It’s not just for rockets anymore. The IDF has decided to implement a tunnel alert system for Israeli communities around Gaza, according to Yediot Achronot.
The alert will sound exactly the same as the “red alert” for rockets, but in order for citizens to know the attack is from below and not above, residents will receive an SMS stating: “Due to an infiltration by terrorists, residents are asked to lock themselves in their homes with the lights off until further notice.”
In addition, local security personnel will receive additional notifications.
While the intentions are good, the idea has a few obvious flaws, the most basic is the assumption that everyone will have a phone on them at all times, including children in the park, people on Shabbat and anyone who simply forgot their phone on the kitchen table so it can recharge after the battery died.
In addition, it seems quite likely that in the critical and stressful 10-15 second window Gaza border residents have, civilians will start running to the bomb shelters when they hear the siren, only to get an SMS telling them to turn around and run back home, leaving them exposed and confused.
Perhaps the most obvious flaw in this entire plan, is that Israel simply didn’t get rid of Hamas the last time around, which would have made all these rocket and tunnel alerts completely superfluous.
Israel’s remaining vestige of leftwing cultural tradition, Ha’aretz, fell for a rightwing hoax that exposed it as utterly bereft of the capacity for introspection, and worse, utterly without a sense of humor. This absence of humor could be attributed both to the paper’s proud tradition of German publishing (Ve don’t like jokes, sank you very much), as well as to the decline of the Israeli left, which used to do funny.
What’s good for the goose, the gander should at least try once, figured Israeli rightwing NGO Regavim, which is usually engaged in tracking European Union and Arab violations of real estate regulations in areas legally under Israeli control in Judea and Samaria. If upwards of 30 Israeli and Arab leftwing NGOs are receiving millions of euros annually to influence Israeli policy, why not invest a couple of shekels in influencing European policy? Take, for instance, the Brexit referendum coming up this week, in which Britons will decide whether or not to leave the European Union, and which all UK citizens find annoying, humiliating and repressive, but about half of them say it’s worth it for the economic benefits (which brings to mind certain obvious professions).
So Regavim launched a campaign featuring a website with a message to expat Britons in Israel to vote yes on leaving the EU: Support Israel – Leave Europe, which features some inflammatory text, actually making their case about the goose and the gander:
“The EU pumps hundreds of millions of pounds into Israel annually through an array of NGOs in addition to the Palestinian Authority. With over 200 land disputes worldwide, the EU’s constant singling out of Israel is tantamount to state sponsored anti-Semitism.
“For decades, the pro-Israel community has sat and watched as the Europeans increase their influence and meddle with the lives and future of the people of Israel. Finally Israel supporters in the UK and abroad can take a stand against the EU, by voting leave.”
How much could that have cost? Eight bucks to register the URL, plus, say $50 to get a guy to put it up. Then they invested another hundred bucks or so in a video showing a Hamas traditionally masked press conference encouraging Britons to stay in the EU, because it would advance the Hamas cause. The bang they got for their buck was huge, because Ha’aretz reporter Uriel David leaped on the opportunity to slam the right, leaped without looking, we should add.
“Rightwing NGO Receiving Public Funds Calling on British to Leave the Union” was the headline, followed by, “The rightwing NGO Regavim supports the UK leaving the European Union as revenge for its support for the Palestinians. A January examination revealed that, according to the same NGO, it received about 11 million shekels ($2.85 million) from government entities.”
Then Ha’aretz added, without a shred of self awareness, apparently, after decades in which it has supported the vast flow of European money to fully fund anti-Israeli, leftwing NGOs: “Regavim is a non-profit active in favor of judaizing lands and against illegal Palestinian construction in Israel and the West Bank. The organization’s heads often criticize the European Union and other international entities for their alleged (sic) intervention in Israel’s internal affairs and their support for illegal construction programs.”
So now it’s been established, the goose really hates it when the gander is doing goosey things, and sees nothing funny about it.
Finally, the most rewarding reaction from the left came from Peace Now founder Yariv Oppenheimer, who regularly reminds you of the kid who gets picked last for games but hasn’t given up trying to look cool, who tweeted: “The Israeli government is funding an NGO that tries to meddle in the internal affairs of another country? Can it be?”
Hey, if the Brexit goes in favor of cutting away from the continent—a move endorsed by John Cleese of Monty Python fame, who really knows humor—it could be blamed on those pesky settlers.
Israeli and Turkish delegations are set to meet on Sunday (June 26) to “declare they have reached a deal” to end the six-year-long conflict between the two nations.
