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June 29, 2016 / 23 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

Missing Soldiers’ Parents Demand Return of Bodies Before Turkey Reconciliation

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

As Turkey and Israel work on their reconciliation agreement, Gaza is playing a central role.

The parents of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin are demanding the Israeli government include the return of their children’s bodies from Hamas as a condition of any agreement signed, according to the YNet report.

The two were killed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and Hamas stole their bodies.

The families are planning to set up a protest tent outside the Prime Minister’s residence. The father of Hadar Goldin called the deal with Turkey an award to Hamas.

Other families who lost children in the war have joined the protest.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu’s Can Do Minister Plans Gaza’s Offshore Island Harbor

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Yisrael Katz (Likud), who currently wears two ministerial hats: Transportation and Road Safety and Intelligence and Atomic Energy, has probably the most productive minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s three consecutive cabinets, being responsible for an unprecedented network of new, modern highways crisscrossing Israel and an ever-improving train service — all of which means that if he has made up his mind to carry out a project, it’s probably going to happen, and sooner than you may think. The project in question is the Gaza harbor island, which Katz has recently begun to promote.

Speaking at the 2016 Herzliya Conference last week, Minister Katz described his plan for an island with a port off the Gaza Strip, connected to the mainland with a three-mile bridge, with no residential buildings, and, most important—no place for Hamas to dig terror tunnels. According to Katz, an artificial island to be built on the high seas would also be a spot which was “not promised by God to anyone,” with no ideological ties to any of the warring parties in the region. This island would be built strictly for humane and financial purposes: permit the monitored, daily flow of traffic in and out of Gaza, provide construction jobs for the people of Gaza, and, eventually, who knows, there’s room for many imaginative ventures once you’ve gotten yourself an island.

“We can practically change the current reality,” Katz promised last week. And on Monday he told reporters: “I do not think it is right to lock up two million people without any connection to the world. Israel has no interest in making life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can’t build an airport or seaport in Gaza [proper].”

This week, Minister Katz raised the heat under his proposal, announcing that Israel is actively seeking foreign investors to construct a $5 billion artificial island with a seaport, hotels and an airport just off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The island, comprising an area of three square miles (although once you start making islands in the sea, what’s to stop you from making them even bigger), would “ease the blockade it imposed on the Palestinian enclave a decade ago.”

Up until last week’s announcement, there were several alternative harbor proposals being discussed by the Israeli leadership, to help ease the pressure on Gaza’s civilian population without harming Israeli security. One was what seemed like an exotic idea a few months ago, of building an artificial island that would face the Gaza shore, where ships would unload their goods under strict Israeli control. One called for the harbor to be built in El Arish, a sleepy Egyptian town in the north-eastern Sinai, which is under Egyptian rule. There was also an idea to build a Gaza harbor in Cyprus. And, of course, there was the more intuitive idea of building the Gaza harbor in Gaza, but conditioning its operation on long-term ceasefire deals. Naturally, as soon as Hamas starts shooting rockets at Israel, Israel could wipe out their nice harbor.

Katz insists his man-made island proposal is under review by Netanyahu’s security cabinet, and showing “a lot of potential.” The experts are drafting plans on ways to maintaining security on the offshore island and inside the off-shore harbor. One tactic being proposed is closing down the bridge when hostilities flare up on the mainland. But with Hamas investing in training its Navy SEAL commandos, closing down the bridge may not necessarily secure the island.

Minister Katz wants the island to be built with foreign investments, and he would like to see the Saudis and the Chinese, as well as private Israeli investors picking up the tab for his project. Katz said Israel would allow foreign construction workers into its territorial waters for the project.

According to the Washington Post, citing a high level Israeli official, Prime Minister Netanyahu is “exploring the option but has not yet made a determination.”

The Palestinian Authority folks hate the plan, which they called “dubious.” The PLO fears that the man-made island would bring about “the final severing of Gaza” from the PA.

JNi.Media

Terrorists Test-fire Rocket from Gush Katif

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Terrorists in Gaza test-fired a rocket from what once was Gush Katif towards the sea, on Monday afternoon.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Hamas-PLO Qatar Reconciliation Talks End Early on ‘Negative’ Note

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

If you were concerned that Hamas and the PLO would be uniting to present an even bigger threat to Israel’s security, you can breathe easy this weekend, as reconciliation talks between the two groups in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday ended on a sour note, with Hamas blaming the PLO for the failure, Ma’an reported.

Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that PLO officials did not complete the day’s scheduled meetings and withdrew during the second session. He blamed the PLO leadership entirely for “failing” Saturday’s meeting, because they had no “political will to achieve reconciliation.”

PLO Spokesman Usama al-Qawasmi said his delegation had headed to Doha resolved to end division and forge partnership and democracy on the way to forming a national unity government.

A previous national unity government had collapsed recently, having proven to be one only in name.

Al-Qawasmi insisted the Doha meetings have shown that Hamas is “not ready yet for national unity and political partnership.” He stressed that the PLO would continue its efforts to end division between the two groups, and continue “calling upon Hamas to head towards real national unity.”

The current round of talks between the PLO and Hamas — third so far — began on Wednesday in the Qatari capital with a focus on strategies for implementing a reconciliation agreement. In March, the two groups also held reconciliation talks in Doha, with both delegations also discussing implementations of a reconciliation agreement.

