News Digest — 9/24/19

Leah Goldin To UNHRC: What If This Was Your Son?

Leah Goldin, whose son’s remains have been in Hamas’ possession since 2014, spoke to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 23rd.

As an Israeli mother, she asked the Council member-states to help release the remains of two IDF soldiers—Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul—that are being held by Hamas in Gaza.

“As mothers and fathers, please imagine for a moment:  What if this was your son?” Leah Goldin said as she delivered a short speech at the UNHRC’s 42nd session in Geneva on Monday.

“Hadar was 23 years old,” Goldin continued, “a gifted artist, he was engaged to be married to the love of his life, Edna, in the summer of 2014.  But that August, hours after a UN ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel in Gaza, ambushed an IDF unit and killed Hadar.”

“For five years, Hamas has been holding our son and the remains of another soldier, Oren Shaul, refusing to release them in flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law.  For five years, Hamas has cruelly tormented our family, denying Hadar a proper burial,” she said.

Goldin referenced UN Security Council resolution 2474 on missing persons in armed conflict, which was approved this June.

That resolution, she said, mandates that “all nations share responsibility to return the remains of missing persons in armed conflict and for UN special envoys to take this into account in implementing their mandate.”

Goldin recalled how she met last month with UN Secretary -General Antonio Guterres, who had “reiterated that he stands behind this resolution” and for the immediate and unconditional release of “my son’s remains.”

“This is not my mission alone,” she added.  “This is a mission that we all share.”



Israel Congratulates Saudi Arabia On Its 89th National Day

The State of Israel this week congratulated Saudi Arabia on its National Day, showering the Gulf Kingdom with warm wishes for peace and security, despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Arabic-language Twitter accounts run by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Sunday (22nd) and Monday (23rd) issued at least three messages on the occasion of Saudi Arabia’s 89th National Day, which, every year on September 23, celebrates King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud naming the area after his family in 1932.

“We congratulate the Saudi people on the occasion of its 89th National Day,” the Foreign Ministry’s Arabic-language channel wrote.

“May this holiday take place again in safety, security, and in a climate of peace, cooperation and neighborliness.  We ask God, the exalted, that your efforts to develop, prosper and advance will be successful,” it said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry routinely tweets congratulations to countries on their “special days,” but usually, only to those with which it has formal diplomatic ties.

The existence of clandestine relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh, focused mainly on security issues, especially given the mutual enmity to Iran, are well-known, but public displays of affection on official diplomatic channels are exceedingly rare.     

However, Israel has over the last few years intensified its outreach to Arab countries, especially in the Gulf.

In July, Netanyahu hosted a Saudi Arabian national blogger, Mohammed Saud, in his Jerusalem office, a day after the man was attacked by Palestinians angry with his pro-Israel views.  Saud, known as a die-hard supporter of Netanyahu, was invited to Israel by the Foreign Ministry as part of a delegation of bloggers and journalists from various Arab countries.



Elderly Woman Succumbs To Wounds Sustained In Gaza Rocket Attack Last Year

A woman severely injured in a rocket attack last November in southern Israel has died from her wounds.

74-year-old Nina Gisdenanova from Ashkelon was severely wounded after her building sustained a direct hit from a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.  She had been in a coma at Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer for 10 months.

The municipality of Ashkelon was quoted by local news media as expressing sorrow for her death, saying that “upon learning of her passing, teams are in contact with the family and providing them with the necessary assistance.”

Ashkelon Mayor, Tomer Glam was quoted as telling Gisdenanova’s son Igor, that, “unfortunately we lost another resident in the never-ending war with terrorist organizations in Gaza.  Hopefully she will be the last victim. The municipality will continue to help and provide your family with everything it needs at this difficult time.”

Gisdenanova was one of two civilians killed during the round of violence between Israel and terror groups in the Hamas-run coastal enclave, which broke out following a botched IDF intelligence raid in Khan Younis.

In July, 89-year-old Rivka Jamil passed away two months after she was seriously wounded while running to a bomb shelter in May during another round of Gaza rocket attacks.



Khamenei Representative Warns ‘Israel Will Turn Into Dust In Half A Day’

Iran is no longer limited by its geographic borders and has the ability to destroy Israel in “half a day,” Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda said on Friday (20th) according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Alamolhoda, the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Khorasan Razavi province, said during a sermon last Friday that the Islamic Republic was no longer defined by its borders, as the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the national front in Syria, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza “are all Iran.”

He went on to state that if Iran’s borders were trespassed, Israel would be “turned into dust in half a day,” and confirmed that Iran played a role in the September 14 drone and missile attack on the Abqaiq and Khurais fields in Saudi Arabia.

On Friday, Alamolhoda said that “Iran is not limited to geographical borders,” and that “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the one Imam over all the Iranian Republic, wherever it may be.”

“Today, Iran is the resistance in the region.  This means if you trespass our borders, Israel will disappear.  Do you understand where Iran is? The Yemeni-sent drones that caused such damage to Saudi Arabia – wasn’t Iran there?  Whether the drones came from the north or south – what difference does it make – Iran is both north and south,” said Alamolhoda.”

As the Ayatollah finished his sermon the audience response was: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar [God is the greatest]! Khamenei is the leader! Death to those who oppose the rule of jurisprudence! Salutations upon the warriors of Islam! Peace be upon the martyrs! Death to America! Death to England! Death to the hypocrites and the infidels!  Death to Israel!”



1000 Join March Of Living In Lithuania

On Lithuanian Holocaust Memorial Day, 1000 participants and graduates of “March of the Living” from across Europe marched through the Ponary Forest where 70,000 Jews were murdered in World War II.

National Memorial Day for the Genocide of Lithuanian Jews is observed on September 23, the day that the Vilna Ghetto was liquidated in 1943, sealing the fate of the Jews living there, most of whom were either murdered in Ponary or sent to extermination camps.

The march through Ponary Forest is a response to the death marches from the Ponary Railway Station to the mass graves where many were murdered.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, and Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament, Viktoras Prankietis, joined the march.

Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of the International March of the Living said, “This march exists, in tandem with two days of educational seminars and the attendance of many young people who came here on Lithuanian Holocaust Memorial Day –  this is an essential response to the rising waves of hatred around us.”