Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Egypt and Iran Vie for Influence in Gaza

At the start of April, Hebrew media reports quoted unnamed Israeli security officials as saying that the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror faction, which possesses a rocket arsenal even larger than that of Hamas, was planning a major attack on Israeli targets.
The disclosure of this information appeared to achieve its goal of discouraging the perpetrators, and no attack transpired. But the fact that PIJ was reportedly planning an incident that could have upset Egyptian attempts to restore calm to the Gaza Strip could hint at a wider struggle taking place within Gaza between Egypt and Iran.
Gaza’s ruling regime, Hamas, has reportedly faced demands from Egypt in recent months to decide whether it “takes its orders from Tehran or continues to implement the understandings for calm” formulated by the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel.
The clash of interests between these two regional powers seems clear. Egypt wishes to see Gaza calm, stable, and cut off from ISIS-affiliated terror networks in Sinai, which also threaten Egyptian security; while Iran sees Gaza as one more base from which it can exercise its radical influence and encourage the growth of a terrorist army that threatens not only Israel but the stability of the whole region.
Iran transfers $100 million a year to the military wings of Hamas and PIJ collectively, according to Israeli estimates.
Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, recalled that with the signing of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Cairo had no interest in retaking Gaza.
Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat “understood the problematic nature of this territory, which is the most crowded in the world, and racked with poverty, fundamentalism, and a lack of a sovereign ruler,” said Ganor. As a result, Sadat did not demand a return to Egyptian rule over Gaza, even though Egypt had controlled the Strip prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.
“What Sadat understood, [current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] El-Sisi also understands, although in a different manner,” Ganor said. “Sisi understands that the Strip contains many risks to Egypt within it. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is tied by the umbilical cord to its mother movement – the Muslim Brotherhood – who are Sisi’s loathed strategic enemies.”
Sisi has identified a process of Iranian infiltration into Gaza via its proxy, PIJ, “and is concerned by the growth of a forward Iranian post on the northern border of Egypt,” said Ganor.
Another source of concern for Sisi is the fact that ISIS in Sinai is linked to other Salafi-jihadist elements in Gaza. These security and political factors, as well as Egyptian concern over the prospect of a new armed conflict erupting between Israel and Hamas on Egypt’s border, have all led to “massive Egyptian intervention and a will to be active in what is taking place in the Strip,” said Ganor. Israel, for its part, is in favor of this intervention and has even requested it over the years.
Iran is trying to neutralize Egyptian influence in Gaza, Ganor noted, while looking to tighten its links with its Gazan proxies. Tehran is trying to transfer funds and weapons into Gaza. “It also seeks to instruct its proxies to disrupt every process that can lead to calm,” said Ganor.
Tehran’s relationship with Hamas is somewhat complicated.
According to Ganor, “Iran’s influence on Hamas is significant, but much smaller than its influence on Hezbollah. Hamas zealously safeguards its independence and does not view itself as being obligated to Iranian interests.”
With Iran conducting training sessions for PIJ inside the Islamic Republic, the organization is an “explicit proxy of Iran, in contrast to Hamas, which is under Iranian influence but has its own agenda and is more independent,” he argued.
Egypt has far more at stake in Gaza, which is at its back door. “Whatever happens in Sinai directly influences Egypt. Iran, meanwhile, is distant, and tries to activate its influence in Gaza by remote control,” said Segall.
He summed up the Iranian proxy strategy as follows: “The more Israel bleeds on its borders, the less it can engage Iran directly.” And the Iranians would like the same thing to happen in the West Bank, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for terror factions there to be armed just as they are in Gaza.
“This is central component in Iranian doctrine. It’s about asymmetric warfare. Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria have become part of Iran’s asymmetric warfare doctrine,” said Segall. “The Iranians work with a proxy toolbox against the Saudis, the Egyptians and Gulf states. This is not limited to Gaza,” he said.
While Iran has the power to activate PIJ to disrupt Egyptian mediation efforts or spark a new conflict, PIJ also faces pressure from Hamas, which can force its will on it, including through the force of arms, according to Segall.
“I think that on the day they receive their orders from Iran, PIJ will obey and cash its checks, which it has received over the years from the Iranians,” he said.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Terror Targets Civilians, Israel Targets Terrorists

The message in the video says it all.

If this is not a war crime, what is?

Sunday, May 5, 2019

What Should a Grandmother tell her Grandchildren?

