November 16, 2018

Netanyahu Defends Ceasefire, Cites Secret Information

Ahead of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation due to his opposition to the ceasefire deal with Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the truce agreement, saying there were reasons unknown to the public.

“In times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can’t always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy,” Netanyahu said Wednesday (14th) at a state memorial service for David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, in Sde Boker.

“At these moments, it is not up to the leadership to do the easy thing but to do the right thing, even if it is difficult.  Leadership is sometimes to be criticized, when you know secret and sensitive things that you cannot share with the citizens of Israel, and in this case the residents of the south, whom I love so much and appreciate,” he added.

“Our enemies begged for a ceasefire, and they know very well why,” the prime minister stated.

The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire was reached Tuesday evening (13th) after Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza launched close to 500 rockets into Israel within 24 hours, resulting in one death and many injuries.

Several ministers, including Lieberman, and members of the Opposition slammed the deal.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the entrance to Sderot following the ceasefire announcement, blocking roads in protest with signs reading “Bibi Go Home.”

Lieberman is also calling for early elections.



Hamas Claims Lieberman’s Resignation As A ‘Victory For Gaza’

The Hamas terror group claimed Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s decision to resign from his position as a “political victory for Gaza” on Wednesday (14th), after Palestinians said they scored a military win over Israel in a two-day battle that ended the day before.

“Lieberman’s resignation is an acknowledgment of defeat  of Israel’s helplessness against the Palestinian resistance,” the group which rules Gaza said in a statement.   

Hamas added that its “steadfastness” in Gaza caused a “political shock” to Israel.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second-largest terrorist group in the Strip, similarly claimed the defense minister’s sudden departure as a victory.

“Behold political slaughter was dealt to leaders of the occupation who aren’t capable of dealing with Gaza,” the organization’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“The resistance succeeded not only in deterring the enemy militarily, but also sowed confusion in their political considerations,” the Iran-backed terror group added.



Palestinians Blame U.S. For UN Security Council Deadlock On Gaza

The UNSC met behind closed doors late Tuesday night (13th) in New York at the request of UNSC members Bolivia and Kuwait to discuss the latest round of Gaza violence, but did not publish any conclusions.

“The council has been paralyzed on our issue for the reasons that you all know.  There is one country that is refusing to allow our issue to be seriously discussed in the security council,” Kuwait Ambassador to the UN, Mansour Al-Otaibi told reporters after the meeting.

He said the majority of the member states want the council to do something, at least to consider going on a visit to the Palestinian territories.

“Today many countries supported that” but no decision was made, he said.  “There is no horizon of peace so this will come to the council time and time again.”

During the meeting, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon held a press conference outside its chambers during which he called on the members states to condemn Hamas.

“In a few moments, certainly morally bankrupt members of the security council will jump here to blame Israel,” Danon said.  “Other members who claim to be objective call for restraint on both sides.”

“There is no such thing as both sides.  There is Hamas that attacks and fires 450 missiles at Israeli civilians, and there is Israel that protects its people,”he continued.  “The security council must only condemn Hamas today for its aggressive assault on civilians and finally designate it as a terrorist organization.”



New Details Emerge On Heroic Actions Of IDF Officer Killed In Gaza

New details about the IDF’s covert operation inside the Gaza Strip on Sunday (11th) reveal that the officer killed during the mission made a heroic decision that saved his fellow soldiers even though it meant paying the ultimate price.

Lt. Col. M., a special forces officer, was killed and another soldier was wounded during a clash with Hamas operatives in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday.  Seven Hamas operatives were killed in the incident.

Many of the details were not approved for publication due to the sensitive nature of the mission, but according to available details, IDF special forces operating in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis were discovered by Hamas operatives at a checkpoint.  A fierce gunfight erupted and the Israeli troops found themselves trapped in their vehicle.

Lt. Col. M. reportedly opened fire to draw attention away from his comrades, enabling them to leave their vehicle and charge the enemy.

As a result, M. was hit by much of the enemy fire.

Another officer made a charge toward M.’s position to try to save him, and after managing to kill three terrorists who had opened fire at the squad, reached M.’s vehicle, but was badly wounded in the process.

According to the new details, M.’s action enabled the team to radio for aerial assistance, which arrived within minutes.  M. and the wounded officer were evacuated under heavy air force cover, which forced the Hamas gunmen to retreat.



Jerusalem Votes In Its First Sephardic Mayor

City council member Moshe Lion declared victory Wednesday (14th) over candidate Ofer Berkovitch in Tuesday’s (13th) runoff election to become Jerusalem’s first mayor of Sephardic descent.

The race was close with only 6,500 votes separating the candidates.

However, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, certain that the margin was sufficient, called the race for Lion.

“Jerusalem tonight chose unity, the sense of togetherness, the good,” Lion said in his victory speech, promising to be “the mayor of all of Jerusalem’s residents, whoever they may be.”

The 57-year-old Lion is an accountant by profession who served for three years as the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office during Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term, as his economic advisor.

Lion also served as chairman of Israel Railways and later of the Jerusalem Development Authority before losing to Nir Barkat in the 2013 mayoral race.



US Puts Deputy Hamas Leader, Hizbullah Officials On ‘Most Wanted’ List

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday (13th) placed the deputy leader of Hamas as well as several senior Hizbullah officials on its ‘most wanted list,’ offering a substantial reward for information leading to their capture.

Deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri and Hizbullah officials Khalil Yusif Mahmoud Harb and Haytham Ali Tabatabaei each now have a $5 million price on their heads under the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program.

The State Department also designated Jawad Nasrallah, the son of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, as a terrorist, accusing him of orchestrating attacks against Israel in the West Bank.

The department also blacklisted the Al-Mujahideen Brigades, which it said has links to Hizbullah and has plotted a number of attacks against Israeli targets from a base in the Palestinian territories.

“Today’s designations seek to deny Nasrallah and AMB the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks,” the State Department said in a statement.  It said the actions denied Nasrallah and AMB access to the U.S. financial system.

The statement said that both Hamas and Hizbullah receive weapons, training and funding from Iran.