Archive for February 1, 2020

Golda Meir on Israel’s right to exist… 

February 1, 2020

 

 

Trump Takes Out Another Top Terrorist In The Middle East

February 1, 2020

Source: Trump Takes Out Another Top Terrorist In The Middle East | The Daily Wire

DailyWire.com
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk along the South Lawn to Marine One as they depart from the White House for a weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago on January 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Senators are expected to debate and then vote on whether to include additional witnesses and documents today in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Donald Trump appears to have added another name to the list of terrorists that his administration has killed as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly launched a drone strike that killed the leader of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

“The officials expressed confidence that the Qaeda leader, Qassim al-Rimi, was killed in a January airstrike in Yemen but were awaiting confirmation before making a public announcement,” The New York Times reported. “If confirmed, his death could represent a significant blow to the Qaeda affiliate, which remains one of the most potent branches of the terrorist group. The Yemen branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has tried to attack the United States and Europe and is thought to still want to.”

The Times reported the CIA learned about al-Rimi’s location in November from an informant in Yemen and then started to track him using drones and other technology.

Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Times: “He was an Al Qaeda veteran whose career started in the camps in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. After he was busted out of prison, he was part of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s relaunch management team, becoming their military commander.”

The news comes after a Trump-authorized drone strike killed Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), in early January.

In October, Trump authorized a raid targeting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria which resulted in al-Baghdadi’s death when he detonated a suicide vest as he was running from U.S. forces.

The day after al-Baghdadi was killed, U.S. forces conducted another attack that resulted in the death of al-Baghdadi’s likely successor, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, when an airstrike took him out as he was being “smuggled across northern Syria in the back of an oil tanker truck,” The Times reported.

Another terrorist that the Trump administration took care of was Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden, who had repeatedly threatened to attack the U.S. and who was believed to be in line to taking over Al Qaeda.

“Details of the strike that killed him were scarce, including when and where,” The Times reported. “The United States government played a role in the operation, but it was not clear how, according to the officials, who discussed his death on the condition of anonymity because it involved sensitive operations and intelligence gathering. Mr. bin Laden was killed sometime during the first two years of the Trump administration, officials said.”

Not quite making the list was Abdul Reza Shahlai, an official with Iran’s Quds Force, who the Trump administration attempted to take out with a drone strike on the same day that they took out Soleimani.

“The disclosure of a second mission indicated that the Trump administration was attempting to target a larger set of Iranian military and paramilitary leaders than was previously known,” The New York Times reported. “The unsuccessful airstrike in Yemen was aimed at Abdul Reza Shahlai, an official with Iran’s Quds Force, a potent paramilitary organization. He was known as a key financier for Iran’s proxy wars.”

The Washington Post reported that the details surrounding the plan remained “highly classified” and suggested that Shahlai could be re-targeted again in the future.

“Another senior official said the two strikes were authorized around the same time and that the United States did not disclose the Shahlai mission because it did not go according to plan,” The Post reported. “The official said Shahlai may be targeted in the future, though both countries have signaled an interest in de-escalating the crisis.”

 

Trump’s game-changing speech of the century 

February 1, 2020

Source: Trump’s game-changing speech of the century – The Jerusalem Post

Those of us who trusted Trump not to pull such a stunt – since nothing in his behavior indicated he would – were not worried about the contents or upshot of the deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump winks at Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they discuss a Middle East peace plan proposal during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)
US President Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday in which he outlined the “Deal of the Century” that has been three years in the making, was nothing short of Earth-shattering. The fact that Israelis across the political spectrum have been arguing over the proposal – called “Peace to Prosperity” – is thus as understandable as it was inevitable.

Unfortunately, however, much of the debate has been focused on the details and viability of the plan, rather than on the significance of how Trump presented it, and why his words were revolutionary. In an effort to downplay the momentousness of the event, his left-wing detractors ridiculed his mispronunciation of “al-Aqsa Mosque” and “United Arab Emirates” with memes and tweets.

These are the same haters who have been accusing Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of conspiring to bolster each other’s chances of electoral success, the former in November and the latter on March 2.

These are the Israelis with the moral and occasional financial support of their counterparts abroad who blame the Jewish state for the plight and antisemitism of the Palestinians. Luckily, such people are in the minority, albeit a vocal one.

The majority of the populace came to realize long ago that the “land for peace” formula is nothing but a recipe for an escalation of the ongoing war against the very Jews begging to resolve the conflict through self-flagellation and appeasement.

This grasp of reality is but one reason that Netanyahu recently surpassed founding father David Ben-Gurion as the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history.

