A 50-year-old man from the Gaza Belt and three others were indicted Monday morning for selling to Hamas materials that the terrorist organization used to build terror tunnels and military compounds.
The indictment stated that the suspects knew that Hamas was going to use the material for terror. The gang included one Arab with Israeli citizenship, a Jew from Tel Aviv and an Arab from the Palestinian Authority.
The resident from the Gaza Belt, identified as Micha Peretz, denied he knew that the material was destined for Hams terrorists. He covered his face when confronted by reporters.
The shocking indictment effectively removed a gag order on the arrests of the gang, which allegedly shipped material to Hamas last year until the Protective Edge campaign.
The suspects were arrested several weeks ago after extensive investigations by the police, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), customs officers and the IDF. Also arrested were more than two dozen Israeli and Palestinian Authority Arabs.
The materials that Hamas bought from the suspects passed through the Kerem HaShalom. The suspects worked for a large but unnamed company and previously had been warned not to deal with Hamas.
They allegedly sold the terrorist organization thousands of tons of metal, communications and electronic equipment worth tens of millions of dollars. The materials were used to build the same tunnels that terrorists used to kill soldiers and stage attacks on Gaza Belt communities, including where Peretz lives.
Still unanswered is how the material was cleared by Israeli inspectors to pass through the crossing into Gaza, but it is known that gang used a straw company to ship the materials.
The chairman of the Eshkol Regional Council where Peretz lives told Israel Radio Monday morning he was angry and shocked. “If the charges are true, he should not see daylight again,” he said.
An Egyptian court has formally ruled that Gaza’s ruling Hamas organization is a terrorist group, the country’s state-run media reports.
The decision officially outlaws Hamas in much the same way that the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in Egypt. Hamas was founded by the Brotherhood, as have been many other terrorist organizations as well.
Both the United States and the European Union banned Hamas as a terrorist organization years ago.
Hamas denounced the decision at a news briefing. “It is a shocking and dangerous decision that targets the Palestinian people,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told journalists. “It will directly contaminate the reputation of Egypt.”
The same court outlawed as a terrorist group the military wing of Hamas – the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades – last month.
The current ruling came one week after the passage of the country’s Terrorist Entities Law which specifies the designation of a terror group, CNN reported. According to the new law, the prosecutor general must propose the declaration of a group as a terror organization. The decision must be approved by an appeals court as well, according to Ahmed Ragheb, head of the National Group for Human Rights and Law.
In addition, authorities may also freeze the assets of designated terror groups, and issue travel bans as well.
Egypt’s relations with Turkey — another regional neighbor — have been rocky since former Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was deposed in 2013. Turkey’s AKP-led government, headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Erdogan in particular has long been a close friend of Hamas. Recently Hamas was welcomed to open a new “foreign office” headquarters in the Turkish capital after Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal and his minions were expelled from Qatar.
Since Egypt’s participation in negotiations between Hamas in Gaza and Israel was essential in security a cease-fire during the last war, it remains to be seen how the current situation will affect future relations in the region.
IDF training and resources in 2015 will be concentrating on strengthening two primary threat assessment areas, protecting Israel’s external borders and tunnel fighting.
The army believes that Israel’s biggest threats will be emanating from across the borders where the various radical Islamic terror groups have taken over, or will be taking over. The IDF will be allocating three times the amount of reserve unit resources to concentrate on protecting Israel’s borders.
The tunnel related training will revolve around underground fighting, as well as destroying the tunnels and the terrorists inside, from above without entering the tunnel.
A new training ground will be built with an underground tunnel systems for the purpose of training the IDF troops, and in particular elite units who will specialize in tunnel fighting.
The IDF also expects a new round of violence in Judea and Samaria this year as the Palestinian Authority’s budgetary problems escalate.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor addressed the U.N. Security Council, which was meeting to congratulate itself and “reaffirm” its international commitment to the principles outlined in the UN Charter.
Prosor could not permit the occasion to pass without drawing attention to the ways in which the institution falls far short of the grand ideals which, 70 years ago, drove representatives of 50 nations to draw up the Charter upon which the U.N. was created.
