Friday, June 01, 2018

Turkey transfers $10 million to UNRWA

From Arutz Sheva, 1 June 2018, by Dalit Halevi:

Image result for fat stupid turkey

Image result for uninvolved in peace

The Turkish government on Thursday announced the transfer of an additional $10 million to fund the activities of UNRWA, the UN’s agency for “Palestinian refugees”.

... UNRWA's assistance is granted to Palestinian Arabs who have been defined as “refugees” since 1948 and their descendants without any time limitation.

...The U.S. announced in January it would cut some of its funding to UNRWA, citing a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of the organization, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded.

...UNRWA ... is notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.

More recently, the director of UNRWA operations in Gaza expressed his support for the anti-Israel marches along the Israel-Gaza border and pledged that the organization’s medical centers will provide care for “Palestinian refugees” who might sustain injuries during them.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Analysis: Israel’s Left veers to the Right

From WIN, 29 May 2018 by Mati Wagner:

Analysis: Israel’s Left veers to the Right
Labor party leader Avi Gabbay (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The moderate Israeli Left seems to have reached the conclusion that they must jettison classic leftwing positions and associations to remain politically relevant.

In recent days, two senior Labor politicians have sought to distance themselves from the Left in an apparent attempt to appeal to a broader constituency.

This development is part of a broader trend within Labor under the leadership of Avi Gabbay.

Veteran Labor MK Eitan Cabel caused an uproar among his fellow party members over the weekend after announcing his support for annexation of Jewish communities located in Judea and Samaria.

Nachman Shai, who came to the revamped Labor party — which now calls itself the Zionist Union — from Kadima has also ruffled feathers. Shai, who now plans to run for Jerusalem mayor on the Labor ticket, aroused the rancor of Labor Members of Knesset when he was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying he was “not a candidate from the Left” and by Makor Rishon that calling him a leftist was “a stain” that he intended to fight.

...Cabel supported applying Israeli law to the big settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria while freezing construction outside these areas until both Israel and the Palestinians have what he called “a Nelson Mandela.” Cabel added that the “Oslo paradigm” based on direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians had failed and that a new, more pragmatic, approach was needed.

...In November, Gabbay made headlines when he told a group of students at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba that the Left “forgot what it means to be a Jew.”

Gabbay has also called residents of communities in Judea and Samaria “the beautiful and devoted face of Zionism” and said he would not evacuate settlements as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

He also said he would not join a coalition with the Joint (Arab) List.

The political senses of Gabbay, Shai and Cabel seem to be telling them that positions associated with the Israeli Left, such as faith in the viability of a two-state solution, or attempts to present Jewish residents of communities in Judea and Samaria as obstacles to peace, no longer are shared by the vast majority of Israelis.

Many Israelis have become disenchanted with the Left due to its tendency to side with, or at the very least give legitimacy to, criticism leveled at Israel by the international community – particularly by Western European countries — for “occupation of the West Bank” or purported human rights abuses.

Israelis are rightly asking themselves why they should support a party that calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state at a time when Palestinians in the West Bank are led by a corrupt leadership that rejects democratic process and equitable rule of law, and in Gaza by Islamist terrorists vowing to destroy Israel.

The “demographic threat” or preventing a situation in which Israel loses its Jewish majority does not seem to be enough of a justification for uprooting tens of thousands of peaceful, law-abiding settlers and handing over land resonant with Jewish history and religious meaning to an autocratic Palestinian leadership...

International condemnation of Hamas

From Times of Israel, 29 May 2018:

...Four Israelis were injured by shrapnel during several salvos of rockets and mortar rounds that targeted southern Israel, including three troops. One soldier suffered moderate wounds and the other three people were lightly injured...
“We see Hamas, which cooperates with [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad, as responsible for this escalation,” [Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel] Nahshon said.
... international condemnation rained down on Hamas and Islamic Jihad, much of it focusing on a mortar shell that landed in a kindergarten playground shortly before children arrived.

The site where a mortar shell from Gaza hit a kindergarten in southern Israel on May 29, 2018. 
(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Envoys for the European Union, the United Nations, the US administration, and other nations vocally condemned the attacks.

