Israel to Guterres: UN must understand that Iran and Hezbollah must be stopped

From Israel Hayom:

Israel will present U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres with updated intelligence information on Iranian and Hezbollah activity in the region when he visits Israel later this month, Israel Hayom has learned.

Guterres is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He is also scheduled to visit Ramallah, where he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Guterres is expected to visit the Gaza Strip, where he will take a first-hand look at the activities of U.N. agencies. Although Guterres plans to focus on ways to jump-start the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel would like the visit to deal primarily with issues such as Iran’s growing meddling in the region and Hezbollah’s actions in Lebanon.

In Israel, Guterres will meet with senior Israel Defense Forces officials, who will provide him with updated information on Hezbollah’s activity in south Lebanon. According to a recent IDF report, Hezbollah has been operating along the border with Israel for the first time since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. It has disguised its presence by making its structures and positions look as if they belong to a Lebanese agribusiness NGO called Green without Borders.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon has filed an official complaint over this activity, saying it is in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 that prohibits Hezbollah from having an armed presence in southern Lebanon. But the U.N. has yet to act on that complaint. Israelis officials will warn Guterres that letting Hezbollah’s activity go unchecked, particularly its buildup of advanced weaponry in breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions, could lead to an escalation.

Israel has recently shared similar intelligence with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. During her visit to Israel several months ago, Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi gave her a tour of the northern border during which she was briefed on Hezbollah’s efforts to disguise its activities along the border. During Guterres’ visit, Israel is expected to sound the alarm over Iran’s increased clout in the region in light of Islamic State’s losses and the recent de-escalation in the Syrian civil war.

Israel is concerned that Iran will be able to create a “contiguous zone of influence” of Shiite dominance from Iran through Iraq and Syria, which would increase the threat to Israel and the Sunni states in the region. Mossad Director Yossi Cohen said similar things this week when he briefed cabinet ministers on regional developments and said that current trends are not favorable to Israel and that Iran is filling the void left by Islamic State.

Cohen is expected to visit Washington in coming days along with Military Intelligence Directorate head Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi and the head of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at the Defense Ministry, Zohar Palti, to hold discussions on Iran.

They will ask the Trump administration to take more aggressive measures to check Iran’s activity in the region. A similar message will be conveyed when Guterres arrives, and he will also be asked to see that the Security Council take action to prevent additional Iranian weapon shipments from Iran to Hezbollah via Syria.

Guterres will also tour the southern border with senior officers. He will be shown the hundreds of trucks that go into the Gaza Strip every day with supplies, and will also see one of the cross-border tunnels Hamas dug into Israel. Israel will try to convey the message that Hamas is trying to take advantage of Israel’s humanitarian efforts to build its military strength. Guterres will be given information showing that Hamas has been preventing the United Nations from doing its task by misusing U.N. funds and facilities, preventing their use to improve the welfare of the Palestinian population.

She was ‘taught to hate Israel’, now she’s a Zionist

From YNet News:

Christian convert Sandra Solomon from Ramallah recalls jubilation in Arab society during the intifada ‘even when children were killed’; says prevalence of hateful education and vilification of Israel convinces her ‘Palestinians don’t want peace.’

A Palestinian woman, who is also the niece of one of the founders of the Fatah movement, recently stated her unequivocal disapproval of terror attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israelis, citing violent education as the root cause of the phenomenon’s continuation.

Sandra Solomon, a Palestinian born in Ramallah who converted to Christianity more than ten years ago and became a supporter of Israel, condemned the recent Halamish attack in which a terrorist broke into a home and killed three members of the Salomon family.

“The Palestinian terrorist who murdered a family on Friday evening in Halamish; where did he get the idea to enter a home and kill the people who were in there?” asked Solomon. “The young Palestinians who carry out attacks are already murdered from a psychological point of view by the education that is given to them.”

The 39-year-old Solomon, originally called Fida, is the niece of a Fatah official Sahar Habash who was a close confidant of Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat.

“As a child, I was brought up to hate Israel,” she admitted during a visit to Israel. “The most important thing to us was the liberation of the Al-Aqsa mosque, the liberation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the State of Israel.

“We watched the second intifada on television” she said as she recalled her childhood between Jordan and Saudi Arabia. “After every big terror attack—including when children were killed—candy was given out. The education that was given to me was that only Palestinians are the victims, that they are oppressed in this conflict and that the Zionists are the occupying criminals who took the land for themselves.”

