web analytics
July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

Missing Soldier’s Mother Blocking Gaza Crossing: If the State Won’t Bring him Back, We Will

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

The mother and family of one of the missing soldiers whose bodies are being kept by Hamas as bargaining chips for a future prisoners-release deal with Israel, took up a position in front of the trucks hauling supplies into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing, declaring, “Now, after the deal with Turkey, we think everything is humanitarian. But if this is the case, how come so many trucks are being let into Gaza and they don’t return my son?”

“We’re trying to stop the trucks with our bodies and we won’t let this go on,” Zehava Shaul stated, adding, “The Israeli government sent my son [to battle] and it is its obligation to bring him back to us. If it won’t do it, we will. What are they expecting, that we’ll sit quietly?”

Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant (Kulanu) told the press that the Netanyahu government is committed to bringing back the bodies, “but the Turkish channel did not fit” the mission.

Last week, the Shaul family erected a protest tent in front of the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, declaring that the deal with Turkey was a “mark of shame for the government,” which cares more for the Hamas than it does for her missing son and the other missing soldier, Hadar Goldin.

“I’m going to get my strength together and block [the deal],” Shaul vowed. “I won’t let you move. It will not happen. I promise you, my word is a word.”

Only two months before he was appointed defense minister, MK Avigdor Liberman vowed that his first task in office would be to issue a 48-hour ultimatum to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, to return the two missing soldiers’ bodies to Israel or start preparing to die.

A website measuring how dedicated now Defense Minister Liberman is to carrying out his promise, titled Is Ismail Haniyeh Dead Yet? Has added a clock measuring how much time has elapsed since Liberman has taken office in relation to the corporeal well-being of the Hamas leader. As of the writing of this article, Haniye’s 48 hours have been extended to one month, three days and counting.

David Israel

PM Netanyahu Explains His Turkey Deal While Visiting in Rome

Monday, June 27th, 2016

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 27 June 2016), issued the following statement at his press conference in Rome:

“Israel has reached an agreement of strategic importance for the State of Israel, for security, for regional stability and for the Israeli economy. As Prime Minister of Israel, it is my responsibility to be concerned with its strategic interests, to take a broad and long-term view, based on an understanding of the international arena as well as of our security and economic needs, at present and in the future.

Last night and this morning, I spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Last night I spoke with US Vice President Joe Biden and have spoken just now with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Of course, they all welcomed the agreement. They think that it will greatly strengthen the State of Israel and its position in the region. Of course, the US says this based on that same strong and fundamental alliance that is a cornerstone of our international relations. But we know that we need to add centers of stability. The world and the Middle East are in turmoil and my policy is to create centers of stability in this unstable and stormy region.

We are doing so with our close neighbors, Arab countries. We are doing so with Greece and Cyprus. We are doing so with Russia. We are also doing so with Turkey. Of course, we are doing all of this in full coordination with our greatest ally, the United States. This is part of a clear strategy, to create centers of stability in the stormy Middle East. Now, Israel and Turkey are two major powers in the region and the break between us is not good for our vital interests and prevents us from cooperating in those instances, and there are more than a few, in which cooperation is warranted.

The first thing in this agreement is protection for IDF commanders and soldiers from criminal and civil claims, both those being prosecuted now and those that might be prosecuted in the future. As of now there are very many such claims and their scope is increasing; they could reach many millions of dollars and prevent the free movement of our soldiers, their freedom of activity – all of this is cancelled. The agreement will ensure that our soldiers and commanders will not be exposed to claims by Turkey. Moreover, the agreement also stipulates that the Turkish parliament will pass a law cancelling all of these processes in Turkey.

The second thing that this agreement gives is maintaining the maritime security blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is our supreme security interest; I was not prepared to compromise on it. This interest is vital to prevent the strengthening of Hamas and it remains as it has been. Of course, we are allowing ships to dock at Ashdod port and unload civilian and humanitarian cargoes there for the Gaza Strip. We have never prevented this, of course, and we are making it possible now.

The third thing that this agreement does, along with maintaining the security arrangement, is to allow for dealing with humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, subject to Israel’s security procedures and considerations. I would like to explain that beyond the humanitarian consideration, this is also an outstanding interest of Israel’s, especially in two areas – water and electricity. Water: When there is not enough water in Gaza, and Gaza is in the process of gradually drying up, the aquifers become polluted and when the aquifers become polluted, this is not limited to the Gaza side of the aquifer but also passes over to the aquifer on our side. Therefore, it is in Israel’s clear interest to deal with the water problem in the Gaza Strip. Electricity: When there is not enough electricity, various problems arise, including those having to do with sanitation, and when there are outbreaks, the outbreaks do not stop at the fences. This is both a humanitarian interest and an outstanding Israeli interest. Therefore, we are allowing these infrastructures to be dealt with. Just like other countries, from Norway to Arab states, so too will Turkey be able to help on this matter. Of course, we will hold discussions with Turkey on these issues.

An additional thing that the agreement gives is a commitment to prevent all terrorist or military activity against Israel from Turkish soil, including collecting funds for these purposes. This is an important – even primary – commitment that we have not had up until now.

In addition, we received a letter according to which the President of Turkey has instructed the relevant Turkish agencies to assist in every way in returning the prisoners and MIAs on a humanitarian basis. I understand the suffering of the families. I speak with them and I know what they are going through, and I would like to assure them: I promise you, members of the families, I promise you that we will not stop and we will not rest until we bring the boys back home. This is a personal, national and moral commitment. I think that the letter which accompanies the agreement gives us another tool to use in this holy work.

Also, this agreement requires Turkey to assist Israel in entering into all international organizations that Turkey is a member of. Now, we have already had one case before the signing which is very important from our point-of-view and it is based on goodwill, and this is Turkey dropping its opposition to Israel establishing a NATO office. Israel is now working to open an office with NATO; this has been a goal of ours for many years and it is being realized.

I would like to touch on an additional point, which I think is critical, and this is in the economic sphere. This agreement opens the way to cooperation on economic and energy matters, including the gas issue. Gas is so important and contains the possibility of strengthening the Israeli economy and state coffers with vast capital. But the gas issue is composed of several things: One, extracting it from the sea and we have dealt with this; I will not go into detail on this issue here. But the second thing is creating markets for the gas that we are extracting from the sea. I remind you that 60% of every shekel that comes out of the sea goes to the state treasury. These are vast sums but we need markets. Leviathan could supply both the Egyptian market that we intend to work with and also the Turkish market as well as the supply of gas through Turkey to Europe, and this is a strategic issue for the State of Israel. This could not have come sooner without this agreement and now we will work to advance it.

I updated the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Russia and, of course, our American friends, on this development. We updated them on every aspect that we focused on in this agreement. This took a lot of time, including recently. But I would like to update you on something: There are two people here who worked very hard on this matter. I would like to thank Yaakov Nagal from the National Security Council, who did very loyal – and I must say quiet – work. I would also like to thank someone who, not for the first time, has aided the State of Israel, and he has done exceptional work, Yossi Ciechanover. Yossi did marvelous work dealing with the Palmer report in wake of the Marmara incident. He dealt with it, the results are known, one of the few cases in which Israel came out on top in a UN report, and this was greatly due to Yossi. Yossi worked diligently on this agreement and I want to offer him the heartfelt gratitude of the citizens of the State of Israel. Thank you to you both.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-hamas-tunnel-warfare-commander-defected-to-israel/2016/06/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: