News Digest — 3/28/24

One Seriously Wounded, Two Lightly In Shooting In Jordan Valley

Two men and a child were injured in a shooting attack toward a bus on Route 90 in the Jordan Valley, according to the IDF, Magen David Adom and media reports on Thursday (28th).

Initially, the IDF reported the incident early Thursday morning (28th).

After initial reports, Magen David Adom released the following report: “At 7:04, a report was received at MDA’s 101 hotline in the Gilboa area about a shooting at two vehicles on Route 90 near Al-Auia.  MDA medics and paramedics provided medical treatment to the three injured: a 30-year-old man in serious condition with gunshot wounds to his limbs. A 21-year-old man in moderate condition with  a gunshot wound to his limbs, and a 13-year-old boy in mild condition from glass shrapnel wounds to the face.  They transferred the injured to Hadassah Hospital in Mount Scopus.

The IDF later added that a terrorist shot in the direction of multiple vehicles near Al-Auia.  It also added that soldiers in the area arrived at the scene and began pursuing the terrorist.

Rescue Without Borders, MDA’s emergency response team for the Jordan valley region also reported that two armored bullet-proof buses carrying students were hit but no one inside was injured.

Likud MK Dan Illouz responded to the attack in a post on X saying, “Terror must be defeated in all arenas while defeating the enemy and deepening our roots in the Land of our ancestors.  Now is the precise time to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, an area whose importance is not disputed in Israeli society.  This will be a victory picture that will be remembered for generations.”

Chairman of the West Bank Council, Shlomo Ne’eman, gave the following statement in response to the attack: “Another attempt to massacre children – this time a despicable terrorist is shooting at a school bus in the Jordan Valley.  We send recovery wishes to the wounded and expect the security forces to reach the terrorist and settle the score quickly.  We come back and demand, for the safety of our residents of the entire State of Israel – it’s time to turn the tide.” 

“The Palestinian Authority is waging a war against us, and only action with the same force as in Gaza will eliminate all threats throughout the West Bank.  To all those who wish us harm, we say that even this morning, we will not give in to terrorism that tries to shed Jewish blood and expel us from our country.  We will continue to live and develop without fear and dread,” he concluded.



PM To US Congressmen: ‘We Have To Win, There Is No Substitute For Victory’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday (27th) with a bipartisan delegation of representatives of the US Congress Initiated by AIPAC.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister thanked the delegation members for coming and for their support and the widespread support of Israel by the American people.

He briefed the visitors on the war in Gaza and answered their questions.

“It’s great to see all of you – you’ve been longtime friends of Israel, you’re great supporters.  It’s very important for us to maintain bipartisan support at all times, but especially in these trying times, and I want to use this opportunity of our conversation to try to straighten out and also dispel some of the things that are being said about our bipartisan alliance and the importance of maintaining it,” Netanyahu told the delegation.

“I don’t know if you know this, but I think it was about a week ago or two, Iran officially launched, along with Hezbollah a campaign in which the formal policy is to shift from an ideological position of destroying Israel to a practical long-term plan to bring about the destruction of the state,” he added.

“We have to win.  There is no substitute for victory,” Netanyahu said. “ As for how to do so,” he said, “that is a big question, but it starts with a necessary condition and that condition is that those who launched this genocidal attack must be defeated.”

“Regarding the means to reach the goal,” Netanyahu said, “is What we’ve set out at the outset, with the support of President Biden and the administration’s support, which we appreciate deeply, was to say our first goal is to destroy the military and governing capabilities of Hamas in Gaza.  Hamas has to be eliminated, not as an idea.  Nazism wasn’t destroyed as an idea in World War II, but Nazis do not govern Germany – there are still neo-Nazis around but you destroyed that organization.  The second thing was to get our hostages out, and the military action is what produces the pressure to release the hostages.  We’ve released half, we intend to release all of them.  The third thing is to ensure that indeed Gaza does not impose a threat to Israel again.”

“These are the goals.  Israel is united behind these goals as never before.

  The army – I don’t know if you met our soldiers – you have to talk to them – the courage, the self-sacrifice, the unity is amazing, it’s just amazing”



Northern Command Commander: ‘We Are At War And It Doesn’t End With Hezbollah’

A training program on readiness for the northern arena was held this week at the Northern Command headquarters, led by the Commanding officer of the Northern Command, Ori Gordin, with the participation of division commanders, brigade commanders, and battalion commanders from both the mandatory and reserve units, who are involved in the defense battles on the northern border.

As part of the program, the commanders delved into professional content and the operational and strategic plans for the northern framework.  The program, led by the 36th Division, included professional lectures and learning from the division’s combat lessons in the Gaza Strip, with specific adjustments for the challenges of the northern arena.  During the program, the Chief of the General Staff LTG Herzi Halevi, presented the strategic challenges and assessments for the continuation of the war.

Additionally, the participants went through various stations where they deepened their knowledge in the fields of artillery, intelligence, engineering, information and communication technology, and administrative support.  The stations simulated the variety of capabilities and the power of their integration available to the commanders on the battlefield.

“We are at war.  We have been at war for almost half a year now, and it doesn’t end with Hezbollah,” Commanding Officer of the Northern Command, MG Ori Gordin stated.

He added that overnight Tuesday (26th), “our troops attacked al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya, with a successful thwarting of a large number of operatives, and Wednesday morning (27th), Hezbollah itself decided to respond against Kiryat Shmona.  We are conducting very significant strikes against Hezbollah, and we will continue to be aggressive in order to strike and push Hezbollah back significantly.”

The officer declared: “We are determined to change the security situation in the north so that the residents can return to the north safely with a sense of security.  On the other hand, we are striking Hezbollah very powerfully and strongly, both the Hezbollah organization, and also causing a lot of damage in the area where it operates.  If we understand that we need to act, we will act tonight as well, and the readiness is there.”



