Intruding drone over Golan Heights, likely Russian. IDF not notified

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On June 16, the IDF announced the start of a three-day military exercise the following day.

As it began after 17:00pm on June 17, an unidentified UMV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) crossed in from Syria and flew over the Israeli Golan and Upper Galilee for nearly an hour. The small craft had every opportunity to photograph and collect intelligence information on most of the IDF units taking part in the drill and their intelligence resources and beam them back to its operators in Syria.

The IDF hastened to state that the aircraft had been locked into Air Force surveillance all this time and was targeted by three missiles, two Patriot anti-air projectiles and an air-to-air missile of undisclosed type.
They all missed.

This is not surprising: using such missiles to down a UMV is like directing a heavy missile destroyer to swat a small shark. Its chances of hitting a tiny target are close to zero.

DEBKAfile’s military sources say that the use of missiles seems to indicate that someone in the IDF chain of command decided, after losing hope of hitting the intruder, to produce a big bang to frighten it off.
It has to be assumed that the Russian radar systems deployed in Syria spotted and tracked the episode. The Russians must have taken note of the UMV crossing from Syria into Israeli air space and the length of time it was free to linger over the Upper Galilee. They were certainly aware that three Israeli missiles failed to hit their target.
As far as we know, none of the Russian-Israeli coordination mechanisms in place for coordinating their aerial activity over Syria was activated. The Russian command did not warn Israel that an alien UMV was on course to cross its border or offer to help capture it once it returned to Syria.

In other words, the Russians must have known what was going on, as well as the identity of the drone, but kept quiet and let it happen.
This raises the possibility that the UMV was Russian.

This likelihood must be taken into account in the light of another event: just two days earlier, a covert agreement on aerial cooperation between the US and Russia in the Syrian arena was concluded in Moscow by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources analysis commented then: “Direct intelligence cooperation in Syria between the two powers will make the Israeli intelligence system in Syria redundant and weaken its sources and standing.” The UMV episode Sunday demonstrates that the Moscow deal has gone into effect. It is now up to Israel’s military chiefs to take the new reality on board and start adapting.

Original Article: Debka.com

Israel warns UN: Hezbollah has 120,000 missiles aimed at us

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Danon reveals new intelligence about Hezbollah to UN Security Council.

Hezbollah now possesses 17 times the number of missiles it did 10 years ago when UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was adopted at the end of the Second Lebanon War, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Council Tuesday.

Hezbollah now has “more missiles below ground in Lebanon than the European NATO allies have above ground,” Danon said as he presented recent IDF intelligence about the terrorist organization to the Security Council, including aerial photographs revealing Hezbollah positions and statistics about the organization’s weapons stockpiles.

Hezbollah now possesses about 120,000 missiles, compared to 7,000 10 years ago, Danon said.

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The Israeli mission to the UN told The Jerusalem Post the intelligence was classified and cleared by the IDF especially for use by Danon during the meeting.

Tuesday’s meeting – which discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the conditions in Lebanon a decade after Resolution 1701 – called for “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State.”

As he presented the new intelligence to the Council’s members, Danon said: “When the war ended, this Council pledged that Hezbollah would no longer be allowed to threaten Israel and hold the people of Lebanon hostage.

“I have the unfortunate task of informing this Council that 10 years later, the situation has gone from bad to worse. The government of Lebanon never stopped Hezbollah, and Hezbollah never stopped its military buildup,” he said.

Danon’s aerial photograph, which was distributed to the Council members, showed the village of Shaqra in southern Lebanon, where a Hezbollah rocket launcher, an infantry position and ammunition depots hidden between homes and close to schools and a mosque could be seen.

“This is exactly what we mean when we say that Hezbollah is committing a double war crime,” Danon told the forum.
“Not only are they attacking Israeli civilians, but they are using Lebanese civilians as human shields to defend their terror activity.”

