News Digest — 7/10/23

Israeli Security Cabinet Votes To Prevent Collapse Of The Palestinian Authority

Israel’s security cabinet, by a majority of eight to one, with one abstention, voted Sunday evening (9th) to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, adopting a draft decision submitted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“In the absence of a change in the national assessment, Israel will act to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, while demanding that it ceases its anti-Israel activity in the international legal-diplomatic arena, the incitement in its media and educational system, the payments to the families of terrorists and murderers, and the illegal construction in Area C,” the statement reads.

However, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah party has called for an “armed intifada” that would include indiscriminate attacks on Israeli targets all over the country.

In a recently published announcement, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, told members that the organization has received orders to escalate tensions with Israel and to prepare for “open warfare”…

“We call on our fighters and military cells, in every place in the West Bank to attack the Zionist enemy and all of its components, including in the fragile heart of the entity, Tel Aviv.”

The Palestinian Authority is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy.  According to Israel’s assessment, the collapse of the PA, despite its hostility, would lead to greater instability in Judea and Samaria.

“We need the Palestinian Authority.  We can not allow it to collapse.  We also do not want it to collapse.  We are ready to help financially.  We have an interest in the PA continuing to work.  Where it succeeds in operating, it does the job for us.  And we have no interest in seeing it fall,” Netanyahu stated last week.



Netanyahu: Whoever Murders Israelis Will End Up In Prison Or Dead

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Sunday (9th) his government’s policy to combat Palestinian terrorism, saying that whoever murders Israelis “will end up in one of two places: prison or the grave.”

Netanyahu began his remarks at the weekly Cabinet meeting by extending his condolences to the family of Staff Sgt. David Yehuda Yitzchak, 23, a non-commissioned officer from the Egoz commando unit who was killed last week as Israeli forces withdrew from Jenin following a two-day counterterrorism raid, and Staff Sgt. Shilo Yosef Amir, 22, a member of the Givati Brigade who was shot dead two days later by a Palestinian terrorist seeking to infiltrate the town of Kedumim.

“From the depth of its heart, the people of Israel embrace the families and we all salute the security forces that fight terrorism around the clock,” said Netanyahu.

The government’s policy is being implemented in three ways, he continued.

“First, we settle accounts with the assailants themselves, without exception.  Second, we strike those who dispatch terrorists and at terrorist infrastructure.  Third, we initiate and use the element of surprise.  We determine the timing of our actions, as we did in ‘Operation Shield and Arrow’ against Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and as we did in the operation against terrorists in Jenin.  We are changing the equation and so we will continue,” added Netanyahu.

Earlier on Sunday (9th), IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said that Israel’s fight against terrorism continues and did not end with last week’s operation in Jenin.  

He said that the current security situation “obliges us to focus on the mission and the cohesion that supports it, so we will be ready for any challenge in any arena.”

“We do not have the luxury, given the prevailing reality, to not show up for every challenge and task,” Halevi continued, adding: “We have seen both in ‘Operation Shield and Arrow [against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza in May] and in the last operation in Jenin that the arenas influence each other, and therefore wisdom is required in the use of force.”

“The fight against terrorism does not end with one operation; it requires determination and perseverance alongside the resilience of the state and its citizens.” Halevi added.

Last Monday (3rd), the IDF began a major counterterrorism operation in Jenin, including the entry into the Samaria city, of significant ground forces.  More than 1,000 IDF troops participated in the campaign, which is believed to have been the largest deployment in Judea and Samaria in two decades.

In May, the IDF carried out “Shield and Arrow” in response to incessant rocket fire from the Gaza Strip

On Sunday (9th), Ichilov Hospital announced that two women seriously wounded in last week’s car-ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv are “out of danger” and “in stable condition.”

“The two women are now fully conscious and breathing without the assistance of ventilators,” Ichilov, which is part of Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, said in a statement.  “They will continue treatment in the coming weeks,” it added.

One of the women was pregnant and lost her baby while fighting for her life in the hospital.



Attempted Stabbing Attack Thwarted Near Ammunition Hill In Jerusalem

An attempted stabbing attack was thwarted at a light rail station near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem on Sunday evening (9th), with the woman suspected of attempting to carry out the attack reportedly shot at the scene, according to initial reports.

Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai arrived at the scene shortly after the incident.

The security guard who spotted the terrorist told Shabtai that he saw the woman going in and out of the light rail and asked her if she needed help.  The woman then reached into her bag and pulled out a knife. The guard then jumped backward and shot twice in the air and ordered the woman to drop the knife.  She refused to and the guard shot her in the leg, slightly injuring her.

The terrorist was identified by Palestinian media as Samira Harbawi.  Her children were reportedly arrested shortly after the attack in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood.

Harbawi was reportedly arrested two months ago at the same light rail stop where she attempted the attack, but was judged to be unfit to stand trial by a court.

The attempted attack came as the security cabinet discussed relations with the Palestinian Authority, a week after the IDF conducted a nearly two-day operation in Jenin in the northern West Bank.

The attempted attack additionally comes less than a week after a number of Israelis were wounded in a combined stabbing and ramming attack in Tel Aviv and just days after IDF Staff -Sgt. Shilo Josef Amir was murdered in a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Kedumim.  Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades declared responsibility for both attacks.