The life changes Solomon underwent and her decision to turn away from the culture of hate instilled within her didn’t take place overnight.

Originally, she made the decision to convert to Christianity due to her criticism of Islam’s treatment and oppression of women and the lack of freedom of expression it offers.

“I didn’t agree to walking around with a Hijab (a veil worn by Muslim women) as women were obligated to do in Saudi Arabia,” she said.

After managing to divorce her husband after being forced to marry him when the two had a baby, she left for Canada with her little boy, where the two continue to live today in Toronto.

“When I explained to my family in Jordan that I had converted, my sister threw her suitcase to the street and threw me out of the house,” she added.

As a result, Solomon remains ostracized by her family as an outcast but the sense of foreboding can never fully diminish. “If they knew exactly where I was today, they would surely kill me. I know that,” she claimed.

During her time in Canada, Solomon was exposed to information about the Jewish people and Jewish history. “I started reading the Jewish bible and I realized that a long time before Muhammad and Islam Jews lived in the area. The power of truth changed me,” she continued.

So inspired had Solomon become from the material she was exploring, she decided to get two prominent tatoos in Hebrew saying, “Jesus is the messiah’ on her right arm and ‘Israel’ on her forearm.

Over the last few days, Solomon has been staying in Ramallah and says that while she has to be vigilant about displaying her tattoos in public, she does not fear the city’s streets.

Nevertheless, she has encountered experiences in which she has been the subject of abuse.

“A young Palestinian who saw my tattoos spat on me, but I’m not scared,” she said before highlighting the hypocrisy in Palestinian society of boycotting Israeli goods while using their essential products.

“Among Palestinians, there are calls to boycott Israeli products, but phones and medicines that are used by them are products of Israel,” she said.

Solomon says she recognizes Palestinians have a right to exists as an equal minority with rights granted under Israeli sovereignty, but she rejects the notion of a two-state solution.

“I don’t believe in a two-state solution because I see what happens in the Judea-Samaria. There are pictures hung in the streets of terrorists who are considered to be heroes. The Palestinian people don’t want peace, they glorify the intifada,” she concluded.

 

Palestinian Authority vows to wage ‘diplomatic intifada’ against Israel

From Israel Hayom:

Palestinian Authority has “lost confidence in the Americans as objective mediators” in the peace process, top Abbas aide says PA is determined to “isolate Israel [diplomatically] and make it as difficult for it as possible under international law.”

The Palestinian Authority is “pessimistic” about the United States’ ability to reignite the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, senior Palestinian officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks to promote the peace talks, which collapsed in 2014.

Arab media on Wednesday quoted several Palestinian officials, including chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, as saying the U.S.’s efforts are “redundant” because the Palestinians “have lost confidence in the Americans as objective mediators.”

Moreover, the Palestinians claim that both American and Israeli officials have essentially agreed that a peace process based on the two-state solution “no longer exists.”

A senior official in Abbas’ office said that the Palestinian president was “deeply disappointed” with Washington’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that the overall sentiment in Ramallah was that U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoys to the Middle East were biased against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel.

“Washington cannot be an objective mediator. The administration is totally biased in favor of Israel,” a senior Palestinian official said, adding that in the wake of Ramallah’s lack of confidence in the chances of a renewed peace process, the Palestinians plan to refocus their efforts in the international arena.

The Palestinian Authority plans to resume its appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where it plans to claim that senior Israeli leaders and military officers have allegedly committed war crimes, he said, adding that the PA would further pursue joining international organizations — a process that Abbas suspended when Trump was elected U.S. president.

Pledging to wage a “diplomatic intifada” against Israel, the official said the Palestinian Authority was determined to “isolate Israel [diplomatically] and make it as difficult for it as possible under international law.”

Commenting on the Palestinian Authority’s security collaboration with Israel, suspended during the Temple Mount crisis and resumed two weeks ago, Palestinian defense official confirmed coordination has been resumed, but stressed it was minimal.

“There is collaboration on specific issues. Right now, we are not pursuing full security coordination, not even gradually,” one Palestinian defense official said.

Another senior official noted that the Temple Mount crisis and the volatile atmosphere of the past few weeks have caused “deep distrust” between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

“In order to renew the diplomatic negotiations the parties must first rebuild trust. The message that will be conveyed to the American delegation is that Israel must first and foremost pursue confidence-building measures vis-a-vis Abu Mazen [Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority, and the Americans will have to guarantee that they are objective mediators and that they will adhere to the two-state vision.

