Netanyahu Compares Trump to Cyrus for Recognizing Golan

To paraphrase Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, once again President Trump showed that the American people stand behind Israel by becoming the first world leader to officially recognize Israeli sovereignty on the Golan. And the timing of his act, coming while Hamas fired rockets at Israeli houses, could not possibly be more poignant.

Netanyahu was in Washington for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee but decided to cut short his visit when a Hamas rocket destroyed a house in central Israel, injuring the occupants. While the IDF responded to the attack with airstrikes and Hamas continued to fire rockets at Israeli communities, Netanyahu and Trump held a joint press conference in the White House Monday afternoon which was reported in detail by Israel National News.

“At this moment the American embassy stands proudly in Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish have established,’ Trump said to the media. “They wanted the embassy for many, many years, for many decades, and frankly, through many presidents. And we got it done.”

“We will confront the poison of anti-Semitism through our words, and maybe even more importantly, our actions. In the last century, humanity witnessed the horrific consequences of anti-Semitism and a world without a Jewish homeland. In the wake of those unthinkable horrors, the Jewish people built a mighty nation in the holy land, something very powerful, something very special and important,” Trump continued. “There can be no better example of greatness, than what Israel has done starting from such a small speck of sand. Israel is an inspiration, a trusted ally, and a cherished friend. The United States will always stand by its side.”

Netanyahu was equally as complimentary, describing the growing relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

“You have shown consistently, incredible support for Israel, for our right to self-defense. When we exercise that self-defense you have never flinched. You have always been there, including today, and I thank you,” Netanyahu said.

“Over the years, Israel has been blessed to have many friends who sat in the oval office. But Israel has never had a better friend than you. You showed this time and again. You showed this when you withdrew from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran … You said it you did it.”

“You showed it again when you restored sanctions against a genocidal regime that seeks to destroy the one and only Jewish State … You said it, and you did it.”

“You showed that when you recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the American embassy there … You said it. You did it.”

“And you have shown it once again today, Mr. President, with your official proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights.”

In a powerful detour from political platitudes, the Israeli prime minister waxed Biblical, comparing the American president to Persian King Cyrus.

“In the long sweep of Jewish history, there have been a handful of proclamations by non-Jewish leaders on behalf of our people in our land: Cyrus the Great, the great Persian King, Lord Balfour, President Harry S. Truman, and President Donald J. Trump.”

“And you, Mr. President, you’ve done it not once, but twice with your bold proclamation on Jerusalem, and your bold proclamation on the Golan.,” he said.

“On behalf of the people of Israel, thank you, President Trump. Thank you for your leadership, thank you for your friendship, and thank you for all you have done to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger and greater than ever. Thank you, Mr. President.”

The Israeli Golan Heights comprise approximately 440 square miles. In addition to its strategic military importance, the Golan Heights is an important water resource, supplying 15 percent of Israel’s water. There are approximately 20,000 Israelis living in the Golan. An additional 20,000 residents, mostly Druze, live in the region.

Israel suffered from artillery attacks targeting civilian settlements in the Galilee region for years along with Syrian-aided attacks by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The decision to conquer the Golan came after Syria began instituting a plan to divert most of the water flowing into the Sea of Galilee, denying Israel a major water source in contravention of international agreements. Israel conquered the Golan in the 1967 Six-Day War. During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Syrian forces overran much of the southern Golan, before being pushed back by an Israeli counterattack. Israel and Syria signed a ceasefire agreement in 1974 that left almost all the Heights in Israeli hands. In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, effectively annexing the Golan Heights.  An article in JPost pointed out ironically that Israel has ruled over the Golan for more than twice as long as the Syrian government. (Click to Source)

Source: Breaking Israel News

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Hezbollah leader warns Israel over attacks in Syria

SARAH EL DEEB
Associated Press – 
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FILE – In this Aug. 2, 2013, file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah speaks during a rally to mark Jerusalem day or Al-Quds day, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. On Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group is warning Israel of widening its attacks in Syria because a miscalculation can drag the region into a war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — The head of the militant Hezbollah group in Lebanon warned Israel late Saturday over its continued attacks in Syria, saying a miscalculation could drag the region into a war.

Hassan Nasrallah made the comment during a wide-ranging interview that lasted more than three hours with the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV station.

Nasrallah said Iran, Syria and Hezbollah could “at any moment” decide to deal differently with Israel’s actions in Syria and hinted that Tel Aviv might be a target.

Addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: “Be cautious. Don’t continue what you are doing in Syria. Don’t miscalculate and don’t drag the region into a war or a major confrontation.”

Nasrallah said circumstances in the region have changed as Iran and its allies, including his group, expand their influence in the region. This means any war can be on more than one front, Nasrallah warned.

Israel has recently increased its attacks on suspected Iranian military targets in Syria, confirming such targeting in a shift from its longstanding policy of playing down or not commenting on its military activities in the war-torn country.

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy, and it has repeatedly warned that it will not allow Iranian troops — who have been fighting alongside Syrian government forces — to maintain a permanent presence in postwar Syria.

In the latest violence, the Israeli military claimed responsibility for a series of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria last Monday, saying it was responding to an Iranian missile attack a day earlier. The Iranian launch followed a rare Israeli daylight air raid near the Damascus International Airport.

Nasrallah said Israel has failed to realize what he said are its goals in Syria: undermining the Syrian government, forcing Iran from Syria and preventing Hezbollah from acquiring precision missiles. He also said Netanyahu is the person “most disappointed” by U.S. plans to withdraw from Syria and cited the pullout as another “failure.”

Nasrallah’s appearance followed news reports in Israel and elsewhere that his health was failing. He dismissed the reports as “lies.”

“I don’t suffer from any health problems,” said Nasrallah, who seemed relaxed and at times joked with his interviewer and sipped on tea and water. “I have been active, and I also lost weight,” he said with a giggle.

The Hezbollah leader regularly addressed his supporters and made TV appearances about pressing issues in the region and Lebanon. But the 59-year-old Nasrallah, who has led his group through different wars with Israel for nearly three decades, had not appeared since November despite Israeli escalation in Syria and along Lebanon’s borders.

Nasrallah described his silence as intentional, saying Hezbollah chose not to address Israel’s attacks so as not to feed what he called an Israeli “publicity stunt.”

In December, the Israeli military launched “Operation Northern Shield” to detect and destroy what it has described as a vast network of Hezbollah tunnels built for militants to sneak across the border into Israel, capture territory and stage attacks. Israel discovered at least six tunnels, which it said were Hezbollah’s prime strategic investment for its next potential war.

In the first comments about the tunnel operation, Nasrallah played down the discoveries, saying Hezbollah would need more than a few tunnels if it ever decided to invade Israel.

He also said at least one of the tunnels was built more than a decade ago.

“This is a 13-year-old (Israeli) intelligence failure,” Nasrallah said. (Click to Source)

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Israel Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria, Exposes Final Hezbollah Terror Tunnel

Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed that the IDF nailed hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, in addition to discovering a sixth and final tunnel dug by Hezbollah terrorists.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed that Israel has struck hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, including a weapons facility in a weekend airstrike, as the military announced the discovery of a sixth and final tunnel dug by the Lebanese terror group for cross-border attacks.

Speaking to the IDF Galilee Division near the Lebanese border, Netanyahu commented, “In the past 48 hours, Israel attacked an Iranian weapons warehouse at the international airport in Damascus. This reflects our consistent policy and strong determination to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria. If necessary, we will step up these attacks.”

He added, “At the same time, the IDF has exposed a sixth tunnel – the largest of all – that crossed into Israeli territory. This brings Operation Northern Shield to a successful close. We will continue to monitor all activity by Hezbollah, and by Iran and its proxies. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure the security of Israel.”

The statements marked a rare, public acknowledgment of Israeli attacks against Hezbollah and its patron Iran in neighboring Syria, where Israel is long believed to have targeted Iranian weapons shipments to the Lebanese Shiite group.

At his weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu also publicly confirmed the strike as he thanked outgoing military chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot for long years of service and particularly his marshaling of Israel’s campaign against Iran in recent years.

“We have operated with impressive success in thwarting Iran from establishing a military foothold in Syria, in the framework of which the military has struck hundreds of times against Iranian and Hezbollah targets,” Netanyahu said. “In the last 36 hours alone, the air force struck storage facilities with Iranian weapons at the Damascus International Airport. The bulk of recent attacks show how we are more committed than ever to act against Iran in Syria, as we promised.”

Coupled with the announcement that after Sunday’s discovery, Israel was wrapping up its operation to destroy Hezbollah’s tunnel network into Israel, the weekend strike in Syria is widely seen as Eisenkot’s “parting shot” as his four-year tenure as military chief ends. He will be replaced on Tuesday by Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

After keeping a low profile throughout most of his term, Eisenkot gave a series on interviews over the weekend focusing on his shifting the military’s attention toward Iran directly, instead of just engaging its lesser proxies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza.

