Archive for June 20, 2018

Line of Fire – The Six Day War 1967 

June 20, 2018

 

Israel’s 50th anniversary of the “miracle war.”

 

 

 

Hamas’ new equation: Rockets in response to every IDF strike

June 20, 2018

Source: Hamas’ new equation: Rockets in response to every IDF strike

Analysis: Operating under the perception that Israel isn’t interested in a war in Gaza, the terror organization has adopted an unprecedented new policy of attacking Gaza border communities with rockets during or immediately after any IAF strike on its targets in the strip; Israeli officials believe Hamas’ desire to change the rules of the game is also driven by frustration in light of its failures in recent months.
The IDF has detected that the massive barrages of 45 rockets and mortar shellsfired at the Gaza border communities on Tuesday night was carried out by members of Hamas’ military wing as a new policy adopted by the terror organization.
According to this policy, which wasn’t even adopted in the years before Operation Protective Edge, Hamas attacks the Gaza vicinity communities with rockets during or immediately after any Israel Air Force strike on its targets in the strip.

An IAF strike in Gaza, Tuesday night

An IAF strike in Gaza, Tuesday night

Hamas operatives began firing rockets on Tuesday night after the IAF bombed a Hamas military facility in Rafah in response to incendiary kites dispatched from the strip, which sparked major fires in Gaza vicinity fields. The operatives thereby proved that a similar incident earlier this week, in which three rockets were fired at Israel, was intentional rather than random.

The targets attacked by Israel on Tuesday night included Hamas posts, warehouses, offices and an underground training facility for the organization’s operatives.

Defense establishment officials believe that Hamas is operating under the perception that Israel isn’t interested in a war in the south right now, four years after Operation Protective Edge. As a result, the organization is allowing itself to adopt what it considers an unprecedented and bold retaliation policy.

Fire sparked by incendiary kites in the Or HaNer area in southern Israel

Fire sparked by incendiary kites in the Or HaNer area in southern Israel

Nevertheless, the Hamas rocket fire is still limited to the Gaza vicinity areas and is only carried out at night. Israeli officials believe that Hamas’ desire to change the rules of the game is driven by its frustration in light of its failures in recent months and the measured exacerbation of the Israeli policy against the incendiary kites.

About two weeks ago, the IAF started firing warning shots among kite flyers. In the past few days, it begun attacking empty vehicles of senior members of Hamas’ kite unit, kite-flying infrastructures, and finally Hamas targets as well.

The organization is also frustrated by the fact that the border with Israel wasn’t breached as planned since the beginning of the fence protests in late March, while more than 165 Palestinians—mostly Hamas operatives, according to the IDF—were killed in the clashes and some 100 targets in the strip were attacked by the IAF, affecting the organization’s military power.

Damage caused by Hamas rocket fire in a Gaza border community  (Photo: Eshkol Security)

Damage caused by Hamas rocket fire in a Gaza border community (Photo: Eshkol Security)

Israel has been conveying indirect messages to Hamas that its perception concerning the Israeli policy is wrong, and that the IDF will step up its attacks even at the cost of a deterioration if the current situation continues, despite the political echelon’s desire “not to stop playing by the rules” vis-à-vis Gaza.

“At this time, thereis more pressure from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem residents concerning the fires caused by the incendiary kites than from Gaza vicinity residents,” a security source told Ynet on Tuesday. “We are making a lot of progress in the technological efforts to find a solution to the kite phenomenon, but even in the future there will be no hermetic solution.

“Ministers’ statements that kite flyers must be attacked directly are intended primarily for public opinion purposes and have nothing to do with security. As far as Hamas is concerned, the use of the kite phenomenon is a win-win situation to raise awareness to their issue in the global public opinion.”

U.S. leaving UN human rights council

June 20, 2018

 

God bless Niki Haley….

 

 

 

US quits the UN’s Human Rights Council, citing its ‘chronic bias against Israel’

June 20, 2018

Source: US quits the UN’s Human Rights Council, citing its ‘chronic bias against Israel’ | The Times of Israel

Haley calls global body ‘a cesspool of political bias’; announces US departure after protracted criticism of its obsessive focus on Israel; US official says move is ‘immediate’

The United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Tuesday, branding the global body a “cesspool of political bias.”

“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” she said at a press conference announcing the move.

The council, she added, has a “chronic bias against Israel.”

Haley said that if the council reforms, the United States “would be happy to rejoin.”

