Friday, May 25, 2018

Strike on Syrian air base said to target Hezbollah arms depot

From Times of Israel, 24 May 2018, by JUDAH ARI GROSS:

... Israel most likely behind Thursday night attack ...missiles fired at airfield near Homs, previously reported hit by IDF on May 10

The al-Qusayr military air base in western Syria. (Google Earth)
The al-Qusayr military air base in western Syria. (Google Earth)

A military air base in western Syria was hit in an airstrikes Thursday night, sparking large explosions, which were heard throughout the area..

The targets of the strike were munitions depots belonging to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, located on an air base south of the city of Homs...

The Israel Defense Forces refused to comment on the attack.

The Daba’a air base, also known as al-Qusair air base, and the surrounding area are known to be a stronghold for Hezbollah and Iran-backed militias. It was also reportedly struck by Israel in skirmishes against Syrian and Iranian forces on May 10.

...Conflicting accounts emerged about the exact number of missiles fired at the Syrian air base. Various Syrian and Lebanese outlets reported that it was between two and eight.

...Earlier on Thursday night, Lebanese media outlets reported that Israeli jets were flying through the country’s airspace.

Syrian media outlets reported that S-200 anti-aircraft missiles were fired during the attack on the air base.

On Wednesday, a senior Israeli Air Force official issued a stern warning to Syria, telling the country that if its air defense systems fired on Israeli jets, they would be targeted in return.

“All batteries that fire on Israeli aircraft will be destroyed. All batteries that do not fire on us will not be destroyed,” the senior officer told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Thursday night’s reported airstrike came two weeks after a major skirmish between Israel, Iran, and Syria. On May 10, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s al-Quds Force launched 32 rockets at Israel’s forward defensive line on the Golan Heights border, Israel said. Four of them were shot down; the rest fell short of Israeli territory. In response, over the next two hours, Israeli jets fired dozens of missiles at Iranian targets in Syria and destroyed a number of Syrian air defense systems.

For years, Israel has been waging a quiet campaign against Iranian interests in the country. That campaign came to light and stepped up considerably in February, when an Iranian drone carrying explosives briefly entered Israeli airspace before it was shot down and Israel launched a counterattack on the T-4 air base in central Syria from which the drone had been piloted.

During the aerial bombardment, an Israeli F-16 was shot down by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile, prompting the air force to launch a second round of strikes, this time against Syria’s air defenses.

Last month, Israel conducted another strike on the T-4 air base to destroy a recently delivered Iranian advanced anti-aircraft system, killing at least seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including a senior officer.

Iran immediately vowed revenge, and the Israeli military has set out to thwart those attempts at reprisal by targeting Iranian weapons systems in Syria, in an effort dubbed “Operation Chess.”

Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not allow Iran to set up a permanent military entrenchment in Syria and is prepared to take military action to prevent such a presence. Recent weeks have also seen the IAF stepping up its efforts to keep Iran from carrying out reprisals against Israel for an airstrike on April 9, according to Israeli officials.
“...we constantly have to be actively defending the State of Israel,” the officer said. “This is the only thing preventing offensive measures by Iran.”

A moment before an Israeli missile destroys a Syrian SA-22 air defense system on May 10, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

In addition to conducting military operations to thwart Iranian efforts, the army this week also appeared to be turning to public threats, both overt and somewhat more subtle, against Iran and its allies.

On Tuesday, IAF chief Amikam Norkin revealed that Israel had used its F-35 fighter jets to conduct airstrikes in Syria, making it the first country in the world to use the fifth-generation aircraft operationally, a hint to Iran of Israel’s operational capability.

Norkin also made the announcement while standing in front of a picture of the stealth aircraft flying in the skies over Beirut — which Iran’s main proxy, Hezbollah, calls home.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel “will not let Iran establish military bases in Syria, and we will not let Iran develop nuclear weapons...” ...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Israel Fund calls on UN to investigate Israel


The NIF's actions vis a vis the recent riots at the Gaza fence prove it is hostile to the State of Israel so that anyone who donates to that organization is damaging the Jewish State.

...The Hamas Facebook page infamously instructed "demonstrators" to take knives and guns with them to breach the fence and to kill Israelis once they have stormed across. Of the 60 Gazan rioters killed, over 50 have been proven to be Hamas terrorists.

Against this backdrop, Nicky Haley, The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations stated at the UN Security Council on Tuesday that “no country would act with greater restraint than Israel” – adding that Hamas is responsible for the deaths and injuries. 

Addressing the delegates, she said: “Let’s remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy.” She added: “This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.”

While reports from Gaza falsely suggested the majority of protesters were unarmed, Ms. Haley called attention to the tactics employed, which included the use of Molotov cocktails attached to kites.

The Trump administration noted Monday that the deaths of protesters along the border are “tragic” but ultimately the responsibility of Hamas, not the IDF.  “We believe that Hamas as an organization is engaged in cynical action that is leading to these deaths,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters. “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas.” Israel has a right to defend itself and its borders, he said.

So where is the New Israel Fund (NIF) when it comes to these Palestinian Hamas terrorists? 