In a New York Times interview published Friday, Eisenkot said that Israel “has struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit” as part of his showdown with Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Eisenkot also revealed the government approved his shift in strategy in January 2017, stepping up airstrikes in Syria. In 2018 alone, he said Israel’s air force dropped 2,000 bombs in Syria.

Operation Northern Shield

A far more visible part of his legacy has been the recent Lebanese border operation, which thwarted Hezbollah’s prime strategic investment for its next potential war.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Sunday the final tunnel was the largest discovered so far, running hundreds of meters from under a Lebanese home and deep into Israeli territory. Israel launched “Operation Northern Shield” early last month to detect and destroy a vast network of Hezbollah tunnels the group hoped terrorists could use to sneak across the border and attack Israeli civilians.

Conricus said the latest tunnel originated from the Lebanese border town of Ramyeh, was 55 meters deep and ran 800 meters inside Lebanese territory and also “dozens” of meters into Israel. It included stairs, a rail system and a wide a passageway that allowed for the movement of equipment and a large number of forces.

The tunnel would be destroyed in the coming days, Conricus said, adding that while more tunnels still existed on the Lebanese side of the border, this effectively marked the end of the ambitious military operation.

“We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve,” he said. “According to our intelligence, there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels into Israel.”

Netanyahu also commented on the tunnels in his address to the IDF Galilee Division on Sunday, “I think that everyone understands that a very serious threat was averted here. Hezbollah’s operational plan was to use the tunnels weapon to infiltrate many fighters, between 1,000-2,000 terrorists, into the Galilee, to seize communities here. Everyone understands how the war would look if Hezbollah battalions were in the Galilee, and with the Iranian army opposite the Golan Heights. We have prevented this – and will continue to prevent it.”

The tunnels violate a cease-fire resolution that ended a devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006. Conricus said the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as UNIFIL, was updated on the latest development.

In the wake of the tunnel discoveries, Israel has asked the international community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and launch action against its state-within-a-state operation in Lebanon. The military said its forces would stay deployed along the border to monitor for any other possible underground activity, and said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for everything happening within its territory.

The Hezbollah terror group, which acts independently in Lebanon, has yet to comment on the tunnels.

In recent years, Hezbollah has been bogged down in fighting in Syria on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. But with that war winding down, Israeli security officials fear Hezbollah is refocusing its attention on Israel. (Click to Source)

Reported by: Associated Press and United With Israel
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Israel warns that full-scale war with Gaza is ‘INEVITABLE’, as Israeli Security Cabinet mulls a massive strike against Hamas

 

Netanyahu, Liberman Warn Full-Scale War With Hamas ‘Inevitable’

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By: Ilanit Chernick/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Sunday that war with Hamas in Gaza was drawing ever closer.

Speaking at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said that “Hamas has yet to get the message that if it fails to stop its aggression it will be halted through other means and it will be painful, very painful.”

Netanyahu’s comments came after mass protests on Friday, during which several Palestinians breached the border fence and attacked an IDF position. Five Palestinians were killed in the incident and two more were killed during the violent protest along the border fence.

“We are very close to taking the kind of action that will include very painful strikes. If Hamas has any sense it will stop,” Netanyahu added.

‘Hamas is Responsible for Everything that is Happening’
Liberman was even more forceful warning that war with Gaza had become “inevitable.”

Liberman told the Hebrew language Ynet website that “We have reached the moment – we must strike Hamas with the hardest blow. We have made every effort and exhausted every possibility… War is inevitable.”

“Hamas has turned violence on the fence into a strategic weapon by which they hope to erode our ability to withstand and deter,” he told Ynet. “We have reached the moment that we have to strike the hardest blow possible on Hamas, but…the cabinet will have to decide.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also weighted in on the issue in an interview with Israel Radio, saying that: “Hamas is responsible for everything that is happening. If, in the coming days, we do not reach an understanding and quiet does not resume [on the Gaza border], there is a considerable probability of a major campaign.”

Nearly seven months of continued violence along the Gaza border have daily incendiary arson attacks that have destroyed thousands of acres of land in southern Israel and caused millions of shekels worth of damages.

Violent weekly mass demonstrations along the border have seen Palestinian breach the border fence on several occasions, attack Israeli military positions and vandalize security infrastructures.

Some 200 Palestinians have been killed, while one Israeli soldier was killed by sniper fire. (Click to Source)

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Israeli jets strike Hamas in Gaza in response to ‘terror acts & violent riots’ at border

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Israeli fighter jets have carried out strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza strip, in response to the violence and “terrorist acts” the group instigated at the border, as well as cross-border rocket launches, the IDF said.

