October 26, 2018

Netanyahu: If Not For Israel, Hamas Would Topple Abbas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Wednesday (24th) to maintain a permanent Israeli military force in the West Bank, saying that if it weren’t for Israeli troops stationed there, Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas would be “overrun in two minutes” by Hamas.

Netanyahu told a major Jewish conference that Israel doesn’t have the liberty to repeat mistakes in Gaza, where Hamas violently seized control from Abbas after Israeli forces withdrew from the coastal strip.

Asked about his vision for the West Bank, Netanyahu said he preferred to avoid labels such as “Palestinian state.”  But he did make clear his view that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority owe their very existence to Israel’s protection, and directly benefit from the presence of Israeli troops.

“They’d be overrun in two minutes.  A couple years ago we uncovered a plot by 100 Hamas men to overthrow Abbas.  Overthrow? Kill him. Not kill him politically, but kill him. So, if we weren’t there, they’d not be there, which is exactly what happened when we left Gaza,” Netanyahu told an assembly of the Jewish Federation of North America.

“When Abbas was in Gaza, they had 15,000 armed men and Hamas had 3,000.  Within a few days they kicked him out and we can’t afford that happening in Judea and Samaria,” he said referring to the area by its biblical name.  “We left Gaza. What happened? This tiny thumb became a position of radical Islam supported by Iran and they fired 4,000 missiles at us.”

While Israel and Hamas have waged three wars in Gaza over the past decade, the West Bank has remained relatively calm.

(ap.com; ynetnews.com)


IDF Strikes Hamas Post In Gaza Over Fire Balloon Launches

Israeli military aircraft struck a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday (23rd), the army said after incendiary balloons were launched toward Israel from the post.

The strike came as flaming balloons launched from Gaza sparked eight fires near towns in southern Israel throughout the day, a spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Services said.

However, this past week saw a significant decrease in the amount of violence along the Gaza security fence compared to previous weeks, both in terms of the number of people participating in border riots and the intensity of the clashes.

Israeli defense officials described the demonstrations as some of the quietest days since the wave of protests, dubbed the “March of Return” began.

Israeli officials believe Hamas may have changed its policies regarding the clashes, and are working toward curbing violence at the rallies, which have become a daily occurrence, Hadashot TV  news reported.

Meanwhile Wednesday (24th) Hamas’ political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, received a delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials in Gaza, the second meeting within a week between the two states as Cairo continues its efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the terrorist group.



Israel Moves To Replace UNRWA In Jerusalem

15 Jerusalem municipal sanitation workers entered the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp to remove trash and provide other cleaning services as part of Mayor Nir Barkat’s plan to expel UNRWA from operating in the city.  Workers found hundreds of tons of untended garbage and construction waste and will enter the area daily to gradually take over UNRWA’s services. Barkat, who visited Shuafat on Tuesday (23rd), said, “The time has come to stop the refugee lie in Jerusalem.  There are no refugees in our city, only residents.”

“We are implementing the first phase of the UNRWA evacuation plan by taking responsibility for the cleanliness of the camp, and in the near future, together with the government, we will also provide education, welfare, and health services there until full sovereignty is achieved,” he added.

Seven UNRWA-run schools that operate without a license from the Education Ministry will be closed at the end of the current academic year,  and the pupils absorbed into existing municipal schools. UNRWA’s medical centers, which operate without approval from the Health Ministry, will be replaced by a new public health center.  Existing UNRWA-run welfare programs will be transferred to the governance of municipal welfare and employment services.



IAI Wins $777 Million Deal To Supply India With Maritime Missile Defense System

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) the nation’s largest aerospace and defense firm, announced Wednesday (24th) that it had won a $777 million contract with India to supply a maritime version of the Barak-8 missile defense system.

The deal was signed with Indian state-owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), which serves as the main contractor in the project.

Israel is a major defense supplier to India, selling an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year.

“IAI’s partnership with India dates back many years and has culminated in joint system development and production,” IAI Chief Executive Officer Nimrod Shefer told Reuters.  “India is a major market for IAI and we plan to…reinforce our positioning in India, also in view of increasing our competition.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman hailed the announcement.

The deal is “proof that security is investment, and not expenditure, “ he wrote on Twitter.  “The IAI is a national asset, which must be maintained and strengthened.”

The Barak-8 was developed by IAI in collaboration with Israel’s Defense Ministry, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, the navies of both countries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, IAI’s Elta Group, and local industries in India.

IAI develops and manufactures advanced systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber, and homeland security.

India, which has long-standing territorial disputes with neighbors China and Pakistan, has signed several big-ticket defense deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.



Expanded Holocaust Memorial Plaza Dedicated In Philadelphia

An expansion of Philadelphia’s Holocaust Memorial Plaza, the first public memorial to the genocide in the United States, was dedicated this week.

The Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza adds to the public plaza surrounding the Monument to Six Million Jewish martyrs dedicated in 1964.

The plaza features six pillars erected in memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, with each pillar chronicling a Holocaust atrocity and contrasting it with American constitutional protections and values.  Original train tracks from the railroad adjacent to the Treblinka death camp are embedded in the pavement near the “Theresienstadt tree,” a sapling of the tree nurtured by children in the Czech camp though they knew they would not live long enough to see it grow and mature.  At the far western portion of the plaza, a tree grove represents the woodlands that sheltered members of the resistance movement.

In partnership with the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, the plaza features educational, multimedia content via IWalk, a USC Shoah Foundation-developed mobile app that connects specific locations at the plaza with personal testimonials of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.  The app also includes access to eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust from more than 50,000 survivors. It is available in English and Spanish, and provides users with an age-appropriate, customized experience.

“This unique memorial in Philadelphia ia a stark reminder to never forget,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Monday (22nd) at the dedication ceremony.  “It will serve as an important place of remembrance and reflection.”