September 27, 2018

After Security Meeting: Operations In Syria To Continue Despite Supply Of S-300

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday (25th) that Israel will continue to act in order to prevent Iranian entrenchment in the region, even after Russia supplies Syria an S-300 anti-missile system following the downing of the Ilyushin IL-20 by the Syrian forces, who tried to repel an IAF attack.

Netanyahu spoke shortly after the Cabinet meeting, where ministers were updated on the ongoing crisis with Russia and ahead of his departure to New York for the UN General Assembly.

“To this end, I agreed with President Putin that IDF and Russian military working teams should meet soon, but we will do whatever is necessary to defend the security of Israel,” he stressed.

“In the past three years, Israel has been very successful in preventing the Iranian military from setting up bases in Syria and attempting to supply lethal weapons to Hizbullah.  We did this with maximum and successful security coordination with the Russian military,” the prime minister exclaimed.

“This morning the Cabinet received a full update regarding the latest developments,” Netanyahu added.  “The ministers also send their condolences to the Russian people. “

“The IDF has full backing of the Israeli government.  We will continue to act in order to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria and we will continue the security cooperation with Russia,” Netanyahu concluded.

In a piece on Tuesday (25th) in Ha’aretz, headlined ‘Russia Gives S-300 Missiles To Syria: A Win For Assad, With Limited Threat To Israel,’  Yaniv Kubovich wrote: “The Israeli Air Force knows how to deal with the Russian S-300 air defense system, and the more advanced S-400, because they have been deployed in Syria since 2016.  Moreover, Israel has warned in the past that if Assad’s army obtained the system, and that if missiles are directed against Israeli aircraft, it will destroy the system.”



Hamas Calls For Marches In Judea And Samaria

Journalist Falz Abu Shamla, a regular columnist for the official Hamas newspaper Felesteen, called on the newspaper to mobilize the necessary staff for creating an organizational framework that would initiate ‘marches of return’ in Judea and Samaria.

Abu Shamla noted that the Judea and Samaria region was considered to be the most sensitive from a security point of view for Israel, accusing the Palestinian Authority of preventing the procession of return and separating Judea and Samaria from the Gaza Strip.

He urged the Supreme National Council of the Return Processes to complete the staffing of its organizational structures in Judea and Samaria, to designate certain places in Judea and Samaria for the processions of return, and to call on the Palestinian Arab public to participate in the demonstrations on Fridays.

In his article, Abu Shamla enumerated the achievements of the Gaza March of Return, which he said approached  the achievements of the Arab Revolt of 1936. The list includes the large numbers of participants in the marches and riots,  innovations in the form of new terrorist methods such as kite arson, the operation of a night-fighting unit to wear down the IDF and residents of Israeli towns, infiltration into Israel, and attacks on individuals.



World Bank: Gaza Economy Is Collapsing

The Gaza economy is collapsing, the World Bank warned in a report Tuesday (25th) in advance of a top level annual donor meeting – known as the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee – on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Thursday (27th).

Donor assistance, which is declining, can no longer halt the economic deterioration in the West Bank and Gaza, the World Bank said.

According to the World Bank report, the Gaza economy is in a “free fall,” registering negative 6% growth in the first quarter of 2018.  The poverty rate in Gaza is at 54%, meaning that every second person is living below the poverty line.

It plans to provide this information to representatives of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, who are expected to attend the meeting.

The AHLC meets twice a year and has continued to gather in spite of the deadlocked peace process.

The World Bank said on Tuesday (25th), “The economic deterioration in both Gaza and West Bank can no longer be counteracted by foreign aid, which has been in steady decline.



German Court Powerless To Stop Kuwait Airways Anti-Israel Policy

After a German court on Tuesday (25th) slammed Kuwait Airways for its ban on Israeli passengers, it also said that practical issues prevented it from undoing the ban.

Further, the High Court Hesse said that even if the Israeli, who Kuwait Airways refused to fly from Frankfurt to Bangkok in 2016, had a valid ticket, that Germany only had an impact on the part of a flight within its borders, not on stopovers in Kuwait or other destinations.

Despite the ruling which the Lawfare Project had anticipated after an earlier hearing, the lawsuit itself brought criticism from the German judiciary and from the country’s political class against Kuwait Airways.

The underlying basis of the case was that most Israelis are Jewish and that this meant the law amounted to an anti-Semitic law which violated Germany’s laws.

Previous legal action against Kuwait Airways by the Lawfare Project led to cancellation of various flights by the airline in the US and Switzerland.



Here’s How Israelis And Local Jews Are Helping In Puerto Rico A Year After Hurricane Maria

Almost immediately after Hurricane Maria barreled into Puerto Rico a year ago this month, disaster relief groups rushed to the shattered island to help with rescue and cleanup.

The storm turned out to be the worst natural disaster ever recorded in the US territory.  The Category 4 hurricane caused catastrophic flooding that decimated 80% of the island’s crops, destroyed or damaged hundreds of thousands of homes and completely devastated the electricity grid.

Among the initial responders was the Israeli disaster response group IsraAID, which opened six mobile medical clinics on the island, distributed water filters in six remote communities, provided mental health support in storm shelters and trained staff at two hospitals in trauma response.

As the recovery and rebuilding effort stretched into weeks and months, most emergency response groups packed up and moved onto other disaster zones.  But a year after the storm, IsraAID is still in Puerto Rico and plans to stay for at least two more years.

“Following the earthquake in Haiti we stayed for 8 years,” said Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s co-CEO.  “Though being on the ground quickly saves lives, we’re realizing more and more that the initial emergency response doesn’t sustain the population.”

Now, the group’s focus in Puerto Rico is helping communities still struggling with hurriicane-related trauma and a dearth of clean drinking water.  Needs are especially acute in rural villages cut off from the national water grid.

In October, a new gravitational sand water filtration system built by IsraAID and the Inter American University of Puerto Rico will be up and running in Barrio Real, one of the small rural communities where IsraAID went door to door delivering temporary household filters right after the hurricane.

Polizer said, “As IsraAID’s goal for an affected area changes from direct relief to capacity building, we identify and work with local groups, religious groups and local NGOs.  The idea is to provide them with the tools they need to support themselves.”