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July 8, 2015 / 21 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Judea’

Israel Envisions Regional Cooperation with Arab Nations

Friday, May 29th, 2015

On the eve of New York’s annual Israel Day Parade, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he hopes to broaden cooperation between Israel and her Arab neighbors in the region.

Although he was forced into a razor-thin margin when he created his coalition government this time around, the four-term prime minister is clearly working towards a broader vision: region-wide cooperation between Israel and as many of its moderate Arab neighbors as possible.

Speaking in a conversation with political correspondents Thursday at his office, Netanyahu said, “Both from the standpoint of regional security and also to try to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians… this idea of drawing from the Arab states following the changes in the Middle East is a positive concept, one I contemplate constantly.”

Although the “Arab Peace Initiative” of 2002 as presented without any changes was unrealistic – “for example, demanding that Israel return the Golan Heights… the [peace] plan was advanced 13 years ago and since then much has changed in the Middle East'”– the general idea of trying to achieve an understanding with the leading nations of the Arab world is “still a good idea.”

Netanyahu made it clear that both Israel and the Arab countries in the region are feeling threatened by Iran’s nuclear development activities, as well as its support for terror. But he said that he knew Israel’s Arab neighbors also have an interest in the Palestinian issue.

“It is in our interest to resolve this problem and there are certain barriers whose removal we are taking under consideration,” he said.

The prime minister added that he has “no interest in a bi-national state.” He reiterated, however, “The main problem is not the settlements. People have tried to make that the root of the problem, but when Israel pulled out of Gaza, we proved this is wrong. After all was said and done, and the incredibly painful things that took place in the Disengagement from Gaza, did anything stop?”

As far as Netanyahu is concerned, he said, any future agreement on statehood with the Palestinians must be a “long-term agreement that leaves full and practical control over security in the hands of Israel. I really mean it. It’s no whim or trick.”

The main problem for the citizens of Israel, the prime minister said, is the question of “what” will be the authority, “who will be the source for security in the territories that Israel is asked to evacuate…

“This was the ultimate test in Gaza. And today in Gaza, although there is no significant weapons smuggling anymore, how do you prevent domestic weapons manufacturing? What do you do in order to prevent this from happening in Judea and Samaria? I will continue to raise this issue again and again. I believe this is much more significant that people realize.”

The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as proposed by Saudi Arabia calls for the return to their homes of origin within the State of Israel for all Palestinian Arab refugees from 1948 and all of their subsequent generations and millions of descendants. It also calls for the establishment of a sovereign state of Palestine – after which all Arab states would establish full normal diplomatic relations with Israel.

It is important to note, however, that in the wake of Israel’s peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt – both of which have already established “full normal diplomatic ties” – it is still extremely dangerous for the average Israeli citizen and certainly for any visibly religious Jewish Israeli tourist to visit either country. In Egypt, the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was utterly destroyed and its employees nearly murdered just two years ago; the embassy has yet to be re-established as anything other than the highly secured private home of the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt.

Israel’s 5-Year Upgrade Plan for Western Wall

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Israel’s new government has approved a five-year plan to upgrade and further develop the area around the Western Wall.

The project is already raising tensions because the Palestinian Authority is demanding Israel hand over the Old City plus much of the rest of Israel’s capital, as well as all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to create a new Arab country to be called “Palestine.”

The Western Wall is part of the Temple Mount compound, Judaism’s holiest site, the sole remnant of the ancient Holy Temple of Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount area is also sacred to Muslims, and is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

To both, the site represents the heartbeat of the religious universe.

Israel plans to develop the area with upgraded infrastructure, improved archaeological activity and, further development of the Western Wall site, and underground tunnels that run along the length of the Wall.

IDF Central Command Springs Surprise ‘Readiness’ Drill in Judea, Samaria

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

The Israel Defense Forces held a surprise military drill this weekend in Judea, Samaria and all territories won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

The unannounced two-day exercise involved the mobilization of some 13,000 troops.

It was the first time in three years such a drill has been held.

The drill, held by Central Command, was intended to “test the army’s level of readiness,” according to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

Although the exercise was held on the same day the Palestinian Authority threatened to dissolve its security cooperation with Israel, an army spokesperson said the timing was “not necessarily linked to anything specific.”

Last month Israel stopped transferring tax funds it collects on behalf of the PA, after the entity violated the Oslo Accords and unilaterally declared itself an independent sovereign nation and joined world bodies, including the International Criminal Court at The Hague. In response, Israel began to apply the monies to the massive debt owed by the PA to the Israel Electric Company.

The PA followed up by threatening to halt security cooperation as well as other relations with Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned PA  chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call last week not to halt security coordination with Israel, Arab media reported.

State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki told journalists in a briefing Friday that Kerry and Abbas “discussed current dynamics between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and the importance of ensuring the financial viability of the Palestinian Authority.”

When reporters tried to pin her down on specifics, Psaki did not deny the report, offering more words without a straight answer.