Although the US could have remained a non-voting observer on the council, a US official said it was a “complete withdrawal” and that the United States was resigning its seat “effective immediately.” The official wasn’t authorized to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.

US officials said earlier Tuesday that the administration had concluded that its efforts to promote reform on the council had failed, and that withdrawal was the only step it could take to demonstrate its seriousness. It was not immediately clear if the US would remain a non-voting observer on the council.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appearing alongside Haley at the State Department, said there was no doubt that the council once had a “noble vision.”

But today we need to be honest,” Pompeo said. “The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights.”

Haley and Pompeo stressed the decision had been made after a long year of efforts to shame the council into reform and to remove member states that themselves commit abuses.

“These reforms were needed in order to make the council a serious advocate for human rights,” Haley said. “For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias. Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded.”

The Geneva-based body was established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide, but its pronouncements and reports have often infuriated the US — in particular, the council’s relentless focus on Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

But, as Haley stressed, Washington also believes it comes up short on criticizing even flagrant abuses by US opponents like Venezuela and Cuba.

“Countries have colluded with each other to undermine the current method of selecting members,” Pompeo said. “And the council’s continued and well-documented bias against Israel is unconscionable,” he said.

“Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined,” he noted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly government conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on June 17, 2018.(Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the US move, branding the council “a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights.”

Haley, who issued a warning a year ago that Washington would make good on its threat to leave the council if reforms were not carried through, used even starker language.

“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” she said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regretted the US decision, adding: “The UN’s human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.”

Danny Danon addressing the UN Security Council on February 20, 2018. (screen capture: UNTV)

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the announcement, saying in a statement that the US “has proven, yet again, its commitment to truth and justice and its unwillingness to allow the blind hatred of Israel in international institutions to stand unchallenged.”

“The Human Rights Council has long been the foe of those who truly care about human rights around the world,” Danon said immediately after Haley spoke. “We thank President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Nikki Haley for their leadership, and call on the moral majority at the UN to hold all of its institutions accountable.”

Haley had threatened to withdraw from the council in June 2017 unless it reformed, including by removing its built-in procedural mechanism to bash Israel.

The council’s “relentless, pathological campaign” against a state with a strong human rights record “makes a mockery not of Israel, but of the council itself,” she said at the time during a speech in Geneva, hours before she made her way to Israel for her first visit to the Jewish state.

Haley had listed several conditions for the US remaining in the council, including the need to abolish Agenda Item 7 (“the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”), which since its adoption in 2007 has singled out Israel for perpetual censure, a measure that no other country faces at the UN body.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas is seen on a TV screen while speaking during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 27, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

“There is no legitimate human rights reason for this agenda item to exist,” Haley said last year. “It is the central flaw that turns the Human Rights Council from an organization that can be a force for universal good, into an organization that is overwhelmed by a political agenda.”

A full pullout by the US would leave the council without one of its traditional defenders of human rights. In recent months, the United States has participated in attempts to pinpoint rights violations in places like South Sudan, Congo and Cambodia.

Opposition to the decision from human rights advocates was swift. A group of 12 organizations including Save the Children, Freedom House and the United Nations Association – USA said there were “legitimate concerns” about the council’s shortcomings but that none of them warranted a US exit.

“This decision is counterproductive to American national security and foreign policy interests and will make it more difficult to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world,” the organizations said in a joint statement.

Added Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch: “All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”

The announcement came just a day after the UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, denounced the Trump administration for separating migrant children from their parents.

There are 47 countries in the Human Rights Council, elected by the UN’s General Assembly with a specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row.

A key question will be where a US pullout will leave Israel if its biggest and most powerful defender abandons its voting rights or drops out of the council altogether.

A general view of the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 26, 2018 in Geneva. (AFP Photo/Jean-Guy Python)

Since last year, Haley’s office has pushed the council and its chief not to publish a UN database of companies operating in West Bank settlements, a so-called blacklist that Israel is concerned could drive companies away and cast a further pall over its presence in the Palestinian-claimed West Bank.

Last month, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called for Israel and the United States to withdraw from the council over what he termed its “hypocrisy” in criticizing the Jewish state’s Gaza policy.

But Israel has never been a member state of the Human Rights Council, whose members are elected by the UN General Assembly.

“We are cooperating with the council and we have an embassy to the UN institutions in Geneva… but we are not currently members of the council,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said on Tuesday, a few hours before the US announcement.

