News Digest — 9/3/21

Israeli Strikes Said To Target Syria, Blasts Heard Near Tel Aviv

Israeli planes carried out airstrikes near Damascus early Friday (3rd), Syrian state media claimed, and sounds of explosions were heard in central Israel shortly later.

The blast was caused by a Syrian air defense missile that traversed Israeli skies before exploding over the Mediterranean Sea, according to Hebrew media reports.

Incoming rocket sirens were not sounded, apparently in keeping with the military’s policy of not triggering alarms for projectiles headed toward unpopulated areas.  There were no reports of injuries or damages in Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces reportedly said earlier it is investigating whether the explosion was the result of an errant air defense missile.

Syria reported that missiles fired from the direction of Lebanon targeted Damascus, but claimed they were shot down by its air defenses.

A short time later, residents in Tel Aviv reported hearing at least one blast.

Syrian air defense missiles have in the past accidently shot down a Russian military plane and have also reached Cyprus by mistake.

The IDF did not comment on the alleged strikes in Syria, as per its policy.

The British-based Observatory for Human Rights reported that weapons development centers near Damascus used by Iran-backed militias had been targeted in the alleged Israeli strike.

On August 19, Syria reported alleged Israeli airstrikes from the direction of Beirut.



Qatari Envoy Enters Gaza After 6th Consecutive Night Of Border Riots

One Palestinian has been killed and 15 injured, one of them critically, in the sixth consecutive night of rioting near the Gaza Strip-Israel border fence Thursday night (2nd), according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.  On what was the sixth straight night of such border riots, Gazans stormed the border, set off fireworks, and detonated explosive devices.

Ahmed Mustafa Salah was killed when the explosive device he was trying to throw at Israeli security forces exploded in his hand, according to various reports.  Another rioter standing in close proximity to Salah was critically wounded.

Hundreds of rioters were stationed across various points stretching from the north to the south of the Gaza border, according to Palestinian media outlets.  Rioters clashed with Israeli forces on the border, throwing IEDs, Molotov cocktails, rocks, and burning tires.  Israel responded with riot control measures.

Meanwhile, around 1:a.m. Friday (3rd), Palestinian media outlets reported Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi entered the coastal enclave through the Erez Border Crossing.  Al-Emadi was set to meet with senior Hamas officials ahead of the distribution of Qatari cash.



Israeli Foreign Minister: Palestinian Consulate In Jerusalem Jeopardizes Israel – Tovah Lazaroff

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke on Wednesday (1st) against US plans to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem which worked directly with the Palestinian Authority.  The former US administration had closed the consulate in 2019, folding its services into the US Embassy which relocated to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv the previous year.

Lapid said, “Once it was closed, reopening it will send the wrong message, not only to the region, not only to the Palestinians, but also to other countries.  We don’t want this to happen.”  Israel fears that reopening the consulate would be tantamount to recognizing the PA’s right to Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and Israel alone, and therefore we don’t think it is a good idea.  We know the US administration has a different way of looking at this.  But since this is happening in Israel, we are sure that they are listening to us very carefully when we explain to them our point of view,” Lapid added.



Report: Egypt Pumped Toxic Gas Into Gaza Tunnel, 3 Palestinians Dead

Three Palestinians died on Thursday (2nd) as the Egyptian military pumped toxic gas into a smuggling tunnel, Palestinian media reported.

The tunnel stretches from the Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula.

In 2019, two Palestinians died and several others were wounded after Egyptian troops pumped toxic fumes into a smuggling tunnel stretching also from the Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula.  In February 2017, three Palestinians were killed in another tunnel between Gaza and Sinai in similar circumstances.

Egypt had destroyed more than 3,000 tunnels along its border with the Gaza Strip in the past six years, Egyptian Army Spokesperson Tamer Al-Refai said in 2020.

“In 2015, the Egyptian government made a decision to establish a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip.  These tunnels were used to threaten Egypt’s national security, including the infiltration of terrorists, the smuggling of weapons, ammunition, goods, narcotic drugs and vehicles.  We established the buffer zone in stages because residents had to be relocated and receive compensation,” Al-Refai said in an interview given to Egyptian news channel ExtraNews.

The Egyptian security forces are continuing their “heroic actions to defeat terrorists” in the Sinai Peninsula, he said, adding that 126 terrorists were killed during a recent military operation there. 



Poland’s New Restitution Law Isn’t About Property, But About Rewriting History – Ben Cohen

  • The controversy on Polish approval of legislation that shuts down Holocaust-era restitution-claims should be understood as part of a campaign by the Polish state to rewrite the history of World War II as a narrative of Polish victimhood, a group of leading historians concluded.  The four scholars have all published extensively on the Holocaust in Poland, where over 90% of the country’s Jewish population was exterminated, accounting for nearly half of the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide.
  • They observed that transforming the Holocaust from a Jewish trauma into a Polish one depended on excluding from historical inquiry the topic of collusion between elements of the population in Poland, a country with a long history of anti-Semitic agitation, with the Nazi persecution of the Jews.  As a result of this campaign, many ordinary Poles believe that Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews were exterminated, is “primarily a place of Polish suffering.”
  • Jan Gross, emeritus professor of history at Princeton University, said, “One hears from the right wing nationalists that the Jews are trying to seize property….At the same time, the Polish government is demanding restitution from the Germans for damages incurred during the Nazi occupation, which they estimate at $850 billion.”
  • “When this issue is brought up, you hear that the number of Poles killed in WWII was six million – that number is not a coincidence.  However, the real number is under five million, and that is when we include the three million Polish Jews murdered in the Holocaust.  So, the…Polish regime intends to request compensation from Germany for Jewish property that was destroyed during the war.”



‘You Have To Stand Up To Hate,’ Says Australia Jewish Man Who Stood Up To Anti-Semitic Assailant

An Australian Jewish father who was brutally assaulted by a man yelling “Heil Hitler” as he was walking with his 11-year-old son to a Bar Mitzvah at a synagogue in the city of Brisbane last Saturday (8/28) spoke out about his experience.

The 48-year-old victim, identified only as “Paul,” was approached by a man who noticed him wearing a kippah and began shouting “Heil Hitler” and making Nazi salutes.

As the man walked away, Paul followed behind him with his cell phone video on, and asked him why he had uttered the Nazi slogan.

The man turned suddenly and began punching Paul, bruising his face.  As the assailant fled the scene, Paul yelled that he was calling the police.

“At first I didn’t know why he was shouting, but when I looked into his eyes they were filled with hate toward me” Paul told the Australian Jewish news outlet J-wire on Wednesday (1st).

“I could actually feel his hatred directed at me right down into my bones, as he punched my face and then just walked away,” he continued.

In a separate interview with Queensland broadcaster 9News, Paul’s 11-year-old son spoke about the assault on his father.

“It’s sad to see how this stuff can happen in this modern society,” Paul’s son, who was not identified, said.

Asked by the interviewer why he chased after the offender, Paul responded that it was “important to stand up for what you believe… concerning hatred against yourself and other people.”  

The Vice President of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) said that the attack was sickening and showed that laws needed to be strengthened.

“For this brave father and his son to be subjected to abuse like this on the streets of Brisbane is shockingly deplorable,” Jason Steinberg told J-wire.

“When Jews in Queensland are being targeted, abused and punched, then something must be done as a matter of urgency,” Steinberg added.  “The existing laws are clearly not strong enough to deter racist behavior – the likes of which we are hearing about on a weekly basis in Queensland.”