Saturday, March 15, 2014

Security and Defense: Preparing for battle with Hezbollah


The ‘Post’ joins the officers of the 7th Armored Brigade practicing "skeleton drills", using the West Bank to simulate Lebanese combat in built-up areas.

IDF Hezbollah
COMMANDER OF the 7th Brigade’s 77th Armored Battalion Lt.-Col. Yair Or addresses his officers near the West Bank village of Idna. Photo: COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE
The steep, green hills southwest of Hebron were peppered by white large boulders, before making room for a valley, in which a Palestinian village was nestled.

Approaching it was a convoy of IDF jeeps carrying officers from the 7th Armored Brigade, as well as a row of fast-walking infantry soldiers, members of the brigade’s elite Reconnaissance Company.

They were all taking part in a drill designed to improve their ability to storm Hezbollah-controlled villages in southern Lebanon. The mission: To test the ability of company and platoon commanders to plot ground offensives on challenging terrain, and enter a village without exposing their soldiers to deadly Hezbollah fire.
The exercise is what the IDF calls a “skeleton drill,” involving only commanding officers and a few units.
The onus is on the officers – they must simulate an attack and test theories on how best to achieve their goals.


Yonina Pritzker 
There is a famous story in Jewish tradition about two women who are fighting over a baby, each claiming that the baby belongs to her. They appear before King Solomon, whose wisdom was legendary, to have the king decide between them as to which woman was the real mother. King Solomon’s solution was to cut the baby in half, awarding half the child to each woman. At that point, the true mother stepped forward, heartbroken at the thought of taking a knife to the child, and begged the king not to harm her son. By this act, King Solomon recognized that this was the real mother, and he entrusted the infant back to his mother’s loving care.
This story comes to mind as I watch with outrage the current deliberations over the Land of Israel, as strong voices urge Israel to relinquish land that has borne the name and history of the Jewish people for four millennia
Perennial adversaries of the Jewish people, and even traditional allies, have all aligned themselves with the chopping block, ready to slice up the Jewish homeland. Every excuse is given; every threat of dire circumstances, that will be the result if Israel does not agree to cut out its own heart, is articulated.

Not quiet on the Northern Front

Jonathan Spyer and Benjamin Weinthal
New York Daily News

JERUSALEM — The disintegration of the Syrian state into warring enclaves is bringing with it new challenges and threats for Israel. Alarm bells have now been sounded on Israel's shared northern border with Syria.
"For the moment, they [Jihadis] are not fighting us, but we know their ideology. . . . It could be that, in the coming months, we could find ourselves dragged into confrontation with them," said a top-level Israel Defense Forces officer.
In addition to the Jihadi threat, the Iran-sponsored terrorist entity Hezbollah remains Israel's most potent security threat in the north. Just last month, Israel reportedly struck a Syrian weapons convoy on its way to Hezbollah.
Evidence is now beginning to emerge of the methods the Jewish state is adopting to meet this new reality.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hamas's weakness


While Hamas’s weakness has encouraged Islamic Jihad, backed by Iran, to take bolder risks, this state of affairs might present unique opportunities for Israel.

Palestinian members of Hamas's al-Qassam brigades. Photo: REUTERS
It was the largest Gazan rocket offensive on civilians in the South since the days leading up to November 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense.

Islamic Jihad fired at least 70 rockets nearly simultaneously from points along the Gaza Strip, eight of which exploded in built-up areas. Thankfully, none caused injuries.

Israel reacted within hours, attacking about 30 strategic targets belonging to Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that the IDF would cause Islamic Jihad “to regret the attacks they carried out.” And he held Hamas responsible for the attacks as well. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, meanwhile, warned that Israel might have no choice but to recapture Gaza.