(Guest post from a grandmother)

Driving home this evening from a lovely visit to my 6 year old grand-daughter and her 8 month old baby brother I was listening to the radio. 
In the 20 minutes or so it took me to drive from Yokne'am to ZIchron Ya'akov the radio broadcast was interrupted EIGHT times so that those in Ashdod could hear a siren and be given the advice, "Go to the shelter." Eight times. Eight attacks. TWENTY minutes.
Just one hundred kilometres south of this rolling peaceful landscape, tens of thousands of Israeli civilians are being attacked in their own homes.
A grandmother just like me isn't laughing with her grandchildren. She's cradling them and comforting them and telling them there is nothing to worry about as the explosions sound in the night air outside.
Sometimes it's even hard for us here in Israel to really grasp the everyday reality of our Southern countrymen.
Perhaps we can understand that ordinary people in other countries don't get it. But how, how can the media twist and lie about the situation?
What evil drives them to demonise Israel, our tiny country, where we Israelis just want to live in peace in our ancient home land? This tiny country that has given more to the world than any other. This tiny country that is made up of parents and children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, just ordinary decent human beings.
Why do the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, CNN … the list goes on and on … why do they dehumanise us, we who go to such lengths to prevent loss of life of an enemy that chants for our blood, that wants us wiped off the face of the earth?
Who does it help when they wilfully paint this false picture, over and over again?

Massive rocket barrages launched from Gaza

     By launching 600 rockets  in 30 hours from positions within the civilian population of Gaza,    the  terror organizations are committing a double war crime: the targeting of Israeli civilians     while using their own civilian population as human shields. ‎ (Incidentally almost 400 landed     in open areas and nearly 200 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system )

Following sniper attacks on Israeli soldiers that took place yesterday (Friday, 3 May 2019), 
wounding of two IDF officers, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations initiated today
 (Saturday, 4 May) a massive rocket attack of over 430 rockets that were launched on Israeli 
towns and villages in southern Israel. Several Israeli civilians were injured in the attacks,
 including one fatality. The shelling also caused severe damage to homes and property.

In response to the rocket attacks, the IDF targeted terror facilities belonging to the Islamic
 Jihad and Hamas terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, destroying dozens of terror targets
 including an Islamic Jihad terror tunnel from Rafah, rocket launchers, underground weapons manufacturing facilities and terror training bases.

The rockets were launched from positions within the civilian population of Gaza. The terror organizations are thus committing a double war crime: targeting Israeli civilians on the one 
hand while using their own population as a human shield on the other.

Both terror organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad (which acts as an Iranian proxy), are 
acting against the interests of the residents of the Gaza Strip and are the main barrier to 
the peaceful development of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which also receives direct support 
form Iran, ruthlessly rules the Gaza Strip and bears full responsibility for any attack. This
 murderous regime holds the residents of the Gaza Strip captive and endangers their lives.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system was activated dozens of times on Saturday to intercept 
the barrage of rockets launched at Israeli communities from Gaza. Israel will continue to 
 do its utmost to defend its citizens and ensure their security against the aggression of 
the terror organizations controlling the Gaza Strip.

The rocket barrages come shortly before a potentially tense month, with Ramadan,
 Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day, Nakba Day, and the one-year
 anniversary of the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

The IDF is also preparing for violence ahead of Eurovision, the finale of which 
will take place in Tel Aviv on May 18 with thousands of tourists expected to attend.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

How does One Understand This Idiotic Mindset?

D.C. Synagogue will mourn Palestinians, ignore Israeli Independence Day

Stephen M. Flatow..01 May '19..

A prominent synagogue in Washington, D.C., will mark Israel’s 71st birthday by mourning “Palestinian losses” alongside Israeli terror victims, and refrain from holding any kind of Israeli independence celebration.

It’s the latest example of an appalling “both sides” mentality that blurs right and wrong, good and evil, and Israel and its would-be destroyers.

On Tuesday evening, May 7, Israelis—and Jews around the world—will hold solemn Yom Hazikaron ceremonies to remember the approximately 25,000 Israeli Jews murdered by invading Arab armies and Palestinian Arab terrorists since 1948.

But at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in the nation’s capital, a different kind of ceremony will be held. Called the “Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony,” participants will gather together for what they describe as “a memorial based on the values of hope, solidarity and non-violence. Hear from Israelis and Palestinians as they share their families’ stories of loss.”

Yes, Palestinian Arabs have been killed in the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But that doesn’t make them all “victims.” And that doesn’t mean they should all be “mourned.” That doesn’t place them all on the same moral level.

In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, Israel is the victim and the Palestinian Arabs are the aggressors. Nobody is saying Israel is perfect. No country is perfect. No army is perfect. But we still should be able to make the basic distinction between right and wrong. We still should have enough sense to distinguish between cops and robbers.

