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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Hezbollah’

Lebanon’s Christian President-elect Vows to ‘Free Our Lands From Israeli Occupation’

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Lebanon’s parliament elected Maronite Christian Michel Aoun to the presidency on Monday, ending a 29-month vacuum and sealing control of the country for the Hezbollah terrorist group.

Aoun, a former military commander who is now age 81, had made a formal alliance on behalf of his Free Patriotic Movement with the Iranian-backed terror organization back in 2006.

His election also secures a win for Sunni Muslim leader and former prime minister Sa’ad Hariri, leader of the “March 14 Coalition,” now positioned to renew his role as the country’s prime minister.

Hariri was quoted as saying his endorsement of Aoun was necessary “to protect Lebanon, protect the [political] system, protect the state and protect the Lebanese people.”

In his victory speech, Aoun vowed to “free what remains of our lands from the Israeli occupiers.” The reference is a claim to the disputed territories along Israeli’s northern border and the international “blue line” set by the United Nations.

He also pledged to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that nation’s ongoing five-year-long civil war, which Hezbollah has also fought to supplement the regime forces, along with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps forces, and Russian armed forces.

Nearly half a million people have died in Syria since the start of hostilities there in March 2011.

Hana Levi Julian

EU Seeks Iranian Cooperation to ‘Resolve Problems’ in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Saturday in Tehran for talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Mogherini’s visit followed a trilateral meeting on Friday in Moscow between Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministers to discuss developments in Syria, according to Iran’s official FARS news agency.

During his meeting with Mogherini, the Iranian president “underlined the necessity for cutting aid to the terrorist groups,” according to FARS. Rouhani reportedly “called on the EU to use military and political leverage to pressure those states that are supporting the terrorists in the region.”

Mogherini “stressed the necessity for a campaign against the ISIL (Islamic State terrorist group) and Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front as threats to the world…” The EU foreign policy chief was quoted by FARS as saying, “The EU needs Iran’s cooperation as a key and important power to resolve problems in the region.”

(Yes, these are real quotes.)

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Soldier Wounded in Gunfire From Lebanon

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

The IDF Spokesperson says there’s been no new gunfire from Lebanon, in response to news reports of a second round of shooting from across the northern border.

Earlier in the day, Lebanese terrorists opened fire at IDF soldiers engaged in routine maintenance on the security fence.

“Shots were fired from a passing vehicle in Lebanon at IDF forces during routine activity adjacent to the border in the area of Ramin Ridge,” according to an IDF spokesperson.

IDF soldiers “identified the vehicle that conducted the shooting,” the spokesperson said, and “fire was exchanged between the vehicle and IDF forces. Hits were confirmed.”

“The injured soldier, a member of the Golani Brigade, was working on the security fence when he sustained a shrapnel wound in the arm. He was evacuated to Ziv Medical Center in Tzefat for medical treatment, and is listed in good condition,” the IDF spokesperson added.

IDF troops have been placed on high alert, and a message has gone out to Israeli residents in the area that they are not allowed to enter the area near the border fence.

Hana Levi Julian

Trump in 2nd Debate: Aleppo Has Already Fallen

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Focusing, as we always do, on the Jewish-Israeli niche of presidential politics, we paid great attention Sunday night to the exchange between candidates Trump and Clinton on the situation in Syria. In general, both debaters agreed the situation was tough, and neither was eager to get into specific solutions. What stood out for us was the statement by Donald Trump that the battle of Aleppo between the US-backed rebels and the coalition of Assad, the Russians, Iran and Hezbollah will go to the pro-Assad forces.

Martha Raddatz (ABC News) asked Trump: “What do you think will happen if [Aleppo] falls?” Which Trump answered, “I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen.”

It should be noted that on Saturday in the UN Security Council Russia vetoed a French resolution calling for an immediate halt to its air strikes on east Aleppo, where reportedly hundreds of civilians are being killed, including many children. The Russian delegation, accusing the rest of the council of “Russophobia,” watched many council members walk off as the Russians were giving the floor to an envoy of the Assad regime. The Russians are fast running out of friends over this campaign — except, apparently, for Trump, who described Allepo as collateral damage of the effort to destroy the real enemy of the US in the Middle East — ISIS.

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said during Sunday night’s debate. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.”

Raddatz pointed Trump’s attention to the fact that not only the entire Western world objects to what the Russians have been doing in Syria, but his own running mate, Mike Pence, had said a week ago, that the “provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”

Trump, who had praised Pence’s debate performance, came right out and said, “OK, he and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”

Raddatz: “You disagree with your running mate?”

Trump: “I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who [Clinton] made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.”

To delineate Trump’s foreign policy point on Aleppo from all of the above, the defeat of ISIS justifies permitting Russia, Iran, the Assad regime and its Hezbollah satellite to recapture all of Syria and turn it into their permanent base, with all the ramifications for Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and, of course, Israel.

