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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’

Security Cabinet Meets Sat. Night on Answers to Terror [video]

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

The security cabinet is meeting Saturday night following the two murderous attacks on Jewish civilians in Judea and Samaria last Thursday and Friday. Two ministers, Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) and Gilad Erdan (Likud) have pointed a finger at one of the culprits in the wave of terror — Facebook, or, rather, the entire Internet and its social networks. Bennett plans to present a plan to take care of “viral terrorism,” including a demand to deny the use of Facebook and the Internet throughout the Hebron Mountain area, where so many terrorists have originated.

Appearing on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press,” Internal Security Minister Erdan attacked Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg, saying, “Facebook is sabotaging police efforts to capture terrorists.” He even added that “the blood of the murdered is on Zuckerberg’s hands,” and called for a citizen’s rebellion against Facebook.

Bennett plans to demand at the cabinet meeting tonight the arrest of every Hamas activist in Judea and Samaria released in the Gilad Shalit deal who have since committed any violations. This has been done once before during the “Return, oh brothers” operation to locate the three Israeli boys kidnapped exactly two years ago, an act that preceded the 2014 Gaza War.

Bennett also insists on a full-scale military operation in areas A and B which are under PA control officially. He also demands blocking Arab traffic on Route 60, where the drive-by murder of Michael Mark was carried out Friday. “We can no longer continue with the old program,” he said, “we must switch the disc.”

The government meanwhile has ordered several steps in response to the attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman approved a bid for 42 new housing units in Kiryat Arba, the late Hallel Yaffa Ariel HY”D’s home town. The bid had been frozen 18 months ago and thawed on FRiday.

The IDF has imposed a complete closure on Hebron and neighboring villages, which includes roughly 700 thousand Arabs. In addition, the IDF has moved two paratrooper units and one infantry unit to the Hebron area.

David Israel

State Comptroller Draft Report Reveals Ya’alon Brazenly Refused to Attack Hamas Tunnels

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

The texts of meeting protocols which were used in the State Comptroller’s draft report on the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge, offer a peek into the intense political pressure used mainly by Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) to force a reluctant IDF and defense ministry brass to take action against the Hamas terror tunnels reaching inside Israel, Channel 2 News revealed Saturday night.

One mindblowing revelation in the report is that Defense Minister Ya’alon, famous for his recent encouragement of IDF officers to speak their minds, no matter what, was in the habit, during the security cabinet meetings, of forcing those same officers to remain silent if their views did not match his own. Some Israeli commentators have already speculated that Ya’alon chose to leave over an “ideological” dispute with Prime Minister Netanyahu, rather than to be pushed out over the upcoming condemning Comptroller’s report.

The security cabinet convened on the day of the discovery of the bodies of three Jewish youths who had been kidnapped by Hamas operatives. At the meeting, Former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, now retiring Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and the Shabak — all shared the view that Hamas was not seeking a large-scale confrontation with Israel. In the meeting, Minister of the Economy and of Religious Services Naftali Bennett, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebrman (Yisrael Beiteinu) both warned they would vote against a weak military retaliation.

At the same meeting, the protocols show Bennett mentioning dozens of Hamas attack tunnels and the fear that Hamas would use them for a strategic attack. This information should be viewed in the context of the 2006 Gilad Shalit kidnapping. The Shalit kidnapping was executed in a Hamas raid using a cross-border underground tunnel. It resulted in the 2011 prisoner exchange fiasco, in which PM Netanyahu, fearing for his popularity, released 1,027 Arab security prisoners, many with Jewish blood on their hands.

On that first security cabinet of the Gaza War, before the forces had been launched, Netanyahu told Ya’alon: “I would like to see plans for taking care of the tunnels, even if this would lead to an escalation and to rocket fire.” But the meeting ended without resolutions.

24 hours later, the security cabinet convened again, twice. Ya’alon presented a report saying that Egypt claims Hamas is calling for restraint.

Bennett then asked, “What will happen if they use the tunnels the way did with Gilad Shalit?”

Netanyahu answered that “a penetrating ground operation might drag Israel into conquering Gaza.”

And Ya’alon said, on the record, “If we don’t act, Hamas won’t use the tunnels.”

“Are we going to hear the plan to take care of the tunnels?” Bennett insisted, and Netanyahu explained that the army still needs to discuss those plans. Bennett responded impatiently, “They should have done their homework already.”