A US pullout might also be largely symbolic: The United States’ current term on the council ends next year, when it could revert to the observer status held by other countries that are not members. In that situation, the US would be able to speak out on rights abuses, but not to vote.

The United States has opted to stay out of the Human Rights Council before: The administration of president George W. Bush decided against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006. The US joined the body only in 2009 under president Barack Obama.

The expected US announcement was welcomed by Israel’s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy, Michael Oren.

“Amb. Nikki Haley will soon announce America’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. This is a welcomed response to a body that condemned Israel more than all other countries combined. The US now signals its refusal to lend legitimacy to UN bias against Israel and Jews,” he tweeted earlier on Tuesday,

Supporters of Israel rallying outside the UN building in Geneva as the Human Rights Council met, June 29, 2015 (World Jewish Congress)

Reaction to the anticipated move from human rights advocates was equally swift.

“The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: Defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” said Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

“All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel,” he said, adding that it would be up to the remaining members to ensure that the council addresses serious abuses.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined commenting directly, saying: “We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting fully.”

But, he added: “What is clear is that the secretary-general is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the UN and the active participation of all member states in that architecture.”

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein talks with president of the Human Rights Council Vojislav Suc (R) during the opening of the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council on June 18, 2018 in Geneva. (AFP PHOTO / ALAIN GROSCLAUDE)

The withdrawal also follows strong UN criticism of Trump’s policy to separate migrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border, though the Trump administration has not yet explicitly cited that criticism, delivered Monday by UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, as a reason for pulling out.

Speaking of the Trump administration policy, Hussein said, “the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.”

Since Trump took office, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding, and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.

Dozens of rockets launched from Gaza Strip, IDF strikes Hamas target

June 20, 2018

Source: Dozens of rockets launched from Gaza Strip, IDF strikes Hamas target – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

No injuries reported, but one of the projectiles landed near a kindergarten in the Eshkol regional council.

BY JERUSALEM POST STAFF
 JUNE 20, 2018 08:01

Dozens of Hamas rockets were fired on Israel from the Gaza Strip late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.  At least three projectiles landed in Israeli communities causing no injuries, but slight damage to buildings and vehicles in southern Israel.

The  IDF spokesperson’s office reported that seven rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome and three of those fired landed within the Gaza Strip.

Residents of the south got little sleep as warning sirens blared throughout the night. Early Wednesday morning, it was decided that schools would remain open, under increased security protection.

A shell of a rocket fired from Gaza scars the road in the Eshkol regional council (Courtesy)

The strikes came in retaliation to the ongoing launching of incendiary kites and balloons into Israeli territory all throughout Tuesday. These makeshift devices sparked forest and brush fires in 15 locations in the Gaza periphery.

In a second round of IAF activities, eight targets were struck including three Hamas bases.

During a third round of IAF operation, eleven targets were struck in retaliation for the rockets being fired on Israel, including four Hamas bases, the IDF spokesperson reported.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

In response to over 45 rockets launched by Hamas towards southern Israeli communities, the IDF targeted military objectives in the Gaza Strip belonging to HamasA shell of a rocket fired from Gaza scars the road in the Eshkol regional council (Courtesy)

In retaliation to Hamas activity, the IAF struck 25 Hamas targets in three separate rounds of retaliatory strikes overnight. Two Hamas security men were lightly hurt in one air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, residents said.

The escalation began after Israeli fighter jets attacked three targets in a Hamas base located in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

According to Hebrew news site Walla! one of the projectiles landed near a kindergarten in the Eshkol regional council.  

The IDF warned that it is ready to use “a variety of tools and means” to respond in an increasing intensity to such acts of terror.

“The message of tit for tat attacks is that the resistance is the one that defines the equation of the conflict and we will not let the enemy isolate our people,” a Hamas spokesman said on Twitter Wednesday after the violence had died down.

Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi stated Tuesday that “there was never any idea” voiced in the cabinet to open fire on Palestinians who are flying incendiary kites into Israel.

“We do not kill those who launch kites,” Hanegbi stated, “the cabinet backs the position of the security forces that as long as this will go on more and more Hamas assets will be bombed.”

Since its last war with Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists in 2014, Israel has stepped up efforts to prevent cross-border attacks, improving rocket interceptors and investing in technologies for detecting and destroying guerrilla tunnels.

In recent weeks, Palestinians have sent kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to arid farmland and forests, others have carried small explosive devices in a new tactic that has caused extensive damage.

At least 127 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the men sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.Reuters contributed to this report.