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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

IDF Preparing for Conflicts Along Southern, Northern Borders

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Israel’s defense establishment appears to be preparing military forces and civilians for a possible outbreak of hostilities either in the north or the south sometime soon.

A major civil defense drill – the largest since the 2014 war with Hamas – was held this past Thursday in southern Israel at Kibbutz Erez, barely a mile from Gaza.

Civilian response teams, IDF soldiers, Magen David Adom emergency medical teams, police officers, firefighters and others participated in the drill, Channel 2 reported Friday.

The exercise simulated an attack by Hamas terrorists on an Israeli kibbutz which included abduction of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers overpowering the terrorists in the kibbutz dining hall.

According to the report, recent IDF preparations to meet a possible conflict have included the infusion of additional forces along the Gaza border. In addition, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported Thursday that four IDF bulldozers leveled ground along the security fence a few meters inside Gaza, east of the city of Rafah, which straddles the enclave’s border with Egypt.

Nevertheless, defense officials continue to say that although Hamas is gathering its forces within Gaza, the terrorist group does not appear to be preparing for a direct war with Israel in the near future.

While the IDF is preparing to meet whatever threat may present itself in the south, forces are also making preparations in the north for much the same reason.

The IDF has beefed up its forces in northern Israel along the border with Lebanon and in the Golan Heights, near Syria. A major military drill began in the north on Wednesday and continued through the end of the week.

IDF Northern Command alerted civilians from the western Galilee all the way east to the Golan Heights not to be alarmed at the sounds of artillery and other ordnance.

The latest round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government started Wednesday (April 13) in Geneva but by the weekend had achieved nothing.

The Syrian regime has escalated the fighting near Aleppo, and local residents who had not yet fled are now making an effort to flee while they can. Opposition forces are accusing Syrian government chief mediator Bashar Ja’afari of not being serious about seeking a solution to the five-year civil war.

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura is trying to keep the talks focused on political transition but with intensified battles continuing, the opposition is losing its resolve.

In addition, Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam and Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) radical Islamist terror organizations are not at the table. Since they control at least half of the territory in Syria, even if negotiations succeed in resolving the issue of who governs Syria, the question still remains whether there is anything geographically, territorially left to govern.

Al Nusra controls the territory closest to the sole border crossing between Israel and Syria, at Quneitra. Last Tuesday (April 12) Syrian sources told international media that Da’esh (ISIS) now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus. The community is home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority and is also a stronghold for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

So far, the capital, Damascus is still in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Hana Levi Julian

Saudi Arabia Pledges in Writing to Honor Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty on Islands

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Saudi Arabia has sent a letter to Jerusalem pledging in writing to honor the terms of Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel as part of its agreement to control two islands in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced Tuesday that he also has approved the signing of the transfer of control of the islands to the Saudis from Egypt.

Israel also had agreed to the arrangement between the two Arab nations, in which Egypt agreed to transfer control of the two islands, Sanafir and Tiran, to Saudi Arabia. Tiran historically was an island belonging to Saudi Arabia that was “leased” to Egypt in 1950.

The deal places both islands officially in the Straits of Tiran, which is in Saudi territory.

As for the Saudis, “The commitments that Egypt approved [in the peace treaty] we are also committed to, including the stationing of an international force on the islands. We looked into the matter and we know our legal position. We are committed to what Egypt committed to before the international community,” Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in an interview.

The two islands are located at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba as it opens to the Red Sea, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Eilat.

Israel’s Eilat seaport is located at the top of the Gulf and operates as the sole point of entry for goods from the Red Sea to the country.

Because the two islands are mentioned in the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Cairo is required to update Jerusalem on the matter.

The agreement effectively redraws the maritime boundaries of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, thereby creating new conditions for the relations of both countries with Israel.

In this case, Saudi Arabia has pledged – in writing – to honor the terms of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, albeit while stressing Riyadh will have no direct contact with Jerusalem.

Saudi Arabia is still formally at war with Israel but as with numerous other Arab nations in the region, there are formalities and then there are practicalities. And there is Iran, an overwhelming threat to everyone in the neighborhood.

Egypt and Israel have reportedly been in contact over the plan to redraw the maritime boundaries of the two countries, according to a Hebrew-language Ynet report Monday that quoted the Egyptian daily Al Ahram.

The plan also calls construction of a bridge over the Red Sea between Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Saudis signed a string of agreements in Cairo over the weekend that will result in some $16 billion in cash flowing into the battered Egyptian economy. The Egyptian parliament must still vote on the agreement, however, and some in the country are accusing President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of “selling” the islands to the Saudis.

From the Israeli legal standpoint, since the Saudis are also committed to the terms of the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, Israeli sources noted there may be no need to change the text, which would require a Knesset vote, Ynet reported.

