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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

PA Arabs, State Dept. Mourn Fidel Castro, as Miami Exiles Dance in the Streets

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

The “Palestinian cause” was close to Fidel Castro’s heart throughout his political life, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday, in a lengthy account of the Cuban dictator’s anti-Israel and pro-Arab policies. According to the Arab channel, the diplomatic ties between Cuba and Arab refugees began as soon as Castro had become Prime Minister in 1959, following the Cuban revolution, when Raul Castro and Che Guevera visited the Gaza Strip, which at the time was under Egyptian occupation.

Incidentally, in 1959 Israel opened its first consulate in Havana, headed by Yoel Bar-Romi, who later described his excitement at the Castro revolution, which reminded him of Israel’s war of independence.

Al Jazeera claims that Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro developed close diplomatic and personal ties, and Castro invited Arafat to Cuba “at least eight times,” each time welcoming the PLO terrorist “like he was a head of state.”

Cuba condemned Israel at the United Nations for the first time after the 1967 Six-Day War. Cuba also began to provide military support to the Fatah movement, and eventually extended its support to both the Palestinian popular and democratic fronts. In 1973, Castro, who was eager to become president of the organization of non-aligned nations, severed diplomatic relations with Israel. A little earlier, Cuba and Nicaragua were the only Latin American countries who granted the PLO full diplomatic status.

Castro was a co-sponsor of the 1975 UN resolution 3379 declaring that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was repealed in 1991.

The Obama State Dept. on Saturday issued an announcement saying, “We extend our condolences to the Cuban people today as they mourn the passing of Fidel Castro. Over more than half a century, he played an outsized role in their lives, and he influenced the direction of regional, even global affairs.”

“As our two countries continue to move forward on the process of normalization – restoring the economic, diplomatic and cultural ties severed by a troubled past,” the announcement went on, “we do so in a spirit of friendship and with an earnest desire not to ignore history but to write a new and better future for our two peoples. The United States reaffirms its support for deepening our engagement with the Cuban people now and in coming years.”

Meanwhile, according to the NY Times, Miami’s Cuban-American community took to the streets of Little Havana in the middle of the night to celebrate. They banged pots and pans, sang the Cuban national anthem and waved the Cuban flag. “They danced and hugged, laughed and cried, shouted and rejoiced.”

“Him dying represents the end of something awful that happened to us,” one Cuban woman told the Times. “It’s actually him — not anybody else — who caused this. It’s because of him that we lost our opportunity to have a life in our country.”

President-elect Donald Trump described Castro as a “brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” and expressed his hope that Castro’s death would result in freedom for Cubans.

David Israel

Reports: Trump Family Donated Bigly to Jewish, Israeli Causes

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Israeli media have reported several important donations made in years past by both the late Fred Trump and his son, now President Elect Donald Trump.

Some 50 years ago, real estate developer Fredrick Trump donated the land for the Talmud Torah of the Beach Haven Jewish Center at 723 Ave. Z in Flatbush, NY, as can be seen from a promotional image released by that institution. The center is open and active to this day, offering programs for youth and the elderly, as well as an active synagogue.

And Fred’s son Donald, as reported by Yediot Ahronot, donated heavily on both occasions when Israelis who had been expelled from their homes by their own government needed assistance to resettle.

Donald Trump donated in the 1980s, to help build new infrastructure for the Israelis removed from the northern Sinai by the Begin government, which returned the peninsula to Egypt as part of the peace agreement. Then, in 2005, Trump gave again, to help resettle the Jews of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, exiled by the Ariel Sharon government.

Effie Stenzler, former chairman of the Jewish National Fund, told Yediot that JNF approached Trump, among other wealthy supporters of Israel, for funds to build an infrastructure in new communities established for the exiled, and the real estate magnate gave generously.

Donald Trump’s name even appears on a plaque in Moshav Dekel, in the Eshkol region, where his money went to build greenhouses, homes and roads for the evacuees.

