Archive for March 19, 2019

Jeanine Pirro Rips Omar a New One – Opening Statement

March 19, 2019

WATCH: UN Cuts off Mic When Activist Exposes UN’s Anti-Semitism

March 19, 2019

The U.N. Human Rights Council literally silenced a speaker for calling out the Jew-hatred that drives the body’s unabated anti-Israel agenda.

ironically titled U.N. agency literally silenced her rather than face the truth.

Meanwhile, the body’s decades-old anti-Israel agenda steamrolls forward, with a litany of new resolutions proposed by some of the world’s worst human rights abusers falsely accusing Israel of crimes against humanity.

Israel Celebrates Life in an Ocean of Death

March 19, 2019

Source: Israel Celebrates Life in an Ocean of Death

Extremism exists in all cultures and religions. While Israel and the Jewish people overwhelmingly condemn extremism, Islamists embrace lethal hatred. That is why Jewish extremism is a fringe phenomenon while Muslim extremism is mainstream.

Women leaving flowers near the Al Noor Mosque, in Christchurch.(credit photo: L.A. Apiolaza)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the recent New Zealand mosques massacres.

“Israel mourns the wanton murder of innocent worshippers in Christchurch and condemns the brazen act of terror in New Zealand”, Netanyahu said.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also condemned the White Supremacist anti-Muslim massacre in New Zealand:

“I condemn the terrorist attack on the mosques in Christchurch in the strongest possible terms and send my condolences on behalf of the people of #Israel to the families of the victims, the injured, the government and the people of #NewZealand. Jewish organizations worldwide have also condemned the massacre on Muslims in New Zealand.

By contrast, pro-Hezbollah and Iranian media celebrated the recent Gaza rocket attack on Tel Aviv. When Christians and Jews are murdered, Muslim extremists regularly hand out sweets in celebration.

A vast gulf of different values separate Israel from her hostile neighbors. Israel and the Jewish people embrace life and progress while her lethal enemies embrace death and destruction. Hamas infamously boasted that it loves death more than Israelis love life.

Israel’s strength and resilience come from its optimistic embrace of life. It transformed the traumatized and homeless Jewish people after the Holocaust to a reborn, successful and powerful independent nation. It guided the Jewish state to turn multiple daunting challenges into advantages. Everything the Jewish people has achieved in Israel against all odds is rooted in this powerful embrace of human life.

By contrast, death cults like Iran’s ayatollah regime, Hezbollah, Hamas and PLO have no future. The reason is simple. Societies that embrace hatred and destruction eventually stagnate and wither away. Ironically, antisemitism ultimately hurts Jew-haters much more than the powerful Jewish state. Forty years of destructive anti-Semitic and anti-American Islamist dictatorship has harmed Iranian society far more than Israel or America. A society that names squares and schools after murderous terrorists is literally blowing up its own future. PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to prioritize financing anti-Israel terrorism over his population’s future is a self-inflicted lethal pathology that should concern all life-embracing Muslims and Arabs.

Israel is frequently demonized as “racist” towards Muslim Arabs. In reality, Muslim Arabs in Israel are among the freest human beings on earth. Israeli Arab citizens serve as senior judges, doctors, lawyers, diplomats, generals and entrepreneurs. Israel must be the world’s only “apartheid state” where Arab and Jewish patients are treated side by side by Arab and Jewish nurses and doctors. Israel even treats wounded Muslim terrorists. Israeli Arab members of Knesset regularly slam Israel and express support for her enemies. However, very few Israeli Arabs are in a hurry emigrating to Muslim Arab societies in Gaza, Ramallah, Beirut or Damascus.

Israel is often blasted as an anomaly in the Middle East and the root to all the region’s problems. In reality, the tiny sliver of land known as Israel is an island of life and freedom in an ocean of death and despotism. Israel is not merely hated for being the Jewish homeland. Israel is also hated by despots who feel threatened by the Jewish state’s embrace of human life, freedom and progress. Israel is not the mother of the Middle East’s problems. Israel is the potential mother of crucial solutions to the troubled region’s many problems.

The failed “Arab Spring” did not erupt out of concern for the Arab population in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. It erupted because the Muslim Arab world increasingly lags behind most of the world in terms of freedom, standards of living, education and human rights for women and minorities. Gazans are far worse off today under the Islamist Hamas dictatorship than before Israel’s withdrawal in 2005. Christians and gays flee from the “moderate” Fatah-controlled territories.

