Israel Update: 10 May 2018
IRANIAN THREAT TO ISRAEL FROM SYRIA
Some 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military bases by Iranian forces in southern Syria just after midnight on Thursday, with some of the incoming missiles being intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system
After the Iranian rockets were fired, the IDF attacked more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria
Israel’s Defence Minister said that the IDF had hit almost all of Iran’s infrastructure in Syria adding that Israel “will not let Iran turn Syria into a base for attacking Israel….
BACKGROUND TO THE FLARE-UP
P.M. Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: “In recent months, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have transferred advanced weaponry to Syria in order to attack us both on the battlefield and on the home front, including weaponized UAVs, ground-to-ground missiles, and Iranian anti-aircraft batteries that would threaten air force jets.” He said that Israel will do what’s needed to block Iranian aggression, sooner rather than later adding “Nations that didn’t act in time against murderous aggression against them paid a much higher price later on,” “We don’t seek escalation, but are prepared for any scenario.”
A senior Syrian army official said Tuesday that “Israel targeted a Syrian army position south of Damascus.” The attack came after the IDF instructed Israeli communities in the Golan Heights to open public bomb shelters amid reports of “irregular Iranian movements” in Syria. The base attacked in Damascus housed Iranian forces…A correspondent surmised that the targets of Tuesday’s attack were missile silos and rocket launchers the Iranians took out of hiding and intended to use.
IRANIAN NUCLEAR DECEPTION
P.M. Netanyahu unveiled a massive cache of secret documents, weighing around half a ton, obtained in an exceptional Israeli intelligence operation, showing that Iran had developed a secret nuclear weapons programme and that it lied when it claimed otherwise.
Israel has briefed 22 nations on the nuclear archive.
The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, headed by former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector David Albright, said, “There is much new information about Iran’s nuclear weapons programme in this massive set of information obtained by Israel…Israel revealed a well-developed plan to keep the option of building nuclear weapons quickly in the future…”
A senior intelligence source said that before signing the nuclear agreement, Iran provided false answers to questions presented by the IAEA. Israel now has evidence that the Iranian declaration was false. The source also noted that the archive included detailed instructions and images for the production of a nuclear weapon, but they were not presented on Monday so that the information wouldn’t fall into unwanted hands.
A video released by Al-Jazeera last Friday 4/5 shows Gazans cutting through the security fence at the Gaza border and entering Israeli territory. On Friday, 70 Gazans were wounded by live fire during riots along the Gaza border fence, but no fatalities were reported
Dozens of Palestinian rioters broke into the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing on Friday evening, causing damage estimated in the millions to infrastructure, mostly to pipes providing gas and fuel to Gaza. Hamas officials in charge of security at the site pulled back and allowed the rioters to do as they pleased.
The previous Friday 28/4, drone footage of the Hamas riots, showed organized attempts to sabotage the last line of defence separating the frenzied mob and Israeli civilians. The rioters are only 400 yards from Kibbutz Kerem Shalom.
A member of Hamas was arrested by the IDF on Sunday morning at the Gaza border fence. A video shows the man climbing the fence under cover of fog and damaging a security camera.
PA President Abbas’ adviser on religious and Islamic affairs, said during a Friday sermon criticising Hamas: “The Marches of Return gamble with the lives of children and women, which does not serve Palestine. The leadership in Gaza… gamble on the life of the young, when they have many agendas and wish to revive themselves with the blood of our people.”
Most of the deaths of Palestinians during the Gaza border riots have resulted from snipers aiming at rioters’ legs when suddenly the person bent down, the shot missed, or a bullet ricocheted, a senior officer in the IDF Southern Command said. Open-fire directives only let snipers aim at the legs of those approaching the border unless there is an apparent intent to use weapons and threaten Israeli lives.
INCENDIARY KITE TERRORISM
A fire caused by a kite connected to a firebomb sent from Gaza burned 350 dunams (about 86 acres) near a kibbutz on Wednesday.2/5
A forest fire broke out in Israel on Sunday 29/4 due to an incendiary kite flown from Gaza.
A wheat field in Israel was set on fire by an incendiary kite flown from Gaza on Saturday 28/4
With the number of Palestinian arson kite attacks now reaching as many as 15 per day, the IDF is considering dramatically escalating its response after Israeli towns near Gaza experienced a large number of blazes. The army is determined to end the phenomenon before it sparks a fire that turns deadly in a populated area within Israel. Weather conditions in the area are dry, windy, and hot – ideal for fires to spread
Gaza’s flaming-kite squadrons worked for days to prepare hundreds of kites meant to carry incendiary devices into Israel on Friday 4/5. But the wind was blowing the other way.
Incendiary helium balloons released from Gaza on Monday caused fires in seven locations in Israel. One set a wheat field ablaze near a kibbutz. Another caused a forest fire. Farmers estimate the damage to their fields that caught fire near harvest time at hundreds of thousands of shekels.
The U.S. State Department continues to keep classified a report on Palestinian refugees from the Obama administration that determines that their actual number is around 30,000. Earlier this month, more than 50 members of Congress called on President Trump to release the report, as is mandated by U.S. law.
MINORITIES IN ISRAEL
Many members of minority groups are grateful to be living in Israel.
