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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘IDF’

Dangerous Gush Etzion Junction Receives Tender Loving Care from Locals

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

The members of Women in Green, together with residents of the Gush Etzion settlements block, have set out, as part of the “Revitalizing Gush Etzion Junction” project, to renovate and restore the Gush Etzion Junction. The junction has been marked by violent incidents in recent months, as a focal point for terror attacks, and marred by attempts to secure pedestrians against ramming attacks by Arab terrorists. Now Jewish activists have begun to apply a new, more inviting look to the place.

Welcome to Gush Etzion sign. Photo credit: Gershon Ellinson

Welcome to Gush Etzion sign. Photo credit: Gershon Ellinson

The activists and residents together with youth from the surrounding area decorated the path that goes up to Oz veGaon, overlooking the Junction, with decorative plants and natural rocks from the area; a “Welcome to Gush Etzion” sign was placed on the slope toward the nearby nature preserve; and the Gush Etzion Council planted an oak tree of about a hundred years in the center of the circle.

Photo credit: Women in Green

Photo credit: Women in Green

The project has won warm support from the military commanders of the area.

“We took on this initiative with the understanding that normal life, which is what we aspire for here, cannot exist if we feel that we are living in a bunker and in an atmosphere of having to defend ourselves. The square at the Junction is actually the calling card that welcomes those who come to the entrance of Gush Etzion, Israelis as well as tourists, and the appearance of the concrete barriers is not a welcoming sight,” said the heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar.

Photo credit: Women in Green

Photo credit: Women in Green

Katsover and Matar praised the youths from the communities of the Gush and Judean Hills who joined the activists in dedicating long work days renovating and improving the face of the Gush Etzion Junction. The two women also noted the artistic contribution of the students and teachers from the Art Department of Neve Hanah and Oriah Schools, who painted the concrete protection barriers scattered throughout the bus stops, hitchhiking spots and guard posts at the junction. “We were able to do all of this thanks to donations from Jews in Israel and abroad, and among them our friends, the members of AFSI,” the two women added.

Photo credit: Women in Green

Photo credit: Women in Green

This Friday, July 1, will mark two years since the founding of Oz veGaon, the nature preserve established in memory of three youths who were abducted by Hamas terrorists, an attack that resulted in the 2014 Gaza war. The date will be commemorated with a family happening, a musical appearance and attractions, attended by the head of Gush Etzion Council Davidi Perl and members of the abducted youths’ families.

Photo credit: Women in Green

Photo credit: Women in Green

“At the event we will salute the residents, our wonderful youth, IDF soldiers and their commanders, businesses at Gush Etzion Junction, the many visitors who make Oz veGaon a bustling, lively place and the hitchhikers who maintain the blessed routine of life,” Katsover and Matar said.

JNi.Media

Israeli Leftists Ejected From Ramallah, Attacked En Route to Iftar

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

A trip to attend an Iftar meal on Wednesday night to break the Islamic Ramadan fast in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah turned out to be much more exciting than activists from the leftist “Two States, One Homeland” organization expected.

The group of nine activists drove in their vehicles into the city, which is located in an area designated as Area A under the Oslo Accords, meaning it is under the complete administrative, legal and security control of the Palestinian Authority.

Israelis are forbidden to enter this area without the specific authorization of the PA government.

Apparently the members of the group were invited by unidentified Arab “friends” who are citizens of the Palestinian Authority to attend an Iftar meal in Ramallah, although it is not clear who issued the invitation.

However, the group was “welcomed” in the manner reserved for most other Jews as they headed towards the PA capital.

“Late Wednesday night nine Israelis entered Ramallah of their own volition. One of their vehicles was damaged by firebombs and rocks that were hurled at the travelers,” the IDF later told reporters. “No injuries were reported.

“Eight of the Israelis exited voluntarily; the ninth Israeli left with the assistance of an escort by Palestinian Authority police,” military officials continued, explaining that the activists were not allowed to remain in Ramallah. One of the group was not pleased with this turn of events.

“The Israelis were transferred to Israeli security personnel for follow-up,” the IDF added, noting “An investigation has been launched into the reasons behind the entry of the Israelis into Ramallah.”

It is standard protocol for Palestinian Authority security personnel to transfer any Israeli found or caught in Area A or B directly into the custody of Israeli security personnel.

Despite all the conflict and difficulties that have taken place between the two populations over the past eight months, it is clear that when it comes to some matters, at least, cooperation still exists between the two security forces.

The activists themselves saw things quite differently — and some of the things that occurred apparently they did not see at all. Following is the account of the night’s events, as related by the “Two States, One Homeland” group.

