was murdered, lawmakers submitted legislation Monday calling to strip terrorists of their Israeli citizenship and revoke their relatives’ residency and work permits.
Israel Hayom obtained a copy of the bill, which states that before any accused terrorist or his or her relatives have their citizenship, residency or work permits revoked, the interior minister will allow the permit holder a chance to prove that he or she was uninvolved in the act. If they are innocent, the permits will remain valid.
The bill also stipulates that in cases in which citizenship or residency and work permits are indeed revoked, the holders will also lose eligibility for benefits from the National Insurance Institute.
MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), who submitted the bill, said, “We will no longer allow the absurd [situation] in which terrorists and those who aid terrorism carry blue [Israeli] ID cards and enjoy the rights and benefits of citizens, while acting to annihilate us.”
Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount on Sunday attempted to disrupt and prevent visits to the holy site, throwing stones at police officers and shouting “Allahu akbar” toward Jewish visitors.
Three police officers were lightly wounded and treated at the scene. Two suspects were arrested for attacking policemen and were taken in for questioning.
Police officials believe the attempts to disrupt visits to the Temple Mount are related to the final days of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which comes to an end this week.
In the meantime, the Jerusalem District Police department was keeping close tabs on the situation as the final Friday of Ramadan, June 23, approaches. Tensions on the final Friday of the Muslim holy month are generally higher than during the rest of Ramadan.
Despite warnings of a mounting humanitarian crisis and possible outbreak of violence, Israel on Monday reduced the amount of electricity it provides to the Gaza Strip, acceding to a request from the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority (PENRA) said in a statement on its website that Israel decreased the amount of power it supplies to the Strip by eight megawatt-hours.
Israel had been supplying 125 megawatt-hours to Gaza and has been the Strip’s main source of power for over two months, leaving the Hamas-ruled territory with just four to six hours of power a day.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza, said in a statement that Israel would “bear responsibility for the consequences of the reduction” because it “levies taxes on crossings [into Gaza] that are enough [to pay] for Gaza’s electricity and more.”
PENRA, in its statement, called the reduction an “initial step” by Israel to “gradually” carry out its decision to grant the PA’s request to reduce significantly the power supply to Gaza.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Being right about Gaza power supply is not enough
Israel is right. Cutting the power supply to Gaza is the result of internal Palestinian score-settling. And in any event, it’s kind of difficult to require Israel to fund electricity and concrete for Gaza, when these materials are used for building tunnels and rocket-manufacturing facilities, rather than for welfare and prosperity. The next death, in Sderot or Ashdod or Tel Aviv, could be because of the electricity supplied to Hamas’ death industry. Should Israel facilitate jihad?
Being right is not enough, however, because the accusing finger—as always—is pointed at Israel. Israel can and should and must, therefore, use this impending crisis to repeat the proposal that has already been raised by the European Union and the international community: An end to the siege, and investments and prosperity in exchange for demilitarization—regardless of the fact that this offer has already been rejected. It must be repeated, as an Israeli initiative, and it must be done dramatically and with a lot of noise.
If that doesn’t happen, there will be another round of violence, like Operations Protective Edge and Cast Lead. We already know the result. It’s the exact same result. Israel will be paralyzed for several weeks, the economic damage will be enormous, Hamas will once again enlist the anti-Israel propaganda machine, which is always eager to take to the streets and whet its keyboards, and Israel will suffer more than Hamas. So what for?
So instead of announcing a power supply cut, Israel must make Hamas a dramatic offer. The proposal should be raised in a press conference and at the United Nations, and published as whole-page ads in international newspapers. It will cost Israel much less than the damage that will be caused by the rockets on Ashdod, Ashkelon and perhaps even Tel Aviv. We have nothing to lose. If they say yes, it will be our gain. If they say no, they will lose a lot of points in the global public opinion, where they are expected to win.
My concern is that Israel will choose the predictable route, in which it is right— very right—but is also acting very foolishly, leading to defeat.
The Gazans are, in short, not good neighbors, and they do not deserve Israel’s sympathy. What moral justification exists that compels Israelis to assist people who support an organization intent on destroying them?
Moreover, plans to ease the economic situation in Gaza – either by supplying electricity and water or by building a port – send the wrong signals. They tell the Palestinians that their leadership can make grave mistakes, but outsiders with good intentions will bail them out. They also signal to Hamas that it might as well continue shooting at Israel. Why not? If Israel takes military steps in response, merciful donors will repair the damage yet again.
Easing the economic situation in Gaza sends the wrong signals to its inhabitants.
The billions of euros transferred to the Palestinians over the past two decades have been squandered through ineptitude and misappropriated through corruption. Like many Third World countries, Gaza lacks the legal and institutional infrastructure needed for the effective dispersal of economic aid. Very little aid has filtered down to the people. Hamas leadership, however, continues to be enriched by it. Those with arms always get the first and best cut of foreign aid sent to the poor. Humanitarian aid to Gaza is also siphoned off to build better military capabilities with which to fight Israel.
The authoritarian rule of Hamas dooms the Gazans to continuous poverty, ignorance, and protracted war with Israel. Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, are not educated to seek peace, but to make sacrifices and martyr themselves in a holy war against the Jewish state.
Israel has no choice but to reject Hamas demands, even if that refusal brings about another round of violence that will add to the suffering in Gaza. Even the friends of the Palestinian national movement should realize that it is time for some tough love for Gaza. Maybe a bit of darkness will help the Gazans see the light.
Hamas played down on Sunday the possibility that the energy crisis in the Gaza Strip would lead to renewed hostilities with Israel and said relations between the Islamist group and Egypt were improving.
