Archive for September 18, 2018

Chava Alberstein — Let it Be (Lu Yehi) 

September 18, 2018


The song of the Yom Kippur war in memory of the thousands of youngsters who fell.


Russia, Turkey to form buffer zone in Idlib as Syria vows to ‘liberate’ it 

September 18, 2018

Source: Russia, Turkey to form buffer zone in Idlib as Syria vows to ‘liberate’ it  – Israel Hayom


Millions of Jews pause their lives to honor Yom Kippur traditions 

September 18, 2018

Source: Millions of Jews pause their lives to honor Yom Kippur traditions – Israel Hayom

IAF targets Palestinian terror cell planting bombs ‎near Gaza border ‎ 

September 18, 2018

Source: IAF targets Palestinian terror cell planting bombs ‎near Gaza border ‎ – Israel Hayom

Russia blames Israel after Syria downs plane while trying to repel attack

September 18, 2018

Source: Russia blames Israel after Syria downs plane while trying to repel attack | The Times of Israel

Russian defense chief tells Liberman that Israel wholly responsible for aircraft with 15 aboard being shot down by Syrian S-200 missile, says Moscow reserves right to respond

An Ilyushin Il-20M reconnaissance plane takes off at Kubinka air force base near Moscow, Russia, on February 19, 2014. (Artyom Anikeev/iStock/Getty Images)

An Ilyushin Il-20M reconnaissance plane takes off at Kubinka air force base near Moscow, Russia, on February 19, 2014. (Artyom Anikeev/iStock/Getty Images)

Russia on Tuesday blamed Israel while confirming that Syrian air defenses inadvertently shot down one of its military planes the night before, saying Israeli pilots used the reconnaissance aircraft as cover for an attack on a Syrian facility.

The Russian military said the Ilyushin IL-20, with 15 aboard, was downed by a Syrian S-200 missile, which had been triggered by an alleged Israeli airstrike on a Syrian facility near Latakia.

According to Russia, at approximately 10 p.m., four Israeli F-16 fighter jets approached western Syria from the sea and fired dozens of missiles at the facility, a Syrian defense ministry subsidiary with ties to the country’s chemical weapons and missile programs.

The Russian military accused the Israeli Air Force of deliberately using the Ilyushin IL-20 electronic surveillance plane, which was flying nearby, as a shield for its attack, putting the aircraft in the path of the incoming Syrian air defenses.

This account could not be immediately confirmed. The Israeli military refused to comment



Map of incident on September 17 in Syria provided by Russian MoD 

“We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership,” the Russian military said in a statement, according to Russia Today, a Kremlin-linked news outlet.

The Israeli and Russian militaries maintain what they call a “deconfliction mechanism,” which is meant to coordinate their activities in Syria in order to avoid incidents like this one. Until Monday night, these efforts had largely succeeded in preventing direct or indirect clashes since Russia became more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war three years ago.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, left, and his team meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu and his team on May 31, 2018. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

On Tuesday morning, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman that Israel had failed to warn Moscow of its plans in advance, informing them less than a minute before the strikes, which did not leave sufficient time to get the reconnaissance aircraft out of harm’s way.

In the phone call, Shoigu told Liberman that Russia “reserves the right to further countermeasures” against Israel, according to the state-run Interfax news outlet.

Shoigu added that the “actions of the Israeli Defense Ministry fail to match the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership,” according to Interfax.

“Israel was repeatedly asked not to deliver strikes on Syria endangering Russian personnel,” Interfax quoted Shoigu as telling Liberman.

Liberman’s office confirmed that the minister had spoken with Shoigu, but said it “would not comment beyond that.”

One of the sole Israeli officials to comment on the matter was Likud MK and fighter pilot Yoav Kisch, who denied that Israel was culpable.

Illustrative: An Israel Air Force F-16 takes off. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)







“The attempt by Russia to define Israel as responsible for the downing of the Russian plane must be opposed. The only person responsible is the one who pressed the button that fired the missile that shot down the plane,” he wrote on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear how the downing of the Ilyushin Il-20 plane would affect the ongoing cooperation between Israel and Russia in Syria.

A Kremlin spokesperson said the situation was being “analyzed” in light of the incident, according to Interfax.

The Russian government spokesperson refused to comment when asked if Russian President Vladmir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would speak about the matter.

On Tuesday, Russian officials displayed a rarely seen level of hostility toward the Israeli military.

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the state-run TASS news agency that Israel knew the reconnaissance plane was there and used it as cover to carry out the airstrike.

An S-200 air defense missile being paraded in Kaliningrad, Russia on May 9, 2008. (Dmitry Shchukin/iStock/Getty Images)

“By using the Russian plane as a cover the Israeli air pilots made it vulnerable to Syrian air defense fire. As a result, the Ilyushin-20, its reflective surface being far greater than that of F-16, was downed by a missile launched with the S-200 system,” Konashenkov said.