A press release this week from seventeen “human rights” organizations largely funded by the NIF, including Adalah, B’Tselem, Hamoked, Machsom Watch and others called on “Israel to immediately refrain from the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians,” while blaming Israel.

Their press release claims: 
“The Israeli government has described the events as an assault on Israel's sovereignty, while failing to address the reality that has led to the mass protest – 50 years of occupation and over 10 years of closure. Daily life for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip is unbearable: Basic infrastructure is in ruins, the economy is stunted, unemployment has reached an all-time high, and health services are in danger of collapse. For years, residents of Gaza have lived on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.
Children in Gaza, who make up the majority of the population, are still struggling with the trauma of previous rounds of violence and war, terrified of another attack and more death and destruction. Time and again reality demonstrates that there is no military solution to the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Instead, Israel must stop the shooting and killing and immediately lift the closure, thereby safeguarding the lives and human rights of the people of Gaza and the region as a whole.”
According to the logic of the New Israel Fund, violence and attacks are justified. It is of no consequence that Hamas attempts to import weapons by sea is the reason for the blockade and that Israel allows far more than sufficient goods into Gaza by convoy, knowing that the cement for rebuilding homes and schools is being used to dig terror tunnels. And that the people of  Gaza voted  Hamas into power.

Further, New Israel Fund backed organizations sent an urgent letter to the United Nations Security Council decrying the “ongoing and imminent escalation of violence across the occupied Palestinian territory, and in the Gaza Strip specifically”, where organizations including Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel emphasize that “[o]ver the past seven weeks, Israeli occupying forces have excessively used force to suppress the Great Return March in the Gaza Strip, willfully targeting and killing protected persons. Since the mass protests began, the Israeli military has fired live ammunition from snipers, used plastic-coated steel bullets, and launched tear gas grenades from drones.”

The organizations called upon the United Nations Security Council member states “to take immediate and concrete action to protect civilians and bring Israel’s unlawful closure of Gaza to an end. Specifically, we ask you to:
"Convene an emergency Security Council session to address the urgent situation in the Gaza Strip and the unlawful conduct of the Israeli occupying forces;
"Demand that Israel take concrete action to immediately lift its unlawful closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, and cease all forms of collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian population therein;
"Implement all options to protect Palestinian civilians and ensure that Israel refrains from resorting to force, including lethal force, against unarmed civilian protesters;
"Establish an independent and transparent investigation into the Israeli occupying forces’ use of live fire and snipers and the resulting killings and injuries of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 30 March 2018.”
The ...organizations further emphasized that the “Security Council has failed to take concrete steps to lift the unlawful closure and protect the Palestinian population in Gaza” and that this ”lack of meaningful international action has pushed Gaza to the brink of collapse and has given Israel a green light to further breach international law, including the commission of war crimes, with full impunity.”

The letter concluded by calling upon the United Nations Security Council as“Palestinians mark 70 years since the Nakba…  to act on its responsibility by ensuring Palestinians’ demands are finally heard and their rights realized, holding perpetrators accountable, and delivering victims their rights and effective remedy.” In a time of war what would one call these activities?

There’s a bill pending in the Knesset which calls for all governmental cooperation with the New Israel Fund to end. It must pass – as must all American donors who stand with Israel stop giving money to the NIF.

As Education Minister Naftali Bennett has said, The New Israel Fund must be boycotted – as Birthright Israel boycotts NIF – noting that he would “boycott whoever persecutes Israeli soldiers,” and “not apologize for it.”

Bennett went on: 
“Members of the New Israel Fund, listen carefully: Whoever harms, slanders and persecutes Israeli soldiers are not my brothers. The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes, of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the UN and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal.”
Shame on The New Israel Fund. They continue to openly support a boycott of the State of Israel and are hostile towards the Jewish State as it is faced with violent terrorist hordes who vow to destroy it.

The Truth About Hamas and Israel

From WSJ, 20 May 2018, by Ronen Manelis:

Dozens of Palestinians died to further the terror group’s lies—and the Western media ate it up.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri addresses the media in Gaza City, 2015.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri addresses the media in Gaza City, 2015. 
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Sami Abu Zuhri is the spokesman for the extremist group Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization funded by Iran. Hamas controls Gaza and has killed innocent Israeli, American, Brazilian, Kenyan, British, French and Chinese civilians. As chief intelligence officer of the Israel Defense Forces’ Gaza division from 2012-14, I came to know Mr. Abu Zuhri and other Hamas spokesmen from a distance.

Their modus operandi is simple: Lie. 
Their lies support the stated goal of Hamas: the delegitimization and destruction of Israel.

For weeks the international media has reported on violence on the border between Gaza and Israel. Hamas has continued to lie to the world, which is why their rare acknowledgments of truth are especially revealing.

Hamas spokesmen raced to the press last week to lament the death of innocent civilians. But a senior Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, said in a May 16 interview with a Palestinian TV station: 
“In the last round of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas.”
Hamas itself has confirmed that 80% of those killed in their violent riots last Monday were members of a terrorist group, not innocent civilians. Several more of the fatalities were claimed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. On May 13, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, said in an interview with Al Jazeera: 
“When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public.” 
You can trust Hamas only when they admit to their lies.

