Government forces in Syria are not allowing a United Nations convoy to deliver humanitarian aid starving families in eastern Aleppo, and their unwillingness to withdraw are jeopardizing the ceasefire, according to UN officials.
Under the terms of the ceasefire deal worked out between Russia and the United States, the Syrian government was to issue documents allowing the UN vehicles to reach the besieged northern city. But on Thursday, forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad were still blocking the main artery into Aleppo, and refused to allow anyone to pass, including the UN convoy.
Moscow accused Washington of not living up to its agreements, while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told international reporters at a briefing that “by and large” the truce was still holding up and that it had been extended to next Monday.
UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, however, said that while the Syrian regime troops were expected to withdraw from the “Castello Road” into Aleppo, they were refusing to budge because opposition forces still remained in the same area — and the regime forces would not leave before the rebel forces.
De Mistura said that 40 UN trucks were still sitting at the Syria-Turkey border, packed with aid for some 80,000 residents in eastern Aleppo. But, he said, “The clock is ticking.”
Regime forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were pledged to abide by the ceasefire. But it’s not clear whether they had yet begun their part of the deal, or whether some of the other factions to whom Russia and the United States had reached out in the past week had simply chosen not to observe the truce — or were simply testing its limits.
The score was 190-0 for freedom of worship for Arabs from Gaza and zero for Jews on Friday.
Israel allowed nearly 200 Gazans, all over the age of 60, to pray at the mosque on the Temple Mount, eight months after 500 Arabs from Gaza prayed there for the first time since 2007, according to the Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem.
The last time Israel allowed Jews to pray regularly at the Temple Mount was nearly 2,000 years ago, during the time of the Second Temple, which a growing number of Muslim clerics like to pretend never existed.
Permission for Arabs from Gaza to travel to Jerusalem and pray at the Al Aqsa mosque is part of the last year’s ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that was supposed to end the most recent barrage of missile attacks on Israel.
Hamas again broke the ceasefire on Saturday with rocket launches against Israel but blamed them on rival terrorist groups.
Israel continues to honor its end of the ceasefire and allows Gazans to pray at the Temple Mount mosque, where Hamas banners and even Islamic State (ISIS) banners frequently fly amid sermons that preach jihad against Jews, all in the name of freedom of worship, if you are not Jewish.
Neither Hezbollah nor Israel will go to war right now. Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah now any more than it could in the war n 2006, which ended in a military stalemate but a strategic victory for Hezbollah.
Hezbollah won’t go to war against Israel because it cannot afford to lose its already questionable prestige in Lebanon due to the terrorist party’s having entered the conflagration in Syria and bringing it inside Lebanon’s borders.
Hezbollah’s attack in Israel yesterday was an eye-for-an-eye retaliation for Israel’s pre-emptive bombing raid in Syria two weeks ago in which a dozen Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers and commanders were wiped out.
Their plan to attack the Israeli side of the Golan Heights bore out fears that Hezbollah wants to be able to strike Israel along the entire northern border, from the Mediterranean Coast of Lebanon to the eastern side of the Golan Heights.
“Hezbollah” does not just mean the terrorist party and army. It also means “Iran,” its financial and military mother.
“Hezbollah” also means “Lebanon,” to a large extent. Hassan Nasrallah’s party dominates the government, but the world recognizes “Lebanon” and not “Hezbollah.”
Hezbollah, diplomatically, is a state within a state. It has one of the largest military arsenals of any army in the world, with 120,000 missiles in Lebanon, and now in Syria, poised to pulverize not only northern Israel but also Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
It is an act of war when a country’s army attacks another nation and kills two soldiers. “Restraint” is not the proper response. The proper response is an all-out retaliation to end the enemy threat.
But officially, neither Lebanon nor Iran attacked Israel yesterday. The provocateur was a terrorist army and party. Israel cannot wipe out the Hezbollah army because, like Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza, it operates from within civilian population centers and now also is located in the maze of hell that is called Syria,” which no longer exists as a nation except in name.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said yesterday, “My recommendation to those who challenge us in the north is to take a look at what happened in Gaza.”
Hamas had several thousand rockets, some of them sophisticated, but Israel’s Iron Dome system was able to intercept most of them. In addition, the land mass of Hamas-controlled Gaza is all of 139 square miles (360 square kilometers), surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west and an unfriendly Egypt and Israel on the south, west and north.