2 Palestinians Killed By Israeli Troops In Jenin Drone Strike, Heavy Clashes

Three Palestinians were killed – two of them in a drone strike amid an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday (27th), the Israel Defense Forces said.

The military said that the two killed in the drone strike were gunmen, and that the third Palestinian killed during the raid had hurled explosives at troops who responded by firing at the terrorist.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa named the two killed in the drone strike as Hamza Ararawi, 27, and Muhammad Nasser Al-Sabti, 19.

The army said that combat engineers destroyed a vehicle that contained several primed explosive devices during the raid, which began Tuesday night (26th) and continued into Wednesday morning (27th).  

Two suspects in the car were detained by troops before it was blown up.  Combat engineers also uncovered roadside explosives in the city.

Videos on social media showed army vehicles and bulldozers operating in the northern West Bank city amid gunfire and at least one large explosion.

Security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank have been on high alert since the start of Ramadan last week.  Tensions were already high  between Israelis and Palestinians due to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, triggered by the Oct.7 massacre in southern Israel, which saw Hamas terrorists murder 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnap 253.

Since October 7, the IDF has said troops have arrested some 3,600 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,600 affiliated with Hamas.

About 450 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, mostly armed combatants, while carrying out attacks or in clashes with troops during nightly raids.



‘We Want To Stay Here’ – Gazans In Israel With Hospitalized Kids

Fathers of Gazan children with cancer who are being treated in Israeli hospitals are begging to stay in the country, as an ongoing court battle may see them sent back to the Strip.

Each year hundreds of Gazans with serious illnesses, including minors, are treated at hospitals in central Israel and eastern Jerusalem.  The parents and siblings of ill children from Gaza typically receive permits allowing them to remain in Israel for the duration of the treatment.

But after the October 7th onslaught and ensuing war, the Israeli government informed the hospitals of its intention to return several patients and their families back to the Strip, due to security concerns.

The repatriation was blocked for at least 30 days by a Supreme Court decision, but the prospect of the families being forced to return to the Strip has sparked panic among the Gazans in Israel.

“Every sick Gazan prays to be transferred to Israel for medical treatment by the best doctors,” Yusuf, the father of a child with cancer who is being treated at an Israeli hospital, told Ynet.  “There are two million Gazans.  Maybe only 20% of them belong to Hamas, the rest just want to live,” he said.

According to Yusuf, most Gazans dream of living and working in Israel.  He said that upon leaving the Strip and reaching the Jewish state, he felt a “sense of relief [like] we can finally breathe.”

Yusuf added that his father, who remains in the Strip, told him, “As long as you can stay in Israel, stay there.  Hamas has brought destruction to Gaza.”

“Gazans, including children, died in vain because of Hamas.  Who suffers because of this?  We, the citizens,” another father named Muhammad, told Ynet.

“Most Gazans have nothing to do with the actions of crazy Hamas,” he added.

Ahmad, another father, said he would happily accept Israeli citizenship if it was offered to him.

“The situation in Gaza is not good.  We are very unhappy with what is happening,” he told Ynet.        

“We do not want to return to the hell and death that awaits us in Gaza.”



Mob Rule Shuts British Museum Over Palestinians – Richard Littlejohn

Mob rule returned to the streets of London Sunday (24th), forcing the closure of the British Museum.  Hundreds of masked demonstrators laid siege to the main gates, blocking access to visitors and trapping others inside.

The protest was organized by “Energy Embargo for Palestine,” who link the war in Gaza to the museum’s ten-year sponsorship deal with the BP oil company, which has been awarded an offshore license to explore for oil and gas in Israeli waters.

Protesters waved Palestinian flags, and brandished banners including “Boycott the British Museum” and “BP fuels colonial genocide.”  The museum was shut on police advice and never reopened.  Once again, the mob had succeeded in stopping people going about their lawful business.

There’s little to be gained by pointing out that Hamas – which has been occupying Gaza for the past 18 years, started this war and is hell-bent on genocide against Israel – and is bankrolled by Iran.  Mob rule is not going to stop the war, it’s not going to stop BP drilling for gas.  So how much longer do we have to put up with this anarchic lunacy? 



Why Is The World Not Helping Gazans Flee A War Zone? – John Feldman

For all its professed care for Palestinians, the world has a funny way of showing it.  The international community has essentially trapped Palestinians in Gaza, leaving them no way to escape the horrors of war.

Historically speaking, this is quite the anomaly, as war consistently produces refugees.  As George Mason University’s Eugene Kontorovich has observed, 3.5 million Ukrainians had applied for temporary residence in countries such as Poland and Germany.  The Syrian civil war produced five million refugees.  The American invasion of Iraq produced two million international refugees.

Choosing to flee a war zone is a decision for Palestinians alone to make.  For months, countless politicians and human rights groups have decried the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  Yet few, if any, have shown the slightest interest in helping Gazans do what millions in previous conflicts have done: Find refuge in a third country.

Inexplicably, the world is denying Palestinians one of the most fundamental human rights, that of being allowed to flee war zones – one that is enshrined in multiple UN conventions – when they need it most.  The most logical places of refuge for Gazans are surrounding Arab and Muslim countries, many of which have no shortage of Palestinian inhabitants.

The brutal truth is that from Egypt, to Jordan, the Gulf States, Turkey, or Iran, none of these nations care enough to absorb significant numbers of refugees from Gaza.  In other words, nobody wants them.  In a grotesquely ironic twist, world leaders and human rights advocates have unwittingly united with Hamas in keeping Gazans in harm’s way.  If in every other major conflict, millions of refugees flee their homes in an attempt to find safety, there is no moral justification for denying this option to the Gazans.  (Forward)