News Digest — 11/19/19
IDF: Four Rockets Launched At Golan From Syrian Territory
Sirens sounded in the Golan Heights in Israel’s north early Tuesday morning (19th).
The IDF reported that four launches were identified from Syria towards Israeli territory which were intercepted by the Israeli air defense system. No hits on Israeli communities were identified. It is not clear who was responsible for the attack.
Several attempts to hit Israel from Syria have been launched in the past months.
In early September, the IDF said an attack from Syria was Iranian-orchestrated.
“The firing was carried out by members of Shiite militias led by the Iranian Quds Force from Syrian territory on the outskirts of Damascus,” the IDF tweeted at the time, adding that Israel “views the Syrian regime as responsible for any action taken from its territory.”
In June, two rockets were fired from within Syria toward Israel’s Mount Hermon, which is situated in the Golan Heights.
Israel has admitted to attacking terror targets in Syria in an effort to halt the entrenchment of Iran on Syrian territory, which it considers an unacceptable threat.
“We will not allow anyone to entrench its might and endanger the State of Israel,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April. He has often spoken of Israel’s determination to remove Iranian military influence from the north of Israel’s border in war-torn Syria.
The pre-dawn attack on Tuesday morning (19th) occurred around the same time explosions at Damascus Airport were reported, according to Syria’s state-run SANA news agency.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to convene a security briefing with the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Aviv Kochavi in Tel Aviv later Tuesday morning (19th).
(sana.sy/en; israelhayom; worldisraelnews.com)
‘IDF’s Mission Is To Uphold The Jewish State’s Eternal Presence’
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett met on Monday (18th) with members of the General Staff Forum headed by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.
Minister Bennett decided last week to go directly into office, without a ceremony and the guard of honor, to immediately approach the significant challenges that lie ahead for the State of Israel.
At the opening of his speech, the Minister thanked the IDF commanders and said “Thank you for so many years, in which everyone who sits here contributes to the most important thing: the existence of the Jewish state and the Jewish people in Israel. I come here in awe, there’s a lot to learn.”
“The core of the Jewish people’s existence in the unity and soul of Israel is the debate, we are a good people and so it is good. In my opinion, it is good to hear second opinions. I am glad that there are haredi, religious, secular, right and left here, I wouldn’t want it any other way. The debate is what’s good for Israel.”
“We will get a fourth chance. We had a Jewish state in this country that survived as a sovereign and unified state, and in the 81st year of that state, because of ego, sectors and tribalism, we split. We had a second chance in the Second Temple period. For 73 years, we acted as a sovereign and united state, and again, myopia, tribalism and sectors brought about the loss of sovereignty first, and later the destruction. We are now in the eighth decade of the third opportunity. The common denominator for everyone who sits here is that we intend to get through this decade, hundreds and thousands more – and live here in Israel for eternity.”
“I trust you, the Chief of Staff, and you the members of the General Staff, and the IDF commanders, absolutely. I think the competence-level of the IDF and the General Staff is very high. My impression is that you are attentive – I have not seen anyone who just comes with complaints.”
“The situation in all sectors is very complex and full of threats, but also full of tremendous opportunities.”
“The only way our enemies can overcome us is to give us a sense that we do not deserve to live in this country, and cause us to lose the power of faith in the justice of our path. Chief of Staff, Kochavi, I know it is very deep what you are striving for, because the IDF’s mission is to uphold the Jewish State’s eternal presence in the Land of Israel, along with our values and heritage.”
IDF Begins Surprise Two-Day Drill In The North
The Israeli army launched a large-scale military drill in the north Monday (18th) to test military preparedness in the region which it feels is facing the biggest threat to its security.
The drill is being conducted in the Jezreel Valley and Upper Galilee “to test the Northern Command’s preparedness and operational abilities,” said an IDF statement.
Thousands of soldiers are said to be participating in the two-day exercise, which will see ground troops, armored vehicles and aircraft all working together.
