News Digest — 6/24/20
Report: Seven Fighters Killed In Syria Airstrikes
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday night (23rd) that seven fighters, including two Syrian soldiers, were killed in airstrikes attributed to Israel.
“Five pro-Iranian fighters were killed in a strike on a military center belonging to pro-Tehran militias” on the Sokhna-Deir Ezzor road in eastern Syria, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said, according to AFP.
He said many others were injured, several others critically.
Two air force soldiers were killed in another raid on a telecommunications center in the southern Sweida province, he said.
Syrian media confirmed the raids.
“Several hostile missiles were fired at our military positions in Kababej, west of Deir Ezzor and in the Al-Sukhna region,” a military source quoted by the official SANA news agency said.
“At the same time, one of our military positions was targeted near the town of Salkhad in the northern city of Sweida, resulting in the death of two martyrs, and the wounding of four others,” the source added.
Israel has not commented on the reports.
There have been a series of airstrikes attributed to Israel in Syria in recent months, which have targeted the pro-Iranian militia and the Hezbollah organization as well as weapons convoys intended for Hezbollah.
‘We Trust You To Back Netanyahu’s Sovereignty Plan’
A group of Israeli generals penned a letter to President Donald Trump thanking him for his support of Israel, and endorsing his administration’s willingness to recognize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.
The open letter was signed by 18 Israeli generals, and was drafted by the Habithonistim – Protectors of Israel organization. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman presented the letter to President Trump.
The letter was also published in The Hill newspaper in Washington DC Tuesday (23rd):
Dear Mr. President;
We write to you in the name of more than a thousand senior military officers and combat soldiers from the Israel Defense Force reserves who have joined together in recent months to form a new social movement called Habithonistim – Protectors of Israel.”
We want to thank you for your deep commitment to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
We thank you for recognizing our sovereign rights and our deep historical and religious connection to the land by Israel, by among other things, recognizing that Jerusalem is now and has always been our capital, and moving the Embassy of the United States to the city. We thank you for respecting Israel’s national security requirements, among other things, by recognizing our sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Your farsighted vision for peace, which includes a recognition of Israel’s sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish civilization – has put wind in the wings of thousands of Israel Defense Force officers and warriors and buffeted the sails of the Israeli nation as a whole.
Mr. President, thanks to your friendship, we stand now at an historic crossroad in the 4,000 year history of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. We trust that you will continue to work to secure the future peace of the people of Israel and of the Middle East as a whole by standing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he applies our sovereignty to our eastern frontier, the Jordan Valley and to our cities, villages and farms in Judea and Samaria in accordance with your visionary peace plan.
As God Almighty said to Joshua as he stood before the Jordan River, poised to lead the Nation of Israel to the Promised Land, so we say to you today: “Be strong and of good courage.”
Arab States’ Reaction To Israeli Sovereignty Move Will Be Moderate, Diplomatic Sources Say
Moderate Sunni Arab states will satisfy themselves with declarations of condemnation against Israel’s planned move to extend sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday (23rd).
The Hebrew daily says that Israel is engaged in a wide-ranging diplomatic effort among Arab states, particularly Egypt and Jordan with whom it has peace treaties, to come to an agreement on an appropriate reaction to Israel’s plan.
There are secret talks being carried out by senior intelligence and security officials led by Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen and Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamil, a senior Arab official told Israel Hayom. The two have already met several times he said.
They have reached an agreement in which Israel can apply sovereignty and Egypt can register its official opposition, but in a way that it doesn’t harm relations with Israel.
Although Egypt and Israel’s relations over the years have more resembled a ceasefire than actual peace, given the ferocious anti-Semitism rampant among the Egyptian people, in recent years the two countries have cooperated closely in tamping down al-Qaida in the Sinai.
Still more recently, Israel and Egypt have shared interest in preventing Turkey’s expansionist moves in the Mediterranean basin.
The report confirms Palestinian fears, reported earlier this month, that the Arab states will only pay lip-service to Palestinian concerns and will take no action against Israel.
A senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom that the Palestinians were right regarding Cairo’s reaction to Israel’s sovereignty plan. The Egyptians even succeeded in convincing the Jordanian security forces to recommend to King Abdullah II to express only verbal opposition, the official said.
“Egyptian involvement in Libya, given the security developments there, concerns us far more than the Palestinian problem and the interests of Mahmoud Abbas, who didn’t hesitate to turn to Turkey, which interferes with us in Libya,” the official added.
Police Shoot Palestinian Who Ran Over Border Policewoman
Police shot and neutralized a Palestinian driver Tuesday (23rd) who ran over a policewoman at a checkpoint in the eastern half of Jerusalem.
“A Palestinian vehicle that arrived at the checkpoint at high speed attempted to run over a Border Policewoman. Officers responded by firing and neutralizing the terrorist,” a police statement said.
Police said the officer was moderately injured and was evacuated for treatment at a Jerusalem hospital while bomb disposal experts checked the vehicle for explosives.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic seriously affecting the economies of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror attacks have not stopped.
On June 2, IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian terrorist after he attempted to ram into an IDF patrol in Hebron with his car.
In a serious incident last month, IDF soldier Dhadi Ibrahim was seriously wounded in a car-ramming attack near Hebron. Ibrahim, 20, from the Druze town of Sajur in northern Israel, had his leg amputated as a result of the attack. Hospitalized for two weeks in the intensive care unit at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Ibrahim said he wants to return to the army as soon as possible.
Over the years, Palestinians have carried out scores of car-ramming attacks that have influenced extremists abroad.
In a copycat attack in Paris in April, a Muslim man who ran over and seriously injured two French policemen said he was motivated by the Palestinians.
Belgian Ban On Kosher Slaughter Sends Message ‘Jews Are Not Welcome Here’
One of Europe’s top rabbis has warned that Jews on the continent may no longer be able to consume kosher meat because of legislation targeting “shechita” – the Jewish method of slaughtering animals for human consumption.
“Shechita is a vital religious practice within the Jewish faith that forms an inherent part of our religious identity, without which Jews would be deprived of the ability to eat meat,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt – President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) – said in a statement on Monday (22nd).
Goldschmidt was speaking ahead of a up-coming hearing at the European Court of Justice in July that is expected to rule on the legality of the ban on Jewish slaughter methods adopted by Belgium in January 2019.
Goldschmidt said that the supply chain of kosher meat in Europe was not strong enough to rely solely on imports.
“In recent months, and particularly over the recent Passover holiday, which of course came at the height of the pandemic in Europe, the supply chain was simply not robust and many communities in Belgium – and indeed throughout Europe – suffered a shortage of meat due to the lack of supplies,” he stated.
“The experience of Passover served as a stark reminder that Jewish communities cannot rely entirely on the international supply chain… Quite frankly, the option to import kosher meat into Belgium is unsustainable and the ban on the practice of religious slaughter is ultimately too restrictive.”
If the ban was to be upheld, Goldschmidt remarked, the message would be clear: “Jews are not welcome.”
He continued: “Such a notion is abhorrent and so I implore the judges to look at the evidence in front of them and not allow the processes to be hijacked by intolerance under the guise of a concern for animal welfare regulations.”