Another is the way in which he has been able to keep the country moving forward at a meteoric pace, while staving off regional and global enemies – those literally wielding axes and launching missiles – and their apologists at the UN, in the halls of academia and in the bowels of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.That Netanyahu managed to navigate the ship through shark-infested waters even when Barack Obama occupied the Oval Office is particularly noteworthy. Obama’s mission from the outset was to undermine American power and particularism. This included signaling to radical Muslims, especially the regime in Tehran, that his version of being the “new sheriff in town” entailed handing his badge, holster and wallet over to the bandits.

That worked out really well for the ayatollahs and their proxies. Not so wonderfully for Israel, though, which Obama held responsible for all the ills of the Middle East.

Indeed, Obama bought and perpetuated the joint Arab and Western leftist lie that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians was the root cause of turmoil throughout the region.

ENTER TRUMP.

In a complete about-face from Obama – who made good on his campaign promise to woo the Islamic world and delivered a pandering address at Cairo University to a Muslim Brotherhood-heavy audience – “The Donald” went to Israel.

This turned out to be more than symbolic, as Trump proceeded to undertake a series of unprecedented moves that served what he saw, rightly, as mutually beneficial to America and Israel, and healthy for the world at large.

He moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal; recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; halted funding to UNRWA; demanded that the Palestinian Authority cease its pay-for-slay policy; declared that Israeli settlements were not illegal; and never once called Israel to task for defending itself through strikes on targets in Gaza and Syria.

To describe this as a breath of fresh air following eight years of the polluted atmosphere created by the Obama administration would be a gross understatement. So incredulous were Israelis at the steady flow of gifts from Washington that some began to fear a heavy price was going to be exacted in the future.

The suspicion was that the oft-touted and delayed “Deal of the Century” would reveal the real cost of the friendship. You know, along the lines of a demand for massive Israeli territorial withdrawals and other untenable compromises, all in the name of “peace” with the Palestinians.

Those of us who trusted Trump not to pull such a stunt – since nothing in his behavior indicated he would – were not worried about the contents or upshot of the deal. We knew that no overture of any kind would be accepted by the Palestinian leadership. Furthermore, PA President Mahmoud Abbas already had declared the plan to be a non-starter before he even knew what it contained, and he shunned meetings with US administration officials.

For the first time in his career, Abbas’s tantrums didn’t work. Team Trump responded to his snub by shrugging and treating him like the tiny fish in the miniature pond he actually is.

The affront to his ego, which gets a far greater boost from the international community than it does among his own disgruntled people, has been so enormous that he doesn’t know what to do with his rage, other than call for “days of rage,” which is his default position when faced with any situation relating to Israel.

But even Abbas wasn’t prepared for what Trump had to say this week in the East Room of the White House, with a beaming Netanyahu at his side and a roomful of adoring Republican and Jewish dignitaries punctuating each of his sentences with a standing ovation.

To be fair to Abbas, he wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe his ears. In fact, the jaw-dropping that ensued crossed all ethnic, religious and geographical lines.

The explanation for this is simple. In one fell swoop, Trump reversed the rhetoric associated with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In doing so, he not only exposed the falsehood of the accepted narrative; he made a moral case for the Jewish state based on history and heritage, not Holocaust victimhood, as Israel’s sole and long-gone legitimacy.

Highlighting his amazement at “what this small country ha[s] achieved in the face of overwhelming odds and never-ending threats,” Trump said, “The State of Israel comprises only a minuscule amount of land in the Middle East, and yet it has become a thriving center of democracy and of ancient culture and commerce. Israel is a light unto the world; the hearts and history of our people are woven together. The Land of Israel is an ancient home, a sacred place of worship and a solemn promise to the Jewish people that we will never again repeat history’s darkest hour.”

CALLING JERUSALEM a “safe, open, democratic city that welcomes people of all faiths and all places,” he announced that the time had come for the Muslim world “to fix the mistake it made in 1948 when it chose to attack instead of recognize the new State of Israel… since then, the amount of needless bloodshed and… so many squandered opportunities in the name of senseless causes is beyond measure.”

He then stressed that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital and that the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the areas specified in the plan (i.e. the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and settlements in Judea and Samaria).

In a message to the Palestinians, he said, “We will not allow a return to the days of bloodshed, bus bombings, nightclub attacks and relentless terror…. Peace requires compromise, but we will never ask Israel to compromise its security.”

He also gave a partial rundown of the conditions that the Palestinians would have to fulfill before meeting the criteria for statehood: “adopting basic laws protecting human rights, protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists.”

If they accomplish all of the above, according to the deal, they will be granted $50 billion in investments with which to build a flourishing economy in their demilitarized state, four full years from now. In other words, when apples grow on cherry trees; or when the Palestinians relinquish their goal of annihilating Israel, whichever comes first.

