News Digest — 5/20/21
Gaza-Based Terrorists Fire 70 Rockets At Israel Throughout Wednesday Night
Gaza-based terrorists fired some 70 rockets at Israeli towns and cities through the south, sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis running for cover throughout Wednesday night (19th).
The Iron Dome defense system intercepted about 90% of the rockets, and no significant injuries or damage was registered.
Since the beginning of Operation Guardian of the Walls 10 days ago, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists have fired over 4,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory, of which approximately 600 fell short and exploded in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 16 Gazans.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force has responded forcefully, hitting back hard at Hamas’ thousands of terror targets, including the underground tunnel system, “the metro,” which lies underneath Gaza City and Khan Yunis.
Speaking about the operation Wednesday evening (19th), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “this is a natural right of Israel. I am determined to continue this operation until its objective is achieved: to restore quiet and security to the citizens of Israel.”
Even The Arab World Is Tired Of Hamas – Prof. Eyal Zisser
The Palestinians, and Hamas in particular, lost the Arab world’s support a long time ago. They certainly didn’t have it when they initiated this most recent round of violence and wreaked havoc and destruction on the residents of the Gaza Strip territory under their control.
The Arab world has come to understand what the wider world, and maybe even Israel, finds it difficult to internalize: Hamas has not and will never be interested in negotiations, agreements, or even long-term ceasefire accords. It certainly isn’t interested in seeing a thriving Gaza that lives alongside Israel in peace.
All Hamas wants is the continuation of bloody instability in Gaza, Judea, Samaria, Israel, and everywhere else in the Middle East. In this current situation, in which fighting that could overtake the entire region could break out at any moment, Hamas is like a fish in water. It hopes and believes this is the only way it can achieve its long-term objectives, which were and remain the State of Israel’s destruction.
As Hamas sees it, every round of violence has afforded it the status of the organization that not only represents Gaza and takes care of its residents but as the group that defends Jerusalem and speaks for the Arabs that live all over Israel, from the river to the sea. Arab states understand this, and they are determined not to let Hamas drag them back into the never-ending cycle of bloodshed that forces them to drop their troubles at home and ends their efforts to contend with the Iranian threat. Gone are the days when the Palestinians’ relentless extremism set the tone, and the Arab world was willing to pay the price.
The Arab world condemns Israel and identifies with the suffering of the civilian population that is paying the price for Hamas’ aggression. Yet the Arabs are careful not to stand behind Hamas and back it up. Even the Palestinian Authority and many of the residents of Judea and Samaria are acting in this way, to maintain peace and stability and avoid being drowned by Hamas in the Gaza swamp.
Syria’s and Hezbollah’s silence in light of what is happening in Gaza is deafening. Syrian President Bashar Assad will not forget or forgive Hamas for its support for the Syrian rebels. We can therefore assume he is not too bothered by the blows the Gaza regime has received. Having been burned in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is determined not to let anyone drag him into a war.
At the end of the day, this round of fighting will come to an end. Israel will continue to develop its diplomacy, its economy, and its defensive capabilities, while Hamas’ 2 million subjects in Gaza continue to wallow in the Gaza swamp, with no hope for a better future. After all, every round of violence takes the Palestinians and their interests backward, while Israel continues to move forward.
Netanyahu Determined To Continue Gaza Operation Despite Pressure From Biden
US President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he expected Israel to move towards a ceasefire with Hamas on Wednesday (19th), but Netanyahu said Operation Guardian of the Walls will continue until Israel’s citizens are secure.
Following a call between the leaders, the White House said that Biden “expected a significant de-escalation now on the path to a ceasefire.”
“The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,” the White House readout stated.
Netanyahu said soon after the call that he was “determined to continue in this operation until its objective is achieved – “to bring back the quiet and security to…citizens of Israel.”
Speaking after a meeting in the Kirya IDF headquarters, the prime minister said he appreciates the support of governments around the world, as well as from Biden for Israel’s right to defend itself, which he called a “natural right.”
Earlier Wednesday (19th), Netanyahu said Israel does not have a set time by which it seeks to finish Operation Guardian of the Walls.
“We’re not standing with a stopwatch in our hand; rather, we are making sure to meet the goals of this operation,” Netanyahu said in a briefing to foreign ambassadors on Wednesday (19th), responding to a question about when this round of fighting will end, according to a source in the meeting.
“The possible responses to Hamas are to either conquer Gaza or to deter them,” he added.
Netanyahu emphasized the IDF’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties, contrasting that policy with videos of Hamas shooting rockets, storing arms and otherwise operating from civilian areas.
