April 18, 2021

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08/12 Links Pt1: Hamas shoots, Israel reacts, and the Qataris pay; Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza after over 60 fires sparked by arson balloons


From Ian:

Hamas shoots, Israel reacts, and the Qataris pay
It’s the same, tired old story: Hamas carries out terrorist acts against the residents of the western Negev so they will pressure the Israeli government to find a solution, which is to send money and projects to Gaza in order to mollify Hamas into stopping its terror campaigns.

This has been Hamas’ tactic since the violent events on the border began in 2018. After failing in all its attempts since Operation Protective Edge in 2014 to convince Arab and western states to help the impoverished, battered Gaza Strip, Hamas moved on to extortion: putting pressure on Israel.

That method has worked well for the past two and a half years. Both the protests and the balloons (both incendiary and equipped with explosives) that came after them prompted the Israeli government to broker the deal for Qatar to send Gaza monthly infusions of cash. At first, it was $5 million, then $10 million, and now it’s $30 million every month. Supposedly, it is earmarked for the poor, but it actually goes to oil the wheels of the enormous machine Hamas has built in Gaza, and some of it – despite what the donors intended – also goes toward terrorism.

But this monthly aid is supposed to end in September. The money for August has already been transferred, and no one knows what will happen next. Will the money keep flowing, and if it does – for how long? Hamas is worried that it will be left without what is nearly the only assistance it receives and has resumed harassing Israel in order to get it to solve the problem. Money is the main issue on the table, but not the only one. There are also a series of infrastructure projects that are very important to Hamas (they range from an industrial zone to an electricity grid), and which Hamas says are being unreasonably delayed. Likewise, the organization hopes that what months of talks for a long-term arrangement couldn’t accomplish, some fraught days of arson balloons and ensuing wildfires will. And if that doesn’t help, Hamas will go back to its nightly disturbances … setting off explosions near western Negev communities to wake up and shake up the residents. It might also reinstate the Friday border protests.

Hamas is also applying more pressure because of the coronavirus crisis. Not only have they lost the ear of the international community, but the 7,000 Gazans who have visas to work in Israel are stuck in Gaza. Israel would be willing to let them in, but Hamas is worried that they will contract the virus and bring it back, causing a mass outbreak. The decision is understandable from a medical perspective, but it carries difficult financial ramifications. Less money is coming into Gaza, and many residents have been left without a livelihood.

Jonathan Tobin: How to help a failed state

The question we should be asking is not only what can be done about Hezbollah and Iran. Rather, we should be contemplating whether there is anything the West can do to fundamentally change these countries.

Much of the world wants to help the Lebanese recover from the port disaster (including Israel, though the Lebanese don’t want their help since the Jewish state is demonized there, as is the case throughout the Arab world). France is taking the lead on this.

But no one is optimistic about a long-term solution for the problems that allowed this tragedy to happen because there are none. There is nothing that would fix Lebanon that wouldn’t involve a foreign takeover and/or reimagining of it in modern and democratic terms. As the United States proved in Iraq, such a task is a fool’s errand.

We can argue that Lebanon, like Syria and Iraq, are breeding grounds for terrorism that cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of bad actors. Still, the idealism that led Americans to believe that these countries can be remade in the West’s image was a fantasy. We can and should wish their peoples well, and send aid if they wish to shake off the ancient quarrels that breed slaughter and have reduced them to penury. Yet they will have to do it on their own. Anyone who criticizes the refusal of most Americans to contemplate more military involvement there is not being fair or realistic.

Israel should be supported in its efforts to ensure that violence in Lebanon and Syria doesn’t spread. And the West should continue sanctioning and isolating Iran so as to prevent it from creating more mischief. And sensible people should support Israel’s refusal to create a Palestinian state that would be just as much of a disaster as Lebanon or Syria.

For too long, Americans have labored under the delusion that we can fix the Middle East. But the slaughter in Syria and Iraq, added to the catastrophe that is Lebanon, should remind us that the only sensible approach to these faux nations is to stay clear of being dragged into their endless and futile internecine conflicts.

Arab News: Who is to blame for Lebanon’s mess?

If any one group is to blame for the mess in what was once the “Switzerland of the Middle East,” it is the Iran-backed Hezbollah. For too long, these agents of doom have hijacked Lebanon’s opportunities, dreams and aspirations. They decide, unilaterally, to drag the country to war, or to be involved in the affairs of other Arab states. They have been given numerous opportunities to lay down their weapons (which have in any case been redundant since Israel’s withdrawal in 2000) and confine themselves to peaceful politics. Instead they stand accused of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005, for an unnecessary war in 2006, and for the takeover of Beirut in 2008, which may have ended in the direct sense but continues indirectly.

Hezbollah backed Bashar Assad when he slaughtered his own people, they backed the Houthi militias in Yemen when they attacked Saudi civilians, and now they are slowly killing off any hope of Lebanon’s survival as a functioning state.

Many Arab and Western countries have offered help this week, but the truth is that aid will be limited while Hezbollah call the shots. No one wants to be in business with agents of Iran, or to contribute to the wealth of a corrupt political elite. Astutely, when a protester on Thursday urged Emmanuel Macron not to give money to politicians, the French president replied that he was there to help only the Lebanese people.

So what can be done? Realistically, by the good people of Lebanon themselves, probably not much. They could protest for years without breaking Hezbollah’s malign grip or ending decades of inept and corrupt governance.

Hezbollah, the root of this cancer, must be isolated, targeted, and removed. The imminent tribunal verdict on Hariri’s assassination may begin
that process, followed by an international “Marshall Plan” for Lebanon conditional on this terrorist group’s eradication.

But let us end on a positive note. If this disaster does not rid the beleaguered Lebanese people of their accursed leadership, nothing will. And the flood of aid already pouring in from countries such as France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE proves that the friends of Lebanon have not given up on it.

Neither should the Lebanese.

Mordechai Kedar: Hezbollah is still in charge in Lebanon

Fatima was the prophet Muhammad’s daughter from his first wife, Khadija. Muhammad married Fatima off to his cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, the founder and first imam of the Shi’ite branch of Islam. One of their sons was Hussein, who was decapitated by the Umayyad Caliph Yazid’s army in Karbala in 680 C.E. To this day, Shi’ites gather annually to perform rituals involving self-flagellation and self-harm to commemorate Hussein’s martyrdom. Fatima, Hussein’s mother, has a status among Shi’ites similar to that of Mary in Christendom.

Shi’ites name important things in their lives after Fatima. One of them is the “Fatima Gate”—not the one between Israel and Lebanon near Metulla, but the one at the Beirut port. This gate has been operated and controlled by Hezbollah for many years. The organization uses it to import and export whatever it wants without going through customs or inspection.

The usual cargo imported through Fatima Gate is missiles, missile parts, explosives and raw materials for the group’s military industry. Fatima Gate is also used by Hezbollah to export drugs, by which it finances some of its operations. This past April, Lebanese authorities seized a shipment of 25 tons of cannabis that was about to be exported from the port.

Now that the Fatima Gate has been destroyed along with the rest of the port, Hezbollah will transfer its smuggling operations to the airport in southern Beirut and probably also to the small ports of Sidon and Tyre. Intelligence agencies all over the world need to focus on these sites, but also on Syria’s airports and on the third “Fatima Gate”: the one between Syria and Lebanon, which is also (to no one’s surprise) controlled by Hezbollah and not by the Lebanese authorities.

Lebanese gov’t resignation: In Hezbollah’s shadow, does it even matter?

So why would it matter if the Hezbollah-picked prime minister leaves? He is the fall guy, the scapegoat, and he will be replaced with some other boring technocrat who will do Hezbollah’s bidding.

There are many young voices in Lebanon who are tired of the aging leadership, the rule by clans and the presence of Hezbollah. But like in other countries, they don’t have much say.

For instance, in Iraq, a young movement also rose up against a similar paradigm. Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned last year after protesters were killed on his watch. But he was ineffectual, and no one will remember him.

