News Digest — 6/21/24

Disallowing Phones: The Directives Indicate Hezbollah Is Panicking – Report

Hezbollah has prevented its members from using cell phones when passing between the terror organization’s positions on the border between Syria and Lebanon due to the Israeli strikes on Hezbollah terrorists in Syrian territory, according to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

The report also claims instructions were given not to sleep in headquarters, and those sleeping in cars or temporary living quarters were asked to change places frequently.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that following the repeated Israeli strikes on Hezbollah targets, the terror organization abandoned the Syrian-Lebanese border area.

Two local officials said that a state of anxiety dominates the citizens in the areas where Hezbollah is in Syria and that the terrorist organization’s cars cross their agricultural lands at great speed for fear of attacks.

However, the sources also noted that while some residents offered to rent out their homes or land to Hezbollah terrorists, hoping to receive large amounts of money, residents are now avoiding them out of fear.



Top Hamas Sniper Killed In IDF Airstrike

A high-profile Hamas terrorist who participated in the invasion of southwest Israel on October 7th and was involved in the subsequent massacres was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Thursday (20th).

The Israeli military announced Thursday (20th) that Ahmed Hassan Salame Alsauarka was eliminated in an airstrike carried out in the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza.

The targeted killing was the result of intelligence work conducted by the IDF and the Shin Bet internal security agency.

Alsauarka had been the commander of a squad in Hamas’ elite Nukhba Force, the terror group’s commando unit which led the initial attacks on Israeli border positions on October 7th, and conducted massacres of Israelis, as Hamas forces overran nearby towns.

In addition to his activities on Oct 7th, Alsauarka was known to have served as a sniper, and engaged in combat with Israeli security personnel repeatedly following Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip.

At least one Israeli fatality, Cpt. Yisrael Yudkin – who was shot dead in May – has been confirmed as being the result of sniper fire by Alsauarka.

After extensive efforts to locate Alsauarka, IDF forces managed to determine his position on Thursday (20th).

The airstrike caused no civilian casualties, the Israeli military emphasized.

The army also said that ground operations in the central Gaza Strip are continuing, noting that a Hamas mortar position was destroyed by a combination airstrike and artillery barrage.

In addition, a pair of Hamas terrorists armed with an Iron Sting 120-mm guided mortar were spotted and hit by an Israeli airstrike.



Son Of Hamas Co-Founder: ‘We Can Remove Hamas, Cut Off The Head Of The Snake, And Let The Tail Die’

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheik Hassan Yousef, refuted recent claims that it would be impossible to destroy Hamas because ‘Hamas is an idea.’

“I see increasing voices saying Hamas is an idea that can’t be destroyed.  This is what I used to think 15 years ago,” Yousef wrote on X.

“Hamas depends on the Muslim Brotherhood, Islam, and the human condition.  We can’t eradicate it overnight.  But we can remove it from power, cut the head, and let the tail die,” he explained.

“The Nazis were removed from power and reduced to an idea in the head of a dead man.  Whenever it rises it must be killed,” the reformed former terrorist noted.

He demanded: “Stop the lame excuse.  The war will not end until justice is delivered and anyone who gets in the way will be destroyed as well.”

IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari caused an uproar on Wednesday (19th) when he said in an interview with Channel 13 that “saying that it’s possible to destroy Hamas and to make it disappear is to throw dust into the public’s eyes.”

He explained that “Hamas is an idea, and whoever thinks that it’s possible to make it disappear is mistaken.  It’s the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The IDF Spokesperson later issued a statement of clarification which said: “The IDF Spokesman discussed the destruction of Hamas as an ideology and an idea, and he said that clearly.  Any claim otherwise is taking his words out of context.”



Incoming Central Command Commander Avi Bluth Awarded New Rank

BG Avi Bluth was promoted to the rank of Major General, in a ceremony held on Thursday (20th) at Camp Rabin in Tel Aviv.

The ceremony was presided over by Chief of the General Staff, LTG Herzi Halevi in the presence of the Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, and members of the General Staff Forum, commanders, and MG Bluth’s family.  MG Bluth is set to assume the position of IDF Central Command commanding officer in the coming weeks.

Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant stated at the ceremony: “In this war, the IDF’s Central Command is tasked with a complex mission – ensuring that Judea and Samaria do not become a central arena.  There are enough experienced individuals who know that this may happen.”

He noted that “the amount of weapons in Judea and Samaria is an issue that may create challenges at any given time – where in the past a stone was thrown, today a rifle is fired, and where a Molotov cocktail was thrown, powerful explosives are activated.”

This creates a complex reality in an area inhabited by millions of people – both Jews and Arabs.  As such, the primary mission of the Commanding Officer of the Central Command is fighting terrorism – defending the lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria.  We are operating in an environment that requires us to act with the minimum required force and not with the maximum possible force,” Gallant added.

Chief of Staff LTG Herzi Halevi stated: “The Commanding Officer of the Central Command is a special position.  It requires great understanding and sensitivity.  Avi, reaching this position is a result of being a commander who knows how to act, who has a sharp, clear, and deep mind, and the values that have guided you since you were a young commander.  Along the way, you set a personal example and educated generations of young commanders with these values – much appreciation and good luck.”

“On this occasion, I would like to thank MG Yehuda Fox, for three very challenging years.  You led the command in a complex period for the fight against terrorism and you brought security to the citizens of the region.”

