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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jordan Valley’

Another Deluge of Rain on the Way but No Snow Except on Hermon

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

The second storm of the young winter is headed for Israel with more needed rain but no snow, except on the Hermon mountain.

Forecasters predict that it will rain on Eilat, an event that usually occurs only two or three times a year, and that up to three inches of rain will fall in the north and central regions.

Flash floods are predicted in the Arava and Dead Sea areas, which may receive an unusually large quantity of rain, possibly an inch.

The rain will follow deceivingly warmer than usual weather on Friday and will begin falling with the temperature Saturday afternoon, with the full force of the storm coming on Sunday and early Monday before weakening. No rain is forecast next week after Tuesday and temperatures will rise.

The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) now lacks 2.49 meters (slightly more than 8 feet) before reaching the level where the Degania dam must be opened to prevent flooding in the beachside city of Tiberias. Opening the dam also will bring much needed water to the Dead Sea via the Jordan River.

There has  been no need to open the dam for 21 years.

Arab League Says No to IDF in Jordan Valley

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

In an emergency meeting called by PA president Mahmoud Abbas, the Arab League rejected a US proposal that IDF troops would remain in the Jordan Valley for a 10 year period, according to a report in Reuters.

Abbas said that he would not accept a single Israeli soldier in “Palestine”, but he could accept US troops.

Besides being an integral part of the Land of Israel, the Jordan Valley is an important component of Israel’s security on the eastern front. The IDF presence in the Jordan Valley also prevents smuggling of weapons into the Palestinian Authority, and possibly also protects the Kingdom of Jordan from a Palestinian takeover.

Last week, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon toured the Jewish towns in the Jordan Valley and emphasized how strategically important they are to the State of Israel.

Kerry Meeting with Netanyahu to End Two-Day Visit

Friday, December 13th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Friday morning  and into the afternoon following his talks with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday night.

The snowstorm that has literally placed Jerusalem under siege forced Kerry to alter his plan to talk twice with the Prime Minister, once before meeting with Abbas and again afterwards.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will join Friday’s meeting at some point, indicating that the U.S. proposal for security arrangements in the Jordan Valley will be discussed. Abbas so far has rejected any IDF presence in the Jordan Valley, even for an interim period of several years. Israel reportedly is not happy with the American proposal but has not rejected it.

Kerry arrived in Israel in the middle of the snowstorm late Thursday and plans to fly out to Vietnam later today (Friday).

IDF Officer Who Hit Anarchist to Keep His Job for Now

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

An IDF military court decided to go with a modified plea bargain agreement for Lt. Colonel Shalom Eisner, who had been set to be kicked out of the army.

Eisner had hit a foreign anarchist in the face, who was trying to block Highway 90 in the Jordan Valley. During the 2 hour altercation that preceded Eisner’s actions, one of the activists broke the fingers in Eisner’s hand.

The activists had filmed the April 2012 incident and disseminated a selectively edited video showing Eisner striking uncooperative anarchists with his rifle – something a lot of soldiers probably wish they could do to these foreign provocateurs.

What the film did not show was that before Eisner hit the foreign leftists, other anarchists had broken two of the officer’s fingers, and the scenes of the anarchists using their bicycles to hit and push the soldiers were also mostly cut out.

The court ordered Eisner to serve two months of public service, after which he can remain in his position for a year, instead of being dismissed right away which is what the original plea bargain had stipulated. Eisner was supposed to head up the prestigious Bahad 1 officer’s school in the Negev.

High ranking army officers, as well as the mother of a fallen soldier who was brought to burial by Eisner, praised Eisner for his sensitivity and character.

Hagit Rein, whose son was killed in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and was brought to burial by Eisner, burst out into tears as she told the military court of Eisner’s sensitivity and involvement with the burial of her son.

At the time, no one was able to retrieve her son’s body which was trapped in the middle of a combat zone in Lebanon. Eisner upon hearing about it, jumped into a jeep, drove out, and brought the soldier’s body back to Israel.

Senior IDF officer Yehkezkiel Agai testified, “Shalom and I served together in the tank unit, I brought him into his current position as deputy commander because he is trustworthy and dedicated to his job. He is like a man who never received a traffic ticket for 40 years and then is suddenly involved in a serious accident.