“We in Hamas do not initiate wars and we do not expect one, this is our political assessment,” Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas’s deputy leader in the Gaza Strip, told reporters in Gaza. The two adversaries have fought three wars, most recently in 2014.
“We do not expect war because we are not interested and the occupation also say they are not interested,” he said, using the group’s term for Israel.
Tensions over power supplies in recent weeks have led to speculation there could be a new conflict between the two sides.
Israel has been providing Syrian rebels near its border in the Golan Heights with a steady flow of funds, medical supplies and humanitarian assistance, with one group receiving roughly $5,000 per month, according to rebel fighters quoted in a newspaper report.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing interviews with half a dozen rebel leaders and three persons familiar Israel’s undeclared policy, that the Jewish state is helping these forces, which are opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Iranian, Lebanese and Russian allies, in an effort to help set up a buffer zone on its border with forces friendly to Israel.
According to the report, Israel set up a special military unit in 2016 to oversee and coordinate the transfer of the aid, which helps the groups pay salaries and buy weapons and ammunition.
This “secret engagement,” as the report calls it, is aimed at strengthening Syrian rebel groups at the expense of forces hostile to Israel, namely Iranian proxy and Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, as well as various Iranian units fighting on Assad’s behalf in Syria.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is warning Islamic State operatives that missile attacks launched into eastern Syria the previous day can be repeated if the extremists take action against Iran’s security.
Iranian state TV’s website quoted Gen. Ramazan Sharif saying Monday that “if they [Islamic State] carry out a specific action to violate our security, definitely there will be more launches, with intensified strength.”
Sharif says six missiles, with a range of up to 700 kilometers (430 miles), were launched in Sunday’s attack, which he called “successful” but “limited.” The semi-official Fars news agency, believed to be close to the Guard, said the missiles flew over Iraqi airspace before striking Syria.
State TV showed mobile missiles launchers being moved during daylight.
The strike was a response to attacks earlier this month in Tehran that targeted Iran’s parliament and a shrine to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The attacks killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50. The attacks were the first to hit Iran, shocking its residents who believed the chaos engulfing the rest of the Middle East would not find them in the Shiite-majority nation.
The launch of surface-to-surface, medium-range missiles into Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province comes as Islamic State members fleeing a U.S.-led coalition onslaught are trying to fortify their positions there.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran not to threaten Israel and to watch its own back Monday, hours after Tehran launched missiles into Syria in what was seen, in part, as a challenge to Israel.
“I have one message for Iran: Don’t threaten Israel,” Netanyahu said.
On Monday, Iran said it fired missiles against the Islamic State in eastern Syria in response to a terror attack carried by the group earlier this month in Tehran, in which 12 people were killed.
Netanyahu said Israeli forces were “constantly tracking … the activities of Iran in the region.”
Israeli concerns about Iran in Syria have mostly centered around Tehran exploiting unrest in the civil war-plagued country to set up a base to attack Israel, as well as transferring missile systems and other advanced arms to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.
“We are watching their actions and watching their words,” Netanyahu added.
A US warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside with Washington saying the jet had dropped bombs near US backed forces and Damascus saying the plane was downed while flying a mission against Islamic State militants.
A Syrian army statement released on Syrian state television said the plane crashed and the pilot was missing. It said the incident took place on Sunday afternoon near a village called Rasafah.
The “flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies … in fighting terrorism across its territory,” the Syrian army said.
“This comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group.”
Russia’s defense ministry said it was suspending coordination with the United States in Syria over so-called “de-confliction zones” after the Americans downed a Syrian government fighter jet.
The ministry said in a statement that, starting Monday, it will track all jets and drones of the US-led coalition west of the Euphrates and treat them as targets.
“Any flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, discovered west of the Euphrates river will be tracked as aerial targets by Russia’s air defenses on and above ground,” the statement warned.
The United States has a standing agreement with Russia, which has been providing an air cover for Syria’s President Bashar Assad since 2015 in his offensive against the Islamic State group, that should prevent in-the-air incidents involving US and Russia jets engaged in operations in Syria.
The Russian defense ministry said that it was suspending the deal after the US military confirmed that it downed a Syrian Air Force fighter jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near US partner forces.
This town abutting the border with Syria once brimmed with agitation for a return to control by Damascus, but over the last several years of civil war to the north and east, and of the strengthening of Iran proxies in that area, has noticed a mysterious decrease in the number of influential Israelis willing to call for restoring Syrian control over the strategic plateau captured in 1967.
In the context of ongoing peace negotiations in the 1990’s between Israel and several neighbors, a number of important figures on Israel’s political left ramped up their vocal support for a deal that might produce a peace treaty with Syria via returning the Golan Heights to the regime of Hafez Assad, father of current President Basher Assad. Third-party talks continued into the current millennium over the possibility of such an arrangement, but Syrian insistence on return of the Golan as a prerequisite for direct negotiations stymied progress. All the while, a small but vocal minority of Israelis continued to demand relinquishing the Golan in the interest of peace and stability.
In the interim, Syria has fragmented, and dozens of Shiite, Sunni, Palestinian, Iranian, Lebanese, and other militias, plus the Syrian Armed Forces and Russian “advisers,” now vie for control of various slices of the once-unified country of 20 million, and the region abutting the Golan has descended into near-chaos. Militias loyal to Iran, which has pledged to destroy Israel, have exerted control over parts of the adjacent territory. For reasons that remain unclear, the Israeli voices that once proclaimed the necessity and justice of restoring Syrian control to the Golan have ceased to trumpet those arguments.
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