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August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Security Cabinet’

Bewildered Southerners Ask, ‘Is It Really Quiet Yet?’

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

IDF officials are now saying that southern residents can return to their homes and “feel safe” – but not everyone is buying that line; especially those whose homes were bombed just hours ago, first thing this morning. If it is so safe, how did Hamas manage to fire 26 rockets and missiles within 10 minutes at southern and central Israel, just before 8 am?

The families whose homes are located about a stone’s throw from Gaza, and who watched video footage of terrorists popping up from holes in the ground a jump and a half away from their communities, are also pretty uneasy. IDF soldiers fought really fierce battles to kill those terrorists, and Israel lost some of its finest young men in those fights.

Those same communities are located too close to Gaza for mortar fire to trigger the Code Red incoming rocket alert system – so they never have any warning of shelling attacks on their homes. As it is, they had only a bare 15-second window in which to find shelter from the constant rain of Qassam rocket fire Hamas terrorists sent their way, right up until 8 am this morning.

The cease fire officially ends in two days, unless negotiators find a way to lock it down permanently.

So why should anyone trust their fate to paper?

IDF officials told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense brass in a briefing at IDF Southern Command headquarters Monday (August 4, 2014) that all of the tunnels that were identified and located during Operation Protective Edge, were destroyed.

But many residents of the south are worried. The question, as one person told TheJewishPress.com, “is not so much whether the tunnels that were identified were destroyed, but whether all of the relevant tunnels were identified.”

The prime minister was filled with praise for the IDF, and rightfully so. He himself was a member of a Sayeret Matkal unit back in the day, so he knows first-hand what they’ve been going through.

“This was a complicated operation carried out by heroic soldiers under difficult combat conditions,” Netanyahu said.

“I would like to commend IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman, commanders, soldiers and ISA personnel all of whom had the fighting spirit that led to very impressive results.

“The operation struck at a strategic network that Hamas had invested great effort in over the years,” he pointed out. “These tunnels would have enabled Hamas to kidnap and murder civilians and IDF soldiers by launching simultaneous attacks from the many tunnels that penetrate our territory.”

But then, Netanyahu got to the point that all residents fear most: “As I said at the onset of the operation I said that there is no guarantee of 100% success — but we did the utmost in order to achieve the maximum,” he said.

Achieving the maximum in what time period, is the issue. Initially, the government assured the nation it would continue the operation until the objectives were achieved. Those objectives included tracking down and destroying all of the terrorist tunnels, as well as silencing the rocket fire “for a long, long time.”

Have these objectives been achieved?. That’s an ugly question but one that has to be asked. A ground operation was required in order to identify and reach the terrorist tunnels, and it took the government two weeks to arrive at a decision to approve a ground operation. It took two more weeks to carry it out, and now the troops have been withdrawn, due to massive disapproval from the world’s response to gory photos from Gaza, all of which was expected from the outset. And just as happened during the last three operations, the job is once again probably not finished.

Note to Self: Deputy Minister of Defense – “Cut Power, Fuel Supply to Gaza”

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

JERUSALEM – Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Danon (Likud) demanded this morning during the Security Cabinet meeting that Israel stop supplying Gaza with electricity and fuel.

“The supplying of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip must be stopped immediately”, said Danon, “It’s inconceivable that on one hand we are fighting the Hamas and on the other hand we supply them with electricity and fuel used for the propelling of rockets fired at us.”

He demanded that Israel use all its leverage to bring Hamas to a cease fire.

This morning an Egyptian news site quoted an Egyptian military official who stated that Egypt has destroyed 19 tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to the Sinai. This further hinders the Hamas’ supply and rearmament efforts.

Israeli Security Cabinet: ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’ Continues ‘Full Throttle’

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Israel’s Security Cabinet decided Wednesday night to continue Operation Brother’s Keeper at “full throttle” until three kidnapped Israeli teens are found and returned home.

The holy Islamic month of Ramadan begins this coming Saturday; during this period, observant Muslims traditionally fast during the daylight hours, abstaining from food and drink each day until after sundown. It is also time in which tensions usually rise between Arabs and Jews and often there is a corresponding increase in the number of terrorist and other attacks.

Earlier this week there was some discussion over whether Israel had reached the lion’s share of its secondary goals in the operation, in neutralizing the presence of the Hamas terrorist organization in Judea and Samaria. More than 360 arrests have been made thus far, with at least 250 of those taken into custody claiming membership in Hamas.

But with the primary goal of finding the kidnap victims still ‘up front and center,’ the security cabinet decided to move forward with the operation, albeit with due consideration for the local PA Arab population, given the holiday circumstances.