Col. Richard Kemp On Jenin Operation: ‘Remarkable Achievement Unprecedented In Modern Warfare’

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British military forces in Afghanistan, spoke to Israel National News on Sunday (9th) about the recent operation in Jenin and the condemnation Israel has received internationally over it, despite the military action resulting in no civilian fatalities.

According to Col. Kemp, the complete avoidance of civilian fatalities over two days in Jenin constitutes a “remarkable achievement by the IDF.”  

“To conduct an operation of such intensity in an urban area without killing any uninvolved civilians at all is a remarkable achievement by the IDF and probably unprecedented in modern warfare.  Casualty ratios in most such operations have often been 3 to 5 civilians killed for every fighter, and that is by Western armies that do their best to avoid civilian casualties and adhere to the laws of war.” he explained, adding: “I doubt any other army in the world would be able to achieve what the IDF did in Jenin.”

Col. Kemp noted that avoiding civilians in a terrorist stronghold such as Jenin “is even more remarkable given that the terrorists in Jenin hid behind the civilian population, used human shields and deliberately tried to lure the IDF into killing civilians in order to attract world condemnation.”

To this Col. Kemp responded: “Guterres is wrong to accuse the IDF of using disproportionate force as the facts very clearly show.  Proportionality in warfare only refers to the killing and wounding of innocent civilians in relation to the military objective.  No innocent civilians were killed.  We don’t know how many uninvolved civilians were wounded by IDF fire, but the death rate strongly indicates that IDF action was the opposite of disproportionate.”

“Guterres is also wrong to say that the use of air strikes is inconsistent with this type of operation.  This was not what Guterres might see as a traditional law enforcement operation.  Jenin was a war zone full of terrorists heavily equipped with arms and explosives, many supplied by Iran to kill Israelis.  The IDF chose to use drone strikes because they calculated that this would be the most effective way of dealing with the threat while minimizing civilian casualties, and again, in this case, the facts proved them right and Guterres wrong,” he said.

Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff, the European Union representative to Palestinian Authority assigned territories, went even further than the UN Secretary-General, calling the operation a “violation of international law.”  Like Guterres, Burgsdorff also criticized the choice of weaponry the IDF used in Jenin, saying that “We are concerned about the deployment of weaponry and weapons systems which question the proportionality of the military during the operation.”

In response to Burgsdorff’s accusation, Col. Kemp said: “Burgsdorff needs to explain which international laws were violated by the IDF.  The IDF used no weapons or tactics in Jenin that are banned under international law.  Nor is it against international law for a country to use force to protect its citizens from a violent threat which has seen many Israelis murdered in recent months, provided that force is proportionate, which in this case it very clearly was by any calculation.”

When asked why Guterres and Burgsdorff would make such criticisms despite the stunning lack of civilian fatalities, Col. Kemp explained: “Israel’s critics will condemn Israel, whatever it does to protect its citizens.  This criticism is not about Israel’s military action but about Israel’s right to operate in Judea and Samaria at all.  These people have bought into the propaganda campaign that Israel is illegally occupying this territory, which is not the case.   This is Israel’s sovereign territory that is disputed.  Until and unless that dispute is resolved, Israel is obliged to exercise law enforcement in these areas, because the Palestinian Authority security forces, which are supposed to deal with these threats, will not, or can not do so, despite millions of dollars invested in them.  Israel does not just have the right to act with force to protect its citizens, it has a duty to do so, as would every other country in the world.  All of these accusations against Israel show the double standards that are consistently applied.”

“International leaders like Guterres and Burgsdorff need to be more careful about what they say, as false and unjust comments such as the ones they have made against the IDF in Jenin, incite violence against Israelis and Jews around the world.  They also encourage Palestinian terrorists and their Iranian sponsors, who can see that their tactics intended to vilify and isolate Israel, are working,” he concluded.



Jewish Man Stabbed In Crown Heights new York on Shabbat

A Jewish Chabad man was assaulted and stabbed while walking the streets of Crown Heights in the early hours of Shabbat Morning (8th) according to Crown Heights information.  Fortunately, prompt medical assistance from Hatzalah helped stabilize the victim’s condition.

According to a report from the local police department, the incident took place when the Chabad man in traditional Jewish attire, was walking along Union Street towards Troy Avenue.

The unidentified individuals approached him and inquired about his Jewish identity.  Shockingly, the assailants proceeded to attack the victim, using a screwdriver to inflict a stab wound on his left arm.

Following the incident , the victim returned home and immediately contacted the Hatzalah organization, a Jewish rescue and first aid group for medical aid.  He was taken to Methodist Hospital where his condition was determined as stable.  He then returned home.

According to the report, authorities are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, focusing on biases that may have motivated the attackers.  At this time, there are no known credible threats to the Crown Heights community.   

2022 saw a significant increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes throughout New York in particular, and the United States in general.  In New York City, attacks on Jews went up 41%, based on an analysis of crime data conducted by The Algemeiner.  

There were 293 total anti-semitic incidents in 2022, according to the report, rising from 207 in 2021.