Archive for December 6, 2018

Netanyahu reacts to CNN report on antisemitism in Europe

December 6, 2018

 

 

 

Senior official: Russia helping stop weapon transfers to Hezbollah 

December 6, 2018

Source: Senior official: Russia helping stop weapon transfers to Hezbollah – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed some 25 ambassadors in Misgav Am on Thursday about Operation Northern Shield, Israel’s campaign to detect and destroy Hezbollah terror tunnels.

BY HERB KEINON
 DECEMBER 6, 2018 14:04
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with foreign ambassadors in the northern sector near IDF force

Russia has deployed troops on the Syrian-Lebanese border to prevent the transfer of weapons and precision-guided technology to Hezbollah, a senior diplomatic official said on Thursday.

The official said that this deployment, as well as IDF actions inside Syria to disrupt the transfer of these weapons and technology to turn ordinary missiles into precision-guided ones, has had a significant impact, and that Hezbollah has only been able to convert “a few dozen” of their estimated 140,000 missiles in Lebanon into precision-guided ones. The official said that Hezbollah had hoped by now to have converted thousands of missiles into precision-guided ones.

These comments came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed some 25 ambassadors in Misgav Am on Thursday about Operation Northern Shield, Israel’s campaign to detect and destroy Hezbollah terror tunnels.

Israel is acting “systemically and with determination” to deny Hezbollah and Hamas their strategic tunnel weapon, Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu added that Hezbollah’s tunnels are just one expression of Iran’s aggressiveness in the region. He asked the ambassadors to condemn the violation of Israel’s sovereignty, and to support Israel’s demand for greater sanctions against Hezbollah.

“Our action [against the tunnels] is only in the beginning stage,” he said. “But at the end the tunnel weapon, which Hezbollah has invested so much money in, will not let it exist or be effective.”

One diplomatic official said that the purpose of the briefing with the ambassadors was to create legitimacy for future military actions if the need arises.

 

Israel may have to act inside Lebanon, senior official says 

December 6, 2018

Source: Israel may have to act inside Lebanon, senior official says | The Times of Israel

Hezbollah’s terror tunnels were designed to for carrying out a ‘killing spree,’ official says; PM briefs foreign diplomats about current IDF op at northern border

PM Netanyahu (right) briefs foreign diplomats on Israel's border with Lebanon, December 6, 2018 (Haim Tzach/GPO)

PM Netanyahu (right) briefs foreign diplomats on Israel’s border with Lebanon, December 6, 2018 (Haim Tzach/GPO)

A senior Israeli official on Thursday indicated the IDF may have to extend its current operation to detect and destroy Hezbollah’s attack tunnels at Israel’s northern border and take action on the Lebanese side of the Blue Line.

“It is possible that we will be required to act inside Lebanon,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The cross-border tunnels “are wider and larger, and their goal is to transfer battalions, large forces, into Israeli territory, in order to come in and carry out a killing spree and kidnappings and to capture villages,” he said.

Operation Northern Shield was launched earlier this week due to the fear that the details of the operation would be leaked and revealed to Hezbollah, the senior official went on.

“If Hezbollah knew that we knew [about the existence of the tunnels] then this would accelerate their kidnapping efforts, and we did not want to get to a situation where the kidnappers infiltrate into Israel and abduct a soldier or a civilian, and no one would know anything about it,” the senior official said.

The decision to embark on the operation was taken on November 7, and was one of the reasons why the cabinet decided not to launch a major military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, the official added. “There were other reasons, too, but that was one of them,” he said.

Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday briefed foreign diplomats about the army’s ongoing operation, urging them to condemn and sanction the Shiite terror group for its aggressive actions.

“Israel’s expectation is unequivocal condemnation of Hezbollah, additional sanctions on Hezbollah, and condemnation and demand from the Lebanese government to stop granting permission to use its territory for these attacks on Israel,” he told a group of senior ambassadors from across the globe.

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“We are denying our enemies the weapon of tunnels systematically and decisively,” he told the ambassadors. “What we are doing with Hamas and with Hezbollah as well — we’re doing everything we need to do,” he added.

