August 8, 2018

Palestinians In Samaria Copy Gazans ‘Fire Kite’ Terror

Residents of the Samaria communities of Yitzhar and Har Bracha reported that “fire kites” and “fire balloons” were seen flying in the sky, according to a report by Hakol Hayehudi.

In Har Bracha, one of the “fire kites” landed in the Tura grape vineyard.  Residents and security personnel arrived on the scene, but the kite did not ignite a fire.

Meanwhile, a resident of Yitzhar reported that she saw above her house a “fire balloon” floating from the west to the east.  Eventually, the balloon landed east of Yitzhar, between the Palestinian villages of Huwara and Awarta.

Just recently a fire broke out near Havat Gilad in Samaria as a result of an incendiary balloon that apparently was launched from Awarta.

Meanwhile, in areas adjacent to Gaza, firefighters battled 30 fires on Friday (3rd), 10 fires on Saturday (4th) and 6 fires in Israel on Sunday (5th), all results of “terror arson.”

On Monday (6th), the IDF targeted a group of Palestinians from Gaza launching incendiary balloons at Israel, injuring two.  The strike took place in the northern part of the coastal enclave.



Iran’s $100 Million Aid To Hamas And Islamic Jihad

The scope of Iran’s aid to the Gaza Strip comes into light as the civil protest against the regime in the Islamic Republic grows stronger amid the grave economic crisis in the country, which is expected to be exacerbated when American sanctions take effect.

Iran transfers $100 million every year to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two main Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.  The money is divided as follows: $70 million is transferred to Hamas, while Islamic Jihad gets $30 million. The vast majority of this money is used by the two organizations to further bolster their military wings, instead of aiding the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

While this is indeed a high some of money, it is only a tenth of the annual budget that Iran transfers to Hizbullah, which is on average $1 billion annually.

Over the past year, however, Iran’s budget for the Lebanese Shiite organization was reduced to only $800 million due to the economic crisis it is suffering from, but the budget for the Gaza Strip remains unchanged.



Israel Releases First Pictures Of Sea Barrier To Defend Against Gaza Attacks

The Israeli Defense Ministry on Sunday (5th) revealed images of a new sea barrier being constructed to protect the country from attacks from the Gaza Strip, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman saying work was progressing at an “impressively fast” pace.

“Israel’s counter-terrorism capabilities around Gaza are increasing every day,” Liberman said.

“The work to erect the land and sea barrier around the Gaza Strip is progressing at a fast and impressive rate.  Our ability to prevent attacks near the Strip gets better all the time,” he added.

When completed it will be 650 feet long, 160 feet wide and 20 feet above the water.  There will also be defensive infrastructure along the top of the barrier.

The barrier described by the ministry as an “impregnable breakwater,” constructed in the area of Zikim beach adjacent to the coastal enclave, is designed to withstand the batter of waves and will last for many years the ministry said.  The barrier will be finished by the end of the year.

The decision to build the barrier was prompted by an attack by Hamas naval commandos during the 2014 Gaza war.



U.S Targets UNRWA – Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer

Senior U.S. presidential advisor Jared Kushner has quietly been trying to do away with the UN Palestinian relief agency UNRWA, according to internal emails obtained by Foreign Policy.  His initiative is part of a broader push by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress to address the issue.  “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote in an email dated January 11. “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.”

Many Israeli supporters in the U.S. see UNRWA as part of an international infrastructure that has artificially kept the refugee issue alive and kindled hopes among Palestinians that they might someday return home.  Critics of the agency point to its policy of granting refugee status not just to those who fled Mandatory Palestine 70 years ago but to their descendants as well – an accounting that puts the refugee population at around 5 million.

Victoria Coates, a senior advisor to Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, sent an email in January to the White House’s national security staff saying, “UNRWA should come up with a plan to unwind itself and become part of the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] by the time its charter comes up again in 2019.”  Other ideas being discussed in the U.S. include asking UNRWA to operate on a month-to-month budget while devising “a plan to remove all anti-Semitism from educational materials.”

Elad Strohmayer, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said, “We believe that UNRWA needs to pass from the world as it is an organization that advocates politically against Israel and perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem.”



Why The Economic Rehabilitation Of Gaza Will Not Bring Peace – Efraim Karsh

→Foreign policy experts have urged the immediate rehabilitation of Gaza as panacea to its endemic propensity for violence.  Yet this argument is the inverse of the truth. It is not Gaza’s economic malaise that has precipitated Palestinian violence;  rather, it is the endemic violence that has caused the Strip’s humanitarian crisis.

→Countless nations and groups in today’s world endure far harsher socio-economic or political conditions than the Palestinians, yet none have embraced violence and terrorism against their neighbors with such alacrity and on such a massive scale.  Moreover, there is no causal relationship between economic hardship and mass violence.

→Public opinion polls among Palestinians during the 1990s revealed far stronger support for the nascent peace process with Israel, and opposition to terrorism, among the poorer and less educated parts of society – representing the vast majority of the population.

→It is not socio-economic despair but the total rejection of Israel’s right to exist, inculcated by the PLO and Hamas over the past 25 years, which underlies the relentless anti-Israel violence emanating from these territories and its attendant economic stagnation and decline.

→So long as Gaza continues to be governed by Hamas’ rule of the jungle, no Palestinian civil society, let alone a viable state, can develop.

→Just as the creation of free and democratic societies in Germany and Japan after World War II necessitated a comprehensive socio-political and educational transformation, so, too, it is only when the local population sweeps its oppressive rulers from power, eradicates the endemic violence from political and social life, and teaches the virtues of coexistence with Israel that Gaza can look forward to a better future.

(The writer is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University and emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King’s College London)