News Digest — 9/5/23

IDF Targets Headquarters In Nur Shams

On Tuesday (5th), following engineering guidance and ISA intelligence, IDF and Israeli Border Police forces targeted a building that contained several read-to-use explosive devices and served as a headquarters for wanted suspects in Nur Shams.

During the counterterrorism activity, suspects hurled explosives and burning tires at the forces and an exchange of fire with a number of suspects took place.  Hits were identified.  In addition, an IDF combat engineering vehicle that “hunts” explosive devices, identified one which exploded.  No IDF injuries were reported.

The forces apprehended 7 wanted suspects in the cities of Ramallah and Hebron, and the towns of Azzun, Al-Ram, and az-Za’ayyem, along with a variety of weapons.

Both suspects and weapons were transferred  to security for further processing.  No IDF injuries were reported.



IDF Enters Jenin Camp, First Time Since Major Operation

Gunshots were heard as Israeli forces were operating inside the Jenin ‘refugee’ camp, the IDF said on Monday morning (4th), with Israeli reports saying clashes erupted between the forces and armed Palestinians.

Three Palestinians affiliated with Hamas were arrested.  They were identified by security forces as Abdallah Hassan Muhammad Zubah, Vered Asherif and Mutazben Jaitza. Reportedly, the three were part of a cell that launched rockets in the area of Jewish settlements in recent months.

During the operation , IDF forces were attacked by gunfire and rock-throwing, and returned fire.  All three Hamas terrorists had been involved in a variety of terror attacks and operations – they were turned over for interrogation by the Shin Bet.

This marked the first time IDF troops entered Jenin since its major operation was launched on the West Bank terror hub in July.

The operation was not planned far in advance and did not take place in the overnight hours as most raids do, because the specific intelligence leading to the operation only came forward shortly before entering Jenin.

The forces operating included the IDF’s elite Commando Duvdevan Unit and Sayeret Golani, along with Border Police Officers.

Though the IDF has acted regularly in the West Bank, and even at times in outer parts of Jenin, it has not entered the inner ‘refugee’ camp since the July operation.  Instead it has preferred to let the Palestinian Authority reassert its control in the city after years of deterioration of the PA’s control there.



Exclusive: Israel To Deduct Millions From PA Funds To Offset Electricity Debt

The Israeli Finance Ministry has found a legal solution that would enable Israel to deal with the Palestinian Authority’s electricity debt in Judea and Samaria, including east Jerusalem for the first time in three decades.

Under the outline, the government will deduct millions of shekels from funds collected on behalf of the PA to transfer to the Israel Electric Company monthly.

The PA’s debt currently stands at two billion shekels, funds that Israel has had a difficult time collecting, despite previous debt payment agreements.

The news comes three months after Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich ordered his advisers to find a solution to the matter.  The move is legal under a law enacted following the Oslo Accords that allows Israel to deduct funds destined to the PA to offset its debt.

The dilemma of Palestinian debt has long troubled Israeli lawmakers, with the 2021 State Comptroller report warning that it was the main reason for the continued struggles of the Israel Electric Company.



India To Join Israel-Cyprus-Greece Alliance

India has expressed interest in being part of the burgeoning regional cooperation among Israel, Cyprus and Greece, Greek and Israeli leaders said on Monday (4th).

The prospect, which would broaden the alliance among the eastern Mediterranean allies, was announced during a trilateral summit of the leaders of Israel, Cyprus and Greece held in Nicosia.

The suggestion for the move, which Indian Minister Narendra Modi proposed to Greek and Cypriot leaders, has won the approval of all three countries in the budding alliance, and the Indian leader will be invited to attend the next trilateral summit to take place in Israel next year, a senior Israeli official said.

New Delhi is especially interested in a cargo route connecting India through the Arabian Peninsula and onto the Mediterranean, the official said.

India is a strong ally of Israel and the countries’ prime ministers enjoy a strong relationship.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aspires to expand such cooperation to Gulf countries as well as to forge a normalization with Saudi Arabia.

A communications corridor that will transmit digital data between Asian and Arab countries, and with Europe and the West through Israel is expected to be constructed in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The Indian interest comes as Israel is poised to finalize an energy deal with Greece and Cyprus that will include a mammoth electricity project connecting the power grids of the three countries and possibly a gas liquefaction plant in Cyprus or a gas pipeline with Turkey for the export of natural gas.  A decision on the latter project is expected within the next three months.