“Tonight, IDF fighter jets targeted an attack terror tunnel in southern Gaza, in addition to several terror sites throughout Gaza, among them complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility,” the IDF said, posting a video of the strike.

IDF

@IDFSpokesperson

Tonight, IDF fighter jets targeted an attack terror tunnel in southern Gaza, in addition to several terror sites throughout Gaza, among them complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility

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The strikes, the army said, were conducted in response to Hamas-instigated violence along the security fence at the Israeli-Gaza border, and to the cross-border arson attacks which, the IDF claimed, damages Israeli land on a daily basis.

During the Israeli raid, Hamas militants reportedly retaliated by launching 17 rockets, five of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. An additional 14 mortar shells were launched by militants throughout the night, one of which was intercepted by the air defenses. “Hamas is responsible for the events transpiring in Gaza and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for its actions,” the IDF said.

When the sirens sounded in the Eshkol and Esdot Hanegev Regional Councils, the families woken up in the middle of the night only “had seconds to run to bomb shelters,” the IDF added, without elaborating on whether any of the Hamas projectiles caused any damage.

Earlier in the day, during the weekly Great March of Return protest, an IDF officer was moderately injured by a grenade thrown from the Gaza Strip. The Israelis retaliated with live fire, killing a Palestinian teen and injuring 220 others throughout the day, Wafa reported. In the 100 days since the weekly rallies began, at least 138 people, including 19 minors, were killed. Around 15,000 protesters have been injured since March 30. (Click to Source)

 
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As southern front heats up, IDF drill simulates conquering Gaza City

July 15, 2018

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The IDF launched a series of exercises that simulate the takeover of Gaza City after a weekend of military escalation. 

By: World Israel News Staff

The IDF launched military exercises on Sunday designed to simulate the conquering of Gaza’s largest city with a population of half a million.

The military exercises, which the IDF said were planned months ago, come after the most severe uptick in attacks from Gaza since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. About 200 rockets and mortar fire were fired at Israel.

Southern Command Commander Hertzi Halevi met Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich and showed him several parts of the exercise, which will take place in Beersheba.

Due to the drill, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot canceled an appearance before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee slated for Sunday.

Exercises are planned for other locations around the country as well. (Click to Source)

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PROPHECY WATCH: King of Turkey calls Netanyahu a “Terrorist” and “Butcher”

ERDOGAN: YOU ARE A TERRORIST, NETANYAHU: YOU ARE A BUTCHER

Erdogan slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, calling the Israeli leader “a terrorist.”

BY HERB KEINON

 

 APRIL 1, 2018 19:53

 

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday with slaughter in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, taking off his gloves and responding in kind to Erdogan’s sharp criticism of Israel’s reaction to Friday’s march in Gaza.

“Erdogan is not used to people responding to him, but he should start getting used to it,” Netanyahu said. “Anyone who occupies northern Cyprus, invades the Kurdish strip and slaughters citizens in Afrin, should not lecture us about values and ethics.”

On January 20, Turkey began a cross-border military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin, an operation for which Turkey has come under widespread international criticism.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 289 civilians have been killed since Ankara began this military operation. Other estimates put that number as high as 510, amid allegations of indiscriminate Turkish artillery fire. There have also been reports of Turkish border guards shooting refugees fleeing the fighting and seeking shelter inside Turkey.

Netanyahu’s statement was the latest in an angry ping-pong with Erdogan, who on Saturday was withering in his criticism of Israel – as he has been for years.

“I strongly condemn the Israeli government over its inhumane attack,” Erdogan said of Friday’s incidents along the Gaza border. “Have you heard any noteworthy objections to the massacre by Israel that happened yesterday in Gaza from those who criticize the Afrin operation? This is the biggest proof of insincerity of those who fixate on us but say nothing about Israel using heavy weapons to attack people who are protesting on their own lands.”

Although for the most part Netanyahu has in the past ignored these types of statements from Erdogan, this time he opted to respond, saying on Sunday morning that Erdogan’s remarks were apparently an April Fools’ joke.

“The most moral army in the world,” Netanyahu tweeted about the IDF, “will not be lectured to by someone who for years has indiscriminately bombed civilian populations. Apparently, this is the way they mark April Fools’ Day in Ankara.”