The two groups have been on the outs with each other since their violent conflict in 2007, shortly after Hamas’s 2006 victory in the general elections in the Gaza Strip. Since then the two groups have repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation, and neither side has held democratic elections.

Both sides enjoy visiting Qatar, though.

JNi.Media

Report: Hamas Tunnel Warfare Commander Defected to Israel

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Gaza Arabs have been debating the mystery of the disappearance of a commander in the Al Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military arm, and many have suggested that he defected to Israel, Channel 2 News reported Tuesday night. The man in question is a senior commander in the Nukhba unit, an elite Hamas force specializing in underground tunnel warfare and in kidnapping Israeli civilians and soldiers. He is a resident of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, and the son of a Hamas religious judge.

According to rumors from Gaza, the man told his family he was going for a walk and would be back in the evening, but instead crossed the border fence to Israel. Some in Hamas claim that the man was kidnapped by the IDF. In any event, he should be a source of valuable information for Israeli security forces.

In early May the Shin Bet revealed that another Hamas senior from the tunnel forces, Mahmoud Atawnah, 29, was arrested and has been providing information about the Hamas tunnel digging enterprise. Atawnah was reportedly arrested at the beginning of April after crossing from Gaza into Israeli territory armed with two knives. The Shin Bet said he confessed his plan to kill Israeli civilians or soldiers.

A five-year veteran of the Al Qassam Brigades, Atawnah reported that Hamas was creating an interwoven network of tunnels designed for the movement of fighters and weaponry, equipped with sleeping chambers, showers, and dining areas. Atawnah’s training included placing improvised explosive devices targeting Israeli troops.

Atawnah provided his interrogators with information on the tunnels routes in the northern Gaza Strip, the methods for digging the tunnels, using private homes and public institutions as bases for the digging crews, and the construction materials being used.

David Israel

On Heel of Netanyahu Visit, Russia Pushing ‘Arab Initiative’ as Basis for Talks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Moscow has no problem adopting the Arab peace initiative on settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, and sees no need to amend it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS after talks the PA FM Riyad al-Maliki on Wednesday. And, apparently, as far as the Russians are concerned, they never heard Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for any amendments to the initiative when he met with President Putin the day before.

“I did not hear any demands for amending the Arab peace initiative in the remarks of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Lavrov said. “It is integral and embraces the entire set of relations between Israel and the Arab countries, including Palestine of course. There is no need to amend it.”

According to Lavrov, the Arab peace initiative is a universal document, which everybody regards as the fitting foundation for a peaceful future between Arabs and Jews.

Also known as the “Saudi Initiative,” the Arab peace initiative is a 10 sentence proposal that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and then in 2007, calling for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for “(a) Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon; (b) Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194 (which says that ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.); (c) Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

In other words, the elimination of the Jewish State as we know it—by the time the last conditions of the initiative were fulfilled.

Perhaps it was symbolic that on the day of the first declaration of the Saudi initiative, March 27, 2002, Hamas committed the Passover Massacre as a suicide bomber killed 30 Israelis and injured more than 170, including children, at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

And yet, in March 2009 US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell announced that President Obama’s administration planned to “incorporate” the initiative into its Middle East policy.

And last year, in May 2015, shortly after winning the March 17 elections, Netanyahu himslef expressed tentative support for the initiative, saying he accepted the “general idea,” but with significant caveats, specifically its calls for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and the relocation of millions of Arabs into Israel. As to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it would not be resolved immediately, and so for now “we’ll set this aside.”

For his part, al-Maliki told TASS he was hoping for Moscow’s “direct and active involvement” in resolving the conflict with Israel, based on the generous Arab initiative. “Considering the results of the latest session in Paris, we felt that it was necessary for us to come to Moscow to exchange opinions and see whether there were prospects for progress,” the PA foreign minister said.

“We’re convinced that Russia can play a very important role in bringing the parties to the negotiating table,” he added, noting that the recent talks in Paris held without the participation of the parties to the conflict helped ensure agreement on the beginning of the talks.

David Israel

Terrorist Involved in Hamas Tunnels Efforts Arrested

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

A terrorist, 17, involved in Hamas’s tunnel efforts was arrested in a joint activity of the ISA, IDF and Israeli police during May, 2016, the IDF Spokesperson has announced. The terrorist was a part of the Beit Lahiya battalion of Hamas’s military wing.

During the investigation, details regarding Hamas’s terror activities were revealed, including information about the recruitment process, training and details regarding other terror operatives from Hamas’s military wing. The arrested terrorist conveyed valuable information regarding Hamas activities in the northern Gaza Strip and especially Hamas’s terror tunnels leading into Israeli territory. Additional information was revealed regarding Hamas’s methods of building tunnels, communication within the tunnels and multiple digging locations intended to be used by Hamas al-Nahba elite force to infiltrate Israel during a future conflict.

It was also revealed that Hamas is operating to establish multiple tunnels deep within the Gaza Strip connected to the offensive tunnels infiltrating Israel. It was revealed that Hamas has built numerous tunnels intended for facilitating the movement of terror operatives underground in the Gaza Strip. These tunnels have multiple entrances, some of them adjacent to civilian structures in the Gaza Strip including mosques and schools.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/terrorist-involved-in-hamas-tunnels-efforts-arrested/2016/06/05/

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