The Hamas spokesmen orchestrated a well-funded terrorist propaganda operation. Behind the theatrics was a plan that threatened Israel’s border and civilians. Hamas provided free transportation from throughout the Gaza Strip to the border for innocent civilians, including women and children. Hamas hired them as extras, paying $14 a person or $100 a family for attendance—and $500 if they managed to get injured. Hamas forced all of their commanders and operatives to go to the border dressed as civilians, each serving as a director of an area—as if to direct their own stage of the operation.

The audience was the international media. Hamas gave anyone with a video camera front-row access to the show and free Wi-Fi. The IDF had precise intelligence that the violent riots were masking a plan of mass infiltration into Israel in order to carry out a massacre against Israeli civilians. Hamas called it a “peaceful protest,” and much of the world simply fell for it.

The idea that this was a peaceful protest is the biggest lie of all, because the basic tenets required for a protest in a democracy like the U.S. or Israel do not exist in Gaza. Under Hamas’s control, there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of religion, no freedom of the press. There can be no such thing as a peaceful protest in Gaza, only gatherings organized, sanctioned and funded by Hamas. Calling this a protest isn’t fake news, just fake.

In multiple assaults on the border this spring, Hamas has used machine guns, Molotov cocktails, airborne improvised explosive devices and grenades. Hundreds of Gazans have tried to blow up or tear down the fence between Gaza and Israel, with the intention of infiltrating our sovereign territory and reaching innocent Israelis who live minutes from the border.

On April 6 the Hamas political leader, Yahya Sinwar, stated: “We will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies.” On Facebook Hamas posted maps for their operatives showing the quickest routes from the border with Israel to Israelis’ homes, schools, and day-care centers near the border. Does that sound like a peaceful protest to you?

Facing the dangers posed by cowardly terrorists who disguise themselves as civilians, IDF soldiers acted with courage and restraint, following strict rules of engagement to ensure minimum civilian injury and loss of life while still protecting the border. As part of Hamas’s propaganda operation, hundreds of Gazans were injured last week and several dozen died, most of whom were Hamas operatives. None of this violence had to occur, but it was the violence that Hamas instigated and orchestrated so that the headlines and pictures would reinforce the lies that the Hamas spokesmen had planned.

Hamas can lie—to the world, to Palestinians and to their own commanders and operatives—but I am proud that the IDF will never lie or use Israeli civilians or soldiers as pawns. Some of Israel’s greatest friends might have preferred that we had looked better in the media this past week, but between vanity and truth, the IDF always chooses truth. It is that morality that sustains the IDF. The uniformed professional soldiers of the IDF may not photograph well compared with terrorists disguised as civilians—but we are honest about what we are and what we say. As the IDF spokesman, if I cannot source and cite material, I will not allow it to be published. I will not release any statement if the facts are in doubt.

Some in the media helped Hamas by publishing its lies rather than the facts. Hamas achieved negative media coverage about Israel after their first violent riot, on March 30, the first day of this propaganda operation. Hamas could have then claimed a propaganda victory, stopped the violence, and prevented many deaths. But for Hamas, lies are more important than lives.

If in order to win the international propaganda war I need to lie like Hamas, then I prefer to tell the truth and lose. The IDF will win where it matters—protecting our civilians in the face of terror. The soldiers of the IDF won this week by keeping Israeli families safe and by stopping Hamas from accomplishing its stated goals.

Even more than the lying, the true difference between Mr. Abu Zuhri and me is that he goes to sleep every night wishing for the destruction of my country and the death of my children. I go to sleep at night hoping for a better life for his children as well as mine. And that’s the truth.

*Brig. Gen. Manelis is the spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Don't be fooled by Hamas

From the JC, 17 May 2018, by Richard Kemp*:


...Those who claim the IDF should have acted differently are ignorant or malign — or both
The IDF patrolling the Israeli side of the border with Gaza on Monday (Photo: Getty)
The IDF patrolling the Israeli side of the border with Gaza on Monday (Photo: Getty)

It’s hard for people in Britain and Europe to understand what has been happening on the Gaza border. Most can recognise rockets fired at civilian communities and attack tunnels dug into kibbutzim for mass murder as acts of war by Hamas terrorists — even those whose default setting is to blame the Jewish state.

But Hamas has succeeded in portraying their latest aggression against Israel as peaceful demonstrations in support of a so-called ‘right of return’ and the world has been horrified by what they’ve been told is an Israeli massacre of innocents.

Don’t be fooled. Like the rockets and the tunnels, these mobs — including armed terrorists — have been mobilised by Hamas for one purpose: to force the IDF to respond with lethal force, killing as many Palestinians as possible.

The reason? To bring down upon the State of Israel international outrage, condemnation and isolation — exactly the same as in the last three Gaza conflicts.

Those who claim the IDF should have acted differently are ignorant or malign — or both.