“Let me be clear. Should Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, make the miscalculation that it did in 2006, Israel will be ready to defend its citizens in the most vigorous and forceful way possible,” he stated. “We demand the removal of Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who concluded his 11th visit to the region last month, joined the Security Council meeting and urged Israelis and Palestinians to “immediately begin discussions with the Quartet” and implement the recommendations in the group’s recent report, which highlighted threats to a two-state solution including violence, terrorism, and incitement, as well as Israel’s policy of settlement expansion.

He also pointed a finger at Israel for the closure of Hebron following the attack on a Jewish family in the area earlier this month, which he described as “collective punishment,” and denounced Israel’s plans to advance building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant disregard of international law.”

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour accused Danon of focusing on the Lebanese threat to “divert attention from the main aspect of the conflict, which is the denial of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the perpetuation and continuation of the occupation.”

“He doesn’t want to face this global consensus that says that these are the core issues and Israel has to abide by them,” Mansour said.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Senate report charges NGO of using U.S. taxes in anti-Netanyahu campaign

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The Senate subcommittee on investigations published a report on Tuesday finding that OneVoice, an international non-profit organization once funded by the State Department, actively campaigned against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Israel’s 2015 parliamentary elections.

Their campaign was funded in part by their State Department grant, the report found.

OneVoice entered headlines in 2015 after absorbing V15, an Israeli group that actively campaigned against the Netanyahu government.

One year earlier, OneVoice had successfully secured a $300,000 State Department grant.

V15 founder Nimrod Dweck responded by highlighting the conclusion of the report – that State Department funds allocated to OneVoice were not used during the period of V15’s campaign.

“The campaign was funded solely by private individuals, Israelis and Jews in Israel and abroad,” Dweck said.

OneVoice defended itself, noting in a statement that the Senate report found the group in full compliance with the terms of its grants.

“The subcommittee ‘found no evidence that OneVoice spent grant funds to influence the 2015 Israeli elections,’” OneVoice noted, quoting from the report. “The subcommittee also praised OneVoice for its cooperation and for being ‘forthright’ with the State Department about its work.”

“The State Department grant concluded before Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu issued his surprise call for early elections,” they added. “OneVoice will continue its important work promoting peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Aron Shaviv, the Likud’s strategist in the 2015 election, said the report proved that his party faced more than the Zionist Union in the race.

Shaviv highlighted on his Twitter feed the parts of the report indicating that the infrastructure used against Netanyahu and the strategy for defeating the prime minister were developed during the State Department grant period, and that top officials at the US Embassy were aware of V15’s plans.

“We went up against Obama’s team and won!” Shaviv wrote on Twitter.

Shaviv said Israeli authorities should investigate V15, because he believed the report proved that the organization broke multiple Israeli laws. He said a petition he filed against V15 in the Central Elections Committee should also be reopened.

A high ranking Zionist Union official mocked Shaviv’s statements.

“Bibi won because he incited against 20% of the Israeli population [Arab citizens] and lied to the public,” the official said. “Any other bragging by the Likud is not true.”

The Senate subcommittee found that OneVoice fully complied with the terms of its State Department grant, designing and executing “a grassroots and media campaign to promote public support for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations for the department, as it said it would.”

In 2015, State Department officials denied any knowledge of OneVoice’s campaign against Netanyahu, or any connection between that campaign and its grant funding.

“The subcommittee found no evidence that OneVoice spent grant funds to influence the 2015 Israeli elections,” the report concludes. “Soon after the grant period ended, however, OneVoice used the campaign infrastructure and resources built, in part, with State Department grant funds to support V15.”

The Senate report also says the State Department “failed to take any steps to guard against the risk that OneVoice could engage in political activities using State-funded grassroots campaign infrastructure after the grant period.”

Notably, this investigation was signed off by members of both parties – unusual for this type of Senate report. Subcommittee chairman Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and member Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) drew different conclusions from the same findings, however: Portman said that the State Department “ignored warning signs” of OneVoice’s political activism, while McCaskill highlighted the fact that the report found no wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration.

Likud MK Yoav Kisch, who initiated bills against V15, said the report was a scandal and proved that “the American government blatantly tried to overthrow the Israeli government with money.” He vowed to pass his bills to prevent future efforts.

Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin said the report proved the need for the NGO bill that passed into law Monday night to protect Israel from the “blatant interference of foreign governments and their dangerous plans for us.”

Netanyahu did not respond to the report.
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

UNESCO: vote on Jewish connection with the Temple Mount

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A joint Jordanian-Palestinian draft decision denying Jewish affinity with the Temple Mount, including the Western Wall, set to be voted on during annual UNESCO meeting: Draft accuses Israel of misconduct on the mount including deliberate vandalism: Foreign Ministry says document is ‘malicious and dishonest.’

The subject of the Jewish connection with the Temple Mount has once again been returned to the UN as Palestinians and Jordanians seek to repudiate Jewish affinity with any part of the compound.

The Israeli foreign ministry and Israeli embassies around the world are currently dedicating significant efforts to undermine the acceptance of the draft decision in UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which also accuses Israel of causing damage to holy Islamic sites.

The draft decision is supposed to be voted upon by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO which meets once a year and consists of 21 representatives from the affiliate states.

Israel is seeking to exert greater pressure on the member states in an effort to prevent a recurrence of what took place in April when the committee unilaterally condemned “Israeli aggression on the Temple Mount,” and disregarded all Israeli or Jewish claims over the area, including the Western Wall.

The draft decision presented by the Palestinians and Jordanians includes a number of problematic points in relation to Israel. Firstly, the draft calls on Israel to return the Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa mosque to “the historic status quo,” a new phrase implying that the sites should be returned to their pre-1967 status.

The recommendations constitute another attempt to remove any Jewish presence from the Temple Mount. Moreover, the text repeatedly refers to the entire compound as an exclusively holy Muslim site and makes no exception on the issue of the Western Wall. In October 2015, a similar attempt failed when brought before UNESCO.

Throughout the entire document, Israel is repeatedly alluded to as an occupying force on the Temple Mount while being accused of breaching international treaties such as the Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention. According to the claims, Israel is causing damage to historic buildings on the mount, to gates, windows and to ceramics while simultaneously preventing repair and renovation projects initiated by the Jordanians.

According to Israeli officials, there is also an attempt to compose an indictment against Israel vis-a-vis its activities on the Temple Mount which will be presented to the Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague.

The Israeli ambassador at UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, said in response, “Anyone who thought that after the criticism voiced by Israeli and international Jewry against this decision and the recanting of the heads of state and foreign ministers around the world following the last decision that Palestinians would come to their senses need to come to their senses and internalize this complicated reality.”

“We have made a concerted diplomatic but the voting will be conducted by a secret ballot and the rules of the game are well known: Palestinians almost always have a majority.”

The foreign ministry released a statement slamming the Jordanian-Palestinian initiative: “The document that was presented to UNESCO is an another malicious and dishonest attempt to harm Israel’s affinity with its capital,” the statement read. “This is a tendentious text and we hope that it is does not receive support from the member states. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the nation of Israel and of Israel’s alone.”

Original Article: YNet News

PJTN IN THE NEWS: Zionist Evangelicals Fight Back Against BDS Efforts Within Community

LCM UN WCICC

Zionist Evangelicals Fight Back Against BDS Efforts Within Community
The Christian Zionist organization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN) is responding to recent efforts by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel toward making inroads within the Evangelical Christian community. Last week, the organization screened its film, “Hating Israel: In Search of the Truth Behind BDS,” in Jerusalem launching the organization’s newest project aimed at delegitimizing the BDS agenda.
“The goal is to expose the BDS movement as the latest platform for delivering anti-Semitism,” Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president and founder of PJTN, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Several Members of Knesset, clergy, and business leaders, attended the exclusive screening of the satirical documentary that details the journey of American comedian Brad Stine in his efforts to find the ‘truth’ behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“(Stine) was raised in a typical Evangelical home,” Cardoza-Moore explained to TPS. “He always knew that we were supposed to support Israel. But he was listening to what the media around the world was saying, accusing Israel of being an apartheid state, persecuting the Palestinians and occupying Palestinian land, and he wanted to know if there was any truth to these accusations.”