The U.N. Charter enshrined several fundamental principles:
first, to maintain international peace and security and take effective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace; second, to advance relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights; third, to promote and encourage respect for human rights; and fourth, to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations. Prosor deftly excised the verbiage to reveal the myriad ways in which the U.N. undermines those lofty ideals, replacing them, instead, with cowardice and appeasement towards those who most betray the U.N. principles, and discrimination and vilification of at least one nation committed to upholding those principles: Israel.
The Israeli ambassador explained that the greatest threat to global security comes from the terrorist radical Islamist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram. He described their battle against the civilized world as one “between civility and barbarism, between pluralistic and totalitarian society, between tyranny and freedom.”
Those extremists are destabilizing communities, nations and entire regions of the world, yet the U.N. has “been reluctant to take decisive action,” Prosor said, and on occasion, the U.N. has “surrendered to those nations that harbor, fund and support terrorist groups.”
Hezbollah, in particular, was held out by Prosor as an example of the U.N.’s inclination to coddle, not curb, terrorism, pointing out that the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group has held Lebanon hostage for nearly three decades, while it continues its “reign of terror.”
The U.N. has also failed in its stated dedication to the principle of equal rights, with member nations that impose the death penalty for loving the “wrong” people or believing in the “wrong” faiths. Prosor pointed to the recent beheadings by ISIS of 21 Coptic Christians as merely the latest in a decades-long process of badgering and discriminating against Middle Eastern Christians, until their number has dwindled to small minorities.
Prosor also pointed an accusatory finger at various member nations who sit on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, such as Venezuela, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Algeria. The lack of a free judiciary and a free press in those countries makes their membership a mockery of the Council.
Last year Iran was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the U.N.’s legal committee. Prosor pointed out the absurdity of making such a choice when Iranian citizens are denied due process and fair trials, and they are not even permitted to participate in Iranian national affairs.
Prosor told the Council:
The fact of the matter is that this institution has been hijacked. The ruthless autocracies that jail journalists rush to lecture us on the virtues of a free press. The repressive dictatorships that persecute political opponents filibuster on the sanctity of free and fair elections. And the mass-murdering tyrannical regimes preach to us about human rights.
Finally the Israeli ambassador addressed the treatment of the tiny country he represents at the hands of the U.N. Prosor patiently recounted just some of the ways in which Israel has been treated as a pariah nation by the U.N.
For example, last year alone the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation. All other nations were reprimanded by punitive resolutions a total of three times. In 2014, the Syrian civil war raged with chemical weapons and barrel bombs directed at its own citizens, Boko Haram slaughtered thousands, Russia invaded Crimea, North Korea continued its totalitarian regime oppressing its citizens, and Saudi Arabia executed dozens of its citizens, yet Israel was singled out for criticism time and again.
Since 2006, more than half of all resolutions adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in criticism of a particular country have been directed at Israel. This isn’t logical, it isn’t moral – it is simply prejudice.
media credit: Israel Mission to the UN, New York
Prosor then took the occasion to link the proceedings in the U.N. with last night’s Academy Awards. He suggested what would happen if the U.N. decided to give out Oscars for “Maintenance of International Peace and Security.”
Media Credit: Israel Mission to the UN, New York
The U.N. would give the Best Actor award “for acting like a peace loving country while developing nuclear capabilities, denying the Holocaust, and threatening the destruction of another member state to…..Iran.”
Prosor suggested the U.N. would give the Best Supporting Actor award to Hezbollah for its “unrelenting support to the Assad Regime in killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.”
The Israeli ambassador had several other predictions for winners in the U.N.’s version of the Academy awards. To watch him deliver them, watch the video of his speech, below.
On January 15, the Shabak – Israel’s General Security Service, in a joint operation with the IDF, captured a Hamas terror cell operating in Hebron.
The terror cell planned to commit a variety of terror attacks, including suicide bombings. The Hamas terror cell actually attempted to implement one of their plans in December.
Weapons and explosives were also confiscated during the operation, in which eleven Hamas terrorists were captured.
Two of the chief terrorists in the cell, Sahaib Mamun Saltan, 20, from Hebron, and his cousin Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, admitted they tried to commit an attack this past December in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood against IDF troops. The attack failed when their bomb did not go off.