The giant Arab world is more than 500 times larger than tiny Israel and 1.5 times larger than the United States. What it needs is not more territory but embracing life and progress over death and destruction. The Sunni Arab world is gradually realizing that there is much to gain from cooperation with Israel in terms of technology and trade.

The Iranian regime regularly calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran oppresses its own people. Tehran has squandered billions of dollars on its nuclear arms project and its imperialist aggression throughout the Middle East and beyond. While the ayatollahs fear Israel and America, they ultimately fear their own people even more. The majority of the talented and educated Iranian people rejects the ayatollah’s oppressive rule. While Iranian leaders brag about destroying Tel Aviv, Israel has offered technologies to solve Iran’s growing water drought problems. After an earthquake in Iran, Israel offered to send rescue workers, which was rejected by the Iranian regime. Young and educated Iranians do not seek Israel’s destruction. They increasingly admire Israel and want Iran to emulate the Jewish state’s success. Unlike natural resources like oil, success is an unlimited commodity that can be shared by everyone willing to celebrate life and progress over death and destruction.


Daniel Kryger is a writer and a political analyst and a Fellow at the Haym Salomon Center.


Iranians are mourning Rabbi Ettinger, Israeli victim of terror, online 

March 19, 2019

Source: Iranians are mourning Rabbi Ettinger, Israeli victim of terror, online – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The outpouring appears to show a solidarity among some Iranian members of Twitter for Israeli victims of terrorism.

 MARCH 19, 2019 09:57
Iranians are mourning Rabbi Ettinger, Israeli victim of terror, online

Dozens of Iranians are sharing a memorial post to Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger and sharing photos of candles they have lit in his name online. Ettinger, 47, was killed Sunday in a terror attack. The post, put up Monday by an anonymous account on Twitter called @TheIntangibles, had received hundreds of likes within hours of being up.

The post called for people to show sympathy and remember the rabbi. In response, people posted photos of candles they had lit in his memory, and tweeted short memorials in Farsi. In a private message, the anonymous use wrote “I urged my followers to light a candle in Farsi so it is understandable.” Some of those who replied are fearful of revealing their locations, which indicates they are in Iran. One of them appeared to be in southern Iran, due to information received. “We can defeat the idea of war by a stronger idea, the idea of peace,” one wrote.

View image on Twitter

The Intangibles@TheIntangibles

واکنش یک هموطن به کشته شدن یک خاخام در حمله تروریستی دیروز. دیدن این کامنت‌ها بسیار غمگینم می‌کند. از شما درخواستی دارم؛ امشب به یاد یک انسان نادیده، شمعی روشن کنید و برای همدردی تصویرش را به اشتراک بگذارید؛ نشان دهیم که یک ایرانی بهتر از این حجم عظیم تنفر است.

Several noted that they wanted to light the candles in memory of a victim of terrorism. “Condolences to the Ettinger family and the people of Israel, from an Iranian family,” one writes. “I hope there will be a day when our two nations can come together as friends.” Another post noted that the writer hoped for a future when the Iranian regime would fall “and we will celebrate that day together.”

The Intangibles@TheIntangibles

مراسم به‌خاک سپاری خاخام اخیعاد اتینگر، ۴۷ ساله، و پدر 12 فرزند برگزار شد؛ پیش از مرگ، به درخواست خانواده او، اعضای بدنش به بیماران نیازمند اهدا شد.

View image on Twitter

The outpouring appears to show a solidarity among some Farsi members of Twitter for Israeli victims of terrorism. Iran has also suffered under terrorism and Iranians who oppose the regime have become tired of its constant obsession with Israel.

This is not the first time Iranians have turned out in a campaign like this. The person behind the @TheIntangibles account said that there was an earlier campaign called #WeRemember to commemorate the victims of Holocaust. “Lots of users anonymously sent me handwritten a sign (sic) to raise their voice in support of the victims. You can see the images in this thread.” The social media user said he is not surprised by the support this time. “Despite the Iranian regime and its supporters, the people of Iran really like Israel. Israel is the symbol of quality for Iranians in agriculture and when our farmers wants to brag about their products, it is common to hear, for example, ‘this is an Israeli orange, best in the market.’”

