May 26, 2020

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12/28 Links Pt1: Hizbullah’s Tunnels Are a Clear Threat to Israel – and the UN Doesn’t Care; Phillips: Who are the real isolationists in America?; Thanks for the Memories, Nikki

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/12/1228-links-pt1-hizbullahs-tunnels-are.html

From Ian:


NYPost Editorial: Hizbullah’s Tunnels Are a Clear Threat to Israel – and the UN Doesn’t Care
Israel will not “accept the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.

Yet it’s the tunnels, all of which were later destroyed, that are of special concern. Built in urban areas, they were surprisingly large and equipped with ventilation shafts and electricity, and they reached at least 80 feet underground. All of them terminated near Israeli population centers.

They appeared designed for use in a future war, when Hezbollah fighters smuggled underground would join operatives infiltrating above ground, backed by missile fire from Syria and Lebanon.

That, as Netanyahu noted, constitutes “a double war crime: It’s targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind Lebanese civilians.” It also violates a 2006 UN resolution requiring Hezbollah to remain north of Lebanon’s Litani River.

This week the Security Council debated the tunnels but took no punitive action. Leaving Israel to counter the menace alone.

Jason Greenblatt: The UN must do better to condemn terrorism

On Dec. 6, the United Nations failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas’s terrorist activities. On Dec. 9, Hamas praised a terror attack that critically injured a pregnant woman Shira Ish-Ran and six other Israelis, calling it “heroic.” On Dec. 12, Shira’s baby, Amiad Yisrael, died as a result of the attack.

The UN General Assembly claims to want peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but it seems to think it can achieve it by defending terrorists. Given the choice between peace and terrorism, the General Assembly has chosen to defend terrorism.

The UN has condemned Israel — a UN member state — hundreds of times. But it has never condemned Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza and terrorizes the people of Israel.

Just a month ago, Hamas fired over four hundred rockets into Israel. It has released hundreds of burning kites and encouraged violent demonstrations. These wanton acts of violence, which have risked the lives of untold numbers of civilians and caused millions of dollars worth of damage, clearly deserve the strongest of condemnations.

On Dec. 6, the United States sponsored a resolution that gave the UN the opportunity to express its condemnation of Hamas for its terrorist activities. The U.S. resolution blames Hamas for firing rockets into Israel — a clear and blatant act of terrorism.

But instead of welcoming the opportunity to denounce terrorism as an indispensable step toward peace, allies of Hamas maneuvered to ensure that the General Assembly maintained its perfect record of silence on Hamas terrorism and chose to side with those who use violence against civilians

Opponents of the resolution altered the rules to require a two-thirds majority — rather than a simple majority — for the resolution to pass. When it came time to vote, a majority of countries voted to condemn Hamas. But 57 countries were willing to stand in support of terrorism and that was enough for the resolution to fail.

Run or block it? IDF film shows Lebanese reactions as cement pours out of tunnel

The IDF on Friday released footage of what it said were people in the southern Lebanese village of Kafr Kila reacting when an unspecified “liquid,” pumped by the Israeli military into a Hezbollah attack tunnel, flowed out of the opening and into the street.

Hebrew-language media reported that the IDF used cement to block the tunnels, and that some of the individuals seen in the footage responding to its flow at their end of the tunnel were members of the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

In the film, some people can be seen fleeing from the thick substance, while others try to remove it using a bulldozer or stop the spread of the viscous material by dumping rocks to seal the area.

The IDF on Thursday said it had destroyed all of the attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Kafr Kila into the northern Israeli border town of Metulla, but was still tackling such tunnels in other border areas.

The army released photos and video footage that it said proved “without a doubt” that the tunnels were dug from Lebanon into Israel. It also revealed some of its methods to seal the passages — including pumping the “liquid” into the tunnels, which, in some cases, gave away the location of the tunnels’ openings in civilian areas of southern Lebanon.

Melanie Phillips: Who are the real isolationists in America?