The power behind the throne in Iraq is Hadi al-Amiri, the Shi’ite Badr organization leader. Besides him there is the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Ayatollah Sistani. And then, like Lebanon, there are sectarian politics, such as a Sunni speaker of parliament, a Kurdish president and the various Kurdish parties.

Diab is out. Hezbollah is still there. The protesters may be angry, but they won’t have much influence. The region is still led by these men who came of age in the 1950s, men like Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Aoun and Berri.

Consider the fact that the formative years of these men were the 1950s, when Gamal Abdel Nasser ruled Egypt and spoke via radio to the region. Most of them are placeholders, clinging to office but with no real vision or desire to do anything.

There’s no evidence that a new prime minister or a new health minister supported by Hezbollah will do more than the last one. Given the realities of Lebanese politics – where sectarian parties, many run by powerful families, control everything – the chance of change is slim.

US contractor told Lebanese port official of chemicals risk 4 years ago

About four years before the Beirut port explosion that killed dozens of people and injured thousands, a US government contractor expressed concern to a Lebanese port official about unsafe storage there of the volatile chemicals that fueled last week’s devastating blast, American officials said Tuesday.

There is no indication the contractor communicated his concerns to anyone in the US government.

His assessment was noted briefly in a four-page State Department cable first reported by The New York Times.

The cable, labeled sensitive but unclassified, dealt largely with the Lebanese responses to the blast and the origins and disposition of the ammonium nitrate, which ignited to create an enormous explosion. But it also noted that after the August 4 explosion, a person who had advised the Lebanese navy under a US Army contract from 2013 to 2016 told the State Department that he had “conducted a port facility inspection on security measures during which he reported to port officials on the unsafe storage of ammonium nitrate.”

Concerns about the ammonium nitrate were known within the Lebanese government before the deadly blast, officials said. (h/t Zvi)

UN Security Council at odds over peacekeeping operation on Israel-Lebanon border

The United Nations Security Council remains at odds over the way the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon operates on the ground, with the United States backing Israel’s demands for major changes.

At a closed council meeting Tuesday on the mission known as UNIFIL, whose mandate is up for renewal at the end of the month, US Ambassador Kelly Craft stressed the need for a new mandate.

“The US has long reiterated publicly and privately that the status quo in Lebanon is unacceptable,” Craft said in a statement to The Associated Press after the meeting. “Now is the time to empower UNIFIL, end the long complacency, and enable the mission to fully achieve what it was set out to accomplish.”

But Craft faces an uphill struggle because most of the council backs a continuation of the current UNIFIL mandate.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has written to the council calling for a 12-month renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate, stressing the importance of maintaining high troop strength.

UNIFIL was created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops after a 1978 invasion. The mission was expanded after a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah terrorists so that peacekeepers could deploy along the Lebanon-Israel border to help Lebanese troops extend their authority into their country’s south for the first time in decades.

The Mullahs and Hezbollah, Lords of Drug Smuggling

“Presumed to have been issued by Iranian religious leaders, the fatwa reportedly read: We are making drugs for Satan — America and the Jews. If we cannot kill them with guns, we will kill them with drugs.” — Matthew Levitt, Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God, Hurst Publishers, 2013.

According to an FBI report, declassified in November 2008, “Hizbullah’s spiritual leader… has stated that narcotics trafficking is morally acceptable if the drugs are sold to Western infidels as part of the war against the enemies of Islam.”

The international community, the United Nations, and specifically its Office on Crimes and Drugs, remain totally silent on Hezbollah and Iran’s large-scale drug trafficking across the world.

pic.twitter.com/lE6SKMq8bX— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) August 12, 2020

After ToI covers her lashing of Hezbollah, Lebanese blogger says Israel a cancer

A prominent Lebanese blogger has called Israel a “cancer,” in response to The Times of Israel publishing an article about a video in which she criticized Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah in the wake of the deadly Beirut port blast.

“When we criticize Nassrallah it is an interior Lebanese debate. But one thing is obvious we Lebanese will be united around the resist[ance] against any Israeli attack!” Dima Sadek tweeted, linking to the original ToI article on her previous comments.