This week I was on the border with IDF commanders, snipers and observers. As the British Army would in such circumstances, they used graduated force, including non-lethal weapons, and only as a last resort opened fire.

I was a soldier for 30 years, commanding troops in combat zones around the world. Watching the IDF in action I dug deep into my military knowledge and experience to find another answer to the horrific challenge they faced.

There isn’t one that would work.

And none of the politicians or armchair experts in human rights groups, the UN, EU or the media have come up with any viable solution despite their vehement criticism from air conditioned offices of the men facing the heat on the front line thousands of miles away.

The Hamas-organised crowds were hell-bent on breaking through the border fence. Had the IDF allowed the fence to be breached, they would have surged through in their thousands. Using their Google maps showing routes from the border, they would have dashed for pre-designated villages, intent on mass slaughter.

Yes, the IDF would have stopped them — but to do so they would have had to kill many times more than have been killed already.

The Jewish community in Britain must not succumb to the hysteria demanded by Hamas and stoked by a predominantly anti-Israel media which has the world howling in outrage as the Gaza terrorists again and again jerk the strings.

Of course, we can only be horrified by the heart-breaking death toll on the Gaza border in the last six weeks and especially on Monday. But those of us who remain sober know this has been directly caused by Hamas and their Iranian paymasters.

At the Gaza border, I met five officers and four soldiers from North London. With their brothers in arms from Israel and around the world, these young people were risking death every minute of the day to stand between innocent men, women and children in villages like Nahal Oz and the bloodthirsty hordes desperate to butcher them.

These fine, courageous soldiers are your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. They would no more indulge in an orgy of unnecessary killing than you or I would. Do not believe the lies that are told about them.

There is another reason you must stick up for them and the Jewish state in this dark hour. Those who falsely condemn Israel play into Hamas’s hands, fuel their terrorism, encourage their use of human shields and contribute to the death and bloodshed.

Standing up for the IDF is also standing up for innocent Palestinian civilians so betrayed, exploited and sacrificed by their leaders.

If the Jews won’t find the courage to do that, who will?

*Retired colonel Richard Kemp commanded British armed forces in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hamas Incited Riots Leave Dozens Dead in Deadliest Day in Gaza Since 2014

From The Israel Project, 15 May 2018:

Over 50,000 Gazans participated in Hamas-led riots along the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday. In the chaos of events, and in response to blatant violations of Israel’s sovereignty, Israel was forced to defend her border, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinian rioters. The death toll rose to 60 overnight, of which 24 so far have been confirmed as members of known terrorist organizations.
It was the deadliest day since the start of the weeks-long Palestinian riots and coincided with the inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
During the riots, which took place on 13 different locations along the border, rioters hurled firebombs and stones at Israeli troops, set hundreds of tires ablaze, and tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the riots. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released videos and images showing rioters setting fire to the border fence, shooting at soldiers, and trying to breach the fence to infiltrate into Israeli territory.
Israel was bracing for a second day of violent riots as Palestinians commemorate “Nakba Day” to mark the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Riots, however, dwindled down on Tuesday with only 4,000 participants gathering at the border.
The full responsibility for the deaths that occurred lies solely with Hamas, the terrorist group which exercises complete control over the Gaza Strip.
At an emergency meeting at the U.N. on Tuesday, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said the riots at the border had nothing to do with inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem: 
“...the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location,” Haley said.
Joshua S. Block, CEO and President of the Israel Project said: 
“Hamas is a cynical, murderous terror organization, bent on Israel's complete annihilation at the expense of their own civilian population. Hamas leaders are inciting the population – which deserves clean water, adequate health care, plenty of electrical energy, and a bright future – against the IDF and gets them killed.” He added: “True peace is only possible if the Palestinian leadership cedes, once and for all, its incitement and support for terrorism.”
Hamas sees the riots as an opportunity to deflect from its crushing failures in Gaza and redirect anger within the coastal enclave towards the border with Israel.
White House Backs Israel’s Response to Gaza Riots, Blames Violence on Hamas
The White House has blamed Hamas, the terrorist organization that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, for the deadly clashes along the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday, The Times of Israel reported.
The Trump administration fully backed Israel’s response to the riots, describing the deaths of 52 Palestinian rioters as “tragic”, but said that, ultimately, the responsibility lies with Hamas
White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House, on May 14, 2018. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)
White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House, on May 14, 2018. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)
“We’re aware of the reports of continued violence in Gaza today. The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” said Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah.
“Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response and, as the secretary of state said, Israel has the right to defend itself...” he added...
Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s lead negotiatorwrote in an op-ed published in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that 
“Hamas continues to exploit protests to foment violence against Israel... Hamas has managed to bring the people of Gaza, a people with a proud history and great potential, nearly back to the Stone Age... What an embarrassment, what a desolation, what a failure.”
Greenblatt called on the international community to “get real about this – Hamas, and its enablers, such as Iran, are squarely to blame for the desperate situation in Gaza. Hamas has consistently put its own destructive priorities above those of Gaza’s weary and increasingly desperate population.” ...
Follow this link to the Times of Israel, 15 May 2018, to read the full report.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Combating PA "Pay to Slay"

From JPost, 7 May 2018, by Lahav Harkov:

Bill going after Palestinian pay-for-slay passes first reading
FAMILY AND FRIENDS mourn at the graves of Yosef, Chaya and Elad Salomon, who were buried at the Modi’in Cemetery, on July 23.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A bill meant to combat the Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying terrorists passed the first reading in the Knesset on Monday evening.