The prime minister also showed a map of the Hamas “metro” tunnel-network in Gaza City and Khan Yunis, which the IDF began bombing last week, and continues to destroy.
German, Czech, Slovakian FMs Head To Jerusalem To Show Support
Three European foreign Ministers are expected to visit Israel this week, after the EU Foreign Affairs Committee failed to agree upon a statement on the fighting between Israel and Hamas.
Germany’s Heiko Maas, the Czech Republic’s Jakub Kulhanek and Slovakia’s Ivan Korcok plan to visit Israel on Thursday (20th). They were invited by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
The trip is a way to “express solidarity and support,” the Foreign Ministry said, adding that more foreign ministers are expected to arrive next week as part of its efforts to strengthen the international legitimacy of Operation Guardian of the Walls.
The ministers are expected to meet with Ashkenazi and then visit sites where Hamas missiles struck.
“This is further proof of the broad support and legitimacy Israel has from the nations of the world throughout the days of fighting, thanks to the diplomatic efforts led by Israeli ambassadors around the world and Foreign Ministry workers in Jerusalem,” Ashkenazi said.
The German Federal Foreign Office said Maas’ visit would focus on the “current escalation in the Middle East and the international efforts to end the violence.”
Maas will also meet with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and President Reuven Rivlin and will go to Ramallah to meet Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, and then return to Germany.
The Czech and Slovak foreign ministers did not release a statement about the planned visit.
Korcok said his country “strongly condemns” the rocket fire from Gaza and supported Israel’s right to defend itself.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited Israel on Tuesday (18th).
Also Tuesday (18th), the EU Foreign Affairs Council did not reach a joint statement on the ongoing fighting between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza.
After the meeting, EU High Representative Josep Borrel issued a statement that he said represented the general thrust of what had been discussed. It included a call for a ceasefire and a condemnation of Hamas rocket attacks, but said Israel should use “proportionate force” in response.
Some countries’ representatives lamented that EU countries continue to send aid-money to Gaza without “questioning where it ends up and having no influence over its use.”
Kidney Of Lod Lynching Victim Yigal Yehoshua Donated To Arab Recipient
The kidney of Yigal Yehoshua, 56, who was murdered in a lynching in Lod last week and was laid to rest Tuesday evening (18th) in the cemetery in Moshav Hadid near Modi’in, was donated to Randa Awis, a 59-year-old Arab resident of Jerusalem.
After the long wait for a kidney donation, Randa could not believe her ears when she received the phone call: “I thought someone was making fun of me when I was told after nine years that I had a kidney. I arrived at the hospital and underwent the surgery,” she told News 12. “I thank Yigal’s family. From heaven they will be comforted and Yigal is in a better place. For me, Yigal’s wife has become part of my family.”
“I wish for peace between Jews and Arabs. All my life I have lived with Jews and there has never been such a thing. It hurts me for the little children who are harmed in this war. There should be peace between us,” she said. “I feel much better now. This Jewish kidney has now become part of me. My daughter grew up with Jews and speaks Hebrew like them. We are all human beings.”
Doctors at Shamir Assef Hospital fought for days to save Yehoshua’s life after he was attacked and struck in the head with a brick by Arab rioters in Lod last week, but he passed away on Sunday (16th). His family decided to donate his organs and they were transplanted into the bodies of five patients.
Pakistani MP Calls For Use Of Nuclear Weapons Against Israel
Reactions across the Muslim world to Operation Guardian of the Walls in Gaza have varied between burning hatred to deafening silence, as in Azerbaijan. However in Pakistan, even the customary blind hatred toward Israel reached new heights.
On Tuesday (18th), Pakistani MP Maulana Chitrali said on camera that his country should launch a “jihad” (holy war) against Israel.
“This is the only option for Pakistan,” Chitrali said.
He didn’t stop there though, and called on his country to use its nuclear weapons against the Jewish state.
“Did we make atomic bombs to show them in a museum? We don’t need missiles, atomic bombs or a huge army if they can’t be used to liberate Palestine and Kashmir,” he said.
Chitrali’s comments came after Pakistani Ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram on Sunday (16th) called on the UN Security Council to initiate steps to “hold Israel accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
“Above all, the Security Council must promote the full implementation of the relevant UN resolutions especially for the realization of the two-state solution through the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) as its capital,”Akram told the Security Council.
At the root of Pakistan’s foreign policy in regards to Israel is Islamabad’s absolute dependency on investments from Turkey, which has been spearheading an extreme anti-Israel stance in international bodies.