“This is not the situation right now, and we will not stand for it,” he said.

GAZA: Israeli Air Force strikes Gaza terror targets after rocket hits Israel’s south

From Israel Hayom:

The IDF struck Hamas targets in northern Gaza Strip in the early hours of Wednesday morning in retaliation for rocket fire at Israel’s south on Tuesday evening.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement that “the Israeli Air Force struck two targets operated by the Hamas terrorist group in northern Gaza.” It added that as Hamas is sovereign over the Gaza Strip it will be held responsible for any rocket fire emanating from the enclave.

The Palestinians reported that three people were injured, including one critically, in Wednesday’s strike.

A Palestinian security source confirmed two Hamas posts had been hit, saying they sustained significant damage.

The projectile fired from Gaza on Tuesday struck an open area outside the coastal city of Ashkelon, causing no injuries or damage. Moments earlier, air raid sirens sounded in the area.

Security forces canvassed the area but have yet to recover the projectile.

Israel has seen occasional rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in the three years since its last war with Gaza’s Hamas rulers. Most have been claimed by Salafi groups in the territory.

JUDEA-SAMARIA: Palestinians assault 70 tourists by throwing rocks

From YNet News:

Group enters Binamin area near Halamish without receiving required approval from IDF, forcing troops to extricate them from attack by Palestinian rock-throwers; no one injured in incident.

The IDF was forced to extricate the group which, during their tour across Israel, entered the area near Neveh Tzuf, also known as Halamish.

No one was injured in the attack, but some were lightly struck by the rocks and damage was caused to some of the group members’ personal belongings.

According to the IDF, the group submitted a request to tour the area and proceeded to do so despite not receiving the required approval.

Since violent incidents against tourists in the Judea-Samaria are particularly common on Fridays, the IDF demands that groups do not enter the area without prior coordination and approval which includes a protected tour with regional commanders.

UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General planning to visit Israel

From Israel Hayom:

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres will pay his first visit since becoming U.N. chief to Israel and the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, at the end of this month, diplomats said Thursday.

Guterres will hold talks with Israeli leaders, meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, and visit the Gaza Strip, where the United Nations runs a major Palestinian aid program. The three-day visit will start Aug. 28.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said the visit will allow Guterres to “build a relationship” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will also hold meetings with the Israeli president and defense minister.

“We are very happy about this visit,” Danon said. “It’s a great opportunity for the secretary general to experience Israel, to meet the leaders of Israel and to understand the challenges that Israel faces day in and day out.”

Palestinian Ambassador to the U.N. Riyad Mansour described the upcoming visit as “very important,” indicating that it signals a stronger U.N. focus on the plight of Palestinians.

“The U.N. has been involved since its inception with the question of Palestine and will remain involved until the question is resolved in all its aspects on the basis of international law,” he told AFP by email.

The visit comes as diplomatic efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks appear deadlocked.

Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, “is experienced. He has been to Israel in the past. He knows the complexity of the issues. He is not someone who comes to our region and has no clue about what is happening,” Danon said.

He said the Israeli government will discuss with Guterres strengthening the mission of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, following a series of skirmishes along the U.N.-monitored demarcation line between Israel and Lebanon.

Since taking over from Ban Ki-moon on Jan. 1, Guterres has been cautious in his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, partly in response to U.S. and Israeli accusations that the United Nations is biased against Israel.

In March, he demanded that a report accusing Israel of imposing an apartheid system on the Palestinians be withdrawn. Guterres had initially distanced himself from the report, but the United States insisted that it be withdrawn altogether.

During the recent flare-up of violence in Jerusalem, Guterres called for de-escalation and respect for the status quo at holy sites.

ISRAEL: Shin Bet foils international Hamas funding mechanism

From Israel Hayom:

Almost $200,000 transferred to the Judea-Samaria for Hamas terrorist activities since operations began in 2016 • Shin Bet security agency says it will continue to “thwart this terrorist activity orchestrated by Hamas operatives abroad and in the Gaza Strip.”

A large-scale investigation recently uncovered a Hamas money transfer mechanism funneling cash from Hamas headquarters in Turkey and Gaza to operatives in the Judea-Samaria city of Hebron.

The investigation, a cooperative effort between the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security agency and the Israel Police, was placed under gag order, lifted Thursday.