He choose to commemorate Rabbi Ettinger because the victim was similar in age to his father.

“I thought to myself what if it was my father, what would I feel if such a terrible tragedy happened to me! He was the father of 12 and I could really feel the pain his children must be enduring right now.”


Iran denies joint raid with Turkey against Kurdish rebels

March 19, 2019

Source: Iran denies joint raid with Turkey against Kurdish rebels | The Times of Israel

Military operation aimed at PKK bases near border shared by Turkey, Iraq and Iran

Illustrative – Turkish soldiers on a training exercise. (Turkish Land Forces Command)

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran has denied a claim by the Turkish interior minister that it took part in a joint operation on Monday targeting Kurdish rebels in the border area.

In recent weeks, Ankara has talked up the prospects of joint military action with Tehran against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its allies but Monday marked the first time it had spoken of a joint operation being carried out.

“Iran’s armed forces have no role in this operation,” the official IRNA news agency quoted an “informed source” in the general staff as saying on Monday evening.

However Iran “will forcefully confront any group that seeks to create unrest on our country’s soil,” the source added.

Map of Kurdish population areas and border shared by Iran, Turkey and Iraq. (Getty Images)

Earlier on Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said: “We started staging a joint operation with Iran against the PKK on our eastern border as of 8 am (0500 GMT).”

Soylu did not specify where the joint operation was taking place, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said previously that joint military action would focus on PKK rear bases in Iraq near where the three countries’ borders meet.

The Turkish military has carried out repeated bombing campaigns against PKK targets in Iraq’s northern mountains during its more than three-decade campaign to crush the rebels’ campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey.

In recent years, Tehran too has carried out operations in northern Iraq against suspected rear bases of the PKK’s Iran-focused ally, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).

PJAK is one of a number of Kurdish rebel groups that have fought the Iranian security forces in ethnic Kurdish districts along the border.

Another PKK ally, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), is the main Kurdish armed group in Syria where, to the fury of Ankara, it has been a key ally in the US-led campaign against the jihadists of the Islamic State group which is now drawing to a close.


Dore Gold Calls for Equal Rights for Israel at the United Nations

March 19, 2019

Source: Dore Gold Calls for Equal Rights for Israel at the United Nations

Filed under: IsraelThe Middle East

What is happening here at UN Human Rights Council is not new. In fact, there has been a deep and persistent problem with UN bodies from New York to Geneva when they address accusations that Israel is violating the basic norms of international law. Having served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1997, I witnessed this from the first day I walked into that blue-green building on First Avenue.

I was confronted with an effort to convene what are called the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention – that is its signatories – to take measures against Israel for alleged violations of the Convention, which had been adopted after World War II, in order to protect civilians in times of war. Israel was a signatory.

The first question I felt that I needed to ask was, when had the signatories been convened previously?

Were they convened when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan?


What about when Iraq went into Iran?


Turkey into Cyprus? No again.

Maybe Libya into Chad?

No way.

In fact, in repeated cases of outright aggression, this body of the High Contracting Parties had never been brought together before. But now the UN General Assembly was considering to convene the High Contracting Parties in the sole case of Israel, because of the territories it had captured thirty years earlier in the 1967 Six Day War.

Moreover, the UN’s focus on the singular case of Israel stood out. Back in 1967, both the Security Council and the General Assembly had rejected Soviet efforts to brand Israel as the aggressor in the Six Day War. It was clear as day at the time that Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a war of self-defense, after neighboring countries from Egypt to Iraq massed their armies along its borders. But that fundamental fact did not deter the UN in 1997 from treating Israel like it was the worst international criminal.

This biased treatment of Israel continued in subsequent years. After Israel implemented the Oslo Accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization during the 1990’s, and withdrew its military government from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it faced a wave of escalating terror attacks that emanated from the very cities from which it had pulled out. These terror attacks specifically aimed at innocent civilians, and not military targets. City buses began exploding in the heart of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and in other population centers.

In March 2002, a suicide bomber detonated himself at a Passover Seder in Netanya. Israel finally had to act to bring the bombings decisively to a halt even if that meant going back into those West Bank cities that had become springboards for these attacks.

