News Digest — 7/25/23

Palestinian Gunmen Killed By IDF During Attack At Samaritan Community Near Nablus

Three Palestinian gunmen were killed by Israeli forces while attempting an attack at a small Samaritan community in the northern West Bank on Tuesday morning (25th), the military said.

The exchange of fire took place in the Mount Gerizim area, just south of Nablus and close to the Jewish settlement of Har Bracha.  The area is home to a tiny community of Samaritans, known as Shomronim in Hebrew.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, a car with the three gunmen arrived in the area, and one got out and opened fire at troops of the 603rd Combat Engineering Battalion who were guarding an army post next to the entrance gate to the Samaritan community.

The IDF said the troops “engaged and neutralized” the gunmen.  According to Palestinian media reports, the three were killed.

Surveillance camera footage from outside the Samaritan community showed the exchange of fire.

Three assault rifles, a handgun, and other military equipment were found in the gunmen’s car, the IDF said.

No soldiers were hurt in the incident.  During the past year, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads. 

The attack came just hours after terrorists opened fire at a bus carrying Israelis in the Palestinian town of Huwara, Monday night (24th).

Tensions have remained high in the West Bank for the past year and a half, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids, amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.

Approximately 158 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year – most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out terrorist attacks. 



PM Netanyahu Addresses Nation: ‘Opposition Did Not Agree To Single Proposal To Compromise’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening (24th) addressed the Israeli public, explaining why the Knesset approved the changes to the reasonableness standard and asking the opposition to cooperate to reach broad consensus on the rest of the judicial reform.

“Today we carried out a necessary democratic process,” Netanyahu said.  “This process was intended to bring back a measure of balance between the authorities – what we had here for 50 years.”

“We passed an amendment to the reasonableness standard, so that the chosen government will be able to lead its policies in accordance with the decision of the majority of the country’s citizens.  Fulfilling the will of the voters is absolutely not the end of democracy, but the essence of democracy.  Because of the importance of this issue, the coalition worked in every way to bring about agreements with the opposition.”

Netanyahu emphasized, “I want to tell you this is really not something that is to be taken for granted.  In previous instances of sharp public disagreements, the governments did not reach out to those who opposed them.  Not in Oslo A, not in Oslo B, not in the Disengagement from Gush Katif, and not regarding the agreements to give away State land and gas reservoirs to Lebanon and essentially to Hezbollah.”

“But we – we acted differently.  We did agree to stop the legislation.  We stopped it for three straight months.  We agreed to significant changes to the original policy.  And I say with pain: Not a single one of our compromise proposals was accepted.  Not even one.  Even today in the Knesset plenum, at the height of the vote, until the last moment, we tried to reach agreements.  But the other side continued to refuse.”

“I would like to remind you that until recently, officials in the opposition supported changing the reasonableness standard,” he added.  “A few even agreed to completely cancel it.  But even if they do not agree to the reasonable amendment which was put forth, this certainly does not justify disrupting the lives and causing suffering to millions of civilians – millions of civilians who are not managing to come to work, or to hospitals, or to the airport, because of roads being blocked, ambulances being delayed, fires being set, the airport being blocked.”

“And despite all this, we will continue to work towards communication and achieving agreements.  We are not giving up on the chance to achieve a broad consensus, and I am telling you that it is possible.  In the coming days, the coalition will turn to the opposition with the goal of holding discourse between us.  We are willing to discuss everything, and immediately, and to do it during a round of talks during the [summer] break, and to reach an agreement on everything – and if necessary, we will add more time, until the end of November.  That is more than enough time to reach agreements – we have agreements.  We all agree that we, Israel, must remain a strong democracy, that it should continue to protect personal rights for everyone; that it will not become a state of Jewish law; that the court will continue to be independent; and that no side should control it.  I want to emphasize again: That no side will control the court.  It simply will not happen under our watch.”

“Citizens of Israel, we must agree on one more thing: The IDF must remain outside of any political disagreement.”


Danny Danon To INN: ‘We Kept Our Promise To The Voters, We Strive For Agreements’

MK Danny Danon (Likud) spoke to Israel National News at the Knesset on Monday (24th) following the approval of the bill reducing the use of the reasonableness standard, and expressed his satisfaction with the move.

“We saw Israeli democracy in action.  We made a commitment to the voters on a certain matter and we kept it.  Now on the eve of Tisha B’Av, we need to embrace the people of Israel and convey a message of unity.  There are no good and bad people or black and white here.  We are all concerned about the Jewish people and there are those who are afraid today.  We are coming to do good for Israel and our goal down the road is to reach unity and agreements,” Danon said. 

He continued, “ I hope that after we go to recess we will take the time to do our homework and arrive at the next session after discussions and with the goal of reaching broad agreements.”

Danon also marked the next goal: “The next thing we want to promote is changing the composition of the Judicial Selection Committee and we need to reach an agreement on that.”