“This evening activists from “Two States, One Homeland” set out to participate in a joint Iftar meal.

“One of the vehicles apparently torched and sustained minor damage while it was empty. The Palestinian Authority security apparatus quickly took control over the incident and assisted us in filing a complaint.

“At no time did we feel threatened and our Palestinian friends were outraged by the incident.

“The most frightening thing to anyone who wants to maintain the existing situation is to see Israelis and Palestinians who continue to work and speak together.

“We agreed that we would not flinch and will continue with all our strength to bring our two peoples into line.”

Hana Levi Julian

Elbit ‘Seagull’ Unmanned Surface Vehicle Passes Test, Fires Torpedo

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems Ltd. has for the first time ever, successfully tested a 12-meter-long unmanned surface vessel (USV), complete with launching a torpedo.

The system is comprised of replaceable mission modules, with two vessels capable of being operated and controlled in concert using a single Mission Control System (MCS), from manned ships or from the shore. According to Elbit the system provides “mission planning and on-line operation in known and unknown areas, including area survey, search, detection, classification, identification, neutralization and verification. It is equipped to search the entire water volume and operate underwater vehicles to identify and neutralize mines.”

The Seagull was tested in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea off Israel’s northern coastline near Haifa. The trial successfully proved the system’s ability to install, carry and launch lightweight torpedoes (underwater missiles).

“The success of this test demonstrates Seagull’s modular mission system capability, enabling a highly effective ASW (anti-submarine warfare) configuration of high-performance dipping sonar using two single tube torpedoes,” said Ofer Ben-Dov, Elbit Systems Vice President of the Naval Systems Business Line ISTAR Division.

“The test highlighted Seagull’s capacity to detect and engage submarines in addition to its ability to detect and destroy sea mines, all using the same multi-mission USV system in modular configurations.

“This new and important capability has, to date, only been available to navies through manned vehicles,” Ben-Dov explained.

The USV is to be used in unmanned maritime missions such as anti-submarine warfare, counter-mine operations, or the protection of offshore oil and gas rigs such as those currently operating in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan gas reserves, among numerous others.

There have been numerous threats to Israel’s natural gas fields by the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization as well as by the Lebanese government and others over the past several years.

The new Seagull USV will be a new and versatile element in the defense system employed to protect those assets, as well as defend Israel’s coastline from Iranian and other potential terrorist suppliers attempting to provide arms and other contraband to Hamas in Gaza.

Hana Levi Julian

MK Zoabi Curses Out IDF Soldiers Until MK Hazan Stops Her, Much Brouhaha Follows [video]

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

MKs Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) and Zehava Galon (Meretz) were removed from the Knesset on Wednesday after a storm that erupted in response to vile allegations made by Zoabi as part of the daily agenda proposals. The Arab MK spoke in response to the rapprochement agreement between Israel and Turkey, but her language was so rude and offensive, MK Oren Hazan (Likud) felt obligated to interrupt her, at which point the rest of the House started to pay attention, and crowded the podium demanding that the offending MK be removed from the plenum. When MK Galon asked the Deputy Speaker, Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu), why he’s not removing Hazan as well, the Deputy Speaker removed her from the plenum.

MK Zoabi began her statement saying, “I stood here six years ago. Remember the incitement, the hatred and the noise back then? And where have we arrived? An apology and reparations to the families of those who were once called terrorists. They, who confronted the soldiers, were trying to prevent an act of piracy of the Shayetet (Naval special forces) that probably was looking to kidnap and murder.”

At which point Hazan called out, “You’re talking about the soldiers? You should be named Captain Hook. You are a pirate, supporting terrorism, rukhi (Arabic for go away) to Gaza.”

MK Amar, a Druze who served in the IDF from 1982 to 1986 (he also holds a fifth degree black belt in Martial Arts) told the plenum that Zoabi wished to apologize. But when she received the floor she demanded an apology on behalf of “all the political activists who were on the [Turkish boat Mavi] Marmara, and an apology to MK Hanin Zoabi whom you attacked and persecuted for six years. All of you need to apologize, all the MKs in this building.”

Hazan continued to cut her off, calling her, “Traitor, you are the national inciter, go to Gaza.” He then turned to Amar, saying, “There’s a limit to everything, take her off the podium.”

“He who committed the murder must apologize. You need to apologize,” Zoabi persisted. But at that point the plenum had erupted in a storm, with many MKs. crowding the podium and demanding that Zoabi be removed. Finally, Amar ordered her removed saying that she “lied” when she told him she wished to apologize.” Which is when MK Galon stood up to inquire how come Hazan, who also interrupted the proceedings, had not been removed — so she was removed, too. Then MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) was removed for yelling “Traitors” at the Balad party MKs (Balad is one of the four factions in the Joint Arab List).