The investigation revealed that the money transferring mechanism began operating in 2016, set in motion by Muhammad Maher Badr, a senior Hamas official in Hebron and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Badr recruited two messengers, Mussab Hashlamoun, a Hamas operative from Hebron who was sent to Turkey under the pretense of business, and Taha Othman, also a resident of Hebron.

Hashlamoun was instructed to transfer money from Turkey to Hebron to fund terrorist activities in Hebron, with much of the money designated for Hamas members in the Legislative Council. Hashlamoun was also told to transfer money to Hamas terrorists who were released from prison.

Two of Hashlamoun’s colleagues — his brother Yusri and Omar Kimri — maintained ties with Majed Jabah, a Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip, originally also from Hebron, who coordinated the transfer of funds from Turkey. Jabah was released from an Israeli prison in the 2011 prisoner exchange that saw IDF soldier Gilad Schalit freed from Hamas captivity in Gaza.

Hashlamoun and Othman met several times with Haroun Naser al-Din, a Hamas headquarters official in Turkey who was also released in the Schalit deal.

Naser al-Din gave the messengers tens of thousands of dollars to buy goods in Turkey. The two imported the goods through international delivery companies and sold them in Hebron. After deducting their fee, the profits from the sales were then handed to Hamas operatives in Hebron. As part of his operation, Naser al-Din told the messengers to speak to Hamas terrorists in Hebron and offer them money from the headquarters.

The investigation revealed that until it was exposed, the mechanism allowed for almost $200,000 to be transferred to Hebron. The investigation further revealed that Hamas planned to build a multi-million dollar cement factory to launder money for terrorism.

The Military Prosecution is expected to request indictments in the case in the near future.

According to the Shin Bet security agency, the “exposure of this infrastructure illustrates Hamas operatives’ constant motivation to step up Hamas terrorist activity in the Judea-Samaria. Hamas operatives in Gaza and abroad have been recruiting messengers, residents of the Judea-Samaria who travel abroad, for the purpose of transferring terrorist funds to operatives in the field.

“Quite often, Hamas operatives abroad recruit relatives of Hamas members in the field, or enlist the help of merchants and business people, who end up paying a steep personal and financial price for this activity,” the Shin Bet said.

“The Shin Bet security agency, in cooperation with the IDF and the Israel Police, will continue to take action to expose and thwart this terrorist activity orchestrated by Hamas operatives abroad and in the Gaza Strip,” the agency said.

Palestinian Leader Is Begging Israel For Lung Transplant Surgery That Would Save His Life

From The Daily Wire:

Saeb Erekat has spent the last 25 years of his life as a propagandist for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), slandering Israel with blood libels and accusations of genocide. As the chief negotiator and secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Erekat blamed Israel for all ills and implied that the Israelis are engaged in an active campaign to dehumanize Palestinian lives.

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called one of Israel’s wars in Gaza a “genocide,” Erekat defended his comments and doubled-down on the accusations. “Naming things by their name is not extreme,” he said in September 2014. “What do you think the actual reality is [for] the thousands of orphans, 91 families that no longer exist anymore in Gaza — that were terminated?” (It goes without saying that defensive Israeli actions — against Hamas terrorists using civilians as human shields — have sometimes led to collateral damage, but that doesn’t even come close to a “genocide”).

But now, after accusing the Jewish State of some of the worst crimes humanly imaginable, Erekat is banking on Israel to save his life.

Currently, he’s being treated for pulmonary fibrosis by Israeli physicians as he awaits life-saving advanced lung transplant surgery in Israel.

“The chief PA negotiator has been receiving additional treatment at a hospital in central Israel, but doctors have warned that his condition cannot improve without an immediate transplant,” reports The Times of Israel, citing a report in Ynet News.

At 62, Erekat’s life is in Israel’s hands. According to doctors, medications prescribed to treat his disease stopped working several months ago. Since then, the Palestinian propagandist’s condition has gotten much worse.

His only hope now is lung transplant surgery performed by talented Israeli surgeons, the same ones who purportedly stay up late at night and drink the blood of non-Jews with their matzos.

 

FRANCE: Macron Denounces Anti-Zionism as ‘Reinvented’ Anti-Semitism

From The New York Times:

Standing at a site from which thousands of French Jews were sent to their deaths during the Holocaust, President Emmanuel Macron of France on Sunday deplored his nation’s wartime role in abetting murder and pledged to fight a renewed tide of anti-Semitism.

Joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, as well as Holocaust survivors, the Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld and others, Mr. Macron commemorated the 75th anniversary of a roundup of Jews at the Vélodrome d’Hiver, or Vel d’Hiv, a Paris stadium.

“It was indeed France that organized” the roundup of 13,000 people at the stadium on July 16 and 17, 1942, he said. “Not a single German” was directly involved.

Some 77,000 French Jews died in Nazi concentration camps or extermination camps before the end of World War II, the vast majority of them at Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland.

For decades, many French have held on to the idea that their ancestors had been either victims or resisters of Nazis, or of the collaborationist regime that was set up in Vichy, France.

France Reflects on Role in Rounding Up Jews for Death Camps JULY 28, 2012

Marine Le Pen Denies French Guilt for Rounding Up Jews APRIL 10, 2017
President François Mitterrand, who worked as a low-level Vichy administrator before joining the Resistance, declared in 1992 that “the French state was the Vichy regime, it was not the Republic.” He argued, as his predecessors had, that the only legitimate representatives of France were in exile with Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who ran the wartime Resistance from London.

Ending decades of equivocation, President Jacques Chirac formally admitted France’s collective responsibility for wartime crimes, declaring in 1995: “the criminal folly of the occupiers was seconded by the French, by the French state.”

But the issue has not gone away. In April, Marine Le Pen, the far-right National Front leader whom Mr. Macron defeated in a May runoff election, declared that “France was not responsible for the Vel d’Hiv,” denying French responsibility and setting off a furor.

Ms. Le Pen later said that she considered the Vichy regime illegitimate, and believed that General de Gaulle had the legitimate power.

Mr. Macron condemned that argument. “Admittedly Vichy was not all of the French,” he said, “but it was the government and the administration of France.”

Mr. Macron’s comments came during a period of resurgent anti-Semitism in France, fueled by right-wing nationalism and by fundamentalist Islam.

Mr. Macron recited the names of victims of recent anti-Semitic and other extremist violence. Among them were Ilan Halimi, a young man who was tortured and killed in 2006; four people killed in 2012 at a Jewish school in southwestern France; and four people slain at a kosher supermarket in Paris in 2015. He also called for an investigation into the death of Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old woman who in April was thrown from the window of her Paris apartment, which some suspect an anti-Semitic motive.

In his remarks on Sunday, Mr. Macron went further than his predecessors in linking attacks on Jewish individuals with attacks against the Jewish state, calling anti-Zionism an updated version of anti-Semitism.

“We will yield nothing to the messages of hatred,” he said. “We will yield nothing to anti-Zionism, because it is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism.”

The French president called on Israel and the Palestinians to renew peace talks and warned that ongoing construction of Jewish settlements threatened the region’s chances for peace.

“I call for a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the framework of the search for a solution of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in recognized, secure borders with Jerusalem as the capital,” Mr. Macron said.

GAZA: FATAH CALLS FOR ‘DAY OF RAGE’

From The Jerusalem Post:

Palestinian leadership are reacting strongly to Israel’s increased security on Temple Mount.

Palestinian terror faction Fatah called on Palestinians to participate in day or rage on Wednesday in protest of Israel’s decision to place metal detectors in front of the Temple Mount.

Fatah Central Committee Member Jamal Muhaisen said that protest is necessary until the metal detectors are removed.

“What is happening in Jerusalem today is aimed at attacking the al-Aksa Mosque,” Muhaisen said at a meeting of Fatah leaders in Ramallah.

Following a shooting attack near the Temple Mount on Friday that left two police officers dead, Israel closed the site, which is holy for Jews and Muslims. Police reopened the site on Sunday, but placed metal detectors in front of its gates, which it says are meant for security.

Days of rage usually include protests in the main squares of Palestinian cities and near friction points with Israel.

However, the Palestinian Authority security forces often prevent protesters from reaching these friction points.

Fatah last called for a day of rage in April to support hunger-striking prisoners’ in Israeli jails.

Interview With Israeli Activist Hananya Naftali, Part I

From The Daily Wire:

Hananya Naftali is a social media influencer. With a combined Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube following of over 175,000 people from across the world, the 21-year-old Naftali uses his status to advocate for the state of Israel.

The following is part I of a fascinating two-part interview with Hananya Naftali.

