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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’

Netanyahu Representative in DC to Negotiate $38 Billion Aid Deal

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Brigadier General Yaakov Nagel, Israel’s acting National Security Council, arrived in Washington DC on Tuesday to meet with President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice, in preparations for signing a new US military aid package. The new US aid deal, which the two governments have been negotiating since November 2015, awards Israel $38 billion over 10 years.

Nagel met with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to work out the final details before leaving for Washington — including the text of the official announcements. The new aid package is expected to average $3.8 billion a year, a considerable cut from Netanyahu’s initial request for $4.5 billion. The deal is also contingent on Israel agreeing not to approach Congress for additional funds, as in the case of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which Congress has been paying for outside the annual aid package. Now an estimated $5 billion out of the package will be spent over 10 years on missile defense development.

In other words, the new aid package is only adding $300 million to the previous amount. To remind you, the sum of $3 billion annually was set during the Camp David peace negotiations with Egypt, as compensation to Israel for giving up the Sinai peninsula as a military asset. That amount has never been raised in close to 40 years, even though the current value of that annual package would have been $10.48 billion.

The critical disagreement between the two sides over the current deal has been whether or not Israel could continue to invest a percentage of the aid package in Israeli made military products. The Obama Administration wanted the entire amount to stay in US corporations, which would have been devastating to Israeli manufacturers and to the IDF. A short episode during the 2014 Gaza War, in which the Obama Administration stopped shipping to Israel all defense items, including Hellfire missiles, served as a memorable lesson to the Israeli security apparatus about the need to increase its self-reliance.

The new deal ended up adding six years in which Israel can continue to spend as much as 26% of the US aid money on Israeli made products, as well as another 13% for fuel purchases. By the seventh year, or halfway into Clinton’s or Trump’s second term, the Israeli military industrial complex would have to quit US aid cold turkey — Unless Netanyahu or his successor is able to renegotiate that part — depending on who is in the White House and who controls Congress at the time.

David Israel

Unexploded Qassam Rocket from Operation Pillar of Defense

Monday, August 1st, 2016

An unexploded Qassam rocket was found Sunday during the day in an open area in the Gaza Belt community of Kibbutz Netiv Ha’Asara.

The rocket dates back to Operation Pillar of Defense, the eight-day mini-war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza, from November 14, 2012 to November 22.

The rocket was removed by the bomb squad.

Hana Levi Julian

Fallen Soldier’s Family Suing to Ban Hamas Prisoners from Watching Soccer Final

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Sunday at 10 PM Israel time, most males (and many females) will be seated before their TV screens to watch the final game in the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, between the national teams of France and Portugal, two of the best teams on the planet. The family of Oron Shaul HY”D, an IDF soldier who is missing in action since the 2014 Gaza War, and whose body is being held by the Hamas government as a bargaining chip for future prisoner release negotiations, wants to make sure Hamas security prisoners will not be allowed this pleasure which they argue should be preserved to the non-murderous-terrorist portion of the public.

And argue they did, in Israel’s Supreme Court. On Sunday morning the family petitioned the court saying the decision to make all the TV channels carrying the game tonight available to security prisoners, most of whom are members of Hamas, is repugnant.

The family wrote that “we must deliver a message to the Hamas organization that our values are not your values, but in war let it be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Last week Zehava and Herzl Shaul, Oron’s parents, appealed to the Israel Prison Service Commissioner, Lieutenant General Ofra Klinger, and are yet to be answered, saying, “We were astonished to discover that you decided to approve benefits to 3,500 Hamas prisoners.”

JNi.Media

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arad-activates-emergency-host-family-program/2014/07/09/

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