“Israel is a cancer and the Israeli apartheid system is a shame!” she added.

On Friday, Sadek took to Twitter, where she has over 621,000 followers, publishing a video lambasting Hezbollah as worse for Lebanon than the enemy across the border.

The video addressed the organization’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, after his speech denying claims that Hezbollah was responsible for the port explosion.

“I want to tell you one thing: if you can answer this question for the Lebanese people, then I swear, we will all bow down to you — I will bow down to you if you can answer this question,” she said in the clip. “What has Israel done against us that’s worse than you? Answer me.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: At Least The Beirut Blast Looked Symmetrical by Detective Adrian Monk (satire)

One look at the site of the blast and I could tell you something’s not right: not just the negligence, if not outright, cold malice, behind the stowing of such a quantity of volatile materials in such a crucial facility, of course gives any decent person pause, but note also the fact that the grain solo remained partially standing, an egregious offense. It created a totally unbalanced picture. The blast crater and surrounding devastation, awful as it was for those involved, at least proceeded evenly – in part of the blast radius. Not so the area beyond the silo, which was more shielded from the explosion than the rest of the city. That asymmetry is hard to look at and know there’s nothing you can do about it.

You express horror at my reaction, but here’s the thing: even the casualty figures are a mess, as was the mass of the ammonium nitrate present in the first place. Beyond the blatant disregard of basic safety protocols and standards, if such things even meaningfully exist in Lebanon under Hezbollah, the estimated quantity of explosive material in the facility stood at 2,750 metric tons, not a proper round figure such as 1,000 or 10,000, or even 3,000; the number of deaths quickly climbed past the precise threshold of exactly one hundred and holds, as of this writing, at an egregiously unbalanced 220; and the damage estimates keep fluctuating. To say nothing of the terrible mess the explosion left all over the city.

Here’s what happened: Hezbollah used its control of the Beirut port to import and store the makings for explosives, and failed to protect the people of the city, which is par for the course as it concerns a group that embeds its military facilities, materials, and operations in urban and civilian places. Unless they are removed as an actor in Lebanon, we will see more asymmetrical, uneven casualties and damage, because Hezbollah, as an arm of hegemonic Iran, gives no priority to the wishes and or welfare of the Lebanese. They have to go.

You’ll thank me later.

Israel Will Be Happy With President Biden

On Aug. 9, The New York Times published an article I wrote about Israel and the U.S. presidential race. The bottom line was this mixed message:

As far as Israelis are concerned, Joe Biden has two disadvantages. He is not Donald Trump and he is a Democrat. He is not the candidate they support and he comes from the party many of them distrust. Biden could provide an opportunity for Israel to reemerge as a truly bipartisan cause in America. Biden is a self-proclaimed Zionist and a longtime supporter of Israel who is familiar with both the issues and the main players, and who instinctively understands the country’s security concerns.

My Times articles usually draw a large volume of comments and I often use the Jewish Journal to respond, so here are some of my responses to comments on my latest opinion piece:

Jake Donnelly asked: “Is the ‘for a Democrat’ bar really that low?”

I end my article stating that Biden is as good as Israel can hope for when it comes to a Democratic candidate. Donnelly is right. The “bar” I use for Biden is lower than one I’d want in an ideal world. But we do not live in an ideal world. We have reality to contend with. This reality means that from an Israeli perspective, Biden is as good as it gets, if Israel can pass the uneasy test of having to handle a Democrat.

Israel takes Greece’s side in maritime standoff with Turkey

Israel voiced its support for Greece and Turkey in their dispute over economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Foreign Ministry released a rare declarative statement that “Israel follows closely as tension arises in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Israel expresses its full support and solidarity with Greece in its maritime zones and its right to delimit its EEZ [exclusive economic zone],” the ministry stated.

Soon after the statement was released, Ambassador to Greece Yossi Amrani met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

The message came as Turkey sent naval ships into the eastern Mediterranean this week, saying they are meant to protect a research mission, surveying the continental shelf. The ships are in Greece’s EEZ.

