Archive for August 28, 2018

Report: Abbas says Israel-Hamas deal ‘over my dead body’

August 28, 2018

August 28, 2018

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

A report in the Israeli media claims that the PA president is furious at Egypt for attempting to broker a “treasonous” truce between Israel and Hamas.

By: World Israel News Staff

Israel’s Channel 10 News published a report on Tuesday based on comments from a senior Fatah official demonstrating Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ intense hostility toward any potential deal between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

According to the report, the Fatah official told Channel 10 that Abbas was furious with the Egyptians for mediating the agreement, which the PA chief referred to as “treachery and defiance against the leadership.”

The official also claimed that Abbas acknowledged that the supposed reconciliation process between his party and Hamas was disintegrating.

Abbas apparently made his position on the ceasefire clear, commenting “An agreement between Hamas and Israel, over my dead body!”

Among Abbas’ complaints with regard to any future agreement involving Hamas is the illegitimacy of the terror group’s rule over the Gaza Strip, which was achieved via a violent coup through which the PA was ousted from the coastal enclave.

Regardless of Abbas’ comments, senior Hamas officials claimed that the ceasefire agreement could be concluded in the near future, after a break in negotiations due to the Eid al-Adha holiday.

With Hamas officials issuing statements regarding the terror group’s intention to maintain its arsenal and militaristic capabilities, and their contention that prisoner exchanges would be addressed separately, the ultimate fate of the ceasefire remains to be seen.


Hamas: Will Still Pursue the Destruction of Jewish State Regardless of Truce

August 28, 2018

The terrorist group Hamas will continue to arm itself even if a truce agreement is signed with Israel, a senior Gaza official said Monday.

Hamas foreign relations chief Osama Hamdan said that even if a long-term ceasefire agreement is reached with Israel, the terrorist group will still pursue the destruction of the Jewish state “because it gives no credence in the Zionist entity”.

Hamdan was quoted in Palestinian media as saying that the ceasefire agreement currently being negotiated with the help of Cairo does not include the construction of a seaport or airport to serve the Hamas-led enclave.

“Everything that’s been published about this so far is a lie,” he said.

“The Zionist enemy has come to the conclusion that it is impossible to thwart Palestinian resistance,” Hamdan said, adding that Israel “will see that it made a grave mistake if the truce with Hamas fails.”

Hamdan also said that Hamas was interested in a prisoner exchange agreement “more than before”. He said the agreement is independent of the ceasefire talks, although Israel insists that no formal truce will be reached without the release of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers held in Gaza.

Numerous reports have reported that Israel is in the advanced stages talks with Hamas, through UN, Egyptian and Qatari mediation, for a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, Hamas official Husam Badran said Palestinian factions had postponed talks in Cairo on a long-term ceasefire with Israel, as well as on inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Gaza has seen an increase in violence since the start of the “Return March” protests along the border in March. The clashes, which the Hamas rulers of Gaza have orchestrated, have included attacks with stones and Molotov cocktails against Israeli troops, as well as attempts to break through the border fence and attack Israeli citizens.

Palestinians in Gaza have also launched incendiary air strikes into Israel, burning thousands of acres of forest and farmland, resulting in millions of dollars in damage.

The clashes, which the Hamas rulers of Gaza have orchestrated, have included attacks with stones and Molotov cocktails against the troops, as well as attempts to break through the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers.

Palestinians in Gaza have also launched incendiary air strikes into Israel, burning thousands of acres of forest and farmland, resulting in millions of estimated shekels of damage.

At least 171 Gazans have been killed by Israeli gunfire since the start of the fighting, according to the Hamas-led health ministry. An Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. Hamas has acknowledged that dozens of Palestinian deaths were members of terrorist groups.

In addition, Israel and Hamas have engaged in several deadly exchanges of fire in recent months that resulted in terrorist groups firing hundreds of rockets and mortars into Israeli territory, including one earlier this month that was the largest escalation of violence since 2014 war.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and Egyptian officials have been seeking to negotiate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas. The two sides have fought three wars since 2008.

Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza to prevent weapons and other military equipment from entering the Strip.

US Rejects UN Jurisdiction on Iran Suit Against US Nuke Deal Withdrawal, Renewed Sanctions

August 28, 2018

The International Court of Justice- Photo Credit: Lybil BER via Wikimedia

Iran, on Monday, asked the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order President Donald Trump to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Islamic Republic, and to reverse his unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, and suspend his accusations about Iran’s spreading terrorism in Middle Eastern countries.

Iran argues Trump’s moves violated a decades-old Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations signed between Iran and the US in 1955. Of course, in 1979, Iran violated every possible aspect of the same treaty, when it invaded the American embassy in Tehran and kept embassy staff hostage for more than a year.

The American delegation was given three hours to present its initial response on Tuesday.

The response the U.S. gave to the U.N. judges a short time later was that they have no jurisdiction to rule on Iran’s demand.

U.S. State Department lawyer Jennifer Newstead told the International Court of Justice in The Hague that it “lacks prima facie jurisdiction to hear Iran’s claims,” according to an AFP report. She argued that the U.S. has the right to protect its national security interests.

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial body of the United Nations. It settles legal disputes between member states and gives advisory opinions to authorized UN organs and specialized agencies. The court comprises a panel of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms. It is seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

In contentious cases, the ICJ produces a binding ruling between states that agree to submit to the ruling of the court.

