News Digest — 2/10/20

Netanyahu Promises ‘Devastating Action’ Against Gaza Terror Groups

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would respond with ‘devastating action’ if the terror groups continue to launch attacks on the Jewish state, suggesting he would not refrain from targeted killings, at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday (9th).

“I want to make it clear, we will not accept any aggression from Gaza,” the prime minister said.

“Only a few weeks ago we targeted the Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, and I suggest that both Islamic Jihad and Hamas refresh their memories.  I will not go into detail about all of our actions and plans for the media, but we are prepared to take devastating action against the terrorist organizations in Gaza.  Our actions are very strong and they have not yet ended, to put it mildly.”

The balloon terror continues in the south.  Israel Hayom reports that fear of bombs floating in from the Gaza Strip has caused thousands of tourists who had planned to come to the Red South Festival to enjoy the carpets of red anemones that bloom during the rainy season to cancel their plans.

Terrorists from the Gaza Strip also continue to launch missiles.  The most recent launch came on Saturday night (8th) when a rocket exploded in an open area resulting in Israel’s retaliation on two Hamas positions.

The security situation throughout the country has been tense after several attacks.  In Jerusalem, 12 soldiers were injured in a car-ramming attack last Thursday (6th). That same day a terrorist shot and wounded an Israeli border policeman in the Old City.

Also on Thursday (6th) an Israeli man was injured during a drive-by shooting near the Talmon settlement in Judea and Samaria..



Why Arab Israelis Don’t Wish To Join A Future Palestinian State – Boaz Bismuth

The new US peace plan has changed the paradigm: All previous plans urged Israel to take the proverbial plunge regardless of whether or not there was any water in the pool.  Moreover, it has created a new paradigm by which Palestinian nationalism must first and foremost be good for future Palestinian citizens. The plan presents specific goals and metrics that Palestinians must meet including value of human rights, the rule of law, and refraining from killing Jews – basic criteria that every country should uphold.

If these conditions are rejected by the Palestinians, meaning they will not commit to establishing good governance and fighting terrorist organizations, then negotiations are not feasible to begin with.

Statements about potential land-swaps sparked outrage and protest among Israel’s Arab citizens, especially in the Triangle, a concentration of towns and villages adjacent to the green Line.  Arab Israelis there now embrace Israeli rule and say they wish to remain part of Israel even if the Palestinians fulfill their national aspirations and see a state established.

A number of times, including recently, Arab Israelis were presented with a choice: Which side do you wish to belong to – the “Israeli occupation” or the “future state of Palestine?”  They continue to clearly prefer to be part of Israel. This proves to what extent Arab Israelis do not trust the Palestinian leadership to provide them with the security and quality of life they enjoy as Israeli citizens.



Abbas To Wage A ‘Diplomatic Intifada’ At UN

Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas is planning to wage a “diplomatic intifada” against President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” at the United Nations this week, reports Channel 13 news.

In addition to denouncing Trump’s peace plan, the Israeli news agency reports that Abbas will also present his own version of a peace plan to the UN.

Palestinian UN representative Riyad Mansour announced last Wednesday (5th) that Abbas will push the UN Security Council on Tuesday (11th) to take a vote on a Tunisia-sponsored resolution denouncing the peace plan.  (Tunisia’s ambassador to the UN was fired for not consulting with his government when drafting the resolution).

“Abbas will put before the entire international community the reaction of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership against this onslaught of the national rights of the Palestinian people by the Trump administration,” Mansour said.

“We will try our best with our friends to have the strongest possible draft resolution and to receive the strongest and largest possible vote in favor of it,” he added.

“The resolution is not expected to pass because the U.S. will certainly veto it, despite the fact that France, Russia, and China will most likely vote in favor of it, reports Reuters.

On Saturday (8th), the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIU) convened in Jordan for an emergency meeting called for by Abbas.

All members present called for “absolute rejection of any peace settlement which does not fulfill the inalienable  rights of the Palestinian people to self determination and to an independent state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital,” the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.



Al Jazeera Host Calls Israel The Most Successful Project Of Past 120 Years

A firebrand Arab television host called Israel the most successful project of the 20th and 21st centuries on Saturday (8th) stirring up a debate about the Jewish state on social media.

“For most Arabs, if they want to curse you, they will describe you as a ‘Zionist,’ even though they know that the most successful project in the current century is the Zionist project,” tweeted Faisal al-Qassem, the host of Al Jazeera’s The Opposite Direction, a well-known debate show.

“All of the Arabs’ projects, especially that of Arab nationalism, failed.  So…before you use the term ‘Zionist’ as a curse, you must first come somewhat closer to what Zionism has accomplished and then we will talk,” he said.

Qassem has frequently criticized many Arab regimes on his show and Twitter account, which has 5.5 million followers, for their anti-democratic policies.  He also courted controversy in 2018 when he hosted Arabic-language IDF spokesman Avichai Adraee on his program.

Many critical responses poured into Twitter on Saturday (8th) and Sunday (9th) after Qassem posted the tweet.

But when the television host asked Twitter users later on Sunday (9th) to vote in a poll as to whether they consider Israel or Arab regimes to be more “advanced, developed, democratic and successful,” an overwhelming majority chose the Jewish state.

82% of 6,168 respondents selected Israel, while the remaining 18% chose Arab regimes.

Israeli officials heaped praise on Qassem for his comments which they highlighted on their Twitter accounts.

“Dr. Faisal al-Qassem is right.  The Zionist movement achieved the Jewish people’s ambition to return to its homeland and build a national state anew on the land of its forefathers,” Ofir Gendelman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesman tweeted on Saturday (8th). 

“I am a Zionist and proud.  In 71 years, we have transformed from a poor state that lacks resources to a state that is at the top of the world’s rankings with regard to modernism, innovation, science, medicine and agriculture.  Zionism is not a curse word, but rather one of admiration,” he added.



ADL: Extremists Using Coronavirus Outbreak To Stoke Hatred Against Jews

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are using fears of the deadly coronavirus to stoke hatred against Jews and spread conspiracy theories on social-media platforms according to a new report released by the Anti-Defamation League.

“Following a well-known pattern of capitalizing on major news stories to advance their bigotry and anti-Semitism, extremists have latched onto fears surrounding the coronavirus story to promote conspiracy theories and even ‘boogaloo,’” referring to the extremists’ code-word for violence, the ADL report said.

According to the ADL, “extremist friendly” platforms such as Telegram, 4chan and Gab have been filled with messages posted by racists.

“Extremists hope the virus kills Jews but they are also using its emergence to advance their anti-Semitic theories that Jews are responsible for creating the virus, spreading it to increase their control over a decimated population, or they are profiting off it,” the ADL said.

Additionally, more widely used and mainstream social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Reddit have also seen concerning-messages being spread by extremists.

The report said that on these platforms, “posters are calling coverage of the coronavirus a hoax and a distraction to frighten the public, while others are arguing that the virus’ impact is far worse than authorities want people to think.”

As of Friday (7th), the World Health Organization reported, 31,211 confirmed cases globally, with the vast majority in China and at least 780 deaths.

With this, the number of coronavirus deaths have overtaken that of the Sars epidemic in 2003.

“The relatively small number of cases outside China gives us a window of opportunity to prevent this outbreak from becoming a broader global crisis,” WHO’s Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference on Friday (7th).  “Our greatest concern is about the potential for spreading the virus to countries with weaker health systems – who lack the capacity to detect or diagnose the virus.”