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March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Operation Protective Edge’

Security Task Force Warns US to ‘Take Heed’ from 2014 Gaza War

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

A special U.S.-based task force created to study the 2014 Gaza War fought last summer by Israel against the enclave’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization is warning the United States to pay heed to the lessons learned in the conflict by the IDF.

Commissioned and supported by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the task force said in a new report the strategy employed by Hamas during the war is a new type of threat.

“The new face of war,” the report called the Hamas style of fighting last summer, saying it threatens to “undermine the effectiveness of conventional militaries, endangers civilians in irregular conflicts and distorts the international legal structure,” the report said.

“The 2014 Gaza War featured a hybrid non-state force – Hamas – that perhaps uniquely combined four elements: • Acting with reckless disregard for civilian safety, if not deliberately putting them in harm’s way; • Distorting internationally-recognized legal standards to exploit legal protections afforded civilians and the casualties caused by this exploitation; • Portraying its opponent, through an information operations campaign, as legally culpable for what were lawful, defensive responses to aggression; and • Securing advantageous pressure from the international community on its opponent to terminate legitimate defensive military action.”

“American policymakers and military leaders should take heed and act to avert the potentially serious consequences for U.S. national security,” the task force warned.

Clinton in Tough Spot Over Attending Bibi’s Speech

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Emergency Committee for Israel released a letter to Hillary Clinton, urging her to attend the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech to Congress, scheduled for March 3.  She may have to, given a new poll and pro-Israel competition from an unlikely source.

ECI, chaired by the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, is a staunchly pro-Israel educational organization, which sees its goal as educating the public about “the serious challenges to Israel’s security and about what elected officials in this country are doing and should do in order to meet those challenges.”

Clinton is scheduled to be in Washington on March 3, the same date as Bibi’s speech, as ECI noted.

CLINTON COULD HAVE BEEN EXPECTED TO BEG OFF THE HIGHLY-POLITICIZED SPEECH

The former Secretary of State, New York Senator, and putative Democratic candidate for U.S. President, is being honored on March 3 by Emily’s List, a Washington-based advocacy group for pro-reproductive rights female Democratic candidates. It is the 30th anniversary event for the organization. Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the gala and will receive the “We are EMILY Award.”

Clinton’s Emily List event will be held at the Washington Hilton, just four miles from Capitol Hill. The gala program begins at 7:00 p.m. Netanyahu’s address to the joint session of Congress is likely to begin at 9:00 p.m., in order to reach the west coast after normal business hours.

Clinton is in a pickle.

Ordinarily she could have waved off the invitation by explaining the geographic confluence actually made it impossible for her to attend Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress – much as of course she would love to see her good friend Bibi. She could have said that the timing does not make it convenient, it makes it impossible, as both events are in the evening and after all, she can’t duck out of an event at which she is both being honored and is giving the keynote address.

She would be expected to beg off at least in part because the Netanyahu speech has become a hot potato. It became highly politicized by the White House rouse that it was “blindsided” and “slapped in the face” because Bibi had not “informed” them about his plans to visit – something we all learned later was exactly the opposite of the truth.

And now the Congressional Black Caucus has chosen to turn the speech into a racial issue, claiming Netanyahu coming to speak despite President Obama’s opposition is a form of racial “disrespect.”

But there is an additional factor. It’s called Elizabeth Warren.

Warren, the former Harvard Law Professor and current Democratic U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has been promoted by the far left as the “only” real progressive Democrat. She’s pro-Occupy Wall Street and anti-banks. Warren is considered the darling of the populist movement, and she’s also the “other woman” Democratic candidate, which makes her a bit of a nightmare for Hillary Clinton.

Warren has denied she is running for president, but so did President Obama two years before his first run, and a brand-new poll shows Warren pulling ahead of Clinton.

ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) STRONGLY SUPPORTS ISRAEL’S SELF-DEFENSE

And, in what may come as a shock to many, Warren is very pro-Israel, and says so even in home state events when confronted by anti-Israel constituents.

One such event took place on Cape Cod several days before the  Aug. 26 ceasefire ending Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

Everyone expected that local issues would dominate Warren’s “office hours” meeting at the colorful Barnstable Town Hall. But several times constituents sharply criticized Warren’s support for Israel.

Warren was asked to defend her vote in favor of  additional U.S. funding for the Israeli missile defense system known as Iron Dome, she was asked to condemn Israel for civilian casualties resulting from its operations in Gaza and she was asked to support cutting off funds to Israel if there is any more building in the “settlements.”

Biased Schabas Resigns, Must Scrap Tainted ‘Investigation’ and Report

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

It was announced late on Monday, Feb. 2, that the man named last year by the United Nations Human Rights Council to head an investigation and craft the official UN report on Israel’s conduct during last summer’s war has resigned due to repeated allegations of bias against Israel.

The investigation, however, is over and the report is due to be published next month; that means all of the substantive work is complete.

If the allegations against Schabas’s bias against Israel were so strong and enduring that he was forced to resign, then the entire investigation and report is tainted.