( This is a pathetic attempt at moral equivalence without any semblance of understanding of the Palestinian mentality)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Guest posting from Grandma's army   May 01, 2019 

During the Passover holidays I visited “Jewish” Salonika, the second largest city in Greece and the capital of Macedonia. Since Jews all over the world will be commemorating Holocaust Day tomorrow, we were interested to learn what became of the local Jewish community during WWII. Unbelievably, we were told that 98% of the community perished in concentration camps! 

To compound the tragedy -  the physical extermination of Salonikan Jews was followed by almost total oblivion about the history, influences and accomplishments of the city’s Jews.

The first Jews are thought to have arrived in the region in 513 B.C.E. and remained uninterrupted throughout the Roman and Byzantine eras. However, it was the influx of the 20,000 Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 and found refuge in Ottomon Saloniki, which created an autonomous Jewish city. At least two thirds of the total population were Jewish. Salonika was dubbed “Mother of Israel” and “Jerusalem of the Balkans”.

David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak ben-Zvi (both former Prime Ministers) visited Salonika in 1911 to study a functioning Jewish society - which could serve as a model for a future state of Israel.

In 1913 the essentially Jewish city was annexed to Greece from the Ottoman Empire. After Greece achieved independence of the Ottoman Empire, it made the Jews full citizens of the country in the 1920’s.

Following the German occupation during 1941-43, the ancient and vibrant Jewish community of Salonika in Greece was completely destroyed.

The Germans  began with the destruction of the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe - desecrating 500 years of Jewish history and half a million gravestones. The desecration of the dead was part of the Nazi’s plan to dehumanize the living. With the destruction of the Jewish cemetery, the Germans swiftly began transporting the Jews of Salonika to the death camps. Human bones and broken tombstones were used as building materials – by the local Greek government, the Germans, the local churches, and members of the community. 

The following picture depicts the beginning of the end in the ironically named Freedom Square. In July 1942, 9,000 starving Jewish men, aged 18-45 were forced at gunpoint by the German occupiers to assemble in the scorching sun to be registered for forced labour.

It was only in 2014 that the silence about the Jews was suddenly broken when the Greek press triumphantly reported the name of the winner of the Nobel prize for literature, Patrick Modiano, a Jew whose origins are from Salonika. 

The present mayor is the first major figure in Salonika to take concrete and symbolic steps to restore the city’s Jewish heritage.

IDF soldier born to Gaza parents commended for excellence

His mother and father moved to Israel 30 years ago and had two sons here, both of whom chose to convert to Judaism and enlist in Israeli military after being encouraged at home; on Independence Day, 21-year-old Sergeant A., will receive a citation of excellence

Korin Elbaz Alush|Published:  04.24.19

He was born to Muslim parents who relocated from the Gaza Strip to Israel some 30 years ago, and in two week’s time - on Independence Day - he is going to be a recipient of a special citation of excellence from the head of his division. Ironically, the family lives in Sderot, a city that has for years been suffering from rocket attacks fired by Gaza militants.  

The 21-year-old Staff Sergeant A., is a career soldier in the Technology and Logistics Division and is currently preparing for an officers' course he is about to start.

His parents moved to Israel when the borders were still open. They managed to successfully assimilate and build new lives over the border where they became parents to two sons, one of whom is Sergeant A. The two boys decided to convert to Judaism and later enlist in Israel Defense Forces.

He began his service supervising military workshops and was later appointed as the head of the planning and development division. In the last few months, before deciding to sign-up for the officer's course, he served as operations officer of his platoon.

"I didn’t think I’d be able to achieve that, it’s a dream come true," Sergeant A., said about receiving the citation of excellence. “Since I became a career soldier, I’ve worked insane hours and tried to do my best. I’m happy that it’s been appreciated because they told me they’re giving me the citation for my hard work.”

The soldier said his parents are also Israeli patriots and his fathers had dreamt about his sons enlisting in the military. "Our parents are very excited about the ceremony," he said, adding that when he told his father he’s going to be an officer, the father broke into tears of joy. "My family is the main source of my strength, to have complete support from them is not a given,” he added.

The sergeant's extended family still lives in Gaza, but he says he’s not in touch with them and would never visit them even if he could. “I barely speak Arabic,” he said. “When the parents speak to me in Arabic, I always answer in Hebrew. I always felt Jewish, and Judaism was an inseparable part of me even before the conversion.” He said he celebrated the Passover at his parents’ house.

The soldiers says he doesn’t try to hide his Gazan roots from either his friends or the military. "It's always accompanied by follow-up questions, but I'm Jewish and Israeli, and proud of myself and my parents who chose to come to Israel."