“So he decided to go on a journey to find out if there was truth behind what he was hearing,” she said.
The documentary, produced in a satirical faction, depicts Stine’s discoveries during his journey, speaking with experts as well as Israelis and Palestinians on the ground. It begins with a scene in which Stine absorbs all of the content critical of Israel on social media and prominent anti-Israel activists. Before Stine is able to conclude that “maybe the Jews are the problem,” however, a cartoonish “Facts Man” figure shows up on his screen encouraging Stine to view the facts on the ground for himself instead of listening to the press.
“Most of the millennial Christians have bought into the whole social media narrative and we’re finding that a lot of the millennial Evangelical Christians are not following the faith or keeping the traditional faith of their parents,” Cardoza-Moore said to TPS. “They look at the Palestinians as a persecuted people while Evangelical Christians have historically understood and known that Israel is fighting terrorists who are trying to destroy them and wipe them off the map.”

“The unfortunate reality is that many of these kids have already been propagandized through textbooks in US schools,” she continued. “When they get to university, they’ve already been propagandized for this narrative beforehand in the secondary school textbooks.”

Ultimately, Stine concluded that the BDS case against Israel was rife with inaccuracies. Much of the satire in the film directly ridicules many of the claims made by BDS, such as the charge that Israel is an apartheid state.

Despite the film’s humorous presentation, Cardoza-Moore argues that BDS is a serious concern facing the Evangelical Christian community.

“Unfortunately, the Evangelical Christians are now being targeted by the propagandists and anti-Semites who are accusing Israel of violating Palestinian rights,” she claimed. “And the narrative coming out of the Palestinian Authority as well as from Palestinian Christians like ‘Christ at the Checkpoint,’ or the Bethlehem Bible College, is that Jesus had more in common with the Palestinians. Some go as far as to say that Jesus was a Palestinian and that he was not Jewish.”.

Christ at the Checkpoint, an annual anti-Israel conference held over the last few years at Bethlehem Bible College, has attempted to make inroads within the Evangelical community by inviting a number of international Evangelical Christians. The aim is, according to the group’s website, to “challenge Evangelicals to take responsibility to help resolve the (Israeli-Palestinian conflict)” and to “create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the Evangelical theological spectrum.”

“We’re trying to combat their narrative because they are targeting the Evangelical Christian community saying, ‘You should be standing with your Christian Palestinian brethren and supporting us because we’re being persecuted,’” Cardoza-Moore explained. “So it’s very important that we communicate the true narrative to the Evangelical community.”

Meanwhile, Members of Knesset met with diplomats, journalists, and organizational leaders at the Knesset on Monday to discuss strategizing the best ways to combat BDS. Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister tasked with leading Israel’s anti-BDS strategy, called for Israel to go on the offense.

Cardoza-Moore emphasized her intentions to start her own initiative against BDS in Israel.
“We wanted to make sure Israelis know what we’re doing and we wanted to get the blessing and nod from Israelis themselves,” she said.
Original Article: Today News Line

In Africa, Lion King Bibi begins to outroar the Palestinians

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Offering high-tech and security know-how in return for diplomatic support, Netanyahu was welcomed like a superpower chief.

Ethiopia — A life-size stuffed lion greets visitors to the National Palace in Addis Ababa, lying on a red carpet adorned with Stars of David. Always aware of a good frame, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not pass up on the opportunity to have his photograph taken with the lion on the sidelines of his meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Thursday morning.

A few hours later, the country’s president, Mulatu Teshome, took his Israeli guest down to the palace garden, where they gazed at real lions. Netanyahu is the first statesman to have been allowed to get so close to the animals; even US President Barack Obama wasn’t granted this honor during his recent visit.

Posing for the cameras with President Teshome, as two lions strolled in the background, Netanyahu said the occasion gives new meaning to the verse “They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions” (2 Samuel, 1:21).