The important thing—the overwhelmingly important strategic aim which, unlike his critics at home and abroad, Trump really gets—is to defeat the Iranian regime.

Which is why his resumption of sanctions is so important. And which is why the Senate vote to end America’s military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war against Iran in Yemen, a resolution moved by the Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, was this month’s really stupid American isolationist gesture.

Lawmakers of both parties want to punish Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Mohammed, whom they hold responsible for the murder of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Aside from this hypocritical moral grandstanding, the most ignorant comment came from Republican Sen. Mike Lee who said: “… we have been led into this civil war in Yemen, half a world away, into a conflict in which few Americans that I know can articulate what American national security interest is at stake.”

Well, someone should give Sen. Lee and his colleagues a map of the world pretty damn quick. For if Iran takes Yemen, it will not only encircle Saudi Arabia by water but will gain access to overland routes through Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. It would thus threaten not just Saudi Arabia but also Egypt, Jordan and Israel, and become as a result a vastly greater danger to America and the West.

Yet while the air is thick with outrage over Trump’s decision to withdraw 2,000 soldiers from Syria, the Senate’s decision to end support for Saudi Arabia in defending the West’s crucial security interests in Yemen has been received with little more than a passing shrug.

The Trump administration lobbied intensively against the Senate’s resolution. That’s because the Trump administration understands America’s vital strategic interests in a land thousands of miles away. But hey, it’s Trump who’s the dangerous isolationist, right?

Maybe his decision over U.S. troops in Syria is a mistake. But for the most morally bankrupt isolationism and strategic incoherence about defending America and the West, we need to look elsewhere.

Crafting a Constructive Gaza Policy

Hamas continues to seek missiles to bombard Israeli civilians and to construct cross-border tunnels to perpetrate atrocities. That’s the reason Israel must maintain its blockade and has undertaken three major military incursions into Gaza over the last 10 years.

Hamas continues to transform Gaza’s cities into battlefields by positioning military headquarters, weapons caches, and rocket launchers near, in, or under civilian buildings. That’s the reason the fighting has injured and killed Palestinian noncombatants.

Hamas continues to foment hatred of Israel through the media and schools, to persuade Gazans that what is now Israel rightfully belongs to them and will someday, through force of arms, be theirs. That’s the reason Israel must safeguard its borders and prevent its territory from going up in flames.

Were it not for Hamas’ acts of war, Gazans would not face today an appalling scarcity of electricity and potable water; rivers of untreated sewage polluting beaches and ground water and spreading parasites; and a decimated economy.

The Center for a New American Security and the Brookings Institution published a report this month, “Ending Gaza’s Perpetual Crisis: A New U.S. Approach.” It calls for stabilizing Gaza through humanitarian relief and reintegrating it into the Palestinian Authority in order to establish an independent state through “vigorous diplomacy.”

Yet despite its ambition to break with the mistakes of the past, the report embodies the old approach. First, by offering anodyne formulations about the “cycle of violence” that blur the difference between Hamas’ desire to destroy Israel and Israel’s desire to be left alone, the report obscures the abiding sources of Gaza’s humanitarian crisis.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Will Abbas be able to hold new parliamentary elections? Hamas: We’re confident we’ll win again

Two days before Israeli government coalition leaders announced that general elections will take place on April 9, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a statement that was hardly noticed by many in Israel.

Speaking at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah last Saturday, Abbas said that the Palestinians, too, will be heading to the polls.

“The Palestinian Constitutional Court has decided to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and call for parliamentary elections within six months,” Abbas said. The decision, he added, will soon be published in the Palestinian official gazette.

But while the decision to hold early elections in Israel has engendered excitement and competition among political parties, politicians and pundits, the initiative to hold elections for the Palestinian parliament has intensified tensions between Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction and Hamas.

The Fatah-Hamas rift, which reached its peak with Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, is the main reason why Palestinians have not been able to hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.

Abbas’s four-year-term in office expired in 2009, while the mandate of the PLC ended a year later. In light of the continued power struggle between the two rival parties, the prospect of holding new elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is slim to none.