US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt, said Hamas had failed the Palestinians.
“Reprehensible – mortars fired from Gaza at a kindergarten and community in Israel! Hamas has failed – all it can offer is terror... Palestinians in Gaza need real leaders to work on Gaza’s real problems with its water, its economy and so much more.”
France also condemned the attacks from Gaza.
“France condemns these unacceptable attacks, which are targeted at civilians, thankfully without fatalities. France’s commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering,” the Foreign Ministry in Paris stated.
“France condemns the use of violence, which is incompatible with a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Reviving a credible political process requires all parties refrain from it.”

EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret was the first member of the international community to comment on Tuesday’s events.
“As kids were preparing for school this morning a barrage of rockets from Gaza fell on southern Israel,” he tweeted. “One landed outside a kindergarten. I know the resilience of communities in southern Israel but indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable and to be condemned unreservedly.”

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said he was
“deeply concerned by the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza.”
He stressed that at least one mortar shell hit the immediate vicinity of a kindergarten and could have killed or injured children.
“Such attacks are unacceptable and undermine the serious efforts by the international community to improve the situation in Gaza...  All parties must exercise restraint, avoid escalation and prevent incidents that jeopardize the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.”...

From Arutz Sheva, 30 May 2018:

English Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt on Tuesday night slammed Gaza's Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups for firing rockets and mortars on Israeli civilians.
"I condemn the rocket fire from #Gaza into Israel today. Indiscriminate attacks against civilians, especially those that risk killing or injuring children, are completely unacceptable under any circumstances..." ...

Earlier Tuesday night, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a similar condemnation.
"Israel has every right to defend itself against these deplorable attacks by the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Our thoughts are with everyone affected today..." ...
...the United States called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the latest attacks on Israel out of the Gaza Strip by Hamas and other militants....
“The recent attacks out of Gaza are the largest we have seen since 2014. Mortars fired by Palestinian militants hit civilian infrastructure, including a kindergarten. The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza,” said US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

Three Israeli soldiers wounded as dozens of mortars fired from Gaza in heaviest barrage since 2014 war

From The Telegraph (UK), 29 May 2018, by Raf Sanchez in Jerusalem:

Israel warned it was closer to war in Gaza than it had been in years after Palestinian militants fired dozens of mortars at Israeli towns and Israel’s military responded with heavy airstrikes across Gaza. 

.. waves of missiles were fired out of Gaza into southern Israel. At least three soldiers were wounded. One shell fell into the yard of a kindergarten, spraying the front of the school with shrapnel.

Israel accused the militant group Islamic Jihad of doing most of the shelling but said Hamas, the Islamist faction which controls Gaza, also participated in the attack.

Israeli jets struck more than 30 Hamas and Islamic Jihad bases across Gaza in response...

Most of the projectiles were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome missile system
Many of the projectiles fired from Gaza were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome missile system CREDIT: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

...Israel Katz, the Israeli intelligence minister, said the country was closer to war with Hamas than it had been at any point since 2014. 
“We are the closest to the threshold of war since Operation Protective Edge,” he said. “We don’t want it, and the other side doesn’t either, but we have our red lines.”
The shelling from Gaza into Israel was widely condemned internationally and Britain said the “indiscriminate attacks” were “completely unacceptable under any circumstances.”

The mortar shells and rockets fell in and around Israeli communities near the Gaza border, triggering air raid sirens and sending thousands of Israelis running for bomb shelters. The Israeli military said many of the projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

Video from the Israeli kindergarten showed the front of the building had been pockmarked by shrapnel from a mortar. The shell struck at around 7am, before any children had arrived at the school. “Seven o’clock is the busiest time of day. This could have ended differently,” said Merav Cohen, an Israeli mother who lives near the kindergarten.

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad jointly claimed responsibility for the shelling...

The Israeli military said the 107mm mortars fired by Islamic Jihad were supplied by Iran, which has long funded the group as a proxy force against Israel.
“There’s no doubt that the Iranians are involved...” Lt Col Conricus said. 
...Alistair Burt, a [UK] Foreign Office minister, was in Gaza on Tuesday and condemned the Palestinian shelling.
"Indiscriminate attacks against civilians, especially those that risk killing or injuring children, are completely unacceptable under any circumstances,” he said. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Iranian forces banned from using airbases in Syria

From JOL, May 28, 2018, by Becca Noy:  

The Syrian Air Force has banned Iranians and pro-Tehran Shiite militias from using its military airbases, Zaman al-Wasl reported Monday.

image description
An Iranian Air Force jet prepares for takeoff on a Syrian base. Wikimedia Commons.

