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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Gaza’

IDF Shelling Northern Gaza in Retaliation for Sderot Rocket

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

The IDF on Wednesday morning fired artillery shells at targets in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Just one hour following a rocket that had been fired from the Gaza Strip and landed on a residential street near a school inside the city of Sderot, Arab media reported.

According to local witnesses, at least one artillery shell landed in a terrorist training ground in Beit Hanoun. It is not yet clear which terror group operates the facility. Israeli media sources reported the site was run by Hamas.

No injuries have been reported on the Israeli or Arab side.

Around 10:30 AM Wednesday, rocket sirens were heard in Sderot and nearby communities alongside the Gaza Strip, following which an exploded rocket was discovered. The IDF spokesperson’s office reported road damage as a result of the rocket.

Several Sderot residents were treated for shock.

The swift retaliation represents a continued new policy instituted by incoming Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), of hitting back inside Gaza as soon as someone on that side violates the 2014 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

David Israel

Gaza Rocket Hits Near Sderot School, No Injuries

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

A rocket fell in the town of Sderot near the Gaza Strip border on Wednesday morning, just before 10:30 AM.

The rocket fell near a school on Mishol Homa Umigdal. Some damage to property was reported.

Police and a sapper unit closed off the street.

MDA is treating a number of people for shock, but no one was injured.

Arab sources say the IDF is attacking the Hamas launch site in Beit Hanoun.

David Israel

Israeli Navy Prepared to Escort Women’ Gaza Boats to Ashdod

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

As Zaytouna and Amal, two boats with about 30 Gaza-bound passengers, mostly women, are getting closer to Israel’s shores, the IDF navy has been preparing to exercise the routine protocol in such cases, namely to board the boats and escort the passengers, politely but firmly, to the harbor city of Ashdod.

The website Women Boat to Gaza has been billing the endeavor as a “flotilla,” but the term commonly describes a fleet of ships or boats, so, in this case, the term “boats” is probably more accurate.

Ashdod has been serving as a destination for aid supplies for Gaza, for most of the decade since Hamas has taken over control of the Strip. Israeli officials go through the cargo, remove the contraband weapons and explosives that routinely arrive in those shipments, and clear the goods for trucking to Gaza, a few miles southward. Presumably, whatever goods the one or two boats manage to bring in will end up in Ashdod for inspection, followed by shipping to Gaza.

Israel’s Channel 2 News has reported that naval gunships have been waiting in Ashdod harbor for the signal to intercept the two boats. The same report suggested that the women onboard the boats are planning to exercise civil disobedience, which could get splashy.

The Zaytouna Captain is US Army retired Colonel Ann Wright, who served in the State Dept. diplomatic corps. She resigned from the US government in 2003, over her objection to the Bush Administration’s foreign policy. Since then she has been active in every single attempt to break through the blockade on Gaza.

It should be noted that the Turkish government, which ended up in a six-year tiff with Israel over the tragic end of the largest and most memorable 2010 Gaza flotilla, has expressed its anger at the mostly Turkish activists in that endeavor, for forcing it into this quagmire. Since Turkey has settled its dispute with Israel, Turkish goods destined for Gaza have been arriving in Ashdod regularly and then shipped to their intended recipients.

It should also be noted that the reason Israel has imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip is because the Hamas government has been declaring practically every day its intent to destroy Israel, and has been devoting most of its international aid money to military preparations to carry out this threat.


Lessons from 5776, Optimism for 5777

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

As we take our leave from 5776, I would sum it up as the year that Israel discovered the correct paradigm for dealing with her adversaries.

In previous years, many believed Israel’s military superiority allowed and even obliged her to take “risks for peace.” Others believed that propping up the economies of Israel’s neighbors until they were on par with her own, while giving up land, would bring peace.

But in 5776, Israel discovered that the secret for a relatively peaceful status quo comes not from creating economic parity, giving away land or taking risks, but rather by creating economic dependence, along with the application of Israel’s military superiority.

It should be made clear that a peaceful status quo is a separate discussion from what Israel’s long term vision for the region should be — whether that solution be Israel applying phased or full sovereignty over all of Israel’s territories, a confederation with Jordan, or some other ideas not yet tested or considered.

It’s been repeatedly noted that only one of the terror attacks by PA Arabs in this recent terror wave was executed by an individual with an Israeli work permit.

Israelis have learned that no matter how much their neighbors may hate them (and by the way, not all of Israel’s neighbors close and far hate Israel), or how much incitement they absorb from Palestinian Authority TV and the Islamic preachers, their families and villages depend on the money they make from Israelis, and all of them, save one, would not dare risk that.

Which is why the Palestinian Authority tried its best to force these Arab workers to stop working in the settlements, and why it failed. (PA Arabs make three times more working for Israelis than they do working in the Palestinian Authority.)

Incidentally, Israel would probably help the future stability of Judea and Samaria by announcing it will guarantee PA police salaries should the Palestinian Authority collapse under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption or Abbas’ retirement or death.

There’s very little that creates more loyalty than a paycheck paid on time.

Despite the roadblocks set up by Israel’s High Court, 5776 concluded with Jordan signing a $10 billion gas deal with Israel, which a Jordanian official said will save Jordan $600 million a year. It’s a deal that might very well tie Jordan’s economic stability to Israel for the next 15 years, along with the fresh water that Israel provides them.

Besides natural gas, Turkey, Greece, various Arab countries, some African states, India, Russia and China are looking to purchase or enter business partnerships with Israel, to acquire Israeli technology, military experience and equipment, fresh water solutions, solar energy, agricultural know-how or simply gain access to Israeli projects.