The investigation must begin anew, with an unbiased official overseeing the entire enterprise. That is the essence of the statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following the resignation of William Schabas.

Here is Netanyahu’s statement:

After the resignation of the committee chairman who was biased against Israel, the report that was written at the behest of the UN Human Rights Council – an anti-Israel body, the decisions of which prove it has nothing to do with human rights – needs to be shelved. This is the same council that in 2014 made more decisions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea combined.

It is Hamas, the other terrorist organizations and the terrorist regimes around us that need to be investigated, not Israel, which this past summer acted in accordance with international law as it defended itself against the Hamas war criminals who used residents of Gaza as human shields to fire at Israeli citizens. Israel will continue to defend itself against the terrorism that is being directed against it on all fronts.

An excellent compilation of the many charges of bias against Israel by Schabas is available at the UN Watch site.

Schabas had said how eager he was to get the Israeli prime minister “in the dock” for human rights violations long before he was chosen to head the very team charged with conducting an impartial investigation.

What is less well known is that while a Ph.D. student and active member of the radical group SDS at the University of Toronto, he was charged and convicted with violating human rights and freedoms by physically obstructing a visiting Harvard professor from speaking on campus. Schabas was found guilty on four charges and was kicked out of the university for several years as the result of his actions.

So this human rights violator who is biased against Israel should not get off with only resigning from the investigations committee. He never should have been chosen in the first place, and the report concocted under his leadership must be scrapped. The entire process must begin anew.

IDF Soldiers Dragged to Missionary Revival in Jerusalem After Gaza War

Monday, January 26th, 2015

It’s already becoming routine in the Israel Defense Forces. Missionaries sent by evangelical churches in the United States are given free rein over IDF bases, openly preaching Christianity and seeking to convert Jews out of their religion.

The most startling recent example that came to Yad L’Achim’s attention was an evening of appreciation that was organized for soldiers who fought in Operation Protective Edge this past summer in Gaza. The evening was arranged by the International Christian Embassy, which operates in Israel. What makes it particularly severe is that the soldiers were bused directly from their bases to the missionary event.

A more brief version of the above video can be seen here:

Some 300 soldiers from elite units, including the Paratroops’ 101 and Maglan, and officers, including a brigadier general, were subjected to a missionary pitch delivered by an American preacher, Robert Stearns. One of the translators was Doron Schneider, the head of the “Messianic Jews” congregation in Maaleh Adumim, outside of Jerusalem.

As in previous incidents involving missionary activity aimed at soldiers, Yad L’Achim immediately filed a complaint with the responsible parties in the IDF but has yet to receive a response.

Due to the severity of the incident, Yad L’Achim submitted the following urgent query to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon:

Why is the IDF not enforcing a military ban on missionary preaching to soldiers? Who approved the busing of uniformed soldiers directly from their bases to an evening of forbidden missionary activity? Most importantly, who will ensure that it doesn’t happen again?

To make things crystal clear for our readers: Those who purport to be “Messianic Jews” are in fact practicing Christianity, plain and simple, and are intent upon reaching out to and converting Jews to Christianity disguised as a “new” form of Judaism — which it absolutely is not in any manner or form.

Gaza’s Hamas Allows Israeli Imports After 5 Years

Monday, January 26th, 2015

In a move that highlights the contrast between the Ramallah government of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza, the ruling Hamas terror organization decided Sunday it would allow the entry of Israeli products into the enclave.

In Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, where the government is positioned as a “moderate” Arab force, merchants are punished by Abbas if they are found to be carrying Israeli items for sale.

This is also the first time in five years, however, that Hamas has allowed Israeli goods to enter Gaza. The reason is simple survival, economically and politically.

Imad al-Bad, assistant deputy of the Hamas ministry of economy, told the Ma’an news agency that soft drinks, clothes, coffee and other items would be allowed in. “The last war led to the destruction of thousands of factories which affected the production power [in Gaza], and to fill that gap we decided to allow Zionist products in,” he said.

“The war damaged the production ability of factories and the nature and quality of the product because some raw materials are not allowed in” due to the blockade,” he continued. “We decided to allow [the] products to enter so that the market is not hindered and products are available,” al-Baz added.

Israel has resumed its cautious stance on which items can cross the border into Gaza after having discovered during last summer’s war hundreds of kilometers of terror tunnels honeycombing the enclave and leading under the border into Israeli territory.

Despite its concerns, Israel has nevertheless allowed concrete and other construction materials into the region, albeit under “supervision,” for reconstruction purposes. Those materials have already been commandeered, sold or voluntarily offered to Hamas terrorists for the purpose of rebuilding its terror tunnels, an inevitable result Israeli officials had predicted.

The Jewish State was heavily pressured by international leaders into allowing the construction materials into Gaza that were used to build the underground tunnel city network also the first time around. At that time too, it was claimed that Gaza residents “desperately” needed the materials for construction and repair of their homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure.