JNi.Media

Trump’s Chief Israel Adviser: ‘He Does Not Define Settlements as Obstacle to Peace’

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Donald Trump’s chief Israel adviser Jason Greenblatt on Thursday told Army Radio that his boss “does not define settlements as obstacle to peace, and he would prove this by pointing to the situation in the Gaza Strip, where the Jewish settlements were evacuated and peace still has not arrived.”

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Greenblatt suggested that “Trump thinks Israel is in a difficult situation and must defend herself. Peace must arrive through a bilateral initiative and he has no plan to get involved in it.”

Regarding the UNESCO resolution ignoring the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Greenblat said the President Elect recognizes the right of the Jewish nation to its eternal capital Jerusalem and is disgusted by the resolution.

To keep things balanced, Army Radio also interviewed former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who said, with noted condescension, “If the Israeli right knows what Trump position regarding Israel is, I believe they know more than Trump does.”

Indyk urged Israelis to take the President Elect’s promises with a grain of salt, since his position on Israel “is quite unclear, he says different things to different groups. We simply don’t know.”

According to Indyk, Trump will follow all past presidents who promised to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “He is not the first presidential candidate to promise this, which is why I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t do it,” Indyk said.

JNi.Media

Pro-Israel Students Penned-in “like Warsaw Ghetto” on UK Campus

Friday, October 28th, 2016

An Israeli speaker’s talk at a London college campus scheduled for this week was canceled on Wednesday. Why? Because, according to the cancelation notice sent by the student union, “there had been controversy” when he spoke at the campus two years prior, and the hosting organization failed to disclose that when the room was booked for the talk.

After cries of suppression of speech and vehement protests, the university stepped in and “un”canceled the talk. Hen Mazzig’s talk at University College, London, was reinstated. It would take place, as scheduled, on Thursday evening, Oct. 27.

The response by the anti-Israel mob was swift and the attack was vicious. A protest was called. Outside the room where Mazzig was scheduled to speak, livid demonstrators screamed for murder and the end of Israel. “Intifada, Intifada!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” They barred the entrance to the talk while pummeling the doors and windows, leering malevolently. Two thugs yanked open a window, hurling themselves into the room, launching several students inside into panic attacks. A woman inside kept repeating: “This is like the Warsaw Ghetto!”

UK protesters barreling through the window at Hen Mazzig event

UK protesters barreling through the window at Hen Mazzig event

Anti-Israel students yelling and banging on windows at Hen Mazzig UCL event. Oct. 27, 2016

Anti-Israel students yelling and banging on windows at Hen Mazzig UCL event. Oct. 27, 2016

The prelude and the coda of this minuet reveals volumes about the campus wars being waged against anything Israel these days.

Let’s start at the beginning: Hen (pronounced Khen, with the throat-scraping sound most non-Israelis find unpronounceable) Mazzig is a 27 year old Israeli who completed his army service four years ago. Since that time Mazzig has been speaking to audiences, especially on U.S. college campuses, about Israel. Mazzig is an educator who wants non-Israelis to understand his tiny country and his fellow countrymen. He is soft-spoken with a recognizable, but comprehensible, Israeli accent.

When Mazzig first started speaking to college students back in 2013, he was shocked by the vitriol directed against Israel by some American college students, professors and community members. Even Jewish ones.

In 2013, Mazzig wrote an epic cri de coeur, calling on American Jews to “Wake Up!” He was horrified to learn that Israel’s enemies are not just the hostile Arab nations surrounding his tiny country. “It is also here in America, where a battle must be waged against prejudice and lies. I implore American Jews to do more.”

This time around Mazzig is more sanguine about the atmosphere on U.S. campuses. He told the JewishPress.com that he is “happy that I was able to bring my voice into the conversation, to help raise  awareness.”

There is now ample funding to fight the scourge he urged Jewish leadership to recognize a few years back, the movement known as BDS, Mazzig told the JewisPress.com.  But the recognition of BDS as a symptom of the underlying illness is still too attenuated, including by Jewish leadership. “BDS is only a symptom of the disease which is the same old hatred – anti-Semitism.”

That hatred of Jews and, by extension the Jewish state, is what fuels BDS and other symptoms is made clear by the response to Mazzig in London last night.