Hana Levi Julian

Cement Shipments to Gaza Halted – Hamas Again Stealing From Citizens to Build Terror Tunnels

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Once again, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group is making sure its population will be unable to rebuild their homes and infrastructure.

After all, rebuilding its military infrastructure is much more important, right? Even when it means stealing from your own people.

Only this time, Hamas has been caught red-handed with its hand in the honey pot.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) monitors the flow of building supplies – among other goods – into Gaza.

In particular, COGAT tracks the flow of cement deliveries into Gaza to make sure Hamas is not using it to build terror tunnels to attack Israel.

Last Friday, the COGAT Arabic Facebook page carried a notice that cement deliveries into the region were being suspended.

Some of the deliveries had been “diverted” by Hamas Economic Office deputy director-general Imad Elbaz.

When deliveries don’t reach their proper destination, one has to ask where they’re going instead. But in any case, diversion of supplies intended for reconstruction of residential units and infrastructure is unacceptable.

“This is a blatant violation of agreements on the rehabilitation mechanism,” the Facebook statement said, adding that COGAT head Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai suspended the deliveries until an investigation into the matter is completed.

The statement said COGAT regretted that Hamas “continues to pursue its own agenda at the expense of the residents of Gaza.”

Unlike other individuals who have served in the position in past years, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nicolay Mladenov immediately responded with a statement noting the theft and its impact.

“Those who seek to gain through the deviation of materials are stealing from their own people and adding to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza,” Mladenov said. “The reconstruction of Gaza remains critical to ensuring its stability and I urge a rapid resolution of this matter.”

He added that according to Israeli records, “a substantial amount [of cement bound for the private sector] had been diverted from its intended legitimate beneficiaries.

“The people of Gaza depend on the entry of construction material to repair and reconstruct their damaged and destroyed houses following the 2014 conflict and to enable much needed infrastructure and development projects,” Mladenov added.

He noted the United Nations was working with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resolve the issue.

This past January, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon responded to statements by the Hamas leadership announcing its intention to continue building tunnels and firing rockets at Israel.

Ban warned that such remarks and actions do a “serious disservice” to Gaza’s long-suffering people and “put at risk reconstruction, humanitarian and development efforts by the international community and Palestinian and Israeli authorities.”

Clearly Hamas has not taken Ban’s advice to heart, however.

A long terrorist tunnel was discovered last month beneath the Gaza border leading from the southern town of Rafah, directly into an apartment building in Egypt.

In addition to its conflict with Israel, Hamas has also been providing technical, medical and material support to Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

The group is comprised of former members of Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis. They are aligned with Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood which is locked in an all-out war against the Cairo government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, 20,064 tons of goods in 611 trucks entered Gaza from Israel via the Kerem Shalom land crossing. There were 1,608 crossings by foreign nationals, local merchants and others in and out of the region via the Erez Crossing with Israel, in addition to seven ambulances who also entered and left Gaza.

In many ways this area operates more like a standard foreign border crossing than it does the “blockade” that far-left agitators and anti-Israel detractors keep bleating about.

Hana Levi Julian

Egypt Questions Hamas Over Missing Israelis in Gaza

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Egypt asked a Hamas delegation in Cairo last week about two IDF soldiers whose bodies are still being held captive in Gaza, and two Israeli nationals who missing in the region.

The Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group has said Israel must “pay” if it wants any information about any of the four.

The group has also tried to imply that the two soldiers may still be alive, a particularly nasty form of psychological warfare often practiced by terror groups against Israeli families.

But Hamas itself has been in the cross-hairs of the Egyptian government for some time now, since the terror group is the spawn of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian authorities have not been pleased with efforts by Hamas to tunnel deep into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, nor by its assistance to Da’esh (ISIS) and other terror groups in its territory.

Egypt has flooded those tunnels with Mediterranean seawater, and sealed them to prevent further infiltrations into its territory.

Hamas is now trying to repair its broken ties with Cairo, Arab media reported Sunday.

An Egyptian daily quoted Egyptian sources close to the situation who said the Hamas delegation was asked about the four Israelis being held in Gaza.

Both of the IDF soldiers died in the line of duty during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014. Both are officers: one is Oron Shaul, the other is Hadar Goldin. Hamas stole their bodies and is holding the remains, although the group has attempted to imply the soldiers are alive.

On Friday evening, Hamas spokesperson Abu Obaida said in a statement on the military wing’s website: “There are no contacts or negotiations on the four soldiers, and the Israeli enemy will not get information about their fate but to pay the prices before and after the negotiations.” He added that Netanyahu “lies to his people and deceives the families of the Israeli captive soldiers.”

