December 28, 2018

Bracing For Violence, IDF Warns Gazans Away From Border Fence

The IDF is bracing for a tense weekend on the Gaza border, sending reinforcements in order to prevent the potential infiltration by Palestinian rioters into Israeli territory.  The move comes following an announcement by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip that Friday (28th) is a “test day.”

The IDF believes that there will be riots at the fence as Palestinians mark last week’s deadly violence where four protesters were killed.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the territories for the Gaza Strip, Col. Iyad Sarhan issued a social media appeal to residents of the Gaza Strip on Thursday (27th), and warned them not to take part in terrorist attacks on the border.

“Residents of Gaza, what do you want from your upcoming Friday?” said Sarhan in a video message in Arabic that was posted on Facebook.  “Do you want to spend it in the bosom of your family or in unpleasant incidents on the security fence?  The IDF will not tolerate any attacks on the security fence. We also want a Friday without any casualties on your side, but that depends solely on you.”

He added, “The IDF will not allow rioters to approach or damage the security fence, and any attempt to harm IDF soldiers or violate Israeli sovereignty will be met with a strong IDF response.  Keep your distance from the area of the fence, and you will be quite safe.”



Netanyahu: Israel Won’t Let Iran Take Control In Syria

Israel will not let Iran embed its troops in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday (26th), a day after an airstrike attributed to Israel reportedly targeted Hizbullah and Iranian weapons depots in the war-torn country.

“Israel is operating against the Iranian entrenchment in Syria,” the prime minister told new pilots at an Israel Air Force graduation ceremony.

Israel traditionally does not confirm or deny airstrikes it carries out against targets in Syria, but has vowed to prevent the Iranian-backed Hizbullah terror group from acquiring advanced weaponry via Syria.  Both Hizbullah and Iran have a presence in Syria. Israel has warned against Iran taking root on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, along the Israeli border.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday (26th), Russia’s Ministry of Defense said that “provocative” Israeli missile strikes against Syria on Tuesday (25th) had threatened two civilian flights, the Interfax News Agency reported.



IDF Destroys Fifth Attack Tunnel Crossing From Lebanon Into Israel

The IDF has destroyed another attack tunnel crossing from Lebanon into Israel as part of Operation Northern Shield.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported that its soldiers located another tunnel a few days ago and carried out the destruction on Wednesday (26th).

This marks the fifth tunnel that was demolished since the start of the Operation on December 4.

According to the spokesperson’s statement the tunnel originated in the Shiite village of Ayta-Shayeb in Lebanon and crossed into Israeli territory.  The tunnel was destroyed with an explosive device.

A notice was sent to the heads of the relevant authorities and to United Nations peacekeepers from UNIFIL, the spokesperson added.

“The IDF views the Lebanese government as responsible for the digging of the tunnels and for the consequences of its action. This is a serious violation of resolution 1701 and the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Lebanese-based terror group Hizbullah on Tuesday (25th) mocked the Israeli operation working to neutralize its grid of terror tunnels, saying the IDF is “trying to quell public panic with cement mixers.”



PA Foils Hamas Attempt To Convene Palestinian Parliament

In yet another sign of mounting tensions between the two parties, the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday (26th) foiled an attempt by Hamas officials to hold a press conference in Ramallah to protest against PA Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

PA security officers sealed off the building of the PLC in the morning to stop the Hamas officials from holding the press conference.  The officers also prevented journalists from approaching the building.

Some of the Hamas officials were stopped at checkpoints set up by the PA security forces in their villages and cities.  

One of the officials banned from arriving in Ramallah was Aziz Dweik, the Hamas speaker of the PLC.  He was stopped at a PA checkpoint near Bethlehem and told to report to the Palestinian security forces in his city of Hebron.

Dweik said that the PA security forces who stopped him and his friends treated them with “rudeness and disrespect.”

A PA official told local news media that Hamas was planning to challenge and embarrass Abbas by convening the PLC in violation of the law.

“Hamas claims that its representatives were only planning to hold a press conference, and this claim is not true,” the official said.  “They were planning to hold a session of the council in Ramallah to challenge us.”

Last week Abbas announced his decision to dissolve the PLC in a speech before PLO and Fatah officials in Ramallah.



Danny Danon To Resign As UN Ambassador To Run In Likud Primaries

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon has decided to resign according to multiple media reports.

His term was to conclude soon, in February, but Danon reportedly has decided to act immediately in order to return to politics and run in the upcoming Likud primary, which determines the party’s list in the upcoming Knesset election.

His sudden move was prompted by the decision to declare an early Knesset ballot to take place in April instead of November.  No date has yet been set for the pre-election party primary.

Before becoming Israel’s top envoy at the UN, Danon had served as a cabinet minister, deputy minister and member of parliament on behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.  He also served as a senior official within the party.

The 47-year-old Danon took on his position at the world body in October 2015.

During Danon’s tenure, Israel made progress in gaining a higher standing at the world body.  In May 2017, Danon was elected as vice president of the General Assembly.

Other moves included Israel’s acceptance to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the adoption by the General Assembly of an Israeli resolution on agricultural technologies for sustainable development.

In addition, two Israeli NGOs, ZAKA and Access Israel, received consultative status at the UN, and Yom Kippur was recognized as an official UN holiday.



Israeli Manufacturer Inaugurates New Production Line For F-35 Wings

Israel Aerospace Industries has launched a new production line for the “skins that cover the wings of the F-35 fighter jet, which are a key component in making it invisible to radar screens,” Mako reported Wednesday (26th).

The company, which has produced hundreds of the jet’s wings since 2014 for Lockheed Martin, is expected to make hundreds of millions of dollars more from its new 20-year contract with the American giant.  Some 700 wing-pairs will be manufactured in the first stage alone.

The F-35 is considered the most advanced stealth fighter in the world, and Israel was the first foreign country to receive a shipment.  Five jets have already been delivered out of a total of 50 ordered – two squadrons’ worth – at an estimated cost of $5.5 billion.

As noted by Israel’s Air Force Commander, Major General Amikam Norkin, Israel became the first country in the world to use the F-35 in combat, when IAF pilots clashed with Iranian forces in Syria in May.

“The opening of the production line constitutes a significant milestone in the realization of the company’s strategy for building advanced capabilities in the field of composite materials manufacturing technology.  Thanks to this move, IAI will belong to a ‘limited club’ of companies with these manufacturing capabilities,” said IAI Vice-President Shlomi Karako at the launch.

The expansion of IAI’s collaboration with Lockheed Martin “is another proof of the deep partnership and trust” the American manufacturer has with Israel’s leader in defense production, said Lockheed Martin Israel’s CEO, Yehoshua Shani.