IDF soldiers are still searching daily and overnight throughout the hills of Judea and Samaria Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16 and Gilad Sha’ar, 16. The three boys were abducted from Gush Etzion by Arab terrorists on June 12 as they were hitchhiking home for the Sabbath from yeshiva.

In numerous homes and buildings, they have come across illegal weapons caches, hidden tunnels, previously undiscovered secret chambers, caves and cisterns whose presence was cleverly concealed by brush, rocks and in some cases even what appeared to be “ancient” agricultural terraces.

Overnight Wednesday IDF troops arrested a total of 10 Palestinian Authority fugitives during operations, including a terrorist who was tracked down near the southern Hevron Hills village of Samu’a but who fled to evade arrest. When warning shots did not stop him, IDF troops shot him instead, seriously wounding the fugitive. He was taken to an Israeli medical center for treatment, and will later be questioned by security personnel. A terrorist wounded while rioting against IDF soldiers during arrest operations several days ago in Ramallah also died last night.

Israel to Hold Abbas ‘Directly Responsible’ for Gaza Terror

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Israel’s security cabinet voted unanimously at an emergency meeting in Jerusalem Monday night to hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for any harm to the security of Israel originating from Judea, Samaria or Gaza.

The cabinet issued five specific decisions in a communique issued at about the same time a PA Arab terrorist opened fire at a group of IDF soldiers near Tapuach Junction in Samaria (Shomron). The attack followed an attempted suicide bombing at the same site — miraculously foiled — just three days ago.

The cabinet unanimously decided:

1. To continue acting in accordance with its April 24, 2014 decision not to negotiate with a PA government backed by Hamas, a terrorist organization which calls for the destruction of Israel; and to respond to unilateral Palestinian action with a series of measures;

2. To act, including in the international arena, against the participation of terrorist organizations in elections;

3. To authorize the Prime Minister to impose additional sanctions on the Palestinian Authority;

4. To hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for all actions that harm the security of Israel which originate in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip; and

5. To form a team to consider ways of action given the new reality that has been created and ahead of diplomatic and security situations that will be created in the future.

“Today, Abu Mazen (PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) said ‘yes’ to terrorism and ‘no’ to peace,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement following the meeting.

“This is the direct continuation of Abu Mazen’s policy of refusing peace. While Israel has carried out courageous and painful steps on behalf of the diplomatic process and continues to be committed to peace, Abu Mazen has refused to extend the negotiations, has rejected the American framework document, continues to incite against Israel, has unilaterally acceded to United Nations treaties and has now forged a pact with the Hamas terrorist organization.

“Abu Mazen has forged a pact with the Hamas organization, which is responsible for the murder of over 1,000 innocent Israelis and the firing of thousands of missiles at Israeli cities.

“Abu Mazen has forged a pact with Hamas, an organization which has been declared a terrorist organization in the U.S., Europe, Egypt and throughout the world, and which completely rejects the international community’s conditions. The international community needs to treat it accordingly.

“In recent days, the leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization have reiterated their commitment to the path of terrorism and to the elimination of the State of Israel.

“The agreement with Hamas makes Abu Mazen directly responsible for the terrorism emanating from Gaza.

“The State of Israel will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government with backing from Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department confirmed to reporters on Monday that it had decided it would indeed work together with the new PA unity government after all.

“Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki at a briefing with reporters.

“We will continue to evaluate the composition and policies of the new government and if needed, we will recalibrate our approach.”

She added that the U.S. would continued to provide financial aid to the PA and would judge the new government “by its actions.”

Netanyahu: Israel Will ‘Respond Fiercely’ if Attacked by Syria

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that while Israel is not part of the Syrian civil war, the Jewish state would “respond, and we will respond fiercely” if attacked.

Netanyahu held an urgent meeting with his security cabinet on Tuesday afternoon in Tel Aviv, following a meeting between senior Israeli officials and U.S. security officials in Washington, DC. After the Israeli security cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel “was prepared for any eventuality” relating to the Syria conflict.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon echoed Netanyahu’s stern warning to Syria.

“Those who dare to test us will encounter the IDF’s might,” Ya’alon said. “Facing the storm, the IDF’s spirit is no less strong.”

Meanwhile, late Monday, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice hosted a delegation led by Israel’s National Security Chairman Yaakov Amidror for consultations on Iran, Egypt, Syria and a range of other regional security issues.

“Today’s meetings were the latest in a series of regular, high-level consultations between the United States and Israel, consistent with our strong bilateral partnership, and part of our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” a White House statement read.

Netanyahu Furious Over Security-Cabinet Leaks, Cancels Second Meeting

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the second meeting of the security cabinet due to leaks from the meeting held yesterday about discussions onIran’s nuclear program.

Yediot Aharonot had obtained and published yesterday evening information regarding the meeting, specifically differences of opinion regarding intelligence on whenIran’s nuclear program would enter a “zone of immunity” from Israeli attack.