In Africa, Netanyahu could be forgiven for feeling like Lion King Bibi. During his four-day tour this week to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia — which required unprecedented security arrangements, including special forces and armored personal carriers brought from Israel on Hercules planes — he was treated like the chief of a global superpower.

In Entebbe, Nairobi and Kigali, he was received and bid farewell at the airport by the countries’ heads of state. They spared no effort to make him feel welcome: red carpets, white gloves, military marching bands, national anthems, honor guards, gun salutes and girls handing flowers to the first lady.

The capitals of Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia were adorned with large posters featuring photos of the Israeli prime minister — some alongside the local leader, some all by himself.

“It’s a very, very high profile visit,” said the anchor of a Ugandan news channel during a live broadcast Monday that followed almost every step Netanyahu took in the country. “It’s not every day that an Israeli prime minister visits Uganda.”

The next day, at a meeting of Evangelical supporters of Israel in Nairobi, a shofar was blown to mark the momentous occasion — the first visit of an Israeli prime minister to sub-Saharan Africa in three decades, and the first ever to Kenya. “He’s a hero in our eyes,” a local Zionist declared.

Netanyahu’s relatively underwhelming 12-minute address Thursday to lawmakers in Addis Ababa — in Africa’s oldest parliament — garnered a somewhat less enthusiastic response than his controversial anti-Iran deal speech at the US Congress last year. But his African adventure was a walk in the park compared to the lion’s den he’s grown accustomed to entering in Washington and in capitals across Europe. In Africa, no one’s much bothered by new housing units in East Jerusalem or controversial legislation to rein in left-wing NGOs.

New alignments
As Netanyahu noted in speech after speech, and briefing after briefing, many parts of the continent want to get closer to Israel, mostly because they are interested in two things: Israeli technology — especially in the fields of agriculture, water and cybersecurity — and Israeli security know-how.

Africa and Israel have had a rollercoaster past, but in an age of escalating terrorism many leaders in this continent have concluded that they can no longer afford to show a cold shoulder to the Jewish state. Netanyahu stressed the point at his press conferences; his hosts readily echoed the message.

If Africa has much to gain from Israel, Jerusalem in return expects the continent to help Israel break out of its international isolation. But it’s not only Israel’s prowess in high-tech and counter-terrorism that have enabled the new romance with Africa. It was the Arab Spring and the crumbling of hitherto powerful states that allowed for the realignment.

“We think that the world has changed,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday at a joint press conference with Netanyahu. “Global problems that we now share are different than what they were some 30 years ago. And we need to partner with each other. We need to deal with the security threats we have together.”

As he landed Friday morning in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu could claim several concrete diplomatic achievements: Tanzania announced its intention to open its first-ever embassy in Israel; the leader of a (yet unnamed) Muslim African nation that does not have diplomatic ties with Israel spoke to him by phone and agreed to meet in the near future; and several East African countries publicly promised to push for Israel to be granted observer status at the African Union. For years, African leaders have said they support Israel’s bid to regain observer status, but they had made no previous public commitments to make it happen.

Israel lost its observer status at the AU in 2002 and recent efforts to regain it failed mainly due to objections from South Africa. But the organization’s chairmanship, currently held by a South African, is changing in a few months, and this could provide Israel with a golden opportunity to rejoin the group.

Regaining observer status at the AU “has very great significance for us,” Netanyahu said Tuesday in Kenya. “Africa is a continent with 54 countries. The possibility of changing their position and their attitude toward Israel is a strategic change in Israel’s international standing.”

Remaking the international balance
Specifically, Netanyahu is bidding to change the balance of power in the way the world relates to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The Palestinians, frustrated by decades of deadlock, have in recent years tried to internationalize the conflict. Blocking this effort was a central goal of this week’s mission to Africa.

While Israel’s traditional allies — the US and Europe — pressure Israel to make peace with the Palestinians, organizing international peace summits and threatening sanctions, Netanyahu sees Africa as a potential savior. If they vote as a block, Netanyahu’s thinking goes, they can help break the Arabs’ automatic majority in international forums such as the UN.