Erdogan, who has made strident anti-Israel comments into one of the trademarks of his rule – and who hosts Hamas offices in Turkey – replied to Netanyahu’s tweet by calling Israel a “terrorist state and occupier,” and Netanyahu a “terrorist.”

According to Turkey’s English daily Sabah, Erdogan – speaking at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party in the southern province of Adana – said, “I do not need to tell the world how cruel the Israeli army is. We can see what this terror state is doing by looking at the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem.”

Israel, he said, “has carried out a massacre in Gaza and Netanyahu is a terrorist.”

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Erdogan said of Netanyahu, “He says our soldiers are oppressing people in Afrin. Netanyahu, you are very weak, very poor.”

Erdogan said that Turkey is “dealing with terrorists. But you are not concerned about terrorists because you are a terror state.”

The Turkish president continued: “You are not popular… Stop bragging about owning nuclear weapons. The time may come when those weapons don’t work.”

Though for years Netanyahu took Erdogan’s insults about Israel without getting into a tit-for-tat confrontation, of late he has changed this pattern.

For example, after Erdogan led the chorus of those condemning the US for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December – and criticizing how Jerusalem handled Palestinian protests at the time – Netanyahu said: “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from the leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us.” (Click to Source)

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Palestinians: A March to Destroy Israel

by Bassam Tawil

  • Based on statements made by Hamas leaders, the “March of Return” campaign is not about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Nor is it about finding ways to solve the “humanitarian” and “economic” crises in the Gaza Strip.
  • The mass protests are aimed at forcing Israel to accept millions of Palestinian “refugees” as a first step towards turning Jews into a minority in their own country. The next step would be to kill or expel the Jews and replace Israel with an Islamic state. Did they expect the Israeli soldiers to greet them with flowers?
  • The Palestinian “March of Return” is being mistakenly referred to by some journalists and political analysts as a “peaceful and popular” drive by Palestinians demanding freedom and better living conditions.
  • Palestinians’ living conditions in the Gaza Strip could be improved if the Egyptians only opened the Rafah border crossing and allowed Palestinians to leave and allowed Arabs and others to come and help the people there. Their lives could be improved if Hamas stopped building terror tunnels and smuggling weapons.

On March 30, an attempt by tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to infiltrate the border with Israel launched a six-week campaign of mass protests — called the “March of Return” — organized by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical Palestinian groups.

The groups encouraged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to head to the areas adjacent to the border with Israel. The protesters were also encouraged to try to infiltrate the border, thus putting their lives at risk.

Hamas and its allies told the protesters that the “March of Return” marked the beginning of the “liberation of all of Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.” In other words, the Palestinians were told that infiltrating the border with Israel would be the first step toward destroying Israel.

Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yehya Sinwar, who joined the March 30 mass protests along the border with Israel, did not hide the real goal behind the “March of Return” — to destroy Israel and thwart US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East.

The two Hamas leaders told the protesters that the March 30 demonstrations marked the beginning of a “new phase in the Palestinians’ national struggle on the road to liberating all of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” Haniyeh and Sinwar also made it clear that the “March of Return” had another goal: to foil any attempt by the Arabs to make peace or normalize their relations with Israel.

Based on statements made by Hamas leaders, the “March of Return” campaign is not about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Nor is it about finding ways to solve the “humanitarian” and “economic” crises in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and its allies did not send the protesters to the border with Israel to demand jobs and medicine. They did not encourage Palestinians to risk their lives at the border with Israel because of the lack of electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Instead, the organizers sent the Palestinians to the border after assuring them that this was the only way to flood Israel with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian “refugees” as part of the “right of return.” The “right of return” refers to the Palestinian demand that Israel allow Palestinian “refugees” and their descendants to move to Israel.

As Zaher Birawi, one of the organizers of the “March of Return” explained, “The right of return is sacred and a red line not to be crossed. The Palestinians will do their utmost to achieve this right.”

His words, together with those of the two Hamas leaders, prove that the mass protests are aimed at forcing Israel to accept millions of Palestinian “refugees” as a first step towards turning Jews into a minority in their own country. The next step would be to kill or expel the Jews and replace Israel with an Islamic state.

Crucial here is the fact that what we witnessed along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on March 30 was not a protest by poverty-stricken and miserable Palestinians against a blockade of any kind.

If that were so, why didn’t the organizers ask Palestinians to march toward the border with Egypt? The real blockade on the Gaza Strip is being imposed by Egypt, and not Israel.

In 2017, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was open altogether for less than 30 days; by contrast, the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip was open for more than 280 days during the same year.