As is the case with all Israeli citizens, Naftali was conscripted into the IDF after graduating high school. He worked as a combat medic during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, and was promoted to First Sergeant upon completion of his service.

It was his experience in the military that brought him to activism:

“I started after the Gaza war in 2014. As a soldier, and as an Israeli who actually fought in Gaza, I was irritated by what I saw in the international media — how they portrayed the Palestinians, and how they portrayed us, the soldiers, as monsters. These were lies. I told myself that if no one would tell the truth, maybe I could tell the truth about Israel as someone who was there.”

It was at that point that Naftali began his advocacy through social media — mainly on YouTube.

The International Media

“The way international media outlets like to cover stories from Israel is by portraying the Palestinian people as victims. For example, the Hadas Malka terror attack that happened at Damascus Gate. Obviously, Hadas is not a terrorist — she was a policewoman — and still, the media outlets chose the title: ‘Three Palestinians Were Shot Dead After Stabbing Attack.’ That’s true, but it’s twisting the story to make the readers think that we are the bad guys.”

On June 16, Staff-Sergeant Major Hadas Malka was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist while on patrol near Damascus Gate. She passed away shortly after being taken to the hospital.

“The same thing happened during the Gaza war,” Naftali said. “They were putting us in a bad light. They would say that we bombed innocent targets, that we killed innocent people — but Hamas is hiding in those buildings. They hide in hospitals, they hide in schools.”

Naftali recalled that as a tanker, his superiors told him verbatim: “Do not harm innocent civilians. That’s a command.” That said, he noted that “protecting Israel, stopping Hamas from entering Israeli territory, attacking civilians, and firing rockets” sometimes necessitated collateral damage.

“That was the reality. They were hiding their launchers in schools, hospitals — United Nations schools. Just a few weeks ago, the UNRWA reported that they found a Hamas tunnel under two U.N. schools. And that’s the reality.”

Hamas is known to deliberately base themselves in schools and hospitals in order to use Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Biggest Misconceptions

I asked Naftali what he believes are the biggest misconceptions the West has about Israel, and more specifically, the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic. His first answer pertained to the allegation that Israel is an “apartheid” state:

“I think there are some misconceptions. Claiming Israel is an apartheid state, and that we don’t give full rights to Palestinians is ridiculous. As a combat medic, I served in the West Bank — also known as Judea and Samaria — and most of the people I gave medical attention to were Palestinians.”

He also mentioned the freedom Palestinians have in Israel, but offered a dark picture of the dangers Israelis face in their own land:

“At five in the morning, I was able to see thousands of Palestinians entering Israel to work for Israeli companies. The Palestinians are free; they can go wherever they want. It’s actually Israelis who cannot go wherever they want. If you ever come to Israel, you’ll see signs that say, ‘Warning: Israelis Cannot Enter This Palestinian Area — and if you do, you endanger your life.’ So, it’s a complete misconception to say that Israel is an apartheid state. All you have to do is come to Israel to see the truth for yourself.”

Naftali next spoke about Israel’s wall:

“The second misconception I hear a lot relates to the wall — and it ties to the apartheid state. People say that Israel built a wall to stop the Palestinians. Some even say that Israel constructed the wall to build a ghetto where the Palestinians are. That’s not true. The wall was built to stop terrorists from invading Israeli territory and attacking Israeli civilians. The wall is not meant to keep the Palestinians inside a ghetto; it’s meant to stop terror, it’s meant to stop terrorists, and it’s very saddening that the Palestinian people are suffering because of the actions of Palestinian terrorists.”

“It’s a complicated issue,” Naftali admitted. “It’s true that Palestinians are living in the Judea and Samaria, and it’s not humane to just tell them to leave, and to kick them out. However, that isn’t Israel’s agenda. Israel’s agenda is to try to find a solution to live in coexistence. In the meantime, Israel’s agenda is to not let terrorists attack, and to stop President Abbas from funding terror.”

“My opinion on the settlements is that they are Jewish land. The Bible is not just a holy book for Christians and Jews, it’s an historical book. If you go to the West Bank, into Samaria, it used to be an ancient Jewish city — you can see the ruins there. If you go to Rachel’s Tomb, Hebron — which is populated mainly by Palestinians — it used to be one of Israel’s capitals in the ancient times. It’s obvious that Jews have lived in those places, in the land of the Judea and Samaria, but now many Palestinians live there. That’s a fact.”