Citing a “well-informed” source, the Syrian opposition newspaper said that the decision was made in light of the “series of Israeli strikes in the last few weeks amid rising tensions between Iran and Israel.”

On Thursday, an airstrike was carried out on Iranian bases near Homs that are manned by the Hezbollah terrorist group, according to Syrian media outlets. While Syria and Iran are claiming that the IDF was behind the attack, Israel has refused to comment on the reports, and a spokesperson for the Pentagon stressed neither the US nor its allies had attacked Syria.

...Last week, Moscow said that all foreign forces, except for Russian military officials, should leave Syria. The Iranian Foreign Ministry strongly denounced the statement, saying that it will remain in the war-torn Arab country.
 “We will remain in Syria as long as there is a threat of terror and as long as the Syrian government wants us there [no longer, now],” the ministry said. “The nations that need to leave Syria are those who entered without the approval of the Syrian government.”
The increased tensions between the Iranian forces in Syria and Israel began in early February when an Iranian drone that had infiltrated Israeli airspace was shot down by an Israeli Air Force aircraft. The incident was followed by a direct clash between Syrian and Iranian forces on one side and Israeli forces on the other. During the clash, an Israeli aircraft was shot down by Syrian air defense missiles.

Since the February 10 clash, there have been several reports of Israeli attacks in Syria and Iranian fatalities as a result of the alleged Israeli air raids [including two strikes using the fifth-generation F-35 fighter - the first time it's been used in live combat - SL].

Monday, May 28, 2018

US ambassador: Evangelicals more devoted to Israel than many Jews

From World Israel News, 21 May 2018, by Batya Jerenberg:

Ambassador David Friedman praised evangelical support for Israel in explaining the prominent role of two pastors at the US embassy dedication ceremony in Jerusalem.

US ambassador: Evangelicals more devoted to Israel than many Jews
Pastor John Hagee (L) of Christians United with Israel and PM Benjamin Netanyahu 
(Amos Ben Gershom/Flash90)

US Ambassador David Friedman told The New York Times (NYT) that evangelical Christians “support Israel with much greater fervor and devotion than many in the Jewish community.”

Friedman made the comment in the context of a discussion on last week’s inauguration of the new American embassy in Jerusalem, acknowledging that it was a very deliberate act on his part to have two evangelical representatives deliver the opening and closing prayers respectively.

The ambassador had invited Pastors Robert Jeffress and John Hagee to address the ceremony because “they’re two of the most followed leaders of the evangelical community, and I wanted to honor the community for having been so constructive in helping to move this along.”

The push made by the evangelicals for the Trump administration to transfer the embassy is a symbol of the solid backing that community gives to Israel in general – and  it is extremely important, Friedman said.

“You’re running a country, you need friends, you need alliances, you need to protect your people,” the ambassador, who is known as very pro-Israel himself, told the NYT.

Are American Christians more pro-Israel than Jews?
Surveys done over recent years back the view that the liberal, non-Orthodox  sector of US Jewry – which comprises the vast majority of the Jewish population –  is less supportive of the Jewish state, especially the younger generation.

Globally, there are an estimated 600 million evangelicals, with tens of millions in the United States alone. Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, said evangelical support has “got to be a solid quarter of the population, and that is maybe 10, 15, 20 times the Jewish population,” making that community the “backbone” of American support for Israel.

Israeli government officials, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, apparently agree that the relationship between the evangelical community and Israel is well worth encouraging.

Nineteen Israeli parliamentarians belong to the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, which was established in 2004 to help forge ties with Christian leaders, organizations and political representatives in Israel and throughout the world.

Netanyahu: ‘Israel has no better friends’
In an address to a Christian media summit in Jerusalem last year, Netanyahu said, “Israel has no better friends, I mean that, no better friends in the world than the Christian communities around the world.”

Political support is also translated into monetary support, with evangelicals reportedly making up 13% of all tourists to Israel. According to an AP tally reported on Ynet recently, donations from the community also paid for about a third of all immigrants moving to Israel last year.