Western militaries had well-developed doctrines for putting down this kind of urban warfare. Their military manuals spoke about utilizing air power, artillery, and even flame throwers to flush out urban guerrillas. There were states that used carpet bombing to blanket whole areas. The Russians used such tactics in Chechnya. And we saw them again in Syria.

But Israel refused to employ what may have been commonly used by others. In the West Bank town of Jenin, known by the Palestinians themselves as the “capital of the suicide bombers,” Israel decided to send in its ground forces in house-to-house combat. A fierce battle ensued. Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian spokesman, peddled the false claim that Israeli forces in Jenin had engaged in a “massacre.”

Israel had sent in reserve units, so that many of the soldiers killed on the Israeli side in Jenin were fathers and husbands.

And how did the UN reply? The spokesmen of UN specialized agencies asserted in the international media that “Israel had lost all moral ground in this conflict” – a conclusion adopted by the late UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which he subsequently was forced to retract. The UN ultimately admitted that the number of fatalities was far smaller than it originally claimed. But a pattern of unsubstantiated accusations followed by belated retractions had been set. What did the UN have to say to the widows and orphans of the soldiers who died in Jenin? You know what, it was the UN that lost the moral high ground in Jenin.

This brings us to the UN Human Rights Council in 2009, which has a long history of anti-Israel bias. This was demonstrated yet again after Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2006. It was hoped at that time that an Israeli withdrawal from contested territory would reduce the hostile intent of the Palestinian terror organizations, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which had been firing rockets into Israeli towns in recent years. But the exact opposite occurred. The number of rockets fired into Israeli towns shot up from 179 to 946 – a 500 percent increase  in the year that Israel pulled out. Again Israel was forced to act in its own self-defense, as it moved into Gaza.

Here in Geneva, the Human Rights Council established a Fact-Finding Mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa to investigate Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip. The result was a report, about 500 pages in length, which was the most vicious indictment of the State of Israel bearing the seal of the UN since the “Zionism is Racism” resolution of 1975. The most outrageous charge it made was that Israel deliberately – let me repeat that, deliberately – killed civilians in Gaza. I was no longer in government, but when I was invited by an American university to debate Goldstone, the highest levels of the Israel Defense Forces provided me with all the material I needed to show how the core conclusions in the famous Goldstone report were baseless.

How could Israel have a policy of deliberately killing civilians when it implemented the exact opposite policy of protecting them, by issuing repeated warnings in Arabic to civilians that Israel was about to take imminent action?

Besides leaflets, an Arabic speaking IDF unit telephoned the homes where it was known that Hamas rockets had been stored; Israeli drones monitored if the target had been evacuated. If not, a special non-lethal munition was dropped called a “knock on the roof,” to convince those inside that this was serious – and only then was the target destroyed.

Who else does this? Name another UN member. The Human Rights Council should be ashamed of itself for accusing Israel. The report never really addressed this.

Goldstone subsequently retracted his most damming accusation in an opinion piece in the Washington Post. But the damage had been done. The UN Human Rights Council already voted to endorse the conclusions of the Goldstone Report, although in typical UN fashion, its resolution only condemned Israel and did not even mention Hamas. Musa Abu Marzuq, the Hamas leader, quipped that Hamas had been acquitted by the UN. For the terror organization, the UN had given them a green light to continue their rocket attacks on Israel. There is a straight line from UN actions back then and last week’s launch by Hamas of an Iranian Fajr missile toward Tel Aviv.

Ultimately, however, Israel’s position was vindicated, not by the UN, but by the US through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey who in 2014 countered the impression the UN had given, by saying: ”I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties.”

Back in 2006, the older UN Human Rights Commission had been replaced with the UN Human Rights Council, partly because the commission had such a notorious record on Israel. But right from its birth the Human Rights Council was shown to be a defective UN organ. Towards the end of the year, the former secretary-general of the UN, the late Kofi Annan, could already conclude: “Since the beginning of their work, they have focused almost entirely on Israel, and there are other crisis situations, like Sudan, where they have not been able to say a word.”

Now the UN wants to look at the Palestinian protests along the Gaza Fence. How can anybody take the UN seriously when it has shown that when it comes to Israel its reports have been highly politicized and seriously flawed? Is anyone protecting the human rights of Israeli farmers whose fields are regularly set ablaze by Hamas incendiary weapons?