By now the Knesset resembled one of those eastern European or Asian parliaments, where the members take to fisticuffs when words would no longer do. Hazan was thrown out, several Arab MKs followed, the speaker, who had long since lost all hope of controlling the proceedings just kept on yelling at everyone in his field of vision. It was a brawl, but without actual violence, only the Knesset ushers were busy gently manhandling the MKs so they won’t hurt one another.

Outside the plenum, Zoabi told reporters: “Israel did not disengage from Gaza, Israel disengaged Gaza from the world and from life. I demand an apology, and I want reparations, which I will donate to the children of Gaza, and to the next flotillas.”

The entire afternoon was a kind of Déjà vu: on May 31, 2010, Zoabi participated in the Gaza flotilla, and was on board the Mavi Marmara when violence broke out as Israeli commandos were attacked with metal rods, knives, broken bottles and the kitchen sink as they were trying to board and take over the ship. Zoabi was arrested. At a later news conference, Zoabi called the raid criminal, saying she had witnessed two wounded passengers bleed to death after the Israelis refused to provide medical aid. She also stated, “It was clear from the size of the force that boarded the ship that the purpose was not only to stop this sail, but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities in order to stop such initiatives in the future.”

That was a blatant lie, as could be seen in the videos taken during the event, showing the IDF soldiers coming down a rope from a chopper, to be showered with punches, blows and cuts. There were easier ways to cause fatalities, if that were on the IDF’s mind.

In a speech at the Knesset one day after her release, MK Zoabi called the raid a “pirate military operation” and demanded an international investigation. She also demanded to know why the Israeli government had not released photos and videos it confiscated from passengers that might shed light on why nine passengers were killed and dozens wounded. During her address she also said, “Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation. Why does the government of Israel oppose an investigation?”

Of course, the videos that were released showed ample provocation and then some.

Zoabi was repeatedly interrupted and shouted down during that initial speech in 2010 by other lawmakers, one of whom shouted “Go to Gaza, traitor!” The chaos reached a peak when MK Anastasia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) charged the podium in an attempt to prevent Zoabi from continuing.

David Israel

Israeli Cabinet Approves Deal With Turkey Despite Pressure from Families of Israelis Held in Gaza

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Israeli security cabinet approved a reconciliation deal with Turkey on Wednesday by a vote of 7-3. The deal, which was supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was opposed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

The deal, which was signed Tuesday, comes six years after Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla attempting to break the Gaza blockade, leaving 10 Turkish citizens[editor: who attacked IDF soldiers] dead and causing a rift in Israeli-Turkish relations.

Three conditions on the part of Israel are to be met: (1) an official apology for the 2010 flotilla incident is to be issued, (2) as well as $20 million in compensation for families of those killed. In addition, (3) Turkey will be permitted to deliver aid to Gaza by way of the Israeli port of Ashdod.

The families of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza War, whose bodies are currently being held by Hamas in Gaza, expressed disdain for the deal.

The families demanded the return of the soldiers’ bodies before any aid can be provided to Hamas-ruled Gaza, a condition not included in the current deal.

The Shaul family protested outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence, demanding for the recall of the peace agreement. The Goldin family submitted a letter to the Prime Minister’s office.

Together with the Shaul family, relatives of Avera Mengistu, attended the protests. Mengistu, a Israeli man with a history of mental-illness, who is believed to be in Hamas custody after crossing into Gaza and undergoing interrogation by Hamas operatives on September 7, 2014. Mengistu’s whereabouts and condition are unclear, though Hamas officials claimed he was released following interrogation.

Mengistu’s brother, Ilan, denounced the reconciliation agreement, saying: “The government needs to listen to our cries and to understand that we’re speaking of a humanitarian issue here. Avera is my brother and a brother to all of us. We need to bring him home.”

“It is unacceptable that while government permits a humanitarian agreement with Gaza, the humanitarian rights of my brother are forgotten,” he added.

The Israeli cabinet decided to discuss imposing harsher conditions on Hamas prisoners currently held in Israeli jails as a means to pressure Hamas to release the Israelis held in Gaza.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with the three families for a half hour in the prime minister’s office, informing the families that the UN will appoint special representatives to handle the matter of returning the bodies and the missing Israeli.

Seven of the ten ministers who voted in favor of the deal met with the families before entering the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem to vote on the agreement.