MG Avi Bluth addressed the ceremony and committed: “We must do everything to create a good and safe reality for the citizens of the state, and we must also do everything to restore the trust between us and the citizens.  I, for my part, am committed to doing my best, with determination, humility, and a sense of mission.

He added: “I carry in my backpack my life experience and everything I have learned.  I carry in my heart a prayer for great success for us as a state and as an army, and I am committed to doing everything to be worthy of the trust placed in me.  And more than that, to be worthy of the sacrifice of our best sons and daughters in this just war for our freedom.  And yes, I have hope for good days and great faith in the people of Israel and in us as a military and as a country.”



Shooting Attacks From PA On Israeli Towns -Moshe Phillips

For the third time in two weeks, Hamas terrorists standing within municipal boundaries of Tulkarm in the Palestinian Authority unleashed a barrage of gunfire aimed at the nearby Israeli town of Bat Hefer.  Then they posted a video of the shooting on social media.  There have been similar attacks targeting Kibbutz Meirav, near the PA city of Jenin.

These incidents lay bare the flaws in the ongoing crusade to establish a Palestinian state. Statehood proponents use soothing terms such as “security guarantees” and “demilitarization,” but these words are worthless.  No Arab regime has ever been demilitarized, and nobody can “guarantee” Israel’s security – because no other government will ever have the political will to forcibly demilitarize or guarantee anything.

The PA has a huge police and security force.  Why didn’t they arrest the shooters?  When the PA signed the Oslo Accords back in 1993-95, it explicitly undertook to act against terrorists.  The PA’s original 12,000-man police force that the Accords authorized have illegally ballooned into a 60,000-man de-facto army – making it the sixth-largest per-capita security force in the world.

If Jenin and Tulkarm are filled with terrorists now, just imagine how much worse it would be if the PA’s fourth-largest and sixth-largest cities were part of a State of Palestine?  All sorts of weapons would flow freely into these cities.  Who is going to stop that?  Israel’s critics say that Israelis can trust that a Palestinian state will be peaceful.  These latest shootings are a reminder that the exact opposite is true.



Northern Flare-Up Heightens Importance Of Stalled U.S. Arms Flow – Herb Keinon

U.S. agreement to go ahead with a massive arms deal that includes F-15 fighter jets, air-to-air missiles, and JDAM kits that turn “dumb” bombs into precision-guided ones would send a strong signal to Hezbollah and Iran of continued U.S. military support for Israel, despite disagreements over how the war is being waged in Gaza.  The knowledge that the U.S. is resupplying Israel may convince those in Lebanon with Hezbollah ties that reaching a diplomatic solution is preferable to escalating hostilities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he raised the subject with Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his recent visit, adding that Blinken “assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks.  I certainly hope that’s the case.  It should be the case.  Israel, America’s closest ally, is fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies.”

Israel’s enemies are watching to see if America is slowing down its supply of arms, something that could lead to a fatal miscalculation on their part.  A perception that the U.S. does not militarily have Israel’s back may very well lead Hezbollah and Iran to a degree of adventurism they would not embark on were they certain that the security relationship between the two countries has not been adversely affected.

Netanyahu’s urgent plea to the U.S. also has to do with the recent escalation in the North and the need for Israel to have its weapons stockpiles refilled in case it needs to turn from the war in Gaza to a major military campaign in Lebanon.  Netanyahu said in his video: “During World War II, Churchill told the United States, ‘Give us the tools, we’ll do the job.’  And I say, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

Israel is not asking for the U.S. to fight on its behalf, but only for the wherewithal to do so itself.



Louisiana Passes Law Requiring Public Schools To Display Ten Commandments

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Louisiana has become the first state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom, the latest move from a GOP -dominated Legislature under a new governor.

The legislation that Gov. Jeff Landry signed into law on Wednesday (19th) requires a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to state-funded universities.

“If you want to respect the rule of law, you’ve got to start from the original lawgiver, which was Moses who got the commandments from God,” Landry said.

Opponents questioned the law’s constitutionality and vowed to challenge it in court.  Proponents said the measure is not solely religious, but it has historical significance.  In the language of the law, the Commandments are “foundational documents of our state and national government.”

The posters, which will be paired with a four-paragraph “context statement” describing how the Ten Commandments “were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries,” must be placed in classrooms by the start of 2025.

Under the law, state funds will not be used to implement the mandate.  The posters would be paid for through donations.

The law also “authorizes” but does not require the display of other items in K-12 public schools, including: the Mayflower Compact, which was signed by religious pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and is often referred to as America’s “First Constitution”, the Declaration of Independence; and the Northwest Ordinance, which established a government in the Northwest Territory – in the present day Midwest – and created a pathway for admitting new states to the Union.

“The law prevents students from getting an equal education and will keep children who have different beliefs from feeling safe in school, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation said in a joint statement Wednesday afternoon (19th).

“Even among those who may believe in some version of the Ten Commandments, the particular text that they adhere to can differ by religion or tradition.  The government should not be taking sides in this theological debate,” the groups said.

The controversial law, in a state ensconced in the Bible Belt, comes during a new era of conservative leadership in Louisiana under Landry.

Similar bills requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in classrooms have been proposed in other states including Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah.  However, with threats of legal battles over the constitutionality of each measure, no state besides Louisiana has succeeded in making the bills law.

Legal battles over the display of the Ten Commandments in classrooms are not new.

In 1980, the US Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law was unconstitutional and violated the establishment clause of the US Constitution, which says Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose.