Israel Update: 1 February 2018
Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson addressing the C.F.I., praised Israel as a “beacon of light and hope, in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt”…Speaking of his visit to the country as a teenager, Williamson said: “I didn’t quite know what to expect of Israel. What I found was a liberal, free, exciting country that was so at ease with itself, a country that absorbed and welcomed so many people…” He condemned the often “completely unreasonable…sheer simple hatred” channelled towards Israel, adding that “Britain and Israel have an amazing relationship…We learn a lot from Israel and I hope that Israeli forces also [learn] a little from us.
NORTHERN THREAT FROM HIZBULLAH
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis has warned that “Lebanon has become – both by its own actions and omissions and by a blind eye from many members of the international community – one large missile factory.” noting that Hizbullah has built “terror infrastructure and factories to manufacture weapons under the nose of the Lebanese government.” He added “The past year has been further proof that Hizbullah serves as an operational arm of Iran”. Some 200 villages in south Lebanon have been turned into “military strongholds…I think it is right to warn the residents of Lebanon of the Iranian game in their security and in their future.” (And see Comment & Opinion below)
Two Palestinians wearing IDF-style uniforms were seen near a Jewish community in the West Bank on Sunday night. One was arrested but the second escaped. The IDF found 6 firebombs and binoculars nearby.
A Palestinian planning a terror attack was arrested Wednesday near a West Bank settlement holding a knife and a map of the Israeli community.
420 of the 1,027 Palestinian terrorists released in exchange for captured IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit in November 2011 have returned to terrorism and violence, according to a senior security official.
U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt visited the Gaza periphery to view recently uncovered terror tunnels that penetrated into Israel. He subsequently wrote: “Hamas wastes resources on tunnels & rockets to attack Israel, instead of helping the people of Gaza by getting the lights on, the water flowing & the economy growing.” Hamas “spews hateful rhetoric & foments a vicious cycle of violence. Gaza deserves better!”
Israel submitted a $1 billion plan for improving Gaza’s infrastructure at a meeting on Wednesday of donor states in Brussels. The plan includes building desalination plants, installing a new high-voltage line that would double the amount of electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, laying a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Gaza, and building a sewage purification plant and a landfill. Israel is willing to provide technology and know-how for these projects, but not to finance them
Israel is to allow power generators to be taken into the Gaza Strip to ease the current fuel crisis but has insisted on a series of security measures to ensure that they are not misused by Hamas and other terror groups.
Israel’s Water Authority signed an agreement with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company recently to supply electricity to operate a sewage treatment facility in northern Gaza. The $75 million project was funded by the World Bank and several donor countries. The facility is to become fully operational within two months and will serve 300,000 Gazans.Israel will also supply power to the $40 million EU-funded Khan Yunis desalination plant.
Rocket warning sirens went off in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip just after midnight Monday-Tuesday. Palestinian sources said the rocket fell inside the Gaza Strip
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories told ambassadors from EU nations that he “is shocked by their inaction and lack of interest regarding the humanitarian matter of IDF soldiers’ bodies being held by Hamas in Gaza. While Israel is working to alleviate the humanitarian situation for the people of Gaza*, it is only natural that we expect international pressure be applied to solve Israel’s humanitarian issue.” (*see items above re infrastructure, power etc)
For the first time the Council of Europe endorsed a resolution that called on Ramallah (the P.A.) to stop paying salaries to the families of Palestinian terrorists. It also condemned the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and called for an increased European role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Earlier this month, 1,000 doctors, scientists and rescue service members from 35 countries, including China, the U.S., Germany and Spain, participated in the 5th International Conference on Preparedness & Response to Emergencies held by the Israeli military home front command and the country’s health ministry in central Israel.
A Jerusalem-based company Lishtot Detection Ltd has developed the TestDrop, a key chain-like device that detects contaminants in water such as E. coli, lead, arsenic, mercury, copper and chlorine in just two seconds. All users need to do is point the device at a plastic glass filled with water and bingo: if the device lights up in blue, you have the all-clear to drink. But if the light is red, then stop because something is wrong.
130,000 tourists from overseas are expected in Eilat this year during the winter season, compared with 77,000 in the previous year. The number of weekly direct flights to Eilat increased from four to 40-50 over the past three years, including 17 from Russia, 10 from Germany, and 12 from Poland.
The Kooks, a British pop group, performed at two sell-out concerts in Tel Aviv last weekend.
COMMENT & OPINION
JPOST EDITORIAL: If, or – perhaps more accurately – when, war breaks out again on the northern border with Iranian proxy Hezbollah, the international community won’t be able to claim it was not forewarned.
Israel has been telling anyone willing to listen that Iran is entrenching itself in Syria and is developing precision missiles in Lebanon designed to be fired at Israel. And Israel has no intention of sitting by idly while Tehran does it…Whatever the reason, Hezbollah is dangerously overestimating its military capabilities, which makes it prone to stupid actions that are liable to drag southern Lebanon into another war. It is not too late for countries such as Russia and the US to avert another destructive conflagration in Lebanon that would force Israel to reestablish deterrence with Hezbollah at a terrible price to the Lebanese people. For this to happen, however, there must be a clear recognition that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are the ones escalating the conflict. In any event, if or when war breaks out again on the northern border, world leaders will not be able to say they were not warned.
Emmanuel Navon: Israel’s decision to expel illegal immigrants (and to redirect some of them to third countries) has aroused fierce criticism both in Israel and abroad. The debate about this contentious issue is welcome, but it must be fair and grounded in facts…In 2017, Israel expelled far more illegal immigrants from the Ukraine (3,361) and from Georgia (844) than from Ethiopia (40). Israel is the only country in the world that brought in Africans (Ethiopian Jews in 1985 and in 1991), not to enslave them but to make them free…Israel’s policy is consistent with international law and with the practice of other democracies, and it should not be judged by higher standards.
Gregg Roman: Abbas does not consider the lack of a Palestinian state to be the problem, but the reality of a Jewish state. This conflict will end only with the end of Palestinian rejection of the idea of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish People’s indigenous and ancestral homeland. This has informed their consistent repudiation of the creation of a state of their own if it means sharing part of the land with a Jewish sovereign presence. Every negotiation towards peace has failed because Palestinian leaders refused recognition of Israel and clauses such as “end of claims” and “end of conflict.” Both the 2000 “Clinton Parameters” and the 2007 Annapolis talks broke down because a Palestinian leader refused to end the conflict. In other words, the conflict will not end with the creation of a Palestinian state, or a removal of settlements and the presence of the I.D.F. in the West Bank. The Palestinians wish to pocket all of this and keep the conflict and their claims open, making all of Israel a future target