Israel then and now shows power of a good defense and a strong wall
What impressed me on this visit was the confidence of the Israeli people. The security was much less oppressive. I barely saw a handful of weapons out in the open during 10 days in the country.
The Israeli military wasn’t present in heavy numbers in the border towns, at least not out in the open. Ashkelon and Sderot were thriving, expanding, growing, with families and lots of children everywhere. No one was concerned about Palestinian terrorists. The walls were working, keeping the killers away from the Israeli people.
I had lunch with a journalist colleague who lives in Jerusalem. He laid out for me the altered facts on the ground in the region over the years and how an effective security wall can rewrite the strategic balance of power.
“The Palestinians are screwed,” he started off. “They have tried suicide vests, car bombs, stabbings, tunnels, rockets, etc. Nothing has worked. They have been opposed by Israeli might at every turn. What do they do now?” he asked.
While standing on the top of a yeshiva in Sderot a few days before I left, I looked out at the Gaza border. This time there were several large plumes of smoke. “Now Hamas is reduced to flying flaming kites to burn Israeli grassland. They are defeated,” my friend said.
Israel will survive this phase of the conflict as well and come out even stronger. In fact, her people will continue to thrive. With President Trump in the White House, the U.S. is once again unambiguously on her side — as it should be.
Take it from one who has just been there: For all the media hand-wringing and pro-Palestinian forces at the U.N. and in Europe, Israel is stronger than ever.
Two months of burning kites from Gaza
So why is the New Israel Fund supporting a group that protests this kind of action?
Across the Israeli political spectrum, there is support for home demolition. And Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, whose job includes approving demolitions, has stated that there is evidence that demolitions are effective at deterring violent attacks.
In addition to its outrageous petition, Hamoked also wasted the Israeli government’s money, because it had to spend funds to defend its position in court.
Hamoked has received more than $720,000 from New Israel Fund donors. These donors include the Leichtag Foundation and Oz Benamram of the law firm White & Case.
Hamoked claims to work “for the enforcement of standards and values of international human rights and humanitarian law.” But Hamoked, using American Jewish donor money, defends the families of terrorists.
As Israel’s State Prosecutor concluded, Hamoked’s “self-presentation as ‘a human rights organization’ has no basis in reality and is designed to mislead.” Shame on the New Israel Fund.
Facing a wave of airborne incendiary attacks from the Gaza Strip, Israel has deployed a system that can spot fire-starting balloons and kites in the sky, track their progress, and then direct firefighters to their landing spots, enabling them to more rapidly extinguish the flames and reduce damage.
Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched hundreds of kites and helium balloons bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of land in southern Israel.
Israeli officials are concerned that if the fire attacks don’t stop — or aren’t foiled — they could push an escalation in violence that would lead to a major military confrontation with terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
The Sky Spotter system, built by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has been in operation along the Gaza border for several days, Hadashot TV news reported Thursday.
Originally developed to counter small drones, Sky Spotter can track the balloons or kites and pinpoint their location, where they are heading, and where they are likely to land. The operators then notify firefighters, who can then try to reach the landing points to put out the flames before they spread.
Burning condoms. We wish we were joking. pic.twitter.com/AhQ0O2BSgY
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) June 21, 2018
President Trump’s long-awaited plan on ending the Arab-Israeli conflict will be further delayed following a flurry of diplomatic activity over the past week.
Critical to the success of Trump’s plan will involve replacing the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as Israel’s negotiating partner over the last 25 years. The PLO has cut its own throat by making it very clear it will have nothing to do with anything Trump proposes.
Trump’s Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt met in New York City on 15 June with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. The White House reported they had a productive discussion about the efforts of the United States to promote peace in the Middle East and to meet humanitarian needs in Gaza.
This UN visit was followed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flying to Amman for a public meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah on June 18 – their first since 2014. Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, General Intelligence Department Director Maj. Gen. Adnan Jundi, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas and Adviser to His Majesty for Economic Affairs Mohamad Al Ississ attended the meeting.
Communiques separately issued by Netanyahu and Abdullah following their meeting differ significantly.
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and his special envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday in Jerusalem, on the final leg of a Middle East tour aimed at promoting the US administration’s as-yet-unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and securing humanitarian relief for the Gaza Strip.
“They discussed the means by which the humanitarian situation in Gaza can be alleviated, while maintaining Israel’s security. They further discussed the continued commitment of the Trump Administration and Israel to advance peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” the White House said in a statement after the meeting.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu expressed his admiration for Trump and the US president’s support of Israel during the meeting.
