Israel Update: 24 April 2018
GAZAN ATTACKS ON ISRAEL USING FLAMING KITES CONTINUE
A warehouse in Israel’s south was badly damaged when it was set aflame on Saturday, after a kite equipped with a flaming rag that had been intentionally released by Gazans, landed on it.
Gazans sent four kites into Israel on Monday with flaming materials attached, causing extensive damage to a wheat field. Reportedly 25 acres of wheat were destroyed. A farmer who lives near the border said “We are dealing with a new, destructive and dangerous phenomenon that is gaining momentum. Almost every day, we see the kites flying towards us.” On Friday, Gazans flew a kite marked with a swastika carrying a petrol bomb into Israel.
IDF soldiers arrested two Gazans who crossed into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, armed with a grenade and a knife, on Tuesday morning. https://www.timesofisrael.com/2-armed-gazans-cross-into-israel-are-arrested/
The head of the Iranian army on Saturday said Iranian forces were working to “annihilate” Israel and predicted they would achieve success within 25 years. Speaking hours later Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned that the Lebanese terror group’s rockets could hit all of Israel.
Hezbollah is one of Iran’s main proxies in its fight with Israel.
The Israeli government informed the High Court of Justice Tuesday it had scrapped its controversial plan to deport tens of thousands of African migrants from the country, after Israeli authorities failed to cement an emigration deal with a third country. The government statement said existing deportation orders were cancelled and said migrants with expired temporary residency permits will be able to get their visas renewed… Israel considers most of about 35,000 African migrants to be job seekers and says it has no legal obligation to keep them. Thousands are concentrated in poor neighbourhoods in south Tel Aviv, an area that has become known as “Little Africa.” Their presence has sparked tensions with working-class Jewish residents, who have complained of rising crime and pressed the government to take action.
THE FIGHT AGAINST BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT & SANCTIONS
Youssef Haddad, now 32, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, joined the IDF at the age of 18 and served in the Golani Brigade. He was badly wounded in the 2nd Lebanon War (losing a leg) and upon his discharge found another way to serve his country: combating the BDS campaign and improving ties between Israeli Arabs and the state.”I believe that just as I contributed to the state militarily, I can contribute in the PR arena and expose the lies disseminated regarding the State of Israel,” he said.
The European Parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution that denounces Hamas as a terrorist group that uses human shields, calls for Israel’s destruction and “seems to aim at escalating tensions” at the Gaza-Israel border. The motion also calls for the release of Israeli citizens and the bodies of fallen soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza. The carefully balanced text also backs calls for probes into Israel’s use of live ammunition to fend off protesters at the border
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Israeli company Water-Gen, which has developed a generator that pulls water vapour from the air to harvest drinking water. The deal is “to advance atmospheric water generators as a viable technology for dramatically improving access to potable water during shortages or contamination events, like natural disasters,” such as last year’s hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Texas. Water-Gen’s technology is the most energy-efficient of its kind. It can reportedly generate a gallon of water for about 8 cents.
SPACE TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY
Israeli 3D printing technology developer Stratasys is teaming with Lockheed Martin Space to deliver next-generation 3D-printed parts for NASA’s Orion deep-space spacecraft. NASA’s EM-2 mission will go near the moon, with astronauts on board, for the first time since 1972.
A suit developed by the Israeli company StemRad to protect astronauts from radiation will be launched into space as part of a feasibility study for NASA’s Mars mission in 2021.The suit is designed to protect organs that are particularly sensitive to the development of cancer due to exposure to radiation
David Zarrouk, head of Ben-Gurion University’s Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab, has developed a robot that moves like a snake that he says would be ideal for agriculture (picking fruit), industry, search-and-rescue and even fixing, docking or refuelling satellites in outer space.
The Backstreet Boys performed in Israel this week.
COMMENT & OPINION
Bret Stephens: Adam Armoush, a 21-year-old Israeli Arab, donned a yarmulke on a recent outing in Berlin to test a friend’s contention that it was unsafe to do so in Germany. On Tuesday he was assaulted in broad daylight by a Syrian asylum-seeker who whipped him with a belt for being a Jew. There were nearly 1,000 reported anti-Semitic incidents in Berlin alone last year.
To be visibly Jewish in Europe is to live on borrowed time. That’s not to doubt the sincerity and good will of European leaders who recommit to combating anti-Semitism every time a European Jew is murdered or a Jewish institution attacked. It’s only to doubt their capacity.
There’s a limit to how many armed guards can be deployed indefinitely to protect synagogues or stop Holocaust memorials from being vandalized.
Jews cannot rely for their safety on the kindness of strangers. Hence Israel’s robust willingness to use force to defend itself. Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews
On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this – doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders.
The armchair corporals of Western punditry think the repeated use of deadly force to counter this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t. Their complaints provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment.
Denis Ross: In conflicts with Israel, Hamas seeks to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties in order to generate international opprobrium and make it harder for Israel to engage in its self-defence. Recent mass marches on the border fence with Israel are a case in point. With popular dissatisfaction with Hamas growing, the only thing to be done was divert attention to Israel. As one European diplomat told me, Hamas leaders acknowledge privately that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is the source of their current difficulties, but shifting the focus to Israel is a proven, if cynical, tactic.
Both Israel and Egypt control what can go into and out of Gaza. But Hamas leaders have little interest in breaching the Egyptian border, knowing the casualties would be high and the international response minimal.
Dominic Green: Israel has marked 70 years of statehood, reflecting the “Ingathering of the Exiles” as promised in the Book of Deuteronomy.
Nothing like this has happened in recorded history. No other post-colonial state has remained a democracy while granting its people a developed-world standard of living. In the IMF’s 2018 forecasts for GDP per capita, Israel is 23rd out of 193 states – just behind France and New Zealand, and just ahead of Japan and the UK.
Shimon Koffler Fogel: Hamas’ “great march of return” is a clear statement that the group maintains its claim to the entire land. To insist that Palestinian rights can only be realized by denying the rights of Israelis is to destroy any hope for peace. The international community often voices its desire for a negotiated two-state solution. Yet, these declarations ring hollow when the UN indulges the Palestinian leadership in its zero-sum mentality, as the Security Council did in its response to the clashes. The global community must recognize Hamas’ tactics for what they are: a cynical provocation designed to cause bloodshed and make peace even more elusive
Moran Stern:The ordinary Palestinian is not only politically weary, he is also increasingly alienated from his leadership and political institutions as venues to propel a meaningful change in his life. Under such circumstances, responding to Hamas’ calls to protest and risk one’s lives by marching towards the border makes little sense.