“It might take a decade, but we will change the automatic majority against Israel. That’s something that has never been possible in the past,” Netanyahu told the traveling press on Monday night as his plane headed into Kenya.

“My goal is to talk directly and seriously with the Palestinians. But that’s impossible because they are escaping to international forums where they have an automatic majority,” he said the next day at a briefing in Nairobi. Rather than to negotiate directly with Israel, the Palestinians choose to unilaterally turn to international bodies to advance their statehood bid, the prime minister lamented.

His policy to expand Israel’s foreign ties, he argued, “will lead to a situation in which the Palestinians will no longer have this shelter and will have to discuss with us on a bilateral basis, something they refuse to do it as long as they have the international refuge.”

The ultimate goal, Netanyahu told reporters Thursday, is to create a counterweight to the traditionally Israel-critical Non-Aligned Movement — in the shape of a new “movement aligned with Israel.”

The prime minister knows his vision of all or most African nations voting with Israel won’t be realized tomorrow. It’s part of a long-term strategy the fruits of which might become visible only years from now — or even decades. But his visit to this continent underlined that Netanyahu has decided to make a determined effort to tap into the vast potential Africa holds for Israel. And as he made clear to the Israeli journalists who traveled with him through Africa, he’ll be back.

Original Article: The Times Of Israel

RWANDA: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu─A few houses in Ma’ale Adumim not preventing peace

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“The way to peace is through negotiations, we are willing to have direct negotiations, they are not willing to. That is preventing peace not a few houses in Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu firmly rejected criticism of plans to build new housing in Ma’ale Adumim and east Jerusalem, saying at a press conference here that it was incitement, not the building of a few homes, that was holding up peace.

Asked about the new settlement construction plans, and the US condemnation of the move, Netanyahu said, “I know the US position, it is not new and not acceptable to us. Building in Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim is, in all due respect not, distancing the peace.”

Netanyahu said that the obstacle to peace is the “continuous incitement against the existence of Israel on any borders, and it is time that the nations of the world recognize that simple truth.”

And, he added, there is another simple truth, that the way to solve problems is through negotiations, which Israel is willing to do, and they are not.

“The time has come to world to recognize it. The way to peace is through negotiations, we are willing to have direct negotiations, they are not willing to. That is preventing peace not a few houses in Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim,” he said.

Netanyahu also addressed an issue that has not yet been raised publicly during his meetings in Africa: the plight of African migrants in Israel.

Netanyahu took issue with the characterization that they were seeking asylum, saying instead that they are “job seekers.” Israel, he said, has an obligation to “regulate its borders,” adding that it is the only country that brought black people from Africa not as slaves, but as free people.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame dodged a question about whether there was a secret agreement whereby Israel was repatriating African migrants to Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda. He said no issue was “taboo” to talk about between leaders, but he would not go into any detail.
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Israel learns of Hamas tunnel locations by uncovering cash-smuggling ring

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Israel’s Shin Bet security agency and Israel Police on Tuesday announced that they have gained intelligence on underground tunnel locations in Gaza as a result of June’s arrest of two Gazans who were smuggling cash into Judea and Samaria for the Hamas terror group.

Faiz Attar, 65, worked as a courier by smuggling tens of thousands of euros hidden in his shoes. Attar’s family was also involved with Hamas by digging cross-border tunnels and using a private home for Hamas meetings.

“The investigation revealed information about the openings of tunnels that were located, for the most part, under civilian structures such as innocent residences and mosques, as well as about launching points for rockets that were located close to civilian structures, thus endangering the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet said.

The second suspect, 27-year-old Itallah Sarhan, was caught trying to smuggle 10,000 euros in his shoes. Sarhan also worked as a truck driver for a company that cleared sand from tunnel-digging sites for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Investigators learned about several tunnel excavation sites through Sarhan’s interrogation.