Hamas leaders say they are fully confident that their group would win in any election, provided it’s held in a fair and free climate.

EU, France: Israel’s settlements endanger the two-state solution

The European Union and France lashed out Thursday at Israel for its advancement and approval this week of 2,191 new settler homes in the West Bank.

“All settlement activity is illegal under international law. It undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” the EU said.

Some 61% of those units are slated to be built in isolated settlements, located beyond the route of the security barrier.
The EU, however, considers all Jewish building over the pre-1967 lines to be illegal, and does not distinguish between isolated settlements and the blocs.

The Land Authority published tenders for 641 settler homes on Thursday, bringing the total of tenders for the year to 3,808, according to the Left-wing group Peace Now.

That’s a 20% increase over last year’s total of 3,154.

The combined number of tenders published over the last two years, since US President Donald Trump came into office totals 6,962. It’s almost as many as the 6,806 tenders published from 2008 to 2016.

Netanyahu lands in Brazil, will push president-elect on Jerusalem embassy move

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed what he said would be a “new era” in ties with “great power” Brazil ahead of meeting Friday with the Latin America’s country’s incoming far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro.

Netanyahu also stressed that he would press Bolsonaro on an announcement — since walked back — that Brazil would follow the United States in moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“The president-elect (Bolsonaro) announced he would (transfer the embassy). You can be certain I will speak with him about that in our first meeting,” Netanyahu, speaking Hebrew, told reporters on his flight before it landed in Rio de Janeiro.

Netanyahu was greeted at the airport by Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella and Brazilian MP Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of the president-election, who last month told US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner the embassy move was a question of “when, not if.”

Labor must match Morrison on Israel

As the year winds down, the Coalition and the ALP have ramped up discussion on Israel and the Palestinians.

Each assert they have the same goal – a two-state solution where both Israelis and Palestinians live in safety and security.

There is also an acknowledgement that the status quo cannot continue.

In a two-day period earlier this month, 460 rockets were fired indiscriminately into Israel from Gaza. Israel retaliated against military targets in the beleaguered Gaza Strip. Hamas claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack on the West Bank this month in which a young woman, who was 30 weeks’ pregnant, was shot in the stomach, killing the baby.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to name children’s sports events after those who have killed Israeli civilians. Since 2014, the PA has refused all peace talks, and there have been no serious talks between it and Israel since 2008.

Despite agreement on the need for action, the paths being pursued by the two major political parties are quite different.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison simply acknowledged reality in announcing that Australia would officially recognise that West Jerusalem, where Israel’s government is located and which has been Israel’s capital since 1949, is in fact the site of Israel’s capital.

Palestinian Mission Takes Down Pro-Terror Post After Rebuke from Germany’s Foreign Ministry

The Palestinian Mission to Berlin took down a pro-terror Facebook post after receiving a rare rebuke from Germany’s Foreign Ministry, Benjamin Weinthal reported for The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

The mission removed a Facebook post featuring the image of hijacker Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization. The picture was accompanied by a caption with the phrase, “Resistance is not terrorism.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry explained, “We have made it clear to the Palestinian Mission that we need clarification on the Facebook post, and the glorification of terrorism and a glorification of Lufthansa kidnapper Leila Khaled are completely unacceptable.”

The rebuke of the Palestinian Mission came after Filipp Piatov, a reporter for the newspaper Bild, reported on the post praising Khaled.

Khaled was a member of a PFLP cell that hijacked TWA flight 840 in August 1969. She also participated in the attempted hijacking of an El Al flight a year later.

The rebuke issued by Foreign Ministry came just days after Germany decided to stop funding foreign organizations that promote anti-Semitism.

Incendiary balloon lands near kindergarten in Gaza border community

Police said Friday that a suspected incendiary device attached to a number of balloons was discovered in a community close to the Gaza border, and that sappers were called to the scene.