Turkey claimed control of the area under the terms of an agreement it signed with Libya in November 2019, dividing large swaths of the eastern Mediterranean Sea between them, creating friction between Ankara and Athens. Last week, Greece and Egypt signed their own agreement, delineating their EEZs in the eastern Mediterranean, to Turkey’s consternation.

Greece and Israel have become close allies in recent years, working together on energy projects such as the EastMed pipeline, planned to be the longest in the world, which would go from Israel to the Greek mainland by way of Cyprus.

Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza after over 60 fires sparked by arson balloons

Israeli helicopter gunships and tanks attacked at least three sites in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in response to a rash of airborne arson attacks that sparked more than 60 fires in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said its forces targeted “a military base, underground infrastructure and observation posts belonging to the Hamas terror group.”

The Hamas-linked Al-Resalah news said Israeli aircraft fired several missiles at “agricultural land” east of Rafah in southern Gaza, and two Hamas observation posts in central Gaza were shelled.

There was no immediate reports of casualties.

The IDF said the strikes were in response to the arson attacks over the last week and noted that Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the territory.

The strikes came hours after Israeli leaders threatened Gaza’s Hamas rulers that Israel would take “forceful” action if the airborne arson attacks were not brought under control.

Joe Truzman: Palestinian factions resume activity at Gaza border

Other activity added to the growing instability. There were two shootings on Sunday, against Israelis working at the Gaza border and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who responded to the incident occurred without causing injury, added to the growing instability. On Monday, Hamas’ military wing, al Qassam Brigades, conducted a daytime rocket test toward the Mediterranean sea in a show of force against Israel.

Several understandings reached between Israel and Palestinian factions since 2018 have brought about only several months of calm. Demands from Hamas that Israel is unlikely to concede to – such as ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip – have been used as a reason for factions to restart their pressure campaign even though there is no evidence that Israel ever agreed to such a demand in the first place.

Also, Israel’s response has been illogical and sometimes confusing. On Aug. 9, the IDF responded to the burning balloons by attacking an empty Humat al Thagour (al Qassam Brigades border patrol) observation post in the middle of the night. It likely cost the IDF more to fuel the attack helicopters used in the strike than what Humat al Thagour spent in constructing the observation post.

This type of response has developed into an ineffective pattern over the last two years. The IDF has signaled that as long as nobody is killed or injured by the attacks, a lackluster retaliation should be expected. This policy has not deterred the factions since they understand that based on the IDF’s history, it is unlikely they will suffer any serious consequences for their actions.

If the Israeli government is in search for peace that lasts more than a few months, it either needs to fully concede to Hamas’ demands – which will further embolden them to pressure Israel in the future – or rethink its current policy by giving its military more power to deter the factions from conducting this type of low-tech attrition campaign.

Mossad said to ask Qatar to keep funneling cash to Gaza in deescalation effort

The director of the Mossad spy agency has been in talks with a series of senior Qatari officials in an effort to convince Doha to continue making monthly cash transfers to Gaza, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday against the backdrop of a surge in arson balloon attacks on Israel.

With Israel’s approval, Qatar since 2018 has periodically provided millions of dollars in cash to Gaza’s Hamas rulers to pay for fuel for the Strip’s power plant, allow the group to pay its civil servants and provide aid to tens of thousands of impoverished families.

Israel has reportedly done so in exchange for Hamas ensuring calm in the south and as part of efforts to reach a long-term ceasefire with the terror group.

In March, Qatar agreed to a Hamas request to extend the payments for an additional six months. But with those transfers slated to expire next month and Qatar mired in the economic ramifications of the pandemic along withe the rest of the world, Hamas is reportedly concerned that the payments will cease in September. The last transfer was made late last month during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

According to the Kan report, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen has been seeking to convince Qatar to agree to another six month extension of the payments.

Egypt demands end to balloon attacks on Israel

Egypt has demanded that Hamas and other Palestinian groups stop the incendiary balloon attacks on Israel, Palestinian sources said on Wednesday.