Another 24 hours later, Shabak presented intelligence reports of an attack tunnel near the Jewish community of Kerem Shalom. However, the Shabak head assured the security cabinet: “Strategically, the Hamas has no intention of using the tunnels.” Bennett asked him how he knew this, and the Shabak head did not respond.

Bennet: Is it possible to destroy the tunnels?

Gantz: There are a few options of action.

Bennett: Is there a plan?

Ya’alon: Yes.

Gantz: We should leave the decision of taking care [of the tunnels] to when we decide whether we’re going in on the ground and how.

According to Channel 2, Gantz was referring to the option of bombing the tunnel openings from the air, using intelligence reports.

On July 3, 2014, at the next security cabinet meeting, the IDF once again argues that Hamas does not intend to use the tunnels, which results in confrontation between various ministers. At some point, Bennett called IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz a “lazy horse,” saying that the forces in the field are eager to go into Gaza and finish the job once and for all, but the high command is preventing them.

Netanyahu: Attacking the tunnels would make it difficult to expose and thwart them.

Bennett: There is a scenario of a mass attack coming out of the tunnels.

Gantz: If we exit from a tunnel and they’ll shoot at us from some hilltop, and we’ll take it over, and then another hill, and another, we’ll find ourselves in the heart of Gaza. We could be dragged into conquering the Strip.”

Bennett: [But] we decide how and when to exit.

Ya’alon: Forces would be sucked in. It’s preferable to try and calm the situation.

Only at this stage, less than one week before the July 8 start of the war, did the Southern Command form a “forward defense” plan to deal with the tunnels. The plan was presented to the chief of staff and the defense minister, who chose not to present it to the cabinet the next time it convenes, July 7, 2014. Bennett nevertheless insisted on adding the taking care of the tunnels to the operation’s goals. Both Netanyahu and Ya’alon object.

Ya’alon: It’s wrong to define a goal of stripping Hamas of its tunnels at this stage, the Egyptians are working on a ceasefire.

Head of the NSC Yossi Cohen: We’ve asked the chief of staff already, and he says they’re doing the best they can, but we can’t destroy all of them.

Bennett and Lieberman, who appear to have done their homework, want to know if the army had examined all the options, including going in on the ground.

Shabak head: The IDF has decided at this stage not to go in on the ground.

Southern Command Chief, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Turgeman, attended the July 10, 2014 security cabinet meeting. Only then was the IDF plan of dealing with the tunnels presented to the ministers.

Bennett: How deep will this draw us in?

Turgeman: There will be friction, but we shouldn’t exaggerate [the consequences].

Bennett then asked Turgeman what he would have done in his, Bennett’s shoes, at which point Ya’alon and Gantz retorted that, “he is not you, he is not in your shoes.” So Bennett defered and asked, “Fine, what would you have done in your own shoes?”

Here is when both Gantz and Ya’alon tried to force their subordinate Turgeman to shut up. Remember Moshe Ya’alon, who has grabbed so much attention urging IDF officers to speak their minds even if it contradicted the accepted dogmas? Even, in fact, if it could be perceived as a kind of coups d’état? Turns out that when one of Ya’alon’s top officers was trying to voice an opinion different from the boss’s, it was not greeted lovingly. Finally, Netanyahu asked Turgeman to respond.

Turgeman: In your shoes or in mine, I would take action.

Lieberman then said, “We have to go on everything or nothing. Either conquer Gaza or stop everything.” But according to the protocols, all the other ministers objected.

Should be interesting when the same question comes up again, except this time around Lieberman would be running the army.

JNi.Media

Owner of Gaza Smuggling Tunnel on Trial in Israel

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Israel’s Southern District Attorney (Criminal) on Sunday submitted to the Be’er Sheva District Court an indictment against a Hamas terrorist on 18 counts of acts against state security. Among other things, according to the indictment, the accused, Medhat Ben Fawzi Abu Snima, 24, a resident of Gaza, in 2014 joined a partnership that ran a smuggling tunnel from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.

The tunnel is 0.6 miles long, leading from Egyptian Rafah to the Gazan Rafah. The buy-in cost was $7,000. Over the period between early 2014 and the end of 2015, the accused and his partners smuggled through their tunnel military uniforms for the Hamas naval commando unit, as well as weapons which were delivered to merchants in Gaza. The return the accused collected on his investment was $2,000 a month. That success story ended when the Egyptian military flooded the tunnel and demolished it.

According to the indictment, Abu Snima joined Hamas in 2007 and collaborated with other Hamas members to cause harm to IDF soldiers as well as to Israeli civilians. He conducted observations of Israeli military targets near the Gaza border and planted explosives against IDF jeeps in order to cause the death of IDF soldiers.