“The teams discussed advancing the peace process, regional developments and the security and humanitarian situation in Gaza,” the PMO said.
In practice, the hybrid West Bank paradigm — comprising extensive and multifaceted economic and security Israel-PA ties — could serve as a model for a similar relationship between the Hamas state in Gaza and Egypt. The open space between Rafah and El-Arish, which is in the hands of Egypt, can offer the Strip the economic and infrastructure living space it needs.
Such a sea change would of course be entirely dependent on the consent of Egypt, which may not be eager to relinquish even a tiny part of its sovereign territory. Yet it is possible to find creative means that do not necessarily require concessions over sovereignty, and that will grant Egypt substantial benefits (via massive international aid) that may ease its own economic plight.
Likewise, Hamas can hardly be expected to abandon its dream of a state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. But with the internationally supported expansion of the Gaza state into northern Sinai and the attendant economic revival that it is likely to produce, some positive dynamics within the Palestinian population may well evolve.
Open spaces often present unrealized opportunities. Sinai is an opportunity awaiting a comprehensive initiative that would benefit all the peoples of the region.
Mr. Chair, we thank the High Commissioner for his update, and we fully support what he said: “The UN’s raison d’être is the protection of peace, rights, justice and social progress.”
And so today we ask: Is the UN upholding this noble mission?
When the Islamic Republic of Iran, which arrests brave Iranian women for the crime of not wearing a Hijab, is elected to the board of UN Women — the entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls — is the UN upholding its mission?
When in the space of only one year, Saudi Arabia is rewarded for its subjugation of women with a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, then on the Executive Board of UN Women, and just now on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, is the UN upholding its mission?
When President Erdogan’s Turkey, which persecutes human rights activists and throws journalists in prison, wins election to the UN Committee on NGOs — the body that oversees the UN activities of human rights groups worldwide — is the UN upholding its mission?
Who could have anything bad to say about an organization with so lofty a title as the United Nations Human Rights Council?
“Conservatives.” Or so says the New York Times in its June 20 story about the United States withdrawal from the council. “Conservatives have been complaining about the council since its inception in 2006,” Times correspondent Gardiner Harris asserts, before underscoring the purportedly ideological nature of the complaints by pointing to criticism by Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo, both senior members of the Trump administration, and Elliott Abrams, who Harris points out is “a former Republican diplomat.”
Former President George W. Bush (Republican) and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) are also named as critics of the council. And that’s it. No other critics are quoted.
And what do these conservatives say about the UN body? There’s “bias against Israel,” said Abrams. There’s a “disproportionate focus” on the Jewish state, said Haley. It’s a “slanted body,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter. And the administration as a whole, we learn, agrees: “The Trump administration has made clear that it will not countenance the level of criticism and what it describes as slanted resolutions by the Human Rights Council that have historically been directed at the United States and Israel,” the newspaper reports. Even the piece’s title is on message: “Trump Administration Leaves U.N. Human Rights Council.” It’s not the U.S. that is pulling out. It is Trump.
Diplomats say Israel has temporarily reduced its participation in the UN Human Rights Council, days after the United States pulled out.
The diplomats in Geneva, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Israel had “lowered” its participation in the council’s ongoing activities.
Israel was not participating in the council plenary Friday, where its seat sat empty. The diplomats noted that the move was not definitive and could change from day-to-day.
Israeli diplomats have not participated in UNHRC events since a council discussion Thursday on discrimination against women, they said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded the US walkout announced Tuesday. The Trump administration insists the council is biased against Israel.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary general Saeb Erekat on Wednesday criticized the United States for withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying it was advancing “international anarchy”.
Erekat claimed the U.S. move aligned it with “Israel’s colonization of Palestine, rather than the rule of international law and UN resolutions.”
“The Trump administration continues its efforts to promote international anarchy by withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council,” Erekat said in a statement quoted by AFP.
He noted that the move came after the United States failed to “normalize” Israeli “settlement expansion” and “other systematic violations of Palestinian national and human rights.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has adamantly denied that Israel is the target of bias and discrimination within the UN system.
Speaking at a joint press conference on Thursday with visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Lavrov made the claim about Israel in comments concerning the US decision to quit the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.
On Tuesday, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, cited a number of reasons for the move, including the presence of some of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers among the UNHRC’s 47 members, as well as its in-built bias against Israel — the only country to have a permanent agenda item at the council dedicated to its alleged human rights abuses.