Israel enforces a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip that is meant to prevent Iran, Hezbollah and other terror parties from smuggling weapons into the coastal enclave controlled by Hamas. At the same time, Israel has kept its border crossings with Gaza for the movement of goods and individuals.

Israel permits Palestinians to enter and leave the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing. Last month, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing, only to have his convoy targeted by a roadside bomb once inside Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel also allows foreigners to enter the Gaza Strip through the same border crossing. They include journalists, diplomats, and hundreds of foreigners working for various international aid agencies, including the United Nations.

All this while the Rafah border crossing with Egypt remains closed. Since the beginning of this year, the Egyptians opened the border crossing intermittently only for two or three days each time. Egypt also continues to bar foreigners from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal. Even Arabs who want to help the people of the Gaza Strip are forced to enter through the Erez border crossing because the Egyptians do not give them permission to use the Rafah terminal.

In 2017, Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip (pictured above) for less than 30 days altogether; by contrast, the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip was open for more than 280 days during the same year. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Take, for example, the Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Ambassador Mohammed Al Emadi. Each time he leaves and enters the Gaza Strip, he uses the Erez border crossing with Israel. The Egyptians will not allow him or any other Arab seeking to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to enter through the Rafah terminal.

Given this reality, the question is: Why aren’t the Palestinian protests directed against Egypt? The answer is obvious.

The Palestinians know that messing with the Egyptian army will cost them a heavy price. If Israel used snipers to stop the March 30 protesters from crossing the border, the Egyptian response would undoubtedly have been much tougher. The Egyptians would have used artillery and warplanes against the Palestinian demonstrators. The Palestinians are well aware that the Egyptian army would raze the entire Gaza Strip if the Palestinians breached the border and undermined Egypt’s national security.

Besides, the “March of Return” is intended as part of the Palestinian national struggle against the “Zionist entity” — Israel — and has nothing to do with the closure of any border.

It is part of the Palestinian jihad (holy war) to eliminate Israel, which they see as a “colonialist project” imposed on the Arabs by Western powers after World War II. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in a rare moment of honesty, admitted earlier this year that this is precisely how Palestinians and Arabs perceive Israel.

The organizers of the “March of Return” have made it clear that besides flooding Israel with millions of Palestinian “refugees,” the campaign has two other objectives: to foil Trump’s “deal of the century” and stop any form of Arab normalization with Israel.

The Palestinians have proclaimed a wholesale rejection of Trump’s plan because they know it will not advance their goal of turning Jews into a minority in their own country. Trump’s plan, they believe, does not recognize the Palestinian “right of return,” which means that “refugees” and their descendants will not be allowed to move into Israel, turning it into an Arab-majority state.

The organizers of the “March of Return” have clearly stated that this is a driving force behind the mass protests — to send a message to the Trump administration that Palestinians will not accept any deal that does not facilitate their dream of replacing Israel with an Arab Islamic state.

The “March of Return” is also aimed at sending a warning to the Palestinian Authority and the Arab countries not to make any concessions to Israel or collaborate with the Trump administration.

Again, this is not what political analysts are saying. Instead, these are the exact words and phrases used by the organizers of the event. Their ultimate goal: to prevent Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority from returning to the negotiating table with Israel and to threaten Arab countries not to sign peace agreements with Israel.

Now, the organizers are telling us that the “March of Return” will continue and reach its peak in mid-May, on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel.

The “March of Return” is yet another phase in the Palestinian attempt to wipe out the presence of Israel in the Middle East, not about any blockade. The “March of Return” is an anti-peace campaign designed to thwart any attempt to achieve peace between Israel and the Arab countries.

The leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other groups that organized the mass protests are now complaining about the high death toll and accusing Israel of opening fire at “unarmed and peaceful” protesters. These are the same leaders who urged their people to head to the border with Israel and to try to force their way into Israel. These are the same leaders who encouraged their people to damage the security fence along the border with Israel. Did they expect the Israeli soldiers to greet them with flowers?

As for Mahmoud Abbas, he has supplied yet more proof of his towering hypocrisy. Hours after the violent confrontations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Abbas appeared on Palestine TV to hold Israel “fully responsible” for the violence and death and injury of the protesters.

This is the same Abbas who recently told us that Hamas was a terror group that was behind the March 13 botched assassination attempt on his prime minister. This is the same Abbas who last year imposed sanctions on the Gaza Strip by suspending payments for electricity supplied to the Gaza Strip by Israel and suspending payments to thousands of civil servants there. Instead of condemning Hamas for sending the Palestinians to clash with the Israeli army and endanger their lives, Abbas chose to denounce Israel for protecting its border.