A good week for Abbas

Ruthie Blum

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must be feeling pretty pleased with himself. In anticipation of his upcoming meeting at the White House, he needed something that would take the heat off PA rejection of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's "framework for peace."
His prayers to Allah were answered, when two events unfolded that gave him the opportunity to condemn Israel from above the fray.
The first occurred on Monday morning at the Allenby (or King Hussein) Bridge between the West Bank and Jordan. Though details of the event are not entirely clear, what has emerged so far is that 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, a Palestinian judge residing and working in Amman, was killed by Israeli soldiers at the border crossing.
According to witnesses, Zeiter charged at the soldiers with a metal pole, while shouting "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") and attempting to grab one of their weapons. When a soldier shot him in the leg, Zeiter lunged at and started strangling him. This prompted additional shooting, which led to Zeiter's death.

03/13 Links Pt2: UNRWA Only Blames Israel; PM Cameron 1/6 of NHS Medicines are Israeli

From Ian:

Raheem Kassam: Cameron Talks a Good Talk on Israel, But do his Promises Stack Up?
While Cameron said Britain opposes boycotts of Israel, a number of UK universities still target the Jewish State, and Britain has not once spoken out against the United Nations' bias against Israel.
Furthermore, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still routinely works with organisations that are overtly hostile to Israel, and advocate one-state solution as well as boycotts. This needs to be stamped out if Cameron can truly stake a claim to his comment that "delegitimising the State of Israel is wrong. It is abhorrent, and together we will defeat it."
The mainstay of anti-Israel sentiment within the British government comes not from Left-wing MPs either, but mainly the FCO. Previously, FCO staffers have been found to be overtly pro-Palestinian, and even the Foreign Minister, Alistair Burt, was set to speak at an anti-Israel Friends of Al-Asqa event at the Conservative Party Conference last year.
Cameron’s Knesset Speech: Closer to Australia and Canada than Obama
Whereas Obama has threatened Israel that it will become more internationally isolated, Cameron asserted, “No more excuses for the 32 countries who refuse to recognize Israel,” and described as “outrageous” and “ridiculous” the lectures Israel receives at the UN.

Why is the U.S. taxpayer funding a ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ sponsor?

Christ at the Checkpoint, or CatC, is a conference sponsored by the Bethlehem Bible College and the Holy Land Trust.  It was held in 2010 and 2012, and is now being held again, in Bethlehem (Judea, in the West Bank), in 2014.  A great deal can be written about the anti-Israel affiliations of its sponsors and the participation of left-wing Western – and in particular, left-leaning evangelical – Christians; a sampling of the background can be found here, here, here, here, and here.
But a group called NGO Monitor has pointed out what I want to highlight, which is that the U.S. taxpayer is contributing to CatC, if perhaps indirectly, through grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).  (See the full NGO Monitor report here.)  The NED receives funding from Congress, and between 2006 and 2012, it made grants in excess of $230,000 to the Holy Land Trust.*
Yitzhak Santis points out that HLT explicitly favors the “BDS” – boycott, divestment, sanctions – action program against Israel, which is opposed by the U.S. government.  NGO Monitor, in a 2013 report, documented HLT’s support for the Kairos Palestine document, which among other things calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state with “Al-Quds” (Jerusalem) as its capital.

But is it "democracy"?
But is it “democracy”?
A troubling manifesto
As one of the two sponsors of CatC, HLT endorses the CatC Manifesto.  Unfortunately, the Manifesto is full of peculiar and prejudicial wording; to my eye (as an evangelical Christian), the Manifesto appears to be trying to insist on political and theological points that many Christians would find invalid or disputable, while not explicitly stating them.  Some examples (in bold), indicated by their point numbers in the Manifesto:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

“Purim and Its Lessons”

Today, as I write, is Tannit Ester (the Fast of Esther), which precedes Purim.  In the Megillat Esther – the story of Purim – Esther fasts before taking action to save her people from annihilation.
This Shabbat is Shabbat Zahor, when the weekly Torah reading is supplemented with a reading of Devorim (Deuteronomy) 25:17-19.  “Remember what Amalek did to you when you left Egypt,” we are commanded.  Amalek ambushed the Israelites from behind, attacking the weak. “You must erase the memory of Amalek from under the Heavens. Do not forget.”
We are taught that in every generation an Amalek or Amalek pro-type rises up to destroy us.  It is our task to be vigilant, and strong in our own defense.