To our north, as we speak, Hizbullah has militarized 200 Shiite villages in Southern Lebanon and made them into a network for human shields in order to protect their Iranian-supplied missiles. And when Hizbullah constructs attack tunnels into Israeli territory, where is UNIFIL? Let me make clear that it is demonstrated time and again that only Israel will defend itself by itself.

Israel does not seek international forces to protect it. But it does expect one thing from the international community: the truth.

That is today what Israel asks for. But when it comes to the UN, the truth has been extremely difficult to obtain.


Off Topic:  Roger Waters urges artists to boycott Eurovision in Israel

March 19, 2019

Source: Roger Waters urges artists to boycott Eurovision in Israel

( This evil man is the most prominent celebrity enemy of the Jewish people.  May his name be blotted out from the history of men. – JW )

Former Pink Floyd frontman, who frequently asks artists to boycott the Jewish State on behalf of the BDS movement, pens open letter to the 41 finalists of 2019 Song Contest set to be held in Tel Aviv in May
Roger Waters, a former Pink Floyd frontman and one of the most vocal advocates for cultural boycott of Israel, has called on the artists participating in 2019 Eurovision in Tel Aviv to boycott the event over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Israel won the right to host the event after Netta Barzilai’s song “Toy” emerged victorious during last year’s competition. The final of the competition will be held on May 18 at Expo Tel Aviv.

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ARE YOU THE ONE? AN OPEN LETTER TO CONAN OSIRIS AND THE OTHER 41 FINALISTS FOR THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST. A few days ago, I wrote a private letter to a young talented Portuguese singer, Conan Osiris. He had just won the right to represent Portugal in the @eurovision song contest final, and was reported as saying he wasn’t sure if he would go to Tel Aviv or not. I listened to his song, and then got a translation of the lyrics it was about using his cell phone to ask questions about life and death and love. It was quite deep. I was told by friends that Conan Osiris might join the vast network of artists who are heeding the Palestinian call to boycott Eurovision in apartheid Tel Aviv. So I wrote and suggested to him that here he had an opportunity to speak up for life over death and also for human rights over human wrongs. How? By standing shoulder to shoulder, with his oppressed brothers and sisters in Palestine. He could show solidarity with the 189 un-armed protestors shot to death by Israel’s snipers in Gaza last year alone, including at least 35 children. But how could our brother Conan stand up? By refusing to join the cultural whitewash of what a recent UN report calls Israel’s war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, by refraining from providing his art to art-wash Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian communities to expand and maintain its apartheid state. Conan can refuse to perform in front of the segregated audience in Tel Aviv at the Eurovision song contest finals this coming May. In my letter I explained that Eurovision could be a tipping point, I appealed to Conan to stand up and be counted. Sadly, until now, there is no reply from Conan. There is news though, reliable sources tell me that young Conan has been personally approached and persuaded to go to the finals by an organization called Creative Community for Peace (CCfP). Ahhhh! For anyone who doesn’t know, CCfP has been exposed as an offshoot of the far-right Israeli government backed propaganda organizations “Stand With Us” and “The Israel Emergency Fund”. Read more at

A post shared by Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) on

In an open letter—addressed to the 41 finalists of the prestigious song competition—published Monday on Water’s Instagram account, the 75 year-old wrote that Israel is an Apartheid regime, responsible for ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities.

Waters is a longtime critic of the Jewish state, and as an active Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activist he has frequently asked performers to refrain from coming to the Holy Land.

Last September, the former Pink Floyd singer was one of more than 100 artists from around the world calling for a boycott of the Eurovision in Israel.

Netta holding the Eurovision trophy after her 2018 win (Photo: AP)

Netta holding the Eurovision trophy after her 2018 win (Photo: AP)

In a letter published by British newspaper the Guardian, dozens of musicians, actors, filmmakers and directors said they supported Palestinian artists’ boycott of the contest since Israel “violates Palestinian human rights.”

“Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights,” the letter read.

“Eurovision 2019 should be boycotted if it is hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights,” the letter continued.

Israel will turn a blind eye to rocket mishaps if it signals Hamas distress

March 19, 2019

Source: Israel will turn a blind eye to rocket mishaps if it signals Hamas distress

The protest is driven, for the first time, by an ordered leadership composed of journalists, academics and online media stars.

