News Digest — 2/5/24

Argentine President Javier Milei Due To Meet Israeli President In Israel Tuesday

President Herzog is always pleased to welcome foreign dignitaries to Israel,  but he will be particularly pleased on Tuesday (6th) when he greets Argentina’s recently elected president, Javier Milei, whose undisguised, enthusiastic support for Israel and the Jewish people is like a fresh breeze blowing from that part of the world.

Almost immediately following his election, Milei announced that one of his early overseas trips would be to Israel.

He did so again last month when participating in a Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the Holocaust  Museum in Buenos Aires and is now making good on that promise.

He has also been very vocal in his condemnation of Hamas and his support for Israel in the current war.

In past years, there were huge coverups in Argentina in investigations related to the murders of more than a hundred people in the Iran-instigated bombing of the Israel Embassy and the AMIA Jewish Community Center.

In 1992, 29 people were killed and 242 injured in the bombing of the embassy, and in 1994, 85 people  were killed in the AMIA bombing.

Christina Kirchner, a former Argentine president has been charged with conspiring to obstruct findings in the investigation.

Argentina’s public prosecutor asked that Kirchner be sentenced to 12 years in prison and disqualified from public office for life.



IDF Takes Control Of Hamas’ Khan Yunis Headquarters Used By Yahya Sinwar’s Brother

The IDF announced on Sunday (4th) that it has taken control of the Hamas brigade headquarters in southern Gaza which was also used by Muhammad Sinwar, brother and top lieutenant to Gaza Chief Yahya Sinwar.

Previously on December 17, the IDF announced it had penetrated Hamas’ City Hall and another office of its brigade chief, Rafaa Salome.

Full operational control of Khan Yunis is expected in the coming week.

Even after operational control is reached, as the IDF achieved in northern Gaza over a month ago, IDF sources acknowledged that there will still be fighting and significant “mopping up” operations of smaller remaining terror Cells.

The general idea is that more of the fighting will be against single-digit and small groups of Hamas terrorists who are cut off from any greater Hamas collective command structure versus the fighting until now, where Hamas often had hundreds of fighters resisting the IDF in a coordinated fashion.

According to the IDF, the Givati brigade alone, led by Col. Liron Batito, which was part of a force of seven IDF brigades in Khan Yunis, killed 550 Hamas terrorists using ground forces and another 250 using air support.

On Sunday (4th),the Hamas numbers were already lower, with 14 killed by the IDF, now that the larger Hamas forces have been defeated in Khan Yunis.

Regarding civilians, the IDF recently evacuated 120,000 Palestinian civilians from Khan Yunis in a period of only five days in order to clear the area of them and be able to better hone in on any remaining terrorists.

Although IDF sources said they found many signs of Hamas’ leadership and the Israeli hostages they are holding, there was no concrete discussion of being able to find them imminently.

This continued trend of taking operational control of Khan Yunis without finding the Hamas leadership and their hostages has increased the probability that they are hiding in Rafah.

Israel still has not reached terms with Egypt for entering Rafah to search there and take apart what has ballooned to four Hamas battalions, among the likely more than 1.5 million civilians there.



Hamas Makes Bombs From Medical Supplies

IDF troops operating in Gaza found a detailed Hamas manual for the production of explosives and rocket propellent material using Hydrogen Peroxide that was supplied to hospitals. This brought to light and revealed how Hamas is exploiting a substance with legitimate use in hospitals to construct rockets, a clear indication of the terror group’s use of civilian materials for its military needs.

The manual consists of writings in English, Arabic, and another language, likely Norwegian, outlining the distillation process of H202 for the production of explosives.  These documents contain intricate schematics for constructing distillation equipment, as well as instructions on assembling rockets and explosive charges.

Troops uncovered a staggering number, exceeding 100 million files and encompassing over a million documents, including operational plans and combat strategies employed by Hamas. These materials are being meticulously examined by the Israeli Intelligence Branch  responsible for investigating enemy materials, which serves as a central hub for gathering and analyzing the spoils of war obtained from Hamas since the conflict’s onset.

During the incursion into the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, thousands of documents and operational code maps were discovered on the bodies of Nukhba fighters and inside their vehicles.  They revealed critical information such as the deployment of Hamas forces, combat positions, sniper locations, and observation points across the area.



Gallant Warns Warplanes’ Noses ‘Pointed North,’ As IAF Hammers Hezbollah’s Sites

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday (4th) warned Hezbollah that Israel has many offensive tools it could employ in Lebanon, as the IDF said it carried out a series of strikes on sites operated by the terror group in southern Lebanon throughout the day.

“We have not yet begun to activate all our units and all our special abilities.  We have many elements ready,” Gallant said during a tour of Tel Nof airbase in central Israel.  “The clear-cut instruction I gave the Air Force is to point the noses of our aircraft northward… we are prepared.”

The IDF said that targets hit by fighter jets in Blida and Mays al-Jabal on Sunday (4th) included a rocket launching position manned by Hezbollah operatives, and an observation post, adding that a tank also shelled a Hezbollah cell in Blida.

The IDF said troops also shelled the sources of rocket fire from Lebanon against northern communities on Sunday (4th).  There were no reports of damage or injuries in the attacks, which were apparently carried out by Hezbollah.

Local authorities said that several rockets fired from Lebanon at the northern city of Kiryat Shmona were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, while others landed in open areas.

Sirens also sounded in the northern communities of Metula and Tel Hai, among others throughout Sunday (4th).  In the morning there were a number of sirens close to the border that the IDF later said were false alarms.