Remembering Babylon: New Exhibit Explores Roots of Jewish Life in Iraq

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The only museum in the world, dedicated to the history of the Ancient Near East from a biblical perspective, has a new exhibition examining the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people as never seen before. The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem has amassed a collection of over 100 cuneiform tablets, original documents from the Judean community, which are now on display to the public for the first time.

“The exhibition shares the unique artifacts that illustrate the devastation and resilience of the exiled Judeans as they built their lives in Babylonia,” exhibition curator Dr. Filip Vukosavović told Tazpit News Agency.

“Until now we had been unable to tell the complete story of the Babylon Exile and to understand what actually happened to all the Jewish refugees once they were forced out of Judah,” said Dr. Vukosavović of the new exhibition, By the Rivers of Babylon.

The cuneiform clay tablets are known as the Al-Yahudu Tablets because most were written in the Babylonian city of Al-Yahudu (the city of Judah), located near a river. The tablets are small in size and with text in Akkadian, the extinct Semitic language of Mesopotamia, along with occasional text in Aramaic and Paleo-Hebrew. They contain dozens of personal names of Jewish exiles, whose biblical Hebrew names are still in use today.

“This outstanding exhibition focuses on one of the most significant periods for the Jewish people; a brief chapter in time that changed the culture, cohesion, and practice of Judaism and the Jewish people,” notes Bible Lands Museum director, Amanda Weiss.

Many important elements of Judaism today originated in ancient Babylon including the Hebrew calendar and Babylonian Talmud.

“The exhibition was inspired by the loan of the Al-Yahudu Archive from David and Cindy Sofer, who entrusted the museum with the once in a lifetime opportunity to research study, publish and exhibit this important historical evidence,” she told Tazpit.

By the Rivers of Babylon, which also features innovative multi-media, original animations and local archeology from the First Temple, traces the family tree of fourth-generation Judean exile, Hagai Ben Ahiqam, all the way back to his great-grandfather, Samak Yama, who was born in Judah. One tablet describes the division of inheritance among Haggai and his brothers in Bablyon – the kind of information that Dr. Vukosavović says that one could find in a lawyer’s file cabinet today.

Hagai’s family lived in the Babylonian city known as Al-Yahudu, an important city, among many cities, which were settled by Judean exiles over 2,500 years ago, following Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple in 586 BCE.

The earliest document on display from the Al-Yahudu archive, written barely 15 years after the destruction of Jerusalem offers a glimpse into the lives of the Judeans in exile and their relationship with the Babylonian rulers and society. The administrative and legal texts document many facets of life including business transactions, tax payments, and rentals in Babylonia, which show that the status of Judeans was one of state dependents and not of slaves.

“In Babylonia, Jews were considered quite unusual; their belief in one invisible God stood in stark contrast to the Babylonians’ belief in multiple gods that could be seen and touched,” said Dr. Irving Finkel, an archaeologist of the British Museum during a recent lecture at the Bible Lands Museum.

“Some of the best cuneiform tablets I have ever seen are in this collection,” added Dr. Finkel.

While many Jews returned to Jerusalem once the Persian King Cyrus the Great allowed them to do so in 539 BCE, many like Hagai and his family remained in Babylonia. As one of the longest surviving Jewish communities in the world, 2,500 years of Jewish history in Iraq came to an abrupt end when 130,000 Jews were evacuated to Israel during Operation Ezra and Nehemiah from 1949 to 1951. Today, there are five Jews left in Iraq.

“For Jews of Iraqi heritage, this exhibit is especially meaningful,” added Weiss.

By the Rivers of Babylon exhibit will be on display at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem throughout the next year.

ISIS Joins Hamas, Palestinian Authority in Silencing Journalists

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) operating in Gaza have united with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction to silence Palestinian journalists, Arab affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes in an article for the Gatestone Institute.

Over the past few days, a number of Palestinian journalists have received death threats from the “Gaza branch” of ISIS and were accused of publishing “lies” about ISIS in particular and about Islam in general.

The threats were sent via social media and messages to the journalists’ mobile phones.

“Islamic State warns the journalist and media people against their continued and constant attacks on us,” reads the text of one message sent. “We in Islamic State affirm that we will execute the rule of the Shari’a [Islamic law] against these apostates, who are sowing discord among Muslims.”

Many Palestinian journalists were already being targeted by Hamas in Gaza and the PA in Judea and Samaria. Those threats were reported last summer and confirmed by international journalists after they once they escaped from Gaza and reached their home countries, where they were free from the danger of being killed by Hamas and its terrorist allies.

The latest threats have only ratcheted up the pressure on these reporters, who are taking the threats seriously and are increasing their vigilance and their self-censorship.

“Of course we are afraid,” a veteran journalist in Gaza told Toameh. “You never know who is hiding behind the mask. It could be someone from ISIS or Hamas or Islamic Jihad or even Fatah. It is not safe to be a journalist living in the West Bank or Gaza.”