A debate then ensued between Raddatz, who as her network’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent is probably familiar with the issue, and Trump, over the need for secrecy before attacking a target like the oil rich city of Mosul in Iraq. “The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul,” Trump argued. “They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, we will be attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks.”

“Well, all of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul,” he continued. “Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success? People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks, which is what they’re saying? How stupid is our country?”

Raddatz suggested, “There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.”

Trump retorted, “I can’t think of any. I can’t think of any. And I’m pretty good at it.”

Raddatz: “It might be to help get civilians out.”

Perhaps. Trump could also be correct in pointing out that the US campaign in Iraq has remained as undisciplined and as badly coordinated as it has been since the 2003 invasion, under two different administrations.

Hillary Clinton sounded as hapless as the Obama Administration when she said the Russians don’t care about ISIS, and are instead “interested in keeping Assad in power.” As remedy, she proposed: “…when I was secretary of state, I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.”

Of course, there’s no way the US and its allies would be able to enforce a no-fly zone on the Russian air force, short of starting WW3, which is why Clinton sounded hollow when she declared, “I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president.” And she sounded even less realistic when she warned, “…I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.”

Hillary Clinton then committed a blunder that could haunt her in the future should she be elected president, when she suggested, “There are a lot of very important planning going on, and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area, as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, that we all need to be in this. And that takes a lot of planning and preparation. … I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.”

That’s not something an American president should say if he or she wish to elicit Turkey’s support in the Syrian campaign. Proposing to arm the Kurds sounds about as bad to Ankara as the idea of the US arming Hamas would be received in Jerusalem. That would be one of those cases where Clinton would be well advised to have one policy for public consumption and another for insiders.

You probably noticed we did not deal at all with the Trump tapes or the Clinton emails, because everyone else in the media are offering a wealth of information on those. We only tried to point out that when it comes to one of Israel’s most burning issues, the escalation of the war north of its border, neither candidate has offered a particularly convincing formula, and Clinton actually declared she would definitely keep US ground troops out of the Syrian civil war.

We should note with satisfaction that Israel was not mentioned even once in the debate and neither was the two-state solution or Jewish settlements. Thankfully, both candidates are too clever to step on that landmine.

JNi.Media

Ex-MK, Accused Spy for Hezbollah, Got A Visa to Speak in Washington DC

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Former head of the Israeli Arab Balad party and a fugitive from Israeli justice, ex-Knesset member Azmi Bishara has somehow been granted an American visa in time to speak next week in Washington DC.

Bishara was accused by the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency of aiding and abetting the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization plot terrorist operations against Israel.

According to a report published last week by the Washington Free Beacon, Bishara is scheduled to speak this coming weekend at a conference in the downtown Marriott hotel organized by The Arab Center of Washington DC, entitled “Democracy in the Arab World: The Obama Legacy & Beyond.” The conference is hosted in partnership with the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The State Department reportedly declined to confirm whether it had granted a visa to Bishara, who has lived in Qatar since fleeing Israel in 2007, and whose image as a scheduled speaker still appears on the website of the conference. Bishara escaped just hours after he was accused of passing information to Lebanon-based Hezbollah agents and recommending Israeli targets to the Iranian-backed terrorist group in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War. He fled just prior to being arrested by police on charges of spying and aiding the enemy in wartime.

Israel is still holding a warrant for Bishara’s arrest. If tried and convicted Bishara could face life in prison. Since Qatar is not currently a participant in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program it is not clear how Bishara, a wanted fugitive from a U.S. ally, was able to enter the United States.

“We are unable to provide information on individual cases because visa records are confidential under U.S. law,” an official told the Free Beacon. “Visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with U.S. law.” In addition, the source told the Free Beacon, “Section 222 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits us from disclosing details from individual visa cases.”

Bishara is slated to deliver the keynote address, “A Framework for Democracy in the Arab World.” He is listed as the “General Director, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), Qatar.” Attending the same conference from the ACRPS is “Associate Researcher” Marwan Kabalan, a panelist speaking on the “Future Outlook and Recommended US Policies regarding Democracy in the Arab World.”

Kabalan is a Syrian academic and writer who has been a visiting professor in the College of Law at Qatar University, and has written for the Qatar Tribune. He is a recognized writer and expert on Syria, with a PhD in International Relations. In 2012, Kalaban was the Dean of Faculty of International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Kalamoon, Damascus.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, originally scheduled to speak at the event on promotion of democracy in the Arab world, has reportedly canceled his plans to appear.

Hana Levi Julian

6-Member Hezbollah Terror Cell Discovered Operating in Northern Israel

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) uncovered a Hezbollah terrorist cell operating in northern Israel, the intelligence agency revealed Thursday. Six suspects were arrested last month on suspicion of smuggling explosives that had been discovered south of Metulla on July 30, in a joint operation of the ISA, Israel Police and IDF.

