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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Golan Heights’

Does an ISIS Affiliate Have Chemical Weapons on Israel’s Syrian Border?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Israel is currently investigating the possibility that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, an ISIS-affiliated group fighting in Syria’s civil war in the southern Golan Heights region, possesses chemical weapons, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 10.

Israel’s concern is largely based on reported chemical weapons attacks by ISIS in eastern Syria and western Iraq, two regions where the border is porous between both countries. However, there is also some concern that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade might have also been able to get hold of remnants from the Syrian government’s chemical weapons arsenal.

The Syrian government had agreed to relinquish its chemical weapons as part of an arrangement initiated by Russia in September of 2013. In return, the US agreed to abort a potential strike against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack by regime forces a month earlier.

There is speculation that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade intends to conduct tests with tactical chemical weapons such as artillery shells with mustard gas.

The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigades continues to concentrate its focus on fighting with the other rebel groups in the surrounding areas, including the Al-Qaeda Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

However, the prospect of an ISIS affiliate possessing weapons on the Syrian-Israeli border is no doubt concerning to Israel’s defense establishment, which reportedly intends to prepare for the possibility that the group will shift its attention towards Israel.

ISIS has repeatedly threatened to attack Israel. In a menacing video released in October, a masked ISIS fighter speaking fluent Hebrew warns that the terror attacks Israel has suffered from the Palestinians will be “child’s play” compared with what ISIS is planning, and that “not one Jew will remain in Jerusalem or the entire country.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Organization of Islamic Cooperation to Meet on Israeli ‘Escalation’ in Golan Heights

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will meet Tuesday to discuss what is being called “the Israeli escalation against the occupied Syrian Golan.” The driving force behind the meeting was a request by Kuwait, which holds the rotating chair of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.

Kuwait wants the group to ‘take a unified and strong position… on the Israeli government’s [cabinet meeting] held in the occupied Syrian Golan” — that is, the government held its cabinet meeting last week for the first time on the Israeli Golan Heights, ruffling just about everyone’s feathers that day except those in Israel.

The Arab nation was likewise upset by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks on that day, in which he stated “the Golan Heights will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

This is not news to any Israeli — after all,the Golan was annexed to Israel decades ago, in 1981 – but the OIC considered the statement a provocation. A statement released by the Arab organization named it a “serious escalation and flagrant violation of the resolutions of international legitimacy and international law.”

In fact, every single bit of territory won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day war – a defensive, existential war for survival – is still in fact considered by the international community a violation of some resolution or regulation decided in the global forum.

Last Thursday a similar meeting was held by the Arab League, calling for a special criminal court to hold a session on Israel. European nations such as Germany joined the United States – Israel’s “best friend” – and Syria in their condemnation of Netanyahu’s statement.

The move by the U.S. was particularly odd, given that Netanyahu has been especially careful not to criticize President Barack Obama publicly in any way despite provocations by his staff.

For half a century, half of the Golan Heights has been a sovereign part of the State of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu simply reiterated the fact that it is not realistic nor sane to expect the state to return such a strategic territory to an enemy nation bent upon Israel’s destruction.

Hana Levi Julian

Kremlin Denies Reports Russian Fighter Jets Fired at IAF

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Responding to Israeli media reports of Russian fighter jets opening fire at IAF aircraft in Syria’s skies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, “I don’t want to comment on the Israeli press. The Israeli press’s reports in this case are far from reality.” Which for someone unwilling to comment on the Israeli press was plenty commenting.

Yediot Aharanot reported last week that Russian fighter jets in Syria had opened fire twice at Israeli aircraft, but did not provide dates and locations of the incidents, nor the sources for the report.

Peskov was asked about the topics discussed during last week’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and said that both leaders had focused on Syria and the Middle East as a whole, as well as on bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

“The meeting was very useful and very substantive. It comprised three formats: a narrow-format meeting, negotiations at the level of delegations, and a tete-a-tete talk,” the spokesman explained.

According to Yediot Aharanot, the meeting between Putin and Netanyahu took place even as two separate reports on the Russian fighter jets opening fire on Israeli aircraft were coming in.

Peskov was asked about the Netanyahu cabinet resolution to keep the Golan Heights as an eternal part of the State of Israel, and told reporters, “The Russian position does not change, is in compliance with the corresponding resolutions of the UN Security Council and has no new aspects.”

United Nations Security Council resolution 497, adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, states that the Israeli Golan Heights Law, which annexed the Golan Heights, is “null and void and without international legal effect,” and called on Israel to rescind its action. The Council requested the secretary-general to report to the Council within two weeks on the implementation of the resolution, and in the event of non-compliance by Israel, the Council would reconvene, not later than January 5, 1982, to discuss further action under the United Nations Charter.

That’s where things are holding for now.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu to Putin: Israel Will Keep Golan “With or Without Deal”

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a face to face meeting in Moscow on Thursday that Israel would not relinquish the Golan Heights. The meeting marked 25 years of Israeli-Russian relations.

“Israel has clear red lines for self-defense,” Netanyahu told Putin according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office. “We act to the best of our ability to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he said.

Russian troops and airpower are fighting alongside the Syrian army, Iranian forces, and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah against a host of rebel militias in Syria’s ongoing civil war. Netanyahu recently acknowledged that Israel conducts military airstrikes in Syria as well.

“I came here with one central goal: to strengthen the security coordination between us in order to prevent accidents, misunderstandings, and unnecessary conflict,” Netanyahu told Putin.

“As for the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu continued, “we will not return to the days when they fired on our communities and children from the heights of the Golan. Therefore, with or without a deal, the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

The firm declaration comes amid reports that some in the international community intend to demand that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights as part of a peace deal in the Syrian civil war. Israel captured the northern territory from Syria in the 1967 war and formally annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.

