Israel Update: 23 May 2018
AIR FORCES CONFERENCE
Over 20 countries sent representatives, either the heads of their air forces or a deputy, to a three-day conference organized by the Israeli Air Force, the largest such event held in Israel in at least 20 years. Countries participating included the U.S.A., the U.K., France, India, Vietnam, Poland, Romania, Canada, Finland, Brazil, Holland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Belgium and Austria.
Several Palestinian terrorists crossed the border yesterday Tuesday, getting several dozen meters into Israel, and set fire to an abandoned IDF post before returning. The IDF attacked a Hamas terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday. Two additional targets of the Hamas naval force were hit. The IDF Spokesman’s Unit said the strike came in response to Tuesday’s infiltration, as well as “continued attempts to insert drones and kites into Israel for the purposes of terrorism and arson.”
EVENTS LAST WEEK ON GAZA BORDER (CONTINUED)
The Israeli army’s spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis condemned Hamas for “[lying] to the world” about the recent Gaza border riots and criticized international media outlets for accepting the falsehoods. He described the protests as Hamas-orchestrated “theatrics” targeting the international audience, adding that “The [IDF] had precise intelligence that the violent riots were masking a plan of mass infiltration into Israel in order to carry out a massacre against Israeli civilians. Hamas called it a ‘peaceful protest,’ and much of the world simply fell for it,”
Israel’s TV news reported that Hamas disseminated detailed directives via social media ahead of Monday’s violent clashes at the border informing protesters in which Israeli community each terrorist leader would be delivering victory speeches after the protests had achieved their stated goal of breaching the border.
Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that Hamas had reached an understanding with Egypt that the demonstrations along the border with Israel would continue but would not deteriorate into a military confrontation. Hamas will not stop the demonstrations altogether because it sees a winning formula for exerting pressure on Israel
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh denied Friday that Hamas made a deal with Egypt to end the border marches. He said protests would continue and vowed to personally lead them. The IDF said 1,000 Palestinians took part in clashes along the border fence on Friday afternoon and several thousand were in protest camps further back.
The EU announced it will provide 30 million euros to reconstruct the Kerem Shalom crossing – the main passage for diesel and other fuels into Gaza – following it being set ablaze by Palestinians themselves last week.
Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar had said in April that the point of the protests is to “tear down their (Israelis) border and tear out their hearts.” VIDEO:
Fire broke out in a kibbutz wheat field Saturday due to what appeared to have been another incendiary kite flown from Gaza. Locals said this was the fifth time that the wheat field had been set ablaze by kites over the past two months.
In a bid to counter kites flown from Gaza, Israel’s Defence Ministry purchased lightweight drones that tear into the kites, knocking 150 out of the skies in the last week alone. Watch this video of a drone in action:
Two Gaza residents were indicted on a series of terror charges on Monday for flying incendiary kites towards Israeli territory and setting fire to a field in Israel. On their way to set fire to another field, they were captured by IDF soldiers.
Israel Rejects UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry
It is clear to all that the purpose of the commission is not to arrive at the truth, but rather to impair Israel’s right to self-defence, and to demonize the Jewish state. Israel is acting legally and correctly in protecting its sovereignty and preventing the masses from charging the border with the aim of killing Israelis. Israel will continue to defend itself and its citizens against both terrorism and international bodies that attempt to hinder its right to defend itself. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said: “At a time when Venezuela lurches toward dictatorship, Iran imprisons thousands of political opponents, and ethnic cleansing has taken place in Burma, the UN’s so-called Human Rights Council has decided to launch an investigation into a democratic country’s legitimate defence of its own border against terrorist attacks. It is another shameful day for human rights.”
Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the UN Human Rights Council on Friday: “Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews everywhere, deliberately caused over 60 of its own people to get killed. They sent thousands of civilians to the front line – as human shields for terrorists trying to break through the border.” “I ask every country in this Council: You have all been telling us that Israel should have reacted differently. But how would you respond if a Jihadist terror group sent thousands to flood your borders, and gunmen to massacre your communities? Your failure to admit that Hamas is responsible for every drop of blood spilt on the Gaza border encourages their violence.”