The S-200 air defense system is manufactured by Russia and sold to Syria. In February, the same type of system was used to shoot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet that was taking part in airstrikes in Syria in response to an Iranian drone that was flown into Israeli airspace from a Syrian air base earlier in the day.

On Monday night, Syria’s state media reported that a state company for technical industries was bombed, likely by Israel, triggering Syrian air defenses.

Two people were killed in the strike and eight more were injured, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Qalaat Al Mudiq@QalaatAlMudiq

: SAA source claims it was a coordinated attack between |i Air Force & UK/US ships & 28 cruise missiles fired in total. 10 casualties reported in so far. Video shows multiple strikes SE. of .

Qalaat Al Mudiq@QalaatAlMudiq

: powerful blast in province & jet is clearly heard before.

Russian state news earlier said the IL-20 disappeared over the Mediterranean on Monday evening as it was returning to Latakia province at the same time as the suspected strike by Israel, and that concurrently France was also firing rockets nearby.

“Connection has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea 35 kilometers from the Syrian coast as it was returning to the Hmeimim airbase,” the Russian defense ministry said, adding that communications were lost at the time of the suspected Israeli attack.

A Pentagon spokesman said the United States was not involved and declined to provide further details.

“The missiles were not fired by the US military and we have nothing further at this time,” he said.

A French army spokesman also denied any involvement after Russia accused it of taking part in the strike.

Russia has until now mostly turned a blind eye to alleged Israeli strikes on Syrian and Iranian military facilities in the country, despite being allied with Damascus and Tehran.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspect a military parade during their visit to the Russian air base in Hmeimim in the northwestern Syrian province of Latakia, December 11, 2017. (Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP)

Israel is alleged to have been behind a series of airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria that have joined the country’s war fighting alongside the government. Israel rarely acknowledges attacks inside Syria, but has said it will use military action to prevent weapons transfers to its enemies.

Earlier this month, an Israeli military official said the Jewish state has struck over 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

Syrian military sources told SANA that the Monday attack came from the direction of the sea and targeted an Organization for Technological Industries center in Latakia.

The sources also claimed the country’s air defenses shot down a number of incoming missiles. The Syrian army has regularly been accused of exaggerating its interception capabilities.

The state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV reported loud explosions in the coastal Latakia province, saying they were likely from Israeli strikes.

Explosions continued for nearly a half hour, said state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV, which aired footage showing streaks of white light flashing across the sky. An unidentified military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defenses intercepted some missiles heading for the provincial capital of Latakia from the sea.

The attack caused a large explosion and knocked out power to the surrounding area, according to local media.

The Organization for Technological Industries is a subsidiary of the Syrian Ministry of Defense and has been tied to the developments of both missiles and chemical weapons.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the explosions, saying the target appeared to be an ammunition depot, part of the compound of the organization. The war monitoring group said it was not clear if the depot was for Iranian or Syrian forces.

The strikes followed a similar attack on Damascus International Airport late Saturday, which Syrian state media also blamed on Israel. A military official quoted then on state media said Syrian air defenses intercepted some missiles coming from the sea.

Other attacks were reported on September 4 that targeted sites in the coastal Tartus area and in Hama province. The Observatory said at the time that the attacks were believed aimed at Iranian military posts.


IDF officer who shot down Syrian plane speaks of tension before missile launch

September 18, 2018

Hey Syrians, remember that plane of yours which was shot down a few months ago?

You know, the one that da Jooos shot down?

Well, it was shot down by a woman.

Bet that stings a whole heap, don’t it?

Captain Or Naaman says of the July incident, ‘You take deep breaths and you wait to hear and see that you knocked out the target’

Captain Or Naaman, who commanded the team that shot down a Syrian plane, in an interview broadcast on September 17, 2018. (Screen capture: Hadashot news)
Captain Or Naaman, who commanded the team that shot down a Syrian plane, in an interview broadcast on September 17, 2018. (Screen capture: Hadashot news)

Captain Or Naaman, the IDF officer who commanded the unit that downed a Syrian plane after it entered Israeli airspace in July, described the tension in the control station during the operation, in an interview with Hadashot news shown Monday.

According to the Israeli military, a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet entered Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights on July 24, traveling approximately two kilometers (one mile) before it was shot down by two Israeli Patriot interceptor missiles.

Naaman commanded the team who fired the missiles, and she said that during the operation the control station remained quiet.

“I can say it is a bit like the paratroopers’ course I did. There is that moment before you jump from the plane — you don’t know what will happen, whether the parachute will open, or if the helmet will fall off, or how you will land on the ground,” she told Hadashot. “This is fairly similar to the process of launching from the control station.”

She also described the palpable tension after the launch.