According to Lavrov, the charge of bias against Israel in the UN’s policy-making bodies is a fiction. “In regards to the accusations of Nikki Haley against the Security Council in the endless hostility towards Israel, I cannot agree with this,” Lavrov stated. “The Security Council has an obligation to consider reports of the secretary-general on the situation in the Middle East, including the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.”
Oslo: The International Community is positively giddy with the news that Former President Barack Obama is to receive his SECOND Nobel Peace Prize! Nobel Committee spokesperson Lars Olaf addressed the assembled news media earlier today.
“The Nobel Committee is proud to award this year’s prize to Barack Obama for his steadfast work uniting former enemies in the belief that his policies posed a clear and present danger to their respective nations. Mr. Obama’s Iran Policy has managed to bring Israel into a de-facto alliance with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Ten years ago, this would be unthinkable!”
The electrified crowd burst into applause when Mr. Obama strode into the room to accept his prize. “Please excuse my lateness, I was leading from behind…Then again, we are the one we’ve been waiting for.” The Former President continued. “But as much as I am happy to accept this award, the safety of Israel and Saudi Arabia were never affected by my policies. As I told Bibi, it’s just like ObamaCare…..If you like your regional security, you can keep it…….Now is this the part of the ceremony where I bow?”
In addition, many Obama Administration alumnae were on-hand to share in the joy of the occasion, and spoke with the Daily Freier about just what this moment meant for them. Ben Rhodes explained. “I am so proud to be in this honored chamber on this auspicious day. And what amazing acoustics! You can really hear the echo in this chamber!”
Samantha Power was equally joyful. “I am just so grateful to the Nobel Committee for having the courage to cast this vote. I mean, I might have just abstained.”
British Maj. Gen. Orde Charles Wingate’s approach to the liberation of Ethiopia from Italian occupation in 1941 provides a useful model for modern-day intervention in Syria. Rather than hand out money and materiel to local forces, Wingate advocated committing one’s own forces and then allowing local forces to participate of their own accord. In his view, loyalty bought with cash and weapons will always prove temporary.
One of the recurrent arguments against full-scale American intervention in Syria (as well as in Kurdistan) has been the contention that the various rebel forces might prove to be greater regional threats than the murderous, yet contained, Assad regime.
This misconception is anything but new.
Two years ago, Steven Heydemann, a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, wrote in his “Why the United States hasn’t intervened in Syria” that in addition to a “deep cognitive bias against risk” and an overreliance on lessons presumably learned from earlier US interventions, previous administrations failed to appreciate that “Syrian fighters followed resources, not beliefs.”
Indeed, providing significantly increased training and resources to the various Syrian opposition groups has long been championed by US diplomats, albeit to little avail. See, for example, former Ambassador Frederic C. Hof’s 2015 exhortation that the “train and equip” program be put “on steroids.”
Recalling his own experiences as a dissident and “prisoner of Zion” in the USSR, Natan Sharansky urges President Trump to speak publicly about human-rights abuses in North Korea.
In the case of the Soviet Union, it was a combination of external pressure from world powers and internal pressure from dissidents that ultimately brought down the Iron Curtain. By linking their negotiations with Moscow to the latter’s respect for human rights, Western leaders put the regime on notice that they took the wellbeing of ordinary Soviet citizens seriously, and they gave us dissidents the confidence to challenge the regime knowing that they were on our side.
Sadly, the long-suffering people of North Korea are not yet in such a position. Although President Trump’s meeting with Kim was a historic event with potentially dramatic consequences for nuclear disarmament, it is less clear—though no less important—what effect the meeting will have on the dismal human-rights situation inside the hermit kingdom. . . . [C]urrent and would-be dissidents need reassurance that America and other world powers understand their struggle and will defend their basic rights.
It is unfortunate that some of Trump’s subsequent remarks have conveyed the opposite message. In the meeting’s aftermath, Trump said that Kim had proved himself “very talented” in taking over totalitarian rule from his father and averred that the young dictator “loves his country very much.” Even more troubling, he declared that North Koreans love Kim in return, supporting him with “great fervor.” The president may have been attempting to solidify his newfound goodwill with Kim. Yet his comments are likely to have a deeply dispiriting effect on North Koreans. . . .
Border Police on Friday defused a pair of improvised explosive devices planted near Israeli security forces in the West Bank city of Hebron, police said.
The bombs were both discovered near security checkpoints at the Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site, according to police.
One device was found in a yard by a patrol. Border Police sappers destroyed it in a controlled explosion, police said.
During a subsequent scan of the area officers also found a pipe bomb near a checkpoint. It was also defused by sappers, police said.