“There is no question about the qualities of Shalom. There is no problem with his values or  behavior. He just make a mistake.”

Sami Turgeman, head of the Southern Command, told the military judges, “As a commander of ground forces, I often have to face officers in positions that they do not like. Eisner willingly took the position as the Jordan Valley division deputy commander which is not convenient from a personal standpoint and for family life. I have no doubt that he is a highly motivated officer.”

However, Nitzan Alon head of Central Command and a long-time thorn in the side of national religious officers such as Eisner, told the court that despite Eisner’s excellent qualities, “I saw professional failures in maintaining control.”

The incident began when 250 anarchists rode their bicycles onto Highway 90, the only highway connecting the southern and northern ends of the Jordan Valley, with the stated aim of blocking the road in an illegal protest.

The division commander was on vacation at the time and left instructions for Eisner to call the police if there was any trouble.

Eisner had instead decided to deal with the protesters himself.

Anarchists struggled with the soldiers, and some of them were also “bumping” their bicycles into the IDF soldiers as a “non-violent” provocation. With two broken fingers, Eisner’s patience ran out when one of the protesters purposely stood in his way as he and his soldiers were trying to clear the demonstrators off the highway.

After the video of the confrontation went viral, Eisner was removed from duty until an investigation was completed.

In September, Eisner reached the plea bargain agreement, reported here.

On the surface, Eisner came out better than expected, because he can return to his present position after two months of public service, and will retire from the army in another year instead of being forced out right away.

Unfortunately the mistake here is that he is being forced to retire at all.

Great News: US Has Security Plan for the ‘West Bank’

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

One has to be sparing with exclamation points, but this one’s a lollapalooza.  A dilly!  A doozie.  A big honkin’ mess-a that Middle East Security Hotness.  You heard right folks:  the United States of America has a “West Bank security proposal” for Israel, and we’re sending a retired Army general to present it to Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, himself.  !!!!!!!!!!

Why did no one think of this before?  Finally, someone has done something pragmatic and positive about the Israeli-Palestinian standoff, and just written up a proposal for the Israelis to chew on already.  The Obama administration has at last gotten things off top dead center with Iran, and it’s time to tackle those other intractable Middle East Security Problems, while the momentum is still red-hot.

The New York Times has done yeoman work in recent years pitching verbatim the information themes of the Obama administration, but interestingly, it comes off as a tad perfunctory in the story about the West Bank security proposal.  The tale seems to lack a little of that believer’s heart to it.  You might almost get the sense that there’s some editorial skepticism about the wisdom of this fresh Brainstorming for Peace initiative.

Almost.  Letting the Obama administration off the hook, as usual, for vagueness and strange diplomatic fire, NYT notes the following:

General Allen’s presentation appears to signify a more active American role, in which the United States is doing more than coaxing the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate and is presenting its own ideas.

What are the ideas about, exactly?  The NYT authors again:

Officials involved in the negotiations said security had been the prime focus lately, with most of the discussion revolving around the Jordan Valley. Israel has insisted that its own military continue to patrol there, rather than rely on an international force similar to those responsible for its tense borders with Lebanon and Syria. The Palestinians have said they cannot abide the presence of any Israeli soldiers in their future state.

Keep in mind, if George W. Bush’s officials were being so elliptical about a U.S.-drafted West Bank security proposal, NYT would be right in there concluding indignantly that American troops were about to be drop-kicked into the Jordan Valley to embroil a duped and overextended United States in Another Vietnam Quagmire (Marine Barracks Beirut Variety).  It would be barely possible to figure out what the Bush administration had actually said, so thick would be the underbrush of quotes from policy “critics” through which the reader would have to hack.

No such quotes enliven the current NYT piece.  The Obama administration gets the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe putting U.S. prestige and bona fides on the line with an unsolicited, and apparently very specific, security proposal to an ally isn’t a bad idea.  Maybe it’s not undiplomatic and prejudicial to announce it publicly before our briefer has even presented it to Israel’s prime minister.  Maybe it’s just, what, enthusiastic.  Maybe there’s nothing to be concerned about in the fact that the preemptive announcement is so vague.  Hey, we’re just talking – probably – a about U.S. proposal for administering military security in the Jordan Valley.  What could go wrong?

NYT lets this priceless, preemptive characterization go without comment:

State Department officials described the security briefing as an “ongoing process” and not a finished product on which the United States was demanding a yes-or-no vote from the Israeli side.