In 2012, following the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, the accused and others shot rockets at an IDF post and shot mortar shells at the Kerem Shalom crossing. He also participated in Hamas military training as well as in a course to become a professional sniper.

The indictment also contains counts of contacting a foreign agent, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, communicating information to the enemy with the intention of harming state security, illegal military training, membership and activity in an illegal association, and weapons violations.

David Israel

Arad Activates Emergency Host Family Program

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

The city of Arad activated its emergency wartime and disaster host family list Wednesday morning.

The program goes into action whenever individuals and families in other parts of the country need respite and a safe place to stay. The last time program coordinators made calls to the list was during Operation Pillar of Defense, when families from communities targeted by rocket fire were welcomed into local homes throughout Arad.

The city is located in the northeastern corner of the Negev, high above the southernmost tip of the Dead Sea. Founded in the 1960s as a development town, Arad is not considered a target for missile-launching terrorists, since the city is very small and its location is remote.

Hana Levi Julian

Will Hamas Be Next?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The problem is that many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip still do not see Fatah as a better alternative to Hamas.

These are tough days for Hamas. After losing the military and financial support of Iran and Syria, Hamas has now lost its main allies in Egypt.

The downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt is a severe blow to Hamas, whose leaders are now studying ways of avoiding a “revolution” that could end their rule in the Gaza Strip.

But although Hamas has suffered a major setback in wake of the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, it is premature to talk about the beginning of the countdown for the collapse of the Hamas regime.

The Gaza Strip has neither an organized opposition nor an army that could assist in removing Hamas from power.

One of the biggest fears is that if Hamas is toppled, those who would replace it would not be any better. This is particularly true in light of the growing popularity of various Islamist groups operating inside the Gaza Strip, some of which are affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Hamas supporters were the first to celebrate the toppling of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and the first to take to the streets in jubilation over the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Morsi, in the general elections a year ago.

Morsi’s rise to power had been seen by Hamas and other Muslims as a “divine victory”: Allah’s gift to his believers.

Contrary to Mubarak, Morsi’s regime adopted a completely different policy toward Hamas.

While Mubarak dealt with Hamas and the Gaza Strip as a “security” issue, Morsi sought to legitimize the Palestinian Islamist movement in the eyes of the whole world.

For the first time ever, and much to the dismay of the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority leaders, under Morsi, Hamas leaders became regular and welcome guests in the Egyptian presidential palace.

Morsi’s rise to power emboldened Hamas in a way that allowed it further to tighten its grip on the Gaza Strip.

For Hamas, there was nothing better than having the full political backing of Egypt, the largest and most important country in the region.

During the last war between Israel and Hamas, “Operation Pillar of Defense,” and much to the dismay of Fatah’s Palestinian Authority leaders in the West Bank, Morsi dispatched Egyptian prime minister Hesham Qandil to the Gaza Strip, in an unprecedented show of solidarity with the Hamas regime.

Qandil’s visit was followed by a series of mutual visits to the Gaza Strip and Egypt by Hamas and Egyptian cabinet ministers and top officials.

Although Hamas leaders have publicly played down the significance of the Egyptian coup, reports from the Gaza Strip suggest that some leaders of the Islamist movement are already nervous.

According to one report, the new rulers of Egypt have issued an order banning all Hamas leaders from entering their country.

Another report said that Egyptian security authorities have arrested several Hamas members based in Cairo and Sinai on charges of involvement in terror attacks against Egyptians.

Hamas leaders who tried to contact senior Egyptian government officials over the past few days said their phone calls were being totally ignored.

The crisis in Egypt also seems to be have had a negative impact on the day-to-day lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: there seems to be a severe shortage of petrol, natural gas and basic goods as a result of severe restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities along their shared border.

Palestinian Authority officials and other Palestinians are now hoping that the latest revolution in Egypt will accelerate or facilitate the overthrow of the Hamas regime. Some Palestinian Authority representatives have even called on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to learn from the Egyptian model and rise up against Hamas.

The new rulers of Egypt may even turn out to be extremely hostile to Hamas, especially in light of claims that Hamas members had been dispatched to Cairo and other Egyptian cities to help Morsi supporters crush the opposition.

But does all this mean that the countdown for Hamas’s collapse has begun? Not necessarily.

Unlike Egypt, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip do not have an army that could come to the rescue. Also, Fatah’s supporters in the Gaza Strip do not have enough weapons to launch an Egyptian-style coup against Hamas.