Rouhani vows to defeat anti-Iranian officials in the White House

August 28, 2018

Source: Rouhani vows to defeat anti-Iranian officials in the White House

Blaming US sanctions for economic woes during parliamentary questioning, Iranian president says Tehran ‘will not allow the US plot against the Islamic Republic to succeed.’
The parliament summoned Rouhani for the first time to answer questions on weak economic growth and rising unemployment, but Rouhani said the troubles only began when Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran.US President Donald Trump withdrew in May from a deal that had lifted sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

President Rouhani and President Trump (Photo: AFP, Getty Images)

President Rouhani and President Trump (Photo: AFP, Getty Images)

Washington imposed a new round of sanctions in August targeting Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of US dollars and its car industry. A new round of sanctions to be imposed in November targets Iranian oil sales.

“I want to assure the Iranian nation that we will not allow the US plot against the Islamic Republic to succeed,” Rouhani said in a live broadcast on state television.
“We will not let this bunch of anti-Iranians in the White House be able to plot against us.” 

He added, “We are not afraid of America or the economic problems. We will overcome the troubles.” 

Rouhani, a pragmatist who reduced tension with the West by striking a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, now faces a backlash from hardliners over Washington’s pullout from the pact.”Be aware that sabotage creates destruction. Be aware that painting a bleak picture of people’s lives will lead to further darkness,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani also made a cryptic remark that Iran had a “third way” to deal with the crisis other than abandoning or staying in the nuclear deal. He did not elaborate, but said he mentioned it to French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

Hardline elements in the parliament have pressed Rouhani to reshuffle his economic team to better shield the economy from Trump’s moves and tamp down public discontent.

Rouhani said the troubles began with anti-government protests in early January when many Iranians, angered by rising prices took to the streets, chanting slogans against the government and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.”The protests tempted Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal,” he said, asking lawmakers to support his cabinet and not add to anti-government sentiment.

Iranians take to the street in protest against economic hardships

Iranians take to the street in protest against economic hardships

Although the economic problems were critical, Rouhani said, “More important than that is that many people have lost their faith in the future of the Islamic Republic and are in doubt about its power.”

Lawmakers asked why the government had not adopted reforms in the financial sector and foreign exchange market, and sought an explanation why, more than two years after the nuclear deal, Iranian banks still had only limited access to global financial services.

Rouhani appointed a new central bank governor and accepted the government spokesman’s resignation, suggesting that he accepts the need to reshuffle his economic team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Report: US offers to pull out of Syria if Iran leaves country’s south 

August 28, 2018

Source: Report: US offers to pull out of Syria if Iran leaves country’s south – Israel Hayom

IDF to expand rocket arsenal with unprecedented precision weapons

August 28, 2018

August 27, 2018

IDF forces during the Second Lebanon War. (Haim Azulay /Flash90)

Avigdor Liberman announced Monday that his ministry had ordered state-of-the-art rockets with unprecedented precision and accuracy worth hundreds of millions of shekels.

By: World Israel News Staff

On Monday, Avigdor Liberman announced that Israel’s Ministry of Defense ordered new precision rockets from Israel Military Industries (IMI).

According to the Ministry of Defense, the new rockets, worth hundreds of millions of shekels, will allow the IDF to more accurately strike targets while decreasing mission cost in comparison to other combat systems, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Liberman, who serves as minister of defense, tweeted that the missiles would help “turn[] the IDF into a stronger, more diverse and smarter army.”

The missile acquisition announced Monday is part of an overall IDF strategy designed to improve the IDF’s precision in armed conflicts and follows the announcement several months ago regarding the army’s formation of a designated Missile Corps.

The precision missiles reportedly have a range of between 30 and 150 kilometers, with significantly improved accuracy capabilities that make them more suitable for the type of urban warfare the IDF could encounter in a future conflict with Hamas in Gaza, thereby reducing the likelihood of collateral damage.

The announcement on Monday follows a senior IDF officer’s revelation in August that the army intends to convert 50 percent of its land-based ammunition into precise weaponry.

To that end, the new precision missiles will join the IMI’s surface-to-surface GPS-guided Romach rockets, capable of hitting targets with an accuracy range of under 10 meters at a range of 35 kilometers.

In addition to the threat posed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the IDF is also on guard against potential attacks by the Hezbollah terror group operating in Lebanon, near Israel’s northern border.

Hezbollah claims to possess an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets, with ranges between 10 and 500 kilometers. According to Israeli officials, the terror group could expand its arsenal to more than 1,000 precision-guided missiles within 10 years’ time.


Syrian air defense forces reported on full alert for US attack – DEBKAfile

August 28, 2018

Source: Syrian air defense forces reported on full alert for US attack – DEBKAfile

DEBKAfile: Russian sources are ramping up war fever over Syria. Syrian air defense forces were reported Monday night on high alert for a possible US attack on Damascus. This was not confirmed by government sources in the Syrian capital.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Syrian rebels in Idlib were preparing to stage a false flag chemical weapon attack against civilians in order to blame Damascus and give the US and its allies a pretext for a punitive strike against Syria. The ministry spokesman earlier claimed that the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer, had entered the Mediterranean on Aug. 25 armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting any target in Syria.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources attribute the war tensions generated by Moscow against the US to information that Iran and Syria are plotting a string of military attacks on US forces deployed east of the Euphrates near the Syrian-Iraqi border in the coming hours. These attacks may also be be aimed at Israeli targets. Neither the US nor Israel will likely take such strikes without response.