The two teams, headed by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and Israeli special envoy Joseph Ciechanover, have been carefully negotiating for months.
But after Sunday’s “declaration,” the agreement will allegedly be finalized, according to a report by the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, and then signed in July by Foreign Ministry undersecretaries of both nations.
Ambassadors will be reappointed in both countries and diplomatic relations will be normalized by the end of July, if all goes well, if the document is signed as expected, if there are no hitches and if everything else goes as planned. According to the report, if that takes place, the final obstacles will also be removed from joint military exercises, joint energy investments and joint defense investments.
If all goes according to plan.
All of Turkey’s demands have been met, in the wake of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident that so angered Turkey’s then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he severed ties with Israel.
Years of talks — and in particular, these past months of negotiations — have led to creative solutions on both sides that allowed for dignity and saving of diplomatic face with Turkey’s demands still able to be met by Israel. It was a delicate task, given Turkey’s insistence on freedom for Gaza, and Israel’s need for security in the face of the Hamas dedication to Israel’s annihilation.
But that does not mean that the current President Erdogan cannot come up with new demands, or reinterpret those that were met — or suddenly reject Israel’s responses.
Should Israel suddenly take action in response to a national security issue that upsets or offends the Turkish president, it is quite possible he may dial back his nation’s agreement to re-establish ties.
Diplomats and officials on both sides are holding their breath.
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.
Dozens of wet suits intended for the Hamas Navy SEALS were captured on Monday by the crossing authority at the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into Gaza, before they entered the Hamas controlled territory, the Crossing Authority at the Defense Ministry reported.
The suits were hidden in a shipment of sports clothing and equipment. The wet suits were confiscated and an investigation to locate the perpetrators has been launched.
One of the smuggled wet suits / Courtesy Crossing Authority, Defense Ministry
In the past Hamas has introduced its Navy SEALS unit, and during the 2014 war a few divers from this force were able to penetrate into Israeli territory at the Zikim beach just north of the Gaza border, but were identified immediately by IDF watchers and were eliminated.
In 2014 Hamas revealed its Navy SEALS special operations force in a video paying tribute to one of the unit’s fallen commanders.
The makers of a Gaza TV candid camera show in honor of the month of Ramadan were wondering how would rank and file Gazans respond if they realized that there are a couple of Israelis standing and walking in their midst. The concept was funny enough, and the two actors, Chouikh and Abu Zubaydah, depicting the hapless Zionists were equipped with a visual aid, just in case their subjects didn’t get the idea from their mix of broken English and Arabic — they each had an unmistakable, blue and white Israeli flag printed on their shirts. And so, with the hidden camera rolling, the two brave actors showed up in different parts of Gaza City, in front of a variety of astonished local men of all ages.
The funniest reactions were those of irate Gazans who grabbed the provocative Israeli before them and started beating him up, and the canned laughter loved those scenes. Some of the violent responses immediately followed the appearance of the blue Star and David between two parallel lines; others emerged following an exchange with the actors, in a clothing store, on a soccer field, on the street in front of a warehouse. Each time, the actor under attack, occasionally under a mob attack, would start yelling, “It’s a hidden camera” and urged the crew members to save his life.
But there were less violent, and more introspective reactions, too, when the subject would enter a lengthy argument with the two actors over their proposal that he become Israeli, for instance, because Israel is a mighty superpower. Unaware of being on camera, several subjects stood up to declare their fealty to their nation and their faith, expressing their anger at the provocation.
In one exchange, early on, one of the actors tries to speak Hebrew to a subject, who is older and therefore versatile in the language. What develops is a strange dialogue between a faux Israeli who can barely finish a sentence in Hebrew, and a Gazan who speaks fluent Hebrew. The actor asks, “Ma shlomekh,” how are you, except in the wrong declension, using the female form. His subject forgives the mistake, answering, “Barukh Hashem,” as many Israelis would.
Despite the obvious rage many in the video, especially the younger ones, unleash at the mere sight of an Israeli avatars, it is clear that Israel, Israelis and their own identity in relation to the Jewish State are central to the culture and the communal psyche in Gaza. The fact that the video makers manage to treat the tension over the subject matter with humor, albeit lowbrow humor, suggests there may be more under the shallow surface of hatred and denunciations, including a longing for a time when the sound of Hebrew in the streets also represented prosperity, more personal safety and probably more humor.
It’s a hidden camera, I’m telling you. Hidden camera!
It’s a hidden camera, I’m telling you. Hidden camera!