News Digest — 7/10/19

Israeli Fighter Jets ‘Can Reach Anywhere In The Mideast,’ Netanyahu Warns Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a strong rebuke to Iran on Tuesday (9th), standing in front of an F-35 stealth fighter during a tour of an air base.

Netanyahu declared that Iran “ought to remember that these planes can reach every place in the Middle East, including Iran, and certainly Syria.”

The Israeli prime minister issued the comments just a day after Iran announced it began enriching uranium beyond the limit set by the 2015 nuclear agreement.  In recent days, Iran also explicitly threatened to attack Israel.

Netanyahu has remained a vocal critic of the nuclear deal struck by world powers and Iran in 2015, and has called on Europe to impose fresh sanctions in response to Iran’s breach of it.  Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed that Israel will never allow Iran to develop the capability to make a nuclear bomb.

On Tuesday (9th), European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, including Germany, Britain and France, said they have “deep concern” regarding Iran’s decision to enrich uranium to a higher purity than allowed by the agreement, which Israelis have warned is a step toward developing a nuclear arsenal.  The Europeans called for an urgent meeting of all involved in the accord.

The Europeans say a meeting of the JCPOA commission, which also includes Russia and China, “should be convened urgently,” but did not specify when.



IDF Discovers New Terror Tunnel From Gaza

The IDF on Monday (8th) announced it exposed a cross-border attack tunnel during construction of its subterranean barrier around the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops are currently investigating the tunnel route.

In recent years, the Hamas terror group developed a sophisticated network of concrete tunnels, including many built for cross-border terror attacks against Israel.

The cross-border tunnel represents the eighteenth such structure discovered since the end of 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, reported Channel 12 News.

Hamas reportedly constructed the network of tunnels, which cost millions of dollars a piece, as part of a strategy to invade Israel and commit attacks on civilians in Gaza belt communities.  There was no comment from Gaza Monday (8th) regarding the IDF’s discovery of the latest cross-border tunnel. 

Earlier Monday (8th), the IDF shot down and recovered a drone, which was taken for examination.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers have developed a drone program with the assistance of Iran, which funds and arms terror proxies throughout the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.  The drones are typically used for reconnaissance along the Israeli-Gaza border. It is unclear if they can carry out attacks.



Hamas Stages Large-Scale Surprise Drill With Other Gaza Groups

Hamas held an unprecedented military exercise in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday (9th), in which all members of the coastal enclave’s military organizations participated.

As part of the exercise, all of the land crossings were closed and fishermen were banned from entering the sea.

The exercise envisaged a large-scale security incident in the Gaza Strip, and according to the joint operations unit for all Gaza organizations, the exercise was conducted successfully.

The drill took place a day after Israel announced the discovery of another tunnel dug into its territory from the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the military wing of Hamas issued a short statement Tuesday (9th) as Israel marked the fifth anniversary of the 2014 Gaza War, known as Operation Protective Edge.

The statement read, in part, “Our people and the resistance experienced heroic fighting during the Protective Edge campaign, which shocked both our enemy and our friends.”

“Since the end of the 2014 campaign, we have not stopped our preparations or our battle of wills with Israel.  This was seen in the strength of the resistance in Khan Yunis, whose ramifications still shake the foundations of Israel’s defense establishment and army,” Hamas said.

“The capabilities that the resistance still retains, are very powerful, and are yet to be revealed,” the statement added.



Close To 4,000 Palestinians Killed In Syria’s Civil War

Close to 4,000 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the country’s civil war, new figures have shown.  According to figures released by the London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, a total of 3,987 Palestinians have been killed in Syria including 467 women and 200 children.

Over 87 percent of the victims were civilians, killed by regime bombing, sniper fire, clashes, torture, fleeing to other countries and more.

Before the war broke out, Syria was home to some 560,000 Palestinians – the majority lived in 12 Palestinian camps.  Since fighting began, over 85,000 have fled Syria for Europe while tens of thousands sought refuge in neighboring countries.

According to the report’s figures, the large majority of victims (1,212 Palestinians) were killed by regime shelling or airstrikes, 604 were killed under torture in regime jails, 311 died by sniper fire, 142 were killed in bombings, 92 were extra-judicially executed by pro-government militias, and 52 were drowned onboard Europe-bound boats.  205 other Palestinians died by undernourishment or lack of medical care in besieged zones in Syria.

The 8-year war has left 6.6 million people internally displaced and another 5.6 displaced around the world.



Defending The Freedom Of Jerusalem – Amb. Dore Gold

Ambassador Dore Gold told the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Conference in Washington on Monday (8th):

→In 1999, when I was Israel’s ambassador to the UN, I sought instructions from then-Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon about how to respond to a Palestinian provocation at the UN involving a resolution calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem.

→Sharon told me to read over the Knesset speech of our first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, from December 1949, in which he declared he was moving Israel’s capital to Jerusalem.  Ben Gurion reminded the international community that the people of Israel had “faithfully honored for 2,500 years the oath sworn by the first exiles by the rivers of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem.”

→In 2016, UNESCO asserted that the Temple Mount was connected to Islam, but it refused to acknowledge any Jewish connection whatsoever, or, for that matter, any Christian connection.  The same year, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution branding Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory,” insinuating that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were Palestinian!

→At the July 2000 Camp David Summit, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat told President Bill Clinton that there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  If there was no Temple, then Israel had no historic claim to Jerusalem. But President Clinton responded that “not only the Jews but I, too, believe that under the surface there are remains of Solomon’s Temple.”  Denying its history entailed an affront to the Christian faith as well.

→According to Christian and Jewish sources brought forward by Prof. Moshe Gill, in his monumental study, A History of Palestine, published by Cambridge University Press: “The Jewish population residing in the country at the time of the Muslim conquest in the 7th century consisted of the direct descendants of the generation of Jews who had lived there since the days of Joshua bin Nun.”

→In the 1400s, Jewish immigration to the Holy Land had increased to such a scale that the Franciscans petitioned the Pope to issue an edict prohibiting Christian sea captains from carrying Jewish passengers to the Holy Land.  By the mid-19th century, the British Consulate in Jerusalem determined that Jews had already restored their majority in the city in 1863.

→Today across the Middle East, the holy sites of all the great faiths are under a new assault by the forces of jihad.  The only force that will protect Jerusalem for all the great faiths is the modern State of Israel.

(The speaker/writer is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)