Instead, the materials were used to build millions of dollars’ worth of tunnels for carrying out terror attacks against Israelis and kidnapping other captives to hold as hostages in Gaza. The tunnels became part of the Hamas arsenal employed most recently during Operation Protective Edge, but also as far back as 2006, in its unending war against Israel.

IDF to Honor Four Female Soldiers from Operation Protective Edge

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

The IDF will award 53 soldiers, among them 4 women, military decorations for their service during this past summer’s Operation “Protective Edge”. Among the women, one received a citation (tsalash), and three others received medals of appreciation from the Israeli Southern Command. Lieutenant Dr. Regina Pekman, a medical officer in the 188 Brigade, received a citation for her actions on July 31, 2014. Lieutenant Dr. Pekman arrived to a deployment area in Israel, which was bombarded by mortar shells. She commanded the evacuation of injured IDF soldiers, while providing medical treatment for many other Israeli soldiers which were wounded. All through the incident, “Color Red” alarms were heard, and the entire area was under rocket fire.

Sergeant Ronnie Jackson, an electronic observation handler, from the observation unit in the “Nesher” battalion, received an award for her actions on July 17, 2014. Sergeant Jackson identified a group of 13 Hamas terrorists which infiltrated Israel through a terror tunnel, near Kibutz “Sufa”, on the Israeli-Gaza border. Jackson reported her findings to her commanders, which led to a successful Israeli response that prevented the terrorists from killing Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Corporal Noa Teitel, an electronic observation handler from the Israeli Navy, was honored for her actions on July 8th, 2014. Corporal Teitel identified a group of Hamas terrorists which infiltrated Israel by sea, near Kibutz Zikim, in the “Hof Ashkelon Regional Council”. Corporal Teitel informed her commanders, and participated in the coordination between Navy and Infantry forces that arrived on the scene. Corporal Teitel’s actions enabled Israeli forces to stop the maritime terror attack.

Sergeant Lihi Meir, an electronic observation handler, from the observation unit in the “Nesher” battalion, was honored for her actions on July 21, 2014. Sergeant Meir identified five Hamas terrorists who infiltrated Israel and disguised themselves with IDF uniforms. Later on that day, another group of Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel in the same location. Again, Sergeant Meir identified the group and reported to her commanders. Infantry forces and tanks arrived at the scene and prevented them from murdering Israeli soldiers and civilians. Among all the soldiers receiving honors, the highest honor will be given to Lieutenant Eitan Pond from the Givati brigade. Lieutenant Pond will receive the “Medal of Distinguished Service” for his brave actions during the abduction of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who was taken into a terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip. Lieutenant Pond arrived at the scene of the abduction, and led a four man search force into the tunnel in order to find Lieutenant Goldin. Lieutenant Pond’s actions helped determine Lieutenant Goldin’s death.

The recipients will receive their awards from IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, and other generals.

Israeli Diamond Exports Sparkled Small But Bright in 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Export of polished and rough diamonds from Israel rose by more than $175 million in 2014 as compared with the previous year.

Exports in 2014 totaled approximately $9.324 billion, compared with $9.166 billion in 2013.

According to the Diamond, Gemstone and Jewelry Administration, a division of the Ministry of Economy, the American market remains Israel’s primary client, accounting for 38 percent of exports.

Hong Kong is second on the list, accounting for a total of 29.74 percent of the entire polished diamonds export market. Additional destinations for diamond exports include Belgium (8.5 percent), Switzerland (6.47 percent) and England (3.74 percent), among others.

The industry reported a very small gap in 2014 between prices for rough and polished diamonds. Traders reported very small profitability margins, and in some cases even losses over the year.

Net polished diamond exports for 2014 totaled $6.269 billion, a small increase of 0.6 percent over 2013. Net rough diamond exports totaled $3.061 billion, a net increase of 4.2 percent over 2013.

Net polished diamond import figures in 2014 totaled $4.514 billion, as against $4.309 billion in 2013, an increase of 4.8%. Net rough diamond import figures in 2014 totaled $4.022 billion, as against $3.990 billion in 2013, an increase of 0.8%.

Diamond Controller at the Ministry of Economy Shmuel Mordechai noted that 2014 was a very difficult year for the diamond industry. All the world’s diamond centers reported a significant drop in profitability, and for the first time the world’s sightholders did not purchase their allocations over a large part of the year.

According to Mordechai, the Israel diamond market was also hurt by Operation Protective Edge, and the International Diamond Week, which was scheduled to take place in Israel in September 2014, was canceled, causing a loss of several hundred million dollars in sales.

Nonetheless, several exhibitions are expected to be held in Israel during 2015, with sales of polished diamonds, and there will be at least one Israel Diamond Week in the USA, featuring the sale of polished diamonds from Israel.

Likewise, Israel Rough Diamond Week is also planned for 2015, as is a conference for all the world’s exchanges, which will perhaps get the industry moving, particularly in Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-diamond-exports-sparkled-small-but-bright-in-2014/2015/01/05/

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