The original effort to shut down Thursday night’s speech was based on a “controversy” surrounding a talk he gave in 2014 at Kings College, London. But that controversy was one created solely by anti-Israel protesters, not by Mazzig. In fact, the video and public statement posted by the protesters reveal that disrupting Mazzig’s talk and the walkout were planned in advance. The protest was not about anything Mazzig said — it was about the fact that any former IDF soldier was allowed to speak on campus at all.

Again at Thursday night’s event the protest was fueled simply by anti-Israel animus. Pro-Israel female students were assaulted on their way to the event. Many who sought entrance to the speech were barred by the protesters, those who gained admittance were prevented from leaving without a choreographed police escort.

But here’s the rub: while the haters did their best to prevent him from speaking, they did so without realizing that in his message and in his essence, Mazzig is the ultimate slayer of untruths about Israel.

For one thing, Mazzig’s family hails from Tunisia and Iraq – he is one of those “brown bodies” people love to claim Israel oppresses. For another thing, Mazzig was an openly gay commander in the Israeli army, where being gay raises no eyebrows, let alone scaffolds. Next on the list: Mazzig served in the COGAT unit. COGAT works with the Palestinian Authority to coordinate activities in order to improve the lives of the Arabs living in the territories.

During his IDF service Mazzig focused on protecting everyone, “coordinating humanitarian aid, and tending to the needs of civilians” living in the territories, Jewish and Arab, he explained. Mazzig and his unit worked feverishly “in a special operation conducted in the middle of the night” to unite an Arab Gazan orphan with an uncle in Ramallah, so that the boy “would not be left alone on the streets of the Gaza Strip.”

And the title of Mazzig’s speech at UCL, back in 2014? “The Hope for Peace: Promoting Peace While in Uniform.”

When the thugs were pounding on the doors and windows and shouting that Mazzig is a “murderer,” they were, albeit unknowingly, attempting to silence a speaker who understands Israel in ways they really must prevent the world from learning about. Otherwise, anyone who is not automatically a hater will realize that the throngs of illiberal thugs attempting to block free speech are the real roadblocks to peace.

Speaking from London following the event, Mazzig told the JewishPress.com:

I was standing in the room, trying to calm the Jewish students, while the mob outside was banging on the doors, on the windows, and calling for intifada. I knew this was not normal, nobody should have to endure this.

But neither Mazzig nor his talk’s sponsor, the media watchdog group CAMERA, were deterred.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Arabs Reject Liberman Promise to Build Gaza Harbor, Airport, if Hamas Stops Shooting

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

In a rare interview to the Arab daily Al-Quds, published in eastern Jerusalem, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned on Monday that “the next war in Gaza will be the last one.” However, in the same interview, Liberman said he supports the two state solution, and, “If Hamas stops digging the tunnels and shooting rockets, Israel would be the first country to aid in constructing a harbor and an airport in Gaza.” He did note that this promise is only his own vision and not official Israeli government policy.

Liberman insisted Israel has no plans to retake the Gaza Strip, or build new settlements there. But he criticized Hamas for its designs against Israel, saying they spend about $26 million every month on their military activities.

Speaking to journalist Mohammed Abu Hadir, Liberman accused the Palestinian leadership of being an obstacle to peace. He said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was not seeking peace, and said he incited violence rather than work against it. “We need someone other than Abu Mazen (Abbas’s nom de guerre) to sign a final agreement,” Liberman said, accusing the chairman of stubbornly resisting peace.

Liberman noted that Jewish communities take up only 1.4% of Judea and Samaria and as such are not an obstacle to the peace process. He also noted that the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are under attack every day, and he believes the two sides would be better off separated. However, he insisted, without mutual trust there cannot be peace negotiations.

The defense minister was highly critical of Arab society, saying that in the absolute majority of cases, violence there is the result of internal conflicts in the Muslim society rather than clashes with Israel. Needless to say, the interview was not received well by the readership, and many in Arab social media accused Al-Quds of normalizing and thus legitimizing Liberman’s views.