The discovery of the bombs comes on a week which saw two incidents of improvised explosive devices being thrown at officers at the entrance to the Tomb of the Patriarchs — on both Tuesday and Thursday.
An Israel Hayom review of the some 200 state land tenders featured on the Israel Land Authority website has found that the authority systematically limits tenders for land in Arab communities to “local residents.”
According to ILA policy, in tenders for small communities or communities located in national priority areas, some of the land can be earmarked for existing community members before being offered to the general population. In minority communities, however, up to 100% of land is often earmarked for locals.
Of the 200 current and former tenders Israel Hayom examined, it emerged that in minority communities, tenders for land are limited exclusively to the construction of single-family homes for “locals.” This is true of smaller Arab communities like Deir Hanna, Tuba-Zangariyye, Yanuh-Jat, Kisra-Sumei, but also in the major Arab city of Sakhnin, where the population numbers 30,000.
In contrast, tenders in Jewish communities like Katzir, Poria Illit, Immanuel, Metula and even Savyon are open to any citizen interested in submitting an application to purchase land.
“It’s become safer to demonstrate against Israel than against Abbas or the Palestinian Authority. Israel is at least a country of law and order and they have human rights organizations and a powerful media and judicial system. We can only continue to dream of having something like what the Jews have.” — Palestinian activist.
At the end of the day, Palestinians know that the power struggle between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is not between good guys and bad guys, but between bad guys and bad guys. These bad guys are no different from other Arab dictatorships that enslave and kill their people. Anyone who thinks that Mahmoud Abbas is eager to go back to the Gaza Strip is living in a dream world.
If the Palestinians ever wish to seek a better life, the first thing they need to do is rid themselves of the “leaders” who have destroyed their lives.
Kenyan Social Democratic Party Official on Al-Quds Day: If Possible, We Will Join the Palestinians in the Battlefield https://t.co/sILuqURWTD
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 22, 2018
Hezbollah on Friday aired new footage from the 2006 border attack on Israeli soldiers that sparked the Second Lebanon War.
The footage uploaded to a Twitter account associated with the terror group appears to show the moments after Hezbollah operatives shot and killed Israeli troops patrolling along the border with Lebanon.
The grainy video clip shows an Israel Defense Forces Humvee following the attack that killed three soldiers in July 2006.
Two bodies appear to be lying to the vehicle’s right as Hezbollah men are seen running away from the car. A bomb then goes off inside the vehicle.
The video then goes on to show footage that appears to depict the terrorists fleeing the scene of the attack, both on foot and by car.
לאחר שפרסם בעבר מספר תיעודים מהתקיפה, שחרר ארגון חיזבאללה סרטון נוסף מאירוע חטיפת החיילים גולדווסר ורגב בגבול לבנון ב-2006. בתיעוד החדש, נראית חוליית חיזבאללה מפוצצת את חלקו הקדמי של האמר צה”ל, ולאחר מכן נמלטת מהמקום – ככל הנראה כשגופות החיילים בידיהם@ndvori pic.twitter.com/3YMaNQnpxO
— החדשות (@NewsChannelIL) June 22, 2018
To finance its activities, Hizballah conducts lucrative cocaine and money-laundering operations in Latin America, based primarily in the area known as the Triple Frontier, where the borders of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina meet. Lebanon, where the Iran-backed terrorist group is headquartered, has consistently provided shelter to these activities, as Emanuele Ottolenghi explains:
U.S. policy toward the Lebanese militant group continues to be incoherent. By flexing its muscles against Hizballah while supporting Lebanese state institutions that it has heavily penetrated or fully controls, the White House ends up undermining its own pursuit of the group’s illicit sources of finance.
This contradiction at the heart of American policy is now playing out in Paraguay, where the Lebanese embassy is attempting to block the extradition [to the U.S.] of the alleged Hizballah financier Nader Mohamad Farhat. . . . On May 17, while the U.S. Treasury was announcing new Hizballah designations, Paraguayan authorities raided . . . a currency-exchange house in Ciudad del Este . . . and arrested Farhat, its owner, for his role in an alleged $1.3 million drug-money-laundering scheme. Farhat is alleged to be a member of . . . the branch of Hizballah’s External Security Organization in charge of running overseas illicit-finance and-drug trafficking operations. . . .
The Al-Mustafa community center in the city-state of Bremen in northern Germany is a major hub for raising funds for the EU and US designated terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to a German intelligence report reviewed by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The Bremen intelligence agency’s newly released report in June stated that the “The Al-Mustafa Community center supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, especially by collecting donations.”