Gazans protest the cost of living under Hamas

Gazans protest the cost of living under Hamas

The fear ceiling has been smashed. Despite the violent response by the Hamas security forces, the demonstrators took to the streets in Jabalya, Shati, Khan Yunis, Dir al-Balah and Moasi for four days. And there were thousands of protesters.

Gazans are also appearing openly on Palestinian Authority television and social networks to strongly criticize Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ new taxes and the cost of living.

On Friday night, Hamas arrested 150 of the leaders of the uprising, but the demonstrations continued Saturday and Sunday. Journalists like Mustafa Ayyash and Osama Kahalut, two of the leaders of the uprising, were arrested and severely beaten. Their hands were broken, but they were released and their fight goes on.

In such a situation, it is no wonder that Israel was willing to accept Hamas’ claim that a “mishap” led to the firing of two Fajr missiles at Tel Aviv on Thursday. Israel is ready to absorb many more “mishaps” of this kind as long as the popular uprising against the Hamas regime continues and even gains momentum.

Hamas members quelling street protests in Gaza

Hamas members quelling street protests in Gaza

Anyone who tells savvy Gaza sources that the rocket fire was down to a “mishap” will be met with laughter. As far as they are concerned, it was no such thing. Everything is directed by Hamas to create a distraction from the internal protests in the Strip.

The goal was to divert attention to the confrontation with Israel. It is likely therefore, that there will be more and more such “mishaps” as the protests gather steam. The rocket fire on Thursday is evocative of a previous “mishap” last October, when two rockets were fired at Be’er Sheva, hitting a family home.

Prime Minister Netanyahu wisely decided to accept the version of events presented to him by the Egyptians and his intelligence agencies, of a “mishap” that surprised even the Hamas leadership. This is primarily because the IDF prefers to wait for the summer to destroy Hamas’ military force, for in the winter it is more difficult to conduct military operations within a densely populated civilian area.
The IAF strikes Gaza after rocket fire on Tel Aviv

The IAF strikes Gaza after rocket fire on Tel Aviv

Therefore, Israel will swallow any story or excuse to delay a confrontation with Hamas until a time when the weather conditions are more suitable, the Knesset elections have come and gone and the army has completed its preparations for such an operation.

Moreover, Israel has no interest in interfering with welcome internal opposition to the Hamas rule that is brewing in the Gaza Strip. The chances of this opposition being able to topple Hamas are low, but in the meantime, its strength is eroding. And that’s not something to be sniffed at.

What are the chances that the shooting at the Dan region was indeed a mistake? If we do take the claim at face value, the most likely cause is human error. Hamas members are supposed to check the soundness of the missile systems every few months, so why would they do it now, at precisely nine o’clock at night, in the pouring rain?

Palestinians inspect the damage from an IAF airstrike in Gaza (Photo: AP)

Palestinians inspect the damage from an IAF airstrike in Gaza (Photo: AP)

Could Hamas operatives have gone to test the long-range launchers? It is highly unlikely. There is also the possibility that the rockets were triggered by an external source, such as a lightning strike or an opponent of Hamas. But again, this is highly unlikely.

The only sensible option remaining is to accept that Hamas regularly trains long-range rockets at targets in Israel. These are Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets, which arrived in the Gaza Strip about 10 years ago and are ready for immediate launch. There is also a locally produced version called the M-75, and firing them in pairs makes it harder for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept.

But the Gaza rockets are inaccurate. Their engines burn for less than five seconds, so side winds like the ones over the Gaza region on Thursday night could push them off target y several kilometers.

The first rocket landed in an unpopulated area in Holon. The second exploded in midair, a familiar and frequent malfunction for these rockets. Either the engine exploded or the detonation mechanism was triggered prematurely.

Israelis take cover in a stairwell as air raid sirens sound in the Tel Aviv area (Photo: Eliasaf Dauel)

Israelis take cover in a stairwell as air raid sirens sound in the Tel Aviv area (Photo: Eliasaf Dauel)

Either way, Hamas intended to drag Israel into some kind of response that would distract domestic public opinion from the internal battles breaking out on the streets of Gaza. Netanyahu was right to choose a measured response and not rushing to convene his security cabinet, thus avoiding any political pressure to deliver a severe blow to Hamas’ military wing.

