News Digest — 8/5/22

Lapid Says Israel Might Act To End Security Crisis In South, IDF Increases Troop Deployment

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Thursday (4th) that Israel would not hesitate to take action against terrorists who threaten civilians, as the IDF bolstered its troop deployment along the Gaza border.  Speaking after a briefing by security officials on the tension in the south, Lapid said Israel will continue to operate against terror suspects.

“We fully understand the difficulty of residents along the border,” Lapid said.  “We will not allow their lives to be disrupted for long, but our first concern is for their safety.”

The IDF has imposed travel restrictions on the border area for a third straight day, after intelligence information suggested the Islamic Jihad faction in Gaza, was planning to launch attacks against Israelis, in retaliation earlier this week, for the arrest of a senior member of the group in Jenin.

Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested by the IDF in Jenin was suspected of arranging funds and weapons to enlist Palestinians to carry out attacks against Israelis.

Al-Saadi was said to have paid $300 for a successful terror attack and $100 for strikes that were not successful.

In a video message to local residents, Brig.-Gen Nimrod Aloni, the commander of the Gaza Division said the military observed preparations made by the Islamic Jihad to launch attacks across the border, to target civilians and troops.

“Road closures will remain in place as long as needed as the security of civilians is of primary concern,” he said.

In addition to calling up reserves, the IDF has also suspended leave in some of the combat units, which may be sent to the south.

According to reports in the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper in Jerusalem, the Islamist faction told an Egyptian delegation in Gaza, that to bring an end to the security crisis, they want to see proof that al-Saadi was unharmed by his Israeli captors as well as a resolution of the 144-day hunger strike of another member of the Islamic Jihad held in prison in Israel.

The terror group told the visiting Egyptians that they were not interested in a violent conflict but reserved the right to respond to “the crimes perpetrated by the enemy occupiers,” the paper reported.



Iran Arrests ISIS Terrorists, Accuses Israel Of Sending Them

Iran announced the arrest of 10 Islamic State (ISIS) men it claimed were sent by Israel to disrupt an upcoming holiday.

Iranian intelligence officials said the 10 were plotting to carry out attacks during the holiday of Ashura on Monday (8th) when Shiite Muslims fast and mourn the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Mohammed.

The 10 were said to have traveled from Turkey to Iran via Iraq “to carry out several terror operations among the mourners.”  Two Iranian security officers were said to have been injured in a shootout during the arrests.

Iran also accused Israel of sending the ISIS terrorists, asserting the men were sent following “last week’s big failure in the explosion of a sensitive center” that it blamed on “separatist terrorists.”  That was a reference to a Kurdish terror cell arrested in July for plotting to sabotage a nuclear facility in Isfahan.

“The Zionist criminal regime…this time around, tried to carry out its terrorist operations through takfiri [non-believer] ISIS teams,” the statement added.

Over the past several years, Iran has blamed Israel for a number of mysterious explosions and cyberattacks on nuclear and missile production facilities.



As Powers Resume Talks, Iran Installs Advanced Centrifuges At Natanz

Iran has completed installing three advanced IR-6 centrifuge cascades at its Natanz fuel enrichment plant, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency report to member states on Wednesday (3rd) as seen by Reuters.

Tehran has also informed the agency it planned to install an additional six IR-2m cascades at the facility in a new operating unit, the report said.

The report comes as senior Iranian, US, and European officials arrived in Vienna for talks this week to revive the 2015 nuclear deal officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“We’re on our way to Vienna to discuss returning to full implementation of the JCPOA,” European Union Coordinator Enrique Mora tweeted on Wednesday (3rd).

He will be joined on-site by Iranian chief negotiator Ali Bagheri.  “Heading to Vienna to advance negotiations,” Bagheri wrote on Twitter, saying “the ball is in Washington’s court.”

US Robert Malley also announced his trip to the Austrian capital, “Our expectations are in check, but the United States welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good faith attempt to reach a deal.”  Echoing Tehran’s warnings, he said, “It will shortly be clear if Iran is prepared for the same.” 