The Post uncovered the Shi’ite organization’s bank account–the Bremen-based Sparkasse. The Bremen intelligence agency (the rough equivalent to Shin Bet) said there are approximately 60 Hezbollah supporters in the Al-Mustafa organization and “the Arab-Shi’ite association functions as a point of contact for Shi’ite Muslims in Bremen,especially those from Lebanon.”
The intelligence document did not cite the amount of funds transferred from Hezbollah supporters in Bremen to Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is unclear if Germany is currently engaged in anti-terror finance covering Hezbollah funding streams in Bremen and Germany-wide.
The Iran nuclear deal is in “intensive care” and Tehran is seriously considering withdrawing from it, the country’s deputy foreign minister said Friday.
The Euronews website quoted Abbas Araghchi as saying that while Iran would like to preserve the deal, reached between Tehran and world powers in 2015, it is in need of “serious adjustments.”
The deputy foreign minister told the website that the landmark deal “lost its balance” after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it on May 8 and decided to reimpose economic sanctions.
The deal, spearheaded by the U.S. under the leadership of former President Barack Obama, lifted crippling sanctions from Iran in exchange for curbs on Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
”If the Europeans and other remaining participants of the JCPOA are interested in Iran remaining in the deal, they should compensate [for] the absence of the U.S. and the reimposition of U.S. sanctions,” he said, referring to the pact by the acronym of its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Leading members of Congress are urging the Trump administration to pressure world leaders to ban Iran from accessing international financial systems following revelations the former Obama administration secretly helped Tehran skirt international sanctions to potentially access billions in hard currency, according to a letter sent Thursday to the Treasury Departments.
Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.) are petitioning the Trump administration to urge members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization formed to combat money laundering, to put Iran back on its blacklist as a result of the country’s ongoing support for terrorism.
Iran was taken off the FATF blacklist as part of a package of incentives provided by the Obama administration to Iran in order to help pave the way for the landmark nuclear deal killed by President Trump earlier this year.
The new US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, requested the German government to block Iran’s Mahan Air from flying within German airspace and deny it landing rights in the country because of the airline’s material support for terrorism.
In a meeting last week with a senior delegation from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Grenell said: “Here in Germany, I have asked the German government to support our efforts to stop an airline called Mahan Air from utilizing German airspace and airports. We know that Mahan Air has been used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] as a mode of transport for weapons, resources and fighters, so we’re asking our allies to help us put a stop to it.”
The Trump administration designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in October. Canada’s House of Commons called last week for the IRGC to be classified a terrorist entity. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration and the Bundestag have declined to take action against the IRGC.
“For 70 years, Israel has overcome every challenge it has faced,” Grenell said. “The miracle of Israel is an inspiration to the world. Jewish communities are defined not by their fears of the past, but by their hopes for the future.”
Iran has arrested a human rights lawyer after her client was executed earlier this week, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.
Citing Iran’s Fars News Agency, AFP reported that Zeinab Taheri was arrested, after asserting that her client, Mohammad Salas, who was executed Monday, was innocent. According to Fars, the reason for Taheri’s arrest was that she had made “false statements” and because of “her lies propagated online claiming (the defendant) was not guilty.”
Gholamhossein Esmaili, the chief justice of Tehran, was quoted by Fars as saying, “The female lawyer who recently claimed to be the defendant’s lawyer and who has gone hoarse saying he is innocent was basically not this person’s lawyer.”
Salas, a bus driver and an adherent of the Sufi branch of Islam, was convicted of driving his bus into a crowd of policemen, killing three, during disturbances between Sufis and Iranian authorities in February. While Sufis are not illegal in Iran, many in power consider their beliefs to be a “deviation.”
Human rights organization have condemned Salas’s trial and execution.
When non-Muslims deny Muslim minorities the rights that Muslim-majority countries systematically deny non-Muslim minorities, extremist Muslims in Turkey seem to have the habit of threatening non-Muslim lands with holy war.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who spoke of “a war between the cross and the crescent” because the Austrian government closed down seven mosques, does not seem to bother with any of those visible, documented cases of religious discrimination against non-Muslims and against Islam’s minority sects.
Muslim leaders complain of travel bans on some Muslim nations, but many Muslim countries have travel bans against other Muslims in addition to banning Israelis.
Russian Expert Col. Konstantin Sivkov: If U.S. Fights Turkey, Russia Will Help Turkey; Russian Airbase, S-400 Systems Will Stay in Syria pic.twitter.com/4aVZtRDF1q
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 21, 2018
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