The Defense Ministry’s proposal, which had support from the coalition and much of the opposition, would allow the cabinet to deduct the amount of funding for terrorists from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA.

The PA paid terrorists more than NIS 1 billion ($347 million) in 2017 and upped the amount to over NIS 1.4b. ($403m.) in its 2018 budget, according to a Defense Ministry report based on the PA’s budget.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman expressed hope the bill will pass a final vote this summer.

He cited the American version of the bill, called the Taylor Force Act, which states that the US will not send aid to the PA as long as they continue the terrorist payments.

“We can’t ask others to deduct the terrorist funding” before Israel does, Liberman said. “We can’t lag behind the US. The PA is the largest funder of terrorism against Jews... We must act on this matter.”

Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, who proposed a version of the bill, said it “will harm the PA’s means of encouraging terror and will bring us closer to peace.“We must stop the economic incentive that the PA gives terrorists,” he said.

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said: “Today, the State of Israel is saying no more... We will show zero tolerance for terror. According to the Defense Ministry’s findings, the PA pays over a billion shekels in a year to terrorists and their families. Imagine how many preschools and schools could be built with that money.”

[Defense Minister] Liberman released calculations of how much the terrorists in several recent attacks are expected to be paid by the PA ahead of Monday’s vote.

The PA is expected to pay the terrorist who slaughtered three members of the Salomon family more than NIS 12.6m. ($3.48m.) over the course of his lifetime.

Omar al-Abed murdered Yosef Salomon and two of his adult children, Elad and Chaya, and wounded Yosef’s wife, Tovah, when they were celebrating the birth of a grandson in their home last year. Elad’s wife hid their children in a nearby room in the house, where they heard the massacre take place. Abed was given four life sentences.

The three terrorists who shot and killed Naama and Eitam Henkin in 2015 while they were driving home with their four children in the car will receive a between NIS 10m. and NIS 11.23m. ($2.77m.-$3.1m.) over the course of their lifetimes.

The lifetime estimate for terrorist payments is calculated based on if they live to age 80.

Security forces arrested Abed al-Karim Adel Asi, the Israeli Arab terrorist who murdered Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal outside the settlement of Ariel, on March 18, and he has already received his first NIS 1,400 monthly payment. He is expected to receive more than NIS 12.6m. ($3.48m.) during his lifetime.

The average income of a working Palestinian in the West Bank is NIS 2,092 ($580) per month, according to the Defense Ministry, which is what the PA pays terrorists sentenced to three to five years in prison.

The PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to 20 years or more in prison – in other words, those who committed more severe crimes and likely were involved in killing Israelis – five times that amount each month for the rest of their lives.

Terrorists who are Israeli citizens receive a NIS 523 ($145) bonus, which, when added to the amount the PA pays for the most severe crimes, comes to more than NIS 10,461 ($2,900) a month, more than the average Israeli income of about NIS 9,740 ($2,700). There are also increases in pay for being married and for each child a terrorist has.

If a terrorist is released from prison early or dies in prison, he or his family can continue to receive a monthly salary without a time limit on how long the payments are made.

...The Defense Ministry bill states that the amount the PA pays terrorists each month will be deducted from the tax and tariffs Israel collects for the PA.

At the end of each year, the defense minister will present a report to the Security Cabinet on how much the PA paid terrorists that year. The report will be classified unless the minister decides to release it or parts of it.

The Security Cabinet can vote not to deduct the funds or to only withhold part of the amount, “for special reasons of national security and foreign relations of the state,” the bill states. This is a controversial clause, which several MKs in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee opposed.

The funds that are deducted will be invested in a fund to pay damages to victims of terror, among other areas.

USA will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail






President Donald Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. will pull out of the nuclear accord with Iran...

"The United States does not make empty threats," he said from the White House in a televised address.

"At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction. That a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program," Trump said. "Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie."

He cited intelligence documents published last week by Israel, saying those documents "conclusively" showed Iran's "history of pursuing nuclear weapons. The fact is, this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made."

"It didn't bring calm, it didn't bring peace and it never will."

Iran, Israel react 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reacted quickly to Trump's announcement in a live address on state television, saying there is a "short time" to negotiate with the countries remaining in the nuclear deal and he will be sending his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to meet with them. 

Rouhani warned Iran could start enriching uranium "in the next weeks." 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, praised Trump's decision, calling it a "historic move."

Netanyahu, a leading critic of the deal, said leaving it unchanged would be "a recipe for disaster, a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world."