As these countries and others become more reliant on what Israel has to offer, there will be a gradual, visible change in their public attitudes, voting in international forums, and policies towards Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his speech last month before the UN General Assembly.

On the military side, this past year, the IDF finally resumed its function in actively preventing terrorism, rather than restricting itself to a reactive mode. IDF soldiers have been raiding the hornet nests in the Palestinian Authority every night, to confiscate illegal weapons and ammunition, uncover weapons factories and erode the terror networks of Hamas, the PLO, and the various Islamic Jihadi groups which expanded operations under former defense ministers Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon. And, surprisingly, these IDF actions hardly provoke any international condemnation, save for criticism from Haaretz.

It was also the year Israel has actively taken on BDS, and began to beat it down, state after US state.

Obviously, all was not rosy this past year.

Thanks to the Iran deal, a revitalized Islamic Iran has been expanding its terror operations. But as Iran and their client Hezbollah try to establish terror bases on Israel’s Golan Heights’ border, Syrian Rebels are fighting those Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists on the Golan — the same rebels who are reportedly receiving much-needed medical aid from Israel.

There has been an upswing in Israeli Arabs participating in terror attacks and joining ISIS due to Islamic radicalization, incitement and propaganda, but Israel is already learning how to deal with them.

Hamas is still destroying Gaza as it continues to prepare for another round of fighting with Israel.

In the spring of 5777, Israel will celebrate 50 years since the liberation of our ancient lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from the illegal Jordanian occupation. Expect the usual NGOs (under new names and old) and Israel haters to foment their venomous propaganda, and also expect fewer and fewer people, everywhere in the world, to pay attention.

There’s concern over Obama’s anticipated November surprise at the UN.

And, of course, there will be the new challenges that either candidate for US president will present to Israel.

At the JewishPress.com we believe we have reason to be optimistic.

Israel has made significant positive changes this past year, with strategic, long term ideas being implemented, already with noticeable results. 5777 will bring challenges, even difficult ones, but we believe Israel is ready for them.

Shana Tova – Have a sweet new year.

Stephen Leavitt

Report: Israel Paid $20M to Turkey as Compensation for Mavi Marmara

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

In line with the terms of the normalization agreement signed with Turkey in June, Israel paid Ankara $20 million on Friday in compensation over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, according to “Turkish diplomatic sources” quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

The two countries finalized and approved the agreement this past August. Under the deal Israel agreed to pay the compensation and Turkey agreed to drop all charges against IDF officials and soldiers with any connection to the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, in which nine Turkish terror activists died after attacking Israeli commandos. The agreement normalizes ties between Israel and Turkey after a six-year hiatus. Israel also agreed to Turkey’s participation in humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza.

According to the report by Anadolu, “Israel has agreed to Turkey’s humanitarian presence in the occupied Gaza Strip.”

Turkey has sent two shipments of humanitarian aid to Gaza thus far. Both arrived at Ashdod port and then were delivered via the land crossing at Kerem Shalom in much the same manner as aid from other international sources.

Less than two weeks ago (Sept. 21, 2016) a man yelled ‘Allahu Akbar!’ (God is Great! in Arabic) and tried to storm the Israeli Embassy in the Turkish capital city of Ankara, but was shot in the leg by Turkish police.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Holiday Closure Begins at Palestinian Authority, Gaza Crossings

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

A routine closure that takes place for each Jewish holiday begins at 00:01 am Sunday and is to continue until Tuesday night at 11:59 pm.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Sunday evening and ends an hour after sundown on Tuesday night.

The length of the closure and its conditions will change only in the case of a “situational assessment,” according to the IDF Spokesperson’s office.

As always, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) will consider exceptions for ‘humanitarian cases’ and medical emergencies, the IDF said.

The closure, which takes place due to the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, is the first since June, which was carried out for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks.

Hana Levi Julian

Former Commander of Gaza Division: Azaria Shot Because He Felt Threatened

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, the former Commander of the IDF Gaza Division, testified for the defense on Tuesday in the trial of Elor Azaria, the medic charged with manslaughter for killing an already neutralized terrorist, and generally backed the defendant’s version of the event, Walla reported.

“The way Azaria was documented in the videos shows that he shot because he was under danger,” Zakai said, noting that “shooting needlessly, just to kill, is forbidden and I object to it wholeheartedly.” He argued that “when the defendant claimed that he carried out the shooting of the terrorist because he thought he was carrying an explosive charge on his person, it was a reasonable cause, under the circumstances, to open fire.”

When asked in cross examination to describe Azaria’s shooting, Zakai testified, “I’ve seen in my life people who shot just to kill. To my delight, none of them were IDF soldiers. Azaria looked like someone who was shooting for a reason.”

Zakai criticized Hebron Brigade Commander Colonel Yariv Ben-Ezra for using the term “Threat Reference” in relation to the event, suggesting it comes from the realm of security and is not a military term. “It’s unreasonable that a commander would determine for his soldier an enemy’s activity in terms of a threat reference,” the former Division Commander said, adding it was “an operational and professional mistake.” He also testified that his understanding, from reading the testimonies of the company commander, battalion commander and brigade commander, that the division commander had restricted the rules of engagement “out of concern that a shooting might lead to numerous casualties, which would add fuel to the flames of incitement.”

In other words, by handing down politically driven rules of engagement, according to Zakai, the brigade commander exposed his soldiers to needless risks on the ground when faced with violent attacks, such as the March 24, 2016 stabbing.

Zakai’s testimony is the latest in similar professional views presented by the defense to suggest the scene of the Hebron event was chaotic and that Azaria did his best in a badly managed IDF operation.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/former-commander-of-gaza-division-azaria-shot-because-he-felt-threatened/2016/09/27/

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