To counter such an initiative, Netanyahu held a rare cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights on Sunday, vowing never to withdraw from the territory. Following the unusual public display, US State Department Spokesman John Kirby announced that “those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.”

Netanyahu and Putin also reached an agreement about pensions paid by Russia to citizens that have emigrated to Israel—a deal Netanyahu described as “a nice Passover present.”

After Putin offered a blessing for the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Friday night, Netanyahu replied that “during the holiday, the people of Israel will sit at the Seder table, including over a million Russian-speaking Israelis, who form the living bond between our peoples.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu Meets With Putin in Moscow 1 Day Before Passover

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow Thursday morning for a quick pre-Passover meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

According to the prime minister’s office, on the agenda were advanced weapons sales to Iran, and the situation in Syria, continued coordination between the military forces of the two nations in Syria, a discussion about the peace efforts in the country, and prevention of advanced weapons access for the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

During his visit to Moscow last month, President Reuven Rivlin asked Putin to help re-establish the presence in the Golan Heights, between Israel and Syria, of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. The reason: a developing vacuum is making it easier for Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies to infiltrate the former no-man’s-land and set up a base for attacks against the Jewish State.

Rivlin told Putin that such activity was a red line for Israel, according to Channel 2 news. Putin extended an invitation to Netanyahu to visit Moscow during that visit with Rivlin.

Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, born in Ukraine, accompanied the prime minister. Other members of the delegation included Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, National Security Council Director Avriel Bar Yosef, Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Col. Eliezer Toledano and the head of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Hana Levi Julian

Spokesman Says US Committed to Returning Golan Heights to Syrians — No Matter Which Syrians

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

One of the minor victories of Israeli rightwing pundits has been fueled by the gruesome holocaust taking place over the past five years in Israel’s northern neighbor, Syria. Back in April 2008, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agrees to fully withdraw from the Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed Olmert’s remarks at the time that Jerusalem and Damascus were holding talks through a third-party in an attempt to resume the negotiations between the two countries.

“There are efforts exerted in this direction,” Assad told reporters. “This is nothing new, and we have discussed this in the past.” Assad added that “Syria takes every opportunity to express its willingness to establish just and comprehensive peace in accordance with the international decisions… The criterion for the acceptance of any negotiations is that they will be held seriously and that there will be a commitment to implement the UN resolutions, particularly as the Israeli side knows very well what is acceptable and unacceptable by the Syrian side.”

What was acceptable to the Syrian ruler back then was a complete return of every last inch of the Golan Heights to Syrian control, removal of every last Jew and Jewish property from the area, and a return to the 1967 borders, when Syrian snipers ruled the lives of Israeli farmers along the eastern shores of the Kinneret.

Imagine, a long string of Israeli columnists, bloggers, Facebookers and Tweeters have been saying, if Israel had indeed returned to the 1967 border just before the scum of the Middle East — Sunni rebels, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Syrian chemical warfare operators were to crowd the basalt hills overlooking Tiberias — where would we be today?

It’s a winning argument, open and shut, other than Gideon Levi and a couple other useful idiots there really is no Israeli who would ever entertain returning the Golan Heights.

But at Foggy Bottom, where life behaves according to more sublime rules than the Jewish aspiration to stay alive, no lessons have been learned regarding the wisdom of returning Syrian murderers of whatever ilk to the hills above the Kinneret.

It began during the State Dept. Monday press briefing this week. Spokesman John Kirby was asked about the official US recognition of Syria. Essentially, the reporter wanted to know, if the US is so invested in ousting President Bashar al-Assad as a prerequisite for ending the civil war in Syria, why does it still recognize him as the legitimate sovereign of that tortured land?

The reporter asked (redacted): “Legally and diplomatically you only recognize Syria, as you have in the past. In fact, you still issue press briefings in the name of the US Embassy in Syria and so on. From time to time I see that you recognize the government of the Arab Syrian Republic. You have not recognized anyone else as exercising any kind of authority or any kind of sovereignty over any territory of Syria.

Kirby: I’m not sure I understand your question.

Reporter: My question is very simple. Do you recognize any other entity in Syria to have sovereignty over that territory?

Kirby: We recognize that there is a Syrian Government in place. We also recognize that it’s led by a dictator who continues to barrel bomb and gas his people. And the government that’s in place right now, led by Bashar al-Assad, can’t be part of the long-term future of Syria, which is why we’re doing this entire political process to begin with. It’s why so many nations have come together to try to resolve the civil war and the conflict there so that people can have a government in place that they’ve actually had a voice in putting there and that is responsive and responsible for them.

David Israel

IDF Military Forces Drilling on Northern, Eastern Israeli Borders

Monday, April 18th, 2016

IDF soldiers in northern and eastern Israel didn’t rest much last week, and aren’t likely to this week either.

“Good morning,” tweeted IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner early Monday morning. “Surprise #IDF exercise this morning in the Golan Heights because #HopeIsNotAMethod.”

Despite the tweet, Lerner revealed little else. The drill is relevant primarily for general staff in the IDF Northern Command and is expected to last the entire week.

“Citizens can expect to see movement of security forces, military vehicles and aircraft in the ares of Golan Regional Council and the Jordan Valley Regional Council,” the IDF said in its announcement about the exercise.

Internecine conflicts are growing in Lebanon and Jordan along with the raging five-year long civil war in Syria and the spreading influence of the Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization — all of which is contributing to the rising risk of a conflict along one of Israel’s borders.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-military-forces-drilling-on-northern-eastern-israeli-borders/2016/04/18/

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