Sure, because announcing it in advance will put no onus on Israel to respond in a yes-or-no-type manner.  This formulation is like an addict pleading that he’s not using, he’s just snorting some coke.

Kerry Riding a Loaded Freight Train to Run Over Israel

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is coming to Israel Thursday night with a one-two knockout punch that puts on the table American plans for Israel’s security in a future Palestinian Authority state.

In addition, Israel has agreed to another American project to would further pave the way for increasing de facto Palestinian Authority sovereignty in areas officially control by Israel and where Jewish communities’ future existence will be threatened.

The Obama administration repeatedly has promised it will not force on Israel an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, but in practice, that is exactly what it has done by the old trick of publicly announcing suggestions and leaving the foreign media and international community to condemn Israel for not accepting them.

The Palestinian Authority then threatens to end the “peace talks” and go the United Nations, leaving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s diplomatic knife in Israel’s back.

Retired Gen. John Allen, one of President Barack Obama’s “special envoys” to the Middle East who acts as the President’s Israeli defense minister in absentia, reportedly has come up with plans based on his expert knowledge of exactly what Israel needs to defend itself.

Until last year, Allen commanded American forces in Afghanistan, which apparently gives him an excellent understanding of the Jewish state’s security needs.

A host of Israel political leaders and military officials have made it clear that Israel must maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley in any future Palestinian Authority state.

But Israel’s leaders have said a lot of things, such as dismissing any possibility that it would release mass murderers to bring back the bodies of fallen soldiers, or the return of one live soldier, or for the privilege of sitting down face to face with Palestinian Authority officials whose idea of negotiations is that Israel can decide whether to accepts its demands today or tomorrow.

Details of Allen’s have not been leaked, but given the Palestinian Authority’s rejection of Israel’s deploying soldiers in the Jordan Valley, Allen is bound to come up with something that will sound super-sweet but will end up as poison, which can be smelled in statements from Washington.

One U.S. official said Allen “has been working closely on the ground with his Israeli counterparts,” The Associated Press reported. The official said the Americans realize that security is “paramount” as Israel contemplates taking “calculated risks for peace.”

Been there, done that.

The United States does the “calculations, the Israeli government takes the “risks” and Israeli families pay the price at the cemetery.

A U.S. official traveling with Kerry said the ideas were not a “plan” that could be accepted or rejected.

Sure.

The Haaretz daily said that Allen will tell Netanyahu of his security plans when they meet on Thursday. Kerry then will go to Ramallah, leaving Israel holding the blame bag if it dares to say “no.”

The Associated Press reported that “the American thinking is that if Israeli security concerns can be met, other issues, such as borders, will then fall into place.”

In other words, the U.S. State Dept. has come up with another formula for peace and love in the Middle East. It wasn’t long ago that the United States knew – it did not think, but it knew – that settling the Palestinian Authority-Israeli dispute would open up the locks on all of the regions problems, such as Egypt.

And Syria.

And Iraq.

And Iran.

Kerry’s arrival in Israel Wednesday night follows European Union warnings that if Israel does not agree to a peace pact, the EU will increase its boycott of settlements and will stop funding the Palestinian Authority.

Arab Murderers of Retired IDF Colonel Planned to Kidnap His Wife

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Monique Ofer, whose husband and retired IDF Col. Sraya Ofer was murdered in October by two Palestinian Authority terrorists, narrowly escape with her life in the attack, according to documents filed this week in the military court where the terrorists are to be tried.

Prosecutors stated that that the terrorists, both from the Hevron area, planned the attack for six months, contradicting their earlier claim that they only were planning to rob the Ofer home. Their plan was to kidnap Monique, but she escaped the killers, who had tried to grab her in the late night attack, by crawling to the main highway, where she flagged down help.

The terrorists beat her husband to death with metal clubs and axes.

Five Arab Suspects Arrested In Jordan Valley Terror Attack

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Five Palestinian Authority Arabs have been arrested so far in the search for the killers of Shraya Ofer last night in the Jordan Valley terror attack.

At least two Arabs were involved in the terror attack.

They’ve been brought into interrogation by the Shabak.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/five-arab-suspects-arrested-in-jordan-valley-terror-attack/2013/10/11/

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