Iranian supported Terrorists Fire From Civilian Areas in Gaza

Video Shows How Terrorists Fired From Civilian Areas

Clip shows how Islamic Jihad terrorists fired over 60 rockets at Israeli civilians, whilst using Gazan civilians as human shields.

A video released online shows how Islamic Jihad terrorists fired this evening's barrage of rocket attacks from within heavily-populated areas in Gaza.
The footage, which was posted on a Hamas-linked Facebook page, shows the challenges often faced by the Israeli military in responding to such attacks whilst avoiding civilian casualties.
It illustrates what Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have often referred to as a "double war-crime": the firing of rockets against Israeli civilians, whilst using the Palestinian Arab civilian population in Gaza as cover, and in the hope that any Israeli response will draw condemnation for striking a civilian area.

Why Abbas Will (Again) Say No

Khaled Abu Toameh

Now Abbas is going to mislead Obama into thinking that he is coming to meet with him not only as the "rightful" leader of the Palestinians but also as a representative of the Arab world. Never mind that the Arab League, which issued the statement, is considered extremely inefficient and incompetent and that no one in the Arab world takes it seriously.
But the Obama Administration does not seem to care. Obama and Kerry seem to want a deal at any cost, even if it is with a president who lost his legitimacy many years ago and even if the deal will unravel the day after.
Abbas also believes he can say no to Obama because the U.S. Administration will not take any retaliatory measures against the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians do not take Obama seriously, especially in light of his failure in dealing with the crises in the Arab world and Ukraine.
On the eve of his meeting with President Barack Obama, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has won the backing of the Arab League for his positions and demands.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Supreme Court: Jews legally bought contested Hebron house

Judges deny Palestinians' petition that the sale of the house was forged • Settler community leaders call on Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to sign off on allowing the settlers to return to the building.

Supreme Court rules disputed Hebron house was legally purchased by its Jewish residents [Archive]
Photo credit: Lior Mizrahi

Bashing Israel and Journalistic Integrity

Isi Leibler

The two articles linked below were recently published in the Australian, the only national daily newspaper, and are of primary interest to Australians. However, I believe they warrant wider circulation. The article by John Lyons is an example of the bitter battles we face from journalists who are either biased and intent on demonizing Israel or naively take at face value the fantasies presented to them by Arabs or delusional Israeli extremists.
The other by Greg Sheridan, the foreign affairs editor of the Australian, puts forward a case for Israel - in a manner which many of our own spokesmen could well emulate.

MB Supporters Host Fundraiser for Virginia Democrat

John Rossomando 
A Northern Virginia congressman will headline a fundraiser sponsored by a Muslim Brotherhood supporter whose organization, Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR), held an anti-Semitic rally in New York last month, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
Participants at the EADHR rally outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in New York chanted, "Oh King of Saudi Arabia, why did you sell Egypt to the Jews?" and that the Saudis were "dirtier than the Jews."
Now, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., plans to attend a March 22 fundraiser to benefit his re-election campaign that is co-sponsored by EADHR co-founder Akram Elzend. The Free Beacon published a copy of the invitation, which also lists Mohamed Mohamed and Sameh Elhennawy as fundraiser hosts.
Elzend told the Free Beacon that the fundraiser has "nothing to do with the organization" he co-founded. He indicated that he considers Connolly "a great man, a great congressman, who really abides our values, our American values, and principles, and he stands up for them."

From Radical to Terrorist

Samuel Westrop

The individuals attached to the radicalization of the Woolwich killers were not unabashed advocates of terrorism, but so-called "soft Islamists" – afforded money and responsibility by the government in the vain hope that "non-violent" extremists would temper the more visible consequences of violent extremists. In truth, "moderate" Islamism seems to act as a "conveyor belt" to violent Islamism.
The greatest obstacle remains the failure of government, media and academia to accept that some "moderate" Islamists are frequently the cause, and Adebowale merely the symptom.
The progression from being a radical to being a terrorist has been referred to as the extremism "conveyor belt." Although the government has acknowledged the fundamental role of so-called "non-violent" or "soft Islamist" extremists in this progression, taxpayers continue to fund extremist groups.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Netanyahu to world: Stop the self-deception on Iran