Several Knesset members who opposed the deal expressed worry over the condition of paying the families of presumed terrorists as well as Turkey’s interests in entering the agreement, citing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Israel rhetoric in recent years.

MK Naftali Bennett expressed caution over the deal, explaining that “reconciliation with Turkey is important at this time and to the interests of the State of Israel, however payment of compensation to the perpetrators of a terrorist act is a dangerous precedent that Israel will regret in the future.”

“As long as there is Turkish influence over Hamas, it is (the Turks) who should do all they can to ensure that Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, may their memories be a blessing, return to Israel,” Bennett said.

Netanyahu adamantly defended the deal at a press conference in Rome on Monday announcing the agreement.

“We are not entering a honeymoon. I’m not trying to beautify this agreement or look at it through rose-colored glasses,” he said. “What I am saying is that our vital interests are promoted by this agreement, that on balance it leans towards our interests.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Erdogan Apologizes for Downing Russian Plane in Condolence Letter

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

On the same week Israel and Turkey have reached the beginning of a rapprochement, following a formal apology by Prime Minister Netanyahu a few years ago for the IDF’s killing of 10 Turkish Citizens who brutally attacked Israeli soldiers, now Turkish President Erdogan appears to have taken a page out of Bibi’s playbook: he sent a letter to Russian President Putin urging the restoration of “traditional friendly ties” between their two countries, and spelled out how sorry he was for downing a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft and killing its pilot.

Turkey’s prime minister Binali Yildirim said late Monday that “the content of the letter is very clear. We express our regret. We say that we are sharing the pain felt by those who lost loved ones. We say that we will pay compensation, if needed.”

Now, was that so difficult?

“I suppose our president will have a phone call with Putin today, tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, maybe Thursday,” Yildirim said.

After the downing of the Russian plane last November, the Kremlin ordered sanctions on food products, an end to visa-free travel and a ban on Russian tourists taking package holidays in Turkey. Natural gas deliveries were in jeopardy as well. Suddenly Turkey was facing a raging enemy where none had stood before.

For its part, Russia’s Foreign Ministry viewed the letter with the apologies as a step in a right direction to normalizing ties, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told TASS on Tuesday.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he was sorry for shooting down the Su-24 jet and stressing “readiness to make every effort to restore traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Turkey.”

Then, on Tuesday, Peskov said Putin and Erdogan would speak on the phone on Wednesday—at Russia’s initiative. “Tomorrow at the initiative of the Russian side a telephone conversation will take place between President Putin and President Erdogan,” Peskov stressed. The conversation will be held at approximately the middle of the day, he added.

Erdogan said late Monday that more than 10,000 tons of supplies will sail to Gaza from Turkey before the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday in early July, prompting Hamas to thank Erdogan for his efforts to ease the blockade.

And all it cost to get this swirl of good will going was for Israel to pay $21 million to the folks who attacked its soldiers with knives, axes, metal rods and whatever else they had on hand. A small price to pay, presumably, in exchange for this much peace.

JNi.Media

Liberman, Bennett, Shaked to Vote Against Turkish Deal

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

So far, only two government ministers, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and Housing Minister Yoav Galant, both from Likud, are on the record as supporting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pay upwards of $21 million as reparations to the families of anti-Zionist Turkish activists who attacked IDF soldiers with metal rods, rocks and knives when they attempted to take over the ship Mavi Marmara back in 2010. The deal also included a public apology (check) and easing the Israeli blockade on Gaza, which always ends up as a wise move when dealing with Hamas.

The loud objections from both sides of the aisle which the Netanyahu deal has raised on Monday may be the reason that four ministers Netanyahu was counting on to support him are yet to say anything on the subject: Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), Aryeh Deri (Shas), Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Israel Katz (Likud). Meanwhile, three ministers have erected a strong front against the deal: Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), and Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi).

Liberman this week denied reports that he had committed to supporting the deal, as part of his entering the Netanyahu government. In closed sessions he went as far as to say that if he thins the deal is bad, he would vote against it.

Bennett said on Tuesday morning that “the State of Israel must not pay reparations to terrorists who tried to harm the IDF. A rapprochement with Turkey is important for this time and for the interests of the State of Israel, but paying reparations to terrorists is a dangerous precedent the State of Israel would regret in the future.”

A Channel 10 News survey released Monday showed that 56% of Israelis object to the deal with Turkey, and 67% believe it should have been conditioned on the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers in Hamas’ possession, as well as two Israeli civilians believed to be alive.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-bennett-shaked-to-vote-against-turkish-deal/2016/06/28/

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