News Digest — 8/29/19

Gaza Rocket Fire Sends Children At Swim Event In South Scrambling For Protected Spaces

Air raid sirens warning of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip sounded Wednesday night (28th) at the Netiv Ha’Asara community that borders the northern section of the Hamas-run enclave.  The moshav was holding a night-swim for dozens of local children at the time.

Local residents reported hearing an explosion.  No injuries or damages were reported.

The siren, which sounded just after 9 p.m., sent residents of the community into protected shelters.

“Eighty children were crammed into one protected area,” local resident Yifat Ben Shoshan said.  “There was a great panic.”

She said the event was the “last swim of the season.  The children of Netiv Ha’Asara will remember this moment for the rest of their lives, that’s for sure,” she said.

The event comes amid heightened tensions in southern Israel.

On Tuesday (27th), several mortar shells were fired at Israel, one of which exploded in an open area adjacent to the Gaza-Israeli border.

On Monday (27th), three rockets were launched at Sderot as thousands of people were enjoying a music festival in the city.



Amb. Danon To UN: Recognize Syria’s Guilt For Iranian Actions On Its Territory

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, on Wednesday (28th), submitted a written complaint to the UN Security Council against Iran’s ongoing activities on Syrian soil for the purpose of perpetrating terrorist attacks against Israel.

The complaints come on the heels of Iran’s recent attempt to carry out a drone strike against Israel from Syrian territory, spearheaded by the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“Iranian entrenchment and terrorist efforts on Syrian soil are intended to escalate the security situation in the region, under the direction of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani,” said the letter. 

“The Syrian regime knowingly permits Iran and its proxies to use its territory for the purpose of terrorist activity against the State of Israel and the Security Council must recognize Syria’s responsibility for these terrorist attacks,” it continued.

Danon also asked the Security Council to work towards securing a full withdrawal of Iranian military forces in Syria.

“Iran continues to threaten global security in general and the Middle East in particular by systematically violating UN Resolutions,”wrote Danon, specifically citing the Islamic Republic’s contraventions of Security Council resolutions 2231, 2216, 1701, 1559 and 1540.

“The international community needs to make it very clear to Iran that it will no longer tolerate its regional subversion and terrorist-funding activities,” concluded Danon.

On Saturday night (24th), Israeli aircraft struck Iranian forces near Damascus that had been planning to launch “killer drones” at targets in Israel.



The Beirut Attack: What Really Happened?

Early on Sunday (25th), two DIJ drones appeared in the skies over Hezbollah’s Dahiyeh stronghold in Beirut.  One exploded and damaged Hezbollah’s media office. But it is unlikely that the media office posed an imminent threat to the safety and security of the citizens of Israel.  The target had to be something else.

According to a report by The Times of London, two trucks seen in flames after the explosion had been carrying crates with machinery to mix high-grade propellant for precision-guided missiles.  An Iranian-made industrial mixer was seriously damaged and its computerized control mechanism was totally destroyed.

According to sources, Hezbollah officials made a conscious decision to transfer the center of gravity of the precision-missile project from Syria to the heart of Beirut.

The destruction of the rare industrial mixing machine used in the creation of solid fuel set back Hezbollah’s plans to develop long-range precision missiles by at least a year, according to Hebrew media reports on Tuesday (27th).  Lebanese media said the drones were launched from within 5 miles of the site of the explosion, indicating that they were either launched within Lebanon or came in from the sea.

According to Channel 13 news, the planetary mixer had recently been flown into Lebanon from Iran.  It was being held temporarily in Hezbollah’s Dahiyeh stronghold before being transferred to the factory where the actual work on the precision missile project would be performed.

Israel has not commented on the Beirut attack, only to say the attack-drones appeared to be Iranian-made.



 Israeli Firms Develop Systems Capable Of Controlling Enemy Drones

Israeli Defense technology firms have recently developed systems that can take control of enemy drones to thwart attacks and gather information on them, a report said Wednesday (28th).

The systems hand the operators complete control of the drone, allowing them to land it safely for analysis.

“The system we developed can detect hostile drones at a range of up to over two miles and take control of about 200 drones simultaneously,” Asaf Lebovitz, product manager of Skylock, one of the companies, told The Haaretz daily.

The report came days after a series of drone-related attacks in neighboring Arab countries that were blamed on Israel.

Skylock demonstrated its new invention at an event some two months ago, according to the report.  “We set a certain location where we want to gain control of the drone,” Lebovitz said “We have the ability to disrupt the connection between the drone and the operator, and then gain remote control of it and land it, to check what it is carrying and to whom it belongs.”

Other Israeli companies are developing similar technology, the report said.  Rafael recently introduced its Drone Dome anti-drone system, which is already operational and similarly takes control of potentially armed UAVs and lands them safely.

Recently, the question was raised concerning any enemy country sending, simultaneously, hundreds of hostile drones into a target-country [Israel] at one time.  What could that country do? This new drone technology definitely could be the answer.



Honduras To Open Trade Mission In Jerusalem

Honduras is to open a trade office in Jerusalem on Sunday (9/1), in what is seen as a preliminary step toward moving its embassy to the Israeli capital, says the Israeli Foreign Ministry.  Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, took partial credit for the move.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez is to arrive in the Jewish State to attend the opening of the trade mission, the Foreign Ministry added.  Israel and Honduras previously agreed to proceed with a plan to open embassies in Jerusalem and Tegucigalpa.

It was a part of a three-way arrangement also involving the U.S., which was announced by the State Department at the beginning of 2019.

Sara Netanyahu took credit for her role in the process.  During an interview on Tuesday (27th), she spoke of a visit she made to Guatemala with a diplomatic delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which planted the seed toward the opening of Honduras’ Jerusalem mission, Ynet reported.

Sara Netanyahu met for lunch with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and his wife Patricia.

“At dinner, I asked the President to help us move the Honduran Embassy to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said during the interview on “Regev Live.”

“At that moment, he immediately called his friend Honduran President Juan Hernandez and told him that he was sitting with me for lunch and that I proposed the move of opening a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem,” she said.

“This is how the dialogue started between the two nations, culminating with the opening of the diplomatic mission in Jerusalem this Sunday,” Sara Netanyahu said.

Hernandez told the annual AIPAC pro-Israel lobby conference in Washington in May that “Honduras will soon open our diplomatic mission, and this will extend our embassy to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.”

Despite the U.S. move, the process of getting other countries to set up embassies in Jerusalem has been slowed by Muslim resistance from within or pressure from Arab states.

In May 2018, two days after the American move, Guatemala transferred its embassy to Jerusalem.



Israel: Republic Of Nauru Recognizes Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital

The Republic of Nauru, a country in Micronesia, has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israel’s Foreign Minister announced on Thursday (29th).

“I commend @ Repuiblic_Nauru’s important decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  We will continue to strengthen Jerusalem and to bring about the recognition and opening of diplomatic missions and embassies in our capital,” Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz tweeted on Thursday (29th).

In a letter the country’s mission to the UN in New York wrote to the Israeli mission on the matter, it stated: “The Mission of Nauru has the honor to convey the decision of the Government of the Republic of Nauru to formally recognize the City of Jerusalem as the Capital City of the State of israel.”     

The island country from the Pacific joined a small number of other countries who have taken this step in the last several years, including the U.S., Guatemala, and Honduras.