News Digest — 6/1/21

Terrorist Infiltrates Gaza Border, Stabs Man In Israeli Border Town

The terrorist who injured a security patrol member near the Gaza border on Sunday evening (5/30) was a Palestinian resident of Gaza who crossed into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, a preliminary report has shown.

The terrorist managed to pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing, bypassing all IDF lines of defense and reached the towns of Hevel Shalom along the Gaza Strip, the local security patrol reported.

However, a military source said on Monday (5/31) that the terrorist may have used a breach in the border fence to get in, Walla news reported.

An IDF investigation revealed traces of his entrance north of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom and a source from the Southern Command claimed that despite the success of Operation Guardian of the Walls, IDF forces have distanced themselves from the border due to security risks, Walla added.

A spokesperson for the Eshkol Regional Council reported on Sunday evening (5/30) that a terrorist had entered into Israeli territory and stabbed a man near the town of Yated, around three miles from the Gaza border in southern Israel.

Though the terrorist was neutralized, residents of Yated and the nearby Sde Avraham were instructed to lock their doors and stay inside while additional forces scanned the area. 

One civilian who noticed the terrorist walking toward a street near him reported what he saw.

“I saw a local security member arrive at the scene and begin to question the suspect when the terrorist proceeded to pull a knife on the patroller, injuring him.  The patrol member responded by shooting and neutralizing the terrorist.”

After searching the dead man’s possessions, the security officer found another knife as well.

“I have no doubt that we could have seen an attack here like the horrific murder in Itamar.  This security officer saved lives and prevented a very large event,” Nit Shurman, chairman of the local security patrol organization said.

“The local security organizations are the last line of defense for the residents.  Their determination, professionalism and quick response to events is what makes the difference between a successful event and a bereaved family and fighting in Gaza,” added Shurman.

Religious Zionist Party chairman Bezalel Smotrich responded to the attack on Twitter by warning that the situation would only get worse under a “left-wing government with supporters of terrorism,” adding that such a government “will fall very quickly and we will return to repair the damage.”  He said it is stupid that some say because PM Netanyahu is not right-wing enough, that a solution will be found with a left-wing government. 

Israeli police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) have opened an investigation into the attempted terror attack.



Report: Hamas Coordinated Gaza War With Iran And Hezbollah In Joint Military Room

Senior leaders of the Gaza Strip-ruling Hamas terrorist organization and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) worked reportedly in close coordination with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Hezbollah to discuss military operations during the 11 days of fighting with Israel.

The editor-in-chief of the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar, Ibrahim Al-Amin, said during an interview with Hezbollah-operated Al-Manar TV that the IRGC, Hezbollah and Hamas set up a joint military operations room in Beirut during the May hostilities in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The channel’s report said that Al-Amin claimed “officers from Hezbollah, IRGC, and Hamas coordinated the military confrontation in Gaza” and “the Commander of IRGC’s Al-Quds Force, General Esmail Qaani, visited Lebanon twice to attend the chamber meetings.”

According to a May 27 analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Qaani discussed the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in a phone conversation with Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh.

The IRGC general praised the acts of “resistance” against the “Zionists” an emphasized Iran’s support for the Palestinians in light of the “aggression and crimes of the Zionist enemy in Jerusalem and Gaza.”  Qaani also spoke to PIJ Secretary General Ziad al-Nakhleh and stressed that Iran is standing by the Palestinians who are defending their land and their rights.

Al-Akhbar’s Al-Amin asserted that the Hezbollah sent weapons and ammunitions to Gaza and helped to move a number of “Palestinian Resistance officers” out of the battle zone during the conflict.

Additionally, the military hub in Beirut provided Palestinian factions with data about the movements of the Israeli military, while drones were used, Al-Amin claimed, to prevent an “ambush” by the “enemy” on Hamas fighters near the Gaza border.

Meanwhile, on May 20, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during his visit to Israel an Iranian drone that had been downed by the Israeli Defense Forces in the Beit Shean area, as evidence that “the true backer of much of this aggression is Iran.”

According to Netanyahu, “Iran sent an armed drone from Iraq or Syria,” which Israeli forces intercepted on the border between Israel and Jordan.

The analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center also showed that senior Iranian officials have been keeping a close rapport with the leaders of Hamas and the PIJ to express support as the ceasefire with Israel came into effect on May 21.