The mere mention of Palestinian statehood has elicited as strong an aversion to Trump’s deal on the Right as it has on the part of leftists claiming that Abbas could never accept its pro-Israel slant.

In this case, the Left is right: Abbas does not and never will accept it. But the Right is wrong precisely for the same reason. In the meantime, while the Palestinians remain intransigent in their self-imposed misery, Israel can go about the business of extending sovereignty over the settlements.

In the event that Palestinian society ever does undergo the kind of fundamental change necessary for peaceful coexistence with Israel, it is a development that should be embraced. A small, non-belligerent autonomous entity would not pose a threat to Israel’s Jewishness or historical rights.

As Caroline Glick correctly concluded, Trump “didn’t offer us a perfect plan, but he offered us a plan that we can live with.”

 

IDF strikes Hamas in Gaza in response to rocket, mortar fire 

February 1, 2020

Source: IDF strikes Hamas in Gaza in response to rocket, mortar fire | The Times of Israel

Attack on ‘terror targets’ in Strip follows several launches into Israeli territory on Friday that sent thousands running for shelter, caused light damage to homes

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen on Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP/Adel Hana)

Illustrative: An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen on Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP/Adel Hana)

The Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza overnight Friday-Saturday in response to several attacks launched across the border earlier Friday.

Fighter jets hit “terror targets” belonging to Hamas following the rocket, mortar and explosives attacks, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“A short time ago IDF warplanes and aircraft attacked several additional terror targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern Gaza Strip. Among the targets that were attacked were warehouses for the storage of weapons, and underground infrastructure,” the IDF said in a statement.

The attack on the targets will hamper Hamas’s ability to further build up its capabilities, the statement said.

“We hold Hamas responsible and will continue operating against any attempt to harm Israeli civilians,” the IDF said.

Earlier Friday, Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets into Israel, one of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Rocket warning sirens wailed in the southern town of Sderot and nearby communities, sending thousands of Israelis running to bomb shelters during their Shabbat dinner.

Hebrew media reports said several homes were lightly damaged by falling shrapnel from the interception. there were no reports of injuries.

About two hours later warning sirens sounded again in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak and Kibbutz Sufa.  The IDF said it identified a further rocket launch toward Israel. The projectile fell into an open area, causing no damage or injuries.

Israel Defense Forces

@IDF

We hold Hamas responsible and will continue operating against any attempt to harm Israeli civilians.

The IDF warned Hamas, which controls Gaza, that if the recent spate of violence is not halted the military will respond with increasing force, Channel 13 quoted military officials as saying.

Earlier Friday, three mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the IDF said. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one of the projectiles, while the other two struck open areas.

There were no reports of casualties or damage.

In response to the attack, an IDF tank fired a shell at a Hamas observation post near the border in southern Gaza, the military said.

The mortar attack did not trigger sirens inside Israeli communities as it was heading for an unpopulated area, but it did set off alarms on smartphone applications in the area, the military said.

Early Friday, the Israel Air Force carried out strikes in Gaza in response to three rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave at Israel on Thursday night.

The army said among the targets hit was an underground facility used to manufacture weapons. No injuries were reported as a result of the strikes. Widespread power outages were reported in Rafah.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has not commented on the recent round of violence. The Blue and White party on Friday called for a Knesset debate on Sunday to address the situation.

Tensions between Israel and Gaza have been steadily rising over the past two weeks after several months of relative calm. Fears have mounted in recent days of an escalation of violence in Gaza and the West Bank following the release of a US peace plan that is seen as heavily favoring Israel.

Two of the rockets fired at Israel late Thursday were shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The third landed in an open area. There was no claim of responsibility but the army said it holds Hamas, the de facto ruler in the Strip, responsible for any violence emanating from the enclave.

A bunch of balloons attached to an incendiary device is prepared to be flown into Israel, near the Israel-Gaza border east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, January 22, 2020. (Ail Ahmed/Flash90)

A three-week-old girl was hospitalized with moderate head injuries after being hurt during a rush to a bomb shelter in Sderot. The girl’s mother, 30, was also hospitalized with light injuries, according to emergency services. Officials said the girl’s condition improved Friday morning.

Israel carried out airstrikes in southern Gaza on Thursday afternoon in response to cross-border sniper fire at an IDF post and after a bundle of balloons connected to an explosive device were found in the area of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

On Wednesday night a mortar was fired from Gaza at Israel, prompting retaliatory airstrikes.

On Wednesday evening, the military announced it was deploying additional troops to the Gaza border and West Bank amid concerns that Palestinians may respond violently to the peace plan, which was released on Tuesday.

Palestinian leaders have rejected the plan.