“Anyone who attacks us — is taking his life into his hands,” he added. “Hezbollah knows this and Hamas knows that too.”

Operation Northern Shield has just begun, but at the end of it, Hezbollah’s tunnels “will no longer exist,” he vowed.

Netanyahu also spoke to the foreign diplomats about Iran, calling the Islamic Republic Israel’s greatest enemy.

“What we’re facing is one big enemy. That enemy is called Iran,” he said.

“Iran is trying to act on two levels: one is to develop a nuclear arsenal. We are dealing with that with other means including exposing the nuclear archive and the secret nuclear warehouse in Tehran. The second thing that Iran is doing is developing conventional weapons against us in their declared war to annihilate Israel. They declare so openly everyday.”

More than a dozen ambassadors participated in the briefing on a foggy Thursday morning, including those from the European Union, France, the UK, Russia, Hungary and Poland.

“The purpose of the ambassadors’ briefing was to receive support and legitimacy for additional actions, if they will become necessary,” the senior Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Israel will push for a discussion of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels at the UN Security Council later this week or early next week, the official said.

 

‎’Israel’s power will crush Hezbollah,’ senior MK warns 

December 6, 2018

Source: ‎’Israel’s power will crush Hezbollah,’ senior MK warns ‎ – Israel Hayom

 

Report: Hezbollah mobilizing missiles from Syria to south Lebanon

December 6, 2018

Source: Report: Hezbollah mobilizing missiles from Syria to south Lebanon – Israel Hayom

 

Thank you, Mr. President 

December 6, 2018

Source: Thank you, Mr. President – Israel Hayom

Michael Oren

Ever since Israel and the U.S. struck a strategic alliance at the end of the 1960s, the world has seen that alliance as a measure of American credibility and power worldwide. The closer U.S.-Israel ties are, the stronger the U.S.’s status and influence in the international community are.

Despite that, in times of tension between America and the Jewish state, the U.S.’s stature is seen as less influential. For example, when former President Barack Obama distanced himself from Israel, Russia invaded Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, as well as Syria. We can see the same dynamic at work today under the Trump administration, which is the friendliest Israel has known since the state was established.

This friendship isn’t merely personal. Former President George W. Bush, a friend and ally of Israel, said, “The U.S. is not a country of 300 million, but one of 308 million.” But Bush had a secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who frequently made harsh statements against Israeli settlements and against Israeli military actions in Lebanon and Gaza and compared the suffering of the Palestinians to that of the black population in the U.S. prior to the civil rights movement. There is no one like Rice in the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is adopting unqualified pro-Israeli stances and placing responsibility for instability in the Middle East squarely on Iran. In addition, National Security Adviser John Bolton has defied the Israeli-American alliance as “a cornerstone” of U.S. foreign policy in the Trump era.

In addition, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley hasn’t missed a chance to defend Israel and its right to defend itself, and set a pro-Israeli precedent that others will find difficult to erase, even after she leaves the job at the end of this month. For two years, the White House has not voiced even a word of real criticism against Israel.

The closeness is expressed by two historic decisions. The first was the U.S. withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a move that served both U.S. and Israeli interests. The second was America recognizing Jerusalem as our eternal capital, and relocating its embassy to the city. In both cases, President Donald Trump demonstrated that he was for Israel and took a stance against the opinions of almost everyone. As a result, he only grew stronger.

That approach has not gone unnoticed by other world leaders, who are impressed with the strong stance the U.S. is taking alongside Israel. They were impressed that the commitments Trump made to Israel, including campaign promises, were fulfilled, strengthening his reputation as someone who keeps his promises. That will help the president change trade conditions between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, and China.

Strategically, the president’s commitment to Israel has given credence to his threats to use force against North Korea if Kim Jong Un didn’t stop firing missiles at Japan. One result was the U.S.-North Korean summit – North Korea saw that Trump lives up to his words, dialed back its threats, and held the summit.

A year has passed since the president stood up at the White House and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since then, other countries – including the Czech Republic and Brazil, have declared their intentions to follow suit. Likewise, stringent American sanctions are back in place against Iran and most businesspeople in the world – including in Europe, which fought so hard to protect the nuclear deal – have been forced to cooperate.