“He divulged considerable information about openings of tunnel shafts including their exact locations and conditions, and the terrorist organizations responsible,” the Shin Bet said, adding, “The State of Israel allows, on a monthly basis, the entry of thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip for humanitarian medical and other needs. More than once, terrorist elements have exploited these permit holders for illegal purposes including the transfer of cash for terrorism.”

 
Original Article: JNS.ORG

Somali president recently held first-ever meeting with Israeli PM

 

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More talks expected soon, says official close to President Mohamud, leader of East African Muslim country that never recognized Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently met with the president of Somalia in a first high-level contact between the two countries, a source close to the Somali leader told The Times of Israel.

Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the East African nation, which has a population of some 11 million. Somalia, a mostly Sunni Muslim country and a member of the Arab League, has never recognized the State of Israel.

Two weeks ago, a report on the Caasimada Online, a news website operated by journalists opposed to the Somali regime, stated that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and three other Somali officials came to Tel Aviv on a short visit and met there with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

A senior official close to Mohamud confirmed to The Times of Israel that the meeting took place, though the official could not say whether it was held in Tel Aviv.

Another meeting between the two leaders is planned for the near future, the senior official said.

The source said there was also a lower-level official meeting in Jerusalem in December, involving representatives from the Israeli economy ministry and officials from Somalia.

Mohamud, who took office in 2012, is considered by some to be a reformer. In 2013, he was featured in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. “The leader of Somalia’s first constitutional government in 20 years, President Mohamud symbolizes an increasingly confident Africa that is shedding its long history of strife and moving toward greater stability and prosperity,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame wrote at the time.

Israeli officials on Tuesday refused to comment on the matter. Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold said he could neither confirm or deny it.

Netanyahu is currently on a tour through four countries in Eastern Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia, which borders Somalia.

 

Original Article: Times Of Israel

Yeshiva head shot and killed, 3 family members in serious condition

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Wife of Otniel’s Miki Mark in serious condition, 2 teens also hurt in terror attack; troops search for shooters, security cabinet set to convene Saturday.

A rabbi who heads a West Bank yeshiva was killed Friday afternoon and his wife and children were injured when their family car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle and overturned, south of the West Bank city of Hebron.

The victim of the terror attack was named as 48-year-old Miki Mark, director of the yeshiva in nearby Otniel. Mark, a father of ten and the cousin of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, had lived in the settlement with his family for years.

Mark’s wife was seriously injured in the attack near Beit Hagai on Route 60. Their 14-year-old daughter was in moderate-to-serious condition and their 15-year-old son was lightly injured. Earlier reports of an infant in the vehicle were apparently mistaken.

An initial investigation indicated the terrorists passed the family’s car with their vehicle, then opened fire at them. Officials said over 20 bullet holes were found in the victims’ car.

The victims were taken Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem for treatment. The wounded woman sustained serious head injuries from the gunfire. She was unconscious and respirated as she was hospitalized, Magen David Adom said.

It was not immediately clear how many were injured from the initial gunfire and how many were hurt in the ensuing accident.

Hamas praised the attack, with an announcer on its TV channel saying it was a response to “crimes against the Palestinian people,” according to Army Radio. The group did not claim responsibility for the shooting.

Security forces were searching the area for the perpetrators, who fled the scene after the attack, the army said in a statement. Army officials said they had ordered an effective closure of Hebron to prevent further attacks.

Following the attack the security cabinet scheduled an emergency meeting for Saturday evening to discuss recent events.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement he believed the cabinet should meet on Friday evening, and not postpone.

“Terrorists do not keep Shabbat,” he said. “Failure to respond severely after an attack will lead to another attack.”

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called for a national state of emergency. “We must understand that we are in a state of all-out war and act accordingly,” he said. “We must declare a state of emergency.”

The attack comes a day after a 13-year-old girl was killed in her home at the Kiryat Arba settlement adjacent to Hebron.
Original Article: The Times Of Israel

Israel to deduct Palestinian terror funding from tax fees it hands to the PA

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It is one of a number of measures Israel took on Friday in response to the twin terror attacks, that occurred some 15 kilometers from each other in the area of the Palestinian city of Hebron.