Hamas’ main lifeline is economic aid built into an Egyptian plan for calm, with the participation of Israel and the United Nations. Meanwhile, the Palestinian factions – Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – have recently issued a joint statement calling on Hamas to ease living conditions for the Gazan people.

On Sunday night they issued another announcement, calling on Hamas to withdraw its forces from the streets. The Gaza street is speaking in the language of a budding revolution. And Israel – quite rightly – is letting these internal events to develop. Wiping out Hamas can always come later.


Off Topic:  Scientists reveal Beresheet spacecraft lunar landing site

March 19, 2019

Source: Scientists reveal Beresheet spacecraft lunar landing site – Hi tech news – Jerusalem Post

The Beresheet spacecraft is currently orbiting Earth and performing maneuvers in preparation for lunar orbit insertion in early April, followed by the planned landing at the chosen site.

 MARCH 19, 2019 11:06
Scientists reveal Beresheet spacecraft lunar landing site

A team of scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science and SpaceIL engineers have identified the site for Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft’s lunar landing.

According to a release disseminated by the Weizmann Institute, the chosen site was selected by Prof. Oded Aharonson of the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Jim Head of Brown University. It is located in the northeastern part of Mare Serenitatis, a few hundreds of miles east of the Apollo 15 landing site and a similar distance northwest from the Apollo 17 site.

Three optional landing sites were identified, too.
The terrain in these locations are composed of material characteristic of ancient mare surfaces – large, dark basalt plains resulting from long-ago volcanic eruptions – on which successful landings have been made, explained Weizmann in the release.
The selection criteria for the site focused on ensuring a safe landing, searching for sites with relatively few craters, exposed rocks or steep slopes within the landing area – factors that could jeopardize the touchdown. In addition, the scientists searched for a  location on the Moon where the crust is magnetic, so as to allow the magnetometer – the main scientific instrument on board the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft – to carry out its investigations.
The Beresheet spacecraft is currently orbiting Earth and performing maneuvers in preparation for lunar orbit insertion in early April, followed by the planned landing at the chosen site.


U.S.-backed SDF capture 157 Islamic State militants 

March 19, 2019

Source: U.S.-backed SDF capture 157 Islamic State militants – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

“Our units monitored a group of terrorists, trailed them and captured 157 fully militarily equipped terrorists,” a statement by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia said.

 MARCH 19, 2019 11:03
An F/A-18 fighter jet takes off from the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediter

DEIR AL-ZOR – US-backed fighters besieging the last shred of Islamic State territory in eastern Syria said on Tuesday they had captured 157 mostly foreign fighters as they tracked efforts by jihadists to escape the enclave.

“Our units monitored a group of terrorists, trailed them and captured 157 fully militarily equipped terrorists,” a statement by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia said.

Islamic State’s Baghouz pocket is tiny, wedged between the Euphrates river and a row of hills at the Iraqi border. It is crammed with vehicles and makeshift shelters and pummeled at night by artillery and air strikes.

It is the last populated area remaining to Islamic State from the third of Syria and Iraq it suddenly seized in 2014 before its cruelties and attacks brought together local and foreign countries to push it back.

The captured jihadists were “mostly foreign nationals” said Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF’s media office, on Twitter. Neither he nor the SDF statement said when the capture took place.

Both the SDF and the US-led coalition that backs it have said the remaining Islamic State militants inside the Baghouz pocket are among its most hardened foreign operatives.

Over the past two months, more than 60,000 people have poured out of the group’s dwindling enclave, nearly half of whom were surrendering supporters of Islamic State, including some 5,000 fighters.

However, while the capture of Baghouz will mark a milestone in the battle against Islamic State, regional and Western officials say the group will remain a threat.

Some of its fighters hold out in the central Syrian desert and others have gone underground in Iraq to stage a series of shootings and kidnappings.

Nobody knows how many remain inside the last scrap of ground. Reuters footage of the encampment on Monday showed large explosions there and smoke billowing overhead with the sound of gunshots.

On Monday night Islamic State released an audio recording of its spokesman, Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer, saying the group would stay strong.

“Do you think the displacement of the weak and poor out of Baghouz will weaken the Islamic State? No,” he said.