Another aim of the exercise was to test how well the phone call-up to reservists worked in an “emergency,” so thousands of calls were made although only a minority actually had to leave for duty.
Residents in the north were told to be prepared to hear many jets flying overhead and to be ready to contend with extra military traffic on the roads, the army said.
Israel’s political and military leaders have stressed many times in recent months that they consider the northern border to have the most potential to catch fire. They point to Iran’s heavy involvement in Syria, with its Revolutionary Guards on the ground there, and Lebanon, through its Hezbollah proxy that sits in the government.
Among its many attempts to strike at the Jewish State, the Islamic Republic has tried to help its terrorist-clients to turn their short-range rockets into precision missiles that could endanger Israel if a conflict begins. Its continual threats to wipe out “the Zionist enemy” are taken very seriously in Jerusalem.
This is the second time in two months that the IDF has initiated a large-scale exercise in the north. In September, the Northern Command’s 36th Division and Golani Infantry Brigade simulated urban fighting in Lebanon, and practiced tunnel warfare and hunting down rocket launchers.
The IDF has not ignored the threat from the Gaza Strip in the south, a reminder of which was felt last week when hundreds of missiles were fired from the coastal enclave into Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
In the other major surprise drill of 2019, in February, the IDF practiced, over the course of three days, the ability to move large numbers of troops to designated locations, and conducted live-fire drills in mock battles with terrorists that included air support.
Netanyahu Thanks Trump: You Corrected A Historic Injustice
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night (18th) spoke on the phone with US President Donald Trump following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement that the US no longer considers Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be contrary to international law.
Netanyahu thanked President Trump and told him he had corrected a historic injustice, and that someone had to tell the simple truth and he did that, as he had done in recognizing the Golan Heights and in the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.
“We are not in a foreign country, this has been our homeland for over 3,000 years. The reason we are called ‘Jews’ is because we came from here, from Judea. It does not prevent negotiations, on the contrary – it promotes peace because it is impossible to build true peace based on lies,” said Netanyahu.
Pompeo stated earlier that the American government does not consider Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be a violation of international law.
“In 1978, the Carter administration categorically concluded that Israel’s establishment of civilian settlements was inconsistent with international law. However, in 1981, President Reagan disagreed with that conclusion and stated that he didn’t believe that the settlements were inherently illegal. Subsequent administrations recognized that unrestrained settlement activity could be an obstacle to peace, but they wisely and prudently recognized that dwelling on legal positions didn’t advance peace,” Pompeo explained.
Pompeo’s announcement comes, among other things against the backdrop of the EU’s decision to order member states to label products from Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem which was condemned by the Americans.
A political source on Monday evening (18th) said that Netanyahu has been talking to the US administration in recent months on the issue of changing its policy vis-a-vis Judea and Samaria. The source said the decision was also made in coordination with the National Security Council, and the Attorney General and his team, which deals with matters related to international law.
U.S. Condemns UN Resolutions Against Israel
Cherith Norman Chalet, Acting U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN, told the General Assembly on Friday (15th): “The United States continues to oppose the annual submission of more than a dozen resolutions biased against Israel. This one-sided approach…fails to create the kind of positive international environment critical to achieving peace.”
“It is deplorable that the United Nations – an institution founded upon the idea that all nations should be treated equally – should be so often used by member states to treat one state in particular, Israel, unequally.”
“We see resolutions that are quick to condemn all kinds of Israeli actions, but say nothing or almost nothing about terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. This is particularly apparent when we see Israel blamed for the situation in Gaza, while none of these resolutions even mentions the word ‘Hamas,’ or any armed groups in Gaza. Just last week we saw barrages of rockets on Israeli civilians fired from Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. It is shameful that the UN cannot condemn these acts of terror in any of the resolutions.”
“One-sided resolutions do not help advance peace. The cause of peace will be served when the bias of the United Nations against Israel ends.”