“You take deep breaths and you wait to hear and see that you knocked out the target,” she said. “When you hear the ‘boom’ outside of the missile, you… that’s… that’s something I never imagined I’d hear.”

The full interview with Naaman will be broadcast on Wednesday night.

The Israel Defense Forces said at the time it had repeatedly warned Syria against flying aircraft close to the border before shooting down the jet.

Syria confirmed that its aircraft had been shot down by Israel and said it crashed in the Yarmouk Basin in southwestern Syria.

One of the pilots, identified as Col. Amran Mara’e, was killed when the plane was shot down, a Syrian military source told the Russian Sputnik news outlet. The fate of the other airman was not immediately known. According to Israeli reports, however, there was only one pilot in the plane.

The plane was involved in Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s offensive against the rebel-held Daraa and Quneitra provinces, near the Israeli border.

Minutes before the plane was shot down, Syria’s state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV was broadcasting footage from the fence demarcating the UN buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli forces inside the Golan Heights. A UN observer post could be seen just on the other side of the fence.

According to the IDF, the fighter jet took off from the Iran-linked T-4 air force base in central Syria, which Israel has bombed in the past, and traveled “at high speed” toward the Golan Heights.

Israel stressed that it will continue to enforce the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement, which requires Syria to abide by a demilitarized zone between the two countries

This was the first time that Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet since 2014, when another Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jet entered Israeli airspace and was targeted with a Patriot missile.

In February of this year, the Syrian military shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet as it was taking part in a bombing raid against an Iranian-linked airfield in central Syria after an Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace, according to the IDF. The F-16’s pilot and navigator were injured as they bailed out of the aircraft, which crashed to the ground in northern Israel.

Report: US freezes all PLO bank accounts in country

September 18, 2018

Source: Report: US freezes all PLO bank accounts in country

After Trump administration orders closure of PLO offices in Washington as part of bid to force Palestinians back to the negotiating table with Israel, Al Jazeera says Husam Zomlot has been instructed to leave with his family, whose bank accounts have all also been frozen.
The US has decided to freeze all bank accounts belonging to the (Palestine Liberation Organization) PLO in the country as the White House ramps up pressure on the Palestinians to enter into peace talks with Israel, according to a report in Al Jazeera on Sunday evening.

The Palestinian envoy to the US Husam Zomlot also said on Sunday that his permit to stay in the US has been annulled, his families’ bank accounts have been closed and that he and his family have been requested by authorities to immediately leave the country.

The report comes shortly after President Donald Trump’s decision last week to close the PLO mission in Washington.

“The US administration also revoked the visas of Ambassador Husam Zomlot’s wife and two children despite their being valid until 2020,” a statement released on Sunday by the PLO said.

Palestinian Liberation Organization's mission in Washington (Photo: AP)

Palestinian Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington (Photo: AP)

“Ambassador Zomlot’s son Said, 7, who is in second grade, and daughter Alma, 5, who is in kindergarten were pulled out of Horace Mann Elementary School in Washington DC last week and have since left the country,” the statement continued.

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said blasted the latest development.

“As if the announcement that the US would close our office in Washington DC was not enough, this vindictive action by the Trump administration is spiteful. The US has taken its attempts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians to a new level,” she said.

“By deliberately targeting the family of Ambassador Zomlot, the US administration has gone from cruel punishment to revenge against the Palestinians and their leadership even to the point of causing hardship to their innocent children and families,” she added.

Hanan Ashrawi (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

Hanan Ashrawi (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

“This unconscionable move goes against all diplomatic protocol and constitutes an inhumane escalation on the part of the Trump administration to persist in their policy of pressure and extortion.

“It also comes in revenge of the Palestinian leadership’s firm and principled rejection of the Trump administration’s unilateral measures under the so-called ‘ultimate deal’ and subsequent blackmail,” Ashrawi continued.

“Instead of working for a genuine peace, the US administration is destroying the chances of peace and undermining its own credibility and standing on all levels.”

The move is believed to be part of Trump’s strategy to force the Palestinians back to the negotiating table with Israel in his bid to mediate a peace agreement, which he refers to as the “ultimate deal.”

On Friday, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration will halt funding for the last aiding source beneficial for the Palestinians.

US officials said Conflict Management and Mitigation Program would not receive further funding in addition to the aid which was already approved and is expected to end in September.

President Trump (Photo: AP)

President Trump (Photo: AP)

At the beginning of the month, the US announced that it was halting all funding to a UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees in a decision further heightening tensions between the Palestinian leadership and the Trump administration.

Trump also told a group of rabbis and Jewish leaders ahead of the new year festival of Rosh Hashanah that the US would not renew its transfer of funds to the Palestinians until they agreed to come to the negotiating table with Israel to end the decades-long conflict.

“What I will tell you is I stopped massive amounts of money that we were paying to the Palestinians and the Palestinian leaders,” Trump told the leaders.