At press conference in Eilat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents the weapons seized from the Klos C • Netanyahu: Does anyone truly believe that Iran has given up its plans to develop nuclear weapons or long-range ballistic missiles?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents the weapons that were seized
Photo credit: AFP
 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday presented the weapons arsenal that Israeli Navy commandos seized aboard the Klos C ship, which was intercepted in the Red Sea last week.
The weapons were originally flown from Syria to Iran, and from there to Iraq. The shipment was intercepted as it was being moved by boat from Iraq to Sudan, from where the weapons were to have been smuggled overland to Gaza.

Credit: Reuters
Speaking at a press conference at the Eilat port on Monday, Netanyahu said: "This time, in these containers, there were long-range missiles. Iran can load future containers with suitcases that have concealed nuclear weapons inside, which can be sent to ports all over the world. Before it is too late, the world must wake up and see the illusion in which it is living and prevent Iran from achieving the ability to create nuclear weapons."
The prime minister was joined by Defense Minister Moshe ("Bogie") Ya'alon, Israel Defense Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Israeli Navy Commander Vice Adm. Ram Rothberg.

FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram Weapons Seizure Exposes Iran's True Terror Intentions

For the first time, the IDF is releasing photos of Iran’s entire weapons shipment to Gaza terrorists. Iran attempted to hide its involvement, but the evidence is clear. With its weapons exposed to the world, Iran can no longer deny its intentions to terrorize Israeli civilians.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Arab League rejects recognizing Israel as a Jewish state

Arab League "emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a 'Jewish state'" • Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby says Israel trying to derail peace talks demanding Palestinians recognize Jewish state.

Arab foreign ministers meet at the Arab League building in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday
Photo credit: AP

Money, Politics and Israel's Defense

Shoshana Bryen
March 7, 2014 at 4:30 am

Missile defense buys time and the Administration should appreciate -- and fund -- that.
When the President is leaning hard on Israel to be forthcoming and flexible on issues of its own short and long-term security, the signal that missile defenses are expendable sends the wrong signal to both friends and adversaries.
Does the president really believe that Hamas, the Palestinian franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood -- supported, oddly, by Iran -- would throw in the revolutionary towel if Israel makes a deal with Mahmoud Abbas for the West Bank?
Early Wednesday, the IDF intercepted a shipment of Syrian-made M-302 rockets with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles). The missiles, which apparently went through Iraqi airspace to Iran and then by ship to the Red Sea, were likely headed to Sudan. From there, they would have gone by truck through the (mostly unguarded) Sinai to Gaza, from which they would have been capable of reaching nearly all of Israel.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Ahead of US visit, Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as Jewish state

U.S. State Department says spokeswoman says that while U.S. recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, the Palestinians do not have to do so in a peace agreement • Abbas: Israeli pressure does not concern me.

U.S. President Barack Obama with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in March 2013 [Archive]
Photo credit: AP

The Great Demography Debate

Yisrael Ne'eman
Whenever there are serious discussions concerning conflict resolution between Israel and the Palestinians the Israeli/Jewish side of the table suddenly finds itself confronting the ten year old debate over how many Palestinians really do live in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).  There is no intent to bore readers to tears with long demographic explanations but a few statistics are in order.  In 2004 the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimated the population of the West Bank to be 2.42 million and of the Gaza Strip to be 1.41 million (total 3.83 million Palestinian Arabs).  These statistics were challenged in a survey by the Bar Ilan Begin-Sadat research center entitled "The Million Person Gap: The Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza" which claimed these numbers to be inflated.  They cited the West Bank population as 1.41 million and Gaza at 1.08 million (total 2.49 million).   This issue of demographics is seen as crucial since Israel is confronted with making peace whereby a two-state solution was and continues to be widely discussed in what is generally described as politically Left and Centrist forums.  In much of the Right (but not all) and especially religious circles a one state solution is advanced as the preferred option.