Iran Lied

From Atlantic Council, 1 May 2018, by Matthew Kroenig*:


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 30 provided a twenty-minute PowerPoint presentation of secret Iranian nuclear documents, acquired by Israeli intelligence. The information revealed will be unlikely to change many minds about the wisdom of the nuclear deal with Iran, but it is significant. It shows that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was concluded under false pretenses and that Iran may currently be in violation of the accord.

To understand the significance of the information acquired for the nuclear deal, however, we must first review the steps necessary to build nuclear weapons. For Iran to go nuclear, it must complete three steps: (1) enrich significant quantities of uranium to weapons-grade levels; (2) develop a functioning nuclear warhead; (3) and possess a ballistic missile or other means to deliver the device to an enemy. Step 1 is the most difficult technical hurdle and the subject of the most contentious debates on the Iran nuclear deal. But all of the revelations in Netanyahu’s presentation were about Step 2.

That is why the revelations will be unlikely to change any minds. Iran deal proponents are pleased that the JCPOA puts caps on Iran’s uranium enrichment program in a manner that buys time and forestalls difficult decisions about bombing Iran or allowing Iran to get the bomb. Deal opponents dislike that the JCPOA gives a stamp of approval to Iran’s enrichment program and that the limits on enrichment expire in several years due to sunset clauses. The information presented by Netanyahu does not affect either of these calculations.

But, the revelations are, for lack of a better word, revealing.

Most importantly, Netanyahu claimed that illegal nuclear weaponization work continues to the present day. He said that “today, in 2018, this work is carried out by SPND, that’s an organization inside Iran’s Defense Ministry.” His presentation claimed that the name of the program for Step 2 changed in 2003, but that substantive work has continued under a new label with the same lead scientist and some of the same staff under the euphemism of “scientific knowhow development.” If true, this would be a clear violation of the JCPOA, which explicitly prohibits work on nuclear warhead design in Section C, Part 16 and Annex 1, Part T. This is a subject that deserves further scrutiny and on which the international community should press Iran.

Next, these revelations show that the Iran nuclear deal was consummated under false pretenses. A condition of the deal in a section labeled “Transparency and Confidence Building Measures” (Section C, Part 14) was that Iran “fully implement the ‘Roadmap for Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues.’” This was a euphemism for Iran coming clean about the possible military dimensions (PMD) of its nuclear program. Netanyahu’s presentation shows that Iran did not come clean, but lied about many aspects of the PMD of its program in its reporting to the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA) in 2015. The IAEA certified in December 2015 that it was satisfied with Iran’s answer to inquiries about PMD, but we now have 55,000 new pages related to this subject. At a minimum, the IAEA should reopen its investigation into PMD based on this new information.

Finally, this information helps to resolve a key debate between deal supporters and critics. Many supporters argued that Iran’s willingness to sign the JCPOA in 2015 reflected a strategic decision to give up the nuclear weapons option altogether. Netanyahu’s briefing lends more support to critics who have argued all along that Iran is merely waiting out the clock in order to resume its march to the bomb.

What does all of this mean for US policy toward Iran? It largely depends on one’s predisposition before Netanyahu’s presentation. Supporters can argue that this shows the value of remaining in the deal and constraining Iran on Step 1. Opponents can claim that these revelations provide grounds for pulling out of the deal because it was concluded under false pretenses and Iran may be in violation at present. Those in the middle can argue that we should use the mechanisms within the deal to press Iran on this new information and, if necessary, snap back international sanctions consistent with the deal’s terms.

The only untenable conclusion is the widespread, but incorrect hot take that Netanyahu’s briefing contains nothing new.

*Matthew Kroenig is deputy director for strategy at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, associate professor of government at Georgetown University, and a former adviser on Iran policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

US has a permanent military base in Israel

Did you miss this? I did, from Times of Israel, 18 Sept 2017, by Judah Ari Gross:

For the first time in history, the United States ...established an official, permanent military base in Israel: an air defense base in the heart of the Negev desert.

Dozens of US Air Force soldiers ...call home the new base, located inside the Israeli Air Force’s Mashabim Air Base, west of the towns of Dimona and Yerucham.







Col. Liran Cohen, head of the IDF’s air defense school, left, and Col. David Shank, of the US 10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command, cut the ribbon to open the first American military base in Israel, inside the Mashabim Air Base, on September 18, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, head of the IAF’s Aerial Defense Command... told reporters the establishment of a permanent US base in Israel “allows us to improve our defense, in discovery and in interception and in preparedness.” ...he said, the permanent presence of a US base on Israeli soil sends a “message to the region and our surroundings that our partnership with our friend the United States is important.”

The “base within a base” will be run by the US military’s European Command (EUCOM). It includes barracks, offices and support services.

In his speech, Maj. Gen. John Gronski, deputy commander of US Army National Guard in Europe, said the base “symbolizes the strong bond that exists between the United States and Israel.”

It is located not far from a US military radar installation east of Dimona that tracks ballistic missiles once they are launched and provides details on their flight paths to defense systems.

US military forces are routinely based in Israel, both for joint exercises and for routine cooperation with the IDF, but Haimovitch described the new base as a meaningful change.

