August 9, 2018

IDF Shells Hamas Post In Response To Gaza Fire

Israeli tank fire killed two Hamas terrorists in Gaza on Tuesday (7th) in a strike against a position from which the IDF said Israeli troops had come under fire.

Hamas and Palestinian health officials in Gaza confirmed the deaths, near Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, shortly before noon.

A statement issued by the Israeli military said: “A short while ago, terrorists fired shots from Gaza near the northern Gaza Strip from a Hamas position.  In response, an IDF tank targeted the post from which the shots were fired.”

“The IDF will take action against any offensive and any attempt to harm our forces.  It views the terrorist organization Hamas as responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip and everything coming out of it.”

No injuries were reported among the IDF soldiers.  An Israeli military vehicle sustained damage in the clash.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit posted a video showing Palestinians shooting from a watchtower, followed by a tank shell hitting the position.

The clash occurred just before noon on Tuesday (7th), amid Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, which controls the coastal strip.

Meanwhile, Hamas threatened Tuesday (7th) to retaliate against Israel for the killing of two of their operatives.



Kite Arson Damage To Be Presented To The UN

An exhibition that illustrates the damage caused by fires in the Gaza vicinity as a result of the launching of incendiary kites and balloons will be shown at the United Nations headquarters in New York this week.

The exhibition, which was the initiative of Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, presents the damage caused by the fires in the Gaza vicinity as a result of the Hamas terrorist organization’s repeated arson attacks in Israel over the past few months.

As part of the exhibition, “before and after” photographs from the Gaza envelope will be displayed showing the fields and agricultural areas before and after the fires, alongside additional photographs illustrating the damage caused to nature and the animals in the area.

The photos in the exhibition were taken by Israeli photographers who documented the fires and their damage in the Gaza area in recent months.

The exhibition will highlight the damage caused by Hamas’ ecological terrorism to the United Nations’ developmental goals to protect the environment, and will be open to ambassadors and diplomats from around the world.

According to Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, “The destructive fire terror not only threatens the lives of Israeli citizens but also destroys the ecosystem in the south and causes irreparable environmental damage.  The cruelty and cynicism of Hamas knows no limits.”



PA Demands Full-Authority In Gaza

The Palestinian Authority Cabinet headed by Rami Hamdallah, when convened on Tuesday (7th), called on Hamas to abandon its stance against unity and end its control over Gaza.

The cabinet also urged Hamas to refrain from negotiating Palestinian national principles in exchange for humanitarian aid at the expense of the Palestinian people and to transfer all the governmental powers in Gaza to the hands of the PA.

Hamdallah noted that the PA had not imposed any punitive measures against the Gaza Strip as had been reported.

Hamdallah explained that the measures are temporary and include the deduction of wages from some public sector employees.  He added that the PA invested $96 million in Gaza in the month of July.

The announcement by the PA cabinet confirms in practice that no agreement has yet been reached in the reconciliation talks between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Hamas and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction have been at odds since 2007 when Hamas violently took over Gaza from Fatah in a bloody coup.

Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal last October, under which the PA was to have resumed full control of Gaza by December 1.

“That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and later reportedly hit “insurmountable obstacles.”



Liberman warns Assad Planning To Rebuild Large Syrian Army After Civil War

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday (7th) that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad “is not satisfied” with regaining control of southern Syria and plans to rebuild the Syrian military into an even larger force than it was on the eve of the civil war.  The Syrian army was decimated during the civil war with thousands killed and hundreds of desertions, but is rebuilding with Russian help.

“We see the Syrian army, which is not satisfied with taking control of all the Syrian territory, but is clearly building a new large-scale land army that will return to its previous dimensions and beyond,” Liberman said, speaking to reporters after watching a military exercise of the IDF’s Armored Corps in the Golan Heights.

Liberman said that the Armored Corps, which was instrumental in stopping the Syrian surprise assault in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, remains essential to Israel’s defense.  “The Armored Corps was and will be the main force of the IDF in every ground operation, especially here in the north,” he said.

Last month, Syrian government forces reached the frontier with the Israeli Golan Heights after capturing territory from rebels and Islamic State fighters.

Throughout the Syrian civil war, Israel avoided direct involvement in the conflict, however with Syrian forces now in close proximity to the Israeli border, there have already been clashes between the two armies and Israel has insisted that the Syrian military respect the 1974 ceasefire agreement reached between Jerusalem and Damascus after the Yom Kippur War.  The agreement limits the number of forces each side can keep in the border region.



Some U.S. Economic Sanctions Against Iran Back In Effect – Susannah George and Zeke Miller

The first set of U.S. sanctions against Iran went back into effect Tuesday (7th) under an executive order signed by President Trump, targeting financial transactions that involves U.S. dollars, Iran’s automotive sector, the purchase of commercial planes, and metals, including gold.  U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in November.

Trump said in a statement Monday (6th), “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday (5th), “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s all we ask. It’s pretty simple.”

In response, Iranian President Rouhani said that Iran can rely on China and Russia to keep its oil and banking sectors afloat, and demanded compensation for decades of American “intervention” in the Islamic Republic.