News Digest — 2/7/20

PM To Abbas: ‘Terrorism Won’t Stop Israel from Shaping Its Borders’

Israeli officials on Thursday (6th) lambasted Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas after three terrorist attacks on Israeli troops in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, accusing him of incitement to violence against Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a security tour in Gush Etzion, stated, “Abbas, this won’t help you.  Not the stabbings, not the ramming attacks, not the sniping attacks and not the incitement… We will do everything necessary to guard our security, secure our borders, and guarantee our future.  We will do this with you or without you.”

Netanyahu was apparently responding to earlier comments by Abbas’ office which said that any security escalation was due to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which was unveiled last week.

Abbas said that the “deal of the century has created this atmosphere of escalation and tension by trying to impose fake facts on the ground, which we have repeatedly warned against.”

His spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said, “Any deal that does not meet the rights of our people and does not aim to make a just and comprehensive peace will inevitably lead to this escalation that we are witnessing today.  The Palestinian people and their leadership will stand strong against all these conspiracies and they will foil them just as they did in all previous conspiracies, regardless of the sacrifices.”



Balloons Over Israeli Pre-School Terrify Children And Teachers Alike

A kindergarten full of children was frightened Wednesday morning (5th) in Moshav Even Shmuel in Israel’s south by the sight of a bunch of balloons floating in the air, Hebrew media reported.

The Moshav is located near Kiryat Gat, some 31 miles from the Gaza Strip, within the range of the explosive and arson balloons that Palestinian terrorists have recently been launching at Israel.

Israeli media featured a video of a string of balloons floating above the pre-school.  A teacher can be heard screaming, “All the children, get into the building quickly!” as children yelled in the background.

Later the teacher told Channel 11 news what happened.

“The children were playing in the yard,” she said.  “I saw in the sky a bunch of colorful and beautiful balloons and I told the aides to help get the children into the kindergarten building.  They immediately came in and went straight to the bomb shelter. There was no hysteria – we had a conversation and explained the differences between balloons, and told them that “under no circumstances, should you approach them, even if the balloons look nice and carry your favorite cartoon characters.”

Balloons have been found carrying explosives in seemingly-innocent objects like books and soccer balls, to tempt children to approach them.  They have also carried disguised warheads. Ynet news reported that balloon terrorists threatened on Tuesday (4th) to start launching tear gas grenades as well.

Many balloons have also exploded in midair.  So far no injuries have occurred.

On Wednesday (5th), the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced it was reducing the Gaza Strip fishing zone from 15 to 10 nautical miles until further notice.

“The decision was made in light of continued rocket fire and incendiary balloons launched from Gaza into Israel, constituting a violation of Israeli sovereignty,” COGAT’s statement explained.    



The Light Blade Anti-Arson Balloon Laser System

Police released a document on Thursday (6th) explaining the first operational use of the “Light Glade” laser system developed by the Israeli police, for Opti-defense and the security establishment to intercept incendiary balloons using a laser beam.

The system is able to successfully intercept 90% of the balloons detected in its tests.  This is an unprecedented success for the world’s first operating laser system for balloon interception.

The system can operate day and night and aims to deal with the threat of explosive and incendiary balloons with a laser beam that is launched at the target and neutralizes it without jeopardizing other elements in the area.

The system receives detection and identification through the Elbit SupervisIR System.  It can operate around the clock with detection capacity roughly equivalent to about 150 cameras standing side by side.



Beyond Borders: The Expansionist Ideology of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Kasra Aarabi

→ Unlike the Iranian army that protects Iran’s borders, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is mandated to pursue “an ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is extending sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world.”

→ Since its inception in 1979, the Guard has emerged as the principal organization driving the Iranian regime’s revolutionary Shia Islamist ideology, within and beyond the regime’s borders.  It has been linked to terrorist attacks, hostage-takings, maritime piracy, political assassinations, human rights violations and the crushing of domestic dissent across Iran, most recently with the bloodshed in November 2019, leaving 1,500 people dead in less than two weeks.

→ The IRGC is providing arms, training and funding to sustain Hezbollah’s hostile presence against Israel and its grip on Lebanese society.  Modeled on its support for Hezbollah, the IRGC has prepared an estimated 200,000 fighters – from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan – to support a cause that is built on hostility towards global powers and their allies.

→ The IRGC trains recruits and Shia militias in an expansionist and divisive world view, encouraging them to give their lives in favor of a cause that seeks to correct injustice toward Muslims beyond Iran’s borders.  It identifies enemies – from the West, both Christians and Jews, and Iranians who oppose the regime – and advocates jihad in the name of exporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

→ In April 2019, the US designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.  This places the Guard on a list alongside groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, and al-Qaeda.  The uncovering of an Iranian-linked London bomb factory in 2019 and a chain of IRGC terror plots across European cities from 2017 and 2018 suggests the Guard’s footprint and interests extend far beyond the Middle East.



Anti-Semitism At George Washington University: Jewish Student’s Door Vandalized

The past few years have seen a rise in anti-Semitism in universities across the United States and, as Jewish students are targeted, many feel unsafe.

Last week, Zev Siegfeld, a Jewish student at George Washington University (GWU) found anti-Semitic graffiti on his dorm room door, JNS reported.

A swastika and Hitler mustache were drawn on pictures of US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that Siegfeld had hanging on his door.

“As a proud and vocal Jew, I know this was not a coincidence.  This was another attempt to stop me from expressing my views publicly, and another attempt to intimidate me into being quiet,” Siegfeld wrote in a Facebook post.

“The goal of these vandals is to keep me quiet.  The goal of these vandals is to make me afraid,” he added.

George Washington University’s Student’s Association condemned the incident and called on the university to take action.

“The Student Association is disheartened to learn of an incident of anti-Semitism by members of the GWU community.  We acknowledge a rising pattern of anti-Semitism on GWU’s campus and other college campuses across America. These actions go directly against the values we hold as a university, and must never be tolerated,” said the Association in a statement shared on Facebook.

“This display of hate and ignorance is blatantly anti-Semitic and has deeply affected our Jewish community.  By desecrating a student’s personal property within a GWU residence hall, the attacker(s) continue a pattern of anti-Semitism on our campus, which instills fear and pain in Jewish students,” it added.