Only this week, the Chinese announced that they were willing to significantly increase their purchase of American products. The most dramatic effect was seen in the Arab world. Arab leaders know they can’t step between the U.S. and Israel and that they can depend on the president when it comes to Iran. That has led to an unprecedented rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Muslim world, a most welcome development, and not only on Iran but also for current and future American efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

This is all good news for Israel. No one disputes that our diplomatic situation is better now than it was in 2016, and much of that is due to the policies of the current U.S. administration. But not only Israel – the entire world can now enjoy the advantages of being able to depend on an uncompromising American position.

Michael Oren is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. He currently serves as deputy public diplomacy minister.

Thank you, Mr. President – Israel Hayom

December 6, 2018

Source: Thank you, Mr. President – Israel Hayom

Michael Oren

Ever since Israel and the U.S. struck a strategic alliance at the end of the 1960s, the world has seen that alliance as a measure of American credibility and power worldwide. The closer U.S.-Israel ties are, the stronger the U.S.’s status and influence in the international community are.

Despite that, in times of tension between America and the Jewish state, the U.S.’s stature is seen as less influential. For example, when former President Barack Obama distanced himself from Israel, Russia invaded Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, as well as Syria. We can see the same dynamic at work today under the Trump administration, which is the friendliest Israel has known since the state was established.

This friendship isn’t merely personal. Former President George W. Bush, a friend and ally of Israel, said, “The U.S. is not a country of 300 million, but one of 308 million.” But Bush had a secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who frequently made harsh statements against Israeli settlements and against Israeli military actions in Lebanon and Gaza and compared the suffering of the Palestinians to that of the black population in the U.S. prior to the civil rights movement. There is no one like Rice in the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is adopting unqualified pro-Israeli stances and placing responsibility for instability in the Middle East squarely on Iran. In addition, National Security Adviser John Bolton has defied the Israeli-American alliance as “a cornerstone” of U.S. foreign policy in the Trump era.

In addition, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley hasn’t missed a chance to defend Israel and its right to defend itself, and set a pro-Israeli precedent that others will find difficult to erase, even after she leaves the job at the end of this month. For two years, the White House has not voiced even a word of real criticism against Israel.

The closeness is expressed by two historic decisions. The first was the U.S. withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a move that served both U.S. and Israeli interests. The second was America recognizing Jerusalem as our eternal capital, and relocating its embassy to the city. In both cases, President Donald Trump demonstrated that he was for Israel and took a stance against the opinions of almost everyone. As a result, he only grew stronger.

That approach has not gone unnoticed by other world leaders, who are impressed with the strong stance the U.S. is taking alongside Israel. They were impressed that the commitments Trump made to Israel, including campaign promises, were fulfilled, strengthening his reputation as someone who keeps his promises. That will help the president change trade conditions between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, and China.

Strategically, the president’s commitment to Israel has given credence to his threats to use force against North Korea if Kim Jong Un didn’t stop firing missiles at Japan. One result was the U.S.-North Korean summit – North Korea saw that Trump lives up to his words, dialed back its threats, and held the summit.

A year has passed since the president stood up at the White House and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since then, other countries – including the Czech Republic and Brazil, have declared their intentions to follow suit. Likewise, stringent American sanctions are back in place against Iran and most businesspeople in the world – including in Europe, which fought so hard to protect the nuclear deal – have been forced to cooperate.

Only this week, the Chinese announced that they were willing to significantly increase their purchase of American products. The most dramatic effect was seen in the Arab world. Arab leaders know they can’t step between the U.S. and Israel and that they can depend on the president when it comes to Iran. That has led to an unprecedented rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Muslim world, a most welcome development, and not only on Iran but also for current and future American efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

This is all good news for Israel. No one disputes that our diplomatic situation is better now than it was in 2016, and much of that is due to the policies of the current U.S. administration. But not only Israel – the entire world can now enjoy the advantages of being able to depend on an uncompromising American position.

Michael Oren is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. He currently serves as deputy public diplomacy minister.