At the end of the fighting, Qaani sent congratulatory messages to head of Hamas military wing Mohammad Deif and to the PIJ commander of the military wing, Akram al-Ajouri and “proclaimed that through their unity and perseverance, they were able to destroy the pridefulness of the Israeli Army and proved that they are capable of inflicting heavy losses to it, making the enemy experience the taste of horror and defeat.”

Going forward, Qaani reaffirmed that Iran will continue its support for the Palestinians until the destruction of the “Zionist regime.”  Others who congratulated Haniyeh for the Palestinian “victories” included Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran’s supreme commander Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hamas’ Haniyeh updated Khamenei on the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians and asked for support to rally the Muslim, Arab, and international community to stop the “Zionist enemy.”

Following the ceasefire, Khamenei issued a statement to the Palestinians in which he congratulated them for their “victory over the Zionist regime,” which he claimed “had to concede defeat.”

The Iranian leader urged Muslim governments to provide the Palestinians with military and financial assistance and help them in rebuilding the infrastructure and destruction in Gaza.  He warned that “preparation for the fight is ongoing” and that the decision concerning when to start and end conflicts lies with the Palestinian leadership.



‘Israel Must Up The Ante Against Iran,’ Outgoing Mossad Chief Says

Israel must increase the volume of its activity against Iranian terrorism and Tehran’s nuclear program in order to drive home the message that overstepping the mark would be met with severe punishment, outgoing Mossad Intelligence Agency Director Yossi Cohen said Sunday (5/30)

Speaking during a ceremony at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, where he received an honorary doctorate, Cohen noted that Israel “ought to increase its activities against the Iranian regime and continue fighting it relentlessly until it realizes that any mistake on its part would bring about great pain.”

While Israel rarely acknowledges involvement in specific operations against Iran, the “shadow war” the Jewish state is waging against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and malign influence in the region has been raging for several decades, escalating in recent years as the ayatollahs’ regime ramped up its nuclear ambitions.

Earlier this year Iran accused Israel of “terrorism” following an explosion at the secretive Natanz nuclear plant, as well as of being behind the assassination of nuclear scientists and military commanders.

The Mossad, Cohen said in his acceptance speech, “specializes in prolonged campaigns – we are in the war for peace.  This task is not always easy, which is why in recent years, the clandestine war against terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, which has only recently reared its head again, and against Iran for all its violent activities in our region and its desire for nuclear weapons, has become so important.

Taking on these threats, “requires leadership and the courage to act.  Today’s defensive operation is tomorrow’s war maneuver,” he noted, adding that “The objective before us isn’t just security.  Security is the foundation for a robust civil society.  Israel must be a diverse and vibrant state that allows all its citizens to develop while striving to reduce social gaps.”

Cohen was named Mossad Director in 2016.  The head of the intelligence agency is appointed for a period of five years, but he had agreed to remain in office for an additional six months at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request.

Last week, Netanyahu named David Barnea as the next director of the Mossad.  He assumed office on Monday, June 1.



Bill Maher Defends Israel: ‘You Can’t Learn History From Instagram’

Bill Maher spent nearly 10 minutes of his talk show Friday night (5/28) defending Israel, bringing up ancient Jewish history and showing comparative maps of the state from its early days to today.

The liberal comedian and political commentator reserved a large portion of his comments for those who have criticized Israel before and during its recent military conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Maher took aim at social media messages posted by celebrities that accused Israel of war crimes.

“You can’t learn history from Instagram.  There’s just not enough space,” he said.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, appearing on the show, countered Maher’s arguments, saying that some of Israel’s attacks on Gaza – which began after Hamas fired rockets at Israel on May 9 – should be defined under international law as war crimes.

“War is a crime,” Maher responded, saying that Hamas purposely hides its ammunition in places that house civilians. 

Maher then got into historical arguments.

“What if Canada fired 4,000 rockets into America? Or Mexico?

“I would submit that Israel did not steal anybody’s land.  This is another thing I’ve heard the last couple of weeks, words like ‘occupiers’ and ‘colonizers’ and ‘apartheid,’ which I don’t think people understand the history there.  The Jews have been in that area of the world since more than 1200 B.C., way before the first Muslim or Arab walked the earth.”

He also showed the United Nations’ partition plan of 1947, which if the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors had not rejected it, would have created two states, one for Palestinians and one for Israelis.

He ended by slamming Hamas and how it rules Gaza.

“Bella Hadid (social media critic of Israel) and her friends would run screaming to Tel Aviv if they had to live in Gaza for one day,” Maher said to applause.