One of Liberman’s ideas that most upset Arabs on either side of the green line was his suggestion that a future peace deal will see a swapping of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria for Israeli Arab towns in the Arab triangle in central Israel. MK Ayman Odeh, Chairman of the Joint Arab List, told Israeli Radio Tuesday that Liberman’s suggestion is unacceptable, since the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are illegal. He did not mention that, despite his well expressed Palestinian patriotism, he and his voters have no intention of substituting life in a third world Palestinian State for their lives in democratic Israel.

The Palestinian Authority for its part applied pressure on Al Quds not to run the Liberman interview, according to Arab media sources, accusing the paper of becoming a propaganda lap dog for the enemy. Abu Hadir rejected the insults, saying he submitted fifteen tough questions to Liberman and did his job well, as he has been doing for 30 years, during which he interviewed many Israeli leaders, including Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Hamas rejected Liberman’s offer to help construct a Gaza harbor and airport depending on the organization’s putting an end to tunnel building, weapons smuggling and rocket shooting. Hazem Kassem, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, said the Palestinian people are entitled to having a harbor and an airport without being blackmailed. “A people under occupation have the right to possess means of power, including military ones, so as to be able to defend themselves against continuous Israeli assaults,” Qasim said, adding that this right was “not debatable.”

In other words, let the final war begin…

JNi.Media

Report: Hamas Terrorist Killed in Tunnel Collapse During ‘Mission’

Monday, October 24th, 2016

A member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, was killed in Gaza on Monday after an underground tunnel collapsed on him, Ma’an reported. The al-Qassam Brigades released a statement saying one of their fighters, Amir Jaber Abu Tuima from the town of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, died during a “mission” when the tunnel collapsed.

The announcement did not specify the nature of the mission, which was most likely digging a terror tunnel.

On Saturday another al-Qassam terrorist was killed in a tunnel collapse. Ma’an acknowledged that a considerable number of Gaza Arabs have been killed in the “vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave,” which is dedicated to commercial and military smuggling in the south and future terrorist kidnapping in the north.

Last Saturday morning, the head of the Egyptian army’s Ninth Armored Division was assassinated for his role in destroying tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip by filling them with water.

The smuggling tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and flow of weapons and commercial goods from the Sinai, including food, medicine, and infrastructure materials. The latter are being used mostly for digging military tunnels into Israeli territory.

The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas suffered 160 deaths under collapsing tunnels since 2007. In August 2014, al-Jazeera cited 400 as the updated figure for tunnel collapse casualties.

Ma’an cited a UN report from September suggesting the damage from the three clashes between Hamas and Israel since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of local water, sanitation, energy, and medical facilities, together with a slow reconstruction (as Hamas is usurping the building material for building terror tunnels), will render Gaza “uninhabitable” by 2020.

JNi.Media

Egypt’s Tunnel Destroying Officer Assassinated

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

The head of the Egyptian army’s Ninth Armored Division Major Adel Ragaai was assassinated on Saturday morning, the army media office told Daily News Egypt on Saturday. Based in Dahshur, Giza, on the west bank of the Nile, the Ninth Armored Division was assigned the mission of destroying tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip by filling them with water.

Major Ragaai was attacked by heavy shooting from anonymous militants in front of his residence in Al-Obour City near Cairo, according to army sources.

Ragaai’s wife, Samia Zein Al-Abdeen, a defense correspondent for the state-owned daily Al-Gomouria, told her newspaper she hurried outside when she heard a burst of gunfire from a private vehicle as it sped down their suburban street.

The group Lewaa Al-Thawra, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, is blamed for the attack. Ragaai’s death is the first political assassination of a military figure since the ousting of Mohamed Morsi from office in 2013.

Over the past three years, the Egyptian military has destroyed more than one thousand smuggling tunnels connecting the Gaza strip with the Sinai peninsula. The tunnels serve both for cross-border commerce and arms smuggling for Hamas.

According to The Medialine, Ragaai oversaw a massive operation to dig a canal parallel to the Rafah border, flooding the frontier with sea water which seeps into the tunnels, preventing their use. Hamas officials in the town of Rafah have complained that Gaza’s limited fresh water aquifer is being rendered undrinkable as a result.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypts-tunnel-destroying-officer-assassinated/2016/10/23/

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