Shooting Attack In Huwara: Israeli Bus Riddled With Bullets

An Israeli bus sustained at least eight bullets when it was subjected to a terror shooting while driving through the Palestinian town of Huwara in Judea and Samaria on Monday evening (24th).

“There were no injuries in the attack,” the Rescuers Without Borders emergency service said.

There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the attack.

Huwara, near Nablus in Samaria, has been a hotbed of Palestinian terror for decades.

Earlier this month, an Israeli driver was slightly injured by glass shards when his vehicle was hit by at least a dozen bullets in a shooting attack near the Palestinian-controlled town.  A day earlier, two Israeli soldiers were wounded when a terrorist rammed them with his vehicle in Huwara.

Over a month-long period earlier this year, three terror attacks took place there.

At the end of February, two Israeli brothers, Hallel and Yagel Yaniv, were murdered in a drive-by shooting, prompting a riot by Jewish Israelis later  that evening.  A poll later found that almost three-quarters of Palestinians supported their murder.

Two weeks later, former US Marine David Stern was shot while driving through the town with his  young children.  After being shot at point blank range, Stern, a martial arts instructor, managed to shoot and neutralize the terrorist.

A week and a half later, two IDF soldiers were wounded in a shooting attack in the Palestinian town.

Also last month, an Israeli soldier was lightly wounded in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Huwara.



The Palestinian Authority’s Corruption And Its Impact On The Peace Process – Khaled Abu Toameh

Nearly three decades after its establishment, the Palestinian Authority and its institutions continue unchecked in their corruption and human rights violations.  Many Palestinians believe that weak compliance with the rule of law, absence of the parliament, failure to hold corrupt senior officials accountable, and weak civil society organizations have all contributed to the spread of corruption.

Many Palestinians observed that the only thing the “peace process” brought about was a process of avaricious PLO leaders and their entourage diverting international aid and making huge profits out of the Oslo Accords.  The conspicuous wealth of Mahmoud Abbas’ sons Tarek and Yasser,  have been very controversial in Palestinian society.

Western donors’ failure, or refusal to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for their outlandish abuse of funds was one of the main reasons most Palestinians lost faith in the Oslo Accords.  The PA leaders’ corruption was also one of the primary reasons so many Palestinians voted for Hamas’ “Change and Reform Bloc” in the 2006 parliamentary election, when Hamas won 76 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

According to a December 2022 opinion poll, 81% of Palestinians think there is corruption in Palestinian Authority institutions.  Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to engage in massive incitement against Israel to draw attention away from its own corruption, lack of public freedoms, and democracy.  The incitement ensures that criticism and grievances would only be directed against Israel.

The only way to combat the corruption in the Palestinian Authority leadership is for Western donors to demand transparency and accountability, and no longer give them a free pass.

The writer, an award winning Arab and Palestinian Affairs journalist with the Jerusalem Post, is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center.  This article is part of the Center’s new “Oslo at 30” compendium.



Wall Street Journal Spreads False Israel “Child-Killing” Charge – Andrea Levin

Killing children is terrible.  Leveling false charges of child-killing against Israel in an influential newspaper like the Wall Street Journal is also reprehensible and should be forthrightly corrected to set the record straight.  In two stories on July 5 and 6, 2023, reporter Stephen Kalin asserted, “Twelve Palestinians, including militants and at least five children, were killed during the operation” in Jenin.

In fact, there were no “children” killed according to the normal understanding of what a child is and the depictions of those killed in other mainstream publications.  Most people would assume that “children” are 5-or 10-year-olds, not 16 and 17-year-old teenagers affiliated with U.S.-designated terror groups, who were killed in violent clashes with Israelis.  Photos of the young men show some sporting the headbands of their terrorist group and all are holding guns.  The New York Times, AP, Reuters, and other mainstream  media did not refer to “children” killed.  Reuters termed the dead teens “fighters” which they were.

The Journal does not refer to other 16 and 17-year-olds as children in any other context.  In the extensive reporting of the recent French riots, sparked by the killing of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk by a policeman, the victim is invariably called a “teenager,” never a “child.”

The writer is Executive Director and President of CAMERA.



NY National Guard Soldiers Learn Urban Search And Rescue Skills From Israel Experts – Staff Sgt. Matthew Gunther

15 New York Army National Guard engineers got hands-on training from four members of Israel’s Home Front Command on Israeli techniques for locating and rescuing people from destroyed buildings during three days of training from July 17 to 19 in Oriskany, NY.

Israel’s Home Front Command are the acknowledged experts in the art and science of saving people from destroyed buildings, said Maj. Kevin O’Reilly Jr., executive officer of the Guard’s 204th Engineer Battalion.  “They are able to understand and map collapsed structures, accurately predicting where to find victims trapped in chaotic rubble.”

Spc. Jerome Griffin said, “We have a tendency to want to jump in and just start saving people as fast as we can, but the engineers from Israel really stressed patience.  They said to take a step back and really calculate how to operate safely and smoothly without causing more damage, and that really resonated with me.”