While Naftali stated that “finding a solution is not easy,” he added that he doesn’t believe “settlements are an obstacle to peace.” This notion is bolstered by the fact that in the years following Israel’s unilateral evacuation of all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip, the area has been used as a launch pad for Hamas to strike Israel repeatedly.

A real obstacle to peace is “President Abbas giving aid money to terrorists,” stated Naftali.

Regarding the possibility of a grand compromise, Naftali reiterated his point that land exchanges aren’t the solution:

“At first I thought that giving up the settlements would be a solution. I used to live in a Jewish settlement in north Samaria, and in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to withdraw from that land, thinking that it would lead to peace. Obviously, it did not. We gave them land in 2005, and we don’t have peace in 2017.”

“Compromising over land will not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Honestly, I don’t know what the Israeli government would compromise on.”

Additionally, some things are simply off the table:

“There are certain things we must say ‘no’ to. Dividing Jerusalem is something that’s not even a right to negotiate. I think that Jerusalem should stay under Israeli sovereignty. On the other side, the Palestinian Authority must stop paying the families of terrorists. This would be a first step to negotiations.”

When I asked what, if anything, Israel should change about the way it operates, Naftali offered an intriguing answer:

“The only thing I would change is to stop being sorry for who we are. There was a point when we felt the need to provide explanations to the Western world, and I think that Israel should stop being sorry for what we do for the sake of peace, and for the sake of security in the region.”

Make sure to come back for part II, in which Hananya Naftali talks about Israel versus the politically correct West, anti-Semitism, and offers two incredible stories about how his videos changed minds and may have even saved lives.

Palestinian Authority Denies Treatment To Two Babies

From Haaretz:

Inter-Palestinian conflict prevents infants born with life-threatening conditions from receiving the necessary treatment in Israel.

Two babies born with life-threatening conditions died in Gaza this week after they didn’t receive permission from the Palestinian Authority to get medical treatment in Israel, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

The PA did not respond to the report, but did not deny it either.

Mus’ab Balal al-Ara’eer, a week-old infant, died in Shifa Hospital, Gaza City, on Monday. He was born with heart problems and other disabilities.

Dr. Allam Abu Hamda, head of the neonatal care unit at Shifa, said that because of his many problems, Ara’eer needed to be transferred immediately to a hospital in Israel. The infant’s family filed a request with the PA Health Ministry in Ramallah, in order to receive the financial commitment required for such treatment, but never received an answer.

Abu Hamda said he did not know to what extent it was possible to save Ara’eer but that, given his condition, no medical center in Gaza or the West Bank would have been able to treat such a severe and complex case.

On Tuesday morning, another week-old baby died in Shifa Hospital. Bara Mohammad Raban was born with a heart defect and also needed treatment in an Israeli hospital.

Abu Hamda warned that other infants who need immediate medical treatment are also at risk.

“What is going on is a crime according to all the parameters, and the international community and human rights organizations must intervene immediately to stop this behavior,” he said.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, released a statement Monday saying there were a number of urgent medical cases that required treatment in hospitals outside of the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of 2017, nine patients have died in Gaza, including three children, because of delays in receiving permission for treatment from the PA in Ramallah, Qudra said.

“Who is supposed to bear responsibility for those sick people?” he asked. “Why is the world silent, and why is there this apathy toward patients as if no one cares about their lives?”

Residents of Gaza say the PA has recently prevented patients from leaving the Strip for treatment in Israel, the Judea-Samaria and Jordan, as part of its dispute with the Hamas government in Gaza. Data from the nongovernmental organization Physicians for Human Rights support those claims.

Gazans told Haaretz that the Health Ministry in Ramallah has been delaying the financial commitment for such treatments for the past two months.

Treatments for about 300 patients – out of 3,500 requests – were approved in May, while the Health Ministry in Ramallah issued 2,040 such permits per month on average last year, the NGO said. The PA is preventing some 1,600 Gazans from receiving treatment that is not available in Gaza, including cancer patients and children, it added.

The financial commitment forms issued by the PA are the main way that Gazans are able to receive entry permits into Israel for medical treatment, and are required in nearly all cases.

Humanitarian programs do exist that provide funding and entry into Israel for medical treatment, but they cover only a small number of patients.

The Health Ministry in Ramallah denies altering its policy concerning Gazan patients, saying no change has been made in the number of financial commitments it grants them.