The intensive 10-hour long marathon meeting was said to deal with other regional-security topics as well.

Today’s meeting was convened, but when it began, Netanyahu announced that due to the security leak the meeting would be adjourned.

“Yesterday, somebody severely undermined the confidence that Israeli citizens give to this forum,” Netanyahu said. “He violated the most basic rules regarding the conduct of Security Cabinet discussions. He also hurt the good name of those present at the meeting who did not leak its contents.”

Netanyahu In Tight Political Bind Over U.S. Initiatives

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

JERUSALEM – Following reports of an unprecedented U.S. offer of a host of assurances in return for a 60-day extension of the settlement building freeze, some political analysts are wondering why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not grabbed the deal with both hands.

According to the reports, President Obama is offering Netanyahu pledges that the United States will:

Not ask for additional extensions on the partial ban on settlement building, which expired Sept. 26;

Commit to using the U.S. veto to prevent UN recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations fail to bear fruit;

“Accept the legitimacy” of Israel’s security needs as defined by the Netanyahu government – understood as referring to Netanyahu’s demand for a long-term Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, in the eastern West Bank;

Broker talks with neighboring Arab states on a “regional security structure” – a nod to Netanyahu’s desire for cooperation on confronting Iran;

Enhance Israel’s security through the sale of a second squadron of state-of-the-art stealth F-35 fighters and space cooperation, including access to U.S. satellite early warning systems.

The price: Israel must agree to extend for 60 days the recently expired West Bank building freeze.

If Netanyahu spurns the offer, Israel not only would lose out on all the above, but the Americans would come out publicly in support of the 1967 borders as the basis for all future territorial negotiations with the Palestinians.

On its face, the deal would seem like a no-brainer for Netanyahu to take. So why hasn’t he?

For one thing, it’s not only up to Netanyahu. He needs the approval of a settlement freeze extension from his 29-member Cabinet or at least his 15-member Security Cabinet, and he doesn’t have enough votes yet in those bodies. While by most accounts Netanyahu is inclined to take the deal and is pushing for Cabinet members to approve it, the United States first might have to sweeten the pot.

The U.S. offer followed intensive negotiations in Washington between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and an American team led by veteran Middle East adviser Dennis Ross. The idea was to affirm the U.S. commitments in a presidential letter to Netanyahu to persuade him and pro-settlement members of his government to go along with a new temporary freeze – and in so doing keep alive the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks launched in early September. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to quit the talks if the freeze is not extended.

For now, the Israeli prime minister is being pressed by Cabinet hard-liners not to accept the American package as is. They warn that it is all very general and that much of it will not stand up in practice.

The hard-liners are suspicious, too, of Barak’s motives. They believe Barak is behind the American offer because he fears that if the peace talks with the Palestinians break down, his Labor Party would be forced to withdraw from the government. Such a move would cost Barak the post of defense minister and, in all likelihood, his political future.

As things stand, Netanyahu does not have the votes for the deal.

In the full 29-member Cabinet, 14 ministers are for extending the freeze and 15 are against. In the 15-member Security Cabinet the count is seven for and eight against, and in the unofficial forum of seven top advisers, three are for extending the freeze and four are against. In Netanyahu’s governing coalition, without the support of Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and Likud hard-liners, the prime minister would have the support of fewer than 40 members of the 120-member Knesset.

Netanyahu’s greatest political fear is of a repeat of 1999, when after making concessions to the Palestinians at Wye Plantation, he lost his right-wing political support base and was roundly defeated by Barak in the ensuing election. This time, the scenario that Netanyahu wants to avoid is accepting an American package, going ahead with the peacemaking and then losing the next election to Kadima’s Tzipi Livni.

Even if Netanyahu could jettison the pro-settler parties from his coalition and bring in Kadima – changing the balance of power in the government and the Knesset in favor of pro-negotiation parties, and accepting the U.S. package – it could cost him the premiership.

The Israeli prime minister also has a major strategic concern. According to confidants, he fears that as soon as any new 60-day freeze ends, the Americans will put a “take it or leave it peace plan” of their own on the table. With the U.S. midterm elections over, Obama might feel able to publicly present parameters for a peace deal that Netanyahu would find impossible to accept.

Israel might then find itself totally isolated and under intolerable international pressure. That is a scenario Netanyahu hopes the current negotiations with the Americans will help him avoid.

As so often in the past, Netanyahu is caught between the U.S. administration and his right-leaning coalition. If he chooses his coalition, he risks losing the support of the current administration; if he chooses America, he fears he could lose his coalition and, with it, the premiership. (JTA)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/netanyahu-in-tight-political-bind-over-u-s-initiatives/2010/10/06/

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