“We established an American base in the State of Israel, in the Israel Defense Forces, for the first time, with an American flag,” he said.

Gronski also discussed the already close relationship between the two militaries.

“The United States and Israel have long planned together, exercised together and trained together. And now, with the opening of this site, these crucial interactions will happen every day,” he said....

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Iran has Totalitarian Control of Lebanon

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies have won just over half the seats in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, while Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, with close ties to Saudi Arabia sustained losses. His Future Movement party has so far lost five seats in Beirut, once considered his party’s stronghold. 

An Israeli security cabinet minister said the gains in the vote showed that Israel should not distinguish between the Lebanese state and Hezbollah in any future war. 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

The disintegration of American Jewry

From Isi Leibler, 2 May 2018:



American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding.

Paradoxically, this is taking place at a time when support for Israel among the American people is at an all-time high and traditional anti-Semitism is at its lowest level. Jewish education among non-Orthodox Jews is catastrophic with widespread ignorance of Judaism and understanding about Israel. Assimilation is rampant with intermarriage levels reaching 70%.

Although right-wing racist anti-Semitism has made headlines, the real threat emanates from the viciously anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Left and the growing numbers of Muslim extremists.

Under normal circumstances, a proud Jewish community supported by most Americans could neutralize these negative elements.

...the crisis is largely internal. In the past, American Jews, with valid historical justifications, have always had a penchant for liberalism. Their attachments to Israel and Judaism were synonymous and liberal political forces were Israel’s strongest supporters, while conservatives were less inclined to support the Jewish state.

However, over the past two decades, the far Left has become viciously anti-Israeli, even supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and depicting Israel as an imperialist occupier.

This trend reached a climax under U.S. President Barack Obama, who made overtures to the Iranians and treated Israel politically as a rogue state.

Aside from ZOA head, Morton Klein, not a single mainstream Jewish leader had the courage to stand up and protest Obama’s bias against Israel and his constant bracketing of Israeli defensive actions as morally equivalent to the actions of terrorists.

Despite this, incredibly, aside from African-Americans, the Jews remained consistently Obama’s greatest supporters.

When Donald Trump was elected president, the hatred manifested against him from the bulk of the Jewish leadership reached hysterical levels.

Many of the so-called leaders intensified the anti-Israeli hysteria by falsely accusing Trump of fascism and even anti-Semitism – despite his Jewish friends and family members and outstanding support for Israel. In fact, the administration’s wholehearted ongoing support for the Jewish state even seemed to intensify their anti-Israeli inclinations.

The Anti-Defamation League, headed by Jonathan Greenblatt, relinquished any pretense of being apolitical. It continuously lashed out against the administration and behaved like an extension of the extreme anti-Trump opposition. The ADL frequently seemed more inclined to defend Muslim extremists than Jews, maintaining that organizations like Canary Mission, which exposes anti-Semitism on college campuses, are Islamophobic and racist. It also ignored or dismissed much of the left-wing anti-Semitism and soft-pedaled its criticism of Black Lives Matter, an organization that accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and exaggerated the influence of far-right radicals, seeking to link them to Trump. The ADL also took upon itself to repeatedly condemn Israeli policies and the so-called “occupation.”

The Reform movement leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, behaved similarly, usually with the support of leaders of the Conservative movement. Jacobs initially even condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In this environment, the anti-Israeli-government J Street was absurdly promoted by sectors of the establishment as a moderate and a legitimate vehicle to soften the more delusional Jewish groups openly seeking the demise of Israel and even defending Hamas.

By remaining silent and appealing for tolerance even toward groups castigating Israel like Jewish Voice for Peace, the Jewish establishment created a defeatist climate, paving the way for the chaos currently prevailing in the Jewish community.

This has impacted on large numbers of Jews, especially youth with virtually no Jewish education and for whom Israel has already become a marginal factor.

In turn, this has strengthened the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and created an atmosphere in which it is chic for unaffiliated Jews to distance themselves from, or in some cases even publicly condemn, Israel.

Twenty years ago, it would have been inconceivable to have any other than delusional Jewish fringe groups attacking Israel. Today, especially on campuses, it requires courage to even stand up against these perverted anti-Israeli Jews.

These self-hating Jewish deviants have combined with Muslim extremists and the far Left to intimidate Jews committed to Israel, making life for them unbearable particularly on campuses. They are at the forefront of the BDS movement, deny Israeli spokesmen the right to speak, disrupt their lectures and support the depiction of Israel as an “apartheid state.” The extent of the madness is reflected in groups of Jewish radicals publicly reciting kaddish for Jihadist Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers defending their borders.

Sadly, many Jewish leaders urge supporters of Israel to be tolerant of these hostile Jewish groups and, rather than confronting them, entreat them to engage in dialogue. Regrettably, many Hillel groups encourage and provide venues for such dialogue.

It is hardly surprising that, in such an environment encouraged by the anti-Israeli media and the radical wing of the Democratic Party, whereas in the past Jewish support for Israel was almost a given, today the preponderance of liberal Jews – especially their leaders – feel awkward supporting Israel. Wishing to conform to their self-image as “enlightened,” in most cases they feel comfortable publicly condemning the Israeli government.