To stop the Palestinian Authority from making payments to terrorists and their families, Israel plans to deduct that sum from it’s monthly transfer of tax fees to the Fatah led government in the West Bank.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the transfer of those fees be halted in response to two deadly terror attacks in a 48-hour period that claimed the lives of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, and Rabbi Michael “Miki” Mark, 48, who is a father of ten children.

“The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to terrorists by various laundering methods; the more severe the acts of terrorism, the greater the amount of funds,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement it issued on Friday.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered that the entire amount of support for terrorists and their families be deducted from the tax revenues that Israel transfers monthly to the Palestinian Authority,” the PMO said.

“Israel believes that the encouragement of terrorism by the Palestinian leadership – in the form of both incitement and payments to terrorists and their families – constitutes incentive for murder.” the PMO said.

It is one of a number of measures Israel took on Friday in response to the twin terror attacks, that occurred some 15 kilometers from each other in the area of the Palestinian city of Hebron.

The IDF imposed a closure on that city.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and Education Minister Nafatali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) both demanded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu call an emergency meeting of the security cabinet on Friday.

“We must understand that we are in a war and must act accordingly. A state of emergency must be declared, legislation allowing the expulsion of the families of terrorist needs to be promoted and we need to take steps to crack down on those who incite terrorism,” said Katz who is a member of the Security Cabinet.

Bennett called on the IDF and the government to force the families of the terrorists to pay a hefty price for the actions of their relatives.
“We can’t continue to rely on a policy of closures and the withholding of tax fees,” Bennett said.

Even when the tax fees are withheld, the families of the terrorists continue to receive payments from the PA, Bennett said.

The family of Muhammad Tarayrah, 17, who killed Hallel Yaffa Ariel on Thursday will already get such funds in August, Bennett said.

He proposed a number of new punitive measures in additional to home demolitions such as for the families to be exiled and or imprisoned. In addition, he suggested the demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes that have been constructed illegally in the West Bank.

Facebook and or the Palestinian 3G network could be shut down, a move that would be an effective way to combat Palestinian incitement on social media, Bennett said.

Palestinian traffic could be halted all together on Route 60, where Friday’s attack occurred, Bennett suggested.

The IDF could arrest all Hamas activists and or re-arrest all Palestinians freed from jail as part of the deal to free Gilad Schalit in 2011 but who have committed crimes in the last two years, Bennett offered.

The IDF could restore full operational activity in Areas A and B of the West Bank, Bennett said.

He also called for the construction of two new neighborhoods in the Kiryat Arba settlement.
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Arab Knesset member looking at impeachment calls IDF soldiers ‘murderers’

kmhz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said he will examine the possibility of having Arab Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi impeached following a speech in which she called Israel Defense Forces soldiers “murderers.”

Netanyahu spoke to Israel’s attorney general “to examine the process of ousting Zoabi from the Knesset,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

“In her actions and her lies, [Zoabi] crossed every line and there is no room for her in the Knesset,” wrote Netanyahu.

Zoabi, a member of the Joint Arab List political party, also demanded that Israel apologize to “political activists” who participated in the 2010 Gaza flotilla that was intercepted by the Israeli Navy while it attempted to breach the Gaza blockade. Nine Turkish militants were killed in clashes after the Israeli commandos who boarded the flotilla. The newly reached Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal includes $20 million in Israeli compensation for the families of the Gaza flotilla casualties.

Herself a passenger on the flotilla in 2010, Zoabi claimed that Israel agreed to compensate the families because the nine Turks were “murdered.” She also said the reconciliation deal is an admission of guilt by Israel with regards to the flotilla incident.

A shouting match ensued between Zoabi and a number of Knesset members. Zoabi was removed from the stage and three complaints were filed against her with the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.

Zoabi has been previously suspended from the Knesset for four months over meeting with terrorists’ families. She is planning to participate in a women’s flotilla to Gaza in September.
Original Article: JNS.ORG