January 30, 2018

Netanyahu meets with Putin about Iran and Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized his talks on Monday (29th) with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “very good and very in-depth.”  Speaking with reporters afterward, Netanyahu said he made it clear to Putin that Iranian efforts to establish itself in Syria would be stopped and that Israeli efforts to do so were already underway.

Netanyahu had similar things to say about Hizbullah weapons factories being built in Lebanon, adding, “It is important that our enemies understand that not only will Israel not accept the existence of these factories, but also that the superpowers will not accept it.”  He said that Iran was trying to escalate the situation in both countries and that Israel must be ready both militarily and diplomatically.

Regarding the Iranian nuclear deal he said, “I don’t think I could commit to what Russia’s position would be, but I think they understood deeply that if the necessary changes are not made, the U.S. will abandon this agreement.”

(timesofisrael.com; israelnn.com)


Report: Hizbullah threatens work on Lebanon border barrier

Hizbullah has told the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon that if Israel continues to build the barrier along the Israel-Lebanon border, in what the terror organization claims is a no-man’s-land, the group will open fire at workers and security personnel in the area, according to News 2.

The head of UNIFIL sent the message to the ambassadors of the United States and Britain who sent it on to the Prime Minister’s Office.  The defense establishment responded by saying, “Israel is acting in its sovereign territory in accordance with the Security Council resolution adopted upon the completion of the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and therefore not only is there no intention of stopping the construction of the barrier, but  Hizbullah will pay dearly if it tries to heat-up the sector.  The Israeli response will be both severe and painful.”



Palestinians hang Trump and Pence in effigy over slashed financial aid

U,S, President Donald Trump speaking at the World Economic Forum last week threatened that if the Palestinians didn’t start showing more respect, they’d lose even more American backing.

On Saturday (27th), a Palestinian mob responded by heaping even more scorn and threats of violence on the Americans.

During a rally in Bethlehem, masked Palestinians hung and burned both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in effigy.



Gaza hospital closes as UNRWA protests U.S. fund cuts

On Monday (29th), the Hamas terror group ordered a hospital in Gaza closed, claiming it had run out of diesel fuel required for generators needed amid daily power outages.

However the PA rejected the claims, saying funds were already transferred for purchase of diesel fuel to keep the generators going.

It remains unclear for the time being whether the decision to close the hospital was due to a genuine crisis or a ploy orchestrated by Hamas to exert pressure on the Palestinian government in Ramallah and the international community.

The U.S’s recent decision to withhold millions of dollars in aid from UNRWA has also precipitated mass demonstrations in the streets of Gaza.

(ynetnews.com; afp.com)


Israel to supply electricity for Gaza sewage treatment, water desalination – Matan Tzuri

Israel’s Water Authority signed an agreement with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company last week to supply electricity to operate a sewage treatment facility in northern Gaza.  The $75 million  project was funded by the World Bank and several donor countries.  The facility is to become fully operational within two months and will serve 300,000 Gazans.

Israel will also supply power to the $40 million EU-funded Khan Yunis desalination plant.  Preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza “is a clear Israeli interest on security, diplomatic and moral levels,” said Alon Shoster, head of Israel’s neighboring HaNegev Regional Council.

(water.gov.il; ynetnews.com)


41% of Palestinian terrorists freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit have returned to terrorism – Nadav Shragai

420 of the 1,027 Palestinian terrorists released in exchange for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in November 2011 have returned to terrorism and violence, according to a senior security official.

Many of the prisoners who went back to Gaza, seized control of Hamas and are hatching plans for terrorist attacks in the West Bank.

Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza who himself was released in the deal, is thinking up plans for another abduction.  Hamas’ fingerprints are all over many of the attacks that Israel managed to thwart in the past year.



Bill Maher defends Trump’s Jerusalem decision – Ian Schwartz

On January 26, HBO political talk show host Bill Maher defended President Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  “Jerusalem has been their capital since 1949, it is where their government is.  They’ve won all the wars thrown against them.  I don’t understand why they don’t get to have their capital where they want.”

Maher asked why is it always up to Israel to come up with a two-state solution, and when they do, it is rejected.

“The essential thing that is making the two-state solution impossible is that one party is perpetually hostile, a coiled snake,” Maher said.  “Israel gave back Gaza and what was the result?  Did they use donated funds to build schools and hospitals? No.  They used them to build tunnels, to get weapons, and they invited Hamas to shell Israel across the border.”



Overseas tourism to Eilat up 69% this winter – Mishal Raz-Chaimovich

130,000 tourists from overseas are expected in Eilat this year during the winter season, compared with 77,000 in the previous year.  The number of weekly direct flights to Eilat increased from four to 40-50 over the past three years, including 17 from Russia, 10 from Germany, and 12 from Poland.



Israel tries Arabic outreach – Rory Jones and Nazih Osseiran

Israel is using the Arabic language to seek common ground with Tehran’s enemies.  With 1.2 million followers on his Arabic Facebook page and more than 181,000 on Twitter, Major Avichay Adraee is the face of the Israeli army’s messaging campaign.  For Israel, social media has become a way to engage with Arabs and reinforce a growing alignment with Sunni Muslim Arab states.

In one of Adraee’s most intense social-media exchanges, a fighter from Hizbullah last year tweeted a picture of himself in uniform with a message that his group was going to conquer northern Israel.  Adraee responded: “If you dare, we will surprise you.”



Israel Drill worst-case terror scenario – keren Setton

Early in January, 1,000 doctors, scientists and rescue service members from 35 countries, including China, the U.S., Germany and Spain, participated in the 5th International Conference on Preparedness & Response to Emergencies held by the Israeli military Home Front Command and the country’s health ministry.  At the end of the conference, a mass casualty terror attack was simulated at a soccer stadium.  Casualties were triaged by medical personnel and transported to a nearby hospital.  Coordination between units that do not work together on a daily basis is a critical element in the response to such attacks.