The cell planned to commit their attacks in Hebron and Jerusalem and had scouted out target locations to attack.
Among the 80 groups and countries invited to this week’s White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism were Qatar, which finances Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority, which includes Hamas.
Also invited were Hamas, another enthusiast of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood; and Lebanon, which is dominated by Hezbollah; and the Arab League, a collection of Middle East countries from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan that live and breathe by the sword.
As previously reported here by The Jewish Press, President Barack Obama said the United States is not at war against Islam. The enemy is not “radical Islam” because if Muslims are violent and extremists, they aren’t true Muslims.
Just imagine how people would behave according to that philosophy. If you are violent in the name of homosexuality, you are not a true homosexual because same-sex relations are all about peace and love.
And if you are violent for the sake of liberalism, or right-wing causes, you can’t possibly be a true left-winger or right-winger because they stand for peace.
It is not far from Catholicism, by which one can sin 24/6, confess on Sunday and go back for another round.
It is a philosophy of “Judge me by whom I am and by what I do.”
That is why not much is expected from Obama’s White House summit, especially when Muslim leaders in the United States and all over the world are not standing on the soap box to denounce their own radical Muslim preachers who espouse violence, all in the name of peace.
Even worse, they insist that Muslims are radicalized because of their economic and social situation, an attitude being accepted by the Obama, as reported here by The Jewish Press.
Marwan Muasher, a Jordanian politician who oversees research on the Middle East at the US-based Carnegie Endowment, told the London Guardian:
This is not the administration’s war, any administration’s war. It is not equipped to do it; it cannot do it.
The Arab world needs to take the lead on this. The Americans can lead on the military front; they cannot lead on the ideological front. They are not capable of doing so and the region does not want them to do so. The question is, is the region capable of taking the lead ideologically.
The answer so far is “no” for exactly the reason he stated – Middle East Muslim countries do not want the American government making the world safe from radical Islam.
As for his question whether the Muslim world can take “the lead ideologically,” the answer until today has been a resounding “no.”
The Muslim world is in the midst of a war between Sunnis and Shi’ites. The war is being fought on the battlefield and not just by the Islamic State but in virtually every country. It is a war that left Egypt on the brink of anarchy, a situation that continues in Lebanon.
It is a war of who controls oil fields, but above all, it is a war of whose Islam rules, and in order to win, ideology is not a convincing weapon. Their weapon is violence.
The Obama administration’s insistence on not mentioning “radical Islam” in its war on terror makes it impossible to root out violent extremism.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the House Armed Services Committee in remarks concerning the war against the Islamic State:
We are at war with violent and extreme Islamists (both Sunni and Shiite) and we must accept and face this reality. We must engage the violent Islamists wherever they are, drive them from their safe havens and kill them.”
President Obama has put his administration in a Catch-22 situation.
He cannot Lt. Gen. Flynn’s thinking because it is politically incorrect.
Otherwise, Muslim countries would not have attended the summit, but because he won’t mention “radical Islam,” nothing will happen.
Gazans stranded in Egypt have called on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the PA ambassador to Egypt Jamal al-Shubaki to appeal to Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza strip, the Alresalah website reported.
Dozens of Gazan families, have been stuck in the Cairo International Airport for 20 days so far, waiting for the crossing to open, an eyewitness said.
The Egyptian government has accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of collaboration with the ISIS-related terrorists in the Sinai, which have been clashing with Egyptian forces—hence the closing of the border crossing and the suspension in Egypt of Gazans wishing to return to Gaza.
The stranded passengers are demanding that al-Shubaki intervene, expressing their anger over the silence of the Palestinian Authority embassy in Cairo.
Naturally, the PA embassy is owned and operated by Hamas’ enemies in Ramallah, who are less than eager to make life easier for their nemesis. So the Gazan passengers stay stranded.
The sane Gazan passengers have also “expressed their trust in Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi,” and “praise his role in supporting the Palestinian people and their just Cause,” Alresalah reported.
Because, let’s face it, they’re in al-Sisi’s dog house right now, so they must behave.