Indirect talks between Iran and the US began in April 2021, and have stalled since March this year.

According to officials in Jerusalem, nuclear talk efforts are unlikely to result in a breakthrough this time around.

“The renewal of the nuclear talks is a desperate attempt by the Iranians and Europeans to wring water from stones.  We don’t see much progress happening in the talks, and the fact that the Europeans sent a relatively junior representative is a sign of this,” a political source told Israeli media.



Iranian Commander: Hezbollah Prepared More Than 10,000 Missiles For Attack Against Israel

Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, claims that the Hezbollah terrorist organization has prepared between 10 and 20 thousand missiles intended to be launched at Israel.

Speaking in Tehran, Salami said that if Israel makes a mistake, a large-scale military operation will begin against it.

Earlier this week, Salami said that Hezbollah has more than 100,000 missiles that are ready for a military campaign.

Meanwhile, Sheik Nabil Kawak, a member of Hezbollah’s central council, said that “if the leaders of the Israeli enemy knew what the resistance (Hezbollah) had prepared for the Israeli gas and military installations, they would not sleep at night.”

“The balance of power has changed in favor of Hezbollah,” he said, “and Israel is now afraid of Hezbollah’s power and seeks help from the United States, as reflected in Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s appeal to the United States to reach a quick agreement with Lebanon regarding the determination of the maritime border.”



‘Pathetic, Unconvincing:’ Israel Rejects Apology From UN Official Who Slammed ‘Jewish Lobby’

The government of Israel has rejected the apology made by Miloon Kothari, a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry tasked with the on-going investigation of Israel, for his recent antisemitic remarks.  Kothari said that social media is controlled by the “Jewish Lobby” and complained, “A lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us.”

Kothari issued an apology for his comments saying, “It was completely wrong for me to describe social media as being controlled largely by the Jewish lobby.”

“This choice of words was incorrect, inappropriate, and insensitive,” he added.

In response, however, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling the apology “hollow” and describing it as a “pathetic and unconvincing maneuver” that does not compensate for his long-record of antisemitic comments.

The Foreign Ministry demanded that Kothari and his colleagues resign immediately, “in light of the antisemitic and anti-Israeli statements of the commissioners, and the fact that they do not meet the minimal standards of neutrality and impartiality required from individuals in these positions in the UN.”

The Ministry also called for the commission itself to be disbanded in its entirety, just as Prime Minister Yair Lapid demanded just a few days ago.

“If the UN is committed to fighting antisemitism and to upholding its values,” said the ministry, “this is the only reasonable and acceptable result.”



Annual ‘End Jew-Hatred Day’ Proclaimed In NY County, ‘Start Of Wider Initiative Across The US

The Nassau County Legislature has declared that ‘End Jew-Hatred Day’ will be recognized annually, the Lawfare Project announced Wednesday (3rd) in a press release.

The date for the annual event is April 29.

In Nassau County, located immediately east of New York City, there has been a rise of attacks against the Jewish community, including flyers filled with hate messages that were distributed recently in Rockville Center, Long Island and Oceanside.

“We are thankful to Nassau County for recognizing the importance of standing up against Jew-hatred,” Brooke Goldstein, founder and executive director of The Lawfare Project stated.

“This annual day of recognition shows the strength of the Jewish people and our allies.  It is no longer acceptable to stand idly by as a minority group is openly discriminated against, week in and week out.”

Referring to the ‘End Jew-Hatred’ as a Jewish civil rights movement, Goldstein said the annual event “marks the start of a wider initiative to spread awareness about, and fight, the rise in Jew-hatred across the country.”

“We must unite on ending Jew-hatred, and thus, make progress towards being a more inclusive, safe society,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s official proclamation, issued on June 28, reads.  “Hate crimes have increased dramatically in the past several years, demonstrating that we must be vigilant against the growing threat of antisemitism.”

The Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education is mentioned in the proclamation, expressing a commitment “to making our communities safer and more inclusive for all people.”

The first ‘End Jew-Hatred Day’ proclamation was signed into law on April 29, 2022 by New York Senator Elijah Reichlin-Malnick.