“The threats against Palestinian journalists are important because this is no longer a ‘local’ issue or an internal Palestinian affair,” Toameh writes. “Those who are seeking to silence the Palestinian journalists are also trying to prevent the international media from learning about what is really happening in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“A Palestinian journalist working with international news agencies and newspapers is not going to report truthfully and honestly, when he or she is facing daily threats from so many parties. The only stories these journalists are going to offer the international media are ones that depict Israel in a negative manner. The Palestinian journalists know that at the end of the day they need to go back to their families in Ramallah and Gaza without having to worry about masked men knocking on their doors at night.

“The threats against Palestinian journalists are worrying, and should be exposed and brought to the attention of human rights groups around the world. More disturbing is that many of the international journalists operating in the region are willing to turn a blind eye to the dangers facing their Palestinian colleagues and employees. The international media outlets and their representatives are prepared to take almost any story offered to them by Palestinian reporters, especially if the story consists of anti-Israel statements,” Toameh writes.

The above is especially important to consider in light of the current investigation into last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, being carried out by the United Nations Human Rights Council. As they did with depositions taken for the notorious and inaccurate Goldstone Report, the investigators are taking at face value anything said to them by Gaza residents they interview. They fail to understand the nature of the threat under which the average citizen lives his or her life in Gaza – nor do most “outsiders” realize how many so-called “civilians” are ancillary members or supporters of terror groups as well.

As a result, the evidence gathered is skewed from the start, though the investigators are wholly unaware of it, or worse, could care less.

International media by and large relies on news reports that have been self-censored by on-the-scene Palestinian stringers who are frankly afraid for their lives.
Threats by ISIS will now only raise the heat in the area.

IDF Kills 1 Terrorist, Wounds Another in Samaria

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Israeli paratroopers shot and killed a Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist Saturday night after he hurled a deadly firebomb at an Israeli motorist traveling in Samaria.

After a brief manhunt the forces shot and captured the second terrorist who also had been targeting Israeli motorists on the same road; he suffered a leg wound. That attacker was hurling firebombs at passing vehicles as well.

The IDF force set out to hunt down the third terrorist as well, who also was attacking passing Israeli vehicles on the road, located near the Jewish community of Yitzhar.

The IDF emphasized to media in its statement that the soldiers were operating according to the rules of engagement.

“I want to bless the soldiers who responded appropriately to the terrorist this evening,” praised Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika. “Unfortunately we already know the awful results that can occur from rocks and firebombs hurled in the name of terror. Still, we must strengthen the soldiers who deal day to day with the enemy and, as we have seen tonight, not hesitate to respond.

“It is crucial that every terrorist know that the moment he intends to throw a rock or a firebomb at an Israeli soldier or an Israeli citizens, his fate is in his own hands.”

Israeli vehicles that travel between the Jewish community of Kedumim and the PA Arab village of Burin are at extremely high risk because the road has become tantamount to a rock-throwing and firebomb field for Arab terrorists in the area.

Since a young girl was critically injured in a terror attack on the road more than a month ago, however, Israeli security forces are taking the matter more seriously and have begun to intensify their protection of motorists in the area. The child and her father were both burned – the little girl nearly died – when their car was struck by a firebomb hurled by Arab road terrorists.

IDF Adds Battalions in Judea, Samaria; High Alert in Jewish Towns

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Two IDF battalions and two Border Patrol units from the Israel Police force were sent to beef up security Wednesday in Judea and Samaria, while Jewish towns raised their alert status.

The order by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz followed the sudden heart attack and death of a Palestinian Authority minister who was participating in clashes with Israeli soldiers at a village near the PA capital of Ramallah, in Samaria.

PA Minister of Settlements Ziad Abu Ein, formerly the entity’s Minister of Prisoner Affairs, collapsed during the violence. He died shortly after at a Ramallah hospital.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas immediately blamed Abu Ein’s death on Israeli soldiers who were trying to quell the violent mob, calling it an “intolerable barbaric act.”

Regardless, Israeli pathologists from the Abu Kabir Forensics Institute in Tel Aviv will join with Jordanian pathologists to investigate the cause of death, the IDF said in a statement. It is not clear where the autopsy will take place.

It is expected that Abu Ein’s body will be laid to rest on Thursday, the day after he died of what appears to have been a heart attack.

Gantz’s decision to send more troops to the region came following an assessment made during a meeting with senior security chiefs.

Arabs began rioting in Kalandia Wednesday evening, according to a military source. The PA village is situated between Ramallah and Jerusalem and is a flashpoint for violence. It has become one of the “hot spots” where Arab demonstrations often spiral out of control.

Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria immediately went to high alert following Abu Ein’s death; security teams beefed up patrols.

But the entire country is on a moderate alert status in any case, due to the ongoing Arab violence that has been maintained at a simmer by both Israeli Arab agitators and those in the Palestinian Authority since the inconclusive end to this summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge.

Daily attacks against Israelis on the roads, in the Jerusalem Light Rail and elsewhere around the country has kept tensions high between Arabs, Jews and other Israelis . Among those “others” are the Druze who serve in the nation’s security forces, and who have also lost members of their community in the lethal Arab violence aimed at Israelis.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-adds-battalions-in-judea-samaria-high-alert-in-jewish-towns/2014/12/11/

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