Shadi Halul, an Israeli Aramean Christian and a captain (res.) in the IDF, heads the Christian IDF Officers Forum, which helps recruit and support Christians serving in the IDF. “Israel independence is also my independence; I feel part of the country,” he said. “Thank God that… the Jews returned to their homeland and created freedom for the Jews and the Christians in Israel…since the Arabs even today do not recognize our Christian existence.”
The Knesset committee for Arab affairs has approved $5.6 million for the creation of technology parks within Arab towns in Israel. “The plan is expected to create conditions for the creation of thousands of new jobs” for Arabs in the high-tech sphere, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
With a collaborative effort between the non-profit sector, the Israeli government, and the tech industry, the number of Israeli Arab engineers went from 350 to 4,000 – a 1000% increase – in the past decade.
The Israel Electric Corporation has signed a 15-year agreement with the Palestinian Authority to transfer much of the West Bank’s power supply to the PA in a step toward granting the Palestinians more autonomy over their affairs. The IEC will construct four high-voltage power plants.
The Israel Defence Ministry released figures saying that some terrorists who killed Israelis will be paid more than NIS 10 million ($2.78 million) each throughout their lifetimes by the Palestinian Authority.
Guatemala’s embassy in Israel moved on Monday to its new location in Jerusalem. An official ceremony celebrating the move will take place on May 16, after the U.S. relocates its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Paraguay’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the country will shift its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, following the US and Guatemala.
ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY IN THE U.K.
Israeli cyber-security experts are helping to defend major banks and financial centres in Britain. One major Israeli cyber security firm said it currently worked with three of the four major UK banks. Another Israeli firm reported that it was working to secure critical infrastructure including hospitals and oil and gas rigs.
Simon Kindleysides, 34, became the first paralyzed man to finish the London Marathon. He walked the entire 26.2 mile course in 36 hours with the help of the ReWalk robotic exoskeleton suit, developed in Israel.
In 2012, Claire Lomas became the first paraplegic to complete the course (with the help of ReWalk) in 17 days.
A screening method that detects breast cancer more accurately and earlier has been developed by Ben-Gurion University and Soroka-University Medical Centre researchers
Israeli company PulseNmore Ltd. is completing development of a revolutionary handheld ultrasound device that will allow pregnant women to check on the health of their baby using a smartphone.
Netta Barzilai performing Israel’s Eurovision 2018 entry “Toy” has qualified to compete in the final on May 12.
COMMENT & OPINION
Reuel Marc Gerecht : Trump has chosen not to ignore the (nuclear) deal’s sunset clauses, which make restrictions on Iran temporary. He hasn’t ignored that Revolutionary Guard bases, where we know Iran has engaged in nuclear-weapons research, are now effectively off-limits to inspectors. He is not ignoring the regime’s development of long-range ballistic missiles that only makes sense if armed with atomic warheads.
David Horowitz: The fact is that the 2015 deal let the duplicitous Iranians off the hook. It did not dismantle the weapons programme they still lie about. It did not close their path to a nuclear weapons arsenal.
David Horowitz: Trump’s Iran deal withdrawal: Now we have the US on one side Now we have the US on one side, Iran on the other, and 5 others in between. Iran will exploit the disunity. But don’t blame Trump for that. Blame the original sin
Bret Stephens: The Iran nuclear deal was founded on a lie. Iran pretended to make a full declaration about the extent of its past nuclear work and the rest of the world pretended to believe it. So much, then, for all the palaver about the deal providing an unprecedented level of transparency for monitoring Iranian compliance. So much, also, for the notion that Iran has honoured its end of the bargain. It didn’t. This should render the agreement null and void.
Timothy Stanley: The Iran nuclear deal amounted to bribing Iran to suspend its nuclear programme, which is like feeding a wild animal scraps of meat to dissuade it from biting you.
Gen. (ret.) Sir Richard Dannatt Chief of the (UK) General Staff between 2006 and 2009.: To have any hope of avoiding a very grave war, Britain and her allies must understand Israel’s position, making clear to Iran and Hizbullah that their campaign of terror against Israel will be met by international condemnation and an acceptance of Israel’s fully legitimate military reaction.
Fred Maroun (an Arab-Canadian): Left-wing and Arab enemies of Israel make a number of accusations that they repeat as if they were facts. Here I take apart those myths from a left-wing Arab perspective
ISRAELIS LIVING ON THE GAZA PERIPHERY
Farmer Avner Yona: It pains my heart to see a field on fire after we worked day and night to sow it…I see crops burning before they can be harvested, and my heart burns along with them. I’m not a firefighter, I’m a farmer. It’s always something else: tunnels, bombs, snipers, and now the terrorists are using kites.
Jonathan Dekel-Chen: As a member of Kibbutz Nir Oz, my home is approximately 1 1/2 miles from the border with Gaza and faces the Friday protests that have erupted over the past five weeks… Kibbutzniks living on Israel’s borders would benefit the most from peace with our neighbours, yet are the most endangered of all Israelis by the current state of affairs…Hamas and other terrorist groups have indiscriminately launched massive numbers of mortar shells and rockets at our communities, sparking three deadly rounds of large-scale operations by the IDF. As a result of these historical truths, Israelis along the border and the IDF have good reason to believe that our lives would be at risk if thousands of enraged Gazans tore down the border fence.