Lebanon is nearly 30 times larger with 4,015 square miles (10,400 sq km). Besides the Mediterranean Sea on the west and Israel on the south, Lebanon — and Hezbollah — have Syria for a neighbor in the east and north.
Netanyahu said, “The (Israel Defense Forces) is responding now to the incident in the north. The IDF stands ready to act forcefully on all fronts.” In truth, he was only reassuring Israelis and sending shivers down the spines of the West, but he and Hezbollah know very well that Israel is not going to “act forcefully on all fronts.”
Israel does not have an anti-missile system that can protect the country against 120,000 missiles, some of them very long-range rocket and probably with chemical warheads. The IDF indeed could crush Lebanon. It could punish the country for allowing and actively supporting Hezbollah.
Before doing so, who knows how much Hezbollah would cripple Israel with missiles.
But everyone, especially Netanyahu, knows that any large-military operation would leave Israel isolated in the world
The United States stated yesterday its usual wishy-washy position that backs Israel with a big “but”:
We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation.
That was the same language used every time Hamas attacks Israel with a missile.
Any Israeli attack would be “disproportionate.” The international community does not apply the rules of war when it comes to Israel, which always must show it is so Christian that it can turn the other cheek and not use force.
As disgusting it sounds, the bitter truth is that Israeli won’t go to war over the deaths of two soldiers. It should but it won’t.
Israeli does not have the self-confidence, spiritually and diplomatically, to attack Hezbollah and Lebanon.
Nine years ago, Hezbollah kidnapped and murdered two soldiers and sparked a five-week war that proved that exposed, once again, Israel’s real weakness.
The Foreign Minister at the time was Tzipi Livni, who now threatens to become the next Prime Minister of Israel on a rotational basis with Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog.
Livni signed on the dotted line of United Nations Resolution 1701 that was a cease-fire version of the Oslo Accords. Instead of the Palestinian Authority, it was the United Nations that promised to disarm “foreign armies,” without naming Hezbollah.
The resolution stated:
Pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.
The resolution called for:
Israel to withdraw all of its forces from Lebanon in parallel with Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers deploying throughout the South…
Disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon (implying but not stating Hezbollah)
No armed forces other than UNIFIL and Lebanese (implying Hezbollah and Israeli forces) will be south of the Litani River
No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government….
The importance of full control of Lebanon by the government of Lebanon .
Of course, Israel withdrew. Not only did UNIFIL not dis-arm Hezbollah, UNIFIL allowed it to continue to smuggle weapons from Iran, via Syria.
The resolution left Hezbollah ins a stronger than ever position and weakened Israel, which proved again its military may be strong but its backbone Is too weak to support a military victory to safeguard the country.
Below is a video of how Hezbollah terrorists escapes an Israel Air Force bombing of a missile launcher in the war in Lebanon in 2006.
With holidays approaching and the recent launches (or non-launches) from Gaza, the IDF is taking no chances and is starting to redeploy the Iron Domes system again in Israel’s south, according to a Mako report.
At the beginning of the holiday period, talks between Israel and Hamas are set to re-continue in Cairo, and there is valid concern that Hamas will start shooting every time they don’t get what they want.
Despite that, defense official do not believe Hamas will actually begin shooting rockets at Israel over the next week or two.
The IDF has confirmed that a rocket was launched from Gaza at approximately 6:30pm on Tuesday. The rocket landed in the Eshkol Region.
no injuries or damage has been reported.
The rocket siren did not go off.
This would be the first confirmed violation of the ceasefire since Operation Protective Edge ended.
Hamas claims they don’t know of any rocket that were launched today. They also initially claimed to have had no connection to the kidnapping of the 3 boys in Gush Etzion in June, until they finally admitted that they did it.
On Monday, the siren went off, and the IDF said no rockets were launched at Israel, but Gazan sources claim they did launch a rocket, but it fell short and it landed in Gaza.
There are sources in Israel that claim that internally the IDF is double-checking to see if perhaps a rocket was launched yesterday, after all.
Haim Yelin, the head of the Eshkol regional council said in response to the attack, “We will not accept rockets falling on our communities. We will assess how our leaders choose to protect its citizens. We expect the government to act to bring quiet to the region.”