Khaled Abu Toameh

The Israeli General and His New Mercedes

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Now, if that title doesn’t hit high on the spam charts, I don’t know what will…but stay with me.

Last week, a representative from a very large company came to our offices to discuss potential new business. As with most meetings in Israel, it was a blend of personal and professional. The contract was signed, but the discussions veered off into so many things that are Israel, including the army and the recent Operation Pillar of Defense.

I mentioned my blog and how Elie had been part of the call-up. He mentioned his brother – in the Military Police – being sent there and told me how he had never seen his mother so devastated, so paralyzed, so terrified, as during those days.

And then he told us what his brother was doing – basically guarding an entry point to the “closed military zone” where the fighting would take place…if the government had chosen to send in the ground forces. Elie told the man about his mad drive with the artillery vehicles. And the man told us two stories  from his brother.

The first was of a young man who drove up and demanded entry. The representative’s brother explained that it was a closed area and he couldn’t let him in.

“I’m a pilot,” said the young driver rather arrogantly.

A bit sheepishly, the rep’s brother explained that he needed to see identification, which was quickly produced and the pilot was allowed to enter. The next day, a general showed up in full uniform driving a brand new, sparkling clean Mercedes. I can’t tell you what model, but it was enough to impress the young soldier. This time, without asking, the general pulled out papers to prove he should be allowed in, though I wonder if it even crossed the mind of the young soldier to deny the general in the first place. But deny him he did.

“You can’t go in there!” he told the general.

The general hesitated for a moment and then asked the soldier, “why NOT?”

“Your car,” said the young man. “It’s new. The mud. Look. You can’t,” he stumbled as he turned to point behind him to the tanks tearing up the wet, muddy ground.

And then the general did the most extraordinary thing. He laughed and told the soldier, “I have that car because of everything this country did for me. I’ll give it all back if I have to – including the car.”

With that, he got in the Mercedes – the brand new, sparkling Mercedes, and drove it into the thick mud, covering the tires and splattering the side within seconds.

All that we have, we have been given because we are here – our safety, our lives, our freedom, our blessings.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula R. Stern

IDF and Corporal Lolly Reveal New Year’s Resolutions

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Posting on Twitter, the IDF spokesperson outlined its five central resolutions for 2013, describing 2012 as a challenging year for Israel’s security. “Our soldiers faced many threats, from terrorist agents on Israel’s borders to rocket fire targeting civilians,” related the official IDF blog.

One of those soldiers was Captain Ziv Shilon, who lost a hand after a Hamas-planted bomb exploded on him during a routine patrol of the Gaza border. The bomb mangled the IDF company commander’s right hand. Despite the horrific injury, Captain Shilon stated that, while rehabilitation “was a long journey,” he was staying optimistic and planning to return to his soldiers once he recovered.

The first IDF resolution was, naturally, to provide security for the people of Israel.

In another resolution, the IDF firmly declared that it would stand ready for every possible threat.

That statement was recently tested during the rocket fire escalation during last November’s Operation Pillar of Defense, when the Iron Dome system became a huge asset in preventing Gaza rockets from striking heavily populated cities in Israel. The IDF soldiers behind the Iron Dome’s operation were the key to its success. One of them, a French-born Corporal Lolly, was defending Tel Aviv from incoming rockets. The Iron Dome system intercepted incoming rockets threatening Tel Aviv, helping to protect more than 1.5 million citizens.

Lolly is a lone soldier who says she knew early on that she wanted to work with the Iron Dome system. “From the minute I heard about the Iron Dome system, it was clear to me that is where I would serve, taking an active part in protecting the lives of Israeli citizens,” she stated on the official IDF blog.

In addition to protecting Israel’s borders and civilian population, the IDF also promised this New Year to carry out and prepare rescue missions for countries struck by natural disasters. The IDF’s Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit (SAR) has been providing aid to people suffering from natural disasters across the world for more than 20 years.

Created in February 1992, the Search and Rescue Unit has assisted with disaster zones in 14 countries, including Japan, Turkey, Haiti and Armenia. In total, the IDF has sent 15 aid delegations, providing direct medical care to more than 2,300 people and saving a total of 220 lives. Made up of reserve soldiers and physicians from the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit, the unit is renowned across the world for its effective emergency response assistance.

The last two IDF resolutions include strengthening cooperation with allies and developing cutting-edge technology.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-and-corporal-lolly-reveal-new-years-resolution/2013/01/03/

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