Earlier Sunday (4th), Hezbollah named two more members killed in recent Israeli strikes on its sites in southern Lebanon.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza, while the war has been raging there since the Hamas terror group’s October 7 massacre.

So far the skirmishes on the northern border have resulted in six civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as deaths of nine IDF soldiers and reservists.  There have also been several attacks from Syria without any injuries.

Hezbollah named 179 members who were killed by Israel during the ongoing fighting, mostly in Lebanon, and some in Syria.  In Lebanon, another 22 operatives from other terror groups, and a Lebanese soldier were killed.

On Saturday (3rd), IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said three troop divisions had been deployed to the northern border, issuing a strident warning to Hezbollah, while detailing strikes that Israel says have killed hundreds of terror operatives seeking to inflame the restive border.

Israel will be “ready to attack immediately” if provoked, Hagari warned.  “We do not choose war as our first priority, but we are certainly prepared.”

Israel has warned it will no longer tolerate the presence of Hezbollah along the northern frontier, where it could attempt to carry out an attack similar to that committed by Hamas on October 7 



Israel Sees 14 Straight Days Of Rainfall For First Time In 30 Years

Israel has seen 14 straight days of rainfall in the north and south for the first time since February 1992, according to statistics from the Israel Meteorological Service published Sunday (4th).

The service called this kind of precipitation a “rain of blessing” because the steady, persistent downpour allows rainwater to seep into the ground, enriching natural water sources without the damaging side effects of flooding.

The service said that the rainfall raised the water level of the Sea of Galilee 10.2 inches, with more increases expected.

Israel’s largest freshwater lake, though no longer used as the main source of drinking water, is still a popular gauge of seasonal rainfall.

A slight rise in temperatures is expected Tuesday (6th), but the rainy weather will likely continue until Wednesday (7th).

With water a scarce resource in the country, the record rainfall is considered good news.

Dr. Amos Porat, director of Climate Services at the IMS told The Times of Israel that “usually, Israeli weather systems stay for two to four days and then move on.”

Parts of the center and north of the country have already equaled or even exceeded their annual average rain, which is measured from August.

But south of Jerusalem, where the landscape slowly turns into desert, the only place to exceed its annual average rainfall was Sodom, at the southwestern end of the Dead Sea, which received 119% of its annual average.  Porat said that sometimes there were “local events” where rain fell in one area and nowhere else nearby.

Hazera, in the Arava Desert in Israel’s far south, has had just 13% of its annual average, while Ein Gedi in the Judean Desert, has seen just 15%.



Inspecting The UN’s Strange Numbers On Israeli Violence Against Palestinians – Amit Segal

The eyes of the world are focusing on the issue of Israeli violence against Palestinians.  However, when the details on Israeli violence are examined thoroughly, it seems like there isn’t much violence,  according to Dr. Michael Wolfowicz, a criminology researcher at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law.

Between 2016 and 2022, UN data listed 5,656 incidents of Israeli violence against Palestinians.  But delving into the numbers reveals that 1,600 of the incidents took place in Jerusalem, with almost all involving Jews entering the Temple Mount or clashes between the police and Muslims who acted violently in the area.

There were 2,500 incidents that describe property damage or assault, but they include a terror attack in which a Palestinian terrorist attacked Jews and was neutralized.  On April 8, 2018, Mahmoud Abedel Karim Marshoud attempted to stab Israeli civilians near Ma’ale Adumim.  He was neutralized and succumbed to his injuries the next day.  The UN included this as two violent incidents:  on April 8, shooting at a Palestinian, and on April 9 a killing.

On July 26, 2018, Yotam Ovadia, 30, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed him.  According to the UN, this was classified as settler violence.  The same goes for a stabbing attack in Mount Hebron, another one in Yitzhar, and an incident where Arab rioters clashed with security forces at Joseph’s Tomb.  Even a car accident in which an Israeli hit a Palestinian was classified as violence.

After filtering all of these, we’re left with about 20 violent incidents in a month , most of them being cases of mutual violence. And some reported only by Palestinians sources without being verified.  By comparison, in 2019-2022 there were 25,257 incidents of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, a rate of 526 incidents per month.  In 2023, the number jumped to 763.  Yet Israeli violence is exaggerated from a limited phenomenon to a widespread issue.



Welcome To Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital – Steven Stalinsky

Thousands march in support of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.  Protesters, many with keffiyehs covering their faces, shout “Intifada, Intifada,” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “America is a terrorist state.”  Local imams give fiery anti-Semitic sermons.  This is the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan.

Immediately after October 7, and long before Israel began its ground offensive in Gaza, people were celebrating the horrific events of that day in pro-Hamas rallies and marches throughout Dearborn.  A local headline describing an October 10 event  at the Ford Performing Arts Center reads, “Michigan Rally Cheers Hamas Attack.”

The Hadi Institute held a “Commemoration of the Martyrs” on Jan. 5 to honor Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and Abu Hamdi Al-Muhandis, leader of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.  Both were killed in a US airstrike on Jan. 3, 2020.  At the event , Imam Abdulghani expressed his “warmest congratulations” to “our very special leader, Imam Khamenei” – essentially declaring allegiance to the Iranian ayatollah who regularly calls  for the destruction of the US and Israel.

From his home in Dearborn, Ahmad Musa Jibril promotes holy war to his tens of thousands of followers on Twitter and Telegram.  On Oct.7, his Twitter account retweeted a post that said, “Our hearts haven’t been overjoyed like this in so long.” 

The writer is executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). (Wall Street Journal)