UN aid work for Palestinian refugees is a stumbling block to peace in the Middle East, hindering the integration of Palestinians who have lived in Jordan and Lebanon for years, according to Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis… “Today it has become part of the problem. It supplies the ammunition to continue the conflict. By supporting UNRWA, we keep the conflict alive. It’s a perverse logic.”
I.D.F. & INCLUSIVITY
A programme designed to integrate young people on the autistic spectrum into the IDF – in fields where they have a relative advantage – is proving to be a “win-win” for all involved. The programme, now in its fifth year, teaches autistic youth to decipher aerial and satellite visual-intelligence images based on their enhanced visual ability and their tendency towards patience, which allow them to explore the minutest details, an intelligence officer explained.The IDF has received some 100 autistic volunteer soldiers so far
Following the example of Guatemala and the USA, Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes opened his country’s embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.
COMMENT & OPINION
(Col) Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, writing at the height of the riots, gave a clear explanation of the IDF’s actions:
Over recent days, I have visited IDF commanders and snipers at the border and observed their actions for myself. They have employed graduated measures, starting with warning Gaza civilians against approaching the border, by leaflet drops, phone calls, SMS and radio broadcasts. They even directly appealed to bus company owners not to bring people to the border.
When crowds still assembled and threatened the fence, non-lethal weapons including tear-gas and evil-smelling “Skunk” liquid were used. Despite the IDF’s deployment of drones to disperse these weapons more precisely, they are relatively ineffective in this situation
Next the IDF fired over-head warning shots and then disabling shots aimed at ankles and legs. Only as a last resort, in the face of immediate threat by terrorists with weapons and explosives, have soldiers shot to kill.
As a British soldier with 30 years’ experience, including commanding troops facing violent rioters with terrorists among them, I know of no other effective means of handling this situation.
Avi Issacharoff : One of Hamas’ well-known spokesmen, Salah Bardawil, said in an interview on Palestinian media that 50 of the 62 people killed on Monday and Tuesday were members of the group. One might have expected this statement … to resonate globally, and dramatically undercut Hamas’s claim that Israel murdered innocent people in cold blood, the narrative widely reported worldwide…But the same media that had rushed to publicize Israel’s ostensible “war crimes” gave little prominence to Bardawil’s admission…But Bardawil was correct. Numerous sources in the Strip confirmed in conversations with The Times of Israel that, when the names of those killed were made public, the vast majority were indeed Hamas members. This is not a state secret; the residents of Gaza know their names and details. But the global media circus has moved on.
Liel Leibovitz: When Israel withdrew every last soldier and settler from Gaza in 2005, only the most hardened cynics predicted that the end of Israel’s occupation of 1.3 million Palestinians would bring even greater misery to Palestinians and Israelis alike. The only way things could possibly get worse in Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal would be if the Palestinians themselves chose leaders who were determined to sacrifice the welfare of every single person living in Gaza to a hopeless yet continuing campaign of cross-border terror against Israel. Sadly, that is exactly what has happened. It is alarming that so many in the media and foreign policy establishment …chastised Israel for defending its borders from rioters who openly admitted that their goal was to randomly murder Jews. The position that the mobs attacking Israel’s borders were “protesters” is an equally cynical lie. To suggest otherwise is to ignore observable reality.
Gregory J. Wallance :(The writer is a former board member of Human Rights Watch) Human rights groups critical of Israel’s use of force to stop Palestinians from breaching the fence along the Gaza-Israel border fundamentally mischaracterize what is happening there. What the Palestinians call the “March of Return” is not the March on Selma, Alabama. This is a violent confrontation encouraged and led by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza and is bent on Israel’s destruction. Since the end of March, tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered weekly at the border. The majority stayed several hundred yards back, but hundreds approached the border fence, hurling stones, rolling burning tyres towards the fence, throwing Molotov cocktails, grenades and pipe bombs, and planting explosives. Demonstrators tried to tear down the fence so that tens of thousands of Palestinians could pour through, a nightmare scenario for Israel. Simply put, the human rights groups are wilfully blind to the fact that Hamas has no interest in living at peace with Israel and instead wants to destroy it by whatever means it can, including the confrontation at the Gaza-Israel border.