The current, almost unprecedented unity of the Israeli people transcends politics over issues such as war and peace, defense of the borders and deterring terrorism, including the violent efforts by Hamas to breach Israel’s borders. This is ignored by many liberal American Jews living in an atmosphere in which they not only feel the need to conform and condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his democratically elected government but in many cases, go even further, castigating the IDF for allegedly responding disproportionately to terrorists who use human shields as a tactic in their warfare.

It is in this context that Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman’s outburst, a symptom of the current climate, was a public relations gift to Israel’s enemies despite her subsequent mealy-mouthed utterances. She would never have contemplated such behavior a few years ago, before the atmosphere had become so poisoned that criticism of Israel by Jews barely raises eyebrows.

It is time for those committed to Israel to be courageous and stand up and be counted. They should dismiss the absurdity of promoting the “big tent” and attempts to engage in dialogue with Jews condemning Israel’s right to defend itself.

They should publicly demand the resignation of leaders who criticize Israel’s security policies, which are supported by a broad Israeli consensus. They should call on their leaders to publicly castigate Jews who denigrate Israel and expel from their ranks those who support or tolerate groups promoting BDS or defend those seeking Israel’s destruction.

...Until there are Jewish leaders who are fully committed to supporting Israel during these critical times rather than those who are primarily concerned to display their tolerance toward those who seek our destruction, the disintegration of the non-Orthodox American Jewish community will proceed unimpeded.

Distorted Statements of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas


From Yad Vashem, 2 May 2018:

In his address on Monday, 30 April 2018, to the Palestinian National Council, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, sought to teach the Palestinians, and the rest of us, a purported "lesson in history", replete with antisemitic tropes and distortions of historical facts. Sadly, Abbas has chosen to assault Holocaust remembrance by attempting to convert the Shoah into a propaganda tool, blatantly falsifying history to the point of accusing the Jewish victims as being responsible for their own murder, and transforming Hitler into a Zionist.

In his remarks, Abbas claimed that the Holocaust did not result from antisemitism, but rather from the "social behavior" of Jews who dealt in loans and banking, activities which allegedly aroused opposition towards them by the peoples of Europe. In order to substantiate that claim, Abbas relied upon quotes from Karl Marx, Stalin and others. However, his own argument is itself fundamentally antisemitic, insofar as it incorporates a centuries-old antisemitic narrative that equates Jews with monetary greed. Even basic acquaintance with Jewish history would teach Abbas not only that the Jews pursued, then and now, a wide variety of professions and occupations, but that the majority of them at that time were impoverished. Even basic acquaintance with European history would inform Abbas about the escalation of antisemitism throughout Europe during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th, and that this was in effect the prime context for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. 

Abbas claims that a transfer agreement signed by representatives of the Zionist movement with the German government ostensibly one month after Hitler's rise to power supposedly proves that Hitler was lenient towards the immigration of Jews to Mandatory Palestine, and in effect supported Zionism. Actually, Hitler concisely articulated his attitude towards the Zionist endeavor in his book Mein Kampf, where he wrote that the purpose of Zionism is "the establishment of a central organization for their [the Jews'] worldwide swindle, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks." In other words, Hitler's actual position towards Zionism was totally opposite that which Abbas baselessly ascribes to him

As for the transfer agreement between the Jewish Agency and the German Treasury, signed more than six months after Hitler's rise to power, it of course did not constitute intentional Nazi support for Zionism. Rather, it was the result of the initial stage of the Nazis' anti-Jewish policy, which at that time sought to bring about the emigration of all Jews from Germany, as rapidly as possible. The German "escape tax" had been in existence prior to the Nazis' takeover, and was aimed at preventing the loss of monetary capital. The Jewish Agency's negotiations secured a complex financial agreement that enabled some Jews emigrating from Germany to Mandatory Palestine to eventually receive a portion of the funds they left behind. Relatively few Jews emigrated within this framework, and Hitler was not involved whatsoever in its formulation.

The Holocaust resulted from the Nazi belief that Jewish existence must be totally eliminated.  In May 1941, as the Holocaust was taking place, Hitler made clear to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, that once German forces had broken through from the southern Caucasus region into the Middle East, "Germany's goal will be the extermination of the Jews who reside in Arab territories under British rule" (as noted in the meeting's minutes).

The historical facts of the Holocaust are available to Chairman Abbas, and other speakers of Arabic around the world, on Yad Vashem's website     

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Iran Lied

Published on 30 Apr 2018, by Fox News





JCPOA - fix it or nix it

This CNN interview with former Deputy Director General of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Ollie Heinonen, suggests that the JCPOA must at least be fixed, if not abandoned...


Bracing for an Israel-Iran Confrontation in Syria

ON THE BRINK 
by EHUD YAARI


Published in American Interest on: April 30, 2018
Ehud Yaari is an Israel-based Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Middle East Commentator for Israel TV 12/13.
The United States has options for preventing—or at least limiting the scope of—a regional showdown in Syria.