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.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday morning, “It is astonishing that even after the recent IAEA report determined that Iran is continuing to hide the military components of its nuclear program, the nuclear talks are with it are proceeding.”
He is trying to keep security at the top of the agenda in the election campaign and briefed ministers on “Iran’s attempt to increase its foothold on Israel’s borders even as it works to arm itself with nuclear weapons.”
Netanyahu added, “Iran is trying to also to develop a third front on the Golan Heights via the thousands of Hezbollah fighters who are in southern Syria and over which Iran holds direct command…..
The coming month is critical for the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers because a framework agreement is liable to be signed that will allow Iran to develop the nuclear capabilities that threaten our existence.
“The agreement that is being formulated between Iran and the major powers is dangerous for Israel and therefore I will go to the US next week in order to explain to the American Congress, which could influence the fate of the agreement, why this agreement is dangerous for Israel, the region and the entire world.”
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.
Gadi Eizenkot officially took over the command of the IDF Monday morning, replacing Benny Gantz in a routine rotation.
Lt. Gen. Eizenkot is a new image for the Israel, one of modesty that is rare in recent years among IDF generals who often are politicians more than they are military officers in their race to please the political echelon and the United States in order to climb the ladder of positions of power.
Eizenkot was a natural candidate to command the IDF several years ago, but he declined.
He is modest, but he also is tough, and as the Jewish Press reported here in November, he is different from other military commanders and is not afraid to speak his mind, even if his thoughts are not politically correct.
He took over the Northern Command after his predecessor quit in 2006 after suffering sharp criticism of his conduct in the 34-day Second Lebanon War that summer, a war which was arguably one of the most embarrassing for Israel in terms of the military’s lack of preparation, poor intelligence, logistic fiascos and loss of life.
Concerning Hezbollah, Eizenkot has said he backs a policy to show “no mercy shown when it comes to hitting the national infrastructure of a state that, in practice, is controlled by terrorist organization Hezbollah.”
On the other hand, Eizenkot is not considered trigger-happy and will not send soldiers into war unless diplomacy does not work, Yediot Acharonot observed when he was nominated for the new post late last year.
But when the army has to hit, it will do it the way it should.
Gantz said in his farewell speech Monday, “You have behind you a professional army, trained, flexible, and prepared for all tasks. Gadi,…take the army in the direction you choose….Praised is the people for whom you command their armed forces. Praised are those who answer “follow me” in carrying out commands.
Eizenkot, 54, lives in Herzliya, next to Tel Aviv. He is married and has five children.
At least 93 people have died in heavy fighting in southern Syria, the British-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. Syrian troops loyal to Bashar Assad fought alongside the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah against Syrian rebels, with roughly equal casualties on each side.
The fighting took place south of Damascus and in the Deraa and Quneitra regions. Quneitra is close to the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan.
In recent months the Golan has been hit by mortars and gunfire from Syria on several occasions. Two weeks ago an attack from Syria killed two IDF soldiers and destroyed a civilian home.
The latest round of violence is part of a large-scale assault launched by Assad’s troops and Hezbollah in southern Syria. The assault is expected to heat up in the upcoming hours and days as the weather clears, allowing for the use of airstrikes.
The south is the rebels’ last stronghold. Hezbollah has control of much of western Syria, while northern and eastern Syria have fallen to the Islamic State (Da’esh) and the Al-Nusra Front.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Saturday that Syrian rebels have turned to Israel for help. They are asking for Israeli air support in the fight against Hezbollah and Iran.
Israel has not confirmed or denied involvement in several airstrikes against Hezbollah positions and weapons in Syria.
Unnamed Israeli officials have confirmed that Syrian rebels have asked the Netanyahu government to bomb Hezbollah and Iranian positions, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Israel seems to be doing a job of doing so all by itself, but the rebels want the IDF to take a more active role. Israel never has admitted or denied several pre-emptive aerial bombings of weapons and Hezbollah positions.
The Observatory said that Assad, Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards have launched an offense to counter rebel attacks near Damascus.
“Regime troops and their Hezbollah-led allies are advancing in the area linking Deraa, Quneitra and Damascus provinces,” the Syrian Observatory said.
Rebels have lost most of northern and eastern Syria to the Islamic State and the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front. Hezbollah has taken over most of western Syria, bordering Lebanon.
That leaves the south as the rebels’ last stronghold.
“The rebels in the south comprise a diverse array of fighters,” analyst Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi of the Middle East Forum told Voice of America.