The Palestinian “March of Return” is being mistakenly referred to by some journalists and political analysts as a “peaceful and popular” drive by Palestinians demanding freedom and better living conditions.

Palestinians’ living conditions in the Gaza Strip could be improved if the Egyptians only opened the Rafah border crossing and allowed Palestinians to leave and allowed Arabs and others to come and help the people there. Their lives could be improved if Hamas stopped building terror tunnels and smuggling weapons.

But, as has become evident by now, the “March of Return” is nothing but a declaration of war on Israel and the Trump administration. (Click to Source)

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Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

RUMORS OF WAR: Hamas to Swarm Israel’s Border, Sparking Fear of New ‘Passover War’

Hamas to Swarm Israel’s Border, Sparking Fear of New ‘Passover War’

Hamas using civilian protest as cover for mass military operation against Israel

Hamas militants

Getty Images

BY: Adam Kredo

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is planning a mass demonstration along Israel’s border on Friday, prompting fears of a new war with the Jewish state ahead of the Passover holiday, according to regional experts and U.S. officials who say they are closely monitoring the situation.

On the heels of a recent military exercise that observers described as “unprecedented,” Hamas leaders have called for some 100,000 Gaza Strip resident to engage in six weeks of mass demonstrations along the Israeli border as Jewish families gear up for the Passover holiday, which begins Friday evening.

Regional experts closely tracking the situation say the demonstrations are meant as cover for a mass military campaign to swarm Israel’s border and stoke violence against the Jewish state.

The situation is being closely monitored by Trump administration officials, who outlined concerns that Hamas could use civilian protesters as human shields as cover for attacks on Israeli forces.

Tension are high ahead of the mass demonstration, dubbed the Great Return March, with the United Nations already imploring Israel to not attack children or other civilians.

Officials with the U.N. Relief Works Agency, or UNRWA, a body routinely cited for its anti-Israel bias, have already endorsed the demonstrations, stoking further concerns the U.N. is setting the stage to blame Israel for any violence that could erupt. UNRWA has offered medical facilities to any Palestinian who may be injured during the weeks of protest.

State Department officials told the Washington Free Beacon that they are aware of the upcoming protests and will be tracking the situation closely.

“We are aware of calls by Hamas asking people to march along the Israeli border over the coming weeks,” one U.S. official told the Free Beacon.” We will monitor the situation and developments closely.”

The State Department emphasized that it still considers Hamas a terror group and is aware of its routine use of human shields during terror operations.

“Our position on Hamas has not changed,” the official said. “It is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Any use of human shields is absolutely unacceptable.”

Omri Ceren, a managing director at The Israel Project, a D.C.-based organization that works on Middle East issues, warned that Hamas is using civilian protests as cover for a massive military operation that could launch another regional war.

Evidence suggests Hamas has already prepared to flood Israel with armed assets during the demonstration and has even positioned equipment such as tractors to shift the ground and erect fortifications.

“Hamas is trying to trigger a Passover War and the U.N. seems eager to help them,” Ceren said. “Hamas is preparing thousands of civilians to rush Israel’s border, tear down the defensive fence, and provide cover as Hamas fighters flood into Israel.”

While Israeli military officials have planned to use as little force as possible to control any violent eruption, things could get out of hand quickly, Ceren said.

“The Israelis will do everything possible to prevent escalation and avoid casualties, but this is the kind of thing that could go really bad really quickly,” he explained.

“Meanwhile the U.N. is supporting Hamas and setting up Israel to get blamed for anything that happens to Hamas’s human shields,” Ceren said. “American lawmakers were already inclined to view the U.N. as biased and unhelpful when it comes to Israel and this can cement that view.”

U.N. officials have moved to put the onus for preventing violence on Israel in recent days.

Nickolay Mladenov, U.N. special coordinator to the Middle East peace process, urged Israel to show restraint during the demonstrations, even if violence erupts.

“The use of force by Israel must also be calibrated. Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights law and humanitarian law,” Mladneov was quoted as saying. “Lethal force should only be used as a last resort, with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities. I once again urge the security forces to exercise maximum restraint to avoid casualties.”

“I call on all sides to exercise restraint and to take the necessary steps to avoid a violent escalation,” he was quoted as saying. “It is imperative that civilians, in particular children, not be targeted and that all actors refrain from putting children at risk at any time.”

Observers have been warning that Hamas is not seeking a peaceful protest, but a military campaign in the guise of civilian demonstration.