Senior Egyptian intelligence officials contacted leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and warned them that the continued attacks on Israel could lead to an all-out military confrontation in the Gaza Strip, the sources said.

Leaders of the two groups may also be invited to Cairo in the coming hours for urgent discussions with Egyptian officials on ways of averting another war in the Gaza Strip, the sources revealed.

The Egyptian officials said that they were also in contact with Israel to calm the situation and prevent a further deterioration in wake of the latest incendiary balloon attacks from the Gaza Strip, a source close to Hamas and PIJ said.

The Hamas and PIJ leaders told the Egyptian mediators that Israel’s failure to ease restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip was the main reason behind the decision to resume the firing of the balloons toward Israel, the source said. “The Egyptians said they would raise the issue with Israel in the coming hour, but demanded that Hamas and all the Palestinian factions instruct the balloon units to immediately stop the attacks on Israel,” the source added.

Amid Surge of Balloon Attacks, Israeli Military Deploys Laser-Defense System on Gaza Border

Amid a surge of in incendiary balloon attacks from the Gaza Strip, the IDF has deployed new interception technology on Israel’s border with the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

According to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, the aerial defense system employs lasers to destroy incoming balloons.

The Algemeiner reported in January that the Israeli Defense Ministry had made a major breakthrough in using lasers to thwart aerial attacks.

The technology enables long-range targeting and stabilization of laser beams, allowing them to intercept targets at great distances.

The new system’s deployment came as dozens of fires were set in the Gaza border area in a single day and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz vowed forceful retaliation.

Tuesday marked the sixth straight day of incendiary balloon attacks from Gaza.

Attempt to smuggle balloons to Gaza thwarted by Tax Authority

The Tax Authority in Ashdod thwarted an attempt to smuggle tens of thousands of balloons into the Gaza Strip last week.

The helium balloons were found in two containers of old clothing items that were headed for Gaza during a customs and security risk assessment operation carried out by the Ashdod customs house in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons and dual-use goods into the Gaza Strip, according to a press release by the Tax Authority.

The issue was handed over to security officials for further handling. The Tax Authority in Ashdod deals with 90% of the imports into the Gaza Strip and is making efforts to stop the import of balloons in order to prevent the balloon terror from the Strip.

Terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip have renewed the launch of incendiary and explosive balloons in recent days. Some 68 fires were reported in areas surrounding Gaza on Tuesday.

Gaza Arson Balloons Ignite Fires Across Israel’s South

Ruthie Blum: Israel’s High Court hits a new low

The ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice against the home demolition of Palestinian terrorist Nizmi Abu Bakr is the latest example of judicial overreach based on political bias. Abu Bakr confessed to and was indicted on charges of murdering 21-year-old Israel Defense Forces’ Staff Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal on May 12.

Ben-Yigal, a member of the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion, was one of the soldiers involved in a raid on the Palestinian Authority-controlled village of Yabad in Samaria to apprehend four suspected terrorists. After completing their mission at around 4:30 a.m. on May 12, the troops began to exit the village on foot.

At this point, approximately one dozen residents of the area began pummeling them with bricks and cinder blocks from surrounding rooftops. Abu Bakr targeted Ben-Yigal, making sure to hit him at an angle from which his protective helmet would be of no use.

The 49-year-old terrorist’s aim at the young Israeli’s head was impeccable. Though Ben-Yigal was administered first aid on the scene, he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa.

He was the first IDF soldier to be killed in action in 2020, and was promoted, posthumously, to the rank of Sgt. First Class. He was killed a mere month before the end of his military service.

Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral some 14 hours later, weeping as his distraught divorced parents eulogized their son separately.

Calling him “mommy’s hero,” his mother, Nava Revivo, wept bitterly as she bid him farewell.

“My eldest child, beloved child,” she wailed. “Your sisters can’t comprehend what’s happening. We will keep your ember burning, your happiness, your love.”

IDF Home Demolition to Deter Terrorists: Does It Work?

