A group of four armed men, reportedly connected to the Islamic State, opened fire across the Syrian border at an IDF patrol in the southern Golan Heights early Sunday.
Soldiers returned fire and killed the attackers, and Israeli fighter jets attacked targets inside Syria.
No injuries to Israeli forces were reported.
In addition, a mortar hit the area, but it is not clear if the shell landed on the Israeli or Syrian side of the border. IDF officials said they believe the incidents were part of the Syrian civil war and hit Israel in error.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement that “the IDF will not tolerate any violation of Israel’s sovereignty and will respond harshly to any attempt to violate it.”
The French government on Thursday announced new requirements of importers and retailers to label products from Jewish communities in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.
The government’s “Notice to economic operators concerning the indication of origin of goods originating in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967” cites the November 2015 European Commission guidelines indicating that those areas are not part of the State of Israel. Because of that, the guidelines warn that suggesting a product originating there was made in Israel constitutes a deception of consumers. It is therefore necessary to note on the packages of these products whether they are from places where Jews had lived before or only after June, 1967.
The regulations are very specific about the duty of vendors to note, in addition to the geographical region from which the product had been shipped, the statement that the product was made in “an Israeli settlement.”
No one knows for sure why the French decided to announce these regulations now, one year after the EU had come up with its guidelines, the likes of which have not been issued against any other “occupied” area anywhere. Most EU members have not complied with the guidelines by following suit, as the French have just done, with their own local regulations.
Last year, the European Commission guidelines created a major conflict with the Netanyahu government, which accused the EU of singling out Israel for this kind of hostile and biased treatment. The EU toned down its attack only after Israel threatened to lock its representatives out of any future peace negotiations with the PA.
In that context, it is possible that the Élysée Palace move is in retaliation for Netanyahu’s refusal to attend a peace conference scheduled for some time in the near future in Paris.
J-TV tried to run an intelligent debate between Norman Finkelstein and Ken Spiro discussing if Israel is held to double standard or not.
It quickly degenerated into Finkelstein quoting out-of-context cherry-picked facts, and then just losing it completely when confronted, until he eventually hung up.
The segment was a short one, and unfortunately was not set up to answer all the claims that Finkelstein made, but we found his mention of Theodor Meron very interesting, such that we wanted to discuss it further.
Theodor Meron was a legal advisor for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1967.
The cover letter version is that Meron, in a top secret document, apparently gave his legal opinion to the government that Israeli settlements on the Golan Heights and the West Bank would be in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, though the entire issue is complex from a political and legal point of view.
And Finkelstein ran with that, claiming that Israel knew that settlements were illegal under international law, and purposely ignored international law.
Putting aside for the moment that Meron was only just one legal opinion, and other government legal advisors held different legal opinions, it’s interesting to point out that Finkelstein chose to only wield the part of Meron’s response that he agreed with.
Reading Meron’s complete response we learn that he also advised the government, based on his legal position, how the government could set up settlements legally .
Furthermore, and perhaps more interesting to this discussion, Meron legally opined that Israelis could return to live in Gush Etzion (and Hebron and eastern Jerusalem, by definition) and it would be difficult to claim it was a Geneva Convention violation, and those Israeli settlements would not be illegal — as Jews inhabited those areas before 1948.
“With regard to Gush Etzion, settlement there could to a certain extent be helped by claiming that this is a return to the settlers’ homes.”
Finkelstein was happy to selectively quote Meron’s general opinion to use it against Israel, but ignored the parts of what Meron wrote that he found unacceptable.
If Finkelstein accepts Meron’s opinion, and we have to assume he does as he was using Meron to prove his point, then Finkelstein has to also accept that there are no illegal Jewish settlements in Gush Etzion, Hebron and eastern Jerusalem.
Imagine how apoplectic Finkelstein would have gotten if Spiro had pointed that out.
J-TV is a new, global Jewish YouTube channel featuring weekly segments on Jewish Wisdom, Current Affairs, Movers & Shakers, Jewish Food and more.
A mortar launched from Syria landed on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights on Wednesday morning.
No one was injured, and the shell landed in an empty orchard.
The IDF responded and hit a Syrian army artillery position. The IDF said it “won’t accept any attempts to damage Israel’s sovereignty or security of its citizens. The IDF views the Syrian regime as being responsible for all actions in its territory.”
The shell may have been a stray mortar from the fighting in the Syrian civil war.
Israel has no intention to interfere in the Syrian crisis, but it is concerned over the possibility of weapons falling into the hands of the Shi’ite terrorist militia Hezbollah, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Zvi Heifetz told the Pozner program on Russian TV’s Channel 1 on Monday.
Members of Hezbollah are fighting on the side of the Syrian government forces against the Western-backed rebels and ISIS.
Vladimir Pozner, who was born in Paris to a Russian Jewish father and a French Catholic mother, was the host for many years during the Cold War of the nightly “Radio Moscow News and Commentary” show on the North America Service, and was renowned for his signature greeting, “Thank you and good evening.” Since 2010 he’s been hosting the interview show “Pozner” on Russia’s Channel 1. He has a lively and unconstrained style of hosting, often firing poignant off-the-cuff remarks at his guests. He often comments on how the political or economic topics being discussed on his show could affect the common people in Russia.
“Israel has a principle: we do not interfere in regional crises, including in what is taking place in Syria,” the ambassador said, but added his government has two issues of concern regarding the situation in Syria:
“The first issue is the possibility of weapons leaks into the hands of Hezbollah through Syria or through Iran. We’re also concerned over the presence of Hezbollah on the Golan Heights. Just imagine, if both Russia and the Western countries leave Syria one day — we’ll stay there. Everyone else will leave and we’ll stay and it is very important for us to know how we’ll stay and who our new neighbors will be,” Heifetz said.
Regarding the legitimacy of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Ambassador Heifetz said, “Assad is the president of Syria. We have known this for many years. If you mean whom we support, I’ll answer directly: we do not support anyone in Syria. Syria must solve its issues and we must solve ours.”
Hezbollah (Party of God in Arabic) has been fighting on the side of the Syrian army since 2012.