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Israel Lightens Restrictions on Gaza to Emphasize ‘Calm Is Better than Violence’

August 15, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative example of goods shipped to Gaza. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

With multiple days of general quiet on the Gaza border, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Facebook on Wednesday the re-opening of the Israel-Gaza border crossing back to its normal function “as a clear message for Gaza population: calm is better than violence.” Lieberman’s statement, posted in Arabic and translated into English on the Facebook page of Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) authority that works with the Palestinians on the ground, said that Gazans would “win” when Israelis have calm and “lose when #chaos prevails.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed in a series of posts on Wednesday that the Kerem Shalom border crossing would “be re-opened this morning for full activity” and that the fishing zone of Gaza’s coast would be expanded out to nine nautical miles.

The relaxing of restrictions comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the closing of the Kerem Shalom crossing in July in an effort to curb Hamas terrorism with economic sanctions. For months, Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip have been launching attacks at Israel in the form of rockets, fire kites, and attempts to breach the border crossing to invade Israel. In recent weeks, there have been multiple upticks in rocket violence, prior to the latest period of calm. … Continue Reading

Gaza Unleashes Rockets at Israeli Civilians, IDF Responds

August 8, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Hamas firing rockets at Israel again. Illustrative results of Gaza attack. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.

The day started ominously, with Hamas terrorists abandoning outposts to apparently escape potential IDF fire, and like the calm before the storm, the rain of rockets followed. More than 70 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in a six-hour stretch starting on Wednesday, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed, with rocket sirens warning of potentially more attacks. The tweet featured a graphic showing 19 different Israeli towns in which rocket sirens had sounded in the onslaught—and the rockets were hitting civilian targets.

Magen David Adom paramedics tweeted about multiple injuries occurring in the town of Sderot at multiple sites, while the IDF Spokesperson posted a video showing a playground damaged by rocket fire as one example of the day’s hits.

“Tonight, Hamas fired rockets at this playground in Sderot, Israel, which is home to 25,000 people. They’re innocent mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. The Hamas terrorist organization looks at Sderot from the Gaza Strip and sees 25,000 targets,” tweeted the video caption. The IDF did not take the barrage lightly, responding in force against Hamas.

… Continue Reading

Israel Threatens War with Iran if Critical Naval Waterway Blocked

Could Israel fight Iran at sea? Naval ship off the coast of Israel. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

With rhetoric between the United States and Iran soaring, the Iranians are making threatening to blocking key shipping lines—and Israel is now on record as threatening to militarily fight back if Iran carries through. “If Iran tries to block the Bab-el-Mandeb, I am convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this. This coalition would also include the State of Israel and all its arms,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday in comments released by his office, referring to the waterway known as the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, a key artery for international oil shipping.

The Iranians have focused their threats on the closer and more significant Strait of Hormuz that links the Persian Gulf with the rest of the world. However, CNBC reported that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have already attacked Saudi oil tankers in the Bab-el-Mandeb, through which 5 million barrels of oil are shipped per day. While that’s less than a third of what goes through Hormuz, the Bab-el-Mandeb strait is also more critical for Israel, as it links the Red Sea coast in Israel’s south to the Indian Ocean and is therefore the naval gateway for Asian trade with the Jewish State. Netanyahu specifically mentioned that Houthi attack in his comments, which were delivered to an Israeli naval officers’ graduation ceremony.

Meanwhile, the US believes that Iran is about to launch significant naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz. According to a report from Fox News, the US expects the drill to involve 100 gun boats and get underway this week. … Continue Reading

Iranian Parliament Advisor: ‘Liberation’ of Israeli-Controlled Golan ‘Can Be Achieved’

July 29, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Iranian intentions revealed? Iran already invaded Israel from Syria with a UAV. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up piece of Iranian UAV in February. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben Gershom GPO

An Iranian official on Sunday declared on Twitter that the Golan Heights controlled by Israel at their northern border could now be conquered by Syria, giving voice to some of Israel’s greatest concerns about Iranian and Syrian intentions in the strategic area. The tweet, originally posted in Arabic and translated by the Microsoft software on Twitter, included a map that specifically highlighted the Israeli-controlled Golan region and follows the Syrian regime’s recent victory over rebels on the Syrian side of the border.

“We congratulate the Syrian people and the Syrian armed Forces and the President of Syria on the occasion of the liberation of Quneitra from the terrorists of Nusra Front and Zionists,” tweeted Special Aide on International Affairs of the Islamic Parliament Hossein Amir Abdollahian, referring to the libel that Israel is actively assisting terrorist forces in Syria.

“This victory means that the liberation of the occupied Golan Heights can be achieved with the determination and will of the Syrians.”

Israel has repeatedly raised concerns about Iranian forces in Syria and lately emphasized the need to maintain the status quo in the north determined by the ceasefire that ended the last war between the Jewish state and Syria more than forty years ago. … Continue Reading

Gaza Sniper Kills Israel Soldier, IDF Strikes 60 Hamas Targets in Response

July 22, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Israeli tanks and aircraft were called into the fight against Gaza terrorists. Israeli tank. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

One week after the last escalation saw hundreds of Hamas rockets fired at Israel and the IDF strike dozens of Hamas targets in Gaza, a sniper under cover of Friday’s riot at the Israel-Gaza border unleashed another round of intense fighting by mortally wounding an Israeli soldier. The IDF website reported that the Israelis hit 60 Hamas sites in response to the fatal shooting, while Gaza terrorists fired three rockets at Israel.

By Saturday morning a ceasefire was in place, but by noon the same day Hamas had already violated the terms by infiltrating Israeli territory. The IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter page posted that the terrorists returned to the Gaza Strip and Israeli tanks attacked a Hamas military post in response, which followed waves of military targets that were hit earlier on the weekend. Per another IDF Tweet, the Hamas targets struck in response to the sniper attack included weapon-manufacturing sites, a factory used for underground infrastructure manufacturing, and a warehouse for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Tweeted the IDF Spokesperson, “The IDF views today’s attack and the hostile activity orchestrated by Hamas throughout the last months with great severity. Hamas chose to escalate the security situation and will bear the consequences for its actions.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday made it clear that Israel would strike even harder if Hamas continues their acts of terror. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Directed IDF to ‘Defeat and Stop’ Gaza Fire Kites

July 16, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at kindergarten in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.
Photo By: Haim Zach / GPO

In the midst of a tenuous ceasefire in which a Gaza projectile proved it’s not over, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “for the seventh time” that his country would not accept a ceasefire in which terrorists continue to launch incendiary kites and balloons in arson attacks on Israel. “It is worth their while to listen to me, especially on the other side, there is no such thing from our perspective of a ceasefire that makes an exception for incendiary kites and balloons,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments released by his office. “…[This message] will, I hope, get through. But if it will not be understood from my words, it will be understood through the actions of the IDF.”

Those actions were on display on Monday, as Israeli aircraft struck a pair of Hamas posts in Gaza located near where flaming balloons had been launched, according to a series of Tweets from the IDF Spokesperson. Those last strikes were “in response to Hamas’ arson attacks against Israeli civilians and Israeli sovereignty,” said the Twitter posts. Based on Netanyahu’s words on Monday, don’t expect Israel to stop there if the terrorists keep launching the fire kites and balloons.

“Just as we are now completing the blocking of the tunnels and as we took action and succeeded in stopping the mass storming of the fences, I have directed the IDF to defeat and stop the terror of incendiary kites and balloons, and we are in the midst of the process,” said Netanyahu. … Continue Reading

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