Hamas wants Israel to free more bloodthirsty terrorist prisoners with blood on their hands.

But according to the report, Egyptian authorities questioned the Hamas delegation this past week when they came to Cairo. The Hamas representatives were seeking a way to heal the breach with Egypt after violating the country’s borders and helping Sinai terrorists murder Egyptian security forces.

One of the live Israeli hostages is a young Israeli Bedouin from the southern Israeli town of Hura, located in the northern Negev. He allegedly entered Gaza through the Erez Crossing in April although it is not clear how. At the family’s request his name has not been released. It is known, however, that he has mild mental health issues and has entered Gaza, Jordan and Egypt at least once before. Each time, he was returned by the authorities.

Avraham Mengisto, 29, is being held after he climbed over the security fence to cross the Gaza border and simply walked into the region. Mengisto, an Ethiopian immigrant to Israel, suffers from mental illness and was not accepted for service in the IDF.

His brother Gashao told European officials in Geneva in February, “When Hamas is asking for humanitarian assistance, and contributions to the people in Gaza, then the international community should tell them: Don’t expect us to assist you when you are violating the same rights of the other side.”

Hana Levi Julian

2 Dead Diggers Dragged From Collapsed Gaza Tunnel

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

The bodies of two Hamas diggers who were buried alive in a Gaza tunnel collapse were finally pulled from the wreckage over the weekend.

Hamas searchers found the corpses Saturday evening in the area of Rafah, the city that sits on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt.

The tunnel in which the hapless diggers were working had snaked its way under the border from Gaza to Egypt.

The Egyptians have been flooding the tunnels to eliminate the smuggling and infiltration problems presented by Hamas and its allied terrorist groups in Gaza.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Netanyahu, Egyptian Ambassador Khairat, Meet at Knesset

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Monday (Feb. 29) at the Knesset with new Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Hazem Ahdy Khairat.

The two men discussed how to strengthen Israeli-Egyptian relations.

Also on the agenda was the issue of the “peace process” and final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Hana Levi Julian

Likud MK Demanding Expulsion of BDS Founder

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

In advance of a pro-BDS conference that was held on Friday in Nazareth, MK Nava Boker (Likud) called on the Interior Minister to revoke the permanent residence of Omar Barghouti, the founding member of the BDS movement who was the keynote speaker at the conference.

According to author and journalist Naomi Ragen, Barghouti is not “Palestinian”, having been born in Qatar and grown up in Egypt. He says he’s “Palestinian” because of his parents who supposedly fled their village in Judea and Samaria and today live in Jordan. He arrived in “Palestine” for the first time in 1993, with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, and his Israeli-Arab wife. He claims to be a Ph.D candidate in philosophy (ethics, actually) at Tel Aviv University. Yes, the occupation is hell.

Despite the fact that Israeli academia has accepted him with open arms, Barghouti became a leading proponent of an academic boycott against Israel, as he told a conference at London University entitled Resisting Israeli Apartheid: “The most urgent type of support the international community can provide to the Palestinian academy is to adopt various forms of boycott against Israel’s academic institutions. … Those who imagine they can wish away the conflict by suggesting some forums for rapprochement, détente, or ‘dialogue’ — which they hope can lead to authentic processes of reconciliation and eventually peace — are either clinically delusional or dangerously deceptive.”

After Barghouti published an opinion piece supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in the New York Daily News in 2013, the newspaper responded with an editorial saying that Barghouti is “skilled as a propagandist” and “piles falsehood upon falsehood to present Israel as relentlessly oppressing the Palestinians in violation of human decency, and to hold Israel exclusively responsible for the ills afflicting them.” The Daily News suggested that Barghouti wants a “secular, democratic state built on an influx of Arabs who come to dominate the population and vote an end to Israel as a Jewish nation. That, ultimately, is the nefarious truth behind his libels.”

Barghouti has an Israeli residency, by virtue of being married to an Israeli. MK Boker has urged Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, based on Barghouti’s relentless anti-Israeli activity, to “use your authority according to the Entry into Israel Law to revoke the permanent residence of Mr. Barghouti.”

Alon Schwarzer, CEO of the rightwing Im Tirtzu movement, also joined the demand, saying, “While the planted Israeli organizations are providing him with the raw material, Dr. Barghouti is the conceptual and executive arm of the crusade to destroy the State of Israel and to boycott it. The State of Israel must behave like a sovereign state, as do all the Western democracies, and not allow someone seeking its destruction to enter its territory and preach against it here as well.”

The Interior Minister’s office issued a statement saying the Minister “will consult with his professional staff and Consider the allegations seriously.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/likud-mk-demanding-expulsion-of-bds-founder/2016/02/27/

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