“The plan is to build to a crescendo day by day until May 15, the day after Israel’s Independence Day, when Hamas hopes tens of thousands of Gazan civilians, interspersed with some military folks, will storm the security barrier, an action that could provoke a forceful response from Israeli security,” Tzippe Barrow, a Jerusalem-based correspondent for CBN News warned in a recent report. (Click to Source)

 

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‘Army of Islam’ would be world’s biggest military

Turkey hints at forming 5-million-strong alliance against Israel
army-of-islam-israel-memri-top-600

WASHINGTON – When Turkey’s semi-official newspaper Yeni Şafak called for urgent action in forming a 57-nation “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack Israel, a suggestion undoubtedly approved with at least a wink and nod by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it would signal the possible intent to create the largest military force on the planet – one nearly as large as the total population of the Jewish state.
The report came just ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and was published under the headline “What if an Army of Islam was formed against Israel?” It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

But it wasn’t a rhetorical question. It was actually a suggestion to combine the military forces of all Islamic countries to overwhelm the Israeli army in manpower, budget and equipment – even boasting with statistics.

On Dec. 12, 2017, ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, which is close to Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party, published an article titled “A Call for Urgent Action,” which also appeared on the paper’s website under the title “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?”

The article called on the 57 member states of the OIC to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel. It notes that such a joint army will greatly exceed the Israeli army in manpower, equipment and budget, and presents statistics to prove this.

It also advocates establishing joint bases for the army’s ground, air and naval forces that will arrive from all over the Muslim world to besiege Israel, while noting that Pakistan, as the only nuclear country, has “a special status” among the OIC countries. An interactive map provides information on military forces stationed in various locations and the role they can play in the potential joint Muslim attack on Israel.

Much of the information in the article was provided by Turkey’s SADAT International Defense and Consulting Company, which provides consultancy on defense and warfare, both conventional and unconventional, and on military organization, training and gear. The company promotes pan-Islamic military cooperation. According to its mission statement, it seeks “to establish defense collaboration and defense industry cooperation among Islamic countries, to help the Islamic world take its rightful place among the superpowers by providing … strategic consultancy and training services to the militaries and homeland security forces of Islamic countries.”

The SADAT company was founded by Erdoğan’s senior adviser on military affairs, retired Gen. Adnan Tanrıverdi, and is chaired by his son, Melih Tanrıverdi. Adnan Tanrıverdi served in the Turkish army’s artillery corps and is an expert on asymmetric warfare. He was dismissed from the Turkish military in 1996 for his Islamist leanings.

In the report, Israel is described as “the outpost of the new Crusade and a dagger in the heart of Islam,” and “the eyes, ears and fist of the Christian World.”

“If the OIC member states unite and form a joint military force, it will be the largest army in the world,” the newspaper report said. “These countries’ total population is 1,674,526,931. The number of soldiers in active service in these countries is at least 5,206,100. Their [overall] military defense budget, of $174.7 billion, is also worthy of emphasis.”

It continues by contrasting the size of this potential Islamic force with Israel’s military capabilities.

“As for Israel, it is significantly inferior,” the report said. “The population of this country, which attempted to occupy Jerusalem while surrounded by Muslim states, is 8,049,314. Note that the population of Istanbul alone exceeds 14 million. The number of soldiers in active service in the [Israeli] occupation forces is 160,000, and [Israel’s] defense budget is approximately $15.6 billion.

The report suggested the formation of a “Jerusalem Task Group” to take steps to form an Islamic army that would besiege Israel.

“In a possible military operation, the first step is expected to involve 250,000 soldiers, and the establishment of joint land, air and naval bases for use in the short term,” explained the report. It would include the mobilization of 500 tanks and armored vehicles, 100 war planes, 500 attack helicopters and 50 warships and submarines.

Interactive maps provided information on specific bases and operations against Israel.

“Turkey will serve as an important headquarters during the operation, due to its land, air and naval infrastructures,” the report continued. “The Turkish army, which carried out ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’ [in Syria in 2017] with great success, is now ranked the world’s seventh strongest army, and the second largest army among the NATO powers. Turkey has approximately 4,000 tanks and 1,000 war planes and other aircraft. Its navy made significant progress during the last years, with 194 vessels at its disposal.”

The report also noted Pakistan, with its nuclear arsenal, “has important status among the 57 Muslim countries.”

In a statement, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a blow to Muslims, and added: “The Malaysian armed forces are ready to fulfill their duty regarding Jerusalem.”

(Click to Source)

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