Father of slain IDF soldier outraged by high court ruling against demolition of terrorist’s home

Israel says it fended off North Korean hack attempt against defense industry

The Defense Ministry on Wednesday said hackers from a group linked to the North Korean government targeted Israeli defense officials, luring them with fake job offers in a failed attempt to gain access to the databases of the country’s top defense industries.

In a statement, the ministry said the attempted cyber-attack by the Lazarus Group was thwarted and no sensitive information was compromised.

“Members of the group used various hacking techniques, including ‘social engineering’ and impersonation,” and built fake profiles on LinkedIn, said the Defense Ministry.

“The attackers impersonated managers, CEOs and leading officials in HR departments, as well as representatives of international companies, and contacted employees of leading defense industries in Israel, with the aim of developing discussions and tempting them with various job opportunities,” it said.

“In the process of sending the job offers, the attackers attempted to compromise the computers of these employees, to infiltrate their networks and gather sensitive security information. The attackers also attempted to use the official websites of several companies in order to hack their systems.”

It was not immediately clear from the Defense Ministry statement how many officials had been targeted, when the attack took place, and what defense offices had been targeted.

PMW: Fatah’s threat: “The day you extend your hand, we’ll cut it off”

What better way to carry your message across than a catchy tune, right? The PA and Fatah know this and have been using music videos for years to disseminate hate and terror messages to Palestinians.

In this music video produced by Fatah, Abbas’ party threatens Israel that Palestinians will “obliterate” “whoever approaches my land” should Israel apply Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and the Jewish towns in the West Bank. In the words of the song: If Israel “extends its hand” to take Palestinian land, that hand will be “cut off.” Fatah promises to “redeem the land with spirit and blood” and “sacrifice souls” while making the “Zionist suffer.” Fatah added another favorite message as well: That “Palestine” is more “precious” than life itself. These messages are accompanied by scenes of violence and riots:

Lyrics: “Woe to you who intends to annex my land…
The day you extend your hand, we’ll cut it off
We’ll redeem the land with spirit and blood…
We are the owners here
And fire will be answered with fire…
If one shot comes out of here, I will return 100
O [PA Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas, we’ll follow you on the path…
By Allah, if we ignite a war – volcanoes, rage, and storm
O Zionist, prepare to suffer the response
We’ll make your men tremble
We’ll sacrifice our souls, we don’t care…
We’ll make you return defeated
In a defeat that you’ll remember your whole life
Our land is more precious than life
If you attack it, the Day of Judgement will come…
Listen, stinky (i.e., Israeli PM Netanyahu) and Trump…
Whoever approaches my land
We’ll obliterate him before he has time to regret”

Posted text on Facebook page:
Created by the Fatah Movement Commission of Information and Culture”

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, July 9, 2020]

Arafat decided all prisoners in Israeli prisons are “soldiers,” says former PA Minister

Atlantic Council Publishes ‘Analysis’ From Former Turkish Government Official

The Atlantic Council on Tuesday published an analysis from a former Turkish economic official plugging Turkey as an attractive place for American companies to relocate—but did not disclose that the author was a foreign government official until December 2019.

The piece, by Necmettin Kaymaz, a Washington, D.C.-based official who was until late last year a senior official at Turkey’s Investment Office, argues that Turkey’s low-cost labor, among other things, makes it an attractive location for American companies. “Turkey’s positive attributes make it an attractive alternative for multinational companies looking to diversify their supply chains,” Kaymaz writes.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan established the Investment Office in 2018 to promote foreign investment in Turkey, and the office characterizes itself as the “official organization for promoting Turkey’s investment opportunities to the global business community.”

The Atlantic Council identified Kaymaz as an “international investment adviser with over twelve years of experience” rather than as a former Turkish government official who was until seven months ago paid to promote Turkey as a desirable location to do business.

A spokesman for the Atlantic Council said that it would make “an immediate correction to the byline” to note that Kaymaz is a former Turkish government official.

The incident is indicative of the foothold that an array of foreign governments have established in American think tanks. Those governments bankroll think tanks across Washington, D.C., and use them to burnish their reputations by underwriting programming and, in some cases, passing off Turkish propaganda as independent scholarship.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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