Hebrew-language media reported that the suspected device landed close to a kindergarten.

The discovery comes after a lull of several weeks for the airborne arson attempts from the coastal enclave, and hours ahead of threatened renewed violence at the border by terror groups during Friday protests.

Police reiterated a call for the public to be extremely careful around any such objects — balloons and kites — as they could contain dangerous explosive or inflammatory material.

Anyone who finds such an object should report it to the police call center and to leave handling of the device to sappers, the statement said.

Gaza protesters have launched hundreds of incendiary kites and balloons into Israel, sparking fires that have destroyed forests, burned crops, and killed livestock. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials. Some balloons have carried improvised explosive devices.

Friends of Ofra terror victim who lost baby urge UN condemnation

Several students from the Orot Israel College in Samaria on Thursday called on the United Nations to condemn a Dec. 9 terrorist attack that left one of their classmates seriously wounded and also caused her baby’s death.

Seven Israelis were wounded in the ‎‎shooting, which took place at a bus stop near the ‎Samaria settlement of ‎Ofra, including 21-year-old Shira Ish-Ran‎, who was ‎‎30-weeks pregnant at the time.

Her baby was delivered via ‎emergency cesarean ‎section but the ‎newborn – named Amiad Yisrael – died three days later.

Through outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, Ish-Ran’s friends send a letter to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres demanding he denounces the attack.

The letter says Guterres, who has yet to comment on the shooting, “must condemn the terrorists who cut short the life on an unborn baby, killed in his mother’s womb solely for being Jewish.”

Khaled Abu Toameh: Will Abbas be able to hold new parliamentary elections?

Two days before Israeli government coalition leaders announced that general elections will take place on April 9, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a statement that was hardly noticed by many in Israel.

Speaking at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah last Saturday, Abbas said that the Palestinians, too, will be heading to the polls.

“The Palestinian Constitutional Court has decided to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and call for parliamentary elections within six months,” Abbas said. The decision, he added, will soon be published in the Palestinian official gazette.

But while the decision to hold early elections in Israel has engendered excitement and competition among political parties, politicians and pundits, the initiative to hold elections for the Palestinian parliament has intensified tensions between Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction and Hamas.

The Fatah-Hamas rift, which reached its peak with Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, is the main reason why Palestinians have not been able to hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.

Abbas’s four-year-term in office expired in 2009, while the mandate of the PLC ended a year later. In light of the continued power struggle between the two rival parties, the prospect of holding new elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is slim to none.

Hamas leaders say they are fully confident that their group would win in any election, provided it’s held in a fair and free climate.

Asia’s Iran Crude Imports Hit More Than Five-Year Low In November as Sanctions Bite

Imports of Iranian crude oil by major buyers in Asia hit their lowest in more than five years in November as US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports took effect last month, government and ship-tracking data showed.

China, India, Japan and South Korea last month imported about 664,800 barrels per day (bpd) from Iran, according to the data, down 12.7 percent from the same month a year earlier.

South Korea cut imports to zero for a third month in November while Japan followed suit. India’s November imports are down about 40 percent from October, the data showed.

Asia’s Iranian oil imports are set to rise from December after the United States granted eight countries waivers from sanctions against Iran’s oil exports for 180 days.

China’s Iranian oil imports rebounded to close to 390,000 bpd in November, up from about 247,000 bpd in October, the lowest in more than five years.

Sinopec, Tehran’s biggest crude buyer, resumed Iran oil imports shortly after China received its waiver in November while China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will restart lifting its own Iranian oil production in December.

Thanks for the Memories, Nikki

The Washington Free Beacon bids a fond farewell to departing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

For two years, she faced down Israel-bashing, led a global sanctions regime against North Korea, stood tall against the Russians, and provided a strong voice of moral, forceful American leadership in the world.

A former South Carolina governor believed by some critics to be too inexperienced in foreign policy to navigate the difficult terrain of the U.N., she proved doubters wrong during her widely praised tenure.



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