Separately, Netanyahu announced that Israel intends to open its dairy market to Greek and Cypriot products in an effort to bring down costs and spur competition.  “May the best yogurt win,” he said.



Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad Met To ‘Coordinate’ Against Zionist Entity

The head of the Hezbollah terror group hosted senior officials from the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups in Lebanon over the weekend, with the goal of unifying their efforts to attack the State of Israel.

Hassan Nasrallah. Secretary-General of Hezbollah, hosted Hamas deputy politburo Saleh al-Arouri and Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad al-Makhala at an undisclosed location on Saturday (2nd) according to media reports.

Channel 13 News reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein-Abdollahian also met with Nasrallah, shortly after the tripartite meeting between  the terror group chiefs.

In a statement following the meeting, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad expressed their “permanent and firm position” regarding the struggle “against the Zionist enemy. Toward the occupation, and toward the importance of coordination and daily contact between the resistance movements – especially in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon.”

The terror summit came on the heels of rising tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border and a spate of deadly terror attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have attributed the rise in terror attacks to Iranian funding and pressure on its “cancerous proxies” to launch offensives against Israel.

“Hamas and the other Iranian proxies understand very well that we will fight with all means against their attempts to use terrorism against us – in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and everywhere else,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting last week.  “Whoever tries to hurt us, whoever finances and organizes, whoever dispatches terrorists against Israel will pay the full price.”

Senior terrorists, including  Hamas’ al-Arouri, interpreted the remarks as a warning by Israel that it would resume targeted assassinations, including in foreign countries.

Speaking to a Lebanese pro-Hezbollah outlet last week, al-Arouri said that Hamas is “preparing for an all-out war, and we are closely discussing the prospects of this war with all relevant parties.”



PA Building Neighborhood On Joshua’s Altar Site

The Palestinian Authority has begun building a neighborhood on the site of Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal in northern Samaria, Channel 12 reported.

An inspector from the Samaria Regional Council’s Lands Department on Sunday (3rd) discovered that the PA has started paving roads as part of a project for 32 housing units at the historic site, which is mentioned in the Books of Deuteronomy and Joshua in the Hebrew Bible.

Following the revelation, Israel’s Civil Administration said that the construction vehicle operating on the site had been confiscated and that the archaeologist in charge of antiquities affairs in Judea and Samaria had opened an investigation.

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, demanded that the Civil Administration intervene to immediately stop the work.

“No barbarian will be allowed to destroy this site of the people of Israel and human history – it would be a disaster of heritage and history.” 

“It is impossible that in the days of the sovereign State of Israel we will allow under our noses damage to the only historical site that proves the status of the entry of the people of Israel into its land in the days of Joshua.” he continued.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in January that Israel would not allow Palestinians to damage the archaeological site.

In a letter sent to Knesset member Limor Son Har-Melech, Gallant wrote that he had instructed the IDF to carry out frequent patrols in the area, and to prevent any activity which could damage the site.

Moshe Gutman, chairman of the “Keepers of the Eternal” a coalition of organizations for the protection, preservation and development of antiquities and heritage sites in Judea and Samaria, said “The Palestinians recognized israel’s weakness and decided to destroy  Israel’s most valuable heritage asset in Samaria.  If the country does not come to its senses now, the altar and its surroundings will be destroyed and lost forever.”

Israel officials said in March that Palestinian road construction had damaged the ancient town of Sebastia, one of the major archeological sites of the Holy Land, which served as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel nearly three millennia ago.



Nazi And Soviet Conspiracy Themes In The Palestinian Discourse: Policy Lessons For Israel – Dan Diker  

• Since its founding in 1994, the Palestinian Authority’s anti-Semitic discourse, rooted in Nazi and Soviet-era conspiracy theories. Has fueled its decades-old political warfare campaign to isolate, destabilize, and subvert the State of Israel.

• The international community has largely overlooked this flagrant violation of the Oslo Accords: to desist from incitement to terror and violence.

• This essay documents nearly 30 years of PA anti-Semitic rhetoric in its media, social networks, official government statements, and educational system.

• PLO and PA anti-Semitic rhetoric constitutes a national security threat to Israel and the Jewish people today.

• Israel has the legal and moral mandate and responsibility to hold the PA accountable for its ongoing anti-Semitic incitement.

• Israel should penalize the PA by withholding funds and referring the PA to international legal bodies for inciting and encouraging deadly terrorism, which has killed and wounded thousands of Israelis.

The Author is President of the Jerusalem Center.  This article is part of the Center’s new “Oslo at 30” compendium.