All members of the cell, residents of the border town of Ghajar, were taken into custody for planning to carry out major terror attacks in Israel, according to a statement by the intelligence agency.

In recent years, security services have dealt with several cases in which links were discovered between routes for smuggling drugs from Lebanon into Israel, and routes for the infiltration of war materiel.

For example, in 2012, 20 kilograms of C4 explosive material were discovered, leading to a wave of arrests of Israeli Arabs from the Nazareth area and of several residents of Ghajar for involvement in the affair. Drugs trafficking in southern Lebanon is controlled and managed by Hezbollah, which maintains a constant effort to also smuggle war materiel along the drug smuggling routes, with the involvement of Israeli drugs traffickers.

In this case, the attempt was foiled and all those involved were arrested. From the investigation of the detainees as well as from information gathered about the operation, it was learned that several activists from Ghajar, led by Diab Sa’ad Jamil Kahamuz, were in contact with Hezbollah operatives.

At the behest of Hezbollah operatives, the detainees carried out smuggling into Israel over the Lebanese border fence as well as additional intelligence-gathering activity deeper inside Israel.

The Northern District State Attorney’s Office filed detailed indictments on Thursday (October 6, 2016), against all those involved in the case. Diab Kahamuz was arrested on September 4, 2016. During his investigation, it was learned he was in contact this year with his father, Sa’ad Kahamuz, a drug trafficker from Ghajar known for helping Hezbollah, and who fled to Lebanon in October 2006.

The central nature of the elder Kahamuz in the affair stems from his being an intermediary between Hezbollah operatives and his family in Ghajar, headed by his son Diab. Sa’ad Kahamuz liaised between Diab and Hezbollah operatives; communication was by means of – inter alia – encrypted emails. In May 2016, Diab received two explosive charges from Hezbollah, which he hid in an orchard south of Metula. As noted above, these charges were discovered on 30 July 2016. Diab was asked by Hezbollah to carry out an attack at a site – to be chosen by him – in Haifa. Diab also considered the possibility of carrying out an attack at a factory in Nesher, and recruited his brothers Yusuf and Jamil, planning to use the latter in carrying out the attack.

Diab agreed to carry out the attack; however, Hezbollah provided him with an alternative site – the bus stop at the entrance to the village of Tur’an, which is frequented by many soldiers, especially on Sundays. Diab collected intelligence about the site and conveyed the information to Hezbollah.

In August 2016 Diab was to have carried out an additional smuggling operation at the behest of his Hezbollah handlers. During his investigation, it was learned that additional parties were involved in his activities, namely his brothers Yusuf Sa’ad Jamil Kahamuz and Jamil Sa’ad Jamil Kahamuz.

The following residents of Ghajar were also arrested last month on suspicion of involvement in Diab’s activities with Hezbollah:

* Adal Ahmed Hassan Ayunat was arrested on September 4. During his investigation it was learned that he had been aware of Diab Kahamuz’s contacts with Hezbollah and that he had accepted an offer from him to assist him in his contacts and vis-à-vis drug smuggling. It was also learned that in 2007, he had smuggled night vision equipment to Hezbollah operatives.

* Mohssan Muhammad Jamil Kahamuz was arrested on September 4. He assisted Diab Kahamuz – inter alia – in purchasing a computer for contacting Hezbollah and in passing messages to Hezbollah via encrypted email. He also helped him to twice look for the bag with the explosives that had been hidden in the orchard near Metula in July 2016. He was also involved in drug smuggling along with Diab Kahamuz and others.

* Mandouh Karim Munif Ibrahim was arrested on September 12. During his investigation it was learned that he had assisted Diab Kahamuz – on several occasions – in passing messages to Hezbollah via encrypted email. He was also involved in drug smuggling along with Diab Kahamuz and others.

* Yusuf Sa’ad Jamil Kahamuz was arrested on September 18. During his investigation it was learned that he was fully cognizant of his brother Diab’s contacts with Hezbollah and had assisted him in carrying out activities at the behest of the organization. For example, he went with him to gather information about the Tur’an bus stop, had gone out of Ghajar with him in order to send and receive encrypted messages to/from Hezbollah, and had assisted him in receiving the explosives from Hezbollah. After Diab’s arrest, Yusuf burned the two computers that Diab had used for contacts with Hezbollah.

* Jamil Sa’ad Jamil Kahamuz was arrested on September 20. It was learned that he had acted as Diab’s main assistant regarding his Hezbollah activities and had been fully cognizant of them. It was also learned that he had assisted Diab on several occasions in passing information to Hezbollah, including photographs and video clips taken at Tur’an junction. On several occasions he also drove Diab to the smuggling points, including in May 2016 to collect the explosives. He also helped his brother Yusuf to destroy the computers to prevent them from being seized by the security forces.

Hana Levi Julian

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lessons-from-5776-optimism-for-5777/2016/10/02/

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